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Jackie Robinson Day Roundup


[Editor’s Note: I had a social obligation last night (more on that at the bottom of today’s entry), so intern Mike Chamernik was on Jackie Day duty. Here’s his report on MLB’s annual salute to the man who broke the color barrier. ”” PL]

By Mike Chamernik

Okay, I blog about the White Sox, and last evening I had their game on while I was compiling all the Jackie Robinson-related uni news for you guys. I was reading email, checking twitter, monitoring other games, and listening to Mike Francesa Show clips, and every so often I looked up at my TV to see what the Sox were doing. All I saw every time was that No. 42 was on the mound, facing No. 42 at the plate. I had no idea what was going on.

The league-wide No. 42 jerseys on Jackie Robinson Day are a cool gesture, and it’s important that we remember the man, but they’re murder to people who multitask.

Here are some uni-notable details from yesterday’s action:

• The Pirates and Reds completed a suspended game before their regularly scheduled game yesterday. In the first game, they wore regular uniforms, meaning two teams wore something other than No. 42 on April 15 — a rarity. In the second game they all wore 42, and the Pirates switched to gray tops (and, as you can see in that screen shot, they added a “42” to the mound). Here’s more on how the Reds honored Robinson.

• The umps wore 42 as well, including in the first game between the Pirates and Reds.

• The benches cleared during the 4th inning of the Nationals/Marlins game, which produced this odd sight.

• Unusual move by the Diamondbacks, who wore their black alternate jerseys and BP caps.

• The Dodgers wore their “Dodgers” script road alternates. The team’s website also posted a detailed history on the players who wore No. 42.

• Over in the NBA, the Nets wore their Brooklyn Dodgers-esque alternates.

• The active roster on every MLB team’s website everyone’s uniform number as 42. And if you asked Siri for a player’s number yesterday, she gave you the correct answer.

• Four games were postponed and all eight teams will wear No. 42 today. That includes the Yankees, who had a Nelson Mandela tribute planned for last night.

(Thanks to Paul and Phil for their submissions.)

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Click to enlarge

Flex time: Paul here. You’ve probably seen some of those tweets from various college football teams touting their use of the new Riddell SpeedFlex helmet. My latest ESPN column takes a closer look at the SpeedFlex, which has some very clever engineering features that I think you’ll find interesting. Check it out here.

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Book deal reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, Uni Watch readers are being offered a special deal on 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox: Every Picture Tells a Story, a gorgeously produced coffee table-style book (not an e-book) that chronicles the 2013 Bosox season. It features over 200 photos (some of which you can see here), along with essays by team owner John Henry, outfielder Jonny Gomes, manager John Farrell, Boston broadcaster Joe Castiglione, former mayor Thomas Menino, journalists Gordon Edes and Leigh Montville, and more.

The book lists for $40, and Amazon has if for $27.33. But if you go here and use the checkout code RSX131, you can get it for $24.95 — definitely the lowest price you’re gonna find. You know what to do.

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Unmasking the Commenters: I recently invited the site’s commenters to tell us a bit more about themselves and give us a peek at what they look like, just because I thought it would be fun to pull back the internet’s curtain of anonymity. I’ll keep showcasing you folks as long as you keep sending in your photos and quick bios.

Today we’re featuring longtime reader/commenter James Huening, who posts comments as “JTH” (and who is pushing back against the “unmasking” thing, as you can see below):

I live in Chicago and I’m a Sagittarius. I go pretty far back with Uni Watch — not all the way back to the Village Voice days, but I’m mentioned by name in the second or third post on this blog. I’m the handsome one on the right in the photo. On the left is my friend Dan. Between us is someone who works in the front office of a local professional sports franchise. Let’s just call him “Theo.”

I spend a great deal of time as a coach and/or spectator at the many sporting events of my three children: hockey, basketball, baseball, softball, football, lacrosse, and various other things. I sing and play guitar in a band that never practices, has never played a gig, and doesn’t have a name. But if we ever do pick a name, I would like for it to be Otis’ Birdsong. I also play hockey (poorly) and brew beer on those rare occasions when I get a day all to myself.

Thanks, Jimbo, and thanks also for all your contributions and friendship over the years — you make Uni Watch a better place!

Do you want to be featured in “Unmasking the Commenters”? If so, send me a photo and a quick paragraph about yourself. You don’t have to reveal your real name, and the photo doesn’t have to show your face, but you must include a photo to be considered. Send everything this-a-way.

