Major League Baseball has transcended centuries of highs and lows in the United States. The Great Depression came and went and we saw baseball continue uniting people across the nation. The Great Depression also forced baseball executives to be creative with their promotions to get people to come out and support the sport. Baseball has survived a World War and brought the controversy of ending segregation with Jackie Robinson’s debut in 1947. The sport has lasted forever and has been around the longest of the professional sports leagues. America’s pastime is rich in history, rich in pride and shows no sign of slowing down with the incorporation of social media in the clubhouses today.
The familiar crack of the wooden baseball bat, the sound of the organ ringing through the stadium, seeing your favorite player walk up to the plate focused on a home run. The memories some have when growing up with baseball can range from sounds and sights around the ballpark to the scent of popcorn and pine tar in the air. These things all come to mind for me when thinking of the ballpark or what I associate with baseball. What about those that don’t grow up with the familiarity of “America’s Pastime” and all that comes along with being involved with the sport?
I’m sure by now you’ve seen the Straight Outta Kauffman shirts around Kansas City in some fashion. With the help of my great friend, Mattie Green, we started selling these shirts in October of 2014. Yes, over a year ago. When the Royals became targeted at the beginning of the season with more players hit by pitches than anyone else, we noticed a shift in public opinion of the team. The team had something to prove and wanted to make sure the World Series appearance was not their last. The chip on their shoulder grew and the Kansas City Royals became a team that others hated instead of took pity on. We realized our shirts were being copied and replicated on a level that we couldn’t keep up with, so we decided to trademark these shirts as soon as possible. Our trademark application postdates to October 2014, making everyone selling them simply copycats.
Sure, this is an example of a few people with a great idea just trying to make some money on t-shirts. Over the summer, our trademark application took a new turn when MLB reached out to us with a cease & desist. While that was definitely a major part of the story, there was so much more to it. This slogan “Straight Outta Kauffman,” relates to the fans that helped grow the popularity. The concept of the slogan came from N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton” and we did this long before the meme generator for the movie was around. Our slogan reaches out to more than just baseball fans and we want it to be used to give back to the community.
Why did I go on the news to talk about our shirts? Probably because I wanted people to know the whole story. Much like any situation where there isn’t enough time to discuss the whole story behind it, not everything was discussed as far as background and what we are trying to accomplish. 41 News did a great job with our story and the message Straight Outta Kauffman sends to the MLB, and we definitely appreciate that. This isn’t about getting rich and cashing in on something that we started doing well before anyone else. If you want proof, we have the proof this started March 2014 with one tank top. This started because Mattie wanted the only shirt with “Straight Outta Kauffman” on it, so she was hesitant to let me sell them. We want this slogan to stay with the fans and be utilized in a way that benefits the fans as well.
How can we do this? Well, my main idea is to start a Straight Outta Kauffman foundation that gives inner city youth a way to participate in baseball and helps fund athletics in places that wouldn’t normally be able to swing having a baseball program. Get involved with the Kansas City community and use the slogan that started in the streets of Compton and South Central L.A. and has found it’s way to the urban communities of the Kansas City metro with this slogan. That is the message we want spread. A foundation that supports baseball with youth that ordinarily would not have the opportunity to be involved with baseball would do more for than community than shutting us down for the sake of shutting us up would do!
While there are those that don’t agree with us, don’t like the slogan, don’t understand how it all ties together and don’t want the slogan associated with the Kansas City Royals… we aren’t trying to win you over. We aren’t trying to do anything more than use a fan created, fan endorsed slogan to help give back to those that DO like the slogan and understand how it ties together.
Not all kids grow up with baseball memories. Not all kids will have the ability to play baseball and know what it is like to be on a team that supports each other and goes through the ups and downs of the season together. Not all kids are interested in a sport that seems to be slow paced when they have video games and football to play instead. Want to make this into something great for the community? Use “Straight Outta Kauffman” to bridge the older and younger generations of Kansas City to help make their own baseball memories.