I have a lot to choose from on the M logo front. Two current MLB teams, 3 defunct or vintage MLB teams, as well as a couple of minor league teams. This one was kind of simple despite having the Montreal Expos to choose from. (but does everybody even agree that the logo is an M? Check this out from toddradom.com) After careful consideration I have chosen the minor league team that is closest to not my heart, but my zip code.
|The unheralded logo of the High Desert Mavericks.|
These guys have been kicking it around the California League since 1991, being affiliated with a number of different teams, including the Padres, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Brewers, Royals, Marlins, and currently with the Seattle Mariners. Their first manager was Bruce Bochy. They won Cal League Titles in three of their first seven seasons. None since then, and in a way it's a good thing because the Mavericks have a long standing attendance issue, specifically a lack there of. It wasn't always like that.
Maverick Stadium (now Stater Bros. Stadium) was built in Adelanto, very near the now decommissioned George Air Force Base. This allowed for huge crowds on most nights. I can remember going to games (usually rooting for the Lake Elsinore Storm) and hardly seeing any empty seats. Once the base closed and all the military families left, the team had to rely on surrounding communities. Some of which are 10-20 miles away. For myself, it is a 30 mile round trip to attend a game. I believe for that reason, crowds often look like this:
|Plenty of great seats still available!|
This picture was taken last night. The first Mavericks game I've attended this season. This wasn't because of the mileage issue, it was more of a practical issue having to do with the birth of my third child and now having three boys aged three and under. But last night I took my oldest son to the home of the High Desert Mavericks.
In the past, there were seasons where I attended 30-40 games. That has dwindled dramatically over the past five years. As I mentioned, last night was the first, and most likely will be the only one. I may have gone the entire season without attending a game, but I'd been hearing that there were some improvements made to the stadium, which being city owned had fallen into a deep shade of disrepair. When Minor League Baseball's affiliate dance occurs every other year, it seems the Mavs are one of the last franchises to be paired up with a Major League partner. So in the off season, the team was sold to new ownership and apparently the city decided to chip in enough to keep the team in Adelanto at least until 2015.
So I wanted to go check out what was new. I'd already heard a few things, most notably that the team now charges $2 for parking. This is not a new concept for most minor league parks, but to the fine folks of the High Desert, free parking is like the 28th Amendment. The change did not seem to be popular. Personally, I don't care. I figure it can only mean good things on the inside.
There was fresh paint on the columns along the concourse, which was also controversial to some because the Mavericks had listed the opening day lineups on several columns dating back to 1991. These were now gone. Again, not a big deal to me. Other than that, it didn't look much different. It appeared that the game day staffing that I had grown used to seeing were entirely gone. That may not be true, but I recognized nobody there. They had opened up the little merchandise booth to make it to where people could actually walk in. Well, God forbid you get a crowd of five in that place. That's how tiny it was. I looked over the caps (more on those in a bit) and my son wanted one. They had no 59Fifty child sizes so I had to go with a more generic cap. I took it up to the counter and the female team member (I guess) looked at it, checked a chart for the pricing (odd she had to consult a chart considering there were no more than 20 items in the store), and gave me my total. When I handed her my card, she went tharn. Apparently the card machine was not working at that moment. She asked if I could come back in a little while. Well, having to take the hat off my son was disappointing. He just asked why he couldn't wear it if we paid for it. I had to explain that the machine was broken and we'd have to come back. Fortunately that satisfied him. We left to find our seats.
He decided he wanted to sit in the second row (not like there was a shortage of available seats) I reconnected with an old friend who is a season ticket holder who attends every game. Had a nice chat about the changes, about how some of the other regulars aren't there, and how he says this may be his last season attending as well. Sad. In the bottom of the first, a foul ball dribbled down the first base line and the first base coach scooped it up, preparing to toss it to the dugout. My friend yells his name, and he gets the ball tossed to him. He then turns around and hands the ball to my son. One thing I do miss about the good sized crowds is that it was filled with really awesome people. My son was ecstatic having a baseball.
Anyway, after a couple of innings I took my son back up to try again for the hat and grab a couple of hot dogs. We went back to the store, where the young lady assured us everything was back on line. So, we tried again. Except this time, when the tharn look reappeared, she explained that she had no idea how to use the machine. She said that she'd have to get the help of someone named Jessica. So she calls a guy selling programs, who says that Jessica is getting ready to do an onfield promotion at the conclusion of the half-inning. Well, there was only one out, so she tells me that I can wait, there's only two outs left. Now, I'm irritated, and after once again removing the hat from my son's head, I tell her that that I'll come back again and we're going to go grab some food. Argh.
