Is the Ostrich growing on you?
This story originally published on

Managing Editor
Posted Jan 19, 2013

The new branding of the Reading baseball team wasn't a hit with everybody when it was initially announced in November. Now though, fans seem to be a little more accepting of the quirky, but feisty ostrich that identifies the team.

You have to admit, having an ostrich as a team mascot is an interesting move. When the Reading Phillies drew from the fan favorite Crazy Hot Dog Vendor character, who "rides" into the park on his trusty ostrich, for their new logo, not everybody was sold.

I remember being in the press box of the annual Lehigh/Lafayette football game the day the rebranding of the Reading Phillies was announced. The Phillies were going to be gone from the moniker and there was a lot of speculation as to what the new logo would look like. What would the nickname be?

After seeing the new logo, I leaned over to another writer and announced. "The Reading Phillies new logo is an ostrich with its fists up and the team is going to be called the Fightins!"

"No, really" I had to say as I turned my laptop to show off the new logo.

The initial reactions weren't impressive and I kind of got tired of saying, "I'm serious."

Well, that was two months ago and I've seen the logo off-and-on, here-and-there and I have to admit; I wouldn't mind adding an ostrich logo enriched t-shirt to my collection.

The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. Inspiration for the Reading Fightins logo.
There's something about the name and the logo that are growing on me and I'm not alone. Fans and friends who had texted, tweeted and otherwise contacted me right after the announcement weren't enamored with the ostrich. But now, some of those same fans are having the same reaction that I have had and are viewing the ostrich differently.

Maybe it's the uniqueness. Maybe it's the fact that the ostrich looks like a pretty mean sort of guy and nobody wants to be the first guy to get his butt kicked by an ostrich mascot.

After all, the ostrich is the largest bird in the world. And, it's the only remaining species of a very primitive order of birds. No, I didn't know those facts; I looked them up. I also found out that an ostrich can kill a predator, like a lion or a tiger, with a single kick. And further, if you were to take a bunch of ostrich eggs from different hens and mix them up, the hens would be able to identify their specific eggs. Not sure what that has to do with making an ostrich a prime choice for a team mascot, but it's interesting.

Time will tell how successful the marketing of an ostrich logo will be. After all, no matter how you slice it, when you rebrand a team, as the Reading franchise did, you're thinking marketing. You're thinking hats, shirts and everything else you can put a cool logo on and sell.

The name and logo are growing on a segment of fans who buy - literally - into these things and if for no other reason, that should help to make it a success.

I'll leave you with one last ostrich fact; An ostriches eye is bigger than its brain. Funny, that's exactly what I initially thought of the people who came up with the idea for the rebranded Reading Fightins.

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