By Phil Hecken
Yesterday we took a look at the first eight teams in the World Baseball Classic. Today we finish the second eight. Let’s get started.
Korea: Let’s not pull any punches here: This is, quite simply, the worst uniform in the WBC. Not coincidentally, it is also the only one made by Nike. Where do we start? Well, for one thing, this is the only uniform in the WBC to feature this heinous pants striping (more like piping). Since the Koreans wear white jerseys at home and blue jerseys as the road team, both outfits look awful. Who thought this was a good look? The mismatched stripe width, the weird hornish shoulder stripe, the faux collar (which didn’t look good on the polyester double-knits of the Chicago White Sox who originated it), and the helmet adverts all combine for a massive “FAIL” for this uni set. Even when knee length pants are adorned, it’s still just a mess. Anything good about the uni at all? Well, the script “K” on the cap matches the jersey. That’s about it. Korea has advanced to the second round of the WBC. Grade: F
Mexico: Moving on, we find some nice features with the Mexican uniforms, whose home uniforms are pure white, while their road duds have a green jersey with pinstriped pants, the only team in the WBC to sport such a look. They have a unique font for their numerals and nameplates, as well as their team wordmark. Their green and red-brimmed cap is gorgeous, featuring the stylized “M” in green and white, outlined in raised red thread. The home jersey is particularly striking in its elegance, while the away kit, with the classic ‘Mexican green’ is very nice. They are also one of the few teams to wear a different color helmet than any color on their uniform (Australia appears to have a black helmet as well, but it may just be a very dark green). Mexico does get two strikes against its uniform, however, with the teardrop pit stains and giant advertising patch. Small points are also deducted for the helmet advert as well. And, at least we know they make ’em in Triple XL. Overall, though, a very nice outfit. Mexico has advanced to the second round of the WBC. Grade: B+
Netherlands: The second European team in the WBC definitely has the nicest uniforms of the two (the other being Italy), although they did choose to wear a black jersey with gray pants for their road uni (but look at how nice that combo looks with black socks). The Netherlands’ white home uniform is typically staid, with wordmark and numerals in orange outlined with black. The home jersey is gorgeous and has no advertising, while the road black away, especially when combined with actual socks, looks great too. Even the cap looks great, although the fact that their flag patch doesn’t “go” with the cap (or uniform) colors is a minor distraction. The only true flaw in this uniform set are the underarm patches. Best uni of the Classic, by default. With their two stunning defeats of the Dominicans, the Netherlands has advanced to the second round of the WBC. Grade: A-
Panama: Following the worst and best of the WBC uniforms, we arrive at Panama, whose uniforms nicely echo their flag. Sporting gray road uniforms, the Panamanian’s were twice defeated in them, eliminating them from tournament play. Their home white jersey features blue raglan sleeves and red lettering and numbering, with that pattern reversed for the NOB. Their blue cap with red brim had a nice script “P” in white, outlined in red. They have a red batting practice jersey as well. Like most of the other unis, this middle-of-the-road set has the signature Majestic pit stains, and the standard Majestic BP side stripes. Fair-to-middle and an early exit do nothing to distinguish the uni, despite it being ad-free. Panama has been eliminated from further WBC play. Grade: B-
Puerto Rico: Another fair-to-good uniform is being sported by the Island of Puerto Rico, which, like it’s flag, is red, white and blue. While they score points for wearing a gray away uniform set, they likewise lose some grading points for their donning of the large advertising patch on their left sleeve, as well as the big helmet sticker plugging a certain cell service. While their nameplates are a bit difficult to read, the numeral font and wordmark are pretty cool. The cap is a nice solid red, with “PR” in white outlined in blue, and their jersey consists of red raglan sleeves (like several other nations). Not the worst uni by any means, but nothing special either. Puerto Rico has advanced to the second round of the WBC. Grade: B
