3/21/2014 9:00 A.M. ET
Fender, MLB link up for team-themed Stratocasters
Baseball, music come together in impressive new baseball-inspired guitars
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Baseball and guitars just sound good together. And now, with a legendary company like Fender serving as Major League Baseball's musical battery mate, fans will be able to create their own sound while representing their favorite team.
Unveiled at a launch event on Thursday in Scottsdale, a few miles away from several Cactus League ballparks, Fender showcased its new line of MLB team-themed Stratocaster guitars as two of America's favorite pastimes -- music and baseball -- joined together on a home run of an instrument.
The MLB.com Shop will begin selling versions of MLB-themed guitars by the end of this month, and they will also be available in team shops at select MLB ballparks and at fender.com.
"Just being able to celebrate these two institutions coming together is an exciting time," said Robin Jaffe, the senior manager of presence marketing for MLB. "There's something here that we think is going to work. Baseball players always want to be musicians and musicians always want to be baseball players, so this is the fruit of Fender's labor."
Fender, the world's leading guitar manufacturer, has touched and transformed music worldwide in nearly every genre since its founding in 1946. It is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its famous Stratocaster, and now it is reaching into the national pastime to bring baseball and music together in its own signature style.
The initial group of team guitars available in 2014 includes the D-backs, Red Sox, Cubs, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals and Giants. Also available is a Twins 2014 All-Star Game guitar that features unique Minnesota imagery in honor of the team hosting the Midsummer Classic this July.
Each Stratocaster will feature official team logos along with custom landmark imagery unique to the team's market, as well as the MLB logo adorning the neck plate. In addition, each guitar features an alder body, maple neck with a modern "C"-shape and 21 medium jumbo frets, three standard single-coil Strat pickups, six-saddle vintage-style synchronized tremolo, five-position switch, master volume and tone knobs, and a standard gig bag.
"Fender and Major League Baseball are all-American originals," said Justin Norvell, Fender's marketing vice president. "Through this relationship, we're excited to 'team up' to provide one-of-a-kind collectibles for musicians and baseball fans alike. The connections are intrinsic -- baseball bats and guitars are both made from maple and ash, and tons of ballplayers are guitar players. We've had more casual or informal connections with players and teams for years, so this further solidifies a relationship we've long valued and enjoyed."
Fender and MLB officially launched their relationship during the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field by selling limited-edition MLB All-Star Game Stratocaster guitars.
Among the themes for the clubs' guitars are a wheat field depiction for the Brewers, a desert cactus for the D-backs, Fenway Park for the Red Sox and a surfboard for the Angels.
"It was very important to look at the guitar from the fan's perspective," said Clay Lyons, the director of engagement marketing for Fender Musical Instruments. "We felt like this was going to be the ultimate Fan Cave item, so this had to be something the fan was going to be proud of. That's why all of the guitars feature an exclusive design that Fender designers came up with themselves, based on the personalities and characteristics of each city."
In attendance Thursday evening for the launch was Angels assistant hitting coach and longtime Dodgers infielder Dave Hansen, who has played guitar since he was a child.
"Obviously the Angel one is my favorite," Hansen said. "It came out good. The process of them putting the guitar together is amazing; it's like it's airbrushed on there. They're just really nice guitars. I like how they incorporated the team cities into it in detail."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.