Reader Sean Robbins just alerted me to some weird stuff that went down two nights ago in San Diego, and it relates to something that came up in my ESPN column last week, so I want to spend some time with it today.
It all started with two outs in the top of the 5th, when Padres starter Clayton Richard had a few buttons come undone on his jersey. To his credit, he recognized the problem right away and fixed it. Only problem is, he botched it (additional images here).
Richard got the final out of the inning on the very next pitch, so that should have been that. But his spot in the order was due to lead off the bottom of the inning, so he grabbed a bat a strode up to the plate with his buttons still askew (additional screen shots here). After he struck out and returned to the dugout, someone must have alerted him to his problematic placket, because he looked shipshape when he went out to pitch the top of the 6th.
Meanwhile, in that very same game, Giants starter Matt Cain was sporting a Pedro porthole.
All of which leads me to a question that came up toward the end of last week’s ESPN column: Why do baseball jerseys have buttons? Wouldn’t pullovers make more sense, or at least zippers? It’s a bit of a conundrum for me, because I think buttons look snazzier (and we all enjoy seeing little snafus like the one being showcased here today), but I also believe in form following function, and I see no functional utility to a button-front jersey. I only see buttons coming undone, balls getting lost inside jerseys, unsightly gaps in the placket, team logos that look like crap as they cross the divide, and related problems. What do you folks think? What about Under Armour’s solution, which is to provide two functional buttons at the top and then have non-functional ornamental buttons down the length of a faux placket? I confess that I kinda like this — you can’t even tell that the buttons are just there for show, and you avoid all the problems presented by a real button-front placket.
Incidentally, in that same game, the first letter of Matt Cain’s NOB was floating a bit high. And the following night (i.e., last night), Eugenio Velez came up to the plate in the 12th inning sporting a look that gave new meaning to the term “pajama-style.” As the Giants announcers pointed out, it looked like he thought the game was over and had already started to take off his uniform. Velez, you may recall, has already been at the center or one major jersey story this season, so he’s on a roll.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Speaking of button-related problems, you know how the Phils’ jersey insignia sometimes looks like it has an extra l? Ross Bergman has made a DIY T-shirt version of that phenomenon, which I think is pretty brilliant. He’s also done lots of other DIY stuff. “It’s not all sports-related, as I’ve made stuff for friends and family who aren’t into sports too much, but it all comes from a love for uniforms,” he says. “Most of the work I make with felt, but I’ve also done some with tackle twill. It’ll be cool to see what people in the Uni Watch community think of it.” … Oh man, how awesome is this old Levi’s ad (great find by Ryan Connelly). … Hahahahahaha (with thanks to Clint Yarborough). … According to the “News of the Day” section near the top of this article, Colorado football is going NNOB this fall (with thanks to Matthew Robins). … Uni Watch’s favorite table tennis player, Naomi Yotsumoto, now has her own line of trading cards. “You can even get a card with some her costume (with real sweat, hopefully not) and the rubber of her table tennis racket,” says Jeremy Brahm. … Several soccer-related items from Jeremy Richardson: a new logo for Bundesliga; a video clip about the U.S. equipment managers; and — the real prize — a great site devoted to World Cup player portraits. … Here’s the oldest swatch-inclusive baseball uniform catalog I’ve ever come across. It’ll no doubt end up selling for way more than I’m willing to spend, but it’s still exciting just to see the photos. … Really wonderful video clip about a small NYC tailor’s shop here. Highly recommended. … Wanna get absolutely nothing done today? Check out — if you dare — this astonishingly good site of old photos (blame Kirsten). … The new “Flannel of the Month” blog entry from Ebbets Field has a really interesting story about Rube Waddell. … We’ve talked a bit lately about the baseball centennial logo, and now Bruce Menard has found it lurking in an unusual place — check it out. That’s Commissioner Landis buying the first set of baseball centennial stamps from the U.S. Postmaster General in Cooperstown on June 12, 1939. “Dig the centennial caps they’re wearing!” says Bruce. “I’ve never seen that before. I’ve also attached a pic of what those stamps looked like and a First Day Issue letter with a peculiar version of the centennial logo — looks like the Japanese rising sun!” Great stuff, and here’s an additional note: The caption to that photo refers to Landis not just as Commissioner but as “High Commissioner,” which sounds disturbingly close to grand poobah or imperial wizard or something. … Matt Ryburn sent along some scans from this book about ballparks. Among the highlights: great cartoons about Dodger Stadium and Shea; a really tremendous early shot of the Big A; patriotic marching formations by the St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators; Mary Ebbets raising the flag — with spectacular sweaters in the background — at the opening of Ebbets Field in 1913; and one more shot of the Astrodome grounds crew. … Best flocked-helmet photo ever. Even better, that’s Roy Face, who was a pitcher (great find, Phil).