And why shouldn’t they? Let’s go through the details, one element at a time:
• The new cartoon bird: You know, I’ve always enjoyed the ornithologically correct bird, which is classy, stately, and proud. The thing is, classy, stately, and proud are the kind of attributes that make a good team seem better, they just make a bad team seem boring. And the O’s have been bad for a long time now (and, given the division they’re in, are not likely to get a whole lot better anytime soon). But hey, if you can’t field a winner, you can at least look like you’re having fun. The cartoon bird provides that, while simultaneously connecting to successful chapters from the team’s past.
The O’s are touting the new bird as a hybrid of two previous version. Now, the bird’s history is actually much more complicated than that (that page there deserves a Nobel freakin’ Prize), but whatever — I like the new version a lot. The angle of the eyeballs, the updated squatchee, even the way the lower part of the beak blends into the orange outline.
Just one problem: the cap that the bird is wearing. For starters, it’s a wasted opportunity for an infinite regression. More importantly, there’s this (click to enlarge):
Arrrrrghhh! In the name of David Simon, why did they saddle this poor bird with that accursed upside-down apostrophe? For that matter, why is that punctuative affront still part of the team’s identity system? This design update would have been — should have been — the perfect opportunity to fix it. Rich Frank, I know you’re reading this. You know I love ya, but you’re gonna have a hard time explaining this one!
Still, overall, the new bird is a very positive development. So is it good or is it stupid? Let’s say 99.9% very, very good, 0.1% remarkably stupid.
• The new home cap: Love it. Wouldn’t want every team to go with the multi-colored panel look, but this one totally works. Very good.
• The new road cap: Magnifique. If you’re gonna have two distinct caps — like, really distinct, not just mild variations of each other — this is how to do it. Very good.
• The new road jersey script: As you can see, they’ve decreased the insignia’s angle of inclination and eliminated the vanishing-point taper. As for how it looks on the jersey, I didn’t mind the old one, but I like the new one even better. Also, note that the old version resulted in an awkwardly split “t,” a problem they’ve avoided this time around by extending the loop between the third and fourth letters. Remains to be seen if that will end up looking a bit forced. Even if it does, I still think this is an improvement. Good.
• The new orange alternate jersey: Between the Marlins’ new orange alt and now this, it’s shaping up as quite a month for orange. Can’t say I’m in love with this one, but I suppose it’s better than the black alternate, and it pairs nicely with the new cap. Good enough.
• The new sleeve patch: So. Very. Plain. I assume the patch shape is based on this dedication plaque or some similar referent, but it doesn’t work for me at all. The type, the composition — snoozers. I won’t say it’s stupid, but I will say it’s not that good.
Too bad there wasn’t a live unveiling — they could’ve had Brooksie come onstage in a shortened-brim helmet with the new bird. Overall, though, a very nice job. Further details here, and you can check out the new style guide here.
Now if they’d just fix that goddamn apostrophe already — it would be like removing a splinter from my brain.
Notre Dame auction update: My thanks to everyone who’s sent in bids for the Notre Dame promo box. The high bid as of this morning was $4000, which means today’s minimum bid is $4100. If nobody bids today, the minimum bid will increase to $4200 tomorrow.
Full details on how to bid, and everything else regarding the auction, can be found here.
Sticker update: I handed out lots of Uni Watch stickers at last weekend’s Sheep Station gathering. Want to get some for yourself? Just send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to me at 671 DeGraw St., Brooklyn, NY 11217 and I’ll send back three stickers (one each of green, gold, and burgundy). If you want to enclose a coupla bucks or a barter offering, that’d be nice, although it isn’t required. Okay? Okay.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Mets will officially ditch (most of) the black at 10am Eastern. That sound you’ll hear in the background will be yours truly shedding a few well-earned tears of joy. … Here’s USF’s Wounded Warrior uni — woof! Note that they’re going with simple block uni numbers, in gold — a lot simpler than what they initially had in mind. That’s a direct result of the snafu with South Carolina’s Wounded Warrior jerseys last month. Looks like they made up for it with the helmet, though. … Bit of a dust-up regarding an alteration to the Polish soccer jersey (from Ron Lizik). … Ohio University’s marching band wants new uniforms (from Jason Hillyer). … Kudos to Jon Solomonson, who found some primo sports-themed citrus carton labels. … Yesterday I Ticker-linked to those Radford basketball jerseys with the “RU” above the NOB. “That was a mistake by the screen printer,” says Radford multimedia services director Parick Reed. “After the uniforms arrived from Powers (who makes the Nike uniforms for us), the basketball staff sent them off to have an RU logo placed above the name on the back. It was supposed to look like this. Unfortunately, the printed matched the font of the player names, which everyone agrees looks ridiculous. The staff has been assured that these will be fixed with some sort of patch.” … Memphis hoops wore some gorgeous throwbacks yesterday to honor former coach/player Larry Finch. … Sure, why not, and while you’re at it you can get a DeSean Jackson jersey with a “Judas” NOB. … Weird coincidence: Yesterday I linked to photos of Matt Powers and his DIY Johnny LeMaster jersey. Then yesterday’s Freakonomic podcast was all about the phenomenon of booing — including an interview with Johnny LeMaster himself, talking about his famous “Boo” jersey. To hear the podcast, go here and click on “Listen,” which will let you access the free audio file in iTunes. The LeMaster segment is toward the end of the 30-minute program (big thanks to Mike Hasselbeck). … Between the flocked helmet shell and the felt logo, you’ll rarely see a batting helmet shot wit h more texture than this one (great find by George Fetkovich). … Speaking of batting helmets, for a second there I thought Jason Henke had found a photo of Martin Prado wearing a chinstrap. Then I realized it was just Prado’s necklace riding up. … We already knew that Oregon State would be wearing turquoise uniforms for the N7 game on Nov. 12. But Joe Alvernaz reports that this had matching turquoise shoes this time around. … Matt Powers notes that Tyrone Mathieu of LSU was wearing white Cutters, instead of Nike gloves, in the game against ’Bama. … The Grand Junction Rockies — the former Casper Ghosts and Rookie League affiliate of the Rockies — have a new logo. “Obviously, it’s a based on the Rockies’ logo, but with a silhouette more representative of the mesas on the western side of the state,” says Scott Schlaufman. “Personally, I think it just looks like a hat.” … Some decent analysis of NHL team logos on this site (from Donnie Kwak). … Great catch by Mike Sambuco, who noticed that the jersey used as the Phillies’ press conference for Jonathan Papelbon had an upside-down 8. … Matt Duchene of the Avalanche has “It Ain’t Killed Me Yet” written on the end of his stick (screen shot by Dane Drutis). … Very interesting contribution from Charles Fisher, who writes: “Many law enforcement agencies create souvenir patches with team logos, which they use as gifts or to trade to officers in other agencies.” … Nike and Darren Rovell: letting no event go unmerchandised (and no merch uncelebrated). … Here’s another view of that undershirt looking like a taffy pull from Saturday’s UMD/Notre Dame game (from Dan Chichalski). … Also from Dan: Notre Dame backup QBs usually wear red caps on the sideline, so they’re easy to spot as they signal in the plays. But it was a little bit nippy on Saturday, so they wore striped ski caps instead.