When the Pittsburgh Pirates were reported to be mulling over a logo change for the 2014 season, I was happy to hear the news.
I’d never been a huge fan of the current iteration of “Jolly Roger” or whatever you want to call the guy snarling below this paragraph, who made his debut in 1997:
Don’t get me wrong, a cartoon buccaneer could look a lot worse than him, but I always preferred either the late 1980s/early 90s corsair or the following stately sailor:
Yeah, that guy’s looking a little dated, but tell me he wouldn’t look pretty good with some slight modernization. (See every logo in Pirates’ history at the essential SportsLogos.net, which is where the above images came from.)
As it turns out, though, the Bucs will be boasting the same look they have over the past two seasons, albeit with the iconic gold ‘P’ now getting top billing as the team’s primary logo. This news was first reported on SportsLogos.net about a month ago, but the Pirates confirmed it today, along with the unveiling of a new black batting practice top for 2014.
As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Michael Sanserino reports, the Pirates have already been emphasizing the ‘P’ found on their game caps on most merchandise; this nominal shift just makes it official. He also writes that the pirate logo can still be found on the team’s style guide and will remain on the jersey sleeves.
So really, if the Pirates didn’t tell us what they did, most fans wouldn’t have noticed any changes. It’s difficult to fault the organization for sticking with the familiar – I think the cap logo is one of the best marks in sports – but I also see this “move” as rather boring.
The team reportedly turned to focus groups for input on a potentially more drastic logo change, so the public appetite for that likely wasn’t there. Nonetheless, a callback to the franchise’s rich past would’ve been fun.
No offense to the ‘P,’ but the Pirates could’ve had a little more swashbuckling spirit in re-imagining the face of the team.