Turning Japanese, Day 1

japanese-baseball-day-1

By Phil Hecken, with Jeremy Brahm

“Architecture beautiful. Society on cutting edge of progress.” — Mr. Baseball

Today we take a look at Japanese baseball uniforms. I’ve always had a fleeting fascination with them, ranging from my first memories of Sadaharu Oh in the 1970′s, to movies like “Mr. Baseball,” and to a good buddy who spent four years in Japan and who reported back to me on the crazy shit things he’d seen there. The 2006 and 2009 WBC, and of course the Olympics, also provided a glimpse into the Japanese (team) uniforms. But I’ve always known some of the uniforms to be classic, staid, beautiful, while others are … well, let’s just say not as “traditional” as American uniforms tend to be.

The professional baseball association in Japan is called Nippon Professional Baseball. Like the United States, Japan has two leagues, divided into the “Central” and “Pacific”. Each league consists of six teams. The Pacific League uses the designated hitter style of play. Similar to MLB, the Japanese baseball season is eight months long with games beginning in April (today, in fact), and a Championship held in October. However, teams play only 144 games, as compared to the 162 games of MLB. The biggest difference, to my mind, other than the style of play (which will be covered a little below), is the corporations with interests outside baseball own the teams, and teams are identified with their owners, not where the team is based (with the exception of the Yokohama BayStars).

While baseball is pretty much a universal sport, even halfway across the globe, there are some slight differences between the MLB and the Japanese league. In Japan, tie games are allowed, and a smaller baseball, strike zone, and playing field are used. In addition, the Japanese baseball is wound more tightly and is harder than an American baseball, while the strike zone is narrower “inside” than away from the batter. Almost half of the Nippon league teams have “undersized” home fields. Finally, teams are limited to no more than 4 foreign-born players.

And to whom else would I turn for assistance with this article — of course, our expert on all uniforms Japanese, Jeremy Brahm. I had originally planned to make this column a one-day affair, but Jeremy has really efforted quite the plethora of information, so I’ll spread it out over two days, plus the usual “This and That” and some bonus material on the Final Four. Here’s Jeremy:

As more and more Japanese players have been coming to the States to play in the majors, Japanese baseball or Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) has been getting more publicity and Uni Watch over the years has shown which teams have been changing their uniforms over the years. Plus with the repeat of the Japanese team at the World Baseball Classic, I was asked by Phil to do a write-up on Japanese baseball. With the start of the Japanese season today, we will have a two part series on the NPB this weekend. Today we will look at the current uniforms for each of the teams in the Central League, also I will give you some interesting tidbits as well. We will look at the Pacific League on Sunday.

The Central League has six teams and listed in alphabetical order:

Chunichi Dragons: The Dragons are based in Nagoya. Chunichi is an acronym for central (chu) and Japan (nichi). The Dragons are part of the Chunichi media conglomerate, which dominates the Nagoya area in central Japan. The Dragons home script is based on Brooklyn Dodgers script, which they started using around the 1952 season. The script also caused an oddity with the movie, “Mr. Baseball”. The D on the Dragons hat at the time was this and was used on the Japanese poster for the movie. But on the poster for the movie in the United States, the D was different. Supposedly someone in MLB complained about the D being similar to the Dodgers and that it may confuse people with the Dodgers. Of course we know that the Dodgers do not have a D on their hat.

Getting back to today, Chunichi’s home uniform is a white base with dark blue lettering and numbers. They also have an expanding line from the collar to the end of the sleeve. Plus, they have dark blue side panels on each side. They use a slight radial arch for the player names. There is a Chunichi Newspaper patch on left sleeve on the home uniform.

Their road uniform is basically a reverse of the home uniform except for the white pants and the interlocking CD and Dragons logo on the left sleeve. The Dragons use a blue cap with a white button on the top for both home and road games.

Jeremy thinks that this is a simple and solid look for the Dragons.

I’m not such a fan. Let’s start with the good. I do like the cap and the interlocking “CD“. The side piping, not so much. And I don’t know what this is, but it scares me. And I hate that there is apparently no gray away jersey. Unfortunately, this is not atypical Japanese baseball attire, and we’ll be seeing more of this type of uniform below.

Hanshin Tigers: Based in Nishinomiya, are considered the Chicago Cubs of Japanese baseball. The Tigers have won few championships over the years, but their fans are some of the most hardcore fans you will ever see. The Hanshin pictograph stands for Osaka (Saka) and the Shin stand for Kobe (Ko) because this train company’s trains run between Kobe and Osaka with Nishinomiya in between the two. The Tigers are known for their pinstriped home whites that have changed infrequently over the years. But in 2007 the Tigers changed their home uniforms slightly to add yellow highlighting around their script and numbers and added black pit stains. The pants are also pinstriped with yellow and black side striping. Their home cap changed from an all black hat with white lettering, to a yellow brim with a white T and a yellow H, which they had had in 1979-1983 for their road hat. Both uniforms have the Tigers’ logo patch on the left sleeve.

The Tigers’ road uniform is grey and has no pinstripes but black pit stains with a white outline. The pants have a black stripe highlighted with white. The Tigers road cap is silver brimmed with a silver H and a white T.

Jeremy thinks that the Tigers look better without the yellow highlights, but still it is a solid look.

This is a great uni. This is not. It’s still a lot better than many Japanese uniforms, tho, although I cannot in good conscience overlook the pitstains. Aside from that, though, this is a pretty solid uni set. I love the logo, and especially these dutifully attired fans of the ballclub. Overall, good stuff.

Hiroshima Toyo Carp: The Carp have always been confused for the Cincinnati Reds because of their caps, which have almost always had a similar design to the Reds. As the Carp move into the Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium (yes that is the official name), the Carp have gone a little retro with their design. This is the 2008 home uniform and this is the 2008 road uniform. For 2009, their home whites will get rid of the red pinstripes and add black highlights to the red script, lettering and numbers. The Hiroshima script on the home uniform is a patch on the left sleeve. Also it appears that the Carp will continue to have a Mazda patch on their right sleeve.

The road uniform is a red shirt with white pants, lettering and numbers. The Carp script patch is on the left sleeve. Their caps also have black highlights on the C.

