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Florence Freedom 8

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2011 April 24

Florence, Kentucky holds a, er, "special" place in my life. Although my ancestors have been on the East Coast ever since they arrived in America, my wife's family hails from the Midwest. Her paternal grandparents lived their entire lives just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. One year my wife and I, along with her parents, went to visit her grandparents. This was, for all intents and purposes, my introduction to the Midwest (I think I rode through Michigan and Ohio on the way back from a vacation in Canada when I was seven, but I have no real memory of this and could be completely mistaken). On the way up there, we spent the night in Florence, and we decided to have dinner at an Olive Garden while we were there. And it was here that I learned all about the joys of Midwestern cuisine: namely, the fact that there is no joy in Midwestern cuisine.

Now, you might think that the Olive Garden is not a place you can learn about Midwestern cuisine. It is, after all, a national chain restaurant, and one that (ostensibly) serves Italian food. You would be wrong. This was, in fact, a great way to compare Midwestern cuisine to, say, Southern cuisine (and please understand as I write this that I am no fan of most Southern cuisine). Compared to the Olive Gardens I've been to in North Carolina, the Olive Garden in Florence had some truly flavorless food. It's as if the mad scientist Dr. Bland had run into the kitchen five seconds before my food was plated and used his Flavosuction Ray to remove from my dinner anything that might give it flavor. I'm not entirely certain how this is even possible. I would assume that in most chain restaurants, the raw ingredients are made at a central location and shipped to all the locations. That being the case, a fettuccine alfredo in any Olive Garden ought to taste like a fettuccine alfredo in any other Olive Garden. It didn't. I have only two possible explanations for this. One, the individual locations really do make the various ingredients on site (or at least modify the cooking process somehow for the benefit of the locals), and the Olive Garden in Florence made particularly bland sauce because he didn't want to scare the locals. Two, there is something about the Midwest itself that destroys flavor. I'd go with the latter theory (it's more plausible than a chain like Olive Garden actually having individual chefs) but for a couple of counterexamples. First, there's bourbon, which clearly is one of the greatest contributions to American cuisine ever and just might even be evidence of a benevolent Creator. Second, out of the couple dozen restaurants I've been to in the Midwest, there have been a couple — no doubt run by people who grew up elsewhere — with good food. But these have been the exception, not the rule. And Florence, Kentucky will always stick with me as the place that taught me just how much I need to lower my expectations regarding food once I cross the Appalachian Mountains.

But if there's no taste in the food in Florence, there is at least taste in the baseball logos (yeah, I know...that was a lame transition). The Florence Freedom play in the Frontier League, which is to say they're part of independent league baseball. The potential for cheesy logos exists everywhere, of course, but it does seem to be worse on average in the independent leagues. But this is a classy little logo. The bald eagle is an obvious representation of "freedom", and I love the way the head is formed by negative space. Also, if you look closely you'll notice the back of his head is formed by two F's, which obviously are the team's initials. The team also earns points for avoiding the red, white, and blue color scheme, which for a team with this name would be an utter cliché. That may be giving a little too much credit — there's something trite in the very name "Freedom". But some people would use a name like that as an excuse to festoon the logo with a gazillion different national references: imagine the Statue of Liberty wearing an Uncle Sam hat while swinging a star-spangled bat at a baseball while a bald eagle flies over Mount Rushmore in the background, or something equally tacky. This team avoided almost all of that, and the one thing out of that which they do use, they use tastefully. I'm so impressed by this that I'll overlook the name itself. For that matter, I'm so impressed that I'll make it a point to take in a game if I find myself in Florence again. But I'll probably try to smuggle in some food I brought from home, just to be safe.

Final Score: 8 points.
Penalties: Singular, 15 pts; Alliteration, 5 pts.
Bonuses: Logo, -12 pts.


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