As most of you know, I don’t collect jerseys, caps, or anything like that. If I were going to go down that road, I’d probably focus on jersey patches — they’re fun, conversational, beautifully made, and probably the most consistently well-designed uniform elements.
So when reader David Sonny recently contacted me and said that a friend with an inside connection had given him a bunch of the Reds’ “Mr. Redlegs” sleeve patches, I was intrigued. “Do you want one of them?” he asked. Yo, does Juan Pierre wear stirrups?
Let’s ignore the whole bit about how you supposedly need their permission to do anything with the patch, since that’s obviously just a load of legalistic crap. The part that gets me is how the MLB brain trust has unilaterally decided what constitutes the patch’s “collectible value,” as if there’s only one kind of collector and only one kind of value. Hey, maybe I like collecting patches so I can glue them to my ceiling, or staple them to my denim jacket — maybe that’s my idea of value. Oh, but according to MLB, that means I’ve “ruin[ed]” everything. Yeah, I know, they’re probably trying to indemnify themselves against jersey counterfeiters, but the wording of the warning really sticks in my craw. What a bunch of losers.
The manufacturer, incidentally, is National Emblem, a Colorado operation that makes all sorts of patches, including the sleevewear that will be worn this season by the Mariners, Brewers, Giants, Devil Rays (not much to celebrate there, but I really like the patch design), and Marlins (plus this, although I’m not sure the Cardinals will actually be wearing it).
I was thinking how cool it would be to see National Emblems embroidery machines in action, so I went to YouTube and started poking around. Didn’t come up with anything quite as cool as Mr. Redlegs being created, but I did find two clips that I think you’ll find interesting. Both run less than 30 seconds, so take a look:
NFL News: As some of you may be aware from discussions now taking place on other sites, a photo of what appears to be a new Chargers jersey was briefly leaked on the team’s web site yesterday. It was quickly removed, but by that time it had already been downloaded for posterity. Here, take a look (and here’s the old design for comparison). Can’t say I really count it as an improvement, but let’s see if it’s actually legit before getting all worked up about it — I’ll make some calls.
Research Query: I’m working on a column about MLB players wearing sunglasses, so I’m looking for examples of MLB players who’ve worn their shades in some sort of personally distinct way (aside from Manny and his Thumps, which we all know about, thanks). I’d also be interested in learning about athletes in other sports — tennis, soccer, cricket, whatever — who’ve worn shades. I’m not talking about goggles here, mind you, but actual sunglasses. Feel free to contribute any and all ideas this-a-way, and big thanks in advance.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Just noticed something while clicking around the System of Dress web site: Look at that “TM” symbol on the Florida jersey. So bogus. … The Phillies will begin wearing a “VUK” patch next week, in memory of John Vukovich. Details here (with thanks to Chris Ashworth). … Here’s the schedule for this year’s NBA St. Patrick’s Day uniforms (green-clad team in ital): 3/11, Celtics/Bulls; 3/13, Bulls/Celtics; 3/14, Celtics/Hawks; 3/16, Celtics/Mavs and Knicks/Hornets; 3/17, Celtics/Spurs and Bulls/Grizzlies; 3/19, Celtics/Hornets. … It was Armed Forces Day in Viera yesterday, which meant the Nats had to wear these ridiculous blue camouflage caps. … There’s merchandising, and then there’s merchandising. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: There’s a video montage on YouTube that features tons of great deadball-era uniform photos. Check it out (with thanks to Michael Kramer):