Tag Archives: Akron Aeros

Aeros Name Change to RubberDucks is an Embarrassment to Akron

by Ryan Isley

When I looked at the calendar on Tuesday, it said that it was October 29th. I had to look again, because after seeing that the Akron Aeros were changing their name to the Akron RubberDucks, I could have sworn it was April 1st.

Seriously? The RUBBERDUCKS???

When I think of rubber ducks, I think Sesame Street and Ernie singing “Rubber ducky, you’re the one. You make bath time so much fun.” The last thing I think of is a professional baseball team. This isn’t a Disney movie and Emilio Estevez isn’t going to teach them the “Flying V” formation.

While I understand they wanted to pay homage to the history of the rubber industry in the city of Akron, there had to be a better way to do so than to name the team the RubberDucks. How about the Rubber City Aeros, for instance?

Using the RubberDucks opens the door for all kinds of jokes and ridicule, most of which found their way to Twitter and Facebook soon after the announcement was made. It brought unnecessary negative attention to the city of Akron instead of excitement over the improvements that have already been made at Canal Park and the ones that are still planned.

Making matters even worse, I drove through downtown Akron Tuesday evening and saw the huge banner for the RubberDucks that is hung across the street from Canal Park. It reads “Affordable. Family. Fun.”  In and of itself, that message is exactly what you want to use to promote minor league baseball. After all, minor league baseball is all about being able to take the family out to the ballpark without having to take a mortgage out on the house. However, what caught my eye was the cartoonish font in which these words were written. It was like something straight out of a Looney Tunes episode.

The name isn’t the only thing I have a problem with throughout this entire process, either. The way the move to RubberDucks was sold to fans was a complete farce.

“During this rebranding process, we listened to our fans,” RubberDucks owner Ken Babby said in a statement.

That’s funny, because when asked to vote on a name in 2011, fans of the baseball team chose to keep Aeros over the other choices they were given, including RubberDucks. In fact, the final tally wasn’t even close as Aeros won by garnering an overwhelming 67% of the votes.

So was this really a case of Babby listening to the fans, or was it a cash grab as he is entering his second season of ownership? It would seem to me that it is the latter.

You see, there are really only two legitimate reasons to change the name of a team who is staying in the same city: either the original name of the team is offensive to a group of people, or the owner wants to maximize profits by “rebranding,” therefore forcing fans to buy new merchandise.

And there sure as hell aren’t any red space cats walking around Akron protesting the name Aeros or their mascot, Orbit.

Babby is a businessman first and foremost. And while I respect that he has committed $5 million of his own money to grow the team and make renovations to Canal Park, he knows that he needs to recoup that money in some fashion. What better way to do that then to completely change the identity of the team? This would also be the perfect time to put the change in place, as the Aeros had a 12% increase in attendance from 2012 to 2013. That means more people in the stadium, which means more people in the team shop, which ultimately means more merchandise sales. Seeing as how Babby didn’t make any money off merchandise sales in the team’s first 16 seasons, it would make sense that he wants to strike while the iron is hot.

But if that is the case, just be upfront and honest. Selling this as listening to the fans when the fans clearly voted against the name just two years ago is a slap to the face of Akron fans. We didn’t want it then and we don’t want it now. And now to have our intelligence insulted? I think I will find other ways to spend my money next summer.

And that is coming from someone who has supported this team in Akron from day one.

Comments? Questions? You can leave them here or email Ryan at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on Twitter @isley23.

My Two Cents on The Mudsummer Classic, the Akron Aeros and Mothers & Sons

by Ryan Isley

Well, this certainly was a busy week in sports.

There were multiple Ohio State football players in the news, with investigations pending that could affect the upcoming season. There was a major suspension in baseball due to PED use, with more certain to come. The New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez continued their ridiculous soap opera. Aaron Hernandez was back in court, and a photo that seems to be pretty bad for his defense surfaced.

And oh yeah, the Indians started the second half of the season 2-4 and the Browns started training camp. If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings on those two stories and their relationship to each other.

