If you were to go back and check every rugby item ever to appear in the Ticker, you’d probably find that about 70% of them were contributed by reader Caleb Borchers, who regularly peppers me with rugby-related items in the faint hope that someone will, y’know, give a shit. He realizes most of the other readers here aren’t rugby fans, but he nonetheless continues to contribute material, and I salute him for his steadfast commitment. Today is his day in the sun, as he’s gone off on an impassioned rant that I’ve decided merits lead-entry status:
As a rugby fan, there are some things that I suffer through that I realize few others care about. Primary amongst them is the horror that is mismatched head gear. To explain: Many rugby players wear head gear (or a scrum cap) to protect against cauliflower ear. One such player is Nathan Sharpe, who wears blue/purple headgear that matches his club (Western Force) jersey. Looks fine. But when he gets the call up to the Australian national team, he doesn’t see the need to buy a new cap. I figure this is attributable to either (a) supreme laziness, (b) supreme cheapness, or (c) supreme superstitiousness. All of which leads to (d) supreme stupidity. I mean, really, you’re selected to represent your country at the third largest sporting event in the world (and getting paid well to do it), and you can’t take the time and spend the $100 bucks to buy a green cap?
Fortunately, not every player feels this way. For example, there’s the bright uni beacon of hope represented by the Waldrom brothers of New Zealand. They make sure the cap matches the team at all times, no excuses. It would be easy for Scott to take the yellow/black he wears in the regular season and keep it with the All Blacks, but he doesn’t — he gets a black/white cap, because the All Blacks don’t wear yellow. How hard is this? (Another grudging pat on the back goes to Matt Giteau, who also cares about color matching but ruins it with those girly ribbons on the cap.)
In other news: Rugby fans and commentators tend to be no-nonsense people. As a result, Adidas’s decision to force NZ teams to wear home and away jerseys has sort of hit the fan. The stupidest part of it all is that two of the teams have a gray away jersey. That doesn’t sound bad to outsiders, but any NZ fan immediately gets nightmare flashbacks to the All Blacks World Cup loss to France in 2007, for which Kiwis still blame two factors: the referee and the All Blacks wearing something other than all black.
And there you have it. Big thanks to Caleb for filling us in on the nuances of a sport none of us actually
care about follow, and for do so in an entertaining manner to boot.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Today’s the last day to bid on my Flushing in Flushing T-shirt. … Lastings Milledge’s switch to wearing No. 85 was first reported way back in February, but it still looks really weird. … Kevin McMahon saw this crazy MLB bobblehead shirt selling for $13 and couldn’t resist. “It was too cool to pass up,” he says. “Now I need to decide if I want to keep it, or give it as a birthday gift to my baseball-loving brother. Would it be a serious or a gag gift though? Not quite sure.” Lots of additional photos here. … Here’s the 1915 Avalon (Pa.) High School baseball team. Love that placket lettering (with thanks to Jason Bernard). … Who’d be dumb enough to wear a purple Yahoo! Sports jersey? Mark! Teixeira, as it turns out. He played! stickball in Tampa! for some sort! of Yahoo! promotional thingie! … Interesting shot of JFK conducting the coin toss at the 1961 Army/Navy game. Note that the Navy captain has “Beat Army” on his shoulders (with thanks to David Ryan and CJ Fleck). … Also from CJ: Excellent pair of stirrups available here. … The Raptors apparently printed their tickets before the Thunder’s logo was finalized (with thanks to Andy Rawlings). … Phil already mentioned that the Rochester Amerks painted their ice pink, but here’s a tremendous batch of photos showing the ice-coloration process (with thanks to Greg Netherwood). … Excellent 49ers helmet cart photo here with thanks to Jamison Nash). … The second question on this Q&A page brings up a very interesting Avs-related uni question (nice find by Harvey Lee). … Umbro has release the new England home kit at the Reed Space Annex in lower Manhattan. “The pop-up shop will be up thru Wednesday and it looks great,” says Stephen Wong. “They are raffling off new limited- edition Reed Space kits every day.” … Tremendous article here on the history and origins of Barrel Man, who may date back as far as 1901! Great photos, too (big thanks to Jeff Ash). … Reprinted from the weekend comments: Dan Aykroyd did the ceremonial puck drop at Friday’s Devils/Blackhawks game, and they gave him a jersey with a misspelled NOB (screen grab courtesy of James Huening). … If you liked my subway signage style guide, you’ll probably also like the Manual On Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which is filled with pages like this. Download it here (big thanks to Paul Deaver). … No comment. … Ross French sent along pics of a Western Michigan baseball jersey that appears to have been a salesman’s sample. “It’s similar to what the 1955 club wore, but of course baseball unis can go for years without significant changes,” he writes. “If anyone has any insights, I would love to hear them.” … Interesting F1 note from Al Stone, who writes: “The cars from Brawn GP finished first and second on Sunday. Brawn GP sprang up in recent weeks to buy Honda’s old F1 program when the manufacturer stepped down. What makes this sorta uni-interesting is that Brawn has been looking for a sponsor, since Honda’s sponsors had dropped off. So the Brawn GP cars were relatively sponsor-free (just a Virgin logo and a few small Bridgestone logos that were barely visible). This team will no doubt have a different livery for the next race and the rest of the season, so this is probably the only time that this car will race looking as it did, and it won the top two spots.” … Stunning news from Brian Poulos, who writes: “MLB Tonight on the MLB Network uses a graphic during game highlights where the MLB Network logo (derived for the MLB logo) becomes animated and swings the bat. I am here to say that the MLB logo silhouette is a LEFTY BATTER.” … Paul Wiederecht found more good stuff in the Life archives: The Twins had two batboys who were actual twin brothers, and there was some sort of crazy variety show that featured lots of MLBers wearing dress shoes and Chucks. … Two interesting items in this photo, taken at the Indiana state high school basketball tournament on Saturday: The home team, Jac-Cen-Del, has an usual color combo of red and sky blue, and the other player has great socks. “Unfortunately, I think this was the only player on the Triton team to wear those socks,” says Adam Morris. … The Mets gave their new stadium a test drive yesterday, and several readers report that the replica jerseys in the gift shops all featured this patch, not the Domino’s patch. Again, these are just replicas, not authentics, and my understanding is that the team will still be wearing the other patch on the field. … John Weghorst sent along pics from his old 1982 Topps sticker book. Check them out here. … Super-cool old baseball uni available here. … And here’s something you don’t often see: vintage zebra-wear — and another! … Guess who really likes this old basketball jersey. … I’m on the road for the next coupla days, so Phil will be minding the store today and handling tomorrow’s content. See you on Wednesday.