Introducing, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
The name and logo were announced at an unveiling ceremony earlier this evening. A name-the-team contest selected RailRiders ahead of other the finalists: Blast, Black Diamond Bears, Porcupines, Trolley Frogs and Fireflies. According to the team, Porcupines was another popular choice, and so the team mascot will be a porcupine.
That new mascot and logo will be with the team next season when it opens a new stadium, meaning the Triple-A guys won’t play an all-on-the-road schedule next year.
I’m sure very few of you were paying any attention to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team back when it was called the Red Barons and belonged to the Phillies organization, but for those of us who were paying attention back then, the new RailRiders uniforms are instantly recognizable as throwbacks to the Red Barons days. And that should be a pretty popular touch in Northeastern Pennsylvania where many local fans had a strong attachment to the old team.
“The RailRiders brand signifies our reenergized commitment to the community, not only with a new team name and logos, but our unwavering focus to provide the best in affordable, family fun entertainment,” team president Rob Crain said in a statement. “Our new identity also honors NEPA’s rich baseball history with the interlocking SWB mark. Plus, it highlights our strong partnership with the New York Yankees with navy caps and home pinstripes.”
I honestly did not care one bit which team name was chosen, but I do think the logo looks pretty cool.
• Indications have been trending this way for a while, and today Torii Hunter agreed to a two-year deal with the Tigers. The contract is reportedly worth $13 million per year. It was reported last week that the Yankees were not willing to give Hunter a two-year contract, and it was reported today that the Yankees never made Hunter an actual offer at all.
• The Marlins are getting rid of bad contracts, and Erik Boland reports that the Yankees have some interest in not-very-good starting pitching Ricky Nolasco. Problems solved!
• Josh Norris noted today that, while talking on MLB Network radio, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said it’s possible a former Yankees prospect will be in Washington’s rotation next year: “I think Christian Garcia would look good in the starting rotation,” Johnson said. Garcia was highly touted with the Yankees, but he could never stay healthy and wound up finally getting to the big leagues as a Nationals reliever this season. Really, really nice guy. Even though he’s somewhere else, you should really root for that kid.
• Brian Fuentes has decided to retire. Inevitably I’ll still get a “the Yankees should get Brian Fuentes!” email at some point this winter.
Associated Press photo of Hunter; I stole the RailRiders logo from my friends in Scranton