Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. It was a week of wedded bliss and good cheer in the Major League Baseball logo world as four different teams took the plunge and finally made a commitment when they unveiled various changes to their looks for the upcoming 2012 season.
Let’s take a look at all that’s gone down during these busy past few days.
Something Old: Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles turned back the clock by bringing back a popular character from their past. The smiling cartoon oriole head graced their caps from 1966-1988, including their most glorious seasons in team history – including three World Series championships in 1966, 1970, and 1983, and it will be back in 2012 to the joy of most fans in B’more.
This old fella got a bit of a modernization for his 21st Century debut, he’s got a cleaner look overall and his ballcap has been upgraded from the graphical equivalent of gibberish to the current Orioles alternate “O’s” cap. Yes folks, the Orioles will be wearing a cap featuring a logo wearing their other cap. Two caps in one, now that’s unique!
The home cap will have a white front panel, a design-feature used by a few teams such as the Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves back in the 1970s and 1980s but hasn’t been seen in Major League Baseball since the Toronto Blue Jays claimed they were bad luck and tossed them aside forever midway through their 1993 championship season. The new Orioles road cap will feature the same logo but on a solid black cap with orange brim.
Also making a return is the bright-as-the-sun orange alternate jersey, which will be paired with the aforementioned new white-paneled cap. The Orioles last wore this jersey during their first season at Oriole Park and will be bringing it back as part of their 20th anniversary at Camden Yards celebrations.
While this returning Orioles logo can be tied to the best years of the franchise, I feel like I must point out that the last season the Orioles wore this logo they got off to the worst start in the history of baseball by starting off the 1988 season at 0-21. I suppose it’s true when they say, “time heals all wounds”.
Something New: Miami Marlins
Going in the complete opposite direction of the Orioles is the former Florida Marlins who changed every single bit of their team’s identity with the exception of the “Marlins” nickname. Now known as the Miami Marlins the club changed their location, colour scheme, logos, caps, uniforms, stadium, and manager. Unfortunately, the same ownership group remains.
The Marlins, apparently as frustrated with their two World Series titles as the rest of the baseball community, are shunning all elements of their history in their new look, and while I can see that a new name would have divided the franchise anyways did they really need to go as all-out as they did? Especially as a relatively recent World Champion? I like to look at how the Anaheim Angels handled their re-naming to Los Angeles, they didn’t change anything other than the name. There’s such a clear graphical link to their 2002 World Series championship season (which was won while they were named Anaheim), and their last few years playing under the Los Angeles banner.
Back to Miami, it’s a black, “orange-red”, yellow, blue and silver M with a marlin leaping over it in place as the predominant icon of the new set with a heavy focus on black and orange in the uniforms and branding. The Marlins join the Texas Rangers as the only Major League Baseball teams to have their location across the front of both their home and road jerseys.
What would I have preferred? A tweak of the 2011 set. Change the cap from an “F” to an “M”, keep teal as one of the main colours, throw Miami on the road jersey, there’s your Miami Marlins.
Something Borrowed: San Diego Padres
Oh those San Diego Padres just can’t ever get it right can they? They’re one of the last few clubs that flat out refuse to listen to what the majority of their fans want to see them wearing, I used to call it “Buffalo Sabres Syndrome”, I may have to rename it in honour of San Diego after this.
While fans started dreaming about a return to the brown-and-yellow days of the swinging friar with the announcement of a logo and uniform change the Padres front office were busy as they once-again borrowed the colour scheme of their coastal rivals in Los Angeles switching from blue, khaki/sand and white to mostly blue and white. The Padres also tried this tactic in the early 2000s when they switched from being the only navy and orange team in baseball to a similar blue and white of the LA Dodgers (complete with their plain blue cap and interlocking city initials in white).
Also borrowed is the new team primary logo which is the city initials inside a circle with “San Diego Padres Baseball Club”, a logo style already in use by the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. To a slightly lesser extent it also borrows from the Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and the former Montreal Expos.
The Padres did give into the fans a little bit when they put the swingin-friar on the sleeves of their home jerseys but it should be noted that this patch was added as an afterthought, perhaps after hearing the desire for a return from the fans, the original uniform design included a PETCO Park patch on the sleeve in it’s place but was never released to the public. Looking at the home jersey for sale in the MLB.com shop you can clearly see the patch was just slapped on there quickly.
Something Blue: New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays
From the Padres refusal to do as their fans wish we move on to the Mets and Blue Jays who are doing the exact opposite and giving the fans exactly what they wanted, dropping the black and moving back to blue.
The New York Mets have dropped the black drop shadows for their 50th anniversary. Black had been on every Mets jersey in one-way-or-another since the 1998 season and had eventually made its way up to being the main team colour for the better part of this past decade. In its place is a beautiful, simple, and very traditional blue-and-orange look on their home and road jerseys, the same colour scheme the Mets had used from 1962-1997. The club is officially carrying a black alternate jersey into the 2012 season but I wouldn’t count on them wearing it too often, it’s expected to be dropped entirely for 2013.
The Toronto Blue Jays won’t be unveiling their new look until Friday but as you’ve already heard it will involve the elimination of black and grey in favour of a return to the classic blue and white colour-scheme of the 1990s with a heavy emphasis on blue (no, not powder blue, that was the 1980s look).
Earlier today the Jays released a teaser video showing quick glimpses of the players in the new home, road, and alternate jerseys. As expected the new look is full of blue. Below is a screengrab from the video which shows a decent shot of the new road jerseys including a return to the split-lettering across the front of the uniform:
The Padres could learn a thing or two from the Mets and Blue Jays, their fans need not fear, for a club that has had 10 different logos in their 42 year history they are due for a new look in just 4.2 more seasons. Start the campaign now and see what happens!
If you read this far then you must really be a geek for logos and uniforms; if that’s the case you should be checking out SportsLogos.Net where there’s over 17,000 old logos and uniforms to just browse through and enjoy! You can also follow Chris on Twitter @sportslogosnet