So Phil and I are at yesterday’s Mets/Fish doubleheader at Shea, and we decide to take a stroll around the ballpark after the first game ends. In the midst of our perambulations (which are interrupted three times by people complimenting our matching “I’m Calling It Shea” shirts), I glance out from the concourse and see Jose Reyes stretching in the outfield — a happy sight, because the second game of the twinbill will mark Reyes’s first game after an absence of several weeks. I notice that Reyes is wearing his BP jersey — a bit odd given that the second game is going to start in about 20 minutes, but I don’t really think much of it.
A few minutes later, Phil goes off to find the three square inches in the stadium where he’s allowed to have a cigarette and says he’ll meet me back at our seats. I look out onto the field and notice several other players warming up in their BP jerseys. This doesn’t quite compute — first pitch is now about 10 minutes away.
I keep walking and see Terry Collins bringing the lineup card to home plate — in his BP jersey. I finally realize what’s about to happen.
Well, if you’re going to play a meaningless game at an empty stadium between two teams that are a combined 19 games under .500, why not dress like it’s a spring training game?
Phil and I were abuzz during the game — discussing precedents and ramifications, checking Twitter to see what other fans were saying, and generally saying the words “blue” and “black” so often that everyone around us must’ve thought we had some weird chromatic strain of Tourette’s (which, in a way, I suppose we do). Phil kept hoping the game would become a blowout, for either team, because then there’d be a better chance of D.J. Carrasco getting into the game, and we’d be able to see how his stirrups fit in with the new look.
The Mets aren’t the first team to wear BP jerseys for a regular season game (although I think they’re the first to do so this season). As Phil pointed out, the Nats and Orioles have also done it in recent years. But precedent doesn’t equal justification — wearing BP jerseys for a regular season game is insulting to fans and players alike. You want to play an exhibition? Fine, then charge exhibition ticket prices, allow free substitution, and hold a dizzy bat race between innings. But if you’re gonna play a big league game that counts in the standings, have enough pride — and respect for your paying customers — to dress like big leaguers.
I don’t know whose idea this was (a well-placed source with the team tells me he was caught completely off-guard by it), but it seems like another pretty transparent trial balloon for a blue alternate jersey in 2012 and/or ’13, just like the recent blue “Los Mets” jersey obviously was. But unlike that jersey, the BP design looks like total shite, thanks to the black type, the black side panels, etc.
A few other thoughts about this little experiment:
• The blue “Los Mets” jerseys were paired with the team’s blue cap — blue with blue, see how that works? Simple. But the BP jerseys were paired with the black alternate cap. Not a good look.
• With a few exceptions, which I’ll get to in a minute, the Mets’ cap color usually determines the color of all the team’s secondary accessories. If they wear the blue caps, they go with blue socks, blue undersleeves, blue belts, and blue catching gear; if they wear the solid-black or blue/black caps, all of these other elements are black. But even though they wore the black caps last night, they went with blue undersleeves, socks, and catching gear (and, presumably, blue stirrups for Carrasco out in the bullpen). This put catcher Mike Nickeas in a particularly odd spot, as he ended up wearing a blue mask over a black helmet. (The exceptions I referred to took place in 1998, when they played at least five games with this rather unfortunate look. But I believe those are the only times that the blue accessories have been paired with a black-inclusive cap.)
• David Wright, as is his habit, wore an orange undershirt, which just added to the visual mess.
• The BP jersey does not have a sleeve patch of the Mets’ skyline logo. So aside from TBTC and TATC games, this was the first game in which the Mets did not wear that patch since 1992 — the last year of the racing stripe era.
• I found this juxtaposition rather amusing.
• According to e-mails I received, the Mets’ TV broadcasters didn’t even realize that the team was wearing BP jerseys and instead thought these were just the “Los Mets” jerseys without the “Los.” Way to be on top of things, guys.
And there you have it, another stray bullet from the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Oh, and they’ll be wearing the blue “Los Mets” jerseys again on Thursday. Let’s hope they’re bright enough to wear the blue caps with them.
(Süper-düper thanks to Phil, who turned up those 1998 photos after we both got home, and who was the perfect person to be sitting next to for this epic moment in Mets uni history.)
