I don’t know much about Rays skipper Joe Maddon except what I see, but what I see usually looks pretty good. From a Uni Watch standpoint, he has the glasses, he likes to wear the hoodie, he got the whole team wearing the BRayser, and I’m assuming he had something to do with the striped stirrups. Plus he appears to be the most entertaining arguer in the current MLB managerial ranks.
Throughout all of this, Maddon strikes me as a very smart, very engaged guy who knows how to be just semi-eccentric enough to keep his team loose, but not so loopy that they lose respect for him. It’s a fine line, and my impression — again, from afar, as someone who doesn’t follow the Rays on a daily basis — is that he pulls it off with aplomb.
But nothing in Maddon’s previous bag of tricks prepared me for what he did yesterday. Take a gander:
That’s right — Maddon wore a Bucs helmet for his post-game press conference, a rare feat of managerial cross-dressing that ranks as an instant classic.
So what’s the story behind this? The short version is that Maddon is tight with Bucs coach Raheem Morris (a slightly longer version, including a little video clip in which Maddon explains the whole thing, is available on Cork Gaines’s excellent Rays Index site). But leaving aside the whys and the wherefores, how many other MLB managers could pull off a stunt like this? Like, can you imagine Mike Quade showing up in a Bears helmet? No way. Bruce Bochy in a Niners helmet? Nuh-uh. Jim Leyland in a Lions helmet? Maaaaybe, except who’d be caught dead wearing a Lions helmet?
As a Mets fan, I have no particular gripes with Terry Collins, who seems to have done a decent job this year. But if I had my pick of any current MLB skipper to run the Mets, I’d take Maddon — and not just because it’d be great for Uni Watch. Although that part certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Charlotte shuffle: Last week I Ticker-linked to the old Hornets logo shown at right and mentioned that I had no memory of it. That prompted the following from reader Jeff Spry:
I interned with the Hornets’ Media Relations department back in the summer of 1988. This was the Hornets’ first year and I got to do a lot of work with the expansion draft, the first media guide, the new stadium, the new uniforms, and other work heading into that first season.
I remember that logo clearly and have some old T-shirts and I think even a pennant somewhere with that logo on it. It also appears in this photo, which ran in the July 1988 edition of The Bee Line, the official newsletter of the Hornets. I think the player in the white jersey is Ralph Lewis and the player in the dark jersey is Ennis Whatley.
The front page of that newsletter had a story about the unveiling of the team’s first uniform, which was designed by Alexander Julian. You’ll notice Julian refused payment but did accept a monthly shipment of North Carolina BBQ in exchange for his services. The model is Kelly Tripuka, whom we attained by trading Mike Brown (the seventh pick in the expansion draft) straight-up to Utah. Also notice that the newsletter feature the cartoon logo — the old one must not have lasted long.
Excellent stuff — thanks, Jeff.
Because man cannot live by uni alone: There’s a new post on the Permanent Record blog. And I think I may be able to give you the details on my new meat/butchery blog by tomorrow, whoop-whoop.
Stirrups Club reminder: Robert Marshall has a new set of stirrups for sale. For details, look here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: According to the Icethetics site, the Islanders’ new third jersey will look like this, which is so bad it actually veers into high comedy. Is this Wang’s revenge for losing the Coliseum referendum earlier this month? … New trophy for the Iowa/Iowa State game (from Cody Dannen). … Looks like Bill Olds was having some helmet decal issues. Bill Kellick spotted that in footage of a 1975 game. … Somebody somewhere processed the order for the Warren County (Tenn.) high school football team’s uniforms. Perhaps that someone should have said, “Uh, maybe you might wanna rethink that” (courtesy of Todd Herzog). … New football uniforms for the U. of Indianapolis (from Jacob Kubuske). … Good article about the SF Giants’ mascot (thanks, Brinke). … Also from Brinke: a bunch of scans from old NFL/Sears catalogs. … With the new Meadowlands stadium about to succumb to corporate douchebaggery, several people have been asking me if No Mas and I will produce a Naming Wrongs T-shirt for the occasion. We actually came out with that shirt a year ago, anticipating the inevitable. … The Astros became Los Astros on Saturday. … Maryland will unveil its new football uniforms today. … Gaelic football news from Denis Hurley, who writes: “Kerry and Mayo met on Sunday in the All-Ireland football semifinal. As both counties wear mainly green jerseys, they have been asked to wear alternative kits. Here’s how the Kerry/Mayo match-up has been handled in th epast. … New football uniforms for USF. … Blain Fowler reports that Under Armour has moved in a new direction: They’ve entered into their first sponsorship deal with a gymnast. … Lee Ziegler provided us with another look at that unusual stitching on Michael Vick’s shoulders. I sent the screen shot to Giants equipment director Joe Skiba, who said, “I believe it’s to eliminate stretch.” … Here’s a great gallery of photos from the Expos’ 1970 home opener (big thanks to Andrew Woolley). … Congrats to reader David Griffin, who finished third in the Toronto Star’s Blue Jays redesign contest. “Of course I still prefer it to the first- and second-place versions,” he says. … Really, really excellent piece about the role of the military uniform in contemporary American life. Recommended reading. … My friend Amy is currently taking culinary classes, and yesterday afternoon I attended a brunch that they held at the school. The seating was communal, so I started yakking with the guy sitting across the table from me, who was there because his wife is enrolled in the culinary program. One thing led to another, and it turned out that he’s longtime reader Matt Powers’s first cousin. Seriously, what are the odds? … Can’t figure out which NFL team to root for? Here’s a handy flowchart (from R. Scott Rogers). … New logo for Western Oregon University. … Noticed Johnny Damon wearing navy stirrups with navy sannies yesterday. Has he been doing this for a while? … New Iron Maiden-themed goalie mask for Chris Mason (from Kyle Allebach). … We all know college football teams often have multiple players with the same uni number, but I’d never seen it happen in the NFL before. Eric Stangel spotted that during last night’s Chargers/Cowboys game. … The AHL’s Springfield Falcons will be honoring all their past championship teams by wearing a Calder Cup jersey on Opening Night (from Nick LaRosa). … Check this out: Chargers vs. Chargers! That’s Evangel Christian and North River Christian, who faced off in Alabama last Friday (great find by Chuck Beech). … Dan Cichalski alerted me to a little mystery over on the Ballcap Blog: Can anyone identify this cap?