Twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend, four times is a rule. So now it’s official: If you’re the defending World Series champion in an odd-numbered year, you’re obliged to start the season by wearing a gold-trimmed uniform.
This phenomenon began with the Red Sox in 2005, although they only wore the gold-trimmed design for their ring ceremony before their home opener (they switched to regular jerseys for the game). Two years later, the Cardinals pulled the same stunt, only they actually wore the gold-accented jerseys for the game (can’t find a photo, sorry). Ditto for the Phillies in ’09.
Last month I reported a rumor about the Giants jumping on this bandwagon. According to that article, the special jerseys would have “more gold on them then the normal home jerseys, specifically around the lettering.” Sounds like the same thing the other teams were doing, right?
Turns out they’ve decided to make a bit more of a statement.
A few notes about this jersey:
• Although you can’t see it in the photo, I’m told that the uni numbers are gold as well.
• One slight difference from the Bosox, Cards, and Phils: The Giants’ home opener is on April 8, but the gold-lettered jerseys are slated to be worn the following evening, April 9, because that’s when the players will receive their World Series rings.
• My understanding is that they’ll be wearing the jerseys for the game, not just for the ring ceremony.
• I assume they’ll also be wearing this gold-logo cap, although the team hasn’t confirmed that for me yet.
• This San Francisco Examiner article mentions that the gold lettering is “a privilege given only to reigning World Series champions.” Someone in the Giants’ PR office told me the same thing yesterday, which means some clown in marketing must have come up with it, and now everyone’s repeating it and the media’s swallowing it whole. Yeah, right, as if there’s some official rule about this. By the way, did you hear that the “G” on the Packers’ helmet stands for “Greatness”?
As for the jersey itself, I dunno. It’s not unattractive, but it smacks a bit of hubris, no? Plus the gold thing seems like such a rote, predictable approach at this point. Yes, I know, I know — gold is appropriate because San Francisco has the Golden Gate bridge, right? Except the bridge isn’t really gold — it already matches the Giants’ shade of orange.
Anyway, this all feels like a huge missed opportunity, because the Giants were the team that pioneered the concept of defending champions’ uniforms in the first place (I guess nobody told them reigning champions are supposed to use gold lettering). Wouldn’t it be awesome if they went with that 1906 design as a throwback on Opening Day? But no, they had to go for the gold. Boorrring!
Meanwhile, as long as we’re talking about Opening Day, the Indians have announced that they’ll honor Bob Feller on by having all players wear No. 19 during pregame introductions of their home opener. That article also confirms the good news that the Tribe will be switching to the silhouetted-windup patch design once the regular season starts (if you missed the story behind that, look here). In fact, they’re going to have two different versions of it — nice.
IMPORTANT! Membership news: For a variety of reasons not worth going into here, I’m switching to a new print shop for the production of our Uni Watch membership cards. The good news is that I’ve found an excellent shop that’s even closer to my house than the one we’d been using. Really nice staff, too — they Get It™.
The bad news is that they’re significantly more expensive than the place I was using before. So I’ve reluctantly decided to raise the membership enrollment fee from $15 to $20 — but not until the end of this month. So if you’ve been meaning to sign up and want to avoid the price hike, do it now. The new pricing will go into effect on April 1 (no foolin’).
My continued thanks to everyone who’s made the membership program such a fun project over the past four years (including Trevor Banks, whose 1996 Blue Jays Canada Day treatment is shown above). Looking forward to more.
Spring cleaning: Guess what I found while poking around in the Uni Watch HQ basement yesterday: an extra box of T-shirts featuring a the commingling of a certain team name and a certain protein-based foodstuff. So if you wanna get in on that, get in touch.
ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column, about the White Sox’s 1981 uni-design contest, is available here.
Contest reminder: I’m currently sponsoring a design contest to create a logo for the Baseball Project. Full details here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday I linked to this article, which mentions that Don Zimmer “was the first player to try on a Mets uniform.” Turns out the source for that claim was Zim’s bio on the Rays’ web site, which includes this: “Was the first player to try on a Mets uniform, modeling it at Huggins-Stengel Field in St. Petersburg before spring training opened in 1962.” Fascinating. I’ve arranged to talk with Zim about this later today, but I’d also like to see some independent confirmation, preferably in the form of an archival news clipping. … Here’s this year’s SEC helmet schedule. Check out what they used for Florida’s design (big thanks to Brig Slaughter). … Richard Lewis notes that Southern University (SU) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana baseball is using an unusual striped batting helmet. … Here’s a video debate about the All Blacks wearing a red fern to support the tsunami victims (with thanks to Caleb Borchers). … Here are the top-selling MLB jerseys from 2010 (with thanks to Ilana Hardesty). … While looking for something else, I came upon breathtaking color shots of a 1929 Boston Braves jersey. Don’t think I’ve seen color photos of this uniform before — magnificent! … How did a Columbus Blue Jackets sweatshirt end up with an NFL logo tag? Jason Hillyer spotted that at a Marshall’s in Phoenix. … Here’s something new: While watching yesterday’s Mets/Cards game, I noticed that the plate ump Gary Cederstrom’s hockey-style mask had a matte finish. Pretty sure I’ve never seen that before. Seems like a good thing — less glare = good for everyone, right? … Good article about Marquette’s bumblebee-era uniforms. … Some sports journalism students at Arizona State have been reporting a series of stories from Brewers camp. They’ve done one on the guy who cleans the team’s shoes, another on equipment, and now one on team laundry. Good stuff (big thanks to Jason Goede). … Kevin Garrett reports that Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist has been wearing a helmet-cam in spring practices. … A sports radio station in Oxford, Mississippi, that calls itself the Ox has adopted a logo that’s pretty much a straight knock-off of the Houston Texans logo. “I don’t even think it’s an ox, either,” says Jason Cimon. … Apparently most of the Mets don’t like the black uniforms. … While looking for something else, I came across this great Dave Niehaus tribute jersey. … “Pirelli is the new tire supplier for Formula 1 racing this year,” says Jeremy Brahm. “Here is a snapshot of the different colors on the sidewalls to show the fans which tire choice the drivers and teams have made.” … “Retiring numbers is almost never done in outdoor soccer,” says Kenn Tomasch, but Real Salt Lake is doing it for Jason Kreis anyway. … The NHL is now offering cycling jerseys (with thanks to Ben Gorbaty). … I neglected to mention yesterday that the Bobcats wore their NASCAR uniforms on Wednesday night (photos by Nick Phillips). … The Smithsonian has acquired a portrait of Pedro Martinez. Very odd uniform choice: It’s definitely a Bosox cap, but the Dominican flag on the sleeve suggests a World Baseball Classic jersey (presumably from 2006, since the 2009 Dominican jerseys had contrast-colored underarm panels). And the red pants piping brings us back to the Red Sox. But most importantly, as Richard Stover points out, the strategic placement of the glove makes it impossible to see any Pedro Porthole action!