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Project Yakyu (Japanese baseball) FINISHED 12/1


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Yall might recall I attempted to do a Japanese baseball set several months ago, and I kinda let it fall by the wayside. I've been planning to give it another go, and so I start anew....the guidelines I'm following are that if I feel the team could do better than what it presently uses, I'll overhaul the identity. If not, then I might only add a new script or two, or a secondary logo, if anything.

To know where we're going, we gotta know where NPB is currently...so here are the teams and their colors:

CENTRAL LEAGUE

Yomiuri Giants, aka the Japanese Yankees: black and orange, uniform is traditionally based on SF Giants...and they play in this little town, not sure if you've heard of it, they used to call it Edo or something...

Hanshin Tigers: black and yellow, based in Osaka

Tokyo Yakult Swallows: blue and red

Chunichi Dragons: blue and white, used to look almost exactly like the Dodgers, based in Nagoya

Hiroshima Toyo Carp: red and white, caps are dead ringers for the old Reds caps

Yokohama BayStars: blue and white

PACIFIC LEAGUE

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks: black and yellow

Tohoko Rakuten Golden Eagles: maroon and gold

Saitama Seibu Lions: old colors were royal blue, green and red; new colors are dark blue and red

Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters: steel blue, black and gold

Chiba Lotte Marines: black, silver and red

Orix Buffaloes: blue and gold with some red, split games between Osaka and Kobe

To kick off this one anew, I give you the Yokohama BayStars...

The BayStars, who for many years were known as the Taiyo Whales, have long been Japan's equivalent of the Washington Senators...which is only to say that they tend to be incompetent at either achieving or sustaining success. The good news is they've never lost a Japan Series they've participated in...the bad news is to get there, you traditionally had to win your league's pennant, which the Whales/BayStars have only done twice: 1960 and 1998.

I know, I know, enough with the history lesson, here comes what you came to see: first, the logos:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v83/Disc...rslogosheet.png

the whale is a nod to the Whales era, and both it and the waves represent the "Bay" half of the name. The stars on the whale's bat and the main logo being in a star shape, obviously, represent the other half of the name. I recall nobody liked the Y last time out...however I do, so I largely kept it as is. I did change the pale yellow/green color I used last time, though, to something that doesn't look quite as green, and more like the pale yellow I aimed for. And though I usually don't do so, for the hell of it I named the colors. Now, here go the uniforms. First, the home and away:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v83/Disc...arshomeaway.png

The amount of caps here is a result of having a pretty large amount of ideas...one of which was a royal-heavy home opposite a navy-heavy road set (I thought navy went better on this road than royal did). Obviously, the mainly royal blue home cap would look kinda dumb with the road uniform, so there are two traveling lids: powder blue with a navy bill and mainly navy Y, and navy with a distinctive bill and royal Y. The two home options, meanwhile, are the royal cap with the navy bill and Y, and the other cap uses yellow front panels and the small whale & wave logo. The tilted pants stripe, I felt would be somewhat distinctive.

And now, the two alternates, both of which have a theme of sorts:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v83/Disc...aystarsalts.png

The Whale & Wave theme seemed like a somewhat more doable version of the alt I included the first time around. Meanwhile, the Superstar uniform, as you can see, has a lot of stars on it.

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Really likin' this, few suggestions.

-The waves just look bad IMO. The random light blue/yellow streaks in them doesn't help, don't have a purpose really. Just play with the shape of them I'd say.

-The bat looks too fat in the whale's hand. It should be gradually getting smaller, but yours pretty much stays at one width.

-On the home wordmark, I'd say get rid of the italics. It's just way too illegible with the italics and the arch.

-On the cap logo, one little thing that's bothering me is that you can see the edge of the right leg of the star (3:00 on a clock), and the outline goes over the stream things.

-I would buy that primary road hat in a heartbeat. The alternate road is wicked too.

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The Yomiuri Giants always seem to be Japanese baseball's glamour boys. Their neighbors, the Yakult Swallows, by comparison, constantly seem to be mired in a strange fog of obscurity. The Swallows' most successful decade was the 1990s, when they won four of their six Central League pennants and three of their five Japan Series...and yes, they were the team that tabbed its longtime star catcher, Atsuya Furuta, to be player-manager in 2006 and 07. Furuta was also a key figure in the 2004 players' strike, as he was the head of the players' union at the time.

