Monday began a new day in Aberdeen IronBirds history as the Class 'A' short season affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles unveiled a new team logo, a logo that Bill Ripken says, 'looks mad, looks aggressive."
Ripken, co-founder and executive vice president of Ripken Baseball, the IronBirds owner, spearheaded the efforts for the change.
"I wasn't put in charge, but definitely inserted myself in the place to be involved," Ripken said. "I kind of have an affinity for looking at those things and I like taking the reigns of that. The IronBirds [founding] happened so fast, I really wasn't in the process of the first one."
The original IronBirds logo was a capital letter A with a blue-eyed jet plane serving as the horizontal line across the arch. Aberdeen also had the "IB" logo in use.
"I think the first logo was fine. It certainly served its purpose," Ripken said. "After we've been up there over a decade and moving forward and celebrating our 10 year anniversary and having that out there, there's very few franchises out there like the New York Yankees that can put the same pinstripes on people throughout the years."
Despite not taking an integral part of that original logo creation, Ripken has since been part of the logos for the Augusta GreenJackets and Charlotte Stone Crabs, two additional teams under Ripken Baseball ownership.
Therefore the change for Aberdeen.
The new logo finds a bird head image resembling an eagle or hawk, with a tough, metalized look that will adorn the caps for road and home games. The full logo brings the jet back into play with a metal or iron look.
"I was thinking about the movie Iron Man, in the metal suit and everything else," Ripken said. "I think when you look at the logo, you see the flames coming out of the wings that kind of looked a little Iron Manish. The landing gear turned into the talons of the bird. It's still with the jet kind of thing that streamlines in there, but the '67 Oriole bird was the first one I found online and he looked angry and I thought that was pretty cool."
The new logo brings just that. "When you look at the logo, he's kind of flying in and hovering, getting ready to swoop down on somebody. He looks mad, he looks aggressive," Ripken said. "More aggresive, more menacing, more serious."
The logos sport three basic colors, royal blue, orange and black. Gray and white are used as well.
Ripken said the orange brings in the Baltimore Orioles tie and this bird has orange eyes.
"When you look through any sort of logo book of all the minor league baseball teams, I think they're meant to be a little bit different, a little more fun," Ripken said. "Even though this one's serious, I had a lot of fun with that process. If somebody doesn't like it, I will say I'm the person to blame."
This logo represents a new era of IronBirds baseball in Aberdeen," Baseball Hall of Fame member Cal Ripken Jr., founder of Ripken Baseball, said in a news release issued Monday. "We have a lot of exciting plans for 2013, while continuing to remain true to our core mission of creating memorable experiences in and around the game of baseball."
Maybe the new look can help promote a winning season, something the IronBirds and its fans haven't enjoyed since the 2006 season. The IronBirds, who began play in Aberdeen in 2002, are also still searching for a first-ever playoff appearance in the New York – Penn League.
"We would love to see that," Bill Ripken said, in reference to a winning and possible playoff season. He noted the type of player that can and has appeared in Aberdeen, like Nick Markakis, but added: "From our end of it, since we have nothing to do with what goes on in between the white lines, the only thing we can worry about is what's outside the white lines."
The logo will make its national merchandise debut at the Baseball Winter Meetings next Monday in Nashville, Tenn.
Newly branded hats and t-shirts are currently available online and at "The Hangar," the official merchandise store of the Aberdeen IronBirds.
"The IronBirds are evolving to continue to remain on baseball's leading edge," Bill Ripken said. "This is why we wanted a fresh new look and feel to connect with families and resonate with fans of all ages."
The IronBirds have also officially announced their schedule for the 2013 season; Opening Day is Monday, June 17 at 7:35 p.m. Season ticket packages are currently available and offered through full season, half season and 9-game ticket plans.
"We look forward to providing our fans and the community with another ten seasons of the most affordable, family entertainment in the region, " Aaron Moszer, general manager of the Aberdeen IronBirds, said in the team's news release. "We've had 2.5 million fans through the turnstiles so far, and we're looking forward to the next 2.5 million."
For more information about Aberdeen IronBirds new merchandise and to order 2013 season ticket plans, call 410-297-9292 or visit www.IronBirdsBaseball.com.