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The Fine Line Between Public and Private

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was friends with Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, so Ventura was understandably devastated when he heard about Taveras’s death in a car accident on Sunday. I’m sorry for his loss (and for everyone else who knew Tavares), but I still wish he hadn’t written a big “RIP O.T #18” memorial on his cap last night. I thought it looked unseemly, especially during the World Series.

On Twitter last night, I didn’t say I thought the cap memorial looked unseemly. Instead, I asked what everyone else thought of it, and the response was overwhelming: Not only did almost everyone love Ventura’s gesture, but many thought I was a heartless prick for even raising the question. I eventually deleted the tweet because it was provoking some seriously nasty feedback (I wasn’t looking for a fight), but the basic thrust was, “People can mourn however they want, so shut the fuck up.”

As I’ve noted many times, Twitter isn’t a particularly good gauge of, well, anything, but I was still taken aback by the vehemence of the response. Like most people my age, I’ve had my share of personal experience with mourning and grief, and I agree that it’s is a very personal matter (duh). But Ventura’s cap gesture, no matter how heartfelt or sincere, struck me as a “Look at me!” move — not as over-the-top as, say, Tim Hudson’s “JH” chest initials for Josh Hancock in 2007, but still a bit much, especially for the Series. He had already written memorials on his glove and cleats — couldn’t he have stopped there? If he had to have something on his cap, couldn’t he have just used Tavares’s number or initials and made them fairly small? Couldn’t he have skipped all of this and just asked the equipment manager to sew a black armband onto his jersey sleeve? Don’t the Royals have one of those old black caps lying around that he could’ve worn? (Actually, I would’ve liked that quite a bit — much better than defacing a uni element.)

If you’re okay with the cap inscription, that’s fine — we can agree to disagree (although I would prefer if you didn’t call me a heartless prick). But where would you draw the line? What if Ventura had worn big letters on his jersey, like Hudson did for Hancock back in ’07? What if he’d done something even more demonsrative? Is there any point at which you’d say, “Okay, enough,” or would you give any player carte blanche in this type of situation?

I think the context of our times also plays into this. If Ventura had worn a cap memorial during the World Series back in, say, the mid-1970s, it would have been unique and might have gone down as a special chapter in baseball (or at least uniform) history that I’d probably remember fondly. But we live in an era when athletes express themselves in so many ways — ways that include modifying their uniforms — that it long ago began to feel rote and tedious. You could say I’m just jaded, and maybe you’d be right, but I could say Ventura’s cap inscription felt primarily like a predictable, almost scripted reflection of our times, and maybe I’d be right too. Probably a bit of both.

I also think a lot of this has to do with where we each draw the line between public and private expression, or what our idea of decorum is. I wish Ventura had chosen a less public expression of mourning; by the same token, some people probably wish I had chosen a less public means of addressing it. For those people, I’m the one whose behavior is unseemly here, not Ventura. I don’t agree with them, but I relate to the impulse they’re feeling.

Finally, I also realize that there’s a Missouri connection here, because Tavares played for the Cardinals, many of whose fans are presumably also Royals fans, so Ventura’s gesture probably resonated strongly throughout the state, even if that wasn’t his intention.

To be clear: I don’t think Ventura should be fined, I don’t think Ned Yost or the umpires or Bud Selig should have told him to change caps, I have nothing but sympathy regarding the loss of his friend, and I admire how well he pitched last night with what must have been a heavy heart. Personally, though, I just wish he’d done something more subtle.

• • • • •

ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column takes a uni-centric look at this year’s World Series.

• • • • •

rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

New raffle! Jeff Suntala is the guy who makes those renderings of old ballparks, which he sells as prints. He’s recently added many new ballparks to his inventory and is celebrating by offering a free print to three lucky Uni Watch readers. The winners will each get to pick a print of their choice from this list.

To enter, send an email with your preferred ballpark print and your shipping address to the raffle address by this Sunday night, 8pm Eastern. One entry per reader. I’ll announce the winners next week.

• • • • •

Sponsor shout-out: As most of you know, I really like sports socks. I’m also very particular about my own socks. So I’ve been very happy to have American Trench as a Uni Watch advertiser in recent months. Their made-in-USA socks — a pair of which I’m wearing right now as I type this — are first-rate. I’m not saying this because I promised them extra publicity; I’m saying it because I genuinely believe in the product. Also, I’m aware that their socks are a little on the spendy side, so some of you might have clicked on their ad and then thought to yourselves, “Hmmmm, is it worth spending that much money on a pair of socks?” Trust me: It is.

• • • • •

Baseball News: Opera singer and KC native Joyce DiDonato will be singing the national anthem prior to Game 7 tonight. One of her friends, a writer named William V. Madison, whipped up his concept of a uni-themed opera gown for her to wear. Fun, although I don’t really understand the cricket bat (from Bradley Blunt). ”¦ At least one U.S. military veteran says enough already with all the G.I. Joe tributes in MLB and throughout the sports world (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Also from Brinke: Dick’s Sporting Goods mistakenly ran an ad for Royals championship gear yesterday. … “I was watching Little Big League last night and then looked up trivia about the movie on imdb,” says Kurt Esposito. “The trivia included this: ‘In a movie in which the plot revolves around the owner of a baseball team passing away, in this case Jason Robards as Minnesota Twins owner Thomas Heywood, it’s ironic that the film unintentionally features a reference to a real owner who had passed away. During the Twins games against the Texas Rangers (when Billy argues with the umpire), if you look on the sleeve of the Rangers’ gray jerseys, there is a black “HEC” stenciled into the uniform. It’s a reference to H. Eddie Chiles, who passed away shortly after selling the Texas Rangers franchise to an investment group led by Dallas businessman Rusty Rose and future President of the United States, George W. Bush.'”

NFL News: Interesting article on the NFL’s motion-tracking technology (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Nike wishes NFL players would stop beating up their wives and girlfriends because it’s bad for the company’s outreach to female customers (Phil again). ”¦ Here’s a video report on the Chicago-based company that provides the leather for NFL footballs (from Jamie Uthe). ”¦ Oh baby, how awesome is this 1960s Campbell Soup NFL/AFL poster? (Tremendous stuff from Jeff Flynn.) ”¦ Also from Jeff: Look at the apparently homemade AFL logo on this old Steelers pennant. “Probably added by kid from 1970 who confused moving to the AFC with joining the AFL,” says Jeff. ”¦ Weirdest Pinktober gesture of the month: Paul McCartney wore a pink NFL wristband for his show in Louisville last night (from Brian Davis).

College and High School Football News: Interesting article on the return of the Pitt script helmet logo (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Fresno State is doing the flag-desecration thing this weekend (from Jared Buccola). ”¦ Cleveland.com is conducting a reader poll on the best high school helmets in northeast Ohio (from K.C. Kless). ”¦ Louisiana Tech may wear their white helmets again (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Also from Phil: Interesting article about the motivational wristbands some Oregon players are wearing. ”¦ Throwback in the works for Texas A&M? Maybe. ”¦ Black uniforms this weekend for South Carolina? Probably.

Hockey News: The usual G.I. Joevember warm-up silliness upcoming for the Blue Jackets (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Also from Phil: In what appears to be a first, the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) will be wearing flag-desecration helmets on Nov. 1. Flag-themed jerseys, too. ”¦ Cross-dressing alert! Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth wanted an extra layer of protection for his catching hand, so equipment manager David Williams went to the Bills and got him an NFL wide receiver glove (from Steven Laga). ”¦ Batman- and Riddler-themed uniforms on tap next month for the Toledo Walleye and Evansville IceMen (thanks, Phil). … Before NHL refs and linesmen wore zerbra stripes, they wore off-white V-neck sweaters. I’ve never seen one of those for sale — until now (from David Firestone). … Also from David: an old dasher board ad from Joe Louis Arena. ”¦ Marty Hick recently took his very young daughter, Clara, to Blues training camp, where she had a very sweet encounter with the team’s mascot, Louie. “I’m especially proud of her genuine adoration, and the fact that she wasn’t afraid,” he says. “That and the fact that the mascot’s current sweater completely trumps last year’s model.”

NBA News: Yesterday was Opening Night in the NBA, so the Spurs marked their championship by wearing an O’Brien Trophy patch. That’s just a one-game thing for the first game of the season. ”¦ The Pelicans opened the season in their new red alternates. ”¦ An article about the Knicks’ switch to Phil Jackson’s triangle offense was accompanied by a photo of this cool-looking triangular-patterned basketball. ”¦ NBA replay screens appear to have been dressed up with a new logo (from Chris Perrenot). ”¦ “I think someone submitted the NCAA logo Mission Belts to the Ticker while you were away, but apparently they now have NBA designs, too,” says Michael Rich. “I found it interesting that the only NCAA school to have more than one color offering was Oregon. Seemed very appropriate.”

