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From a Sleeve to a Slip (or: Nike Must Die, Part 318)

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I hadn’t planned on posting anything during the holiday weekend, but here’s a bit of breaking news that just can’t wait: The ongoing scandal of Nike’s accursed dot-matrix undersleeves (which look like total shit, but of course you knew that already) has now gone from the aesthetic to the practical. Thanks to Swooshville’s insistence on branding everything it touches, one of the game’s best pitchers will miss his start tonight, and one of yesterday’s games was less competitive than it should have been.

Some quick background: As you may recall, umpires have frequently ruled that pitchers cannot wear the dot-patterned sleeves, because the dots could be a distraction to the hitter. This has led to several instances of pitchers being forced to change undershirts, and some have even had their sleeves cut off on the spot. One such instance occurred back on May 26th, when Pedro Martinez wore the Nike sleeves during the 1st inning of his start against the Marlins but was then confronted by umpire Bill Miller as he walked off the mound. When Martinez came out for the 2nd inning, his lower sleeves had been removed.

It now turns out that when Martinez went into the Mets’ clubhouse between innings to shorten his sleeves, he slipped on a wet floor tile (see artist’s rendering above) and fell on his hip. The pain in that hip has worsened over the ensuing weeks, to the point where the Mets announced yesterday that Martinez would be scratched from tonight’s start. That in turn affected last night’s Mets/Yankees game: Instead of bringing in dependable long man Darren Oliver to relieve struggling starter Alay Soler, Mets skipper Willie Randolph had to hold Oliver back because he’s slated to make the emergency start in place of Martinez. So Randolph instead had to bring in the not-so-dependable Heath Bell, who quickly turned a manageable three-run deficit into an insurmountable nine-run hole.

If Martinez’s hip turns out to be an ongoing problem, Nike’s sleeves could actually end up affecting the Mets’ postseason chances. Enough is enough already: Uni Watch hereby urges MLB to purge all remaining dot-matrix undershirts from big league clubhouses, have Majestic (or whoever) make a bunch of plain-sleeved replacements, and send Nike the bill.

From the Metrodome to Baghdad?: No, that wasn’t the White House’s latest troop-recruitment scheme on display over the weekend in Minnesota — it was the Twins’ annual salute to the military (full details of which are available here). Both the Twins and Brewers wore assorted armed services caps for their Saturday and Sunday matchups, featuring the name of an armed services branch on the front, the American flag on the left side, and the respective team logos on the right side (here’s the Brewers version).

Most of the caps were various shades of blue, which looked fine, but the red Marine Corps caps looked badly out of place.

If MLB teams really want to honor the military, there’s a much easier way: Get rid of all the alternate uniforms. That’s what the U.S. Army is doing — as you can see here, they’ve decided to phase out their alternate green and white unis, and will now stick with basic blue. (Big thanks to Matthew Self for that link.)

Uni Watch News Ticker: You’ve probably seen this logo, which the Cardinals used from 1956-66. But Lauren King reports that when the Cards held their annual T-Shirt Day promotion last Friday, the front of the shirt looked like this — the bird now has stirrups! … The “44” memorial that the Orioles have been wearing on their left sleeve this season, in honor of Elrod Hendricks, was missing from Russ Ortiz’s jersey on Saturday night (good catch by Brenden Fougere). … As promised, the Blue Jays wore special (and really ugly) unis for Canada Day, featuring red-accented jersey insignia, a Canadian flag sleeve patch, another Canadian flag on the cap, and “Canada” in place of player surnames. The Phillies wore the Canadian flag on their caps as well. … In that same game, B.J. Ryan appeared to be wearing a black short-sleeve undershirt and a black long-sleeve undershirt under his black jersey. Seems like a bit much for an 84-degree day, no? … Remember Jae Seo’s reverse-contoured nameplate? At least the Rays got it right on his green alternate jersey. … Speaking of which: Michael Black notes that while the rest of the Rays were wearing this jersey on Sunday, catcher Dioner Navarro began the game wearing the team’s batting practice jersey (note the lack of piping and the omission of the chest uni number). But he’d switched to a proper jersey by the time of his second at-bat. … Nice catch by fellow uni maven Chris Creamer (see his excellent site is here), who noticed that the MLB logo appeared to have been torn off of A-Rod’s jersey last night. Take a look — you can sort of see the outline or imprint of where the logo had been, but the actual logo itself isn’t there (as you can see if you compare that photo to this one).

 

48 comments to From a Sleeve to a Slip (or: Nike Must Die, Part 318)

  • Acheron | July 3, 2006 at 9:08 am |

    You have all those pics of the Canada Day Jays jerseys, but you failed to mention that the names and numbers on the back are in the same font as their last jersey style (but sans the little blue line in the center.) Seems like laziness on the part of the Jays.

