The Brewers and Diamondbacks decided to play a spring training game in July yesterday. Or at least that’s how it looked at Miller Park, where it was Italian Heritage Day. For weeks now we’ve been saying that this was shaping up as the most unsightly game of the year, and it did not disappoint.
I actually watched first hour or so of this one. It was one of those odd experiences where you’re sort of transfixed by the ugliness — it’s painful to look at, yet you can’t look away. Here are some of the more pertinent details:
• The Brewers wore green “Birrai” jerseys and red caps. It’s hard to overstate how awful the red side panels looked in action.
• The Brewers did, however, go to the trouble of getting red catching gear for Martin Maldanado.
• The Brewers always tailor their mound logo to match their uniform, so naturally they made yesterday’s logo red and green. Am I the only one who thinks it looks like a variation on the Chili’s logo?
What a mess. Couldn’t they honor the Italians by giving out free pizza coupons or something? Additional photos here.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays celebrated Canada Day in their usual uni-centric fashion. Here’s the rundown on that game:
• CNOB is always nice.
• It’s a little hard to see, but the Jays pulled the tiresome pandering move of wearing camouflage-logo caps.
• A “Canada Day” script was printed behind the plate.
Finally, one more uni-notable note from the weekend’s MLB action: The Giants held a 2002 World Series reunion ceremony prior to yesterday’s game against the Reds. The Reds, of course, are currently skippered by Dusty Baker — who was the Giants’ manager in 2002. So Baker put a 2002 Giants jersey over his Cincy road grays. I wonder how his players, employers, and fans felt about that. (Thanks to Brinke for the screen shots.)
In case you missed it yesterday, Phil recruited Jim Vilk and Rick(o) Pearson to help cover the weekend throwback games in Minnesota and Tampa. Check it out here.
As it happens, several Uni Watch readers attended the game in Minnesota:
• Jeff Barak showed up at the ballpark in full Minneapolis Millers attire. “The cap was custom-made at my local Lids store, the jersey is from Ebbets Field Flannels, the pants were part of a St. Paul Saints 1909 throwback game-worn uni, and the stirrups are from our own Robert Marshall,” says Jeff. “The full uniform was a hit with the fans, and wouldn’t have been possible without the stirrups from Comrade Marshall to complete the look.”
• Jeremy Formo captured a great detail: Even the grounds crew wore Millers gear. You can see the rest of his photos here.
• Jared Wieseler got some nice shots as well. You can see them here.
• Daniel Determan was pleased to see the Royals all going high-cuffed and stirrups-clad as they made their way to the bullpen. But he was highly disappointed to see so many of the Twins wearing pajamas for a throwback game. “Shouldn’t that be a crime?” he asks. Indeed.
Meanwhile, Kevin Kleinhans has a gripe about the Rays’ fauxbacks:
Like many others in the Tampa area, I rushed out and got my hand on the new Rays fauxback gear as soon as it was released. The first thing I bought was a New Era authentic cap. Watching the game on Saturday, I noticed that the “authentic” hats they sold us were different from what the players actually wore! The difference is the shape and size of the light blue panel in the front:
As you can see, Kevin is absolutely right — his retail cap is the standard six-panel design, with the front two panels rendered in light blue. But the caps used in the game were eight panels, because they split the front two panels so they could narrow the light blue area. You can see what I mean more clearly in this shot of David Price. Speaking of whom, what the hell did he have on his cap — pins? Anyone know more?
There was some uni-related banter in the Indians’ radio booth during Saturday’s Tribe/O’s game. Here’s a transcription, courtesy of reader Ed Hahn:
Tom Hamilton: Boy, the Orioles going with a hideous jersey today. It’s an orange top, black and white trim with white pants, and it’s, sorry, but it’s an ugly orange. … Looks good maybe on October 31 if you’re a jack-o-lantern, but it doesn’t do anything for anybody on this Orioles club. Isn’t it awful?
Jim Rosenhaus: It looks like a Creamsicle.
Hamilton [after a pause]: Okay.
Hamilton: It wouldn’t be around long today [i.e., because it's so hot].
Rosenhaus: Not feeling it?
Hamilton: I just … I like their home whites, you know? Orange and black to me isn’t the greatest color combo anyway, but when they wear their whites, it doesn’t look bad. Even the black jerseys last night weren’t bad. … Although to be honest. the Indians’ jersey isn’t all that much better when they wear these blue road jerseys, that were made for the home uniform. The blue jerseys with the Indians’ home white pants looks terrific. The Indians’ blue jerseys with these gray pants. not nearly as sharp.
