OK, so as everyone on the planet knows by now, the Orioles have unveiled their new uniform set. This took place about 19 entire hours ago, which means it’s already ancient history and everyone’s bored with it by now and has moved on to the next thing, but I know you’re all expecting me to write about it and I hate disappointing you (except for those times when I, y’know, enjoy disappointing you), so here we go:
• The new bird: Not exactly an earthshaking overhaul, and it’s tempting to just say, “Ah, they’re more or less the same, pass the popcorn,” but there are actually two things about the new bird that bug me: (1) The new gray beak is a decided downgrade from the old pale-ochre beak (and no, I’m not just looking for an excuse to say “ochre,” although that is a nice bonus); and (2) the new feet look fine when they’re perched on something, but they look incongruous when the bird is just perched on nothing, which is why the new cap doesn’t look as good as the old cap. So is it good or is it stupid? Stupid.
• The new road insignia: As we all know, the O’s haven’t worn “Baltimore” on their chest since 1783, so this is long overdue. Breaking up the “t” across the placket isn’t ideal, but whatever — seems to be par for the course these days. Some folks have already complained about how the script tapers. I don’t mind it on its own terms, although it doesn’t mesh well with the home script, since that one doesn’t taper. Then again, when will you ever see those two jerseys side-by-side again? No biggie. Good.
• The new left-sleeve patches: As we all know, the Maryland state flag is really cool cuz it’s really weird, and therefore it’s more or less mandatory that we give the thumbs-up to any patch based on that flag design. But here’s the thing: The O’s are actually using two flag-based patches — this one, which says “Baltimore Orioles” and is appearing on the home jersey, and this one, which says “Orioles Baseball” and is appearing on the road grays and the black alts. I much prefer the latter, because why include the word “Baltimore” on something that features the Maryland flag, esp. when Baltimore has its own flag? To all you O’s staffers reading this: Go down the clubhouse with a seam ripper, remove all the home patches from the home whites, and replace them with the other patch. NOW!! Mostly very good, but just a teeny bit stupid.
• The new piping: As you’ve probably noticed, the home and road jerseys now have sleeve piping; as you might not be aware, that same piping pattern will now be appearing on the pants. My gut instinct here is negative (in a long-pants baseball world, pants piping just accentuates the sloppiness), but first I wanna see how it looks on the field. Too soon to say.
• The new headwear protocol: No more solid-black road cap — the orange-brimmed cap will now be worn at home and on the road (except when they wear the black jersey, which will always be paired with this cap). No more solid-black batting helmets either — they’ll now be orange-brimmed. Good.
• The new alt jersey protocol: The black jersey, which had previously been designated for Friday home games, will now be available for any game, home or road. Which is fine as long as the number of home and road games for which its worn is, um, zero. Stupid.
And there you have it: The square root of pi in three easy steps. Want more? There’s a family portrait here, pretty good video coverage here, a photo gallery of O’s uni history here, and reader Neal Shaffer attended the unveiling and snapped a bunch of pics that you can see here.
Douchebag Update: As the nation waits with breathless anticipation to see if college football’s favorite comic book publishes a new issue this Saturday, it now turns out that they’ll probably have a new helmet.
According to this page, they’re not black — they’re “about equal parts flecks of black and green paint” See Orioles BP jersey graf.
The question was posed to the head coach why his team wears them at all, especially considering black isn’t a school color. “Well, really, we’re doing it for Nike,” Bowden said. “We’ve just got to be sure it’s not a [negative] factor. Nike wants us to do it, and we started doing it three years ago. We talked to our kids about the uniform is not going to win a game. And a uniform is not going to lose a game. It’s the guy inside of it.”
So much for the 2006 party line that the black design was a “tribute” to the Seminole nation.
And in yet another douchebag development, take a second to read this letter that was just issued by Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard (forwarded to me by Corey Munson). Tail, dog, wag, sigh, etc.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday I mentioned a TV report about some new NFL prototypes being developed by Reebok. That report is now available on the web — go here and click on “11/11: Inside 1265 – Prototye Jerseys” in the “Top Stories” menu listing. Joe Skiba’s reaction to the video: “That jersey’s already outdated.” … Speaking of Skeebs, you can see him at work in the opening scenes of this video clip (which also features a clear view of Antonio Pierce wearing one of the newfangled jerseys without the “ny” chest logo. … The New Yankee Stadium will be very high-tech. … Jason HiJuelos reports that the University of New Orleans is reviving its club football team after a 37-year absence from the gridiron. Unfortunately, the uniforms are a disaster. … See those signs? For details on what they mean, scroll down to the “Century of Regress” section on this page (with thanks to James T. Huening). … “Gamba Osaka just won the Asian Champions League Final in Australia,” says Jeremy Brahm. “But they changed into their home blue jerseys to accept the trophy.” … Several good contributions from Susan N. Freeman: First, it appears that Texas Tech used bicentennial-style stars as merit decals in 1976 (plus their kicker either used sock garters or had a bionic shin). Also: Dr. Pepper is selling Cowboys-themed cans in Dallas, although they appear to have gotten the number font wrong. … More interesting vintage magazine discoveries from Peter Macaluso: Check out the the unusual helmet construction at lower-left here, and Vanderbilt wearing solid yellow — with a triangular helmet crown! — here. … Sarah Palin cleaned out all the articles of clothing from every single store in America, so Barack Obama has to keep wearing the same ratty Chisox cap. … Guess what outdated logo is on the home page of the NFL Scouting Combine? (Good spot by Greg Scholand.) … Scott Nuzum reports that the Pleasanton High School football team in Kansas wears one blue sock and one gray. … And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the dentist and then run a bunch of other errands in Manhattan. Bryan will be minding the store (Phil’s busy today), so play nice and he’ll give everyone some candy at the end of the day, hooray!