Jeremy still thinks the Carp are the Reds, and the Reds are the Carp.

I like this one, perhaps best of all, but there are of course pros and cons to the Crap Carp. The old unis definitely look like the Reds, although not with the white cleats. The old roadies are even more “Red-like,” but still acceptable as a uni. I like that they removed the pins from the new unis, but WTF is up with that “belt/sansabelt” thing? Jeebus — looks like a bomb got dropped on it. The new caps don’t need the black, but it’s not bad. Overall, a nice uniform set.

Tokyo Yakult Swallows: As the “second team” in the Tokyo area the Swallows have always had a tough time overcoming the Giants popularity. Plus their red pinstripes with blue lettering was hard on the eyes. But in 2006, the Swallows ditched the pinstripes for a much better look. With this season being the 40th anniversary of the Yakult Honsha buying the team, a dairy products company, the Swallows have come out with a new uniform set.

The home uniform has a white base and has a lot of things going on. First the Swallows script, which is probably one of the worst in all of sports, has been greatly highlighted with dark blue and creating a 3D look for the logo. Zett the uniform manufacturer has its logo over the players heart. The 40th anniversary logo is on the right side of the chest. The sleeve have a winglet like an airplane in dark blue and red line goes out from the collar to the shoulder and merges with the silver line going downward to the pants. The side panels have a red patch about half way up from the bottom of the uniform, and also the single red button at the neck and the swallow’s head patch on the left sleeve. There is the Yakult logo on the left sleeve and Tokyo on the right and their pants have a little winglet near the belt line, a lightweight blue stripe down the pants and a red flare at the bottom of the pants. At the back you can see the two tone font for the names and numbers. No other team in Japanese baseball has this font.

The road uniform is similar to the home uniform except that it is a grey base uniform with blue lines going downward. The Yakult and Swallows wordmarks have been swapped. The pants have red pinstripes. The Swallows hat is the same as it was before, blue hat with a red Y and blue S and red top button and holes.

Jeremy thinks their uniforms look great.

I disagree. I actually don’t mind the two-tone modern font, but there is just way too much shit going on here. It also looks like they’ll have about 19 different uniform choices. I know, I know — they’re celebrating an anniversary and a couple of those are probably throwbacks, but still. Plus, this reminds me of this and this (which isn’t such a bad thing), but I definitely liked their clean, crisp, plain white unis better. Not quite “FAIL” for the new unis, but close.

Yokohama BayStars: Located just south of Tokyo, the BayStars also are introducing a new uniform set this year. Last year’s home uniform to Jeremy was a classic, with blue pin striping. The new uniform set, however, looks like this. The home uniform has a white base with a silver/grey Y neck stripe, which goes down to the sternum on the front. The sleeves each have blue and silver lines with a reflective star and a notch in each sleeve, which Jeremy calls a “Hama-notch”. Also, the BayStars script has been replaced with a singular B over the heart and YOKOHAMA underneath it. The number has been moved from the bottom left to the right chest.

The uniform is a pullover which has not been seen in a while. The BayStars pants have a half stripe of blue and silver on the right side, but have BAYSTARS spelled out on the left in addition to a small stripe of blue and silver. The fonts for the BayStars players’ names have changed as well from this to this, which have dark blue lettering and dark blue numbers. The home cap is deep blue with a light blue B. This is going on their batting helmets, which is for the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Yokohama.

For the road uniform, the BayStars have gone to a darker grey with white pin striping and a dark blue Y neck. Yokohama is written in cursive across the chest and BayStars is also in cursive as a patch on the left sleeve. The back of the uniform has black lettering with dark blue numbers. The road cap features a light blue brim and dark blue hat with a dark blue B.

Jeremy likes the home uniform, but to him the road uniform may become like the Mavs silver uniform that looked horrible on television.

What was wrong with this? That’s right, nothing. Instead, they have crap like this. Looks like a night shirt or something my dad wore in the 50′s. Seriously, this is the worst of the Central League teams. And what’s up with the name on the pants leg? I don’t mind the away cap, probably because it reminds me of this (which I HATE), but has become so ingrained in my psyche that on some subliminal level, it no longer repulses me. I guess if a team has BFBS long enough, the full brain-washing will become complete. Why do the BayStars have black in their uniform anyway?

Yomiuri Giants: The Giants could also be known as the “Japanese Yankees.” This year is the 75 anniversary of the Giants and there are two logos: this and this. The cap logo is an intertwined Y and G which also forms their mascot “Jabbit” or Giant rabbit.

The Giants have had a very traditional white uniform with black lettering highlighted with orange for their home uniform (and yes Sadaharu Oh was spelled OH, not Ō.)

In 2006, adidas signed a contract to supply the Giants with uniforms and well, they changed a little. First of all the script completely changed on the front and they added three semi stripes to the pants for adidas. If you look at the Giants homepage, they are still using the old script but the uniform has the new one, just weird. The fonts on the back can make it almost impossible to read at times. On their batting helmets the team has “Giants Pride.” One good thing that the Giants have added is a Captain’s C to the right sleeve, while leaving the Yomiuri on the left.

The road uniform for the Giants this season is new, but is very similar to the home uniform. Except for the following differences: black pit stains and the base color for the uniform is a very light grey. You can see the difference between the two here. These were the uniforms for the Giants on the road in 2008.

Jeremy thinks he prefers a bit of a darker grey than what the Giants have, but they still look like the Giants have over the years.

Another one I’m not completely hating … especially when viewed straight on. However, the 3 stripes on the pants ruin whatever good feelings might have been engendered. It’s certainly not the worst uniform of the league, by any means, but a far cry from what God-zilla wore. The old script “Giants” isn’t too bad, but the pitstains detract from the look. Well, at least the cap remains true to the old unis.

