By Conor White
As the Short-Season Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, it isn't often the Staten Island Yankees make headlines.
That may be why the namesake team announced it would temporarily change its public image, trading in the rich tradition of baseball's most successful team for the street cache of a newly famous New Yorker: Pizza Rat ー the hungry rodent that just wanted a slice to itself.
"It's an aggressive name, I think it's probably a little edgy, a little different," said Staten Island Yankees president Will Smith. "But I think everybody needs to remember that it's a promotion."
Still, the Staten Island Borough president James Oddo called the idea "dopey" in a statement.
The promotion will run for each of the Staten Island Yankees' five Saturday night home games this season, and fans in attendance will see a fully rebranded team, complete with uniforms. In an interview Thursday on Cheddar, Smith said the gear has been flying off the shelves.
"We've pretty much blown through all of our merchandise that we have," said Smith. "We're trying to place re-orders, I was actually trying to do that this morning, trying to order another thousand T-shirts, because we just didn't order enough, and you just don't know, but we're actually tracking way, way, way ahead of our entire online sales last year, and so far, so good."
The Pizza Rats name was first floated back in 2016, when it was the overwhelming favorite in an online poll to rename the team. Now, thanks to the promotion's immediate success, fans are wondering: Could the name change become permanent?
"Anything's possible," teased Smith. "I've always said until there's a new name, there's no new name."
For the full interview, click here.