Back in February, we were all surprised to learn that the numbers, letters, and insignia on MLB’s new batting practice jerseys were heat-applied, not embroidered. At the time, Jared Hartung of the Arizona Daily News-Sun described this discussion that he had with the Texas Rangers’ equipment manager: “He said he and fellow equipment managers have to learn how to use a heat press again because the jersey tops can’t handle the heavy numbers and stitching. ‘It’s been years since any of us have used a heat press,’ he said. ‘It’s going to take some time to get used to.’ ”
The company responsible for that, it turns out, is Fiberlok, a Colorado operation that specializes in heat-applied graphics. According to a news report that aired last week on a Denver TV station, Fiberlok’s prexy contacted MLB after he heard that the new BP jerseys would be made of lighter, flimsier material, which he figured would make a good match for Fiberlok’s signature product, a flocked nylon appliqué called Lextra. You can see the video of that report, which includes some interesting shots of the Fiberlok factory, here. (One note: The report concludes by mentioning that Fiberlok is creating a “top-secret” logo for the All-Star Game. Since this has been around for months, I assume they’re referring to the graphics for the all-star BP jerseys, which, let’s face it, nobody really cares about anyway.)
Also worth investigating: the Fiberlok web site. In addition to a photo of the company’s glamorous headquarters, it also features a heat-transfer timeline, some interesting logo-application photos, and some serious close-up views.
If you’d like to become better acquainted with Fiberlok’s graphics, here’s your chance: Majestic recently sent me an authentic David Wright BP jersey (front, back), size medium, complete with all tagging, and I’m going to raffle it off as our latest giveaway. No virtual raffle tickets to buy this time, either — I’m making this one a total freebie. Just send an e-mail (one entry per person) to uniraffle at earthlink dot net by Friday evening, 9 p.m. eastern. I’ll announce the winner on Monday.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday I jokingly suggested that readers attending cold-weather games might need a visit from the Uni Watch St. Bernard. I’m happy to report that Uni Watch design director Scott M.X. Turner has taken that idea to heart. … Anheuser-Busch is putting Red Sox logos on bottles of Bud and Bud Light. Full details here (with thanks to Dominic J. Litten). … Jeremy Brahm notes that the Yokohama Bay Stars have added the logo of the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), the team’s parent company, to their pants. … Oh dear (as spotted by Jesse Gavin). … Check out the logos on Kenji Johjima’s shinguard — not sure I’ve ever seen anything like that before. … It’s nice that the Red Sox got period-appropriate flannel uniforms for members of their 1967 championship team at yesterday’s Opening Day festivities. But look how many things they got wrong — adjusta-strap caps, names on their jerseys, low-rise stirrups, inconsistent undersleeve colors, and so on. Several of the old-timers didn’t make much of an effort in the pants-cuffing department either. And all those white sneakers — ugh. … New York Times Yankees beat reporter and Uni Watch enthusiast Tyler Kepner asked A-Rod about his high-socks look last night and got the following response: “We were on a back field in the middle of spring training, just being goofy. I was with my buddy Pepe, from Miami, and I just put them up. He said, ‘You look like a Notre Dame football player,’ and I just stuck with them after that.” … Last night’s Indians/Angels game, relocated to Milwaukee because of the snow in Cleveland, was technically a home game for the Tribe, so they wore their home whites and red-brimmed caps. But why did they wear their road batting helmets? According to a paragraph in this story (helpfully forwarded by Tim Bennett), “Complicating matters was the fact that the Indians’ travel bags were already packed with their road gear. [Home clubhouse manager Tony] Amato and his staff had to [swap] out those uniforms with the home ones. To save time, the team decided to just bring its road batting helmets, which are all blue, rather than the home ones, which have a red brim.” … Also, reader Josh Yetmar reports that the broadcast of that game included some shots of a shirt that was for sale at the game, which read, “Milwaukee Indians: Established 1989, Reestablished 2007.” I was hoping to get a screen grab, but I haven’t been able to find the shot within the telecast. Anyone..? … Here’s a better view of the Twins’ Herb Carneal memorial patch design (with thanks to Matthew Lepke). … Kevin Gee checks in with a report regarding Big Papi: “Evidently there’s something sticking out of his back pocket — you see it when he leaves the on deck circle and heads toward the box. It looks like a Palm Treo or an XM radio — something with an antenna that’s short and stubby. Someone called in to ‘Baseball This AM’ [an XM satellite radio show] suggesting it might be a Tens unit or an iPod — they’re researching it as they cover the BoSox game [Wednesday] on XM radio. They keep going on and on about it on that show. I’ll keep you updated as I find out more.”