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’Skins Watch: Four Houston-area schools whose teams were called the Redskins, Indians, Warriors, and Rebels have been given new team names, part of a new school district policy to ban mascots deemed to be culturally insensitive. But here’s the fascinating subtext to that story: One of the schools, Lamar High, used to be known as the Redskins and will now become the Texans, but that wasn’t their first choice. They wanted to be known as the Texians. As this Houston Press article explains, “[The term ‘Texian’] sounds like just some old-fashioned way of referring to the people who came [to Texas] to live about the time of the state’s move to independence from Mexico. But others point out that the Texians were the Anglos, and that probably Tejanos or Hispanic Texans were excluded from this group. Also that the Anglos who identified as Texians may have had motives other than truth and freedom — maybe continued slave ownership — as their rallying point.” In other words, “Texians” might actually have been a step backwards in terms of culturally appropriate team names, which is why the school board decided to have Lamar High be the Texans instead. That article, which Phil brought to my attention, is super-interesting — highly recommended. ”¦ Three Utah-related items from Dom Lewis: (1) The University of Utah has reached a new agreement with the Ute tribe that will allow the school to keep using the Ute name and imagery. The third graf of that story mentions that the school plans to “donate proceeds from sales of a special football jersey worn during a home game in November (either for Oregon or Arizona) to a Boys & Girls Club the tribe plans to open.” (2) Did you know Utah’s teams used to be called the Redskins? It’s true, as you can see on this 1963 media guide cover. (3) A youth football league in Salt Lake City calls itself Ute Conference Football and uses a depiction of an Indian child as its logo. Not sure if they have the tribe’s permission.

Baseball News: While looking for something else I came across this shot of Jackie Robinson in a really cool UCLA baseball uni. ”¦ Great little DIY project from Scott Davis, who writes: “I went to a Red Sox game last week and ended up with a small ziplock bag of Fenway infield dirt (they have it prebagged — all you have to do is ask for it at the fan relations desk!). I had a handful of those little 1/8-oz. Tabasco sauce bottles and they seemed like the perfect fit for some dirt. I pulled the various Red Sox logos off of Chris Creamer’s website, threw them onto some Avery labels, and cut to fit.” Nicely done! … Ooo-la-la, look at this amazing Trolley Tavern jersey. “Pete Rose’s father, Harry, played for them, and Pete was the bat boy as a kid,” says Dennis Hasty, which explains the Rose autograph on the flannel. … A 1971 episode of The Brady Bunch showed Bobby in an inaccurate Dodgers jersey. “Don’t think they were particularly concerned with accuracy back then,” says Phil. … Just what the world’s been waiting for: a baseball cap with an electronic screen that lets you switch out the logo (Phil again). ”¦ The El Paso Chihuahuas’ new mascot is pretty damn scary (Phil yet again). ”¦ The Red Sox were in Chicago last night, where some White Sox players joined in the marking of the Boston Marathon bombing anniversary by wearing “Boston Strong” T-shirts (Andy Chalifour). ”¦ Speaking of the Chisox/Bosox game, it was pretty cold in Chicago, so some players were wearing balaclavas. So was the home plate ump. As you can also see there, the umps are wearing a memorial patch for Wally Bell, which I don’t think we’ve noted yet this season. ”¦ Cold weather in Minnesota last night too, so Brett Lawrie of the Blue Jays was wearing his balaclava over his cap (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis mistakenly wore his BP cap during a mound visit last night (from Samuel Lam). ”¦ Oklahoma base coaches wore G.I. Joe helmets last night. Sigh (Phil yet again)”¦ And still more from Phil: You know the Yankees wear pinstripes, but did you know they once wore multi-colored pinstripes? That’s from 1912. ”¦ The left-handed batter’s box in Miami was crooked last night (thanks, Mike).

NFL News: Bears WR Brandon Marshall has a big collection of jerseys that he’s accumulated from other NFL players over the years (from Joshua Williams). ”¦ Here’s a gallery of unusual NFL facemasks and a Reddit discussion of same (from Jon Mostowy). … More of those NFL draft caps are showing up on eBay, even though they haven’t been officially announced yet (from Mark Gonillo).

College Football News: Syracuse is planning a “major announcement” for today, and the thinking is that it will likely involve new football uniforms (thanks, Phil).

Soccer News: “Liverpool held a 25th-anniversary ceremony for the Hillsborough tragedy on Tuesday,” writes Yusuke Toyoda. “The centerpiece was ’96’ — the number of victims — written with scarves donated from around the world, including one from Boston Red Sox, who share owners with Liverpool. The tributes also included 96 empty seats draped with donated scarves. More photos here and here.” … Also from Yusuke: “Melbourne Heart is changing its colors to sky blue so it’s the same as Manchester City, its parent club. The only problem? Sky blue is also worn by Melbourne Heart’s rival, Sydney FC, which has filed a complaint to Football Federation Australia.”

NBA/WNBA News: Currently for sale at Madison Square Garden: Phil Jackson T-shirts (from Alan Kreit). ”¦ The D-League’s newest team will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they’re having a contest to name the team. “Which will presumably lead to a logo design contest,” notes P.K. Richardson. ”¦ New road uniforms for the WNBA’s New York Liberty (from Kevin Brown).

Grab Bag: Illinois is scheduled to unveil lots of new uniforms in various sports today, but they leaked last night. ”¦ Oh, for fuck’s sake — camouflage cake?! (Blame Ryan Burns.)

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What Paul did last night: If you look again at that photo of the SpeedFlex helmet that appears earlier in today’s entry, you can see that it includes a reflection of the photographer (who happens to have been me) — a fairly common phenomenon when you’re photographing a shiny object.

