By Nick Scala [email protected]
It’s official: The new name for Charleston’s professional baseball team is the Charleston Dirty Birds.
The much-anticipated reveal of the new name, replacing the West Virginia Power, came between games of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Long Island Ducks.
The announcement came at 8:15 p.m. via a video clip on the Appalachian Power Park video board. The video included a history of how canaries in coal mines warned miners of possible impending danger from methane gas.
The text of the video, introduced by team president Chuck Domino, goes a long way in explaining the team's choice for the name and logo.
"In the early 1900s, canaries were employed in West Virginia coal mines to detect methane gas to determine whether or not it was safe for coal miners to proceed. These canaries risked their lives for the coal mining industry in West Virginia. It was a dirty job, but these birds were up to the task. Ladies and gentlemen, on this day in the state capital of Charleston, West Virginia, we proudly honor these great little creatures who played such an important role in West Virginia’s coal mining industry. Some sacrificed their lives. These birds emerged from the mines weary and covered in coal dust to signal to the coal miners that it was safe to proceed. And now, here they are fans, representing West Virginia’s coal mining heroes, your professional baseball team, your Charleston Dirty Birds!"
The announcement was greeted by a chorus of cheers from the crowd, which was announced at 2,431, a good turnout for a Tuesday night by Power standards this season.
Shortly after the video announcement, the Dirty Birds emerged from their clubhouse in their new uniforms — “DIRTY BIRDS” emblazoned across the chest in orange, with teal shaded around the letters, and black sleeves. The team’s new insignia shows a yellow canary wearing a hard hat with the letter C circling a miner's light, with the letters WV across the bottom of the image.
After Long Island won the first game 7-3, the home team repaired to its clubhouse down the right-field line, changed into its new gear and took the field for the first time as the Charleston Dirty Birds.
At the same time, the club opened the merchandise store on the Appalachian Power Park concourse, welcoming fans looking to mark the occasion with purchases of team gear. The store, along with a merchandising kiosk located behind the press box, had been shuttered during the first game.
Dignitaries on hand included Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin and Andy Shea, the team’s owner.
Meanwhile, in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader — a makeup of a first-half game that has no bearing on the second-half standings — the Ducks defeated the Power 7-3 in a seven-inning game that lasted three hours and eight minutes, prolonging the anticipation of the home team’s rebranding.
Matt Harrison, the former Nitro High School and West Virginia State University player, got his second pitching start of the season. He pitched two innings, allowing three runs on four hits before finishing the game in left field.
Long Island took a 3-0 lead off Harrison, scoring in the top of the first on L.J. Mazzilli’s RBI double and adding two in the second on a two-run double by Vladimir Frias.
The Power — playing as the Charleston Charlies, as they’ve done for every Tuesday and Saturday game this season — knotted the score at 3-all in the bottom of the fourth on Scott Kelly’s RBI double followed by a two-run double by Jimmy Paredes.
Max Tannenbaum followed with three shutout innings in relief of Harrison, but Long Island regained the lead in the top of the sixth off Dakota Freese on a fielders-choice ground out off the bat of Jhonni Turbo.
The Ducks added three runs off Freese (0-3) in the top of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly and a two-run single by Turbo.
Playoff tickets are available online.
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