What Can Brown Do for the Padres?

brandonclineBy Brandon Cline

This past Memorial Day weekend, the Padres hosted the Cubs and brought back the 1984 uniforms in remembrance of that glorious season in which the Padres got to their first World Series.  The Padres went full bore this weekend.  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday they wore 1984 uniforms, changed the colors of the various displays on the scoreboards and ribbons to brown.  Players like Garry Templeton, Goose Gossage, a very young Tony Gwynn, and yes, even Steve Garvey flooded the thoughts and memories of those cognizant enough to remember.

The Cubs series encouraged brown supporters in hopes that the over 122,000 draw in the four games would show that fans do have an interest in the color.  That is until at about 11:30 last night I penned through my Twitter feed and found this.

and this

Ouch. What a depressing blow to the brown movement.  Retro weekend was great and the stadium looked great in brown, we were only to find it was nothing more than a nostalgic tease.  I beg to differ with Ron Fowler and I think brown is in the forefront of a lot more than just “a vocal minority.”

It is, let us just say, a rather challenging time to be a Padres fan.  With the exception of 2010, this club has had to endure losing season after losing season since 2008.  This season, the Padres are the worst offense in MLB by a long shot and there is reasonable talk on local media of a nearly if not complete turnover of the Padres front office.  It is, indeed, quite hard for this team to give a reason to be a fan.

So what can Brown do for the Padres to be a fan? Well for starters, it would give them a unique identity. No other team in MLB has brown as its primary color palette.  None.  An identity is important especially during division rival series, a unique color that stands out and unifies a stadium against, say, the Dodgers or Giants. Brown is also San Diego.  The Franciscan Friars (of which the team gets its namesake) who founded the missions that our city’s name bears wore brown robes.  So already you have:

  1. A unique color in all of MLB
  2. A color that ties the team to the historical aspect of its host city

I think even the transplants can get behind that.

Now, many of the naysayers of brown point to the hideous 1970s fashions as reasons why we should stick with blue.  I actually agree with them about the 1970s.  I realize this may put me in the doghouse with some, but I do not like the 1970s uniforms, except for 1978.  That’s not what we want or at least what I want.  I want brown that fits 2014 not 1974.

Here is a quick swatch I came up that uses brown as the primary color and blue as the complementary/highlight color:

brown_scheme

Here’s a quick mock-up using 1984-themed colors, not exact but you get the general idea:

brown_orange

I personally prefer the brown/blue and I think has the highest chance of winning people over than more retro schemes.  Brown lovers will tell me that we need yellow in the mix but I think that’s a compromise we’re going to have to trade away.  Brown/yellow remind older fans of those hideous 70s fashions.

Not bad looking colors eh?  I say to Mr. Fowler, don’t dismiss us Padres fans who want a unique identity by switching back to brown.  Consider what we are saying.  It was enjoyable seeing the stadium in brown this past weekend.  It really felt like this was San Diego’s baseball team.  I’d much rather see Petco Park in solid brown for Dodgers-Padres then a blend of hues of blue.  The Padres are not widely known.  The Padres market is not very big.  So, they have to do what they can to get widely known.  Winning baseball games helps with that.  Winning baseball games in stylish brown uniforms, is just that chocolate brown icing on the cake.

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  • ty_frank

    i say bring back the yellow. keep the blue (simliar to chargers) but bring back the font and lettering of the 84 or better yet the 78 teams

  • VivaJackMurphy

    I wonder if that’s the same research that leads them to stock the team store at the Park with tons of vintage (read: BROWN) gear right at the entrance. As you eloquently argue, this team needs something to make it stand out. The current duds are such a snooze (as is the team itself most of the time). Very disappointing.

  • TG .400

    Tony Gwynn said during his HOF induction speech, when scanning the crowd for Padres fans, “I see the brown and gold, I see the orange and blue…”

    He also said during that speech, “I wore the brown and gold, I wore the blue and orange. I didn’t get a chance to wear the sand and whatever color blue you wanna call that, but I’m proud as heck to be a San Diego Padre.”

    He did NOT say, “I see the fans wearing sand and blue and whatever.”

    I think that sums up what all of us are feeling about the Padres’ choice in uniform colors: “sand and whatever.” It’s dull, weak. Blue is the default. Sand is just whatever.

    Brown, gold, orange — colors that stand out and announce the fan’s (and team’s) presence.

  • http://padrespublic.com/ AvengingJackMurphy

    I’m definitely against installing a retro jersey. Retro nights are fun because they celebrate garish spectacles from the team’s past. They’re fun to wear but they aren’t the answer for 2014, as you eloquently stated.

    I’m for brown (Friars’ robes) and gold (California sunshine) done with class. Dump the orange (SF).

    Keep an element of blue? Well it’s become a part of the team’s history so why not (in a very small dose).

    Good stuff, Brandon.