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Cardinals unveil new jerseys for 2013
Back in 2005, I received an email from the Cardinals with three photos attached: a regular home jersey, a 1932 jersey and a road gray jersey featuring "St. Louis" across the chest. There was no explanation or context; the sender simply wanted my gut reaction. But, it was obvious the team was considering a change to its birds-on-bat logo, and because I'd worked with the team's Hall of Fame Museum staff on a few research projects, I was trusted to be part of its focus group.
city name on jerseys is not unprecedented. Many teams do it. In fact,
had "St. Louis" on road jerseys
from 1930-32 and even their home jerseys in 1931-32.
exactly enamored with the photo I saw with "St. Louis" on the
front, mostly because I felt the letters didn't fit together well, creating
too much trapped space within the logo.
I even went so far as to submit alternate treatments, including one that
raised and condensed the letters. I was
thanked for my opinion and that was that.
by. Nothing changed.
I received a call informing me the team was holding a press conference
at 10 a.m. Friday and was asked if I'd be interested in attending. "Interested"
was an understatement, because as everyone now knows, the
team is introducing an alternate jersey for 2013 with "St. Louis"
on the chest. It's the first major change to the Cardinals
uniform set since 1998.
The team is making minor changes to the regular home and road uniforms, as well. Unless they're placed side by side, it might be difficult for most people to notice a difference. But, in 2013:
that the changes to the logo make it consistent with the logo Majestic
has used on retail
jerseys -- as well as the team's pregame
shirts and jackets
-- for several years. I assumed Majestic had pushed this as a way to streamline
production. However, I was assured it was the team who championed details
like the birds' eyes and the rounded bat end, first because it was consistent
with the team's printed graphics, and second because Majestic now has
the ability to provide higher-quality embroidery that's capable of rendering
At the press
conference, team President Bill DeWitt III also noted the team will go
back to wearing red caps and belts on the road. I'm a huge fan of that
decision because I've thought for years that the
red really pops against the gray when you see the team in spring
training. DeWitt did leave open the possibility of navy caps being used
again as a road alternate. For example, the team could wear navy caps
when playing in Cincinnati, just to create contrast between the teams.
be a new batting practice cap in 2013. Details on that will be revealed
news, though, is the alternate uniform the team will wear for Saturday
home games. Generally, I don't have a high opinion of third jerseys, especially
those featuring solid colors. But, Philadelphia
have incorporated alternate jerseys that are especially appealing because
they have a vintage feel, and the Cardinals clearly took note when designing
their third shirt.
Phillies' and Indians' jerseys, the
new Cardinals jersey is an off-white, cream color that hints
at the hue of old flannel. Red piping runs around the collar and down
the placket, similar to the team's jerseys in the '30s, '40s and early
'50s (it also runs down the pant legs). And the city name clearly is a
to the early '30s. Though it wasn't discussed at the
press conference, I was told players' names will be embroidered in the
tails of the jerseys, a standard practice with flannel jerseys through
1970. Love that subtle touch.
jersey isn't completely retro, though; players
names will still appear on the back, and uniform numbers will
still be on the front. Personally, I think the shirt would look better
without a front number. Not only does it clash with the vintage feel of
the jersey, but the
tail of the "L" interferes with the placement of the numbers.
That obviously isn't a problem with "Cardinals" because none
of the letters extend below the baseline.
though, I really like the new design. Yes, the letters still present spacing
challenges; that can't be avoided when a lower-case "t," a period
and an upper-case, script "L" are involved. That said, the red
piping and slightly larger bat help fill in the space. It also helps that
the birds are larger and the material is cream instead of gray, which
just seemed particularly stark. It's still jarring to see "St. Louis"
instead of "Cardinals," but in the context of the whole jersey,
it's a welcomed addition to the team set.
alternate jersey already is available at the team's souvenir shop at Busch.
I know cynics will suggest this is just a money grab, that teams make
changes and add new styles just to inflate sales. I don't think that's
the case here. Obviously, the Cardinals will sell more jerseys; this certainly
will boost the bottom line to some degree. But, most fans don't realize
that licensed apparel sales are consolidated with all other teams and
are split among Major League franchises. So, for example, a $90 profit
on a jersey means $3 for each team. The Seattle Mariners benefit just
as much as the Redbirds.
the new alternate uniform simply was designed as another vehicle the team
can use to connect fans with yesteryear. The Cardinals franchise and its
leaders, including DeWitt, have
a strong sense of history and feel they have an obligation
to emphasize the team's proud past.
of this new alternate jersey, I'd say, "mission accomplished."
It's vintage. It's modern. And it's much more attractive than the typical
only they'd wear real stirrups with it.