The 2011 MLB season unofficially began yesterday, as the Indians unveiled a new uniform set
and promptly announced plans to trade it for prospects on July 31 (here’s a larger view and some additional info). Let’s see, one at a time:
• The new road uni: The Indians are claiming that the design of the road grays “harkens back to the one worn by the team in 1901,” although that seems like a bit of a reach, since the ’01 design didn’t have a cap logo or red outlining on the letters. But whatever — I never liked the “Cleveland” road script (too busy, too big a word for that script style), so block lettering is fine by me. Good or stupid? Good.
• The new home alternate: They’ve kept the block-lettered, cream-colored alt from the past two seasons but have swapped out the navy cap (which is now the primary road cap) and replaced it with a red cap. Not so sure I’m in love with that move. For starters, the cap logo needs some white outlining or something like that — the “C” is getting swallowed by the background color. Also, the Tribe is just as the Rangers when it comes to settling on a primary team color. C’mon, guys, are you a blue team with red trim or the other way around? If you insist on working both sides of the street, couldn’t you at least stick to one dominant color at home and another on the road, like the Cardinals do? And one more thing: When you look at the alt and road jerseys side by side, the difference in lettering size is pretty striking. Obviously, one word has fewer letters than the other (and two of those letters are I), but still, shouldn’t these look a little more like brothers, instead of distant cousins? Not a disaster, but mildly stupid.
• The new alternate road cap designation: This cap, which had previously been paired with the navy jersey, has been mothballed, and not a moment too soon. Never liked it. The navy jersey will now be paired with the solid navy Chief Wahoo cap. Good.
• The new home uniform: Actually, they didn’t change anything to the home set. But as several folks have pointed out to me today, it would’ve been soooooo much better if they’d gone back to this version of the script, without the extra outlining. As missed opportunities go, chalk this one up as seriously stupid.
In short: Could be worse, at least when you look at each design individually. Put them all together, though, and this is starting to look like a team with a bit of an identity crisis, and not just in terms of choosing its main color.
Next up: the Nats, who’ll be unveiling tomorrow.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Mako Mameli noticed something we all missed from Sunday: Several Chiefs players appeared to be wearing black armbands on their right arms. Anyone know what that might have been about? … Here’s a look at South Carolina’s baseball championship ring design. “The interlocking ‘SC’ that South Carolina and USC have fought legal battles over is the centerpiece,” notes Beau Franklin. “The Gamecocks can’t trademark it, but it’s safe to say they’re not parting with the logo anytime soon.” … New soccer kits for Malaysia (with thanks to Jeremy Richardson). … Tom Brady is now in the Under Armour camp. … Ya say you don’t have any problems with corporate sponsorships of this and that? Then you won’t mind that Texas is now selling ads on license plates (depressing news from Paul Kennedy). … New hoops uniforms for Wisconsin and Michigan. … In yesterday’s Ticker I mentioned that the Ball State women’s hoops team has “an inspirational message on the back of their sneakers.” Now Kyle Clifford has checked in with more info on that: “That is LeBron’s go-to phrase, ‘Witness.’ The player in the picture is wearing the Lebron Soldier IV, a popular team-edition shoe for many college hoops teams this season. I’m a student manager for the University of Illinois squad, and several of our players have those shoes as well.” … The problem with having a team called Wakefield Track & Field is that your team initials can be misinterpreted (with thanks to Matt Friedrichs). … Another school with an asymmetrical helmet design: Eastern Technical High School in Essex, Maryland (with thanks to Joseph Young). … Bryan Stevens notes that New Mexico apparently didn’t get the memo about “Think Pink” Month being over. … Here’s a shot of the Browns’ orange-numbered 1984 jerseys from that one preseason game when they were worn (with thanks to Johnny Woods). … Interesting find by Jim Vilk, who’s found what appears to be a fairly early example of an NBA throwback. That’s Darryl Dawkins on the right, wearing what looks like a Sixers (or Warriors..?) throwback. Anyone know more? … You can see a nifty trick play in this video clip, but what makes it uni-notable is that the defensive team is wearing mismatched socks (big thanks to C. Trent Rosencrans). … Our “White at Home in the NFL” page has now been updated to reflect the first half of the 2010 season. … I just won this cool varsity skating jacket. Not sure which I like better — the Ohio-shaped patch or the name of the shop on the back. More photos when I receive the jacket in the mail (and given the shipping charges, I damn well better receive it fast). … This photo of a supposed Redskins cheerleader typo began making the rounds yesterday, but it isn’t a typo — it’s more like “Philllies” or “Raays.” In other words, the doubled up on the vertical stroke of the K, just to be safe, not realizing it’d look like an extra letter. … The good news is that they finally fired Joe Morgan. The bad news is that they’re letting Jon Miller go too. Meanwhile, I’m hoping maybe Wayne Hagin gets caught up in the Charliegate betting scandal, but the Wayner seems too whitebread to be a gambler. Couldn’t we just dress him up as K-Rod’s father-in-law and see if Frankie punches his lights out? … Speaking of which, by far the best single piece of Charliegate coverage is this NJ.com article, which recounts all sorts of interesting details — many of them uni-related, a few not — regarding Samuels’s tenure with the Mets. … Peyton Hillis has a facemask that looks like a serious underbite (as noted by Scott Cummings). … It’s not often you can see the Red Wings’ 60th-anniversary patch and a serious football facemask on a hockey helmet in the same photo. That’s Gerard Gallant, circa 1985 (great find by Bill Hoppe). … Shoe shenanigans last night for Chad Bengal, plus he was wearing a black chinstrap (screen shots courtesy of Tim Burke). … James McClure recently spent some time on the battleship USS Texas, which has a display devoted to the ship’s assorted athletic teams over the years. The photos included some very interesting uniforms, from baseball and football (the team with the stripes is from the USS New York) to basketball and crew (how great is that “TX” logo with the oar?!). I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: Throwbacks based on these and other military team designs would be a much, much better way to show support for the military than wearing camo.