By Phil Hecken`
Quick — how many teams in the major leagues wear a red alternate jersey? Not sure? Give a guess…
If you look quickly at the graphic above, you might say it’s 17. Seventeen? No way. Of course not, but with the exception of the New York Yankees, who have not a drop of red on their uniform, but red is featured prominently in one of their logos, sixteen teams wear red as either an accent or as one of the predominant colors of their uniform. That is more than half of MLB.
Back when we were discussing BFBS (or “Black For Black’s Sake”) and arguing over the definition, an argument was made that any team who uses black as part of their “official” colorscheme therefore has the right to a black alternate, and this would not be considered “BFBS.” This wasn’t my argument, but it was one which was offered in defense of those teams who sport black.
That whole exercise got me thinking — how many teams wear red alternates now? Well, it isn’t sixteen, but it is…wait for it…eight teams. More than one quarter of the entire league sports a red jersey. People who complain about “white and gray” being ‘boring’ and who don’t find the alternate top to be so, I ask you how you feel about the red jersey trend. Is this inherently better than good old white and gray?
Now, you know how I feel about alternates — I hate them, and don’t find them the least bit necessary (other than to move more merch). But when one fourth of all teams have the same (or pretty close to it) alt? C’mon.
One could make the case that certain teams can lay legitimate claim to wearing a red top. OK, if you have “Red” in your team name, of course it makes sense to use that color for your alternate, right?
Turn on the highlights some time, without sound, and you’d have a hard time figuring out which teams are playing. For example, here’s Adam Dunn wearing a red top. Here he is in a red top, and here’s one more. Three photos of the same guy, with a red jersey and a red cap, playing for three different teams: the Reds, the Nationals and the Diamondbacks. The saying goes “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard,” and that’s true, but sometimes you can’t even tell the TEAMS without a scorecard.
Look quickly at this photograph. Is he a Red, Red Sox, National or a Diamondback? Actually, he’s Torii Hunter, and he’s an Angel. Yep, the Angels have a red alternate too. So do the Astros, who have not one, but two red alternates, which they seem to wear more often than their “official” home or road jerseys.
Alright, you say — not all those teams look alike — the Astros don’t wear a red cap and neither does Boston, and the Astors and Diamondbacks wear more of a “brick red.” Fair enough. But that’s only six teams, surely no teams with blue caps and not much red in their uniform would have a red alternate, right? No, of course not.
Now, that’s eight teams with a red alternate, but there are certainly a few teams who could make a legitimate claim to wearing red, as well as a few teams who’ve worn a red top in a previous season. Add those five teams to the current mix and we now have 13 teams who do (or have) worn red at least once.
Getting back to the “just because you have a black accent or black is an official color” folks who argue that doesn’t make a black jersey “BFBS,” what about the following teams who have red on their uniforms? The Cubs, Indians, and Dodgers? Surely this, this and this aren’t “RFRS” then, right? Or what about the previously mentioned Evil Empire? They seem to use plenty of red in that famous logo, so then this wouldn’t qualify as RFRS, would it?
What’s the point in all of this? None really, other than to bemoan the absolute overuse and non-necessity of the alternate jersey. Other than to sell more stuff, really, is there any good reason why more than one quarter of the league sports, essentially, the same alternate look?
There was a time when every team wore only white and gray. Some would say that was a boring time. But you know what, you could almost always tell who was playing by the caps, sleeves and stirrups. That’s what distinguished baseball for all those years and why many of us long for a return to the looks of the past. It wasn’t so much that teams looked better then, but they looked like ballplayers and they were plenty colorful, without resorting to a bunch of similar looking alternate tops that make many games today look like pick up softball games.
162 games is a long season, and I won’t say I never want to see a team dressed in some kind of alternate. But that’s where I argue that teams can mix it up by adding an alternate uniform. I ask you, which looks better: this or this? Hell, I don’t like the teams who wear vests because they’re really just sleeveless jerseys now, but if you must mix in an alternate, I’d rather see this than this.
Lets face it, cream alternates might not sell as well as colored tops, and colored tops surely sell better than do vests, so teams will keep pushing the colored tops. But it’s getting more than ridiculous. One alternate, maybe worn on one day a week? I can live with that. You wanna do something unique (note, I said unique — when seven other teams do it it’s not unique) like with two different alternates? Knock yourself out.
But those eight teams who currently have a red alternate? Of those, the Braves, Nationals, Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Rangers have two colored alternates, and the Astros have two home uniforms. How soon before the Angels and Reds join them?
But the greatest sport ever invented can surely do better than they’re doing today. And they can certainly do better than red, for red’s sake. Makes you wonder where they got the idea from in the first place.
There’s nothing funny about fishing is there? I mean, who tells fish stories?. Ah yes … here’s Rick:
Like any good protester, the “Man From FRIED” just won’t go away. Well, fine then. Let’s engage him a little, see how much he knows. Perhaps get a handle on the reason for, and the depth of, his commitment to his cause. After all, there might be something there. Or not.
Here’s your Sunday Benchies.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: The difficulty level on this one is probably pretty low. You know the teams, the location is pretty obvious. Ah, but is there a catch? Probably not. Ready? Guess The Game From The Scoreboard Date, location and final score, please, and be sure to link to your answer. And, as always, if you enjoy the game, please send me some new scoreboards! Drop me a line. Thanks!
