The Miami Marlins unveiled their new uniforms on Friday (right). After the logo leaked a few weeks ago, there were some concerns about how atrocious the uniforms would be. But if you ask us. they aren’t that bad, and in fact they look very South Beach.

But there is another reason that we are discussing these today. Notice that, of the four jerseys, three of them say “Miami” across the front.

Now compare that to the Rays. Of the Rays four official jerseys, NONE says “Tampa Bay.”

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria spoke about the use of “Miami” on the unis (thanks Joe)…

Loria noted that having the city name on the primary uniforms ” is a rarity in major league baseball. We’re proud of where our home is and we want to remind the world when we take the field.”

The Rays front office has always been business first. That means promoting the brand. And to promote the brand, you need to push the logo. So the Rays have the Rays official logo on the front of their jerseys for every game, every year.

But the problem with the business model is that a sports team is also closely aligned with a community, moreso than most large businesses. And if the Rays are going to be business first, it leaves the impression that they are community second.

And hey, that’s cool, we guess. But there is one thing we know for certain. If the Rays had a Tampa Bay jersey, we would own more than just the one BJ Upton jersey we own now…yes, BJ Upton.

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27 Comments

  1. carey says:

    Whatever, I think the Marlins unis are tacky. . . which is to say "You're right!" it is very South Beach.

    As for the name. I'm more big picture (and not having Tampa Bay on the jersey doesn't hurt my feelings) and can see us adopting the Florida name in the future. Personally, I think the future success of this team relies on its ability to market itself regionally, not just locally. Since the Marlins have essentially given up on everything north of West Palm, I say we become the team for the rest of the state. Culturally, geographically, we are a better fit for that role than the Marlins ever were.

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    • jose says:

      Win two world series and then you can represent Florida. but other then that Miami is the center of attention in florida population wise and culturally. miami is a world city compared to tampa a regional power. its like saying that if the yankees stopped representing new york and buffalo gets a team buffalo will take the "new york name"

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  2. Lauren says:

    If the Rays were to put Tampa Bay across their jerseys they would alienate fans who are not from Tampa Bay. I know I will feel that way if it happens.

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    • Jim says:

      There are a lot more fans in the Bay Area that are already offended/alienated. And no offense, but the Rays need them more than they need fans "north of West Palm" or the rest of the state as Carey says above. People in Cocoa, or Gainesville, or Jacksonville aren't the reason the Rays have attendance problems.

      Besides, almost every other team in the major leagues has their city across the front of their away jerseys. And most of the those teams aren't alienating their fanbase.

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      • carey says:

        Try thinking big picture Jim, if that's possible. Attendance, even with a new stadium, is never going to be what it is up north and will not bridge the gap with the Yankees (and nothing short of real revenue sharing will). However, being able to sell an entire region for TV purposes would be a great way to add consistent revenue to our bottom line. The Tampa Bay market is not large enough to garner a great TV deal on it's own. But, build something like the Braves had/have and you may be on to something. If the Rays could claim (and have stats to back it up) that they are the favorite team for everything North of I-4 and West of I-75 then that's a much better bargaining chip.

        So, in that respect, being "Florida's Team" could be very good for the Rays. That is, if the ninnies of the world don't get too offended by the regional name that is (or isn't) splashed across the front of the jersey.

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        • Joe says:

          I disagree completely. The Tampa Bay area (Pinellas/Hillsborough) will always be the bellweather for this franchise. Getting a 10 or 11 share in 2008 and 2010 playoff runs and pennant chases showed that this area can be LUCRATIVE in television dollars. Don't let the stereotypes fool you.

          That is why I am so disturbed about "anti Tampa Bay" sentiment nationally, and I don't know why more is said and done to defend the area? Is it your fault or my fault the housing market bubble burst?

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          • carey says:

            Why not both Joe? Why not both? There is no reason you can't market to the TB community and to the greater state at large. Personally, I can only see benefit to that (aside from folks like yourself getting your panties in a wad because the Rays choose to do an event in Orlando or Jacksonville).

            Fact is (and if you're from the area/state you know this) there is South Florida and then there is Real Florida. People in Real Florida aren't really fond of South (See: Douchbag) Florida. South Florida doesn't even know the rest of Florida exists. The Marlins, with their move south, 'Canes-esque unis and name change, are opening the door for the Rays to take over the rest of the state, IMO.

