I speculate the design is inspired by the way players accumulate more and more pine tar on their batting helmets as the season goes on. The design even has wing thingys which are positioned where the players fingers would stain pine tar down the sides of the helmet as the players press the palms of their hands against the fronts of helmets while shoving the batting helmets into place. The wing thingys even fade out as they go back – exactly as the players’ finger-implemented pine tar stains fade out as they go further back on the helmet. I’m speculating, but this makes sense as inspiration for the design.
My Southern brother is not speculating. He is a professional in the field of sports uniforms and helmets. He emails some industry scoop:
OK…sometimes I have the most obscure knowledge given my career path….similar to MSNBC’s Morning Joe program feature of “News You Can’t Use” …that’s me
1. The Rangers had to make a special appeal to Major League Baseball to request wearing BLACK shoes. MLB dictates / requires that a team’s shoe color be their dominant uniform color. Also, MLB defines the dominant uniform color as that which applies to 75% of their uniform. Therefore, MLB requires one of their teams colors to be 75% of their uniform from head to toe.
2. Most common plastic used in baseball helmets is ABS. ABS plastic is used in football helmets 9thgrade and below. ABS allows for greater flexibility and of course is much less expensive. Two things happened a couple of years ago…first helmet paint went to acrylic…the same stuff used on cars….several application steps are required…priming, painting, hardener application , then the final clear coat finish. It is during this final clear finish coat you have the option for metallic flakes to be added. Look at your car paint, all cars have metallic flakes in their paint, you don’t see any of them with just a flat color. I never sell a helmet without adding metallic flakes in the clear coat process, even on white helmets it makes a huge difference…note The University of Texas helmets and how they shine on TV compared the big Badger football team or even the Cardinals in the Super Bowl. This is why HS, college, and Pro football helmets shine so much better today, and look so much better with HD TV cameras. The metallic flakes come in multiple shades of different colors…next time you watch Rutgers , they have red flakes in their red paint, makes their helmets really shine. Metallic flakes even allow eccentric alumni such as Phil Knight and Nike to dream up so many color combinations for Oregon ’s helmets.
3. MLB had a problem…ABS plastic won’t accept acrylic paint…it weakens the integrity of the shell (that means they crack)…so MLB was SOL on the retail market for good looking helmet paint colors. MLB used their heads…good ‘ol lawyers and money being the root of all evil. MLB said they were concerned with concussions so they appealed to NOCSAE to increase the standard on protection of helmets used in college through the big leagues. To increase the scoring ratio from baseballs slamming into batting helmets required helmet manufacturers to move into GE’s Lexicon plastic which is used in HS varsity through NFL level football helmets, but VERY expensive. But guess what this does for MLB now Sherlock? If I told the story line correctly, hopefully you have concurred MLB is now able to use high gloss metallic acrylic paint and thousands of parents through out the metro-mess will be filling into Academy, Oshmann’s and Lids at the mall to pay $200 for a MLB merchandise approved Rangers batting helmets. MLB and the Rangers put mega bucks into their pockets…thank you very much. Only in America !
It all looks totally stupid to me, and it’s going to be pretty laughable seeing the rangers trot out to the batter’s box wearing these ridiculous helments and having a losing record. They may very well be the laughing stock of Major League Baseball if that happens.
UPDATE:::::: It looks like my story has caught on over at ESPN
I love this internet blogging!
UPDATE 2:::::::: It looks like the Rangers have scrubbed the goofy looking helments!
Texas Rangers new 2009 uniforms: Industry scoop (The End Zone)