Last November the Cardinals announced that their blue road cap was being demoted. The plan was for the team to wear red caps on the road, with the blue cap being retained in some capacity as an alternate. This came up when I interviewed Cards President Bill DeWitt III four months ago. In case you missed that, or if you just want to refresh your memory, here’s the key cap-centric exchange from that interview:
Uni Watch: You’re going back to wearing the red cap on the road, right?
Bill DeWitt III: Yes. But we’re keeping the blue hat in our portfolio as an alternate. At the moment, we’re kind of indifferent to how it’s used. It could be used as a Sunday-getaway cap; it could be used just when we play other teams that wear red, as a point of differentiation; it could be worn on alternating road trips. We may actually get some fan feedback on this.
At some point during spring training I read that the Cards had decided to go with the navy road caps when the opposing team was wearing red (although I no longer recall where I read that, dang). Seemed reasonable, and it was one of the options that DeWitt had mentioned. I figured that was that.
Nope. With less than a week remaining before Opening Day, the Cards have asked their fans to vote on the issue. That page went up around noontime yesterday, and was announced on the team’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. As you can see, one of the options is for the team to “Wear blue caps during road games and red caps at home” — in other words, to retain the status quo.
Well, DeWitt did say the team might solicit some fan feedback. But it seems very odd to do so only five days before the start of the season (the Cards open on the road, incidentally), and even odder to offer the possibility of sticking with the old protocol after announcing the switch to a new one several months ago.
I’ve tried to get some comment from DeWitt, and from a few other contacts I have on the Cards. No response yet, but I’ll keep you posted.
One final thought: Not every fan has a computer. And even among those who do, there are plenty of fans who don’t spend all their time on Facebook, on Twitter, or poking around their favorite team’s web site. All of which is to say, things like internet polls and Twitter hashtag stats are useful tools for certain things, but they’re lousy ways of determining something like how a diverse fan base feels about a road cap. The young and the wired already have outsized influence in the uni-verse, because they’re the ones who buy most of the merchandised apparel, which in turn drives many of the designs we see. Letting a uni element be decided by an internet poll just gives more power to a demographic segment that already has too much of it. Meanwhile, the sanitation worker who doesn’t sit at a computer all day, the rural fan who doesn’t use the computer all that much because his community still isn’t wired for broadband, and your grandfather who only uses his computer for e-mail and doesn’t even understand what Twitter is — all of whom may be just as passionate and loyal in their fandom, and whose opinions matter just as much as anyone else’s — don’t get to have a say. Indeed, one reason I almost never run polls here on Uni Watch is that the results would only provide a blurry snapshot of a fairly small, self-selected group, and I wouldn’t want to see that polling data used to support more wide-ranging arguments regarding how fans feel about uniforms.
I realize the Cards are attempting a form of fan outreach here, and I certainly don’t fault their intent. But for those of us who believe that a sports team is a civic entity, and that the team (and its uniform) belongs to all its fans — not just the ones who are demographically inclined to spend cash on tickets and merch — the net effect of the Cards poll is basically the uni-verse version of the rich getting richer and the marginalized being told yet again that they don’t matter. It stinks.
Meanwhile, there was other big MLB and NFL news yesterday:
• The Nats have finally announced the existence of the alternate cap that everyone already knew about. Reader David Goodfriend points out that the grommet vents are contrast-colored. Is that detail present on any other current MLB caps?
• The New York football Giants will have a set of alternate white pants in 2013. I’ve always thought the gray pants looked too drab, so this is welcome news at Uni Watch HQ. I had no idea this was in the pipeline, so I’ve asked Joe Skiba for more info. Will advise.
• Further evidence that the latest Dolphins logo leak was the real deal: Take a look at the Dolphins logo in the left sidebar of NFL.com’s “Predict the Pick” page. In case they’ve changed it by the time you read this, here’s a screen shot that reader Jason Fortin made. Not only that, but the Miami Herald is reporting that the logo is legit, plus they’ve added a new detail to the mix: The team is switching to white facemasks. That article is terribly written (the guy spends half his time apologizing for writing about uniforms and logos), but it has plenty of good info.
Uni Watch News Ticker: And so it has come to this: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are installing a urine-stream-controlled video game in their men’s room urinals. No mention of any corresponding game for women, so I guess female fans can just sit around wishing they had a penis and going to buy more beer for the gents. … I’m sure President Obama is just thrilled to have received a Notre Dame Fruit Stripe jersey (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Denard Span of the Nats forgot his jersey on the way to a spring training game and had to wear a minor leaguer’s number (from William Yurasko). … Whoa, check out these padded athletic glasses! “Is it wrong that i want to wear these like normal glasses?” asks vintage-enthusiastic Robin Edgerton. … The Sacramento River Cats are a little touchy about the spelling and styling of their name. Man, if I implemented a similar system of fines for Uni Watch — two words, both capped, space in between — I’d be a rich fella (from Brice Wallace). … There was snow on the ground yesterday in Ohio, so MLS used an orange ball for a Columbus Crew reserve match. “They should just do away with white soccer balls altogether,” says Leo Strawn Jr. “Orange is much easier to see. More color is a good thing, yeah? MISL used to play with an orange soccer ball indoors. USMNT played Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier a few days ago in a snowstorm in Denver, and they used a yellow ball for part of the match. German futbol is also played occasionally in snow, with an orange ball used on such occasions.” … Fascinating five-part series looking at the apparel contracts for three Utah school — Utah State (Nike), University of Utah (Under Armour) and BYU (Nike). As I’m typing this, only the first two parts have been posted. Highly recommended reading (big thanks to Josh Sorensen). … Penn State is marking the 100th anniversary of its lacrosse team by posting some cool old photos online (from Mike Janke). … The old Logo Athletic is now being used by a trucking company (from Mike McLaughlin). … Some really nice action photos of the 1942 Southern Conference Basketball tournament here (from Nate Collins). … Only in America: CBS is asking for a $700K tax break for — get this — part of its Super Bowl coverage. Blow me. … “My father got this baseball game for my two sons — okay, and for me, too — for Christmas,” says Kevin Fox. “With the season almost upon us and my eldest preparing himself for his first year of T-ball, we’ve been breaking it out lately. Great way to teach the game to a kid when there’s eight inches of snow on the ground. Sadly, all the players are in pajamas, but the stirrup revolution is a long-term project.” … Hmm, can’t imagine why this old catcher’s gear never caught on (from Ronnie Poore). … Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec used a solid-black stick with no branding last night. “I assume it’s because he was using a different stick than the one he’s under contract to use,” says Casey Hart. … If you were somehow unaware of the difference between an authentic jersey and a replica,
the easiest way to tell is that the authentic is an even bigger rip-off than the replica here’s a look at the differences (from Peter Colvin). … There are rain delays, and then there are rain delays. That’s Crosley Field, 1937. “What incline?” says Matthiew Mitchell. … This is fascinating: an 1880s baseball team that appears to have worn tunics and stockings, instead of jerseys and pants. Never seen anything like that (great find by Daniel Listoe). … Mets prospect Matt Den Dekker broke his wrist a few days ago, which is a bummer, but check out his cool Mets-themed cast:
— Matt den Dekker (@UpperDekker) March 25, 2013