That is frothing to buy millions of dollars...


February 27, 1993

FOR A TOWN that is frothing to buy millions of dollars worth of All-Star Game memorabilia, whose baseball fans have been known to riot over souvenir programs and whose team received national praise for the stunning design of its new stadium, there can be only one description for the 1993 All-Star Game logo: Disappointing.

The logo is a big star, covered with a diamond that says "Baltimore * Orioles * 1993 All * Star Game." The long-time logo of Major League Baseball -- a silhouette of a batter and a ball -- dominates the center. With its layers of disparate shapes sandwiched together, it looks like it was designed in a deli rather than an art studio. Any grade school art class could have delivered better.

Admittedly, greater problems confront society than the look of an All-Star Game logo. But when your city has waited 35 years to host the mid-summer classic, you want everything to be just right.

Orioles' executive Janet Marie Smith said the team and major league baseball had input into the logo. She said the goal was to keep it simple because it will be replicated on items quite small (lapel pins) and large (30-foot banners).

It's a shame, though, that the design couldn't have more reflected the host city.

For instance, the logo for the National Basketball Association's all-star game in Utah was an elaborate design of snow-capped mountains rising out of a basketball. The Super Bowl logo incorporated a spray of roses to reflect the host Rose Bowl. Baltimore's All-Star logo, though, is as generic as a UPC symbol, and about as imaginative.

Ironically, the Orioles have been an operation cognizant of design, from revisions in the team uniform to the use of the turn-of-the-century Baltimore baseball logo that graces much of the Camden Yards stadium.

Jordan Richman, an assistant manager of Stadium Sports at Harborplace, surmises the all-star logo's lack of pizazz has kept souvenir sweatshirts from selling faster. He adds that most All-Star game merchandise has been snapped up like hot cakes since Christmas, though the city's All-Star fever has only begun to heat up. Mr. Richman, in fact, said he still marvels at the number of shoppers who remark they didn't realize the sporting spectacle was coming to Charm City.

Surely, the game will be a financial bonanza and an emotional boost for the city, the Orioles, this whole region. It's a shame the logo won't reflect all that pride.

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