The Tokyo Yakult Swallows have “premiered” their shiny new uniforms for the coming 2009 season.
Though they last changed uniforms not so long ago as part of the “Tokyo” name-change, they’ve decided to make another switch, this time in some ways more radical than the last.
In 2006, the change was more of a refinement, losing the red-pinstripes from the home uniform, and just tweaking their distinctive navy and red road jerseys.
Well, this time, to celebrate their 40th anniversary (well, since Yakult took over the team, not of the Swallows organisation), they’ve gone a little further.
There’s a new anniversary logo, which I rather like, displaying the four cap logos the organization has used over the years.
And then it’s on to the uniforms themselves. The home unis are pretty similar to the previous ones, with the only major changes in my eyes being the colour of the “Swallows” logo across the front being changed from dark blue to white, and a change in the team logo on the left sleeve. The old sleeve logo was pretty much only to be seen on the sleeve, while the official team log remained the amateurish “penguin holding an inflatable banana”. The sleeve logo used to be a simple picture/silhouette of a Swallow in flight with the words “Professional Baseball Club” written in a red circle around it.
This seems to have been changed to the side-profile of the head of some kind of bird, which looks like some kind of puffin or penguin from what I can make out from the picture above. Whether or not this logo, will be used as the official team logo from now on remains to be seen.
Next, to the road shirts and well, what can I say? One of the things I loved about the Swallows when I first started following them was their unique (in Japan) navy blue and red road jerseys. That colour scheme had survived the last re-design but has met it’s demise in 2009. Despite assurances that the new road jersey is a shade of grey, it looks pretty white to me, and indeed, almost a facsimile of the new home jerseys, but with simply “Yakult” across the front instead of “Swallows”. Navy and Red RIP. . . thou shall be missed.
There are also throwback uniforms too, a powder blue road strip that’s very similar to the Atoms uniforms of last year. That uniform, despite it looking like the players forgot to change out of their pajamas, I like. Plus there are a couple of pinstriped home throwbacks too.
Well, while I’m going to reserve final judgment on these uniforms until I see them on the field, my initial impressions are not great. To cull the old road colour scheme is a disaster as far as I’m concerned, though I may be in the minority when it comes to my love of the old colours. And while perhaps unrealistic, it would have been nice to see them be bolder and put the “Tokyo” across the front of the road shirt instead of the “Yakult”. The throwbacks I do like though, and the new home jersey is nice enough.
So for better or worse, we’ll be playing in fresh new threads this year. What do people think about them?