A lot of to-do has been made of the phenomenal reception that this year's brown and gold All-Star merchandise received, and it is very heartening that so many people embraced it. However, the knee-jerk reaction that this will have any bearing whatsoever on whether the Padres re-adopt those colors for their primary marks is fallacious reasoning. Yes, this year's merch did set an all-time All-Star sales record, and the club's front office is profit-oriented -- you know, like just about any business tends to be -- but neither of those things play into San Diego's upcoming rebranding.
Even before having my suspicions confirmed by a source who deals directly with Major League Baseball but not the team specifically, it was apparent to me that the Padres were preparing for a rebranding for the 2017 season. League rules dictate that a uniform must last longer than one season, but the club was given a "special event" waiver for this year's home uniform, meant to commemorate hosting the All-Star Game. That is why yellow was not introduced into the road gray or alternate blue jerseys, or the bland cap which accompanies them. If they had made tweaks to those, it would have prevented a complete overhaul following this season. Furthermore, league rules prescribe that a team must submit its design changes a year in advance, meaning that what changes will be made are already set in stone, with appropriate preparations being made.
As for team executives being motivated by potential merchandise sales, this rings hollow, as sales of caps, jerseys, and the like falls under the purview of the league, and are subject to revenue sharing. Regardless of how many more brown jerseys are sold than blue ones, the Padres are only going to see one-thirtieth of the profits. Of course a return to more traditional team colors could get more people to buy tickets to see games in person and buy concessions while they're there, and the team does get to keep a nice 69% of that money, but the impact of that would be fairly minimal in the grand scope of things.
Some have assumed that it was a strategic move by the team to use navy as a primary color in order to sell both current and throwback merchandise, as well as the newly introduced Friday brown alternate, but again, that would not impact the team directly so much as the league as a whole. However, if the league was concerned with doubling up on sales by keeping the Padres in two distinctly different colorways, this would not preclude a return to brown and gold for the main logo and uniforms. After all, the Padres just introduced a new Sunday camouflage jersey in the Navy "blueberry" pattern before this season. To my knowledge, this did not receive the special dispensation that the commemorative All-Star home jerseys did, so it being carried over would keep navy blue caps on shelves as an active part of the team's rotation. This would not be out of the ordinary, as in the past the team has used green, olive, and brown caps on Sundays which were not used any of the other six days.
While it does seem both logical and likely that the Padres will "bring back the brown" as their primary identity for the 2017 season and beyond, the sales of the kitschy All-Star-related caps and jerseys has no bearing on that. We have many reasons to be optimistic that the club will return to the colors that Ollie Brown, Dave Winfield, and Randy Jones wore, but that is not one of them.