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And They Lost Their Seeing Eye Dogs, Too

042200umpire.jpg

Football games take place once a week; hockey and basketball games, once every few days. Only baseball games take place every single day, which means there’s no time to find replacement gear if something gets lost in transit. And the things that seem to get lost most frequently are the umpires’ uniforms, a situation that often requires some amusingly makeshift solutions.

The most recent instance of this appears to have been last September 2nd, when the Blue Jays hosted the Devil Rays. According to a message board post on Officiating.com, “The base umpires had dark grey pants and very colourful shoes. The plate umpire had pants that looked like sweatpants of some kind.” This post led to a lengthy thread on the topic of umps in civvies, which you can see here.

Reader William Gornall has recently devoted himself to compiling a list of such snafus. Here’s a breakdown of newspaper accounts he’s found from the past 20 years or so:

The San Diego Union-Tribune, May 20, 2000: “In Cleveland, the umpires wore Indians pullover jackets and caps when their equipment didn’t arrive from Seattle. [A fuller account of this incident, along with a photo, is available here]… And in Philadelphia, the start of the game was delayed by 10 minutes. Two umpires never made it to the game after being delayed in Cleveland. The other two umps, Kerwin Danley and Andrew Fletcher, worked the game in sweatpants and sweatshirts because their equipment didn’t arrive, and were joined by fill-in umpire Mike Fichter.”

The Chicago Sun-Times, April 22, 2000: “The umpires wore [White] Sox jackets and caps because their equipment didn’t arrive.”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 22, 2000: “The Dodgers overcame a ragged start by Eric Gagne to win a game that will be remembered more for the subplots. It started 27 minutes late because clubhouse attendants had to go on a last-minute shopping spree when the umpires’ equipment got misdirected to New York. The umpires wore black golfers’ rain suits on a damp and raw night.”

The Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution, September 21, 1997: “In the game Wednesday between the Giants and Dodgers, the umpires wore Giants hats and sweatpants because their uniforms didn’t arrive at the park on time.”

The San Jose Mercury News, September 18, 1997: “Bruce Froemming’s umpiring crew wore makeshift gear because its equipment was lost as the crew flew Thursday from Philadelphia. The umpires wore satin-like blue jackets and black pants. Froemming, the plate umpire, wore an outside chest protector that National League umpires discarded during the 1970s. Adding insult to injury was that the wrong umpiring crew was listed on the scoreboard as Froemming’s crew held its pregame meeting at home plate.”

The Miami Herald, August 12, 1995: “For the second time this season, a new set of umpires arrived at Joe Robbie Stadium, but their luggage didn’t. The crew of Gary Darling, Mark Hirschbeck, Frank Pulli and Joe West had two choices: wear clothing provided by the Marlins or work in their underwear. They asked the Marlins for clothing. … Marlins director of retail operations Steve Stock provided the foursome with matching black golf shirts. Darling, who worked behind the plate, asked equipment manager Mike Wallace for Marlins uniform pants. The field umpires wore items of their own possession on their legs. Hirschbeck chose khaki shorts. Pulli wore black sweatpants. West wore gray dress pants.”

The Dallas Morning News, June 22, 1994: “[Home plate umpire Dana] DeMuth and the other umpires wore Braves T-shirts and shorts because their equipment was lost in transit.”

The San Jose Mercury News, May 31, 1992: “The umpires’ luggage still hadn’t arrived from Anaheim and they worked out of uniform for the second straight game. At least they looked alike. The base umpires wore white shoes, gray pants, A’s caps and green sweatshirts under white T-shirts with ‘Hard Ball’ on them. Plate umpire Tim Tschida wore an A’s jacket over his chest protector.”

The Sacramento Bee, May 30, 1992: “With their uniforms lost somewhere between Anaheim and Oakland, the umpires wore gray jeans, white tennies and green and gold A’s jackets and caps.”

The Rocky Mountain News, April 28, 1991: “The umpires wore Reds shoes, gray road pants, red warmup jackets and hats Thursday because their equipment failed to arrive.”

The Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution, May 3, 1989: “The umpires wore Rangers shirts for the first few innings because their uniforms did not arrive on time.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, August 6, 1988: “The umpires wore vendors’ uniforms because their equipment arrived late.”

The Detroit Free Press, April 19, 1988: “The umpires wore Tigers windbreakers and caps Monday because part of their equipment was left in Toronto.”

The [Bergen, New Jersey] Record, September 3, 1985: “Three of the umpires wore outfits supplied by the Padre grounds crew. Charlie Williams, Billy Williams, and Randy Marsh were forced to don such garb because their luggage was lost in transit. John McSherry worked the plate because he was the only umpire whose gear arrived in time.”

Two primary thoughts here: First, let’s all thank William Gornall for his excellent research — great work. And second, as you can see, the written record of umpires in civvies is a lot stronger than the pictorial one. So if anyone has any leads of photos of umps in improvised uniforms, please speak up.

Uni Comix: Yesterday’s comments section included a mention of this Detroit News cartoon, which shows stirrups-clad Tigers and White Sox players. This is in keeping with a pattern I’ve noticed: Cartoonists and illustrators almost *always* include stirrups when drawing baseball players. Can’t decide if this is because cartoonists are (a) too clueless to have noticed that most players no longer wear stirrups, (b) too set in their ways to change how they draw something, or (c) Uni Watch readers, but it’s an interesting trend in any case. I’m going to start documenting as many of these instances as possible, so if you see any similar examples, please let me know.

Uni Watch News Ticker: Called the Blue Jays’ media office yesterday, inquiring about Ted Lilly’s “DJM” cap inscription from Monday night. After checking with Lilly, spokeswoman Nadia Flaim came back with this: “He expressed a desire to keep the meaning of those letters to himself. As a result, we cannot comment on the meaning or significance of the inscription.” I’m fairly certain that’s code for “He doesn’t want any extra attention that could result in a fine, since players aren’t allowed to write anything on their caps,” but there’s no way to know for sure. … Speaking of cap inscriptions, yesterday’s comments included a note that Marcus Thames of the Tigers appeared to have “an entire novel scribbled under his cap.” True enough, as you can see here, here, and here. Unfortunately, MLB.TV’s screen resolution isn’t good enough for me to decipher anything he’s got written there except for “33” (his uni number) and “VET.” I’ll put in a call today to the the Tigers and hope that Thames is more forthcoming that Lilly was. … Facemask news: J.J. Carton reports that Schutt is offering a new mask design this year, LaVar Arrington‘s wearing it. … David Ortiz is once again wearing off-numbered wristbands, although it’s not clear why, since there’s no 43 on the Bosox roster (with thanks to eagle-eyed Andrew Heverling). … Bryan Redemske notes that Ozzie Guillen had a red stripe peeking out from under his right jersey sleeve last night. Any connection to the red sock stripe he used to wear, perhaps?

 

64 comments to And They Lost Their Seeing Eye Dogs, Too

  • James Thome | July 19, 2006 at 8:37 am |

    Why does Ozzie Guillen always have his son in the dugout with him? He was even in the dugout during the ASG.

    I noticed that one of the players from the Rockies was wearing one black long sleeve and one short sleeve under his black vest. Did Nike have him do this?
    I am trying to find I picture, but it is hard to because I cant remember his name after I drank away my sadness after a 13-4 ass kicking the 8 game losing streak Rockies gave to the once hot Pirates

  • Brooks Reuter | July 19, 2006 at 8:42 am |

    Has anyone seen previews for “You, Me, and Dupree?” If you look at the pic below, Owen Wilson is wearing the cheesy Greg Maddux stirrup socks.

    http://msn.foxsports...

  • DJ | July 19, 2006 at 8:50 am |

    The “red sock stripe” that Ozzie used to wear was actually a knee brace. Ozzie began wearing it after suffering a season-ending collision with Tim Raines in his playing days.

    The “red stripe” under his jersey is a Chicago Fire jersey (the 2004-2005 Puma version, not the current adidas version), which Ozzie often wears for good luck.