I thought about that last night when my buddy Rob Walker and I met up at the Morgan Library to check out a program of presentations about collecting. One of the presenters was the artist Penelope Umbrico, who specializes in collecting photos of objects for sale on Craigslist. As she explained in her talk, she’s particularly fascinated by Craigslist photos of TVs in which the camera’s flash is visible, in part because you can often see a reflection of what was going on in the room. This in turn led her to discuss something called “reflecto-porn,” which is the term commonly used when the reflected photographer isn’t fully clothed (don’t worry, that photo link is totally safe for work).

All of this actually relates pretty directly to Uni Watch, because a lot of you folks submit uni-notable screen shots by taking flash photos of your TV sets, which often results in some interesting reflected imagery. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of you in a state of undress, but I’ve definitely seen some parts of your living rooms that you probably didn’t intend to share. Might wanna turn off the flash next time — just sayin’.

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Comments (121)

    Don’t know if you want to adjust the ticker text, but the Champaign Room (SB Nation blog) is reporting the new Illini unis are in fact legit.

    I don’t understand why they insist on NNOB on the one day when you really need to have it. Wouldn’t player names (for those teams that have them) also increase the value of the charity auctions of game-worn 42 jerseys?

    Would player names really increase the value? For the star players they surely would, but would people pay top dollar for jerseys from utility infielders or the bullpen catcher? The Padres and Angels have “garage sales” where they sell game used uniforms from prior years and the ones that linger are the ones of career .240 hitters or guys who aren’t on the team any longer. I would expect a lot of fans would think it’s cooler just to have a game worn 42 jersey.

    Having teams rained out yesterday wear 42 today/tomorrow is a travesty. 42 should be restricted to April 15 only.

    I could see your point if teams wore the unis two days in a row, but how is having the jerseys worn a day late due to a ppd game due to rain (or, in years when the 15th falls on a Monday or Thursday) “a travesty”?

    The same way that celebrating Independence Day on the first Monday in July instead of on July 4 would be a travesty. Jackie Robinson Day is April 15. Not April 16 or 17. If it’s so important to honor Jackie Robinson by making the game unwatchable, then it’s important enough for the league to arrange its schedule so that every team is playing on April 15, no matter what day of the week that is. And if games get rained out, tough. Insisting on wearing the jerseys on subsequent days just for the sake of wearing them reeks of merchandise promotion, not historical commemoration. Even if teams’ motivation is actually pure, the general context in which teams mostly wear special uniforms to promote retail merchandise sales means that teams don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

    I don’t think it’s only merchandising or promotion. Using Independence Day is a weak comparison. July 4th is July 4th–right or wrong, many people know it as that vs. Independence Day. People know it as Jackie Robinson Day, not April 15th–if I said April 15th to a random man on the street, I’d probably get “tax day” 99 times out of 100.

    Regardless, I don’t honestly remember ever seeing a “42” jersey for sale in a team store or retail store outside the “game used” ones. I would imagine the revenue generated from those few jerseys isn’t significant enough for that to be the main reason they’re wearing 42 the next day after a rain-out.

    “If it’s so important to honor Jackie Robinson by making the game unwatchable…”


    How exactly was the game “unwatchable”? If you mean “well, I couldn’t tell which player was which” then you have a gripe, but I don’t think that makes the game “unwatchable.”

    The Mets called up Kirk Nieuwenhuis yesterday and while he doesn’t exactly look like Lucas Duda, when he was batting I was saying to myself (“self…is that Captain Kirk or the Dudabides?”). But not knowing exactly which player was which didn’t make the game “unwatchable.”

    It’s a team game, and as long as there are nine of those fellows on the diamond when playing defense and the appropriate number of the other squad, discernable from each other by uniform (which all were yesterday), then the game is certainly “watchable.” It might not meet your enhanced expectations due to overkill on NOBs, graphics, announcers etc…but it didn’t make the game any less enjoyable (and certainly not “unwatchable”).

    As far as honoring the man who broke the color barrier — as long as it is the game on the day of (or the day after due to scheduling or rain out), do you REALLY have a problem with it? It’s the one thing MLB has actually gotten right over the years — and you’re pissed at it? We get (rightfully) pissed when teams wear flag desecration caps for three days in a row over holiday weekends, and if teams wore 42 for two days in a row, I’d agree with you. But this is different.

    I took shit yesterday for suggesting that taking 42 out of circulation was a bad thing because it detracts from acknowledgement of Jackie, and you’d be content with no acknowledgement at all if a team was off (due to schedule or weather) on 4/15?

    Nay. I think this is the one thing the league gets right, and I have no problem whatsoever if teams who don’t play on the 15th wear the 42’s on the day following.

    I’m not saying the 42 thing is about merch sales. It’s not! Though I have seen 42 jerseys for sale at both Nats and Twins team stores. Rather, what I’m saying is that basically every single other time any team wears a special-event jersey, it is doing so in large part to drive merchandise sales. Given that, even if a team’s motives are pure in this instance, it’s gonna smell like they’re just doing a cynical merchandising cash-grab if they push the 42 jerseys to other days. Wearing them just to get them worn, rather than to honor Jackie on the day.

