By Phil Hecken
I’m generally not a big fan of “gimmicks” or “look at me” moves or other attention-getting measures. So when I heard genius comedian Will Ferrell was planning to “play” in five games for ten different Cactus League teams on Thursday, I originally thought it was just another publicity move or similar nonsense. I was wrong.
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, as part of a new HBO special from Funny Or Die, and in partnership with Major League Baseball to support the fight against cancer, Ferrell traveled to five Arizona stadiums by van and helicopter throughout the day. But it was more than just a gimmick. Ferrell seemed to take the whole thing seriously (or as serious as Will Ferrell can take anything). His goal, which he accomplished, was to play all nine fielding positions (and DH) for each of the clubs he visited.
Clearly, Ferrell is a student of history. His first stop was the Oakland A’s — where he began the day supporting Bert Campaneris, who five decades ago became the first Major Leaguer to play every position on the field in the same game. He chose to wear the number “19” (Campy’s number) for each of the teams except one (more on that at the end). I’ll chronicle his visit by team (in order). For the most part, Ferrell looked pretty good in uniform (albeit he had to wear the Spring Training tops and caps). But his uni odyssey was not without a few slip ups. Beginning with his first stop.
For this and all photos, you know what to do (most of them can be enlarged). Here’s a look at the positions he played:
Now the teams:
He started by chatting with Campy. Then he took the field in full A’s regalia. With one glaring mistake. BLACK cleats!!! Ugh. Now I realize he had to play games for 9 other teams (most of whom sport black or dark cleats), but he’s still gotta take off his pants to put on his shoes each time, right? C’mon Will. But other than that it was a great first effort. He played shortstop. He also took a few licks in the cage (he’s not bad!).
— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) March 12, 2015
Moving across the diamond (literally – the Mariners were playing the A’s), Ferrell switched gear and became a Mariner for an inning. For the M’s he played second base. It was a pretty uneventful occasion.
After finishing his stint(s) with the A’s & M’s, Ferrell headed to Tempe Diablo Stadium where the Angels were hosting the Cubs. He hopped into Angels gear and proceeded to Center Field. He actually saw some action there, fielding a single and throwing it back into the infield. Nice touch to wear the red socks too!
The real fun for Ferrell began with the Cubs, where he played first base (Ernie Banks tribute, perhaps?), got to bat (not good), AND served as third base coach, where he proceeded to hold up some hilarious signs for the hitters. Note that uni-wise, he kinda/sorta went high cuffed.
The next stop on Ferrell’s spring training tour was Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, where the Diamondbacks hosted the Cincinnati Reds. He’d take the field for the D-Backs in left — and he’d see action there, playing a double into a triple. And as much as I hate the BP tops, I gotta admit I kinda like the black crowned caps with the red jerseys.
Mid-game, Ferrell moved over to the visiting Reds dugout (and played hot corner for the squad). He also suffered a quick rookie hazing, being forced to wear beards constructed of condiments. I don’t think he had any chances at third, but he sure looked like he belonged there. I’m also not usually a fan of a mascot on one’s cap, but in the Reds’ case, it looks pretty good.
Chicago White Sox:
Things got a bit dicey after the Reds/D-Backs game, but Ferrell traveled by chopper to the ChiSox/Giants game where he showed up towards the very end of the game. He arrived in uniform (guess he changed in the helicopter) in Sox gear, and proceeded to DH (pinch hitting) for the Southsiders — and his at bat went a little better than his three pitch strikeout with the Cubs. He made contact (and looked like he hurt his hand in the process). And it looks like he was sporting actual White Sox.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 13, 2015
San Francisco Giants:
With no time to completely change out of his Sox gear (and after his mid-inning trade to the Giants), Ferrell got behind the plate for San Francisco. While the faux pas of wearing Sox pants with Giants gear can be forgiven in most places, here at Uni Watch, he warrants definite demerits for the transgression.
— World Champs (@SFGiants) March 13, 2015
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Ferrell skedaddled out of the ChiSox/Giants game for his last stop at Peoria Sports Complex, where the Padres played host to the Dodgers. He’d face his *toughest* challenge of the day when he was called upon to pitch for LA. Surprisingly, he threw a first-pitch strike, fielded a bunt cleanly, and made a perfect throw to first to retire his only batter faced. He’ll retire with a perfect 0.00 ERA, to match his perfect .000 batting average. The Dodgers should never wear blue tops, but I sorta like that gray crowned cap. Ferrell seemed to have pretty good form out there, too.
