The Nats wore green caps (but their regular batting helmets and do-rags) last night against the Giants. The caps, which even had green underbrims, were part of a promotion to mark the launch of a new Discovery Networks cable channel called Planet Green.
Green has been my favorite color since I was about three years old, and I wish more teams would wear it. I have a green car, a green sofa, green sheets on my bed, green towels in my bathroom, and, lest we forget, a green-themed web site. I’m also supportive of the environmentalist movement and applaud teams that are taking eco-friendly steps.
That said, changing your uniform to support a commercial enterprise like a cable TV channel is way out of bounds for a big league team. More to the point, I think wearing green uni elements (additional pics here, here, and here) as a means of promoting the environmental agenda is total bullshit. Yeah, it’s a good cause, anything that raises awareness is a positive thing, blah-blah-blah, but I don’t like uniforms being used for specific issue-oriented purposes. I can kinda deal with the Earth Day patch that the Red Sox wore earlier this year, but a green cap is just too much. Much like all the pink uniforms for breast cancer research, this strikes me as a well-intentioned idea that simply doesn’t belong on the field of play. And every time another one of these issues becomes associated with a particular color, it opens the door for yet another issue to come along in the months and years ahead.
And besides, green caps are such a lip service-y way for something as wasteful as a sports franchise to approach environmental awareness. You really want to help the planet? How about scheduling more day games, so we don’t waste all that electricity running a gazillion stadium lights at night. Or organizing more mass transit options to the stadium (or installing bike lanes, or tripling your parking prices, or anything to discourage people from driving their cars to the game). Or scheduling an entire road trip by train instead of by chartered jet. Or not releasing a couple of thousand balloons into the sky on Opening Day.
But hey, if teams really want to make a uniform-based environmental gesture, here’s something I bet they haven’t thought of: Polyester is a petroleum product. What if, just for one day, all MLB teams ditched the polyester uniforms and wore cotton, a renewable natural fiber? Once the George Costanza jokes died down, you’d actually have a simple, elegant statement of eco-friendliness. And the teams would look way better besides.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Wanna see something great? Like, really great? Behold! Morris Levin picked it up from a street vendor in Philly and presented it to me in Camden last week. … Were old-time jerseys really that much heavier than today’s? Interesting analysis of that question here. … Got a nice note from Mike Bonasia, marketing director of the Greenville Drive (the Red Sox’s single-A affiliate): “One June 21st we’ll be celebrating Mill League baseball, which was a big part of the history of the textiles here in South Carolina and a precursor to the minor league system of today (our ballpark, Fluor Field, includes bricks from former textile mills in its design). We’ll be wearing 1950s-style uniforms — not as exact I would like to be (no stirrups, for one thing), but a very strong rendition when a budget is involved. Each player will have a different mill name on front of there jersey, with 30 different mills represented.” … Good article here about the Yankees’ visiting clubbies (with thanks to Bruce Soltys). … Jared Wheeler sent along the uni-description page from the 1969 American League Red Book. Coupla interesting observations: Jerseys are routinely referred to as “blouses,” and the Pilots’ cap was already being described as having “scrambled eggs” on the the brim right from the start. I thought that term had developed sort of organically, as part of the team’s in-season vernacular — didn’t realize it was part of their official specs! … And here’s the 1979 National League Green Book listing for the Pirates. Note that the pillbox cap is described as “‘Cap’ Anson style.” … Better photos of the St. Paul Saints’ purple/Prince game here and here. “We also had a purple bases with Prince’s logo on them,” says the team’s ticket sales manager, Mike Nachreiner. … Yesterday I linked to this photo, which appeared to show mismatched colors in the Lakers’ uni set. That prompted Brett Baker to send along several similar examples, as seen here, here, and here. “This was actually one of my first uni-watching moments as a young uni freak back in the ’80s,” he writes. “Over time I came to the conclusion that they were ordered from different lots or suppliers and mixed together.” … According to a quip buried in the middle of this story, Nick Swisher credits some of his recent success to the fact that he’s been wearing Toby Hall’s pants (good catch by Greg Sharp). … Cool contribution from Hank Siarczynski, who writes: “Every year the Reading, Pennsylvania, municipal airport has a WW2 weekend with the usual re-enactors, vintage war planes and the like. While touring the uniform exhibit in the main hangar this past Saturday, I came across this baseball uni top worn by the USMC, circa 1944-45.” Hank didn’t notice (or at least he didn’t mention) the most interesting detail: Check out how the second button is colored to match the lettering, so as not to stand out so much. Never seen that before! … According to this story, Jerry Rice offered to let Isaac Bruce wear No. 80 now that he’s with the 49ers, but Bruce declined and will instead wear 88. … Former Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk wants his name removed from the school’s stadium (with thanks to Minna H.). … The USA and Argentina played a soccer match at Giants Stadium last night. “Because it was a home game for us at Giants Stadium, we got to wear our home whites,” says Harvey Lee. “Because we were playing fabled Argentina, they got to wear their home sky blue/white kit, so both teams had white jerseys. Because it was an international friendly, concessions were probably made. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to watch the game on TV. At least they made them wear different colored shorts and socks [full photo gallery here]. In the 1986 World Cup Final, they made Germany, who also wears a home white jersey, wear their road greens for the big game; in the 1990 World Cup Final rematch, Germany got to wear the home whites and Argentina wore their away blues.” … Reprinted from last night’s comment: If you skip ahead to the 2:08 mark of this video clip, you’ll see Marcus McCauley of the Vikings explaining why he’s changed numbers from 31 to 21 (somewhat incredibly, it has nothing to do with Sean Taylor).