[Editor’s Note: Phil asked if he could make a rare weekday appearance today, so I’m giving him the keys. I’ll check in after the lead entry. — PL]
By Phil Hecken
Happy Cinco de Mayo! In the past, Major League Baseball has “honored” this holiday by outfitting some teams in Latino heritage jerseys, some of which have been more successful than others. But the usual approach of putting “Los” in front of the team’s name (which PL has written about before) is so lazy and unimaginative. Another example of marketing gimmicks gone horribly wrong, almost offensively wrong.
So today I’m joined by UW Graphic Artist Paul Soto — a Mexican-American himself — who’s come up with some much better designs that MLB teams should use should they wish to acknowledge and honor their Spanish-speaking (or even non-Spanish) fans. Here, I’ll let him explain:
As a Mexican American I feel cheated by the NBA’s “Noche Latino” promotion. I personally know that many Latinos do tend to refer to their teams in “Spanglish” by placing “Los” before the English nickname. But others do recognize the teams in their translated form. When we’re being honored, I feel that the nicknames should be fully translated…where applicable.
The MLB curently has five teams that wear special jerseys with Spanish nicknames: the Mariners (Marineros), Brewers (Cerveceros), Giants (Gigantes), Mets (Los Mets), and Rangers (Los Rangers). Okay, so you can’t really do much with the Mets’ name, because Metropolitanos is too long, but I’ve figured out an interesting approach to that, as you’ll see.
I would love to see the MLB do a “Latin Week” where every team’s nickname is en español. Granted, some team names cannot be translated because they’re already simplified in English (Astros and Rockies, e.g.). They’ll have to stick to the “Los” approach.
What follows then, are some absolutely outstanding conceptual approaches Paulie has created for Major League Baseball teams to consider whenever they’d like to make a diligent and respectful attempt to honor and support the Latino community (and maybe move some quality merchandise in the process). Let’s take a look:
Arizona Diamondbacks: Paulie’s come up with two possible uniform iterations for the D-Backs: “Diamantes,” which basically translates to “diamonds” in English and “Vivoras”, which is a rough translation for rattlesnakes (which is what the name “Diamondbacks” referred to in the first place). He elaborates: “‘Diamondbacks’ is a simplified English name and really doesn’t have a translation. But I did find some who referred to them as ‘Vivoras’ and ‘Diamantes.'”
Boston Red Sox: A very nice effort here, I really think this is sharp. And, given that the Red Sox have already worn six different uniform combinations this season, adding the “Medias Rojas” to the mix for a game or two would be a wonderful tip of the cap to the Latino population of New England.
Chicago Cubs: Paul has come up with the “Cachorros” for his hometown lads. The cachorros roughly translates to “cubs” or “pups,” and would be a fine one- or two-game edition of the beautiful Cubs home uniform.
Cincinnati Reds: A fairly straightforward translation of “Reds,” Mr. Soto has designated the “Rojos” as the uniform for the Cincinnati ball club should they decide to honor the Latino heritage and baseball fans in the Queen City.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: What better tribute could a team that plays in “Los Angeles” have than to use a Spanish wordmark on their jerseys? What’s that? They don’t actually play in Los Angleles? No matter, the “Angelinos” could still play in Anaheim and look fine in these unis.
Minnesota Twins: This is definitely one of the cooler looking uniforms when translated for the Latino audience. But does the underline on “Mellizos” have the same effect as the underline of “win” in “Twins”?
New York Mets: While the “Mets” is itself a shortening for “Metropolitans” (or “New York Metropolitan Baseball Club”), Paulie has come up with the “Metros” for this team (and it sure beats the hell out of “Los” Mets). Paulie explains: “What if the Mets wore ‘Metros?’ A ‘Metro’ is the train station. Trains/public transportation is so vital to New York so I think it works well, no?”
New York Yankees: Moving from Queens to the Bronx, Paulie actually has created two possible uniforms for the Yanks: “Yanquis” using their “road” font and a second “Yanquis”, using a font similar to that seen here, and actually used here. Nice stuff.
Pittsburgh Pirates: If the Steel City were ever to decide to pick up on the Latino Heritage thing, the “Piratas” would have this uniform to don. I especially like the wordmark as shown in the ‘header’ of this paragraph.
Tampa Bay Rays: There are actually two wordmarks for the Rays, one ‘full’ and one a nickname. I have to think the longer one might be too ‘bulky’ for a major league uni, so it was good of Paul to provide us with a choice. Here’s how the “Rayas” would look in their Cinco de Mayo garb.
Texas Rangers: Another team to which Paulie has added a second wordmark, this is how the “Guardas” would appear on the diamond. Paulie explains further, “The Rangers in Spanish is ‘Guardabosques.’ It doesn’t quite sound as nice as Rangers does, not to mention it’s a long name, but how about if we shorten Guardabosques to ‘Guardas’? Now that is an informal second-person singular of guardar. It means to ‘save’ and ‘keep.’ It kinda works like the Texas Rangers, the law enforcement that is which is the inspiration to the teams name. I’m not saying the translation is correct but I just wanted to put it out there.”
Washington Nationals: The DC team would be outfitted in these “Nactionales” duds for the 2010 Cinco de Mayo night. Unless, of course, the campaign to dump the current home uni succeeds. But that’s what they wear now, and that’s what Paulie has envisioned.
That’s all for the uniforms. But you’ll note that not every team was represented. That’s because, as Paulie noted earlier, there are a few teams that don’t translate well. But he did accomplish the amazing feat of creating jerseys for 21 of the 30 teams (plus there was no need to design anything for the Marineros, Cerveceros, or Gigantes, since they already Get It™, and then there’s one team whose name is already in Spanish).
