Monday, November 13, 2006

And the AAA-team name is...


After sorting through thousands of entries in a public naming contest, selecting eight finalists, then waiting for results of online polls and focus groups, the Lehigh Valley's new Triple-A baseball team announced Sunday that the team forever will be known as the IronPigs.

And while team officials, were ecstatic with their selection, fans polled at sports bars on Sunday had a different take on the quirky but memorable name.

''They're calling them the what?'' said Eric Wasser of Allentown, who took his eyes off the Eagles' game at the Mezza Luna Sports Bar & Grill off Airport Road to ponder more important baseball issues.

''That has to be one of the most ridiculous names I've ever heard in my life,'' Wasser said. ''Who would name a sports team after a pig?''

Actually, as Wasser and others learned, the ''pig'' in IronPigs doesn't refer to the much maligned, mud-loving animal, but instead is a reference to the region's rich history producing steel, which is manufactured from pig iron.

The history lesson did little to convince Wasser or most fans at Mezza Luna, or at Rookie's Restaurant & Sports Bar off Tilghman Street in Allentown of the appropriateness of the new name.

This reaction is in addition to a hailstorm of letters to editor which appeared nearly daily in the Morning Call calling the name selections 'dismal' at best.

While most fans took issue with the name or said they needed time to digest it, IronPigs co-owner Joe Finley, a minor league veteran, said he has no doubt what the ultimate reaction will be.

''They're gonna love it,'' said Finley, who also owns the Trenton Thunder and Lakewood, N.J., BlueClaws.

''We went through the same exercise with those teams, and people look at you saying 'Where did that name come from?''' Finley said. ''But both franchises are incredibly successful, and I have no doubt that people here will embrace the team right out of the box.''

Though in the minority, there were several fans at Rookie's who seemed to agree with Finley that IronPigs indeed would win fans over.

''It's strong and sensitive and really represents the area,'' said April Marconi of Northampton. ''At least they didn't name the team something dull like the Phillies.''

What do you think of the new name?


UPDATE: The blogger at Politics: Lehigh Valley Style, a self-proclaimed young professional, has this to say in their post entitled "Iron Pigs? What the Hell!":

"I'm one of the people who is stoked about AAA baseball coming to the Lehigh Valley and I'll probably be one of the people who becomes a regular at the game. I'll own a hat, shirt, and probably a penant that I'll have in my office at work. But the merchandise I buy will have Iron Pigs on it. Listen, I have a sense of humor and recognize that with all the Yocco's I eat and beer I consume, the name isn't out of the question, but for a baseball team. Sigh.

Still, I'll go, I'll watch and I'll cry "SUUUUUU-EY!... here pig, pig, pig" for every big play I watch."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the name Iron Pigs. I'm an Oakland A's fan here in the SF Bay Area. Athletics? Now that's original! My friend Stef from Allentown was at an A's-Cardinals game with me on Sunday when I first got wind of the Iron Pigs. I'm sending for some gear immediately. They are even selling shirts for little piglets.Be proud of your Pigs. Who wants to be a Mudhen?