OK, things have now officially gotten so weird that the question needs to be asked: Is there someone at Majestic who’s pissed off because his wife had an affair with a Nationals player? Or with a Nationals executive? Or maybe just with a random person in DC?
That’s about the only plausible explanation after the latest (but almost certainly not final!) episode of “Spot the Nats Uni Faux Pasâ„¢!” While you were driving home from your annual Mothers Day fiasco and wondering if it might be possible to rent yourself a new family between now and Fathers Day (forget it, you had put down your deposit months ago), Nats reliever Ron Villone was taking the hill in the bottom of the 6th with both of his front uni numerals flapping in the breeze. The 4 achieved an impressive angle of declination, and the 1 created a nice profile effect. Look, you can even see the torn stitches!
The last time I recall something like this happening on an MLB diamond was on 4/10/05, when Miguel Tejada’s “1” came loose (he ended up removing it completely and played the rest of the game as No. 0). But Tejada’s situation was understandable, because he had just come out of a head-first slide. Villone, on the other hand, had just come out of, uh, the visitors’ bullpen in Arizona.
In case you’ve lost track, Villone is at least the fifth Washington player this season to wear a jersey that was less than shipshape. The others — or at least the others we know of — are Mike Hinckley (upside-down 8), Wil Ledezma (upside-down N), Ryan Zimmerman (misspelled team name), and Adam Dunn (misspelled team name). And this has all happened in the course of just 29 games. At this pace, there’s enough time left in the season for every player on Washington’s 25-man roster to have his own uni glitch — plus a couple of September call-ups!
It can’t just be a coincidence that all these mishaps are befalling the same team, right? All you Majestic folks out there, I know you’re reading this. Anyone care to take the Deep Throat role on this one? C’mon, somebody spill already — I promise to safeguard your anonymity (unless your name is Dick Hertz or something like that, since everyone’ll think that’s a pseudonym anyway).
As for Villone, he needed only three pitches to put out the fire in the 6th inning, and another Washington pitcher took over in the 7th, so we’ll never know whether Villone would have gone back out there with his dangling numerals. And it turns out that the problem had begun to manifest itself the night before, when his 1 was beginning to come loose.
In any case, let’s give Villone credit for some preternatural self-control. How did he resist the urge to rip the numbers off his jersey right there on the mound? I don’t know about you, but my policy when confronted with anything that’s loose and already partially detached — a thread, a button, a clothing tag, a bit of peeling paint, a tuft of cat fur, a Band-Aid, a hangnail, a cuticle, a tooth, a scab, a limb — is that it must be torn free as swiftly and cleanly as possible, am I right? Yet Villone somehow resisted this compulsion. Either he didn’t realize the numbers were coming loose or else he’s a cyborg.
Meanwhile, here’s another question worth asking: Maybe the Nats’ equipment manager should wake up already? Just a thought.
(Special thanks to readers Jeff Christ and Ryan Tominac, who brought this one to my attention within seconds of each other.)
Extracurricular Update: Just about every free moment I have this week (and probably some not-so-free moments as well) will be devoted to finalizing and installing the Candela Structures exhibit, which opens this Saturday at the City Reliquary. Kirsten and I have been working on this for eight months, and now we’re in “all Candela, all the time” mode (read: a frantic blur). The good news is that I’m pretty happy with how the show has come together; the bad news is that things are going to be so crazy that I’ll probably have to call at least one snow day for the site this week. Apologies in advance for the withdrawal symptoms.
The exhibit has already gotten some coverage on Gothamist, and we expect more media attention this week, including an article in Friday’s New York Times.
For those who are planning to attend the opening reception/party on Saturday evening: Festivities commence at 7pm, but the Reliquary will be open all day. So, if you actually care about seeing the exhibit (as opposed to drinking, mingling, showing off your “I’m Calling It Shea” shirt, etc.), I suggest that you arrive by 6pm, because the exhibit room will be so crowded during the party that you probably won’t be able to take in all the material. There’s really good barbecue half a block away at Fette Sau, so come by in the late afternoon to check out the exhibit, then grab some ’cue, and then come back to the Reliquary for the party (and maybe bring me a present from Fette Sau, hint-hint).
