Exactly when the craze of teams rebranding as food arrived in minor league baseball is not clear. Perhaps it was the IronPigs adopting alternative bacon logos.
Or maybe it was the Fresno Grizzlies, home of the biggest taco food truck celebration in baseball, sporting some mighty cool Tacos jerseys.
Either way, the fad has become a phenomenon in minor league baseball.
The Staten Island Yankees, with their season-opener in the New York-Penn League around the corner, have joined the food fray and will become the Staten Island Pizza Rats for their five home games on Saturday nights this season.
“We’re going to have some fun with this brand at the ballpark,” Staten Island team president Will Smith said in a press release.
The new name was first picked from a group of finalists during Staten Island’s name-the-team contest two years ago. However, it was ultimately scrapped amid public outcry and a lack of time to complete the project, the team later announced. The Pizza Rats are back and are making headlines around the country, from The New York Post to The Washington Post to ESPN.
Brandiose has designed a variety of logos for the Pizza Rats and announced the added bonus of every order from PizzaRatsBaseball.com comes delivered in a pizza box.
Staten Island shared the stage yesterday with the famous restaurant chain International House of Pancakes, which is dropping its IHOP moniker for IHOB—with the B standing for Burgers. While unrelated to baseball, MiLB.com scribe Ben Hill did find a connection, pointing out IHOP is suddenly making headlines by seemingly following minor league baseball’s promotional model.
Of course, minor league teams couldn’t let a controversial rebranding go by without getting in on the act.