I had a houseguest over the weekend and barely touched my computer, so I’m a day late in covering the details of the weekend’s big uni-related story. With apologies to those for whom this is already old news, here’s the scoop:
During Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday night, Ottawa’s Jason Spezza, who normally wears No. 19, had his jersey badly torn during a tussle with Anaheim’s Sammy Pahlsson (you can see part of the rip here). Both players were penalized for roughing, but Spezza immediately removed his torn jersey and scampered off to the locker room to get a new jersey while another Ottawa player sat in the penalty box in his stead.
Nothing so unusual there — it happens. The weird part was when Spezza returned a minute or two later: Instead of wearing a new No. 19 jersey or a repaired version of his original jersey, he was wearing No. 44. That number is usually worn by Patrick Eaves, who was a healthy scratch for the game. The penalty hadn’t yet expired, so Spezza took his place in the sin bin wearing Eaves’s jersey. When the penalty expired, Spezza skated onto the ice and played until the next whistle, at which point he skated to the bench and switched to a proper 19 jersey.
A few of the details are still fuzzy. Some reports said that Spezza’s original torn jersey was repaired while he was in the penalty box, and that he eventually put it back on; others said that the equipment staff eventually found a new 19 jersey for him to wear. And according to the fourth paragraph of this article (alertly forwarded by Brent Bollmeier), “[S]ince the Sens equipment staff quickly stapled Spezza’s name on the back of Eaves’ jersey, it would not have been illegal for him to go on the ice wearing a different number, in this case 44 rather than his own 19” — an interesting factoid, except for the fact that the Sens staff didn’t staple Spezza’s name onto the 44 jersey. Anyone know more about that?
Blowout Chatter: The Cubs had a rare laugher on Saturday, which gave announcers Len Kasper and Bob Brenly a chance to ignore the play-by-play proceedings and concentrate on more important matters, like uniforms. The discussion began when they noted that one of the Cubbies’ clubhouse managers was in uniform and serving as a batboy (apparently one of the team’s standard methods of trying to break a losing streak, something I guess the Cubs have had lots of opportunities to perfect over the years). That led Kasper to wax expansive about a recent chat he’d had with one of the other clubhouse guys:
Kasper: I had a great talk with Tim Hellmann, who works in the home clubhouse, and was talking about the jerseys and taking care of the uniforms and the new synthetic polyester-blend caps. He was telling me that most dirt and grass stains require hand-washing, to keep them nice and clean. And the pants get replaced much more often, for obvious reasons. If you’re wondering, the uniforms are made out of polyester, and they’re washed in warm water. Are you writing this down?
Kasper: See, I’ve been saving this story for a long time. Just felt like today was the day. [Camera shows Felix Pie in the Cubs dugout with a lot of dirt on his jersey.] Felix Pie’s uniform might require a bit of hand-washing. I asked Tim if they ever iron the uniforms — sometimes you see a bit of a wrinkle. I guess it’s rare that they have to iron. He said at one time the uniforms were washed in hot water and quickly packed — sometimes had to be touched up with an iron. So it does happen on occasion. Now, as a catcher, you probably went through more pairs of pants than any other position. Do you have any idea how many pairs of trousers you averaged in a big league season?
Brenly: Well, y’know, back in the day we were on a strict budget there in San Francisco. We used to patch our uniforms frequently. It wasn’t unusual to see a guy with three or four layers of patching, especially on your sliding knee, and for me that was my left knee. They just continued to patch â€™em until they couldn’t patch them anymore, at which point they were put in a box and sent to the minor leagues for those guys to deal with. You don’t see a lot of patching going on nowadays — if a guy tears his pants or slides so many times that he gets a bare spot on the knee of his pants, they just get him a new pair.
(Special thanks to AJ Favorite for tipping me wise to this highly riveting bit of uni banter.)
Membership Update: Continued thanks to the very enthusiastic and generous folks who’ve signed up for a Uni Watch membership. Everyone who signed up through yesterday is now listed on the membership roster, where, in most cases, you can see the name/number style that everyone’s chosen for the backs of their cards (which, I think you’ll agree, looks pretty damn cool). Have fun checking out the roster — it’s worth reading it just to see why Mark Emge chose No. 12.
If you signed up prior to yesterday and don’t see your name on the roster, or if there’s an error in your roster listing, let me know and we’ll make things right. If you’re on the roster and want to send me a photo of yourself that can be linked to your name, go ahead and e-mail it to me (or, if you want to link to a photo that’s already no the web, just send me the URL). Also, if you’d rather have your name linked to your e-mail address, so other readers can get in touch with you, let me know and I’ll set up the link.
The actual laminated cards, along with other membership benefits, will start shipping out later this week. It’ll probably take me a few weeks before I get fully caught up — thanks in advance for your patience.
Meanwhile: Terry Mark, I have a question regarding your membership order and am having trouble e-mailing you — please shoot me a note.
Uni Watch News Ticker: An inside MLB source reports the following: “Next year MLB is getting new dugout gear. The jackets will be made of new fabric — think North Face material, but not the fleece kind. The half-zip pullovers will also be kinda weird — more windbreaker-like, but with zip-off sleeves. Also, looks like the negative feedback on this year’s BP gear is falling on deaf ears. The jerseys, at least, will be used again next year.” … Dynamite article here about the uniforms used in the Ernie Davis movie (with thanks to Mike Alper). … More minor league shenanigans, this time from the Frederick Keys, who wore NASCAR jerseys on Saturday night (as forwarded by Tim Phelps). … Succinct analysis by Morris Bird, who says, Let’s hope this logo evolves quickly.” Details here. … Peter Angelos briefly addresses the situation regarding the Orioles’ road jersey insignia in the middle of this interview (just do a search on “uniform”). … Kurt Hiester notes that Dustin Pedroia wears his shin guard unusually high while batting. … Good note from Scott Merzbach, who writes: ” When I was in Lynchburg, Virginia, last weekend for a minor league baseball game, I recalled that the last time I attended a Hillcats baseball game in 1999, the opponents had left their caps at home and were forced to wear generic hats when they took the field. I found a newspaper clip that confirmed my recollection: ‘The (Kinston) Indians were forced to play the game in all-blue adjustable hats they bought at High Peak Sportswear because their regular caps were accidentally left in Kinston.’ ” … Several readers noted that after Michael Barrett’s scuffle with Carlos Zambrano (which resulted in some nasty-looking stitches), he has switched from wearing a conventional mask to a hockey-style model. … Remember Manny Ramirez wearing Oakley Thumps? He was wearing them again last night (with thanks to Michael Milici). … I could do a whole column on Don Cherry’s suits, but for now I’ll just pass along Dustin Pomprowitz‘s observation that Cherry was wearing little Canadian flag cufflinks last night.