Apparently they were voting for something or other in Michigan yesterday. But the bigger election story came, as election stories so often do, from Washington. Only this one had nothing to do with the White House.
Here’s the deal: About a year and a half ago, Major League Baseball randomly selected about 20,000 of MLB.com’s registered users and invited them to join a huge virtual focus group called Fans at Bat (further background info, much of it somewhat sick-making, is here). The focus group members — several of whom happen to be Uni Watch readers — have periodically been prompted to fill out online questionnaires and give feedback regarding various MLB policies and decisions. One of the early questionnaires involved getting feedback on the U.S. national team’s uniforms (I’m pretty sure I ran a Ticker item on that back at the time, but at the moment I can’t find it), but apparently none of the others have been uni-related.
Until now, that is. Several readers checked in yesterday to inform me that the latest Fans at Bat survey had just kicked into gear and that it involved the Nationals’ uniforms. Kim Kolb explains how the questionnaire began:
[The survey started by asking] if I had any MLB wearable merch (hats, jerseys, sweatshirts, T-shirts, etc.), and who my favorite team was. I answered “Phillies,” but the survey didn’t seem to care. It basically said, “We’re going to ask you about the Nationals…”
Ben Park picks up the sequence from there:
The survey started by asking what my favorite team was (I’m a Cardinals fan). Then it told me there were several questions concerning the Nationals uniforms that they wanted info about, regardless of how I felt about the team, which I thought was very interesting. … I’ve learned in the past that once the web link is used, it can’t be used again, so this time I made sure to get screen grabs of the questions so I could send them to you.
Thanks to Ben’s quick thinking, we can all see that the survey asks for a basic assessment of the Nats’ home whites, then asks a squishy follow-up question, and then repeats the process for the road grays, the alt reds, and the cap logos. Then there’s an overall assessment and a chance to make suggestions.
The most interesting questions, of course, aren’t the ones in the survey. They’re more along the lines of “Are the Nats thinking of a uni revision?” and “Is this because the team’s merch sales are in the toilet?” and “How soon can I cast my vote against the Mets’ black jersey?”
Todd Radom, who designed the Nats’ threads, says this is all news to him and that he doesn’t know anything about any planned changes (not that they’d necessarily tell him anyway), and I’m too busy with other stuff right now to pester the MLB people about this (not that they’d tell me anything either), but I hope we can revisit this topic in more detail at a later date. Uni design via referendum doesn’t strike me as the smartest idea in the world.
Meanwhile, just to bring things full circle, I caught a quick glimpse of a Mitt Romney campaign rally on TV yesterday and noticed that many of the people in the crowd were holding up signs shaped like baseball gloves — mitts, get it? Only problem is, a regular fielder’s glove is not a mitt, because “mitt” is short for “mitten” and only applies to the fingerless gloves worn by catchers and first basemen. Do we really want a president whose campaign makes this sort of mistake? I think not.
Uni Watch Calendar: Coupla events coming up that NYC-area readers will want to know about. The first one is next Tuesday evening, January 22nd, when I’m going to be participating in a performance/presentation thingie at Union Hall in Park Slope.
The event is called Adult Education (the name wasn’t my idea, believe me), and the topic is “Micro-genres,” which in my case means I’ll be talking about the largely hidden realm of trade magazines — American Funeral Director, Elevator World, Hay & Forage Grower, etc. Each of these industry-specific magazines is a little world unto itself, full of really weird articles and ads for solutions to problems you never thought of. An oddly compelling little corner of the media world. In addition, my pal Liz Clayton will discuss fast-food restaurants that have been repurposed into other sorts of businesses (a topic she also explores on this excellent site), Jim Hanas will discuss meta-tourism (photos of tourists taking photos), Heidi Cody will talk about depictions of Eskimos and Indians on food packaging, and Russell Scholl will examine TV commercials for personal hygiene products. I’m fairly certain it’ll be fun. Plus it’s free. Festivities begin at 8 p.m.
