The first weekend of the MLB season brought an unusually large number of uni-notable moments. Here’s a full accounting:
• The Rockies weren’t supposed to have a purple jersey this season. In fact, just last week team owner Dick Monfort said any return of the purple “won’t be until 2012” during a Twitter-fest with fans. Guess he was just playing coy, because the world’s most accursed color was out in full force for the team’s opener on Friday. The purple jersey has mysteriously been added to Colorado’s entry in the MLB Style Guide, too (it wasn’t there before), so I guess this is now an official part of the team’s wardrobe this season. Weird that they kept it under wraps.
• One aspect of the Padres’ new road uniforms wasn’t apparent until they wore them on the field: They’ve switched the NOBs from nameplates to direct-sewn lettering. Remains to be seen if they’ve made this change throughout their uni program, but it seems like a reasonable assumption.
• The Phillies waited until shortly before their opener to announce that they’re wearing a “B” patch in memory of the Buck brothers, who were part of the team’s ownership group.
• Mildly stunning sight atop Cliff Lee’s cap: a squatchee! As you may recall, he went squatchee-free for pretty much all of last season. Maybe this was just his way of dressing formally for Opening Day.
• What’s worse than an undershirt with a swoosh on the collar? Guess. That’s Jimmy Rollins on Saturday.
• As promised, the Indians all wore Bob Feller’s No. 19 for pregame introductions on Friday, plus they put the number on the back of the mound (but what’s the deal with the stencil font?). As for the new cap, I’ve been saying all along that the “C” needs some white outlining, plus I didn’t realize they’d be wearing blue undersleeves (and presumably blue socks) with this uni combo — red would be much better. Also, if you have a new red cap, can’t you get some matching batting helmets? Weak.
• Kerry Wood and at least one other Cub (not sure who) saluted Ron Santo by wearing “10” caps during pregame introductions at Wrigley on Friday.
• The Pirates’ Chuck Tanner memorial patch — announced on Thursday and worn for the first time on Friday — sure is huge.
• By contrast, the Mariners’ Dave Niehaus patch, which we hadn’t seen on an actual jersey until Friday, is a bit on the small-ish side, which makes a lot of its nuance and detail hard to discern.
• Speaking of the Mariners, just peachy to see that the untucked phenomenon has now spread to pitchers. Sigh.
• We got our first on-field look at the A’s new gold alternate jerseys, and hot damn do they look sweet.
• Has Hanley Ramirez always worn a mouthguard, or is that a new thing?
• The first uni glitch of the season came on Saturday afternoon in Toronto, where Blue Jays infielder Yunel Escobar wore the wrong cap. As you can see, his cap also had a “K-A” inscription. Not sure what that was about — anyone?
• The next uni glitch came a few hours later in Philly, where Astros first base coach Bobby Meacham mistakenly wore his BP jersey, instead of his brick-red alt jersey.
• Perhaps as a result of Meacham’s above-mentioned gaffe, the Astros wore their road grays on Sunday. According to reader Robert Reid, this is the first time in over three seasons that the ’Stros have chosen to wear their grays. “During that period, the Astros have only worn their gray tops when the opposing team wore a home red (or, in the case of the Giants, orange),” says Robert. “Otherwise, the Astros have worn their brick red tops for every road game.” Until now, that is.
• D.J. Carrasco’s Mets logo stirrups made their regular season debut on Sunday.
• In that same game, Randy Choate looked like a bike messenger or something. Dude’s been in the bigs for over 11 years and doesn’t even know how to cuff his pants evenly? Sad.
• Barry Zito, bless him, is still wearing the striped socks.
• Marlins catcher John Buck has a new mask.
• You may recall that the Blue Jays “pioneered” the phenomenon of Astroturf logo creep last year. Now the Rays have done likewise. Pa-fucking-thetic. Can the Scott’s Turf Builder ad for grass fields be far behind?
Phew, that’s a lot of news for one weekend! Some good, some bad, but all baseball — ain’t it great to have it back?
