The transformation of the former Beloit Snappers (High-A Central) takes another huge step forward with the unveiling of new branding for 2022: The Beloit Sky Carp.
That transformation began last summer with the opening of ABC Supply Stadium, which signaled a huge change for the team under new owner Quint Studer. Gone was Pohlman Field as the team’s home. A subpar facility that was arguably the worst facility in (certainly) the old Midwest League and (probably) all of MiLB both for players and fans, the opening of ABC Supply Stadium signaled a new era for Beloit baseball. It also saved Beloit pro baseball: there’s little doubt the team would have been axed when MLB contracted MiLB from 160 teams to 120.
The selection of Sky Carp is the next logical step in the overhaul of the team. On one hand, Snappers is actually a pretty decent name for a pro baseball team, and Snappy as a mascot has a certain following. But with Snappers so intertwined with the previous regime, Studer says there was little choice but to pursue a rebranding for the 2022 season.
“When we first got involved with the Snappers, I was meeting with a group of local business owners, snd one of them asked whether we would be changing the name,” he said. “I asked them what they thought, and they said it would be a good idea to freshen the branding.”
That meant a name-the-team contest—and an honest name-the-team contest, where community input was requested first with name suggestions, following by an online vote between five finalists: Sky Carp, Moo, Polka Pike, Supper Clubbers and Cheeseballs. There were some issues with a few—how can you brand a cheeseball or a relish tray? Aside from alliteration, what do polka and pike have in common? Sky Carp was entered by several contestants, and it popped up in focus groups held by team management. In a rather organic fashion, interestingly: not pushed as an entry, but just in the course of a relaxed chat about the day’s happenings. In the end, Sky Carp received the most votes among the locals.
A sky carp, for those outside the Midwest, is a goose that does not fly south for the winter. Drawn by open water, these geese stay put year-round. That decision, as it were, fits into the message being pushed by area native Studer, who sees the team as a quality-of-life investment and not as a financial investment: baseball and a great ballpark experience are ways to make sure you’re keeping your talent home.
“How cool is that? It’s a goose that loves Beloit so much they don’t migrate,” he said. “It ties to the broader issue of Beloit working to improve, to be a place where people don’t migrate from.
“I think the story is an interesting one,” he added. This is not about baseball, this is about creating great places for people to live.”
In this process, the name was chosen before branding agency Brandiose was given permission to come up with potential logos and branding. There are plenty of local touches—the blue color scheme ties into local waters (ABC Supply Stadium sits next to the Rock River) and clear skies. Aviator goggles refer to Bessica Raiche, a Beloit native regarded as the first woman to fly an airplane solo. And the wrench is a reference to the local ironworking industry, represented by a wrench from Fairbanks Morse, an industrial leader headquartered in Beloit.
And what will happen to Snappy? He’ll still be part of the mix. Despite an announcement that Snappy was on his way out, Snappers merchandise did not sell very well toward the season’s end. We still may see Snapper Sundays as a regular promotion. But for now, the Sky Carp will rule the skies and waters as the new name and face of Minor League Baseball in south-central Wisconsin.
RELATED STORIES: Visiting ABC Supply Stadium, new home of the Beloit Snappers; Jurgella new Beloit Baseball president; Marlins add Jacksonville, Pensacola, Beloit as affiliate invitees