Fan Confidence: Was the Purple Really That Bad?

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 10: Manager Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks smiles in the dugout before the Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on September 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 6-5 in 10 innings. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Diamondbacks are now in their 5th season in the "new" uniform set.  The Sedona Red and Black were introduced with a cloud of hype in the offseason before the 2007 season, with the hopes of boosting merchandise sales.  That the players might prefer to wear red instead of purple was also a consideration.

At the time, for those who don't remember, it was the catalyst for debate amongst the Diamondbacks fanbase.  Some cheered the change from purple for a variety of reasons, especially the jarring purple/teal combination that screamed the 1990's.  Others felt the purple was the only true color, especially since a World Series was won with the look.  You can still see some of these people on any given game day, rocking faded purple caps.

Overall, though, it seemed there was relief at a new design.  The D-backs changed some element of their uniform nearly every year until 2007.  It's been nice to have some stability.  Still, the purple uniforms deserve to have another look.  A Nostalgia Fact-Check, if you will.

The Colors

If you're going to take about the first iteration of the Diamondbacks, you have to start with the colors.  Purple, teal, copper, and black were all mixed together in an attempt by Jerry Colangelo to create something that was representative of Arizona, but was also hideously of its time.  Purple and teal were two colors that had never been part of American sports palettes, with a few exceptions to the former, but made an appearance with a vengence in the 90's.  It seems virtually every new franchise had either purple (D-backs, Rockies, Ravens) or teal (D-backs, Jaguars, Every NBA Team Ever).  Even established franchises such as the Detroit Pistons jumped on the awful bandwagon of teal.

So how does it look now?  Well, to be honest the combination is never going to look that great.  The purple is a bright purple, and the teal is a hot teal.  If I had to choose then I'd go with the purple, which actually isn't that bad of a shade.  But the almost sea-foam green quality of the teal is a bit much.  And the copper and black get lost in all of this.

If the Diamondbacks were guilty of anything with their original uniform idea, it's trying to much.  Maybe instead of having 4 colors that really don't work on uniform (but would probably all fit in an awful store down in Old Town Scottsdale), they should have focused on purple.  Purple and white would have been a very clean uniform.

The Logo

The logos haven't changed since the beginning.  We still use the D snake and the A with the little triangles in it.  Since 2007 the usage has been reversed, though.  The D used to be the road, and the A was the primary.  I really wish they'd switch back.  The A logo is actually a solid design, and something that can be easily recognized from a distance.  The D logo looks a little amateur in comparison.

Odds and Ends

One particular quirk of the old uniforms was the number on the back.  It had a strange outline that really was just over designed.  Say what you will about the Yankees, Giants, or Dodgers as teams, but they're uniforms look sharp because they don't try to over work it.

It was nice to see the uniforms again, but like an ex you're probably better off keeping it to a once a year thing.  Sure you remember all the great times, and think of what could have been.  But the reality is that there's a reason why you made a change.  The new uniforms aren't perfect, either, but they give a solid ground for improvement.  Red and black will always look good.  In ten or twenty years our kids will be asking us about purple uniforms the way I wonder about the technicolor rainbows of the 70's.

Do you want the old set back?

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