That’s all for day one. We’ll be back tomorrow to look at the Pacific League unis.

~~~~~~~~~~

NCAA Thoughts: This seems like a good seat to watch the Final Four … As you must know by now, the Final Four is set. Two semi-finals today pit Michigan State versus Connecticut in the early game, followed by Villanova vs. North Carolina in the night cap. Who will win? Will it be the teams with the best unis? Let’s see if that holds true. We’ll pick the team with the best unis and see how we do.

Game 1: Michigan State against U Conn — Gotta go with State here. As much as I think the Big East is the strongest conference in the tourney, and as bad as these unis are (although the color is beautiful), they’re still better than this mess. State wins in a close one.

Game 2: Villanova versus North Carolina. No contest. I can’t go with the two-tone collar (even though they did destroy Dook). The argyle still rocks, and even the NC2A patch looks good on those beauties (even if Tyler Hansbrough is a douchebag, and I don’t like these warmup unis). Carolina by 10. Sorry, ‘Nova … Big East goes 0-2 in the Final Four

~~~~~~~~~~

This and That: Beautiful new Citi Field played host to the inaugural preseason game between the Mets and Boston Red Sox last evening, a rainy affair between the two teams. Of course, perhaps fittingly, the Mets wore their snow whites with black and blue caps, (*sigh*) while the BoSox wore their BP jerseys. I could go for this about 63 times this season — Gary approves … Meanwhile, across town, the New Yankee Stadium (NYS for short) opened its gilded doors to spectacular vistas made possible by the retro frieze. Everywhere you looked, there were gaudy, senseless monuments to avarice and excess historical touches and bazillion dollar electronics (and ads…lots and lots of ads). Having bankrupted their parents with the cost of tickets, kids of all ages were forced to wear replica jerseys while their heroes paraded around in patchless jerseys and caps (save these pictures, kiddies, because the Yankee unis won’t look this clean and perfect for long). Their opponents, the Cubs, looked resplendent in their blue BP jerseys … The Chicago Machine have unveiled a new logo — who are they? Why, they’re Chicago’s pro lacrosse team, of course … Your World Champions are heading home, and one has to wonder, “Is Charlie Manuel with child?” … More on the Christmas tree Nugget unis in this article … Speaking of the “green” initiative (or whatever the NBA is calling it), the Bobcats obliged, the T-Wolves got T-shirts, and wore their green accented blue unis, and so did the Hawks, and the Celtics, who also wore their regular unis … is this a rose colored lens, or did Andy Murray wear pink? (phew) … Paul already showed the Herb Score patch, but there’s another look at it in this story about Fausto Carmona’s suspension … Did you know that New firefighter uniforms, which include the option of a full-length skirt, hijab headscarf and a turban, have been launched? If that isn’t exciting enough, there’s a whole thread devoted to it — jeebus, who knew anyone could get so wound up about uniforms? … Apologies is this was already posted, but the Fathers are celebrating 40 years in SD … “$500 for a freakin’ pink monkey? Who do they think they are?

Have a great Saturday…enjoy the hoops and the final spring training (or are these now “exhibition”) games.

 

88 comments to Turning Japanese, Day 1

  • timmy b | April 4, 2009 at 7:17 am |

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the write-up on the NPB unis! I have always taken an interest in NPB unis. For a very long time I was the proud owner of the Tigers 80′s-90′s style home ball caps, which was white with black pinstripes and a black button, black bill and a black “HT.”

    Loads of folks would ask, “What kind of caps is that?” And I’d tell ‘em, “Why, the Hanshin Tigers home cap!” “Hunh?” They’d look at me kinda funny. But I didn’t care. They learned something new that day.

    Also, I think it was a few years ago that a book came out in Japan that was very similar to the Marc Okkonen book from the early 90′s on the history of Japanese baseball unis. I drooled, but the book’s total cost with shipping to the US was about $125. I kept drooling.

    Jeremy, if you know of a historical NPB uni database website, please pass along.

    Great stuff!

  • odessasteps magazine | April 4, 2009 at 7:18 am |

    Big props for the look at basubaru.

    I’ve always hoped that one of the cable channels would get the rights to the Japanese leagues. I remember one of the many regional sports channels in 94 showed the Japan Series during the strike.

  • scott | April 4, 2009 at 7:34 am |

    Michigan State’s uniforms look fine to me. What’s so bad about them?

  • Stuby | April 4, 2009 at 8:01 am |

    Now batting, number one hundred and twelve…

    http://www.pref.sait...

    Don’t they have a uniform numbering system (tradition, maybe) where the pitchers where numbers in the teens (like Daisuke) and the star hitters wear numbers in the 50s (Ichiro, Hideki Matsui)? I also remember hearing somewhere that there is a traditional number for catchers. True?

    Great work today, guys. Looking forward to Part Deux.

  • Stuby | April 4, 2009 at 8:02 am |

    …pitchers WEAR numbers… Good God, it’s early.

  • JTH | April 4, 2009 at 8:27 am |

    My favorite version of the Yomiuri Giants’ jersey has got to be this one.

  • Ricko | April 4, 2009 at 8:31 am |

    A while back, SI did a piece on former Twin Randy Bass, who became something of big deal playing for the Hanshin Tigers.
    Check it out….white asics, most interestingly, white batting helmets with pinstripes (both in action and numbered and racked)…
    http://farm4.static....
    http://farm4.static....

    —Ricko

  • Dude | April 4, 2009 at 8:50 am |

    ugh, typical brutal little brother Metropolitan fan analysis of the Yankees.

    Do you still wake up in the middle of the night screaming about Timo Perez, or is it Adam Wainwright, or now perhaps the entire month of September?

  • odessasteps magazine | April 4, 2009 at 9:09 am |

    [quote comment="321386"]ugh, typical brutal little brother Metropolitan fan analysis of the Yankees.

    Do you still wake up in the middle of the night screaming about Timo Perez, or is it Adam Wainwright, or now perhaps the entire month of September?[/quote]

    It nicely contrasts with Yankee fan arrogance. :>

    /sad Padres/Mariners fan

  • Rick | April 4, 2009 at 9:41 am |

    The Hiroshima Carp “belt/sansabelt” does look like someone dropped a bomb on it. I live in Richland WA where the local high school team is called the “Bombers” and the school logo is a mushroom cloud.
    Maybe it was us.

  • JTH | April 4, 2009 at 9:53 am |

    [quote comment="321385"]A while back, SI did a piece on former Twin Randy Bass, who became something of big deal playing for the Hanshin Tigers.
    Check it out….white asics, most interestingly, white batting helmets with pinstripes (both in action and numbered and racked)…
    http://farm4.static....
    http://farm4.static....

