Uni Watch reader Ryan Stone caught this ball at last night’s Cards/Diamondbacks game in Arizona. “My first ball with a special insignia on it,” he says. “Didn’t know these existed!”
Down on the field, there were lots of oddities and glitches involving MLB’s Sandy Hook memorial jersey patch yesterday. Most teams wore it above the heart, but the Pirates wore it on the other side, presumably because they didn’t want the patch to bump up against their chest logo (although the Nats apparently had no such concerns).
Meanwhile, several players had patch issues: Wilson Ramos of the Nats didn’t have a patch; Yanks starter CC Sabathia was patch-clad at the start of the game, but then at some point his patch disappeared; Giants infielder Marco Scutaro came up to bat in the top of the 1st with his patch briefly stuck upside-down on his sleeve (it fell off completely after two pitches); and a Getty photographer captured Cubs started Jeff Samardzija’s patch coming loose from his jersey in the 1st inning! (I realize that almost looks like the patch logo was Photoshopped onto the photo, but it’s legit, trust me.) He pitched the rest of the game patch-free.
Then there was Billy Butler of the Royals, whose patch was coming loose during as he batted during the 8th inning. So he removed it from his jersey and put it in his pocket.
In other Opening Day news from around the majors:
• Bosox rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. had JrOB. I’m fairly certain that’s an MLB first. (No, Junior Griffey never did it, neither did Cal Ripken Jr., neither did Tim Raines Jr., or anyone else. We’ve been through this before.)
• Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino wore No. 37 in spring training but had announced his intention to switch to No. 0 once the regular season started. Sure enough, that’s what he was wearing. Although several MLB pitchers have previously worn double-zero, including Bobo Newsome, Curtis Leskanic, Omar Olivares, and Rick White, I believe Ottavino is the first big league pitcher to wear single-zero.
• The Giants are wearing a championship patch.
• For years now, David Wright has worn an orange undershirt, instead of the Mets’ usual blue. The thing is, the collar has always been the only orange-visible part of the shirt. He’s never worn orange sleeves extending below his jersey sleeves — until yesterday. Remember, this is the same David Wright who opted not to wear a captain’s “C” because, as he himself put it, “the uniform is uniform for a reason.” Not sure if this more orange-aggressive move was just an Opening Day thing or what, but I don’t like it, nossir. The team’s undershirt color is blue — just wear the blue like everyone else. (On the plus side, as you can see, Wright maintained his longstanding protocol of going high-cuffed for day games, but it looked like shite cuz his socks didn’t match his sleeves.)
• John Buck, now with the Mets, is the only MLB catcher who can wear a custom-painted mask. He was wearing a standard two-tone model in spring training (that’s the basic template that most hockey-masked catchers are using this season), but he broke out a new design yesterday.
• First game of the season and Yanks reliever Joba Chamberlain is already breathing Ethier.
• Joe Torre threw out the first pitch in Cincy while wearing his USA WBC jersey. I realize he managed that team, but I still think that’s kinda lame-o. The WBC is over, and this was supposed to be MLB’s day.
• Meanwhile, out in L.A., Magic Johnson wore a No. 13 Dodgers jersey. Of course his usual No. 32 is retired for Sandy Koufax.
• A young Braves fan found a way to salute both Upton brothers with one T-shirt.
• And in one of the most hallowed rites of spring, Uni Watch reader Elena Elms made her annual batch of Opening Day baseball-themed cookies for her office. Nice!
(My thanks to all contributors, including Chuck Brehm, Jimmy Couto, Kevin Cunningham, Cork Gaines, Mike Monaghan, and Matthew Solly.)
Radio Free Uni Watch: If you read this by 9:15am Eastern, you can hear me talking about the new Dolphins logo on WAXY 790 in Miami. Use the “Listen Live” link on that page to hear the streaming audio. Never mind, was just cancelled. May be rescheduled for later in the week.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Fernando Torres of Chelsea wore a uni-numbered mask in the game against Southampton over the weekend (from Michael Orr). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Interesting article on what criminals wear, including sports gear, while committing crimes (from Dave Plante). … Here’s a time-lapse of the floor being installed for the Final Four (from Brig Slaughter). … This is pretty cool: “At the U18 IIHF Division II-B Championships, Estonia has gone with white pants to make their kit look like their flag,” says Alec Pappas. … One of the better April Fool gags from yesterday involved a new Houston Cougars helmet logo (from Chris Flinn). … When brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris played together at Kansas, they had awkward NOBs. Now that they’re together in Phoenix, they’re just going with their surnames (from Joe Nguyen). … A Georgia Tech alum is putting together a GT ticket stub archive. If you have any old Georgia Tech football ticket stubs, he wants to talk with you (from Michael Rich). … New uniforms for USA rugby (from Josh Jacobs). … LSU baseball will commingle two of my least favorite tropes today, when they wear purple-lettered G.I. Joe caps (from Troy Gaulden). … Another uni-related April Fool’s prank, from Curtis Herd: “The chairman of the Tennessee Smokes (AA baseball) is Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. They posted a fake release saying that they were changing their name to the Tennessee Browns. It was complete with logos and uniforms. They also sent out a release to their list of media. And according to a comment on their site, they’ve been answering the phones as the Tennessee Browns.” … Hefty price tag, but check out these great custom-painted Blackhawks figurines (from Mathieu Santos). … “I work at a sports apparel store in San Diego, and every so often the Padres will have us customize jerseys for people throwing out the first pitch,” says Jared Bremseth. “They recently asked to do jerseys for the new Chargers head coach and GM, so we added a bolt sleeve patch for the occasion.” … New uniforms for the Boise Hawks (from Aaron Bernstein, among several others). … “Was listening to the Baseball Today podcast and John Kruk offered up an interesting tidbit about Bruce Bochy back when he played,” says Mario Fontana. “Apparently Bochy’s helmet was a size 8, and ABC (the manufacturer) had stopped making them in that size. So every team Bochy went to, he had to have his helmet repainted. Apparently every time he got angry and spiked his helmet, the paint would chip.” … Notice anything odd about the Falcons helmets shown here and here? The striping pattern is the reverse of what was actually worn on the field (from Leo Strawn Jr.). … Jeremy Donovan asks a very simple question that I’d never thought of before: We all know Jackie Robinson wore No. 42, but why did he wear it? Was there a particular reason? Was it just randomly assigned to him? The highest number the Dodgers issued in 1947 — Jackie’s first year — was 43, so he was at the far end of their numerical range. Any significance to that? Anyone know more? … This is interesting: In this portrait of 1963 Michigan baseball team, the players are wearing a cool NCAA championship patch. “It features crossed American and Japanese flags,” notes Brian Igoe. “Evidently, after winning the College World Series in 1962, Michigan went to Hawaii and played in something called the International Collegiate World Series. They won that tournament as well, with a three games to two series victory over Hosei University.” … Oh baby, check out this absolutely sensational photo of a very young Lew Alcindor. Man, that’s a beauty. … In a small victory for sanity, the private prison company that had bought the naming rights to Florida Atlantic’s football stadium has backed out of the deal (from Mike McLaughlin).