As you can see, the ticket stub shown at right is from 34 years ago, almost to the day. That date happened to be Father’s Day, 1973 — a day that my family spent at the ballpark.
Looking back, this could not have been much of a treat for my father. Egged on by one of those “Take Dad to Shea for Father’s Day!” ads, I had gotten the bright idea that I would pay for his ticket. But I was so pleased with myself for ponying up the entire $2.75 (no small sum for a nine-year-old whose weekly allowance was a quarter and who wasn’t yet big enough to make extra cash mowing lawns around the neighborhood) that I neglected to consider that he still had to pay for my ticket. And my Mom’s ticket. And parking, and gas, and hot dogs. Plus he had to deal with holiday traffic, which must have been a real bitch. Pop, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry — my heart was in the right place, honest. I just hadn’t thought it all through.
Anyway, the Mets won, thanks in part to recent call-up named Ron Hodges, who hit his first major league homer. I remember reading in the paper the next day that Yogi Berra — then the Mets’ manager — said, “The kid’s got some pop, he’ll hit some more of those,” or words to that effect. And he did — exactly 18 more over the course of a 12-year career, to be exact. To this day, I still don’t understand how such a marginal player managed to stay on a big league roster for more than a decade.
The ticket stub, as you can see, is light blue, which happens to be MLB’s designated Father’s Day color (to promote prostate cancer research, don’tcha know). Among yesterday’s highlights:
• Players have been wearing light blue sweatbands on Father’s Day for years now (I first recall seeing it in either â€™99 or 2000), but I think this is the first year that the sweatbands were “DAD”-inscribed — sometimes lengthwise, sometimes crosswise.
• Many umps wore the blue wristbands too.
• Intern Vince Grzegorek (who took his dad to yesterday’s Indians/Braves game) spotted something I don’t recall having seen before: Santiago Casilla wore a ribbon on his cap.
• As has been the case for the past couple of years, several players also wore blue ribbon temporary tattoos, including Manny Delcarmen, J.D. Drew (who had them on both arms), and Hector Carrasco. (Big thanks to Kelly O’Connor for linking to the Drew and Delcarmen pics in yesterday’s comments.)
That’s all nice enough. But the best thing about this promotion has always been when players wear eye blue instead of eye black. The king of that style yesterday was Felix Pie. If that doesn’t stop prostate cancer, nothing will.
Capital Idea: Here’s a cool opportunity for someone in the DC area. The Capitals will be unveiling their new uniforms this Friday, June 22nd, at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. The event begins at 5:30 pm, with the actual unveiling slated for about 6:40. I’ve been invited to attend but am unable to make it, so Caps media director Nate Ewell has very graciously consented to allow a Uni Watch representative to attend in my stead.
The surrogate in question will be permitted (indeed, required) to take photos and notes, and will then prepare a summary report that I’ll post on the blog the following Monday.
If you’d like to represent Uni Watch at this event, send me a note explaining why you’re the right person for the job. Please include your full name, address, phone number, and age. Thanks. No more applications, please — member Mike Forgy, a longtime Caps season ticket holder, has been selected for the job.
June Raffle: I’ve got an extra copy of the 2001 MLB Style Guide, which shows the official specs and colors for each team, and I’m going to raffle it off for free. This particular copy has a great history: It was raffled off once before, at the 2006 Uni Watch Athletics Aesthetics Party in Brooklyn, where it was won by Mets by the Numbers impresario Jon Springer, but he recently gave it back to me so I could give it away again. Since then, the cover has gotten some light scratches from Uni Watch mascot Tucker (I think he was expressing his displeasure with the Rockies’ solid-purple alternates), which is sort of the Uni Watch office equivalent of a grass stain on a game-used jersey.
This is a free raffle: Just send an e-mail to uniraffle at earthlink dot net by 10 pm eastern on Thursday, June 21st. One entry per person. But everyone who’s signed up for membership by 9 pm Thursday will automatically get three extra entries. If you’re a member and don’t bother to e-mail an entry to the raffle address, you’ll still get three entries. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, OK? OK!
