By Phil Hecken … with Dave Ribar and Mike Engle
In yet another interesting bit of serendipity, last weekend’s “What Is Your Uni Secret?” column generated so much ‘buzz,’ I was approached, separately, by two readers, both of whom had remarkably similar ideas. Inspired by the ‘guilty pleasure’ of liking a uniform which generally meets with disdain and ridicule on these boards, both Dave Ribar and Mike Engle emailed me with their thought that a fun column might be basically the opposite of the guilty uniform secret — that being, a uniform which is generally lauded and loved by the UW readership, but which they secretly detest. I’ll let each explain, based on their E-mail contact with me. We’ll start with Dave Ribar who first approached me with the idea:
I enjoyed your Saturday topic of guilty pleasures. I thought it was a great weekend discussion topic — something simple and light that kept the comments section flowing.
That got me to thinking. Maybe you already have this planned, but it would be interesting to devote a future weekend post to the anti-guilty pleasure uniform. I don’t know what you would call it (Emperor Has No Uni?), but it’s the case where you dislike a uniform that nearly everyone else considers a classic. Maybe you hate the entire uniform, or maybe there is just one detail that drives you crazy and ruins the whole thing. To set some rules, the reason for disliking the uni should be uni-based (none of this “I hate the Yankees uniforms because I’m a Red Sox fan” ”“ that adds nothing to the conversation). Another rule would be that the uniform must be considered great by a clear majority.
Next was Mike Engle, who ‘spearheaded’ last weekend’s guilty pleasure column. His E-mail to me was as follows, slightly more concise, but the exact same sentiment:
How about a jersey we’re afraid to say anything bad about?
And with that, both of these fine gentlemen proceeded to launch into diatribes bemoaning one or more uniforms. Since Dave approached me first, we’ll get to his selections momentarily. But he wanted to give us this small taste of a biography: “As for me, I’ll keep things short. I enjoyed Paul’s early ESPN columns, and I started reading Uni Watch from the very beginning. I’m originally from Pittsburgh, and I like all of their teams. Because of this, I root against the Browns, Penn St.. and Notre Dame. I am looking forward to the NHL returning to white at home. I have no information on this, but it seems obvious and long overdue.”
Thanks Dave. And now on to Dave’s “Anti-Uni Secrets”:
Now, for the fun part. Here are my unis for the topic…
Cubs: I don’t hate the uniforms, but I’ve always thought of them as Little League, with the giant (and simple) chest logo. As for the road unis, they have tried many different things and come up empty each time.
Mets original: Not sure if this is a “classic”, but … I don’t think there is enough contrast between the blue and orange, and the Mets script is ok, but not great — maybe because it’s too short a name. And the interlocking NY is second rate to the Yankees. Lastly, this is another team that never got the road uni right.
Red Wings red: The white sweaters look really good, but the reds do nothing for me. The white stripes look too thick and the uniform is just too red and too plain, even with the great detailed chest logo … Also, sports with shoulder pads shouldn’t use arched names on back, even if it is the (overhyped on this site) vertically arched kind. Straight names on back look much much better in hockey and football.
Brewers ball in glove: Maybe not considered a classic, but definitely overrated. I like the colors, but from the neck down, these uniforms are horribly plain. And the cartoonish glove (4 fingers?!?) takes away from the double-meaning (although it is still a fun logo).
Wow, Dave. Thanks for that. I’m sure a LOT of folks aren’t going to agree with you, but you gave solid reasons for your dislike of these “classic” unis, and I for one can not only respect your opinions, but they definitely may cause others to look at them in a different light.