For those who can’t make it on Saturday, the show will be on view at the Reliquary for weekends at least through the end of June. We’ll also be making most of the exhibit’s content available on our Candela web site, so you out-of-towners (and lazy NYCers) will have a chance to see what all the fuss is about.
Meanwhile”¦: As some of you may be aware, the site’s third birthday is this Sunday. In the past, I’ve always had some sort of announcement to commemorate this date — the advent of the membership program, the unveiling of a new T-shirt design, etc. — but I’ve been so busy with the Candela project and a family crisis that I haven’t been able to plan anything for the site’s anniversary this year. Sorry about that. But I’m definitely proud of what we’ve all accomplished over the past three years, and I hope to be able to mark the occasion when my life’s a bit less hectic.
Speaking of which, there’s another important milestone fast approaching: The 10th anniversary of the very first Uni Watch column is on May 26th. If things work out, Johnny Ek and I may have a special announcement regarding the site that day. Or it might not be ready by then. For now, let’s just say we’ve got something cooking.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Whoa, look at this: My “Outmania” line has been co-opted! The screen grab comes courtesy of John Grow, who spotted it during Friday’s A’s/Jays pregame show (Outman pitched that night’s game). “They didn’t talk about his stirrups, just his pitching,” says John. “No one on the pregame show even said ‘Outmania’ or anything like that. It was just on that ‘Coming up next’ teaser.” ”¦ Meanwhile, Outman’s hose have gotten some attention in the local paper. ”¦ I’m pretty sure I won something really special here. Details to follow once I receive the item. ”¦ Check out Brian McCann’s new look. Details here. ”¦ Big thanks to Greg Riffenburgh for pointing out that Cleveland pitcher Jeremy Sowers deserves a spot on Uni Watch’s all-hosiery team. How come nobody brought him to my attention until now? ”¦ Soccer note from Ryan McDevitt, who writes: “World-class head case Adriano, having retired for 12 days (just long enough to persuade his club, Inter Milan, to tear up his contract), was just (inevitably) unveiled as a Flamengo player, his hometown club in Rio. In addition to the iconic red and black stripes of the Flamengo jersey, check out the personalized logos on the wall behind him: ‘Imperador do Rio: Adriano’ = ‘Adriano, Emperor of Rio,’ and ‘Voltei para vencer’ = ‘returns to conquer.’ Has there ever been a more narcissistic personal logo for a player? Also, note the tattoo of his own given name on his forearm. Winner.” ”¦ Vince has an interesting question about the Jake: “The left foul pole is now sponsored by Walgreens, with the letters running vertically about half the way up. But the W and the A stick out a little bit into foul territory — no more than a couple of inches, but still. What happens if a homer hits that part of the letter? Fair or foul?” ”¦ All-time classic contribution from Roger Faso, who writes: “The other day I was at a restaurant that had an aquarium. The shrimp in the aquarium looked like little 49ers pants. They were even color-correct. I pointed it out to my wife and her response was along the lines of, ‘That’s just super, Roger. We’re being seated right now. Would you like to join the adults for lunch?’ Later on, as I was gazing into the distance, my wife said, ‘You’re still thinking about those shrimp, aren’t you?’ It was a quintessential uni-watching moment.” ”¦ This guy apparently designed the Broncos’ current logo, along with tons of other stuff (with thanks to Justin Brownlee). ”¦ Follow-up on the topic of the Orioles’ solid-orange uniforms from the early 1970s: We had previously established that they’d been worn on 9/16/71 and 4/17/72, and now Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber reports that the 5/15/72 edition of The Chicago Tribune included the following passage, referring to the Chisox/O’s game of the previous day: “By the time [White Sox pitcher Tom] Bradley was thru taming them, the Orioles were wearing red faces to go with their fetching new burnt-orange uniforms. ‘With that getup, they should be managed by Bob Lemon,’ somebody noted while shielding his eyes from the glage of the visitors’ loud threads. ‘I wonder how they made out in