'Mighty Mussels' baseball team to debut in Fort Myers
By: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels
Andrew Kaufmann, CEO and owner of Zawyer Sports, which owns the team, announced the name change Tuesday during a VIP event at Hammond Stadium.
"This is an exciting moment in Southwest Florida's sports history," Kaufmann said. "Miracle fans are known around the Florida State League for their unwavering support, and we are confident they'll be eager to show off their 'Mighty Mussels' when the season begins in April."
Mussel Man, a hulk of an animated clam, will share mascot duties with Sway, the lovable, oversized palm tree that's been pumping up fans at Hammond Stadium since 2015. The Mighty Mussels will remain a Class-A Advanced Affiliate of the Minnesota Twins and play home games at CenturyLink Sports Complex.
The franchise began in 1926 as the Fort Myers Palms, a name that paid tribute to the city's stately royal palm trees paid for by Fort Myers' most famous winter resident, Thomas Edison. Fort Myers' official nickname is the City of Palms. Over the years, the baseball team changed locations and affiliations many times. Its names have included the Miami Hustlers, Miami Marlins, Miami Orioles and Miami Miracle before the team moved back to Fort Myers in 1992. It kept the Miracle name, though, which is believed to have originated from Miami's famed Miracle Mile shopping and business district in Coral Gables.
"The name 'Mighty Mussels' conveys a sense of strength and fortitude while being reflective of the natural environment that surrounds us, and Southwest Florida deserves a team name that establishes its own identity," said Bob Ohrablo, president of Zawyer Sports.
The rebranding process began in May when Jason Klein and Casey White, co-founders of the California-based marketing firm Brandiose, met with team ownership, Miracle fans, staff and community members to learn about the stories, history and personality of Fort Myers. Brandiose developed the logos, color combination, uniforms and mascot.
"Southwest Florida captures the imagination for all who visit or call this home," Klein said. "Our goal is to integrate Fort Myers folklore into the Mussels brand, and to create the most legendary entertainment experience in the region."
"We are confident the Mighty Mussels name will spark even more fan support, and we've even talked about a Flex Cam at the ballpark to capture fans flexing during the game," said Judd Loveland, who recently was promoted to general manager of the Mighty Mussels in charge of team operations and day-to-day stadium operations. "We can't wait for Opening Day on April 9."
More at MightyMussels.com.