Anyway, on to this week’s topics for My Two Cents:

On “Mudsummer Classic”:

When NASCAR announced last November that they were going to bring a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race to Eldora Speedway to race on the dirt, there is no way they could have foreseen the success of the race. While fans seemed excited when the announcement was made, NASCAR had to be cautiously optimistic until the race actually happened.

Other than making this an actual points race for the season, I thought NASCAR handled this race and the format perfectly. Having the five qualifying races plus the last chance race to set the field for the main event had the feel of what happens at tracks all around the country every weekend.

The race was so much fun for racing fans to watch, as could be told by the number of tweets that were blowing up my timeline on Twitter Wednesday night. The tweets weren’t just from normal fans, either. There were numerous tweets from NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers throughout the evening as well.

Speed Channel also announced that this was their highest-rated race all season, eclipsing even the truck race at Daytona. How rare is that? Eight of the 10 highest rated truck races have been at Daytona, with the ninth one being at Talladega. That means of the ten highest rated races, nine were at superspeedways and one was on a dirt track on a Wednesday night.

Now, it is time for NASCAR to take my suggestion and have the Sprint Cup Series race in a Monday night…

On The Akron Aeros:

While the main point of minor league baseball is for players to work their way to the Major Leagues, the goal of the team is to make the game as fan-friendly as possible. This is exactly what new Akron Aeros owner Ken Babby and his team did a couple of weeks ago on Saturday, July 13.

The Aeros had planned a night with Corbin Bernsen in which the team was giving away a Roger Dorn Snow Globe to the first 1,000 fans, Dorn being the player that Bernsen portrayed in the Major League movie trilogy. Unfortunately, the Aeros were informed on the afternoon of the game that the snow globes were not able to be delivered in time for them to give the fans their giveaway.

The team acted quickly, making it right for the fans by offering those who would have received a snow globe a ticket for the next day’s game, in which they would be able to get their giveaway. They also gave these fans an 8×10 glossy of Bernsen as Dorn to get signed, as Bernsen signed autographs for fans in the second inning. The team made sure to make it clear to fans what was happening, posting plenty of signs around the outside of the stadium.

When I tweeted a question to the Aeros to inquire if fans who were in line Saturday couldn’t return on Sunday would be able to still acquire their snow globe, they quickly sent me a direct message and said I could pick it up anytime in the coming week at the stadium. In fact, they decided to give fans two weeks to pick up their snow globes to ensure that those who were there in time were given every opportunity to get one.

Under Babby, it seems that the Aeros are focusing on doing whatever it takes to make sure the fans are satisfied. And isn’t that what minor league baseball is all about anyway?

About Mothers & Sons:

It is funny how things happen sometimes.

I have had the ESPN “Nine for IX” episode about Pat Summitt (Pat XO) on my DVR for weeks and on Wednesday of this week, I decided to finally sit down and watch it. Little did I know that by the end of the hour, I would be reaching for the tissues to wipe away tears.

Let me explain…

This Saturday would have been my mom’s birthday. As those of you who have read my work on here or follow me on Twitter or know me personally, you know my mom passed away two years ago this past February. I have written about what she meant to me and about the relationship we had.

This brings me back the Pat Summitt story. It was told through the eyes of those who know her best, but also through the eyes of her son, Tyler. The main focus is Tyler and Pat sitting on a couch going through a scrapbook with Tyler helping his mom remember all of the memories from her career.

You see, Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.

Watching the relationship between Tyler and Pat reminded me of the one I had with my mom, especially over her last couple of years. You have the sense that Tyler would drop anything to help out Pat when she needs him, the same way I was willing to do so for my mom. There is just something to be said about relationships like that. It goes beyond being mother and son and becomes a friendship.

While I have always respected Pat Summitt, because of this show, I have a newfound respect for Ross Tyler Summitt as well.

Comments? Questions? You can leave them here or email Ryan at [email protected]

Alex White Extreme DUI Not Excusable…Nor is it a Shock

by Ryan Isley

Usually when you see the term ‘BA .174’ next to a pitcher’s name, it would be a positive thing because it would be the opponent’s batting average against that pitcher. In the case of Colorado Rockies pitcher Alex White, ‘BA .174’ was about as negative as you could ever have because the ‘BA’ stood for ‘blood alcohol’ instead of ‘batting average’.

