Where’s the Military Logo?

You know what grinds my gears?

peter griffin GMG

Well I’m about to tell you.

Two weeks ago, @SDAztecsFan asked an innocuous question about Padres merchandise:

Several reputable Padres fans chimed in, leaving the overall impression this clothing was not carried at the main Padres store but available elsewhere in the ballpark. I decided to investigate for myself.

On 14 April I managed to escape work early. Despite having better things to do I headed down to the ballpark, arriving just after the gates opened.  In an attempt to ascertain what happened to the military logo gear, three different kiosks were questioned – one on the Toyota Terrace level, one right behind home plate, one down the RF line. The goal was to see what they knew about this merchandise.  Ultimately I would end up in the Padres Team Store.

Basically I asked ‘Are you selling the military logo apparel?’ and waited to see where the conversation went.

At each kiosk, the sales ladies gave the same answer. No, the Padres aren’t selling the logo attire anymore. When pressed, one location thought they were still for sale in the team store; the other two said they weren’t for sale anymore anywhere in the ballpark. When asked if they knew why, most didn’t want to venture an answer; but there were hints of ‘the Padres decided to go in a new direction’.

Becoming more and more convinced this stuff was gone for good, I headed to the Team Store. There the sales associate confirmed the military logo attire is gone. It seemed they did sell some in the ballpark during the first 3-game home stand, but since then it’s been taken off shelves and ‘given away’. He implied that because the logo was a Tom Garfinkel initiative it had fallen out of favor. Note:  That is an unofficial statement; interpret it any way you like.

It is sad to see the logo go.  Personally I’d like the Padres to reconsider. Although San Diego is less dependent on the Navy economically than it was, say, 30 years ago, the military/defense complex is still a huge source of revenue for the region. I thought the club’s previously stated intent to be the ‘team of the military’ was a good one, even though that’s a lofty goal and a difficult challenge; service members tend accentuate where they’re from when in unfamiliar circumstances. The Department of the Navy includes both the Navy (duh) and the US Marine Corps. Camouflage jerseys mimicking the USMC pattern are a great way to honor that service; why not continue the hat tip to the Navy with this logo?

Frankly the best part of the logo was its intended similarity to markings on Naval (and Army Air Corps, to be completely accurate) aircraft during the early part of World War II. The military is about sacrifice, and service. We are who we are today as a Nation thanks to the service and sacrifice of those who fought – and won – the Second World War. What a great way to remember our WWII veterans, while honoring our current active duty and retired service members.

I get it – there’s a new standard in place, and with change, a desire to bring new ideas and new direction to the organization. I’ve seen it before in the military, and I’m sure its not unique to the uniformed services. We’re seeing it this year from the Padres, as they change food vendors, sell more craft beer, and bring other more subtle changes to the ballpark.

The changes in the ballpark are a definite hit.  Eliminating this logo and its marketing line was a miss.  And that’s what grinds my gears.

I insist on two spaces after a period.  I post on Tuesdays, except when I don’t.

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  • SDPads1

    It’s a shame this logo went away. I actually really liked it and it’s perhaps the only blue Padres shirt that made its way into my usual rotation.

  • Sac Bunt Chris

    Breakfast at the Park is another Garfinkel era initiative that’s disappeared.

  • USMC53

    Interesting post. My thought on it is:
    The Padres do a great job honoring the military, with or without selling gear with the SD-military logo. I can’t imagine that there is any organization in sports that does more (or even as much) to honor the military than the Padres do.
    The front office’s job is to make sound business decisions, and if this apparel wasn’t selling enough to justify keeping it on the shelves, then the decision to pull it makes sense. They do plenty of other things to show the military how much they, as an organization, appreciate the service and sacrifices that the military (and their spouses and children) make.
    I’m a veteran, and I have plenty of Padres gear, but I never bought anything with the military logo. I really like the brown & yellow gear, so that’s what I’ve always bought. If a guy like me wasn’t spending money on it, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that it just wasn’t a money-maker.

    • Thanks for that. Like you I’m a vet, although we differ in that I liked the logo and wish – at this point – I’d bought more items with it.

      I’m not a marketing expert but it seems the most expensive part of a design/logo is the template to produce it. I’m not advocating dedicating an entire kiosk or section to just militsry logo ‘stuff’ but carrying the best selling items would be nice. Heck you can still buy practically every hat the Padres have ever worn. Keeping a few logo items around seems like a no-brainer to me.

      • USMC53

        I just took a quick look at the Padres Shop online (http://shop.mlb.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=1452364), and there are a couple of items with the military logo. All I saw was a sweatshirt and a couple of caps (one fitted, one adjustable). Obviously, that’s pretty paltry and doesn’t really address the “going in a different direction” issue, but at least there are a couple of items still out there for those who want them.

      • Thanks again. Glad someone was smart enough to check the website, since I wasn’t.

  • While I liked the logo, the merchandise they had was disappointing to me. You could either get something very expensive with a small logo (like a polo shirt) or something really inexpensive (t-shirt) with a really big logo plastered all over it.

    However, the giveaways they had emblazoned with it were top notch. Go figure.

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  • DaveRiceSD

    I could see scrapping it if it’s just not selling – I never bought any of it, but have a few nice giveaway items that I quite like.

    That said, I’m a big supporter of the military outreach and would hate to think that the club would do anything to move away from it, even a little bit. Anything that grows the fan base is a plus move in my opinion, and I’d like to think that there are at least a handful of Midwestern farm boys without a team within a couple hundred miles who’ve never been to a big league game and might decide to adopt the team after being invited out for the VIP treatment on a Sunday (always my favorite day to take the family out to a game)…

  • Billy Lybarger

    I for one would love to see the team continue on this path of less pandering.

  • jodes0405

    This explains a lot. I got a jacket with the military logo last Christmas and my Mom had mentioned that she found a really great deal on it. Then at FanFest in February I bought a glass with the military logo that they were selling in the Padres store for $5. I got the feeling that they were trying to get rid of all that merchandise, but I just thought/hoped it was to make way for new stuff. Shame, I really love that logo.