By Phil Hecken
The 2013 MLB season kicked off this week, returning with the season-opening Sunday Night Baseball game in Houston, where the newly-minted American League Astros hosted the Texases. I’m personally not a fan of opening the season at night, and the traditionalist in me feels that Cincy should have first pitch every year. But, also, with 15 teams in each league, we’re now treated to at least one interplague series for each set of series’ during the season. But baseball is back, and for many of us it’s like a re-birth. So, lets see how the greatest sport in the history of ever is doing this year. We’ve had some good, and some bad.
Not a single game was rained out (although many games appeared to be brutally cold), and in a very interesting development, every team won (or lost) at least one game in their series’ EXCEPT the Nationals/Marlins. Has there ever been a time when all teams completed their first series by winning (or losing) at least onece?
Before we get into the games themselves, a couple of observations:
• There seems to be little consistency to the “Opening ______” logo that gets sprayed on each team’s diamond. In Houston, where the season began at night, the logo said Opening Day. The White Sox and Royals were treated to Opening Week, while there was the odd “Opening Series” as well. And of course, if you don’t open at home, then you get a “Opening Weekend” logo.
• Down in Atlanta, they opened their festivities with probably the biggest American flag you can fit inside a stadium.
• The aforementioned White Sox, whose spray-painted logo read “Opening Week,” flashed an “Opening Day” graphic on their electronic scoreboard.
• Everyone wore the Newtown memorial on their jerseys, but the Yankees & Sox had a spray-painted logo, probably because those two cities are approximately equidistant to Newtown, and are the closest in proximity to the city. Or because they’re the Yankees. Here’s a nice closeup of the patch.
The games themselves (and I actually saw a few minutes of a LOT of games, thanks to the MLB Extra Innings free preview — which is, I believe, still going on thru the end of this weekend) were fairly run-of-the-mill, but there was almost a perfect game down in Houston — Yu Darvish had a perfecto through 8 2/3rds innings, only to lose it on a comebacker up the middle on the 27th batter.
The First Series’:
• The Astros showed off their new unis, and they looked good — not quite as good as they could have been, but much better than what they’ve worn for the past 20 or so years. One thing I’m not a fan of — the NOB and “ASTROS” are about the same size. Either make the NOB smaller (or remove it) or make that “ASTROS” bigger. They did not break out their orange alternate tops (they did last night, I’ll have that below), but the did have J.J. Watt wearing the orange jersey AND cap. As much as I hate softball tops, I really want to see that combo.
• The weather across the lower 48 has been unseasonably cool. So, we got to see a lot of cold weather gear. That’s the one and only Prince Fielder. As was spotted during training camp, the big guy was wearing some kind of padded underwear. He appears to be continuing that practice during the games that count. And I hate alt (and BP) caps even more than softball tops, but damn — is there anyone besides me who wouldn’t mind seeing the Tigers wear their gray road BP cap in a game?
• Only one team wore softball tops for every game in their first series. Not coincidentally, they were the only team who lost every game in their opening series. The Marlins were swept by the pesky Nats in DC. Maybe the Marlins only packed black tops for their trip because they wore them again last night against the Mets. And speaking of the Nats, the Strassiah looked great, but man there is a lot of crap on the bump these days.
• I’ll be honest — I’m not really following this “one helmet logo per team” thing that seems to be a conspiracy. But I guess it revolves around the Indians and the ‘Block C’ helmet. Apparently some of the fans are upset there is no longer a Wahoo there. But he’s on the sleeve, so what’s the problem? Also, since the Indians were wearing the ‘Block C’ cap with that outfit, wouldn’t the helmets match the caps anyway? Can’t they still have the Wahoo helmets?
• I’ll be honest again — I wasn’t really sad to see the Mets trade away R.A. Dickey. But the dude could make any uniform look not just good, but great. Exhibit A. Hope that knucksie is workin’ for ya north of the border.
• Earlier I lamented about the Reds not getting the “first” game of the season. But it was nice to see that MLB paired them up with their long-time and traditional rivals, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for their opening series. Interplague baby! At least the Reds got to open at home.
• For the first time in many seasons, hope springs eternal in Baltimore. While they didn’t get any new unis this season, they did get a new BP cap. And as much as I hate multiple caps, how bad do we want to see the orange front panel make an appearance — especially if they pair it with the orange jersey? (Raises hand) Yeah, that brings back memories.
