Baseball has a reputation for impressive creativity when it comes to marketing, especially in the lower rungs.
Well, give it up for the fine folks in Traverse City, who hit a home run in announcing the name of its new Northwoods League team: The Pit Spitters. The announcement came Tuesday, after months of soliciting suggestions from baseball fans.
Pit Spitters, of course, is a nod to Traverse City's affinity for cherries. Every summer, it holds the popular National Cherry Festival. The region produces 40 percent of the nation's annual tart cherry crop.
The team's cap logo features two cherries spitting baseballs; an alternate logo features the Lower Peninsula in the shape of a glove, holding two cherries.
"When we started this process, our goal was to find a name that represents both this region and the core values of our organization," Joe Chamberlin, team CEO, said in a statement. "Pit Spitters hits it out of the park. Not only do we get to recognize Northern Michigan’s, and specifically Traverse City’s, unique agricultural history, we have created a name and a brand that screams FUN, which is what we are all about."
The team received thousands of nickname entries from fans, starting in the fall. Pit Spitters was submitted by multiple fans, with Ryan Wright of Traverse City being randomly picked as the winning contestant. He will receive season tickets, merchandise and a chance to throw out the Opening Day first pitch.
The Pit Spitters are entering their first year in the Northwoods League, a college-baseball league that runs from May through August.
The league consists of 22 teams, including two others in Michigan, in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo.
The previous Traverse City team, the Beach Bums, played in the independent Frontier League. They were purchased last year by an investor group led by the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Single-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. Chamberlin also is CEO of the Whitecaps.
The Pit Spitters will play in Wuerfel Park, previously the home of the Beach Bums.