Heroes in a Half Shell – Tortuga Power

Everyone knows that I am a long suffering Cubs fan. Don’t ask me why, it’s a long story. Anyway, I am writing this post as 1) I love sport team logos and branding identities and 2) I enjoyed watching the Cubs play ball in the high-humidity of a Florida summer.

The Cubs minor league that played in Daytona for 22 years recently announced that they were moving north to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It is believed the team will still be called the Pelicans, which by the way is one of the best team names out there.

So with the Cubs leaving Daytona it left a void in the market. In stepped the Cincinnati Reds. A rebranding effort was necessary since as you can imagine you can’t have a minor league affiliate of the Reds called the Cubs.

cubsFirst some thoughts on the Daytona Cubs identity:
It’s hard for me to be bias here, so I won’t even try. I liked the feisty looking, surfer type, Cubbie bear that “bears” (no pun intended) resemblance to the parent clubs logo.




What is a Tortuga?
It’s Spanish for turtle. The Dry Tortugas are also a series of islands off of the Florida Keys, but that’s not what we are going for here.

My initial impression was that the changes did a decent job conveying the locale of eastern Florida where sea turtles swim aplenty. I always enjoy seeing a professional sports team play to the local market conditions. Examples: Miami Dolphins, Houston Astros, Phoenix Suns, etc. And hey, since there are not many turtles in sports, sans the Maryland Terrapins, then I am even more for it.

snappersHowever, it got me thinking, isn’t there a similar type of minor league baseball logo that already exists? So I reached back, deep into my mess of a filing cabinet mind and recall that why yes there is. They are the Beloit Snappers, a minor league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

Ok, so my second initial reaction was mixed, this is not necessary an original use of a turtle in sports, but I do credit for not them for calling them turtles or snappers or terrapins. And extra credit for being multilingual and using Tortugas as the team’s moniker.  Remember Tortuga = Spanish for turtle.
Let’s break it down.

B-. I think I like the name Tortugas. However, it just doesn’t roll of off the tongue as other minor league nicknames, such as Buffalo Bisons, Lansing Lugnuts or Peoria Chiefs.



C+. Nothing creative here. I would speculate that if you asked 100 people to conceptualize their version of what a Tortugas (turtle) logo would look like, that 99% would have a similar looking design. Additionally, the color schematic works with the blue and sea green, however no major creativity.

As you can see the turtle is swinging a bat, under sea mind you, but so is the Benoit Snappers turtle.



C-. The on-field green cap doesn’t really do it for me. Rarely do you ever see anyone wearing a green hat on the street the way that you do with a blue or black hat. Perhaps you may notice a Seattle Mariners green cap around town, but Daytona’s version is really disappointing. The Tortugas also have a batting practice hat that I had some hope for, but they failed here as well. The baby blue cap simply reminds one of a childs cap one would find in the souvenir stand.


shirtMisc. Merchandise

C-. Limited to only three offerings, a blue t-shirt, a green t-shirt and a white novelty hat. With the holiday season here, the Tortugas missed a great opportunity to get their brand noticed. Click here to view their full selection.





C. I understand that there was an accelerated time frame in which to conceptualize the team name, branding efforts, color and logo treatment and then implement on jersey and hat prototypes. Not to mention produce actual goods for their merchandise sales. But I do feel that this is not an excuse. You very rarely have an opportunity to rebrand, and when you do you need to make it count. Very disappointing indeed as this is a far, far cry from the strong Cubs brand identity that had been present for over 20 years in Daytona.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s