    —Ricko[/quote]
    I always wished the Reds would have had matching helmets when they were wearing the pinstriped caps at home. Sadly they went this route instead.

  • Jeremy Brahm | April 4, 2009 at 10:11 am |

    The Tigers got rid of those hats and batting helmets when the changed in 2001. But look at the shot of Bass sitting in the dugout, the numbers fit perfectly in the space at the back of the helmet.

    Here is a link for their uniforms.
    http://hanshintigers...

    The following link is to Ritomo’s Baseball Club (Japanese only)
    http://www.ritomo.jp...
    He has written a book in the past on the history of Japanese uniforms. Paul has a copy, but it is very expensive if ordered in the US ($150). The site doesn’t have all the teams uniforms, but it does have some of them and flags. Even the dead teams.

    The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has some great collections of old Japanese gear.
    http://www.baseball-...

    Always nice to see a Spinal Tap reference. I was really surprised when I saw it the first time.

    The high numbers (100 or above) are for instructional players that are not on the 70 man rosters of the minor and major league team.

    0-10 infielders or outfielders
    11-20 pitchers
    21-70 combination of all three
    80-99 coaches

    You do get some oddities like a picture with 0 or 1, but there aren’t many. Minor leaguers tend to have higher numbers. They’ll change to a lower number once they’ve made the major league team.

  • Jeremy | April 4, 2009 at 10:27 am |

    Yes, because the New Yankee Stadium is the one with the corporate nickname, and was made on the cheap with no ads and no amenities. Hope Mets fans enjoy “Bailout Ballpark.”

  • Flip | April 4, 2009 at 10:29 am |

    Kansas City also has a new stadium. Taxpayers ponied up $350M to rebuild The K. There’s an open house today. Looks gorgeous. But Kauffman was gorgeous to begin with.
    http://www.kansascit...

  • Flip | April 4, 2009 at 10:29 am |

    [quote comment="321392"]Kansas City also has a new stadium. Taxpayers ponied up $350M to rebuild The K. There’s an open house today. Looks gorgeous. But Kauffman was gorgeous to begin with.
    http://www.kansascit...

    And rumor is there may also be a Major League team playing there this year.

  • Mike | April 4, 2009 at 10:38 am |

    Those warmup unis are no reason to hate specifically on North Carolina. A lot of teams are wearing the same template.

    /not a north carolina fan

  • guy | April 4, 2009 at 11:37 am |

    The blatantly opinionated “homer” tone of the NCAA and This and That sections is way over the top even for a blog. I could care less about the Yanks, Mets, or UNC, but I agree with “Dude” and “Mike” and their comments.

  • Mike Engle | April 4, 2009 at 11:38 am |

    [quote comment="321382"]Now batting, number one hundred and twelve…

    http://www.pref.sait...

    Don’t they have a uniform numbering system (tradition, maybe) where the pitchers where numbers in the teens (like Daisuke) and the star hitters wear numbers in the 50s (Ichiro, Hideki Matsui)? I also remember hearing somewhere that there is a traditional number for catchers. True?

    Great work today, guys. Looking forward to Part Deux.[/quote]
    I’m no Jeremy Brahm, but…there are traditional numbers in Japan.
    #18 is the traditional ace pitcher’s number.
    Catchers tend to take #27 for Carlton Fisk (learned that in Uni Watch’s column on meaningful jersey numbers).
    Numbers with the 4 digit tend to go to foreigners. #4 is universally avoided in Asia, as the equivalent to America’s #13. Also, Americans tend to gravitate toward the one number inaccessible in the MLB: #42.

  • Scott Cranfill | April 4, 2009 at 11:40 am |

    Looks like another post for me to complain about the CCB trend of unis with no trim that look like undershirts!

    By this criteria, Final Four teams, you’re ALL losers in my book. GTFO.

  • Beardface | April 4, 2009 at 11:47 am |

    [quote comment="321394"]Those warmup unis are no reason to hate specifically on North Carolina. A lot of teams are wearing the same template.

    /not a north carolina fan[/quote]
    But Tyler Hansbrah being a complete and utter douchebag is a reason to hate on them

  • Scott Cranfill | April 4, 2009 at 11:47 am |

    [quote comment="321397"]Looks like another post for me to complain about the CCB trend of unis with no trim that look like undershirts![/quote]
    Excuse me, that’s “CBB trend”.

  • Beardface | April 4, 2009 at 11:50 am |

    [quote comment="321395"]The blatantly opinionated “homer” tone of the NCAA and This and That sections is way over the top even for a blog. I could care less about the Yanks, Mets, or UNC, but I agree with “Dude” and “Mike” and their comments.[/quote]
    Its all good… just a Mets fan still bitter about the fact they get trumped in just about everything they do…

    Get Santana? Phillies win the World Series
    Build a new spiffy stadium? Yankees build a new spiffier stadium.

    They’re the league’s little brother always crying for attention

  • BigMatt | April 4, 2009 at 11:53 am |

    Go NOVA! LOve their uniforms..
    and I have always HATED the font on the Carolina uniforms…WTF is that?

  • Calvin Yang | April 4, 2009 at 11:56 am |

    Only one problem… the two headline pictures up top are from the Korean league teams…. not Japanese..

    The one on the left is Lotte Giants and the right one is Doosan Bears of the Korean league.

  • KT | April 4, 2009 at 12:15 pm |

    “WTF is up with that “belt/sansabelt” thing? Jeebus — looks like a bomb got dropped on it.”

    Too soon. Too soon.

  • Stuby | April 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm |

    [quote comment="321398"][quote comment="321394"]Those warmup unis are no reason to hate specifically on North Carolina. A lot of teams are wearing the same template.

    /not a north carolina fan[/quote]
    But Tyler Hansbrah being a complete and utter douchebag is a reason to hate on them[/quote]
    C’mon now. The correct way to pronounce his name, according to John Thompson doing games on the radio, is Tyler Hansberry.

  • Stuby | April 4, 2009 at 12:21 pm |

    [quote comment="321396"][quote comment="321382"]Now batting, number one hundred and twelve…

    http://www.pref.sait...