San Diego Padres:
The final stop on the whirlwind tour was with the Padres, where another uni-notable moment took place. In the previous four games, and for the previous nine teams, Ferrell had worn number 19. Upon taking his position in right field for the Padres, though, Ferrell came out wearing number 20 — since there could only be one #19 in RF for the Padres. Very cool move. Ferrell didn’t get to make any plays, but he did have a great view of a home run smacked over the fence. When all was said and done, Ferrell thanked the crowd. It was a good day.
So there you have it — quite a day, and all things told (and despite the fact that some video hawking ex-broadcasters didn’t appreciate the effort), it was, in my opinion, a pretty awesome thing Will Ferrell did. I read somewhere he raised over a million dollars for charity, and while sure — it was a publicity stunt as much as anything else — it was fun. This game’s fun, OK? Fun goddamnit. And if nothing else, Ferrell (or his handlers) definitely did their homework when it came to unis (black cleats on the A’s notwithstanding).
What say you guys? Did you enjoy this sort of thing, or do you think stuff like this makes a mockery of the game (or somewhere in between)? Is there anyone besides Ferrell who might have been able to pull something like this off (and is this something that was fun once, but should never be repeated)? Did any of you watch Ferrell play live (or on tv)? What did you think?
The floor is yours.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
First up today is Raph (full name withheld upon request), with an Avalanche redux:
I’ve been reading your posts for a while now and enjoy them immensely. Although our tastes may differ from time to time, it’s fun seeing the detailed and picture-heavy analysis you provide for so many sports.
Since you asked for more redesigns a while ago, and because the apron strings and Colorado Avalanche uniform have been bugging me since they first introduced the Reebok Edge template, I thought I’d give it a stab. My version harkens back to the pre-Edge uniform, with a few alterations. Here are the biggest differences of note:
* Apron strings removed. No more diagonal line through the captain’s “C” or alternate “A”!
* The shoulder yoke now stops in points before the collar and at the elbow. The thought being that the color change “caps” each shoulder like snow on a mountaintop. I also liked the idea of them being shoulder pauldrons since athletes so often refer to going into “battle” with their teammates. The shoulders are also intended to reinforce an “A”/mountain shape in the main portion of the sweater when the arms are down.
* Reintroduced the mountain pattern to the hem of the uniform and added a matching hem on the sleeve for consistency.
* Lines similar to the sweater were added to the socks.
If I’m fortunate enough to have you feature my redesign on your site, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t use my full name in the post. Thanks and look forward to your future articles!
And we close today with Ãron Bartal who has some NFL concepts:
I was hoping that those NFL teams who are playing in their outdated uniforms would start feel awkward and finally redesign them but apparently it’s not happening in the near future (maybe with the Eagles) so I made a redesign of the Cardinals, Panthers, Pats, Eagles and Rams. Hope you’ll like them I tried to be reasonable and change the unis the way to make them timeless. Here’s a short description:
Cards: Simplicity was the main goal here. The away uni is a modernized version of a former uniform.
Panthers: Probably the most outdated unis in the NFL. The blue jerseys should be the primary ones but I kept the black-on-black unis also as alternatives because those look amazing with the blue socks (and even better with black helmets). I changed the UCLA stripes to the stripes UCLA currently using. That’s my personal favourite.
Pats: Very little but important change. Maybe with the retirement of Brady the team will close that chapter in franchise history by changeing the unis.The white helmet would also mean if the NFL stick with the stupid one helmet rule the awsome throwback uni could come back. Oh and red socks, because red is very underrepresented in the current Pats unis, and well, we’re close to Boston.
Eagles: Kelly green, baby! With a small twist on the collars and sleeves.
Rams: Another modernized version of a classic uni. Navy blue works great with gold. This unis are missing the TV numbers due to the lack of my photo editing skills, but personally I like them that way.
