By Tom Shine – Kansas News Service
If Wichita’s new baseball team can draw fans to the stadium like it did Wednesday night for the unveiling of its name and logo, it will be in good shape.
Before a packed house at Wave, the new team was officially christened the Wichita Wind Surge.
Team officials say the name is a play on the city’s ever-present wind and because Wichita is taking “an exponential surge forward,” according to an introductory video with soaring music and quintessential images of Kansas and Wichita.
The logo features the winged horse Pegasus soaring through a red W. The team’s primary colors include navy blue and red, a nod to the colors in the Wichita flag, which will appear on the uniforms.
“I think we got it right,” said Todd Radom, a nationally recognized graphic designer who created the Wichita logo. “I hope the reaction is good. Building a foundation is so important.”
Although the name was panned by many on social media after the announcement, those in attendance cheered loudly. And they formed long lines afterward to buy Wind Surge merchandise.
“Today does feel like Christmas,” said team president Jay Miller, who has been working to market a team with no name since earlier this year.
It also felt like Opening Day at the ballpark.
There were hot dogs, peanuts and beer. Elected officials roamed the crowd, along with members of the Wind Surge’s staff.
Players in the Miami Marlins’ organization — the parent club for Wichita — modeled the new uniforms.
Miss Kansas and Miss Wichita obligingly posed for photos. A barbershop quartet sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
“Make no mistake folks, Wichita is a baseball town,” said Wind Surge senior vice president Cookie Rojas.
Team owner and managing partner Lou Schwechheimer thanked Mayor Jeff Longwell for his efforts to bring the team to Wichita.
“The mayor called me three years ago and said, ‘This city deserves affiliated baseball, and we need to bring it back,’” Schwechheimer said.
Longwell was criticized for a lack of transparency in the city’s dealings with the team and the rapid decision to knock down Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and build a new $75 million baseball stadium on the west side of the Arkansas River.
The Wind Surge will take the field in April for its inaugural season in the Pacific Coast League. Wichita will be the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, the highest level of minor league baseball. The city has not had a Triple-A team since 1984, when the Wichita Aeros left for Buffalo, New York.
When city leaders announced in September of 2018 that the New Orleans Baby Cakes were moving to Wichita, they said the team would get a new name. The team solicited suggestions from the public and received thousands of submissions, but it said team officials would make the final decision.
The team began releasing a series of names and logos in August, even though it said none would be the team’s new name. Those included the River Riders, Linemen and Doo-Dahs.
But Radom told Sportslogos.net that team officials wanted a more major-league feel.
“Wichita is the biggest city in the state of Kansas; it’s kind of a regional powerhouse,” Radom said. “So they wanted a look with a little bit more of a classic feel. We were going to look for something that would represent the team for the long term.”
Wichita baseball team names
- Braves (1887)
- Eagles (1898)
- Jobbers (1905-1910)
- Witches (1912-17)
- Jobbers (1918-20)
- Witches (1921-22)
- Izzies (1923-26)
- Larks (1927-28)
- Aviators (1929-32)
- Oilers (1933)
- Indians (1951-55)
- Braves (1956-58)
- Aeros (1970-84)
- Pilots (1987-88)
- Wranglers (1989-2007)
- Wingnuts (2008-18)
- Wind Surge (2020)