AKRON (Oct. 30, 2013) — "A rose by any other name," William Shakespeare wrote, "would smell as sweet."
I wonder if that applies to minor league baseball teams because the Double-A affiliate team of the Cleveland Indians formerly known as the Akron Aeros just got a name change: Akron Rubber Ducks.
Queue the music for "Rubber Ducky" from Sesame Street as you read along.
Now I know that I could spend awhile talking about yellow rubber duckies in the bathtub or how Bert and Ernie should play first and second base in the line up next season. After all, when people think about rubber ducks, these are likely some of the thoughts that come to mind.
Plenty of fans have spoken out about the Rubber Ducks sounding like a children's toy, not a grownup baseball league team. I think this is a valid point, however, as a member of the tire industry, I see it a bit differently.
Maybe it is because I research tires all day long. Maybe it's because I was never that invested in the Akron Aeros name. Maybe it's because one of my favorite childhood movies was The Mighty Ducks — OK, so it was about a rag-tag youth hockey team — but I think this could give way to a spinoff. Regardless, when I saw the news, I got excited.
As all of us know, Akron is synonymous with rubber, so why not have a sports team with its wings ensnared in that history? (One news report pointed out that the very first rubber duck was actually molded right here in Akron.)
There is such a historical meaning behind the new name and I find that unique.
There is something to be said for that. With Goodyear's recently opening its global headquarters and Bridgestone Americas opening its technical center here in Akron, some of the largest tire manufacturers in the world are telling us that Akron is still the "Rubber City."
Ken Babby, the Ducks' new owner and CEO, posted a letter on akronrubberducks.com that said, "Our goal was to create a new identity that reflected Akron's heritage and the type of organization we are building, steeped in family fun and entertainment at an affordable price."
He added that he knows many fans have a special connection to the Aeros name and that "the Aeros' history is, and always will be, part of the Akron Rubber Ducks' history."
He said that Orbit, the mascot of the Aeros, will remain part of the Rubber Ducks along with a new mascot that will be introduced in the coming weeks.
Still not sold on the idea? Check out the logo. It's pretty awesome. Besides the fact that the duck has a menacing, "let's get down to business" look, he also wears a pretty cool tire-tread haircut (Do ducks have hair? Well, maybe feathercut).
The name change may have come as a surprise for a lot of people, but not all changes have to be bad.
To promote the name change, the Akron Rubber Ducks organization is holding a sweepstakes, visit akronrubberducks.com for more information.