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Royals Pitcher Can’t Take Any More, Sends Out Desperate Uni-Borne Distress Signal


Carl Keenan posted a comment yesterday about the American flag patches worn on MLB caps for Memorial Day. In case you missed it, he wrote: “During the 9th inning of the Royals/A’s game, Ambiorix Burgos came into the game to pitch for KC with his flag upside-down and on the back of the hat covering up the MLB logo, not on the left side like every other player’s.” I hadn’t seen this, so I looked at the game video. And sure enough, all the other Royals had the flag on the left side of the cap, but the left side of Burgos’s cap was blank, and he had an upside-down flag where the MLB logo would normally be.

Given all the other problems the Royals have, I don’t have heart to ask their P.R. staff about this. Plus I’m fairly certain they’d say it was simply a case of the flag patch falling off (they’re glued, not embroidered) and Burgos slapping it back on in the wrong place. That’s probably what happened, but considering the state of the team, we can’t dismiss the possibility that Burgos was sending out an S.O.S. signal. Then again, maybe it was just another case of the Royals’ legendary attention to detail.

And wait, it gets better: Steve Trachsel’s flag patch was perfectly fine in the 4th inning. But as he prepared to start the 5th, his flag had started to come loose. Eric Byrnes then hit Trachsel’s first pitch of the inning out of the yard, and he must have knocked the flag off his cap too, because Trachsel’s cap was flag-less as Byrnes circled the bases. (Thanks to Josh Hirsch for the tip.)

Meanwhile, our ongoing discussion of catchers getting their fingernails painted white drew this completely brilliant response from Andy Head: “One player who immediately jumped to mind was Kurt Suzuki, who caught for the Cal State Fullerton team that won the College World Series in 2004. He not only painted the nails, but ran stripes up the center of each finger, so it almost looked like he was dressing up as a skeleton for Halloween. Suzuki’s in the A’s organization now, playing for their AA team, the Midland RockHounds, but I couldn’t find any photographic evidence to confirm whether he still does this.”

Uni Watch News Ticker: Interesting note from Scott Merzbach, who writes: “The New Haven County Cutters of the independent Can-Am have unusual uniform numbers — they aren’t on the same plane. Players who wear double-digit numbers have the left numeral set above the right numeral.” Anyone ever seen anything like this before? Closest thing I can think of are the unequally sized numerals worn by the Quad Cities Swing (or maybe the fractional uni number famously worn by Eddie Gaedel). … Yesterday I wrote about Chad Cordero’s “Chief”-inscribed underbrim. But he’s not the only one with a message lurking beneath his visor — check out Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson. … Latest case of striped hose (good) being rendered in purple (bad): James Madison‘s baseball team (thanks to Patrick Reed). … I’m not paying attention yet to the French Open, but Alisa Carrigan is. She writes: “Right before the Martina Hingis/Lisa Raymond match, the chair umpire sent Hingis off the court for a moment. Hingis came back, grabbed a pair of scissors, and left again. The commentators were guessing that she had been told to cut off one of her sponsor patches, but (apparently) I wasn’t watching closely enough, as I hadn’t noticed anything terribly egregious before she was sent off. You’ve mentioned in the past that sponsor logos can’t be larger than 4 square inches — are there any other tennis rules and regulations that might have come into play here?” Not that I can think of. And I looked at a lot of photos from Hingis’s match but couldn’t find anything amiss. … More French Open observations from Carrigan: “I noticed that all the Adidas-sponsored players are still wearing the triple-stripe [recently the subject of litigation]. Justine Henin-Hardenne even wore long sleeves, making her stripes extra visible.” This dispute is so annoying, it’s enough to make you wish Serena was playing. … No new team name — and, therefore, no new uniforms — for the Devil Rays next season. I happen to like their current design (look the color theme of this web site and you’ll understand why), so that’s jake with me. … Anyone else notice that Greg Maddux appears to wear no undershirt in warm weather? … Our recent discussion of players who wear necklaces might need some serious updating now that highly touted Mets prospect Lastings Milledge has made his MLB debut. … Latest team to have their pinstripe pattern ruined by the gussets in the new Cool Base jerseys: the Phillies. … With Ricky Williams now washing dishes in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts, Mike Sherman points out that the Argos have a proud history of serious sleeve stripe-age. … Jeremy Brahm notes that Hungary’s goaltender appeared to be wearing sweatpants during yesterday’s England/Hungary friendly match. What gives?

