With MLB’s regular season now over, I think we can say with some degree of certainty that this has been the best year in baseball history — at least from a Uni Watch perspective. A lot of that is due to all of you who’ve provided tips and sharp-eyed observations throughout the year, so thanks-a-plenty to everyone who’s helped document this season’s foibles and follies, a selective rundown of which shapes up as follows:
April 6th: In the first of what will be several similar incidents, Brandon Claussen is told by the umpiring crew that he can’t wear Nike’s accursed dot-patterned undersleeves while pitching. So the Reds’ dugout staff comes up with a pair of scissors and cuts off the offending sleeve portion.
April 11th: For reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained, Manny Ramirez wears a cherubic stick-pin on his jersey.
April 25th: With gametime conditions at Wrigley a bit on the brisk side (39 degrees, 18-mph winds), Hanley Ramirez wears one of those football hand-warmer thingies strapped to his waist, and Aramis Ramirez wears a ski mask.
May 5th: Jason Smith’s surname proves to be too challenging for the Rockies’ equipment staff.
May 12th: Scott Williamson, who apparently didn’t get the memo (or read Uni Watch), becomes the latest pitcher ordered to cut off his dotted sleeves.
May 28th: It’s not unprecedented for catchers to have their fingernails painted white, for greater visibility when giving signs. But Toby Hall breaks new ground by having his nails painted during a mound conference, with teammate Aubrey Huff doing the honors. After the game, the Devil Rays announce that they’re changing the team name to the Metrosexuals.
May 29th: With most players wearing an American flag cap patch for Memorial Day, Ambiorix Burgos wears his patch in the wrong spot and upside-down, leading to a minor controversy in Kansas City. Meanwhile, Steve Trachsel’s flag patch ends up crooked, but there’s no controversy because everyone knows New Yorkers are too jaded to give a shit.
June 3rd: Career minor leaguer Eliezer Alfonzo, who’s been waiting to be called up to the bigs for a decade, finally makes his MLB debut — with his name misspelled on his jersey.
June 28th: Determined to mess up every conceivable aspect of the game, the Devil Rays send Jae Seo out to the mound with a concave nameplate, instead of the usual convex.
July 4th: John Patterson, not content to celebrate Independence Day by wearing his American flag cap patch upside-down or crooked, raises the bar by getting his flag patch ensnared in his sideburn, and remains impressively oblivious to the whole thing.
July 5th: Esteban Yan, apparently upset to be left out of the fun, wears an upside-down flag patch a day after the holiday.
July 16th: Kyle Snyder pitches the entire 1st inning with his undershirt tag flapping in the breeze, which looks extra-dorky when he pumps his fist after a good defensive play. (Six weeks later he’ll be wayward-tagged again, although the problem that time will be his little MLB logo tag.)
July 20th: Kenny Rogers, having learned nothing from the previous day’s incident involving German’s belt, dives for a ball and breaks a button on his jersey, leaving him with an embarrassing case of jersey gap.
July 21st: Ryan Freel is hit by a pitch — sort of. The ball sails into his vest’s arm opening and lodges in his jersey, whereupon Freel trots to first base, unbuttons his jersey, and produces the ball, which he then flips to an umpire.
July 22nd: Mike MacDougal throws nine pitches and has his cap fall off during six of them (including one in which catches the cap in midair during his follow-through). The small-market Royals, unable to risk having to purchase a new cap for MacDougal if his current one gets dirty from falling onto ground, promptly trade him a few days later.
July 28th: Todd Walker changes jerseys in the middle of the game and mistakenly puts on the wrong one, trotting out onto the field wearing No. 13 instead of his usual No. 7. The game is delayed for several minutes while he goes to the clubhouse to change again. Cubs radio man Ron Santo provides incisive and articulate commentary, the full genius of which somehow goes unmentioned in Uniwatchblog.com’s coverage of the incident, prompting countless well-mannered, thoughtful Cubs fans to politely offer their respectful thoughts on the matter.
October 1st: Cliff Floyd, injured for much of the season and thus shut out of all the Uni Watch fun, uses the last day of the season to make a big push for uni blooper of the year: He slides while chasing a ball and comes away with his jersey slightly out of order. Okay, really out of order. He then calmly proceeds to button up and tuck in, leading Uni Watch hedge fund analyst Jenny Strasburg to remark, “He’s so casual — like, ‘Nothin’ to see here, folks, just fixing my pants.’”
Pretty good season, right? It could still be undone by a Padres/Twins World Series (imagine the Pads wearing their camouflage unis and the Twins countering with their military tribute caps), but I’m trying not to think about that.