Soccer News: Here’s the logo for the 2018 World Cup (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ The Jacksonville Armada FC, which will begin NASL play next year, have unveiled their inaugural uniforms (thanks, Phil).

Grab Bag: “I use dental picks nightly,” says Ed Hughes. “On the left is a normal pack of picks, and on the right is what they look like this month. Come on, November (even though I’ll be sick of camo soon enough).”

• • • • •

Seventeen years and I still haven’t learned: So here’s a little story: In 1997, my then-girlfriend and I planned an October vacation. Due to my work schedule and hers, it worked out that we’d have to be flying home on the day of Game 7 of the World Series, if the Series went that far. So we had a choice: Fly home in the afternoon and get home in time to watch the game, or enjoy one last full day of vacation and fly home at night, which carried the risk of missing the deciding game. After talking it over, we decided to give ourselves that last full day of vacation. “After all,” we figured, “the Series probably won’t go the full seven games.”

And that’s how I ended up stuck on an airplane during one of the most dramatic Game 7s in history. We didn’t find out who’d won until we landed, got in a cab, and asked the cabbie to turn on the all-news radio station. (This was before smartphones and wifi, obviously.)

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, when I had the chance to buy tickets for what seemed like a very interesting creative project taking place tonight. I was aware that a Game 7 could be taking place, but I really wanted to check out this project. “Besides,” I thought, “the Series probably won’t go the full seven games.”

And that’s how I’ll be missing tonight’s deciding game. Me = dumb-ass. I hope to be home in time to catch the last couple of innings. Sigh.

172 comments to The Fine Line Between Public and Private

  • Lose Rem | October 29, 2014 at 8:06 am |

    OMG THE ITALICS!! MAKE THEM STOP!!!!

    • Lose Rem | October 29, 2014 at 8:07 am |

      (yes, the ALL CAPS was done as parody since I can’t do italics in these boxes)

      • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 8:11 am |

        Let’s see if adding an ending tag helps the comments below (at least until the end tag is added after Little Big League in the text of the entry).

        • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 8:14 am |

          (Nope, didn’t work)

        • The Jeff | October 29, 2014 at 8:14 am |

          It doesn’t work, I’ve tried that before.

        • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 8:21 am |

          Fixed. Sorry about that.

          That item was a last-minute addition to the Ticker. I had already proofed everything, and then I fucked it up with that last item….

      • Jim Vilk | October 29, 2014 at 12:50 pm |

        You can’t do italics? Why not?

  • Lee Wilds | October 29, 2014 at 8:08 am |

    Story about Nashville Predators equipment staff prepping for season’s longest road trip

    Long hours, 1,800 pounds of gear, keep Predators on the road
    http://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/nhl/predators/2014/10/28/long-hours-pounds-gear-keep-predators-road/18084253/F

    • Cort | October 29, 2014 at 10:49 am |

      Ventura is 23 years old. He signed with the Royals when he was 17. His whole young professional life has been spent in an arena where money and adulation and grandiose gestures are the norm. He lost a 22 year old friend. Given his youth and the professional culture in which he’s developed, the outsized memorial on his ballcap was actually pretty restrained.

      The networks greenscreen the backstops, so they can insert advertising of their choosing for the TV feed. Everything, from opening pitch to the foul poles, is corporate sponsored. Manufacturers’ logos are nearly as big as team insignia on the uniforms. Some Dominican kid scribbling an inarticulate good-bye to a dead friend is the least objectionable thing I saw last night.

      • Cort | October 29, 2014 at 11:10 am |

        This, of course, is in the wrong place.

        Mea maxima culpa.

  • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 8:14 am |

    Regarding the cap memorial, I agree with Paul in that I think it was just a bit much, at least for the front of the cap. If it were me, I would’ve just had the initials.

    • Dane | October 29, 2014 at 8:23 am |

      I had no problem with the cap memorial.

      • Tony C. | October 29, 2014 at 8:29 am |

        i don’t see an issue with it too.. especially if they had a close connection..

      • arrScott | October 29, 2014 at 9:06 am |

        I don’t have “a problem” with it either, yet I wish he had shown a little more restraint. The question isn’t whether anyone has “a problem” with it but what our standards are. What if Ventura had worn a Cardinals cap with Tavaras’ number? Or a plain blue cap with “RIP OT” written in place of the KC logo? If you wouldn’t be cool with those things, why not? What objective standard defines the line? If we dare not judge a man’s expression of grief in this case, by what standard can we judge any expression of grief?

        • Lee | October 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm |

          He was wearing his own hat.

          I don’t get the point of asking “what if…” about a Cardinals cap with or a plain blue cap with “RIP OT”. That didn’t happen, and most certainly wouldn’t happen.

          Lee

        • arrScott | October 29, 2014 at 12:22 pm |

          I’m not suggesting that Ventura should have gone to a store and shoplifted a Cardinals cap. I sort of assume he would purchase any cap he would wear, which would make it by definition “his own hat.”

          As to “most certainly wouldn’t happen,” well. Until last night, a player writing a giant three-line RIP tribute on the front of his cap, equal in prominence to his own team’s logo, like Ventura did was one of those things that nobody expected would ever happen. If everything is OK so long as it’s unlikely to actually happen, then everything is OK, and you’ve just given your stamp of approval to Ventura wearing a Cardinals cap.

          I’m just looking for a limiting principle here. Having approved of Ventura’s cap tribute as Teh Awesomest, do we have any grounds to rule out of bounds any conceivable other alteration of a player’s uniform for heartfelt personal expression? If so, what’s the principle that permits us to draw a line somewhere between what Ventura actually did and what some future player might hypothetically do?

        • Lee | October 29, 2014 at 12:57 pm |

          I don’t think we’re connecting here. You seem to be doing your damnedest to get me to draw a line of definition as to what is or is not okay. I don’t think that can be done.
          I still don’t get what you mean about him wearing a Cardinals hat or a hat with “OT” on it instead of “KC”. Why, exactly, would he do that? If he did, he’d be out of uniform, which is some sort of breaking the rules, and leads into punishment of some sort, I suppose. Again, why would he do that?

          He wrote on his hat. Lots of players do, and have done that, for a lot less than the death of a friend.
          I didn’t think of it as anymore distracting or ‘look at me’ than all of the team sanctioned memorial patches they wear all the time.

          Lee

        • arrScott | October 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm |

          He was already “out of uniform” as defined by the rules of baseball. See Rule 1.11(a)(3).

          And OK, so you don’t want to draw any lines. That’s fine! It just seems to me that whether any lines can be drawn, and if so where, is the interesting question here. I’m not trying to advocate my opinion here, I’m trying to understand yours (and the opinion of everyone who didn’t see Ventura’s gesture as pushing any boundaries).

          What Ventura did went beyond what I understood to be the established standards of personal expression on a baseball uniform. Many people seem to disagree. So I’m just curious what their standards are, or if those who are big fans of Ventura’s gesture take an anything-goes approach and would approve of anything a player might do, provided he is expressing a deeply held feeling.

    • Adam R. W. | October 29, 2014 at 8:32 am |

      I agree. There are ways to memorialize someone without making the headlines about yourself. It was a bit showy for my taste.

      • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 8:56 am |

        My main thing about it is actually the aesthetic value. If it had just been initials or a number, it wouldn’t look as cluttered as Ventura’s full inscription did (especially with the added clutter of the World Series patch on the side, and the memorial being right between the KC and that patch).

        If he’d put that inscription on the back of the cap, I think it would’ve looked a little better.

        • arrScott | October 29, 2014 at 10:12 am |

          Exactly. For one thing, the inscription was too “wordy” – that is, of the three lines RIP / O.T. / #18, any one of them was sufficient to convey the tribute and message of mourning. “Too many notes!” But mainly for me, what rubbed me a little wrong was the placement. Right next to the team logo sort of pushes the limits of sportsmanship as I was taught that particular value. “You play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back,” pretty much every coach I ever had said in one way or another. So if you’ve got a personal message to put on your uniform, you at least take care not to obscure or distract from the team name or cap logo or whatever.

          Plus, put that tribute on the back of the cap, and it would actually be more visible to spectators of the game. And instead of drawing attention away from Ventura’s team initials, it would draw attention away from Ventura’s own name and number on his own back.

