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On the Orioles’ New Uniforms

Yesterday’s uniform unveiling wasn’t on par with three years ago (by the way: how the hell has it been that long?) but it was interesting enough: the Orioles unleashed a fairly significant set of uniform tweaks, including the much-desired (by some) return of the Cartoon Bird.

I tend to be quite interested in uniform news and this, obviously, was no exception. The verdict? It’d be hard to complain about these…but I don’t love them.

I’m probably in the minority in that I’m bummed about abandoning the “ornithologically correct” bird logo. I don’t see the cartoon bird as an upgrade per se. The old bird was utterly unique among professional sports logos. It was realistic and willfully under-designed in an era when most teams tend toward ridiculously overdone action graphics and/or pseudo-classic treatments. For years the Orioles’ look stood alone and I loved that.

That said, they handled this smartly. They went retro with a modern update but didn’t go overboard into kitsch. They still look both classic and classy and the logo doesn’t look like it was designed in any particular year, which means it won’t soon feel dated. They didn’t screw this up at all and that in itself is refreshing as hell. Still, going retro feels strange.

My hunch is that they had a desire to continue the path they started on by putting “Baltimore” back on the road jerseys and further cement the heritage connection. I can’t argue with that, but I also can’t fully endorse it.

On a more philosophical level, let’s assume for a moment that the change was made in part because of the fact that the old look was — let’s face it — associated largely with losing teams. I think we could make an argument that looking to something entirely new would actually have been better than looking back. I’m all for heritage and I love retro looks, but why not save them for special nights and promotions while pointing the way forward with the everyday unis? That would have been a tall order, for sure, and I think they probably recognized that. Still…

Add it all up and I think the change merits a solid B-. A slightly better than average move. Not bad by any stretch, but not great. Which, given the way the last 14 years have gone, is probably just fine. Baby steps.

18 comments to On the Orioles’ New Uniforms

  • dan the man

    I think it’s fair to say that had the O’s done something completely new and original, they would have likely created something terrible and convoluted and “modern”, further angering fans. Updated retro was the way to go, although I’m with you in that I never had a big problem with the realistic bird, especially the latest one. I wonder if it’s still a part of the official “Orioles” script team logo, where it’s perched on the dot of the “i”.

    Also, people are hating on the white panel, but I think the trucker hat look is pretty sweet. No one’s really doing that these days.

  • Ew. I don’t mind the cartoon Bird, but orange shirts are awful, whether in Baltimore, San Francisco or Syracuse. I still say 1979 was the worst-looking World Series ever. Not for the standard of play, for both the Orioles and Pirates were really good, just worst-looking. The bright orange of Baltimore and the mix-and-match black-and-gold of Pittsburgh, hideous. To make matters worse, Three Rivers Stadium had a sickening artificial turf, and Memorial Stadium’s grass was already chopped up by the Colts.

  • Mike R

    I dig the orange jerseys. I think the 20th anniversary patch is a little weak. It just looks lazily done.

    I’m glad the cartoon bird is back. Personally, I hated the real looking bird. Never have I ever bought a hat with the real looking bird on it. I got one as a gift once, and it sat in the trunk of my car. If i needed a cap in a pinch. An emergency cap. Doesn’t everyone carry a spare hat in their car? I digress.

    Sure it’s different from the rest of the league, but it’s just lame. I like clevelands cartoon indian. It would be lame to have a real indian on their cap. Picture the redskins logo on a ball cap. The cartoon bird is still different. Aside from Cleveland and Houston’s star logo, the rest of the league sports plain letters on their cap.

    Now if we could just get some talent to fill these threads.

  • Andrew

    @ Mike R:
    Letters on caps is boring, agreed. And I’m glad the Orioles are the only team whose primary hat remains pictorial (and equally glad the Indians are moving slowly but surely away from their out-dated and racist cartoon). But I’m pretty ambivalent about these hats versus old hats versus whatever else.