That’s it, I really hope you like these unis.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Happy Pi Day
for the Ticker
Got an e-mail from Kary Klismet, who sent a rather long e-mail with several photos. Rather than try to edit it down, I’ve shared it below, with pics inline. You can click on most images to enlarge:
Somehow, this escaped my notice until today, but I just discovered that part of the University of Iowa’s upgrades to its baseball stadium includes the installation of an all-turf, dirtless baseball field. The completely dirtless field made its debut in Iowa’s home opener earlier this week. Apparently, the infield was replaced prior to last season, with the grass outfield and dirt warning track replaced with Astroturf during the most recent off-season.
This story gives more detail about the field. Photos of the all-turf infield, complete with brown Astroturf where the dirt would normally be, can be found below:
You can see more photos here.
And as a bonus, check out those striped stirrups!
Anyway, I thought it was notable, if not for a feature, at least as a ticker item.
Good stuff, Kary — thanks for sharing!
OK, now onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Taylor University has “interesting” Khaki baseball unis and Manchester College’s shows off some nice stirrups with HORRIBLE all black (super baggy) pants (from Sam Hill). Check out the full photo gallery here. … Oh my — the South Bend Cubs will be wearing these for “Back To The Future” Night on June 16th. More here (thanks to Andrew Bradley). … Here’s a good shot from 2015 Spring Training showing the Atlanta Braves raised A on their batting helmets (good spot by Michael Korczynski). … Check out these vintage shawl sweaters from the 20’s and ’30s! Submitter Jonathan Daniel particularly likes the Babe Ruth photo. … Wonderful photo (from Bruce Menard, of course) of Pepper Martin inspecting ‘The Latest Baseball Gloves’ (March 1950 at Brooklyn). … Here’s how the Dayton Dragons single-A ball club packaged their season tickets this year (h/t pwillia). … Holy CRAP! Check out the Jackson Generals’ Wizard of Oz jerseys, coming to the field May 15th (h/t MiLB Promos). … Oooohhh – check out these new jerseys for Virginia Tech (via Mikey Campbell). … Here’s a look at the Richmond Flying Squirrels ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation Night jerseys, to be worn on April 25 (thanks to Ray Parrish). … Not really uni-related, but “somehow feels appropriate” says Paul: the Brewers have banned high-fives to avoid the spread of pink-eye. Yep. … Check out this photo found by Brian Mazmanian: Check out the script “NOB” on these Orioles jerseys. … Check out the captain mark for the Orix Buffaloes this year (thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Dateline: Spring ’77: Newly acquired Texas shortstop Bert Campaneris wears a jersey w/ the Rangers 1776-1976 patch (h/t Super 70s Sports). … Here’s a guy who we hope makes the bigs, for his 14 letter last NOB alone. … Here’s a terrific shot of Jimmy Wynn, Mike Cuellar, and Rusty Staub, of 1968 Houston Astros (via Astros Daily). … Ooooh – check out the stirrups on The Auburn University at Montgomery baseball team.
NFL News: Idiot Jets fans who once burned their Darelle Revis jerseys are now ready to forgive and forget. … Not wanting to blow $300 on polyester jerseys they may soon burn, Eagles fans are finding ingenious ways of making DeMarco Murray jerseys. … The Titans staff is getting to work — looks like Brian Orakpo will retain his #98 (thanks to Eric Wright). … I know we don’t normally pay much attention to a lot of stuff on Bleacher Report, but they have gotten a lot better lately. Well. Until this: see how many mistakes/omissions you can spot in this one. … Also from Brian Mazmanian, look at these Baltimore Colts’ ‘players’ — are these mannequins?
College Football News: Here’s a shot of Kevin White in a WVU “Pro Day” shirt (from Coleman Mullins). … Apparently there are more helmets in the works for Troy. According to “The General”, these will be game used.
NBA News: Tweeter Phil Fahso came across this 20 year old NBA folder yesterday — anyone out there have one of these? … “If the 10’s Cavs are going to celebrate their history by adding 80’s blue to their 70’s wine & gold,” writes Christopher Noice, “why not throw in the 90’s hi-liter too?” Jim Vilk not only approves, he’d wear that. … Nice looking color versus color game between the Hornets and Bulls last night (thanks to Drew Vandemore) for the grab. … Check out this cool shot of Kareem’s first goggles (from Uniform Critic). Looks like modified ski goggles. … The Celtics busted out their green & gold St. Paddy’s Day unis last night. More here.
