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ROBERT MAGOBET

Chanute’s new wood bat collegiate summer league baseball team announced the team name for the upcoming 2020 season last week.

MINK League Baseball owner Titus Bond announced on Wednesday that the name of the team will be the “Hoots,” a variation of “Owls.”

The choice was derived from three different categories, including aviation, owl-based names and a miscellaneous group.

Based on voting from the community, the two categories for the final choice came down to aviation and owls. And because many baseball teams in the state of Kansas use aviation names, Bond’s group zeroed in on the owl-based names. What’s more, Hoots commemorates the Chanute Owls, a baseball team in the 1940s of the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League that played in Katy Stadium. In 1946, the team tied for first place and won the first round of the postseason.

“It kind of had a double meaning there because we are there to show people a good time and to entertain the fans and to top it off, it rhymes with the town name,” Bond said. “It seemed like it was destiny that they would be the Chanute Hoots.”

In a domino effect of successive actions, Bond and his group eventually regarded with favor the branding of the name, including the uniforms and the mascot.

Bond ascribes the new team name to the fans who voted on the Chanute Baseball website. Aficionados the last few months were able to select a name of their choosing.

As the names were submitted, Bond said he and his team used the most popular choices, branding input, and the landscape of team names across the state of Kansas. 

There was even a percentage of folks who voted for the Chanute Royals to be the name, though Bond said under no circumstance could Chanute’s new team name be the Kansas City major league baseball team’s name. Violating copyright laws, of course, was a variable in determining the final choice. 

Overall, there were close to 400 nominations, with choices categorized by a third between aviation, owl-related names and others.

Hoots became the selection of choice. And the colors complementing the new name are sky blue because of the sky, and orange for the sun and the horizon.

“We still wanted to factor in aviation into our brand, and at the same time our hat isn’t the typical hat; you’ll see owl’s eyes and the big eyebrow,” Bond noted. “We don’t want to do anything that’s typical. We want to do something fun in our approach. Every single thing we do, we want to have a bit of fun to it. We want people to understand that there will be no confusion about the fact that we see our role in the community as entertainment, as providing something that one, the community can be proud of the professionalism.”

Bond, of Funnin Hard Entertainment, and the City of Chanute signed a deal Oct. 24 giving the team a $5,000 lease to play at the historic Katy Stadium May 20 to Aug. 7.

Bond will utilize his resources to upgrade the park in an effort to standardize the field, too.

When the league starts in the summer, MINK will play a 45-game schedule with 23 games in Chanute.

The wooden bat collegiate summer league will feature nine teams from the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. According to the league’s website, the college summer wood bat league will operate just as a minor league baseball league — including having a full-time staff, mascots, promotions and merchandise — and it isn’t typical amateur baseball. The college-age players won’t be paid, and those players will retain NCAA eligibility. The league is hopeful to place the players with foster families in the community.

The league will also have fan activities, full concessions and music.

MINK League started in 1910 with six teams and cut ties with its MLB affiliation in 1913. The league takes its name from the Class D league, which was started in 2009 and is affiliated with the National Baseball Congress.

Bond said he wants to canonize Chanute’s baseball history.

“We wanted to pay tribute to Chanute’s long baseball history,” he said. “We needed the team name and the branding to convey a sense of fun and entertainment, and we needed input from the community to accomplish those two objectives.”

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