We have a XXXXXL-sized amount of material to cover today, boys and girls, beginning with a follow-up to an item from last Wednesday, when I posted this shot of Dustin Pedroia in the Ticker and noted that it was unusual to see a shin guard being worn so high. Reader Eric Burtis informs me that this same topic came up for discussion during Friday night’s Indians/Royals game, and he’s been kind enough to provide a transcript. We pick up the action with Cleveland’s David Dellucci batting during the top of the 6th:
Frank White: You know, Ryan, when you see a batter with a shin guard on his knee, that tells me that he can’t lay off the fastball inside. If I was a pitcher, I would just [aim] right for his hands inside and see what success I could have in there.
Ryan Lefebvre: It looks like when the game is over, he’s going to go rollerblading.
White: Or lay some carpet with that big pad on his knee. I’ve never seen anything like that.
Lefebvre: And it’s not a big pad. That’s a pretty concentrated area.
White: You know, Billy Butler [of the Royals] wears his about halfway up the leg, and that’s an unusual place to have it, but this is as high as I’ve ever seen.
[Dellucci grounds out, ending the inning. Then, rather conveniently, Billy Butler leads off the bottom of the 6th, allowing the discussion to resume.]
White: We were talking about David Dellucci’s shin guard — this is Billy Butler. He has one… not quite as small. Billy’s actually got a pretty good one on his shin there. That’s almost like the one you wear down on your ankle that fits over the top of your shoelace, that you foul off the top of your ankle.. He’s got a long area of that shin that he probably fouls balls off of.
Lefebvre: Now those guards, you can put anywhere you want on your leg, but the ones you put on your elbows, now you’re supposed to have some sort of a doctor’s note or a note from the athletic trainer after all those guys like Jose Canseco and Mo Vaughn and Frank Thomas and Barry Bonds had those big elbow pads and would just hang out over the plate.
White: Yeah. Pads tell you something. If they’re down around your ankle, that means you foul a lot of balls inside off your ankles and if the ball’s up around your hands, you foul a lot off your knee. And if you have them on your elbow, that means you don’t get out of the way very well.
And that wasn’t the only equipment-related chatter on the airwaves that night. Geoff Poole checked in to let me know that Brewers roving reporter Trenni Kusnierek delivered the following info during Friday’s Brewers/Padres game (during which the Brewers were wearing their usual Friday throwbacks):
CC Sabathia is a huge Air Jordans fan. He’s one of only three players in all of Major League Baseball to have specialized Air Jordan cleats [additional views here and here]. Andruw Jones and Derek Jeter are the only two other players. But here’s the problem: They’re customized to Brewers colors, for CC Sabathia, but they never made retro shoes for CC. So tonight, he’s wearing his old Indians Air Jordans, and [clubhouse assistant] Jason Shawger took a black marker to them, just covered up the red, made ’em into black so they matched the standards for the uniforms. So CC still has his lucky shoes on tonight. They’re just not the cool ones on the Brewers colors.
I’ve gotta say, I don’t understand this report at all. Among the many questions I have:
• But let’s assume for a moment that he does need “retro cleats” for Friday home games. That leads us to the next question: Sabathia pitched on August 8th — a Friday home game — so what did he wear then?
• Here’s a shot of Sabathia from earlier this year with the Indians. I don’t see any red trim that would need to be blacked out, do you?
I also don’t understand the fuss about Air Jordans, but I realize that’s just me.
Incidentally, just prior to this report about Sabathia’s footwear, the two main announcers had just gone into a big spiel about how Sabathia’s such a great guy because he doesn’t demand special “star treatment.” Right — he just makes the clubhouse kid touch up he cleats with a marker. Nice.
Nike I Mean Reebok: What is the friggin’ deal with Reebok dictating terms to NFL players regarding their uni numbers and NOB? First it was Keith Rivers (who’s being allowed to change uni numbers after all), then Kevin Smith (not allowed), and now it’s Chad Whatshisname. As most of you are probably aware by now, he wore his new name during pregame warm-ups yesterday but had to switch back to his old name for the actual game, because the NFL says he has to settle “a financial obligation to Reebok” first. In other words, Reebok has a bunch of “Johnson” jerseys lying around and wants to be compensated for them (never mind that they’ve just become collector’s items).
I know a lot of people here don’t like Chad. I’m not a big fan myself, but I never got too worked about Archie Leach, Carole Klein, or Charles Buchinsky changing their names to Cary Grant, Carole King, or Charles Bronson, respectively, so I don’t really care what Chad calls himself either. He made it all nice and legal, just like other athletes have done, so why can’t the NFL let him wear his legally sanctioned name? As for the folks at Reebok — who, let’s remember, charge $200-ish for a jersey that costs about $2.85 to manufacture, so they’re not really in a position to plead poverty here — what the hell do they do when a player gets traded or retires? Here’s a guess: They ship his old jerseys to Africa and take a tax write-off. That’s what they should do in this case, too.
Oh, and one other thought for Reebok: Have you considered using one of these? Might solve the whole problem.
A Boy Named Hsu: Went to last night’s Mets/Phils game with Scott M.X. Turner (who graciously proffered me a ticket). Got snaps of a few interesting sights, including a T-shirt showing the Mets’ TV broadcasters engaged in a terrorist fist bump, two guys wearing Mets-colored socks, a repurposed Glenn Foley jersey, and a kid wearing an absolute train wreck of a cap (it’s hard to see in that first shot, but check out the grooved stitching on the brim). Scott and I also paid our respects to the Tommie Agee home run marker — a particularly poignant moment for me, because there’s a good chance that this was my last visit to Shea, and Agee was my favorite player when I was a tyke.
