I don’t know how many Atlanta Braves fans have ever heard of Uni Watch. But the Atlanta audience got a condensed version of Uni Watch 101 on Monday, courtesy of Braves announcers Jon Scambi and Joe Simpson, who engaged in a bit of uni-related chatter during the bottom of the 9th. They began by discussing the Diamondbacks’ color scheme:
Jon Scambi: Remember when they were a purple-based team? Used to wear those Sunday purple tops, and it was like they were on an Easter egg hunt, or honoring Barney.
Joe Simpson: Yeah, they went with that turquoise-looking thing. With the squashbuckle-lookiing, uh, outfits. [I played this back several times, and yes, he definitely said, “squashbuckle.” — PL] Somehow Matt Williams, Jay Bell, that just didn’t fit with their days of wearing a lot of black with the Giants and Pirates.
Scambi: But it is — as much as lavender doesn’t strike the fear of god into your opponent, changing your color scheme for a franchise is not something you see very often.
Simpson: No, it’s not. But I’m so opposed to all these teams that never before had black in their color schemes suddenly wearing black jerseys and hats. The Mets, especially. That black and blue thing they wear, that’s like a big bruise.
Scambi: No, I’m with you, and you see it in college sports as well.
Simpson: Kansas City Royals broke out some black stuff. They’re not black! And two teams in the American League West — Texas and Anaheim — those two teams never could figure out what color they were.
Sciambi: Your Oklahoma Sooners have rocked some black baseball jerseys recently, haven’t they?
Simpson: Last year, for the Big 12 Tournament. That did not go over well.
Sciambi: I don’t know if you’re aware, but Oklahoma State, one of their main colors is black.
Simpson: Yeah. Yeah, we kinda knew that. I think the only people who really appreciated those black jerseys at Oklahoma were the people who were getting checks from Nike to wear them.
Sciambi: Yours was lost in the mail?
Simpson: Oh, brother.
Sciambi: You know, we’ve been asking whether the Braves could wear the blue [alternate road jerseys] at home. I’ve been asking, and they said, “Ahh, we’re not sure.” But the one thing that I fogot is, the blue jersey says, “Atlanta.”
Sciambi seemed to be implying that the blue alts wouldn’t be appropriate at home, because the insignia reads “Atlanta” instead of “Braves,” but we’ll never know for sure, because at that point the game’s events took precedence.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Mets’ announcers had a spirited equipment-related discussion last night. It began with this question:
Keith Hernandez: My advantage was growing up in San Francisco. If you ever took BP in those cold, damp afternoons, you had to really make sure you made good contact. And I think that helped me. I never liked gloves because there was always some movement. [Camera shows a 1980s shot of a bare-handed Hernandez.] Look at that — beautiful stance. [Other broadcasters cackle in mock disbelief.] Anyway, the gloves always move”¦
Ron Darling: Yeah.
Hernandez: ”¦ a little bit. And I liked to have — when I grabbed that bat, I wanted that bat — I used pine tar and resin — I wanted that bat in my hand and it didn’t make any — I had control of it. I didn’t want any movement. That’s why I never liked golfing, with the gloves? Hate it. I hate it.
Gary Cohen [restoring some semblance of direct communication]: Why do you think it is now that virtually everyone uses gloves? I mean, there are a few exceptions, Moises Alou being one of them.
Darling: Well, part of it is that they get paid to wear ’em. That’s part of it.
Hernandez: Big contract.
Darling: There’s very few, I mean, uh — Moises Alou doesn’t use batting gloves.
Cohen: Vladimir Guerrero. But there are not many.
Darling: Plus, Gary, I think for this generation of player, I think it’s, y’know, part of the styling, y’know, it’s part of, y’know, looking good.
Hernandez: I think it’s style. Because you’re using aluminum bats when you’re young, so you, you don’t get jammed and get the bees like wood. So why do you need gloves?
Cohen: I don’t know, I’m asking you the question.
Hernandez: I just think it’s style. Style points.
Cohen: I mean, guys use golf gloves to avoid blisters, right?
Darling: Yeah, the blisters are bad. But you do want to, in spring training, whether you use gloves or not, you want to build up those callouses, don’t you Keith, to make those hands tough?
Hernandez: Yeah. I never hit in the off-season, so I’d come in completely, five months without swinging a bat. And no timing. Soft hands. And I’d lose all my callouses. And I’d know coming into spring training that I was going to get blisters. And it’d be a pain in the neck — within the first week of spring training, with BP, I would be putting — I’d have five, six blisters. And, y’know, you have to sit there, you have to put the Tuff Skin on, and, uh — I don’t know if they still have Tuff Skin. [They do. — PL] Band-Aid, and then the adhesive tape over it. Then your hands toughen up and you’re good to go.
Darling: I also remember watching you after games, didn’t you used to take alcohol and rub some of the pine tar off your hands?