(Special thanks to Peter Bauck, Ted Hill, Jim Walaitis, Brad Bierman, Scott Lederer, Dan Cichalski, Jon Bradford, Chris Mayberry, and James Poisso for their contributions to today’s entry.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: Back on Friday I linked to this 1969 Padres program cover. At the time, I was fixated on the “Professional Baseball” notation on the MLB centennial logo, which I’d never seen before. But Frank Bitzer points out that I overlooked something much more obvious and important: Look at that Padres wordmark! That logo didn’t appear on the team’s jerseys until 1978, but it turns out that it was being used on program covers — and maybe elsewhere? — during the team’s inaugural season. So a logo that we generally think of as perfectly epitomizing the ’70s actually debuted in 1969. Fascinating! … It now turns out that the Michigan/Notre Dame tilt on Sept. 10 will indeed be a throwback game. According to that story, the Irish will be wearing a design that “hearken[s] back to the Joe Kuharich Era,” which I hope means they’ll go with this. More info on the Michigan design here. … The Nats’ recent fanfest event included a display by Phil Wood, who has a big collection of Washington Senators uniforms and memorabilia — including a rare white cap! Check it all out here (big thanks to Mike Mazzucchelli). … Here’s le Grand Orange endorsing le Grand Orange Crush (awesome find by Todd Radom). … New logo for Tim Lincecum. … Hey, guess who isn’t wearing camo? The Army baseball team, that’s who. They do have new gold jerseys, though (with thanks to Ryan Yanoshak). … You can’t start the baseball season without the requisite number of articles about laundry clubbies (with thanks to Sam Graves). … New uniforms for the Rochester Red Wings (with thanks to Joseph Lombardo). … Brad Wray spotted someone wearing this odd Yanks/Bosox hybrid logo. “It didn’t look homemade,” he says. … Oooh, check out this old CFL gumball helmet kit. “Never seen that before, not even a single helmet,” says Mike Hersh. … Christian Cisneros notes that Tim Lincecum had a new cap last Thursday. “He’s usually superstitious about that kinda stuff,” says Christian. “He’d worn his old hat since ’07, but he probably kept the World Series patch on that one.” … Last week I linked to this shot of Georgetown player Ralph Dalton wearing super-high-tops. “Here he is in his player exclusive of the team-exclusive Georgetown Terminators,” says a reader who prefers to remain anonymous. “The Terminator was essentially a shoe that was designed around Georgetown. The general release of the Terminator had ‘Nike’ on the back, while the Georgetown version had ‘Hoyas’ on the back. No other team wore the Terminators. They either wore Air Force 1s, Dunks, or the ‘Big Nike,’ which is what Rony Seikaly is wearing in that photo (albeit the 3/4 cut). The Big Nike was essentially the exact same design as the Air Jordan 1.” … When Jim Thome came to bat against Kyle Drabek on Saturday, the TV folks mistakenly posted his career numbers against Drabek’s father, Doug Drabek (good spot by Eric Davis). … Last week I linked to a 1970 helmet decal catalog from a company called Angelus, which Mike Hersh had won on eBay. Now Chuck McLaughlin reports that Angelus is still in the helmet decal biz. … Ryan Connelly’s long-running Ryberto’s DIY project recently took a more professional turn when he got New Era to make him a few dozen Ryberto’s 5950s. “I fudged around on the New Era web site and made some calls until I got hold of a contact. Then I engaged in a bunch of back-and-forth design e-mails, found out the final cost, signed off, and two months later got these beautiful hats. Some are for cousins and friends, but mostly they’re for my Uni Watch pals. Here’s Rob Ullman wearing his.” … The new version of Madden will show players sidelined after they receive concussions. … More Notre Dame news: They’re trying the new super-stretchy pants. For details, scroll down to the “Dressed for Success” section on this page (with thanks to Kevin Barrett). … Brown women’s lacrosse goaltender Maggie Suprey is apparently taking eye-black tips from John Randle. “She glared at me as I was taking the photo, and I felt a chill run down my spine,” says Tris Wykes. … Fascinating observation by Matt Fedorka, who writes: “I was screwing around on Google Street View and I looked at the outside of the TD Garden in Boston, where there were two images of Boston Bruins players who I believe to be Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez. I knew they blurred out the faces of people on the street but didn’t know they did it on advertisements too. Also, and maybe more interesting, the B on Thomas is blurred out, but not the B on Fernandez. The faces of other players along that stretch were also blurred, but the B was left intact on both the jerseys and on other forms of Bruins advertisements.” … Over the past few years, Mets studio analyst Bob Ojeda has cultivated a signature look of going open-collared, without a necktie, but this season he’s wearing a tie. … Check out the awesome vertically striped socks worn by Oscar Robertson’s high school back in the day (big thanks to Mike Baucom). … Buried at the bottom of this article is the following: “[T]he Mariners are encouraging fans to wear white shoes to the home opener Friday to honor Dave [Niehaus], who favored such footwear” (good spot by John Doodigian). … My new hosiery hero: Samm McAlear of the Academy of Art in San Francisco (which, as you can see, goes with the ultra-rare double-decker SNOB). … Just what the world needed: a purple football field. … Dan Cichalski made MLB-themed cupcakes for Opening Day. … Rugby news from Adam Ingle, who reports that Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth went CNOB — that’s contracted name on back — on Sunday. … Also from Adam: Plenty of good rugby kit-builder sites available here, here, here, and here. … Great stirrups being worn by the Northern Iowa softball team (big thanks to Calvin Alger). … Wilson Pollacia reports that Arizona State will apparently be unveiling new football uniforms on April 12. … Japanese baseball teams are wearing black ribbons, for obvious reasons (thanks, Jeremy). … My old fanzine pal Steve Mandich has started a new blog devoted to Ichiro. “It’s gonna follow him game-by-game throughout the year, but also look at other stuff related to the man — art, music, memorabilia, and, yes, uniforms,” says Steve. “At the same time, I’ll be tracking Mariners uniforms during the season as well.” … Heresy or just clever? Little of both, methinks. Much like Under Armour’s faux flannels, this cap shows that UA is willing to engage in some surprising (to me) retro moves. Interesting (thanks, Kek). … Ladies and gents, your 1875 St. Louis Brown Stockings. Look at those belts, those collars! Also: Pullovers! (Astonishing find by Richard Stover.) … Nuggets players wore assorted green accessories yesterday, to help promote the NBA Green initiative.