When the Staten Island Yankees considered rebranding in 2016, they went as far as holding a name-the-team contest and announcing a winner before deciding to stick with the name of their parent club. The winner of that contest by a substantial margin was Staten Island Pizza Rats, taking more than half the vote in a field that included Bridge Trolls, Island Heroes, Killer Bees, and Rock Pigeons.
Sure, there’s a preponderance of both pizza and rats in all of New York City’s boroughs, but one can only assume that the name derives from this September 2015 video that made the rounds on social media not long before the name-the-team contest was held:
The team hesitated to adopt the new name, releasing a statement at the time that said, “It became clear that the approval and acceptance of the new name and artwork would take longer than initially anticipated.”
A couple years later, the team finally announced that it will adopt the nickname for all of its Saturday home games, which in the short-season New York-Penn League amounts to five dates: June 23 and July 4, 7, 14, and 21.
The Pizza Rats unveiled a series of logos designed by Brandiose, including one that references a beloved aspect of New York’s culture, the subway token:
I feel old now. pic.twitter.com/TCgzFysYjU
— Robert M. Pimpsner (@RPimpsner) June 11, 2018
The name has been garnering attention on social media, much of it surprisingly positive, given the disparity between the Yankees brand and Pizza Rats. Of course, not everyone loves it. Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo, quoted in the Daily News, said this:
“This is a slice too far … if you are walking away from the arms of the most recognizable brand in professional sports, it has to be for something better than a rodent dragging fresh mozzy spread across a thin crust. For 50 bucks and a bottle of Jim Beam, in 12 hours my fantasy baseball buddies and I could have come back with something much better than this.”
(For the record, Jimmy Oddo, I’ll bet you 50 bucks you’re wrong.)