Hernandez: Off my hands, and I’d clean my bat. Because you weren’t allowed to have pine tar above the label.
Darling: George Brett knew that.
Cohen: He found that out. [The three men share a self-congratulatory chuckle, impressed by their own knowledge of this highly obscure chapter in MLB history.]
Hernandez: Gregg Jefferies did that. After every game, Gregg Jefferies, he lockered next to me when he came up, and he would clean his bat after every game. I wouldn’t do it till the next day.
And with that we bid a fond adieu to the broadcast both, at least for now.
(Thanks to Josh Williams for alerting me to the Braves sequence.)
Uni Watch News Ticker: Great socks being worn by the Meiji University baseball team (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). ”¦ Also from Jeremy: The NPB All-Star Game logo and uniforms have been unveiled. ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: You probably knew the MLB honchos were a bunch of Scrooges, but this really seals it. ”¦ Also from yesterday: full-body view of Varitek’s Memorial Day camouflage gear (which is now up for auction). ”¦ Chris Markham was at the Colorado Sports Museum at Invesco Field over the weekend and took a snapshot of this AFL ref jersey. ”¦ The CFL is changing the look of its officials from this to this. “It’s a very interesting design,” says a reader who prefers to remain anonymous. “First, the use of the two-inch stripe pattern, previously only used by the NFL, AFL, and semi-pro leagues. The CFL has historically used one-inch stripes like everyone else. Second, the black sleeves, which makes them look like they’ve wearing one of Ed Hochuli’s tank tops over a black undershirt. The black pocket on the shirt is in the style of the current NFL bendy-stripes design, and they’ve also added black trim down the legs of the knickers and on the back pocket flap. They’re planning to retain its idiosyncratic hat stylings, with the referee wearing a black hat and the others wearing white (but in the unusual “reversed-black-hat” design unique to Canada). Finally, it’s possible that they may be abandoning stirrup socks (as of last season, they were the only major group of football officials still using them; almost everyone else went one-piece some time ago).” ”¦ Awesome sock stylings being exhibited by New Mexico Junior College (with thanks to Rob Montoya). ”¦ “I stumbled upon this while bored at work and immediately thought of you,” writes Tim Ring. “It’s a baseball-like game called pesÃ¤pallo, which is apparently quite popular in Finland. The uniforms are, well, see for yourself.” ”¦ Tyler Kepner reports that Bobby Abreu was wearing Mariano Rivera’s spikes during BP last night (“or at least he had a big 42 on the flap over the shoelaces,” he adds). ”¦ Last year I wrote about some of the cool Colt .45s-related content on the Astros Daily blog. But now James Poisso has pointed me toward this page, which is the mother freakin’ lode of Colt .45s material. I don’t know who the webmaster is, but he’s got everything you could want and more: cards, patches, a mosaic, player photos, team portraits, coins, fight songs (a 45 of the .45s!), ticket stubs, parking passes, a recruiting poster, programs, seating charts, media guides, press passes, business cards, letterhead, and more — a lot more. Have fun wasting your whole day on this one. ”¦ Good account here of Paulie Malignaggi’s recent ponytail follies. ”¦ Jeremy Brahm has found an excellent Australian rules football uniform site, where he’s already uncovered an interesting tidbit: “Remember when the Reds changed their name to the Redlegs during the McCarthy years? Well, St. Kilda Football Club in Australia’s Football League wore black, red, and white stripes before World War I, but those colors matched Germany’s, so the team changed its white to yellow. It was not until 1923 that the team restored white to its color scheme.” ”¦ Spring training game last night in Cleveland. ”¦ “The New Hampshire Fishercats (ugh, they should be the Primaries!) are wearing special uniforms on June 5th, honoring a Manchester policeman, Michael Briggs, who was shot in the line of duty in 2006,” reports Jeff Richards. “The #83 on the sleeve was his badge number.” ”¦ Reprinted from last night’s comments: The Mets wore blue caps and sleeves last night, which means they also should have been wearing blue socks. But Luis Castillo had black socks, at least during pregame stretching. He pulled his pants down to his shoetops once the game started, so it’s kinda moot, but still. ”¦ Here’s a new one: Jimmy Gobble was wearing his undershirt backwards on the mound last night (thanks to Dan Merker for the tip). ”¦ I’ve frequently run photos of early football players wearing nose protectors. Until now, however, I’d never seen a helmet with a nose protector built in. That image comes from this catalog up for sale on eBay. ”¦ Lots of other uniform catalogs currently on eBay — look here, here, and here. ”¦ And some interesting patches here and here. ”¦ Mike Klug had a very good seat last Thursday at Yankee Stadium and got photo of A-Rod that appears to show a big wad of gum on his thigh. ”¦ People who say the Mets kept Willie mainly because there were no good replacements available clearly haven’t seen this photo.