  • StevenWyder | July 3, 2006 at 9:25 am |

    Great link to the US Army Uniform Histoy on that link.

  • Tuffy | July 3, 2006 at 9:59 am |

    …it was the Twins’ annual salute to the military…

    It may be annual from here-on out, but I believe that this was the inaugural Twins salute to the military.

  • Bouj | July 3, 2006 at 10:04 am |

    Wonder why A-Rod’s MLB tag was gone. It’s not like those things are kinda-sorta attached. They’re glued and stiched on. Someone had to go to some sort of effort to rip it off.

  • Drew | July 3, 2006 at 10:24 am |

    If you look closely at B.J. Ryan’s middle-layer short sleeves, it looks like they’re cut off, as if he had on the dot-matrix shirt and had to trim the sleeves up.

  • Sids | July 3, 2006 at 10:26 am |

    [quote comment=”1933″]…it was the Twins’ annual salute to the military…

    It may be annual from here-on out, but I believe that this was the inaugural Twins salute to the military.[/quote]
    No, they did it last year

  • Sids | July 3, 2006 at 10:43 am |

    Last night while watching the Yankees-Mets, I noticed a small white decal on the bill of the Mets’ batting helmets. Upon closer examination, I saw that it was the name of the player. Below the ball here

  • Sids | July 3, 2006 at 10:44 am |

    http://sports.espn.g...
    hope this link works
    the decal is below the ball

  • Mike | July 3, 2006 at 10:57 am |

    I really liked the Jays Canada Day Uniforms. Since they went to these new uniforms I’ve said they needed some red in them (although this was a bit of overkill). They also need to scrap the black and go back to blue, but thats another story. Good eye Archeron to notice the old numbering… I watched the whole game and didn’t notice anything different.

  • Freehawk | July 3, 2006 at 10:58 am |

    Holy Palzgraf, Uni, can’t argue with the compelling case you present, the Red Sox need to go ahead and sue Nike for a zillion dollars.

  • JayRaider77 | July 3, 2006 at 11:17 am |

    [quote comment=”1941″]Holy Palzgraf, Uni, can’t argue with the compelling case you present, the Red Sox need to go ahead and sue Nike for a zillion dollars.[/quote]

    What do the Red Sox have to do with anything? Pedro plays for the Mets.

  • Shylock | July 3, 2006 at 11:31 am |

    As ugly as the Jays’ Canada Day jerseys were, it showed one thing…their old numbers look WAY better than the new ones. They should definitely go back to their 2nd generation numbers, and leave Northwestern’s football numbers alone.

  • Shylock | July 3, 2006 at 11:43 am |

    Sorry for double posting. The nameplate font is much better than the huge names on the backs of the jerseys currently. At least Frank Catalanotto’s name wouldn’t take up his entire back.

    New font:
    http://www.metronews...

    Well, not his whole back – it’d still take up a good amount of it…

  • Trevor | July 3, 2006 at 11:50 am |

    If you follow the twins link, you would notice it says 4th annual.

    I was wondering if anyone knew where I could find some information about other uniform tributes to the US or the Armed Forces, aside from the Padres camo jerseys.

  • mark | July 3, 2006 at 12:31 pm |

    okay, not sport related but why is our Army going with BLUE unis? are they becoming the navy? shouldn’t they wear GREEN? has there been any kind of outcry about this?

    mdr

  • Rico Suave | July 3, 2006 at 12:54 pm |

    What I wondered about the Twins and Brewers was why “Army,” “Navy,” and “Air Force” was spelled out, but the Marine Corps caps said “USMC.”

    As an aside, I thought Justin Morneau (a Canadian) should have worn a cap with “RCMP” instead of “USMC.”

    And Joe Mauer should be starting the All-Star game. So should Francisco (don’t call me Nelson) Liriano.

  • todd krevanchi (krvanch) | July 3, 2006 at 1:02 pm |

    during last nights mets/yanks game i too took notice to the back of a-rods jersey. i actually though it was on there, but it appeared, to me anyway, that it was grayed, bleached, or whited out. im sure other pics will surface.

    also, its always great to have a tom nieto sighting.

  • Noah | July 3, 2006 at 1:42 pm |

    This isn’t related to todays post, but it caught my eye, check out what is writen on Ramon Ortiz’s hat…dios mio is right. Liam and me…

    Dios Mio

  • Davey | July 3, 2006 at 1:51 pm |

    Paul,

    Pedro’s “injury” is total BS. Red Sox fans may remember him pulling the same stunt in Boston. The key is looking at the timing of the “injury”. He’s missing the start so he has more than a week to head down to the Dominican Republic, in effect turning a three-day all-star break into a week-and-a-half vacation. I know this sounds conspiracy-theory-esque, but it isn’t, he did the exact same thing a few years ago.

