Richard Kriheli » Home » Essays & Articles

Flushing in the Dark

Essays & Articles

Black bests Orange, again.

Last night, a bunch of guys from Butler celebrated sweet sixteen victory over my alma mater. I saw a streak of black jerseys in videos and pics while the ones in orange modestly dotted the back of the frame, dejected – heads hanging low. The Syracuse Orange’s punking out of the big dance opens up a segue to a more dismal fan topic of mine – the annual New York Mets letdown and accompanying bitchfest. I used to get super amped for Spring Training and the swing of another baseball season, but lately its getting tougher to stomach.

To recap the ulcer-inducing blunders, spring twenty-ten version : Carlos Beltran went stealth and dug out his knee; the recently signed setup man Kelvim Escobar couldn’t play catch without wincing, two rookie standouts (Ike Davis and Fernando Martinez) have monster springs and get promptly sent down to the minors, former Met Doc Gooden crashes his car while completely lit (again), the 4th & 5th starters in the rotation are unsettled, Omar Minaya still can’t complete a sentence, and our tablesetter Jose Reyes has a hormone imbalance. Can I get a big WTF? It’s not even April yet, boys.

I started thinking back to when the Mets were actually relevant in New York, and tried to find a root cause of this bizarre stretch. Something has to be responsible for it, right? I figure we find it and and perform a Jobu-like exorcism to regain a sense of normalcy. And then it dawned on me: the introduction of the black hat/jersey is the dark cloud we’re looking for.

In 1998, the franchise introduced the black alternate jersey while all the other jerseys received a black drop shadow. The decision was undoubtedly financial — to increase jersey sales. A big drop shadow on the franchise has been cast that is now twelve years running. Yes, I know that ’98 was the year that ushered in the Piazza era, and that the black also represents the colors of the vintage New York Giants baseball franchise (after all, the blue and orange came from the Brooklyn Dodgers and NY Giants as well). But these kinds of decisions should have been finalized with the birth of the franchise in 1962 and not after the team has logged significant history. And yes, I also know that the team has been playing far better than what we had to witness in the 90s. But, the story remains: the franchise with all the potential and financial freedom it has consistently comes up short. And I blame it on the black jerseys. Why? because it’s not them. It simply doesn’t fit. Much like Brooklyn has lost face in recent decades, the Mets have followed suit. Even blatantly so, with a big, black drop shadow.

The Mets have lost their identity. They can’t even settle on a consistent look anymore. Calling it an alternate jersey is laughable. Come on, there is nothing alternate about it. You think I’m not watching the games? It is abundantly clear that the real alternate jerseys are the main ones. The black jerseys are used far more than the regular home jerseys for sure. I bet the loss of face and focus may indeed be the contributing factor to the team’s recent troubles. You don’t see the Dodgers and Giants introducing new colors into their palette, do you?

Seriously guys, ditch the black on the field (feel free to stick them in for commerce if need be). Stick with the storied blue and orange. Stick with identity, brand and history. In graphic design, a drop shadow is a visual effect underscoring a shadow of an object, giving the impression that the object is raised above the objects behind it. This effect is not may bring visibility up, but really it’s nothing more than illusory. So maybe it’s time to cut it out of the equation altogether. And maybe your star shortstop won’t need ph balanced soap. It’s bad enough that home is in a place called Flushing.

Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “Flushing in the Dark”

  1. Avi says:

    Feeling the same way Kriheli. I’m excited today, but have a deep sense of dread. And go blue and orange!

  2. Filthy Rich says:

    @avi – dread it is. with a side of nachos.

Leave a Reply