The Lehigh Valley IronPigs minor league baseball team is changing its name.
For just one night, that is.
On June 10, Coca-Cola Park in east Allentown will transform into “Salute to Philadelphia Night,” when the Lehigh Valley IronPigs face off in a Friday-night game against the Durham Bulls.
For that night, the IronPigs – the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies – will be known as the Lehigh Valley Cheesesteaks.
The promotion is a salute to its parent club’s home city. The cheesesteak was invented in Philadelphia in the 1930s and is referred to as both a civic icon and a cultural obsession.
The campaign also is a way to foster the deep connection that Philadelphia has with the Lehigh Valley. In 1777, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was temporarily moved and hidden in Allentown so that the British army wouldn’t melt it for munitions.
“We’ve officially raised the ‘steaks,’ ” said IronPigs president and general manager Kurt Landes. “As a Phillies affiliate, we can’t wait to celebrate all things Philadelphia, including the iconic cheesesteak.”
The team that night will sport black jerseys with the word “Steaks” embroidered across the front, complete with the appearance of dripping cheese.
To determine what hat the players will wear, part of the promotion is allowing IronPigs fans to vote on the proper way to eat a cheesesteak – coining it as “wit” or “witout” onions.
“The fan experience is a crucial component to any successful promotion,” Jon Schaeffer, vice president, media/communications for the IronPigs, said this morning.
Leading up to June 10, fans are encouraged to vote for the cheesesteak hat by using social media and the hashtags #TeamWit or #TeamWitout, on a website set up just for the promotion at www.lvcheesesteaks.com or through an Uber app.
“This is the largest social [media] campaign we’ve ever executed,” Schaeffer said.
To vote using Uber, fans enter a promo code of “TeamWIT” or “TeamWITOUT.” By voting on Uber, fans also enter for a chance to win one of nine IronPigs prizes, including 10 club-level tickets to the June 10 game as well as Lehigh Valley Cheesesteaks merchandise.
Also at the June 10 game, additional activities will include an appearance by the Phillie Phanatic, a cheesesteak-eating competition and Philadelphia-themed music, while Brown Daub Kia in Palmer Township is sponsoring a post-game fireworks display.
The IronPigs 2016 home opener is Thursday, April 14, with the first pitch at 7:05 p.m. against the Pawtucket Red Sox.