Less regal, more rainy

For better or worse, the Royals are now the Storm Chasers

What’s in a name? In Omaha — at the moment — a lot of angst. At least that seemed to be the tenor of the Internet alarms that started ringing Nov. 15 as the Omaha Royals announced that the team was now the Omaha Storm Chasers. It started locally on Twitter but ballooned to include a mocking post on Deadspin and a suggestion from ESPN’s Rob Neyer that perhaps the team could’ve been better served by combining all of our regional influences into one super-name: the BenevolentRailBombingHuskerStorms. Did Omaha embarrass itself with the change? I don’t think so and none of the 300 or so people in attendance at the big unveiling seemed to, either. They happily noshed on hot dogs, cheered the announcement and then started buying new merchandise. The bottom line in re-branding is literally the bottom line and this group — the season ticket holders and die-hard baseball fans willing to trek to La Vista for a Monday evening event — is the one the organization needed to win over. Storm Chasers wasn’t my first choice. In fact, I’m not even sure I like it, but I do think it works. My only hope for the Royals renaming was that the team would get a regionally relevant nickname. While my admitted rural Americana bias had me favoring Cattlemen or Sodbusters, Storm Chasers still checks that box but if anything it’s not odd enough. The best thing about minor league baseball is that these teams, most occupying cities and burgs far smaller than Omaha, have a chance to carve out their own local identity far from the corporate reaches of their parent clubs. The Casper (Wyo.) Rockies can put a glow in the dark baseball-cum-skull logo on their hats and become the Casper Ghosts. The Orlando Rays can move to Montgomery and become the Biscuits. Storm Chasers is more forceful than that. It’s not as silly as the Savannah Sand Gnats or as laughable as the Lansing Lugnuts. The name is missing that knowing wink so prevalent down on the farm; but based on the response so far, I’m not sure Omaha was in the market for that either. The change was fortuitous on at least one front, however. Omaha’s new wind-blown ‘SC’ logo — one of four new cap designs — fits pretty nicely in Sarpy County. Consider that a conspiracy theory if you will.

posted at 09:46 pm
on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

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