OK, so the Red Sox unveiled their new road and alternate uniforms yesterday, and boy howdy, the whole sports world
would rather talk about CC Sabathia is all atwitter! Let’s take a look, element by element:
• The new road jersey: Love the hanging socks sleeve patch (which I’m told was a very recent development that was added to the design just a few weeks ago), but man, that one-color lettering is sooooo drab. C’mon, gimme some red outlining or at least some red sleeve piping or something. Sox ownership reportedly got the idea for this design after a throwback game in 2007 when they wore early-’80s uniforms, but those were drab too. And what’s with the lettering? According to one report, “The lettering on all uniforms and logos will have the appearance of hand-cut felt, meant to look more traditional,” but I think the one-color road lettering looks more clown-ish — kinda rinky-dink, almost like a cheap minor league knockoff of the traditional two-color Sox lettering. Likewise, the one-color rear type is so plain compared to the version it’s replacing. A minor downgrade, I say. Meanwhile, two questions remain: (1) What undershirt color will be worn with the road grays — red or navy? The MLB Style Guide suggests that it will be red (note the collar), but undershirt specs can change, so this question will linger until next spring. And (2) Are the Sox really going with direct-sewn NOBs (instead of their usual nameplates), or did they just use some hastily heat-pressed NOBs for the unveiling?
• The new road alternate jersey: Some teams just shouldn’t have alt jerseys, and the Sox are one of them. That said, if they have to have one, this is a whole lot better than this. Again, the jersey shown at the unveiling had direct-applied NOB lettering, but it’s not clear if that will be the case on the gamers.
• The new home alternate jersey: How do you make the American League’s worst jersey even worse? Remove the placket and sleeve piping, so it looks even redder than before. Still can’t believe such a smart franchise can wear such a stupid jersey.
• The new alternate cap: As a fashion cap, I love it. As a game cap, I think I like it, but I’m gonna need to see it on the field first. Just wish the logo didn’t look so much like a patch, but maybe it’s just the lighting or something.
• The new primary logo: The hanging socks are now the team’s primary mark, with the baseball/bullseye logo relegated to secondary status. Plus they’ve made subtle changes to the latter mark — compare old (on the left) to new (on the right). But whatever, how will this even matter, aside from the icon that shows up in SportsCenter reports and a new set of stationery for everyone in the Bosox offices?
All in all: This was a good-looking team; it’s still a good-looking team, although maybe not quite as good on the road. Were any of these changes necessary? Nope, not a one. Is it good or is it stupid? A fair share of both.
‘Where’s Waldo?’ Update: When I went ballistic a few days ago regarding the idiotic Reebok promotion that’s being foisted upon the NHL Winter Classic, the prevailing sentiment in the comments section was, “Calm down, Paul, it’s not such a big deal. Unless it dictates the TV coverage of the game, that is.” And most people seemed to think that wouldn’t happen.
Now reader Peter Kaszczak has shed some light on that situation. He sent a note to Reebok, asking why Canadian residents weren’t eligible to enter the Winter Classic contest. Here’s what he got back:
Thank you for your question. The Reebok Lost Logo Challenge is a watch & win promotion, which was created in conjunction with NBC and the NHL. Through its design, the promotion relies heavily on NBC to prompt viewer participation and provide pertinent contest announcements. Since the NBC broadcast of the NHL Winter Classic is only available to U.S. viewers, it would be disservice to open it up to TV viewers outside of the U.S. who would not hear the pertinent broadcast announcements for this contest.
Reebok Corporate Communications
I rest my case.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s another sleeved hoops jersey. That’s Jim Roberts of Sewanee grabbing one of his NCAA-record 53 rebounds on February 24th, 1958 (with thanks to Scott Musa). … And still more basketball sleeves: Mississippi Vocational College (now Mississippi Valley State) in 1959 (love the uni numbers on the sleeves) and 1966 (sock stripes!). Awesome stripes on the school’s 1959 football squad too (all this courtesy of Larz Roberts). … “Cyclist Alberto Contador has custom Sidi shoes, and they’re utterly rad,” says Sean Clancy. “Contador, a Spaniard who rides for the Astana team, is only the fifth cyclist to win the three grand tours — the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. These victories are noted on his shoes — yellow for the Tour, pink for the Giro and gold for the Vuelta. The colors match the color of the leader’s jersey in each race.” … Here’s another one of those high-positioned Dungard facemasks (with thanks to Richard Stover). … Adidas has unveiled a new soccer ball for the UEFA Under 21 EURO 2009 tourney (thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Several good archival finds by Doug Mooney, beginning with this amazing 1951 Popular Mechanics article on the design of marching band formations — highly recommended. Also worthwhile: this 1950 Baseball Digest handbook excerpt, which suggests that the debate over pant length was raging a lot earlier than we thought (see the indented graf just prior to section 1.16); a 1950 Popular Science item on some bizarre apron-like football pads; a 1967 Baseball Digest item on sock height (which I think actually means pant cuff height); a 1990 article on uniform numbers; an interesting definition of a third-string catcher; and a mention of Minnie Minoso showering in uniform for good luck. … “As I prepared my officially sponsored lunch of the NFL, I noticed the logo on the top of the can,” writes Jonathan Eskridge. “It makes me a little concerned about the actual canning date, but I think I’ll be OK.” … New sneakers for Kobe Bryant. … Dave Eskenazi has come up with a great Toronto Maple Leafs photo. No, not those Toronto Maple Leafs — these Toronto Maple Leafs. The photo’s from 1902, when the Leafs won the International League pennant. … Awesome video clip here on the Broncos’ vertically striped socks and the Steelers’ golden triangle jerseys. Stick it out through the whole clip — lots of good action bits, plus a scary jockstrap — or, rather, “jockey strap” — story (big thanks to Andrew Dixon). … My ESPN.com colleague Eric Neel tipped me wise to this amazing-looking book, which has dynamite graphics. Check out some excerpts here and click through the page gallery here. … “I’ve never seen a hockey player wearing a wristband,” says Kevin Zdancewicz. Me neither. … RIP, Bettie.