Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gone Away is the New Bird, Here to Stay is the Old Bird


By
I've long suspected the Blue Jays might be changing their logos and uniforms, and now what's old might be new once again in Blue Jay land.

If you haven't already, make sure you check out Chris from Infield Fly's series of posts on the state of the uniforms ("Cheering for Laundry" and "Where's the Blue?")

I think Chris was really onto something, because Bob McCown made a comment last night on Primetime Sports about the possibility of the retro logo and uniforms making a full time return in 2012. (hat tip to @MrWenn for catching it.
"I am led to believe that if you like this current jersey, you better go get one. Because this time next year, they won't be available. I think they're going to go back to the original ones."
Now this might all be here say that McCown overheard in the luxury box at the Home Opener, but I don't think he's very far off base with his suspicion that a logo and uniform change may be in the works.

So it came as no surprise when Uni Watch reported last week that the Blue Jays are dropping the powder blue uniforms. Frankly, people either loved them or hated them; there didn't seem to be any middle ground on the powder blues.

So does this pave the way for the Blue Jays to return to their original logo and uniforms? In this humble blogger's incredibly speculative baseless opinion, yes.

Many share the sentiment that a team called the "Blue Jays" should really have some semblance of the colour blue in the uniform. Reverting back to the original home whites, road greys and alternate blues would certainly fill that requirement.

Now when I say "original" I mean the 1989-1992 home whites, the 1989-1996 road greys and the 1994-1996 alternate blues. To me, these are the classic Blue Jays uniforms and going back to these uniforms makes the most sense.

Visions of the championship winning teams wearing these uniforms are instilled in our memories, and thus could conjure up a lot of great memories for fans when they watch their favourite players in the retro jerseys.

The flaw in this all is it doesn't quite jive with the movement of the team trying to move away from events like Flashback Fridays, the Back2Back Reunion and everything looking backwards rather than towards the future.

I agree there's no sense in living in the past. However, to truly understand where you're going, you have to know where you've been. There definitely does need to be an appreciation for the Blue Jays teams who wore those uniforms.

In the land of logos, this is the eighth year in which the Blue Jays have used their current logo or "angry bird" as Stephen Brunt referred to it as. Eight years is a long time to stick with a logo and uniform that fans aren't all that crazy about.

I'm not an expert when it comes to creating logos for professional sports teams, but one has to think that the classic look is much more sustainable than a modern look. Ironically, the modern look becomes dated very quickly.

Sticking with a clean, classic logo is the way to go. In my opinion, it looks much sharper. In the Blue Jays case, that old bird is so iconic that it only makes sense to switch back to that logo.

Let me reiterate that this is all just speculation on Bob McCown's and my part, but one has to suspect that something is happening behind the curtain if the powder blues are being dropped by the Blue Jays.

Maybe the perfect solution in all of this is to combine the old with the new. Here's a little something I came up with below. What do you guys think?


Thanks to Chris from Infield Fly for the links and Chris Creamer's Sports Logos for the logos and links to the uniforms.

18 comments:

  1. Well, I sincerely hope that your incredibly speculative baseless opinion proves to be fact. I don't mind the new logo, but would rather revert back to the old. Having said that, as long as we don't go back to that stupid bird peering out from behind a T (circa 2003?) I'm good.

    I hope they keep the maple leaf either way. It has been nice to see it on the sleeves of the current jerseys.

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  2. While I'd prefer a full return to the old logo and uniforms, I don't think that will happen. The logo you've proposed at the bottom... I think that's much closer to what will happen if a change is in the offing. I doubt they'd introduce a new mascot (Junior) just to change the type of Jay representing the team the following season.

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  3. I don't understand the argument from many that they should get away from the old, and distance themselves from the past in respects to their logo and look. The Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Giants etc. all realize that they have an iconic logo that the fans love. Such is the case with the classic Jays logo and uniforms.

    If you don't believe me, have a look around the stadium and streets of Toronto. Everywhere you go, the majority of people wearing Jays gear are wearing the 'old school' look.

    Even those in the NHL are smartening up. The Sabres ditched the 'Trump haired Buffalo' and went back to their classic logo - as did the Rangers, Capitals and to an extent, the Canucks. A return to the old jerseys would not only please the fans, it would be profitable to ownership when it comes to merchandising.

    Fingers crossed.

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  4. As usual Ian, I defer to your excellent work with Photoshop! this is a great post. Well timed! I personally like the Black Jerseys, but I also love the 1992 Jersey as well.