    And Phil, look, I get it, and I’m kind of torn. I actually think the 42 thing is cool. But I also think that considered objectively, it’s also stupid, and maybe even a little pernicious. Hey, it’s a team game, right, so we don’t really need to know who any given player on the field or on the screen is, and anyway we can at least kinda tell apart the white guys from the black guys from the Latino guys, except for the Latino guys who look more white or black in the American sense, right? If that logic is valid in this instance, then it will also be valid the day that a team proposes replacing player numbers with sponsorship logos. Some precedents are worth not setting.

    So, is the 42 thing fun? You bet. Does that make it a good idea? Not any more than the fact that I still enjoy listening to Def Leppard from time to time makes Hysteria actually a good album.

    “…it will also be valid the day that a team proposes replacing player numbers with sponsorship logos.”


    Scotty, I love you man, but seriously (and I hope you’re not even invoking a modicum of seriousness)…if you think this is the beginning of some grand scheme to justify ad placement where numbers go…

    and while I don’t think you’re serious, your other point — that we don’t “need to know who any given player…is” — is actually valid (from which your let’s put ads where numbers once were logic flows — which is not).

    WE DO NOT NEED TO KNOW INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS (sorry for shouting). We LIKE to know them and we WANT to know them, but in no way shape or form to we NEED to know them.

    (I suppose an argument could be made that players who’ve been removed from the game could be ‘reinserted’ without numbers, or players could bat out of order, or players could switch positions — but what’s stopping them from doing that by exchanging shirts now???).

    Don’t get me wrong — I like jersey numbers for identification. And I’d never advocate removing them. But for one game out of 162, and for reasons that are bigger than even the game itself, I fully support everyone wearing 42, even if it confuses the non-devotee, the multitasker, or the neophyte.

    I don’t think the games would be unwatchable, even if they had no numbers or NOB at all.

    For TV viewers, you can see their faces, the broadcast puts their names up when they bat…and I for one tend to be able to remember who’s playing what position from inning to inning. At the stadium, they often keep a scorecard up with the names associated with each position.

    In other words, I don’t think it’s that big a deal.

    Phil, of course I’m serious. A precedent is a precedent. That’s how the ratchet effect works. The way sports evolve, as we’ve seen countless times this last decade or so, is,

    Step 1: Wow, that’s kind of off the wall, but cool. I mean, it would be terrible if everyone did this all the time, but as a one-off, I’ll take it.

    Step 2: Holy shit, everyone is doing it all the time now! My eyes! Someone make the hurting stop!

    So yeah, I take the idea of “player numbers don’t really matter in baseball” seriously as a precedent that could be applied more broadly in future. You’re, what, relying on MLB’s corporate culture of taste, restraint, and respect for tradition? Sort of like how just a little fun local-rivalry interleague play would never, ever lead to AL and NL teams playing each other every single day of the season, right?

    Also, get off my lawn!

    How about a compromise – sleeve numbers? And I don’t mean a little commemorative patch – I mean full 4″ – hell, maybe even 5″! – block digits on the right sleeve. Big ol’ 42 in Dodger blue for everybody, while their normal numbers are retained (no names on back, of course).

    The Angels would have to just not have their A logo on the right sleeve for that day.

    Just a thought.

    “Given that, even if a team’s motives are pure in this instance, it’s gonna smell like they’re just doing a cynical merchandising cash-grab if they push the 42 jerseys to other days. Wearing them just to get them worn, rather than to honor Jackie on the day.”

    If you see Jackie Robinson Day as a cynical merchandising Cash Grab, that’s on you. Forcing teams to wear their BP hats in actual games? That’s a cash-grab. I wouldn’t even say that wearing special day uniforms is a cash-grab, because if July 4th were to be rained out, then the team would simply move the Fireworks to July 5th and thus they would keep the general vibe in the stadium the same as well. We can argue about what uniforms would actually be appropriate on July 4th, but honestly if the plan was for them to be worn as a tribute to the day then I see no issue with them being worn the next day if they were forced to delay all other activities surrounding July 4th.

    There is very little money to be made in selling 42 jerseys outside of LA (if you’re gonna shell out the $230 for an authentic jersey with a players number, odds are you’re gonna spend that money on a player who actually/is suited/suiting up for your team). I’ve never seen a team selling them, and while you may have seen this practice, I can guarantee you its not a big money maker, and the people they are selling to are so gullible that they deserve to waste their money (because again, unless you are a Dodgers fan why would you buy a non-game-worn 42 jersey).

    If you can’t help but see all special uniforms as cash-grabs, that’s on you. The rest of us will enjoy a neat event that happens once a year that pays respect to a man that helped integrate the game (and the country to an extent).

    BTW, I was wondering the other day “when are they going to wear the 42 jerseys this year”. Before you rant about April 15th being Jackie Robinson day, I’ve always associated 4/15 with Tax day, it wasn’t until last year that I discovered it was also “Patriot’s Day” and the day on which the Boston Marathon was run (and I only know that because of the horrific events that took place last year on 4/15).

    I like that the team in Houston that went by the Rebels changed their names too. I think it goes to show that there are more than just Native American based names that can be “culturally insensitive” I know that the Rebel name is a big part of history but not all history is good history. Kudos to those teams.

