The Blue Jays and parent company Rogers are hoping a new team logo and uniforms will help fans reconnect with the glory years of the early ’90s.
To some eyes, the logo will look exactly the same as it did before the organization went with the black/white/grey angry bird look on their chests and caps in 2002. Personally, I had mixed feelings about the most recent version and felt it copied the Tampa Bay Rays. In fact, when the two teams faced each other with “Rays” and “Jays” on their shirts, it could’ve passed for an inter-squad game.
It also mimicked what I like to call the “Oakland Raiders effect” when teams in all pro leagues hopped on the bandwagon with the black/silver/white palette because it was cool and intimidating. I never thought it quite worked for the Jays. Judging by their success this decade, the aggressive look didn’t intimidate any of their opponents either.
So it was back to the drawing board. Bye-bye angry Jay bird. Maybe you just weren’t happy enough for this friendly franchise that loves all its players, employees and fans. Perhaps you may be re-purposed, with smoking cigar in your beak, on the side of a NASCAR vehicle.
At any rate, for those who grieved the decision to scrap the classic Jays logo, your prayers have been answered. The “blue” in Blue Jays is back, though a little bit of a deeper shade of royal blue and the red maple leaf also figures prominently again. The lettering is reminiscent of the old style as well but with a less-rounded font. Even the split numbers on the back – remember those? They’ve returned as well, though more modern-looking.
Frankly, I don’t know what to feel about this new-old logo. I’ve got fond memories of the Jays’ glory days in the ’80s and ’90s. The Jays’ classic logo is as inter-twined in my brain as some of the players themselves. It was excellent then as a uniting brand for a Canadian team on the quest for a championship.
But we’ve outgrown that now, haven’t we? The Jays, Toronto, the organization, the fans – have all matured and are more sophisticated. The franchise isn’t a young, fresh-faced kid anymore. 2012 will be its 35th year in its existence. Yet its confidence still seems fragile and doing something different that people might not like probably sounded too risky. Hence, stick with the tried and true.
I think when sports corporations go retro, they’re nakedly trying to capitalize on past achievements. But past achievements are, well, in the past. It’s not forward looking. Not new. Not unique. For my tastes, the new logo while nice enough, lacks any imagination whatsoever. It’s a safe bet that looks like it was created in a boardroom.
“Hey Paul, check it out. We’ll just tweak the old logo – people loved that baby! Don’t wanna mess with success, Paulie! Whaddya say we change the colour just a bit, make the type different and Bob’s your uncle, you’ve got you’re new Jays logo! My 10-year old could do it on her laptop! So simple, it’s brilliant! And the bonus Paulie, is we don’t have to shell out any big dough to one of those overpaid graphic artists to come up with some fancy-schmancy design. We can put it towards a closer!”
“Nice work, Jimmy!”
With all the chatter of the new direction the Jays are moving in building a contender and promoting it every chance they get, you’d think the brain trust would have come up with a more dynamic brand that captures the new surge of optimism. True, retro unis seem to be all the rage; even “new” ballparks are retro in look and feel. Does that mean you have to have a logo and uniform to go with the crowd? Frankly, the Blue Jays played it safe and lazy on this one when they had a chance to do something more daring and create a bit of a stir. Opportunity missed.
The New Blue Jays culture: Building something exciting.
The New Blue Jays logo: Same old, same old.