By Brinke Guthrie
Okay, so this isn’t the most orthodox way to spell Fairbanks, but it’s still a great-looking jersey. That item, which was submitted by Mike Powers, kicks off this week’s round-up of cool eBay items. Here’s the full scoop:
• Here’s an entire set of early 1970s NFL Gatorade caps. This was back when Gatorade tasted good, before they pulled out the cyclamates ’cause of cancer in lab rats or something.
• More from the ’70s: Score with the Jets and this great NFL placemat!
• Here’s a nice-looking 1967 Red Sox A.L. Champs glass.
• If you have a turntable, then you’ll want to give Great Moments In Cubs History a spin. Shouldn’t be too long a record, right?
• Here’s a game-worn NFL 50th-anniversary patch from a 1969 Vikings jersey, or so the seller claims.
• Got a kid who likes hockey? Then be sure to keep him away from this Buffalo Sabres coloring book, so you can enjoy it yourself!
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: I’m happy to report that the Candelas survived Irene, although they’re now looking veeeeery rickety. It’s painful to see them all cracked and decrepit, especially since the city is unlikely to invest in their restoration during a recession. … I’m briefly quoted in — and provided a ton of background info for — this article on baseball socks and pants. … “I recently purchased this vintage WVU shirt on eBay,” says Jason Bernard. “Notice the white helmet with the flying WV logo, which of course never made an appearance on the field. I assume this was done so they could stick to a two-color print. Ribbed striped shoulder loops are a nice bonus.” … That’s quite a replica jersey they got for Eli for this Samsung ad. Look at that collar! (Screen shot by Tom Adjemian.) … New home soccer kit for Germany. … New court for K-State (from Sean Kautzman). … My new hosiery hero is Giants pitcher Eric Surkamp, who’s been wearing the striped socks (big thanks to Don Gale). … Another football team that wears the old English D on its helmets: Duquesne University (as noted by Todd Herzog). … This is pretty cool: a video of Minnesota linebacker Gary Tinsley putting the decals on his own helmet (from Chris Hodge). … Check it out: a UGA display made out of Coke cases (nice one from Brent Hardman). … ” I’ve been playing vintage ball with the Cheapeake & Potomac Vintage Base Ball Club this season,” writes Ben Fortney. “We made the trip north to play in the Mid-Atlantic Vintage Base Ball tournament at the Philadelphia Navy yard a couple Sundays ago. Here’s a great slideshow, showing a variety of different uniforms worn.” … ESPN broadcaster Lee Corso attended a high school in Miami where someone must be very fond of the Packers (from Nicole Haase). … Dan Cichalski says he really likes next year’s Texas League All-Star Game logo. Not me, though — hate that big “E” at the end, esp. since it has the effect of making “star” and “game” appear uncapitalized. … The Raiders won’t let Terrelle Pryor wear No. 2, because they don’t want to be reminded of JaMarcus Russell. … Good piece on Maryland’s black helmets from the 1990s. … L.A. Kings chief operating officer Chris McGowan sat down to talk about the team’s current jersey set (rare non-Pittsburgh contribution from Jerry Wolper). … Here’s a rare sight: David Robinson wearing a Magic warm-up jacket. That’s from the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, which took place in Orlando (nice find by Alex Melendez). … Another good piece by baseball uni historian Dave Grob, this time about teams recycling old jerseys. … Chris Thiele spotted an interesting Indian headdress helmet design being worn by Fairfield High in Ohio. Reminds me of the Chiefs prototype that Todd Asselin designed in 1989. If you’re not familiar with that chapter in Uni Watch history, look here. … Here’s a super-interesting piece about goalie leg pad design (kudos to Aaron Brophy). … “Dad shouldn’t allow that sock nonsense,” says Matt Mitchell, and I’m inclined to agree. … You know it’s almost time for college football when
some idiot e-mails me asking if he can have a “sneak peek” at this week’s ESPN column the Irish start painting their helmets, which of course is a longstanding tradition (from Warren Junium). … When Carlos Beltran joined the Giants, bat knob decal maven David Sulecki hooked him up with his own Giants-colored decals. … The last of his kind: RIP, Honeyboy.
Tomorrow: The annual Uni Watch college football season-preview column on ESPN.