TORONTO - The Blue Jays are going back to the future.
In the fashion world, it is often said that everything old is new again and so it is with the Jays’ latest generation of uniforms unveiled Friday at the Rogers Centre.
In a not-so-subtle attempt to link the current renaissance of the Blue Jay brand with the glory years of the franchise, the team’s new duds are reminiscent of the ones they wore to back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.
The Canadian maple leaf plays a prominent role in the logo that also brings back a bird identical to the original that adorned Toronto’s uniforms for the first 20 years of the franchise.
Into the garbage goes the fearsome stylized “J” with the angry bird-head, the most recent of many logo iterations that have been used since last the Jays were a successful entity, both on the field and at the box office. Into the garbage, also, go the black and silver uniform tops that have been prominent the last few years.
In the modern sports world, teams change their uniforms as often as they change their socks. With the exception of iconic franchises like the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Cardinals and the Dodgers, marketers are always seeking ways of expressing new “direction” for their teams, while counting on fans to buy up the newest of the new.
The Jays will be looking, no doubt, to score at the cash register with these changes but they are also looking to get closer to their championship roots, creating a welcoming symbol for fans to return.
Winning games is the most direct route for that to happen and Alex Anthopoulos is working on that. Slowly — sometimes painfully-so — the pieces are falling in place but it’s an unpredictable process.
In fashion, they say the clothes make the man but in baseball, it’s the other way around. The new outfits will look just fine and a lot of people will be happy with the retro look but they won’t have that special cachet until, in some future October, they are doused in champagne.
Until then, they’re just so many empty shirts.