            Whether they take on the name Florida or not doesn't matter. If this team wants to become a force, then it needs a) A new stadium IN TAMPA and b) To develop themselves a regional presense. I would start with UF and FSU, the only entities in this state with comparable "tradition" to baseball teams up north. I would become a primary sponsor of both, with signage in BHG and DCS. I would make sure we play exhibitions with both every spring. I would do the same at USF and UCF. I would hold training clinics everywhere from Orlando and Jax to Ocala, G-Ville, Tally and Pensacola. I'd partner with local hotels to offer 3-day game/hotel packages and actually advertise them in all markets north of I-4 and West of I-75. Anything and everything and I don't stop at the borders of the Tampa Bay market.

            But I like to think big Joe. You, on the otherhand, seem to choose to think proventially. That's fine. You've got a lot of company in this area, just not this lifelong resident.

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          • carey says:

            PS Who cares what ESPN thinks. The fact is they are just a promotional machine promoting that which makes them more money. Their days as a credible news-gathering organization have long since past. Stop wasting your time with them and watch MLB (who, BTW, rarely if ever knock the area and whose staff actually knows which town the Rays play in).

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    • Sarah says:

      Sorry, Lauren, but I just don't get that. The team is called the "Tampa Bay Rays." Why would stating that on their jerseys be offensive?

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      • Lauren says:

        Sorry, let me clarify. I wouldn't mind the jerseys saying Tampa Bay Rays. My issue would be if the jerseys just had Tampa Bay on them. I'm from California. I've never been to Tampa or even Florida for that matter but I love the Rays. And I have no problem supporting the Rays even if they do change their uniforms. But I cheer for the Tampa Bay Rays not Tampa Bay. That is why I would feel alienated.

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        • Sarah says:

          I still find that bizarre. Why root for an out of town team if you are so sensitive to their identifying themselves geographically?

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          • Lauren says:

            It's the ambiguity of the term Tampa Bay. I didn't have a problem with it back in the Devil Ray days but now that the team is better and people actually know who the Rays are here they ask me if I'm from Tampa which I'm not. Then they assume I'm a supporter of all Tampa Bay sports teams which I am not. Then they think I'm crazy. That's why I want the Rays tag to follow Tampa Bay so there is no question where my loyalties are to other people. So maybe it's more my personal experiences than anything else and forgive me for being sensitive; I guess it doesn't matter what I say because you don't seem to get it.

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          • Joe says:

            Not meaning to spoil for a fight, but what is ambiguous about Tampa Bay? It is the only region in the country other than a multistate region like New England that isn't a state that represents a multicounty area in central Florida? I think Tampa Bay is quite special.

            This is what people miss nationally. No disrespect to you but that is what we should celebrate. Our franchise and our seat at the table is on the line right now. I don't think it should be, but unfortunately it appears to be. When I see these players on the road, I could with all due respect forgive me give a crud that they are the Rays, but they REPRESENT THE AREA I GREW UP IN! It means a lot to me, maybe growing children, having a sense of esprit de corps and civic identity. By forgoing it, it only raises more questions not even worth raising asking.

            I will ask it til I can't ask anymore, but is there something negative about "Tampa Bay" that is a death knell to people nation-wide? Is there something rotten that I don't know about?! CELEBRATE it! Incorporate the sunburst between the T and the a and put your rinky dink sunburst in it, JUST PUT TAMPA BAY ON IT! :)

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  3. Alex says:

    People really get offended over the rays not having Tampa Bay on the jerseys? How old are these people, 5? The Marlins jerseys are awful. They probably hired the same company the original Devil Rays did.

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    • Jim says:

      Having "Miami" across the front is not what makes them awful, so I am not sure what your point is. And yes, there are a lot of people that take a lot of pride in being from the Bay Area, and they would prefer that their sports teams show the same pride.

      The Orioles faced the same problem for years. And yes, a lot of Baltimore fans were offended that the jerseys did not have "Baltimore" across the front. And the team finally relented and added a Baltimore jersey.

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  4. MJ says:

    1. Why do fans feel alienated by what is written on the front of the jersey? I dont understand why that offends somebody. Don't you have other problems in your life to worry about? Awesome for you if you don't. Everyone knows where they are located, and you either cheer for them or you don't. I don't see how what is written on the front of the jersey could affect your opinion of the org so drastically.

    2. Miami has so much more curb/sex appeal than Tampa Bay, so it would make sense that they would plaster it on as much as possible.

