As a long time Edmonton Prospects volunteer (7 years) and former Edmonton Rush employee (6 years) I have deep rooted issues when the following phrases are linked: Edmonton City Officials, Oilers anything. The tail wags the dog so like it or not, the next Edmonton Baseball team will be owned by Dr. Randy Gregg and associates. While Dr. Gregg does not technically own a baseball team yet, when he holds the press conference to introduce his team he needs to already be wearing an Edmonton Capitals jersey.
The Edmonton Capitals, for those who do not know, were owned by Daryl Katz. Katz is the owner of the Edmonton Oilers. I feel confident that you have been reminded that Dr. Randy Gregg formerly played for the Oilers collecting five Stanley Cup rings. While new teams tend to like to do silly “name the team” contests, this situation calls for a straightforward “here we are” approach! The situation I reference is the optics of one news source citing Gregg for wanting a WCBL team which then forced the league to come out and admit they told him it was not that easy (the breakdown)!
Many fans will clamour for the return of the moniker “Edmonton Trappers”. Using baseball speak, here’s three reasons that would strikeout:
- Using the name of a former beloved Triple A baseball team will only amplify fans pining for a return of affiliated (associated with the MLB) baseball. It will not happen. Roll your eyes if you wish because the story is from the Prospects website but as the author of said article, the only opinions expressed are by the people delivering the eulogy of previous incarnations of baseball in this town – Baseball in Edmonton article.
- The Edmonton Prospects brought back Al Coates, the voice of the Edmonton Trappers. The Prospects also brought back Homer, the beloved mascot of the Trappers. I saw it as the organization tipping their cap and paying homage to a great era in Edmonton baseball. Now the first rule of the internet is never read the comments but! Each time the Prospects did anything to tip their caps to the Trappers the keyboard warriors would come out saying they were doing everything to squeeze every dime out of that old logo. Dr Gregg is not above any of this animosity. Leaving the Trappers logo in the annals of time will attract less hate than bringing it back and tarnishing it.
- The overarching angle to Dr. Gregg winning the Re/Max Field bid was all the development that will done to the area. Therefore you are not only trying to sell baseball tickets you are trying to drive people downtown. The Trappers left 17 years ago. Your millennials (age 18-34) will have very limited knowledge of the Trappers unless they had parents who brought them to a game as a kid. Generation X (age 35-50), if they are baseball fans, can probably relate a story or two about catching a game at John Ducey Park but does a 42 year old catching their first baseball game because their checking out the revamped downtown core relate to the Trapper logo anymore than the Capitals logo? Baby boomers (age 50-70) will have the strongest memories of the Trappers logo. The problem is if the Trapper fan in them has kept them away from the Prospects, they will shun this incarnation soon enough. Target the younger age groups, make sure if they know one thing about the Capitals that is the fact they won a championship during their short life span and that folks need to be there when they do it again.
To further drive home the narrative that Dr. Gregg needs come out strong with a logo that already has some recognizablitity behind it is this statement from Saturday May 23rd’s Edmonton Journal,
“In the meantime, the backwards situation could occur in 2021 where Re/Max Field ends up laying dormant in the summer college circuit”
Seemingly City officials and the good doctor were willing to sacrifice a year of baseball at Re/Max Field because the business deal, which happens to require a baseball team, was too sweet to pass up. Do not waste anymore of the baseball fans time when you do acquire a team. I cannot be the only angry baseball fan in town. The anger is not because one bid was chosen over the other, the anger is because being stripped of sports during the current pandemic, the last thing a sports fan wanted to hear is that you will just have to wait longer to watch live baseball.
Therefore on behalf of all angry fans, please be ready to hit the ground running with a team name and logo when you have that introductory press conference. The synergy is there for you to resuscitate the formerly Oiler branded Edmonton Capitals. If you are going to choose a former logo to ride in on, the Capitals logo makes so much more sense in this situation than the Trappers. It is understood that the Oilers do not have an ownership stake in this version of the Capitals but Randy Gregg would not have to clear any hurdles to use those colours.
Then the task at hand becomes raising the Capitals logo to a level of prominence next to the Trappers logo. As angry as I might be at how this situation is playing out, I do believe Dr. Gregg and associates can accomplish the feat of putting Capitals logo in the rarefied air of the Trappers logo.