          If I were a coach and a player tried to take the field looking like Ventura, my inclination would be to pull him aside, gather the rest of the players, encourage the whole team to write an “18” or whatever on the back of their caps, and ask Ventura to do the same. Not that Ventura did anything “wrong” in my book, but I think there were better and more dignified ways to express himself. And the whole “teamwork!” thing goes both ways – just as Ventura maybe should have taken more care not to put his personal expression ahead of his team, so too should his teammates have stood visibly with him in his hour of grief.

        • Cort | October 29, 2014 at 11:08 am |

          Arr, if I’m the manager or the pitching coach, and the guy I’ve got starting in Game Six, a 23 year old with nearly zero postseason experience, wants to inscribe a memorial on his ballcap, the last thing I’m going to do is critique him.

          Here’s how that conversation went, I’ll bet:

          Pitching Coach: “Skip, Ventura’s looking sharp in warmups. He’s ready to go.”

          Ned Yost: “Great. This is a must-win, as you are well aware.”

          Pitching Coach: “Indeed, sir. We’ve got to give it 110% tonight, or we’ll be on the golf course tomorrow. (both men chuckle meaningfully, fully cognizant of the gravity of their situation.) “Um, Skip? I do have one concern.”

          Ned Yost: “Prithee, pray tell.” (Yost, you many not realize, is an Elizabethan scholar in the offseason.)

          Pitching Coach: “Ventura has written an enormous tribute to the Taveras kid on his hat. It’s huge, and from an aesthetic perspective, rather unseemly. I’m thinking about telling him to tone it down, maybe swap the cap for one with something like a nice, understated “18” on the back. Whaddya think?”

          Ned Yost: “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? WE ARE SENDING THIS KID INTO GAME FRIGGIN’ SIX, AND YOU WANT TO MESS WITH HIS HEAD, TEN MINUTES BEFORE OPENING PITCH? I DON’T CARE IF HE HAS A NEON SIGN PINNED TO HIS CAP — LEAVE OUR PITCHER ALONE!!!!”

          Pitching Coach: “Good call, Skip. Good call.”

          Scene.

        • arrScott | October 29, 2014 at 11:53 am |

          Fair point, Cort.

          I’m really not trying to say anybody did anything wrong last night. I just sort of think there must be a way to have done better by both Ventura’s feelings and by the integrity of the team’s uniform. And maybe there wasn’t, though this now stands as a problematic precedent. By what rights can any manager or umpire now object to any player’s professed feelings behind any conceivable uniform display? It would be unfair, wouldn’t it, to ask any manager to disrupt his star player’s delicate mental state by toning down his display just prior to the game, having permitted Ventura this gesture on the grounds that we can’t disrupt his delicate emotional state just prior to the game by asking him to, you know, wear his team’s uniform onto the field of play.

          And heck, maybe we’ve already crossed that Rubicon and I’m wrong and there isn’t any way to do better, and we already live in a world where a player can do whatever he wants to his uniform. Perhaps we’re just lucky Ventura wore a Royals cap at all and not a Cardinals cap with Tavaras’ number and en entire Bible verse written out across it.

      • SoCalDrew | October 29, 2014 at 10:09 am |

        Grief is a once private matter that has seemingly been transformed into yet another “look at me” opportunity.

        • Chance Michaels | October 29, 2014 at 10:32 am |

          Exactly. I think “unseemly” is a particularly kind way of putting it. “Self-aggrandizing” comes to mind.

        • Dane | October 29, 2014 at 1:37 pm |

          Couldn’t disagree more. I see it as “remember this friend”, not “look at me.”

    • ScottyM | October 30, 2014 at 12:10 am |

      No problem at all with the tribute. The fact that it was “homemade” was endearing. He didn’t put too much thought into it. It wasn’t fancy. He didn’t require help from the clubhouse manager by sewing a black armband or whatnot. That’s what makes it special… he likely just went with his gut instinct.

      In this day and age, that’s great. RIP to his friend.

  • The Jeff | October 29, 2014 at 8:23 am |

    I think I’m actually more OK with the hat memorial than I am with team or league wide memorials for deaths which just happen to make national headlines and have no connection to anything in the sport.

    • James Gregg | October 29, 2014 at 10:18 am |

      I agree. It was much more personal from the player to the man who had died so tragically.

  • Mainspark | October 29, 2014 at 8:24 am |

    I think you’re wrong about the Tavares tribute but thanks for reminding me why I don’t have a twitter account.

  • Randy | October 29, 2014 at 8:29 am |

    I liked seeing the RIP tribute on Ventura’s cap. It was a good reminder throughout the game that there are some things more important than baseball.

  • DRR | October 29, 2014 at 8:30 am |

    The cap note struck me as less of a “look at me” and more of a “look at him”. A way to get Taveras out there on the screen at the World Series. I obviously can’t speak to Ventura’s mindset or intention, but that it how it came across to me and I liked it.

    • keith | October 29, 2014 at 9:55 am |

      i was about to write this same comment. at the same time, i don’t think Paul is a “heartless prick”. i think he’s a journalist who gives his opinion on uniform related stories. he did his job. the internet is awful.

    • Chance Michaels | October 29, 2014 at 10:34 am |

      I don’t like those either.

      But if the organization wants to temporarily alter the uniform, that’s one thing. Individual expression on the uniform is something else altogether.

    • ChrisH | October 29, 2014 at 12:02 pm |

      KC/MLB/Fox did “get Taveras out there on the screen at the World Series”…with a very nice tribute and moment of silence before the game prior to the playing of the National Anthem.
      What Ventura did was not dignified and lacked appropriateness; a friend should mourn but expressions of sorrow/desires for remembrance should never look like feel-good superficiality.

      • Lee | October 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm |

        Any time you are using “should” twice in a sentence, perhaps you might consider that you are merely expressing an opinion, and maybe not everyone shares the values that are personal to you.

        Lee

        • hmich176 | October 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm |

          And that is the very problem with sharing opinions.

          Maybe they should stay personal to everyone.

        • arrScott | October 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm |

          It’s silly to demand that people somehow preface every statement of values with a disclaimer to the effect of, “That’s just, like, my opinion, man.” All statements of value are opinions. By definition.

          To state an opinion does not assume that everyone shares the opinion; it assumes that the opinion so stated is, to the best of the speaker’s understanding, true. And, well, duh. If he didn’t believe it to be true, then it wouldn’t be his opinion, now, would it?

  • Dumb Guy | October 29, 2014 at 8:31 am |

    RE: the cricket bat for the opera star…..

    The designer is British.
    But I don’t know if the cricket bat is clever or dumb/uneducated.

    The design is, of course, horrible.

  • MF | October 29, 2014 at 8:34 am |

    I totally agree with Paul. What other reason for the pitcher to wear a memorial on his cap but to garner free sympathy from a large audience? It is unseemly. It’s no different than another player writing MY MOM DIED OF CANCER IN 2010 on his jacket. Advertising and personal loss should not mix.

    • Cort | October 29, 2014 at 11:13 am |

      Half the automobiles in Houston carry back window decals that read something like “In loving memory of Joe Fulano, our uncle/abuelo/dad/homeboy: 1965 – 2010”.

      Which begs the questions: how much of the cap tribute was a function of Latin culture, where memorializing the departed is a very big deal?

  • Karim | October 29, 2014 at 8:41 am |

    Paul, I completely agree with your sentiment about “a less public expression of mourning” would have been more tasteful. This reminds me of the Facebook age we live in where when someone passes away, there is a post about that person (usually by a family member or friend) memorializing them. Something about that feels wrong. I don’t like this look-at-me thing that happens when someone passes away, and it happens far too often.

    • walter | October 29, 2014 at 9:34 am |

      Unfortunately, a component of tragedy is suddenness. Had mourners a few days to deliberate, they might have opted for a tribute more personal and subtle. But I concur there are too many “look at me” breast-beaters and lamenters. To some people, grief is an arms race.

  • Tony C. | October 29, 2014 at 8:46 am |

    of course his cap was a look at me moment.. he wants to bring attention to a close friend’s death.. i think so things are just more important that trying to maintain the sanctity of a dying sport its hollow traditions

  • Joe | October 29, 2014 at 8:49 am |

    At this point, it seems like teams are actively hoping for someone tangentially related to their franchise to die just so they can whip up a “look at us” memorial patch. It’s overblown and it rings hollow most of the time.

    • Tony C. | October 29, 2014 at 8:51 am |

      wow.. this has to be one of the dumbest things i’ve read in a while.. organizations hoping for people to die for a small patch to be added to their unis.. guess we have uni truthers now..