  • Mike | July 19, 2006 at 9:23 am |

    I think cartoonists and illustrators include stirrups in baseball uniforms because they deal with icons, not reality. The public at large (including illustrators) equates baseball players with stirrups, so that’s how they draw them – it’s easier on the viewer’s mind. If the viewer has to think, “Why’s Griffey wearing pajamas? Oh, wait, that’s his uniform!” then it distracts from the illustration. I’d bet that if you looked at cartoonists’ versions of football and basketball uniforms, they probably reflect some idealized version of vintage unis, not realistic contemporary gear. For example, I’d expect most football helmets in cartoons to be circa 1960 – more Bart Starr than Robocop.

  • Shawn Kemp | July 19, 2006 at 9:27 am |

    When I was umping High School summer baseball last summer, my umpiring partner who was the field ump forgot his shoes. The only thing he could find in his car was his golf spikes. He looked like he should have been in the musical Grease. It was his golf shoes or flip flops.
    Long story short, we got a call from our sup, and he said the losing coach called and complained.
    Go figure, we were on fire and did call a good game.

    I have been known to wear a womens fast pitch catchers helmet behind the plate

  • JJC | July 19, 2006 at 9:39 am |

    I’m a face mask geek! Interesting setup by Schutt. What functionality does Arrington’s facemask have? Its like a reverse U, similar to the ones worn by Jim Otto and Larry Csonka.

  • Nat gal | July 19, 2006 at 10:19 am |

    Seems to me like the moral of the story is the Umps should always pack their unis in their CARRY-ON luggage!

  • Brian | July 19, 2006 at 10:35 am |

    [quote comment=”2965″]I’m a face mask geek! Interesting setup by Schutt. What functionality does Arrington’s facemask have? Its like a reverse U, similar to the ones worn by Jim Otto and Larry Csonka.[/quote]

    The old style blocks your vision when you lower your head while making a tackle. By reversing the position, you still block a fist from coming through the mask, but don’t block as much of your vision. LB’s spend more time with their heads tilted down making hits than they do looking up.

  • Josh | July 19, 2006 at 10:37 am |

    [quote comment=”2965″]I’m a face mask geek! Interesting setup by Schutt. What functionality does Arrington’s facemask have? Its like a reverse U, similar to the ones worn by Jim Otto and Larry Csonka.[/quote]

    I guess it’s just an alternate way to protect the nose without putting a full vertical bar on the nose line.

    I’m a bit of facemask geek myself and I realize that these new masks are meant to offer better protection, but frankly they’re ugly and not nearly as cool as the new wave that hit in the mid/late 80s and early 90s.

  • Josh | July 19, 2006 at 10:39 am |

    [quote comment=”2968″][quote comment=”2965″]I’m a face mask geek! Interesting setup by Schutt. What functionality does Arrington’s facemask have? Its like a reverse U, similar to the ones worn by Jim Otto and Larry Csonka.[/quote]

    The old style blocks your vision when you lower your head while making a tackle. By reversing the position, you still block a fist from coming through the mask, but don’t block as much of your vision. LB’s spend more time with their heads tilted down making hits than they do looking up.[/quote]

    good call on the looking up point… thought of that after i posted.

  • J-Rob | July 19, 2006 at 10:50 am |

    I’d take that face mask over those awful one’s the Manning’s wear, makes their face look smashed in their helmets.

  • greg | July 19, 2006 at 11:15 am |

    Scott Coe of the Calgary Stampeders has been wearing the new facemask since the start of the CFL season

  • mark | July 19, 2006 at 11:34 am |

    would really be interested in an article about facemasks and how equipment manufacturers decide what to make, how to configure, etc. I guess they are going for max visibility and max protection. do they do custom stuff if a player wants something special? uniwatch did visors – how about face masks?

  • SAS | July 19, 2006 at 12:09 pm |

    I agree with Mike that cartoonists’ use of stirrups is related to the iconic role that they play within the structure of the baseball uniform.

