Sunday, March 30, 2014

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

We make our turn toward home base with a glance at the plate-happy AL East, in this final installment of the Opening Day tribute to license plates.

Boston's own Red Sox make a trip to Baltimore's beautiful Camden Yards to meet the Orioles. The Sox, being not so much a baseball team as a regional way of life, are represented by not one but three states where vehicle registrations are concerned. Massachusetts, at least until this year, offered two different plates for Royal Rooters: the usual Jimmy Fund plate as shown at right, and a less common plate (shown below) for backers of a "Mini Fenway Park" to be built for kids in Quincy. After a decade of fundraising, however, it appears that the Mini Fenway project has fallen through, and the plates must now be swapped out for another option with the RMV. Besides those options for Mass residents, Connecticut and (most recently) Rhode Island denizens can also promote their Sox pride, as shown below. The RI plate in particular is quite pleasing, using the "Green Monster" as its background and the distinctive team font for its state name.
Photo by Dani De Guzman, hosted at PlateShack

Orioles fans in Maryland also have a choice of plates, or at least sort of. The vast majority of O's fans will be able to get the standard plate issued by the team, as shown at left. For the more serious bird backers, however, membership in the invitation-only Oriole Advocates club is required. No real photo of this plate is readily available, otherwise I'd show it to you. (If anyone has a photo of the actual plate, please do share!)

The Toronto Blue Jays cross the border for an evening game with the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. (Which would make this a Jay-Ray Opening Day, say hey!) Should any Ontario fans make the long drive south, one would hope their vehicles might carry the province's lovely Blue Jays plate. Ontario has been very diligent about keeping the team's logo up to date over the past few years, with the most recent issue marking the team's return to the classic 1977 design in a slightly updated form.

Meanwhile in Tampa, the successful-beyond-expectation Rays have quickly become Florida's premier baseball team, making their plate quite popular even beyond the Bay area. That said, it's a bit on the bland and white side for a club that often plays games in a beautiful pastel blue version of their uniform. Why couldn't that color have made it onto this plate?

Finally, the ever-popular New York Yankees wait until Tuesday night to open their regular season, finding themselves in temperate Houston to taunt the Astros. The state of New York naturally offers a Yankees plate of their own (as seen at right), but they also continue to provide a plate honoring the 2009 World Series Champion team as well. (See below, and note that it's based on the template of the older "Empire Blue" issues rather than the newer "Empire Gold" like the regular plate.) New Jersey also offers a Yankees plate for fans in their state, as shown below.

Thus ends our roundup of Major League Baseball's license plates, as available for 2014 Opening Day. If there's any I might have missed, feel free to let me know in the comments on any of these posts. Now, play ball!

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