New York Yankees were “embarrassed” by Staten Island team’s Pizza Rats name

Scenes from Wednesday's game between the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Staten Island Yankees at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill on July 10, 2019.Renegades Vs Yankees
Scenes from Wednesday's game between the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Staten Island Yankees at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill on July 10, 2019.Renegades Vs Yankees /
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Before MLB brought minor league baseball teams into their fold and eliminated more than 40 teams after the 2020 season (last games played were in 2019 due to the pandemic), the Staten Island Yankees were the Short-Season A affiliate for the New York Yankees.

The Staten Island Yankees were affiliated with the New York Yankees since their inception in 1999 but, according to recent reports, the relationship started to fray in 2018.

The New York Yankees weren’t happy when their MiLB team became the “Staten Island Pizza Rats” for one night

According to The New York Post, court documents that were recently made public in a breach of contract lawsuit that was filed in 2020 by the Staten Island Yankees with MLB show just how embarrassed the New York Yankees were when its minor-league affiliate temporarily rebranded itself the “Staten Island Pizza Rats” during the 2018 season.

According to the documents, in a June 15, 2018 email, Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost said the club had “absolute distain (sic)” over the Staten Island Yankees’ decision to honor what is an infamous moment in New York City history. In 2015, there was a rodent who went viral on social media because it was pulling a greasy slice of pizza down a subway staircase.

The video has nearly 12 million views on YouTube.

Trost thought that making light of that incident would tarnish the New York Yankees themselves.

"“Regardless of the fact that it is to be used during the 2018 season on a limited basis, the STATEN ISLAND YANKEES’ ballplayers, drafted by the New York Yankees and part of the New York Yankees’ player pool (and future New York Yankees players) are to be publicly displayed in ‘Pizza Rat’ uniforms and hats,” Trost said in the email to Staten Island Yankees President Will Smith.“This is not only an embarrassment to the New York Yankees franchise, it flies in the face” of earlier contracts between both sides, claimed Trost."

Smith claimed in an email back to Trost that the Yankees agreed to the promotion. The Staten Island claim in court documents in their lawsuit that the New York Yankees threatened to not renew their affiliation with Staten Island to block the “Pizza Rats” name from coming to fruition on the field.

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Unfortunately for the New York Yankees and MLB, with the dissolution of one-quarter of the minor league teams in baseball, they have a lot of lawsuits on their hands and will for the foreseeable future.