    I thought that was lame as hell. Anyone who goes against the grain can be considered a “Rebel” in a sense. The so-called Patriots in the American Revolution were Rebels from the British point of view, and there’s plenty of other examples throughout history of “Rebels” being a positive. A team should be able to use that name without it automatically invoking the Confederacy and the Civil War.

    This makes sense if you pretend if Houston wasn’t in the southern United States and Texas wasn’t a Confederate state.

    Right, so a team in Seattle or Detroit can be the Rebels, no problem, but Texas? Hell no, we can’t possibly move forward, gotta dwell on their racist past.

    If I didn’t want to dwell on the past, the last thing I’d do is name a high school team in the South “Rebels”. Ignoring context and sweeping things under the rug aren’t the same thing as moving forward. You can’t just wish the racist past away, you know.

    A better reason not to call yourself the Rebels is that it’s a tired, lame trope that pretends to glorify non-conformity and going against the grain when sports teams are actually about as mainstream as you can get. A team called the Establishment would be more honest (and would actually be kind of cool — like, don’t fuck with us, we’re the Establishment!).

    don’t fuck with us, we’re the Establishment!

    Oh my God, I love that. Next time I get a chance to name a team, that’s the one I’m using. (and we will wear green and gold if I have anything to say about it.)

    Westbury HS itself has invoked Confederate imagery, which undercuts that argument. To wit:

    The whole “Texians” imbroglio, though, seems a bit like a quarterback searching for a huddle to me. It’s a delicious bit of irony, though, that the school district encompasses the city named after the leading Texian.

    Better than The Establishment would be The Man. Bonus: the girls teams would be The Lady Man.

    For a The Man baseball game, instead of “Take Me out to the Ballgame” could fans sing “Hooker with a Penis” during the 7th inning stretch?

    Well now, I’ve got some advice for you, little buddy
    Before you point the finger
    you should know that I’m the man

    And if I’m the man
    then you’re the man
    and he’s the man as well
    So you can point that fuckin’ finger up your ass

    The, I’m with you in principle. But in reality, the simple fact is that in pretty much every instance, schools in the former Confederacy with Rebels nicknames have long histories of using overtly Confederate imagery and slogans. And when you scratch the surface, you often find that the images and slogans, and even the Rebels nickname, have roots in the 1950s era of Southern resistance to school desegregation. So even if you’re cool with celebrating treason and folks who wage war against the United States, more often than not there are much more current elements of overt racial bigotry at play with Rebels nicknames.

    If a school’s use of the nickname really doesn’t invoke Confederate treason or more modern white supremacy, great! But as a practical matter, the burden of proof is on the school to prove that it’s the exception to the rule, not on those who make the fair and usually correct assumption otherwise.

    At first glance, the last sentence of that first paragraph seems like an inadvertent form of well-poisoning. I’m sure you’re not denying that it’s possible to be a fan of the former and not the latter, but unfortunately, any lout can accuse such a person of liking both; by those rules, the former then becomes automatically verboten. (Particularly since it’s hard to think of any “proof” that could satisfy the hypothetical lout.) So we might need more precise guidelines here.

    Exactly, The Jeff! Lame as hell and another pathetic example of bowing down to PC pressure (and at an estimated $250K taxpayer expense, as well). So incredibly pathetic. In an effort to not offend a small group, you end up offending a much larger one. Will will this crap end?

    Seriously, people, if we don’t put a lid on this unfortunate phenomenon right freaking now, this whole “being considerate & respectful” thing might link.

    Why don’t we change the name of the USA from the USA… I mean that has some bad history to it and some could take offense… my gosh…

    There are three high schools within ten miles of my house that go by “The Tigers”. I’d welcome a team called the Rebels.

    In Phil’s tweet the camo batting helmets were from Okalahoma instead of Ohio State.

    Mike’s observation should really settle the 42 tribute question. Uni numbers serve an important functional purpose; having every player wear the same number has the same effect as wearing no numbers. If it’s OK to eliminate player numbers on one day, it would be OK to do so on other games, or all games. Which is to say, if the annual 42 stunt is OK, then so would be replacing player numbers with ads.

    There are a million ways MLB could honor Jackie Robinson without making the game he played actually difficult for spectators to watch.

    On the other hand, the league-wide NNOB thing is so beautiful that it’s almost worth the disruption of not being able to know who’s doing what in the game.

    I agree. While I certainly don’t want to take anything away from Jackie Robinson, I really dislike how MLB does this. Visually confusing. I mean, you want to plaster that number in paint all over the field, that’s cool. You want to plaster his number all over the TV with graphics, that’s cool. Maybe replace the logo’s of the hats with the number 42 for all teams, that would be awesome actually. But to have every jersey with 42 and with no name. I just don’t like it.
    I wonder if Jackie Robinson would like it?

    **I wonder if Jackie Robinson would like it?**

    There’s obviously no way to know if Jackie would like it, but Rachel Robinson has always been supportive.

    “I am quite proud that when Jack stepped onto the field on April 15, 1947, and broke the color barrier in baseball, he helped to further social change in America,” said Rachel Robinson. “On behalf of our family and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, we are thrilled that Major League Baseball continues to honor him and works to ensure that what he stood for will not be forgotten by future generations.”