• Some opening series will ALWAYS produce great looking games. Phillies vs. Braves is one of them. Giants vs. Dodgers is another. No, it’s not quite what Willie and Sandy wore, but those unis (with a few detours for the Giants) have stood the test of time. And no one (ok, maybe a couple folks) love striped socks more than I do, but damn, those are WAAAAAY to high up to look good. Bring those down a couple inches.
• Sigh. There were more than a few teams to wear softball tops on opening day. But one softball top that (sorry Paul) is actually pretty good looking belongs to the Rockies. But then again, I like dark, outlined numbers on dark jerseys, so that must have something to do with it.
• All is right in the world when the Cards wear red caps on the road (and notice the Musial patch). I mean, with all that red on the uni, the red cap just belongs. Unfortunately, it didn’t help the Cards to look great when they played a similarly attired Diamondback squad. Seriously, on the long shots it was almost hard to tell the teams apart. Luckily, the D-Backs have a softball top to make things easier.
• And then there are the Mets. After winning their first two games in pinstripes and blue caps, they gave the finger to the uniform gods by wearing the blue/orange cap (which looks horrible, and the outlined “NY” is even worse), and lost. That should really be their BP cap — except they have an even WORSE BP cap. Ugh. Mr. Met belongs on the sleeve, or maybe a ticket stub, but not on the cap. That logo is too big and too intricate to don a cap. One highlight so far for the Amazin’s has been new acquisition John Buck, wearing #44. I am so going to find an old Jason Bay jersey in a thrift store and repurpose that with some masking tape and a sharpie.
I didn’t get to look at too many of yesterday’s games, but we did get our first looks at a couple more softball tops:
• The Mets broke out their blue “Mets” tops against the Marlins. And lost. Of course, the Marlins continued to wear their black alt tops, so this game was a visual mess. Or, if Jim Vilk were doing a 5 & 1, this would have been the “and one.” At least the Mets had the good sense to wear their all-blue cap (and not the blue/orange), so it didn’t look as bad as it could have. More photos, if you must, here.
• And the Astros busted out their orange tops against the A’s. Unlike the Mets, who don’t have a “set” schedule for their blue tops, the Astros will wear their orange tops every Friday (not sure if that’s home and road, or just home). Unlike most softball tops, however, me likey! Apparently, they’re a big hit with the fans too! Lots more photos here.
Well, there you have it — Not a bad start, right? Feel free to tell me my opinion is wrong!
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
We begin today with John Elbertson, who has a concept for the Jags:
Here’s a concept I was working on featuring the Jaguars’ new logo. Let me know what you think. I just saw the post for the Dolphins design contest, so hopefully I’ll soon have something to send you for that as well. Hope all’s well, take it easy!
Next up is Logan Stone, with a Rams logo:
I recently made an updated St. Louis Rams logo and a friend of mine directed me to your twitter (and eventually your email).
Next up is Josh Escobar, with neat 1960 Raiders concept:
It’s Josh Escobar with another throwback. This is a 1960 raiders uniform, one they should of worn during the 50th anniversary of the AFL. I had to put the tv numbers on the shoulder since the sleeves are much shorter than the ones used back then. I hope you like it.
We close today with Eric Falcon with a Devils makeover:
Attached is my uni concept for the New Jersey Devils.
I’ve always thought that the black shoulder yoke seemed unnecessary, so I wanted to see how the Devils would look without it. I also tried changing up the strip pattern on the jersey/socks, especially on the colored jersey by adding red space in between the black and white stripes. The white jersey is very minimalist but I think it would be a bold look for a team that–colors aside–has not changed its uni design substantially since its inception.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Because we love the stirrup here at Uni Watch, this section is devoted to those of us who sport the beautiful hose on Fridays — a trend popularized many years ago by Robert P. Marshall, III. For many of us, it’s become a bit of an obsession, but a harmless one — a reflection of our times. Where we once had Friday ties, which has been replaced by Casual Friday — we now have Stirrup Fridays. It’s an endearingly simple concept — no matter where you work (or even if you don’t) — break out a fresh pair of rups to compliment (or clash with) your Friday attire.
