The Staten Island Yankees, the Short-Season A classification affiliate of the big-league New York Yankees, announced this week that for select home games this summer, the organization will be rebranded as the “Pizza Rats.”
— StatenIslandYankees (@SIYanks) June 11, 2018
That Staten Island-based ball club will take on the Pizza Rats moniker for five Saturday home games after a fan vote in a “Name the Team” contest started in 2016 whittled down potential names to five.
Six new logos have been designed in honor of the Pizza Rats name.
— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) June 12, 2018
“I was in a meeting this offseason and someone recounted the rebranding contest,” team president Will Smith said, via the team’s official site. “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.”
Indeed. The Staten Island team also came up with a clever way to promote the name change.
BREAKING: The Yankees are rebranding as the PIZZA RATS!!!
New Yorkers voted overwhelming to rename the Staten Island Yankees the Pizza Rats!
— Brandiose (@Brandiose) June 11, 2018
New Pizza Rats-themed merchandise, including “New Era baseball caps, hoodies and t-shirts” are also available for purchase.
The hottest merch in baseball is FLYING off the shelves. Grab a slice of the Staten Island Pizza Rats gear today! #SIPizzaRats #SpecialDelivery Thanks @FedEx !https://t.co/eUlVUzG8uN pic.twitter.com/9Yyw9ZjkyZ
— StatenIslandYankees (@SIYanks) June 12, 2018
“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.”
The fans’ decision to go with Pizza Rats is of course inspired by the viral video from 2015 in which a rat is seen dragging a slice of pizza down the steps of a New York subway station. It became a meme-worthy sensation.
And now the real “pizza rat” will be honored by a minor league baseball team. What a world.