MLB Trade Has Unexpected Uni Implications

As you’ve probably heard by now, pitcher Jeff Samardzija was traded from the Cubs to the A’s over the weekend and made his Oakland debut yesterday.

That trade has created a bizarre situation regarding the upcoming MLB All-Star Game. Samardzija was voted onto the National League pitching staff by the players and is technically part of the N.L. roster. But MLB decreed last night that he will not be eligible to pitch for the N.L. squad because he now plays for the A’s, who are in the American League. He can’t pitch for the A.L. team either, because he wasn’t selected to be on that roster. It’s like the baseball equivalent of statelessness: Instead of being a man without a country, Samardzija is a man without a league.

None of which would necessarily concern us from a Uni Watch perspective, except for this: According to this AP article, Samardzija “will be introduced with the N.L. players before the All-Star game; still to be decided is whether he wears a Cubs or A’s uniform — or a generic N.L. jersey.” Faaaaaascinating.

My hunch is that Samardzija will wear a National League BP jersey, but whatever — the way this issue eventually gets resolved is less interesting than the issue coming up in the first place.

I’m aware of only one other situation similar to this one: On June 24, 2004, Carlos Beltran was traded from the Royals to the Astros. He was having a great year and ended up winning the fan vote as one of the American League’s three starting outfielders, even though he had already been traded to the National League. MLB initially treated him the same way they’re now treating Samardzija, ruling Beltran ineligible for the game. But then Junior Griffey, who’d been voted onto the N.L. squad, went down with an injury and Beltran was named as his replacement on the N.L. roster. He appeared in the game wearing an Astros uni. (I suppose the same thing could end up happening to Samardzija if one of the American League pitchers comes down with an injury this week.)

There have also been some interesting uni-related situations regarding All-Stars who’ve changed teams but not leagues. In 1998, Reds reliever Jeff Shaw was named to the N.L. roster but was then traded to the Dodgers on the Saturday before the All-Star break. He wasn’t able to join the Dodgers in time for their game the next day (the final game before the All-Star break), so he went straight to Colorado for the ASG, where his Dodgers uniform was waiting for him. His first appearance in a Dodgers uni was at the ASG. (I feel like there was recently another case similar to Shaw’s — i.e., involving a player who was named as an All-Star but then was traded within his league prior to the game — but I can’t recall who it was. Anyone..?)

Also: In 1973, the A’s won the American League pennant (and, ultimately, the World Series), so their manager, Dick Williams, got to skipper the A.L. All-Star team in ’74. The thing is, Williams had switched teams over the winter, leaving the A’s and signing on to manage the Angels. So he managed the All-Star team in an Angels uni, even though he had earned the right to do so while wearing an A’s uni.

The same thing happened nearly three decades later, when Dusty Baker managed the Giants to 2002 N.L. title and then left over the winter to manage the Cubs. So he managed the 2003 N.L. All-Star team while wearing a Cubs uni, even though he had earned the right to do so while wearing a Giants uni.

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What flag is this?: Yesterday the New Girl and I went on a walking tour of architectural oddities caused by property owners who refused to sell to developers. The tour concluded near Rockefeller Plaza, so we went there to rest for a few minutes while we decided what to do with the rest of our day.

Rockefeller Plaza is ringed with flags — sometimes the flags of U.N. countries, sometimes U.S. state flags, sometimes American flags. Yesterday it was U.S. state flags, arranged alphabetically by state. I love state flags, so I was enjoying the display, but then I noticed a rogue flag design in between Alaska and Arizona:

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That’s not a state flag — I had no idea what it was. So I posted the photo on Facebook, where I learned that it’s the flag of American Samoa. Interesting! I really like the design, although I’m surprised that they included it in gallery of state flags. Anyway, one of those “Ya learn something new every day” moments.

Incidentally, during that walking tour we passed by Wollensky’s Grill — the adjunct eatery to the better-known Smith & Wollensky steakhouse — and our tour guide pointed out that the first “S” in the sign is upside-down. I then pointed that the “N” is upside-down as well! Take a look (click to enlarge):

Wollensky's Grill

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Catching up: In case you missed it yesterday, we have a stumper of a photo on our hands, showing Willie Stargell wearing a batting helmet with the Pirates’ “smiling pirate” logo. Details here.

And in case you missed it last Thursday afternoon, right before the holiday weekend started, my latest ESPN column is about the assorted uni news items I missed out on while I was away on vacation.

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Baseball News: More G.I. Joe nonsense, this time from the Rockies, who revived their Memorial Day costume yesterday. Good thing that design was just for one very special day, right? … In a related item, the Reds played dress-up soldier on Saturday, and the Mets will be doing likewise tonight. You can see the Mets’ costume was already hanging in Zack Wheeler’s locker after yesterday’s Rangers/Mets game. … Very unusual double-Northwestern-striped stirrups being worn by the Toros de Tejuana of the Mexican league (from Michael Ortman). … Japanese teams SoftBank and Rakuten both wore red jerseys and white pants while playing each other on Friday (from Jayson Young). … The Columbus Clippers did the stars/stripes thing on Friday (from Sam Hill). … James Poisso was at a Trader Joe’s in St. Louis and was surprised to see a hand-drawn sign featuring Mr. Redlegs. … Dayan Viciedo of the White Sox had some trouble with his batting helmet decal yesterday (screen shot by Aaron McHargue). … The Thunder Bay Border Cats wore Canada hockey-themed jerseys on June 30. They had worn Canada Cup-inspired jerseys for Canada Day last year (from Will Scheibler). … Great screen shots showing how Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays lost his Lou Gehrig patch on Friday. … The Brooklyn Cyclones held their “Seinfeld Night” promotion on Saturday. Here’s a slideshow (from Joanna Zwiep). … The A’s have had three different players wearing No. 29 this season. … Good article on boutique bat manufacturers. … For those who were wondering about the sleeve patch on the Mets’ recent Negro League throwbacks, it was apparently a fan concept (from Brendan Burke).

