We’ll have a double-dose of spring training coverage today. Over on Page 2, I have an ESPN column on uni-notable developments around MLB training camps. Meanwhile, here on the blog, I want to spend some time going over some observations from the first weekend of Grapefruit and Cactus League action, beginning with an update on one of my favorite players.
As longtime readers will recall, one of the most pleasant developments of the 2009 MLB season was the emergence of A’s pitcher Josh Outman, who brought tears of joy to the eyes of a certain uniform columnist by wearing picture-perfect stirrups. Unfortunately, his season was cut short by an elbow injury, which not only ended his 2009 campaign but also caused him to miss all of 2010.
The good news is that Outman is on the mend and competing for a spot in the A’s rotation. The bad news is — well, see for yourself.
Woof! This is one of those very rare cases when I’d strongly advocate for the pants being cuffed significantly lower.
Those images ran in a Yahoo Sports piece that appeared on Friday night. At first I thought Outman had abandoned stirrups for the accursed two-in-ones, but then I read the article, which said he’d been reduced to wearing the two-in-ones because “the A’s clubhouse guy forgot to have [stirrups] ready” for him.
The A’s clubhouse guy, of course, is Steve Vucinich, who happens to be a Uni Watch confidant. Had he really been caught with his stirrups down? I found that hard to believe, so I gave him a call on Sunday morning.
“Josh just told that to that reporter as a joke,” Steve told me. “I had some with the four-inch opening, but he likes the longer kind — the seven-inch — and I’d run out of those. I ordered a bunch more, but he’s pitching today, and he’ll wear the two-in-ones for that game. Then we’ll have his regular stirrups after that.”
Sure enough, Outman went with the softball sox yesterday. Turns out he’s done this before, while rehabbing in the Instructional League last September, but it’s good to know that’ll be just a one-game thing for spring traiing. Perhaps Outman (or Vucinich) should have called reader John Sheehan, who showed how it’s done for Stirrup Friday a few days ago.
One other note about Outman: His old uni number, 55, now belongs to Godzilla, so Outman has switched to No. 88. Why 88? I don’t know for sure, but a clue may lie in the number he wore as a minor leaguer in 2006.
Meanwhile, here are some other notes from the first weekend of spring training games:
• Disappointing to see Ubaldo Jimenez wearing solid socks instead of his usual stirrups on Saturday.
• The logo for the Rockies’ new spring training facility kinda looks like a stock market tracker, no?
• The Rays honored the St. Petersburg Police Department, which recently had three officers slain in the line of duty, by wearing St. Pete police caps for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Pirates. The only downer: The caps were adjusta-straps. (That last photo also indicates that Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez has changed his number from 17 to 24, by the way.)
• As we’ve previously noted, the Indians plain-Jane Bob Feller memorial patch has red numerals. Rather odd, then, to see that they’ve painted a “19” on their spring training field with white numerals. Different kerning, too. Wouldn’t they want to match the patch? This seems like another signal that they’ll eventually ditch this patch and go with the silhouette patch design once they sort out the copyright issues. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to, look here.)
• On Friday I mentioned that the Twins’ new Japanese import, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, was going double-flapped in batting practice, but I wasn’t sure if that was just as because he couldn’t find a single-flapped helmet that fit or whatever. Looks like it’s his preferred m.o.
• In a related item, it’s good to see that Willie Harris, now with the Mets, is maintaining his double-flapped ways. (Harris, of course, is a more unusual case than Nishioka, because Nishioka is a switch-hitter, while Harris only hits left-handed, and it’s extremely rare to find a double-flapper who isn’t also a switch.)
Finally, it’s worth noting that at least one baseball luminary is already in midseason form. That would be the inimitable Wayne Hagin, who kicked off Saturday’s broadcast by saying the Mets have had — I swear I’m not making this up — “a tremendous off-season.” Oh, Wayner, how I’ve missed you. Just like I’ve missed saying this: Fire Wayne Hagin already!
Show us your
tits Smiths: The Hornets wore their Mardi Gras uniforms last night. Only problem is that one player’s NOB was misspelled.
I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking, “Well, it’s understandable that they’d misspell Didier Ilunga-Mbenga’s name, or maybe Emeka Okafor’s, or maybe even Quincy Pondexter’s.” What you are probably not thinking is that the player in question would be this one.
That’s Jason Smith. Fortunately, someone on the New Orleans bench spotted the typo at the end of the first quarter; even more fortunately, they apparently had a back-up jersey for him to change into.
This isn’t the first time America’s most common surname has been botched on a major-level uniform, incidentally. That’s Jason Smith of the 2006 Colorado Rockies. I can’t help but notice that both of the Smith typos were on jerseys that contained purple, further evidence that that this most putrid of hues leads to diminished mental acuity.
(Special thanks to Matt Beahan, Richard Thiberville, and Lisa Martin for the screen shots.)
Stirrup and bobble reminders: Remember, Robert Marshall is currently offering a new batch of stirrups and discounted bobbleheads. Please send him all of your money. Thanks.
Wait, save some money for this: You know how I’ve been selling T-shirts featuring a design based on a certain team and a certain foodstuff? Well, a certain legal team from a certain league has suggested that I should stop selling them, so that’s the end of that. I have a handful of shirts left, though, and I’d like to move those, so this is your last chance to obtain one of them. If you want in, it’s now or never.
