As the Cubbies and their fans sift through the rubble of yet another disappointment, reader Dave Lundborg has alerted me to something that may explain some of the team’s recent troubles.
Take a look at these photos from the 1984 National League playoffs between the Cubs and Padres. You’ll see that they all have one thing in common: a huge bulls-eye-ish patch on the Cubbies’ right sleeve. And what does that patch say, you ask? The answer can be found on this Mitchell and Ness throwback — it’s a 1984 division championship patch. And I’m embarrassed to say I wasn’t aware of it until Lundborg brought it to my attention (even though I distinctly remember watching that playoff series in my off-campus apartment during college).
The rub, of course, is that this patch was worn in 1984. In other words, the Cubbies were already patting themselves on the back even though they hadn’t really won anything yet. They even went to the trouble of creating two different versions of the patch — one with a blue ring for their home pinstripes and one with a white ring for their road blues (they didn’t wear grays that year). Jeez, talk about hubris — you’d think a team with this kind of history would know better than to engage in premature boasting. If they had advanced to the World Series, would they have swapped in a set of “1984 N.L. Champions” patches?
“I contend they lost to the Padres in large part due to that enormous patch,” says Lundborg (a reasonable analysis). “Is there another instance that you can recall where a team (in any sport) wore a division championship patch during that year’s playoffs?”
Excellent question. I can’t think of any comparable examples. Anyone..? Meanwhile, we can definitely add this little incident to the legend of the Cubbie curse.
Membership News: As I’ve said many times before, the ugliest uniform designs make the coolest membership cards. Case in point: Jeff Frank’s Oregon-themed card, shown at right — a doozy, no? The again, sometimes the most beautiful uni designs make the coolest membership cards, as in the case of Justin Sink’s inspired choice of the 1964-65 Philly 76ers motif. As always, these and all other card designs are displayed in the membership gallery.
As promised, a bunch of cards mailed out last Friday, and a bunch more should mail out tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Preseason NBA note from Tony Laurenzana, who writes: “My season ticket representative told me that the Pacers will be wearing retro uniforms for the upcoming preseason game this Wednesday against New Orleans. It will be at Pepsi Coliseum, where the team first played (1967-1974).” … Saturday’s a press passes for the MSU/Iowa game showed the Iowa helmet logo backwards. … The first few seconds of this video clip show Brian Westbrook getting his helmet inflated (with thanks to Maks Skuz). … Latest player to wear the Riddell Revolution Speed helmet: Danny Clark (thanks, Joe Skiba). … Check out the amazing uniform worn by Pahokee High in Florida. The socks, the pants, the jersey, the rear helmet logo (big thanks to Ronnie Poore). … The Wild have a really lame new mascot. Depressing details here (with thanks to Ben Kmetz). … All you sneakerhead types will want to check out this. … “Apparently Sony Pictures is afraid that college students aren’t watching Seinfeld anymore,” writes Ben Wideman. “They’ve launched the Seinfeld Campus Tour to get people excited about the show again. I visited the tour bus at the Rose Bowl on Saturday and was excited to see that the exhibit included David Putty’s famous Devils jersey from the ‘face painter’ episode” (and yes, we all know you can quote chapter and verse from that episode and many others, but please don’t, thanks). … The Maple Leafs unveiled their new alternate jersey yesterday. As expected, it’s a straight throwback job. … Oh-so-tantalizing news from Josh Holman, who writes: “I was going through the 2009 Nike Fall Football Catalog and noticed there’s a new ‘secret’ jersey called the Enforcer, which will make its debut during this years Army/Navy game — so secret that they don’t even show you a picture of it.” … According to this message board post (sent my way by Steven James DeBlasi), the Jets “have announced that they … will unveil an away Titans uniform next season.” I have my doubts about that, at least in terms of a game uni, although a fashion replica isn’t such a stretch.