The press conference was held at 11:00 AM at the Grand Wayne Center. I have been excited about the new stadium since it was first announced by former Mayor Graham Richard. And I was also interested in the yet-to-be-named baseball team.
I remember when the Wizards were first named the Wizards and all the negative publicity that was heaped on the team. Over the years, through the dedication and hard work of General Manager Mike Nutter, the team grew into something to be proud of. I especially liked seeing ballplayers come up through the Wizard organization and end up on major league teams.
When the new name was unveiled, I was at first confused. I just didn’t get it. But then as I listened to Mike Nutter, and managing partner of Hardball Capital, Jason Freier, the name kind of grew on me.
The name association with the already popular folk legend Johnny Appleseed, and the popular Johnny Appleseed Festival and with the healthy connotation of apples in general I felt the new name had a good ring to it.
The primary logo will be an apple wearing Johnny’s trademark “TinCap.” Two alternate logos will incorporate the City’s initials, “FW” with each a “TinCap” and an apple stem and leaf.
“In Minor League Baseball you have the opportunity to create a brand with a truly regional flavor,” stated Nutter. “Johnny Appleseed, while known nationally, as a regional pioneer and folk hero, his story, and the history of this area, gives us an identity that is distinctively Fort Wayne.
Johnny was a pioneer of the Midwest frontier in a time of seemingly endless opportunity. We feel a part of a new frontier in Fort Wayne’s growing downtown with the continued development of the Harrison Square project.”
I asked Nutter the proverbial question, “Does the name make the team or does the team make the name,” and Mikes answer was, “A little of both.”
Mike went on to say that he expected some negative publicity and that they were hopeful that the community would give the name and the team a fair shake.
Whenever there is a lot of negative publicity about a new idea, I always think of previous ideas that were highly criticized. In 1807, Fulton built the steamboat Clermont, soon widely known as Fulton’s Folly. But the small, snub-nosed boat made the 150-mile run from New York City to Albany in 32 hours and a new era in water transportation began.
Then there was Sewards Folly, the United States’ Secretary of State William Seward’s decision to purchase the Alaskan territory from Russia in 1867. At the time, Seward’s decision to buy the land was regarded as a terrible one by many critics. Seward’s Folly resulted in the purchase of 6,000,000 square miles for $7,200,000 dollars…only a few cents per acre.
Although I doubt naming the new Fort Wayne team the TinCaps will have the historic significance of the invention of the steam boat or the Alaskan purchase, I would hope that the name would become as enduring to Fort Wayne as the Mud Hens are to Toledo.
The TinCaps will begin play at Parkview Field on Thursday, April 16th at 7:00pm when they take on the Dayton Dragons on Opening Day of the new ballpark.
For more information on TinCaps season tickets, group outings or corporate partnerships for the 2009 season at Parkview Field contact the team at (260) 482-6400 or log on to TinCaps.com.