Change your clothes, change your life: If Oregon can do it, why can't Arizona State? Tired of watching the Ducks' ever-evolving aesthetics hog all the attention during their slow rise to the top of the Pac-10, ASU unveiled its own long overdue makeover this afternoon courtesy of — who else? — Nike, which set the Sun Devils up with their own trademarked font, an ominous pitchfork logo and, in addition to a few tweaks to the Sun Devils' traditional home and away motifs, a new all-black ensemble that overthrows more than a half-century of strictly yellow/gold headgear. (See the entire set for all sports here.) Trés chic, for the moment.
The only major casualty of the redesign: The cartoon Sun Devil himself, Sparky, who was originally incarnated in the late forties by alum Bert Anthony, a former Disney artist who allegedly (and probably apocryphally) modeled the Devil's features after his old boss as retribution for being fired. At any rate, the same grinning cartoon Sparky has personified Arizona State athletics for more than six decades, and has lent his quirky brand of satanic mischief to ASU helmets since 1980. The live, costumed mascot itself isn't going anywhere, but on the uniforms? He's nowhere to be found.
With the rise of the official pitchfork logo, Sparky will probably be stricken from the field art, as well, depriving countless thousands of the joy of seeing him spear turkey legs and other vulnerable foodstuffs on special occasions.
On the bright side, the team is no longer bearing the mark of a cartoon who appears to be terrorizing the night in a set of elaborate pajamas. But wherever the stylized, disembodied pitchfork appears, we'll always remember the gnarled, searing hot hand of Hades that wields it.