Sunday, October 23, 2005
We've all done it. Gone to the official team website to check the official team news, browsed around to see someone's stats, giggled heartily at Kevin Youkilis' mugshot. Unlike NFL team sites, there appears to be a sort of template for MLB sites, which lends them all an air of sameness (and, unlike NFL sites, means that if you can navigate one, you know where to find stuff at the site of any other team. The NFL fails at this so hard). But if you troll around the sites of every team in the league, as I sometimes have occasion to do, you notice something. Something different on each site.
Now, not every team has a slogan up on their official website. I'd say about half the league has 'em up. And of course these are the official, team-sanctioned-and-presumably-ad-agency-thought-up slogans, not nonetheless popular team tshirts like 'Manny Being Manny'. But I couldn't help noticing them. And some of them, well, they really do make you wonder.
Let us take a stroll down the graphically turbulent waters of team branding here.
team: Los Angeles Angels of Cebus capucinus
slogan: The A Team!
notes: The 'A' in this slogan is the Angels A, with the pointy font and the halo 'round the top. Not a bad slogan, I guess. At least it makes sense, and it's a nice incorporation of their team logo, although the white rounded typewriter-ish font for 'the' and 'team' is a bit jarring. Leaves itself open to all kinds of unfortunate 'A-hole' jokes, though, especially with Bartolo Colon heading up the pitching rotation.
team: Houston Astros
slogan: It's On!
notes: I guess this is supposed to be some sort of rallying cry or whatever, but I have trouble with it. It's on? What's on? The tea kettle? The TV? Is it on and tuned to Astros baseball? Are the stadium lights on? Does Biggio have his pine tar on? Does Lidge have his cyborg arm turned on? What is on?? It.
team: Oakland Athletics
slogan: A Different Brand of Baseball
notes: While I appreciate the efforts of the Oakland organization to market themselves as a totally different type of team as much as the next fan of Moneyball, there comes a point at which we must step back and really look at the matter. I know you like to be different, Oakland. I know it makes you feel good. You're like the goth kid of the major leagues, if goth kids wore green and gold instead of black and purple. Heck, maybe in Oakland they do. But just like that goth kid is still just another high schooler in reality, no matter how much Oakland tries to tell its fans otherwise, it is still a bloody baseball team. I appreciate your Futura-like font and your clean graphic rejection of the cheesily photoshopped ballplayers that grace most everyone else's banners, Oakland, but other teams out there emphasize pitching and on base percentage now, other teams are young now, other teams have smart managers who write 'I <3 stats' all over their geeky notebooks, you are really not that different.
team: St. Louis Cardinals
slogan: Millions of Memories/Busch Stadium: the Final Season
notes: I'll admit it, I rather like the 'Millions of Memories' writing underneath the arches of the stadium in red and white. I think it makes a nice image. And it's a timely slogan, one that probably made Cards fans and Larry Walker visiting the site all season long feel tearful and sniffly. The fact that they felt the need to go with two slogans instead of the customary one is a bit... well, it's a bit much, but we'll let it slide, because they probably just felt that down about gleefully blowing their old stadium to smithereens after their season ends.
team: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
slogan: Rebuilding the Dream
notes: I couldn't believe it when I saw this. I could not. Believe it. I know they had a different slogan all throughout the season, although I'll be buggered if I can remember it now. Something along the lines of 'Young Rays! Come watch us! Please!' no doubt. But this. Good lord. HOW LONG HAVE THE DEVIL RAYS BEEN 'REBUILDING' NOW? I thought it was a joke at first, but then I came back a day later and it was still up. They actually have an article up explaining the madness, which I guess speaks for itself, but are you guys serious? Haven't you been rebuilding for the past eleventy-tween seasons already? How much more do you have to do? Isn't it just paint touch-ups at this point? Bloody hell. This season isn't even over yet, and I'm already willing to say that the DRays are screwed for next year.
team: Arizona Diamondbacks
slogan: The G Force (Gonzalez//Glaus//Green)
notes: I think this is one of my favorites, for sheer ridiculousness. For one thing, basing your team slogan on specific players is always a bad idea... what if they have a down year? How stupid do you look then? As for Gonzalez, Glaus, and Green, I can't pretend to have been watching the Dbacks all year long, so I can't really tell you how they looked, but I can tell you that while all 3 of them hit over 20 homeruns over the course of the season, not a one of them batted anywhere near .300, none of them had an on-base percentage of over .370, and none of them slugged over .525. Which isn't terrible, I guess, but you really want that as the shiny pinnacle of Diamondbackdom? Also note the giant silvery G, and all the G-spot jokes you can ever imagine. The advertising agency that came up with this one really deserves some sort of prize.
team: Los Angeles Dodgers
slogan: Think Blue
notes: OK. I'm thinking blue. I'm thinking... Detroit Lions. I'm thinking... University of Michigan (Go Blue!). I'm thinking... Kansas City Royals. Two of those three teams are not ones you would be proud to be associated with. Nice clean idea, Dodgers, but with something that nonspecific you've got to accept the fact that for a vast majority of the world's population of baseball fans, 'blue' does not automatically equal 'Yhency Brazoban'.