Uni Watch News Ticker: As you may have seen in Phil’s Saturday post, the voters have spoken and the Dodgers are going with the satin-esque powder blues (which R. Scott Rogers has brilliantly dubbed the “ersatins”) for their six throwback games. Here are much larger versions of the front and back. Personally, I voted for the 1911 design, which came in a close second. ”¦ The Lake Erie Monsters will be wearing Browns-themed jerseys tonight. “Not entirely awful,” says John Muir. ”¦ Jim Lenahan recently bought these pajamas for his six-year-old boy and noticed something interesting about them: “I was testing his knowledge by pointing to a helmet on the pajamas and having him identify the team. As we were doing this, it occurred to me that we hadn’t seen the Cowboys yet. We noted that all the other 31 teams are on the pajamas, but not the Cowboys. What’s the deal?” ”¦ Mitchell & Ness is producing some groovy cardigans, but they’d be sooooo much better without that annoying M&N logo creep on the right cuff (with thanks to Jon Cannella). ”¦ While looking for something else, I came across a shot of Pirates infielder Steve Pearce, who appears to have stirrup loops on his pant cuffs. ”¦ Here’s a weird one: Batman wearing red (good find by Joe DeAngelis). ”¦ Check out the inner-arm padding worn by these old goalies. Interesting (big thanks to Mike Hersh). ”¦ Here’s something you won’t often see: the Detroit Tigers playing volleyball. That’s from a big slideshow of Tigers spring training photos that Andy Windsor brought to my attention. ”¦ Here’s a good piece about St. John’s skyline shorts from the mid-1990s. ”¦ I was poking around on eBay and found an usher’s shirt from the 2005 MLB All-Star Game. ”¦ It’s hard to care about the World Championship of American Football, but they do have a pretty nice logo for the 2011 championship (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). ”¦ A Troy softball player is wearing a mask in the field, “I think because of a broken nose,” says Jonathan Sellers. ”¦ As if the poor folks in Madison don’t have enough to deal with, the Madison Mallards have unveiled a fairly hideous new identity set (with thanks to Rich Fronheiser). ”¦ New logo for the Melbourne Football Club (Jeremy Brahm again). ”¦ Also from Jeremy: The mascots for the 2014 Winter Olympics have been chosen. ”¦ UCLA hoops marked last game at the Pavilion before its renovation by wearing throwbacks on Saturday. ”¦ A quick check of the Chris Creamer board reveals a few items of interest: The Predators will have a new jersey next season; MLB has a new Opening Day logo; and when the NFL unveiled their new postseason and Super Bowl logo set, here are some alternate proposals that didn’t make the cut. ”¦ Many of you have probably seen the uniform that the Padres would have worn if they’d followed through on their plans to move to Washington in 1974. But here it is again, just in case. ”¦ Nebraska-Omaha hockey wore gray uniforms on Saturday, to promote brain cancer awareness (with thanks to Jim Polacek). ”¦ Here’s an article about Oregon’s new basketball arena, another one about the arena’s logo, and one that compares Oregon’s athletic funding to Cal’s (all this from Brinke). ”¦ Here’s an interesting little item about the sport-specific necktie designs that used to be worn at Harvard (with thanks to Ilana Hardesty). ”¦ Super rugby news from Adam Ingle, who writes: “Super 15 teams Chiefs and Highlanders, as well as the Stormers and Lions, wore red and black tape armbands this weekend, to show support for the earthquake victims in Christchurch. Red and black are the colors of the Christchurch-based Crusaders team.” ”¦ One of the prospects wearing that electronics-laden Under Armour shirt at the NFL Combine had a wardrobe malfunction yesterday. “Looks like Iron Man lost his arc reactor,” says Jason Kerzer). ”¦ Greg Riffenburgh recently spotted this Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo baseball jersey at a friend’s house. “If there ever was a ’70s jersey, this is the one!” he says. ”¦ “I ran across this Purdue football uniform and at first I thought it was just a mockup,” says Adam Wyss. “But then I saw that a friend of a friend, who’s a kicker for Purdue, had posted the image on his Facebook wall, labeling it as next year’s uniform. I don’t know if it’ll be full time, or just a one-time alternate, but an actual player posting it leads me to believe it’s probably legitimate.” ”¦ New baseball uniforms — including stirrups! — for UNC (with thanks to John Freeman). ”¦ If you’re gonna have a baseball team named after a football team, it makes sense that your jersey would have UCLA stripes (nice one by Dan Cichalski). ”¦ Intriguing find by Matt Harris, who found an old shot of Thurman Thomas wearing what appears to be a Houston Rockets championship cap on the sidelines. ”¦ Ken Davidoff Twittered yesterday afternoon that the Dodgers had already posted a “Duke 4” sign in their clubhouse for the Duke of Flatbush. I expect we’ll see a sleeve patch very soon. ”¦ Joe Hredzak found a bunch of old Pittsburgh sports photos. Uni-wise, I’m especially intrigued by this one (talk about fraternization!) and, especially, this one (never seen jerseys with diaper attachments paired with civvies for a promo shot, plus dig the very young Len Dawson).