Next up is Mike Engle, who was on the same wavelength as Dave and who provided me with two unis he loves to hate. Here’s Mike:
The original Philly Flyers (recently reprised as an alternate): Now I’m not saying I prefer what they have now, but these orange uniforms just aren’t that good. The orange sleeve numbers creeping onto the orange body? Not good. The white nameplate? Glad to see it not fixed (it’s an essential throwback detail), but I still don’t like it. The socks? Not good at all. Now I know what the defenders will say: they’re just the Red Wings’ socks, in orange. Now here’s why the Flyers fail here. The Red Wings have two colors. Red and white. Not an ounce of anything else, except for sticks and skates, but I consider that players’ equipment, not the uniform. So while the Red Wings’ socks are REALLY simple (one thick band of color over the other color), it’s the best they can do, so it looks good. The Flyers have THREE colors. Orange, white, and black (really, black, not BFBS). Doubt me? Look at the number trim, the gloves, and the logo. That’s a lot of black. Been there since the Barry Ashbee era. Now look at the socks. Somebody forgot to put a team color on the Flyers’ socks. Either that, or the Flyers really did accept the Red Wings’ rejected laundry. So there you go. This is why I can’t join the “The Flyers look GREAT in their throwbacks!” chorus. Because they don’t. It’s their best uniform they can currently wear, but I just don’t like it.
If you want a second “secret gripe” from me, here’s one now — the white (and only the white) Buffalo Sabres, before they went black/red/silver batshit insane. Check out this picture. It’s a great uniform from a distance, but zone in on the stripe details. The bottom jersey hem goes yellow-blue-yellow, just like the socks. But the sleeves go blue-yellow-blue. There can’t be a good reason for this flip-flop. It’s just a STUPID design decision that drives me crazy every time I think about it, and proof that the Sabres REALLY should have gotten it all right the first time. Because no matter what happens to the socks, it looks all wrong for eternity, as seen about seventeen months ago.
Lets flash back to the 2008 Winter Classic. By this time, the Sabres had abandoned the black/red/silver batshit insanity in favor of the idiotic Buffaslug. I was almost looking forward to the break from that thing for a logo, but the special uniform was more of the same problem, but slightly worse. In what was supposed to be a straight throwback (the problem is that the socks aren’t double-triple striped like how they used to be), the Sabres found another way to fuck up their “timeless look.” You can see the new “wrong socks” have been flip-flopped to match the sleeves, leaving the bottom hem as the mismatched element. If I had to choose one or the other, I’d rather the sock stripes echo the bottom jersey hem, but I shouldn’t have to make that choice: all three components should match.
I love this crest, I think the colors are good, I adore the double-triple stripes of old, and the old all blue look is very good, but this really could have used a decent editor’s eye. Now it’s too iconic of a throwback, which means the stripes will never get fixed, and I’ll be stuck with this gripe forever, and I’ll never fully like the old-time Sabres in white.
Well thank you Michael. That’s a lot of “anti-love” for a couple of what many consider “classic” puck kits. I’m sure there are some who read who will take umbrage with your thoughts, but like Dave, they were well articulated and certainly thought-provoking.
What say you, Uni Watchers? Got a uniform that’s “so classic” or “so good” that you just can’t stand? Remember, you can’t hate the Yankees uni just because you’re a Red Sox fan (or vice versa), and the uniform must be thought of as a true ‘classic.’ You need a legitimate beef with what many of us consider a real solid uniform. Let’s hear it.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: You guys are obviously getting too good at this game. So, you shouldn’t have any problems guessing this one either. But then, maybe you will. Remember, if you get it, DON’T POST THE ANSWER in the comments, but instead, go to Baseball Almanac or Retrosheet and copy the URL of the game that’s about to follow. Just say something like “I GOT IT” and post the link as your “answer” in the comments. As a special “weekday edition” we’ve got TWO scoreboards today, so you must find the answer to BOTH. Final Score, Date & Location required. Ready?