    Don’t they have a uniform numbering system (tradition, maybe) where the pitchers where numbers in the teens (like Daisuke) and the star hitters wear numbers in the 50s (Ichiro, Hideki Matsui)? I also remember hearing somewhere that there is a traditional number for catchers. True?

    Great work today, guys. Looking forward to Part Deux.[/quote]
    I’m no Jeremy Brahm, but…there are traditional numbers in Japan.
    #18 is the traditional ace pitcher’s number.
    Catchers tend to take #27 for Carlton Fisk (learned that in Uni Watch’s column on meaningful jersey numbers).
    Numbers with the 4 digit tend to go to foreigners. #4 is universally avoided in Asia, as the equivalent to America’s #13. Also, Americans tend to gravitate toward the one number inaccessible in the MLB: #42.[/quote]
    Thanks, Mike, I knew I had seen the thing about the catcher somewhere. Shoulda known it was right here.

  • FLONK | April 4, 2009 at 12:35 pm |

    “Apologies is this was already posted, but the Fathers are celebrating 40 years in SD”

    -Does this guy read the blog AT ALL during the week? Or even the ESPN columns?

  • Ricko | April 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm |

    LI Phil works in the public sector, and his support staff recently was eliminated because of econonic conditions, which means he’s now doing the work of four people.

    I can’t speak for you, Flonk, but I’m gonna cut him a little slack if doesn’t have time to pore over UW and the Internet the way he used to.

    I recently got married, so I don’t have as much time as I once did, either. That make me a moron? (I mean about my time at UW, not for getting married, LOL)

    —Ricko

  • Robert in Dallas | April 4, 2009 at 1:34 pm |

    [quote comment="321392"]Kansas City also has a new stadium. Taxpayers ponied up $350M to rebuild The K. There’s an open house today. Looks gorgeous. But Kauffman was gorgeous to begin with.
    http://www.kansascit...

    KC always had the best (by far) of the stadiums built in the ’60s and early ’70s, so it is good to know that they spent a bunch of money to keep it up-to-date rather than replacing it.

  • Daniel | April 4, 2009 at 1:36 pm |

    Holy crap, Phil. It’s a different culture. Not everything can be made on what America judges…

  • timmy b | April 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm |

    Jeremy,

    Thanks loads for the links.

    I envy your knowledge of NPB baseball!

  • DJ Babiuk | April 4, 2009 at 2:36 pm |

    Interesting read, that’s for sure.

    Not really going to be following the hoops or spring training, but there’s some great hockey on today with major playoff implications. Bruins/Rangers, Blues/Stars, Jackets/Preds. I’ll personally be watching the Leafs/Habs game tonight, and keeping an eye on the Isles/Lightning as they continue on their quest for Tavares.

  • Jeremy Brahm | April 4, 2009 at 2:47 pm |

    Timmy b

    Some of the stuff that happens in NPB is different. The way the game is played, to the non-stop fans chanting, all dirt infields like our little league days, painted warning tracks and infields.

    Kyocera Dome, look at the infield dirt and orange?
    http://lh4.ggpht.com...

    Seibu Dome warning track white line
    http://images.bleedc...

    I got to see Ichiro have his coming out season in 1994 and it really pains me to see him out with the bleeding ulcer because he is a great player, plus I’m a Mariners’ fan.

    Just wait till you see the stuff from the Pacific League tomorrow. I’ll leave it at that.

  • rpm | April 4, 2009 at 3:08 pm |

    [quote comment="321384"]My favorite version of the Yomiuri Giants’ jersey has got to be this one.[/quote]

    best. links. ever.
    ____________________________________________

    good job on the post today guys, a clean read. as usual i disagree subjectively in many cases, but a great read non the less.
    now i try not to nit pick about silly things, so this is not a criticism, and just an observation. but you start things off by talking about how the teams tend to have a non traditional look by showing a pixture of a 1970′s japanese player in powder blues. but other then the “bubbling” of the stripes at the top of the pants, they look a lot like the 70′s twins, but with killer stirrups. no?
    http://1.bp.blogspot...

  • Jeremy Brahm | April 4, 2009 at 3:14 pm |

    It was very common for teams to have the light blue road uniforms in the 1970s. Actually Yakult even had theirs until the 1990s. The Seibu Lions always used a light blue until their change this year, which you will see tomorrow.

    Some teams did have different colors like green and orange, so they did not go with a blue road uniform in the 1970s. Plus if you look at what we had in the States at the time it was very similar.

  • Marty | April 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm |

    That’s kind of funny that the Carp are confused with the Reds. That was the WKRP mascot for an episode. Herb wore the suit, and he got into a fight with the WPIG pig.

  • =bg= | April 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm |

    [quote comment="321393"][quote comment="321392"]Kansas City also has a new stadium. Taxpayers ponied up $350M to rebuild The K. There’s an open house today. Looks gorgeous. But Kauffman was gorgeous to begin with.
    http://www.kansascit...

    And rumor is there may also be a Major League team playing there this year.[/quote]

    Post. Of. The. Day.

  • Jeremy Brahm | April 4, 2009 at 3:25 pm |

    Here is a picture of the Carp with all blue, including shoes and gloves.

    http://www.flickr.co...

  • JTH | April 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm |

    [quote comment="321413"][quote comment="321384"]My favorite version of the Yomiuri Giants’ jersey has got to be this one.[/quote]

    best. links. ever.[/quote]
    Thanks. I appreciate that because I searched for about 20 minutes trying to find some decent pics of Nigel in that Giants jersey. I finally gave up and dug out the DVD to get those screen grabs.

    Now I’m glad I made the effort.

    Of course, that’s nothing compared to the effort Phil and Jeremy put into this weekends posts…

  • Jeremy Brahm | April 4, 2009 at 3:33 pm |

    Carp picture from pre-C in the 1960s?
    http://thumbnail.ima...

