Lately, though, I’ve noticed a change: Some umps’ masks have silver bars, and other have tan padding — sometimes just on top (although I think the upper padding is actually being covered by a plastic visor insert there, so it’s hard to be sure), sometimes just the inner padding, sometimes all over). It’s a small thing, but it’s really jumped out at me during some centerfield camera shots — the ump’s head is suddenly much more visually prominent.
If you google “umpire’s mask,” most of these design options show up, as seen here, here, here, here, and here. But none of those have the colored bars. (Of course, several umps prefer the hockey-style mask, but that’s a whole different discussion.)
I know several of you out there are umpires. Care to enlighten us regarding this development? Have colored bars and padding been available on the sub-MLB level for a while now? Did color-accessorized masks actually surface in MLB prior to now and I just hadn’t noticed?
Request for Technical Assistance: I’ve been using iShowU to make video captures (works great!) but have been having trouble transferring the resulting video clips to YouTube. The initial upload goes fine, but then, after the video is processed, I usually get a “Failed” message (except for two instance when the processing was successful, but I’ve been unable to duplicate those results). Same thing happens with Google Video. I think it has to do with the compression, but I’ve tried several different formats (Apple Intermediate Codec, Sorensen Video 3, Jpeg 2000, etc.) — no dice. If anyone knows more about this and wants to give me some free advice, I’m all ears.
May Raffle: It isn’t football season, but that hasn’t stopped our friends at Helmet Hut from generously offering up an giveaway item from their vast inventory. The lucky raffle winner will get to choose any non-autographed helmet from Gridiron Memories (Helmet Hut’s retail arm) — NFL, NCAA, WFL, whatever.
To enter, send an e-mail to uniraffle [at] earthlink [dot] net (please note that this is not the usual Uni Watch e-mail address) by next Tuesday, May 13th, at 10pm. Nobody will be reading the text of these e-mails, so bother to include anything other than your name. Only one entry per person, and please don’t try double-entering from multiple e-mail addresses or anything like that — there’s nothing lamer than cheating on a free raffle, and we’ll probably figure it out anyway. I’m no longer using raffles as a way to build memberships, so no more bonus entries for membership program enrollees.
I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday.
Speaking of the membership program, today’s spotlight member is Conor Clougherty, who hopes to become an NFL ref one day. Sharp-memoried readers may recall that I interviewed Conor last year about officiating attire. For those who missed it, that entry is available here.
You can see other new card designs, as always, in the membership card design gallery. Also, as I promised/threatened a week or two ago, I’ve updated the membership roster — no more “Membership Level” column, and charter members now have their names shown in bold (if I missed anyone, please let me know).
Uni Watch News Ticker: Intern emeritus Vince Grzegorek stopped by Uni Watch HQ last night — our first face-to-face meeting after a year and a half of
me exploiting him working together. Scott M.X. Turner showed up too, although he pulled the cold shoulder routine when Vince failed to guess the exact fiber content of his jacket. … Great story here about a jersey worn by two future Hall of Famers (with thanks to Joey Morris). … “I saw this the other day on my way to work,” writes Eric Westover. “I didn’t know Nike made trucks.” … Here’s an updated listing of special MLB jersey dates (some of which, as you can see, have already happened), courtesy of our friends at Jersey-Joe.com (who are selling many of the special jerseys here)… You might know that author Tom Wolfe is partial to white suits, but I didn’t know that he also favors vertically striped socks until I got this shot from Craig Freeman. … Awesome gallery of old Federal League hockey logos here (with thanks to Andy Head). … The Blackhawks recently announced a new radio deal, which led — of course — to a jersey photo op. … Greg Riffenburgh notes that there’s an odd sleeve seam (or extension..?) on Willie McGinest’s jersey. … Here’s something I haven’t seen before: Kenji Johjima appears to be wearing a Mariners logo on the brim of his catcher’s helmet (with thanks to Andrew Thomason). … Chris Glover reports that Brian Barton of the Cardinals gave the first baseman a whuppin’ had to change belts while running the bases last night. … “The Nippon Ham Fighters are going to wear special uniforms in July for the ‘We Love Hokkaido Series,'” reports Jeremy Brahm. … According to the “Miscellaneous Items of Interest” listing at the bottom of this page, Randy Johnson wore No. 34 for part of the 1993 season. I’d never seen a photo of that until Doug Kyed sent me this.