Culinary Corner: For most of the beef sold in this country, the quality of the meat — and the grade it receives from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture — is determined by its degree of marbling, or intra-muscular fat. More marbling leads to a higher grade, and usually results in better flavor as well. (The reason Kobe beef is so highly prized is that it has an insane amount of marbling. Instead of beef streaked with fat, it’s almost the other way around.)
But using marbling as a determinant of quality only applies to grain-fed beef. Grass-fed cattle tends not to develop much marbling. This makes a certain kind of intuitive sense: If you ate mostly salad instead of bread, you wouldn’t develop as much fat either. This doesn’t mean grass-fed beef isn’t as flavorful, mind you — it just means that the flavor comes from other sources than the marbling. For example, grass-fed cattle roam around in the pasture instead of standing still at a feedlot, so they use their muscles more, which tends to give grass-fed beef an earthier flavor. (There are also lots of other advantages to grass-fed beef — better for the planet, better for the cattle themselves, blah-blah-blah — but I won’t get into that here.)
Sometimes, however, you get the best of both worlds: grass-fed beef with a lot of marbling. It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally there’s a particular steer that just happens to have a lot of intramuscular fat despite having been raised on a grass diet. The carcass from one of those steers apparently found its way to my local butcher, Fleisher’s, the other day. All of Fleisher’s beef is grass-fed, so I’m used to not seeing much marbling in their meat case. But when I walked into the shop on Saturday intending to purchase a bone-in ribeye, I couldn’t believe what I saw: ribeyes with enough marbling to make any serious carnivore drool.
I was so blown away that I bought three steaks instead of one. Check it out (click to enlarge):
Now, the big vein of fat running through each steak isn’t marbling — that’s just a standard part of any ribeye (the fat vein separates the eye of the ribeye from the outer cap, a muscle known as the spinalis dorsi, which is considered by many meat fans — myself included — to be the best part of the entire carcass). But all those other little nodules of fat you see in there? That’s pure gold. And it’s almost never seen in grass-fed beef.
I haven’t cooked any of these yet. One or two of them are ticketed for July 4th, and the rest will stay in my freezer (but probably not for long). Gonna be some good eatin’!
Permanent Record update: The latest full-length PermaRec installment is now up and running on Slate. There’s also a new entry on the PermaRec blog, plus I have some additional blog entries in the hopper for later this week. As always, if you want to sign up for the Permanent Record mailing list, just ask.
Uni Watch News Ticker: A little birdie checks in with the following: “I have a friend who works for the Astros, and he caught a glimpse of the logo and wordmark the club sent up to MLB for approval. His description was that it’s the same star they are using now, except a little ‘sharper,’ and in blue and orange. The wordmark uses a font that is similar to what they were using in the ’60s and ’70s. No word on the uniform, though.” … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: Lots of photos from this year’s Congressional baseball game, featuring lawmarkers in uniform, here. Meanwhile, Ron Paul was inducted into the Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame and wore a tequila sunrise jersey for the occasion. … Don Larsen is auctioning off the uniform from his perfect game (thanks, Phil). … The whole “I’m gonna celebrate by untucking my jersey” thing is causing waves again, only this time it’s because Rafael Soriano’s doing it. … Here’s a knitting pattern book, circa 1960s, for Australian football sweaters (from Rocky Lum). … If you’re an ABA fan, you’ll definitely want to check out this mother lode of 60 old ABA media guides (from Bruce Menard). … Here’s the best photo yet of Arizona football’s new copper helmet. The flag on the nose bumper is a nice touch (from Leo Thornton. … Lots of uni-notable glitches in this 1987 Packers training camp photo. Note the inconsistent pants piping, the missing white stripe on one helmet, and the upside-down logo on another helmet (big thanks to Jeff Ash). … New kits for Southampton (from Mike Miller). … “I know you like to talk about camo/military-themed jerseys as ‘G.I. Joe’ unis,” says Christopher Peterson. But the Dayton Cubs of the Florida State League have a jersey literally based on the G.I. Joe action figures from the ’80s. The wordmark is deliberately done in the style of the old G.I. Joe logo.” … “UConn held a press conference on Friday to officially announce their move to Hockey East in 2014,” says Gregory Koch. “As part of the celebration, they unveiled a commemorative jersey with the number 14 and a ‘Hockey East’ NOB.” … Nike is an inescapable presence at the U.S. Track and Field Trials (from Tony DiRubbo) … Phil Pries notes that some of the NBA rookie photos have a slightly different ball design. I’m trying to find out more from the NBA. … You know how each MLB clubhouse has a diagram on the wall showing how the uniform is supposed to be worn? Turns out there’s a similar diagram for the umpires (good find by Jason Werth). … Here’s something fairly rare: color photos of the Babe (from George Chilvers). … In what may