    • Karim | October 29, 2014 at 9:01 am |

      Uh…what?

      • Elena | October 29, 2014 at 9:56 am |

        Wow, that’s unbelievably sick and cruel.

    • Phil Hecken | October 29, 2014 at 9:12 am |

      “it seems like teams are actively hoping for someone tangentially related to their franchise to die just so they can whip up a “look at us” memorial patch.”

      ~~~

      Just…wow.

      • Cort | October 29, 2014 at 11:21 am |

        Sort of in Joe’s defense, how soon following a sports celebrity’s death does someone in the UniWatch comments section ask the question, “What do you think the memorial patch will look like?”

        It’s not that the clubs are hoping for dead guys so they can tap into that memorial patch revenue stream; it’s that we are the fans as the fans and aesthetes are so removed from the actual loss, that our focus is more on the design elements of the tribute.

        I’m not saying that’s wrong — frankly, it would be weird if we went into collective grieving for, say, Milo Hamilton when he passes on — but it does mean that our perspective is far more detached than that of the people who actually knew the departed.

        • Phil Hecken | October 29, 2014 at 12:55 pm |

          Cort,

          See Kenn’s (KT) response below. Puts into more good english than me what I would have said.

          It’s fine to wonder “what sort of uni memorial will team x have due to ____’s death” — but that’s not what Joe said.

          And (like so many off-color jokes and such), even if one privately had such thoughts, it’s probably not a great idea to actually ya know, say them aloud (or type them in a comment section).

          I was just frankly amazed someone would actually say that.

    • KT | October 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm |

      Wow. Someone actually thought that. Then thought it would be okay to put that thought in public?

      “We need somebody to die here pretty quick so that we can drum up some interest and move some black armbands at the team store. Johnson, see who you can get up in an airplane, stat.”

      Oy.

  • Thresh8 | October 29, 2014 at 8:54 am |

    I like the new Jacksonville Armada threads, but is there any particular reason they didn’t ressurect the team name Tea Men?

    This, in a league which already has (off the top of my head) Cosmos and Rowdies.

    • DJ | October 29, 2014 at 9:44 am |

      The original team took the “Tea Men” name with them when they moved from New England. The current team might have believed the old name was better suited for a New England team, as opposed to a team from North Florida.

      • Thresh8 | October 31, 2014 at 8:16 am |

        Yes, I forgot to mention the origin of ye olde TeaMen playing on the painted concrete of Nickerson Field in Boston, among other places.

    • Chance Michaels | October 29, 2014 at 10:35 am |

      Given the modern political context, I can understand them not wanting such an association.

    • KT | October 29, 2014 at 12:33 pm |

      Because “Tea Men” made zero sense for a Jacksonville team in 1982 and makes even less today. And the Tea Men weren’t particularly beloved in their first incarnation.

      Retro only takes you so far.

      • Jim Vilk | October 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm |

        Retro only takes you so far.

        That would make a great song lyric.

  • JakeK | October 29, 2014 at 8:57 am |

    I think there is a strong Missouri connection to this. While our teams were bitter rivals in the 80’s, (mostly due to a bad call) I think 3 World Series later (5 with 2 losses) St. Louis does nothing but support what seems to be like our brother with this World Series. Although his memorial on Ventura as nothing to do with that since he grew up with Taveras, it’s still something I personally took to heart being that I am a Cardinals fan.

    I’d be shocked if there’s a single Giants fan among the St. Louis Cardinals fan base tonight or last night for that matter, Ventura’s performance and gesture sealed in our respect. Go Royals!

  • Blaze | October 29, 2014 at 9:09 am |

    Paul, you generally seem to piss off a lot of people with your very hipster-esque hatred of silly things, so forgive me if I have no sympathy for the negative response you got, and are getting, to your poor judgement in this case as well.

    Stick to post links about uniform changes.

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 9:38 am |

      I wasn’t looking for anyone’s sympathy, but thanks for sharing.

      • Tony C. | October 29, 2014 at 10:15 am |

        it does come off of as “hey look at me entry” and one that is looking for people that side with your line of thinking.

        how was the original tweet worded.. that could also be part of the reason why you had so much venomous backlash

        • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 10:28 am |

          it does come off of as “hey look at me entry”…

          Blogging and cultural criticism are, by their very nature, “look at me” enterprises. (So is internet commenting, by the way.) Today’s entry is no different than any other in that regard. If you don’t like blogging or cultural criticism, that’s fine, but it’s like complaining about rain being wet.

          …and one that is looking for people that side with your line of thinking.

          On the contrary, if you actually read the entry, you’ll see that I went out of my way to acknowledge both sides of the issue and to see things from the pro-memorial point of view. Did I make a case for my point of view? Sure — that’s what cultural critics do. But again, today’s entry was no different than any other one in that regard.

          Original tweet asked if people liked the cap memorial or if they thought it was too much (in those exact words), because I was genuinely interested in what people thought.

        • swilson160 | October 29, 2014 at 1:06 pm |

          “Blogging and cultural criticism are, by their very nature, ‘look at me’ enterprises.”

          Paul, do you not see the hypocrisy in criticizing someone for a “look at me” gesture (a regular feature of your work) when your entire career is, by your own definition, a “look at me” enterprise?

        • Tony C. | October 29, 2014 at 1:07 pm |

          “or if they thought it was too much”

          well there you go. people are automaticly going to think you have a very negative opinion of it when you word it like that

        • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm |

          Paul, do you not see the hypocrisy in criticizing someone for a “look at me” gesture (a regular feature of your work) when your entire career is, by your own definition, a “look at me” enterprise?

          Except writing and cultural criticism are DESIGNED to attract attention — that’s the whole point, to create something that people will read.

          Mourning is more typically private, and uniforms are more typically not defaced for public messaging.

          Apples and oranges.

          If two people have sex in the middle of the street and a construction worker tells them to get a room so he can repave the road surface, would you accuse him of “hypocrisy” because he’s going to be doing something in the middle of the street after telling two other people to get out of the street? Of course not — because the construction worker’s JOB is to be in the street, just as my JOB is to create content for public discussion.

          Ventura’s job has nothing to do with personal expressions.

    • Tim | October 29, 2014 at 11:03 am |

      +1

  • Ricardo | October 29, 2014 at 9:10 am |

    The pitcher writing on his cap was silly to me, but if it made him feel better, so be it. the real “look at me” clown is that dude in the Marlins jersey.

    • hmich176 | October 29, 2014 at 2:40 pm |

      Read Caple’s story…

      http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/53055/the-marlins-fan-live-and-in-person (I would actually link this, but I have no clue which varient of html actually works in this.)

      ” “It’s an accidental thing. It will be over in a week,” Leavy said of the attention. “You know the phrase: ‘Your 15 minutes of fame?’ It will be over and I’ll be happy. I had people writing me letters, saying, ‘I’m so-and-so’s agent and we can sign you up and make this really big.’ I had marketing guys call, and I’m like, ‘Guys, I don’t want that.’ I just want to go games and have fun.

      “That’s the good part of this story. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs. My addiction is sporting events.”

      Is it ever. Leavy attends sporting events all year round, all over the country. He has seen dozens of World Series games and says he has attended every possible event he’s wanted to see . . . although he does still regret trading his ticket to the 1980 Olympic hockey game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union to go see bobsledding instead that day.

      How much does he spend on tickets?

      “A lot. It varies from year to year, but I spend a lot. A lot,” Leavy said. “I saved up to, like, buy a house and have a wife and kids, and it just never happened. So I decided a while ago to just go out and make myself happy. I said, ‘Why don’t you go out and see in person these games? Why don’t you just go to the Yankees-Red Sox game? Why don’t you go to the Dodgers-Cubs? Why don’t you just go do this stuff?’

      “So I did it. I wasn’t trying to be discovered. I went to the Yankees game three years ago in the playoffs and I was the only one wearing orange in the entire stadium. And I wasn’t discovered.” “

  • random reader | October 29, 2014 at 9:30 am |

    I’ve no problem with the cap memorial by Ventura. He also appeared to have written “OSCAR” behind the mound (something sort of captured by the Fox cameras prior to the start of the game)

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 9:35 am |

      Question: After the Royals blew the game open in the 2nd inning, I kept the game on but muted the sound and listened to some podcasts and music. Did the Fox announcers talk much about the cap memorial?

      • random reader | October 29, 2014 at 9:47 am |

        I wasn’t paying attention to the game fully during dinner so I can’t say for sure. I definitely remember seeing Ventura writing something on the mound but the camera started having issues and the Fox director switched to a different camera.