We get in line after deciding that we both want a hot dog. The gentleman in front of us is crouched down talking through the small window saying "you're kidding? how long? 10 minutes? how could you be out?" I'm thinking no way he's talking about hot dogs. So sure enough, I go to order two hot dogs and the guy tells me that they're currently out of hot dogs and it would be about 10 minutes before they'd have any ready. Someone explain to me how in a game where maybe 75 people were physically in attendance (I'd stretch it to 100, maybe) do you not have enough hot dogs? Hot dogs, for crying out loud! So knowing my son is thirsty I opt to just get us some drinks. Except that's when I realize two things:
1) They no longer serve Coca-Cola products, but Pepsi instead
2) They don't offer fountain drinks.
First off, Pepsi products? Gross. And selling cans and bottles of soda? What is this, an elementary school fundraiser? If I'm going to a ball game I expect that I'm going to be able to sit and enjoy a hot dog with a soda in a cup with ice and a straw. Super lame.
So I have the option to buy a can of soda for $2 or a 20oz bottle for $3. So I bite the bullet and get myself a 20oz Mountain Dew (pretty much the only Pepsi product I can tolerate) and a Gatorade for my son since it's the closest thing they have to juice. We sit down and watch some more of the game. About 10 minutes later, I took us back over to try the hat again. Now I see Jessica sitting down watching the game. The merchandise girl saw me and again gives that tharn look. I said, pointing, "is that Jessica?" and then I went over and told Jessica that her employee needed help. So now I have two people trying to figure out how to work this machine. I got a few apologies for it being a new machine they weren't familiar with, but finally my son got to walk out wearing his Mavericks hat. Geez.
By that time the hot dogs were ready to go, so we went over and sat at a table by the home bullpen and watched some more of the game from there while we ate.
Then my son wanted to play on the so-called "grassy knoll" out by right field. Hey, he's three. He had a blast. Of course we did not have to interact with any other staff or mascot. (we only saw Wooly Bully once, and he still looks like a rodent) Outside of the baseball game, the entire experience was irritating, and seeing how nearly every aspect of my experience had deteriorated from even last season, as I said I doubt I'll be returning.
So, that's my report on how the High Desert Mavericks improved under new ownership in 2013.
One thing I've never understood is how this logo, the M with the black cowboy hat, has never been very popular. I think it is an amazing logo. Very simple, but with style. And the black and red colorway is very popular. I've always felt it was unfortunate that it hasn't held more of a presence in the eyes (and collections) of cap collectors. Also, other than switching the black and red between crown and visor, the Mavericks have never used another logo in their entire existence. That is, until 2012, when they introduced two new logos. Here are all three onfield caps of the High Desert Mavericks:
|Home, road and the seldom, if ever worn alternate.|
I'm just gonna say it up front. The middle one sucks. I have it because, well, I have to. But the HD font doesn't exist on anything else the team wears. If they had used to same font as the M, then maybe. Also, the rising sun with the mountains makes it reminiscent of the Del Taco logo.
|A stretch, perhaps, but it's what I always think of.|
Now, as for that alternate cap, as much as I love a good simple letter logo, that cowboy (some call him the Marlboro Man) is amazing. It's not too gaudy as some similar caps tend to be, and has just enough attitude not look stupid. And it's just the cowboy. No trees or vegetables to distract. In my humble opinion, this should be the exclusive road cap of the team. Just my opinion.
Now, the M caps that didn't make the cut:
|I have a lot of Mavs caps, as you can see.|
Some nice ones. I chose to get the orange Marlins cap instead of the black because I just knew that would be the first one mothballed (not worn this season at all according to Chris Creamer of sportslogos.net.) Also, the throwback Mariners cap is the cap worn when I first started following baseball closely. Love that one.
And then the issue of the Midland Angels. (yes, I know it's dusty) One thing I always loved about the Angels minor league teams is that they always incorporated the halo into their logo. Here, the M is in front of the outline of Texas, star indicating Midland's place in the state. The halo placed around the panhandle. So cool. I have caps of Lake Elsinore and Quad Cities that have the halo as well. It's the little touches that make the difference.
Anyway, after a delay, there is the letter M.