Today is a red letter day in Arizona Diamondbacks history, literally. After 12 years, 3 National League West Division titles, a National League Pennant, and a World Series championship the Diamondbacks have decided to change their color scheme. The change is not coming completely unannounced. It was leaked on the Internet a couple of months ago and has been discussed here in an entry entitled How Could They Do This? and then again in I Wish I Were Color Blind. When news was first leaked, it came with a color chart that showed some of the proposed changes that we could expect. The graphics were small and the quality was poor so we were forced to wait until the actual unveiling of the new color scheme and that was scheduled for November 8. Well looking at the calendar that would be today so I was eagerly waiting for the unveiling.
As a dedicated fan I believe I have a vested interest in this change so I had hoped to at least be in attendance when the new colors were displayed for the first time. When the first logo was unveiled in 1995 I was in the audience and I cheered as Danny Ainge and some of the Suns players modeled the uniforms the team would wear during their inaugural 1998 season (at the time there were no baseball players on the roster that could model). I went to the Phoenix Civic Plaza in 1997 for the expansion draft and watched a purple pinstripe jersey lifted to the ceiling with the name of each draft pick embroidered on the back. I’ve even purchased one of each jersey to wear to the games to support the team. I was not alone as there are many fans who are just as dedicated to the team and the color scheme. It would therefore be appropriate for us to be there as the team opens a new color chapter in the history of the franchise. But instead of being welcomed to share in this momentous occasion, we were left on the outside looking in. The Diamondbacks will unveil their new uniform choices and color scheme at an invitation only event at the Valley Ho Resort in Phoenix. Special guests will be entertained and a fashion show featuring the players that we the fans cheer every game will show the new look. As a fan I will be allowed to go to the newly updated diamondbacks web site where I can see the colors and have an opportunity to purchase the new gear at the MLB on-line store with delivery expected in 10-14 business days.
What a disappointing turn of events. In a time where the Diamondbacks have seen attendance and season ticket sales dwindle, they have chosen to exclude those people who they need the most. While the team has suggested that the reason for the color change is that the existing colors are difficult to match and reproduce on paper and television, we all know this is a marketing effort to boost merchandise sales thereby increasing a revenue stream to make the team profitable. I’m not a marketing guru by any means and I’ve had limited experience running a marketing campaign but I think it might have been made better by including the fans. I’ve always wondered why the Arizona Diamondbacks do not have a winter fan fest. A chance for fans to come together and reminisce about bygone seasons, purchase season tickets or be put on a waiting list for day of game tickets. There could be team shop merchandise some that is only available at the fan fest. They could bring in members of the original 1998 team or fan favorites and offer autograph sessions with the proceeds going to Diamondbacks charities. This would be the perfect place to introduce the new color scheme and have merchandise available for the dedicated fans first. The fashion show could still be a closed event within the fan fest and an admittance fee charged with the proceeds going to charity. I would have gladly donated to a worthy cause and be there to see what the uniforms will look like. They could even have conducted a drawing with one lucky fan being given the opportunity to model one of the jerseys. After all, they are going to be selling these so that the fans will wear the same jersey as their favorite player. What better way to bring that thought home than to have a fan walking down the runway among the players. It would have been a perfect Diamondback experience. Instead we are left to look at the new Sedona red web site and try to imagine what these flat jerseys would look like if we had them on. Yeah it could have been an incredible night with excitement building to the moment when the fashion show started but instead it’s just another night of wondering what the merchandise will look like up close.