An era has ended with the Cleveland Indians Double A Affiliate, the Akron Aeros changing name and logo to become the Akron Rubber Ducks. The Aeroes originally came into existence when the Canton-Akron Indians moved to Canal Park in downtown Akron in 1997. The old name was one of the most original names in baseball and fitting for the city of Akron that has largely figured in the United States' aerospace industry. Instead of being named after a non-indigenous animal (such as bears or tigers), color (like red or white socks) or stereotype (like the Fighting Irish or Pirates), the team was named after one of the things that made the city great.
The new name is also based on another local industry, similar to how the University named their sports teams after the first mass production of the zipper in Elyria, Ohio in the 1890's. By including rubber in the name, they are referencing the great tire companies that call Akron their home, including Goodyear and Firestone. By adding ducks to the name, they are making the team as fearsome as a squeaky, yellow baby toy.
There was nothing wrong with the old name and a poll taken by Aeros fans a few years ago backed up that opinion. The Aeros had a cool name and original color scheme that made people thing of space travel and creepy purple alien cats. The new Rubber Ducks will remind people of Sesame Street. For obvious reasons, they could not have simply named the team the Rubbers, but adding ducks to the back just makes it look childish. They are also forgoing the purple and silver for what looks to be black and orange. The logo certainly looks fearsome enough as it appears to be a duck's severed head that was found on the road with the tell-tale tire tracks still behind it.
The new logo does bring up a bunch of new marketing opportunities, however, as the stadium grill can now serve road kill BBQ duck and they can sell really fun looking duck billed hats. They could rename the disabled list the lame duck list and, if they wanted to take a page from the two Florida teams, they could have a duck tank in center field. All the children would be overjoyed when they spend a quarter to feed the ducks. If a duck got hit with a home run ball, they could just send it to the grill. Nothing is too crazy for minor league baseball, especially for a team that has seen attendance drop in each of the last four seasons.
With minor league teams now named after Paris Hilton's dog (or a county in Mexico) and a minor league team from a cartoon, being named after Ernie's best friend doesn't seem that strange. Of course, that doesn't make it any better and just like the Indians fans who continue to call Progressive Field the Jake, this name change could take awhile for fans to accept.