  • Andrew

    @ Andrew:
    I immediately realized that I forgot about the ‘Stros, who have a great hat. And the blue jays are coming back to the picture crowd (if the leaked image is accurate, then I really like their new hat a lot).

  • df1570

    Dan Duquette discussing the Orioles off-season attempts to upgrade their pitching staff: “We have to wait for the sharks to feed and then we’ll wait to see what’s left over.”

    Nice hire.

  • keith

    They’ve changed some feature of the uniform about every 3-4 since becoming a franchise. Do you think that selling more merchandise has something to do with the change? I do.

  • Mike R

    @ df1570:
    yup, spoken like a true loser to me

  • Andrew

    @ keith:
    If it’s working, then good for them. Seems pretty smart to change the uniforms regularly to create a cashflow.

  • dan the man

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2011-11-17/os-gm-duquette-wants-more-power-from-markakis

    Interesting to see what happens here. This is either just DD calling Nick out to get him to improve or he’s going to try and trade him. But if that’s the case, then he’s hurting his trade value saying stuff like this to the media.

    Either way, he’s said some interesting things already and I get the feeling it’ll only get more interesting. His comment to WEEI that the O’s have hit on 1 top draft pick (Wieters) in 14 years either speaks to him being realistic about the situation or the fact that he forgot about Markakis, who I don’t think, as a .295 career hitter, you can say is a bust.

    At the same time, DD has mentioned picking up scrap heap players and not giving out big free agent contracts, so who the fuck knows. But I think we can at least say he’s not afraid to say, “this farm system and scouting department sucks ass” and for that, he is to be commended. And the fact that he went after Angelos’ adopted son Nick Markakis is at least a little intriguing.

  • df1570

    @ dan the man:

    Talk about bush-league.

    The Orioles GM goes on a Boston radio station to talk about the BALTIMORE Orioles.

    But he’s not allowed to do the same thing on Baltimore radio stations.

    Pricks…

    Spiritually, this is why they lose. Because they baseball gods have determined that until they start acting like men, they’re going to keep losing.

    Frankly, things like that (appearing on WEEI but not being allowed to do the same in Baltimore) remind me that they don’t DESERVE to win.

    The Orioles don’t deserve success.

    That’s sad. But true.

  • dan the man

    @ df1570:
    I mean, I’ve heard Duquette on the Fan, so he’s clearly allowed on the radio in Baltimore. Now whether or not the Baltimore media asks him questions like “Why have the Orioles sucked for 14 years” is another question. They don’t. But I bet you would if DD was allowed to go on NST, wouldn’t ya? But no one ever wants to play with you guys, do they. Speaking of “spiritually”…. but I digress.

    Nice upside pickup in Matt Antonelli. Good OBP guy who never got a good shot due to injury.

  • df1570

    @ dan the man:

    Actually, plenty of folks like to “play with us”. I’ve had 3 Ravens on the air with me this week, for example. And Gary Williams, but he’s an ex-coach now.

    105.7 is “officially” the Orioles FM partner (that’s what was told to me last spring when I was in Sarasota and wondered why they were given preferential treatment). It was also a move the club made to keep that station “on the payroll” and, naturally, more hesitant to criticize them. That’s why Duquette was on 105.7 last week.

    But he’d never appear on any other station in town, WNST or otherwise.

    And that’s such a joke it’s borderline criminal.

    The GM of the team in Baltimore is NOT allowed to talk to the fans in Baltimore without moderation and censorship from the team – but he can go on a station in Boston and field questions about the team up there.

    If you support that sort of business practice, you’re a Communist.

    And like I said earlier, it’s another reason why the team doesn’t deserve to win.

