Friday, September 3, 2010

If it's Yellow let it Mellow

Dallas has already told you about our trip to San Francisco a couple weeks ago to watch the Padres play in enemy territory. I’ve never visited an enemy stadium when anything to care about was on the line and it felt fantastic. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

In the post-win afterglow of our victory over the hated Giants I decided it would be a good idea to get a picture of our posse of Padres fans who had made the trip. Looking at that picture the next day it struck me that every single one of us except one is wearing a throwback version of the brown and yellow Padres colors. The lone exception is Dallas and he’s wearing an orange SD beanie (because he thinks he’s different). I also noticed that of the few Padres fans that were also at AT&T park that day, most were wearing yellow and brown. This got me wondering about why the Padres management is running from this logo.

Over the last decade the Chargers have worn their baby blues two or three times a year. And the same thing was happening. More fans were wearing the beautiful throwback uniform than were wearing the modern ones. Finally the Chargers stood up and made a compromise. They took some of the design elements from the baby blue uniforms (white piping on the shoulder, white helmets) and incorporated those into the every day uniform of the Chargers. It worked. The new uniforms look great and they’ve been embraced by the Chargers fans who now wear those AND the baby blues.

So my question for the Padres is why not find a compromise between the brown and yellow of the 1970’s and now? Even looking at the simple hat from 78, the panel with a different color on the front is a unique design that’s fallen almost completely out of use in Major League Baseball for apparently no reason at all. The Blue Jays have a throwback hat that incorporates it and it is also one of the best looking caps in MLB (but they insist on wearing that crazy “robot” T hat).

It helps any team’s brand to have a popular look. Some teams are able to make their look popular through winning and championships but, this year excluded, the Padres are never really going to brand themselves as perpetual winners, so why not run towards the logo that has actually created interest on it’s own merits. Rappers have embraced both San Diego franchises “throwback” looks. Every Padres fan younger than 35 I know would rather wear the brown and yellow than the “sand and blue.” So why won’t ownership embrace that idea? Instead we’re subjected to camouflage every Sunday and “sand and sand” on the road. It seems like a no brainer to try to modernize what’s great about the old school brown and yellow uniforms. Hopefully new ownership will see the value of reevaluating their dismissal of the brown and yellow. After all, it is a color scheme that despite not seeing the field (except on special occasions) remains immensely popular amongst fans. And let’s be honest, new uniforms would help distract us from this godawful losing streak. So here’s to the new look Padres of 2011 (may they be wearing the new uniforms in defense of a world championship).

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