THE PHILLIES' NEW Triple A affiliate

in Allentown is awash in controversy

4 months before it even plays its first game.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs named its mascot "PorkChop" until it found out the name was

offensive to Hispanics. The IronPigs dropped

the name 2 days later and announced its mascot will be called "Ferrous."

Only 32 fans reportedly picked the name "PorkChop" for the mascot. "Ferrous," from the Latin word "ferrum" or iron, received the most fan votes with 235. There were more than 7,300 fan submissions.

We always chuckled at the team's name, the "IronPigs," but hey, minor league baseball is booming and silly nicknames must be part of

the appeal. We do applaud the team for being

sensitive to the community's concerns.

"We were really unaware of any negative

connotations with the word 'pork chop,' " general manager Kurt Landes said. "If it offended a few, it's a few too many."

Guillermo Lopez, vice president of the Latino Leadership Alliance, said he was called "pork chop" when he worked at Bethlehem Steel

decades ago.

"If my parents were alive, they'd be having fits," said Lopez, among those who complained to the team. "It meant much more to them than it does to Puerto Ricans now in the Lehigh Valley."

Can't believe this happens in Philly

Let's see if we have this right: The Flyers can't stop dangerously hitting opponents in the head, the Eagles can't remember to hand off the ball to Brian Westbrook, the

Phillies can't find any pitching (for what might be the 88th

consecutive season) and the

Sixers can't give tickets away.

A local channel can't find a way to put a Big 5 game on television in this college hoops wonderland, A.J. Feeley can't play anymore this wasted season (please, if not McNabb, then Kolb), and the Phillies can't be serious about an everyday outfield of Pat

Burrell, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth. *

- Chuck Bausman