The Wisconsin Woodchucks, members of the collegiate summer level Northwoods League, just moments ago unveiled a new suite of logos created by Dan Simon and announced that they’ll be the Wausau Woodchucks rather than the Wisconsin Woodchucks.
The new logo—unveiled on Groundhog Day because woodchucks and groundhogs are the same animal—features a contemporary version of the team’s mascot, Woody the woodchuck, to go with other updates the franchise has enjoyed recently.
“We really wanted to modernize the look,” said Assistant General Manager Traci Wisz. “Our stadium has undergone multiple rounds of renovations since 2012, and it’s now top-notch, very modern. We wanted a logo that reflected that.”
The updated Woody assumes an aggressive, athletic posture, balanced on a baseball bat—not unlike Black Widow or IronMan landing on all fours after a two-story jump in an Avengers movie.
“A woodchuck is a burrowing rodent, it’s rather docile,” Simon said. “But they wanted something that was tougher, a little more aggressive. What I did was in the full body version I gave it kind of this heroic pose to make it look more tough.”
Wisz compared the athletic stance that the doughy rodent is taking to the sense of readiness baseball teams need to have in today’s mixed-up world.
“We like that he’s forward facing,” she said. “He looks like he’s about to charge, and take on whatever is coming at him head first.”
The overall aesthetic of the new look bucks a trend in minor league baseball. It moves away from the cartoony, kid-friendly brand that the team had used since 2010, and adopts a more serious, tougher look. Adapting to a world of social media, merchandising, and online marketing, the new look has brighter colors than its predecessor and features a more contemporary, streamlined typographic treatment.
In unveiling the new brand, the team narrowed its geographic signifier from Wisconsin, which it had used since 1999, to Wausau, which it used from its inception in 1994 to 1998. In focusing on Wausau, the team chose to highlight the lush surroundings of the area, which might not be consistent with expectations to the uninitiated.
“With Wausau, it’s not pastures, it’s not cheese making, it’s not everything that we stereotypically associate with Wisconsin,” Simon said. “It’s got a river running through it, the Wisconsin River, it’s very lush and green, it’s very beautiful. It does not look like cow pastures. That’s something that the team wanted to also have represented in the logo.”
The new-look Wausau Woodchucks will take the field May 30, against the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders.