Two minor league baseball teams have announced name changes in the last few days, and in both instances, they’ve ditched their parent club’s nickname in favor of a unique, fish-based nickname. On Friday, the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves became the Gwinnett Stripers, and today, the High-A Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League took the minor league baseball world by surprise by announcing that they would heretofore be named the Tampa Tarpons.
The decision to switch away from the the Yankees nickname was not an easy one.
“We’re talking about one of the most, if not the most iconic brands in all of sports,” said Dan Simon of Studio Simon, who created the new look. “When you make a decision to make a change like this, that’s not something that’s taken lightly. This was not your typical rebranding.”
The announcement was accompanied by the unveiling of the team’s new logo and script, with the promise of uniform designs and additional logos to come in January. The team’s colors are officially called Legends Navy, Gulf Blue, and Tarpon Silver.
This is not the first time a team has been named after the feisty tarpon, a prized fish among sports anglers. Another Tampa Tarpons team (now the Bradenton Marauders) played in the Florida State League from 1957 to 1987.
“The Tarpons name gives us the opportunity to connect with our fans and reconnect with Tampa’s baseball heritage,” the team’s assistant general manager Matt Gess said.
That previous Tarpons team influenced Simon’s design in creating this new brand.
“I like the idea of creating something new that pays homage to the past,” he said. “In this case, the primary logo was definitely inspired by previous iterations of Tampa Tarpons logos.”
The Tarpons franchise played 24 seasons as the Tampa Yankees, debuting in 1994 and winning five Florida State League titles along the way.