Staten Island Yankees change name to Pizza Rats (sort of)

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A logo for the Staten Island Pizza Rats Minor League Baseball team. (Courtesy of Staten Island Yankees)

Goodbye, Yankees; hello, Pizza Rats. Yes, the pinstriped ballplayers are changing their name.

Well, we're talking the Single-A affiliate on Staten Island's north shore. And just for summer Saturdays.

"We're going to have some fun with this brand at the ballpark in 2018," Staten Island Yankees President Will Smith said in a news release.

This is proof that Minor League Baseball can be hilariously fun and draws a passionate crowd, even in the very city that is home to the big club in the Bronx.

The name is a nod to 2015's YouTube and social media sensation of a rat dragging an entire slice pizza down a flight of stairs in a Manhattan subway station. (The video may or may not have been staged, depending on whom you believe.)

The team put a "Name the Team" contest up to a fan vote. "Pizza Rats" won by an "overwhelming margin," the Yankees said.

"I was in a meeting this offseason and someone recounted the rebranding contest. His lone comment was that it could not possibly be Pizza Rats," Smith said. "When I asked which one he preferred, he could not recall any others. That has been the response of many—it's unforgettable."

Of course with any marketing stunt like this, you have to have souvenirs to complete the effect. The team unveiled new logos and logo apparel that will prompt any supporter with a sense of humor to open their wallet. You can choose from two on-field caps, a line of T-shirts and sweatshirts, and even a bucket hat.

The players will wear Pizza Rat-branded jerseys for the five Saturday home games: June 23, July 7, July 14, July 21, and August 4 at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, just steps from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.