ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Two days after naming its mascot "PorkChop," the Philadelphia Phillies' new Triple-A affiliate abruptly dropped the moniker after receiving complaints from Hispanics that it was offensive.
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs, whose mascot is a large, furry pig, had selected PorkChop from more than 7,300 fan submissions. The team, which begins play in 2008, announced Monday that the mascot will be named "Ferrous" instead.
General Manager Kurt Landes said he heard from several Hispanics who said PorkChop was derogatory.
"We were really unaware of any negative connotations with the word 'pork chop,"' he said. "If it offended a few, it's a few too many."
Guillermo Lopez, vice president of the Latino Leadership Alliance, said he was called "pork chop" when he worked at Bethlehem Steel decades ago.
"If my parents were alive, they'd be having fits," said Lopez, among those who complained to the team. "It meant much more to them than it does to Puerto Ricans now in the Lehigh Valley."
PorkChop had been submitted by 32 fans. The replacement name, Ferrous — from the Latin word "ferrum," or iron — received the most fan nominations, with 235.
The team moved to Allentown from Ottawa — where it was known as the Lynx — following the 2007 season. Construction is wrapping up on a new stadium in east Allentown.