One of the most interesting visual moments in last night’s MLB season opener between the Rangers and the Astros took place before the game actually started. This being Opening
Day Night, the players were introduced one at a time and lined up on the field. But as you can see above, instead of lining up on the first and third baselines, as is customary, they lined up between the bases on the infield. I remember seeing this once at an All-Star Game, but I think that’s the only other time I’ve seen it. But hey, maybe I’ve just missed the boat on this — is this format more common than I realize?
As you can also see, the American flag was accompanied onto the field by a state flag, which is something you don’t see every day. Ah, Texas.
Other notes from the game:
• As most of you know, all 30 MLB teams are wearing a Sandy Hook memorial patch on Opening Day. Interestingly, both teams last night wore the patch on their chests, not on their sleeves, even though both teams had space available on their right sleeves. Not sure if the chest placement will be MLB-wide, but we’ll find out soon enough. (It’s hard to see in this photo, but the umps were wearing the patch as well.)
• Rangers starter Matt Harrison was wearing the Sandy Hook patch at the start of the game, but it must have either fallen off or been removed, or maybe Harrison changed jerseys, because the patch was gone by the time he was removed from the game in the 6th inning.
Meanwhile, reader Kris Hunt was following the game on his iPad with the MLB At Bat app. “As soon as the game ended, this popped up,” he says. “Note the wrong Astros logo — but they have the correct logo in the line score. Guess they need a few more days to clear out the 2012 assets folder!”
A few other MLB-related notes from the weekend:
• Just in time for Opening Day, new bat knob decals for the Braves.
• Louisville Slugger chose yesterday to announce the unveiling of a new logo, and boy is it a stinker. Feels sooooo suburban — like, this is the logo Applebee’s would use if they were in the bat biz. Disappointing.
• The famously no-nonsense Yankees played an exhibition game at West Point on Saturday and wore a sleeve patch and a cap patch for the occasion. For an exhibition game! Well, at least it wasn’t camo. (My thanks to reader Kyle Kalkwarf for the pics.)
As for me, I’m stoked for the Mets’ home opener, which I’ll be watching this afternoon. I know it’s gonna be a long season for my team, but I still get all goosebumpy for Opening Day. Hope you’re all feeling similarly.
By Brinke Guthrie
All baseball today kids, since it’s Opening Day in MLB (yesterday was Opening Night). Without further ado:
• This is just a terrific-looking MLB logo varsity jacket from DeLong.
• Check out this 1989 Bay Bridge World Series shirt. This was the series with the earthquake! I remember precisely where I was — I had just made a personal appearance at a DARE function with Reds pitcher Rob Dibble, and we watched the game on my tiny Sony Watchman in the station van.
• Let’s also add this nice-looking set of 1960s Giants glasses!
• Check out this vintage 1950s baseball statue from Blatz Beer.
• Thought PL might be interested in this one: a 1950s-’60s Baltimore Orioles bolo. First bolo ever on Collector’s Corner. [For the record, I have never worn a bolo, and I plan on keeping it that way. — PL]
• This is for sure the first ever kite on Collector’s Corner, too. This 1940s Top Flite Kite is Big League all the way.
• Always liked the Hollywood look of these 1980s Dodgers jackets — high-profile collars with the stripes.
• The Reds had a great poster promotion in the 1970s. Every year, a huge full-color player poster was given out at a game…or you could buy it and lots of other items at the team’s downtown gift store, the “580 Building.” Here’s one for Tom Terrific.
• There’s a story behind this one: a photo of Babe Ruth autographing baseballs in the 1920s. All my life, I’ve had a 1920s ball signed by Ruth, Gehrig, and several more Yankees. My great-grandfather had it signed or something. I got the idea (a good idea at the time, or so I thought) to get Hank Aaron to sign it. He did so at a Cincinnati department store gig in April 1974, right before he broke the record. I’ve had it all these years and decided to sell it. Got in touch with Jeremy Brown of Pawn Stars fame, and we got it checked out. Ruth signature could not be authenticated, but all the others are legit, and it goes up for auction on the 10th. So I’m pretty sure my ball is not the one in that photo!
Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Seattle party reminder: Remember, Uni Watch party a week from tonight, Monday, April 8, 7:30pm, in the back room of the College Inn Pub. Yes, I know that’s the night of the Mariners’ home opener; yes, I know that’s also the night of the NCAA tourney final. But that evening is my only window of available time during this trip, so it was either Monday night or nothin’.
And remember, hand-drawn membership cards will be available, executed by Scott M.X. Turner while you watch. If you missed the scoop on that, look here. Two additional notes on that, however:
1) Several readers have pointed out that it would be cruel to do a membership promotion in Washington State and not allow U. of Washington-themed cards (which would be purple-inclusive and therefore run afoul of our usual chromatic policy). I agree. So the purple ban will be lifted on April 8, but only for people signing up at the party, and only for U. of Washington-themed cards.
2) If you’re planning to have Scott hand-draw a card for you at the party, you’d better bring really good photo reference for him. Just bring a printout of a rear-view photo of the jersey design you want, okay? Okay.
Vikings redesign reminder: In case you missed it on Friday, I’m running an ESPN contest to redesign the Vikings. Details here.
PermaRec radio interview: On Wednesday I’ll be doing an hour-long radio interview about the Permanent Record report cards. It will air live from 10-11am eastern (you can get the live stream here), with a rebroadcast that evening at 9pm eastern here. Further details on the PermaRec blog.