Back again with more Uniform Tweaks, Concepts and Revisions today. Lots to get to, and if you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Up first today is Mike Engle, who has a concept for the Chisox. And to think, you guys laughed when I suggested putting them in ‘city flag’ colors. Here’s Mike:
Sorry to give the world ANOTHER Chicago White Sox redesign concept (especially when they don’t particularly need one), but I whipped up this little number (home and away) while watching today’s Jays/Sox game. There was one guy in the stands behind home plate wearing a gray beach blanket jersey, and I couldn’t get over how lame that jersey is. But after a shot of the Chicago flag, I was inspired.
Now for the guided tour:
• The flag colors are red, powder blue, and white. So white at home, and powder on the road. I made a point to incorporate powder into the homes, so that the roads wouldn’t read as red on powder. That was my least favorite part of the real-life ChiSox powder blues, but the problem is fixed now because in this redesign, powder is an actual color.
• The font for all the text is Roman-style, drawing from the 1917 logo. The numbers are in a custom font, inspired by the same Roman font, using the same serifs.
• The NOB is straight, and preferably without a nameplate. No arch would have looked good right over the wrap-around stripes.
• Just like the flag, the light blue stripes come in pairs, and have non-contiguous red elements in between.
• I really like the current sock-in-diamond patch, so I basically kept it, with the color change and slight modifications. It says, CHICAGO WHITE SOX BASEBALL EST’D 1901.
• I had to give the White Sox white stirrups. Apparently, the Sox have worn that stripe pattern before, using black instead of powder. But don’t you dare suggest colored sanis here. The answer is no.
Next up is Jason Whitt, who is among the many who feel the Nationals need a change:
Here are a few changes I’ve come up with for the Washington Nationals.
First is a simple tweak of their current red alternate. All I did was even up the logo and number. The current cockeyed version just drives me nuts.
I would assume that the one thing keeping the Nats from a new wordwark on the home whites is the current wordmark’s presence on the scoreboard so instead of making the 2-year-old scoreboard logo obsolete, I used the curly-W. I tried red piping instead of the red-navy-red trim to make a “photo negative” of the alternate but it was far too similar to the Reds, so I kept the current trim.
Finally, inspired by your BFBS columns, I tried to come up with the worst possible BFBS alt I could. So it’s black, of course, with their new “NatsTown” script, and red-gold-red trim. Please do not think this means that I condone BFBS, I just wanted to see what it would look like.
Thanks for your time,
Hmmm…I thought I liked that home concept.
And closing down the tweak show today is Daniel Chanelli, who is back with six more MLB concepts:
I got a lot of positive responses for my first submission of uni-tweaks, so here is my second batch. Enjoy, Dan.
Angels: For the Angels, I tried to make modern equivalents of their 1970’s unis. I thickened the piping, made the halo yellow, changed the cap to navy, and placed the classic California patch on the sleeve. Although I still feel the team should be the California Angels, the patch can still be used today because there is a star over the Los Angeles area; therefore making it relevant to the current team. The current set seems to suffer from being too red, so the away jersey is the opposite of the home. I also added a navy alternate that harkens back to the Carew/Reggie Jackson years.
Blue Jays: A team that has visually lost its way in recent years; I tried to bring back the feel of the classic uniforms combined with some modern stylization. Many fans want the team to return to the championship uniforms, but as much as I love that set, I really don’t think it would translate very well today as anything but a throwback. I started by changing the blue to a more subtle sea-blue and adding piping to the jersey. I brought back the mid 90’s bird and placed him on the cap and front of the jersey, while keeping the current maple leaf on the sleeves. The lettering and numbers on back are the original font, however, I beveled them to give it a more modern look.
Diamondbacks: I really miss the old Diamondback uniforms; they may not have been the nicest looking, but the color combination was unique. I was disappointed the team was moving to red and black like everyone else, until I started to change the colors on the old uniforms to match the current red, sand, and black. I also added the teams original logo, updated with the current color scheme.
Giants: For the Giants, I decided to bring back the styling of the 1933 uniforms including piping, stirrups, and the original Giants font. For the away jersey, I opted for a more ornate San Francisco script that should really be seen more often. I also created a new logo based on the original dating back to New York , but updated to match the look of the current primary logo.
Padres: The Padres also seem to be in a sort of uniform limbo recently. I kept the current set for the most part, but changed the colors to the classic brown and orange (after all, a friar does wear a brown robe.) I removed the swoosh underneath the Padres script and added a swinging friar patch to the sleeve. While not a tremendous improvement, I think these uniforms would be a significant step in the right direction.
Astros: The current Astros uniforms get a lot of criticism. While I don’t find them hideous, I think they are just out of touch with what the team actually stands for; not cowboys and rope, but for the space program. I was really tempted to create something in line with the 1965 set, after seeing how great they still look this year. Instead, I used the 90’s uniforms that really looked space age-like. I kept the current numbers on back and placed them on the front as well. I updated the script on both the home and away and tweaked the Texas patch on the sleeve.
Great job everyone on those tweaks. Check back next time for more.
That’ll wrap it up for this fine Sunday. As you all know, Paul is away this week, but I will have some very special columns, some featuring some very special guests while he’s gone. Full, new content every day of the week, so be sure to check back every day.
When in doubt, wear red. — Bill Blass