Comments (71)

    According to one of Martina Hingis’ websites the umpire asked her to remove a WTA patch that was oversized. I looked through a bunch of photos and couldn’t find any that showed a WTA patch. I did notice that one major exception to the logo size rule, the logos painted onto the racket strings don’t appear to have any size limit.

    as far as numbers go, i guess you could include these st. louis blues unis,
    and probably the gorton’s new york islanders unis,

    I think that the two pictures that you have used for the Toronto Argos are pictures of players that were taken when those players were playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Ti-Cats, traditionally had yellow and black striping on the sleeves like that; the Argos had a much simpler striping on the sleeves at that time.

    I agree with Terry’s comments regarding the Argos. The Ti-Cats have traditionally worn the funky stripes in the past. The Argos (or double blue) have stayed a bit more conservative.

    Regarding your comments on the Hungarian keeper wearing sweats, sometimes keepers will wear long pants that will look padded, like sweat pants, but very rarely. One that also comes to mind is the Crystal Palace keeper last season in the EPL wearing all grey, including long pants. He looked like a kid from gym class in the ’50’s.

    Speaking of a team with a proud and continuing history of stripe-age, the Ottawa 67’s cannot be left out.

    If I were the judge I would have given Hingis an award for advertising headlights on the front of her shirt . . . come on, I’m not the only one who thought this.

    They even put the Roland Garros logo on the tennis ball? I’ve never noticed that before.

    Regarding Kurt Suzuki, I live in a Texas League town, and Midland will be coming back for a series in mid June, provided he’s still on the AA team I’ll see about snapping a picture of his hands.

    I didn’t find the blurb about Hingus particularly interesting, but any excuse to check out her hot little body is OK in my book.


    I concur with Chip’s comment regarding the Hungarian goalkeeper. I was issued a pair of pants like that when I was a the goalkeeper on my high school soccer team.

    I searched on the shop and found Coolbase jerseys for the Angels and Pirates in the vest design w/ an undershirt beneath it. How would they put stretch gussets on a jersey w/ no sleeves?

    The Hungarian keeper is Gabor Kiraly, who plays his club ‘ball for Crystal Palace in England. I don’t know if they’re actually sweatpants or some sort of padded pants, but when CP were up in the Prem in 04-05, he was thier starter and seemed to wear them every match. Yes, he always looks like a shlub.

    Is that Isles jersey is another bad one…only lasted one season, right? I saw a guy in a Kasparitis sweater from that era last year, it’s funny how wavy they had to make his name to get it to fit.

    In response to Sid, a vest jersey wouldn’t need the gussets, cause there’s no sleeves…

    The Blues sweater was indeed a laughingstock. My friends and I refer to it as the “clown jersey” to this day.

    It actually looks even worse depending on the numbers on the back:


    They said it was Keenan that ran him out of town. I say this pic shows the REAL reason he left.

    It’s still not as bad as the third jersey that was developed but never used. It’s shown in the True Blues book, but I actually saw it in person once. It was incomprehensible in its hideousness.

    That’s the one.


    Keenan did at least do one positive thing for the franchise.

    Are the Coolbase jerseys made with the same material as the batting practice jerseys?

    Greg Maddux never wears an undershirt. (unless it’s freezing cold) This goes way back to his early Atlanta days.

    I actually own an Islanders-Captain Highliner jersey. I have Kasparaitis across the back. It is a point of pride to have that one in my jersey collection. It was, and is, hideous, but it is rare in these parts.

    NYI logo: link

    Captain Highliner: link

    I haven’t been able to find a picture yet, but Kevin Millar was wearing stirrups last night, with his white socks VERY visible under the black stirrups. Maybe times do change!

    Paul, I couldn’t help but think of your chain gang when I saw Milledge’s ‘bling’ last night. Good to see he got a mention in today’s post.

    My recollection of the late 1970s/early 1980s NASL was that many goaltenders wore long pants, if not most of them. Maybe this had something to do with the artificial turf they often played on. It was only during World Cups did I start seeing goaltenders wearing shorts.

    Wheels, good call on Kiraly at Palace. Yes, he did have the look of a schlub. I don’t know what he’s wearing in the Championship nowadays.

    I remember all of the MISL goalkeepers wearing pants too. I actually had an old pair that were given to me with my high school soccer uniform and seem to remember them having stirrups like womens’ pants in the 80s.

    Goalkeepers wearing pants on turf is a common occurence, for obvious reasons, hence all indoor keepers ( I think)wearing padded pants. Does anyone know of a keeper who works consistently on turf in shorts? Ouch. The guys who play on grass and wear pants, I dunno…

    Is it me, or am I the only one who thinks all these upside down flags are, perhaps, political statements?

