Minor league franchise surprises with nickname Rocky Mountain Vibes

An offseason merry-go-round of minor league baseball franchise relocations culminated today with the introduction of the Rocky Mountain Vibes. The team’s Brandiose-designed logos feature a s’mores-based theme with a marshmallow character named Toasty.

The new name was not one of the five finalists in a name-the-team contest, but it derived from conversations around the option “Happy Campers.” In an announcement just moments ago, the team explained that Happy Campers felt too narrow, and the name Vibes describes the feeling the outdoorsy Coloradans get just from being in the state.

“Colorado is a super-transient state, so many people are from somewhere else,” said Vibes general manager Chris Phillips, quoted on MiLB.com. “You hear things like, ‘When I moved here, I was such a happy camper.’ It’s not so much about camping as it is a state of mind. The people who live out here, whether they’re camping or hiking with their family or walking the dog or having a beer with a buddy, they’re happy campers.

“But what makes the people here happy campers?” he continued. “It’s the outdoors, the sunshine, that feeling you get when you live here in Colorado. So what’s that feeling? How do you describe that?”

The logos incorporate flames and a campfire motif, along with colors and a symbol derived from the Colorado flag (which, I can tell you as a resident of Colorado, is on everything in the state from dog leashes to bumper stickers to beer pints). One alternate creates a CS for Colorado Springs out of a partially eaten marshmallow and a flame.

The options in the name-the-team contest were Colorado Springs Happy Campers, Colorado Springs Lamb Chops, Colorado Springs Punchy Pikas, Colorado Springs Throttle Jockeys, and Rocky Mountain Oysters. One of the names not selected, Rocky Mountain Oysters (a euphemism for fried bull testicles) is sure to resurface some day in the future in a what might have been night.

This is not the first time a minor league franchise has pulled a bait and switch in a name-the-team contest. The Gwinnett Stripers nickname was a surprise when it was announced last December instead of one of the five finalists chosen by fans.

The franchise tilt-a-whirl that led to today’s announcement began with the Double-A San Antonio Missions moving to Amarillo to become the Sod Poodles. The baseball void in San Antonio was then filled by a Triple-A team, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, who are moving there to take on the Missions moniker. Now Colorado Springs gets its own relocated team, the erstwhile short-season Class A Helena Brewers, the brand-new Rocky Mountain Vibes.

The world will be introduced to the Rocky Mountain Vibes when the Pioneer League begins play June 21.

Paul Caputo :Paul Caputo is a grown man who collects plastic ice cream helmet sundaes from minor league baseball stadiums because he likes logos that much. He is the author of the first book published by SportsLogos.net, The Story Behind the Nickname: The Origins of 100 Classic, Contemporary, and Wacky Minor League Baseball Team Names. He can be found on Twitter at @Count2Baseball and he maintains the Countdown to Spring Training on Facebook. Paul is a Philadelphia sports fan, but he's not so bad.
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