NFL News: Most bizarre uni sighting in recent memory: If you check out the video embedded in this story about Palestinian protestors clashing with police in East Jerusalem, at about the one-minute mark you’ll see that one of the rock-throwing protestors is wearing a Marshawn Lynch Bills jersey (great spot by Mark Kluczynski).

Soccer News: Southampton is bringing back the stripes (from Kevin Kelsey). … New third kit for Celtic (thanks, Phil). … Man U is teasing its new kit with this video (from Yusuke Toyoda).

Grab Bag: This isn’t exactly news, but here’s a good article on paper tickets being supplanted by e-tickets (from Jerry Wolper). … Good article about the dress that Billie Jean King wore during her Wimbledon run in 1972. … Mike Delia recently visited the Basketball Hall of Fame and took a bunch of great photos.

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What Paul did last night a few nights ago: By any measure, journalist Nat Hentoff, who’s now 89 years old and still working, has had a very interesting life. Among other things, he’s one of history’s best and most important writers on the subject of jazz and one of history’s best and most important writers on the subject of civil liberties and Constitutional law. A white atheist Jew who has counted lots of controversial black artists and activists among his best friends, Hentoff is a complicated cat. Seriously, how many journalists got to interview Bob Dylan and Malcolm X in the early 1960s?

Most people familiar with Hentoff’s work (myself included) have some serious issues with him on one front or another. But I think almost everyone respects his steadfast devotion to his two primary loves — jazz and the Constitution — and you can see that respect playing out in The Pleasures of Being Out of Step, a new documentary about Hentoff, which I saw on Thursday night. In addition to lots of chatter by and about Hentoff, the movie includes some seminal 1950s and ’60s jazz footage, some hilarious snippets of Lenny Bruce and William F. Buckley hosting talk shows, and other archival treats. It’s really, really good.

Granted, this movie is pretty much tailor-made for me, because so much of it touches upon my family’s interests and values. There’s the jazz thing (that’s my brothers), the counter-culture thing (ditto), the black radicalism thing (that’s my oldest brother), the ACLU/Constitution thing (that’s my parents and me), the atheist Jew thing (that’s all of us), and of course the journalism/media thing (that’s me). As I watched the movie, I kept thinking over and over again, “This is where I come from!”

Then again, the New Girl’s family and upbringing were completely unlike mine and she liked the movie almost as much as I did, so there you go. The movie has now finished its New York run, but it’s currently screening in L.A., with Seattle and Portland to follow later this month. Further info here.

 

126 comments to MLB Trade Has Unexpected Uni Implications

  • BurghFan | July 7, 2014 at 7:13 am |

    After the 1964 Cardinals overtook the Phillies to win the N.L. pennant, and then beat the Yankees in the World Series. Cardinals manager Johnny Keane refused a new contract early in the offseason, and signed with the Yankees. According to Retrosheet, the Phils’ Gene Mauch managed the National League in the 1965 All-Star Game, while the White Sox’ Al Lopez managed the A.L.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 7:14 am |

      Ah, excellent one!

      • scottrj | July 7, 2014 at 8:28 am |

        Flip side of that coin. Danny Murtaugh retired to a front-office job in the Pirates organization after skippering them to the 1971 World Series title. He then suited up and served as NL manager in the 1972 All-Star Game.
        http://www.baseball-...
        (Though it should be noted that he managed the Pirates on what amounted almost to a revolving door policy, so perhaps he merits only an *.)

    • Rob H. | July 7, 2014 at 10:47 am |

      That’s the interesting one, I wonder what would have happened had the other examples (Dusty Baker, Dick Williams) been manging a team in the other league. In that 1965 example, were the Phillies leading the NL at a certain point early in the regular season, or was he chosen because they finished second in 1964. It’s interesting that they didn’t choose the Cardinals new manager.

      In what would be the most relevant example, I swear I remember Bob Lemon managing the AL All-Star squad in 1979 after being fired by the Yankees, and he and his staff wore generic American League uniforms, but I can’t find mention of it anywhere.

      • Rob H. | July 7, 2014 at 10:53 am |

        ..or maybe it was 1982. He managed the Yankees to pennants in 1978 & 1981 and was not the Yankees manager by the time of the following All-Star Game both times.

        • Rob H. | July 7, 2014 at 11:26 am |

          or not – that was Billy Martin.

        • BurghFan | July 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm |

          According to Baseball Reference, Lemon managed the A.L. in 1979, but Martin managed them in 1982. I’ll leave finding uni photos to others.

  • Mike Engle on iPad | July 7, 2014 at 7:31 am |

    1990: Bernie Nicholls was traded from the LA Kings to the NY Rangers the day before the NHL ASG, but he still skated with the Campbell aka Western Conference.

  • Alex Poterack | July 7, 2014 at 7:46 am |

    In 2010, Cliff Lee was traded from the Mariners to the Rangers on July 9, then appeared in the ASG 4 days later, in a Rangers uniform. According to BBRef, he had a start on July 10, so it wasn’t his first appearance in a Rangers uni, but close.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 7:55 am |

      *That’s* the recent one I was thinking of. Thank you!

