The Houston Astros have a new identity–new logo, new uniforms, new mascot. But that identity stinks.
‘New’ isn’t even the right word to describe the Astros updated look and feel. Even ‘updated’ isn’t the right word–‘outdated’ is more like it. With the Astros revision to their identity, they return to the H-and-Star logo used throughout their history, and a decidedly retro look–even more so than their ‘retro’ look they adopted when moving to Minute Maid Park in 2000. It’s a horrible choice, and one that makes the team look amateur (granted, most of their players right now are still essentially minor-leaguers), and cheap. They will be essentially wearing throwback jerseys every single game. Indeed, it’s terribly sad that their ‘throwback’ jerseys to the 90’s blue-and-gold look much more futuristic than their everyday unis. They even went with a ‘new’ mascot, Orbit, who is a return to the past of the franchise. Though extremely popular with the fans, the mascot absolutely does not match the look and feel of the identity of the team now.
For weeks before the Launch Party that revealed the revised uniforms, there were concepts posted on the Internet that more or less matched exactly that which was launched. The concepts revealed a uniform with blocky lettering, the former H-and-Star logo, and the return to the orange and blue color scheme. There were variations of the design that were alright, with a shooting star across the chest, and modern-looking fonts. Ultimately, however, the Astros decided on a very retro look, that harken back to the beginnings of the franchise. It’s the wrong move, in this fan’s opinion.
Back in November, 2011, I posted an article talking about the new ownership, and pending move to the American League. In that article, I called for the Astros to update their uniforms, and embrace the ‘future’ of the club.
Instead, they chose the exact opposite. The revised uniforms, at first glance, look like something from the 30’s or 40’s. Even the Colt .45 uniforms looks more modern than the ‘new’ Astros look. Though the colors are bright–and attractive–the lettering is not at all futuristic, and there’s very little to make this uniform look like a ‘modern’ uniform. At least teams like the Yankees and Dodgers have the history there to make their uniforms hold their own. With the Astros move to the American League, however, this is almost like a brand-new ballclub–an expansion team, in a way.
Fans refused to allow Jim Crane to rename the ballclub, but perhaps that would have been a better choice. The Houston Apollo’s has a nice ring to it. The name ‘Astros’ doesn’t at all match their revised identity. With a new league, new look and feel, new players–everything about this team is new to the baseball world–except their appearance.
Some careful Googling found the following uniform concepts:
These images show a perfect example of what I was hoping the Astros would choose. It’s modern, futuristic, matches the name and theme of the team, and most of all looks like something that would fit right into the American League. If only the Astros had chosen something like this for their new identity–I would have been very pleased. Instead, I find myself unimpressed with the new logo (which isn’t really new at all), and the plain, cheap-looking jerseys. Even Orbit has a better logo than the Astros, with the baseball ‘O’ and the orbiting circle. The only thing in the Astros ‘new’ identity that plays on the name of the team at all is the Star on the cap.
Yet fans overwhelmingly like the revised uniforms. The return to the H-and-Star is a popular move–one I’m not entirely against–but the uniforms themselves are an unimaginative leap backward; an attempt to glorify the history of the franchise–a history that’s essentially pointless now. We are no longer a National League team, we no longer have the “Killer B’s” or any familiar players to Astros fans. This team is about moving forward, into the future, and hopefully a future World Series championship. Why doesn’t our look reflect that?