"What If Night" will explore what an evening of fun, affordable family entertainment at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park would be like if "Spikes" wasn't the nickname of State College and Centre County's first professional sports franchise. To play up the theme of the day, the team will take the field for that night's game against the Batavia Muckdogs as either the Anglers, Coalys, Furnace or Haymakers, and Spikes fans will again have the power to decide.
Between now and Tuesday, June 8, Spikes fans can log on to www.statecollegespikes.com to vote for which nickname they'd like to see honored on "What If Night" at the ballpark. The winner will be announced during the Spikes' home game on Friday, June 25.
The winning nickname will be honored with a logo and specially-designed jerseys, which will be worn by the players during the August 27 game and then auctioned off to fans in attendance that night. The Jersey-Off-The-Back auction is presented by Ameriserv Bank and all proceeds from the auction will benefit the Centre County United Way.
The four runner-up choices each honor a different aspect of Central Pennsylvania's rich history and heritage:
Representing the fishing category, an angler is another name for a fisherman who uses a hook and line. Centre County is dotted with 37 different trout streams, meaning many residents can already call themselves "anglers."
The name Coalys represents a tale from the early days of Penn State University. Coaly was the name of a legendary mule that helped haul materials in the construction of Old Main and other campus buildings in the mid- and late-1800s. "Old Coaly" became such a favorite of students that he served as the informal university mascot before the adoption of the Nittany Lion in 1904. So great was the University's affection for Old Coaly that after his death in 1893, his skeleton was preserved and is currently on display inside the HUB-Robeson Center on the Penn State campus.
From the rich history of iron production in Centre County comes the name Furnace. The borough of State College is located on land originally part of the land holdings of a community named Centre Furnace, which was established in 1791 by Revolutionary War veterans John Patton and Samuel Miles in an area rich with iron ore.
As a nod to the rich agricultural history of Centre County - and Penn State University itself - comes the name Haymakers, referring to farmers who make hay for the purpose of feeding their livestock. Interestingly enough, Penn State University was established in 1855 by the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society as a school for farmers to learn improved crop-growing methods.
During "What If Night," the Spikes will also give fans a look at how history would have changed had they not been the Spikes for the past five years. Major events of the last half-decade will be recreated and altered throughout the night.
"It's not too often that we get the chance to roll back our lives five years and get a second chance at choosing something," said Spikes General Manager Jason Dambach. "While we can't go back and un-see 'Snakes on a Plane' or make Pluto a planet again, this is a fun opportunity for fans to see how things might have been different if the Spikes weren't the Spikes all this time."
Centre County United Way, the beneficiary of the Aug. 27 "Jersey Off the Back" auction sponsored by Ameriserv Bank, creates lasting change in communities throughout Centre County with its financial support of 40 human service agencies. United Way partner agencies work together to form a network of unduplicated services and programs that improve the quality of life for all. One in three of our neighbors is a recipient of agency services. Now more than ever, with budget cuts at the State and Federal levels, United Way support is critical to these agencies and to our community.
The Spikes fifth season of providing Central Pennsylvania's Best Family Value will return Saturday, June 19 at 7:05 p.m. against the rival Williamsport Crosscutters. Single-game tickets, season tickets, mini-plans, flex books and a variety of different group packages and experiences can now be reserved for the 2010 season by calling toll-free at (877) 99-SPIKES. Additional team and ticket information can also be viewed by visiting StateCollegeSpikes.com.