    The thing I found interesting about all the “umpires missing equipment” stories was how inappropriate the replacement gear often was. Several times it seemed they resorted to wearing stuff with the home team’s logo on it, which you’d think they’d avoid. It’s surprising that they didn’t or couldn’t find umpires’ apparel at a local sporting goods store. At the very least, you’d think they’d be able to find some plain grey slacks and a dark, logo-less polo shirt to wear, rather than take the field in the home team’s T-shirt. The golfers rain suit seemed like a decent solution.

  • Brian W | July 19, 2006 at 12:11 pm |

    [quote comment=”2973″]would really be interested in an article about facemasks and how equipment manufacturers decide what to make, how to configure, etc. I guess they are going for max visibility and max protection. do they do custom stuff if a player wants something special? uniwatch did visors – how about face masks?[/quote]

    Helmethut.com (and some other sites) have some great stories on the history and “evolution” of football facemasks.

  • DrBear | July 19, 2006 at 12:15 pm |

    One wonders why the umps’ union hasn’t asked MLB to require generic ump outfits in basic L-XL-XXL sizes (do any of them take a medium?) at every ballpark just in case something happens.

  • jersey mark | July 19, 2006 at 12:19 pm |

    Just a thought, why not keep backup equipment at each stadium, or have just a set at each stadium to avoid costs and hassles like this.

  • J-Rob | July 19, 2006 at 12:19 pm |

    I remember playing football and picking out my helmet and facemask. Being an O-lineman, I chose a big-ole face mask. This made the helmet extremely heavy and after running for entire practice really wore on my neck. It also blocked a lot of vision. I’m sure these companies recrute players to get advice on how light, durable and the right spots to avoid blocking field of vision.

  • JJC | July 19, 2006 at 12:21 pm |

    [quote comment=”2969″][quote comment=”2965″]I’m a face mask geek! Interesting setup by Schutt. What functionality does Arrington’s facemask have? Its like a reverse U, similar to the ones worn by Jim Otto and Larry Csonka.[/quote]

    I guess it’s just an alternate way to protect the nose without putting a full vertical bar on the nose line.

    I’m a bit of facemask geek myself and I realize that these new masks are meant to offer better protection, but frankly they’re ugly and not nearly as cool as the new wave that hit in the mid/late 80s and early 90s.[/quote]

    Which facemasks are you talking about re mid/late 80s and early 90s?

  • JJC | July 19, 2006 at 12:23 pm |

    [quote comment=”2980″]I remember playing football and picking out my helmet and facemask. Being an O-lineman, I chose a big-ole face mask. This made the helmet extremely heavy and after running for entire practice really wore on my neck. It also blocked a lot of vision. I’m sure these companies recrute players to get advice on how light, durable and the right spots to avoid blocking field of vision.[/quote]
    [quote comment=”2973″]would really be interested in an article about facemasks and how equipment manufacturers decide what to make, how to configure, etc. I guess they are going for max visibility and max protection. do they do custom stuff if a player wants something special? uniwatch did visors – how about face masks?[/quote]
    Here here….I’m waiting for the column

  • JJC | July 19, 2006 at 12:24 pm |

    Does anyone know the purpose of the side vertical bars on facemasks like the ones worn by Cory Dillon?

  • Jim | July 19, 2006 at 12:28 pm |

    I am an umpire. If anyone else has seen all the equipment and clothing necessary to work games, then they’d understand how carry-on bags are not an option.

    Here’s a link to the main provider of officials’ products and gear, with a picture of a roll-on bag for just the protective gear: http://www.honigs.co...

    Add to that a pretty good size bag for the uniforms (and I’d bet the umpires carry more than one set for bases or plate assignments), and this doesn’t include orginary street clothes to travel.

    Umpires are their own equipment managers. They are at the mercy of the airlines to make sure the gear and uniforms get on the planes and to the destinations. Umpires don’t have the luxury of 10-game homestands in the same stadium, they’re on the go more than players are. It makes travel more difficult than team charters.

  • nybatt | July 19, 2006 at 12:44 pm |

    just noticed mark kotsay of the A’s has gone back to the classic batting helmet from the cool flo abomination…

    I saw him get beaned last night.. directly in the earflap of the cool flo…. wonder if the helmet was ruined, or he feels the cool flo flap doesn’t provide as much protection…

    the shot of kotsay after getting hit showed quite a stitch-mark bruise on his earloab

  • Tim | July 19, 2006 at 12:53 pm |

    Speaking of off-numbered apparel, Speedy Claxton wore shoes with the number 10 on them for the New Orleans Hornets, though he was number 5

    http://static.flickr...

