The big news at last night’s MLB All-Star Game was that many of the players — more than half, I’d say — were test-driving Rawlings’ latest version of the S100 helmet. Francisco Cervelli’s been wearing this slightly slimmer edition of the Gazoo for a few weeks now, but this was its coming-out party, just as the 2005 All-Star Game was used to showcase the Cool-Flo helmet. In both instances, there was no advance word that this would be happening, which is surprising. A soft launch instead of a hype-o-rama.
Personally, I thought the new Gazoos looked fine. Check out this shot — the two Gazoo-clad players don’t look appreciably worse than the one non-Gazoo. I do wish they’d change the color of the black ear padding, which I can’t stand (just more BFBS, I say), but overall I have no problem with it. I’ll try to find out more details about the new design, and how it compares to the old, shortly.
The new helmets must have been prepped in Anaheim by the Angels’ equipment staff, because they were uni-numbered with decals in the Angels’ font. And as you can see in that second image, they also had the Rawlings logo, which is supposed to be verboten on MLB headwear. Meanwhile, non-Gazoo helmets had regular uni numbering. (Major kudos to Jason Greening for noticing the font and providing the screen shots.)
Oh, and even though the National League was the visiting team, they supplied Martin Prado with a red-brimmed home helmet. Brian McCann stuck with his regular non-Gazoo helmet, which was the proper road design.
In non-helmet observations:
• All the Yankees wore black armbands for the Boss. (They’ll be adding patches for him and for Bob Sheappard starting on Friday. More on that in a minute.)
• I think we can safely say that the white cleats thing is officially played out. Ivory-footed players included David Price, Ryan Braun, Cliff Lee (red undershirt, too), Torii Hunter, Josh Hamilton, Robinson Cano, Joe Mauer, Evan Longoria, Alex Rodriguez (who really needs to learn how to blouse his cuffs, no?), Phil Hughes (my god, do those pants look ridiculous or what?), John Buck, Matt Thornton, Ty Wigginton, Rafael Soriano, Vernon Wells, Chris Young, and a whole bunch more. Note that almost all those players were on the American League team. National Leaguers were more inclined to wear gray, but I really don’t feel like compiling all of those.
• At least two players wore silver cleats: Ichiro (he also went silver-shod in 2007, and probably in other years too) and Hanley Ramirez (another odd red undershirt choice, plus he was high-cuffed during the player intros but went pajama-pantsed once the game started).
• Triple-whammy for Ubaldo Jimenez: sneaker-esque cleats, purple shoelaces, and the laundry tag on his stirrups was showing. (Also: I thought it was odd that Jimenez wore his fielding glove during his pregame introduction. I wondered if anyone else would even notice that, but someone at Yahoo Sports actually wrote a little item about it.)
• Then there’s David Wright, who somehow let a
douchebag Nike rep talk him into wearing orange cleats (plus I’ve noticed lately that he’s totally overtaken teammate Mike Pelfrey in the tongue-sticker-outer sweepstakes).
• But the worst look of the night belonged to Brian Wilson, who not only had orange cleats but also had an unbuttoned jersey, a ratty undershirt, and a mohawk (hard to see the mo from that angle, but it was painfully apparent on the teevee).
• The ASG sleeve patch forced some teams’ pre-existing patches to move way too far north.
• Anyone know the story behind the red strip on A-Rod’s undersleeve?
• I could’ve lived without the star design on the back of the mound (I don’t mean to sound like Dallas Braden, but I prefer the mound to remain pristine), although Phil tells me he really liked it.
• Here’s a weird one: Randy Wolf, whose brother is umpire Jim Wolf, was in the crowd — wearing his brother’s ump jersey. (Thanks to Dan Cichalski for that one.)
Okay, that’s enough coverage for one lousy exhibition game. But hey, a National League victory with a Yankee taking the loss — not too shabby.
Busy day yesterday: In case you missed it last night, the Yankees unveiled their memorial patches for George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard. Earlier in the day, I had whipped up a quick ESPN piece in which I looked at how other teams have handled multiple-memorial situations. Phew!
Membership Update: Scott and I generally like to keep all the membership card designs horizontal, but we made a rare exception for Gordon Taylor’s Syracuse hoops treatment, because we wanted it to show as much of the mesh pattern as possible. I don’t really want to get in the habit of doing these vertical designs (or incorporating silly Nike mesh patterns), but it worked out really well in this case.
For those of you who’ve been waiting for your cards, I mailed out a batch of them yesterday. And for those of you who haven’t yet signed up, you can get in on the membership fun here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Our recent discussion of the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ Mr. Celery mascot prompted Steve Johnston to inform me of the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes. … Someone has compiled a list of the worst new soccer kits of the season (with thanks to Chris Carr). … I knew there was a Texas buger chain called Whataburger. What I didn’t know, until Cort McMurray told me yesterday, is that many Whataburger outlets have this sensational photo hanging on the wall. … If you scroll about halfway down this page and look in the left sidebar, you’ll see some a photo of Rockies-logo stirrups, along with an interesting backstory. I don’t recall ever seeing the Rockies wearing logo-emblazoned stirrups, and a quick photo search has also come up empty. Did they ever actually wear these? I’m dubious. … But while fruitlessly searching for those Rockies-logo stirrups, I found something I’d forgotten about: Reds-logo stirrups! That’s from 1993. … Some dude in Minnesota broke his leg and painted his cast with a Vikings motif (with thanks to Tris Wykes). … Really fascinating article about a Massachusetts textiles company that made a new camo-patterned fabric for the U.S. military. Additional info here. Highly recommended reading (big thanks to Tom Mulgrew). … Very nice assortment of hand-painted signs here (thanks, Kirsten). … Joseph Newman notes that Santonio Holmes appears to be wearing his old Steelers cleats. … “My Mom was cleaning out some things today and brought over this clock,” writes Ben Traxel. “It was a kit — I stained it and added peel-and-stick numbers. Of course I picked out a sports theme to paint on the front. Probably did this project in the early ’80s.” … The Camden Riversharks have a new player, Vito Chiaravalotti, who’s going FiNOB. “It’s probably because the Sharks don’t radially arch and the kid’s considerable shoulders aren’t quite considerable enough,” says Adam Brodsky. … Absolutely the weirdest thing any of us will see today: a rap video about some sort of bike-share system in Montreal, with the rap group wearing Expos gear. Surreal, addictive, brilliant (major find by Ben Wideman). … Cutegasm alert: Tucker and Caitlin grooming each other, awwwww.