      • KT | October 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm |

        They would hardly have had time, given there’s Gotham to pimp, caps, jerseys and sweatshirts to sell, and actors from FOX shows to show “spontaneously” in the crowd.

  • Tyler | October 29, 2014 at 9:48 am |

    I think the cap writing is a reflection of a younger generation (Ventura is 23) that reacts quickly to any news by sharing their opinion or in this case tribute to a major news story. Not sure if he factored in being on a world stage for the tribute. I am guessing (no basis for this other than working with young people) that he sees it as a way for casual viewers to talk about his friend when watching the game by asking “why does that pitcher have writing on his hat?”

    Personally, I didn’t care for the tribute, but heard this morning the hat is being sent to Cooperstown (local news in STL mentioned). The tribute reminded me of a quickly thrown together tribute tattoo.

  • Gusto4044 | October 29, 2014 at 9:49 am |

    Agree with Paul here, a more discreet memorial would have been more appropriate. Calling attention to yourself actually takes away from the person you’re suppose to be honoring. Something like putting Taveras’ initials in smaller print on the back of the hat, for example.

    Also, some Cardinal fans are getting carried away by this sad event, acting as though Taveras was going to be the next Stan Musial. In reality, this was a highly touted prospect who struggled big time during his brief time in the bigs. The failure rate of prized prospects is high, so we really don’t know what would have happened with Taveras.

    Lastly, the nature of the deaths does factor into all of this. Taveras was speeding on a wet road, and his actions cost the lives of two people, not just one. So this is much different than a medical condition, or being the victim of a plane crash.

    • Judy | October 29, 2014 at 2:26 pm |

      I whole-heartedly disagree with the notion that this was a “look at me” gesture. I just don’t want to be that cynical about this. I’d prefer to believe that Ventura’s intention was to call attention to Taveras, not to himself.

      I take a lot more offense with the idea that because he wasn’t a Hall of Famer and because he was driving fast, his friends and colleagues shouldn’t grieve his death. If only he could be more like Mike Trout – then we would REALLY care that he died.

  • Elena | October 29, 2014 at 10:04 am |

    Real nice, Gusto, blaming the victim because he was speeding. So his friends should grieve less because of that? And you get to tell Cardinals fans how to grieve?
    In Ventura’s case, I give him a pass. He and Taveras are both very very young, both Latino–it’s part of their culture to have a more public display of grief. Writing the number and RIP OT on his cap made sure it was seen by friends and family back in DR, when he couldn’t go tot the services himself. The camera doesn’t always show the glove and cleats. MLB stopped players from writing initials and numbers as tribute to deceased teammates several years ago. I’m glad they didn’t run out and confiscate Ventura’s cap this time. It was a one time thing, when his grief was especially fresh.

    • Ricardo | October 29, 2014 at 1:11 pm |

      ” it’s part of their culture to have a more public display of grief.”

      huh?

  • William | October 29, 2014 at 10:10 am |
    • DenverGregg | October 29, 2014 at 10:35 am |

      Nifty helmet treatment!

      Hope adidas drops the goofy shoulder stretch mark pattern soon though.

      • Dumb Guy | October 29, 2014 at 10:56 am |

        I dig that a lot!!

        • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 11:41 am |

          Dig what? The helmet (which is awesome), or the Glad FlexForce trash bag effect on the jersey (which blows)?

          Also, if it’s a throwback, why do they have to clutter the jersey up with patches?

    • Eric Romain | October 29, 2014 at 11:23 am |

      Those helmets and jerseys mix like oil and water. I kinda like the retroish helmets and the toned down shoes, but the jerseys are straight out of 2014.

      And does the tweet really need to say #teamadidas? yikes.

    • BvK1126 | October 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm |

      Even though I really love the helmets, I’m still going to nitpick. Specifically, the faux rust on the facemask straps. It’s a novel idea and makes for an interesting visual, but why put it on a helmet designed to replicate and old leather helmet from the pre-facemask days?

      The facemask is coated with that same leather-like finish as the helmet, which makes sense to me. No use in putting an anachronistic gray facemask on this helmet just to make it feel throwback-y.

      But that’s where the rust spots on the straps really don’t make sense. It’s one thing to incorporate the facemasks into the design as if they’re part of the old leather helmet. It’s something else entirely to call attention to their existence with rust-stained facemask straps. If this were a throwback to a ’50s- or ’60s-era uniform, I’d be all for it. But for 1939-era leather helmets? It doesn’t work for me.

    • Lee | October 29, 2014 at 1:16 pm |

      Drop that squarely into the bin marked “trying too hard”.

      Lee

  • jc | October 29, 2014 at 10:12 am |

    In RE: to South Carolina wearing black, a huge part of me is expecting to be let down by the look. In a perfect world, they would throw back to the late 80’s early 90’s with garnet helmets, black jerseys and garnet pants. But, we’ll get a uniform that’s just UA’s striping on a different colored shirt.

  • Mike Engle on iPhone | October 29, 2014 at 10:32 am |

    Ventura’s Taveras tribute. First thought was, I thought there was a rule against that. Second thought was, setting the rule aside, white noise. The whole sports world is a Look at Me arena. I’m not a huge fan, but whatever.

  • Don G | October 29, 2014 at 10:34 am |

    I’m disappointed the 2018 WC logo does not include a hammer or a sickle. Missed opportunity.

  • Theo16 | October 29, 2014 at 10:37 am |

    Hat memorials became very common about 9-10 years ago and MLB clamped down on it. So the umpire should probably have told him to take it off. It seems he had at least an unspoken permission to wear it.

  • chris | October 29, 2014 at 10:39 am |

    Cant anyone die in peace anymore, it’s as if people race to twitter and Facebook to RIP the departed. I guess it’s not enough to say a prayer or reflect on the tragedy of the loss, we have to be hit over the head with other peoples condolences and a show of “we care more”. I guess many see Ventura as displaying proper grief, I see a fashion statement piggybacked on a loss of life.

  • andyharry | October 29, 2014 at 10:39 am |

    I liked the article about the Pitt script. For something of that magnitude, which means so much to that group of supporters, it was something that could have been handled much better. Though while the author would have preferred a prior announcement and a week of anticipation leading up to it, I think it would have been much better to do it as a surprise.

    Imagine if they had unexpectedly put the Pitt script at midfield and filled up the Heinz Field store with script merchandise out of the blue the night before. Imagine the buzz and chatter going through the crowd wondering what was going on, then seeing the team run out with the script on their helmets. Would have been a magic moment for some people.

  • BrianC | October 29, 2014 at 10:41 am |

    “Don’t the Royals have one of those old black caps lying around that he could’ve worn?”

    Those are best forgotten, like the Mets BFBS gear.

  • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 10:44 am |

    It’s interesting to see that the reaction to Ventura in today’s comments is fairly evenly split — very different than last night’s Twitter response.

    I’m not suggesting that either set of responses is “better” or more accurate than the other, since both are fairly small, self-selected samples. But I do think it’s interesting to see the difference between my Twitter followers and my website readers. (There’s some overlap between those two groups, obviously.)

    • Don G | October 29, 2014 at 10:49 am |

      I wonder what % of the negative responses on Twitter were from your followers. Twitter is full of noise from people who just happen to see tweets.

      • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 10:52 am |

        It was running roughly 9:1.

        • Chance Michaels | October 29, 2014 at 11:06 am |

          From followers? Or just people who read your tweet?

        • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 11:15 am |

          I have no idea. Despite having a fairly large number of followers, I fully admit to being fairly Twitter-clueless. It’s rare that I post anything there other than “New uniform for [whomever]” or “Check out this cool [whatever].” I almost never engage with the platform like I tried to do last night (and, given the response, I’m unlikely to do so again).

    • Elan | October 29, 2014 at 12:27 pm |

      Your assessments (like the plastic “pizza table” piece) are brilliant and always on-point, but you’ve stepped in some shit here. You mention that, like most your age, you’ve experienced plenty of mourning and grief. As the people who raised you and were around when you were younger begin to fade more numerously, you’ve learned better than a twenty-something how to cope. However, Taveras was 22. There’s never an opportune time to die, but there is certainly a sense that death is nearer than further away as we age. We mourn differently for someone who died at peace in their eighties than someone who was taken from us. A freak accident following what was probably a lifetime highlight (making it to the playoffs as a professional) puts one as close to we can get to a feeling of immortality, or at least, permanence. If Ventura was as close with Taveras as it seems, and had to take the mound following his friend’s sudden and grizzly death, managing the emotions and task at hand are unenviable. Ventura’s actions are in line with baseball tradition, and to do his friend and colleague any less may be seen as a disservice. I think history will reflect positively upon Ventura’s behavior, especially considering the already-heightened, rich emotions of a World Series.

