Florence Freedom to Change Name - with Your Help
The Florence Freedom will have a new name soon.
New team president and CEO David DelBello announced a naming contest during a news conference on Wednesday morning which featured local dignitaries wearing black hats bearing a question mark.
Starting Wednesday, October 2, any Florence Freedom fan will be able to go to Florencefreedom.com and suggest a new name for the team. Fans can visit the Florence Freedom website to make a suggestion.
"Big things start today," DelBello said. "We are re-branding the team, but we want the fans to participate. We may also have a new logo and a new mascot. The winner who suggests the name we think is best will win a lifetime pair of season tickets!"
The Florence Freedom were sold in July, in the middle of their triumphant Frontier League season that ultimately saw the team lose in the championship series.
A coalition of new owners, led by DelBello, a former Procter & Gamble employee who operates DelBello Holdings, took over the club and operate it as Freedom Baseball Club, LLC. DelBello was joined by three other general partners, Matt Kappers of Concordia Financial Group, Danny Heilbrunn of DJH Management, and Brian Bortz of Towne Building Group. DelBello serves as CEO while Heilbrunn serves as vice president of business development, Kappers operates as chief financial officer, and Bortz works as vice president of facilities.
On Wednesday, DelBello said that the goal is to carry on the dream of previous owner, Clint Brown, who died in 2018.
DelBello said the team has introduced more than 500 young people to baseball this year - a number he hopes to double next season.
"We want to be fan-first family-fun," said DelBello. "We want to recreate the buzz of being at the ballpark. It will be all about family fun and family entertainment."
Josh Anderson, vice president and general manager, shared the history of the team, its inauspicious start, and how Clint Brown, and his wife, Kim, rescued it. Anderson said that the new owners are committed to continue the work of the Browns and to engage the community even more.
Florence Mayor Diane Whalen choked up while talking about the Browns.
"Something changed," she said, fighting tears. "Kim has been committed to doing something different with the team, to look to the future. When she searched for someone to take over the team, she insisted that they be very involved with the community, and they are. Now we have the opportunity to reintroduce the team, and have the community be a part of this re-branding. It will be their team. We are proud to be a part of this."
Vice Mayor Dr. Julie Metzger Aubuchon, and council members Gary Winn and Mel Carroll were also present alongside State Senator John Schickel, a Union Republican, and Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore.
The team said that anyone can enter the naming contest, and beyond the top prize, additional awards will be presented to some of the other well-liked names submitted.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor