By Phil Hecken, back again with SQL
Here we are back in the colored sani wonderland with an in-depth look at the teams of the Senior Circuit. In case you missed the first part, there’s the linky. Let’s get right into things:
Mets: I know I’m treading on thin ice, tinkering with yours and Paul’s favorite team’s uni and quite frankly I can understand that many may cringe at the sight of this. Even I, with my orange bias in full throttle mode, cannot fully get over the ‘bullfighter” effect of this one (especially blatant in the Keith Hernandez pictures) Grade: B- (Didn’t I tell you I loooved orange?)
Braves: Time to take on my own favourite team. I came up with two looks here: blue on red and red on blue and both end up being equal letdowns. The red stirrups fit the pant piping better but I like the red socks more… In the end, I think the nerdy way Smoltzie wears his pants doesn’t really help my case here… Grade: D-
Marlins: Holy Guacamole! I absolutely adore this one. I think it looks way better with the road grays than plain white sanis would do. The sweet bicolour shoes displayed by the D-Train also help a lot by providing a nice counterpoint to the black stirrups. Grade: A+
Phillies: Another bicolour conundrum, the reigning Champs never the less leave an escape route with the oh-so subtle touch of blue on their current unis. All in all, I probably should have abstained from this one and concentrated my work on one of the all time great looks: the Mike Schmidt era pinstriped maroon beauties. The colored socks work quite well here but with the move to white we lose the stirrup/piping coordination which contributed to make the look so good in the first place. Grade: F (Actual) C- (Retro)
Nationals: It’s actually quite hard to keep track of the Nats uniform changes from France (except of course for their regular miscues) since they’re, for the most part, pretty irrelevant and I realized too late that I had used a no longer worn version of their road uniform for this mock up. Too bad because both versions look quite nice even though the burgundy one takes the cake IMHO. The home duds look pretty neat too, when paired with the gold socks, but I assume it’s all about the stirrups here, as white sanis would also do the trick. Grade: B (Road) C (Home)
Brewers: One of the teams that actually sported the colored sani look before, the Brewers fail to recapture the magic of the good old days here. As always the stirruped look looks mighty fine but the gold socks aren’t that much of an improvement over traditional white ones. Maybe a little bit more with the road version. Grade: D (Home) D+ (Road)
Cubs: As bad as it looks when associated with the home uniform (and bad it is), the look almost manages to make it with the solid blue away jersey. In the end its demise comes from the overall clutter of the whole and the fact that this blue jersey just sucks to begin with. Grade: F (Home) C- (Road)
Astros: With their unwavering decision to stick to the solid brick top on the road, the Astros are a prime candidate for the colored sani program. Just looking at the Hunter Pence pictures is enough to realize that brick red socks are a much better fit than white ones for this team. The Lance Berkman shot is just here to make the point more obvious. Just for kicks, I tried my hand at the infamous tequila sunrise duds and was happy to discover that not even striped socks could alter their unmitigated awesomeness. Grade: A+ (Road) C (Retro)
Pirates: So this is why they’re calling it striking gold! If this one isn’t a home run, it’s at the very least a 3 RBI triple. Why haven’t the Buccos (who spent the last few seasons wearing a red vest and the best part of the 70’s dressed as bumblebees on acid) ever tried this one? Doesn’t it seem completely natural for them? Has Oakland copyrighted the look? Anyway this is one of my favourites and I think the Pirates should make the switch right away. Grade: A++
Cardinals: Tinkering with such a classic look as the Cards’ almost feel sacrilegious, especially when it involves their unearthly beautiful striped stirrups. Fortunately their despicable road caps give us an excuse to try it anyway and for the record navy doesn’t look better down there than it does up here. Grade: F–
Reds: Why would a team called the Reds would ever consider wearing any color outside of crimson, scarlet or gore is beyond the reach of my feeble mind. But anyway, since this black eye of a uni gives us an opportunity to work with, that the classic two-tone look would have precluded, I suppose we should all be thankful…Not. The bitter lesson as always: you can’t polish a turd. And putting a cherry on top of it won’t turn it into a birthday cake. Grade: D
Rockies: Saddled with the worst look in all the majors the poor Rockies are in dire need of a sartorial overhaul (And I’m not even a purple hater). The purple socks do just that, working well with both versions of the uniform, particularly with the solid jersey. All in all, a solid improvement (which may not mean a lot considering the pits we’re starting from). Grade: A
Diamondbacks: The D-Backs have so many different uniform combinations that maybe one of the lot would look right with colored socks. This one sure isn’t. Grade: D-
Padres: The off-gold sanis look good with the solid blue top but would probably make your eyes bleed if paired with ‘urine’ toned away uniform. The throwback look is so good to begin with, that the gold socks only make it more cluttered. Sometimes, less is more. Grade: B (Current) B- (Throwback)
Giants: The Jints are a tricky case because of their wearing of an off-white cream home uni. Basically there’s no white whatsoever in their uniform and you could say the white sanis almost clash with it. In a perfect world that would make them the poster child of the colored sani movement. The cold reality is a bit harsher. With White shoes perhaps? Grade: F
Dodgers: This one is more of a stylistic exercise as it’s quite clear from the start that the blue stirrups/white sock combo is by far the best for this team (even though all current members of the roster somehow fail to grasp that basic fact). The Uni is so good anyway that it almost pulls the red socks look. Almost. Grade: D
Thus endeth the colored sani project of SQL. Quite an impressive job, even if we don’t agree on the finished product. SQL has a few of his own post-mortems on the project, so here he is again:
Now that we’ve cornered all the individual teams and clearly establish that not all uniforms are tailored to fit the colored sanis variation, I think we may try to single out a few ground rules about what makes the look work or not:
1. Solid colored jerseys help. Like a lot. Just look back at the Rockies and Astros for visual confirmation.
2. As do two-toned caps. In this case the stirrups matches the crown while the sock matches the lid (See Orioles and Indians).
3. Road Unis are a better fit. Actually, it’s because road grays aren’t that great a fit for the white sanis because, wait for it … they hardly contain any white.
4. Low cut stirrups are probably the way to go. Too much color exposed, especially for the pastel tones, may provoke the now dreaded ‘Bullfighter’ effect.
5. Some teams are better suited than others. Be it because they’ve been mired in uni limbo for so long (Twins, Nationals, Rangers, Rockies ) that any move would be a good one at this point or because it just look good for them (Jays, Marlins, Pirates). Not all teams are created equal when it comes to colored hosiery.
6. Dark on top makes you hop, light on top makes you throw up. The stirrups have to be darker than the sanis. It’s not even negociable (see A’s or Giants).
7. Stay away from the classics. Adding a mustache to Mona Lisa can be fun but it’s hardly an improvement.
Well, here we are I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride and I can’t wait to hear your take on some of these.
Many thanks to Phil for lending me is soapbox for a while. Now, if you don’t mind I must go back to work: I have a big project centred around what MLB teams would look if they had all tried white sox style short pants. Just kidding.
Wow. Again, many thanks to SQL for undertaking this visual cornucopia. I don’t have a lot to add to his six points above, as they are quite excellent (and I gave you my thoughts on this in “Part the First”). I will say that I really like the look for the Pirates, and especially for the San Diego Padres throwback. Unfortunately, they didn’t wear colored sanis when they wore that uni, and it’s basically a one-off and not a regular uniform choice. I think a couple of the others were interesting possibilities, but like SQL said, most of the colored sanis work better with the alternate tops, I’m not really going to be advocating for that anytime soon.
So, give a big hearty thanks to SQL for this undertaking, and let us know, Uni Watchers, what you think of the “colored sani project.” Anything strike your fancy? Anything worth pursuing? Surely there is something here you like (and probably some things you don’t). Talk about it below.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: This one shouldn’t be too difficult, since there are plenty of clues right there on the scoreboard. The pic comes courtesy of Tom Farley. Remember, don’t post the result, just put the linky in the comments. Ready? Guess The Game.
If you guys have any scoreboard pics (the date of which you can identify, or at least have an idea), please send ’em my way. Thanks!
