You might have seen their great logo and name on social media, even promoted by MLB players… Baseballism is an american baseball lifestyle brand. Designs and collections embrace the « National Pastime », baseball’s own culture and history. The Strike Out wanted to know more about this great project. One of Baseballism founders, Kalin Boodman, is on deck!
The Strike Out : First of all, what is Baseballism? How did this project come to life?
Kalin Boodman : Baseballism is a premium off the field apparel brand focusing on the class, tradition and history of baseball. We started in as a baseball camp named « Baseballism » in 2006. After running the camp for a few years, we went our separate ways and started our own careers. Around 2012, after seeing interest in the original camp t-shirts, we launched an apparel brand – first via « Kickstarter » and then via our own e-commerce website.
TSO : Who came up with the logo, the batter with the flag?
Kalin : Travis is our CEO. He is the creative mind behind the brand, and he created the Flag Man. The Flag Man is based on Babe Ruth. In one logo, it does a great job of capturing the history of the game, the tradition, and even the Americana aspects.
TSO : What message does your brand want to promote?
Kalin : We want to show the world how great baseball can be. With that, we really want to help spread all of the positive lessons that we’ve learned from the game of baseball.
TSO : How do you work? Who comes up with the great designs?
Kalin : Again, Travis is the mind behind the designs. For years, creative was just him. Now he has a small, but incredible design team that works for him in coming up with designs and products. My team on the logistics/supply chain side works closely with Travis’ team in developing new product categories and items.
TSO : You have special collections like « 42 » (in honor of Jackie Robinson), « Roberto Clemente », « Field of Dreams », « 4th of July »… great baseball stories that are related to American history and society…
Kalin : Baseball obviously has a long and rich history that is intertwined with America. We really try to celebrate this.
TSO : What is the « Moon on a mission » story? What’s and who’s behind it?
Kalin : Justin Turner and his wife, Courtney, have been customers and supporters of ours for years and they’ve been incredibly kind to us. They are also incredibly active when it comes to philanthropy and supporting charities. So, the « Moon on a Mission » concept is something that Travis and the Turner’s came up with (with their dog as the inspiration) to help raise money for the Justin Turner Foundation which will in-turn be providing funds to COVID-19 related causes.
TSO : During the pandemic, you organized « the world’s longest relay »… how did it go?
Kalin : It was great. We covered all 50 US states, most of Canada, and, I believe, every continent but Antarctica. People we excited to be involved and it was a nice way to show that people all over the world have baseball in common.
TSO : There is an unmistakable « vintage touch » in your designs and baseball fans love that (lots of MLB teams promote their old-fashioned/retro jerseys). Why is this phenom so trendy?
Kalin : I think this ties back to what you asked earlier about the history of the game. Baseball is timeless. So many aspects of the game and the culture of baseball are the same now as they were 50 or 100 years ago. I think people appreciate this. So, giving a nod to the vintage aspect resonates with people.
TSO : One of my favorite collection is the « Major League » movie one, in particular Rick Vaughn – aka Wild Thing – hat. Even today, so many years after its release (in 1989), why do you think people love this movie so much, why is it iconic for every baseball fans?
Kalin : I think everyone loves a worst to first story. People love the idea that if you put in the work you can change your circumstances and find your way from the bottom to the top. Plus, it’s just really funny.
TSO : You are very proactive on social media, promoting your brand and your message. Why is it so important?
Kalin : Social Media is where people live, for better or worse. So, you have a captive
audience that organizes itself by interests. Not so many people are sitting at home watching commercials on TV or reading ads in papers.
TSO : You don’t have MLB licensing, is it something you want to work for in the future? Or is your love for any form of baseball is bigger than your love for professional baseball?
Kalin : Never say never. There is a lot of fun content that exists with MLB. But, our overall theme is more broad than MLB. There are a lot of baseball fans and baseball people who don’t care about MLB. So, we want to make things that resonate with all baseball fans, whether they are MLB fans or not.
TSO : You are opening shops accross the US, can you please find a retailer in France? We want your products!
Kalin : You might have to help us out with that.
TSO : You are located in Portland, a city with no MLB team, who are you rooting for?
Kalin : Personally, I grew up a Pirates fan because my family is from Pittsburgh, so that’s who I’m rooting for. But, on many levels, I’m more of a fan of players than teams. I actually pay more attention to college baseball than I do pro baseball most years.
TSO : Portland is seen as a special place in the US, with its own culture and habits… how important is your relation with the city?
Kalin : It’s definitely a unique city. There are definitely a lot of « Portland » brands. I don’t know if people really look at us that way because, when you look at our offering, it’s kind of hard to figure out where we are based. Again, since the theme is really about uniting all fans and making things for everyone regardless of affiliation, we probably don’t have a feel that appeals to one area more than others. But, from a company standpoint, it’s incredibly important for us to be tied to the community. We live here and work here and grew up here, so it’s important for us to support as many teams, leagues, and organizations in the city and state as possible.
TSO : I watched a few days ago « The battered bastards of baseball », the Portland Mavericks’ story (an independant team who played in the 70’s ; available on Netflix)… Is the team still the city favorite? Is there some kind of nostalgia?
Kalin : It’s definitely popular. You see people wearing the caps all of the time. Some of the people involved are still around the community.
TSO : Do you wish for an MLB team in Portland with a possible expansion soon?
Kalin : Of course, that would be great. The city has a proven track record of being passionate fans as illustrated by the Blazers (NBA) and Timbers (MLS). Also, without question, Portland would offer the best food and beer options of any MLB stadium.
TSO : What are your expectations for the coming MLB season and what are your thoughts about the cancellation of MiLB season?
Kalin : The cancellation of the Minor League season stinks. Those guys don’t make much money to begin with. Not getting to play or get paid is tough. I don’t know what to expect from the MLB season. I think the short season and new rules provides an opportunity for some wild things to happen.
Thank you Kalin and Baseballism!