    I was having the same thoughts as many here last night. Watching the Pirates game, I wasn’t having trouble putting a name to the person I wanted to yell at through the TV.

    However, it is only something that happens once a year (well twice with today’s games) and it is a very unique tribute. It’s better than a patch or some other gesture that is not so visual. That is the cool thing about JR day, it is so visual. Baseball is a game about numbers and I think though it does create a bit of a headache at times, it is something I can deal with in the short-term.

    If I remember correctly, this all started with Ken Griffey Jr asking to wear 42 on April 15 one year, MLB allowing each team to have one player wear 42 the next year, and then the following year (and ever since) everyone has worn 42. I liked one player per team much better.

    There are a million ways MLB could honor Jackie Robinson without making the game he played actually difficult for spectators to watch.

    Is this a real problem? I’d get it if this was hockey or soccer, but in baseball, players tend to be where they’re supposed to be. If you’re at the game, you can just look at the scoreboard to see who the rightfielder is. On TV, most of the time, you don’t see the name or the number on the back – you rely on the PBP or the super text to identify players.

    NOBs are usually too small to read on TV, and if you can ID a player by the number, you probably know the team well anyway. Otherwise, there’s PBP on TV and web. Maybe the all-42 thing wouldn’t have worked 15 years ago. Now I think it’s a non-issue.

    It’s kind of a problem if you’re not intimately familiar with a team’s batting order or most current roster members, and have no clue who this fellow swinging the bat or defending the infield is. And though I love my home team this side idolatry, it’s been a long, long time since I was obsessed enough to commit anyone’s uniform number to memory, or young enough to retain it for long if I tried. No NOB, no clue–all the more so for visiting teams.

    Heck, it was a problem last night for me even though I am intimately familiar with my team’s batting order and roster members, because half of our best players are on the DL and the team is currently fielding an unusual hodgepodge of backups, benchies, and prospects. Not that the number makes an unfamiliar player instantly recognizable, but at least you can look him up by his number pretty easily. Going to and clicking on the Nats roster was no help at all last night.

    I was obsessed enough to commit anyone’s uniform number to memory

    That’s precisely why I think people are overstating the importance of unique uniform numbers to identify players.

    Unless you’re watching the game in a sensory deprivation chamber, you probably have access to a portable computing device of some and live gamecasts on pretty much every major sports website, or failing that, an audio feed with a play-by-play announcer.

    Sure, it’s an inconvenience, but to me, it seems like a minor, “okay, I’ll deal with it for 1 game out of 162 and, hey, the announcer just said his name” inconvenience than “this seriously gets in the way of my enjoyment” inconvenience.

    This may be a dumb question, but do all the MLB teams have separate unis just for Jackie Robinson day, or did they alter the player’s unis? And if they have separate unis, they just wear them once a season and then what? Put them in storage?

    Separate. At least one jersey from each team is auctioned. I think (but am not positive) that the rest of the players get to keep theirs.

    Every picture tells ‘a’ story – reminds of the Faces, one of the best rock bands of all-time. Too bad Rod loves his American storybook so much.

    Technically, yes – but The Faces actually played on one track uncredited (contracts ya know), and Ronnie Wood is all over the place – and also uncredited.

    And there a couple of Faces just as good, but as a band they are terribly neglected when it comes to greatness.

    Hi Paul, the third link regarding Utah (to the Ute Football Conference) has a repeat of the URL of the second link.

    …pushing back against the “unmasking” thing…

    Nah, it’s not that. This just happens to be the best photo ever taken of me. (I’m sure anyone who’s seen the one of me at the Minneapolis Uni Watch gathering can see why that might be true.)

    It will never get picked, but I’m submitting Grand Rapids Gudgeon Pins in reference to a connecting piece for a piston in an auto engine.

    I’ve never been in the “football will die out” camp, nor am I a full blown “techno-utopist,” but the seemingly simple ideas that Riddle is putting forward show that there’s a lot of room for headgear improvements which can make the game much safer.

    If the NFL would invest some of their billions into DARPA-like research, an Apollo program against concussions if you will, there could be some major break throughs that will not only help the game but could lead to improvements in many safety related areas.

    Playing the denial game for a decade+ not only was a major PR catastrophe (and legally costly), but set back research efforts as well. As someone who enjoys watching the Giants all winter long, I hope their previous approach to the problem doesn’t prove suicidal to the game.

    I’ve sometimes wondered if the metal barred mask is really the optimal way of protecting football players, or if it’s simply a convention that no one has bothered to fundamentally revisit since the single-bar days. Has anyone recent investigated more radical designs, such as full-head helmets or integrated visors?

    Overlooked beside OU’s hideous G.I. Joe helmets during last night’s 18-inning marathon game was a new addition to Oklahoma State’s set: The Rally Gnome.

    I’m not a fan of baseball, but from a pure aesthetics standpoint, seeing everyone wear 42 when you’re trying to learn more about the sport, and you’re watching it in Applebee’s at 10pm, makes it purely unwatchable.

