Blowfish spend offseason catering to community ahead of 10th season in Lexington County

Posted 2/28/24

Fresh off their 2023 Coastal Plain League Championship, Blowfish Baseball spent its offseason making plans for the team’s 10th anniversary in Lexington County. 

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Blowfish spend offseason catering to community ahead of 10th season in Lexington County


Fresh off their 2023 Coastal Plain League Championship, Blowfish Baseball spent its offseason making plans for the team’s 10th anniversary in Lexington County. 

The team looked to reestablish the foundation of its success while finding new ways to enhance the quality of life in the community. From securing the return of their head coach to generating new jersey concepts and hosting community events, the Blowfish have had a busy six months. 

“Winning a championship is great, however, do we help enhance the quality of life in Lexington County?” team owner Bill Shanahan said. “Do we continue to provide cost-affordable family fun? Because there aren’t that many places that you can go with a family anymore. And we want to always provide that.”

One way the Blowfish are looking to create excitement and highlight its relationships is with special jerseys the team will wear during the season. One set showcases both the past and the present, and the other honors a long-lasting partnership. 

The Blowfish will return to their roots and don their original home white jerseys from their first season in the county. One change though, these uniforms will have a golden trim, a design choice inspired by an MLB tradition for the reigning champs that started in 2005 after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. 

The team will debut these new uniforms on opening night, May 24th.

Another special feature that will continue from previous seasons is the inclusion of patches representing all 14 Lexington County towns. Each town’s patch will be featured on two player jerseys, and at the end of the season, there will be an auction where each town can choose which one or two charities receive their funds. 

“We want each and every one of those towns and cities, we want them to shine,” Shanahan said. “We’re Lexington County’s home team. We represent them.  So, we can’t wait to go out to the towns and cities and tell them,  ‘Hey, what charity would you like to help?’” 

The championship throwbacks and the Lake Murray blue city patches aren’t the only new styles the team will wear this season. The Blowfish will undergo a name change every Thursday home game, transforming into the Brewfish. 

The new name comes with a new look in the form of a navy blue jersey with gold lettering. Inside the names and numbers is a clever bubbly design, tying back to the team’s temporary name. 

The Blowfish will become the Brewfish as part of a “Thirsty Thursday” promotion. The team will take on its new identity during six games this season and offer a craft beer and coffee tasting experience as well. 

“We’re looking to tap into the vibrant nightlife that’s in downtown Lexington and see how we can also attract them to our games in addition to the families that come,” Blowfish general manager Tony Baldwin said. “Fridays and Saturdays are huge here, but how do we make Thursday night another exciting night at the ballpark as well?”

The story behind the Brewfish also dates back a decade ago to when the team first reestablished itself in Lexington County. One of the first people who offered the Shanahans support was John and Kelly Clinger, owners of the Old Mill Brewpub. 

The Clingers from day one were all in on the Blowfish mission and even paid for the first billboard ad, which can still be found at centerfield. 

The Brewfish concept was a surprise from the Shanahans to their friends. An Old Mill patch will be featured on the sleeve of the uniform. 

“The first person that walked in the door was John Clinger,” Shanahan said. “He says, ‘Hi, my name is John Clinger. My wife and I own the Old Mill Brewpub, and we want to support you guys.’”

Clinger and Shanahan’s relationship has led to other fun community charitable causes to start up, including the annual chili cookoff. The Blowfish organization feels it is important to host events not related to baseball as well. 

“I love for people to be joyful, and I said earlier it’s the enhancing of the quality of life,” Shanahan said. “I like to make things happen for our community. That has nothing to do with baseball. It has to do about just a fun, family event.”

Another non-baseball event the Blowfish are hosting is the upcoming Shamrock Parade on March 9. It will be the ninth edition of the free show. Establishing this parade was specifically important for Shanahan, who has a deep appreciation for his Irish connections. 

“I grew up in a very traditional Irish family in San Francisco. My two sisters and I took Irish Stepdances, and we marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, we performed in Irish festivals,” Shanahan said. “So wherever in my career we went, whatever town, if it didn’t have its own St. Patrick’s Day parade, we just started it up, and that’s what we did in Lexington nine years ago.”  

Opening day is quickly approaching for the team. College seasons have started, which means many of their upcoming players are actively playing. 

Baldwin said he expects 10 players from last year’s championship group to return, but all of those players have not been announced. Others want to come back, but the way the league works, college coaches want to send their younger players for more development. 

But for those that did return, a big reason was the retention of last season’s head coach KC Brown. 

“KC definitely makes it easy to pitch them to come back because they know what to expect,” Baldwin said. “Most of them really like playing here in Lexington County.”

Even though the team has not completed its roster for next season, there are a few teams fans can keep an eye on with potential Blowfish pipelines. Michigan State, North Greenville, Clemson and USC are just a few the team could pull from, Baldwin said. 

The Blowfish will also look for kids with local ties to add to the team, hoping it creates a stronger sense of community throughout the fanbase. 

“I’ve been at other organizations where you don’t really care where the players are from. It’s just you bring in good players,” Baldwin said. “It’s not just that we have a kid from USC or Clemson. It’s that we have a kid from River Bluff, and Lexington and White Knoll. Those are really important things for us. We know it’s important for mom and dad."

Lexington County Blowfish, Bill Shanahan, Tony Baldwin, Old Mill Brewpub


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