  • CWac19 | July 7, 2014 at 8:00 am |

    Paul — I’m guessing you would’ve found the flags of Guam, Puerto Rico, USVI and Northern Mariana Islands there as well (plus any other US territories I’m forgetting…). Any chance you took note of other “rogue flags”?

  • name redacted | July 7, 2014 at 8:08 am |

    Paul, a question you might know.

    Are there rules in the big 4 american sportsabout how often can change their uniform/logo/color scheme?

    A friend said he was surprised that US teams dont change every year, like european futbol teams do. (This was based on the Manchester United reveal today.)

    I thought there were rules about only changing every few years and with league approval.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 8:10 am |

      In the NFL, you can’t change more than once in a five-year span.

      I’m not aware of the other leagues having specific rules about this.

      • The Jeff | July 7, 2014 at 8:57 am |

        That rule for the NFL doesn’t seem to be too strictly enforced, though. (Or the NFL doesn’t consider certain things to be a “change” the way that we do) The Jaguars changed their pant striping in 2008, their entire uniform set in 2009, added a black alternate and made it the primary in 2012, and then changed the entire set again in 2013.

        • Brendan Burke | July 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm |

          The Jaguars are on the weird side of the policy. In order to avoid a five-year rule violation in 2012, the black jersey was technically introduced as an unworn alternate during the preseason, before becoming the regular dark jersey in the regular season. (Which is, in itself, a violation of another NFL rule, as the league bans mid-season designation switches but Goodell didn’t catch the violation in time.)

          The Falcons used the same trick in 2003-04, introducing the currently-worn red jersey as an alternate one year before it became the primary.

        • DenverGregg | July 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm |

          . . . so enforcement of the rule is inversely proportional to proximity to Fort Benning?

      • Greg | July 7, 2014 at 9:07 am |

        I’m sure the NBA is the same, as Orlando Magic went through a period of changing their uniforms every 5 years from 98 to 08

  • Peter Wunsch | July 7, 2014 at 8:10 am |

    The NY Rangers have been charging season subscribers for paper tickets for a few years now, though a modest $25 charge for the regular season and a second $25 for the playoffs, even if they do not make the playoffs.

    For the playoffs, I go to their website and print an e-ticket for the game so that I save a prisitine paper copy in case they win the Stanley Cup again.

  • Adam | July 7, 2014 at 8:16 am |

    Carl Everett in 2003 came really close to having an unique situation – he was traded from the Rangers to the White Sox on July 1st, and he played in Chicago for the White Sox on July 2nd. The White Sox went on the road the next day until the All-Star Break, which they were hosting. So, the second time Carl Everett ever appeared in his home White Sox uniform in Chicago was in the ASG.

  • AlMaFi | July 7, 2014 at 8:32 am |

    Great Monday column.

    The sentence that contains the link to the Samoan flag is missing a few words.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 8:47 am |

      Thanks. Fixed.

  • Danya | July 7, 2014 at 8:39 am |

    I’d be shocked if Samardzija doesn’t end up on the AL team as a replacement — it’s always guaranteed that there are more All-Star pitchers than are originally announced, because of the policy of guys who pitched on the Sunday before the game being ineligible to play in it.

    • scott | July 7, 2014 at 11:46 am |

      Right, it’s no longer injuries that can keep you off the all-star roster if you are a pitcher.

    • Brendan Burke | July 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm |

      I know Tanaka and Darvish are pitching on Sunday, one of those spots is likely going to Koji Uehara but that still leaves a spot for Samardzija.

  • rick walter | July 7, 2014 at 8:55 am |

    Paul,

    Some of your ads on the right side of the uni-watch homepage are borderline NSFW. I enjoy readying UW quite a bit at work, but the ads may get some in trouble. As much as I enjoy reading about “16 Hottest Disney Good Girls Gone Naughty!”, I enjoy reading uni watch a bit more. Thanks!

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 9:00 am |

      On it.

    • Tony C. | July 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm |

      try installing adblock.. i never see ads on this site…

      no offense Paul

  • alan | July 7, 2014 at 8:56 am |

    Manchester United’s facebook page has the full reveal of the new kit, as well as a superimposed version here (https://scontent-a-i...)

    • terriblehuman | July 7, 2014 at 9:09 am |

      And Liverpool’s (long leaked) third kit is out too.

      I guess clubs are using the dead period in the World Cup to release unis.

    • terriblehuman | July 7, 2014 at 10:09 am |

      And oh, the Man U jersey is really not a good look – the bowtie is way too big, and having both the logo and the wordmark makes it feel really cluttered.

      • Iain | July 7, 2014 at 10:51 am |

        The shirt is very good, unfortunately the sponsor logo destroys it. Too big, too gold & too shiny.

        • The Jeff | July 7, 2014 at 11:05 am |

          The shirt is very good, unfortunately the sponsor logo destroys it

          I’m pretty sure that can be said for pretty much every modern soccer jersey.

        • DenverGregg | July 7, 2014 at 11:53 am |

          Nope Jeff, there are modern soccer jerseys that are bad even without sponsor logos.

  • TheThinGwynn | July 7, 2014 at 8:58 am |

    Regarding Shaw, the 1998 MLB All-Star Game was at Coors Field; San Diego last hosted it in 1992.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 9:01 am |

      Thanks. Fixed.

  • JimWa | July 7, 2014 at 9:18 am |

    After Tony LaRussa’s Cardinals came out on top for the National League in 2011, and LaRussa “retired”, he came back to manager the 2012 All-Star Game (in a Cardinals uniform).

    http://m.mlb.com/vid...

