By Jerry Del Priore
Brooklyn may be known for its pizza, but Staten Island is making a compelling case to get its pizza noticed. The Staten Island Yankees, the short-season Single-A New York-Penn League (NYPL) affiliate of the New York Yankees, will be known as the Pizza Rats during Saturday home games.
The first Pizza Rats tilt is on June 23, at Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George.
“We’re going to have some fun with this brand at the ballpark in 2018,” said President Will Smith in a press release.
In addition, the team will be playing as the Staten Island Pizza Rats on July 7, July 14, July 21 and August 4.
The name change came about in 2016, when the Staten Island Yankees searched for a new team name to create a hometown identity. The Pizza Rats made its way to the team’s final five possible nicknames. The final decision was left to the fans, who voted for their favorite in a “Name the Team” contest. By a tremendous margin, the winner of the contest was the Staten Island Pizza Rats.
However, the Staten Island Yankee organization decide to table the name change for the time being. The name amendment resurfaced at an offseason meeting attending by Smith.
“I was in a meeting this offseason and someone recounted the rebranding contest,” Smith said. “His lone comment was that it could not possibly be Pizza Rats. When I asked which one he preferred, he could not recall any others. That has been the response of many – it’s unforgettable.”
Along with the name change, the team released six new logos designed by Brandiose and will feature new merchandise both online and in-store at the ballpark, including New Era baseball caps, hoodies and t-shirts. You can view all of the logos and accompanying merchandise at pizzaratsbaseball.com.
“Of the five finalists, this was always an intriguing direction,” Smith said. “I understand it’s polarizing when heard for the first time. We believe these designs define a new brand that has something for everyone.”