Monday, April 09, 2012

Green Collar Baseball

We've got Vin Scully's dulcet tones juxtaposed with whatever the hell that thing Miami's installed behind the left-centerfield fence. We've got Tim Kurkjian's excited exclamations and George Will's patrician baseball poetry. We've got Strasburg, Verlander, and Cueto, Batista, Jackson, and Kemp. It's Baseball (and Ohio - go Reds!) Week at Gheorghe: The Blog, and today we celebrate the time-honored tradition of franchise sloganeering.

From the Brooklyn Dodgers' immortal "Wait 'til Next Year' to the 2004 Boston Red Sox' unforgettable 'Cowboy Up', the team slogan is a storied part of baseball's lore. While those two examples were unofficial, teams have long sought catchy phraseology to help them market their franchises and drive fans to the box office - witness 'Let's Go Mets', for instance. In 2012, 14 franchises dug deep into their creative reserves to try to generate interest. We'll review them so you don't have to.

Of immediate interest, and perhaps obvious note to we East Coast Elitists (represented by the Mets' '50th Anniversary - I mean, come on, Wilpons. You seem distracted), more than half of this year's MLB slogans come from Midwestern teams. Eight of the 14 2012 marketing plays are the brainchildren of Central Division franchises - 4 in each league. As you (as a cynical product of the coastal media) also might guess, nearly all of these 8 flyover country slogans are numbingly trite (say, for example the Cubs' 'It's a Way of Life' or Cincinnati's 'This is Reds Country') , though Detroit's 'Who's Your Tiger'? has the advantage of being both bizarre and vaguely naughty.

We find ourselves nodding in strong approval of Kansas City's 'Our Time' slogan, accompanied as it is by a picture of Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. (What's that? You don't see Mr. Hand? Well fuck it, then, the Royals' slogan is painfully Polyannaish and improbable. Perhaps they meant Our Town, a fitting homage to blandness.)

Pittsburgh's 'Pride. Passion' Pittsburgh Pirates' is at the same time puzzling and depressing, seeing as we're nearly 20 years removed from a time when pride or passion were relevant for the Buccos. Minnesota's bland 'Twins Territory' rivals only the White Sox' 'Appreciate the Game' for lack of inspirational value, though we're ready to change our verdict on the latter if the Southsiders bring Omar in to throw out a first pitch.

Our disdain for Peter Angelos' Orioles is long-standing and well-documented. Their 'This is Birdland' slogan isn't going to have much impact on that front. Oh, really, Birdland? Well, that changes everything.

I confess to not entirely hating Houston's 'Root. Root. Root.', given its obvious ties to the game's national anthem and the Astros' clear need to get their fans to do just that. Sad, really, what's happened to that franchise, and they have to move to the American League next year. Root. Root. Root Canal, might be better.

Longtime bitter rivals the Dodgers ('An LA Tradition') and Giants ('Together We're Giant') take slightly different, though fitting approaches. Los Angeles appeals to history in a town that famously doesn't have much, staking the Dodgers' claim as the region's sporting centerpiece in a direct challenge to the interlopers from a hour south. (And the Angels really don't fire back, offering 'Angels Baseball'. Guess all those Pujols dollars meant Arte Moreno had to fire a few marketing types.) San Francisco, meanwhile, goes a little bit left of center quirky with their slogan, entirely befitting their home market. We'd like it better if they went the full Gheorghe and adopted 'Together We're My Giant'.

It's not hard to stand out in this field of mostly dreck. That said, our favorite 2012 slogan, by far, is a departure from the norm, a breath of, well, something. It's thrilling in its oddness, refreshing in its conflagration of themes, quixotic in its tilting against big market dominance. It's so very Oakland A's, their 'Green Collar Baseball' slogan. Allegedly in its third season, the (allegedly award-winning) Green Collar Baseball campaign, "highlights the hard work that embodies the young A’s team and illustrates how the organization welcomes an innovative and unconventional approach in order to win." Translation: have you heard of Moneyball? That's us! We're the Moneyball guys! Green Collar, get it?!? We're scrappy and green, not rich and red and blue and pinstriped!

Well played, Joe Morgan.


T.J. said...

How 'bout a title?

rob said...

i have to do everything?

T.J. said...

Oh, I did it for you, you diminutive, lazy bastard.

rob said...

that's me, ol' dlb

Igor said...

Rob, remember when we used to blog about baseball all season long? Well, some of our old peers still do, God bless 'em. Amazin' Avenue is still cruising along, and Eric provided this earlier this year:

The Mets have employed a seemingly endless collection of team slogans over the years. Here's a bunch of them:

Bring Your Kids To See Our Kids (1979)
The Magic Is Back (1980)
Catch The Rising Stars (1983)
Baseball Like It Oughta Be (1986)
Let's Do It Again (1987)
Hardball Is Back (1992)
Show Up At Shea (1998)
Amazin' Again (2000)
National League Champs (2001)
Always Believe (2002)
Experience It (2003)
Catch the Energy (2004)
The New Mets (2005)
The Team. The Time. The Mets. (2006)
Your Season Has Come (2007)
We Believe In Comebacks (2010)

The marketing department, putting the Meh in Mets for 30 years.

zman said...

You can't spell "disappointment" without an M, an E, a T, and an S.

Squeaky said...

All these slogans blow. Is there one decent one out there?

Shlara said...

I don't really get into baseball, but I kinda like the "Natitude" concept here in DC. Have no idea if it actually suits the team, just like the way it sounds.

rob said...

we really should celebrate tim kurkjian more

Jerry said...

These definitely blow...

Met-tos, the Freshmakers
Boo...I'm the Marlins
Citizens Bank Ballpark, cheaper han Philling your tank
Who's Your Padre?
Diamondbacks are a man's best friend

Igor said...

Okay, I guess I've been asleep on this one, but this just occurred to me... The NCAA won't let us have two feathers in our logo, but their home office is located in Indianapolis, Indiana?? A city AND a state whose name is a reference to the antiquated term "Indians"???

Apologies if this fact has been made time and time again. My retention isn't what it once was.

Squeaky said...

There is a retention joke in there somewhere.

Dave said...

how does a slogan start? is it usually officially marketed? or can it come from the bottom up?

and how about one for the inveterate gamblers: place your bets on the new york mets.

Igor said...

There's one for October: All Mets Are Off

rob said...

dave, in most cases, slogans are handed down via stone tablet by sages living high atop local mountains. in some rare instances, a team's marketing department may create them.

as in, 'you metter, you metter, you met'.