  • Wyl | July 3, 2006 at 2:26 pm |

    The Marine Corps hats worn by the Twins and Brewers would have looked better if the Twins had worn their regular home jerseys (or better yet, the 1972 – 1986 home double knits) and the Brewers had worn their old powder blue road unis.

  • Matthew | July 3, 2006 at 2:43 pm |

    He didn’t wear RCMP because it was a salute to the U.S. Armed Forces, not the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It’s the same reason that B.J. Ryan wore Canada on the back of his jersey on July 1 even though he was born in Louisiana.

    They spelled out ‘Army’, ‘Navy’, and ‘Air Force’ on the hates because are fairly easy to fit on a hat. Can you imagine trying to fit ‘United States Marine Corps’ on there? But I take your point, they could have just put ‘Marines’ instead.

    If you check out the link for the U.S. Army, they’ve had dress Blue uniforms for years. There’s a timeline in that link that shows that until the turn of the 20th century, blue was the predominant color of all U.S. Army uniforms.

    And speaking of alternate uniforms, anyone else notice how the Astros–previously one of the most disciplined teams in choosing when to wear their red alternate unis–have begun wearing the road reds almost nonstop during road trips? Alternate uniforms are getting out of control, and if you don’t believe me just try to add up the different combinations of uniforms the Diamondbacks can wear.

  • Ken | July 3, 2006 at 2:44 pm |

    I thought the USMC hats looked outstanding, by far the best looking headgear on the field. I am hoping that the Astros do something similar so I can get a USMC hat with an Astros logo on the side.

    The Army did away with their green service uniform to make themselves distinct from the Marine Corps service uniform that is green as well. Now if the Army would only do away with the beret…

  • Brett Donohue | July 3, 2006 at 2:56 pm |

    Did anyone catch Roger Federer’s match today? He wore and ‘off white’ sportscoat onto the court at the beginning of the match and then again leaving the court after his easy 3 set match.

  • Phil | July 3, 2006 at 3:01 pm |

    The decal on the Mets Batting Helmet bill is not an exact science. Most players have their last name but Chris Woodward has “Woody”. If they would only get rid of that blue fade they have going up the front. They look like a little league travel team

  • Mike | July 3, 2006 at 3:48 pm |

    I was watching the Tigers/Pirates game and noticed Kenny Rogers coloring in the bill of his BP hat. Anyone else notice this? As reported by this site that he wears them instead of the New Era hats that most wear.

  • benacm | July 3, 2006 at 5:54 pm |

    In yesterday’s game against the Orioles, Andruw Jones had an eye black strip only on the left side of his face. I wonder if he is doing it on purpose or if the right side of his face is just slipperier than the other.

  • nybatt | July 3, 2006 at 6:08 pm |

    I’ve taken notice of rodriguez’ bleached MLB since last season… I could only speculate that he has an attachment to that specific jersey and the washing/bleaching of the uni is showing.. a couple other yankee notes…

    a couple weeks ago jason giambi ripped a major hole on the left buttock portion of his pants.. from sliding naturally… anyhow, jim kaat mentioned (on tv) that players get real superstitious about pants/uniforms and will do whatever it takes to keep wearing them.. well, saturday I had third row seats behind the yankee on-deck area, and sure enough.. giambi had the repaired pants on, crudely repaired… looked like my high school pants that were torn and my mom did a heavy patch job to keep them going…

    lastly, melky cabrera of the yanks… wearing his pants at knee length for warmups, went pajama-style for the game… I hollered at him in the on deck circle to pull em up.. but the language barrier got in the way (wink!)…

  • Joel Keller | July 3, 2006 at 6:37 pm |

    Did anyone see Jaret Wright’s pants last night? They were so baggy they got caught in the tops of his shoes. That happens with my “loose fit” jeans. It’s amazing how baseball uniforms are baggier now than when everyone was wearing wool unis…

  • Tom O'Grady | July 3, 2006 at 6:48 pm |

    Paul-

    Although an easy target, Nike contrary to your column, is not the Anti-Christ. Pedro and conspiracy theories, where’s the Zapruder Film of Pedro falling on his ass?

    Without question, Nike has advanced the popularity of sports design today to unimaginable levels. Nike leads and eventually everyone else follows. It a simple fact. NIKETOWN. Great. DriFit. Wear it all the time. Customized shoes online. Brilliant.

