There’s nothing new about a tragedy from the “real world” being commemorated on a sports uniform. Sometimes the gesture is confined to one team, like the Rockies wearing a “CHS” sleeve patch after the Columbine High School shootings, or the Astros wearing a space shuttle patch following the Columbia disaster. But sometimes the response is more widespread — after Hurricane Katrina, for example, all MLB teams wore Red Cross helmet decals, and several college football teams wore a Gulf states decal.
But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like the uni-based response to the Virginia Tech shootings. It began with the Nationals wearing VT caps on Tuesday night and has really snowballed from there. Here’s what I’ve seen so far (and I bet there’s plenty more that I’ve missed):
• College Baseball: The most obvious response has come from Virginia Tech itself, where all of the school’s teams will wear a memorial patch for the rest of this year. The first team to wear it has been the Hokie baseball team. Meanwhile, Auburn and Alabama wore VT colors on Friday.
• College Football: It isn’t football season, but several schools are holding their spring scrimmages right about now. Ohio State wore the VT logo for their game on Saturday. Kentucky did the same thing, and Michigan State wore a red VT helmet decal (here’s a closer look). Meanwhile, over at Penn State, Joe Paterno had a VT cap, and Penn State’s student cheering section even formed the VT logo. (Special thanks to Jesse Gavin for letting me know about a couple of these that I hadn’t been aware of.)
• MLB: On Friday, Paul Bako wore a VT wristband and Kevin Youkilis donned a VT cap during batting practice. On Friday night, the Red Sox wore the VT logo on their sleeves and caps. And on Saturday night, Angels pitcher Joe Saunders — MLB’s only Virginia Tech alum — got special permission from the Commissioner’s office to wear a VT cap.
• NASCAR: The VT logo was displayed on lots of cars over the weekend, including those driven by Ward Burton, Eric McClure, Ricky Rudd, Tristan Gommendy, Katherine Legge, and Kyle Busch (who also wore a VT cap, as did Denny Hamlin and a member of Clint Bowyer’s crew). The logo also appeared on the helmet of a Champ Car official.
• MLS: The Houston Dynamo will wear VT tribute uniforms this Sunday.
And there’s probably more where that came from — stay tuned.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Last week I noted that Chase Wright was wearing Sean Henn’s glove. New York Times Yankees beat reporter Tyler Kepner has provided the background on that: “Wright and Henn are close friends — both are from Texas — and Wright wears Henn’s glove when he pitches. Wright said that he believed the glove brought him luck; he had not one, but two Henn models on the top shelf of his locker Thursday. ‘I used it a couple of years ago, and it’s worked for me,’ Wright said. ‘So I’ve used his glove ever since.’ ” … Interesting article here about names on MLS jerseys (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … About time. … Eli Manning is now shilling for Schutt (as spotted by Matt Olson). … Very entertaining rundown of bespectacled ballplayers here (with thanks to Watch Your Back impresario Brian Corrigan). … Why was David Wright going high-cuffed over the weekend? Maybe to show off his new cleats, which are his own signature model. … The University of Portland is getting a new logo (with thanks to Portland’s own Jeremy Brahm). … Can anyone explain why the Red Sox wore their Jackie Robinson tribute patches on their caps, instead of on their helmets like everyone else? … This photo, provided by Josh Yetmar, supposedly shows the 1911 Brooklyn Dodgers. But note the different jersey, cap, and hosiery styles — do these guys really play for the same team? Additional info welcome. … I was at yesterday’s Mets/Braves game — my first game of the season — and was disappointed to see that the on-deck circles, had become giant New Era ads. Is this an MLB-wide thing, or just at Shea? … Please, no more uni cameo contributions — my in box overfloweth!