Broadcasters usually don’t discuss uni-related matters unless they’re bored in the middle of a lopsided game. But Len Kasper and Bob Brenly were apparently in a Uni Watch state of mind right off the bat yesterday, holding forth on a wide range of topics in the top of the 1st. Let’s listen in:
Kasper: That brings up Doug Mientkiewicz. Mientkiewicz with 12 letters in his surname. Back in 1999, when he was with the Twins, they had Doug Mientkiewicz Night — anyone with a 12-letter last name got in for a dollar. [Camera shows front view of Mientkiewicz.] Oh, look, looks like he, uh, has — oh, no he doesn’t. Is it buttoned at the top?
Brenly: I think he might have one extra button done up today.
Brenly: Makin’ a fashion statement today.
Kasper: Although he skipped one in the middle. I have no idea why we’ve been so fascinated with that, but you brought it up. And it’s been a little distracting, to be honest.
Brenly: Maybe get some Velcro on the front of that jersey.
Kasper: He obviously has problems with buttons. [Mientkiewicz flies out.] You never got the chance to wear vests. The Pirates wearing the vests, that’s kind of an old-school look.
Brenly: We had vests in Arizona that we would wear from time to time. But as a player, no, we were pretty traditional in San Francisco. I mean, other than the orange jerseys and orange sanitaries that we wore one year — that wasn’t quite traditional. But at least as far as the shirts themselves, we were traditional.
Kasper: It was traditional to 1981. Or so.
[By this time, two pitches have already been thrown to the next hitter, Nate McLouth. He eventually runs the count full and fouls off a pitch before walking, bringing Ryan Doumit to the plate. More than three minutes elapse during this span. Under normal circumstances, that would be all the uni-related chatter we’d hear — broadcasters almost never veer back into Uni Watch territory a second time. But as you’ll see, Kasper and Brenly were clearly loaded for uni-centric bear yesterday.]
Kasper: Doumit’s going with that unbuttoned look, too. I think the problem is that they need a button right in the middle of the letters. With the top two buttons it’s too buttoned up, and with the top two unbuttoned it’s too unbuttoned. See, they need one right in the middle of the “B.” Then I think everybody’d be happy. [Brenly cracks up.] That’s just me.
Brenly: Tim Gunn’ll be in later in the game to help analyze the various fashion statements.
Kasper: It — we’re getting to the point where it’s absurd, but you do wonder, at what point would Bob Watson make a phone call? Four buttons? That has been a big issue over the past few years, y’know, the pants too low, the shirts untucked”¦
Brenly: The fashion police. Yeah.
Kasper: Even the cleats that the players wear have to be at least 51% their team’s predominant color. You see some of the Cubs have have a little bit of white, a little bit of red, on their blue shoes, but they’d better be at least 51% blue.
And at that point the discussion turned to non-uniform matters.
A few thoughts:
• Brenly and Kasper are clearly unfamiliar with the “pro button style,” as the Pirates’ button spacing is known. They might find this column instructive.
• It’s interesting to hear Brenly — whose big league debut came in 1981 — referring to the Giants’ orange jerseys and sanitaries. According to Dressed to the Nines, the last season of the orange sanitaries was 1980. But you’d have to figure Brenly wouldn’t go out of his way to mention something like that unless he’d actually worn the orange hose. Sounds like another case of Okkonen/Nines not being quite accurate. And I don’t mean that in a “Gotcha!” kind of way — I’m simply mentioning it as another reminder that (a) we shouldn’t always take web-based databases (or books, or Uni Watch posts) as gospel, and (b) uniforms were rarely as standardized as database breakdowns make them seem.
Meanwhile, speaking of buttons, the Pedro porthole was on display once again on Friday night (plus it also appeared on Saturday, in the personage of Charlie Morton). Mark your calendars for September 22nd through 25th, when the Cubs visit Shea Stadium — if Pedro pitches in that series, Kasper may just go into buttonhole-induced apoplexy.
(Thanks to Andrew Joseph for alerting me to the Kasper/Brenly discussion, and to Robert Jones and Mike Chamernik for their screen grabs.)