  • JPoland | July 7, 2014 at 9:49 am |

    The questionable flag is American Samoa.

    http://en.wikipedia....

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 9:56 am |

      Did you ever get the feeling that a lot of people on the web comment first and finish reading later?

      • Tom V. | July 7, 2014 at 10:44 am |

        Did they have flags of other American territories (Northern Mariana, etc) or just American Samoa?

      • Tom V. | July 7, 2014 at 10:45 am |

        Did they have flags of other American territories or just that one?

        • Kevin Zdancewicz | July 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm |

          That was my first thought too.

    • hmich176 | July 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm |

      I knew what the flag was before I read the section.

      In this picture (link: https://lifewithlara...)you can also see the flag of the US Virgin Islands.

      And from what I’ve read the States flag display at Rockefeller includes both states and territories.

    • Russ Yurk | July 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm |

      Their flag made for some interesting football helmets back in the 2012 Junior World Championships held in Austin, TX. Photos can been seen in this gallery.

      http://u19championsh...

  • Al | July 7, 2014 at 10:40 am |

    What happens if Jeff has in he’s contract a allstar kicker that works if he is voted on to the roster ? If I were Jeff and his agent I would give MLB a big F U and say your paying me my fucking money

    • ChanceMichaels | July 7, 2014 at 10:46 am |

      He was voted on to the roster. Whether he actually plays in the game (much less on which team) isn’t usually part of such incentive clauses.

      • Brendan Burke | July 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm |

        Of course, any ASG incentives require the game to be played, the players don’t get paid if there is a rainout…

        • terriblehuman | July 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |

          Similarly, if a meteor strikes and destroys the stadium, and then an alien species invades the earth, takes over and dismantles our banking and legal systems, then Samardzija wouldn’t get his All-Star bonus.

  • walter | July 7, 2014 at 10:47 am |

    I try to embrace signs like Wollensky’s Grill as a kind of folk art, but ultimately it just hurts my eyes. I wouldn’t expect an unskilled eye to know an “N” should be top-heavy but an “S” should be bottom-heavy. Always hire that proofreader!

    • terriblehuman | July 7, 2014 at 10:56 am |

      It’s like bad kerning – once I see it, I can’t unsee it and bothers the hell out of me to the point that I don’t want to take my business there.

      I guess I won’t be eating a $50 steak for lunch today.

  • Connie DC | July 7, 2014 at 10:47 am |

    “… Mike Delia recently visited the Basketball Hall of Fame and took a bunch of great photos…”

    The New York Knickerbockers sported some wonderful unis in their early years. Distinctive, appealing fonts and some cool blue-orange striping patterns.

    Question for Mike Delia: How was attendance on the day you visited? Poor Springfield has been trying for years to make the HoF a reason to stop and spend some money in the second-largest city on the Connecticut River, but the results were always disappointing. Maybe that’s because Springfield itself isn’t regarded as much of an attraction (though I love the Armory) or maybe it’s because no HoF other than the one in Cooperstown really draws any crowds.

    • Steve D | July 7, 2014 at 11:31 am |

      Agree on the Knicks stuff…while the current uniform is similar to their beautiful 1969-1978 jerseys, important details are changed for the worse, eg. less arch on wordmark, skinnier numbers, no vertically arched names.

      Additionally, we all suffer with templates for warm-up shirts that mean the Knicks can’t wear that awesome warm-up that is pictured…the one with the exact logo the Yankees use on their uniform tops.

      • Steve D | July 7, 2014 at 11:35 am |

        It’s not the exact Yankee jersey logo…it’s actually a bit thicker and more ornate…but it is clearly modeled off it.

        • Ben Fortney | July 7, 2014 at 11:48 am |

          That’s a Gerry Cosby tag on the inside of that NYK shooting shirt. There used to be 3 or 4 Cosby locations, including one in my hometown just down the road from Nassau Coliseum. They did all the uni/skate work for the Islanders, and apparently the apparel for the Knicks as well.

          I used to roam around in the store for hours getting lost in racks of gear, more recently I’ve used them to do the final embroidering on a couple of my DIY jerseys. Great work, nice folks. Pity they’ve been reduced to one small store outside MSG these days.

        • Steve D | July 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm |

          When we were kids, before the modern merch boom, Cosby’s located inside MSG was the only place I knew where you could get authentic on-field caps and jerseys. They supplied the Knicks and Rangers for years and did the lettering, long before the current days of templates and league-wide suppliers.

          In their old store, they had hanging the Knicks Chamberlain jersey that they had made in a failed attempt to sign him out of retirement in 1975. Wonder if they still display it?

    • DenverGregg | July 7, 2014 at 11:35 am |

      Isn’t “second largest city on the Connecticut River” kind of like “best opera singer in Tulsa”? It’s an achievement of sorts, but not one that’s notable other than to a small subset of locals.

      • Brendan Burke | July 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm |

        Even most locals don’t care. I live pretty close to the river, and I don’t give a crap about what the largest cities on it are.

      • Connie DC | July 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm |

        “… Isn’t ‘second largest city on the Connecticut River’ kind of like ‘best opera singer in Tulsa’? It’s an achievement of sorts, but not one that’s notable other than to a small subset of locals…”

        Exactly.

        • DenverGregg | July 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm |

          Thanks for properly modifying quotation marks, Conn.