It was a pretty chippy night in the stands — lots of fights, including one that drew so many security guards that a guy sitting near me quipped, “Look at them all — they’re storming the bastille!” (probably the only time anyone’s ever said that at Shea). We couldn’t understand the source of all the ruckus — after all, NYC and Philly fans adore each other — until the bottom of the 8th, when someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Are you Paul?” I turned and found myself face-to-face with Kenny Hsu, who introduced himself as a regular Uni Watch reader who had recognized me from afar. As you can see, Kenny’s got troublemaker written all over him, and it was surely no coincidence that several more fights soon broke out in the area where he was sitting (I think it might have had something to do with him yelling, “What the fuck is a ‘water ice’? Is it water or is it ice? Make up your goddamn minds, you pussies!” at some Philly fans). I like the idea of Uni Watch readers stirring things up and hereby encourage all readers to
shout fighting words offer helpful observations to their fellow fans, in honor of Kenny’s fine example.
Site News: As you may have noticed, and after a ridiculously prolonged series of hassles with Google, our site-search function has finally been restored to the right-hand rail. Enjoy.
Raffle Results: The winner of the soccer raffle is Clint Wrede. Congrats to him, and thanks to all who entered. More raffles coming soon.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Josh Beckett had some XYZ issues on Friday night. … I can never get enough of this logo (with thanks to Dan Smith). … Last season, the side clips on Eli Manning’s facemask were clear; now they’re gray. Joe Skiba says that’s because they’re now available in team colors. … Best eBay listing ever? Possibly (great find by Ben Traxel). … Nobody can accuse the Olympics of not thinking ahead. … Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist David O’Brien clearly wants my job (but he’s never gonna get it if he keeps referring to the Rays’ “garish uniforms” of last year — a common misconception, since many people reflexively think of this, which was awful, but conveniently forget about this, which was perfectly fine and badly underrated). … On Friday I checked out this awesome photo exhibit, which included this. … I’m ashamed that this item has to do with Wisconsin, but a high school team out there is putting its players’ combined weightlifting amounts on their helmets, which is about the most pathetic “We’re so fucking macho” thing I’ve ever seen. Why not just put their dick lengths on the helmet and get it over with? Depressing details here (with thanks to David Petroff). … Speaking of which, there’s an interesting article on high school helmets here (with thanks to James Spears). … Also from James: If you scroll down to the bottom of this image gallery, you’ll see several shots that show two h.s. teams both wearing colored jerseys. “Never seen that done around here,” he says. “I’m trying to find out an explanation.” … The new UAB uniforms are viewable here. … Has anyone tallied up all the different graphics and ads the Brewers have stenciled into the Miller Park mound this year? They normally have their cap logo there, plus they’ve also used the star-spangled cap logo, a Negro Leagues logo, an ad for their web site, and I just realized that they put the ball-in-glove logo for their retro Friday games. Embarrassing. … More Russian nesting dolls (additional views here and here). “My dad got them in Russia while on business recently,” says Dan Mugg. “Apparently they have just about every team. One of my dad’s co-workers picked up a Purdue set.” … A little late, but Kris Naudus notes that the Korean women’s Olympic archery team had some cool outfits and gear. “That’s Yun Ok-Hee on the left with her panda chest guard and matching pink bo), Joo Hyun-Jung in the middle (nothing special there, though her hat seems to have a pink ribbon on it), and Park Sung-Hyun with the Winnie the Pooh-themed chest guard,” she writes. … Another day, another intersection of Sarah Palin and uniforms. … Reprinted from Saturday’s comments: Bit of a logo screw-up during one of Saturday’s broadcasts. … Those Illinois throwbacks looked my-t-fine. … But Virginia’s struck me as rather unremarkable. … This jersey is one of the many Minnesota hockey sweaters on display at the Xcel Center. Ken Whitehouse wants to know what team (or school, or whatever) it is. Anyone..? … Piqua High School in Ohio gives out award decals and places them down the center of the helmet. … When a team scores a touchdown, you don’t see the entire team giving the two-arms-raised TD signal. But when a team scores a safety, the entire defense always — always does this. … Patch-o-rama in the NFL now, as you can see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Oops, sorry, those last two photos were of NFL Europe, but it’s getting hard to tell the difference. Fortunately, the Steelers have apparently decided not to wear captaincy patches, or else they’d be in the three-patch zone as well. … Speaking of patches, I didn’t realize the Colts were gonna wear that new stadium patch. Gee, think it’s big enough? If anyone has a good close-up of it, I could use one. … And just in case the Gene Upshaw patch wasn’t visible enough on the players’ jerseys or on the field, Lovie Smith wore it on his shirt’s zipper pull. … Nick Trotta informs me that Charlie Samuels had the honor of pulling down the “16 Games Left at Shea” sign on Friday night. Hard to imagine another MLB equipment manager getting to do that (or to imagine one less deserving of the honor). … Boy do I miss this NBC logo. … According to this discussion thread, a newspaper photographer at a recent college football game was wearing the visiting team’s jersey while shooting the game.