Uni Watch Ticker: Reader Johnny Griswold writes, “I saw your post today (Saturday) about recoloring of new logos to their traditional colors and I wanted to point you to a design project that I’ve been working on for a month or two. It’s called Totally 80’s Redesign, where I take the five most deserving/modern NHL teams and redesign their uniforms as though they were around in the 1980’s.” You can view Johnny’s latest creation here — All of the other team redesigns can be seen by clicking the banners in my right sidebar of the site. Johnny continues, “Additionally, I’ll be creating a Totally Reebok concept, where I take defunct NHL teams, bring them back to life, and modernize them to the new Reebok Edge jerseys.” … Welcome back to the Black … Jeffery Waszak found what looks like an interesting drink — not quite the ‘official’ Mets’ script, but close … Hey Pirates! This is what a trophy looks like — and how brilliant were the schedule-makers to have the Buccos playing Detroit? … I believe these photos may have been posted in the comments on a previous day, but Steven Wojtowicz writes, “Here’s Carrie Underwood at the 19th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge. I can say without a doubt in my mind that this is the first time I’ve ever had any sexy feelings about women’s softball.” … I stumbled on this photo of France vs. Turkey playing hoops — for a second, I thought it was a WNBA game … It seems we haven’t seen the last of pink in sport, as Craig Costello points out in this article about players dye facial hair pink to support Women In League, and also this one, which remarks on the facial stylings of someone known as “Wolfman” … The Pirates and Tigers did the throwback thing yesterday in Pittsburgh, with each team donning 1909 vintage unis, and Pittsburgh again showed Detroit who’s boss, celebrating like they did 100 years ago … Pacific Rim and Asian Baseball Correspondent Jeremy Brahm checks in with this “Pillbox” video — go about 50 seconds in and you can see the Pacific League pitchers for the Nippon Ham Fighters and Kintetsu Buffaloes wearing them for the 1979 All-Star Game. And even his Central League teammates as well. About 3 minutes in and you’ll get another shot of some of the hats. … The Mets have finally called for backup … Zevi Lowenberg found a great article on MLB.com Sunday morning about one pitcher that now sprints to the mound when he called in. … Got a note from Josh Neisler who writes, “you’ll find a few photos of a jersey Honus Wagner wore as a hitting instructor for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The jersey belongs to the collection of the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory (where I work part-time as a tour guide) and was acquired at auction last November. Wagner is important to Louisville Slugger because he was the first player to sign an endorsement contract with the company (he first signed in 1905) and to have his name and likeness appear on Slugger retail models (see bat in photos). Wagner played for the Louisville Colonels until that team merged with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1900. The jersey is white with red letters outlined in blue, and also has red and blue piping around the neck and down the front, in keeping with the Pirates’ color scheme in the first half of the 20th Century. Here’s the text on the placard next to the jersey: Honus Wagner wore this 1946 Pittsburgh Pirates jersey. Wagner was a hitting instructor from 1932 through 1952, and was credited with aiding in the development of players such as Ralph Kiner, Pie Trayno, Arky Vaughan, and Kiki Cuyler. The tag says, ‘Gold Smith, Made in U.S.A., A Preferred Product.’ The size is 48 and Wagner’s last name is stitched just below the tag.” … West Coast correspondent Brinke Guthrie checks in with Chein Ming Wang’s baseball inspired kicks — says Brinke, “I kinda like these. I think.” … Dan Lamothe writes, “Even when I travel on business, I can’t get away from this stuff.” What stuff? Fake Yankees gear, of course. … Ditch the black? Why that’s a novel concept for the Jays and Mets. Thanks to Ben Walsh for the find … Fortunately Paul is on vacation and didn’t have to witness the purple-clad LA Lakers capture the NBA championship, after which they got to wear these nifty caps & t-shirts. Of course, coach Phil chose to don a gold and purple “X” cap (for his 10 NBA titles as a coach), while the Lakers t-shirt said “15x Champions”. Kobe got all the hardware, clad in his 3 stripe swag. And somewhere, soon, in Somalia, small children will proudly walk around thinking the Magic & Red Wings are the World Champs.