    • Joseph Gerard | July 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm |

      I’ve been to the NFL Hall of Fame (I refuse to call it the Pro Football Hall of Fame because it places too much emphasis on the NFL and not enough on other pro football leagues), was pretty crowded. Granted, I was there for an induction weekend, but it still gets a lot of visitors to Canton when it doesn’t. I can easily make the trip to Canton on a non-induction weekend to see for myself, although I know plenty of people who live in Canton who never go to it.

      • timmy b | July 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm |

        I’ve been to both Canton and Cooperstown in both season and off-season and both museums had pretty large attendance, considering the time of year. My thought is that with Cooperstown, crowds spill out into the town more than the HOF in Canton, which is isolated from pretty much all of its surroundings. Plus with about 2,000 residents, the tourist crowds will be much more noticeable in Cooperstown than the 70,000 who call Canton home.

        For the record, while I am much more of a football fan than I am of baseball these days, I adore the BBHOF way more than the PFHOF.

  • ChanceMichaels | July 7, 2014 at 10:51 am |

    For those who were wondering about the sleeve patch on the Mets’ recent Negro League throwbacks, it was apparently a fan concept (from Brendan Burke).

    That’s cool, but what bothers me is that the Mets didn’t approach the creator. They just found his image and used it (perhaps presuming it was old and therefore in the public domain?).

    • Dave | July 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm |

      I’m not sure the Mets had anything to do with it. The game was in Pittsburgh and the home team usually provides the uniforms for such things.

      People like to pile on the Mets, and sometimes for good reasons. But I don’t think the team is at fault on this one.

    • Brendan Burke | July 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm |

      The wording of that entry implies it was me behind the logo. I didn’t make it, another person on the linked forums did.

  • Joseph Gerard | July 7, 2014 at 10:54 am |

    At this point I don’t see what the big fuss is about. They haven’t been two separate leagues since 2000. At some point in the future I see an east-west realignment, like the NBA and NHL. At the very least, MLB needs to force the NL adopt the DH.

    • The Jeff | July 7, 2014 at 11:08 am |

      I don’t know why they’d need an east/west NBA style realignment. What’s wrong with the NFL style alignment they have now? They definitely need to do something about the DH though. (Preferably getting rid of it entirely)

      • DenverGregg | July 7, 2014 at 11:18 am |

        Either get rid of the DH entirely (probably not realistic) or mandate that any mid-inning pitching change require a simultaneous substitution of the DH.

        • scott | July 7, 2014 at 11:50 am |

          Going to an east-west alignment in MLB would be stupid. Yankees and Mets playing the same teams all the time? Not going to happen. And while I dislike the DH, I don’t see why people want everything standardized across the sport. Remember how horrible all those cookie cutter baseball stadiums of the 1970s were?

        • The Jeff | July 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm |

          Apparently I’m weird then, because I like the idea of cookie-cutter stadiums. I mean, I guess each stadium should have some character of it’s own or whatever, but the field should be standardized. The idea that a hit that travels X number of feet into center field is a home run in one city and a fly-out in another is insane. It’s almost funny how everyone threw such a fit over steroid use and wants to put asterisks on records for certain players, when in reality the entire record book should have an asterisk on it.

        • Padday | July 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm |

          Remember how horrible all those cookie cutter baseball stadiums of the 1970s were?

          You mean some of the grandest, most adventurous and ultimately most beautiful examples of American architectural modernism to have been erected? Hindsight snobbery has relegated them to a handful of pithy, calumnious epithets and ultimately removed nuance from the discussion (as though Shea, the Astrodome and Three Rivers were pretty much the same thing).

          And what replaced them? An army of Frankenstein’s monsters made up from the reanimated limbs and rotted organs of ancient history, soldered together to form unholy farragos of rotten, corporate nostalgia and sentimentality. And the worst of it is the quirky dimensions, done for no practical reason.

          Meanwhile the (relative) uniformity of the 1970s served a very noble purpose being integral in making those stadia multi-purpose. In an age now when we are saddled with the evil of every team in a city insisting on its own publicly funded stadium, the multi-purpose era represents an age of sanity in which the stadia that were built were done so with the intention that they would represent an efficient, lasting and manageable solution to the sporting entertainment needs of a city. In other words, they were truly civic buildings rather than the cathedrals to corporate vanity that have replaced them.

        • DenverGregg | July 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |

          I went to games at cookie-cutters and I’ve been to games at new facilities. The newer facilities offer comfort and amenties that can’t be retrofitted into most of the 1960s buildings – Dodger Stadium being by and large an exception. That more luxurious stadium experience became necessary for teams to keep selling those ever-more-expensive tickets.

          During the peak of the cookie-cutter era, Kansas City built separate adjacent facilities for football and baseball. The baseball field just underwent a substantial renovation. Arrowhead Stadium became the template for several more recent football facilities elsewhere, as did the specialization of facilities.

        • Padday | July 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm |

          Honestly, you’ve only made me more steadfast in my assertions. The idea that you can’t retrofit those stadiums I must assume is pure conjecture, unless you are in fact an engineer with pretty good knowledge on the subject. Not that that really matters though, because I’m generally of the mind that comfort is an overplayed card in relation to stadium design. If you wanted comfort you would have stayed at home and watched on tv. All other modern amenities (read pointless shiny knick-knacks for the terminally ADD) are merely attempts to compensate for the ways in which the added comfort is not conducive to an engaged, atmospheric experience at a ball park.

          That more luxurious stadium experience became necessary for teams to keep selling those ever-more-expensive tickets.

