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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

You Can’t Clip These Wings

Finalist in Sports


You Can’t Clip These Wings is about the heart of Baltimore, the determination of its hustle, and the uniqueness and strength of its residents. This short video tells a story of what it means to love Baltimore through the Orioles’ inaugural City Connect launch — a program created by Major League Baseball and Nike to celebrate the singular bond between a team and the city — an infusion of its life, its fans, and its history.

This video unveils the intricate details of the City Connect uniform while intentionally and boldly straying away from the traditional — and tired — jersey release playbook. The reveal centers around the driving mantra of the uniform: “You Can’t Clip These Wings.” Originally penned by Baltimore-based poet and author Kondwani Fidel, “You Can’t Clip These Wings” is a melody that arises from the depths of Baltimore’s baritone. It’s a breathing rhythm that exemplifies the city’s perseverance. It is an embodiment of Baltimore’s pride and lets everyone know that Baltimore is all we got, and Baltimore is all we need. 

The depiction of the jersey’s stark black and white exterior juxtaposed with its quirky, colorful interior represents the surface-level view people have of Baltimore — and that there’s always more to the story. Look deeper, and you’ll find what it means to wear Baltimore on your chest.

Strategy and Execution

“You Can’t Clip These Wings” is an honest and prideful tribute to the city of Baltimore, written, directed, and performed by those who know it best: its residents. The Orioles set out to leverage their global platform representing Baltimore to amplify voices that struggle to be heard – to tell stories that deserve a voice.

The uniform reveal’s primary purpose was not to sell jerseys or perpetuate baseball narratives, so instead of featuring superstar athletes or celebrities, local poet/author Kondwani Fidel was intentionally selected to be the first person publicly seen in the uniform.

The Orioles collaborated with him in 2021 and 2022 on season-long hype videos touting the club’s ties to the city. Fidel’s words, “You Can’t Clip These Wings,” first appeared in those poems and later inspired key themes for the club’s City Connect, so his voice was the natural choice to shape the launch video. Kondwani’s original poem encapsulates the unfiltered beauty of the city in a way only a Baltimorean could — someone who knows what it means to love Baltimore in the flesh — by owning imperfections as well as successes in defiance of stereotypes.

All individuals in the video are Baltimore residents, including Kondwani Fidel, John Tyler, and a Baltimore City school student, and the entire video was filmed outside the ballpark. The team spent three weeks mapping out the protagonist’s bike ride, so the timeline physically made sense to locals. Locations include the Habitat for Humanity house that the Orioles built in 2022, a Baltimore City school, a mural honoring the life of Freddie Gray, public parks, and the Maryland Institute College of Art – sites that the Orioles believe are critical to the fabric of Baltimore’s culture. 

And as any Baltimorean will tell you, music is the undercurrent of that culture. In a continued effort to capture a true Baltimore sound, the club collaborated with local musician/producer John Tyler to produce an original score.

The video was produced for multiple platforms, debuting on social media in conjunction with the Team Store launch event, but coming to life further in the ballpark on the May 26 first wear date. The in-venue version of the video featured an alternate ending in which the young protagonist makes his final delivery at Camden Yards to meet his older self on the mound for a live first pitch.

Over the past 70 years, the Orioles have been tied to the community and culture of Baltimore in a deep, resounding, and substantive way. The club’s ethos spans much wider than what happens on the field. Through “You Can’t Clip These Wings,” the club celebrated how integral that reciprocal relationship is between the city and the team.


“You Can’t Clip These Wings” received over 1.1M overall video views and sparked a social media launch that generated nearly 20k mentions and 121M impressions in 24 hours.

Beyond the numbers, the video was crucial in uplifting public sentiment. The jersey design leaked weeks before the reveal, leading to widespread negativity among fans, non-fans, and national media as the majority panned the designs as “underwhelming” considering the vibrant, eclectic nature of the city. Public sentiment shifted considerably once the video was released and viewers understood the significance of the jersey’s details. The initial surface-level judgment followed by deeper understanding and appreciation is, in a way, a perfect microcosm of the story this video and the uniform help convey.

In conjunction with the launch, the Orioles weaved the City Connect story through its programming and held a fan event in Patterson Park, one of the locations in the video, where Fidel and Tyler performed their poem and music. The video also ran prior to every City Connect Friday night for the remainder of the season. On those nights, the club also tapped Tyler to curate pregame concerts, national anthem performances, and in-game music playlists. The team would later release the poster featured in the video as a giveaway item at the ballpark. The Orioles saw increased community engagement at these events, and through the way “You Can’t Clip These Wings” has become a conversational phrase in Baltimore, this video sparked the kind of meaningful engagement and dialogue the club was hoping to create. 


Video for You Can’t Clip These Wings

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