The Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate has been branded with a new logo and nickname fitting of their new home in the city of Worcester.
The Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox will soon be leaving Pawtucket for a new ballpark in Worcester that is expected to open in the spring of 2021. The team unveiled a new logo and nickname on Monday that initially left some fans underwhelmed, puzzled or disappointed. While I was skeptical of the choices at first, a bit of digging revealed the reasons for these decisions.
The minor league club’s long-time name of PawSox was always fitting. “Paw” works as both a nod to the city of Pawtucket were the team currently resides and a reference to the paw of a polar bear, the team’s mascot. The team will stick with the bear theme when they move to Polar Park but the ties to Pawtucket had to go.
They will also retain a similar structure to their name, replacing Paw with Woo. The WooSox sounds like a group of drunk girls after a round of tequila shots at the bar. While many rolled their eyes at the announcement, the new name seems to be accepted by Worcester natives who affectionately refer to their town as “The Woo.”
It’s not overly creative but WooSox is better than some of the alternatives that were considered. ‘Worcesters,’ ‘Wonderdogs,’ ‘Mudville 9,’ ‘Rocket Sox,’ and ‘Massholes’ range from laughable to baffling.
Then there’s the logo. Is this used to promote a baseball team or to remind us that WalMart is rolling back prices?
The cartoonish image has meaning beyond appealing to young children. The logo pays homage to Harvey Ball, a Worcester native credited with inventing the yellow smiley face.
The heart shape in the center of the W is meant to represent that Worcester is known as the “Heart of the Commonwealth.” Personally, I don’t know anyone who lives East of the city who has ever referred to Worcester as the heart of anything but apparently, this is a real thing that people from the area say about Worcester.
The creators of this logo even put thought into its stance at the plate. According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the logo is intended to capture a mixture of the iconic swings of Ted Williams and David Ortiz. I don’t quite see the resemblance but at least the smiley face is left-handed.
The WooSox team is stuck between their old identity and a new one. The polar bear mascot will be replaced with Smiley Ball with the friendly image plastered on each of the foul poles of a stadium they are calling Polar Park. Why abandon the polar bear theme for something with a strong tie to Worcester if you’re still naming the ballpark after the former mascot? Maybe this is their way of easing into the transition.
Most of the changes appear to connect with the team’s new city even if those of us who live closer to Boston than Worcester don’t recognize it. While some of us view the logo as Pac-Man’s more athletic cousin and the team name as a sign that Rick Flair is fired up for a big match, they have meaning to Worcester natives and should be embraced by the city.