          Interesting wording there. I would have put it “In order to justify gauging fans of ever more and more money they felt the need to throw at least some token cheap gimmiks at them under the pretense of ‘luxury'”.

        • BurghFan | July 7, 2014 at 4:16 pm |

          The “good” thing about the multi-purpose stadia was that football was no longer an afterthought. The bad thing was that the seating, by definition, wasn’t optimal for either sport. The worst thing was that it marked the shift from teams building their own facilities to governments building them for the clubs.

          I’ve spent enough time in both kinds of stadium to state that baseball-only parks are much better places to sit and watch and a game than the multi-purpose venues. (The revenue-enhancing concession stands and premium seats that spurred construction are irrelevant to this.) I’m less impressed by the football-only stadia.

        • scottrj | July 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm |

          Overlooked in this romanticization of 70s’-era joint-purpose cookie-cutter stadia is the fact that the viewing experience for spectators, generally speaking, was mediocre at best. Sightlines were bad, some seats too far away from the field, some too high in the air, and other too close or too low, even. As the Bible says, “Man cannot serve two masters.” Nor, as a rule, were the stadia even remotely “civic” – unless you count the vast acreage of suburban concrete surrounding them as the city being served. But hey, let’s encourage automobile usage in lieu of public transport in OPEC-era America – that’s sensible! Just as laughable – the suggestion that that it was only with the demise of this “efficient” solution to serving the public’s sporting needs that began touting the “comfort” of the stadium experience as a means of gouging the fanbase – which is exactly what owners did WHEN THEY MOVED to the cookie-cutters.

        • PaulS | July 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm |

          Cookie-cutter, multi-purpose stadia may have been ‘examples of American architectural modernism’, but they were not good places to watch a ballgame. Cantilevered deck upon deck meant that no seat was obstructed by support posts, but the upper decks were too high and too far set back to be worth half the price of admission. Even lower deck seats down the lines were angled toward some spot in shallow center field. The new ‘retro’ parks do get that right; seats that run down the line are angled toward the infield.

          However, if you’re in the upper deck, you not only have the cantilever issue to deal with, but the two or three levels of private suites wedged in between. I remember seeing a graphic that overlaid new Comiskey with old Comiskey, and because of these two issues, the first row in the upper deck of the new stadium was higher AND further away from the field than the last row at the old park.

          Give me old Tiger Stadium, where I could sit in the third row of the upper deck and listen to Ernie Harwell broadcast the game – and I didn’t even need a radio to hear it most of the time.

      • Joseph Gerard | July 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm |

        Here’s my proposed East-West realignment, with names like “Eastern Association” and “Western Association” replacing NL and AL:

        Eastern Association

        EA Northeast
        Boston Red Sox
        New York Mets
        New York Yankees
        Philadelphia Phillies
        Toronto Blue Jays

        EA Southeast
        Atlanta Braves
        Baltimore Orioles
        Miami Marlins
        Tampa Bay Rays
        Washington Nationals

        EA Midwest
        Cincinnati Reds
        Cleveland Indians
        Detroit Tigers
        Milwaukee Brewers
        Pittsburgh Pirates

        Western Association

        WA Central
        Chicago Cubs
        Chicago White Sox
        Kansas City Royals
        Minnesota Twins
        St. Louis Cardinals

        WA Southwest
        Arizona Diamondbacks
        Colorado Rockies
        Houston Astros
        San Diego Padres
        Texas Rangers

        WA Pacific
        Los Angeles Dodgers
        Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
        Oakland Athletics
        San Francisco Giants
        Seattle Mariners

        • walter | July 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm |

          Not to disparage your hard work, but it pains me to see baseball scrubbed of its league identities. I would not want to see the Yankees play the Mets 18x a year.

        • The Jeff | July 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm |

          I would not want to see the Yankees play the Mets 18x a year.

          Well, you don’t have to watch every game, you know. In 10 years it’d seem perfectly normal, in 15 it’s a heated rivalry. Maybe less than that actually. The Seahawks & 49ers certainly developed into full-on division rivals rather quickly after decades of neither fanbase caring about the other team at all.

          It’s probably too drastic of a change to ever really happen, but sports rivalries and traditions just aren’t *that* sacred to most people. As a fan, you support your team and root against the other teams in your division. It doesn’t really matter if those other teams have been there for 50 years or 5 years, you just don’t like them.

        • Tom V. | July 7, 2014 at 3:07 pm |

          Why would they need to play the Mets 18x per year? If they’re doing such a grand re-aligning of the leagues, a new schedule would make sense then too. You don’t have to play each team in your division 1000 times. How about you play each team in the majors 5 or 6 times so you play each team an equal amount? I never understood the notion that you play 4 other teams the majority of your schedule and if you beat those teams, as horrible as they might be, you’re in the playoffs.

          Just make it an east and west made up of 15 teams each. Then take the top two teams (or top 4) in each division and tournament. No wildcards. Of course each person will have a different opinion on something they will never have any control over so why even bring it up?

        • ChanceMichaels | July 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm |

          In 10 years it’d seem perfectly normal, in 15 it’s a heated rivalry.

          So far, experience has shown exactly the opposite. What used to be a heated match-up has become pedestrian and boring through overexposure.

  • Rick E. | July 7, 2014 at 10:59 am |

    I’m pretty sure that Gary Sheffield ‘ s first appearance in a Marlins uni was at the ASG after he was traded from the Brewers, who were in the NL at the time.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 11:03 am |

      Sheffield wasn’t traded by the Brewers to the Marlins. He had started 1993 with the Padres — that’s who traded him to the Marlins. The trade took place on June 24, 1993 — well in advance of the ASG.