    Nike’s fabrication advancements are better than the other licensees combined.

    UnderArmor? Common on, a tighter version of the old NBA compression short.

    And NIke still makes the best athletic shoes. Simply the best.

    Yeah, it’s okay (and easy) to pick apart the swoosh when they push the envelope too hard,( Oregon football is a train wreck),at least they continue to push. Can’t say that about Reebok, adidas, Majestic, etc.

    Throwbacks, wool jerseys, stir-ups went out of style for a reason, something better came along. Yeah a typewriter was a great invention too. Progress Paul.

    Feel the love. Buy an asymetic dri fit jersey. You just might feel better about some of those great folks in Beaverton.

    T.

  • Joe | July 3, 2006 at 7:58 pm |

    Well, B.J. Ryan wearing a black short-sleeve undershirt and a black long-sleeve undershirt under his black jersey is a bit of a stretch on a hot, humid day, truth be known that at least the dome was closed by the time he pitched. Dark clouds were moving into the Toronto area at the time.

  • Jim | July 3, 2006 at 11:28 pm |

    To the post about Andruw Jones’ single strip of eye black tape: he may be light sensitive out of one eye. I am left eye dominant, and my right eye is more sensisitve to light. There are times when I’ve had to squint, and my right eye is almost closed entirely, while my left eye is half-shut. So it’s possible he only needs the glare protection under one eye.

    Then again, maybe it’s an oddly belated tribute to Lisa “Left-Eye”.

  • Greg | July 4, 2006 at 1:42 am |

    [quote comment=”1954″]
    The Army did away with their green service uniform to make themselves distinct from the Marine Corps service uniform that is green as well. Now if the Army would only do away with the beret…[/quote]

    They moved away from the Marine look to the USAF

    And as a Nike afficionado, I must agree with Tom O’Grady’s statements about the company. It’s no coincidence companies like Adidas, Reebok and Under Armor are quick to pick up on Nike’s leads. At times, yes, too far. (Oregon football, but there were brighter days.) Though I must disagree about the stirrups. Sometimes the classic look is the best look, especially when compared to these baggy monstrosities everyone but the pros themselves are complaining about.

    Happy 4th to all! :)

  • Brandon | July 4, 2006 at 1:58 am |

    About the USMC the MArines use that for mostly all thier offical attire you’ll rarely see a shirt or hat with ‘Marines’ its always USMC

  • Mark | July 4, 2006 at 9:56 am |

    Maybe if Nike stopped using sweatshops some of us would like them more. I know most companies these days use them, but not all. My college would only buy from companies that were sweatshop-free. I think it was Russell Athletic. We may not have won much, but we still looked sharp, and socially conscious.

  • Brandon | July 4, 2006 at 10:03 am |

    Anyone watch the Stl-Atl game last night? Since when does Molina where a black mask and chest/knee pads

  • jake | July 4, 2006 at 12:08 pm |

    I think that gear is a very dark blue, like the caps the Cardinals wear.

  • nybatt | July 4, 2006 at 1:39 pm |

    the mets, in official home blue pins and hats, are wearing their american flag patch on the right side of their caps this afternoon versus pittsburgh… very odd..

  • todd krevanchi (krvanch) | July 4, 2006 at 1:58 pm |

    tom o’g…
    i couldnt echo your sentiments any further. as a hardcore nike guy, (ive only bought their product since ’86) i sometimes laugh at everyones hatred for them because they are on top. hey alot of people have hated the braves and yankees since they have been on top over the last decade as well. i dont agree with everything they do on a design aspect either, but their product is top notch, and that is why i am a member of the beaverton nation.

  • Mark | July 4, 2006 at 1:58 pm |

    [quote comment=”1985″]Paul-

    Although an easy target, Nike contrary to your column, is not the Anti-Christ. Pedro and conspiracy theories, where’s the Zapruder Film of Pedro falling on his ass?
    Without question, Nike has advanced the popularity of sports design today to unimaginable levels. Nike leads and eventually everyone else follows. It a simple fact. NIKETOWN. Great. DriFit. Wear it all the time. Customized shoes online. Brilliant.

    Nike’s fabrication advancements are better than the other licensees combined.

    UnderArmor? Common on, a tighter version of the old NBA compression short.

    And NIke still makes the best athletic shoes. Simply the best.

    Yeah, it’s okay (and easy) to pick apart the swoosh when they push the envelope too hard,( Oregon football is a train wreck),at least they continue to push. Can’t say that about Reebok, adidas, Majestic, etc.

    Throwbacks, wool jerseys, stir-ups went out of style for a reason, something better came along. Yeah a typewriter was a great invention too. Progress Paul.

