The new name of the baseball team in Swift Current, Sask. will be the ‘57’s,’ the organization announced Tuesday.
The team revealed its new logo and team colours at Swift Current’s city hall Tuesday night.
The plan to change the team name for the 2017 season was announced last September. The organization made the decision in an effort to be more culturally sensitive and for a chance to rebrand the team.
“There was basically two reasons; one being we wanted to be proactive,” Harv Martinez, senior advisor of the baseball club, said.
“We didn’t want it become something that became a political issue, something that became really demonstrative in our community. We didn’t want it to create a divide.”
The Swift Current baseball team chose the name 57’s to mark 57 seasons the Swift Current baseball team has used the name “Indians,” dating back to the 1940s.
“We really tried to honour the past and pay homage to a lot of years and a lot of community involvement and a lot of community support,” Martinez said.
“I think this gives us a chance to really keep that in our back pocket and move forward with some excitement.”
The team originally took community submissions for a new name. However, there was not much support for the first group of names.
Cole Armstrong, an alumnus of the organization, then suggested naming the team after the number of years the organization used the name “Indians.”
“It was more along the lines of trying to connect the historical past to what we’re trying to do moving forward,” Martinez said.
The organization worked with the local museum and discovered that it had been 57 seasons since the name was first used for the Swift Current baseball team.
“There’s mixed emotions,” Martinez said.
“There is a deep, rich history of the name but we also know that, by kind of incorporating the legacy of 57 seasons into what we’re doing and some of the goals and objectives that we have moving forward with regards to marketing and rebranding, I think it was a good fit.”
Martinez said there were both positive and negative reactions from the community initally to the baseball team dropping the name “Indians.”
“Considerably more that were supportive of the change but we also heard from a lot of alumni and former executives and some trailblazers within this community that were instrumental with the baseball club for a number of years that really were worried about losing the legacy of the name ‘Indians,’” Martinez said.
Martinez said the organization made sure to have discussions about how to pay tribute to the team’s legacy.
“Once we were able to explain why we were doing what we doing and the fact that we were at what we felt was a really critical point, then there was good support and people understood the premise,” Martinez said.
The new logo was designed by a local graphic designer Brandon Wiebe. The logo includes a camouflaged SC in the baseball flying up in the centre and wheat sheaves for the baseball seams.
“The idea was to try and really make the number ‘57’ a prominent part of it,” Martinez said.
“The depiction of the baseball flying was his way of saying: ‘this is what kind of past and then moving forward.’”
The team will also have new colours: orange and green.
Martinez said the green represents both Saskatchewan and the sense of renewal. Orange was a colour that was new and different for the league.
The Swift Current 57’s are not the first team in the province to change a potentially problematic name.
In 2014, the Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon changed its name and logo from the Redmen to the Redhawks.
Balfour Collegiate in Regina also retired the name Redmen in the same year and became the Balfour Bears.