I went someplace that I hadn’t been since the end of the 2011 season yesterday morning: Oriole Park at Camden Yards. They’re doing some sort of repair work on the B & O Warehouse, which prevented me from being able to enter the gates and walk down Eutaw St. Nevertheless, I walked around the perimeter of the left-centerfield area outside the ballpark fences near Pratt St as the blonde sunshine sprayed all over the place. While there’s nothing like a gameday at the yard with people walking all over the place, program vendors hocking their magazines, kids asking for hot dogs, etc, there is a certain sanctity in walking through an empty ballpark. It’s kind of like the calm before the storm if you will.
The reason for my visit was to pick up some new Orioles merchandise. It’s never too early to plan for the new season, right?! Upon walking into the Orioles’ store they had big hat racks set up with rows of the new cartoon bird hats (one of which I bought). However it was obvious that cartoon bird merchandise is starting to fill up the racks at the yard. There were tee-shirts, sweatshirts, all among other things with the new cartoon bird mark. I suspect that as we get closer to the start of spring training and eventually the new season we’ll see more and more items fashioning the cartoon bird.
For what it’s worth, the Orioles are selling all three versions of the hats they’ll wear starting in 2012. The home caps have the white panel front with the cartoon bird logo, and the road caps are totally black with the caroon bird logo. The third cap is the “O’s” hat that they’ll continue to wear, presumably on Friday nights, as an alternate cap. (All three hats have orange bills.) Admittedly I’m not a big fan of having different hats for home and the road, but it’s something that’s actually starting to catch on around the league. If anything, the O’s may well have been a bit of a trend-setter when in the mid-2000′s they wore black caps with orange bills at home, and totally black caps on the road. The Washington Nationals have different caps for home and away, as do the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.
Nevertheless, the Orioles’ store is open from 10 – 6 everyday in the off season (save for holidays). All of the racks were full of merchandise, and if my memory serves me I was told a few years ago that they start getting new shipments in with merchadise for the new season sometime around Christmas.
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