If you go to Old Navy, or to J. Crew, or virtually anyplace that sells T-shirts, you’ll find that shirt manufacturers are switching to screened-on tags, instead of sewn-on. Hanes has actually trademarked the term “Tagless,” and claims that this feature allows you to “ditch the itch.” Even Uni Watch T-shirts — which I’m sure all of you are planning to buy right now — have screened tags.
Unfortunately, this highly sophisticated concept hasn’t yet taken hold in Major League Baseball, where we keep seeing ballplayers with their undershirt tags sticking out. The latest exemplar of this phenomenon was Pedro Feliciano, who pitched the 7th inning of Friday night’s Mets/Nats game with his undershirt tag badly exposed. It must have irritated his neck, because at one point he tried to tuck it in — unsuccessfully.
Every time this happens — and it’s happened at least three or four times in the past few months — I’m overcome by the urge to reach out and tuck in the tag. Paul LoDuca must feel the same way, because he did exactly that during a mound conference toward the end of Feliciano’s wayward-tagged inning of work. Now that’s how to handle a pitching staff! Unfortunately, the tag came untucked yet again a few pitches later.
I don’t know who Feliciano’s agent is, but he’d be well advised to get on the blower to Hanes right now, because this has “endorsement deal” written (or silkscreened) all over it. They could even get LoDuca on board and re-create their little mound meeting. Meanwhile, memo to Nike, or whoever’s making these undershirts: Get with the program already and lose the tags.
There was another uni incident of note during that Mets/Nats series, incidentally, as Cliff Floyd slid in the outfield yesterday and emerged with his jersey unbuttoned and untucked. Undaunted, he dutifully buttoned up, tucked in, and adjusted his belt, much to the amusement of everyone on hand.
Shoes Socks: MLB broadcasters continue to discuss the intersection of pant and sock, most recently on Friday night in Pittsburgh, where Pirates microphone men Greg Brown and Bob Walk had the following conversation when Chris Denorfia came to bat:
Walk: I like his socks. They are the Redlegs, aren’t they?
Brown: Yup. Wish they all wore uniforms like that. The way baseball unis were meant to be worn. [Camera shows a close-up of Denoria’s shins.] Could use a little higher stirrups, but at least show your stockings. How did you wear yours, Bob?
Walk: There’s nobody to point to, so I can’t tell you.
Brown: Oh really?
Walk: You look at everybody on the field, they’ve got their pants tucked into their shoes. [Camera shows not-so-great view of a Nelson Briles baseball card.]
Brown: There’s Nellie Briles.
Walk: Um, maybe not quite that high. A little lower than Nellie. Little bit lower. Between the knee and the ankle. I’d say I was just a little bit past the halfway mark.
Brown: About where it should be. You’re a professional. [Camera now shows an even worse view of a Jay Bell card.]
Walk: There you go. See where Jay’s are?
Walk: That’s about where I had mine. [A bit of photo research suggests that this assertion is basically accurate.]
Brown: You’re old-school.
Walk: I don’t know about that — I mean, old-school, that’s like Denorfia. That’s old-school. I’m middle school.
Actually, he’s more like nursery school, but that’s what it’s come to these days: The state of lower-leg affairs is so dire that even a pathetic stirrup style like Bell’s or Walk’s is deemed noteworthy. Something to work on for next season. (Big thanks to Mike Rose for tipping me wise on this one.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: Last Thursday evening I attended the launch party for longtime Uni Watch supporter Kevin Walsh‘s excellent new book, Forgotten New York: Views of a Lost Metropolis (which is also the name of Kevin’s superb web site). It has nothing to do with uniforms but everything to do with appreciation of obscure visual details, obsessive pursuit of the ephemeral, and historical documentation. Absolutely essential for all past and present residents of New York, and strongly recommended for everyone else. … Amusingly clueless blog entry here from Syracuse Post-Standard reporter Dave Rahme, who opines that “anyone who writes about uniforms … doesn’t know much about football and perhaps should be working in the garment industry” (with thanks to Mike Alper). … Nice catch by footwear guru Mark Mihalik, who writes: “We’ve seen Jason Giambi do the mid-game shave earlier in the year, but on Thursday night I saw him wearing one pair of cleats in his first at-bat (in which he struck out) and a different pair during the remainder of the game. The first pair was an all-black pair of Reebok Pumps (yes, Pumps are back and in baseball now, see here), and then he switched to a mid Reebok Vero cleat with a black/gray/white colorway (somewhat similar to these, but with a white logo instead of gray).” … Here’s a better view of the 1928 uniform ad I recently acquired. And here’s the 1959 Wilson baseball uni ad I scored a coupla days before that. Hot stuff, no? … Speaking of hot stuff, Derek Lowe’s pants literally caught on fire last Wednesday night. … Craig Ward has brought an interesting phenomenon to my attention: Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas, whose football jerseys have “AHMO” printed on the collar (and maybe on the chinstrap and/or front nose bumper too — tough to say for sure). “AHMO” is the school’s rallying cry — it appears on the school’s web site, is the basis for a book title, and is the subject of this blog post. But even after Ward tried to explain its meaning to me (supposedly a Southern-drawled approximation of “I’m gonna kick your ass,” but I just don’t see it), I’m still scratching my head. Anyone know anything about this one? … Several NBA teams will training in Europe during this month and are commemorating the experience by adorning their jerseys with country-specific colors. The Spurs, for example, will be in France, so they’ll wear red, white, and blue trim (the same colors as the French national flag). The Suns, who’ll be in Italy, will have red, green, and white trim, and the Clippers, who’ll be in Russia, have red, blue, and white. … Learned over the weekend that Uni Watch librarian Carrie Klein (sitting next to me here at last month’s Uni Watch Labor Day BBQ Party), who is now also the official Uni Watch publicist, has quite the storied uniform history of her own. That’s her, top row, second from the left, the first girl ever to play Pop Warner football in North Attleboro, Massachusetts (where she somehow scored Steve Grogan’s autograph!). Note the color-coordinated striped socks. Too bad the hosiery is cropped out from this Little League shot (don’t worry, the actual print is much more maroon, less purple), and you can’t really tell much from this hoops photo, but this still amounts to an impressive array of uniform-ity. … Florida’s Spurrier-era throwbacks looked pretty damn cool on Saturday. The obvious nitpicky gripe: the truncated shoulder stripes. Less obvious nitpicky gripe: the long chinstrap tabs that sometimes obscured the admirably simple helmet logo. … The first word that came to mind upon seeing Washington State’s surprise alternate unis on Saturday: unnecessary. What exactly was the point of this? The team looked fine, and this new design is neither outrageous nor innovative enough to matter. Yawn. Taken on its merits: I don’t mind the contrast-colored shoulder yoke (for the record, I don’t mind this same feature on the Tennessee Titans’ jerseys, either), but the uni numbers and wordmark are both way too big and clunky, and that little block of color on the lower pant leg (which wraps underneath) is embarrassing. … Tim Erney checks in with the following report from Saturday’s Cal/Oregon State game: “Cal radio announcer Joe Starkey was ripping on Oregon State’s unis all day. Then, late in the second half, he started talking about Cal’s game next week against Oregon and started going off on the Oregon uniforms — how they were a disgrace, ruined the spirit of spirit of college football, only purpose to sell more jerseys.” … Ya think maybe NFL jerseys have become too stretchy?