2021 is "the farewell season" for the Beloit Snappers. They're not leaving Beloit, quite the contrary. In fact, at some point this summer they'll be moving into their brand new state of the art stadium. No, the "farewell" refers to the the mascot and team name. Snappy, the beloved turtle mascot, will be replaced next season. The original plan was to replace the mascot this season. The team went so far as having the fans vote on one of five new team names: the Moo, the Cheeseballs, the Supper Clubbers, the Polka Pike, and the Sky Carp. It is not a minority opinion to point out how terrible those options are. The idea was met with such negative feedback and publicity it was scrapped for next season.
The Snappers are synonymous with Beloit, have extremely strong local brand recognition, and a local, cool, and marketable backstory. But they also have an established and presumably from the team's perspective, saturated merchandise presence. New team president Jeff Jurgella has talked about being the first MiLB team with the opportunity to partner with MLB for an official rebrand. This, partnered with the 2021 "farewell" season for the Snappers becomes a "win-win" for the organization, according to Jurgella.
Residents of Beloit and fans of the Snappers are in near unanimous agreement that rebranding the Snappers is a terrible idea. But new owner Quint Studer is a visionary. Just ask him, or go to his website, it'll tell you. And he owes you, the Beloit baseball fan, nothing. “Anybody can sign a petition and if they want to take over and put 12 to 17 million dollars into this team, they can certainly name it,” said Studer to NBC15 in response to a previous petition circulating in the Beloit community.
In fact, if you're not kissing the ground Diane Hendricks is walking on, well, you're doing it all wrong, says Studer. “I think this has certainly been a wake-up," Studer said. "They’re so fortunate because if it wasn’t for Diane Hendricks building a stadium, they’d keep the Snapper name, but there would be no team.” This is an abdication, shifting the marketing failures of Gateway Baseball and the Beloit baseball board to the Beloit baseball fan.
The situation with the Snappers in the past five years has been a familiar one, a bit of a blueprint for Beloit. There's a choreographed sabotage, followed by a Diane Hendricks "rescue". The Quint Studer interview marks the stage of the process where the rich scold the working class for not being appreciative enough of the billionaire overlord.
This rebrand is a money grab in a community that is constantly bludgeoned by them. If you dare label it as such, you're an ingrate. At least that's what it feels like.
In a segregated city with a rising homeless population, an influx of gun violence, and an unsupported school district, we need strong social programs and community leaders. Quint Studer of Pensacola, FL, Diane Hendricks of Afton, WI, and Jeff Jurgella of Madison, WI, know nothing of Beloit. This is evidenced by their haphazard disposal of a piece of Beloit culture.