Have I mentioned lately how much I love Joe Maddon? Seriously, how many other big league skippers could wear that uniform and look like they were enjoying it? Or to put it another way, how many teams would use their manager, instead of a few players, for this type of photo shoot?
My crush on Maddon notwithstanding, the Rays’ 1979 fauxback design, which they’ll be wearing on June 30 against the Tigers, is an interesting idea. Conceptually, it’s more akin to the 1999 TATC promotion than to a real throwback, because it’s fictitious conjecture, a guess as to what something might look like (or might have looked like). And as I’ve said several times in recent years, the TATC promotion was widely ridiculed by everyone at the time (myself included), but now it seems like a fun chapter in uni history, and the world would be a slightly less interesting place if it had never happened.
I suspect the same arc of assessment will take place with the Rays fauxback. Sure, it’s sort of stupid and undignified, but I think it will seem more and more like a fun idea as time goes on. (Although, admittedly, it seems more fun with Joe Maddon wearing the uni than it might if, say, Evan Longoria was wearing it.) I’m very curious to see if other teams will try something similar. Obviously, it won’t work for teams with deep histories, like the Cubs or Red Sox. But for newer/younger teams, it’s an opportunity to imagine what they would have looked like in previous eras.
What about the design itself? A few thoughts:
• They obviously just knocked off the late-’70s Padres template.
• Just yesterday I was saying how I don’t like navy blue and sky blue together, and that definitely applies here. I think they vibrate too much.
• This doesn’t feel like a home uniform. Would any team have worn a blue jersey and blue pants at home, even in 1979? I doubt it. I guess a white-based uni wouldn’t have have enough of a “Let’s make fun of the ’70s” vibe.
• Wouldn’t the Rays have been the Devil Rays back in ’79? Wish they’d gone that route.
• The little sunburst/flower graphic on the chest logo and cap isn’t bad.
• Should’ve gone with sansabelt pants, not belted.
Surprising that they didn’t go with stirrups, especially since they already have that striped design as part of their wardrobe. Maybe they’ll wise up and wear those for the actual game. I see now that he is wearing stirrups. But the dark sannies don’t work (should’ve gone with light blue or white), and the cut is all wrong for something that’s supposed to evoke 1979.
• In a nice touch, the jersey includes a sleeve patch showing the 1979 version of the St. Petersburg city seal.
• As you can see in that last photo link, the Tigers will be wearing 1979 throwbacks for this game. (As an aside, I always liked the white outlining on their road cap logo during that period. Kinda wish they’d go back to it — I always feel like the orange logo gets swallowed up by the navy background.)
What do you think of it?
Uni Watch News Ticker: I’ll be talking about Native American mascots and logos this morning on Connecticut Public Radio’s Where We Live program. I’m slated to be on from 9:20-10am eastern, and you can access the live audio by using the “Listen Live” button on the left sidebar of this page. … Here’s the Sixers’ draft cap (from Michael Preston). … Maryland basketball’s “pride” uniforms, or at least an early developmental rendering of them, have leaked. … Gold baseballs will once again be used at the home run derby. … New uniforms for McDonald’s workers in the UK (from Cary O’Reilly). … In the spirit of Cubees, check out these little Euro 2012 figurines (from Gretchen Mittelstaedt). … The Lightning will unveil a 20th-anniversary logo at this weekend’s draft (from John Muir). … Arkansas baseball has new cleats for the College World Series (from Justin Bates). … We had previously seen Virginia Tech’s G.I. Joe helmet, but I’m not sure we’d seen the corresponding jersey until now. “Not only is it ugly, but it’s boring as well,” says Andrew Cosentino. “Also, note that white will be worn for a home game.” … An independent minor league baseball team is wearing a sponsor’s name instead of an NOB. The article is wrong about no pro team having worn sponsorship patches on a full-time basis, of course (minor league hockey teams wear them all the time), but it’s true that this is unusual for a baseball team (from Sean Abruzzo). … In case you didn’t know, the Olympics are just a branding exercise (from Tom Mulgrew). … Looks like Martin Brodeur wasn’t wearing socks in this team portrait (from Ewan Williams). … New logo for Delaware football (from Erik Autenrieth). … Blue Jays pitcher Carlos Villanueva hit bare-handed (screen shot by Marc Bauche). … I was planning to bid on this amazing curling sweater in Uni Watch colors, but the price got out of hand. Dang. … More Olympics douchebaggery: The U.S. Olympic Committee has ordered a knitting organization to cease and desist with its “knitting Olympics.” … Some cap prank shenanigans in the Pirates dugout recently, as Brad Lincoln and James McDonald were both victimized (from Karl Anderson). … More Maryland news: In a move that doesn’t exactly qualify as a surprise, the football field won’t be black after all. Interesting to see that they’re doing the green color-blocking at the five-yard increments, rather than at the 10-yard increments. … Here’s a page that shows the uniform history of the German hockey team Adler Mannheim (from Brent Griffin). … Check out the old Brooklyn Dodgers football team with the World’s Fair’s trylon and perisphere logo on their jackets (nice find by Larry Bodnovich). … Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Overdoing Dept.: It’s bad enough that the Mets have joined the parade of teams putting colored graffiti on the mound, but now they’ve done likewise in the bullpen. Enough! … RIP, Andrew. Thanks for teaching me so much about the silver screen.