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I was all set to say, “You have one of the most beautiful home unis in the sport, you wait over two decades to get into a playoff game, and you wear black?” But then the Pirates did something so wonderful in last night’s National League Wild Card game that I forgot all about the black jerseys.
The photo on the left is a close-up of Francisco Liriano’s cap; on the right, Russell Martin’s jersey. As you can see, they were wearing little star-shaped “P” patches — an obvious shout-out to the Stargell Stars of the late 1970s. How awesome is that?! Relievers Tony Watson and Jason Grilli also wore them, as did manager Clint Hurdle, and I think I spotted Justin Morneau wearing one as well (sorry, no photo of him). You can also see someone — I’m not sure who — wearing one in the background of this shot.
The original Stargell Stars were solid gold, and then Stargell added a little “S” in the center, while last night’s stars had the team’s “P” logo (which means Martin had a P within a P). From a distance, it was hard to see the patches’ star-shaped outlines — they just looked like little “P” pins.
According to this article — which to my knowledge is the only one so far to address this storyline — the stars were the brainchild of Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister, who distributed them to every player prior to the game as a way to “take a little bit of Willie [Stargell] out on the field.” It’s not clear why some players wore the stars and others didn’t. (That article also mistakenly states that Martin wore his star on his cap, when he actually wore it on his jersey. As a catcher, Martin probably never even wears a cap unless he’s not in the lineup.)
I love it — all of it! On some level, of course, this is a uniform violation, but let’s hope MLB has the good sense not to shut it down.
A few other notes from last night’s game:
• Both teams wore MLB Postseason patches on their caps and sleeves. The cap patches looked particularly bad. They even had the patch on their BP caps. Postseason decals on the batting helmets, too. Enough!
• The cap and sleeve patches were also worn by the umpires.
• The Reds wear black shoes, but skipper Dusty Baker wore red.
• Someone at the game had a jacket that appeared to be made of old Pirates pennants.
(My thanks to all contributors, including Mike Brethauer, Jason Hillyer, Ryan Patton, Todd Radom, Nick Schiavo, Joe Sewash, Tom Shieber, Chris Tate, Jerry Wolper, Jason Yander, and of course Phil.)
Sneak Peek: All 30 MLB teams will have new BP jerseys in 2014. The new designs aren’t slated to be unveiled for a few months yet, but I provided an exclusive first look at them (including the four shown above) in a new ESPN column yesterday afternoon.
The little seal shown on some of the designs says, “Pending League/Club Approval.” There are 36 jersey designs in total (some teams have separate home and road designs), and that seal appears on nine of them. In my experience, this has been little more than a formality — the designs that show up in the Majestic catalog, which is where these images are from, are the ones that eventually get unveiled. Moreoever, as I wrote in yesterday’s column, MLB had already confirmed to me that the designs were legit. But shortly after the column was posted, a source I trust from an MLB team got in touch to say that the design shown for his team is wrong. Sure enough, his team was one of the ones with the “Pending League/Club Approval” seal. So we should consider those nine designs to be provisional, at least for now.
Also from yesterday: My annual NHL goalie preview went live. Enjoy.
Baseball News: Here’s a nice ode to the Yankees’ logo. … “Interesting to see that the Reds’ plain black spikes were deemed sufficiently noteworthy to be mentioned on this 1981 Sporting News cover,” says Robert Eden. … The Red Sox have mowed a giant “Boston Strong” logo into their outfield grass (thanks, Phil). … Never seen this before: The tunnel leading from the clubhouse to the field at PNC Park has a big banner featuring a uni-related quote from Roberto Clemente.
NFL News: The Cardinals will go BFBS this Sunday. … You probably know that L.C. Greenwood, who recently passed away, was famous for wearing gold shoes. But did you know he also wore goggles?! I didn’t, until Maks Skuz told me. … I recently mentioned that the rise of skin-tight jerseys might be leading players to grab at their opponents’ pants instead, and that would seem to be reinforced by this shot. That’s a high school game from West Virginia, but the same line of thought applies (from Brice Wallace). … Here’s something from the relatively recent past that I don’t remember at all: In 2008 the NFL was considering a rule that would have banned hair long enough to obscure a player’s NOB (from Otto Heil). … The Broncos will wear solid blue this Sunday (from Kevin Clark). … Never seen this before: Princess Di in an Eagles jacket (from Jim Adair). … Serious corporate douchebaggery alert here: An NFL official stopped ’Skins CB DeAngelo Hall from talking with reporters in the Washington locker room following last Sunday’s game, and threatened him with a fine to boot, because he was wearing a Lacoste shirt. Note that this wasn’t at the podium where they do the postgame press conference — it was in the locker room. Unfuckingbelievable (from Yusuke Toyoda).
College Football News: Rutgers is going with solid white this weekend. … Whoa, check out these great shots of Bo Jackson (among others) from the 1986 Japan Bowl. “I love that uniform!” says Clint Richardson. So do I. … Want to put together a successful stadium color-out? Here’s how. …
Not sure what the story is behind this, but Arkansas appears to have a new uniform. Hmmm, ya think they put enough razorbacks on it? Never mind, just a Photoshop job. … Nik Streng notes that Miami QB Stephen Morris has a tattoo of the team logo and his uni number on his throwing arm.
Hockey News: Lots of great old-timey hockey photos here (thanks, Phil). … The Jets will wear lavender warm-up jerseys on Oct. 22, as part of the “Hockey Fights Cancer” initiative (thanks, Phil). … New uniforms for the Pensacola Ice Flyers (from Ryan Bohannon).
Soccer News: Players having their pants pulled down doesn’t just happen on the gridiron. That’s from a game between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa last week (from Andy Palmquist). … “Soccer teams usually wear away unis when there’s a color clash,” says Yusuke Toyoda. “But in Tuesday’s Champions League matches, Barcelona wore its alternate all-black and Napoli went G.I. Giuseppe, even though their home unis would’ve been fine.” … Also from Yusuke: Inaugural uniforms for the new NASL team Indy Eleven. Further info here.
NBA News: Interesting piece about how shoe and clothing companies maket their wares at the NBA coaches’ meetings (from Tommy Turner). … For a while now, the numeral “9″ used in Lakers uni numbers has had a disconcertingly large hole in the center, but now they seem to have fixed that problem, or else they just used an upside-down 6. Either way, looks much better (awesome spot by Paul Lee).
Grab Bag: Several readers sent in photos of newspapers that were printed on pink paper yesterday. “Gonna be a long month,” says Jay Abbott. … Here’s what the Germans will wear for the opening ceremonies at the Olympics (from Leo Strawn Jr.). … Good article on what the Presidents Cup captains will wear (from Jason Hillyer). … What’s worse than wearing pink for cancer awareness? Guess (thanks for nothing, Phil).