My first thought upon seeing this morning’s announcement about the Brewers adding a sixth (!) jersey into their regular rotation was “I can’t believe people like these things.” I hate them with a depth it’s difficult to convey and I was prepared to launch a diatribe on their awfulness and fight with all the people who seem to like them.
Except a funny thing happened on my way to Rant City – all those people who liked the “gold” Cerveceros jersey and the Yellow-Out game last season seem to have faded into the woodwork. I even steeled myself and checked the Facebook comments below the announcement post on the Brewers’ official page – a large majority of those folks hate them, too. I wonder where all those people went - the people that claimed that the color of the jersey was “Lager” and was a good representation of the team.
The Brewers do not need six jerseys in rotation (Blue “Brewers,” Blue “Milwaukee,” Grey “Brewers,” White “Brewers,” Pinstripe and Gold) – even more if you add in the Milwaukee Bears, Cerveceros and Birrai/Bierbrauer/whatever they do this year. No team needs that many. It’s not a fashion show, it’s a baseball game. Light and dark, home and away. One-off specials are fine, I suppose, but what purpose do all these serve beyond jersey sales?
It’s a money grab and that annoys me. At $100 a pop for jerseys who’s quality has continued to fade (used to be layered, sewed on tackle twill – now just one layer and the others are screen printed on), MLB is sitting on a gold mine. And that’s why they do this. You can buy your team’s cap in every color of the rainbow, plus plaid, paisley and be-dazzled. There are on-field caps, BP caps and now interview caps. All at $40 each. And this has been two year in the making. MLB does not allow a team to make uniform or logo changes on shorter than two year’s notice. As soon as someone at Miller Park came up with this idea, they pushed it through to MLB and we saw one-offs, but it couldn't be a part of the official uniform rotation until it passed that waiting period. (If you’ll remember, Chorizo was announced and then disappeared for a year. He couldn't become a full, official mascot without that waiting period).
Most importantly, the marketing/media package they've put on this is beyond ludicrous. When they packaged it as being the color of beer, it at least made sense and had a reason for existence. And the color of the jersey was actually the color of the thing they said they were trying to match.
But this line makes me Hulk-Smash angry. It’s silly. It’s pathetic. It’s a sad attempt at selling the concept. In the aforementioned two years, this is what they came up with?
I LOVE the Brewers marketing efforts. I've been on record in the past as admiring their attention to detail, clean promotions, targeting of audiences and generally seeming to understand their audience and their city.
“The Brewers go for the gold every season. Each of the 30 flags atop the Commissioner’s Trophy awarded to the World Series Champion are adorned in gold and it is the Brewers goal to one day have that trophy at Miller Park. With that in mind, the Brewers will be “going for gold” in a new gold alternate jersey next season.”
First off, I’m dying to copy-edit the hell out of that sentence. It was written by the Brewers Media Relations Manager and posted on their blog. I’m pretty sure it’s the official announcement. And it’s a travesty.
But moving on from that, the color is not gold. It’s sand. It’s grainy mustard. It’s beige. (When I was feeling particularly ungenerous about previous yellow/gold attempts, I called the color “urine.”) Comparing this dull nylon monstrosity to the shining beacon of the Commissioner’s Trophy is an affront to everyone involved.
But ok, if we suspend reality and agree that they’re wearing gold, the best the creative minds at Miller Park could come up with is “go for the gold-> win the world series -> the world series trophy is gold -> we want to win the world series.” It’s like they're not even on board for this and didn't bother putting a whole lot of time into the pitch and roll out.
The whole thing feels half-assed and second-rate. I’m going out on a limb and hypothesizing that MLB asked the Brewers to come up with something new and this is what they went with. They tried to one-off yellow/gold days and they went over ok, so they went with it. (I’d argue the popularity of that jersey was over the Cerveceros portion, not the color). Instead of innovating and coming up with new things to sell and make money, the Brewers have been going retro – it’s the clear preference of the fans. But those items already exist, the fans have already purchased them and there are only so many tweaks that can be done to beloved past looks. So in an effort to sell more product, MLB suggested the Brewers come up with something new and today’s announcement is the end product.
The more I think about it, the more I feel like the Brewers had no interest in creating new logos or re-branding, but the edict came down, so they had to comply and they did - kind of. The whole effort comes off as disinterested and uninspired and the lack of “oomph” behind it – the less-than-stellar marketing package, that it was announced via blog with an artist’s rendering instead of with a presser that included a player and actual photographs leads me to think the Brewers put in exactly as much effort and caring as it comes off having.