With minor league rosters weeks away from being finalized, there is little to report With some extra time on my hands, I set out to answer one question that’s been bothering since I began covering the Phillies minor league system; What is an Ironpig?
For those of you unaware, the Phillies AAA affiliate is the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. They’ve been in that position since 2008, replacing the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. Scranton is now home to the Yankees AAA team, with Lehigh Valley serving the Phils. The Phillies saved them from their fan-less existence in Canada, where they were known as the Ottawa Lynx.
With a new city and a new ballpark, the Lehigh Valley team needed a new name. AA Reading already took the “Phillies”, so that was out. Rather than go with a fierce animal or an ambiguous Jim Henson looking character, they settled on the Ironpigs, which looks like a robot pig.
The naming of the team was a huge success, largely due to its ties to the region. As an ignorant Philly Kid, I never thought of Northeastern PA’s world famous production of pig iron steel: Duh. The naming is quite clever and planted roots with the Lehigh fans from its inception. The “Ironpigs” were born, along with a series of delightful pork and steel puns.
Anyone who has the pleasure of going to see a game at Lehigh Valley can’t miss the teams many mascots. At the top of the food chain are FeRROUS and FeFe. They got their names from Iron’s sign of the periodic table Fe. Fan’s originally voted the mascot to be named “Pork Chop”, but apparently the local Puerto Rican community disagreed, I’m assuming on grounds that it wasn’t kosher.
If you don’t get the chance to see these glorious mascots during the season, fear not. For a nominal fee you can rent them out for birthdays, promotional events, or even your next business meeting. Nothing caps off the end of a power point presentation like a baseball mascot shaking his mid-section at your boss.
For actual up to the minute news about the Ironpigs, check out the “Hog Blog” over at the Morning Call. Now, I’m off to satisfy my incurable hunger for some bacon…