By Vince Grzegorek
By now most of you have probably heard about Scott Proctor’s equipment bonfire after Saturday night’s game at Yankee Stadium. (In a world of cell phone cameras, no one got a picture of this? Come on!)
Usually it’s the other way around, with the fans burning a jersey in effigy. But Proctor is the latest example of an athlete who, faced with the proverbial last straw, decides to hold an imprompty uniform cremation ceremony. Let’s take a look at some other torch bearers (pun intended) who’ve used their uniforms as tinder.
- In 1982, Frank LaCorte of the Houston Astros set his #31 uniform on fire after a game in which he walked the bases loaded in a relief appearance. Why? The 31 reminded him of a 3-1 count.
- Jose Mesa claimed last year that he’d matured throughout his years in the big leagues. His explanation: “I used to rip my uniform and everything. I’d throw the shoes in the garbage, I’d burn the hat.”
- Ernie Broglio supposedly burned his entire uniform in 1966 after taking too much heat from his teammates and the Cubs fans for his dismal performance.
- According to this page, “Toronto fans were particularly harsh with [Damaso] Garcia, especially after he burned his uniform in the clubhouse after one of his poorer performances.”
- Former US National Team member Jeff Agoos didn’t react well to being cut from the 1994 World Cup squad and responded by torching his jersey (supposedly in a fireplace).
- Then there’s the most coordinated and entertaining uniform bonfire of all time: the actual bonfire held by the Denver Broncos in 1962 to forever rid themselves of their infamous vertically striped socks. (And according to Paul, ” This looks like any other bonfire photo but is really and truly the Broncos vertically striped socks bonfire [indeed it is — PL].”)
- Gino Odjick of the QMJHL didn’t do it himself, but according to this message board, his jersey was lit on fire by a fan during a game while Odjick was sitting in the penalty box. (And yes, it says he had to roll around on the ice to put it out.)
And just to give equal time to the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan fell victim to a classic prank the other day when his uniform was frozen by some of his teammates (details here). When he tried to thaw it out with a hair drier, he ended up blowing a fuse and knocking out the power in Tony LaRussa’s office. At least he didn’t start a fire.
Over to you, Paul…
July Party Itinerary: I’ll be in St. Louis one week from today, July 10th, and will be convening a Uni Watch party for the occasion. Our venue will be McGurks — let’s shoot to meet there at 8pm.
Precisely two weeks later, on July 24th, Uni Watch will go international with our first-ever Canadian party, in Toronto. Festivities will commence at 8pm upstairs at the Imperial Pub and Library. And for those of you with stalker-ish tendencies, I am tentatively slated to “perform” the following evening at the Pontiac Quarterly, which is curated by Uni Watch Ontario bureau chief Liz Clayton, who’s a bit of a stalker herself.
Membership Update: I mailed out more membership kits yesterday and am now completely caught up with everything that’s been printed. So except for members King, Patterson, Lee, Bridgett, Versel, Brandt, Hart, and Eckensberger (whose cards have been designed but not yet printed — soon, soon), if your membership card is linked on the active roster and shown in the card gallery, then it’s either in your hands by now or on its way. As for the handful of you whose cards haven’t yet been designed, Scott’s working on those right now. And those of you who’ve joined at Level Four or above should expect to hear from Scott shortly regarding your logo designs.
We’re now up to 199 enrollees — not bad for the first month. Friendly reminder: All members who join by the end of July will have a special “Charter Member” designation added to their membership cards when they renew next year.
Uni Watch News Ticker: “I was at the Cedar Rapids Kernels game Friday night and saw a couple of things,” writes Joe Wagner. “First, the Kernels (class-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels) wore special jerseys to pay tribute to veterans. They actually didn’t look that bad in person. They were playing the Kane County Cougers — an Oakland A’s farm team — and apparently the parent club requires their affiliates to wear white shoes as well. They looked awful, especially with the couple of guys who wore their pants high to show off the black socks.” … I’ve previously shown illustration templates of the new Texas A&M uniforms. Now, thanks to Glenn Stern, we have photos — look here, here, here, here, and here. … Ronnie Poore reports that there’s yet another movie in production featuring period uniforms. This one is Our Lady of Victory, based on girls’ basketball team from a Catholic school winning a championship in 1972. “Not much uniform detail in the photo gallery so far,” says Ronnie, “but the players do wear skirts [and striped tube socks! — PL]. Some shots of the real team, from the school’s web site, are here.” Yee-fucking-haw! … “During Glen Davis’s introduction to the Boston media, I saw that his left sleeve still had the designer tag that you ordinarily remove when you buy the suit,” writes Matt Englander. “I once did the same thing while wearing a new suit to a job interview. In the middle of the interview, and without missing a beat, the guy opened his drawer and handed me a pair of scissors to cut the thing off. Pretty mortifying.” … Good spot by Matt Mitchell, who writes: “Vince Young made an appearance last week at Ladainian Tomlinson’s annual summer football camp here at Baylor Stadium. I thought the Pro Bowl jersey was Young’s (I thought somebody else may have had dibs on No. 10), but if you look closely you can make out ‘McNair’ across his back, so this was apparently a shout-out to Vince’s boyhood idol, former Titans QB Steve McNair.” … Great find by Matt Olson, who stumbled across this page devoted to NCAA equipment trucks. … Aaron Peters recently attended a Myrtle Beach Pelicans game and got some nice pics, including this shot of an Astros-inspired throwback design that the team wore last year. … Great scene yesterday in New York, where the Rangers introduced new signees Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, both of whom were wearing No. 23 jerseys. Both players have worn 23 in the past, so they flipped a puck to determined who’d get to wear it with the Rangers. Drury won. Details here. … Lots of excitement in the soccer world yesterday, as the L.A. Galaxy’s new jersey was apparently leaked. … Classic moment during last night’s Mets/Rockies game, as the ever-alert Keith “I Love Keith Hernandez” Hernandez forcefully opined that MLB players “should wear their regular team uniforms” in the All-Star Game, “instead of those league uniforms.” When play-by-play man pointed out that the league jerseys are only worn during the home run derby, His Keithness replied, “Oh, that’s right.” I’d love to put Hernandez in the same booth with Ron Santo, but the space-time continuum might never recover.