South Africa: Heavy underdogs from the dark continent, the team from South Africa played valiantly, but ultimately, did not advance. Their home uniform was a basic white, with “South Africa” spelled out across the front in vertically arched fashion, with black letters outlined in yellow and blue numerals likewise outlined in yellow. They wore green BP jerseys, and none of their uni sets had advertising. Cap was deep green with “SA” interlocking in white and yellow. Home jerseys had yellow pit stains (which, while still terrible, didn’t look as bad as some of the teams with darker patches), while the away pit stains were blue. Bonus points, however, go to South Africa for the coolest arm “stripes”, which are actually lots of South African flags. Kind of all over the place, but no ads and cool stripes work in their favor. South Africa has been eliminated from further WBC play. Grade: B+
United States: Although the United States have both an away and a home uniform set, with both a home and away cap, they may have set a WBC record for most accoutrements with a red BP jersey, red jacket/pullovers for the players, blue jackets/hoodies for coaches, and a third cap. Phew. Hopefully that merch will move. As far as the actual uniforms go, the away grays have “USA” across the front, in double shadowed blue “U” and “A” with an alternating red and white “S” (simulating the stripes on the US flag). Numbers are red outlined in blue with blue lettering on the nameplates. Caps are red and pit stains are blue. The homes aren’t quite a mirror image, as the caps are blue and the pit stains red. Not a bad uniform set (no adverts either), but nothing to write home about either. The United States has advanced to the second round of the WBC. Grade: B
Venezuela: Our final entry into the WBC pool, Venezuela has the coolest BP jersey. For actual game play, Venezuela wears a reddish-maroon away jersey, with white letters, numbers and wordmark all outlined in yellow, with gray pants. Yellow pit stains and helmet advert mar an otherwise very nice set. The home whites are nicer, with stripeless white pants, shoulder advert, and reddish-maroon letters, numbers and wordmark, outlined in yellow. Pit stains are maroon. Cap is also maroon, with script “V” in white outlined in yellow. Points scored for the sweet homes with no pants stripes, but typical Majestic pit marks, and helmet and sleeve advertising take away all gains. Venezuela has advanced to the second round of the WBC. Grade: B-
Well, there you have it. Grades for the second set of WBC unis. If you missed yesterday’s post with the first 8 rankings, here it is. Agree? Disagree? Remember, my grades are based solely on my opinions and therefore
are always entirely correct are subject to debate. Let’s hear what you think.
This and That: In case you’re wondering, they’re already comparing the 2006 and 2009 WBC … Check out the first paragraph of this article, which mentions “candy-striped warm-up uniforms” — anyone have pics of these? … According to this article, the Amarillo Dusters have switched a crimson and black scheme for 2009, departing from the traditional orange-and-black scheme — (insert eyeroll icon here) … Baseball coaches and managers wear uniforms, football coaches wear ‘coaching attire,’ but basketball coaches wear suits — or do they? — Here’s an interesting take on hoop coaching attire … Did you know there is a newly formed Indoor Football League? Neither did I, but they’ve got teams and uniforms and everything … So, yesterday K-Rod got a four-out save for Venezuela, leaving Mets fans wondering if he will do the same for the Mets — apparently, the WBC games do matter … For all you footy fans, here’s an article on Aston Villa and their famous claret and blue unis … We all have an opinion on Oregon’s football uniforms, and most of us have some opinion on the man for whom a font is named — here’s an article on Coach Bellotti and where he ranks among Oregon’s football coaches … The other day, the Sixers played their final game at the Spectrum — that’s the recap … and here are some pics of the 1983 throwbacks and the “old” court … Here’s more on that Philly retro night … Lots of college hoop teams were celebrating yesterday, for both the ladies and the guys — more to come today … I know I don’t hate purple, and I particularly like this shade … FNOB on display here, and a really weird numeral font besides … Why hockey is still great: Marty tries to tie Patty Roy’s win record in Montreal with the Habs in classic whites (1945-46 era jersey) … They’re not called The Orange for nothing, folks … I’m sure you knew this already, but Tiger’s back — he’s just not Tiger…yet … and finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t post a a photo or two from the 2009 Brier curling championships, right? Oh…nice job against Puerto Rico last night, USA — mercy rule me.
Enjoy the hoops and WBC today, and Beware the Ides of March.