MLB held its annual Civil Rights promotion over the weekend in Atlanta. The Phils and Braves wore Negro Leagues throwbacks on Saturday (Phil provided coverage of those uniforms in yesterday’s post), and then the Civil Rights Game took place yesterday, with the Braves and Phils wearing 1974 throwbacks as a salute to Hank Aaron and his 715th home run. Lots of uni-notable bits here, so let’s take a look:
• The white trim on the Phils’ piping was way too thick. Double-pfeh.
• Yet another Phillies glitch: It looks like their cap logo was too big. Triple-pfeh.
• All of the caps had the Civil Rights Game wordmark on the side — except for Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, whose cap had the New Era logo. (My thanks to reader Sam Graves for the close-up screen shot.)
• Speaking of logo creep, both teams had graphics on the centers of their sleeves — the feather for the Braves and piping for the Phils — so the Majestic logo was off-center on both teams’ sleeves.
• The Civil Rights Game patch on the rear collar caused some unfortunate fabric buckling.
Meanwhile, as the Phils and Braves were saluting a movement devoted to non-violent protest, the Brewers and Pirates thought it would be a good day to play dress-up soldier, if only on their cap brims. Great timing, guys — maybe next year you can give away plastic toys on Earth Day!
So much fun, it’s almost like Giuliani never happened: Last night I met up with my friend Alan for a few beers at one of NYC’s best and most decrepit bars, the very wonderful Reynold’s. The teevee was showing women’s college bowling, of all things, which was of great interest to both Alan and myself, but we kept getting interrupted by this Asian woman who was scurrying around the bar trying to sell bootleg DVDs (basic Hollywood fare, mostly) out of a plastic bag. We waved her away twice, but then she came back a third time, at which point the following scene unfolded:
Alan [putting his arm around Asian woman’s shoulders]: Look, I’m sorry, but you have to realize — we’re not buying any of these.
Asian woman: Oh, I know what you want! You want hoochie-coochie, right?
Alan [his interest now piqued]: Yeah, you got any of that in there?
Asian woman [reaching deeper into bag and producing a pile of porno DVDs]: Here — hoochie-coochie. Fuckee-suckee, number one!
Alan [examining DVDs]: I don’t know — these look more like number three.
Asian woman: No, no — number one! Fuckee-suckee number one! Ten dollar!
Me: Wait, how much?
Asian woman: Ten dollar!
Me: The problem is, this same stuff is exactly 10 dollars cheaper than that on the internet.
Asian woman: No, no — this better! This have EVERYTHING!
Alan: The other problem is that I don’t own a DVD player.
Me: And neither do I.
Asian woman [stuffing porno DVDs back in bag]: Ohhhhhh. Never mind.
While this was an immensely entertaining interlude, it seriously diverted my attention from the bowling. Fortunately, when I came home a few hours later, I found an e-mail from reader Greg Trandel, who’d been watching the same telecast (presumably without the distraction of a pornography peddler). He pointed out something I hadn’t noticed — take a look.
See those numbers pinned to the bowlers’ jerseys? I’ll let Greg explain what they’re for:
There are only five different numbers: 16, 27, 38, 49, and 50. And those numbers aren’t conventional uniform numbers to identify the players — after watching for a little while, I realized that the numbers specify the frames in which each bowler will roll.
This bowling competition is a team contest, with five bowlers on each team rolling in each of two frames. One bowler rolls in the 1st and 6th frames, another in the 2nd and 7th, etc. So that’s what the numbers signify.
Interesting! I never knew that.
This isn’t the first time that my life has been complicated by the combination of women’s bowling and smut, incidentally. The first time I was ever in a titty bar, the teevee at the bar was showing the latest LPBT tournament (that’s the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour, don’tcha know, now sadly defunct). This presented me with a tricky choice: Did I want to look at naked girls or bowling girls? Naked girls or bowling girls? Not such an easy choice when you like bowling as much as I do! I remember thinking, “If only they had naked bowling girls.”