Now here is the logo set:

swallowslogosheet.png

I tweaked the scripts and swallow a bit...now for the uniforms:

home and away

swallowshomeaway.png

a team-specific take on the T-stripe from the Musial-era Cardinals uniform. Last time out I had this style as an alternate, and predominantly navy jerseys with different colored chests as the main set. This time it's reversed.

alternates

swallowsalts.png

Yeah, I coulda used white trim, but gold trim seemed more distinct. Finally, the Swallow's Chest...well, the name says it all.

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Yes, yes yes. Discrimitastic :D

Not sold on the swallow's chest alt, but the logos and wordmarks are sweet.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was hoping to save this one for much later, but I figure now's actually a good time: here come the Yankees of Japan....32 Central League pennants. 20 Japan Series titles. And the team of the man with the most homers of all time (and a badass stance to boot)....Yes folks, I'm talking about the one and only Yomiuri Giants.

I didn't see a need to create any new logos, seeing as they unveiled something more usable than that dumb Giabbit thing a few years back, so no logo sheet, just uniforms. First, the home and away:

http://discrim.net76.net/files/ygiantsmain.png

and now the alternates

http://discrim.net76.net/files/ygiantsalts.png

a note on the "Japanese Yanks" uni: the pinstripes aren't orange or black: they're both. basically, the stripes are thinner versions of the pants piping from the other uniforms.

speak on it.

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Outside of the Giants and the Carp, I am not sure if you should have city names on the front as teams do move with greater frequency. I like both designs although, I would take the pinstripes off the Yomiuri Giants. While they have an agreement with the NYY, they were named Giants for a reason. So I think either cream unis or pinstripes; prefer cream. The Swallows is really good. The Hanshin Tigers should be next as they look the most ancient, specifically the logo.

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Sweet Zombie Jesus, I love these. And I love that you've really done a lot of homework in coming up with these designs. As Plan B had mentioned, there is a distinctly Japanese aesthetic to these, and that, much like the game of baseball over there, has its own flavor.

Baystars -- I love the direction you've gone, with the homage to the Whales. I think the alts are a bit busy, especially the superstar one, but I love how it plays into the name and I think it'd be a nice once-in-a-while uniform and it's good for its kitch. I'd seriously get myself one of those hats.

Swallows -- Just proves again how good you are at rendering birds. I love the logo -- it's fresh, and it flows so well with the rest of the script. I love the red alt -- the colors really pop and that's probably my favorite of the bunch.

Giants -- You've gone with some classic designs, which I like. I'm not a fan of the striping on the Away or Alternate. It looks like Nike's Olympic basketball template, which was kinda hard to follow. But everything else is sweet.

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And now I go from Japan's oldest team to its newest...I mentioned when unveiling the Swallows set that NPB went through its first ever strike in late 2004 and Yakult catcher Atsuya Furuta's role in resolving it. The strike came about due to the other owners' desire to merge the Kintetsu Buffaloes, who were by this point functionally broke, with another team (which turned out to be the Orix Blue Wave), and at the same time merging the Central and Pacific Leagues into a single league. As one or two fewer teams meant that many players would lose their jobs, the union elected to strike in September, though only for Saturday and Sunday games. A compromise was reached, however: though the Buffaloes-Blue Wave merger would happen, the two-league system would remain, and a new team would be formed to replace Kintetsu. That new team is today's entry, the Tohoko Rakuten Golden Eagles, who began play in 2005, and after a few seasons of looking every bit the part of an expansion team, the Eagles might finally make their postseason debut this season, though it's only June...

home & away

rkeaglesmain.png

Basically, I had the same idea for the Eagles that I did for the Swallows, only this time i used an eagle wing. The road uniform is tan/khaki/gold/whatever because gray didn't seem to fit here. The eagle face on the second cap is my own creation.

alternates

rkeaglesalts.png

and then alt gold and white vest

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  • 2 weeks later...

a point that was brought up, but I forgot to respond to last time out: funny you say I should limit the use of city names, considering the BayStars don't use their corporation's name at all, and the Swallows (to my knowledge) have never left Tokyo. Anyways, I've been hard at work on this next set, so here we go again...this time we have a team whose luminaries include Bobby Thigpen, Tadahito Iguchi, Carlos May, Katsuya Nomura (currently manager of the previous team in this series, the Rakuten Eagles), C.J. Nitkowski, Kenji Johjima, and last but not least, the legendary Sadaharu Oh, who managed the Hawks from 1995, when they were still owned by the Daiei supermarket chain, until the end of the 2008 season.

