After 54 years of tradition, the Jacksonville Suns will change their minor-league name to the Jumbo Shrimp for the 2017 season.
Team owner Ken Babby will be on hand on Wednesday to make the announcement and unveil the team’s new logo. The Jumbo Shrimp are the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins in the Southern League.
“This is a high-energy, impactful, bold move,” Babby said Tuesday according to a story on Jacksonville.com. “There’s certainly risk that goes along with it. There’ll be feedback and, I’m sure, some resistance. We’ve been holding on to this for a while and look forward to sharing it with the community. The tradition of the Jacksonville Suns is entrenched in Northeast Florida. It’s been known and loved. The passion for minor-league baseball in Jacksonville doesn’t change [with a new team name]. It’s just a new chapter in its evolution.”
Since Babby bought the team from Peter Bragan in 2015, he has engineered change in the operation of the minor-league team. That include changes to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville in terms of $2 million in renovations and changes to its amenities as well as creating an “affordable family fun” atmosphere that is now the team’s trade mark.
Babby is no stranger to make changes to the minor-league blueprint as he has been successful with his Double-A team in Akron. He believes the idea of Jumbo Shrimp is a direct link to the city of Jacksonville.
“There’s something fun and quirky about minor-league team names,” said Babby. “In our league alone, you have the [Pensacola] Wahoos and [Montgomery] Biscuits. When people see this logo, and hear the name for the first time, they’ll see this experience is all about fun.”
Babby purchased the Akron Aeros in 2012 and changes the team’s name to RubberDucks for the 2014 season.
Ironically, the move coincided with a 27 percent jump in attendance over a three-year period. The RubberDucks won the 2016 Eastern League championship.