Pudge Rodriguez was at the center of a bizarre sequence of events during last night’s Cards/’Stros game. It began when he announced prior to the game that he was changing his uni number from 12 to — get this — 77. The backstory can be found in this article, which explains:
“That’s my number,” [Rodriguez] said. “I’ve used that number all my career. I respect I cannot wear No. 7 here because (Craig) Biggio retired the jersey. But it’s always a good thing to have two sevens instead of one. You can see seven from the left and seven from the right. You don’t have to turn too much. Just seven all over the place.”
Rodriguez wore No. 7 throughout his major league career until he settled for No. 12 after he was traded late last year to the New York Yankees, who retired No. 7 in honor of Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle. In Houston, No. 7 is retired in honor of Biggio.
“I was just missing my number,” Rodriguez said. “And pretty much all my career it’s been No. 7, so I find it an interesting thing and create something big.”
Uh, whatever you say, Pudgester. I couldn’t find any wire service photos of Rodriguez, so I went to the game video so I could get some shots of his new number (here’s one showing how it looks with his catching gear).
While I was doing that, I noticed that his front uni number appeared to be black, instead of Houston’s usual red. That shot is from the 2nd inning, but maybe it was just poor video quality, because he definitely had a red number in this 7th inning photo, which I found this morning.
Meanwhile, as I was watching all this game footage of Rodriguez, he squibbed a foul ball toward the first base dugout camera. It his the camera right in the lens, leaving an impression of the laces that was visible in the subsequent camera shot. Never seen that before, and never would’ve seen it this time if I hadn’t been hunting for good images of Pudge.
Finally, as you may have noticed in several of those photos, the Astros wore their lunar landing caps last night.
Membership Update: As if it hadn’t been enough to have a sock and stirrup dealer advertising on the site for two months, we now have a Uni Watch Membership Program enrollee who’s requested a card design based on a sock pattern — a request that Scott and I were only too happy to grant. The enrollee is Craig Dodge, and I think you’re all familiar with the sock design in question (which Craig chose because it matches the name of his blog). Nicely done, bud. Kudos also to new member Shaun Ploenzke, who went for the late-’70s Cavs treatment. Like I’ve always said, the most garish uniforms make the most interesting membership cards.
Stirrup Club Update: Robert Marshall is continuing his heroic efforts to single-handedly sustain the integrity of baseball hosiery by making stirrups available to the masses in less-than-massive quantities. This month’s designs: old-school A’s and Cardinals. You can order either one, both, or neither (but only a chump would get neither). Full details here.
And Baked Agbayani for Dessert: Remember, live Mets uniform quiz contest tonight, at Two Boots. Festivities begin at 7pm and I’m told that I’ll be going on third, after Greg Prince and Jon Springer, and before Matt Silverman.
And if that’s not enough to entice you, check out this note from the evening’s host, Two Boots manager Phil Hartman:
We’ll be marking the occasion by serving up “The Montañez” — a spicy chorizo and andouille pizza, with a jalapeño pesto swirl. Fitting, I think, for the spicy and over-styled Willie. And at the bar, we will be serving “The Hammer,” the ingredients of which are as inscrutable as John Milner’s career.
I selected these because they sum up my feelings about the Mets. Milner was my favorite Met in the late ’70s, and he was traded for Montañez, perhaps my least favorite player in all of baseball. I specifically remember cursing the baseball gods when I heard about it. Yet within a few weeks of the onset of the ’78 season, I had become a big Monteñez fan — after all, he was now part of the family.
Should be a swell night. Come dressed as your favorite injured Met and get a free cortisone shot! (Free cortisone shot not included.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: Nike conducted a seven-on-seven tourney for high school football players the other day, and Mark Boothby notes that the team names — Land Sharks, Vapor Trail, Zoom Blade, Zoom Fly, Field Sharks, etc. — were all taken from the names of Nike cleats. … Really interesting piece on the design of money and other finance-related products here. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The new Royals Hall of Fame includes some prototype logos that were developed by the folks at Hallmark but never used. … You can’t access the Sports Business Daily site without a subscription, so here’s an excerpt from a story that appeared the other day: “Yankees attorneys are demanding that Long Island resident Steve Lore’s trademarked phrase ‘the house that juice built’ be banned. Lore coined the phrase to ‘express his disgust over steroid use in baseball. The team’s lawyers also want to ban Lore’s T-shirt design that shows the ‘Yankee top hat logo with the bat replaced by a syringe'” (big thanks to Todd Radom). … Stop whatever you’re doing and check out this amazing promotional trailer produced by Brunswick in 1960. It features all their bowling alley equipment for that year, and it’s totally the bomb. Part One is here, and Part Two continues here. Not to be missed, my friends (major find by Jon Hammer and Karen McBurnie, who went bowling with me on Saturday at Paul’s Bar & Bowling in Paterson, N.J., which, by coincidence, has many of the original fixtures shown in the film). … Here’s a sport I hadn’t been aware of: Segway polo (as forwarded by Luke Engen). … Tim Hudson wore stirrups for a minor league rehab start on Sunday (with thanks to Jonathon Binet). … A little birdie tells me that a fan wearing an “I’m Calling It Shea” T-shirt was recently featured on the Mets’ jumbotron during one of those between-innings quiz segments, much to the consternation of team brass. Bite me, Fred and Jeff! … Good thing we recently ran all that Tecmo Bowl material, because Nike has just released a new sneaker featuring the Teco Bowl version of Bo Jackson. There’s a baseball version, too. Between my hatred of Nike and my indifference to video games and sneakers, I’d say this is more or less the least likely item ever to have appeared in the Ticker (all credit to Dane Drutis). … Remember that Royals Hall of Fame sleeve patch? It apparently looked like this (courtesy of Mike Vamosi). … As I believe many of you are already aware, new football unis in the offing for Arizona State. … Cycling news from Mike Rich, who writes: “As you probably know, riders in the Tour de France (and the other Pro Tour races, for that matter) wear a special jersey if they are their National Champion in the particular event. Thus, the road racing champions wear their National Champion jersey in most every stage of the Tour de France. Current Italian National Road Racing Champion Filippo Pozzato has worn this jersey for most of the Tour. But the Italian Cycling Federation apparently didn’t approve of the design. On Sunday he was wearing a decidedly different, supposedly approved jersey. Photos are elusive at the moment, but it featured three thick vertical stripes rendered in the colors of the Italian flag.” … Ever wonder what the Apollo 11 landing site would look like superimposed on a baseball diamond? Me neither, but here it is anyway (with thanks to Ryan Connelly).