    Why not embroider the flags so this isn’t a problem?

    The NFL would fine these guys like crazy! Not that I necessarily agree with that…

    >Is it me, or am I the only one who thinks all
    >these upside down flags are, perhaps, political

    Um, it’s you.

    Trust me, your average ballplayer — especially a very young one, like Ambiorix Burgos — has more or less zero political consciousness. Yes, there are exceptions (Foulke, Schilling, Delgado, Leiter etc.), but those are all older, more mature guys. I’m willing to bet that Burgos’s upside-down flag was just a glitch, just like Trachsel’s flag falling off.

    As for embroidering the flags instead of gluing them, yeah, that’d be nice. Better yet: Skip the flags altogether, since we already sing the national anthem, have a moment of silence on Memorial Day, etc.

    I too am surprised no one thinks this was a political message, it’s hard to imagine that placing it on the back and upside down would be accidental.

    I think that it is weird that every ones flags are falling off their hats. I have my World Series Red Sox hat from 2004 the patch is still their. Props to Keith Foulke he finally gets to wear his flag with out getting in trouble from a 1.5 by 1 in flag patch

    The Islanders actually wore the fisherman sweaters for two seasons, 1995-96 and 96-97, although in the latter year they added a “third jersey” which was the same design but with the original logo replacing the fisherman. That became the team’s full-time uniform for one season, 1997-98.

    The new design with the old logo was not an entirely terrible look, although the numerals were still ridiculous and the blues looked much better color-wise than the whites. The “wave” pattern and striping around the base of the jersey was insanely mis-proportioned and inconsistent, as if randomly drawn by a five-year-old. A flatter, more consistent wave shape, normal numerals, and keeping the old logo in the first place instead of needlessly switching to the stupid fisherman, and they might have had a decent look that could have lasted. Instead they threw the baby out with the bathwater and went to a modified version of their original uniform for 1998-99, with navy instead of royal blue, outlined instead of bordered numerals, no pants stripes, and a single shoulder patch with four diagonal slashes signifying the 1980-83 Cups.

    How to accidently attach a flag upside down on a hat:

    Hold the hat upside down while attaching it.

    Since it is natural to hold a hat upsidedown after removing it, it’s possible.

    Or it could be a sign of distress for his team.

    Or it could be a political statement.

    … but it could still just be an upside down patch on a hat.

    it looks as though lastings milledge’s (wow was that hard to type) necklace was simply a black phiten necklace with the oversized cross on it. it looks to be plastic or ceramic, as the photos show a dull, matte finish to the cross.

    I disagree about the dislike of the uneven jersey numbers on jerseys. It is different and brings something unique to an area of uniforms that are usually pretty standard. Great colums, Mr. Lukas. I love the addition of a daily blog, its excellent.

    How pathetic can these teams’ quality control dept. be? We’re talking about professional baseball teams here!
    If you’re going to be cheap and glue the flags on, that’s cool. It’s sad but it’ll do, I guess. Just don’t let the obvious hat with the upside-down flag, that’s on the wrong spot, pass to be worn.

    Lastings Milledge also wears his socks up and appears to have some sort of Livestrong-esque band on. Oh, yeah, and that necklace is a titanium thing with a huge cross on it.

    Im guessing Hungary’s keeper yesterday was Gabor Kiraly, who always wears sweats. I recognize this from when he used to play in the German Bundesliga with Hertha BSC Berlin (pic here link)

    a heads-up for tonight’s uni viewing… kevin millar IS wearing his white sanitaries and black stirrups tonight at home versus the devils ray, oops, I mean devil rays…

    let’s all thumb our noses at angelos!!


    Re: The Islanders Jerseys…

    My favorite Islanders design of all time is the old royal blue jerseys with the racing stripes down the pants… those were stylish, and some of the best teams ever to play the game wore those.

    During that period it seemed like the Islanders had a new jersey every year. I still have my Fisherman template/circular crest jersey, but it’s a little small.

    If they were to do anything, they should have switched to the current navy blue template, with the blue fishsticks jersey serving as the alternate. I’d have no problem with blue fishticks as the third jersey, it’s better than the link they use as a third jersey now, where player names and numbers are all but illegible. That template looks much better on their minor league team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers

    and re: soccer goalie pants…

    In the lower levels of soccer where fields aren’t as nice, goalkeepers with pants are nearly ubiquitous… Those look strange because they’re grey, but keepers on my teams have all worn padded pants or padded shorts.


