A few months ago, something called a “Cool Base” jersey began showing up in Major League Baseball’s online merchandise listings. According to the sales copy, “The 2006 season brings an innovative jersey to the playing field! The Cool Base jersey provides temperature control to keep the wearer cool, dry and comfortable. These jerseys feature authentic decorations and will be worn on-field during hot game days. They feature a technologically advanced fabric with stretch-mesh gussets for the ultimate in cool performance comfort.”
Leaving aside for a second the question of who actually got paid cash money for invoking the term “authentic decorations,” I’d forgotten all about these jerseys until last night, when I got an e-mail from someone who works for the Texas Rangers (and who prefers to remain anonymous): “Tonight our team wore new jerseys for the first time at home (they wore them once on this last road trip too, I believe). They are mesh, not double-knit. The mesh is basically the same as the batting practice jersey, except without the underarm ventilation. These jerseys are infinitely cooler in the Texas heat than the normal jerseys, and it is nearly impossible to tell the difference unless you’re up close.”
How pathetic is this? If it’s too hot, stick a frozen cabbage leaf under your cap, like that Korean pitcher from last season. I’ve always maintained that if I ever become a professional ballplayer — excuse me, when I become a profressional ballplayer — I’ll claim to have a skin allergy to polyester and insist on having a cotton uniform. (Yes, I know: Seinfeld, George Costanza, blah-blah-blah, let’s move on.) And there’s actually some precedent for this, although the allergy ran the other way around: When Ken Singleton joined the Expos in 1972, he suffered an allergic reaction to the team’s wool uniforms and had to be fitted with a double-knit polyester model, while his teammates continued to wear wool. The Expos eventually switched over to double-knits the following season, becoming one of the last teams to do so.
• Another none-too-balmy evening at Shea Stadium, another blue-capped, blue-sleeved game for the Mets. That makes three blue-clad games in a row — unprecedented in the team’s black-accessorized era! And keep in mind that the blue outfit includes blue socks, an important consideration now that the Mets have acquired Orlando Hernandez (who just went from the outhouse to the penthouse, uni-wise).
• Yesterday’s item about the apparent padding on Jay McKee’s skates brought this info from Markus Kamp: “That’s some form of ankle protection, helpful when blocking shots. There are a few on the market that look less taped-on than McKee’s.” (And as an aside, this discussion reminded Jeff Attkisson of the protective shoes he wears when umpiring behind the plate. The panel over the laces helps to protect against foul balls.)
• New Uni Watch installment on ESPN today — look here.