And we don’t just track MLB teams here, we even have guys who do it for the Minor Leagues. Tyler Maun who is employed by, and tracks, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, checks in with this report:
We’ve got three different jerseys and another one that has found its way into the mix this year (I’ll explain later). The Pelicans’ color scheme is a cross somewhere between the Tampa Bay Rays and the throwback San Diego Chargers/UCLA Bruins look. We have three primary colors: navy and powder blue (officially known as Midnight and Pelicans Blue) and yellow (Sun Gold). The standard home and road look is a vest for each; white home and gray road per usual. The piping around the sleeves and down the pants on each is supposed to echo nautical/dock rope and tie into the dock rope surrounding the circular backdrop to the team’s primary logo. The franchise’s official history says, “the Pelicans are the first professional sports team to use the unique shade of Pelicans Blue,” but team management has said it was inspired at least in part by the Chargers and Bruins. Both vests are worn over powder blue sleeves with powder blue caps to match, one with the team’s interlocking “MB” logo and one with the Pelican head. The color scheme and new uni set was adopted when the franchise was bought by Greenberg Sports Group in 2006. A third Pelicans Blue alternate is mixed in a lot, equally at home and on the road. The alternates are mesh, so the guys like to wear them on hot nights. However, they show sweat considerably more than the vests which is an unfortunate side effect in a place that regularly has humidity somewhere in the quadruple digits on summer nights. With a 24-39 overall record (a rough year for a team that won more games than any team in Minor League Baseball last year), here’s our record breakdown as it stands after a June 16th doubleheader:
Home white: 5-11
Pelicans Blue alternate: 10-12
Road gray: 8-14
Batting practice jerseys: 1-2
Obviously that last one stands out. I don’t travel with the team on every road trip, but as the story goes, earlier this year on the road, the guys were mired in a seven-game losing streak and decided something needed to change. So they went with the club’s navy blue BP two-button pullovers but apparently tried wearing them with the powder blue Pelican head cap instead of their matching navy blue BP hat. Manager Rocket Wheeler, as the story goes, saw the first few guys come out of the clubhouse and said, “Absolutely not. Get back inside and change those hats.”
The Pelicans wear powder blue stirrups with pant legs hiked up night in and night out, as required by a Braves’ organizational rule for minor league affiliates. In fact, the team was featured in an April 21 Wall Street Journal story about stirrups in the minors (in which Paul was quoted). By and large, the guys don’t like them much, but nobody complains. I know the powder blue stirrups probably didn’t look great on the day they went with the navy blue BP jerseys and caps because that’s the look we see the team rock for batting practice everyday. The team embraces its identity, though. A lot of the guys have commented on how nice it is to play on the only team in the organization with a unique moniker. The Pelicans are the only Braves’ affiliate not named the Braves. (AAA Gwinnett, AA Mississippi, A Rome, rookie-level Danville and the rookie-level Gulf Coast League squad all sport the name of the parent club.)
Couple of things: First, I want to pass along my well-wishes to John Okray (“Johnny O”) who was going to be joining with me this weekend on a US Open-inspired article, but he had a bit of a personal matter and that is going to have to wait. In addition, I went to the US Open practice round Tuesday (took the camera, still haven’t had time to see if anything good came out), and slogged through the still-soaked course yesterday (although the weather was beautiful). It was great following Mr. Michelson around for half his round and having the gallery absolutely worshiping me everywhere I walked. All those screams of “You da man, Phil” really made me feel welcome. But I was going to incorporate all that into the post with Johnny O, so that’s going to be postponed.
And I wanted to thank everyone for being on your best behavior and being extremely supportive of my efforts while I filled in for Paul this past week. You guys are great. And to all of my co-collaborators, I thank you all for your suggestions and your efforts!
I have a couple of things I can run for tomorrow, so we can have a full column if you’d like. Or, we can have kind of a “Father’s Day Open Thread” and open the board up to you all. I know I’ll be spending a majority of the day away from the board, and I imagine a number of you have plans as well. But I’ll leave it up to you: if you want a full column, that’s cool, or if you think maybe an Open Thread is the way to go, we can do that as well. If you care, or have a preference, maybe post it in the comments.
Other than that, everyone have a great Saturday. No matter where you live, I hope the weather is great, your health is good, and your spirits are up. Peace.