  • LI Phil | April 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm |

    ok…finally able to get to the comments…

    [quote]Its all good… just a Mets fan still bitter about the fact they get trumped in just about everything they do[/quote]

    yeah…that’s it

    [quote]Those warmup unis are no reason to hate specifically on North Carolina. A lot of teams are wearing the same template[/quote]

    didn’t see that until after i’d posted on UNC…agreed, no reason to hate on them…but i don’t like the warmup templates (regardless of who’s wearing them)

    [quote]Does this guy read the blog AT ALL during the week? Or even the ESPN columns?[/quote]

    nope…not at all…and what is this “ESPN” of which you speak?

    [quote]Holy crap, Phil. It’s a different culture. Not everything can be made on what America judges…[/quote]

    so “america” isn’t the center of the universe? guess my attempt at sarcasm/humor was lost on you then…sorry

    [quote]Interesting read, that’s for sure[/quote]

    FTH GLG

  • Robert in Dallas | April 4, 2009 at 4:24 pm |

    [quote comment="321415"]That’s kind of funny that the Carp are confused with the Reds. That was the WKRP mascot for an episode. Herb wore the suit, and he got into a fight with the WPIG pig.[/quote]

    I award one gold star for the WKRP Carp reference.

  • Stuby | April 4, 2009 at 4:32 pm |

    [quote comment="321421"][quote comment="321415"]That’s kind of funny that the Carp are confused with the Reds. That was the WKRP mascot for an episode. Herb wore the suit, and he got into a fight with the WPIG pig.[/quote]

    I award one gold star for the WKRP Carp reference.[/quote]
    I can’t believe it was so easy to find…

    http://l.yimg.com/a/...

  • Jim Bullard | April 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm |

    Phil,

    I have to say, though I often disagree with your assessments of uniforms, I always look forward to your weekend posts. They are always very thorough and interesting.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Jumpman | April 4, 2009 at 6:25 pm |

    Jeff Adrien #4 UCONN wearing Jordan XI Concords. Heat!

  • Jumpman | April 4, 2009 at 6:29 pm |

    Hasheem Thabeet #34 sporting Jordan VII Hare. More Heat!

  • Jumpman | April 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm |

    Kemba Walker #15 UCONN ballin in some Jordan XI “Breds” Killin it!

  • Chris | April 4, 2009 at 6:38 pm |

    Read uniwatch all the time but never posted. Funny you should talk about the NPL uni’s today, I just watched Mr. Baseball yesterday. Big hit! Happy body!

    Being a lifetime Reds fan I find the Carp uni’s interesting. It’s like a bizzaro world version of the Reds. I found this goofy cartoon the Carp must play on their jumbotron before games. http://www.youtube.c...

    Anyone know of a site to get NPL jersey’s without actually being able to read jappanese or having to fly to Japan? I’d love to get a Carp jersey to wear to Reds games.

  • scott | April 4, 2009 at 6:41 pm |

    Gary Sheffield has played with a lot of teams in his career, but has he ever worn a dark-colored alt jersey as he will (presumably) do this season with the Mets? He started his career with the Brewers, Padres and Marlins, all before any of the three had dark-colored jerseys, and then moved on to the Dodgers, Braves, Yankees and Tigers. Perhaps when he was with the Dodgers the team might have worn blue jerseys a few times? Outside of that possibility, he’s played with teams that more or less respect traditional appearance.

  • Bill | April 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm |

    [quote comment="321428"]Gary Sheffield has played with a lot of teams in his career, but has he ever worn a dark-colored alt jersey as he will (presumably) do this season with the Mets? He started his career with the Brewers, Padres and Marlins, all before any of the three had dark-colored jerseys, and then moved on to the Dodgers, Braves, Yankees and Tigers. Perhaps when he was with the Dodgers the team might have worn blue jerseys a few times? Outside of that possibility, he’s played with teams that more or less respect traditional appearance.[/quote]
    Just realized this is now the second time Sheffield’s shared a uniform with his uncle.

  • Jumpman | April 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm |

    The floor at Ford Field for the Final Four is elevated – like a boxing ring. Never seen that before.

  • Jumpman | April 4, 2009 at 7:02 pm |

    #46 my bad – not XI concords but 6 Rings concords*

  • Paul Lukas | April 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm |

    [quote comment="321429"][quote comment="321428"]Gary Sheffield has played with a lot of teams in his career, but has he ever worn a dark-colored alt jersey as he will (presumably) do this season with the Mets? He started his career with the Brewers, Padres and Marlins, all before any of the three had dark-colored jerseys, and then moved on to the Dodgers, Braves, Yankees and Tigers. Perhaps when he was with the Dodgers the team might have worn blue jerseys a few times? Outside of that possibility, he’s played with teams that more or less respect traditional appearance.[/quote]
    Just realized this is now the second time Sheffield’s shared a uniform with his uncle.[/quote]

    Remember when the Mets almost acquired Sheffield during spring training a few years back (2003, I believe) but he went to the Braves instead? I think it’s now OK for me to say that they were so close to acquiring him at that time that the Mets’ stitcher had actually prepared a jersey for him and put it on a plane to Florida — but then either the GM or the owner got cold feet and killed the deal at the last second.

  • Paul Lukas | April 4, 2009 at 7:09 pm |

    And Sheffield also joins the fairly large group of players who’ve played for both the Mets and Yanks. I believe he’s the only new addition to that club this season. The only current Yankee to have played for the Mets is Xavier Nady.

  • Ricko | April 4, 2009 at 7:17 pm |

    Hmmm…sort of logo on that microphone.

    http://www.nj.com/me...

  • JTH | April 4, 2009 at 7:24 pm |

    [quote comment="321430"]The floor at Ford Field for the Final Four is elevated – like a boxing ring. Never seen that before.[/quote]
    I’m not sure if there are others, but in NCAA Divison I, Williams Arena in Minneapolis (University of Minnesota), Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indy (Butler) and the place in Nashville where Vanderbilt plays (the name escapes me) all have raised floors as well.

  • Dustin | April 4, 2009 at 7:50 pm |

    What’s the button/medallion at the base of the neckline on these NCAA jerseys? I noticed them first on the UConn jerseys, but I think State has them, too.

  • Kek | April 4, 2009 at 8:01 pm |

    Teebz, I thought of you…watching the Pens pregame and they’re in Carolina tonight. The arena lights were out and they were playing “Back in Black” by AC/DC.

