For four games only, the Eugene Emeralds will re-brand and become the Eugene Exploding Whales.
Yes, you read that correctly.
During April and May, the minor league baseball team said it will take on an “alternate identity” and sell jerseys bearing a whale clutching a stick of dynamite for good measure.
The identity is a reference to an infamous event that took place in 1970 in the neighboring city of Florence, Oregon, where city officials decided that the best way to dispose of a washed-up 45-foot, eight-ton sperm whale was to … blow it up with dynamite.
The result? Entirely unsurprisingly, “everyone on the scene was covered with small particles of dead whale,” because “huge chunks of whale blubber fell everywhere,” according to a report from KATU News, who filmed the incident in its gory entirety.
Though officials had hoped to “it would result in small pieces for animals to consume,” they were left with damaged vehicles and large pieces of animal carcass that they would later have to bury.
The Eugene Emeralds decided to revisit this dramatic incident in Oregon history with the hope that “it can bring awareness to not only climate change, but its effects on whale migration patterns as well,” according to a press release.
“An alternate identity is more than just using a different logo for a day. It’s about embracing an idea and completely changing the team’s identity. From jerseys to stadium decor, it’s a complete overhaul of what fans have come to expect,” the press release added.
“It helps bring awareness and draws attention to the identity, which can be used to help bring positive change. The Emeralds had a great experience working with the city on creating this incredible alternate identity, and we hope this will bring recognition to the great city of Florence.”
Florence city councilor Jo Beaudreau said the temporary re-brand’s homage to the exploding whale “is a lesson and learning from our mistakes. It’s a way to boost multiple avenues of economic development for our communities, celebrates nature and our environment and its processes.”
Beaudreau added: “It’s turned a debacle into a local legend and worldwide, it honors our history, even the absurd. It channels our morbid curiosity into positive channels that support our local flavor, and it promotes our local pride.”