Whatever else you can say about MLB’s rejiggered schedule and the way it has affected Opening Day (weird to be starting on a Thursday, sucks that the Reds don’t have the first game, blah-blah-blah), at least the first pitch of the season will be thrown on a weekday afternoon, not on a Sunday night. Personally, I count that as progress.
How will you be spending the day? Me, I’ll be wearing my new City Bakery Red Devils jersey and some matching stirrups and settling down on the couch at 1pm to watch as much baseball as possible. Got some beer, got some hot dogs, got the two best cats in the world — I’m set. And since the Mets don’t play until tomorrow, my Opening Day will be unsullied by the presence of Wayne Hagin. (Wayner, if you’re reading this, it’s not too late to demand a raise and then go on strike for the entire season if they don’t give you one. Consider it!)
Plus it’s supposed to rain all day here, which has two benefits: (1) I won’t be able to go for my usual afternoon bike ride, so I can watch baseball without interruptions, and (2) the Yankees will either be rained out or have to play in shitty conditions, either of which I’ll find amusing. (Ideally: They play four innings in a steady drizzle and then the big storm comes. Awwwwww, what a shame.)
By now most of you have presumably read my MLB season-preview round-up on ESPN. We also have a few late-breaking items not covered in the column, led by the news that the Dodgers finally made it official yesterday and announced that they’d wear a simple Duke Snider memorial patch. About time.
Meanwhile, here’s a really interesting development out of Baltimore: All umpires working Orioles games at Camden Yards this season will wear “EWT” wristbands. Those are the initials of Ernie Tyler, who was the team’s umpires’ clubhouse attendant for 50 years, including a streak of 3,819 consecutive games from 1960 to 2007. He passed away a few months ago. No photo yet of the wristband design, but there’s a good article here.
I’m fairly certain this is the first time anything like this has ever been done. And while it’s a very nice gesture, am I the only one who thinks it’s a little unseemly for umps to be wearing something Orioles-related? Obviously, a wristband isn’t equivalent to bias, but it seems to me that the umps should represent the game, period — they shouldn’t be wearing anything even vaguely associated a particular team, and that includes the team’s employees. But that’s just me; you may feel differently.
One thing we should all be able to agree on: Final roster cuts often entail some uni number adjustments. So far I’m only aware of changes being made by two Mets players, but I’m sure there are other examples floating around out there.
Finally, I love this: The Chattanooga Lookouts — that’s the Dodgers’ double-A affiliate — have bought a new domain name, called AreTheLookoutsHome.com. Unfortunately, as you can see, it redirects to a lengthy gobbledygook URL, but there’s still something endearingly simple about the concept. Every team should do this, no?
Update, 1pm: One additional update — the Pirates just announced their Chuck Tanner memorial patch.
Okay, that’s enough for today. Play ball!
(Special thanks to Thom Carter, Ken Levin, Dan Cichalski for their contributions to today’s entry.)
Last call: Today’s the last day to sign up for the Uni Watch Membership Program at the $15 price. Tomorrow the fee will rise to $20.
Today is also the last day to submit your design for the Baseball Project logo contest. Send your best efforts here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Formula 1 helmets now have improved, safer visors (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). ”¦ “She does it every year, but Notre Dame women’s hoops coach Muffet McGraw brought out the green uniforms for Monday’s win against Tennessee,” says Jack Quinn. “I think this was the first time they wore this particular green design.” ”¦ Here’s first (but probably not last): Twins infielder Danny Valencia with an iPad tucked down his pants (as noted by Joseph Laferla). ”¦ Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has written a piece about why politicians should turn down opportunities to throw out the first pitch. Scroll down to the second boldface subhead (or just search on the word “doofus”) to see his uni-related thoughts (fun contribution by Bernie Langer). ”¦ Someone has managed to combine just about every uni and cultural trope into the worst T-shirt ever (blame Ben Traxel). ”¦ There are high-tops, and then there are high-tops. Not sure who that Georgetown player was, but it almost looks like he was wearing boxing or wrestling footwear (nice find by Clark Rucker). ”¦ Fun story about the Reds’ equipment staff. ”¦ Lots of different uni combos commingling in this Michigan spring practice photo (with thanks to Gordon Taylor). ”¦ Buried within this Twitter transcript with Rockies owner Dick Monfort is the news that the team may be restoring the purple jerseys in 2012 (with thanks to Steve Foster). ”¦ I didn’t realize that former NFL placekicker Matt Bahr had also played soccer with the Colorado Caribou — who, of course, had the worst uniforms ever. But Tony Bruno is aware of Bahr’s Caribou connection, which is a good thing, because Bahr coaches his daughter’s soccer team. “I recently had a conversation with him regarding the Caribous’ uniforms,” says Tony. “He said that they had to wear ten gallon hats on road trips and their warm-ups were leather. I cannot remember who he said designed the uniforms and warm-ups [looks like it was Medalist/Sand-Knit ”” PL], but he did say that the entire team was embarrassed about wearing them.” ”¦ The great Dave Eskenazi has come up with more photos of the 1956 Portland Beavers’ striped undersleeves, so I’ve added to them to the end of this set. Meanwhile, Bob Halfacre — who was supposed to arrange for us to manufacture a reproduction of this shirt — has pretty much dropped the ball. Sorry. ”¦ Here’s yet another jersey inspired by the Chisox beach blanket design. “It’s from my intramural college softball team back in 1984,” says Mike Ochoa. “One of the guys on the team was the campus Budweiser rep (drinking age was 19 back then), so we plastered the Budweiser name on the front and got free jerseys. It’s not like we weren’t true representatives of the product, after all. I did a piss-poor job of ironing on my initials (MEO) on the sleeve, but I thought it was cool at the time. The initials on the back stood for Spank the Monkey. Not proud of that, but that’s probably why we went with initials.” ”¦ Eric Davis noticed something interesting at Braves camp: The team logo behind home plate isn’t just painted onto the grass — it’s shaved into the grass, like the different levels of grass at the edge of a fairway or putting green or something. ”¦ Very interesting story about the various shades of crimson used at Washington State (with thanks to Skyler Archibald). ”¦ “Don’t know if you saw Frontline’s ‘Money and March Madness’ special,” says Matt Busch. “One of the infographics they put up was a cool bracket broken down by uniform outfitter. The show also had lots of talk about companies like Nike paying coaches, etc. Here’s the full program.” ”¦ “With baseball season upon us, I got the itch to search the garage for whatever I could find,” says Taylor McGillis. “I found my Dad’s old 1977-1979 Seattle Mariners uniform. He was a batboy/clubhouse manager for a few of his teen years. Absolutely shocked, I had to put it on.” Very cool, but did two-in-ones exist yet in the late 1970s? Maybe those were an aftermarket addition to the ensemble. ”¦