    I thought “they must be wearing Teebz’ favorite jerseys” and sure ’nuff!

  • rpm | April 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm |

    LI Phil~
    for now on you are “LIPs” when i write. thought you might like to be the first to know that the first run of baseball, football, and hockey players are in the mold. have to be honest, i am not optimistic, might need a new game plan on the “pour”. i swear, i have been on the business end of a 150 pound man powered crucible with 2,000 degree molten bronze in it, and had an easier time pouring that into an opening the size of a dixie cup then i had “pouring” this today, what a mess.

  • rpm | April 4, 2009 at 8:18 pm |

    oh paul, didn’t know you were here today, i guess that info is for you too. well, especially you.

  • Dustin | April 4, 2009 at 8:18 pm |

    [quote comment="321436"]What’s the button/medallion at the base of the neckline on these NCAA jerseys? I noticed them first on the UConn jerseys, but I think State has them, too.[/quote]
    It looks like they are just team logos. The one on MSU’s jerseys look like an embroidered spartan helmet in a circle, while the UConn one is an interlocking U and C but it still looks reflective.

  • =bg= | April 4, 2009 at 8:22 pm |

    Getting ready to watch Ten Commandments on tape- watch it every year, sort of an Easter Tradition.
    The Egyptians may have been a-holes, but they had cool unis.

    So let it be written…..so let it be DONE.

  • rpm | April 4, 2009 at 8:34 pm |

    [quote comment="321441"]Getting ready to watch Ten Commandments on tape- watch it every year, sort of an Easter Tradition.
    The Egyptians may have been a-holes, but they had cool unis.

    So let it be written…..so let it be DONE.[/quote]

    ha ha ha ha ha ha! what a day, first the spinal tap pixtures, then …”may have been a-holes,but they had cool uni’s.” that is hysterical, especially because it’s true. i can’t wait until that comes on the tee-vee, i watch it every year too.

  • Jumpman | April 4, 2009 at 8:41 pm |

    [quote comment="321440"][quote comment="321436"]What’s the button/medallion at the base of the neckline on these NCAA jerseys? I noticed them first on the UConn jerseys, but I think State has them, too.[/quote]
    It looks like they are just team logos. The one on MSU’s jerseys look like an embroidered spartan helmet in a circle, while the UConn one is an interlocking U and C but it still looks reflective.[/quote]

    The logo on the back of the jerseys, above the NOB is what he’s talking about. I don’t think it’s the team logo.

  • Jeremy Brahm | April 4, 2009 at 8:42 pm |

    Chris,

    That video you had was from 1993.

    Here is one from 2001.
    http://www.youtube.c...

    The Carp were replaying these for their final season in the Hiroshima Municipal Stadium.

    The Yakyushop has some Japanese gear, but nothing with the new uniforms yet.
    http://www.yakyushop...

    And also Dugout Memories
    http://www.dugout-me...

  • LI Phil | April 4, 2009 at 8:45 pm |

    [quote comment="321438"]LI Phil~
    for now on you are “LIPs” when i write.[/quote]

    or, you could just use “phil”

    [quote]thought you might like to be the first to know that the first run of baseball, football, and hockey players are in the mold. have to be honest, i am not optimistic, might need a new game plan on the “pour”. i swear, i have been on the business end of a 150 pound man powered crucible with 2,000 degree molten bronze in it, and had an easier time pouring that into an opening the size of a dixie cup then i had “pouring” this today, what a mess.[/quote]

    aighty then…

    but i am looking forward to the finished product, whenever that may be

    cheers

  • Stuby | April 4, 2009 at 8:56 pm |

    Color-wise, I think it’s going to be a good looking final no matter who wins the 2nd game. Carolina white v. Michigan State green, or Michigan State white v. Villanova blue.

    Funny, but Carolina was also involved in one of the ugliest finals ever…

    http://thm-a01.yimg....

    Any other nominations for ugly Final matchups?

  • rpm | April 4, 2009 at 8:59 pm |

    okay, but i enjoy confusion, and might use it if i am referring to a string of people, like the big teebowski, LIPs…

  • Traxel | April 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm |

    Hansbrough is overexposed. He is a boring interview. I understand how everyone may be tired of seeing him. But, why is he a douchebag?

    NC2A, Please get rid of all the jersey litter!!!!

    KC would have a nice new downtown McStadium if the K were not just a little too nice to tear down. The Saucer Stadiums were plenty boring, easy to say go away. The K was just kind of neat. So the Royals were stuck with it and couldn’t get what everyone else was getting. I’ll be there next Friday. Hopefully it’s not still just a kinda nice place surrounded by a sea of asphalt. I think I’m going to wish it were a new downtown McStadium.

  • DaveMac | April 4, 2009 at 9:05 pm |

    Well Phil, you’ve been here quite a while now so it’s about time that a few disgruntled jerkoffs try to attack you for what you write. I guess it’s expected.

    Anyway, despite spending more money on players than the government spends on bailouts, the Yankees haven’t been able to win a World Series title since 2000. With those resources you think they’d be a little bit more consistent. I can’t imagine how many decades they’d go without a title if baseball actually had a salary cap.

    Keep up the good work, Phil.

  • rpm | April 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm |

    [quote comment="321449"]Well Phil, you’ve been here quite a while now so it’s about time that a few disgruntled jerkoffs try to attack you for what you write. I guess it’s expected.

    Keep up the good work, Phil.[/quote]

    amen

  • LarryB | April 4, 2009 at 9:15 pm |

    Interesting stuff today about Japanese uniforms.

    I wonder if there is a Japanese version of Uni Watch? Do the Japanese like throwbacks and talking about uniforms?

  • Jeremy Brahm | April 4, 2009 at 9:34 pm |

    Larry B

    There are other uniform watchers in Japan, the Ritomo site is good, but only on pro baseball. Plus with there being soooo many high schools in Japan, let alone colleges, basketball, volleyball, etc. I don’t think that anyone covers the range that we do.

    There probably is a website, but I don’t know of it off the top of my head.