    You mentioned getting rid of the flags in your comment, but I think it’s hard to go overboard on patriotism. One thing I have always appreciated about baseball is that more than any other sport, it is a part of being American. Football may have passed it in terms of popularity and other countries may field better baseball teams than we do in international competition, but there is something special about baseball in America.

    Hooray for flags on hats.

    The no-three-stripes rule for tennis doesn’t go into effect until Wimbledon, according to the linked ESPN article.

    C’mon!! A badly designed glued on patch is backwards on a cap and everybody starts to think political protest? Jeez, if the marine corp couldn’t fly the Canadian flag in the proper manner in the ’92 series by accident a ballplayer or equipment manager can make the same mistake.


    Hey, just reading the blog, love the more frequent doses of the uni-watch,
    Speaking of jewelry, check out the photage of Arod crossing home in the 8th of the 5/31 game. thats some 26M/year bling, just hope it was approved by his advisors

    A couple of pictures I found, plus his bio from the Crystal Palace Web Site…




    Besides games on turf, some keepers wear pants when it’s cold. Standing in one spot wearing shorts in the winter can catch up to you. Also, pants can be popular with African and Caribbean keepers (when 85 is cold to them). But true keeper pants only come in black, so he is probably just wearing grey sweats with some sliding shorts underneath.

    Gabor Kiraly just wears bog standard grey track pants, no extra padding or anything, they just happen to be lucky for him.

    Apparantly at one stage in his career he was ordered to wear shorts like the erst of his team. They ended up losing that match and he has worn his grey trousers ever since.

    He has become a bit of a cult hero in the UK for his grey trousers, and is a complete eccentric

    In the past, I’ve always found it odd for the Blue Jays (or when they were in Canada, the Expos) to wear an American flag on their jerseys. Looking at the Memorial Day pictures, I can’t find anything to verify whether the Jays were wearing a flag. Anybody have anything?

    It is possibly to take patriotism too far.

    Not that anyone watches MLS or the Metros (currently NY Red Bull), but they used to have a back goal keeper named Paul Grafer who was known for always wearing pants. He was kind of a cult hero among the Metros fans from 2000-2003. Someone even put up a web site dedicated to Grafer’s Pants. Here is an old story with some pictures.

    re 3-stripes at Wimbledon: Seems Cruyff was 30 years ahead of the times. link he is in 1974, having ripped off the third stripe from his Adidas-supplied Holland uni. I think the story is that he didn’t want to be a walking billboard, but also note he wore Puma shoes. My eyes are awful at counting parallel lines, so in real time, I probably won’t even notice the difference at Wimbledon…

    A better view of Milledge’s “Livestrong-esque” bracelets that were mentioned above…


    It appears he actually is wearing a Livestrong bracelet, as well as an Adidas bracelet.

    I just looked at the temperatures for Manchester, UK, where the Hungary vs. England game on May 30 was and the high for the day was only 55F, and game time temp was 50F. Maybe this was what he could do on short notice to keep warm.

    Mohammed Al Deayeaat Saudi Arabian goaltender at the 2002 World Cup, wearing pants. I think that he always wore pants. This game was even played in a dome standium on natural turf. I think for him it may have been a religious choice, it addition to the pain of the ball hitting you.

    Regarding the numbers on a different plane, there’s another team I can think of that does something similar. The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Single-A Short-Season Northwest League have always worn unis with upward-slanted numerals. A picture of the back of the uni can be found here –> link

    Warning for 56k-ers — it’s a large image. Sorry!

    Re: the Volcanoes photo
    As the picture was loading, I didn’t notice the numbers, but I did notice the couple making out past the left field fence. Get ya some!!!

    Re: the volcanoes photo
    Nice catch Parrish.

    Also, love the new blog, Paul and watch for Millar this weekend, 3 with the Yanks this weekend! (maybe the YES Network will pick up on it)

    speaking of strange numbers. Former Inter Milan striker Ivan Zamorano, when he changed number fron 9 to 18 to leave the number 9 to brazilian star Ronaldo, wore a special + patch between the 1 and the 8 so to have a 9 as a sum of the numbers. This trend had some followers in italian serie A as Salvatore Fresi of Salernitana who used to wear a 3+3 uni number.

    For those watching the World Cup, Ecuador keeper Christian Mora was rocking the keeper pants (as well as flag facepaint) during today’s game.

    “The New Haven County Cutters of the independent Can-Am have unusual uniform numbers — they aren’t on the same plane.”

    The numbers are on the same plane. A plane is two dimensional. Both numbers lie in the plane defined by the back of the uni shirt. It is true that the numbers are not arranged parallel to the belt line as most uni numbers are.

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