Wednesday, April 2, 2008

PA vs DN Part 1: The New Uniforms and Name

In what is likely to be a regular series two of our writers will argue about something Rays related. One guy writes the "pro" argument and sends it to the other guy and he writes the "con" argument.

Although the topic has already been delved into on some Rays message boards and blogs, we have yet to discuss the recent name, color, and jersey change of the Rays here at Sports Indeed.

Making the argument that the change is good thing is PA:

Namoli should be remembered in the same context as Culverhouse for generations to come by Bay Area fans. His stewardship saw the team finish in last or fourth place every season of its existence. We all remember the disaster that was the “Hit Show.” My personal favorite blunder was the signing of Wilson Alvarez, who I think finally came off the books this past year. The current executives needed to set themselves apart from the old group. They want fans to think about the Rays in a “new” way, precisely because they will be a “new” organization under the leadership of Sternberg, Silverman, and Friedman. Baseball fans in the area have become lethargic to say the least. Changing the name, color, and uniforms symbolizes the revitalization of a rundown franchise and will hopefully spur some excitement in the fan base. This is a new team and there is reason to be optimistic. These aren’t your “Dad’s Rays” as the saying goes.

Specifics about the name, colors, and uniforms: Frankly, I didn’t mind the green, but I don’t dislike the blue either. I suppose one could say the blue looks more professional. Exchanging the Devil Ray for a “Ray of Sunshine” on the logo is definitely a step in the right direction. I mean what is a Devil Ray? I fish all the time and I have no idea what a Devil Ray is. The only Ray that I ever catch is a Sting Ray. Sternberg and company realized that they could capture the essence of one the main good things about the Tampa Bay area (the sunshine) without completely changing the name. When you think of Tampa do you think of beaches and sun or of devil rays? I think it was a savvy business move by an organization that clearly knows what it is doing. Those are words I never could have spoken during the Namoli era. The have reignited the passions of the long time fan, while also taking critical steps towards extending the fan base. This was only made possible by distancing themselves from Namoli & Co.

The only reason I think they should have not have changed is that (1) the old uniforms were unique, and (2) it would have been nice to win in the old uniforms and stick it to the all the media that has made fun of us by saying “we look and play like a minor league team.”

We all remember what happened a few years after the Buccaneers changed their uniforms. Let’s all hope that this becomes a trend and the Rays win a world series in the next five years!

Making the argument that the change is a travesty is DN:

So where do I start?

With the crying shame that the Rays had finally settled on a simple design with an underrated and infrequently used color (forest green), only to trade it in for a color (blue) that is featured in no less than 17 (yes, you read that right, 17) teams’ logos? If I wanted to root for the Mariners, I’d move to the Pacific Northwest, spend half my salary at Starbucks, and learn to live with my local teams toiling in relative obscurity. Hey, at least they included that sky blue color as well right? That’s not a ridiculously trendy color is it? It’s not like they joined the ever-growing list of teams re-working their color scheme to include it (see: Denver Nuggets going from this to this and the Utah Jazz from this to this AND the Memphis Grizzlies from this to this). Oh wait. My bad. I swear, the first time I see someone wearing a sky blue rays hat, not because they’re a fan, but because it matches their “fit,” I’m going to dropkick a small animal.

With the inevitable struggle of trying to convince fans to buy new merchandise for a team that, albeit has promise, still finished with the worst record in the majors last year? A task made all the more difficult when said change isn’t universally regarded as an improvement? I’m looking forward to seeing how many people wear their green gear to the first few series at Tropicana Field. I know I will.

