Two Uni Watch readers recently took trips to Japan, and both of them made stops at the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, where they took lots of photos and made assorted observations. The first of these travelers was the intrepid Scott M.X. Turner (the man who designed the logo you see at the top of this page), whose report is as follows:
• “Made an interesting discovery at the Hall of Fame: Virtually every current Japanese team uses a different fabric [as you can see in these jersey photos of the Orix Buffaloes, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Nippon Ham Fighters, Soft Bank Hawks, Seibu Lions, Chiba Lotte Marines, Hanshin Tigers, Yakult Swallows, Yomiuri Giants, Chunichi Dragons, and Hiroshima Carp]. Compared to MLB, where everyone uses the same fabric, I found this pretty exceptional. Also, some of the teams wear different fabric for their jerseys and pants.”
• “The Nippon Ham Fighters’ road uniforms have an extra ‘O’ sewn under the placket, so if a player wears his jersey unbuttoned, he’s essentially switched teams to ‘NIPPOON HAM,’ which is just too good.” (As an aside, Uni Watch notes that the same thing happened last year to Zach Day of the Rockies.)
• “Tsuyoshi Shinjo is an absolute rock star in Japan — so much so that the scoreboard at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo (home of the Yakult Swallows) doesn’t mess with Kanji when listing his name on the scoreboard…they go straight to Romanji letters.”
Our other Japanese traveler was Ken Clark, who snapped some Hall of Fame pics of asymmetrical sleeves, old jerseys, and hosiery evolution (speaking of which, check out this shot, which appears to show toe-inclusive socks!). Clark also purchased this Yomiuri Giants yearbook and generously forwarded it to Uni Watch HQ, where it’s quickly become a favorite. Lots of interesting tidbits here, including the following:
• In addition to having stretch gussets, many of the Giants’ jerseys also appear to have little flap vents. Check out the additional views here, here, here, and here. Turns out a similar flap is visible in Scott Turner’s Hanshin Tigers photo.
• Uni Watch, somewhat surprisingly, kinda likes these pant stripes.
• One of the Giants’ American players, Joe Dillon, wears MLB batting gloves.
Big thanks to Scott and Ken for this peek at baseball in the Far East.
Lederhosen Corner: Longtime Uni Watch pal Rob Walker, who writes the “Consumed” column for the New York Times Magazine (and also has an excellent blog, called Murketing), checks in with a bizarre tale of logo creep from the World Cup, where Dutch fans were recently forced to remove their pants, and therefore had to watch one of the matches in their underwear, because the pants carried the logo of a brewery that wasn’t an official FIFA sponsor. Yes, really. There’s a good audio report here.