This release just came in from Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin’s office:
It’s Time to Name Our Team
New Professional Baseball Team in Columbia Needs Help of Fans.
A new chapter of baseball in Columbia will begin on Opening Night in April, 2016. For the first time in more than a decade, professional baseball will be played in Columbia and in a spectacular new venue that will anchor the redevelopment of Columbia Common, the former State Mental Health Campus on Bull Street.
Before the future stars of Major League baseball can lace up their spikes and take the field, they need a name. A name that speaks to, from and about our City with pride. Columbia’s team needs an identity that is uniquely Columbia, and we’re counting on the community to help us identify the moniker that will resonate throughout the Midlands.
Suggestions for the name of our new professional baseball team are now being accepted online at ColumbiaProBall.com. Fans are invited to suggest a name, along with a short explanation of their suggestion, from now until October 15th.
In the coming weeks, representatives of the team will spend time in Columbia conducting research, interviews, focus groups and discussions to help them better understand the community and select the new name. Once the “Name Our Team” process concludes, team ownership and staff will synthesize the information and suggestions to develop an identity for Columbia’s team.
The winning name, along with the team’s logo and colors, will be unveiled in the Spring of 2015. The fan whose submission leads to the team’s new name will have the honor of throwing out a ceremonial first pitch on the Opening Night of the ballpark. That fan will also receive a prize package that will include an official team cap and jersey and tickets to Opening Night. (If more than one fan submits the winning name, one of those fans will be chosen at random.)
“The team and venue will be great additions that will provide great entertainment and enhance the quality of life for residents of the Midlands,” said Jason Freier, Chairman and CEO of Hardball Capital and managing owner of the team. “We are excited to begin the process of crafting an identity that is uniquely Columbia and that fans and the community at large can be proud of and call their own.”
Fans are also invited to join the conversation regarding what to name Columbia’s new team on social media. Be sure to “like” Columbia Professional Baseball on Facebook and follow @ColumbiaProBall on Twitter. Use #NameOurTeam to share your ideas. Note that all official Name Our Team entries must be submitted online atcolumbiaproball.com.
“Through this process, we will come to better understand what makes Columbia so special and unique,” said Abby Naas, the team’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, who will be moving to Columbia from Hardball Capital’s highly successful team in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “We know from our experience re-branding our team in Fort Wayne that this can really be an opportunity to build an identity that the community can rally around. The TinCaps brand is beloved in Fort Wayne and recognized nationally as one of the great monikers in Minor League Baseball. We will work hard to achieve the same results in Columbia.”
For more information on the team and venue, and to enter your submission for the #NameOurTeam Contest, visit ColumbiaProBall.com.
I imagine that the mayor is likely to get a few names he’d rather not hear, given the raw tempers that were aired as the new ballpark was being debated.
But in case y’all have some serious suggestions, I thought I’d give you a heads-up.