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Fire Frogs make hot leap into Kissimmee

Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 12:02 pm

By Ken Jackson
Staff Writer

Even though the first pitch of the 2017 season is still five months away, Kissimmee’s new minor-league baseball team brought the heat to town Wednesday, when its name and logo were revealed.
The Florida Fire Frogs, a Class-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, will take the field for Opening Day April 6 at Osceola County FireFrogAnnounce 4 copyStadium against the Daytona Tortugas in the Florida State League.
Team officials and county leaders announced the new name at a ceremony Wednesday at Osceola Heritage Park. The name was one of six finalists named earlier this year from a list that included the Dragonflies, Mud Kickers, Rodeo Clowns, Sorcerers and Toucans.
The name flows with alliteration, but there’s reason for the “Florida” moniker, rather than “Kissimmee” or “Osceola”, said Fire Frogs Team President Joe Harrington.
“We represent a large portion of Central Florida now — Osceola, Orange, Seminole, Lake and Brevard counties — when it comes to minor-league baseball,” he said. “This name allows us the opportunity to market the team in a wide scope in all of those areas. This is a big area, and our name signifies that we have the expectation of being big.”
The name came from a combination of fan submissions. Kara Morrison, of St. Cloud, suggested ‘Fireflies.’ Orlando attorney Steven Strickland, submitted “Coquis,” a species of frog native to Puerto Rico, a nod to the area’s Hispanic population.
But since minor-league baseball is billed as family-friendly entertainment, team brass unveiled an array of logos as representing a “family of frogs” including a bull frog, a nod to Kissimmee’s rodeo heritage at the Silver Spurs Arena.
“We merged those two (names) into one made it part of the fan vote,” Harrington said. “It has a great ring to it. The logos look really sharp, and I think the community will really like it.”
Winter Park businessmen Dr. Tom Winters and Charlie Baumann own the team. Winters signed off on the branding and also can’t wait for April 6 to arrive.
“Baseball is family entertainment,” he said. “It’s cheaper than a movie and a different ending every night.”
The team Wednesday also unveiled its website (www.floridafirefrogs.com), Twitter handle (@FireFrogsBB) and dedicated office number (321-697-3156). The team store at the stadium will be open Monday through Saturday and is stocked with team clothing and merchandise in the team colors of red, yellow, orange and black trim. Jersey designs and a promotional schedule should be released by Thanksgiving.
Harrington said the team is already working to immerse itself into the community.
“We will be here 12 months out of the year as part of the community, and we’re thrilled that the community has welcomed us so much,” he said. “We have a lot to do between now and then, but we can’t wait to get on the field.”
Kissimmee was home to the Osceola Astros, later called the Kissimmee Cobras, in the FSL from 1985 to 2000; the Cobras won the 1999 league championship. Last year, the Fire Frogs were the Brevard County Manatees, a Milwaukee Brewers affiliate; their leaving Space Coast Stadium in Viera coincides with the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros moving their spring training facility to Palm Beach County in 2017, and the United States Specialty Sports Association moving its headquarters from the right field line at Osceola County Stadium to Viera.
Florida State League President Ken Carson was on hand to welcome Kissimmee back into the league after a 15-year hiatus.
“The excitement is unbelievable, this is really a special night. We are happy to have Osceola back in the league and the presence of the Atlanta Braves here.”
The 2017 will begin with a seven-game homestand against Daytona and the Dunedin Blue Jays.
The schedule features 70 home games, including 10 on Thursday and Friday and 11 on Saturday, and a Fourth of July fireworks spectacular.
Full season ticket (70 game) packages range from $350 to $560, and 35-game half season and partial 7 and 15-game packages will also be available. Single-game ticket pricing has not been set yet.

 

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