GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado — Grand Junction professional baseball will have an extra hop in its step in 2023, taking the field with a new identity as the Grand Junction Jackalopes.

“We had over 1,000 great submissions from the community,” Jackalopes President Mick Ritter said. “Jackalopes stood out as an amusing and unique name in professional baseball. I think we can have a lot of fun with it.”

The Jackalope is a mythical cross between a rabbit and an antelope or deer. While not real, many jackalope “mounts” can be found across the Grand Valley. Only able to mate during a lightning storm. Jackalopes are said to be fearsome, and hunters are advised to armor their shins when trying to bag the elusive beast.

“We were taken with the lore and character of this mythic creature,” Jackalopes managing owner Mike Tollin said. “We think it’s a fresh, fun, and family-friendly identity for our team.”

Jennifer Schmalz, a Grand Junction resident, was one of those who submitted the idea of Jackalopes. Through random number generation Jennifer was chosen as the winner of the name submission contest. By happenstance, she was also the first person to submit the name.

“I believe the name Jackalopes is creative, funny and represents Grand Junction well,” Schmalz said. “As a Colorado native, you always hear about the elusive Jackalope and people joking about hunting them, so I thought what a great name that would be for a baseball team.”

When Future Legends LLC bought the Grand Junction Rockies on October 1st, the team decided to undergo a rebrand.

“With the team being purchased by Future Legends and headed in a new direction,” Future Legends founder Jeff Katofsky said. “It made sense for some new traditions and excitement.”

Despite the name change, the Grand Junction Jackalopes will continue as the Rockies did, playing at Suplizio Field in the MLB Partner Pioneer Baseball League. The 2023 schedule was released earlier this week and can be found here.

“We look forward to the Jackalopes defending our Pioneer League championship in the upcoming season,” Tollin said.

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