Speaking of membership, Scott is busily catching up on the next batch of cards, and I should be able to add the rear designs to the roster page within a few days. I’ve also created a gallery of all the current back-card designs, which will be updated as Scott creates each new one.
As for the actual cards, just about everyone in the first batch should have received their cards by now. If you still haven’t received yours by, say, Wednesday, let me know. The new batch should start shipping out by the end of this week.
We’ve also decided upon a little bonus benefit that will come into play down the road: All members who join by the end of July will have a special “Charter Member” designation added to their cards when they renew next year.
Uni Watch News Ticker: A few of my recent ESPN columns have mentioned Chuck Kinder, who wore No. 100 for WVU in 1963, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of West Virginia’s statehood. Now Craig Mullen has turned up a video clip about Kinder — nice find. … Really interesting note from Chad Stegemiller, who writes: “Friday’s Indianapolis Star had an article about the 40th year of baseball having a state championship. They included a photo showing Arlington High School and Jasper High School playing in the 1967 state semifinals. I immediately noticed the Jasper players having ‘Jasper’ on their back instead of numbers (plus I am sure you will like their choice in hosiery). Unfortunately, there are no front views of Jasper’s jerseys.” … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: Good article here about the history of NASCAR uniforms. … Andrew Daull found some great Cooperalls footage at the 3:10 mark of this video. … On Friday I asked if anyone knew about the little gold circle on the back of Bobby Abreu’s belt. An inside source from an American League clubhouse responded thusly: “It’s a Phiten titanium disc that has become very popular around clubhouses. I’m not sure how well they would work being on the belt (and thus having several layers of clothing between it and the skin) but many players seem to like it, and I even know one photographer who has two on his elbow to help with some pain he was having — he says the stuff works.” And in a related item, several MLB players also believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and Barry Bonds’s negative drug tests. … Faaaaascinating note from Ryan Hemminger, who writes: “As I was sitting in the gallery at the 10th hole at Oakmont watching Tiger Woods line up a shot on the green, I noticed that he was wearing one black sock and one white sock. I thought that it was odd, and I figured it must be some sort of superstitious thing he does. However, later in the afternoon, at hole number 5, I noticed that Vijay Singh was also wearing two different colored socks — one navy blue and one white [as you can sort of see here — PL]. I can’t confirm with photographic evidence (the USGA is VERY strict about not allowing cameras on the course), but is this some sort of trend among pro golfers, or just an odd coincidence?” Anyone know more about this? … Lots to like in this photo of Dunbar High (Kentucky) baseball team (with thanks to Scot Williams). … Bizarre scene at Steelers fantasy camp, where one of the participants was an amputee with a prosthetic leg, which was emblazoned with a Steelers logo (nice find by Dennis O’Neil). … Redskins long snapper Ethan Albright gave up his uniform number to a teammate in what this article describes as a “private barter transaction” (with thanks to Tim Nichols). … Speaking of the ‘Skins, when Chris Cooley played with his fly unzipped last year, I figured it was an honest mistake. But having now seen the hot pants that he’s wearing during Redskins minicamp, I’m convinced that the guy is a serious fetishist (with thanks to Stewart Snelson). … Kudos to Chris Manes, who found this great old photo of the Suns’ 1960s cheerleading uniforms. … According to the second paragraph on this page (forwarded by Rory Gustison), the Patriots are considering “wearing the team’s throwback red jersey and old helmets for at least one game” in 2009. Yes, three seasons from now. … Very odd scene in Japan, where Warren Cromartie — who first played baseball for the Expos and then for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan — recently participated in a pro wrestling event and wore a Giants-style uniform for the occasion (it said “Samuraiman” across the chest). Afterward, he held a press conference, where, as Jeremy Brahm puts it, “he looked almost just like he did when he played in Japan.” … Fernando Rodney’s cap tag was sticking out yesterday. … Very odd find by Patrick Sharon, who was recently at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and noticed that a Lee Roy Selmon jersey on display had one orange letter. Just a hunch: I’m guessing that the original heat-pressed white letter peeled off, leaving some discolored fabric in its wake.