Thanks, Paulie, for another outstanding job. What say you, Uni Watchers? Think MLB should wear these jerseys once or twice a year? I sure do.
May Raffle: Paul here. Our friends at SoccerPro.com are back with another raffle, but this time it’s footwear-related: One lucky winner will be able to choose any pair of footwears (cleats, sandals, whatever) from the site’s extensive selection.
To enter, send a blank e-mail with your name in the subject line to the raffle address (not to the usual Uni Watch e-mail address, please) by this Thursday, May 7th, at 7pm eastern. One entry per person, except for Uni Watch membership program enrollees, who can send four entries. I’ll announce the winner on Friday.
I’m calling it an idea worth expanding: Our “I’m Calling It Shea” shirt (which is now available in 3X and 4X sizes, incidentally; remember, use the checkout code “uniwatch” for a 10% discount) has been wildly successful, with sales now numbering about 700. And we have an interesting promotion planned that should keep this project in the public eye a bit longer. More on that later.
Meanwhile, several of you have asked if we could make similar shirts for other cities and stadiums — “I’m Calling It the Jake” for Cleveland fans, for example. No Mas and I are definitely interested in doing this, but we’re not sure that we, as New Yorkers, are the best judges of which stadiums and arenas would be the best ones to focus on. So I’m asking you: Is there a particular “I’m Calling It [Whatever]” shirt you’d be interested in?
Remember, the theme here is our distaste for corporate-sponsored names. This can apply to facilities that were renamed (“I’m Calling It Skydome,” for example) or new corporate-named facilities that replaced non-corporate ones (“I’m Calling It Shea” falls into this category, and so would, say, “I’m Calling It Candlestick” or “I’m Calling It the Vet”). I’m not saying we’d necessarily do any of those hypothetical examples, because we don’t know if there would be much interest in any of them, but that’s where you come in. If there’s a specific “I’m Calling It [a non-douchebag name]” tee you’d be interested in, let me know. Thanks.
Bobble Non-Update: Lots of you have expressed interest in Robert Marshall’s custom-painted bobblehead dolls. And your interest will soon be rewarded with lots of info on how you can acquire one of them — but not today. Stay tuned.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Scroll down to the “Factoid of the Week” item at the bottom of this page for an interesting note about the late Hank Stram (with thanks to Drew VanNess). … Brilliant concept by Steve Mandich, who’s amassed a collection of old MLB All-Star Game ballots. … Good photo finds in the U. of Washington archives (all courtesy of Jeremy Brahm): an early Japanese-American football team, and a button-on sleeve. … “The Eagles added Stacy Andrews this off-season, which means both he and his brother Shawn will be on the starting offensive line,” writes Ben Roth. “Judging by this photo, it appears they’ve opted against using an ‘ST’ or a ‘SH’ on the brothers’ NOBs.” … Remember that awesome “Casey at the Bat” baseball card project from yesterday’s Ticker? I misattributed it — credit should go to Giancarlo. Mea culpa. … “While perusing my archives the other day, I came across these,” writes Noel Basnight. “They’re not cards, but photos that appeared on the side of a cardboard box that was the packaging for a baseball glove, I believe around 1961. Guess which brand (hint: the finest in the field). Something about the photos attracted me, so I cut them off the box before it was discarded.” … Always fun to look at old ABA graphix. … Alan Borock was at Citizen’s Bank Park over the weekend. Fortunately for us, he was staring at some girl’s ass, which is where he spotted this. Here’s another view. … What’s worse than an af2 uniform? A pink af2 uniform (with “thanks” to Jeff Rinker). … Got a spare four grand? I wouldn’t recommend dropping it here, but that’s just me. … Very sad about Greg Page’s death, but is this the best boxing headline ever or what? … Saw an advance screening of this documentary yesterday (directed by the same guy who did Helvetica, which I know some of you saw and liked). Pretty good treatment of how the design process is all around us, whether we realize it or not. I had my quibbles, but overall it’s pretty good — recommended. … You have got to be kidding me (with thanks to Blain Fowler). … Why just kick your cap when you can use your cap as a bludgeon? (As spotted by Hugh McBride.) … While looking for something else, I came across this shot of Lastings Milledge playing at triple-A Syracuse. Anyone know what the giant memorial patch is for? … Angels in the outfield! Additional pics from the same photo shoot scattered though this gallery (with thanks to Kyle, who mentioned these in yesterday’s comments). … Hey, look, it’s the douchebagmobile (with thanks to Chris Flinn). … Yeah, all those no-hitters are nice, but the best thing about Patrick Schuster is that he wears stirrups (as noted by Greg Riffenburgh). … Looks like Mark Sanchez is enduring some rookie hazing (good spot by Brinke Guthrie). … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Alex Ovechkin was apparently wearing someone else’s helmet last night. … Also from last night: (1) What the hell is Big Ben doing? And (2) Why doesn’t the article mention offer any explanation? … Here’s a new one: Two guys showed up in umpiring attire for last night’s Tribe/Jays game. “They had the proper patches on their hats and chests, and even a number on the right sleeve,” says Sean Doherty. “They were goofing around and calling strikes, showing the count, etc.” What do you think the over/under is on how many days before MLB bans fans wearing umpire uniforms? (Special thanks to Mark Kluczynski, who provided the screen shot.). … DIY observation by Andrew Gladstone, who writes: “I was at the Mets/Phillies game last Saturday and noticed this little kid (had to be 6 or 7) in a little pinstriped Phillies jersey featuring obviously homemade numbers and NOB. I complimented him on his jersey, and his mom turned around and explained that she was up all night cutting out the felt so he could wear it to that game.”