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RubberDucks debut new uniforms

2/13/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Craig Marks

From left, Tommy Bruno, Ray Horner, Keith Kennedy, Je’Rod Cherry and Jacob Rosen modeled the new uniforms of the Akron RubberDucks Feb. 9 at the Akron Civic Theatre.
From left, sisters Ashley and Madison Dies, of West Akron, attended the Akron RubberDucks’ Family Fun Day at the Akron Civic Theatre Feb. 9.
Photos: Craig Marks
DOWNTOWN AKRON — It’s not often you see a fashion show that ends with the models throwing T-shirts into the crowd.

But that’s what happened when the Akron RubberDucks organization showed off the team’s new baseball uniforms at Family Fun Day Feb. 9 at the Akron Civic Theatre. The five moonlighting models hurled shirts to fans after having done their stint on the Civic stage, where they ably pointed out the distinctive features of their respective duckwear.

Je’Rod Cherry, co-host of a show on ESPN Cleveland 850 AM WKNR, wore the home white uniform, which has “RubberDucks” across the chest. For Sunday home games, the players will wear the off-white uniforms modeled by WAKR morning show host Ray Horner, which have “Akron” across the chest, with the “A” in a tire-track font.

Tommy Bruno, the general manager of WAPS-FM 91.3 The Summit, unveiled the electric blue alternate jersey, while Keith Kennedy, who hosts the morning show on 98.1 FM WKDD, previewed the all-black batting practice jersey.

Sports blogger Jacob Rosen of www.waitingfornextyear.com, wore the RubberDucks’ standard gray road uniform, which has the team’s duck logo with its arms primed for a fight. RubberDucks announcer Jim Clark, who gave the audience a detailed description of each uniform, said the duck-with-arms logo “symbolizes the strength and blue-collar work ethic of Akron’s citizens.”

The uniforms were designed by Brandiose, a San Diego design company, with input from the RubberDucks management team.

“[Brandiose] made a trip into Akron, and they really wanted our jerseys to reflect the story of the RubberDucks,” said RubberDucks General Manager Jim Pfander. “The heritage of the rubber companies in Akron, which are part of the past and now part of the future, with the Goodyear headquarters that was just built and certainly with Bridgestone-Firestone’s technology center. It’s an important piece of who we are.”

Throughout the afternoon, Sarah Kaufman played the Wurlitzer organ while clips from the team’s previous season, back when they were known as the Akron Aeros, were projected on the screen. Areas were set up where children could test their pitching arms, color and make paper bag ducks.

Fans first got a glimpse of the new uniforms back in November during the Welcome Santa Parade. Months later, Santa would have been perfectly at home with the snowy conditions outside the Civic.

“As we were driving in this morning, the roads weren’t great, so I was a little nervous,’ said Pfander. “It’s great to see all these fans out here, all waiting for warmer weather and baseball season in a little less than nine weeks.”

The snow didn’t keep away Joe Hershberger, of Wayne County, who came to the event with his son, Dylan, 7.

“It was well worth it,” he said. “We’re having a good time.”

Baseball caps and other items were on sale in the lobby. Some of the items had the Twitter hashtag #QuAkron, which, according to Pfander, has become popular on the Internet and has been adopted by the Ducks.

“We have #QuAkron T-shirts, and people are really excited about it,” he said. “It’s just one of those things in social media that caught fire.”

The RubberDucks’ first game in “QuAkron” will be April 10 at 6:35 p.m. at Canal Park, following an opening week on the road. The team also will play an exhibition game in Lake County against the Class-A Captains April 1.

For more details on the schedule and tickets, visit www.AkronRubberDucks.com or call 330-253-5151.

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