November 09, 2011
'Tis the season to be making uniform changes and the San Diego Padres kicked off the festivities on Wednesday night by unveiling the latest change to their kits.
But if you can spot any major differences in the new look, well, more power to you. While Padres leadership had a shot at infusing some color into the team's threads, it instead chose to continue with the same drab blue and gray scheme while insisting that this is what its fans wanted. And so the Friars will continue to look like they're playing outside a steel factory or in a jail yard, not in colorful Southern California.
How bad is this change, which counts as the franchise's ninth in the past 25 years? It's so bad that they brought back the wonderfully nostalgic swingin' friar as a secondary patch and even he doesn't evoke any passion or excitement.
San Diego's sad stasis when it comes to its uniforms is all the more maddening because the change seems so easy. The Padres had a distinct and unique brown-and-mustard look for roughly their first 25 years of existence, followed by a few more editions that incorporated brown, orange and blue. (See the team's entire uniform history here.)
The Padres then switched to a primarily blue, white and gray look in 2004, causing fans to cry out for a return to the retro on sites like Bring Back The Brown. They derided new logos like the just-ousted "waves" logo as being straight from a "shampoo bottle."
But while thinking outside of the box might have been an easy way to inject some enthusiasm and pride into a fan base embittered by the team's play, payroll and future prospects, the Padres are insisting that no one really wants that drastic of a change.
Modernizing the old look is apparently out of the question.
"There is a vocal minority who wants a change to brown, but a much larger portion of the fan base who is strongly opposed to it," [team president Tom Garfinkel told the North County Times in an email.] "Going back to brown would have been another radical change. With that said, we will continue to celebrate our past every year with throwback days when we wear the uniforms of that era."
As someone with a national perspective, I will point out that those retro Thursdays are almost always enthusiastically greeted on Twitter and I've even tuned into a few games that I normally would not have, just so I could see them play in the old threads. When I look at their blue jersey and equally boring blue-and-white caps, it makes me think they're battling the Anaheim Ducks for the most generic look in professional sport.
Changing uniforms, of course, won't change the quality of the product put on the field and so maybe this is akin to swapping out labels on expired deli meat. But with the Padres barely altering a look that was so hated it spurred a change, you have to believe we're still going to be pining for the duds of guys like Graig Nettles and Garry Templeton.
What do you think of the Padres "new" uniforms?