  • Wayne | July 19, 2006 at 1:07 pm |

    Wow, that is one ugly face mask that Lavar has on. My favorite facem ask is the one popular with cornerbacks (the same one that JJC mentioned above about Corey Dillon). I agree with J-Rob too; We need a column on face masks!

  • a arauz | July 19, 2006 at 1:26 pm |

    the facemask ‘turf’ has been already been troded upon, check the archives fellas.

  • J-Rob | July 19, 2006 at 1:36 pm |

    I think Mark made the comment about a facemask article. I thought Paul had an article on ESPN that went through the evolution of football uniforms, including masks?? anyone??

    Can also mention mouth guards and how disgusting those things are. (Dropping them in mud and still putting them in their mouths, or just storing them on the uniform).

  • casey shaeffer | July 19, 2006 at 1:52 pm |

    I echo the idea about a few spare sets of umpiring gear at each stadium. Why would that be so difficult? We cannot be the first people to think of it. What would that cost? $500-$1000 per park…

  • Brooks Reuter | July 19, 2006 at 1:53 pm |

    For four years of high school and three years of college, being a lineman, I went with this style mask, only with the bull-bar at the top…
    Facemask1

    However, I switched to this style my senior year of college…
    Facemask2

    It was amazing just for the difference in weight; however the range of motion it allowed was unbelievable. Also, on the topic of mouth pieces, if you don’t want it getting dirty you can do what I did my last two years and not wear one.

  • Brooks Reuter | July 19, 2006 at 1:55 pm |

    Facemask2

    Sorry this one should work

  • Chris In CA | July 19, 2006 at 2:08 pm |

    [quote comment=”2983″]Does anyone know the purpose of the side vertical bars on facemasks like the ones worn by Cory Dillon?[/quote]

    I could be wrong but I think Eric Dickerson was the first to wear the EGOP (Eye Glass Oral Protection) version of that mask…a thing of beauty! And how much do we all miss the royal blue and gold Rams unis and helmet?

    http://www.ericdicke...

  • Josh | July 19, 2006 at 2:11 pm |

    [quote comment=”2981″][quote comment=”2969″][quote comment=”2965″]I’m a face mask geek! Interesting setup by Schutt. What functionality does Arrington’s facemask have? Its like a reverse U, similar to the ones worn by Jim Otto and Larry Csonka.[/quote]

    I guess it’s just an alternate way to protect the nose without putting a full vertical bar on the nose line.

    I’m a bit of facemask geek myself and I realize that these new masks are meant to offer better protection, but frankly they’re ugly and not nearly as cool as the new wave that hit in the mid/late 80s and early 90s.[/quote]

    Which facemasks are you talking about re mid/late 80s and early 90s?[/quote]

    I don’t know if the fact that I was a kid during the time period had any bearing on their coolness, but I still think they are.

    The Lawrence Taylor [1st person I remember wearing it] and varations:
    Link Name

    The Gladiator [it reminds me of a gladiator visor; worn by Dion Sanders, et al]:
    Link Name

    and my personal favorite, The Shawn Jones [Ga Tech quarterback, 1990 National Championship]:
    Link Name

  • casey shaeffer | July 19, 2006 at 2:12 pm |

    im a helmet/facemask junkie too

    check out these new designs by Schutt

    Link Name

    Link Name
    Link Name

  • casey shaeffer | July 19, 2006 at 2:16 pm |

    i like this one too…. its for kids though…

    Cool Youth Face Mask

  • bogger | July 19, 2006 at 2:19 pm |

    As for the question about Ozzie Guillen’s son. He does have an official job with the White Sox as a translator, or something like that.