Uni Watch News Ticker: New chrome helmet for WKU. … Kudos to Brian odagnone, who used a Uni Watch decal to make a Uni Watch puck! … A Philadelphia restaurant called Chink’s Steaks is changing its name. I don’t see what all the fuss was about — it was obviously a tribute (from Adam Brodsky). … Check out this shot from the 1941 NCAA tourney final. “What are the strange court markings under the basket?” asks David Petroff. “At first I thought it was an arrow, but now I think it’s an H and a V. I assume it refers to ‘Home’ and ‘Visitor,’ but why?” Anyone..? … Tom Juettner notes that the color sequence of the striping pattern on Marquette’s jersey side panels doesn’t match the sequence on the shorts. This is true for all of their uniforms, as you can see here, here, and here. “This is in sharp contrast to the previous uniform, which had the same color sequence on both the shorts and jersey. It’s as though the designers decided to have the stripes be mirror images of each other. That might make sense, given the similarly shaped horn-shaped blocks at the hem of the shorts and armholes of the jersey, creating a flipped look.” … Clemson football is planning a purple-out for Nov. 23. “To my knowledge, this is the first ‘-out’ game promoted by our athletic department,” says Benji Boyter. “In fact, the slogan of our athletic department is ‘Solid Orange: It’s About Pride.’ But since it’s a Purple Out for the fans, I’m assuming the team will be in purple as well. If so, and provided they don’t wear either of the purple elements of the jersey prior to then, it will be the first time in at least two seasons that they’ve worn either a purple jersey or purple pants. In 2011, head coach Dabo Swinney told the team they couldn’t wear purple at all until they won a conference championship, which they did that same year. The last two seasons, the uniform has been either all-white on the road and either orange/white or orange/orange at home.” … Remember when Russell Martin added a “J.” initial to his NOB back when he was with the Dodgers, as a shout-out to his mom? Obviously, he didn’t have an NOB during his recent seasons with the Yankees. Now that he’s with the Pirates, he’s just going with his surname. Interestingly, the “J” initial is shown — without a period — in MLB 13 The Show (screen shot by Matt DeMazza). … Speaking of MLB 13 The Show, it originally showed the Braves’ Indian-head BP cap, but several readers report that a software patch has now been issued to replace it with the current BP cap. … The new pro soccer team in Sacramento is having a contest to pick the team’s name, colors, badge design, and so on. “Or as I call it, a ‘working on spec’ contest,” says Chris Chaussee. “I think these types of contests are cool, but on a smaller scale, like having a contest for one element of the team’s brand. There’s something about this one that rubs me the wrong way. I just get a vibe that they’re too cheap to hire someone to do this work, which in turn makes me feel like they don’t think graphic design an important job. It’s not like they are having a ‘fans pick the roster’ contest where I get to make the starting lineup for the games. No, they’ll hire someone to do that. Why not hire someone for this?” … As I’ve mentioned a few times, the Reds are switching their shade of red this season, from Pantone 200 to Pantone 199. That has led to this rather amusing T-shirt (from Kurt Schweitzer). … You know what the richest sports league in America needs, especially when lots of people are out of work? Free labor. … Sweet stirrups for Florida Southern (Benji Boyter again). … New basketball uniforms on the way this fall, with a “mountain theme,” for Utah. “Here’s hoping they don’t look anything like this,” says Taylor Berthelson. … The Phillies are still using the Blue Jays’ old logo on their scoreboard (from Jude S.). … When Tony Romo signed his new contract the other day, there was a chrome Cowboys helmet on the table next to him (from Jason Henke). … Excellent spot by Geoff Poole, who was watching Friday’s Reds/Diamondbacks spring training game and noticed Socrates Brito wearing a jersey with what appears to have been a Rawlings maker’s mark. “All the other Diamondbacks players I could see had the Majestic logo,” he says. … Excellent Northwestern-striped stirrups for Akron (from Rob Lynn). … Late-breaking MLB note that didn’t make my season-preview column: The Phillies and Diamondbacks will wear 1990s throwbacks on Aug. 23 (from Bernie Perlman). … The Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL are changing their logo and uniforms after a complaint by the Washington Capitals, who felt that Lethbridge was poaching (from Anthony Nuccio). … Interesting note from Darren Rovell about Wichita State’s uniforms (thanks Brinke). … New soccer kits for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL (from Paul Mordente). … Here’s a time-lapse video of the Alamodome being changed over from football to baseball for a Rangers spring training game. If you want to see more, the video on this page shows a homer going over the Metrodome-esque “baggie” in right field. “Apparently, it was only 285 feet down the RF line,” says Kyle Peicher. … Leo Strawn Jr. found this listing for a 1964 NFL handbook. Note the orange stripes on the Bears helmet and the improperly colored logo on the Packers helmet. … The good news: Maryland baseball is wearing some very nice Northwestern-striped stirrups, worn just the way I like ’em; the bad news is that they went G.I. Joe yesterday (from Richard Musterer).
I did something really stupid: Back in mid-February, my brother offered to take me to a NY Rangers game for my birthday. He tossed out a couple of possible dates that worked for him, and I chose today — not realizing at the time that today is Opening Day for the MLB season. So while I’ll be watching the Mets this afternoon (and toggling over to the Yankees during commercial breaks), I won’t be watching baseball all day and all night like I usually do on Opening Day. Instead, I’ll be spending the first full day of the baseball season attending a hockey game. It feels almost like an infidelity, like I’m cheating on baseball.
Such neuroses aside, this also means I won’t be home to chronicle any uni-related MLB surprises that pop up tonight. I know you’ll all be watching, though, so please send those MLB items my way, and I’ll do my best to include them in tomorrow’s entry when I get home from the Rangers game. Thanks.