Sunday, March 30, 2014

Opening Day: License plates of baseball's American League West

We return, sunset-bound, to see the American League West on our continuing tour of Major League Baseball's Opening Day license plates.

The Texas Rangers host the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday afternoon. The Rangers, like almost every other entity in Texas (and Dallas in particular), would probably prefer to keep their image big and bold with a colorful plate instead of the subdued one they've been saddled with. Despite being knocked out of the playoffs early last season, they remain the top ball club in the state. Granted, that's not saying much when your competition is the Astros, but there you are.

Late on Monday night (at least by east coast standards), the Cleveland Indians will be in Oakland to take on the Athletics. As mentioned previously, California is not yet in the habit of offering pro-team license plates, so the A's will have to wait.

The same is true for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, also bereft of a plate for their fans, as they host the Seattle Mariners. The M's do indeed have a plate offered by the State of Washington, a lovely celebration of 1990s teal and Mount Rainier that was originally introduced to help fund the team's stadium construction budget (hence the tiny interpretation of Safeco Field in the lower left corner).

Despite the fact that MLB tries to get every team to play on the first full day of the season, it usually works out that a couple of teams end up slightly behind the curve. This season, the Houston Astros will host the New York Yankees on Tuesday - a day after most other teams have made their first effort. Being late to the party is not a new phenomenon for the Astros, who seem to be perpetually locked in a rebuilding phase. Similarly late to the party is the State of Texas, which is still offering plates with Houston's old logo script about a year after the team officially switched to a retro design. One wonders if the team's general unpopularity in recent years has forced the state to wait and clear out old stock before redesigning the plate, but that's just speculation on my part.

We'll complete our stretch run next with the AL East.

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