Wichita, Meet Your New Baseball Team: The Wind Surge

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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)
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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.