The New York Yankees have decided to bring back a little classic Scranton-icity to their RailRiders brand, but not in the way you might be thinking.
No, this ownership group has decided to pay a subtle ode to the history of the Scranton franchise — not “The Office,” though a “Poor Richard’s Pub” jersey would actually be pretty great.
We’re throwing things back to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons day, otherwise known as the name and branding of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ International League affiliate from 1989-2006 (yes, you can spot their bobblehead on the ‘Office’ set, too).
The Yankees took over the affiliation prior to the 2007 season and tried to strip the locals of their branding, adding a RailRider, which appears to be … some sort of beaver gnawing a train track? Not sure. Not from the area.
It’s always been ironic, though, because Scranton’s existing primary logo was an interlocking SWB, which seemed to go hand-in-hand with decades of Yankees branding as long as the colors got switched.
Proudly, that’s the moment we’ve arrived at this week. The Phillies’ SWB is back as an alternate jersey and hat combination, though it’s only navy blue and white this time.
Yankees borrow Phillies logo for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
We would say this is just a neat throwback, but it’s also yet another signal that, under MLB leadership, the Yankees plan to get less and less playful with their minor-league affiliates as the years go by.
First came last year’s Hudson Valley rebranding announcement, where it was made clear the two hat options would be an interlocking HV, Yankees-style, or a Yankees recoloring of the old Renegades raccoon tail logo. Now we’ve got Scranton introducing a non-gold-tinged alternate that could easily become their primary in the years to come.
How the Somerset Patriots got away with red, white and blue caps while the Tampa Tarpons have continued being represented by fish tails we’ll never know.
A similar “offense” led to a lawsuit in Staten Island. Just saying.
We appreciate the return to tradition — and the head nod to the region — but we hope fun remains a core element of the Yankees’ branch of minor-league baseball.
Have you seen the other old Red Barons logo? With the vintage WW1 war plane? Bring that back, too, while we’re at it.