New ESPN column today — here‘s the link.
Meanwhile, for the second time in three days, our topic topic du jour is belts. This time it’s because of events that took place in the 1st inning of yesterday’s Bosox/Royals game, where Esteban German dove for a ball and came up to find his belt had come undone, apparently because the buckle had broken. Someone was quickly dispatched from the dugout to take the old belt from German and give him a new one.
But whereas German’s original belt was leather, the new one was adjustable elastic with leather tips (like this and this), which occasioned the following bit of banter from Royals radio broadcasters Brian McRae and Ryan Lefebvre:
McRae: Those leather belts, the sweat gets on that leather and makes it kinda flimsy. They don’t last too long, the leather ones. They’re bringing [German] one of the ones that do last — not sure what you’d call that material, kinda like elastic. That’ll work.
Lefebvre: Let’s be honest — it’s a Little League belt! In the big leagues, you’re supposed to wear leather.
McRae: Leather belts look good, but they don’t last.
Lefebvre: But it’s all about looking good, though, isn’t it?
This Lefebvre guy sounds like he’s got his priorities straight.
Look through sporting goods listings these days and you’ll see almost nothing but the elastic belts, a distressing number of which are being used as vehicles for logo creep (both from the usual suspects and from more reputable companies that should really know better). But as Lefebvre suggested, most MLBers wear leather, as evidenced by the reflective shine on the belt’s rear section (note the logo creep on the socks, by the way). Every now and then, however, you’ll see the telltale adjusta-size buckle indicating that a player’s wearing an elastic model, which looks so totally pathetic.
At least MLB players never play with their belts undone, like some NFL players do. (For more on that phenomenon, look here.) But there’s at least one MLBer who has a distinctive belt style: Jon Lester, whose front belt tip is usually flapping to an unusual degree, as you can see here and here.
Early baseball belts were surprisingly decorative, although that style didn’t last. (For further details, scroll down to the second section of this page.) Nowadays all belts are solid-colored, but there’s some variation in belt loops or tunnels. The Braves have had piping on their belt tunnels for years, and this season the Rangers added piping as well. My favorite quirk: The Tigers have more belt loops than any other team.
(Big thanks to David Chisholm and Lee Leslie for tipping me wise to the Esteban German incident.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: Kudos to Mark Dagwell for pointing out this excellent site, devoted to the history of Australian rules football uniforms. … A few days ago I ran images of Rice’s new football uniforms (here, here, and here), but it wasn’t clear if they’d also have new helmets. Seth Harris reports that they will, and that they’ll look like this (here’s that same logo in color). … Reasonably decent rundown here of Pittsburgh Pirates uni history (with thanks to Terrence Adams). … Jim Tracy’s pants aren’t exactly setting a good example. … Andruw Jones needs some major remedial work too.