The nice thing about Thanksgiving, aside from stuffing your face and watching the Lions lose again, is the elemental simplicity of the holiday’s premise: Surely even the most downtrodden of us has something to be thankful for. But there’s no denying that some people have a few extra blessings to count. I refer, of course, to those of us — or, rather, those of you — whose favorite team is not owned by Fred and Jeff Wilpon.
Before we get to Fred and Jeff’s latest uni-related snafu, it’s important to understand just how badly the Mets’ visual identity has deteriorated under their watch. Let these facts be submitted to a candid world: There’s been the endless procession of alternate caps; the miserable black alternate jerseys; the pointless addition of black drop shadows to everything; the shunting aside of blue as a team color, especially on the road uniform; the wearing of the road cap at home; the near-disappearance of the home pinstripes; the removal of the “NY” from the skyline logo; the needless imposition of a black skyline logo; the worst stadium-opening sleeve patch in MLB history; and on and on.
With this impressive body of work behind them, the Wilpons announced yesterday that they’re changing their home pinstripes from a white-based fabric to an off-white cream. On its face, this is fine — it’s a very small cosmetic change that I don’t mind and that most fans won’t even notice. Hooooowever:
1) Why did this “news” merit a multi-paragraph press release and an e-mail blast? Look, here’s all you need: “You know that pinstriped uni we never wear? Next year it’ll be beige instead of white,” the end. You can put that on Twitter and still have enough characters left for a few Willie Randolph jokes.
2) Let’s take a closer look at the middle of that announcement:
The Mets created the retro uniform following research and positive responses to the jerseys the 1969 World Champion Mets wore during their 40th anniversary celebration in August. The natural color and pinstripes were staples of the original Mets uniform when the team debuted in 1962.
Um, guys, you didn’t “create” anything — you just told Majestic to change the fabric from white to Pantone 155, or whatever. More importantly, though, how can you call this jersey “retro” — and how can you have the chutzpah to claim the spirits of ’62 and ’69 as your inspiration — when the new cream pinstripes will still have that accursed drop-shadow?!
It’s right about here that my head explodes.
Here are the World Series reunion jerseys referenced in the press release — the ones that supposedly generated all the “positive responses.” Notice any drop shadows there? The issue isn’t that the shadow-free script looks better than the shadowed script (although it certainly does); the issue is that the Mets can’t even do retro accurately. They can’t even describe what they’re doing accurately! It’s an affront — not just to those early, pre-Wilpon Mets squads and the fans who cheered for them, but to anyone with a functioning brain pan. I mean, seriously, you have to work pretty hard to screw up something this simple.
It’s all too much. The Bernazard thing, the vanilla stadium with the corporate name and the 37 price tiers, the GM who thinks it’s a good idea to call out a beat writer at a press conference, the bottomless pit of medical misdiagnoses — and I’m not even counting the on-field performance. I’m just talking about the most basic aspects of team ownership and stewardship. These guys aren’t just bad at it; they’re the definition of dysfunctional. If the Mets were their kid, Child Services would’ve whisked the team into foster care years ago.
And so, Fred and Jeff, in the spirit of the holiday season, I send you the following Thanksgiving wishes: I hope you gag on your turkey, spill cranberry sauce on your suits, and get gravy stains on your ties. I hope your wine is corked, your mashed potatoes lumpy, and your pumpkin pie spoiled. I hope your staff quits at the last moment and spends the day peppering you with crank calls from “me, your old pal Bernie Madoff, don’t you remember?” Then I hope you get the runs afterward. The two of you deserve nothing less.
And nothing more.
To everyone else, happy almost-Thanksgiving — travel safe today, wherever you’re heading.
(Thanks to Brian Erni for the side-by-side jersey comparison.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: Did you know there’s a little factory in upstate New York that’s been making NBA game-day jerseys for 40 years? Now Adidas wants to outsource that work to Thailand, a move that will cost 100 jobs. Happy Thanksgiving! … The Sacramento State football team all went with “Mattos” nameplates on Saturday in honor of former Sac State coach Bob Mattos, who is battling brain cancer (with thanks to Marty Kobata). … Missouri riflery gallery, complete with embarrassing collar slogan and obligatory D-ring photo, here. … “I was watching Real Sports on HBO tonight,” says Brad Wasserman, “and Bryant Gumbel was in the NFL offices interviewing the head of NFL security when he walked by a a wall that featured every NFL team’s sock pattern!” Actually, as you can see, some of them are pants piping patterns, but still — I’ll take the whole set in my Christmas stocking, thanks. … Hmmm, interesting design. That’s Emporia State, a D-II school from Kansas (with thanks to Brian Hansen). … Did you know the Phillies once lost their gear on the way to 1920 game against the Dodgers in Brooklyn? They eneded up having to to borrow the Dodgers’ road uniforms, along with some shoes and bats. The whole thing is described is hilariously florid detail here. It looks like a lot to digest, I know, but just click on that first thumbnail and then click on “All Sizes” — you won’t be disappointed by what you read, I promise you (big, big thanks to Morris Levin). … Things you learn when you’re stuck home with the chickenpox: My Name Is Earl, which I had never ever watched before, is a gas.
Holiday Schedule: The site will be open for chatter tomorrow. We’ll also be open on Friday — maybe just for chatter, maybe even some actual content. We shall see.
I can’t spend the holiday with my family on account of the ’pox, but Kirsten and I plan on rustlin’ up some fine grub for ourselves. Everyone have a healthy and a happy. And remember: White meat’s for suckers.