the Grapefruit League?'” ”¦ Lance Smith notes that the Life archives now feature a bunch of shots from the 1953 Tour de France. ”¦ Speaking of the Life archives, Friday’s comments featured some AMAZING shots of the West Virginia football team wearing some pants that look rather clownish from the back and really unfortunate from the front. ”¦ Jim Moran has designed a cool Mark Price tee. ”¦ “This is Norfolk (Va.) Academy lacrosse defenseman Bradley Johnson honoring his late grandfather during Friday’s Tidewater Conference tournament final,” says Tris Wykes. ”¦ New wordmark for the Penguins. ”¦ You call that an arch?! ”¦ Hey, who needs Mannywood anyway? (With thanks to Kevin Mann.) ”¦ “Those aren’t Seals uniforms,” says Roger Faso. “And that ain’t 1956.” Hmmmmm. ”¦ Cool sox, cooler tat. ”¦ Hey look, Cornell football players wear their jerseys while conducting their annual fund-raising
cop ambush car wash (with thanks to Tris Wykes). ”¦ “This is Kyle Peter, an outfielder for the Lakeland Flying Tigers, the Tigers’ single-A affiliate,” writes Wayne Koehler. “As you can clearly see, he’s wearing Rick Porcello’s jersey from last season. Porcello is now with the big club.” ”¦ Evan Stewart notes that the Brown lacrosse helmets have TV numbers on one side and the Brown logo on the other. “I can’t think of any other college team that has two different logos on their helmets,” he writes. “I also couldn’t think of any other college that uses their crest on their athletic uniforms.” That last bit sounds a bit counterintuitive — is that really true? ”¦ Joe Nathan apparently uses this glove to shag flies (with thanks to Chris Flinn). ”¦ Nick Cristiano notes that Jeff Feagles, who started with the Giants wearing No. 10 before switching to 17 and then 18, is back to 17. “Rookie Hakeem Nicks now has 18, and of course 17 became available again when Plaxico was cut,” he says. I’m checking to see if Feagles exacted a price from Nicks, as he did from Eli and Plaxico for their numbers. ”¦ Mark Jacobson reports that Brandon Prideaux of the Chicago Fire had his American flag sleeve patch upside-down on Saturday. ”¦ Charlie Shields was attending the Arkansas high school baseball tourney on Saturday and noticed that Valley View High has put an interesting spin on the Brewers’ old ball/glove logo. ”¦ Nick Whitford says the Broncos used two similar but distinct helmet logos prior to the Nike redesign — one from 1968-92, and one from 1993-96. Details in this discussion board thread. ”¦ Karl Vierthaler points out that one of the Brewers’ ballboys is wearing a jersey with the team’s 2002 All-Star Game patch. It’s not clear whether the ballboy has been there that long or if the team is really into recycling. ”¦ Some info on Mother’s Day footwear here. As for all the rest of the pink sweatbands, bats, ribbons, etc., there was too much of it to keep track of, so I won’t even try. ”¦ Roy McMillan was 35 when this photo was taken. Did he already look like an old man or what? ”¦ “I work at the Red Sox team store across from Fenway,” writes Michael Caldwell. “Yesterday I was going through old clearance items in a back room of the store’s warehouse and came across this little gem. It was the only one I could find, so who knows how many were made! I wonder if it was meant to be worn as a sleeve patch the following season?” ”¦ Bryan Justman‘s latest DIY project: a Hartford Whalers jersey. ”¦ Have I mentioned that I love Milwaukee? ”¦ Interesting place for a condom ad (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” says Jason Bernard). ”¦ “My son had a tournament over the weekend,” writes Patrick Chippeax. “While we were ‘scouting’ other teams we came across this. No other picture, and the only info I have is that they were called the Hustlers. Draw your own conclusions.” … I realize purple is a Washington Huskies team color, but is it really necessary for them to have a purple warning track? (As forwarded by Steve Mandich.) ”¦ Hey, this poster is pretty cool! Who knew they played football in Poland? “The league started in ’06 with four teams,” explains Stan Olechowski. “In ’09 they’ll have 22 teams in two divisions. The level of play is pretty bad, but it’s cool to see my fellow Polacks playing football.” … Good to see that Steve Dewing’s amazing baseball photo site, which had been largely dormant for about six weeks, is once again posting new photos daily.