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.
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.)
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?