Raffle Results: The winner of the Distant Replays raffle is Chris Scavo. Congrats to him, and my thanks to all who entered. I’ll be announcing another raffle tomorrow.
Uni Watch Road Trip Update: As some of you know, I’ll be in Oregon later this month and would like to convene a Uni Watch party in Portland. I’d originally planned to do this on Friday the 15th, but then I got an impassioned plea from Portland’s own Jeremy Brahm, informing me that he’d be out of town on the 15th but would be available on Sunday the 17th.
Now, I normally wouldn’t rejigger my schedule just to suit the whims of one reader. But anyone who’s read this site for any length of time knows that Jeremy is no ordinary Uni Watcher (and not just because he’s the only membership program enrollee with a kanji uniform number), so Sunday the 17th it shall be. Figure on 2pm, with the venue still to be determined. Further details forthcoming soon.
Uni Watch News Ticker: I didn’t watch the Hall of Fame Game, but several readers noted that the officials were wearing new pants with big-ass piping — ugh. An NFL contact confirms that these are the new pants for this season (big thanks to Phil Hecken for the screen grab). ”¦ Speaking of officiating attire, Collateral Gammage and I were at Coney Island on Saturday and stopped at the always-wonderful Ruby’s, where I noticed this Corona ad. … There’s a slideshow of Georgia Tech’s new football uniforms here. Amidst all the feedback I’ve heard (most of it negative), the best observation comes from Josh Nachtigal, who notes, “These uniforms are actually based on a template that Russell designed for the AFL” — not exactly the aesthetic heritage you want for your football program. As noted in yesterday’s comments, the design would look a lot better without that horizontal chest stripe. ”¦ The Hockey News has ranked all 30 NHL logos. ”¦ Big congrats to Uni Watch intern emeritus Vince Grzegorek, who’s going to be contributing to the new Sporting News blog, First Cuts, on a daily basis. ”¦ No FNOB action in Pittsburgh after all, as the Pirates decided from the start not to add initials or first names for the LaRoche brothers. ”¦ Charles Carter of the Ft. Worth Cats is a Uni Watch kind of guy (with thanks to Jeff Meyers. ”¦ Speaking of stirrups, check out this shot of Bert Blyleven. ”¦ Jared Wheeler sent along this amazing photo of Casey Stengel. That undershirt! That button fly! ”¦ Also from Jared: This 1930s shot of Philadelphia A’s catcher Frankie Hayes wearing an AJ Reach (Philly-based) mask -”“ “funny, since the team was once part-owned by Reach’s competitor, Ben Shibe,” notes Jared. ”¦ The Edmonton Eskimos saluted fallen teammate Jason Tucker the other day by wearing his uni number on their undershirts. ”¦ Green dot update: This 49ers blog page indicates that “the ‘dot’ that signifies who has the [radio] receiver [on the defensive side of the ball] will be red. The green ‘dot’ belongs to the offense.” Not clear if the writer meant that all teams will be using a red dot for the defensive radio helmet or just the Niners, so I asked Giants equipment director Joe Skiba. He quoted me the applicable rule: “Rule #6–All [radio-equipped] players must wear a green decal on the rear midline of their helmets to designate and identify them as having a radio helmet.” Not sure if the Niners plan to deviate from this or if the SF writer was mistaken — will investigate. ”¦ The Twins marked the one-year anniversary of the I-35W bridge collapse with a sleeve patch on Friday. ”¦ Here’s something you don’t often see: Rogie Vachon as a Canadien. That shot is part of Steve Dewing’s new hockey collection. And of course his baseball pics are as addictive as ever. ”¦ Speaking of great old baseball photos, Larry Wiederecht has turned up a killer collection. ” They’re all worth viewing,” he says, “but be sure to check out Catfish in black shoes (and not in spring training). Are these “workout shoes” or did they ‘go black’ every once in a while? And dig the lacing!” ”¦ Bo Baize sent along some scans from The Official Rules of Baseball Illustrated. The title’s a bit of a misnomer — it’s more annotated than illustrated, with an explanation of how each provision of the rulebook came about and historical examples of each section being enforced. The section on uniforms is worth reading. It begins here and