Of the six nicknames contending to appear on the minor league baseball apparel and merchandise of the erstwhile Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, this one strikes us as the least fan-friendly if for no other reason than mascots should be huggable. Can you picture small children racing through the stands to exchange high-fives with an herbivore known as a "quill pig"?
Besides, sports headline writers in cities with opposing ball clubs will have a field day each time those teams "stick it" to the porcupines. (Those varmints.)
Then again, maybe we're overanalyzing this off-beat contest intended only to foster fan involvement and have fun. Remember fun?
Plenty of the nation's minor league franchises gave the go-ahead signal to whimsy when adopting names such as the Las Vegas 51s, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Savannah Sand Gnats. Closer to home, consider the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Their choices seem to have been guided more by promotional possibilities than instilling a team with the psychological advantage of sounding fierce or undefeatable.
That said, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate recently initiated a naming contest that yielded more than 2,700 entries. A list of six "finalists" was released last week; you can vote online for your favorite between now and midnight Aug. 24. (Visit www.swbyankees.com.)
If nothing else, this stunt, uh, grand rebranding strategy allows this region's baseball enthusiasts to stay connected to the Moosic-based team during a season like no other. The squad has been displaced while its home field gets remodeled, relegating it for most games to New York state, where it's temporarily known as the Empire State Yankees.
In April, the team will take to the newly reconfigured PNC Field sporting a new name. Aside from Porcupines, these are your choices: Blast, Black Diamond Bears, Fireflies, RailRiders and Trolley Frogs.
Trolley Frogs? Hey, why not? Paint the bases green and call them pads.
- (Wilkes-Barre) Times Leader