It was announced some time ago that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees — the Bombers’ Triple-A team — would be getting a new name. This to coincide with their renovated ballpark and stuff. As has become the custom over the years, the team let fans come up with names. And … here they are:
– Blast: A tip of the cap to the area’s rich mining history, and the sound of future New York Yankees hitting home runs at the newly renovated PNC Field.
This one will help local newspaper writers come up with punny headlines for years, so it’s got that going for it.
– Black Diamond Bears: Another look back to the mining days, combined with the ferociousness of the black bear.
Actually, black bears are now more widely thought of as being on the timid-end of the bear scale, so maybe not.
– Fireflies: The state insect of Pennsylvania, and a sure sign of summertime in Northeast Pennsylvania.
My favorite. My suggestion for the mascot.
– Porcupines: A “renegade native” of Northeast Pennsylvania that displays the fighting spirit of area residents.
OK, but seems more like an A-ball or independent league kind of mascot. Maybe it would work if the hats were cool.
– RailRiders: A reference to the area’s history on the rails.
Always good when you can invoke the idea of hobos.
– Trolley Frogs: A trolley frog is the mechanical part of a trolley, and Scranton is, after all, the home of the nation’s first electric trolley car.
The “after all” is what kills me. Because of course everyone knows this. That aside, I have this feeling, given the dumb times in which we lived, if I called someone a “trolley frog” there would be some sort of debate of whether I was being racist, so that could be cool.
Oh well. Vote here between now and August 24th. Not sure if you can write in “Yankees,” but it seems like that is still the best name.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