Instant reaction to yesterday’s announcement that the Akron Aeros (the Cleveland Indians Double-A affiliate) are now the Akron RubberDucks:

Yesterday I received an alert from Twitter on my phone, saying several people I followed were now following the @AkronRubberDuck. Ok, I’ll bite. So I check it out and see that the RubberDucks are in fact the team formerly known as the Aeros.

Ok. I’m still reading. So I go on to see some reaction to this announcement, which is a smattering of positive (cool logo, awesome name, fun colors) to confused to downright nasty.  I talked to a few people throughout the day about it and tried to take some time to digest it before posting some thoughts. Here are some immediate reactions/thoughts I have:

  1. It’s the minor leagues. This is ok. In case you haven’t glanced at the roster of minor league teams lately, it’s acceptable to be a little…different. In fact, when you consider names like ‘Sand Gnats’, ‘Tin Caps’, ‘Biscuits’, ‘Flying Squirrels’ and ‘Isotopes’ are on the list of 25 coolest names in the minors…well, RubberDucks doesn’t seem so out there.
  2. RubberDucks…kind of “squeaked” up on us, no? I don’t really have an issue with the name. I get it. Akron is proud of its heritage in the rubber industry. And it should be. All of us in Ohio should be, actually. What I have a harder time understanding is…why not let us in on the secret? In the age we live in, where any little bit of news can breed a teaser campaign, why not have fun with this? It’s rubber ducks for cripes sakes. There are all kind of fun things you can do with this. As one of my friends suggested yesterday, fill the canal with rubber ducks a day ahead of time. Have rubber ducks placed throughout the city. I think this would’ve gone a long way in priming the public and building some excitement around the announcement.
  3. IfeelLikeINeedASpace. RubberDucks. When I read it my brain freezes. I feel like I need a space. I’m not sure why the two words are glued together. Just a personal thing.
  4. We’re rubber(ducks) you’re glue…Here’s hoping the RubberDucks branding ‘sticks’ to you. Any time a team or a company changes its brand so radically and quickly you run the risk of only having ‘one shot’ to get your message across. The team seemed prepared to go out with the old and in with the new (new social channels, new site, new signage, etc.) but what about over the long haul? Time will tell and I’m sure the team has a plan (the Aeros always seemed to ‘get it’) but there’s work to be done.
  5. Change is good, especially when its needed. The team has talked about attendance challenges and this move certainly seems to give them an opportunity to build excitement. But the fact is the team knows its largely marketing to families for affordable fun. The RubberDucks would seem to offer them a platform to appeal to this group as well as begin building some traction (no pun intended) within the city.

I’m a huge baseball fan and I have enjoyed watching Aeros games over the years. When the Tribe was in its glory days I loved getting to watch up and comers before they made it (saw CC Sabathia pitch a few times) as well as stars passing through for a rehab game. Whether they are the RubberDucks or Aeros (or Canton Akron Indians) I want them to succeed.

Here’s hoping these RubberDucks are the one…and that they make baseball lots of fun… (go ahead, finish the song in your head).

Photocredit: Ryan Pritt