    • ChrisH | July 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm |

      The Milwaukee MLB team didn’t switch from the AL to the NL until 1998.
      Their ’97-’99 uniforms were terrific.

      • ChanceMichaels | July 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm |

        Their ’97-’99 uniforms were terrific.

        Amen. The best they’ve ever worn.

  • Al | July 7, 2014 at 11:09 am |

    In the video from the Middle East about the guy in the football jersey rocks reminds me of Pipers Pit the 2ed ever in 1983 . He says you don’t throw rocks at a man with a machine gun Now it’s 2014 “you don’t throw rocks the man with a fucking grenade launcher”

  • Clarybird | July 7, 2014 at 11:18 am |

    Once people started referring to Pittsburgh’s smiling pirate as the “Mel Gibson” logo, it became one of those “can’t unsee” things for me, and ruined a part of my youth.

    • walter | July 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm |

      It’s still their best insignia. Would make a good NFL helmet sticker.

  • Elliott | July 7, 2014 at 11:24 am |

    Paul, I have a Redskins question for you. I don’t have a dog in the fight, nor is my opinion particularly strong.

    Like yourself, I am Jewish. The fans of Tottenham Hotspur soccer club in London, once upon a time, were erroneously categorized as all being Jewish, and opposing fans would taunt and throw slurs at the (mostly non-Jewish) Tottenham fans. In response, the (mostly non-Jewish) Tottenham fans adopted the nickname for themselves as ‘Yids’, and proudly refer to themselves as such to this day.

    This makes me proud. My opinion on the issue in this country is not strong either way, nor frankly does it matter one bit. But that story, as a Jewish person, does not offend me one bit, it makes me proud. What do I make of this?

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 11:32 am |

      I don’t really see the parallel, since the term in question is not being used as a team name.

      • terriblehuman | July 7, 2014 at 11:44 am |

        The club has tacitly condoned the “Yid Army” chants and supporter groups tend to have a larger role in the club’s identity than their American equivalents.

        I think Slate’s Hang Up and Listen has a thoughtful take on this, and I gotta say, I’m never comfortable with cultural appropriation for the sake of sport.

        • walter | July 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm |

          Perhaps you remember the NASL Toronto Metros becoming the Metros-Croatia. As an American, I was gobsmacked by the obvious race-baiting, and it disgusts me to learn this is a common occurrence in other parts of the world.

        • DJ | July 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm |

          The Metros-Croatia were not an example of “race baiting;” it was the Croatia Soccer Club purchasing the Metros and adding their name to the club.

          http://en.m.wikipedi...

          The NASL was not pleased with the re-name; it wasn’t “big time” enough. They were quite happy to buy out the Croatian Soccer Club and rename the club “Toronto Blizzard.”

        • terriblehuman | July 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm |

          Not knowing anything about the team (or much of anything about NASL outside of the Cosmos), I’m guessing the fans, not the team, engaged in race baiting.

          Fan racism in Eastern and Central Europe is pretty open, and I imagine it was especially so in the 80s.

  • JimWa | July 7, 2014 at 11:53 am |

    https://ca.sports.ya...

    Joe Maddon for president … or should be fired and banned from MLB for life … I can’t decide which.

    • ChanceMichaels | July 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm |

      Brilliant.

      I love Maddon. He’s wasted in Tampa Bay, along with the rest of his team.

  • JimWa | July 7, 2014 at 11:55 am |

    I’m curious … the banner for this site … I’ve noticed it toggling back and forth between 7 and 15 recently. I know the reason for each number, but I’m curious if there’s a specific pattern to when it changes between the two.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 11:59 am |

      It’s supposed to be 15 all the time. Something’s gone wrong with the cache.

  • ScottyM | July 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm |

    I’m thinking those Tijuana Toros stirrups are the pseudo-stirrup type sock since they’re worn so perfectly? Looks good, nonetheless.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm |

      Totally the real deal, not two-in-ones.

  • mike 2 | July 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm |

    The article on “paperless tickets” hints at but doesn’t really get into one BIG reason for paperless tickets – to control the secondary market in tickets.

    http://www.ticketmas...

    If I have a paper ticket, I can sell it, give it to my wife, give it to a client. Tying paperless tickets to the credit card they were purchased with takes away your ability to do all that.

    It also means that everyone in a group has to arrive together.

    All of this, which is solely in the name of controlling the secondary market for tickets and/or extracting further value from ticketholders, makes me unfathomably angry.

    • terriblehuman | July 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm |

      Not necessarily – transferring paperless tickets is often a matter of forwarding a PDF (at least it is with MLB tickets).

      While teams try to collect money off the secondary market, tying tickets to a credit card at the turnstile is too costly/time consuming.

      • The Jeff | July 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm |

        If you have to go through the trouble of printing a .pdf, it isn’t actually paperless, is it?

        • terriblehuman | July 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm |

          “Paperless” is just an easier way of saying, “it’s not the glossy stub that we’re used to – it could be print-at-home, it could be a mobile app, it’s just not traditional”.

        • ChanceMichaels | July 7, 2014 at 4:33 pm |

          He didn’t say “print a PDF”, he said “forward a PDF”.

          Most of the readers at the gates can scan the screen of a smartphone. I’ve been doing that with my airline tickets for a while now.

      • mike 2 | July 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm |

        I haven’t been to an MLB game in years (not by choice, just geography). I’ve only seen this happen with concert tickets.

        You would think that tying tickets to a credit card would be too time consuming, but Ticketmaster is doing it, and having the nerve to tout it as a “convenience”.