And just like last year, I’ve decided to convene a Brooklyn Uni Watch party on the day before the Super Bowl, which is February 2nd. Venue and starting time are still being finalized, but figure mid-afternoon in the Park Slope-ish vicinity. Further details to follow shortly.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Bridgeport Sound Tigers wore camouflage jerseys the other night. Additional pics and info here (with thanks to Tom Liodice). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Prior to the release of Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas sponsored a Formula 1 race car, complete with storm trooper helmets for the pit crew (with thanks to Sarah Schneider). … You know how some players have their uni numbers written on their socks and/or stirrups? Four-time New York governor and 1928 Democratic presidential nominee Al Smith took things a bit further than that (nice find by Eric Trager). … During the Cowboys/Giants broadcast, the announcers mentioned Brandon Jacobs’s extra-large thigh pads,” writes Nate Budziszewski. “Sure enough, they are huge.” … On Monday I wrote that several of the Packers like to tuck their collar trim into their pads, resulting in a lower placement for the NFL Equipment logo. But Alex Ramirez says this is a matter of tailoring, not tucking: “I got some screen caps of Donald Driver [without his pads],” he writes. “As you can see, the collar trim is cut differently. I wonder if this is something Marge Switzer would have done.” Good question, although I’m fairly certain she won’t say. … Major cleavage alert at the Australian Open, where Austrian phenom Tamira Paszek was pulling a Serena the other day. … Interesting note from Will Radie, who writes: “While reading Messier (a great read by the way), I discovered that When Messier came to the Rangers, he missed the first game of the season because the trade hadn’t yet been finalized. Adam Graves took Messier’s No. 11 for that first game in honor of his former teammate (Messier was still technically an Oiler). So are there pictures of Graves wearing an No. 11 jersey out there?” … Good views here of the paisley-trimmed design that UNC’s women’s hoops team wore in the early ’90s (with thanks to Todd Krvanchi). … Yesterday’s comments included some pics of a phenomenon with which I’d previously been unfamiliar: ski jumping at sports stadiums, as seen here at Soldier Field and Dodger Stadium. Bizarre. … Also from yesterday: Cam Ward has his surname engraved into his mask. … The Chicago Fire have taken on Best Buy as a jersey sponsor. More pics and details here. … Nowadays, of course, NFL waistband towels feature the NFL and Wilson logos. Too bad they can’t go back to this (nice spot by Dan Herr). … If you download this PDF, you’ll get a little style guide for the University of North Dakota’s graphics (with thanks to Jay Danbom). … Jeremy Brahm found some great old photos of Japanese Olympic attire, including 1932 gymnastics; 1924 marathon (toe shoes!); 1908 speed skating (check out the skates); 1936 figure skating; 1912 track and field; and 1952 wrestling. … Also from Jeremy: the latest outfit from Japanese table tennis fashion plate Naomi Yotsumoto. “It’s based on Joan of Arc because Yotsumoto wants to make a revolution in table tennis,” he explains. … This photo is part of a Flash sequence on the Pistons’ web site. Not sure of the date, but here’s my question: When did NBA refs stop wearing zebra stripes? … The Cincy Bearcats football team is switching to Adidas (with thanks to Matt Lesser). … Jay Swenson reports that the Great Falls White Sox have become the Great Falls Voyagers, thanks in part to a viral marketing campaign that included phony UFO sightings. … Each day seems to bring a better photo of the muff sack play (this one courtesy of Geoff Poole). … Apparently you really can find anything on craigslist (good spot by Erik Koper). … Possibly the biggest bowl patches ever, worn by Auburn in the 1990 Hall of Fame Bowl (good find by Jeffrey Lindquist). … Not uni-related, but two great bits at HomerDerby.com: Harry Caray going on a truly hilarious anti-Cracker Jack rant (he compares the product to corrupt Congressmen, among other things), and a series of stadium demolition videos.