team: San Francisco Giants
slogan: Your SF Giants
notes: That's it? That's all you've got? OK, so the 'SF' is in your overlapping orange logo font while 'your' and 'giants' are in a normal thin blocky font, but... where is the content, SF? Why even bother having a slogan at all if that's all you're going to do with it? It neither adds nor takes away from your site. It is a complete neutral waste of space. You might have been better served just putting up a nice photo of your ballpark in that space, with the water and everything, instead of this cardboard slogan and those amorphous baseballs.
team: Seattle Mariners
slogan: What a Show!
notes: I'm not sure why I can't pull this image separate, so I'm just linking you to their roster page... which, curiously, is where you have to go to find it, because it's not on their main page. A hidden slogan? A former slogan they got lazy about and never bothered to remove from any page besides the front one? Anyways, the 'S' in 'Show' has got the Mariner compass in the middle of it. It's selling their team as a spectacle, which is fine. I'm just confused as to why this slogan shows up on all their branch pages but not their main one.
team: Florida Marlins
slogan: Get Hooked
notes: Yes. Yes, this one I sincerely approve of. They could go way overboard with the teal if they wanted, but they keep it in check. Nice white Pop Warner-ish font, sporty and clean. Good incorporation of the text into the images. And, shockingly, I actually like the slogan. Why? It's short and catchy, it's something that enthusiastic ad personnel can shout in a hearty manner, and it's clever. Get Hooked, because the team's mascot is a fish, and they want you to get hooked on Marlins baseball, and it actually works.
team: San Diego Padres
slogan: Play Downtown
notes: Maybe it's because I'm not from San Diego, but I just don't get it. The glow-y font is neat, it calls to mind city lights, which works with the slogan, but... but... play downtown? Don't most major league teams play downtown? I mean, Fenway's in downtown Boston. Comerica's in downtown Detroit. Isn't playing downtown the norm? There was nothing else exciting to say about the Padres, except that they actually did, in fact, play in San Diego? They could've had their slogan be something like 'Dave Roberts Plays Here', and that would've been infinitely more exciting. They could've even used a nice font with speed lines along one side or something to keep it pertinent.
team: Colorado Rockies
notes: This is almost, almost as fantastic as 'The G Force'. It only loses out because it doesn't actually name specific players. The giant 'R' here has a little glimpse of their purple Rocky Mountains graphic in the hole, which I suppose is kind of cool in and of itself, but the whole package, ah. The rest of the font is a kind of psuedo-techincal futuristic... thing. I assume it's all supposed to be some sort of 'we're young and exciting!' deal, but of the guys on their roster right now, only 6 out of 31 are 25 or under. That's not really an enormous youth movement. GenRation. It sounds like a bad spinoff Marvel comic book series. Which, now that I think about it, could probably actually describe the Rockies, so maybe it's more clever than I give them credit for.
team: Minnesota Twins
slogan: TWINS Territory
notes: Man, look at that spattering. That's so bad-ass. These Twins, man, they're not just a bunch of small-balling dome-dwelling Minnesotan and Canadian-influenced kids. No way. They're wicked hardcore. I really want the 'territory' thing to be some kind of subtle reference to the fact that their mascot is a bear, and bears have territories, because that would actually be kind of cool, but I have my doubts as to whether or not that was intentional.
team: Chicago White Sox
slogan: Win. Or die trying.
notes: Um. Um. Er.... now now, boys. Let's not forget ourselves here. These are the Chicago White Sox, not the Chinese National Olympic Team. There's no need to be talking of dying... although can't you totally see Ozzie telling this to his players all season long? "If you do not win, you will be made dead. DEAD. And your families, they will be getting your head, YOUR HEAD SEVERED, and in the bed with them, you understand? Win. WIN, OR DIE TRYING."
Teams that are, alas, logo-free so far as I can tell: Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees.
Although at least two of those (the Mets and the Pirates), I am pretty sure, had slogans during the season that they've since taken down. I know the Pirates did, because it was some completely inexplicable yellow box form with the words 'Come Hungry!' on it, and this confused me to no end. I don't know what the Mets had, but I feel so certain that they had one.
I'm not really sure what the point of this whole thing was, other than awakening people to the silly, silly things that teams put on their websites. The more cynically critical people with an eye for graphic design we can get out there, the happier the world will be. I hope you are all enlightened now.
May The G Force be with you.
Forward down the field!
A charging team that will not yield!
When the Blue and Silver wave,
Stand and cheer the brave!
RAH! RAH! RAH!
Go hard, win the game!
With honor you will keep your fame!
Down the field and gain
A Lions Victory!
That kind of defense makes the baby lion cubs happy. Although injuries to Big Baby are not, repeat, incredibly NOT cool. Nor are injuries to Dre Bly. Nor are injuries to, y'know, the entire receiving corps.
And the... the quarterback was. Hrgck. He played pretty well. He was mobile, he had a few plays where, ah, other quarterbacks would have taken a sack or thrown the ball away, but he ran out and found a receiver against seemingly all odds. He. Well. He ran for a touchdown, which we haven't seen in cat-knows how long. He got the O-line all psyched up and huggy and suchlike.
I am still not happy about this.