We have long assumed that the next logical step in the Rays uniform evolution was a sunburst cap. And according to Paul Lukas of ESPN.com, the Rays will finally add a Sunburst cap in 2012 (seen below). The cap is part of MLB’s new line of batting practice caps and is dark blue with a contrasting sky blue brim.

We first saw a sunburst cap back in 2007, when Joe Maddon wore one during his annual Thanksmas event. And the Rays are such a logo-driven franchise, that it only made sense that a Sunburst would find its way on to the cap. However, we still think the Rays need an all-sky blue cap to go with their sky blue jerseys.

While this is a batting practice cap, I would be surprised if we didn’t see it worn during games once or twice this upcoming season. Of course, the downside for some is that now there will be even fewer references to the Tampa Bay region on the Rays’ uniform set. You can see all of the new batting practice caps over at ESPN.com

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16 Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Good point about removing reference to the Tampa Bay market. Great job to the guys at the Rays who are trying to win the hearts and minds of local residents to come out and root for the team. Bad enough there is no away jersey with “Tampa Bay” on it (and their original reason of wanting to reinforce the new name “Rays” vs. “Devil Rays” no longer holds water – it’s been 5 years now), now they get rid of the TB? Don’t get me wrong, I like the sunburst, but fans (at least the ones paying attention) notice these things. This management team is so talented, but they make the dumbest moves sometimes. Like out of one side of their mouth (via commercials, ads, etc.) they try and sell the fact that coming to a game is a wonderful experience – and out of the other side of the mouth they (ownership, management, players) say what a dump the place is and how inadequate it is. They actually have the nerve to act surprised when people don’t show up to games?? In a market where 70% of the fans are from up north and rooting for another team?? But I digress — I like the look, just hate the message it sends and it seems like another subtle jab at the market which is ironic considering they’re trying to establish themselves further in the market.

    • KT says:

      As with anyone that ones a business or brand, their job is to increase the value and reach of that business or brand. It’s always seemed pretty clear to me that they feel more confident that they can raise the value of the Rays brand more so than the “Tampa Bay” Rays brand. And year after year when support in the Tampa Bay area is weak at best, they prove that point. I agree with Cork when he says he thinks ownership will sell or move if things don’t get better. And if and when that happens, they’ll be in a much better position of value to do so by building the brand the way that are increasingly doing.

      • Bobby Fenton says:

        Or, or….OR, hear me out here KT, just maybe the opposite of what you say is true and their aversion to building a stronger tie with, I don’t know, THE PLACE THEY PLAY IN is the reason for some of that diminished support.

        I know I am out on a wild limb here. After all, a generic look and increased homogenization of the brand has always evoked strong emotional ties and support from people /eyeroll

        The road jerseys should have “Tampa Bay” on them, and that stupid sunburst is the worst. The stingray is the way to go.

        • Joe says:

          Bobby, we talked about this…Not a bad way for them beginning the process of taking TB off of the game hats and adding the sunburst as a game hat altogether. I don’t know if Stu and Matt feel that there is something negative about Tampa Bay that translates ot resonates negatively on a national level. It’s a major regret and sticking point that is incredibly negative about this ownership group, and its a big one for me

    • Dave L says:

      I wouldn’t read so much into a batting practice cap. Its audience will be mostly fans and kids who are early attendees + hardcores watching cut ins on MLB.

      They will sell some and that is the goal. Most teams search for a alternative image to define them that will stand the test of time like a elephant dancing on a beach ball or whatever. Its a crapshoot and a cheap bet at that. I wouldnt spend much time studying the tealeaves on this one.

  2. Alex says:

    Hideous. Looks like some gas station hat

  3. Beazy says:

    It’s funny because 2 years ago I designed a hat on newera.com just like it, thought they wanted over a $100 for them to make the custom designed hat…
    Our Rays have been a fashionable team, i.e. brazer brims, and stripped socks!

  4. nate says:

    People who are preoccupied with the lack of Tampa Bay branding are paranoid. The Cardinals will be using an alternate jersey in 2013 that says St Louis on it. It will mark the first time since 1930 that the Cardinals have worn a shirt with the city’s name. From 1970 to 1998 the Dodgers wore “Dodgers” on their road uniforms. From 1973 to 2008 the Orioles wore “Orioles” on their road uniforms. There are other teams throughout history that have done this: San Diego, Pittsburgh, NY Mets, Houston, the Cubs, the Angels, the Indians, the Royals, the Twins. That’s just off the top of my head. This isn’t ground breaking. If you are worried about the Rays lining things up to move, changing ones uniform is probably the easiest part of the process

    • Joe says:

      And more the reason to PRECISELY put Tampa Bay on the uniforms! The Rays are in a uniquely bad set of company only the Angels and Phillies don’t have their name on their road set, one of them is because of legal entanglements and the other is because the word Phillie incorporates their city.

      The Rays are DEAD WRONG on the uniform issue. I despise the sunburst as it represents something that is PUSHED upon. I will stop at nothing and I mean nothing until Tampa Bay is put on the road uniform set. It is selfish and despicable for reasons that it is not.

      Mike made some AWESOME points above, too bad their front office from Matt Silverman himself to Mark Fernandez and Darcy Raymond aren’t open to be called out and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism on this issue. Just right the wrong and you silence me. What harm does it putting Tampa Bay on the road uniforms?

      • nate says:

        Did you not read that list of teams that have used their team name for their road jersey? The “uniform issue”? This is an issue? These are the best uniforms we’ve ever had. Our merchendise is awesome.

        Consider a small fraction of our fans read Rays blogs. Then a small percentage of those post on them. And then a small percentage of posters care about this “uniform issue”. I’d say it is a non issue.

        PS – This cap is a batting practice cap. Seriously…who cares. I guess me because I’ve written two posts on the matter.

        • Joe says:

          And the sunburst to me represents somthing of a “brand” the Rays want to be. They would rather be the Rays than the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s as if “Tampa Bay” is a phrase that is considered illegal by the FCC. Nationally, the “Tampa Bay” term has a strong negative connotation on it, which I completely disagree with and I wish Sternberg and Silverman would combat and fight and embrace the area. And you can tell me they should do more, because they should and can.

  5. Andy says:

    Regarding the Sunburst, I’ve always wondered why the one on the field is dark blue & not yellow, as it is everywhere else. At least outline the present one in yellow. That’s my 2 cents.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      This was actually a question I asked the Rays once. Apparently MLB rules say that logos can only be green or a grass-like color. In other words, even on turf, it must look like it was just created with mowers, like you would see on grass fields. Otherwise, I think the Rays would indeed make it yellow. As you can imagine, there would probably be some team (the Marlins come to mind) that would take the coloring too far and create something awful. And MLB is probably trying to avoid that.

  6. Jesse says:

    No lettering? Looks like a hat with a hole in it.

  7. Anita says:

    Why does the team have 2 logo’s, who are they ? the stingray patch on the sleeve or the sunburst, which ray are they?

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