  • Chance Michaels | October 29, 2014 at 10:54 am |

    An article about the Knicks’ switch to Phil Jackson’s triangle offense was accompanied by a photo of this cool-looking triangular-patterned basketball.

    That is cool, but I can’t get past the old black-trimmed Knicks uniform behind it.

  • Dumb Guy | October 29, 2014 at 10:54 am |

    Hat memorial = “In loving memory of…” decal on the back window of a car.

    I *get* it, but really, I don’t get it.

    • Lance Smith | October 29, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

      Someone else mentioned these decals and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. (I don’t drive so maybe I’m missing them.) I’m curious are these common throughout the US or are they regional?

      • KT | October 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm |

        They’re all OVER the place in Arizona, which is the first and only place I’ve ever seen them.

        I have specifically told my loved ones that if I should pass, they should refrain from putting an “In Loving Memory” sticker on their back car window.

        • BvK1126 | October 29, 2014 at 12:37 pm |

          I see them frequently in Denver, too. Not only decals on the back windows of cars, but also on t-shirts and sweatshirts. Here’s a link to a design template that shows what the shirts usually look like.

        • DenverGregg | October 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm |

          Like BvK, I see them often in Denver area. I work in the hood and they’re particularly common near the office, so there’s both regional and cultural aspects to them. I’ve seen them in Spanish as well.

        • Judy | October 29, 2014 at 6:37 pm |

          They’re everywhere in LA as well.

      • Travis | October 29, 2014 at 6:12 pm |

        Lance, I see them quite often here in western WI.

        A young man passed away last winter in a small town near here; the decals were available to order at the visitation. Sad.

      • Will S | October 29, 2014 at 7:02 pm |

        Never seen one in my region (Northwestern Ontario, Canada).

  • just Joe | October 29, 2014 at 10:56 am |

    I usually enjoy argument when it has the potential to lead to some type of better understanding or improvement, but some arguments are just noise. Something as personal as the grieving process isn’t open to argument in my opinion…it’s like arguing over a person’s hairstyle (although much more personal,) it’s not our decision. We don’t know the person’s thoughts, feelings or emotions. Whether it’s an internal or external expression shouldn’t matter if it helps a person grieve and move on.

    This reminded me of 1999 when the entire Braves team wore hats with a handwritten 14 to show support for Andres Galarraga in his battle against cancer. I remembered Atlanta doing this, but the article below claims some other players around the league, namely Edgardo Alfonzo, also scribbled a 14 on their hats. I’m curious if those offended or annoyed by Ventura’s gesture feel the same about this? (Players on other teams, not Atlanta where it was a team gesture.)

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/braves-hurdle-hazards-1.395465

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 11:03 am |

      I’m curious if those offended or annoyed by Ventura’s gesture feel the same about [the Galarraga tributes]?

      I don’t think anyone has claimed to “offended” by Ventura’s gesture.

      As for the small “14” inscriptions that many Venezuelan players wore for the Big Cat, those were, you know, small inscriptions. Quoting from today’s entry: “Couldn’t he have just used Tavares’s number or initials and made them fairly small?”

      In other words: apples and oranges. Or maybe grapefruits and oranges.

      As for “lead[ing] to some type of better understanding or improvement,” we’re all having a good dialogue about interesting issues that affect our culture. Seems worthwhile to me.

  • Bod Dlotkowski | October 29, 2014 at 10:58 am |

    While we’ve seen numerous more subtle personal tributes on caps in the past no doubt, this one took up an unusually large portion on the front and side, you could practically read it clearly even on wide zoomed out shots. I doubt MLB or umpires wanted to risk looking like dicks in asking that he tone it it down a bit, but couldn’t this fall into the classification of a potential batter’s eye distraction – especially in a World Series Game 6, simple uniform aesthetics aside? LOTS at stake at this point in the season, I’m a little surprised even a seemingly possibly subliminal distraction was allowed. Not at all saying that’s why the Giants were shut out last night, but I couldn’t help thinking about it.

    • Judy | October 29, 2014 at 6:40 pm |

      I highly doubt that distracting San Francisco’s batters was a part of Ventura’s motivation – subliminally or otherwise. Again, I just can’t bring myself to be that cynical.

      • Judy | October 29, 2014 at 6:42 pm |

        Just to add – heaven forbid we should give the Royals, and Ventura in particular, any credit for playing well. I’m too lazy to go look at the stats, but I’d be shocked if last night was the first time the Giants had been shut out this season.

  • EG | October 29, 2014 at 11:02 am |

    All this talk of the amount of words he used and where he placed it on the hat is ridiculous. Those issues would be worth discussing if this was the team-sanctioned uniform design to memorialize someone. He is just a young man who wanted to honor his friend. He is not a graphic designer. And like most people he probably doesn’t think about or care much about such things. I can imagine him sitting down and writing on his hat, his glove and his cleats in the simplest way he could think of. And then looking at himself in the mirror and trying to gain some strength and comfort from the message in the reflection. It was just a personal gesture made by a 23 year old man..

    • Judy | October 29, 2014 at 6:43 pm |

      + 1

  • Tim | October 29, 2014 at 11:09 am |

    How about we talk about baseball? Yesterday, everyone was talking about Baumgarner for MVP if the Giants won. Ventura has had an equally good series.

    Both have won games in a shutout. Both have won their other games, 7-2/7-1. Ventura’s wins were more critical than Baumgarner. Won Game 2 (to make it 1-1) and last night (to force a game 7).

    Oh and I have no problem with the tribute.

    • Phil Hecken | October 29, 2014 at 12:25 pm |

      How bout we talk about uniforms.

      • Tim | October 29, 2014 at 8:36 pm |

        I did. In the last line.

        Interesting to me that neither team wore an alternate jersey in this series (e.g., the subject of your ESPN article).

        Maybe something in the postseason would be good like “which team needs a uniform refresh the most in MLB.” or “which third uniform would you like permanently removed.”

  • Clint Richardson | October 29, 2014 at 11:31 am |

    In regards to the NCAA logo belts, Oregon is by far not the only team with multiple colors available. The banner has an orange Auburn belt, and a grey Alabama one, yet the stock photos for the individual items are navy and black respectively. Auburn actually has 4 different colors available.

    • Tony C. | October 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm |

      tOSU has scarlet, grey, white, and black

  • Alec Rogers | October 29, 2014 at 11:32 am |

    Sorry to hear about the blowback to your tweet! It was an honest question. I don’t know why people get so nasty.

    • Dumb Guy | October 29, 2014 at 11:43 am |

      Agreed.

      Not understanding and/or not liking something does not equate to belittling the person doing said thing.

      Many people find it an excuse to belittle however.

      • Jim Vilk | October 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm |

        You’re not as dumb as you say you are. ;)

        Curious as to how many people called Paul either hateful or mean-spirited. Those words are used so much these days that they’ve almost lost their meaning.

  • scottrj | October 29, 2014 at 11:48 am |

    Personally I think Ventura’s cap tribute was unnecessary, unseemly, and unprofessional. Then again, “professionalism” is hardly synonymous with professional sports anymore, so I guess I’ll add unsurprising to that list.

  • Tim Hand | October 29, 2014 at 11:53 am |

    Inherent in any uniform is “look at me.” Even noted selfless team players in pro sports appreciate public acknowledgement, which is why they make good professional athletes.

    I have no problem with Ventura’s memorial to OT, especially in relation to the above points regarding abundant corporate sponsorship at the game and regarding the young pitcher’s mindset going into the game. His very visible display certainly didn’t hinder his performance.

    It was really a small gesture in the grand scheme.

  • Ian | October 29, 2014 at 11:55 am |

    I truly find it perplexing, dare I say hypocritical, that you’d suggest Ventura have the equipment manager sew a black armband onto his jersey or even wear an old black Royals hat. Aren’t those also “Look at me!” moves, and on an even larger scale than just a cap inscription?

    You say that you would have liked for him to wear the black cap rather than “defacing a uni element.” Granted, I’m making a presumption, but if Ventura had done just that, I could just as easily see today’s lede being about the “Look at me!” move of wearing a uni element which didn’t match the rest of his teammates. Quite unseemly for the World Series, no?