With the “Ray” no longer representing a devil ray, but a ray of sunshine? Could they have chosen a softer mascot? Let’s just complete the transition and call them the Tampa Bay Super Happy Sunbeams Hooray!!! (note: the 3 exclamation points are part of my fake, mocking name). Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t mascots supposed to be either somewhat fearsome (lions, tigers, bears, etc…) or something applicable to that city or area (san fransisco 49ers, san antonio spurs etc…)? The last time I checked, devil rays are at least exclusive to places with an ocean or sea, while every other MLB city has an excellent view of the sun. Plus, a devil ray has a heck of a stinger, whereas the ill effects of the sun can be warded off with all-powerful products like sunscreen, or maybe a hat. Dear skin cancer, you don’t faze me, love always, grant.

With the conundrum that is the Rays (of sunshine) playing their home games in a dome? Sure, there’s a plan in the works for an outdoor stadium, but tell that to the throbbing sensation in my brain.

With the very enjoyable and unique addition of the rays’ tank just above the centerfield wall now being rendered irrelevant and confusing?

With the brainless, nausea-inducing belief that changing a team’s name, colors, or mascot somehow changes the “culture?” What happens if the Rays (of sunshine) lose 90 games this year and finish last in the division? What will the new “culture” be then? Losing and unrealized potential, losing and bland uniforms, losing and Grant looking like an idiot for proclaiming 2 years ago that the “Devil Rays will be in postseason contention in the next 4 years?” Fantastic. Here’s a thought; how about changing the uniforms only when the current ones look as atrocious as this.

I can’t even explain how much I would respect an owner if they cited that as the reason for a color/jersey change. When your best reason for a change is “culture,” you end up with the horror that is the 6th picture down.

With the fact that Uni Watch doesn’t like them? An excerpt from Mr. Lukas’ thoughts on our beloved Rays’ new threads:

    • Reactions continue to pour in about those crummy new Devil Rays uniforms. The most frequent comment is something along the lines of, "Well, they play like a minor league team, so they might as well look like one," but that's unfair -- to minor league uniforms. Minor league teams look fun and playful -- the Rays' new look is just boring.

But let’s be frank for a moment, does it not seem like Mr.Sternberg, Mr.Silverman, and Mr.Friedman (the owner, president, and executive vp of baseball operations, respectively) are spending an inordinate amount of time making decisions that don’t directly affect baseball operations and the overall talent-level of the team. And while most have been welcomed with open arms (free parking, fans allowed to bring in outside food and drink), they may have been a little too drastic this time. Personally, I’d prefer they focus more on keeping our farm system well-stocked with young pitchers to prepare for the inevitability of Kazmir’s arm falling off.

All kidding aside, I leave you with a sight we will probably never see again. Sad, but true.


Anonymous said...

Hahahahaha! Great Post DN

Shoop said...

Teams that wore green in 2007: 2
Teams that wore blue in 2007: 17

Our old uniforms could've been "spruced up" with a VERY simple change: use the blue/sky blue that was ALREADY THERE as more of an "accent" color to make the green "pop". Talk about unique, clean, and simple.

Instead, we're the Tampa Bay Sunshine Fish.

We're no longer the Rays(fish version)...but then again, we still have a ray on the sleeve. We're no longer the Rays(fish version)...but then again, we still have a touch tank in right center field.

So now we're ambiguous. Ask anyone on the street what ARE the Rays, and there answer can be interpreted into about 14 different directions. So in other words, they spent 2 years spending money on "research" on how to change the "branding" of the team, and came up with..........a whole lot of things, all mixed together as one.

Now you can add the Rays onto the LONG list of baseball nicknames that make no sense:
Dodgers - dodging what, exactly?
Yankees - ok, so you're Americans...according to the British.
Mets - congrats, you live in a big city.
Twins - Twin Cities...I get it. But, a twin means there are 2 of you that look alike...what does that have to do with baseball?
Royals - Royalty? Huh?
Athletics - You're athletes, your colors are green and yellow, and your logo is an elephant.
Phillies - Was there a lack of creativity in the early 1900's or what?
Padres - Ah yes, the San Diego Fathers.
Rays - The Tampa Bay Sunshine Fish

Well there you have it.

Anonymous said...