A few days ago, the Florida Marlins officially rebranded as the Miami Marlins—with a hideous newfangled logo, and ugly uniforms to boot. Naturally, the Marlins organization paid lip-serve to the symbolic significance of their pinata-like multi-colored new “M”:
The colors were chosen to reflect trendy Miami.
“We are the red-orange, of the breathtaking Miami sunsets and the citrus industry,” Loria said. “The blue of the sky and the sea. And the yellow of the beautiful Miami sunshine.”
Miami certainly is trendy. So trendy that its residents don’t have time for baseball. Last year, the Marlins averaged just about 19,000
spectators tickets sold per game. And that’s not just because the Marlins were bad. Even in their 2003 World Series year, the Fish averaged about 16,000 in paid attendance. A part of that lousy attendance has to be the fact that no one wants to go to a baseball game in an outdated stadium in the middle of August in Miami. That problem is going to be fixed next year when the Marlins unveil their new, mercifully climate-controlled ballpark next year. But it’s still summer in Miami, so the Fish will have to deliver a quality on-the-field product to get people off the beaches and out of the nightclubs to fill the stands. New (ugly) look, same Marlins isn’t going to cut it.
Which brings me to my real issue on the Marlins’ new “trendy” logo, and maybe why baseball in Miami isn’t working: Baseball is inherently un-trendy. Baseball records are hallowed (which is why Hank Aaron is still, if not technically, the real home run king). Baseball fans embrace “old school” guys more than the fans of any other sport, save for maybe a small segment of football fans (see Chicago, IL; Green Bay, WI; Pittsburgh, PA). And, “outdated” baseball uniforms still look the best. Even if you hate the Yankees (which I do), it’s tough to beat the pinstripes for sheer appearance. And the other classic looks are still the best: the Red Sox, Cubs, Tigers, etc. So thanks to the Orioles, who recently announced their new uniforms—only minor tweaks, but the return of a cartoon oriole as the team’s cap logo. It’s fun, classic, and stylish—all the things the Marlins’ new look isn’t.
Of course, all of this is trivial (but we like to dwell in the realm of the trivial). While the Orioles will look good in 2012 and the Marlins won’t, there probably won’t be much difference between them when it comes to wins and losses.