Tomorrow is Independence Day. I always like to call it that — Independence Day, not the 4th of July — because that’s what the holiday is about, after all: our independence from the British crown. It’s a special day, an important day. If you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence lately, I suggest that you do so — it’s a pretty stirring document, and it serves as a compelling reminder that we always need to be vigilant, because liberty is a fragile thing, something we have to nurture and protect from anything that threatens it.
As it happens, I myself have recently identified precisely such a threat, an evil seed that bids to lay waste to everything we hold dear. And I can assure you that I plan to do everything within my power to expunge this threat from the face of this earth.
I am referring, of course, to Ronnie Belliard’s socks.
In case you missed it (as I did myself, until there was a brief mention of it in yesterday’s comments), Belliard — who usually goes pajama-pantsed — hiked up his cuffs on Tuesday night, revealing the mark of the beast on his stockings. Although it’s hard to be sure, it appears that this wasn’t an isolated incident (that photo is from Sunday).
This isn’t the first time the scourge of logo creep has afflicted MLB hose. Back in 2005, I identified at least at least four players with the Rawlings logo on their socks: Kelvim Escobar, Orlando Cabrera, Paul Byrd (here’s another view of him), and Joe Crede. At the time, I worried that we’d soon start seeing sock-borne maker’s marks throughout MLB diamonds. Fortunately, that hasn’t come to pass, but Belliard’s legwear is a reminder that we can’t take lower-leg tranquility for granted.
And to think this team is called the Nationals.
Why is this so important? Because socks are just about the only brand-free oasis remaining on the baseball diamond. Think about it: Jerseys are visibly branded, along with pants, shoes, fielder’s gloves, batting gloves, catching gear, and undershirts (not always, but the chest swoosh is often exposed to view). The only things that aren’t logo-creepy are headwear (well, usually) and socks. Socks are also unbranded — at least for now — in the other major pro sports leagues.
And it damn well better stay that way. Because if there’s one thing this country stands for, it’s freedom, and that definitely includes freedom from advertising-infested hosiery. Rise up, my fellow Americans! Whether it means dumping boxes of socks into Boston Harbor, driving a bullpen buggy through the countryside while shouting, “The sock swooshes are coming! The sock swooshes are coming!,” or burning Ronnie Belliard in effigy (maybe just from the knees down), we must take arms against this savage incursion. Repeat after me, fellow citizens: Give us advertising-free socks, or give us death.
Uni Watch Calender Correction: Yesterday I mentioned the possibility of convening a Uni Watch gathering in Manhattan after the Don Larsen perfect game screening “next Tuesday, July 10th” — a tricky concept, since next Tuesday is the actually 8th. Oops. The correct day/date is next Thursday, the 10th. So let’s try this again: If there’s sufficient interest among NYC readers, we can have a Uni Watch confab at 8:30ish on July 10th at Jimmy’s Corner on West 44th. If this appeals, send me a note.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Giants and Cubs apparently couldn’t wait until the holiday weekend to start wearing the star-spangled caps — further evidence that almost every idea gets taken too far these days. Meanwhile, Chris Bruggeman reports that Ryan Dempster had some XYZ issues during that game. Several Cubs fans apparently noticed it and e-mailed the broadcast team, leading Len Kasper and Bob Brenly to discuss the situation. I don’t have access to the Cubs broadcast feed, alas, but Chris says that at one point Brenly quipped, “If [Dempster] pitches a shutout, I think the whole staff will go out to greet him with their barn doors open.” … In a related item, the Pedro porthole was in full force last night in St. Looey. … In yesterday’s entry on tags and labels, I quoted Terry Proctor thusly: “For the NBA or NFL teams that SandKnit outfitted, they would say something like, ‘Custom-Crafted by Medalist SandKnit for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association’ (or whatever the appropriate team was).” That prompted Doug Rogers to send along a photo of the label from one of his old Vikings jerseys — check it out. Notice anything amiss? They got it right on this one. … Brooks Robinson was presented with an All-Time Gold Glove on Tuesday night. York Revolution players wore “B. Robinson” nameplates in his honor (with thanks to Chris Laughman). … Good observation here about an update to the Hornets’ logo (with thanks to Ernie Ballard). … Another great job by Nike (with thanks to Christian Ruzich). … The Mid-American Conference has a new logo (with thanks to Tom Konecny). … Odd observation from Ellen Schmidt, who notes that Greg Dobbs was wearing eye black early in one of the recent Phils/Rangers games but had removed it later in the game. … Who picks the Twins’ uniforms each day? Answer here (with thanks to Joe Drennan). … LI Phil found something interesting: a site that’s sort of a soda bottle version of Uni Watch. The home page is here. … Also from Phil (reprinted from yesterday’s comments): a bearded Yankee! Must’ve been from one of Thurman’s periodic “I’m gonna fuck with Steinbrenner” phases. … Another smoking athlete (but not in uniform): Sean Avery (courtesy of Andrew Jobe). … Check out what the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings (arenafootball2) will be wearing for the 4th of July. … More news on SMU’s new football togs here, here, here, here, here, here, and here (with thanks to Chris Mycoskie and Tod Meisner). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: More hoops jerseys with crotch extensions. That’s Washington coach Tippy Dye checking out the team’s uniforms. … Also from yesterday: Full gallery here of the West Michigan Whitecaps’ Darth Vader jerseys. … Yet another noteworthy bit from yesterday’s comments: Numberless catcher? Nope, it’s just Bengie Molina, who combines two rarities: a catcher wearing No. 1 and a really thick vertical strap. … Hey, speaking of graphics on MLB hosiery, check out the stirrups in this photo from Bill Henderson’s CD. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a uni number sewn into the bottom of the strap like that. Also can’t say I recall seeing the ’Stros wearing stars on their calves — hmmmm. … The Brewers and Pirates will wear Negro Leagues throwbacks on Saturday (with thanks to Jeff Ash). …Ever heard of the National Indoor Football League or the United Indoor Football League? Yeah, me neither, but Marc Viquez says a team called the Fort Wayne Freedom belonged to both of those leagues, and he recently spotted one of their helmets for sale at an Indianapolis shop. … Admirably detail-obsessive observation from Brandon Davis, who writes: “It appears that MLB started adding the TM symbol to the MLB logo on the back of batting helmets in 2006, the same time teams started wearing CoolFlo helmets.”
Holiday Schedule: Uni Watch will be closed tomorrow. Bryan will handle the weekend, as usual. See you all next week, and try not to blow off too many of your fingers with fireworks.