  • Jon | July 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm |

    Speaking of state flags, I like to look for oddities. Some may not know that the State of Oregon’s is the only double-sided flag among the fifty. The front has the state seal and the back has a beaver. Cool, huh?

    • Pedro | July 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm |

      Oregonian here. Personally, I hate our state flag. 1: Too much writing. 2. Numbers never look good on a flag. 3. The state seal is too intricate a design to put on a flag. 4. The colors are boring, the same as 20+ other states in the Union. 5. The two sided design is gimmicky, unnecessary, and expensive to reproduce (But if anyone does expensive/unnecessary well, it’s the State of Oregon).

      Worst of all, if you removed the writing, you’d have no idea what state this represents. There’s nothing that screams “Oregon.”

      • Clarybird | July 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm |

        Fun With Flags:

        http://www.youtube.c...

      • Jon | July 7, 2014 at 5:19 pm |

        Your dislike for Oregon’s flag is akin to the disagreements around here on uniforms. I happen to like it–for ALL of the same reasons you “hate” it.

  • Charles Eldridge | July 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm |

    The traded All-Star/uni-conundrum happened in the 2003 NHL All-Star game when Sandis Ozolinsh was voted a starer for the hosting Florida Panthers of the Eastern Conference, but was traded a few days before the game to the Western Conference-based Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

    Ozolinsh still played for the Eastern Conference but the shoulder patch on his jersey was the Mighty Ducks logo.

    Also of note: he declined to participate in the skills competitions as the NHL wanted him to wear a Panthers jersey.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm |

      Good one!

      However: Some photo research indicates that he did not wear a Mighty Ducks patch.

      In that ASG, players wore their national flag of origin on the left shoulder and their team patch on the right. You can see the Latvian flag on his left shoulder here:
      http://www.gettyimag...

      But his other sleeve, where the team patch would be, was blank:
      http://www.gettyimag...

      • Charles Eldridge | July 8, 2014 at 12:26 am |

        Great research. I stand corrected.

        I know that some fans in Anaheim must have doctored their replica jerseys to exploit the unique anomaly as I do recall seeing the Mighty Ducks patch on the shoulder of Eastern jerseys while attending games at the Pond.

        If I ever see one of those in the concourse I will snap a pic and send it.

  • JimWa | July 7, 2014 at 3:23 pm |

    Breaking news on Samardzjia jersey situation for All Star Game (and it just might break this site):

    Jeff Samardzjia will wear generic "National League" jersey at All-Star Game, sit with the NL team, an MLB official tells me. #Athletics— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 7, 2014

    • TA | July 7, 2014 at 3:56 pm |

      I don’t care what he wears, but it seems strange to force him into the NL dugout, since he does have a vested interest in the AL winning the game.

      • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 4:50 pm |

        I don’t care what he wears…

        Boy are you reading the wrong website!

  • Mainspark | July 7, 2014 at 3:36 pm |

    Re., the Stargell picture. Yeah the Mel Gibson pirate is cute and all but what really interests me is that Pops is wearing his ball cap under the batting helmet. An old-skool move that with the padding and tight fits in helmets today could not, and is not, replicated.

    • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm |

      Padding isn’t what killed the cap-under-the helmet look. Earflaps did.

      • Keith | July 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • Paul Lukas | July 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm |

          Oh, sure. Hell, Juan Pierre was still wearing his cap under his earflapped helmet as recently as last year.

          But I’ve done a fair amount of reporting and research on this topic, and I can tell you that most players — not all, but most — stopped doing the cap-under-helmet thing when they started wearing earflapped helmets. Players say the point where the brim and flap connect caused an uncomfortable fit with the cap, so they stopped wearing the cap. There’s a pretty direct correlation between the rise of the flap and the decline of the cap-under-helmet style.

        • Mainspark | July 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm |

          Thanks Keith and Paul. That’s what I come here for.

  • Mike Engle | July 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm |

    http://www.talkhocke...

    If this is true (and I know I’ve been hearing rumblings of a Blues tweak), I like it. Gone with the Bettman stripes, and basically taking the Bruins’ template of a shoulder yoke with bordering strips of a contrast color. Yes yes, hanger writing too, but it’s relatively inoffensive and nobody will see it on the ice.

  • Willard | July 7, 2014 at 6:28 pm |

    Bob Dylan told me never to drop a name.

  • Dan T. | July 7, 2014 at 7:39 pm |

    While it obviously wouldn’t be on a tour of New York, there does exist a very small patch of land next to the Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte that belongs to an owner who refused to sell when the team was purchasing land in order to build the venue.

    The team basically put up a fence and planted tall hedges around the plot of land. It’s not something you’d really notice if you didn’t know about it already…

    • Dan T. | July 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm |

      If you look at the stadium on Google Earth it’s a kind of a thin rhombus/trapezoid sliver of land at the south eastern corner of the lot, right beside Stonewall Street and the intersection with Mint….

  • hmich176 | July 8, 2014 at 4:27 am |

    Regarding cookie cutter stadiums…

    I’ve already said I think they’ll make a comeback. When this generation of stadiums start getting replaced, I can very much see them coming back from the nostalgia that brought back the “classic”-style park. But I don’t see them being brought back in baseball; it simply doesn’t work well.

    I see them making a comeback in football.

    Honestly, I miss Three Rivers Stadium. Horrible baseball stadium, wonderful football stadium. Was it otherwise terrible? Well, I would think there could be ways of modernizing the cookie cutters.