RYBA calls upon 'Spirit of Rochester' for new logos, team names
The Rochester Youth Baseball Association is taking steps to make its organization even better for players and the community.
ROCHESTER — Youth baseball is getting a fresh look in Rochester.
The Rochester Youth Baseball Association is unveiling a new set of team logos and names to be used in the Southern Minny program, which offers baseball to athletes 9-14 years of age.
The 10 logos are a tribute to the “spirit of Rochester” and will be featured on the jerseys for the 2022 season.
Such names include the Kernels, which is a nod to the Ear of Corn Water Tower; the Herons, inspired by the large Great Blue Heron rookery just outside of Rochester; and the Choppers, which represents the Mayo One helicopter units used by Mayo Clinic.
“We wanted to do something that had ties to the area,” RYBA board of director Brett Vandersnick said. “Eventually, we came up with a set of 10 of them. They're all inspired by local things — geography, history, industry, things that have happened locally in nature.
“It’s an effort to integrate ourselves into the community more.”
With input from others, Vandersnick and president Mike Vance came up with a list of about 20.
When they narrowed it down to 10, they approached local graphic designer Lee Green of Greenhouse Grafix. Green produced logos that are most often seen from minor league baseball teams. There are talks about possibly coming up with T-shirts and hats for adults, as well.
“I know some rookery folks, they're already aware of the Heron logo, and I think really excited about it,” Vandersnick said. “And we've had people reach out to us and say, ‘Can I buy a jersey or a T-shirt with a heron on it?’ And I wouldn't be surprised if we get more of that.”
Historically, the league had used T-shirts with local sponsors.
This is all part of a rebranding process for the RYBA with the goal to better help athletes become more well-rounded baseball players. The effort started last year when the Southern Minny program replaced the House League, which also expanded the season by two months. The season now starts April 11 and goes through July 31, whereas in the past, the season started in June.
“All of this is kind of part of an effort to improve the development of skills and give kids a chance to practice more, play more, to grow more,” Vandersnick said. “That is sort of the vision of the Southern Minny.”
The program also hopes to include players from outside the Rochester area as well.
“The reason we call it Southern Minny is because we wanted teams in the surrounding area to join us and play with us,” Vandersnick said. “Historically, it has just been Rochester kids playing against other Rochester kids. We'd like to invite the surrounding areas to join us; it makes it a little more interesting. It’s all about getting more kids to play baseball.”
Registration is now open through March 1 for all three of the RYBA's programs.