WOONSOCKET – WooSox? More like BooSox.
At least, that’s what city resident Kathy Sayaphat thinks of the Worcester Red Sox’ logo and team nickname, which were unveiled on Monday night.
On Tuesday afternoon, Sayaphat got her first look at the franchise’s logo – a round, ballcap-clad smiley face in red stockings swinging a baseball bat – and visibly recoiled when she caught a glimpse of the franchise’s symbol for 2021 and beyond.
“I don’t know about the logo. I can’t take it seriously, it looks like a cartoon,” she said with a laugh. “It’s a joke, the smiley face … So overall, do I like it? No.”
“From PawSox to WooSox … W-O-O, I see it more as ‘Woo-nsocket,” the local resident said.
According to officials with the ball club, more than 1,000 people submitted 218 unique names, but the Worcester Red Sox on Monday night announced that the fans’ longtime front runner – the WooSox – would be the nickname of the Boston Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate when the team relocates north from Pawtucket to Worcester, Mass. for the 2021 season.
Among the 218 nickname submissions included the Canal Sox, Candlepins, Duck Boats, Fighting Lobsters, Heart Sox, Polar Bears, Red Stockings, Ruby Legs, Twistahs, Wicked Worms, and even “the Massholes.”
The club’s new logo acknowledges the birthplace of the smiley face – the original Smiley Face was drawn in 1963 by Worcester advertising executive Harvey Ball – and the Heart of the Commonwealth, as well as the 1880 Worcesters of the National League, and the left-handed home run swings of Red Sox legends Ted Williams and David Ortiz.
Louise, a North Smithfield resident who opted not to give her last name, conceded that the rotund smiling orb was “cute” but took issue with the rebranding of the franchise.
“It’s kind of silly. Just the name, I mean, ‘PawSox.’ Of course we were so used to PawSox, but ‘WooSox?’ They wooed the Sox away from us...” she said. “I know that we’ve enjoyed many an evening down there and certainly won’t go to Worcester.”
Ronald Thifault, a Woonsocket resident, shared the sentiment, saying he was generally fine with the new logo but could not wrap his arms around the new team name.
“I’m not crazy about it. I don’t know, just the ‘Woo.’ It’s a little strong, yeah,” he said, adding: “The logo’s OK, I’d buy a t-shirt with that on it.”
Thifault has had Pawtucket Red Sox season tickets at McCoy Stadium for the past five seasons and said as a longtime PawSox fan, he was “kind of heartbroken” that the upcoming season will be the final year for professional baseball in Pawtucket.
“I like it down there, I didn’t go to all the games but I must have caught at least 20 or 30 a year,” he said. When asked if he, as a Woonsocket resident about equidistant between Worcester and Pawtucket, would traverse north to see as many WooSox games, Thifault responded he would not.
“Not as many, not as many,” he said. “Just the distance, there might be a little bit of traffic.”
However, Blackstone Valley residents were not entirely opposed to the ball club’s new moniker or symbol. Ten-year-old Kayla Denton of Woonsocket said she found the smiling logo to be “cute.”
“The little yellow guy, he reminds me of an emoji,” she said.
And while Cathleen Denton of Woonsocket agreed, saying that the yellow ball was cute, she was left unimpressed by the club’s nickname.
“I think the name could’ve used a little bit more imagination,” she said of the WooSox sobriquet. “They didn’t put any thought into the name.”