In 2013, the Royals are suggesting that you “Come to Play”, their new slogan for the season.
Last year, with high hopes, the Royals rolled out “Our Time”, a striking statement that this team, after so many losing years, so many rebuilds, and so much time at the bottom looking up, was going to take things to the next level. There wasn’t any more “Next year when [insert prospect here]” talk.
This was Our Time.
The Royals lost ten straight at home as part of a twelve game losing streak after which they never got closer than four games below .500 and finished with only one more win than in 2011. The slogan, which should have been a rallying cry in the same vein as Tony Pena‘s “We Believe/Nosotros Creemos” in 2003, was instead twisted and turned into a statement of sarcasm (the best coping mechanism Royals fans and midwesterners know that doesn’t lead to liver problems in the future).
Eric Hosmer hits a slow chopper to short on a down-and-away changeup? Our Time!
Luke Hochevar gives up back-to-back homers? Our Time!
Needless to say, the Royals tried to limit the damage. They later said that “Our Time” was meant to mean Kansas City’s time, in reference to hosting the All-Star Game. Nobody bought it. In the end, the Royals finally gave into the idea and those responsible for the slogan were sacked.
This year’s slogan “Come to Play”, is a much more inert phrase, though, not unlike the satirical slogan cooked up by Royals Review (which many people bought as the true slogan) – “This Year, We’re Trying to Win” – there are some odd implications in the slogan. In past years, were the Royals not realizing they were supposed to come to play? Maybe that’s the problem all along.
There were some who thought that last year’s slogan put too much pressure on the team, especially the younger players, to perform. I don’t buy it. These are professional players. If a simple slogan puts so much pressure on them that they fold, then what would they do in the heat of a September pennant race when the pressure is real and apparent? I concede that these are human beings and not stat-creating robots, and thus subject to outside distractions, but a slogan isn’t going to be the source of a player’s failures. And if it is, there might be something to work on with the player to get their mind off of marketing phrases and onto the game.
At least, in 2013, the slogan is devoid of most of that pressure, despite the imperative tense. The subject is “you”, not the Royals. It’s inviting everyone to a fun experience at the ballpark, not pressing the Royals players into action.
On Facebook, the Royals have chosen to have James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie featured with the slogan on their cover photo, which hints at how they’re going to try to bring in more season ticket sales with the new slogan in place. Point out the new acquisitions in the pitching staff, tout Guthrie’s 2012 performance with the Royals and push the idea that things are turned around. Now, we as fans have to hope it works out that way or all the marketing in the world isn’t going to make anybody feel better.
*The image at the top of this article was cropped from a screencapture of the Royals official Facebook page.