Scott Turner and I took an upstate road trip last Thursday, capped off by a double-A ballgame between the Binghamton Mets and the New Britain Rock Cats. And therein lies a tale.
The Mets are one of those franchises that require all their minor league affiliates to hike up their pant cuffs, so we enjoyed the sight of the B-Mets in all their navy-socked glory. But then I noticed something odd about third baseman Vince Harrison: His pants weren’t just hiked up to his calves — they were above his knees, like a baseball version of Dre Bly‘s biker shorts. I’d never seen anything like it on a baseball diamond.
My camera’s batteries had gone dead earlier in the day, but Scott pointed out that I could probably still get some decent pics with my cell phone if I got right next to Harrison while he was on deck. So when Harrison’s next turn in the on-deck circle came up, I scooted down to the front row (ah, the pleasures of a double-A ballpark) and snapped a bunch of shots, which I’ve gathered into a slide show here.
Unfortunately, Harrison wouldn’t turn around while he was on deck, so I couldn’t get a decent photo from the front, where the effect was much more pronounced (best I could do was this this). But at one point I yelled, “Hey, Harrison, what’s the deal with the super-high cuffs?” and he quickly turned his head and said, “Just changin’ it up. Tryin’ somethin’ new, y’know.” And that was that.
My feelings about high-cuffed baseball pants are well-documented. But if you made me choose between Harrison’s look and the pajama style, I’d be hard-pressed to say which was worse. Seeing a ballplayer’s knees just doesn’t feel right. It also appeared to be a high-maintenance operation, because he was fidgeting with his pant cuffs all night. Manwhile, just how long were his socks? Like, was he wearing thigh-high stockings, or pantyhose, or what?
In an apparently unrelated development, there was a bat — the kind with wings and teeth — flying around the field the entire night. It mostly stayed near the field’s perimeter, but every now and then it would dart toward an ump or a player (it almost made one of the New Britain pitchers balk). At one point the bat flitted right past Harrison while I was photographing him in the on deck circle. He damn near jumped out of those super-short pants — and then he readjusted them one more time.
Mariners Mystery Solved: Last week I ran the following note from Jon Buerstatte:
In 1992, when the new owners completed their purchase [of the Mariners] in mid-season, the M’s had an “opening day” celebration. To mark the occasion, the M’s wore their usual white home uniforms, but with “Seattle” on the jerseys instead of “Mariners.” That had great significance at the time, because the team was constantly the subject of relocation rumors and the new ownership wanted to send a strong message that the team was the Seattle Mariners, not just the Mariners.
Unfortunately, Buerstatte didn’t have any photos from this game, and I wasn’t able to come up with one either. But then Mariners marketing VP Kevin Martinez got in touch and provided me with this and this. Big thanks to Kevin, and to everyone else who provided tips and leads on this one.
C-ing Stars: An NFL spokesman told me on Friday that the new captains’ patches (first discussed here) would feature “a C with some stars underneath.” And now, thanks to an item on the Lions’ web site, we finally have our first look at what that means, as seen here (and you can sort of see the jersey placement here). As I understand it, each team’s patches will be color-coordinated — i.e., the Lions’ version is blue, but the Cardinals’ will be red, and so on.
Not sure why there are four stars, or why one of them is gold, but I’m hoping to get more info today. Update: According to the Detroit Free Press, “The first star is gold. A player will get a gold star for each year he is a captain in the future.” (Thanks to Mike Schmansky for that info.)
Personally, I wish they’d let the teams come up with their own “C” styles, like the NHL and MLB do, instead of imposing a league-wide protocol. But I’m surprised — and relieved — to see that the patch doesn’t include the NFL logo, or a little Lombardi Trophy graphic, or anything else that smells like corporate branding. Verdict: Silly but harmless. Prediction: A one-year experiment that ends up being abandoned next season.
Incidentally, someone over on the Creamer boards said that the Bucs used to designate their captains via shoulder “netting.” I’d never heard this before. Can anyone confirm?
