Right Off the Bat!

Baseball’s never been hotter with the Jacksonville…Jiffy Feet?

Words by Folio Staff

It comes as no surprise that Jacksonville’s baseball team has had a history of changing its name. They have had quite a few makeovers since becoming a Minor League Baseball team back in 1911. Their inaugural season kicked off under the name Jacksonville Tarpons, but shortly after (literally six years later) the Jacksonville Tarpons changed their name to the Roses. And then the Scouts, then the Indians, the Tars, the Braves, the Suns, the Expos, the Suns again, and finally, and currently, the Jumbo Shrimp. 

Back in 2015, long-time owner Peter Brogan sold the Jacksonville Suns to Ken Babby. And following a final season played as the Suns in 2016, Babby unexpectedly changed the MiLB team’s name (again) to the Jumbo Shrimp. And a short seven years later, he’s at it again. Recently, the Folio team received the following email from an anonymous inside source.

Good morning Folio Team, 

I have reason to believe that the vice-president of the Jumbo Shrimp, Noel Blaha, has been in cahoots with owner Ken Babby regarding a potential name change. How I came to find this out was an email left in the outbox with a new logo. That logo? A foot. A dirty foot. With the name “Jiffy Feet” contained within. I have since done more digging on the downlow, of course, on the issue along with a few of my coworkers and feel as if this could be a huge story for Jacksonville.  We are unsure how the new name and logo will go over with fans so we are genuinely concerned.  If this is something you wish to investigate further, please let me know. Happy to help in any way I can.

Kind regards, 

John Doe

After receiving this email, we reached out and scheduled an in-person meeting at the Folio office with the sources, who came with the proof. The president of the Jumbo Shrimp was, in fact, discussing a complete rebrand for Jacksonville’s baseball team. We were informed that a few names were being tossed around between Babby and Blaha, and the name they landed on was ultimately the Jacksonville Jiffy Feet. Yeah. You read that right. Now before you go up in arms about the sudden (and random) name, the term “Jiffy feet” is unique to Jacksonville. 

 

It is unclear where the term originated, but back in 2008, painted wooden cutouts of black-soled feet began popping up in public places all throughout Jacksonville. The man behind this invasion of “Jiffy Feet” was Jacksonville-born artist R. Land. In an article on The Jaxson website, Land shared his first experience with a “Jiffy foot” when a man wore nothing but soil-caked tube socks into a Jiffy store on the Westside. The man left such an impression that Land couldn’t help but use this man as a muse. “It’s so cool how it resonates,” Land said. “It’s like a connection with the city’s soul, and sole, in both senses.” The black-soled feet have since been seen as a representation of life on the First Coast. 

Babby changed the team’s name from the Suns to the Jumbo Shrimp because he felt the oxymoron coincided with the small-town feel in such a big city. But given the history of name changes and the fact that our city is constantly growing, it only makes sense that the local team would once again rebrand, but this time, changing their name to a term that will always portray life in Jacksonville. 

We reached out to Babby and Blaha for comment and have yet to receive a reply. We expect the official announcement to be made soon, once they have the legal parameters and trademark filing completed. The sources tell us that it’s in the works, as well. Due to no comment, the team may be waiting until next season to unveil the official name change since the season begins April 4. 

 

About FOLIO