The Wandering A’s – A WSU Multimedia Content Creation




In baseball history, few franchises have had as many colorful stars and have had as many successful teams as the Athletics. A World Series participant in the 1900’s, 1910’s, 1920’s, 1930’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s, they are the only team other than the Yankees to win three straight championships. They have also made the postseason 8 times since 2000 and were the subject of an Oscar nominated Brad Pitt movie.

And yet their history has been one of a vagabond team, one that never seems stable and that to this very day is looking to leave their stadium and find a new home. The strange instability for a baseball team that should be one of the flagship franchises has been the subject of many of my writings and podcasts  this Photoshop collage for my Washington State University course on Multimedia Creation.

The concept of the image was to take the A’s current home and have the specter of their unstable past and unknown future loom above the empty seats and in the clouds of a beautiful California day.

The inspiration of the piece was the ominous poster for the Coen Brothers’ film No Country For Old Men, where the image of Javier Bardem looms over the running Josh Brolin. Seeing that the stakes are not life and death for the A’s franchise, I chose to pick a day game and a blue sky instead of a dark night game (which was actually my original choice.)

The image was a Creative Commons Flickr piece taken by a user with the handle LA Wad. No payment is needed for the use of the picture and changes can be made to the image according to the rights agreement. Attribution is required.

Hanging over the stadium is a map of the United States, which I applied by layering the picture over the background. I cropped around the image of the country and adjusted the opacity in order to give it a ghostly quality as if it is blending into the clouds.

My original intention was to have many of the great and dubious moments of the team’s history floating above the troubled stadium, but many of those images are not in the public domain and the creative commons agreement for the few I could use would not allow me to alter them.

I did find three public domain images that helped illustrate my point. A team picture of the 1911 World Series champion Philadelphia Athletics represented the great glory years of the the first half of the 20th century. I placed that image in the Northeast and reduced the opacity.

Another image of the Kansas City stadium was also in the public domain. I used the levels adjustments to match the black and white tone of the 1911 picture and then reduced the opacity.

The Kansas City logo was also in the public domain, as was the San Jose postcard, representing where the team wants to move to.

Finally, I found public use clip art of flags. The green flags are placed on the map to represent the places the A’s have called home (Philadelphia, Kansas City and Oakland.) The blue flags are places where they tried to move to over the years (Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, Fremont, San Jose, Denver, Louisville and Atlanta.) Initially they were reduced in opacity as well, but I felt they needed to stand out, so I changed the flags back to 100%, even having the flags overlap some of the photo images

I added the title, which would also be the title of my writing project on this subject, and used an effect to give it a dramatic arch. I experimented with the style to make the words not seem flat. Then I used the Curve adjustment to give the entire picture better contrast.

With that, my draft for the Narrative Collage Assignment is complete.

4 thoughts on “The Wandering A’s – A WSU Multimedia Content Creation

  1. Paul,

    First of all, kudos on selecting such an interesting and unique topic for your graphic collage. I really appreciate your strategic use of the headline to your advantage to clearly provide a title for the graphic collage that gave the viewer some context. I also really like the image of the stadium used as the primary background image. Great job! It is visually appealing and clear as to the subject matter.

    I think that the map is a great concept, but gets lost in the blue sky in the background. I think there might be an opportunity to play around with the balance and attribution layers to make the map more clearly visible and eye catching. There also might be an opportunity to increase the sepia or black and white tones to give it that vintage feel. I also feel like the blue and green flags are a bit distracting, and might be more visually clear if they were all one color so that there is some consistency.


  2. The narrative here is great without it I would have been somewhat lost to certain aspects of the image, which would be a shame because the idea here is great, part of that is my lack of familiarity with the team history. The Coen Brother’s concept I really appreciate however the map takes away from the blue skies you wanted to represent the bright future of the team. I suggest either omitting it are adjusting its opacity, perhaps it could be in the background of the entire picture.
    The flags add color to the image but adjusting the placement of the smaller sky images could offer better balance helping to pull in the flags. Suggestion black and white on the sides with the color images centering the over all collage.
    Fabulous job playing with the wording and arching it over the image, the text adds to the fun topic.
    Overall your concept has real potential and with a few tweaks (balance and opacity) it will look incredible. Your image will tell the story without any narrative and that is amazing. Great job.

  3. You picked a great topic! I think your narrative graphic collage looks really good and it is off to a great start. First of all, the flags are a nice touch; I really like these and think they play an important role. The overall gloominess of the photo is great and that should not be changed, but I think the adjusted opacity of the map was slightly overdone because it was hard to identify that there is a map underneath those flags. So, my suggestion for improvement would be to make the map stand out a little bit more. One other minor thing I’ll mention is that I found the logos (specifically the one on the far left) to be a bit confusing and I did not understand what it was until I read through your post to make sense of it. It is important to note that I am not a baseball or sports person though, so it is very possible that others would be able to quickly identify and understand its meaning. And now that I know what it is it makes complete sense. Maybe the team name instead or in addition to the logo would’ve helped? I don’t know, just throwing that out there. Overall, this was very well done. –Amy

  4. Nice job. I saw Satchel Paige warm up in the bullpen at Fenway Park with the KC Athletics in 1965. Charlie Finley brought him up with the team as part of a publicity stunt. I was sitting in the bleachers and saw Satch get up to warm up. There were only about 3,000 people in the entire park that night. He didn’t actually pitch that night, but he did the next night. If I recall correctly, when he did pitch, he struck out Yastrzemski.

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