It's been known for a little while that the Yankees' Moosic, Pennsylvania–based Triple-A affiliate would be getting a new mascot. After some time as the Red Barons, they've just been the Yankees for a few years — of "Scranton/Wilkes-Barre," officially, but "Empire State" while playing home games in New York — and along with new ownership and a refurbished stadium, they'd like a name of their own.
Via Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk, the franchise is down to six finalists for the new mascot. Here's the full list and voting spot, along with explanations for each nominee. The six finalists — Blast, Black Diamond Bears, Fireflies, RailRiders, Porcupines, and Trolley Frogs — pay homage to either the area's history of coal mining and rail transportation or to some local fauna. Blast, of course, also invokes the "over-the-top fun of MiLB" and "the sound of the Yankees of tomorrow blasting home runs in front of a packed house at PNC Field," while Black Diamond Bears is a mash-up of local fauna and a mining reference.
So, what do we like? My personal preferences dictate that mass nouns are irritating and impermissible, so Blast is out of the question, "over-the-top fun" or not. Meanwhile, "Scranton/Wilkes-Barre" is already a pretty unwieldy title (it could be replaced as well, but just to be safe), so appending a long name like Black Diamond Bears would be brutal. Trolley Frogs is pretty awesome, but like Calcaterra mentioned, it just sounds like an epithet of some sort.
Finally, one has to consider the actual man-size mascot who'll be patrolling the stadium in costume. Of our remaining names, RailRiders would have to be an engineer or a conductor or something. Or perhaps some sort of anthropomorphic Thomas the Tank Engine–like train. Animal names lend themselves much more to a mascot. A big, rowdy porcupine could be pretty cool. A firefly, meanwhile, would end up looking something like this, which seems less than ideal. On the other hand, it could have a light-up butt. Actually, that could be great. Their uniforms could have neon butts or something! And their pump-up music could be everyone's favorite Owl City jam!
Okay, I'm sold on Fireflies and will vote accordingly. Porcupines is second for me, because I love porcupines, and because "Pulled Porky-Pine Sandwiches" sound wonderful. After those two, I'm uninspired, but perhaps you disagree.