Thursday, September 4, 2008

Amidst Tampa Bay Rays' Turnaround, Pittsburgh Pirates To Change Name To "Rates"

Pittsburgh, PA. (Sept. 4) - Buoyed by the success of the Tampa Bay Rays following their name change, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that, next season, the team will be known as the Rates.

The Rays, who had been known as the Devil Rays since their debut in 1998, dropped the "Devil" portion of their name and changed uniforms. The team is now enjoying its first winning season ever, and is destined to make the playoffs.

"As steeped in tradition as the Pirates franchise is, that does not mean that we are not willing to change with the times," Pirates spokesman Kenneth Franklin said in announcing the change. Franklin added that the team's colors would change from the age-old black and gold to a more "modern" combination of Sky Blue, black, and Sea Foam.

"We're pleased to announce that, beginning with the 2009 season, the Major League Baseball team in Pittsburgh will be known as the Pittsburgh Rates," Franklin said, reading a prepared statement at a press conference in the lobby of the team office. "We are dropping 'Pi' from our name, in keeping with the 21st century baseball fan's desire for sleeker, more streamlined nicknames."

The Pirates have not qualified for the playoffs since 1992, and have not had a winning season since '92, either. They hope to reverse those trends with the new name.

Franklin said the name wouldn't be pronounced with a long "a", is in "prime rates", but would be in keeping with the second syllable of "Pirates", thus meaning the new name will be pronounced "Rets," with a short "e".

"Rhyming with 'bets'," Franklin explained.

The team's logo will also change, as the franchise will part ways with the familiar Pirate, or Buccaneer, and change to something that is "to be announced."

"First, we need to determine exactly what a 'Rate' is, and how it should be portrayed," Franklin said.

He said the team will hold a contest, soliciting fans' visions of what a Rate is.

Early rumors indicated that the decision on a new logo has already been made, negating the need for a contest. Sources say the contenders are: an image of Gone With the Wind hero Rhett Butler; a rat; dollar signs; Willie Stargell; and a python.

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