As expected, the Revolution broke out their Opening Day rups early and often. Lots of good stuff this week, including my own opening day Metsies. After stirrup nation has had its showing, we will have a few words from out esteemed leader, Comrade Marshall. But first, this weeks ruppage:
Opening Day for the Natties, so I went with my 1967 Senators’ ‘rups. Also, my Ebbetts Field Flannels Josh Gibson 1937 Homestead Grays home jersey (not shown).
Opening Day. Go Cards!
Not a Friday, but appropriate no less! LGM, Chipmunk.
Sweet Tea Emm Que
Not a Friday but me at the Yankees opening day on Monday. I have the 1912 Yankees stirrups on and got a few compliments from other fans in attendance.
One more time. Go Shockers.
For the first Friday’s Stirrups of the season, I am going with my 1915 NY Giants stirrups.
R. Scott Rogers:
Celebrating the Nats sweep of Miami to start the ’13 campaign with ’67 Senators stirrups.
Just bought these stirrups on ebay for my upcoming baseball season; unfortunately, the seller neglected to mention that they weren’t adult sized (they don’t even fit over my feet). Well, at least my 4 yr. old son, Séamus seems to like them.
-Clarybird (Michael Clary)
Comrade Robert Marshall:
Annual opening day over indulgence on natural casing frankfurters on split kaiser rolls with Düsseldorf mustard and caramelized onions, check. Annual wearing of the opening day Jackalopes jersey with a pair of stirrups, check and check.
My Stirrup Brethrens,
Just relaxing with the little one. Went Astros in honor of the first game of the season and since it has a little touch of orange to support of the ‘cuse this weekend. Go Orange!
And that ends today’s look at Stirrup Friday — all of you who participate, send me your pics and a brief (~50 words) description of their relevance, and I’ll run ‘em here on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday too!). Be sure to visit Robert’s House of Hose for news on rups.
And now…here’s …
I wanted to give away a pair stirrups for the opening day photos, and while it is tempting to give them to the adorable Pirate fan, or to Mr. Rogers beautiful framing with the flag, I want to stick with the best opening day shot. So, Christopher LaBella’s Stirrup Friday entry is this weeks winner for being the first to wear a pair to the park, get in touch with me for a free pair of stirrups to supplement your solid navy hosiery. Besides, my heart really goes out to Yankee fans this year, I feel horrible that they might struggle (yeah right).
Speaking of the Yankees, that brings me to the revolutions “new” stirrups. People have asked me for logo stirrups in the past and I have been reluctant, but I have decided to give them a shot. Two iconic teams that have not had much or any representation here are the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. So let’s start by offering up those two to see how they will go over. The problem is the logo stirrups are significantly more money on my end, nearly double the price. So this means the “new” cost for those getting in early will be $18, when they move to à la carte they will be $22. So there you go Yankee and Dodger fans, the revolution has finally touched your teams.
from each according their stirrvp, to each according their strype.
The Uni Watch Fantasy Football Contest is coming along nicely, and I keep receiving entries — so keep them coming. The “splash” entry today is from Coleman Mullins, one of several he has already submitted.
We’ve already received a fairly good amount of entries, but we’d love a few more. So, let me quick turn this over to Rob, who’s the mastermind of this contest:
The entries for the UW Fantasy Football League have been coming in nicely. Phil tells me it is time to think about setting a deadline, he’ll have details as far as the exact date below, but in the mean time keep those entries coming, they’re looking good.
We’ve decided to set the entry deadline at APRIL 15th (or, Everyone wear #42 Day [Jackie Robinson Day], Patriots’ Day [if you live in Boston], or just plain old “Income Tax day” for everyone else). If you are interested in submitting (or hadn’t heard about the contest), click here. And for a description of the teams in the fantasy league, look here.
OK? OK — so keep them coming — once we close the contest down, we’ll begin to put the submissions up for a vote and contact the winners. So stay tuned!
And that is going to do it for today. Enjoy the basketball — even if your bracket is completely busted. At this point I’m going to be rooting for the Shockers. Because, why not? Everyone have a great Saturday and I’ll catch you tomorrow.
“Enlisting the federal government to “urge” palatable speech is chilling – even for something as seemingly inane as the name of a football team.”