ARLINGTON, Va.—The boys of summer will look a little different this year in San Diego. Padres players like pitcher James Shields and outfielder Wil Myers will sport new colors for the 2016 Major League Baseball season—at least during Sunday home games at Petco Park.
The Padres recently received permission from the Navy Trademark Licensing Office, headquartered at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), to use the service’s blue camouflage digital pattern on player jerseys—modeled after the Navy Working Uniform Type 1, also called “blueberries.”
The team unveiled the new Sunday jerseys in December 2015 on the flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt — nicknamed “The Big Stick” — at Naval Air Station North Island, located across San Diego Bay from Petco Park. Replicas of the Navy camouflage jerseys will be available for sale in the team store, and a portion of each sale will go to the Navy.
“These types of partnerships between the Navy and sports teams are tremendously valuable as they promote a positive image of the Navy and help inspire a greater sense of pride and patriotism among Sailors and the public,” said Capt. Robert Palisin, assistant chief of naval research.
The Padres are known for some of the league’s most rousing patriotic tributes and military-themed events and promotions. A quintessential “military town,” San Diego is home to several major Navy and Marine Corps bases; is celebrated as the “birthplace of naval aviation”; and has powered advances in military technology for more than 75 years, including radio, sonar, cruise missiles and information technology.
“The past few seasons, the Padres honored the Marine Corps,” said Nadine Villanueva Santiago, manager of the Navy Trademark Licensing Office . “The team decided to honor another service, and the Navy was a perfect fit due to its strong presence in the area. When the Padres reached out to us, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to spotlight the Navy.”
Santiago’s office is the guardian of the Navy’s numerous trademarks, including graphic images, logos, emblems, seals and slogans. Their job is to protect the Navy brand and ensure it’s always seen in a professional, positive light.
She said her team receives hundreds of requests from individuals, businesses and sports teams seeking to use Navy trademarks on diverse products. Those who receive permission enter into a royalty-bearing license agreement whereby fees paid benefit the Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs and activities.
The Navy trademark currently appears on thousands of products — including clothing, pocket knives, golf bags, watches and ornaments. That doesn’t mean, however, that every product makes the grade. For example, Navy trademarks won’t be approved for alcohol products,
tobacco- or smoking-related items, drug paraphernalia, gambling- or lottery-related products, firearms, undergarments or products containing profanity or hateful language.
“We’ve received requests to put Navy logos on the bottoms of baby diapers,” said Santiago. “It’s a cute idea, but, as you can imagine, we refused to approve those requests.”
In addition to Major League Baseball, the Navy Trademark Licensing Office receives requests from the National Football League, National Basketball Association and college teams to use the Navy logo on uniforms and equipment. These types of requests usually are approved.
“We even get requests from little league and pee wee league teams that want to wear the logos of
local Navy units,” said Santiago. “There’s a high demand for Navy products and it makes me
proud to be able to promote, protect and support the Navy brand.”
Warren Duffie is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.