The Hawks began life as simply Nankai, after the railway company that owned the team, and after several name changes (including Kinki Great Ring, which sounds dirtier than I figure it actually is), they settled on the name Nankai Hawks a few years before the formation of the CL and PL. In the 50s and 60s, the Hawks were one of Japan's top teams, maknig regular trips to the Japan Series (10 PL pennants, 2 Japan Series titles), but by the late 70s, their standard slipped to the point that from '78 to '88, the final year under Nankai's ownership, the Hawks were no better than a fourth place team, resulting in their fanbase evaporating. When Nankai's president, the Hawks' biggest supporter, kicked the bucket, they were sold to the aforementioned Daiei, which decided to move the team to Fukuoka. In spite of Daiei's efforts, however, the Hawks would still be average at best until the emergence of new blood, notably in the persons of Tad Iguchi and Kenji Johjima among others. In spite of Daiei running into financial problems that would eventually force them to sell the team, the Hawks had returned to glory, winning the Pacific League in 1999, 2000 and 2003, and winning the Japan Series in 99 and 03; they haven't been free of controversy, however: in 2001, ex-Cub Tuffy Rhodes, playing for the Kintetsu Buffaloes, came into a late season series against the Hawks with 55 HR, which tied Oh's record, but Hawks pitchers, acting on the pitching coach's orders (manager Oh denied any involvement), intentionally walked him during each plate apperance. The next season, Alex Cabrera of the Seibu Lions would come into a late season tilt with the Hawks having tied Oh's record of 55 HR. Despite Oh ordering his pitchers to challenge Cabrera, most of them chose to walk him. Although they haven't won the pennant since their 03 triumph, the Hawks have remained a force to be reckoned with since their sale to telecommunications giant SoftBank. Now here is their entry:

Identity Sheet

fshawkslogosheet.png

It may seem like a contradiction considering I love the cartoon Orioles. However, I've never been a huge fan of the smiling hawk Fukuoka insists on using, thus this was one team I intended to create a new identity for.

Home and Away uniforms

fshawkshomeaway.png

as there is apparently no rule against wearing white pants for road games, as MLB has, I chose to use white pants for all uniforms. The sleeve stripes are a holdover from their real uniforms. Fukuoka adorns the right sleeve, as this is a common practice in Japan.

Alternate Uniforms

fshawksalts.png

on one side is a yellow vest. On the other side is a white jersey with the SoftBank stripes wrapping around.

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  • 4 weeks later...

there was a preliminary logo sheet here, but it shall never be seen again, as I figured out where I wanted to take the dragon head. while I get the Dragons set loaded up on Photobucket, feel free to comment on the Eagles and Hawks sets.

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On this side of the Pacific, nobody has won a Triple Crown since 1967. In Nagoya, however, there is a man who roams the Chunichi Dragons dugout who won three. A man whose approach to practice would seem odd to us, never mind most Japanese. A man who, mainly due to his initial manager's disdain for his unorthodox batting stance, didn't become a regular with the Lotte Orions (now Chiba Lotte Marines) until he was 28. And a man who did more after his 28th birthday than most baseball players, period, could dream of doing in their entire careers. Several years after retiring, the Dragons decided to bring their onetime star back as the new manager, and all he did was guide Chunichi to two Central League titles in his first three seasons at the helm. For the coup de grace, his 07 Dragons slew the Hanshin Tigers, Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters to win their first Japan Series since 1954. That man is Hiromitsu Ochiai.