  • JJC | July 19, 2006 at 2:31 pm |

    [quote comment=”2999″][quote comment=”2981″][quote comment=”2969″][quote comment=”2965″]I’m a face mask geek! Interesting setup by Schutt. What functionality does Arrington’s facemask have? Its like a reverse U, similar to the ones worn by Jim Otto and Larry Csonka.[/quote]

    I guess it’s just an alternate way to protect the nose without putting a full vertical bar on the nose line.

    I’m a bit of facemask geek myself and I realize that these new masks are meant to offer better protection, but frankly they’re ugly and not nearly as cool as the new wave that hit in the mid/late 80s and early 90s.[/quote]

    Which facemasks are you talking about re mid/late 80s and early 90s?[/quote]

    I don’t know if the fact that I was a kid during the time period had any bearing on their coolness, but I still think they are.

    The Lawrence Taylor [1st person I remember wearing it] and varations:
    Link Name

    The Gladiator [it reminds me of a gladiator visor; worn by Dion Sanders, et al]:
    Link Name

    and my personal favorite, The Shawn Jones [Ga Tech quarterback, 1990 National Championship]:
    Link Name[/quote]
    All 3 are solid. I personally like the LT version as my personal fave. I do like Clinton Portis’ visor/Shawn Jones combo. (I think that’s what Portis wears)

  • JJC | July 19, 2006 at 2:33 pm |

    [quote comment=”2992″]For four years of high school and three years of college, being a lineman, I went with this style mask, only with the bull-bar at the top…
    Facemask1

    However, I switched to this style my senior year of college…
    Facemask2

    It was amazing just for the difference in weight; however the range of motion it allowed was unbelievable. Also, on the topic of mouth pieces, if you don’t want it getting dirty you can do what I did my last two years and not wear one.[/quote]
    What’s the “bull bar”?

  • JJC | July 19, 2006 at 2:35 pm |

    [quote comment=”3000″]im a helmet/facemask junkie too

    check out these new designs by Schutt

    Link Name

    Link Name
    Link Name[/quote]
    What’s up with the bent bars?

  • Josh | July 19, 2006 at 2:53 pm |

    [quote comment=”3004″][quote comment=”2992″]For four years of high school and three years of college, being a lineman, I went with this style mask, only with the bull-bar at the top…
    Facemask1

    However, I switched to this style my senior year of college…
    Facemask2

    It was amazing just for the difference in weight; however the range of motion it allowed was unbelievable. Also, on the topic of mouth pieces, if you don’t want it getting dirty you can do what I did my last two years and not wear one.[/quote]
    What’s the “bull bar”?[/quote]

    The “bull bar” is the u-shaped ring at the top of the mask… kind of looks like a bull’s nose ring.

  • Jared | July 19, 2006 at 3:10 pm |

    We wore Adams helmets in highschool, very light and comfortable but i dont think they were too sturdy. I went through 2 facemasks and had 2 concussions as a Tight End. Switched to a schutt in college

  • LouUmp | July 19, 2006 at 3:42 pm |

    Just in case anyone is interested, here is what it costs an umpire when he starts umpiring high school SOFTBALL:

    2 hats (one field, one plate) @ $10 each $20

    2 plain polo shirts (one for the bases, and one that will fit over your chest protector) @ $25-30 each, depending on your size.. $50

    2 pairs of umpiring pants, again, one for the bases, and one that allows room for the leg guards
    @ $45 each $90

    a decent mask is at least $50..

    decent leg protectors are usually around $50

    a decent chest protector can be $50-60 at LEAST…

    you can shell out $3-400 for equipment your first year…and thats without buying the fancy stuff that Joe West and Gerry Davis hawk!

    we will usually have at the clinic that we run for our new softball umps, about 20 show up the first night….after they find out how much it costs, it usually drops to 7-10 people….

    and BASEBALL stuff is more….

  • Shorty | July 19, 2006 at 3:47 pm |

    [quote comment=”3000″]im a helmet/facemask junkie too

    check out these new designs by Schutt

    Link Name

    Link Name
    Link Name[/quote]

    I’ve gotta say those are the ugliest facemasks i have ever seen.

