Thought processes and conversations started under the tilted cap of Tropicana Field. Someday everyone will know the Rays play in St. Petersburg, Florida, not TAMPA, or the fictitious city of TAMPA BAY.
Fans get to Decide the Final Rays T-Shirt Design
It is not often anymore that the Tampa Bay Rays ask the fans for any suggestions or even help when planning their promotions. So it was a delightful surprise and a great addition to my Labor Day holiday weekend when I got an email from someone within the confines of the Rays brain trust asking if I would write about the upcoming Fan Favorite T-shirt design to be given out to Rays fans before the Friday, September 24th game against the Seattle Mariners.
Even more important, it will be the last available T-shirt promotion from the Rays in their Friday Fest promotional series, and what better way to close out the seasonal series than offer a Rafael Soriano designed T-shirt. By the time the T-shirt will be given out to fans, Soriano will undoubtedly be the Rays single season saves leader needing just 3 more saves at this moment to pass long time holder Roberto Hernandez for the crown. Interesting enough, with last night’s save against Baltimore, Soriano has firmly tied for second place with 41 saves with former Rays closer Danys Baez.
It is simply just amazing the way Soriano has come onto the Rays this year and solidified the closer’s role and boosted the confidence of everyone, even the fans when the ninth inning pops up. So it is more than fitting that we have a Fan ballot that will decide which of the three designs Rays fans truly think optimizes the player who has shut the door on opponents with authority this season. As usual, the first 10,000 Rays fans will be presented with the collectible T-shirts when they enter the stadium.
All three designs center around the common thread of the message “Dominate Late”, which is simply the way Soriano has taken to task his role against the American League this season. And being one of the top contenders for the American League Cy Young Award with his performance shows just how effective he has been in his role this season. All three designs also have another common element in that Soriano in all three will be striking his post-game pose of saluting to the heavens after the last out of the game.
But from there, all three have their own distinctive differences. So let’s take a moment to look at all three designs, then I will conclude with a link for the Fan Ballot and we can all cast our votes for our favorite designs.
The first example of T-shirt to be voted on has a distinctive blue and white image of Soriano as he give thanks to the heavens, then is punctuated by the word “Dominate” in what looks like a classic Old Style Serif, with the word “Late” set maybe in a Latin-inspired Norte Dame Roman Blackletter font. Striking also in this design is the way they included Soriano’s name within the black border under the word “Late” to accent the word.
What is also striking about this design is the way the artist made sure that all the prevalent material of Soriano’s signature and his jersey number were added below the border to pull your eyes towards that section of the T-shirt. Also interesting is the “TB” logo nestled right below his right knee. Another fine touch is the positioning of the Lion symbol upon the left side of Soriano’s jersey number. This is the second time this season a symbolic animal has been positioned upon a Rays giveaway T-shirt. Most might remember the regal Griffin design earlier this year on the James Shields inspired T-shirt.
The second design is basically just a normal back and white silhouette set upon a white T-shirt with the lettering being set in a simple but commanding Cleartype font, maybe in the a Cambria or Candara styling. What is simply unique about this rendition is the way the lettering of the phrase “Dominate Late” is just a bit off tilt in both words and give that forceful punch to the T-shirt. Another nice addition to the T-shirt is Soriano’s name running up the right side of his image on the T-shirt with his first name in a normal font, with his last name set in bold lettering.
This time the rambling “TB” logo makes it appearance up above the “T” in the word “Dominate” up near the clavicle region of the T-shirt. It is punctuated here with the same signature Soriano puts on baseballs underneath the “E” in “Late” complete with his jersey number in his own handwriting this time. It has a more “homemade” feel to it than the first design, and in some ways seems a bit less powerful. But the black and white design is a different approach than the Rays have done on most of their T-shirts this season where they have used color and graphic to make the words explode off the white T-shirts.
The third design seems to be more in the line of what the Rays have offered this season to their fans during their Friday Fest promotions. It is again accented by three dominant colors in the design, with a Carolina Blue accent basically whitewashing the image of Soriano and making it pop out a bit from the white fabric. Again we have the same pose by Soriano on the one side of the T-shirt with the “Dominate Late” this time all set in the same font style and consistent on the middle of the T-shirt.
In this design, the “TB” logo makes its appearance upon the center spot on the T-shirt just under the written phrase. What is so remarkable on this design option of the two corresponding lion figures facing outward flanking Soriano’s jersey number “29” that is topped by a regal crown all also set in a Carolina Blue color that pronounces boldly off the T-shirt. The last feature is another baseball style signature of Soriano’s set right below the Carolina Blue regal insignia based in a darker blue color to accent it on the white T-shirt.
So there is a small accented preview of the three Fan Ballot selections that will be online right here for everyone to vote on before they are distributed to fans on September 24, 2010 before the Rays take on the Seattle Mariners. An added dimension to the Rays final T-shirt voting process is that you can vote up to 25 times for your favorite design, so vote often for your favorite and who knows….We all could be wearing your choice on September 24th!
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