    It’s a great gesture (and honestly, a gesture I don’t think we will, or should, see in any other sport), but adding 42 at the mound and making the refs wear 42 seems to be a bit of an overkill.

    Well, you’ve definitely picked the right learning environment. I mean, when I think hockey, Applebee’s immediately springs to mind.

    Years ago I knew ZERO about hockey. I was lucky enough to be given some tickets to several games, so I went. Good seats–down near the glass. The teams are playing and skating and stuff and “TWEET” (whistle). I’m like, why did they stop?? Other spectators told me “Two line pass” or “Icing” or whatever. I learned the rules in about 3 games.

    I must’ve been sitting near nice fans.

    Curiously enough, the name of the English woman who introduced field hockey in the United States? Constance Applebee.

    I love how Darnell Dockett’s face mask has the matching diagonal bars on the horseshoe.

    Ha! When I came to the comments page there were 42 comments!! (Mostly about the #42)
    Also, In last nights game the Royals beat the Astros 4-2. They made mention of that on the radio broadcast during the bottom of the 9th and on the post game show.

    The Live Lids hat is ridiculous. I really hope these $75 snap-backs don’t catch on.

    I’m okay with the Dodgers having an alternate road jersey… it’s a nice looking jersey, but on Jackie Robinson day, they should really be wearing a Brooklyn throwback jersey.

    Actually, Robinson never once wore a jersey with “Brooklyn” across the chest. During his entire 10-year career, the Dodgers wore “Dodgers” at home and on the road:

    I stand corrected! They need to ditch the front numbers and get a different cap for next year, though!

    what would have been cool is if the Dodgers had worn their alt road jerseys without the numbers on the front.

    Yup. And for about 1/2 of Jackie’s tenure, they didn’t have the (now iconic) red front number on the homes either (added in 1952). I was searching yesterday for a photo of JRR that HAD the number (for my Twitter header). Probably more than half the shots did not (which I found interesting, since I would have thought both with his popularity increasing and probably a larger media contingent, there would have been more photos of him WITH the front number).

    with his popularity increasing and probably a larger media contingent, there would have been more photos of him WITH the front number

    Not to mention 1955, when the Bums finally bested the Yankees. I would have expected that to skew everything towards the front-number jersey. Interesting.

    “… … And still more from Phil: You know the Yankees wear pinstripes, but did you know they once wore multi-colored pinstripes? That’s from 1912. … ”

    First of all, Phil has been unavoidably helpful for a long time, but lately, he’s really upped the ante. Wonderful stuff.

    As to the red-and-blue pinstripes, wow! Who knew? I’ve always been interested in the distinction between the splashy red-ness of the Yankee logo and the corporate blue-ness of the Yankee uniform. Anybody know how long the blue-and-red pinstripe experiment lasted?

    Pretty sure it was just the one year. Then solid-color jerseys for a couple seasons, and then when pinstripes came back to stay they were navy all the way.

    That gorgeous “NY” logo lasted longer – five seasons – before the Yankees went back to the plain front jerseys of the Babe Ruth era.

    The two-color 1912 Yankees pinstripes mean that the Washington Senators / Minnesota Twins have the oldest claim to their pinstripes in MLB. Both introduced pinstripes in 1912 (the Senators/Twins debuting road pins the same year), but the Senators/Twins kept the basic pattern with less variation in the early years. The only real discontinuity for the WAS/MIN franchise was the 1972-86 pullover interregnum.

    Still, that red/navy alternating-stripe pattern would be fantastic for today’s Twins.

    The Albuquerque Isotopes and El Paso Chihuahuas did a tribute to the Negro Leagues last night but there aren’t a lot of pictures or coverage, there’s this: link

    Each player wore a different team so it was like an all-star game. The EP pitcher also used an old timey wind up for his first pitch as a tribute. (I think it was also the first time EP busted out the red road hats)

    The Isotope’s Facebook page has a nice photo of Trayvon Robinson in a New York Cubans uniform posing with Petie Gibson, in a Grays jersey and the grandson of Josh Gibson. Both are wearing Isotopes caps, though.

    I think minor league teams periodically do this promotion wear several different Negro Leagues uniforms are worn by one or both teams for a game.

    The baseball fight with everyone wearing the same number jersey?

    Is this the first one? I fell over laughing when that came on TV. I’d like to think if it happened before I’d remember it.

    Great details on the new SpeedFlex helmet. Paul, have any of the equipment managers you have talked to expressed any concern that each new generation of helmet seems to have more holes/vents/indentations than the previous one? I know some teams have adjusted their logos, mostly be making them smaller, but at what point does the helmet design really start to have a broad affect on helmet decals? The Vikings, Eagles, and Rams are the first to come to mind.

    They say they’ll find a way to make it all fit. Obviously, the basic model of a center stripe with a logo on each side was based on the old-style spherical shells. As shells change, their ornamentation will likely change as well. We’re already seeing this on the college level.

    Those Illinois basketball uniforms look awful. Zig zags and odd trim on the shorts. Way too messy.

    Hey all, Paul posted it yesterday but please consider dropping by my Atom-Bomb Bikini blog and checking out my Stanley Cup Pin-up Picks…and while you’re there, take three minutes and enter the playoff challenge! At this point, your odds at winning something are lookin’ good!



    my first thought when seeing that nike made more uniforms was great I cant wait to see these side shows.

