Just two days after naming its mascot PorkChop, the Philadelphia Phillies' new minor-league franchise dropped the nickname after getting complaints from Hispanics that it was offensive.
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs - whose mascot is a giant, fuzzy pig - had chosen PorkChop from more than 7,000 fan entries. The triple-A team announced Monday that the mascot will now be dubbed Ferrous.
General manager Kurt Landes said he heard from several Hispanics who said the original name was derogatory.
He said the team was "really unaware of any negative connotations" with the original name. "If it offended a few, it's a few too many," he said.
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."
The IronPigs' new nickname - Ferrous - comes from the Latin word "ferrum," which means relating to or containing iron. Ferrous was the most popular submission in the Name the Mascot competition. The name received 235 of the 7,345 suggestions.
The team is scheduled to move to Allentown for the 2008 season, after playing 2007 as the Ottawa Lynx. A new stadium is under construction in east Allentown.
The Phillies ended their 18-year run with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after the 2006 season. The Red Barons are now affiliated with the New York Yankees, beginning in 2007.
The Lehigh Valley has not had a major league-affiliated baseball team since 1960, when the Allentown Red Sox left for Johnstown. The Allentown Red Sox played at Breadon Field (later called Max Hess Stadium) from 1958-1960, at the site where the Lehigh Valley Mall stands today.