    Oh, and honestly – I wouldn’t ask Duquette “why have the Orioles sucked for the last 14 years?” For starters, he doesn’t KNOW why…he hasn’t been in the game for the last 9 of those years, how would he know what’s been going on here? And I really don’t care why they’ve stunk. I know why, of course, but that’s not really relevant anymore. What’s important and what I would ask Duquette is how he plans on getting them to NOT stink anymore. And the questions could follow-up from there.

  • dan the man

    My name is Dan and I’m a Commie Neanderthal Apologist Pollyanna Charlatan.

    I’m going to the Ravens game tomorrow. Funny thing is I got tickets thinking this would be a nice, easy win to go to. Turns out it’s the biggest game of the season. Ravens win this and they’re in great position. A loss means they’re looking at SF on a short week and struggling to be a wild card team again. I’m sure this will be a nail-biter.

  • Josh

    Hard to hate on the return of the cartoon bird.

    I wouldn’t trust this ownership to do a complete overhaul and come up with something new. Seriously, look at what the Marlins just unveiled. It’s an abomination.

  • Andrew

    @ dan the man:
    Jealous. I have tickets to the Colts game (my first ever), and my expectations for that game have gone on a rollercoaster ride.

    Re: what Drew said: My first instinct was to agree with you, but then I wonder if it matters where DD goes on the radio. No matter what, all of us fans have access to the interview almost immediately via the internet, and I would imagine that more and more people everyday only listen to the radio over the internet anyway.

    He could go on Alaskan public radio and it would be exactly as useful to me as it would if he were on 105.7 (or, since I don’t live in Baltimore but rather Allentown, PA, the local ESPN affliate).

  • Mike R

    @ dan the man:
    Seriously? Dan Duquette has to pick out one guy whose balls to bust in public, and he picks Nick Markakis.

    The guy with a .295 career average, should have about 3 gold gloves by now but did get one this year, didn’t make a single error, never get’s hurt, fuck. No don’t pick on, oh I don’t know, anyone on the shitty pitching staff. Starters or from the pen. No, lets expect more from the most consistent player on the team of the last 4 or 5 years.

    Nice work, lets piss off that guy. Lets anger the guy who by the time this team is even close to competing will be up for a new contract, and a) will be too good for us to afford him, or b) will say “screw this team. I wanna play for a winner”

    I’ve already said it I think, but I just want to go on record by saying I’m not impressed with Duquette one bit. From calling us “Boston” on his first day, to his conservative/loser mentality, to now calling out the best player on the team. Fuck this guy. It’s not gonna happen, but I’d like to see this team succeed this year more than ever, with the ground work MacPhail laid. Lets see Tommy Hunter win 20 games, Kevin Gregg lead the bigs in saves, and the pitching staff Andy put together get that ERA under the 4.00 mark.

  • dan the man

    @ Mike R:
    I think DD likes Markakis and even said so himself, so let’s not jump off any cliffs here. I think it was a simple case of making sure your star outfielder’s head is still in the game. Jones, Hardy, and Wieters are good to go. Markakis needs to improve. No other position players on the team really matter enough to even mention, so that’s why he’s not calling out other players. And I think Buck has called out Matusz and some of the pitchers a few times already.

    What you LOVE about that interview if you listen to it was the part where Dan said “and we’re dying for a pitching program.” I mean, bam. So the O’s didn’t have a pitching program? I’m not even sure what that means, but it’s sure good news that Duquette wants to put one in place. Seems like we could use something like that, no?

    My expectations of the Orioles and Duquette are extremely low, though, so I’m kind of just having fun with DD at the moment. In good time, I’ll probably hate the guy as much as everyone else, but for now I think he’s kind of interesting. And if he gets Drew’s panties in a bunch, that’s just a bonus.

    Meanwhile, the Phillies-Papelbon deal continues to get hilariously worse. Turns out that under the new CBA, teams won’t have to surrender a pick for a Type A free agent reliever, except, you know, for the Phillies, who didn’t want to wait a couple weeks. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/11/teams-signing-type-a-relievers-wont-forfeit-picks.html