The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) today announced a multi-year equipment partnership with Rawlings Sporting Goods by unveiling catchers’ protective equipment featuring original head-to-toe graphics. The dramatic designs feature imagery inspired by core club brand identities, mascots and ballpark communities. They were created by Skye Design Studios of Florham Park, N.J. and will be worn by ALPB catchers during the 2016 season
“We set out to create a completely new way to view catchers and their equipment,” said Rick White, Atlantic League President. “With the support of Rawlings and the assistance of Skye Design Studios, we believe we have re-defined catchers’ gear and that our innovative decoration will influence on-field designs for years to come.”
All eight ALPB clubs will debut sets of Rawlings’ Velo line of premium catchers’ helmets, chest protectors and shin guards featuring artwork customized for each team. Skye Design Studios, with vast experience creating professional and collegiate sports brand identities, supervised the complex task of equipment decoration, which included airbrush, sublimation, vinyl applique, embroidery and other extensive applied art.
“This was an incredible opportunity we could not pass up. This partnership is not only with a great league but one that also understands that our business is baseball, and baseball is fun. We welcomed the chance to collaborate with the Atlantic League and flex creative muscle the field has never seen before,” said Mike Thompson, Executive Vice President & GM, Baseball for the Rawlings Sporting Goods Company.
The new protective equipment underscores the Atlantic League’s objective to influence the sport of baseball and appeal to new, diversified audiences. The origin of the idea was drawn from designs seen on masks of hockey goaltenders. “We admire the artistry of goalie mask decoration and wanted to build on that idea,” said White.
“It takes unique vision and special relationships to create something revolutionary in sports design. We have an ideal partnership with the ALPB as we share the same progressive spirit to capitalize on untapped opportunities in our industry,” said Skye Dillon, Principal of Skye Design Studios. “Our role was to bring the league’s concept of decorating catchers’ protective to life, developing the brand narratives and art representing each club and its community, and in turn, introduce a new revenue stream to both the Atlantic League and the game of baseball.”
The following are the artist’s descriptions of the decoration featured on each team’s catchers’ protective equipment:
Bridgeport: Illustration of ‘bluefish blitz’ – an aggressive hunting technique used by bluefish to stun their prey – representing the club’s competitive instincts
Lancaster: Highlights the community’s rural heritage as well as the bright future of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Long Island: Features flying V formation of ducks soaring over Long Island and iconic Montauk Lighthouse, referencing the Island’s seafaring history
New Britain: Hive and honey elements inspired by the New Britain city seal and historic moniker as the ‘Hardware City’, a fitting nickname for the gritty, blue-collar manufacturing community
Somerset: Alludes to patriotism, the United States’ revolutionary past and the thirteen colonies while heralding the red, white and blue of the American flag stylized to match team branding
Southern Maryland: Underscores the club’s proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, featuring a blue crab lurking in bay waters; helmet portraits of Satchel Paige, Larry Doby and Jackie Robinson celebrate the diversity of Waldorf, Maryland, by honoring African-American players’ influence on professional baseball
Sugar Land: Features a dynamic version of the pesky critter that inspired the club’s mascot, Swatson; sugar cane indicia reference the community’s once dominant industry as a sugar cane growing and processing center
York: Highlights the team’s 10th anniversary season and celebrates the club reviving a community legacy of professional baseball, while showcasing downtown scenes and club marks that combine elements of industry and manufacturing
Each of the designs featured on the new catchers’ protective equipment will be available to fans through a variety of officially licensed ALPB merchandise available at club ballpark gift shops throughout the season.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 34 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 800 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment to metropolitan markets serving nearly 15% of the US population.