Unless you were paying very close attention to the fine print, you may have missed a small news item that came out of the baseball GMs’ winter meetings last December: The Cardinals and Indians will play an exhibition game on March 31st in Memphis, billed as the first annual Civil Rights Game. Memphis was chosen as the site because it’s the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the home of the National Civil Rights Museum, and proceeds will go to various baseball- and African American-related charities. Additional details are available here and here.
Unsurprisingly, the Tribe and Cards will be wearing a sleeve patch for the occasion. What I didn’t know until a few days ago, when reader Ben Penserga brought it to my attention, is that both teams will also be wearing special uniforms — assuming you can call this and this special, that is.
Not exactly an inspiring design, right? I was curious about the thinking behind the it, so I called the MLB offices, where a very inexperienced-sounding spokesperson told me, “They just wanted to look different for that game, I guess.” Then she said, “Wait, I guess I should really check on that. I’ll get back to you.” She called back about two hours later and, clearly reading from a written statement prepared by someone else, told me, “The designs were inspired by the simplicity of Negro Leagues uniforms. Because at the end of the day, it’s the game that’s important, not the uniforms.”
Let’s try to ignore the immense intellectual poverty of that last sentence and instead focus on the supposed Negro Leagues connection. True, some Negro League unis were extremely simple, but most were at least somewhat flashier. Even the old St. Louis Stars uniforms, which were very plain, at least had a colored placket and radially arched lettering, which is more than what you can say for what the Cardinals will be wearing. And besides, by now MLB has done loads of Negro Leagues throwback games, and the uniforms always look better than these Civil Rights Game duds.
Other questions: Why put city names on both jerseys, instead of letting at least one club wear its team name? And why use what appears to be exact same typeface for both jerseys, making the uniforms seem like generic knockoffs? Given that one of the game’s stated purposes is “to attract more young blacks to the sport” (an issue gaining lots of media attention these days), wouldn’t it make sense to come up with a more appealing uniform design?
If they really want to push the civil rights envelope, let’s see them have the guts to field a team wearing this design — now that would make a statement. (For those who are new to the blog, the full story behind that photo is here.)
System of Dreck: More info continues to appear about Nike’s new college hoops uniforms. I don’t really feel like dignifying the debate, because the whole thing is so insipid. But in the interests of being informative, I’ll pass along the latest info, which you can find here, here, and here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Excellent hosiery stylings at Texas A&M (courtesy of Glenn Stern). … ” The Maple Leafs had a special outdoor practice on Monday,” writes AJ Brandt, “and it looks like they were wearing Home Depot advertising patches on their practice jerseys.” … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Good article here on the woman who’s the seamstress for the UHL’s Ft. Wayne Komets. … Juan Pierre’s cap-under-the-helmet thing looks pretty weird when the cap in question is a BP cap. … “I’ve been covering the Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament this week and two uni-related items have jumped out at me,” writes Jesse Gavin. “First, check out the wild shoelaces on Bedford’s Elaine Mauderly. Oddly enough, the orange shoelaces with black shoes matched the color scheme of her team’s opponent, Graettinger-Terril. Second, you have to love the socks that every girl on the Decorah team is wearing — long socks with blue and red stripes and their Viking logo to boot.”