March 8, 2010


The Angels 2010 marketing campaign is “Tradition.” You’ve probably seen the billboards in and around southern California by now with the “a” in tradition being the Angels’ logo.

The first time I saw one of these billboards, I thought to myself that it was an odd choice for a campaign. After all, that word tradition seems to be a better fit with teams that have been around a lot longer. It fits a team like the Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, etc., but not necessarily a team that came into existence in 1961, right?

Well, the more I thought about this, the more the one word slogan grew on me. Let me explain.

Tradition is often defined as an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action or behavior. It can also be described as the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from generation to generation.

It still doesn’t fit does it? Well, bear with me.

When I was a kid the Angels were a new team; so new in fact that there wasn’t a generation before me to tell me about the good old days because there was no such thing. Instead, I was going to get to watch the history of this team unfold before my very eyes. And unfold it did.

My early memories are of players like Jim Fregosi, Alex Johnson, Rick Reichardt, Sandy Alomar, Nolan Ryan and others. These teams didn’t necessarily win a lot of games, but they were the team I followed and the “Big A” was the stadium I went to when I wanted to see a baseball game.

Now I know there isn’t a Hall of Famer in the bunch I just mentioned (Ryan is, but went in as a Texas Ranger) and there certainly weren’t any championships either. Does it matter? I think not. That’s our history for better or worse.

If you’re a Cub fan or a Red Sox fan or even a Dodger fan and you’re over the age of say 40, you probably became a fan of one of those teams because your mom, dad, uncle, grandma or someone else in your family was a fan of that team. I know that’s not always the case, but that seems to be the more common scenario.

In many ways baseball is all about tradition. It’s about fathers and sons (for the most part) and stories of players from years gone by. Teams like the Dodgers and Yankees seem synonymous with the word. They have a rich history and multiple championships to their credit, but the word shouldn’t be reserved just for these franchises.

You see the Angels and their fans are creating their own tradition. Our tradition is tied to the players I mentioned above and to the season of the “Yes We Can” battle cry. Our tradition is every bit as colorful as those of other franchises and in some ways it’s more compelling because it’s developing as we speak. Ours isn’t about the 1930’s or even earlier; ours is about the recent past and even present day.

You could say we are living in the good old days of Angels baseball right now.

Think about it. A World Series title in 2002 and five western division titles in the last six years. These are the days that generations in the future will look back upon and talk about as the turning point for a franchise; the time when the Angels began their glory years.

Some fan bases sole focus these days is on their franchise’s tradition because that’s all they have. I mean some Dodger fans love to toss the word around like it’s some sort of birth right. I think they do this because it’s been 22 years since their last title and it’s far more interesting to talk about the past than what’s going on right now. I’m just saying.

Seriously, most of the Dodger Hall of Famers (those inducted as Dodgers) started playing baseball before the Angels even came into existence. There aren’t any players from the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s who have been inducted as Dodgers with one exception – Don Sutton.

When I was growing up Angel fans were a rare breed. We didn’t have a history. But now we are seeing new generations of fans emerging as Angel fans. The franchise is finally old enough that generations of fans are being established.

Tradition? You bet.

I like this campaign. I like that the Angels are just old enough to have a history and new enough that the team’s history is being written right now. What’s even better is that there is something actually worth passing down from one generation to another.

This is the golden era of Angels baseball. Our tradition will be about excellence and will be something future generations can build on for years to come.

Twenty eight days until opening day. Twenthy eight days until the tradition continues.

BallHype: hype it up!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, you can say a team like the Diamondbacks (established in 1998) have tradition. Even a team 1-2 years old can say they have tradition. In that sense, yes we have tradition.
    But your initial reaction, my initial reaction and most people's initial reactions are correct. What tradition? I tried to spin it in a good way like you are trying to do here, but that didn't really work on me.
    Teams like the Yankees, Sox, Dodgers, and Cubs are teams with RICH tradition and history.
    I'm an Angel fan no matter what and I believe we are building tradition but I don't like the campaign.
    This is worse than last year's fan strong.