This time, even I can’t defend White. For those of you who know me or at least follow me on Twitter, you know that is saying something.

Listen, athletes are going to make mistakes. They are human after all, and all of us humans make mistakes. However, when an athlete make a glaring mistake like White did this past week, it is going to be magnified to the one millionth degree – and they need to remember that.

When White was pulled over late Saturday night and later arrested on charges that were first reported as DUI, he forgot that simple lesson about his life being in the spotlight. But that is no excuse for the 23-year-old’s actions.

Continue reading Alex White Extreme DUI Not Excusable…Nor is it a Shock

MTAF Morning News – Wednesday, August 17

By Ryan Isley

Ugh-Baldo and the Indians Fall:

What do you get when you combine bad starting pitching, bad defense and bad umpiring? You get Tuesday night’s Indians loss in a nutshell.

For the second straight Tuesday night, the Cleveland Indians played a 14-inning game in which their starting pitcher had a short outing. Unfortunately this time, the Indians lost and the short start had nothing to do with the weather.

Ubaldo Jimenez took the mound for his third start as a member of the Indians last night and lasted just 4 2/3 innings and gave up five runs on nine hits on 105 pitches. He left the game down 5-2 but the Indians offense came right back to tie the game in the top of the 6th on RBI singles by Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana and a bases loaded walk by Jason Donald.

Continue reading MTAF Morning News – Wednesday, August 17

Alex White Confirmed The Trade In The Parking Lot

By Ryan Isley

Saturday night started as any other normal night at the ballpark. I had decided to go to Canal Park in Akron and buy a ticket to check out the Akron Aeros because Drew Pomeranz was supposed to start the game and with him on a pitch count, Alex White would be called on to relieve him. White was in Akron on a rehab assignment, trying to come back from a finger injury.

Four hours after I entered the gates, my brain was still spinning, my cell phone was dying and my Twitter account was blowing up.

Continue reading Alex White Confirmed The Trade In The Parking Lot

The Return of Grady Sizemore

After almost a year without Grady Sizemore, the center fielder was activated this morning and will be leading off against Balitmore when the Tribe goes for their third sweep of the 2011 season at Progressive Field today. Michael Brantley will be given the day off.  Brantley is batting .302 in Sizemore’s absence in the lead off role.

Cleveland Indians Organization Starts Farming

Today is a very special day here in the Down on the Farm folder at 90 Feet and Running, it’s Minor League Opening Day.  The Lake County Captains and the Columbus Clippers are defending their league titles, the Akron Aeros are looking to bounce back from a rare off year and the Kinston Indians want to give the organization something to remember them by in their last year in existence. 

 

Prospect Responsibility

Here at MTAF, we’ve spent countless hours writing, researching and arguing about the Indians players.  We’ve had email strings about Grady Sizemore, Lonnie Chisenhall, Travis Buck, Matt LaPorta and many more of both the Tribe’s established players and the team’s highly touted prospects. 

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Back to the Farm

Since March 11th the Indians major league spring training roster has been cut down from 62 players down to 47, with another cut yet to come. 

Going to AAA Columbus Clippers are RHP Corey Kluber, RHP Hector Rondon, RHP Zack McAllister, INF Jared Goedert, and OF Nick Weglarz.  Going to AA Akron are LHP Kevin de la Cruz and LHP Nick Hagadone.  Finally, the players that are re-assigned to minor league camp, to be placed later are LHP Drew Pomeranz, RHP Zack Putnam, RHP Bryce Stowell, RHP Alex White, CA Jaun Apodaca, CA Chun-Hsiu Chen, 2B Jason Kipnis and 3B Lonnie Chisenhall.

Continue reading Back to the Farm

Nothing Minor About These Promotions

The largest struggle for a minor league baseball club is often not having enough attendance revenue.  These clubs have years of experience dealing with the ever changing lineups that being part of a major league organization saddle entail.  They’ve learned how to coach the young up and comers into contention while keeping the not quite there and the never going to happen guys in good shape, mentally and physically.  But you can’t coach money, you either have it or you don’t.

Continue reading Nothing Minor About These Promotions