qualify as the weirdest promo in recent memory, the Diamondbacks are giving away team-branded Mexican wrestling masks to fans attending this Saturday’s game. No word on whether (a) team broadcaster Daron Sutton will be required to wear one with his suit, or (b) Los Straitjackets will be playing, or (c) the state legislature will try to deport all the masks. Either way, crowd shots from that game should be pretty entertaining. … Last year I ran several entries about certain Dodgers minor league players wearing letters instead of numbers during spring training. Lorraine Colette, whose husband was in the Dodgers’ minor league system, has now provided a key to which minor league teams used which letters. A=Montreal, B=Spokane, C=Saint Paul, E=Atlanta, H=Macon, N=Green Bay, S=Great Falls, T=Reno, and W=Kokomo, Panama City, Orlando, and Odessa. … Here’s a really funny repurposing of the MLB logo. Andy VanPelt saw that at a diner in Portland. … Two NHL goalie notes from John Muir: New Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky will wear No. 72, and Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin is working on a new mask and is asking the people of Long Island what it is about L.I. that they’re most proud of (I’m assuming “the Islanders” will not be a frequent answer). … John Follett was watching Major League: Back to the Minors and noticed a uniform inconsistency: In consecutive scenes that take place a few seconds apart, ‘Downtown’ Billy Anderson’s uni number changes. “We also noticed a ton of scoreboard inconsistencies throughout the film, but that happens often in sports movies,” he says. … Former Padres pitcher Jake Peavy, now with the White Sox, is another player who’s been wearing a makeshift “Ak” memorial for former Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who recently passed away (screen shot by John Koziol). … The European debt crisis has resulted in at least one uni-based cartoon (from Terence Kearns). … Kudos to the single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks, who sell stiruups in their online team store (from Steve Vibert). … Two notes from the CFL’s opening weekend: Arland Bruce III of the BC Lions is wearing RNOB, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders debuted a new white helmet and wore an all-white uni for the first time in their history. “Normally they wear gray or green pants on the road, and always a green helmet,” says Marc Bauche. … According to this story, your average Nebraska football player is wearing $1000 worth of gear. Interestingly, the article states that the jerseys are made in Israel, which means Adidas/Reebok is still getting erseys from that one Israeli mill that produces the super-stretchy fabric (from David Westfall). … AC Milan has released a new away kit and a new third kit. “The away is about what we expected, although it doesn’t have a collar like the other two uniforms,” says Jeremy Schneider. “The third kit is a bit of a disappointment. Milan CEO Adriano Galliani had said that they would go with a yellow third kit (something they had worn in the past) because the team is superstitious about their black third uniforms — at one point they were 0-3 while wearing. One interesting feature, however, is the breast pocket with Italian flag above it.” … Here’s a uni-centric interview with Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin (from Joey Harvey). … In 1931, the Notre Dame football team made a series of short football instructional films. But instead of wearing uni numbers, the players wore the names of their positions, so they’d be easier to follow (great find by Larry Bodnovich). … A Ukrainian artist has designed some Game of Thrones-themed sports logos (from Ed Hahn). … Here are Notre Dame’s cleats for the game in Ireland. “Awful,” says Warren Junium. … Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey has ordered a longer bat for bunting (from Marc Bauche). … “EHC Munich has now become Red Bull EHC Munich, and to celebrate they’re having a third sweater contest,” says Alec Pappas. “Submissions are in, but you can vote at this URL until Wednesday.” … Here’s a great shot of cyclist Dave Zabriskie in his Captain America costume from Saturday’s Tour de France prologue stage (from Robert Wheeler). … “I was watching the Olympic trials Sunday night when they announced the U.S. men’s gymnastics team,” says Josh Holman. “Take a look at their warm-up pants — all of them have the three stripes up near the hip with a white piping, except for the third guy from the left. His stripes are lower, and there’s and no piping. Interesting.” … “I’ve always wondered what legendary NFL coaches would look like without their trademark suits,” says Brice Wallace. “So I did a bit of Photoshopping, and here’s what George Halas and Paul Brown would look like in today’s NFL.” … Jerry Wolper found a 1977 Oakland Tribune item about a Vida Blue wearing an illegal cap. I can’t link to the story because it’s hosted by a subscription-only site, but here are the pertinent bits: “[Vida Blue] held a death rite for the outlawed cap he had vowed to wear, burning it during a brief pregame ceremony last night. … Blue had threatened not to play unless he was allowed to wear the cap, banned by umpire Russ Goetz because the faded colors did not match the rest of the club’s uniform.” … Red Sox pitcher Felix Dubront wore two undershirts yesterday (Marc Bauche again). … The corporate sponsor of the new arena in my neighborhood continues to be a shining example of civic pride.