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm |

      You say that you would have liked for him to wear the black cap rather than “defacing a uni element.” Granted, I’m making a presumption, but if Ventura had done just that, I could just as easily see today’s lede being about the “Look at me!” move of wearing a uni element which didn’t match the rest of his teammates. Quite unseemly for the World Series, no?

      Yeah. But not AS unseemly. And black is the traditional symbol of mourning, so it would have made sense — a way to adapt the uniform without actually defacing the uniform.

  • Johnny O | October 29, 2014 at 11:56 am |

    I was watching the game with a few friends last night, and I mentioned that Ventura’s gesture was “a little over the top.” All of my friends didn’t even know what the tribute was about. After explaining what happened, my friends said, “Are you kidding? The dude has his friend just die and wants to pay tribute to him. Are you going to talk about pink and camo now too?”

    So yeah. I think you got a negative response from most people who are in touch with the “Uni Verse”. They see things like that, and pink for breast cancer awareness, and camo for “honoring” the military, and love every minute of it. And if you don’t like it, then you like that people have died, want people to have breast cancer, and don’t support our military.

    I’ve said this on here before.. I used to speak up about my opinions on those topics to my friends and on message boards and such, but now, it isn’t worth the fight.

    • Phil Hecken | October 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm |

      You need new friends, Johnny ;)

  • arrScott | October 29, 2014 at 12:06 pm |

    A closeup of Ventura’s cap posted to Facebook by the Hall of Fame:

    https://www.facebook.com/baseballhall/photos/a.392432467203.180493.58620617203/10152369120082204/?type=1&theater

    On TV last night, I had assumed it was white, like chalk or Whiteout something. But in this photo, it looks like silver Sharpie ink.

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

      Definitely a Sharpie.

      Also — and I say this as an observation, not as a criticism — he left out the period after the T.

  • The ASU Jaguar | October 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm |

    Sir Paul McCartney gets a lifetime pass on anything he wants to do re breast cancer. His mother and Linda both died from breast cancer.

    • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm |

      Him pinking out is fine. It just seems odd that he’d wear such an item with an NFL tie-in. Aside from his performing in the Super Bowl XXXIX halftime show, I’m not aware of any connection between McCartney and the league.

    • Brinke | October 29, 2014 at 9:37 pm |

      Sir Paul McCartney gets a lifetime pass on anything because he’s Paul McCartney.

  • El Duderino | October 29, 2014 at 12:19 pm |

    It’s a TNOF vs. NOB territory dispute. The size of Ventura’s tribute wouldn’t be so awkward if it was on the back of the cap since the back is designated for personal ID. If Taveras was an actually a teammate, I think it would have been more acceptable since the front is team space.

  • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm |

    And that’s how I’ll be missing tonight’s deciding game. Me = dumb-ass. I hope to be home in time to catch the last couple of innings. Sigh.

    Well, look at it this way – it’s an opportunity for another “Get Out More” entry! ;)

  • KT | October 29, 2014 at 12:26 pm |

    The Little Big League thing is coincidence, not irony. #pedant

  • Thomas J | October 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm |

    I find the discussion of tribute to be fascinating because it centers around the boundary between appropriate and inappropriate.

    I’ve interpreted Paul’s opinion as one that says the person giving the message should be distract from the message itself. The focus ought to be on the person who is gone and not any particular mourner. This can be applicable in other instances of tribute where the format be it camouflage uniforms or pink helmets put more emphasis on tribute giver (Nike, UA, the NFL) than the tribute recipient (veterans, cancer patients, the deceased).

    Also there is a certain degree of veneration for the uniform itself. A desire to not overly distract from the team aspect of the game as something which can turn excessive focus on an individual mourner can be seen as detracting from the collective sadness.

    I personally think Ventura was in the clear. While the writing was larger than typical I think it was still within reasonable grounds of not drawing excessive attention to him over Oscar Tavares. Probably it could have been done more subtle, perhaps making the cap tribute the sole memorial, or writing on the side, or in smaller text.

    The broader issue of histrionically shifting focus from tribute recipient to tribute giver is something that needs to be recognized as it happens and it remains a disturbing problem not only in the Uni-verse but our society in general.

  • David Goodfriend | October 29, 2014 at 12:39 pm |

    Late to the dance here. If this has been discussed I apologize. I also don’t like the way Hunter Pence wears his pants. But the announcers said he wears it that way because he gets scabs on his knees from sliding so much and the pants tend to irritate them. So there is a reason for it. I know in ancient times when I played I had the same problem. I wore knee pads under my uniform and that worked.

  • Dan Pfeifer | October 29, 2014 at 12:50 pm |

    Fascinating to me that the NBA belts page offers 29 different belts: Twenty-eight teams and one with the league logo.

    There are 30 teams in the NBA. The two missing are the Charlotte Hornets — perhaps understandable, considering they were going through an identity change this summer — and the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Cue the “no one cares about the Bucks” joke (which is why everyone here in Milwaukee still feels like, even with the new ownership group, their departure to Seattle is still very much on the table), but it’s interesting to me that the site would out-and-out omit a team that yes, had an ownership change this summer, but didn’t really change anything identity-wise.

    • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 2:07 pm |

      I would be disappointed to see the Bucks go, but it wouldn’t upset me greatly like a couple of other franchise relocations.

      (I’m still bitter about the Minnesota North Stars.)

  • David Goodfriend | October 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm |

    I feel your pain 2nite Paul. In my musician days I tried not book anything in Oct. but sometimes you just had to. I played more than one gig with a small TV placed behind the monitorso that just the singer and I could see it. Missed many chords and lyrics but never missed a play!

  • TBone | October 29, 2014 at 1:14 pm |

    That’s too bad that Twitter followers had that reaction. I saw the cap during the telecast, and I was really looking forward to a thoughtful Uni Watch discussion about it. I don’t have a problem with the memorial myself, but I can see how Paul and others would.

  • Chief Wahoo | October 29, 2014 at 1:15 pm |

    You are really a hipster douchebag! Are you serious? A man loses a friend and your criticizing him for the way he mourns and deals with the difficult situation. That’s not right and pretty fucked up.
    Even you think it was a “look at me”, putting a black arm band or wearing their old black hat would be even more a “look at me” and would more of an desecration to the unity of the team.
    I used to think you were a moron about your thought on the great Chief Wahoo logo, but after this, your just a fucking idiot like all the ESPN retards your employed with. Except Keith Olbermann.

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 1:27 pm |

      Thanks for sharing. Lots of people who’ve posted comments here today agree with me, so I guess they’re all “hipster douchebags” too.

      I’ll pass along your regards to Keith.

    • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm |

      Hey, “Chief”, I think you forgot something about Keith Olbermann – he, too, wants to get rid of your “great Chief Wahoo logo”.

      Bye, Felicia.

    • terriblehuman | October 29, 2014 at 2:11 pm |

      your just a fucking idiot like all the ESPN retards your employed with

      Can’t help but think of this guy. The Olbermann shout-out was unexpected, though.

      • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm |

        Forgot about this Twitter thread from yesterday. And there are several more tweets from Keith that smack people for using “your” instead of “you’re”. And some of the “your” tweets are well under 140 characters.

      • just Joe | October 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm |

        “No ragrets”

    • hugh c. mcbride | October 29, 2014 at 3:09 pm |

      We gather here today not only to mourn the passing, but also to celebrate the life of “hipster,” a once-vibrant and meaningful word that, in the early part of the 21st century, was tragically beaten to death by people who didn’t understand it, but who liked to yell it at folks they didn’t agree with (just like they seen those people on the teevee do).

      “Hipster” was preceded in death by “liberal,” “socialist,” “commie,” and “fascist.”

      In lieu of flowers, friends & family of “hipster” request that donations be made to the Oxford English Dictionary.

      • Lance Smith | October 29, 2014 at 6:15 pm |

        Hipster was getting up there in years. First appearance dates back to the early 1940s.

        It had a good life. Sad about the final years.

  • terriblehuman | October 29, 2014 at 1:47 pm |

    I don’t feel strongly either way (I’m thinking this particular example is inching ever so slightly in the “tacky” realm), but I will say this – maybe a reason for the strong blowback against Paul’s seemingly benign question is that grieving has become a public act.

    I think there was a huge shift following 9/11 (or maybe Columbine) – thanks to 24-hour cable news and, more recently, social media, grief has become one way to connect to people, and it’s got to the point where the younger, more media-savvy generation is almost expected to play the role of the mourner for the camera and see their grief as something that should be recognized.

    Which all sounds like glib, get-off-my-lawn stuff, but I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong. It’s just that grief has gone from personal to public. Publicly documented grief has become almost an integral natural step to mourning.

