Gwinnett Braves Seek A Name Change
The rebranding and renaming craze has hit minor league baseball hard over the past years, but one organization has long resisted change and embraced continuity up and down its minor league system.
The Atlanta Braves own all of their affiliates with the exception of the high Class A Florida Fire Frogs, which is a relocation of the Brevard County Manatees and is owned by Central Florida Minor League Baseball.
The teams owned by the Braves have one other thing in common: They’ve all taken the nickname of the parent club. If you’re an Atlanta minor leaguer, you can go from the DSL Braves to the GCL Braves to the Rome Braves to the Florida Fire Frogs to the Mississippi Braves and finally to the Gwinnett Braves before reaching the major leagues.
That last link is about to change, however. The Gwinnett Daily Post reported on Sunday that the Triple-A club is seeking a name change. Like many other name changes around the country, the new name will be selected in part by a fan vote. Submissions will begin on the team’s website starting Monday through June 2.
The entrant whose name is chosen as the winner will receive season tickets for 2018.
"The Atlanta Braves are still currently the only major league team that owns the majority of their minor league teams and a major part of the Braves footprint and the Braves expanding their brand throughout the Southeast is to continue to have minor league teams use the Braves name," Gwinnett general manager North Johnson told the Post. "When the team was in Richmond, that made great sense. If you were going to a Braves game, you knew you weren't going to Atlanta. You were definitely going to Richmond.
"When we moved here, it was important we maintain the Braves name so people understood who we were, that we were a part of the Atlanta organization, because minor league baseball had never been in this area before. There were a lot of reasons to maintain the name and it was important for the Atlanta Braves to continue their brand.
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"Fast forward nine years later, we're in our ninth season, and our reality is a lot of confusion in the market with which team is which. It's moreso for us. . . . We've had folks, on multiple occasions, who had tickets for a Gwinnett Braves game and showed up at Turner Field. Folks have turned up at Turner Field for a fireworks show and it turned out it was our fireworks show night. It's more to clean up confusion on the marketing side, mostly from our end."
As Johnson alluded to, a name change can help a team establish its own identity apart from the parent club. In recent years the Reading Phillies became the Reading Fightin’ Phils and the Staten Island Yankees attempted to become something else, only to have their efforts thwarted by an outcry of distaste for the half-dozen final choices.
The deluge of new names and logos hasn’t shown any signs of slowing--this year alone saw five new names--and now the craze has reached a brand so known for uniformity that change seemed unthinkable.