After months of teasing and municipal anticipation, Wichita's new baseball team has its name, the Wichita Wind Surge.
"It's a perfect name, I think it's very fitting," said Mayor Jeff Longwell, who led the effort to bring the team to Wichita.
The team, who finished their last season in New Orleans as the Baby Cakes earlier this year, will be the anchor tenant of the new $75 million baseball park that the city is building on the site of the former Lawrence-Dumont Stadium at Maple and McLean.
Starting in April, the team will play at least 70 home games and, with potential playoffs, possibly as many as 77. Opening day at the new park will be April 14.
The Wind Surge is a Triple-A farm team affiliated with the Miami Marlins and at the highest level of Minor League Baseball, one step below the major leagues in baseball's hierarchy. The team announcer will be Tim Grubbs, who has broadcast Baby Cakes baseball for 18 years.
The Wind Surge will replace the Wingnuts, an independent team that was not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Wingnuts replaced the Double-A Wichita Wranglers, a Kansas City Royals farm club that bolted in 2007 to a new stadium in Springdale, Ark.
The new team has been flying under a generic logo and the name "Wichita Baseball 2020" since shortly after its plan to move to Wichita was announced in September.
The new team logo consists of a Pegasus leaping out of the letter W. It was designed by Todd Radom, also the creator of the current logos of the Major League Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals.
Lou Schwechheimer, majority owner of the Wind Surge, vowed to "make this the greatest baseball town in America."
He drew a loud cheer from a standing-room-only crowd at the Wave for the name reveal when he said "Are you ready for baseball? Well we're ready for Wichita!
"We want to be here, we're making our home here. We are now proud Wichitans. You're stuck with us for the next 30 years."
Schwechheimer also drew cheers when he announced that the National Baseball Congress tournament, a national championship for amateur teams and a Wichita institution, will return to downtown.
"We're going to keep the NBC alive at the new ball park," he said.
With the new stadium under construction, this year's NBC tournament was played at Wichita State University.
Most of the crowd cheered the name announcement.
"I'm excited about it," said fan Felipe Lopez. "It paints a picture of where we're from. It hits the nail on the head. I like it."
Others weren't so sure.
"I'm a little disappointed," said Dustin Pierce. "I don't know that I've ever heard anyone say 'surge' (about the local winds). I'm not sure what the Pegasus has to do with it either."
But he said he's glad to have affiliated baseball back after a 13-year hiatus and the name "won't stop us from going, I guess."
The team also revealed its new uniforms: home white with Wind Surge across the chest in red-outlined blue lettering; and road gray with Wichita in blue lettering.
Also on display were two alternate jerseys, one dark blue with the Pegasus logo on the upper left chest and the other scarlet red with the word Surge in white lettering across the chest.
The team had some shirts and hats for sale at the reveal event and the team announced it will be opening a team shop at 9 a.m. Thursday at 608 W. Texas, across the street from the construction trailers at the ball park.
The name reveal followed the release of several teasers on social media over the past few months, as the team worked to build excitement for its new brand in its future home.
During the teaser period, four possible names were released:
— The River Riders. This one was a nod to the Arkansas River, Wichita's key geographic feature. The river runs by stadium site.
— The 29ers. That name played off the B-29 bomber, thousands of which were built in Wichita during World War II and which helped establish the city's "Air Capital of the World" reputation.
— The Linemen. Was a reference to the iconic 1968 song written by Jimmy Webb and made famous by country recording artist Glen Campbell. Although Webb traces the song's genesis to a lonely and anonymous telephone company worker on a pole in Oklahoma, it was adopted decades ago as an anthem to Wichita's working class ethos.
— The Doo-Dahs — That referred to a longtime nickname for Wichita, which is of indeterminate origin. Today, some Wichitans use the nickname to connote a city with a laid-back, whimsical attitude. Others use it as a self-deprecating allusion to a city where nothing much of importance happens.
The teasers also included a pair of logos that weren't linked to an actual name.
One was a stylized covered wagon that various observers noted could be for "Wagonmaster," Windwagons" or several other possible names.
The other logo was a sunflower with the seed pod in the center replaced with a baseball, a nod to Kansas' state flower and "Sunflower State" slogan.
In the end, none of the names or logos revealed during the teaser period actually became a part of the Wind Surge branding.