A story we’ve mention from time-to-time, the AAA move from Scranton to Allentown (with a layover in Ottawa), took a funny turn today. It has been reported that the team will be known as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Now, I’m not from the land of Crayola so perhaps the reference is lost on me, but I think this is a bit ridiculous nonetheless. (Actually, the name refers to pig iron, the area’s historic industry) This new development comes in line with the new name of the Phillies’ New York-Penn League team, the Williamsport Crosscutters.
I understand that from a marketing perspective, there is some value in branding your team with a goofy name that will sell hats to frat guys. IronPigs co-owner Joe Finley defended the choice. "There really is a science behind this. We made a $14 million dollar investment in the team, so it’s not a bunch of guys sitting around picking something out of the air. A lot of research and analysis went into this." Really? Then, I would ask for my money back.
Before IronPigs can take to the field for the 2008 season in Allentown, the team formerly known as the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Red Barons will have to play a season in Ottawa, under the banner of the Lynx. So for those who were wondering, in minor league migration situations such as these, the players move to the new city along with the affiliation. This will undoubtedly cause the Phillies front office to rethink their player personnel decisions. Unlike last year, where starters were often shuffled between Scranton and Philly, it will be a bit more difficult to call a guy one morning in Ottawa and expect him to pitch that night in Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. Then there’s the whole issue of passport control. Also, though, I would seriously consider the possibility that the colder weather north of the border (7-10 degrees lower in April and May on average when compared to Scranton) might affect pitching arms. Although I agree with the decision to upgrade the Phillies AAA facilities and bring team closer to Philadelphia, the steps taken in the meantime have been quite questionable.