MB Pelicans changing name or pulling publicity stunt?

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are either considering a name change and other sweeping re-branding efforts, or pulling a publicity stunt to capitalize on the New Orleans Hornets mascot switch to the Pelicans.

The Class Advanced A franchise of the Texas Rangers issued a far-fetched press release Friday in an effort to drum up support for the changes. Truth or trick? You be the judge, but the answer is pretty (Big) Easy:

“Inspired by the mind-numbing creativity shown by the NBA’s New Orleans franchise in recently announcing a surprise and out-of-left field (pun intended) name change from Hornets to Pelicans, Minor League Baseball’s Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Pelicans, the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, are asking their fans to consider a sweeping re-branding and promotional effort, effective for the 2013 Carolina League season.

The re-branding and promotional plan would not only pay homage to everything New Orleans, but would provide Minor League Baseball fans from the Grand Strand an opportunity not extended to basketball fans in Louisiana — participating in selecting the team’s new nickname. Using the same level of out-of-the-box thinking used by the Hornets, nickname choices have been narrowed to Saints, Hornets, Jazz, Bayou Bengals, Ragin’ Cajuns and Voodoo, along with any other current or former sports nickname the club could poach from the Bayou State.

The re-branding plan has already affected the team’s organizational structure. Current General Manager Scott Brown, the reigning Carolina League Executive of the Year, is so inspired by the idea that he has decided to re-trace the Hornets past history and move he and his family to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he will become the General Manager of that city’s Triple-A franchise. The Hornets called Charlotte home from 1988-2002.

If fans choose to drop the Pelicans name in favor of a New Orleans-themed moniker, the club will institute of a series of NOLA-themed promotions and ballpark changes to complement the club’s new brand:

* The team’s home ballpark would be renamed “TicketReturn.com Field at Preservation Hall”
* Areas of the ballpark would also be re-branded. The pond in the parking lot would be called “Lake Pontchartrain”, while patrons enterting ballpark restroom facilities would be taking their personal business to the “French Quarter.”
* The club would petition city and county officials to rename streets and landmarks around the area. 21st Avenue North, which runs along the ballpark, would be called “St. Charles Avenue,” Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach’s entertainment hot spot, would become “Bourbon Street,” and, boldy, the team would call its home county “Horry Parrish.”
* The logo of the new team name would include a fleur de lis, much in the same fashion as the current logo, which incorporates a crescent-shaped moon in the background.
* A different NOLA-themed promotion for every day of the week would be incorporated. The lineup would feature Mardi Gras Mondays, Fat Tuesdays, Wet Wednesdays (featuring 1/2 price hurricane drinks), Thirsty Thursday (featuring Creole Bloody Marys), Big Easy Fridays (featuring the music of Al Hirt, Louis Armstrong, Aaron Neville and other New Orleans legends), Sazerac Saturdays and Voodoo Sundays (Details currently under development).
* The team’s game night entertainment would also reflect the newly-created team image. The club’s entertainment staff would be known as the “Promotional Krewe”, jazz music would serve as player at-bat songs, legendary political strategist James Carville would be invited to serve as one of the team’s radio announcers, and the playing of the Smokey and the Bandit theme song during the 7th Inning Stretch would be replaced by “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
* Saints quarterback Drew Brees would be invited to toss out the ceremonial first pitch of the 2013 season and a season-long “Superdome” promotion would be instituted, providing ticket discounts to anyone with a “bald dome.”
* TicketReturn.com Field at Preservation Hall concession stands would offer traditional New Orleans foods such as poboys, crawfish, jambalaya and gumbo with classic side dishes such as red beans and rice.
* Team merchandise would obviously include team beads, as well as NOLA-themed t-shirts, and plush dolls of mascot Splash would be turned into Voodoo dolls

The Pelicans, as they are currently known, will open the 2013 Carolina League season, its 15th on the Grand Strand, on Thirsty Thursday, April 4 against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals) at 7:05 p.m. Season ticket, mini-plan and flex book packages are on sale now by calling the Pelicans at (843) 918-6000. For more information, fans should visit Myrtle Beach Pelicans.com.

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