Hockey News: Wayne Gretzky may be the greatest hockey player of all time, but that doesn’t mean everyone, including his ‘biggest’ fans, know how to spell his name (nice spot by Jonathan Daniel). … Check out this neat Penguins warm up sweater, for St. Paddy’s day. More info here (thanks to Kevin K.). … Speaking of St. Paddy’s Day sweaters, the Blackhawks will be wearing theirs on Tuesday (the actual St. Patrick’s Day). … Which teams are scheduled to unveil new sweaters in 2015/16? Click here. … Doug Smith tweeted this and wasn’t sure what a Golden Goalie was. Sure enough, the Cincinnati Cyclones tweeted back the answer.
Soccer News: There is a new (controversial) crest for Cardiff City. Says submitter Cort McMurray, “The dragon looks less Welsh, and more Asian, reflecting the Club owner’s Malaysian roots. The supporters are nonplussed.” … Here’s a leak of the “intriguing” Portugal away kit for 2015 (from Conrad Burry).
College Hoops News: “I’ve sent you some Wolfpack items before after my days as a student assistant in the Sports Info department,” writes Jeff Spry. “After watching my alma mater get slammed by Duke last night, I went to Youtube to relive the good ol’ days and found this crazy clip of Wolfpack basketball players trying out their new unitards — including a short clip of Jimmy V wearing one.” … In the soon-to-be-released “SEC Storied” on Shaq O’Neill, he is wearing a Mets T-Shirt throughout the special (thanks to Jason Yellin). … In yesterday’s All-American Conference game between ECU and SMU, SMU’s #25 was NNOB (good spot by Luke DiVasta). According to Troy Appel, that is Sterling Brown, normally No. 3, they forgot his jersey. … Poor Oregon, so many uniform choices in their tourney (h/t David Kushner). … “Nope, that is not Iowa State’s logo” notes Connor Cape. … Think the kids like bright, shiny neon-y things. Those are the shoes Notre Dame wore last night (via Stephen Schramm). … Here’s Pat Connaughton “rolling with the eco-cooler shoes and the batman socks” (via Martin Rickman). … At one point last night Duke had 3^4 points (h/t Sander Bryan). … The Cincy Bearcats debuted their new unis vs. UConn (more pics in the article).
Grab Bag: Check out these new custom Warrior Lacrosse Gloves for Taylor University, a small liberal arts college in Upland, IN (from Sam Hill). … “Seems like this trucking line didn’t work too hard on its logo,” writes Austin Gillis, “and/or it is not concerned about trademark infringement issues.” … Microfiche Records is releasing a baseball game in the form of a “decagonaphonic” 7”³. The record has five sets of concentric grooves, so when you drop the needle, it randomly finds one of the grooves””which determines how your baseball player does in his “turn at bat.” The flip side has a “concession stand challenge.” (Big thanks to Nate Hill). … Remember the days when your cell phone was the size of a brick and all it was good for (sometimes) was making calls? Those were the days (thanks to Garrett). … Yesterday’s link to a 50-star US flag “reminded me of this interview with a vexillologist about the upcoming redesign of Fiji’s flag” says Ben Fortney. “They’re holding a contest for new designs, alas only open to Fiji residents. Good read on what makes a ‘good flag’.” … Here’s a very cool timeline of UC’s Bearcat logo on pages 18-23 of the recent UC magazine (great spot by Samuel Sharp). … Interesting St. Paddy’s day crest made by Dirt McGirt, based on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute crest. … Yesterday, Villanova’s band was wearing hockey jerseys. Says submitter Pat Costello, “Not sure what the logo on the front is but they’re sweet!” … Interesting article on the evolution of the Nike Air. … Beautiful shot of this March 8, 1971, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden (via Classic Pics). … The item about Tiger’s naming rights isn’t quite correct. Snopes debunks it here (thanks to Dave Flapan).
And that’s going to do it for today. Hope everyone survived Friday the 13th and is set to beware the Ides. St. Paddy’s Day is just around the corner, and then it’s Tourney Time. Hello MARCH. Thanks to the concepters and all who tweeted/submitted for the ticker.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“You can’t have a ‘horrible first name and last name combination’ conversation without Dick Pole and Rusty Kuntz. Though granted (and I don’t disagree with you), those names are just horrible for all athletes. Not just pitchers.”
— Mike Engle