    Feel the love. Buy an asymetic dri fit jersey. You just might feel better about some of those great folks in Beaverton.

    T.[/quote]
    Tom, I’m glad to see you enjoy your job with Nike
    I admire your nerve for making such a pro-Nike post. I agree with their commercial products, they are great, but they have fumbled so many of their proffessional persuits it is not even funny.

    I am watching the perfect example right now, The Pirates vs Mets game. The Dri-Fit shirts are destroying a PIrate’s jersey that is supposed to be throw-back, the road vests.
    To top it off, many of the players don’t wear the cursed dot shirts, and they get to wear the cool Pirate on the sleave of the standard black undershirts pictured here:

    Classic Sleave

    As opposed to this abortion:

    DOTS!!! Sleave

    The whole thing is a real joke!

    But Tom, if you have any free samples from Nike let me know!

  • nybatt | July 4, 2006 at 2:31 pm |

    cubbies not wearing american flag patches??!!??
    equipment man forget today was independence day??
    shame on the north-siders!!!

  • Greg | July 4, 2006 at 3:57 pm |

    [quote comment=”2023″]Maybe if Nike stopped using sweatshops some of us would like them more. I know most companies these days use them, but not all. My college would only buy from companies that were sweatshop-free. I think it was Russell Athletic. We may not have won much, but we still looked sharp, and socially conscious.[/quote]

    Mark,

    I highly recommend that you check this out. It has a lot of information about Nike’s actions toward their factories. To be honest, I haven’t read it all, but I have faith that it will reassure you about their business practices.

    My opinion (in case you wanted to hear it) is full support of Nike. I understand that they were caught in a big mess in the early ’90s with regards to their factories and “sweatshops”. They did something wrong, I understand. What impressed me is the way Nike handled it. They accepted their public ridicule, stood up and admitted wrongdoing. From that point they have significantly improved their manufacturing principles. I know now from a friend of mine who designs shoes for Nike, that Nike will only choose to work with factories who meet or exceed new high standards, such as age limits and working conditions. (Nike doesn’t have their own factories, they shop their jobs out to the most capable independent manufacturer.) To my knowlege Nike is the only major shoe company to seriously experiment with a full line of environmentally friendly shoes. (To my limited knowledge, adidas dabbled in the idea)

    I hope this helps more people to understand more about Nike and where they’re coming from. I don’t expect everyone to think Nike is the best, simply to respect their efforts.

  • NJTank | July 4, 2006 at 11:25 pm |

    Im so sick of Nike too Im watching Mets vs Pirtaes some players have a logo on their undershirt some have a dot pattern what happened to Uniform being all the same.

  • Mayer | July 5, 2006 at 1:14 am |

    [quote comment=”2027″]the mets, in official home blue pins and hats, are wearing their american flag patch on the right side of their caps this afternoon versus pittsburgh… very odd..[/quote]

    …and they aren’t backwards like they’re supposed to be when displayed on the right side, like we saw with team USA in the WBC.
    On a related flag note, the home plate umpire in the stl-atl game tonight was wearing what appeared to be the same flag patch that the players had on their caps, just his was displayed above his shirt pocket. didn’t see one on any of the other umpires.

  • Anthony Memme | July 5, 2006 at 1:36 am |

    Hahahaha.
    Check out the collar of Greg Zaun’s chest protector

    Z-Man

  • Brian | July 5, 2006 at 1:54 am |

    I really really want all black taken out of Mets uniforms. They lose whenever they wear those goddamn black alternates. Racing stripes would be a little much, but I would LOVE a rehashing of the old royal blue alternates awesome alternates. BTW: Did those ever see game action? I did see them in the Spring Training footage on my 1986 official world series champions video (produced by sportschannel :) )

    Cliff Floyd destroyed his pants on Sunday night.

  • Brian | July 5, 2006 at 1:55 am |

    oops, i used “img” tags instead of “a” tags

    fix that…
    sweet alternates

  • Chris | July 5, 2006 at 5:33 pm |

    apparently pedro was fined $5,000 for stretching the hem of his pants leg to go underneath the heel of his spikes. (verducci column on yahoo/si)

  • Mark in Shiga | July 6, 2006 at 2:24 pm |

    Regarding Jae Seo and his freakish jersey… is he the only person ever to wear #98 in a regular-season game? How long before the rest of the 70s, 80s, and 90s are filled up by other players looking to add a trivia footnote to their careers?

    Brian, I think the Mets wore the blue road uniforms (“Mets” on the front; silver numbers with orange borders) regularly in 1984, and possibly before. In ’85 they switched to gray on the road.