Sometime after the New Year, the Adirondack Phantoms will unveil their new mascot.
Excuse me, I meant "character." Apparently, if you hand enough money to a market consultant, that's the kind of sage advice you come back with.
Now, typically mascots - oops, there I go again - rank somewhere below the availability of a good hot dog vendor on the scale of things I care about during a game.
After a preseason game this year, I ran into a guy who knows Phlex intimately well. Night off? I asked.
Uh, no, he said. Didn't you see the second-period intermission?
In fact, no, I had not noticed that the Phantoms purple superhero had been flinging T-shirts into the crowd. My bad.
My indifference on the subject aside, it seems to mean much more to many of you. If I had to rank the two most popular blog comments over the past two years, they'd be in some order, "Fire Gilbert!" and "Phlex stinks."
I guess there's a disconnect here between what appeals to me as a bachelor sports writer and what interests the rest of you. But if you care, I care. At least for the next 500 words.
The new character - see what I did there - will have a local identity. A top-secret source in the Phantoms organization has leaked that and a few other details.
I'd tell you more, but I've been spit-sworn to secrecy. I can say that the name, if it's what I think it is, has a chance to catch.
Any step toward a regional identity is a good one. Even if the Phantoms end up staying here for five years - about as permanent a situation you find these days in the AHL - they will always be dogged by their perceived status as temporary.
So it got me thinking of a couple other things the Phantoms could do, besides win a few games, to become Adirondack's team. I offer them here free of charge, though if the Brookses want to pay me whatever ridiculous consulting fee they paid to come up with their "character," I prefer small, unmarked bills.
u Put Adirondack on the jersey. Where have those jerseys from last year's Albany series gone? Not only did they say Adirondack, but will anyone argue they weren't much sharper than their regular home ones? Teams put out jerseys for special occasions every time someone sneezes - primarily so they can sell them on eBay - so it can't be all that hard.
I see as many or more of those and the special 1980 USA replicas with the big "ADK" than I do regular jerseys in the stands. Geez, I wonder why?
u Produce a weekly live radio show on location. The point of having a live show is interaction with the audience. What they have now is nice, but it doesn't really matter whether it's live or taped.
Just take the show out to a restaurant each week. It would mean so much to the dedicated fans to have a place to come together and gather among like-minded folks. I can't tell you how many times I hear people asking for this.
This is how we get to know each other. It's how we get to know the players.
If the radio station can't provide this, the Phantoms shouldn't have agreed to a contract with them. Greenville has an on-location show. The Phantoms don't. Embarrassing.
Those are two biggies, but there's much more out there.
What else could the team to do make you feel more ownership over it? I'd like to hear your ideas.
I'm not so much interested in trotting out more Red Wings connections. The ideal is a separate identity. One rooted in the Adirondack tradition but with a foot in the future.
In the meanwhile, I'll be here working out the difference between a mascot and a character.
Tim McManus covers the Adirondack Phantoms. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter (@PSPhantoms).