  • Jersey Mark | July 19, 2006 at 4:26 pm |

    [quote comment=”3009″]Just in case anyone is interested, here is what it costs an umpire when he starts umpiring high school SOFTBALL:

    2 hats (one field, one plate) @ $10 each $20

    2 plain polo shirts (one for the bases, and one that will fit over your chest protector) @ $25-30 each, depending on your size..

    $50

    2 pairs of umpiring pants, again, one for the bases, and one that allows room for the leg guards
    @ $45 each

    $90

    a decent mask is at least $50..

    decent leg protectors are usually around $50

    a decent chest protector can be $50-60 at LEAST…

    you can shell out $3-400 for equipment your first year…and thats without buying the fancy stuff that Joe West and Gerry Davis hawk!

    we will usually have at the clinic that we run for our new softball umps, about 20 show up the first night….after they find out how much it costs, it usually drops to 7-10 people….

    and BASEBALL stuff is more….[/quote]
    WOW, expensive, thats for sure!, but I think MLB has the dough to buy a set or two for each stadium while saving money on transporting all of that crap from city to city, while saving them the embaressment of this again.

  • C.J. Andringa | July 19, 2006 at 4:29 pm |

    [quote comment=”3009″]Just in case anyone is interested, here is what it costs an umpire when he starts umpiring high school SOFTBALL:

    2 hats, 2 plain polo shirts, 2 pairs of umpiring pants, a decent mask, decent leg protectors, a decent chest protector…
    [/quote]

    Bingo, Lou. You can also add shoes (1 pair ‘turf’, 1 pair with toe protection) and accessories (ball bags, indicator, brushes). I did both baseball and softball for a few years. Our state associations are separate for boys and girls, so there were different umpire uniforms (they have since eliminated some of the differences):

    Softball: black pants, white shirt (with logo), black hat (with logo)
    Baseball: gray pants, powder or navy shirt, navy hat (with logo)

    So that doubles the amount of equipment right there, and if you are working several nights per week, you almost need extra shirts and hats or else figure on running the washing machine every night. A lot of the equipment needs to be replaced every 1-2 years, also, depending on wear and tear.

  • Greg | July 19, 2006 at 4:43 pm |

    I agree, this isn’t all that great, but it’s MUCH better than this. It’ll grow on me…

    About the vertical bars. Having used them for so many years myself, you really don’t even see it. Since it’s so close to your face and your eyes are focused beyond it, it’s like it’s not even there. Though my youth coaches did teach me to use it as a cross-hair when blocking. “Put this right in their chest!”

    And as someone already mentioned, those bars on the side are considered protection for glasses but guys like Dion made them popular.

    By the way, despite the purple, you gotta love this look.

  • Denny O. | July 19, 2006 at 6:08 pm |

    Not sure if this was mentioned but how about the uniform worn by Buck O’Neil? He wore jeans with a KC Monarchs jersey.
    Photo

  • Jeff M. | July 19, 2006 at 9:36 pm |

    Yeah it’s quite the fashion statement by Buck. But you have to cut the guy some slack as he’s 94 years old and it was still 100 degrees at the time. Though it would have been really cool if he came out in the old time uni. He did jokingly say that they used to play double headers when it was that hot wearing wool unis. None of those ugly no cool-flo ones.

  • Terri | July 19, 2006 at 9:57 pm |

    I know absolutely nothing about football facemasks, but after playing goalie for field hockey for years, I can say a little about those face masks. I’ve never had any problem with vision with any of the bar masks, but this is definately the best helmet out there- obo mask
    Really, after a little adjustment, you don’t even see the bars anymore.
    I have, however, had the misfortune of wearing a full plastic visor (sorry, couldn’t find a pic). It was terrible in the rain- you practically needed windshield wipers and it fogged up, and on sunny days there was a terrible glare. Not a style I’d reccomend.

  • GoMac | July 19, 2006 at 10:08 pm |

    Anyone else pick up on the line about a poor start by Gagne? I found that pretty funny.

  • Steve | July 19, 2006 at 10:53 pm |

    [quote comment=”3010″][quote comment=”3000″]im a helmet/facemask junkie too

    check out these new designs by Schutt

    Link Name

    Link Name
    Link Name[/quote]

    I’ve gotta say those are the ugliest facemasks i have ever seen.[/quote]

    I second that motion.