Okay, I didn't wanna start off with some throwaway line about a certain movie...anyways, traditionally, the Dragons resembled the Dodgers, though their overhaul a few years back sent them into uncharted territory. I'm not a huge fan of the "dragon" they currently use (if you can even call it that), and as it doesn't appear on the real unis at all, they apparently aren't in love with it either. Thus, why it took me a while to release this set...I was stuck on the direction of the logo for a while. Here goes the identity sheet:

cdragonslogosheet.png

the designated primary is, as you can see, a dragon's head. The cap logo, obviously, was inspired by the D-backs' D-snake, though I tried to make it as different as I could while still coming across with the same general idea. The home script uses the D, and the road script actually has a "shadow" dragon on it. The funny looking crossing bats double as the dragon's horns.

home & away

cdragonshomeaway.png

the home uniform is a return to the old Dodger style, but with the new script. The road uniform is blue-gray, and turned out to be so dark I figured silver numbers would work. The blue cap would be primarily worn for all games, with the blue-gray as a road option.

alts

cdragonsalts.png

the home alt is, believe it or not, inspired by the distant past. 1916 in a little place with a famous bridge, to be exact. Then the silver uniform, in theory, would look gray next to home whites, and white next to road grays (I forget who, but one poster described his high school baseball uniforms like that), and thus, could be worn every now and then for home or road games. The silver hat, again, is optional. I chose not to continue the dragon design on the back for practicality's sake, and no, I couldn't resist referencing Mr. Baseball forever.

Tip your hat dammit!

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Now we're at team #7 overall, and Pacific League team #3. The Kintetsu Buffaloes had long been one of Japan's least popular teams, as they chose an unfortunate location to play ball: Osaka, where the Hanshin Tigers have long been #1 in locals' hearts. The nearby rival Orix Blue Wave (nee Hankyu Braves) by contrast, were one of Japan's most successful teams, winning 15 Pacific League pennants (to Kintetsu's 4) and 4 Japan Series wins (to the Buffaloes' grand total of 0). The Buffaloes were the team Hideo Nomo starred for in Japan, until Kintetsu and Nomo were unable to agree on a contract for the 96 season. Nomo infamously "retired" and bolted to LA. The Blue Wave, meanwhile, had their own young star with an unorthodox approach to hitting that was netting great results, though eventually, he, too would get the itch to move across the Pacific. As they figured they may as well get something for him, the Wave posted Ichiro, with the Mariners being the highest bidder. In both cases, the rest is history.

And once again, I cannot talk about this team without the 2004 strike being mentioned, as Kintetsu decided to finally get out of the baseball business, while the Blue Wave was struggling to get butts in the seats without Ichiro. After the season ended, Orix bought the Buffaloes and merged them with the Blue Wave, with the new team taking on the Buffaloes mantle and the blue and gold colors of the Blue Wave. Instead of an expansion draft, though, half of the former Kintetsu and Blue Wave players stayed with the new Buffaloes, while the other half joined the Rakuten Eagles.

The mascot the Buffaloes usually represent themselves with is the former Blue Wave mascot, Neppy. As a sea king, he made a lot of sense. As a generic baseball playing kid with funny hair, not so much. Thus, the logo I decided to use here was Kintetsu's longtime emblem, a simple buffalo face. The dashed piping, I simply liked it. And honestly, I'm not sure whether they still split their home games between Kobe and Osaka or just play in Osaka. Eh well, part 1 is the Kobe home uniform and the road uniform.

buffaloeshomeaway.png

and then the Osaka home uniform and 80s tribute uniform...IIRC Hankyu wore powder blue roads, and the cap is something of an amalgam: the cap inserts are based on the old Buffaloes cap, while the stripes on the bill are based on the Blue Wave's old batting helmets. As this is how they were (still are?) doing it in reality, while the Kobe uniform has no red except for the buffalo, there is red piping in the Osaka uniform.

buffaloesalts.png

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I think these are getting better as you go Discrim. I really like the whole first set for the Dragons. I think those road grays are delightful. The home script is a nice nod to the Dodgers, but better. And the second set for the Buffaloes I'm really diggin'. I love the big letters on the roads, the blue sleeves on the homes, and the logo. (It would make a great hockey logo.) The wordmark on the first one of the Buffaloes I think need a little work. However, it has you signature all over it.

You truly have your own style, and I think you have refined it over the years. I think your Aussie rules stuff is your best work, but these sets for the Japanese baseball teams are really looking good.

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swallowslogosheet.png

I tweaked the scripts and swallow a bit...now for the uniforms:

home and away

swallowshomeaway.png

a team-specific take on the T-stripe from the Musial-era Cardinals uniform. Last time out I had this style as an alternate, and predominantly navy jerseys with different colored chests as the main set. This time it's reversed.

alternates

swallowsalts.png

Yeah, I coulda used white trim, but gold trim seemed more distinct. Finally, the Swallow's Chest...well, the name says it all.

I really like these uniforms. Good work.

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