In the fallout that ensued when the Washington Wizards announced the redesign of the franchise’s visual identity, much braying and bally-hooing was to be found across the mediascape. Opinions abounded — fans were thrilled, some were appalled, there was ambivalence, there was confusion, but there was coverage — and it was kinda nice to see so much energy surround a “design issue.”
Not so surprisingly, there also appeared somewhere on the web a review of “worst uniform designs,” and to my horror, dismay and great consternation, there, amongst many perfectly deserving examples from the “Annals of Bad Uniform Choices” (oh, and there have been some doozies — i’m lookin’ at you, bill veeck) was the beloved “Curly W” of our very own hapless Washington Nationals professional baseball franchise. Somehow it had been construed that one of the most elegant and historic icons in sport was in fact not just fussy, but musty. Um, hellooo?
This is me taking much umbrage. Quake before the righteousness of my indignation.
Besides ruffling my feathers by bad-mouthing the home nine, what this did for me was shed just a little light on the idea of perspective and the eye of the would-be beholder, because clearly whomever put our graceful and stately logo on that god-forsaken list is no fan of the suddenly resurgent Nats, probably not a Washingtonian, a baseball fan, or evidently even one with a passing familiarity with the institution. Because if he/she was, they’d know that:
Hondo would approve.
The design resurrects/revives/revisits the look of the old Washington Senators, making a strong and direct connection not just to the local history of our nation’s pastime in the nation’s capital but to the deep roots of the game itself. Again, continuity is a beautiful thing. Countless scribes and scholars have waxed much more poetically than I, and unfortunately the old saying, “First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League” will not be soon forgotten. And while sadly, a visual connection to the Golden Era may be as close as we get for a while, a sense of historical awareness couldn’t be more appropriate for this town. Baseball has a long memory. No sport reveres its history like baseball: it’s the central tenet of its culture. “Respect the game” possesses the gravitas of “honor thy mother and thy father.”
Baseball, for all its foibles, still maintains a central sense of elan that the other major sports simply do not possess — for a sport played by big, often dumb young men it retains an inarguable sophistication where others pander — and for all the modernizing and “keeping up with the ever changing times” baseball remains somehow fundamentally unchanged. That quality is reflected in The Curly W.
and — duh — w stands for “win.”