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    • Beth says:

      Indeed. I just can't get excited about whether "Tampa Bay" is written on their jerseys - I don't miss is it if it's not there, and I honestly can't imagine why fans outside the immediate area would be offended if it were there.

      As long as they play here, contribute to the community, and field a contending team I'm happy.

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    • Gus says:

      TB is on the hats. That is enough, I guess. But an alternate "Tampa Bay" would be nice and probably make them a little bit of money. Just stubborn.

      The font looks like the Miami Vice logo. The white and orange uniforms look like the Hurricanes. It is Miami, all the way.

      The "M" on the hats is laughably large. Like a "large font" book for the sight-impaired. Awful.

      Can't wait to see how they draw. I really don't know. My guess is that in year 1 they'll sell lots of season tickets but the park will be empty on most nights when the Marlins are 15 games out by June 1.

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  5. Joe says:

    No, TB on the hats is not enough for me. It's not enough for me when people both locally and nationally are questioning the feasibility of Tampa Bay as a legitimate, big time sports market. To me, as I have said it 1,000 times, when the Rays are in Baltimore or Oakland or Arlington or Miami or wherever, take pride and pleasure in knowing of WHERE you play and WHO you are playing for rather than just a "brand". The Rays charged everyone a nickel for anyone that called them the "Devil Rays", they can do the same thing for anyone who calls the team "Tampa".

    Some of you may know who I am, the team has been very, VERY contradictory on bringing the uniforms back, originally there was supposed to be a road uniform with Tampa Bay on it in 2009, and for some reason that was reneged. Tampa Bay for me is a rallying cry for people who are tired of local and national people pissing on your and our proverbial graves for what reasons, (jealousy?) I don't know. The Rays even if they continue not to put Tampa Bay on the uniforms which is bad enough, do owe an explanation why they don't have it on there when there was consensus understanding it was a short term deal. Are they sending messages about their intentions for the area?

    Quite frankly, this is the sorest of issues and besides my disdain for Stu Sternberg's incessant attitude, he missed the boat on the road uniforms, being a rallying thread and tying the area. I for one would where it with PRIDE, as I wore my Navy uniform with pride for six years. How about some civic pride and loyalty, Stu?!

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  6. Joe says:

    Baltimore fans were highly upset that Baltimore was off of the road uniforms. It became personal for some fans why it came off and Angelos had no alternative but to satisfy his fan base. It came off only because they wanted to appeal to the Washington market when the Senators left.

    Bottom line, in a time of turmoil where people don't trust Stu Sternberg, putting Tampa Bay on the road uniforms to me would be the strongest step to ensure the Rays are a PERMANENT part of Tampa Bay. It would be the signal to me he is ready to repair the trust he has badly damaged since September 2008. It's symbolic yet for me he bring a smile to my face and I would say "Thank You" Stu, for your gesture. It would speak volumes to others too if he did this.

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    • Sarah says:

      Joe, maybe you and Lauren (above) can fight this out.

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      • Joe says:

        My point is I sense the franchise and MLB being in Tampa Bay is now in danger. And there is a lot good about Tampa Bay, if not great or outstanding. There are fights worth fighting and I would fight this out. My argument is against Sternberg and Silverman for REFUSING to answer why Tampa Bay is NOT on the uniforms when you PROMISED it would return? This leads to ulterior reasons and other questions not worth asking because the answers would be worse than the questions.

        Are the words "Tampa Bay" poisonous in marketing the team and are they poison in a national level? If it is, we are in deep, deep trouble.

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  7. Andy says:

    You really think this part of the redesign has nothing to do w/the Marlins name change to Miami Marlins, but is about community pride? Really? Well, then I have some swamp land to sell you!!

    Also, if the Marlins are about community so much, then why has it taken them this long for their name to reflect that, much less their uniforms?!!

    Can we stop making mountains out of mole hills, please?!!!

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    • Andy says:

      Is it okay to add to my own comment? :) Something else that supports my position is that when we overhauled our uniforms, we also changed the team name to the 'Rays'. Could that be why 'Rays' is prominent word/term on the current unis? Marlins are not changing their name, but their geographic designation, so that's why 'Miami' is featured!

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  8. Joe says:

    Consider this and this is a fact. If Stu had his way, the Rays would be the Florida Nine right now, and that is a stone cold fact. Straight out of Mudville. How would you like that? NineIndex.com? Feel the Heat, Nine?! That is Stu's "romanticism" and mind for you :)

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  9. Steve says:

    This debate is pretty ridiculous if you really think about it.

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