  • dirwuf | July 19, 2006 at 11:01 pm |

    Somewhere in my basement I have an old betamax tape of a 1987 Cubs-Expos game where the umps wore makeshift unis. What makes this special is that BILL MURRAY was filling in for Harry Carry on the broadcast (WGN used celebs to fill in for Harry as he recovered from a stroke).

    Bill’s teasing of the late-great Eric Gregg is unbelievable. One of these days I gotta dig up the tape and put some clips online…

  • Jared | July 19, 2006 at 11:08 pm |

    Roger Clemens was wearing his pants at his knees wednesday against the Cubs and maddux for the first time Ive ever seen. Good look for him, he won too

  • Nicole | July 20, 2006 at 12:25 am |

    What I want to know is when the stirrup-to-pajama-pant switch goes into effect? Watch the Little League world series, they all wear them. Watch a high school game, all stirrups. Even in college there’s stirrup madness. What is it about the pros that makes them abandon the stirrups?

  • Gabe | July 20, 2006 at 1:34 am |

    Clemens in high socks, alright!!!!

  • Julian | July 20, 2006 at 5:22 am |

    [quote comment=”3030″]Roger Clemens was wearing his pants at his knees wednesday against the Cubs and maddux for the first time Ive ever seen. Good look for him, he won too[/quote]

    Actually Clemens has worn socks high before it mentions it here

  • Julian | July 20, 2006 at 5:34 am |

    also, is that the Longhorn
    on Clemen’s tongue on his shoe?

  • Brian A | July 20, 2006 at 8:33 am |

    Whats with the vertical stripes going up and down Clemens’ socks? They almost look like a pair of dress socks that you would wear for business.

    On the topic of facemasks: Having played football many years there are many differences and variations in the facemask. However, today’s Pros use a lighter metal in their facemask than the average High School or College uses. Schutt manufactures all varieties in 2 different metals, one being much more expensive than the other.

  • Matt | July 20, 2006 at 9:52 am |

    Rickey Jackson wore the best face mask. It looked like something from the Road Warrior. I couldn’t find a real good shot of it… It resembled a hockey cage with a ton of crossing bars – it even protected his ears.

    Although, I would wear a mask like that to protect my Hair Cut

    It seems that Rickey is now wanted because he is a Delinquent patent..

  • Matt | July 20, 2006 at 9:54 am |

    Delinquent PARENT… Excuse the typo above.

  • Nolan | July 20, 2006 at 10:09 am |

    [quote comment=”3041″]also, is that the Longhorn
    on Clemen’s tongue on his shoe?[/quote]

    Sure looks that way to me. Nice catch

  • Tom O'Grady | July 20, 2006 at 10:21 am |

    Still awaiting the UniWatch bandanna article?

    Paul, what’s up with this

    http://editorial.get...

    and this:

    http://editorial.get...

    and this:
    http://editorial.get...

    I am appealing to the Power of the UniWatch Nation?

    What gives?

    Hip hop meets Sock hop…

    T

  • Tom O'Grady | July 20, 2006 at 10:26 am |

    Let’s get off the umpire attire for a moment and salute Distant Replays for making the Wall Street Journal.

    This gives more respect to our little industry and we should all give a big shout out to Andy Hyman in Atlanta for figthing the good fight…

    I AM NOT WORTHY.

    http://online.wsj.co...

    Bingo.

    T

  • J-Rob | July 20, 2006 at 10:32 am |

    Tom,
    Those are the worst thing to come out. Sometimes the players look like coneheads.

  • Old School | July 20, 2006 at 9:32 pm |

    You guys loving those busy LT masks are so 80’s/90’s. The new models at least are a bit simpler. In 1975 I was still wearing a single bar mask in high school…before Joe Theisman made his NFL run. Give me Gary Anderson or Mark Mosely’s single bar, or Steve Bartkowski and Ken Anderson’s double bars any day…Grey – not colored!

    And cheers to Andy’s Distant Replays!