The Jacksonville Suns, longtime Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, have been rebranded as the Jacksonville, um, Jumbo Shrimp.
As Floridian Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up:
In a break from established Minor League Baseball rebranding protocol, Jacksonville’s announcement was not preceded by any sort of “Name the Team” contest and subsequent fan vote. Ken Babby, who bought the team from Jacksonville baseball icon Pedro Bragan prior to the 2015 season, said the decision to rebrand was made after “quiet conversations with local officials and community leaders.”
Babby has experience with this process. He purchased the Akron Aeros following the 2012 season and changed that team’s name to the RubberDucks prior to the 2014 campaign. That rebranding, as with the Jumbo Shrimp, was done in concert with San Diego-based design firm Brandiose.
In three years of Babby’s ownership, the Ducks have prospered: three seasons over .500, with 2016 seeing an Eastern League championship. The ex-Suns, not so much: 9th in the Southern League in 2015, 8th this past season. Babby clearly has his work cut out for him.
(I promised you this earlier in the month.)