Saturday, May 11, 2013

Banner number 1

Banner Day 2013 is upon us. Thanks to the Mets for bringing it back. Last year was lots of fun watching about 300 banners marching around the Citi Field warning track and in front of the judges. I took part in it with a banner that I thought was going to win the entire contest, and I was blown away with the work that everyone else did. I am still very proud of my banner, but I can see how it wasn't as good as many many others out there.

And that brings us to Banner Day 2013. During the offseason, I had come up with another killer idea that I started sketching out with paper and pencil with the intent that this banner would march with me in the parade. The Mets hadn't even announced Banner Day 2013 yet. And then, during the winter, I had a second idea for a banner for 2013, and I spend some time sketching that one out as well, and trying to figure out which one to work on. Of course, we went through the whole exercise of Banner Day being announced, the game being moved to Sunday Night Baseball, and the fans voting on a new date. The plan for me was to start working for real once I got home from my Spring Training vacation for the last 10 days of March, moving towards a May 11 date. Still trying to figure out which design to execute, the Mets came out with an idea that there would be an online contest for Banner Day 2 weeks before the Banner Day parade. So I said, "good, now I can do both banners!", and the clock was ticking.

So this is a post about the first banner, which was the first idea I had, and the banner that I thought would be too busy to be judged properly in the parade. It actually came out better than I had expected.

The idea was simple. Take a parody of "Hollywood Squares", the old TV game show from the 1960s and revived again in the 1980s where 9 celebrities are aligned in a tic-tac-toe board, and the two contestants are playing a complex game of tic-tac-toe, where the celebrities are asked questions, and the contestant has to determine if the celebrity's answer is correct or not in order to win the square. The parody would be a Mets version, of course, called "Citi Field Squares", because "Citi Field Squares" has the same verbal rhythm as "Hollywood Squares" does, and it allowed me to bring out 9 of the greatest New York Mets.

The layout for the logo on top of course starts with the Citi Field logo, this one redrawn from a picture of the logo on top of the CF scoreboard, and continues with the word "Squares", redrawn from the logo of the 1980s version of the show, but changed from gold to blue to match the Mets color scheme, contrasting with the orange in the word "Field". The gameboard is designed like the gameboard from the TV show, where a gold/orange border is lit up around each square, which I replicated here, and each celebrity would sit at a little desk which has a name plate lit up on the bottom and a display for either "X" or "O" in front. I tried to replicate that, but in the TV show, those were white or gold-looking colors on a black background and that was a little too hard to draw, so it became black text on a white background. And the desk was represented poorly (I'm not afraid to criticize my own work) as just a square outline on top of it, but with an orange "X" or blue "O", as to represent Mets colors again.

The real part that should stand out is how each Mets "celebrity" was represented. Instead of trying to draw/copy their likeness to the game board, I decided to go with their respective retired numbers as the background. Of course, only 3 of them are actually retired by the Mets, but I took that design and adapted what 6 other retired numbers would look like. If you look real hard, you should notice that the black dropshadow is missing from the numbers (it's still there in the numbers on the Citi Field wall today, which the Mets should fix) to be more correct, except in the case of Mike Piazza, the only one of those Mets who spent their entire Mets career (or even close to it) wearing the drop shadow jersey. In hindsight, I might have been able to doctor up something for the players from the 1986 team with the larger blue/orange piping that went down the side of their jerseys.

And of course, let the debates begin about which 9 Mets I chose. But that isn't necessarily the point. Now look at the placement of the "X"s and "O"s on the game board. It's set up with "Tom Seaver for the win" (or "Tom Seaver for the block"), as they might say in the TV version.

In the online contest, I was hopeful that it would do well with the judges. I really really liked how it came out. And the whole thing was the different players and borders and logos taped on to a piece of standard size printer paper (8 1/2" x 11"). Since it was an online contest, with a maximum file size of only 2MB, I didn't need to go large with it. There were only 21 entrys in the online contest, including mine. 5 of them were just people uploading pictures of themselves with their banner at last year's parade. I consider them invalid entrys. So I was one out of only 16, with 4 being selected as finalists. A 1 in 4 chance of moving on, and it didn't happen. I don't disagree with any of the banners that were chosen.

What you see pictured is an enlarged version of the scanned image which I am marching with in the parade.

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