AKRON, Ohio - The Akron Aeros are no more. But the team isn't moving anywhere.
Instead, the Double-A affiliate team of the Cleveland Indians has adopted a new identity, choosing to hue closer to the city's iconic rubber industry.
So Tuesday morning, team owner Ken Babby announced the name change to the Akron RubberDucks , featuring a duck logo with tire-tread marks and font.
The new look brings a change in the color scheme too. Now the team will sport uniforms with colors like "Blue Flame, Racing Yellow, Fire Orange and Tire Black."
These changes follow a successful year. According to a news release, more than 295,000 fans visited the team at Canal Park in downtown Akron in 2013.
Our news partners at the Akron Beacon Journal noted that, in the past, fans were asked to vote on name changes. But team owners made the call this time around.
Fans from Fairlawn to downtown Akron weren't sure if the team name and logo is a good marketing strategy or not. Akron Aeros fan Tom Herron thinks the new name is something his grandchildren are more likely to embrace.
"Rubber ducks is something my grandchildren play with. I think it's not a name for a sports team. I think it needs to be something more manly, more masculine. The Aeros is great, I wouldn't change it for anything," said Herron.
Younger fans like Christy Pfaho and Ben Tisdale were shaking their heads when we told them of the team's announcement Tuesday morning.
"Yeah, I do think of a bathtub. I think of as bathtub, I think of an animated show," said Tisdale. "Definitely not of baseball."
"I don't think it sounds very good, mighty. I think of kids, children, ducks, toys. Yeah, I don't like that," said Pfaho. "I wouldn't want to be on that team. I would not want to wear a sweatshirt that says the Rubber Ducks."
But fans of the Aeros team that buy tickets to summertime seats to watch the franchise's winning ways like Mike Brookman doesn't think a name change will change the way players perform on the field.
"Probably won't make a difference to me, I'll still come to the games, have a good time when I go. Love the fireworks nights. It's all been good so far," said Brookman.
Strolling by Canal Park, where the Rubber Ducks will start up minor league baseball again in the spring, downtown worker Barbara Davis looked up at the new banner on a large brick building wall. She said since this is the sixth name change since the franchise started in 1980 in Lynn, Massachusetts, it won't make much of a difference to Akron area fans. The name is unique.
"It's different, but it will be okay. People will get used to it. People get used to change. It will probably be okay. It's just a change," said Davis.
Davis' friend Liz Deal said the unique name may not catch on, or be intimidating to opponents. The Rubber Ducks' front office may need to listen to the fans.
"I think something that is maybe powerful, or something that's different to draw attention to your name," said Deal. "This one may not be positive, but it's got our attention."