    The Japanese high school tournament is a national tournament, so any high school in the country could be champions. You have to win your prefecture (state) tournament and then make it through the final 55 teams. It takes like 2 months but only gets big coverage in the final 55. But they do not have bracket picking like we do, yet it is still incredibly popular. Only 4,000 schools play in this tournament alone last year.

  • DJ | April 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm |

    What’s the button/medallion at the base of the neckline on these NCAA jerseys? I noticed them first on the UConn jerseys, but I think State has them, too.

    Nike reserves that disc for all its teams that win national titles. Why Villanova declined one for their jerseys is a question to be answered by someone smarter than me.

  • Teebz | April 4, 2009 at 9:53 pm |

    [quote comment="321437"]Teebz, I thought of you…watching the Pens pregame and they’re in Carolina tonight. The arena lights were out and they were playing “Back in Black” by AC/DC.

    I thought “they must be wearing Teebz’ favorite jerseys” and sure ’nuff![/quote]

    I was treated to Toronto-Montreal on HNIC. Made up for it in spades. :o)

  • Jordan | April 4, 2009 at 9:54 pm |

    The debut of the Chicago Machine lacrosse franchise reminds me that within the past year I helped lobby Middlesex Cricket Club to switch their nickname from “Crusaders” to “Machines”. Has a good Godfather of Soul vibe to it.

  • Chris Ode | April 4, 2009 at 10:21 pm |

    Am I seeing things, or is the Yomiuri Giants’ batting helmet the bearer of a patch ala the Chicago Cubs’?

  • Jeremy Brahm | April 4, 2009 at 10:25 pm |

    The Japanese teams have used the raised logo on their batting helmets for awhile. It has been debated who was first the Giants in Japan or the Cubs.

  • Ric | April 4, 2009 at 10:46 pm |

    Ty Lawson needed a new jersey after Psycho T bled all over it… he’s now wearing 25 instead of 5.

  • Jordan Pope | April 4, 2009 at 11:37 pm |

    [quote comment="321453"]What’s the button/medallion at the base of the neckline on these NCAA jerseys? I noticed them first on the UConn jerseys, but I think State has them, too.

    Nike reserves that disc for all its teams that win national titles. Why Villanova declined one for their jerseys is a question to be answered by someone smarter than me.[/quote]

    I believe it has something to do with being a Nike ELITE school

  • Prexy Hater | April 4, 2009 at 11:57 pm |

    I see that Sheffield is going to wear #10. Any chance that he switches to #16? I’m not a Mets fan, but it still shocks me that Gooden and Strawberry don’t have their numbers retired…

  • JTH | April 4, 2009 at 11:58 pm |

    [quote comment="321446"]Color-wise, I think it’s going to be a good looking final no matter who wins the 2nd game. Carolina white v. Michigan State green, or Michigan State white v. Villanova blue.

    Funny, but Carolina was also involved in one of the ugliest finals ever…

    http://thm-a01.yimg....

    Any other nominations for ugly Final matchups?[/quote]
    Really, I can’t remember too many truly bad finals. Those 1982 Georgetown unis were not easy on the eyes.

    2004 was less than gorgeous, but not terrible.

    I think I’d have to agree that 1993 was one of the worst. I remember watching that game on a TV where the color was all fucked up. The middle third or so of the screen made both uniforms look like they were pale green. I couldn’t tell who was who half the time.

  • LarryB | April 5, 2009 at 12:09 am |

    [quote comment="321452"]Larry B

    There are other uniform watchers in Japan, the Ritomo site is good, but only on pro baseball. Plus with there being soooo many high schools in Japan, let alone colleges, basketball, volleyball, etc. I don’t think that anyone covers the range that we do.

    There probably is a website, but I don’t know of it off the top of my head.

    The Japanese high school tournament is a national tournament, so any high school in the country could be champions. You have to win your prefecture (state) tournament and then make it through the final 55 teams. It takes like 2 months but only gets big coverage in the final 55. But they do not have bracket picking like we do, yet it is still incredibly popular. Only 4,000 schools play in this tournament alone last year.[/quote]

    Thanks Jeremy, I figured if there are sports fans someplace there must be uniform watchers too.

  • Dustin | April 5, 2009 at 12:17 am |

    [quote comment=\"321443\"][quote comment=\"321440\"][quote comment=\"321436\"]What\’s the button/medallion at the base of the neckline on these NCAA jerseys? I noticed them first on the UConn jerseys, but I think State has them, too.[/quote]
    It looks like they are just team logos. The one on MSU\’s jerseys look like an embroidered spartan helmet in a circle, while the UConn one is an interlocking U and C but it still looks reflective.[/quote]

    The logo on the back of the jerseys, above the NOB is what he\’s talking about. I don\’t think it\’s the team logo.[/quote]
    I had actually replied to my own post on that. I definitely meant the Nike Elite button that was mentioned above. Some Big East schools have the conference logo below the front neckline, but UConn in this case has the \”Big East\” logo between the rear neckline and the NOB.

  • DJ Babiuk | April 5, 2009 at 12:54 am |

    Ah, that was a messy night of puck. Ugh, bring on the baseball.

    FTH indeed, Phil. Shoot me a line sometime. Talk about a lucky fluke.

  • Patrick M | April 5, 2009 at 10:37 pm |

    The Japanese unis were interesting but I wonder why they are lettered in English rather than in Japanese. Instead of “Carp” shouldn’t it say “Koi”? Or maybe “Sushi”?

  • Jeremy Brahm | April 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm |

    [quote comment=\"321542\"]The Japanese unis were interesting but I wonder why they are lettered in English rather than in Japanese. Instead of \”Carp\” shouldn\’t it say \”Koi\”? Or maybe \”Sushi\”?[/quote]

    Patrick M, the main reason that the teams use english for the team names is that they always have, even pre-WWII. Here is a Hanshin Tigers poster from 1936.
    http://www.baseball-...

    Now some of teams pre-WWII did use pictographs, the Giants did a team called Nagoya Kinkogun (Golden Whales), but it was not on their uniforms, only in print script.

    Actually I did find a Giants uniform with the first pictograph character (kyo, short for Kyojin or Giant) on the uniform here.
    http://f55.aaa.lived...

    If you you at high school ball, pictographs are everywhere.

    As for the player names, it has always been in romanization since the 1970s.