Of course, that was before I learned about the greatest movie ever made.
About the last guy you expected to see pictured here: Newt Gingrich announced his Presidential candidacy the other day. Whatever you think of his politics, he brings an interesting visual element to the race: He is, by any objective measure, fat.
I don’t bring this up to demean Gingrich. Instead, I’m wondering if we’re on the threshold of a new aesthetic standard — or at least the end of the old standard — for politicians. Although we’ve had a few Presidents who were mildly overweight (Clinton, LBJ, Hoover), we haven’t had a truly fat chief executive since William Howard Taft and Teddy Roosevelt a century ago, back when being fat was still viewed by some as a sign of wealth and power.
Back when Teddy Kennedy was considering Presidential runs in 1984 and 1988, people discussing his prospects always — always — mentioned that he’d “need to lose 20 pounds first.” Nobody’s saying that about Gingrich, and nobody was saying it about the similarly robust Haley Barbour when he was recently considering a White House candidacy (he eventually decided not to run). Meanwhile, many Republicans are urging New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to run — and he’s the fattest one of them all.
The Christie case is particularly interesting, because his opponent in the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial race — then-Gov. Jon Corzine — at one point ran a campaign ad that said Christie “threw his weight around” to get out of a traffic ticket. The spot was widely perceived — and panned — as a cheap shot at Christie’s waistline, and Corzone later apologized for it.
All of which suggests that we may be entering a new age in American political aesthetics, an age in which fat candidates — and fat Presidents — are acceptable. Is this because we’re becoming more tolerant? Is it because the nation is getting fatter and we want candidates who look like us? Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing? Discuss.
The next frontier: a bald President. We’ve elected only one of those in the past century — and he was a war hero.
A singular tribute: With Harmon Killebrew now in hospice care, the Twins have announced that they’ll be saluting him by wearing their throwback alts for their remaining 2011 home games. It’s a touching move, and I think it’s also the first gesture of its kind. Has any team ever done anything like this before? If so, I can’t think of a comparable example.
I interviewed Killebrew on the phone several times in 2008, as part of my reporting for an ESPN column on whether the MLB logo was based on a photo of him (Killebrew thought it was; logo designer Jerry Dior said it wasn’t). He was a real gentleman — an absolute pleasure to talk to. I’ll be thinking of him and his family in the days to come.
Tweety Bird: Several readers have asked where they can get a Twitter Cardinals T-shirt like the one Shaun Kennedy was wearing at the recent Uni Watch party in St. Louis. Shaun actually addressed this question himself in Friday’s comments — for details, look here.
Research project: Reader Alex Martin is trying to compile an NBA uniform database — basically, “Dressed to the Nines” for basketball — and he’s looking for feedback. Here’s what he’s done for the Hawks. If you see any errors, or if you have suggestions, contact him here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: I just scored this really cool 1940s letterhead catalog on eBay. ”¦ The Senators’ new third jersey crest — not the whole jersey, just the crest — has been leaked (with thanks to Jeff Czuba). ”¦ Here’s the full slate of this year’s flag-desecration caps, and boy do they look like shite. ”¦ Is Rutgers going BFBS? “I came across that shot on the Rutgers message board,” says Stephen Dahl. “Apparently it will be used for some game this season.” ”¦ EPL news from Patrick Runge, who writes: ” How can you screw up a white shirt with blue and red trim? Your Honor, I offer Exhibit A.” ”¦ Kirsten found an interesting site that features simple but engaging timelines, including one devoted to baseball. ”¦ Next-to-last graf on this page indicates that former Packers lineman Gilbert Brown has exquisite taste in colors (with thanks to the Rev. NÃ¸rb). ”¦ Here’s a good video of Wizards owner Ted Leonsis discussing the team’s new uniforms (with thanks to William Yurasko). ”¦ If you want your prison sentence based on your favorite player’s uni number, it’s better if you’re a fan of, say, Billy Matin, not Larry Bird (with thanks to Scott Davis). ”¦ This old NASA photo is amazing, but didn’t anyone over there know the proper rules of flag orientation? (Great find by Parick Baude.) ”¦ Are you a Bulls and Blackhawks fan? Then here’s the T-shirt for you (nice find by Ryan Lindy). ”¦ Speaking of the Bulls, the 10th graf of this story mentions that when they were romancing Dwyane Wade last summer, they had a Bulls jersey made up as part of their presentation to him. “I would love to know what happened to that jersey!” says Brett Crane. ”¦ Manny Acta was wearing a red undershirt the other night. “Makes me feel like it’s the ’90s again,” says Pete S. ”¦ “I’m a Pittsburgh native and huge Steelers fan,” says Phil Johnson, “but this is just plain disturbing.” ”¦ Michael Brethauer was at his local comics shop and came across a soccer publication full of uni drawings. ”¦ Niche-marketing news from Dave (who didn’t give his last name): “Several NC State alumni (including former basketball players Engin Atsur and Will Roach) started Tradition Scarves back during football season. It started with only the NC State design, but the scarves were so popular that they decided to expand. They recently added Indiana and Appalachian State, and I think more designs are to come.” ”¦ Yet another unusual Rockies undershirt, this time being worn by Jhoulys Chacin. “The left shoulder has the logo of Root Sports — the same company that broadcasts the Rockies in Denver, and I believe is a minority owner of the club,” says Ryan Boone. ”¦ Daren Landers scanned a page from this year’s Reds yearbook with two uni-noteworthy items: First, Johnny Bench wore No. 53 during 1966 spring training. And second, Bench had green catching gear for the Reds’ first St. Paddy’s Day game in 1978. ”¦ Also from Daren: Lots going on in this shot of Brandon Phillips — one sleeve, Under Armour logo creep, and a hint of a Velcro patch on the jersey placket. ”¦ Even on the elevator, your lifestyle sucks. Zachary Charles took that shot at the San Francisco branch of DouchebagTown. ”¦ Trevor Williams, continuing has heretofore fruitless search for the answer to the Broncos’ horsey mystery, has come up with a few additional tidbits from the team’s history. Did you know that the Broncs changed their shade of orange in 1978? Or that the new ’78 uniforms, when they were eventually delivered, didn’t fit? ”¦ Webmaster John Ekdahl attended the TPC, where he noted Dustin Johnson and Martin Laird wearing near-identical Adidas outfits on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Also: “Under Amour was nearly invisible here last year, but this year there were a ton of guys in full UA sponsorship (shirt, hat, pants, belt buckle). Looks like UA has made a major investment in golf.” ”¦ Latest MLBer to double up on the lifestyle: Carl Crawford (screen shot by Eric Hill). ”¦ Did you see Chad Bengal’s latest uniform? ”¦ The ongoing Ohio State kerfuffle has lead the school to stop awarding the gold pants charms (with thanks to Gary Brackle). ”¦ Still more flag desecration, this time by the Syracuse Chiefs in Saturday’s “Armed Forces Celebration” game. “At least one Chiefs player will want to wear these again: Michael Aubrey, who hit four home runs during Saturday’s game,” says Ed McCorduck). ”¦ “I’m a Syracuse man,” says Max Weintraub, “but I have to admit, the new Johns Hopkins lacrosse helmets look pretty cool.” ”¦ Cam Newton turned 16 the other day (or 12, or 27, or whatever he is), but why did his birthday cake have the outdated NFL logo? (Good spot by Gavin Robey.) ”¦ According to this Pat Forde column on college hoops, UNC and Michigan State will mark Veteran’s Day by playing each other on an aircraft carrier in San Diego. No word on whether fans will get a free Battleship set and a cap gun to boot (with thanks to Jim Vilk). ”¦ Matt Powers spotted this Cooperstown Collection cap at a shop but has no idea what team it was for. Me neither. Anyone..? ”¦