New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: We all know about the futuristic uniforms that most MLB teams wore in 1999. You may also recall that about six months ago I linked to a hilarious SportsCenter diatribe about said uniforms. That video mentions that the ’99 Turn Ahead the Clock program was actually based on a “futuristic” Royals/Mariners game from the previous season.
I hadn’t been aware of that game, or else I’d forgotten about it, until I saw it mentioned in the SportsCenter report. And I’d forgotten about it yet again until yesterday, when the pseudonymous TC (the same guy who brought us all the cool stuff in this report) sent me a two-minute video taken from a 1998 installment of This Week in Baseball, which provides lots of jaw-dropping footage from the Royal/Mariners game in question. TC has asked that the video not be YouTubed, but he’s allowed me to make screen grabs.
Some quick background: The game was played on July 18, 1998, at the Kingdome. It was a simple one-game promotion by the Mariners, much like today’s throwback games. And the time-warped year was supposedly 2027 (as opposed to the 1999 futuristic program, which was set in 2021, because the whole thing was sponsored by Century 21).
• Left out, as usual: the umpires.
This promotion strikes me as idiotic but harmless, which is more than you can say for the 1999 program, which was a corporate boondoggle for Century 21.
Photo Follow-Up: A few days ago I linked to the photo shown at left (here’s a larger view) and wondered what was up with Willie’s non-pinstriped Mets home uni (a design that didn’t yet exist in 1976, when the photo was taken). Quite a few readers suggested that Willie was actually wearing a road uniform (the Mets used the same script insignia on their home and road jerseys that year), and that the photo was simply overexposed, creating the illusion of a white home design. Okay, but then why was Hank wearing a road uniform as well? What circumstance could have brought both of them together in road attire in 1976 (when Mays was a National League coach and Aaron was still an active American League player)?
Reader Bill Tyrrell may have provided the answer. Check out the note he sent me last night:
The first game that I ever attended was the 1976 Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown between the Mets and Brewers (August 9th). I vividly recall that both teams wore their road uniforms. According to Retrosheet, the Mets were coming back from a series in Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee had stopped in Cooperstown between series in Boston and Oakland [which would explain why both teams wore road attire]. … The Mets wore their pillbox caps that day. The only part that doesn’t figure is that the photo appears to have been taken at night — the HoF game was played during the day.
Faaaaascinating. And here’s a little postscript from Bill: “Although a coach at the time, Mays made a pinch-hitting appearance and singled. Aaron had one at bat, striking out swinging before we gave him a standing ovation.”
Membership News: After a few marathon data-entry sessions, I believe every membership enrollee is now listed on the active roster. The only exception is Patrick Ratliff (let me know which number and design you want, at your convenience). For everyone else, if you signed up in the past week and don’t see your name on the roster, let me know.
It’ll take a while to get all the new orders printed, laminated, and mailed, so bear with us — thanks. Meanwhile, we now have our first non-charter member, Sean Sandoloski, who signed up yesterday. And so the new era begins.
Also: Several early enrollees have mentioned they now regret their original card-design choices and wish they had asked for something else. You can request a new design when renewing your membership next year, of course. But if you’re suffering from a serious case of buyer’s remorse and can’t wait until then, existing members can get a redesigned card for $15 (which, I assure you, is a very fair price, given the amount of time and effort that go into creating these things).
As an aside, I should mention that Scott and I are both having a blast with this project. A lot of the requests you’ve given us have been really interesting and imaginative, and we usually learn something even from the simple requests. Thanks for making this endeavor such a success.
Tech Crap: If you’re reading this, you’ve successfully managed to access the site (duh). But I’m continuing to get sporadic reports of people who can’t log on — aftershocks from Wednesday’s server problem, apparently. If this happens to you, or if you hear of it happening to someone else, try googling “Uni Watch” and then entering the site via the Google link. If that doesn’t work, type the site’s full URL into a fresh browser window (including the “http://www” at the beginning) instead of using a bookmark or a shortened version of the URL.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Reebok is planning to open an hockey-themed store (with thanks to Neal Schaffer). … David Conely notes with digust that KG left the stickers on his cap when throwing out the first pitch at Fenway the other day. And several readers noted with even greater disgust that they gave him a home jersey with his name on the back — sacrilege! … Great article here about Penn State’s equipment manager. Click on the photo for a cool slideshow (nice find by Bryan Koval). … The 49ers’ memorial helmet decal for Bill Walsh will look like this. … More info on those new Utah hoops unis here (as forwarded by Bryan Packer), and larger images here. … This year’s Little League World Series uniforms are shown in this PDF file (nice find by Tony Lombardo). … “Snapped some interesting shots on a recent trip to Graceland,” writes Patrick Woody. “Elvis was a big sports fan, and his entourage would play football and baseball games in full uniforms. Note the stirrups with the football pants, which could be accurate — or just the result of the exhibit curator being clueless.” … Big Blazers fan Clark Farrand notes that first-round pick Greg Oden was given a number-inclusive jersey for his NBA Rookies photo shoot but second-rounders Taurean Green and Josh McRoberts had to go number-free. “I guess I kind of understand, in that since they haven’t earned roster spots yet, they haven’t been assigned numbers,” writes Farrand. “But wouldn’t you think that if they were considered good enough to be sent to the photo shoot, they would at least give them temporary or expected numbers in case they do make the roster?” … According to a small item buried on this page, Marlon Anderson wanted to wear No. 8 with the Mets, but that number, while not officially retired, is out of circulation, in deference to Gary Carter. … New uniforms this year for University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Further details, and a link to a photo gallery, here (with thanks to Ronnie Poore). … New design for Tulsa as well (additional view here, with thanks to Tod Meisner, who also reports that Rice’s new helmet will look like this). … And new Air Force unis too (additional pics and info here). … Brandon Hall turned up a site featuring some amazing vintage NFL posters. For the full selection, look here and here. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: I’d forgotten that the 1976 pillbox cap trope also extended to the World Series umpires. … Riley Anderson reports that plate ump Kerwin Danley worked the first half of Tuesday night’s Angels/Mariners game with his fly unzipped. No photos yet, but Vince is working on it. … The Nationals had Walter Johnson’s grandson throw out the first pitch last night and then wore throwback caps, which I thought looked pretty good.