Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Home Team Assessment

                The Twins’ TC hat is one of the most unique pieces of apparel in sports.  They’re probably the only franchise to essentially have a logo on any part of their uniform that doesn’t stand for either the place they’re named after or the nickname of the team.  The Hornets got creative recently and started writing out NOLA on their jerseys, so as to remind people that New Orleans was in LA [Louisiana], but that’s not quite the same thing.  You could make the argument that they have put the T there for Twins and the C is just an afterthought- meant to stand for Cities, if you’re in the mood.  The Twin Cities, as what the hat represents, are able to be both the place the team plays and the inspiration for their nickname.
                Nicknames for teams probably started with English soccer teams being given these (still) unofficial designations by their supporters, usually based on the kit colors (Reds, Blues, Magpies, etc).  But in America we decided it was important that all teams have more formal team names, specifically when cities like Boston or New York would have multiple teams.  And while those teams have in their histories changed nicknames a fair bit, our franchise has been called the Twins since moving from DC.  While the name change has led to the two incarnations never connecting their shared history (see Senators’ Banners at Target Field, Lack of), the Twins have recently decided to honor the earliest eras of baseball in this country by including Baseball Club in their most recent logo.
                The logo itself may only use the Baseball Club as an excuse, however, for the key addition to the logo that most adds to the Twins’ identity.  As long as I’ve been a fan of the team, they’ve worn Navy blue and Red[i].  But I don’t think they’ve ever been the Navy and Red, the way other teams identify themselves with their colors.  One of the problems is that neither is really the primary color, but more on that later.  The other problem is that there’s a couple other ways to identify the team, whether it’s that they have TC on their hat (using the time-honored “wishbone C”) or the fact we have pinstripes on our home unis.   But both of these ideas are semi-borrowed from other teams, so they’ve each failed to grab a foothold.  They realized that the closest thing the team has to an identifier is the Navy and Red.  By adding the navy outer ring to what is still essentially the classic Twins full logo, the organization is at least able to garner some attention to its color scheme.
                Another way that the Twins have made people associate the team with the colors is by the pennant flags out in left field.[ii]  The pennants themselves offer fans another glimpse of their color scheme- emphasizing their World Series wins with Red, the bolder of their two colors.  And by making the flags as understated as they are, they make the somewhat modest success of the franchise actually seem grander.  “We can’t afford to take up room in the stadium with unnecessarily large flags- we just have too many championships.  And we count on getting even more.”
                But they still made a bad call taking those trees out from behind the centerfield fence.

[i] Because there are so many named shades of red, no team ever calls their color just “Red”.  It’s generally called either Cardinal or Crimson or Burgundy or something else.  Ironically, as many distinct colors of blue as there are, teams generally call their shade of blue just “Blue” regardless of how specific that is.  All this is to say that I really don’t know what the Twins refer to their scheme as.
[ii] My friends and I have joked that while the Twins don’t seem to have any extra room for more pennants out there, it’s not something they’ll have to worry about for a while.