Akron Aeros Mull Name Change

Akron Aeros

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During the mid-1990s Akron was a buzz about the possibility of having a team playing downtown. The current AA Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, the Canton-Akron Indians, played about a half hour away from Akron and was really associated with the city by name only, like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or whatever they are called today.

When the team moved to Akron for the 1997, there was a poll to choose the name for the team. Eventually the team settled on the Aeros as the name of their new hometown team in order to honor Akronite Judy Resnik who was one of the astronauts aboard the Challenger when it exploded in space in 1986. The team was briefly thought to be called the Blast, but in the end, the Aeros name and alliteration won out and a new era of AA baseball in Akron was born.

The team not only took on the name, but the space ideal as well. Their mascot is a space-cat named Orbit, and there has been a rocket with the Aeros logo on the side of it down the left field side of the concourse for most of the team’s existence.

Now, 14 years and various division and league titles later, the team is considering a name change. The conventional wisdom is that re-branding every so often is good for business. People will have to replace all of their Aeros memorabilia with new Akron hats and jerseys that have the updated logo and perhaps the kids with think it’s hip. If this is the case, the Yankees marketing department must be doing something terribly wrong.

Even so, the team put the responsibility of the possibility of a new name on the fans again, which is really the only way to do it. During stage one, fans were instructed to submit their entries for a new team name through the local newspaper, the Akron Beacon Journal. Fans could also chose to keep the current team name during this process as well.

Now in stage two of ONC (Operation Name Change), the team has partnered with the paper again to have fans vote on the top 15 names that were submitted.

The 15 finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Akron Aeros

Akron Bulkers

Akron Canal Diggers (Akron was along the C&O Canal, and their stadium is not only along side a formal canal, but it is also called Canal Park.)

Akron Canal Rats

Akron Devil Strips

Akron Gum Dippers

Akron Hoggies

Akron Oats (Locals consider the Quaker Oats downtown building to be one of its unique trademarks.)

Akron Rubber Burners (Akron has been known for decades as the rubber capital of the world and still houses the headquarters of Goodyear.)

Akron Rubber Ducks

Akron Scrubbers

Akron Skippers

Akron Tire Jacks

Akron Vulcans

Akron Whitewalls

There are some positives to the process. Not only is the team letting the fans decide (assume they go along with the name that gets voted the winner), but they are creating regional attention on the team that hasn’t been seen since, well, prior to the season when their new menu items even made it onto Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

That aside, the blogosphere in Northeast Ohio has paid much more attention to the Indians’ little brother than they have in past years, and the coverage has largely revolved around the potential for the rebranding.

Perhaps it has to do with my traditionalist mindset, or the fact that I did intern for the team for a summer under their current name, but either way, while I love the team receiving publicity, I will cast my vote for the Aeros.


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