The College World Series is currently taking place in Omaha, which happens to be the home base of reader Bryan Redemske. Bryan’s a longtime Ticker contributor (he works at a newspaper, so he often sees wire-service photos before I do, and he once forwarded me the amazing shot of a Nebraska pitcher with a vulgarity on his underbrim, which almost ran in his paper until they Photoshopped it at the last minute), but I’ve never seen him as jazzed up as he is for the CWS. As he put it in an e-mail to me the other day, “Fire up the F-150, round up the kids, park on some guy’s lawn for $15, and bring the SPF 50. It’s time for some ping.”
Bryan’s prepared a pretty detailed assessment of the CWS teams. So without further ado, I hereby turn over the floor to him (with the caveat that he wrote this on Sunday, before any teams had been eliminated):
Some general observations: Most of the teams wear stirrups, which is cool. Most of them even have them on right. A lot of guys wear flat bills. Memo to flat-billed guys: You look like idiots. Signed, Everybody.
As for the specific team uniforms, we have to start with Cal State Fullerton, which is easily the class of this year’s CWS uniforms. They’ve had the same design for a while now, and for good reason. While some don’t like orange and blue, I think it works. Orange is used only as an accent color, which makes it much more tolerable. The grays are pretty solid, too. I’m generally not a huge fan of gray pinstripes in any application, and the Fullerton wordmark is on the small side, but there are bigger fish to fry in Omaha. The blue alternates are great, too.
The high of Fullerton, unfortunately, leads to the disappointing low of Oregon State. The Beavers have a serious identity crisis: Half their gear is made by Wilson, the other half by Nike, so nothing matches. The Nike pinstriped grays are just short of criminal. Huge rear number, too. And then the “OS” hat … it didn’t match either. And the OSU hat, their regular lid, also doesn’t match anything. The only thing that saves the team from disaster is its standard white uniform.
Arizona State has a pretty good thing going right now. Their primary home and away uniforms are simple and classy. Basically, just change the cream to gray, and you have the roadies. There’s a yellow jersey, though, so they’re not entirely without fault [and let’s not forget the maroon version — PL].
On some level, I’m sure it’s really cool to have “Eaters” on your jersey, as the UC Irvine Anteaters do. Unfortunately, I think it’s the same level as those white South Carolina hats that just say “Cocks.” Every high school baseball player within two hours of Omaha is pining for a UC Irvine shirt that says “Go Eaters” or “Eaters All the Way!” or maybe “Eaters for Life.” Anyway, the Anteaters’ colors are pretty great — blue and white mainly, with a little bit of gold in there — but their uniforms are a total mess. The home whites are clearly based on the MLB batting practice template of a few years ago, complete with contrasting shoulder gussets and piping; the roadies are a gray version of the homes, but with more yellow. The caps are the only thing good about the entire wardrobe.
Mississippi State coach Ron Polk is old-school. You’d think he’d prefer the classic look, like how Stanford has had the same uniforms for about 400 years. Well, you’d be thinking wrong. Of the Bulldogs’ three uniforms, the only constant is the hat — the classic interlocking MS in white on a maroonish background. It should be easy to build a uni around that, but apparently it’s not. The home whites have “State” across the chest, in a strange, oddly spaced font. The number font, however, is totally different. And crappy. And there’s weird piping and contrast-colored inserts on the sleeves and armpits. The alternate maroon jersey has the same contrasting pattern (in gray, this time), but a completely different “State” and number font. Finally, the all-gray uniform harkens to days past — nice, but what’s up with the thick-ass piping?
North Carolina is one of Nike’s black-jerseyed “elite” teams, and that design turned out to be even uglier than expected. When that jersey stays hidden, however, the Tar Heels are pretty easy on the eyes. Their look is, if nothing else, pretty consistent, with a nice vertically arching “Carolina” on three of their jerseys (sleeveless white, sleeveless gray, sleeved blue), and the sleeved whites and grays have “Tar Heels” in cursive. The latter two have some seriously thick piping, and don’t look near as good as the first three.
I like Rice‘s simple, classy uniforms. The whites have “Rice” in an Old English font on the chest; the grays have “Rice” in an Old English font on the chest. Are you noticing the consistency here? The only way Rice can go wrong is by wearing the blue jersey, which has some seriously bad shoulder stripes that take away from a simple design.
Louisville has been the source of some nasty-looking uniforms over the years, but I was only moderately offended when I saw the Cardinals’ baseball togs. The black jersey and cap are very simple, but the white vests are really simple. But what the hell is that extra triangle of black doing in the armpit? And white shoes? Please. They work in very few places. At least it’s after Memorial Day. [Brian submitted this piece before the Cardinals’ red jersey made its appearance, but I think we can safely say that he would not approve of the shoulder stripes. — PL]
Talk about a Herculean effort! Serious thanks to Bryan for what is probably the most in-depth analysis of college baseball uniforms anyone’s ever written, and bonus thanks to Jesse Gavin, who attended a few CWS games and provided several of the pictures I linked to.
Plumber’s Job Available in DC: Leaks of sensitive information are a way of life in Washington. The Capitals discovered that yesterday, when several views of their new jersey (no, not this bogus one) began circulating on the web. By now many of you may have seen them, but I’ve decided not to show them here, because (a) the colors are off, (b) the uni numbers, pants, and socks aren’t visible, so it’s hard to get the full effect, and (c) the team was nice enough to invite me to the official uni unveiling on Friday, and even let me designate a surrogate to attend in my place when I said I couldn’t make it myself, so it’d be bad manners to spread the leak further. I’ll have plenty to say when the full uni is unveiled.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yet another glitch for the Giants, who called up Luis Figueroa on Monday and then sent him up to bat with no name on his back. … Interesting article here (forwarded by Mark Snider) about the minor league Boise Hawks’ new uniforms, including the following tidbit: “Boise has new uniforms, logos and color scheme this season, moving away from the blue, white and red it used to wear. However, as a Chicago Cubs farm team, the team must wear blue cleats — it’s an organizational dictate — all Cubs’ minor league teams must wear blue shoes.” … More football players playing softball, this time at Brett Favre’s annual charity event (full photo gallery here, courtesy of Jeff Ash). … Nice catch by Chris Creamer, who documented this case of inconsistent Rs. … Norm Johnson checks in with a good story: “I was watching the Pirates vs. Mariners game tonight, 6/19. Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus had an interesting uniform tidbit about the ‘79 All-Star Game, which was played in the Kingdome. Apparently, Reggie Jackson’s uniform arrived in time for the game itself, but not in time for the American League team picture. According to Niehaus, he posed for the AL team picture in a Mariners jersey!” Anyone got a photo of this? … Nicole Haase was in Baltimore over the weekend, and noted approvingly that the Orioles’ mascot wears bona fide stirrups (but also, unfortunately, has a bad case of cap logo creep). … UConn is looking for a new uni supplier (with thanks to Keith Thibault). … First-hand report from a source on the field at Shea Stadium, who writes: “Jeff Cirillo had his fly open during his last at bat on Tuesday, and then he zipped it up after the first pitch.” The latter maneuver, alas, isn’t visible in the game video. … Proud Portland resident Jeremy Brahm has provided some shots of the interesting skyline-patterend jersey worn by the Portland Winterhawks this past season (additional pics here and here). The team also had a special 25th-anniversary Saturday jersey, as seen here, here, here, here, and here. … Take a hockey player off the ice and he totally loses his mind (disturbing find by Vince Grzegorek).