If the new Brewers ownership wants fans to know one thing, it's that they listen. And Thursday night, they demonstrated that they've heard the increasing rumble from fans to bring back the team's old ball and glove logo. Using a fashion show at Miller Park's 300 Club as a backdrop, the Brewers announced that they'll bring back retro uniforms and logos for the team's 13 Sunday home games beginning in 2006.
"I think the reaction from the fans will be great. They wanted to see some return to the old logo, and we listened. I think we delivered on what the fans wanted," said Rick Schlesinger, Brewers executive vice president of business operations.
The team brought in several players and coaches, past and present, to model the new uniforms and merchandise, which look virtually identical to the '80s gear. Legends like new bench coach Robin Yount, Jim Gantner and Gorman Thomas strutted down the makeshift runway, as did Bill Hall, Derrick Turbow and Matt Wise. The emcee, of course, was Bob Uecker.
Everything old is new again, even the pinstripes, which is appropriate considering the Brewers have never suffered a losing season while wearing them.
"We didn't want to mess with what we think is a good thing," says Schlesinger. "The fans have a real strong interest in old logo, and I frankly think that they would not have appreciated redefining."
Schlesinger said he thinks Milwaukee is the only team to use two logos during the same season. But he doesn't want to put the cart before the horse and imply that the Brewers are phasing out their current logo in exchange for the retro look.
"We didn't do it from a merchandise aspect. Even if sales of apparel at the team store are exponentially higher, candidly, it's such as small portion of the revenue. We wouldn't base a change on how merchandise changes."
"We're also cognizant that a lot of our fans like the current logo, and our players want to win with the current logo. We wanted to strike a balance."
Schlesinger said the logo change has been in the works with Major League Baseball for more than a year. "It takes a long time for a lot of reasons," he said.
Which means Brewers President Mark Attanasio started the ball rolling as soon as he came to town. And that attitude resonates with the players, too.
"Mr. Attanasio is making all the right moves to keep these fans interested and get something going," said infielder Bill Hall, decked out in full uniform (including his trademark hiked up socks). "It's just another example about how he's trying to bring back that feeling that they had in the '80s when the city was rocking. We enjoy it and we look forward to it."
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.