The term we all hear tossed around this time of year is “pitchers and catchers,” but let’s be honest: The catchers are mostly incidental. The only reason they’re there is that the pitchers need someone to throw to. Or as Casey Stengel famously put it, “You gotta have a catcher, otherwise you’re gonna have a lot of passed balls.”
So far, though, the catchers are the big spring training story, uni-wise. Yesterday I reported that Ramon Castro had switched from wearing TPX gear to Rawlings (and, as was noted in yesterday’s comments, the Rawlings folks seem to have used the wrong tone of blue). In addition, Jose Molina has switched from All-Star to Nike (check out the relatively restrained swoosh on the chest protector — a big improvement over this model), and Doug Mirabelli appears to have switched from Mizuno to Reebok (note the logo on the back) — first time I’ve ever seen an MLB backstop wearing that brand. Adidas appears to be getting into the act, too (now that’s an unnecessarily large logo).
And I Hear the Diamondbacks Have New Unis, Too: One of the most annoying aspects of spring training this year has been the repetitious cry of alarm as one media outlet after another breaks the news about their team’s new BP caps and jerseys. Of course, all the teams have new BP caps and jerseys, and we’ve known about the new designs for months — just as all these other ignorami could have known, if they simply read Uni Watch.
The latest media geniuses to weigh in on this hot story are New York broadcast bullies Mike Francessa and Chris Russo, who addressed the new BP attire yesterday. I wasn’t listening, but reader Mike from Queens was. Here’s his transcription (with bracketed comments from Mike, not from me):
Francessa: And the Yankees are wearing this weird hat in spring training. Did you notice this? With the white thing on it? It’s driving me crazy.
Russo: I didn’t see it.
Francessa: Why does it have that white line on it in spring Training? They using a spring training hat this year–
Russo: Oh, so now the Yankees have gone the way that everyone else has gone.
Francessa: I don’t like it. I don’t like it. I don’t like it. Why do they have that white thing on the hat?
[After a bit of a break, the commentary continued.]
Francessa: Is this just a spring training hat? It better be. They better have not changed the hat for the regular season. It’s nonsense. It’s a disgrace. The Yankees have never ever bastardized their uniform. Not like these teams with 42 different softball uniforms. Now the Yankees are starting to bail out. … [Having a special hat for spring training] is the Yankees ripping people off, though. They’re just trying to find a way to sell it. The Yankees should be embarrassed to do that. You’re the Yankees. You don’t do that.
[And then, somewhere in the middle of all of this ranting, Russo came out with this gem. I quote directly:]
Russo: Even wearing that apparel for spring training to sell — to sell money is…that’s a Yankees. How could you do that?
Remember, kids, it’s brilliant analysis like this that makes New York the media capital of the world.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Blue Jays gave John Gibbons a one-year contract extension yesterday, which means another year of looking at that lame-ass smock he always wears. … Mitchell & Ness has struck new deals with Nike/Jordan and with the Cowboys. The Reds are supposedly using red undershirts, instead of black, with their home and road uniforms this year — but they’re still using black sleeves in spring training. Speaking of spring training, Eric Gagne has been wearing a regular game cap, instead of the Rangers’ BP cap (presumably part of his “wear one cap all season long” protocol). Good article here about a guy in Idaho who collects hockey jerseys (with thanks to Mark Snider). I was poking around on eBay and stumbled across this. An old Johnny U. helmet is being auctioned off for charity. “I was at the NBA All-Star festivities,” writes Ben Kramer. “There was an exhibit on uniforms at the Jam Session, so I thought I’d send along some photos.” You can access his pics here. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Apparently David Weathers is a NASCAR fan. … Also from yesterday: Oh. My. God. … Remember those Wake Forest throwbacks I wrote about last week? They wore them again on Saturday. …