The photo you see above (which, like all the photos in today’s entry, you can click to access a larger version) is what was left of David Freese’s jersey after his game-winning home run last night. It ended up that way after a bizarre celebration rite that was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
As Freese circled the bases, the Cardinals did what every team now does when someone hits a walk-off homer: They spilled out of the dugout and waited to mob him at home plate. But after he touched the dish, something odd happened. Somebody emerged from the scrum with a two-handed grip on Freese’s (apparently very stretchy) jersey:
From there it got seriously weird, as more and more players tried to grab a piece of Freese’s uni:
When they’d finished ripping the jersey off of Freese, they started in on his undershirt:
When it was over, Freese looked like a homeless man during his postgame interview (the groundskeeper kid texting in the background is a nice touch):
So here’s what I’m wondering: Given the relentless monkey see, monkey do culture we now see in sports, will every walk-off homer now result in one of these jersey-stripping rituals? Hope not — the last thing we need is another predictable, preprogrammed ritual that cheapens the original, spontaneous event on which it was based — but it seems inevitable, no?
Meanwhile, I hear Freese’s jersey will is headed for Cooperstown. Tom Shieber, if you’re reading this, are there any other torn jerseys in the Hall’s collection?
Update, 10am: Didn’t realize until just now that the Cards have a bit of recent history with this jersey-shredding thing. It started with Nick Punto tearing dress shirts (not jerseys) off of his teammates, which led his teammates to tear his jersey off of him after he hit a game-winning homer back on Sept. 10. So this is, basically, a Cardinals thing. And that’s fine — their team, their celebration, their ritual.
Uni Watch News Ticker: New mask for Ray Emery (from Eric Lovejoy). … The Rangers all wore pink chinstraps for last night’s home opener. … What’s even worse than pink where it doesn’t belong? Purple where it doesn’t belong. “Gotta say, I love the number/name font,” says Ryan Connelly, although I don’t share his enthusiasm. … I think we’ve seen this before, but just in case: Here’s a page chronicling the history of Nebraska football uniforms (from Gil Neumann). … Tons of great striped hose on display on this page showcasing Japanese high school baseball prospects (big thanks to Andy Ingram). … The Royal Mint has begun making the medals for the 2012 Olympics and has unveiled the 2012 Paralympic medals (from Tom Mulgrew). … In a related item, did you know that the 2012 Olympics will feature women’s boxing? It true — and they may be wearing skirts (thanks, Brinke). … The new Gonjasufi EP has a Swinging Friar motif. … Hmmm — new black jersey for Purdue, or is that just a fashion jersey? (From Andrew A. Weintraut.) … We’ve all seen high schools that poach NCAA logos or helmet designs. But the Tara High School Trojans in Louisiana have taken things a few steps further by poaching USC’s entire uniform (from Ben Melancon). … Even by the usual pink standards, the uni being worn this Sunday by the Hershey Bears is a bit much (from Mario Carr). … Good spot by Neil Vendetti, who writes: “While messing around in Google Maps, I stumbled upon a pool in Palisades, New York, with a giant Cubs logo painted in it. I researched in a bit but could find no mention of it anywhere. The coordinates are 41.016237, -73.904795.” … Latest camouflage nonsense comes from Minnesota-Duluth hockey. They’ll wear that on Veterans Day. Meanwhile, there are new mask designs for Minnesota-Duluth goalies Kenny Reiter and Aaron Crandall (from Eric Lichtenberg). … Great work by Brian Gundell who’s been doing a Pac-12 uni tracker. Here’s his work for Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. … Illustrator Mickey Duzyj has just created a bunch of absolutely killer 1986 Mets posters for No Mas. … Still more BFBS news: “When West Virginia got the sweatback unis, we lost our black jerseys,” writes Chris Cocuzza. “Judging by what I found at our book exchange today, they’re back. Our old non-sweatback black unis had navy numbers, so at least the black was accompanied by our old gold and blue. Now it seems it’s just yellow, white, and black.” … Major upgrade for Louisiana Tech basketball. In addition to the design change, they had previously been NNOB. … For reasons not worth explaining here, I’ve been listening to the first three Blondie albums quite a bit this week. I’d forgotten how great they were. … Jeff Ash’s latest vintage Packers slideshow is from Picture Day, 1967. … This is pretty cool: an aerial shot of a Giants Stadium end zone being changed from one team’s logo to the other’s (big thanks to Alan Borock). … Some — but not all — of Louisville’s basketball players are wearing those striped socks that we first saw in the team portrait the other day. “I couldn’t be happier,” says David Merrill. … JrNOB — at least on a practice jersey — for Jerry Rice Jr. (from Matt Shevin). … A Walmart ad that aired during last night’s Cards/Rangers game showed USFL footage — Gamblers vs. Bandits (excellent catch by Eric Stangel). … Oh great, Evander Kane was wearing pink skate laces last night (from Sean Maguire). … Bit of a kerfuffle over some old Olympic hockey jerseys (from Joe Exner).