"Soon after the ownership change took place, there was a dialogue as to how we could rebrand the team. Ultimately, ownership, team leadership and key stakeholders felt there was no bigger statement for the Los Angeles Dodgers to plant their flag in Oklahoma City than by renaming their Triple-A team the Dodgers as well."
In September, the Triple-A franchise was acquired by Mandalay Baseball -- a joint venture between ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers and an investor group led by Mandalay Entertainment chairman and CEO and Dodgers partner Peter Guber. The Minor League team, founded in 1962, was previously known as the RedHawks, and before that, the 89ers.
"Using the Dodgers' name is a privilege," Guber said. "It's one of the three or four most iconic brands in sports all over the world, and we are thrilled we have the opportunity to share it and shine with it."
Guber is chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, chairman of the Guggenheim-owned Dick Clark Productions, chairman of Mandalay Digital Media and Mandalay Sports Media. He also wrote The New York Times No. 1 bestseller "Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story."
Mandalay has owned and operated 10 Minor League Baseball teams and currently owns the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (current Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, jointly owned by the New York Yankees), and the Erie SeaWolves (current Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers). Mandalay also owned the Las Vegas 51s when that club was a Dodgers affiliate.
The parent Dodgers organization was also represented at Wednesday's announcement by Gabe Kapler, the new director of player development who played briefly for Oklahoma City while with the Texas Rangers organization.
Led by president and CEO Stan Kasten, the Dodgers' ownership group has vowed to replenish and invigorate the player development system. Solidifying affiliations is a small but necessary part of that. The club's Triple-A affiliate had previously been in Albuquerque.
Oklahoma City's new logos and jerseys incorporate several elements of the Los Angeles Dodgers' history and the culture of Oklahoma City and the Bricktown district of the city. Some of the elements of the new brand -- including the Dodgers script and the famous "shooting ball"-- have been associated with the Dodgers since 1938. The Minor League team's new home jerseys mirror the current home jerseys of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the home hat is styled after the old Brooklyn Dodgers' hats.
"We didn't just want to slap 'Oklahoma City' over an existing Dodgers logo and call it a day," said Ross Yoshida, the Dodgers' director of graphic design. "We wanted to tailor the Dodger brand to something that people in Oklahoma City could take pride in, hence elements like the homage to Bricktown on the primary logo and the Skydance Bridge patch on the home uniforms."
Fans in Oklahoma City can purchase merchandise with the new logo at the newly remodeled team store on Mickey Mantle Plaza at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The store is open on weekdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. CT through Dec. 10. Updated hours after Dec. 10 will be posted online or can be obtained by calling (405) 218-1000.
Season ticket packages, including the Seven-Game Holiday Pack, are now available for the 2015 season. Reservations are also being accepted for group outings, including the new Left Field Deck. For more information, visit okcdodgers.com.