continues here, here, here, and here. ”¦ Completely fascinating interactive media page here regarding the design history of the Olympic torch — high recommended. ”¦ Speaking of the Olympics, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington currently has an exhibit devoted to the Berlin Olympics of 1936. Michael Jaworski pointed me toward this excellent online version of the installation. ”¦ New football uniforms for Duke. Additional pics here (with thanks to Mark Williams). ”¦ Matt Lesser notes that the U. of Cincinnati is still using Nike practice jerseys, despite having signed a deal with Adidas. ”¦ Ken Clark says the Majestic outlet store in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, is a good source of uni bloopers. “I’ve seen home logos on road jerseys, wrong team sleeve patches, etc.,” he says. “I’ve come across four or five of those problems in six or seven trips out there.” ”¦ Great socks on display in the Japanese National High School tourney (with thanks to, of course, Jeremy Brahm). ”¦ Interesting question from Matt King: “How come the Angels never have to change dugout jackets? Majestic brings out new jackets every three years or so, but the Angels haven’t changed their two-models-old design (red striped-collared premier jacket that teams slapped American flags on after 9/11 and short-sleeve red gamer jacket with logo on right chest) in many years. Can you shed any light on this?” Anyone know more? ”¦ Robert Saietta has come up with an awesome eBay find: a game-worn Philadelphia Freedoms uni (that’s World Team Tennis from the ’70s, gang). ”¦ Robby Cano went high-cuffed yesterday — a new look for him. ”¦ Excellent article plus embedded video here about the Nebraska equipment staff. ”¦ Braves first base coach Glenn Hubbard has been risking a fine by wearing an American flag decal on his coaching helmet, plus it looks like he may have something written on the helmet as well (screen grab courtesy of Matt Hiett). ”¦ Matthew Kurs-Lasky notes that Willie Harris’s NOB has a first initial, even though there’s no other Harris on the Nats roster. I assume there must have been another Harris earlier this season, yes? ”¦ You don’t normally see NFL players wearing game socks during training camp, but look and Larry Johnson (with thanks to Greg Riffenburgh). ”¦ Anyone who thinks I’m the only one with logo creep issues should scroll down to the “My Two Cents” item at the very bottom of this page (with thanks to Orlando Rodriquez). ”¦ This really needs to stop. ”¦ Good observation from Lou Sherwood, who writes: “You’re always commenting on how artists still portray ballplayers with stirrups, even though just a few brave souls still wear them, but what about umpires? How many times do you see umpires being shown using the old outside mattress chest protector? I mean, the NL umps started using the inside protector a hundred years ago! It’s been almost 30 years since any MLB ump used the mattress, yet look at Sunday’s Beetle Bailey comic. I bet you can find a thousand such examples.” ”¦ Still more about the Celtics’ championship banners, courtesy of a reader who prefers to remain anonymous: “I have a friend whose brother works in the Celtics’ front office. He says the NBA has asked the Celtics to have the new banner (and ring) read, ‘2008 NBA Champions’ instead of ‘2008 World Champions.’ Wyc kindly told the NBA something to the effect of ‘I already have 16 banners that say “World Champions.” Enforce your rule with a team that doesn’t have a legacy.'” … According to this article, at least one university professor is concerned that Speedo’s LZR swimsuit is designed to be worn so snugly that it may pose a risk of circulatory disorders (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Scott Mason sent along some pics from This book, two of which really stand out. First check out the astonishingly muddy conditions here (“football as it was meant to be played…in the mud left behind by a baseball field,” says Scott). And dig the gorgeous Yankee Stadium backdrop here. … Matt Powers spent the weekend in Cape Cod, where he caught some of the Pan-Mass Challenge. He spotted this rider wearing a jersey from the 2003 PMC, which was loosely patterned after a Red Sox jersey. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Duke was doing the monochrome thing way back in 1962.