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Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Power of the Logo

What is it about a Major League Baseball corporate logo change that compels people to feel so strongly?

Logic dictates that when a team is sold, the new ownership wants to put its stamp on the organization for branding purposes. If you think about it, it’s like getting a new text book in school. We are told not to write in it because it belongs to the school system but we still put something on it to brand it ours. It is the same thing with new owners of sports franchises. The previous owner may have had success with the original or existing logo but the new owner wants everyone in the corporate and consumer world to know there is a new player in town.

Still, in the case of our Toronto Blue Jays we cannot feel less than a little uncomfortable about the logo change that was thrust upon us so shortly after the organization’s Back-to-Back World Series victory and disbursement of the team’s star players. There was so much change in the team just seemed to be moving backwards.

The new owners from Interbrew S.A. (June 1995-Jan. 2004) must have felt that after the team’s play the previous two seasons, it required a new look. So the owners and staff came up with something completely different. However, the Toronto Blue Jays team was never considered a viable arm of the corporation. According to one information source documenting the history of Interbrew, the baseball operations were a part of the “extraneous activities that were significantly less profitable than the core brewery operation” and later sold a majority share in 2000 to Rogers, which owned the team outright in 2004.

So now there is a new logo (still being proposed). It is very similar to the original but minus the baseball in the background. I guess the branding of the name is strong enough that it can stand its absence.

This logo design was “leaked” to the Toronto community late in the Jays’ 2011 season shortly after the Florida (now in Miami) Marlins’ new logo was “leaked”. The Jays logo change should not be news to Sportsnet viewers. Rogers announcer and former Blue Jays manager and catcher Buck Martinez hinted that the old logo may be making a return of sorts because so many enjoy the older logo.

So what does the Jays’ new logo add that the previous one took away? The answer is the Maple Leaf. It is that Canadian element that was missing from the blue and grey logo. Although some disliked the sharp image of the 2004-2011 design, there must have been something to that logo design and colour because the style was shamelessly copied by the baseball club in Tampa Bay.

What does all this mean to the fans of the franchise? It is a reflection of a new attitude propped up by some improved play on the field. When healthy, the players in this Toronto Blue Jays lineup have provided some exciting games. While it is true that there are a few weak spots for management to address, but there is more than enough cause for the fans and competition to take heart. With this new logo comes a new attitude and it is not just corporate fanfare.