Yesterday afternoon I was kinda half-working, half-watching the Mets/Cards spring training game on my computer. At one point a Mets hitter checked his swing and the catcher asked the plate ump to get help from the third base ump regarding the swing. The third base ump gave the safe sign to indicate no swing, and that’s when I saw it.
Ugh. Had they really added white side piping to the umps’ polo shirts? I checked some recent spring training photos and quickly learned that this has been going on for a few weeks but I hadn’t noticed until now. Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that they’ve also made some adjustments to the trim on the sleeve cuffs and collars.
But it’s the side piping that really rankles. Seriously, what is this obsession with adding side panels to officials? It always looks like shite. And in this case, the combination of the side stripes and the oddly incomplete sleeve cuff stripes makes it look like the ump is covered in loose white threads (or maybe wearing tzitzis). I mean really, who thought those incomplete cuff stripes were a good idea? What a joke.
This same template also appears to have been applied to the umps’ blue shirt. I haven’t had time to check all the other umpiring gear, but I know lots of people at Majestic are reading this, so maybe one of them will be kind enough to fill us in, hmmm?
Duluth Update: Later on today I’ll be flying to Duluth, where I’ll be getting personal curling lessons tomorrow from a newly crowned national champion. That’s Tyler George on the left in that photo — he’ll be my tutor on Wednesday. Congrats on winning the title, Tyler!
As for a Uni Watch meet-up during the House of Hearts Bonspiel, which I’ll be participating in later in the week, the few of you who’ve expressed a preference have indicated that the Friday session would be best. We’ll be curling from 3pm-9pm that day, so come on down to the Duluth Curling Club, and be sure to wear a jersey so you and the other Uni Watchers can find each other. Of course, anyone who wants to come for the Saturday session (11am-8pm) is welcome too. I’ll do my best to circulate and say hi.
March Madness Contest: As many of you know, I don’t actually give a fig about college basketball, but I know many of you do. And so does Uni Watch intern emeritus Vince Grzegorek, who’s here with his annual NCAA Tourney contest. Here he is with the lowdown on this year’s edition:
Paul says he has a closet full of swag to share, which means its time for the yearly Uni Watch Bracket Challenge. We’ll go with the most basic scoring system: Simply pick the winners of each game. Each round has a progressively higher point value. You know how it works.
To play, head over to this Yahoo page and enter the following information: Group ID# “103049” and password “stirrups.”
We found out last year that Yahoo caps the number of participants per group. So if the first one fills up, like it last year’s did, use Group ID# 145124 (with the same password, “stirrups”).
And speaking of winning, what exactly can these kids win this year, Paul?
Thanks, Vince. There will be 10 winners this year, who can choose from any of the following:
• A free Uni Watch membership.
• A Bruins Winter Classic tee, tagged as size XL (although it measures 21″ pit-to-pit, which means it’s really more like a Large or even a very generous Medium).
• A selection of eight brand-new MLB batting practice caps (Yankees home, Mets, Tigers road, Dodgers, Braves, Cubs, Rays home, A’s), all sized small/medium.
First-place winner gets his or her choice of prize, second-place winner gets to choose from the nine remaining prizes, etc.
Now that Scott’s fully settled in Seattle, the new membership designs are coming fast and furious (including Travis Pinter’s Croation soccer treatment, shown at right), and I’ve been mailing out plenty of finished cards too, so enrollees should watch their mailboxes. As always, you can see lots of new designs in the card gallery, and you can make the membership scene yourself here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Sad news out of Reds camp, where the team has announced that minor leaguers will no longer be required to go high-cuffed. But maybe it’s not so sad after all. Consider: If a player is required to cuff high in the minors, he’s apt to think of the exposed-stocking look as one of those annoying training-wheels things that only minor leaguers have to do, same as double-flapped helmets. Then, when they make the bigs, their teammates say, “You’re in the majors now, wear your pants down like a big-leaguer,” and then we end up with Pajama Pants Nation. So I think it’s possible that these teams that require their minor leaguers to go high-cuffed actually end up hurting the cause. Your thoughts on this? Discuss (with thanks to Chad Dotson). ”¦ Speaking of minors, the second graf here has some thoughts on the Braves’ minor leaguers wearing the S100s. ”¦ Mike Menner attended a Twins spring training game and spotted a doozy of an NOB. ”¦ The folks at Gridiron Memories have come out with a killer new helmet reproduction: 1983 Indiana. ”¦ Pablo Sandoval needs to learn how to tuck (as noted by Huward Paul Fontenot, Jr.). ”¦ New logo for the World Judo Championships (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). ”¦ Brad Penny was wearing the Cardinals’ bogus two-in-one faux stirrups at the beginning of spring training, but now he’s switched to the real deal (as noted by Tyler Hull). ”¦ Several uni number changes on tap for the Jazz (with thanks to Jon Alviani). ”¦ Ever wonder who designed those sublimated art patterns that have been appearing on the back of several NCCA hoops jerseys? Apparently it’s this guy. Additional info here (with thanks to Steve Shanabruch). ”¦ Hands off of this, everyone (especially you, Chance Michaels), it’s mine! Actually, one of these dickeys — or maybe the exact same one, who knows — showed up on eBay a few winters ago and ended up going for some ridiculous price that I couldn’t afford, which is probably what’ll happen this time too. Here’s how one of them looked on Donny Anderson immediately after the Ice Bowl. ”¦ Ben Fortney sent me this proposed Arizona Cards logo design. Man, is that ingeniously simple or what? ”¦ “These photos are from the final home hockey game in the John S. Glas Fieldhouse at Bemidji State University,” writes Jere Kubuske. “The Beavers hockey team, who you may remember from the NCAA Frozen Four last year, is moving to new digs across town. They wore these special jerseys just for this last home series. They’re supposed to be modern replicas of the teams original jerseys when they started playing hockey here 50+ years ago. They have large, football-style numbers on the front, special commemorative patches, and ANOB.” That’s arena name on back, natch. ”¦ New uniforms for the Tulsa Drillers (with thanks to Ryan Atkinson). ”¦ Here’s a great find: a 1979 newspaper item about the Phillies scrapping their solid-burgundy uniforms (awesome work by Morris Levin). ”¦ Latest baseball team slated to be wearing green tomorrow: LSU (with thanks to Chris Mycoskie). ”¦ Meanwhile, here’s a slideshow of the throwbacks that the Devils will be wearing tomorrow (with thanks to Kenny Jacobson). ”¦ Whoa, who knew Mizzou hoops had such cool practice jerseys? (Ben Traxel, that’s who.) ”¦ Also from Ben: Fifth graf of this article indicates that the Farmington Browns of the KIT League (a summer college league) will be “outfitted in complete vintage 1934 St. Louis Browns uniforms.” ”¦ Word through the grapevine is that all Giants minor league affiliates will be required to go high-cuffed this year, exposing the excellent orange-striped hose. ”¦ Here’s a shocker: the Great One in a CCM helmet, instead of his usual Jofa. That shot was taken from this video clip of the 1996 NHL All-Star Game (good find by Gabriel Manga). ”¦ Best Election Day wishes to my old college pal Jeff Katz, who should be the newly elected Mayor of Cooperstown by this time tomorrow.
As for the rest of this week: I’ll handle tomorrow’s content, as usual, and then Phil will make a rare weekday appearance on Thursday (but you’ll be too hung over to notice, right?). I’ll have an ESPN column on Friday, so we’ll have limited content here on the site that day, but I think there’s a decent chance that we’ll have a photo of yours truly curling. Let’s hope I can come up with at least one shot where I’m not making a complete fool of myself.