More on Reading: New Name Revealed!

Just gonna have to be a different man

– David Bowie

It’s going to be way better, and that’s no crap.

– Scott Hunsicker, General Manager of the Reading…

It’s always about the money.

– Truth


The research team here in Kram’s Korner has been hard at work on this Reading name issue.  Here’s what we’ve learned:

Since the big announcement last week, I haven’t met one person in favor of the Reading Phillies’ name change.  Some are agnostic, “Well, what’s the new one?”  And, others have gone so far as to cancel their season tickets and/or vow never to return to First Energy in Baseballtown.  There are questions, though.  Questions that need answers.  Here they are:

1. Why would they do this?

2. What’s the new name?

3. What were they thinking?

4. Who’s fault is this?

5. No, seriously, why would they do such a thing?

Theory:  They’re doing this to sell more hats and jerseys.

In an interview with writer Anthony Burkhart, Reading GM Scott Hunsicker says that merchandise sales account for only 5% of overall revenue, and that’s not enough reason to change 46 years of tradition.

As I said in my response to Dan’s post last week, I think this is only partially correct.  It’s not about selling more Reading hats and Reading jerseys; it’s about Philadelphia.  If you want to buy a Phillies hat or a Phillies jersey, MLB wants you to buy a PHILADELPHIA Phillies jersey.  They don’t want you buying a Reading Phillies jersey.  Or, you  can buy both.  It’s always about the money…

I have only circumstantial evidence to back me up, but here in kram’s korner, we believe that an edict was sent out from MLB to its affiliates some time ago which said this (or, something to this effect):

“Look, we want y’all to have your own identity.  You’ll do better selling hats and jerseys and if your affiliation changes you can maintain that name.  If your identity has a local connection that will help you in your marketing and in connecting with local fans.  We won’t put a time limit on it, but we strongly suggest you make this change.” 

Many affiliates have changed, including the Clearwater Phillies to Threshers, and our rivals to the north, the SWB soon-to-be Trolley Frogs.  I think the PawSox are getting close to phasing out Red Sox in favor of Paw Sox, which everyone calls them anyway.  We’ll have to keep an eye on Gwinnette.

So there’s your reason.  I can’t prove it, but the pieces are starting to fit together.  They say this has been a process 18 months in the making–so they’ve been working on this for a while, until they could find something suitable.  They needed to find something with the Philadelphia connection as the Phillies tradition in Reading probably exceeds any pure local connection (like, say, “engineers” or “trainmen” or something). 

So what did they come up with?


Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level

6 replies

  1. My only problem with your theory Kram is the fact that very few merchandise items had the “Phillies” name on them. Most of Reading’s merchandise had either an “R” or “R-Phils”, even their jerseys said “Reading” not “Phillies”.
    I am one of those people extremely upset by this. Reading residents are not happy. For most of us, 2-3 generations now have grown up with it being the R-Phils!!! My dad went to R-Phil’s games as a kid growing up here in Reading, he brought my brother and I down at least once a year growing up, and I’ve been taking my niece and nephews for the last few years. It’s not even just rebranding/renaming a team, they are in actuality changing the identity of this city.

    • Well put.
      I think the edict came from MLB to MiLB, not specifically from Philadelphia to Reading. Think of the SWB team: They could certainly sell Yankees stuff in Moosic, but don’t you think the Evil Empire would rather have you buying NEW YORK Yankees stuff? As a whole, the MLB wanted to make sure their affiliates wouldn’t be in competition with them in any way. It’s the same reason there couldn’t be affiliated minor league ball in Allentown for so many years, until Philadelphia but their blessing on it.

  2. May I assume that in addition to the teams already mentioned, we can also expect name changes for the following teams:
    Binghamton Mets, Bluefield Blue Jays, Bristol White Sox, Burlington Royals, Connecticut Tigers, Danville Braves, Daytona Cubs, Dunedin Blue Jays, Elizabethton Twins, Grand Junction Rockies, Helena Brewers, Iowa Cubs, Johnson City Cardinals, Kingsport Mets, Mississippi Braves, Palm Beach Cardinals, Potomac Nationals, Princeton Rays, Pulaski Mariners, Rome Braves, Salem Red Sox, San Jose Giants, Spokane Indians, Springfield Cardinals, St. Lucie Mets, Staten Island Yankees, Tampa Yankees and Tucson Padres. I’m not sure the Indianapolis Indians would qualify since they aren’t affiliated with the Indians of Cleveland. Sounds like there will be plenty of job security at Majestic Athletic, a division of the VF Corporation in Reading, PA since 2008. .

    • Yeah!

      I mean, I don’t know that a time frame was mandated, so it might take some time. It will be interesting to look at this again in, say, 2015 or 2020. Perhaps some of the rookie or short-season teams will remain with the MLB name just to connect, since they’re so far from the Show.

      And remember, my evidence is mostly circumstantial, and some of this is conjecture.

      • I would think if this was a mandate that maybe it came from the Phillies rather than MLB but then again, maybe this is just a stunt to drum up interest in R-Phils merchandise for Christmas. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if on the day the announcement is to be made they come out and say “gotcha”.

        • Well, since the name’s already been leaked as “Fightins” then it is kinda still Phillies…. It’s changing but it’s not. Still, if you’re jonesing for Reading Phillies gear, it might not be a bad idea to grab some of it now before it becomes defunct. Some of it is on sale at pretty good prices last time I checked the online store. I hope I can still get a blue R cap at some point.

          I still think it’s MLB overall, maybe not an enforceable edict, but a strong recommendation that they make some changes. I can certainly see why the Yankees would want to keep all things Yankee in the Bronx…wouldn’t be surprised if their other teams are the next to change–other than perhaps rookie and short season.

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