Today the Baltimore Orioles unveiled changes to their uniforms for the 2012 season. The
introduction premiered on orioles.com this morning at 9:30 am. The changes were mostly minor, such as re-sizing the “Baltimore” script on the away jerseys and adding a Camden Yards 20th Anniversary patch to the right sleeve. But by far the most exciting change the Orioles will be sporting next spring is the addition of a new orange alternate jersey and the reversion back to the old carton bird logo of the ’60’s through ’80’s. The smiling orange, white, and black cartoon bird logo has been a fan favorite for decades and most of the Oriole greats of the past 50 years have donned the cartoon caps. Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Frank Robinson, Mike Palmer, Mike Flannagan, Mike Cuellar, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr, and many, many more have put on the now “retro” hats last seen at Memorial Stadium 24 years ago. The design chosen for the new cartoon bird logo is a simplified combination of the bird from the 1960 and 1983 seasons when the Birds won the World Series.
In case you were wondering, that was intentional. It is no secret that the Orioles are undergoing a major brand crisis. After failing to finish over .500 for the 14th straight season and shockingly (or unshockingly) low attendance figures since the 1999 season, the team has struggled to even cement an identity for itself as a loosing team. They’ve tried to be the big-spending competitors of the Yankees and Red Sox and failed miserably. They’ve also been the farm system trusting frugal Scrooges of the big leagues and also not found success with that strategy either. The front office doesn’t even know what the identity of the team is, other than losers of course. Safe to say things need to change, quickly.
The hiring of Dan Duquette and as General Manager is a step in the right direction, and while there are plenty of other front office changes to be made between now and the beginning of the season, Peter Angelos & Sons may be looking to the oldest and most unpredictable of baseball traditions: superstition.
Baseball is all about history. The league, the players, managers, and owners idolize the past and the greatness of yesteryear and look to it for advice and example like no other organization in the country. Could it be that the Orioles have found the right means to propitiate the baseball god’s wrath? Could it be as simple as reverting to the traditions of past Oriole magic? If you believe that the cartoon bird logo is directly responsible for the World Series teams of 1960, 1966, and 1983 then absolutely go ahead and change the freaking logo! Why did we ever let it go? Oh right, because it isn’t ornithologically correct. The baseball god’s wrath be on whomever decided to scrap the logo in the first place! While we can never prove the logo’s one-to-one correlation with the team’s success I say it’s at least worth a shot. Anything is better than last place. And the ornithologically incorrect logo is FAR better than the new Miami Marlins uniforms so LET’S PLAY BALL!!!