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Curse of the Retro

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An interesting article about the Mariners old upside-down trident. Perhaps this will stop the retro craze!

Is curse of sea god sinking Mariners?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

JOHN HUNT

The Oregonian

SEATTLE -- Curses, curses.

Last year saw the Boston Red Sox lift the curse of the Bambino, while the Billy Goat still tramped over the fortunes of the Chicago Cubs.

But some believe in another curse, one that could be just as strong, one that can't be washed away by a Pacific Northwest winter -- only by the sea god himself.

"I hope it doesn't last as long as the Billy Goat," said Seattle Mariners assistant general manager Lee Pelekoudas, referring to the 60-year-old curse on the Cubs. "All I know is, I can't remember many good things that happened here with the trident around."

The trident is the three-pronged, pitchfork-looking thing that, turned upside-down, formed the "M" of the Mariners' official logo during the franchise's first 10 seasons, from 1977 through 1986. The Mariners of that era wore double-knits and sans-a-belts and never won more than 76 games in a season.

In Greek mythology, the trident is the weapon of Poseidon, a symbol of good luck for boaters seeking to appease the sea god. But turned upside-down, well, many believe the luck runs right on out.

"The upside-down trident is bad luck. It's like a horseshoe upside-down," said Rick Sweet, the former Portland Beavers manager who played for the Mariners in 1982-83 and admitted that the "trident curse" was something he was "definitely aware of" in his Seattle days.

So what does the trident have to do with the current Mariners team, which has lost 10 of its past 11 games and is mired in a somewhat mysterious hitting funk?

The current Mariners sport the "nautical compass rose," and nowhere on the uniform is there a trident or anything that could be considered offensive to Poseidon.

The answer can be found in the Mariners team stores and on the caps of retro-styled fans throughout Safeco Field. The upside-down trident has returned.

The Safeco Field store began selling the retro caps at the end of the 2002 season, said store manager Craig Geffrey, and the selection expanded greatly in 2004.

In 2002, the Mariners were 69-42 and leading the American League West on Aug. 3. In the final eight weeks of the season, they went 24-27 and finished 10 games behind the Oakland Athletics. And nobody in Seattle needs to be reminded of what happened in 2004.

Then the Mariners committed $114 million this past offseason to free agents Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson to improve the offense that ranked last in the AL in home runs. No luck. They rank next to last in 2005.

"It just seems like whenever (the trident) shows up in abundance, nothing good happens," Pelekoudas said.

And having old tridents around could be worse luck than never having done away with them in the first place. As many mariners will attest, renaming a ship without removing every trace of its previous identity is bad luck. Boaters conduct elaborate ceremonies to purge the old name from the Ledger of the Deep and introduce the new name to Poseidon.

"I believe in the baseball gods, and I don't mess with anybody's gods," Sweet said. "Because who knows which gods really do have power and which gods don't? That's why I don't mess with the baseball gods."

George Argyros, who owned the Mariners in 1981-89, never was comfortable with the upside-down trident, and it was under his watch that the Mariners ditched the trident and switched to the gold "S" caps in 1987.

"I wish they had done that sooner so I could have been a part of it," Sweet said.

In 1993, the Mariners adopted the nautical compass rose and the colors of blue, silver and green. In their worst season since -- not counting 2004 or the strike season of 1994 -- the Mariners won 76 games, and they made the playoffs four times.

During one of those playoff appearances, the 2001 AL division series, the Mariners were playing Cleveland at Safeco Field when Pelekoudas noticed a banner being unfurled on the facing of the second deck in left field. It displayed the old trident logo.

Pelekoudas called his stadium operations people and had them remove the banner right away. The Mariners won and advanced to the championship series.

"I was afraid if that stayed there the rest of the game, we would have lost," Pelekoudas said. "We had it removed, and good things happened."

Removing the popular trident merchandise from the team stores is not an option, so how can the Mariners reverse this curse -- if it really exists? Sweet suggested a new twist on the old rally cap.

"I suppose if you turned (a retro cap) inside-out and upside-down and put it on your head, it would be good luck," he said.

Turning an upside-down trident right-side-up might just appease the sea god and create another bit of retro style:

A "W."

John Hunt: 503-294-7643; johnhunt@news.oregonian.com

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I've never liked the Trident logo but unfourantly it seems as if more fans at the ballpark are wearing that now a days then the current logos. I can't stand most of our fans, bunch of bandwagon jumpers.

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I've never liked the Trident logo but unfourantly it seems as if more fans at the ballpark are wearing that now a days then the current logos. I can't stand most of our fans, bunch of bandwagon jumpers.

Much like Husky fans.

I like how the article avoids the 93 win season in 2003.

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I've never liked the Trident logo but unfourantly it seems as if more fans at the ballpark are wearing that now a days then the current logos. I can't stand most of our fans, bunch of bandwagon jumpers.

Much like Husky fans.

I like how the article avoids the 93 win season in 2003.

Don't forget the 116 win season in 2001. :therock:

Never mind. They just don't mention the 116 wins. I'm an idiot.

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It's interesting. Normally, between an old identity and a new one, you have one you like better. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE the Mariners' current look(I own one of the navy hats with the teal brim from a few years back). But, seeing as how royal blue and yellow is used by zero teams in MLB(the closest is the Brewers, with navy and gold), I wouldn't mind seeing it back someday. We should have a Mariners contest, to come up with a uni set based on the retro hats:

pMLB2-1630581dt.jpg

pMLB2-1549720dt.jpg

Don't get me wrong - I don't think they should change their current look - but I'm positive there are some concepts that could really make it work - maybe i'll try one later...

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I've never liked the Trident logo but unfourantly it seems as if more fans at the ballpark are wearing that now a days then the current logos. I can't stand most of our fans, bunch of bandwagon jumpers.

Much like Husky fans.

I like how the article avoids the 93 win season in 2003.

Actully after moving out from NYC in 97, each of the Years that I started rooting for a Seattle Sports team they all had sub-par seasons. And as A Husky fan I started rooting the them in 97 (not really a great stretch for us) and I haven't lost interest in Husky football after the 1-10 season. But I will achknowedge that A good portion of our fans are a bunch of Band wagon jumpers, just not myself.

But to get back on topic, I think that in regards to the 93 win 2003 season, they are alluding to the fact that the M's blew A 8.5 game lead on the A's after the All-star break. Personly, I just wished they used more Evergreen and brink in their scheme ala 2001 Allstar game jerseys. Those were some nice looking uni's. :notworthy:

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I got the blue version of the yellow Nike hat for $5 last summer. Its awesome and looks great. I don't know if I'd want it to come back, since I love the Mariners current stuff, but its still an awesome hat.

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