When I watched the Trenton Thunder beat the Reading Phillies in the Eastern League playoffs in September, I knew it would be my last minor league baseball game of the season. I didn’t realize that it would be the last time I’d watch baseball at Mercer County Waterfront Park, or that it was the last game in Reading Phillies’ history.

Arm & Hammer Park logo taken from Trenton Thunder Twitter account

The ballpark is still there, but next year we’re all going to have to get used to calling it Arm & Hammer Park. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed when it was announced this week, but Jim Craigie, the CEO of Arm & Hammer’s parent company, said “We figured it was time to start putting our name on things.”

The Reading Phillies aren’t going anywhere either, but they will be announcing their new name on Saturday as the team re-brands itself. There has been a bit of a fan backlash at the prospect of a new identity after 46 years – time will tell if it’s just a vocal minority or if it will prove to be a real concern for the team’s owners.

And Wednesday night, the New York Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate announced their own new identity: RailRiders was the top choice in a fan contest to select the team’s new nickname. You can already order your new RailRiders merchandise. There are seven different logos, most featuring a porcupine, and there will be a total of five caps. (If I make it to a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game next year, I suppose I’ll end up getting this one for my collection.)

RailRiders logo taken from the team’s Facebook page

Next year, I know I will find myself writing “Waterfront Park” on my scorecards every time I go see the Trenton Thunder. (But then again, I get confused when people talk about Rogers Centre in Toronto instead of calling it SkyDome and I could never keep up with all the different names for Joe Robbie Stadium when the Florida Marlins played there.)

I’m happy that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team has its own identity again, but I’m not crazy about the decision to use a porcupine in a logo that cries out for a train or trolley. (And I still think a return to the Red Barons would have been nice.)

And though I’m reserving judgement on the Reading re-branding until we see the new name and logo, I think the team was fine as the Reading Phillies.

What do you think of all of this re-naming?

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About Paul Hadsall

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper and current contributor to Hot Stove Baseball. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

7 responses

  1. I suppose due diligence gets done before a ballpark is sponsored, but I can’t imagine that anybody is going to call the Trenton Thunder’s home anything but “Waterfront Park”. Hell, I still refer to the Mets’ home as “Shea”. Nobody can keep track of these names, nor do they care to.

    I’m not sure about the RailRiders… At first glance, there’s too much going on… the rails, the porcupine, the electricity. On the other hand, anything’s better than “Yankees”.

    I think the Reading will catch a lot of backlash, but it won’t affect attendance. Possibly merchandise sales, and a few people will make pointless symbolic gestures of burning their old merchandise.

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  2. markruck says:

    Think about this, Paul–seriously…

    There are no memories to be had at ballparks with corporate names on them, especially those with names that change often, which is most of them.

    There are memories at places like Yankee Stadium, Fenway, Wrigley (OK, that’s sort of corporate, but it was named after an individual), Dodger Stadium, etc.

    But, remember that great game at US Cellular, Minute Maid or AT&T? Doesn’t have the same ring. And those names might not last too long anyway as the next corporate sponsor comes along. And, like Shlabotnik, I still call it Shea, too.

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  3. Freddy says:

    I like the SWB Rail Riders nickname- not really feeling the logo so much. The franchise is doing what it has to do to reclaim the fan base. The online vote was a great idea; lowering ticket prices was an even better idea. I gave the new regime the benefit of the doubt by purchasing a 5 game pack. Anything has to be better than the Mandalay puppet Kristen Rose. She knew about as much about fan and community relations as Jeff Loria does. Good riddance to the incompetent regime and welcome to the new one. Good luck! Paul I will let you know when I’m headed to SWB.

    As for the RPhils, I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I purchased a 2013 ticket book- should be interesting the nickname on the cover.

    Mark perhaps you should ask anyone in attendance @ Game 5 of the 2008 World Series where they were seated when Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske to win the 2008 Fall Classic. I will remember for the rest of my life that I saw it live at Citizens Bank Park and I’m sure 45,000 other fans will tell you the same thing.

    Not that I’m a fan of corporate names. I still call it Shea, Joe Robbie Stadium, Candlestick Park (I think its actually that again) Jack Murphy Stadium, Comiskey Park, etc. I always called both football stadiums in East Rutherford the Meadowlands.

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  4. Freddy says:

    I also froze my tail off watching the Eagles beat the Falcons in the NFC Title Game to advance to the Super Bowl @ the Linc!

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  5. NJ Baseball says:

    I think naming a new stadium after a corporation is different than renaming an existing one. I confess I do call the Queens park “Citi,” as in, “last time I was at Citi,” but in my head, I think of it as “City.” “City Field” has a sort of simple 1920’s feel about it. I have no issue with people still calling it Shea, but in my mind, I like to separate the two. For a new park — AT&T, Minute Maid, etc. — that’s never had anything but a corporate name, those are more natural. As for minor league parks, I tend to say I went to a game “at Trenton” or “in Lakewood,” rather than the ballpark. (Though I would say “Waterfront Park” more often than I would “FirstEnergy Park.”)

    Finally, regarding the R-Phils, fear not. Some speculation/research of online domain registrations points to them being called either the “Fightin’ Phillies,” “Fightin’ Phils” or simply “Fightin’s.”

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    • Paul says:

      If they opt for “Fightin’ Phillies” or “Fightin’ Phils,” I don’t think anyone is really going to use the new name. (Though I like them better than R-Phils to designate the team from the major league club.) They also registered “ReadingRailroaders.com” according to the story – that might be interesting.

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  6. Paul says:

    I have no objection to corporate ballpark names. The Mets play at Citi Field – Shea Stadium was demolished in 2009. But don’t ask me to start using a new name for a ballpark that’s been around for a decade or two… it’s just not going to happen with any consistency.

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