By Chris Garman
The Baltimore Orioles conducted a special contest that gave their fans a chance to connect with the team. As part of Fan Appreciation Week 2013, the Orioles gave fans an opportunity to design a T-shirt for a game giveaway.
At the Sept. 26 game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the first 10,000 fans will receive a free T-shirt, designed by a selected Orioles fan. After reviewing more than 500 design entries, members of the Orioles' front office and graphic design team selected three finalists to be moved to a fan vote.
"Our fans have been extremely supportive of the team," said Monica Barlow, the Orioles' director of public relations, "and this contest gives them the opportunity to become more involved. "We chose the finalists based on creativity and originality, Orioles team spirit and overall aesthetics."
The Orioles currently do a T-shirt giveaway each month, and Anastasia Daskalakis, the ballclub's manager of promotions and programs, came up with the idea to include a fan design during Fan Appreciation Week.
The three designs that made it through the fan vote capture what Orioles baseball means to the contestants.
Tiffany Lin of Silver Spring, Md., created the "Hakuna Machado" design, honoring All-Star third baseman Manny Machado.
Scott Thompson of Rockville, Md., and Kevin Morgan of south Baltimore teamed up to create the shaving cream, Orioles Magic design.
The Orioles' "BUCKle Up" slogan for the team's 2012 postseason run was the inspiration for the design that Greg Rogers from Camp Hill, Pa., created.
For Thompson and Morgan, the shaving cream design came after considering what Orioles baseball means to them. Center fielder Adam Jones' postgame pie in the face delivered to the player of the game is what the two fans said they enjoyed most.
"I thought of what are some moments that make watching Orioles baseball even more enjoyable than just their play on the field," Morgan said. "That's when the idea of a shaving cream pie to the face came to life. For the viewer, it makes the win that much better as [the player continues] the interview with shaving cream all over [his] face."
For the Orioles, the T-shirt giveaway contest is a way to thank their fans for their support. While the team has held fan votes for bobblehead giveaways during the past, the T-shirt designing is a new type of fan involvement.
For the creator(s) of the winning entry, it also means connecting with other fans.
"If our design is made, it will be when I see the shirt being worn at other times, at or away from Orioles games, which will mean the most," Morgan said.
Thompson said: "We've been to many O's T-shirt giveaway games, which usually draw a great, early arriving crowd. Seeing people line up at the stadium extra early to get a shirt with our design on the T-shirt would be a great feeling."
After getting such an enormous response to the fan design contest, the Orioles will consider doing it again, Barlow said.
UPDATE: The Orioles announced that the winning t-shirt as a result of the fan vote is the shaving cream, Orioles Magic design, which Thompson and Morgan created. On Sept. 26, these two Orioles fans will have the opportunity to see fellow fans wear a T-shirt with their original design.
"I felt a rush of adrenaline when I found out," Thompson said. "I'm really pumped for the game. It's going to be amazing!"
Morgan said: "I cannot wait to see our T-shirt design fill the stadium next week. It is an amazing feeling to be part of the Orioles' playoff run, even if for just one game."
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• Orioles Get Strong Response From Fans For T-shirt Contest
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Issue 189: September 2013