    I was very surprised I really love the Illini’s new uniforms except for that stupid flywire collar. But man those basketball uniforms are down right beautiful.

    I don’t see how the basketball unis are in any way an improvement over the previous incarnation.

    It looks like the particular racerback cut of the WNBA jersey backs will be maintained, much to aesthetic detriment (at least for me). I’ve been trying to hunt up some definitive shots but can’t find any.

    I’m no fan of the sleeved jersey, a la old school womens’ college hoops, or the new NBA alternate. Why can’t they meet in the proverbial, literal middle?

    The W didn’t use the racerbacks for a long time, the result being that players rolled up the straps like so:


    The players prefer the racerbacks, which means the league is likely to keep them for the forseeable future.

    This is starting to get beat to death alreday, but another alleged leak for the Browns’ uni upgrade.


    Lewis Black just made the link:

    “Daniel Snyder said he was going to keep the Redskin name. And since that’s what he wants, I’m dead set against it.”

    Watching the Yankees first game of the double header currently, not a 42 in sight. Maybe they are doing it for the night cap?

    Cubs in their alternate road alternates (that’s not a typo).

    So that means they’ve still not worn their so-called primary road unis yet this season.

    Correct! The Cubs are wearing the alternate pants with white and blue stripes as opposed to the plain sided pants. Not even a remote connection to the regular “Chicago” script road uniform this season. At least not one intentional.


    Correction on the Mariners pitching coach photo I sent. I had thought it was Willis but it is actually Rick Waits. Willis was last year’s coach.

    I have a strong disdain for umpires wearing number “42”. Umpires are not part of the player fraternity. If they are to honor Jackie Robinson, a “42” patch would be far more appropriate. MLB is in overkill mode by having umps wear the player’s number.

    I was traveling yesterday and missed the piece on African-American trainers. Great stuff!

    I was particularly interested in the photos of “Doc” Buckner with the White Sox. His brother Harry was also a trainer, also nicknamed “Doc”, and also had a long career in baseball, much of it link. He was often photographed in uniform, at least a jersey and cap – here he is link, and ten years later in color link. Love those team jackets.

    This habit of putting Doc in team photos turned ugly on at least one occasion – the 1937 Spalding Guide had a link in which he was pictured, captioned simply as “Buckner, (Trainer)” (everyone else was identified by their first and last names). Worse, they link his face.

    Thanks for the article – great stuff for Jackie Robinson Day.

    I hate the shield logo. Amazing idea, but lousy execution. The negative space is all wrong – link.

    If they moved the “I” to the top of the blue area, the blue could conceivably read as a “U”. Now it’s just a mess.

    GFGS and BFBS… Ugh!

    When you work so hard to get a custom font that it comes out looking like that, its best to stick with a normal block font.

    Really hope that font doesn’t bleed over to other sports, cause it is awful.

    Dark Blue, Orange and White look so good together, there is simply no need for grey/silver or black to make it look “cooler” or whatever they were trying to accomplish by shoe-horning those in. When will Nike learn that Black on Navy is pointless.

    “Custom numbers appear taller and more narrow, mimicking the height of New York City’s skyline. The numbers also feature a unique 44-degree linear “V” pattern. This pattern is mirrored on the uniform pant lines and shoulder panels for unified positioning of the Orange as New York’s College Team.”

    What a joke… and why does Nike hate the stripes on helmets… they looked good on Syracuse

    Geez, it’s one game out of 162 that all teams wear 42 to honor a man that did more than break the color barrier. He showed us all how to endure some pretty damn hard times when he did break the color barrier with class and dignity. Baseball has done the right thing to honor Jackie Robinson. I guess to avoid some confusion players could wear their regular numbers on both sleeves. Would that help those who have a crisis in identifying the players? I donned my Mitchell and Ness Dodgers Jackie Robinson jacket yesterday. 42 taught us all valuable life lessons.

    FSU athletics department had a mid-level employee who was dined by Nike, then decided to change the school’s brand. Crazy that Nike can find the weak spots. There’s an FSU alum who created an enhanced logo in 1/2 day, which is now all over the news / Tallahassee papers / etc…

    When will Nike stop??

    That’s pretty sad…’s clear there’s a leadership void. Regarding the logo, I guarantee that an account manager from Nike took some mid-level state worker out to dinner, who probably became “star struck” at the idea of changing such an iconic brand.

    Anyway this girl is an alum / graphic artist, and came up with a better logo in ½ a day. Now she’s all over the news, the Tallahassee Democrat, etc. Just wild (and pathetic).

    Read on…. link

    So a mid-level employee pulled the trigger on that decision? Yeah that smells like complete BS.

    We can argue about the logo and how it could have been done better (the example you provide is certainly the better option), but there is no way this decision was rushed, or that the university decided to make such a move because a single employee, who wasn’t even a top member of the Athletics Department, was wined and dined by Nike.

    Mariners pitching coach is Rick Waits not Carl Willis. Waits is new this year with new coaching staff.

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