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Penguins will unveil their new uniforms on Wednesday. Details here. … Mike Nolan’s and Jack Del Rio’s sideline suits will be designed by Joseph Abboud. … This eBay auction has ended, but check out those illustrations — great stuff. Anyone ever seen those before? (Nice find by Roger Faso.) … Speaking of eBay, check out this bizarre AHL all-star jersey that Stuart Greenlee found. Never mind the Blues-ish diagonal number — what’s with that misplaced star? … This has resulted in this (with thanks to Chris Flinn). … Did you know that one Vanderbilt player — and only one — wears a special memorial patch every year, in memory of former tailback Kwane Doster? Details here (with thanks to Daniel Brown). … Liverpool FC played a champions league game last Tuesday and they wore a black armband in memory of 11 year old Rhys Jones, who was killed last week,” reports Ed Rickert. “Does the armband look like black duct tape, or is it just me?” … Some uni-related MLB chatter in the seventh question of this Q&A session (with thanks to Laura Koenig). … Marcus Ramsey notes that Brad Johnson’s preseason sleeve stylings have ranged from no stripes to two stripes to one stripe. … As they’ve frequently done for early-season games in recent years, the Chargers will wear white at home for Week 1, to help beat the heat. … Pat Kelly has noticed something interesting about the Redskins: The sleeve numbers for eligible receivers are much thicker than the ones used for linemen and linebackers. “I’ve noticed it for a while,” says Pat, “and a little checking shows that it’s been going on at least as far back as ’03 [thin numbers, thick numbers], and maybe ’02. That’s the year Reebok began making the unis for every team, and is also when the ’Skins went from screen-printed numbers to sewn numbers, so it may have something to do with that.” I’m fairly certain it also has something to do with sleeve tailoring for players who handle the ball vs. those who don’t. … Here’s something interesting: You probably know that all National League teams wore this sleeve patch design in 1976. But Braden Wheeler recently sent me a bunch of patches, and I was surprised to find that the N.L. centennial patch included a tone-on-tone copyright line. … Everyone talks about the Celtics’ parquet floor as the gold standard for classic inlaid-wood court designs. But check out this 1928 photo of a game between Princeton and West Point — now that’s a floor design. … Marquette is switching to Converse’s Dwyane Wade sneakers. … “English Championship soccer side Queens Park Rangers played Saturday’s game with all players having the name ‘Ray Jones’ on their back,” writes Florian Zenger. “This was in tribute to QPR’s youth international, who died last week in a car crash.” … Uni Watch founding girlfriend Alleen Barber notes that James Blake and Stefan Koubek were wearing the exact shame shirt while playing each other on Saturday night. “It looks like they’re on the same team!” says Alleen. “That’s fucked.” … Michael Romero provided a good screen grab of USC’s Mario Danelo memorial decal. … Elena Elms notes that Jim Edmonds has added a “43” wristband (in addition to his own No. 15) for injured teammate Juan Encarnacion. … Now there‘s a nameplate. … Best. Haircut. Ever. (Thanks, Vince.) … New UConn hoops uniforms on the way. Details here. … While researching something else, I came across this photo of Ozzie Guillen wearing a photo of his former teammate Jerry Royster, who’d just been traded. … William F. Yurasko notes that Florida International uses two different kinds of “2”s on their jerseys: this kind on the front and back, and this kind on the sleeves. Odd. … Good point by Gale Reed, who writes: “With 99.9999% of NFL games being viewed on color TVs, why does one team still need to wear white jerseys? Okay, if, say, the Eagles were playing the Jets, the home team would get first dibs on wearing their color, but why can’t the Giants wear their blue jerseys against the 49ers in their red?” … Alan Kreit was recently up in Cooperstown, where he took lots of cool uniform photos. From there he went to the New York State Fair in Syracuse, where he documented uniforms of a different sort: “At the State Troopers exhibition, a trooper was kind enough to show me his personal collection, including a 1940s uniform. This included a purple tie, vintage pants, and the manufacturer’s label. These were all wool and probably were brutally hot during the summer.” You can see all of Alan’s photos here. … Jay Braiman has been obsessively research the history of the Jets’ logo. Among many other interesting finds, he’s come up with this awesome yearbook cover. … Jim Mellett notes that the drop shadows on Pitt’s new jersey are in the uncommon down and to the left configuration. … Nice to see that the halftime entertainment at last night’s Clemson/FSU game included a taffy pull. … Royce Clayton has changed his uni number to 11, to mark his 11th major league stop. … Interesting find by Chris Manes, who writes: “According to a Spirit Magazine pic I found a few months back, Phil White of the Giants was the first to wear No. zero in 1925.” Slight bit of additional info here. … That’s enough for today. I’ll save my comments on the new NFL logo for tomorrow.