When it comes to Minor League Baseball team names, the more unique and fun, the better. That seemed to be what the Staten Island Yankees, a short-season A affiliate of the New York Yankees might have had in mind back in 2016 when they asked fans to suggest a new name. Nothing against being the Yankees, it works well for the big boys, but it’s a little boring to just have the same name as your parent club.
Among the options were the Staten Island Bridge Trolls, State Island Heroes, Staten Island Killer Bees, Staten Island Rock Pigeons, and of course the Staten Island Pizza Rats. The last choice was a reference to the infamous pizza rat who represented all New Yorkers with his determination and moxie to drag a slice of pizza into the sewers below no matter what the obstacle.
In a way, pizza rat represented New York City in a way that so few human beings ever have. He’s the perfect ideal to strive for and would have made the perfect team name for years to come. Alas, despite huge fan interest in the name (it won by an “overwhelming margin” according to the team), the franchise got gunshy and never pulled the trigger. They did try but apparently ran into “obstacles” that delayed the name change and seemed to put it on hold indefinitely.
SPECIAL DELIVERY: SI YANKS ➡️ STATEN ISLAND PIZZA RATS on Saturday night home games this season 🍕 🐀 Visit https://t.co/YMn5c29QA8 to place your order! #SIPizzaRats #JoinThePack pic.twitter.com/us7rLfRa8F
— StatenIslandYankees (@SIYanks) June 11, 2018
Finally, in 2018, they’re going to give it a go, at least temporarily. The team will be known exclusively as the Staten Island Pizza Rats for upcoming games on June 23 and July 4, 7, 14, and 21 (five Saturdays in a row). They’ve even created a whole website, logo, uniform design, and merch to make this whole thing street-legal.
Perhaps the move is related to the return of pizza rat earlier this year. Or perhaps it’s an admission that no team name could sum up the collective Staten Island experience quite like Pizza Rats. While many people who live here might be Yankee fans, they are their own thing – Staten Islanders. They are different than the rest of New York. They’re tenacious. They’re enterprising. And they really like pizza and are willing to do many things to acquire it. They are Pizza Rats.
Is this a testing phase for a future franchise change? Who knows. Perhaps they want to prove to themselves, or higher-ups, that the Pizza Rats name isn’t just a passing fad but a legitimate brand with staying power. Assuming they work in a Pizza Rat mascot, rat races where the winner gets a slice of pizza, and little pizza rat masks for the kids, we don’t how this could possibly fail.