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm |

      the younger, more media-savvy generation…

      Don’t conflate “media-using” with “media-savvy.” That’s like conflating quality with quantity.

      The two things sometimes correlate, but often they don’t.

      • terriblehuman | October 29, 2014 at 2:07 pm |

        I say “media-savvy” not so much as a compliment, but that they’re more aware of how they’re portrayed and what gets on the air. Ventura probably understands that marking the front of his hat gets more eyeballs than under the bill or on his shoes, same way candle light vigil participants understand where the network cameras are.

        But your point is taken. Maybe “media-aware” is closer to what I mean than “media-savvy”.

        • BvK1126 | October 29, 2014 at 2:36 pm |

          How about “media-immersed”? Neither “savvy” nor “aware” quite seems to capture it.

        • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm |

          +1 to BvK1126.

        • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 2:57 pm |

          Make it +2

      • hmich176 | October 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm |

        The new wave “media-savvy” is quantity over quality. As it gets more firmly entrenched, I expect that quantity over quality to grow quite substantially.

    • pboss | October 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm |

      It does seem to be more of a “you have to show emotion in public now!” idea that’s taken off relatively recently. Candlelight vigils, roadside memorials, etc. They seemed much more infrequent and by extension, more moving, in the past. Now, it’s just “oh, someone else died recently.”

  • Rob S | October 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm |

    Just to clarify my earlier comments regarding the cap memorial:

    I’m fine with Ventura doing it, but I just think how he did it doesn’t look good from an aesthetic stance. A small number on the front and a full inscription on the back would’ve looked better.

    As Ventura did it last night, between the KC logo and the WS patch, it looked too crowded. If it had been on the back, it would’ve stood out more (since it would’ve only been competing with the MLB logo). It would be visible on every pitch on TV (since the camera view is facing the plate from behind the pitcher) and arguably more visible to the crowd (again, not getting lost between the team logo and the patch).

    But, I suppose he didn’t give much thought to the aesthetics; he just wanted to memorialize a friend. So, it really doesn’t bother me in the long run. I just personally think I would’ve done it differently than him.

  • 1vox | October 29, 2014 at 2:04 pm |

    Hey Paul,

    I had sort of an opposite Game 7 experience in 1990. My dad bowled with a guy who had Reds season tix (going waaaaay back to Crosley Field days) and I used to get several pairs of Reds seats from him each year (he had 6) at Riverfront (even driving nearly 3 hours to Opening Day four years straight until the strike ruined that for me in ’95). Anyway, ol’ Noel was asking his regular takers if there was any interest in the 1990 postseason, which was just NLCS and (possibly) WS. Everyone could buy a pair for each series, if interested.

    Well, we picked Game 2 of the NLCS. Awesome! I have never heard anything (and I’ve been to a lot of concerts and sporting events, indoors and out) that was quite as loud as the Reds faithful when O’Neill threw out Van Slyke!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIs7NdkKy1A

    So, on to the point: Our choice of WS tickets (which, of course the Reds not only played in, but won, to the surprise of no one in Ohio) was Game 1 or Game 7.

    Here I did the opposite of you on your trip: I assumed it would come down to 7 games.

    The Reds swept (winning game 4 in Cali), and I still have never been to a WS game.

    And, oh, how I wish I had not returned the tickets to get our cash back. They were $50/seat then and I was married and had children at home so I did the responsible thing, though I’m quite certain 2 tickets for a phantom WS Game 7 from nearly a quarter century ago would be worth well over their original face value by now.

    Just goes to show, you never know! Cheers!

  • Thomas J | October 29, 2014 at 2:18 pm |

    New FSU roads are up (courtesy of Phil)

    https://twitter.com/PhilHecken/status/527504397618528257

    Strange though that the new version has incomplete collar details. Compare the new collar to the old one. Its as though its been cut off, like Nike couldn’t complete that detail.

    http://content.sportslogos.net/news/2014/04/FSUF.png

    • DJ | October 29, 2014 at 4:31 pm |

      Different jersey model, I think. I suspect FSU will switch their garnet and black jerseys to this new model next season.

  • Jamie Chubbs | October 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm |

    Glad to see William Madison finally grew up and is now attending opera performance after having to re-complete Elementary and High School and taking over control of his Father’s company.

  • Tom V. | October 29, 2014 at 5:03 pm |

    I’d say his tribute might have more to do with his age, or immaturity. I’m not saying he’s immature, but we have a bunch of 30, 40 and 50 year olds (don’t get me wrong, not a bad thing) who are interested in uniform aesthetics who are critiquing something a 22 year old did, in mourning. He’s been in the majors just about 1 year and is fresh out of the minors. I’m not saying he’s immature in a child-like sense, but he might not be someone who has the sense at this point in his life to do a subdued or dignified tribute.

    • Paul Lukas | October 29, 2014 at 5:39 pm |

      we have a bunch of 30, 40 and 50 year olds (don’t get me wrong, not a bad thing) who are interested in uniform aesthetics who are critiquing something a 22 year old did, in mourning.

      1) There are plenty of people Ventura’s age who read this site.

      2) More importantly, when Ventura takes the field, he doesn’t just represent himself. He also represents his team, his sport, and the standards thereof. It’s perfectly fair to take issue with his behavior, whatever his age. That doesn’t mean he was wrong, but it means the question of whether he was right or wrong is a valid one.

      • Tom V. | October 30, 2014 at 11:45 am |

        Ugh, just lost my post.

        Anyway, the gist of it was that I think as a 43 year old who reads a uniform website I might remember my friend differently than a 22 year old who doesn’t read said website. That is saying that we both chose to do uniform alterations in rememberence.

  • rs | October 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm |

    One more vote for “I don’t have a problem with the hat tribute.” Also one more vote for “I don’t have a problem with the question.”

    Memorials are very personal, and anything that’s done publicly could be defined/construed as a “hey look at me” gesture. One person’s appropriate is another person’s “that’s too much.”

    As for the question, that’s what this site and the twitter account is all about. Any modification–individual, team-wide, league-wide–to any part of the uniform certainly falls under “the obsessive study of athletics aesthetics” umbrella.

  • Brian d | October 30, 2014 at 12:18 am |

    I hate to do it but I strongly disagree with you Paul. Each person mourns differently than the next and each has there own right to express themselves. Both Ventura and Tavares were Dominicans and found ways out of the country to accomplish their dreams. Clearly this is a tremendous friendship or else it wouldn’t have been done. Also, you say that he represents not just himself, but the city, organization, and league when he goes out there. Well, considering the royals and mlb held a moment of silence before first pitch, and kc and stl play in the same state, ventura’s memorial definitely is not out of place. Besides, even a subtle representation would be shown over and over by fox. I thought it was a great gesture that showed love for what could been one of the next superstars of the game

  • GK | October 30, 2014 at 1:39 am |

    Don’t think there was anything wrong with the hat memorial other than cluttered and hard to read. Initials and/or number would have made more sense. Playing football in the early 2000s after losing my grandmother I put her initials on my chinstrap, not in a “look at me” style but because she and my grandpa had never missed a basketball, baseball, soccer, or football game I had played until she ended up in the hospital.

    Interesting article on the GI Joe issue. I think a full month is overkill like this will be, but I see the reasons for it. Perhaps despite being market driven, it is a change from the radical hatred our veterans got coming home from Vietnam. Again, a largely unpopular war, but then the treatment towards vets was atrocious. Maybe this is a generational movement to “get it right” in a sense. Civilians will never understand the horrors of war, but those horrors are often brought home by those soldiers, sailors, and marines that experience them. Those of us with family or friends in the service want nothing more to support them if/when they struggle while at home.

  • Jess | October 30, 2014 at 3:26 am |

    2010: Giants introduce orange Friday alternate jersey, win WS. 2012: Giants update road jersey, add Sunday road “SF” alternate, win WS. 2014: Giants update orange jersey with script lettering, win WS. My suggestion for 2016: home Sunday white alternate with script lettering, based on 77 – 82 look.

  • Jeff in BK | October 30, 2014 at 2:02 pm |

    I didn’t mind the hat memorial. I agree that it seemed more sincere than lot’s of other “official” gestures. It was also a good conversation piece for the non-sports fans I was with when the game was on.
    I’m also not even a little bit surprised that it bugged Paul. And that’s okay too – that’s what makes him Paul.

  • Todd | October 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm |

    Re: Little Big League

    Wally Joyner makes a brief cameo very early in the movie, and his Royals jersey features an EMK patch for deceased Royals owner Ewing M. Kauffman.