Diamonds are forever, but uniforms change

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring is in the air, and that means fashion and diamonds.

     Sorry, but I’m not talking about designers unveiling their new clothing lines or “a girl’s best friend.” I’m talking about new sports team uniforms and baseball diamonds.

     There were a couple of regular season games in Japan late last month, but the Major League Baseball season began stateside Wednesday.

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     The featured game was the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals against the Miami Marlins, formerly the Florida Marlins. Now there’s a real contradiction in uniform fashion.

     The Cardinals, for the most part, have maintained a traditional red and white home uniform and road gray or light blue uniform with the intertwined “StL” on their red caps. And the logo featuring two cardinals at opposite ends of a bat remains a familiar uniform feature.

     On the other hand, the Marlins, as part of their makeover and move into a new stadium, scrapped their black and teal uniforms in favor of ones with a distinct Latin-infused flavor. Given their location and fan demographics, that’s not a bad thing; I just wonder how much eye strain opposing players will get from facing the Marlins.

     The new team colors include black, red-orange, silver, blue, yellow and white and at least four different uniform options, including one with orange tops. The new team logo is a stylized ‘M’ accentuated by the team colors and an orange and blue image of a Marlin beside it.

     Some baseball observers have pondered if the Marlins’ new unis are the worst ever. I wouldn’t go that far, but they are up there on the list – or down there depending on how you look at it.

     I’d rather focus on a return to fashion glory for my favorite team, the Toronto Blue Jays, who also have new uniforms for the 2012 season. I say return because the new uniforms look awfully similar to the ones from the 1970s into the early 1990s.

     Aside from some looking like polyester pullovers, I found the combination of medium and light blue and white uniforms then very appealing. And I thought the team’s logo, featuring the bird’s head – with the red Canadian maple leaf forming part of its feathers – over a baseball, top notch.

     The new uniforms are so similar to the original ones that I initially had a difficult time discerning any changes. The logo has been modified a bit and the new uniform numbers are more angular, but otherwise that’s about all the changes I see.

     There’s a lot to be said for tradition, like the crossed ‘L’and ‘A’ of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the ‘N’ and ‘Y’ of the New York Yankees or the simple lowercase ‘c’ of the Chicago Cubs on those teams’ caps, but I’ve always been attracted to teams with more interesting logos. In addition to one of my all-time favorite players Cal Ripken playing for them and the fact that my grandmother liked them, the cartoon bird on the cap of the Baltimore Orioles helped make me a fan of that team.

     In football, I came to love the Seattle Seahawks for much the same reasons. I thought the Seahawk logo coming from the back of the helmet to the side made them stand out against duller designs of the day.

     On Tuesday, the Seahawks unveiled their own new helmet design and color scheme for the 2012 season. The colors appear generally darker than their previous ones, but I haven’t had time to fully evaluate the new apparel.

     I’ll be interested to see what kind of fall fashion statement my team’s new colors make. If they help them have more success on the gridiron in actual games, I’ll be all for them.

     That’s all for now.

     Write to Managing Editor Matthew Coleman at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602, or send e-mail to