    I like the idea of a hybridization of both.

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  5. Ball Fan, let's avoid the T-Bird at all costs! And yes, I agree - it would be cool to keep the maple leaf in there somehow.

    Chris, if the Blue Jays do decide to do a logo change, does that mean we see the return of B.J. Birdy? I think I just got goosebumps.

    Mr. Wenn, aside from the expansion teams like the Rays and D-Backs, I can't think of any other teams than the Blue Jays who aren't using retro logos.

    Simply put, using a classic logo/uniform is timeless.

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  6. I can think of one team that isn't retro, and it's another one that gave up something great: Milwaukee.

    That old lower-case m and b forming a glove? Brilliant.

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  7. I'm guessing old logo with new colour schemes and totally new uniform designs. More black in it, probably. They'd want something they could reap more merchandising dollars from.

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  8. @infieldfly: spot on, greatest logo in baseball.

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  9. In the old logo, I like the bird itself more than the "ball" background which I feel just has too much red in it. If I were designing a logo that re-uses part of the classic look, I'd probably do the opposite of what you did. That being said, the current logos have always seemed perfectly appropriate to me.

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  10. 5th Starter, out of the current uniforms I'd say the black jerseys probably look the best. Combined with the "T" logo cap, they're pretty sharp looking.

    sadp, the old logo with new colours would definitely work. Even on a black cap might look pretty decent.

    Chris, I thought Milwaukee uses their old school for their home alternate uniforms? Either way, that old school logo is badass.

    Mr. Wenn, you're absolutely right. Is it sad that it took me forever to realize the glove was actually an "M" and a "B"?

    Noisyflowers, I've heard a couple say that actually. I can see why they'd want to keep it though, to keep the "Canadian ties" with the leaf and whatnot.

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  11. I believe the Brewers do use it as their alternate, but their new logo is lame. It's a shame they do go retro all the time.

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  12. I like that logo, Ian. It turned out better than it sounded, if you know what I mean.

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  13. Chris, I hear ya on the new Brewers logo - it's never good when you try to work a piece of barley (or whatever it is) into your logo.

    Nav, I just stared messing around with the logos and it surprised me how well the new bird fit on top of the old one.

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  14. Personally, I love the powder blues. Don't understand all the hate towards them!

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  15. 500 Level, I never had any ill will towards the powder blues, it's just that when I think of the quintessential Blue Jay uniform, that one doesn't come to mind.

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  16. in the days of classic uni's, vintage looking stadiums, and retro logos, the 'newer' Jays logo looks like it should be for roller hockey team, tyring to be young and hip.
    Go retro, it has always suited baseball.

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  17. I'm sure Bobcat wouldn't have commented without there being something to it. Logically, common sense would dictate that the Blue Jays won't design yet another logo, thus further diluting/confusing their branding. Instead, it's clearly the right time to return to the classic, iconic, hugely popular original logo that they've two World Series in, especially now that Roberto Alomar will be inducted into Cooperstown this year with it on his plaque. The Blue Jays will always be associated with and represented by the original logo. With Paul Beeston back in the fold as president, I think he realizes that the team should never have stopped wearing the original logo in the first place, and he's obviously not alone in the desire to wisely return to the original logo (given that an overwhelming majority of Blue Jays fans feel the same way, which I'm sure is reflected in merchandise sales and is pretty clear when you look around to see what fans are wearing). The overall design, trim, colour scheme, and lettering font of the uniforms themselves may change or be tweaked slightly, but clearly the uniforms will revolve around the original logo in it's unaltered form, regardless. If other teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers, to name a few, can move forward while still wearing their original, classic, accomplished logos, then the Blue Jays can and will too. The original logo is the definitive, all encompasing Blue Jays logo that represents not only past Blue Jays greats like Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter, but it will also represent current and future Blue Jays like Jose Bautista, Brandon Morrow, J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie. Truth be told, they likely did away with the powder blues to focus on selling as many "current" jerseys as possible this year to clear the deck and pave the way for the permanent return of the original logo next season. Baseball is all about classic, throwback, retro, nostalgic tradition rather than nouveau, flashy, gaudy logos and colour schemes that perhaps other sports embrace instead. Go Blue Jays!

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  18. Anon, great comment! If the Blue Jays don't revert back to the original logo, I think they'd definitely try to incorporate the "old bird" as much as possible into these rumoured new logos and uniforms.

    I can see a tweak or slight alteration to the old logo to try to bring it up to the 21st century, but keeping with the same colour scheme.

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