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The Usual Slop

MLB’s annual Memorial Day pandering uniforms are now upon us. As had been widely expected and leaked, the caps will have camouflage brims, and the jerseys will feature camouflage type, which is the same as last year.

A few points:

• All this stuff looks like crap, as usual.

• The Blue Jays’ cap and jersey have a different camo design to match the Canadian military, which sounds nice until you realize that Canada doesn’t even celebrate Memorial Day. (They have Remembrance Day in November, which they celebrate with poppies, not with camouflage.) And yes, they’re actually going to be wearing a camo jay. Sigh.

• I don’t necessarily adhere to the notion that a cap’s brim and squatchee have to be the same color, but I know some of you folks do. For those of you who fall into that camp, does it bug you that caps don’t have camo squatchees?

• I didn’t check all 30 teams, but several clubs will apparently be wearing solid-colored jerseys on Memorial Day, including the Royals, Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Brewers.

•  Several teams, including the Mets, Padres, Pirates, and Reds, already have camouflage jerseys as part of their uniform sets. Why can’t they just wear those miserable camo jerseys, instead of these new miserable camo jerseys?

• MLB’s continuing insistence on misrepresenting the point of Memorial Day is infuriating. It’s absurd that I even have to explain this, but here it is one more time: Memorial Day is not about celebrating or even honoring the military; it’s about mourning the fallen. A pregame moment of silence would be appropriate. If they insist on having a uniform gesture, the right move would be a black armband. Going G.I. Joke for Memorial Day isn’t just bad design — it’s bad civics. That’s not a good thing for any institution to be promoting, but it’s particularly egregious coming from something that considers itself the national pastime.

• I hate that New Era continues to call these caps “the Stars and Stripes Collection.” For one thing, shouldn’t that term be reserved for the awful Fourth of July caps instead of the awful Memorial Day caps? More importantly, referring to camouflage merch as “Stars and Stripes” reinforces the insidious notion that support for the military and patriotism are synonymous, which is patently false.

• Related to the above: The sport’s world’s endless drumbeat to glorify the military over and over and over again, to the near-exclusion of all other sectors of society, is highly disappointing. When there are special uniforms to honor Peace Corps volunteers, teachers, civil servants, social workers, and other deserving parties, we can talk. Until then, I’ll keep calling this stuff what it is: race-to-the-bottom pandering.

•  Here, let’s play a little game. See if you can spot the similar elements in these tweets that were issued yesterday by three MLB players:

Yeah, there’s nothing more patriotic than being a corporate shill. What a disgrace — really tells you everything you need to know about this promotion.

Two final thoughts: If you’re mourning a fallen military service member, please accept my condolences, as well as my hopes that MLB eventually comes up with a more appropriate gesture for Memorial Day. And if you’re a military service member yourself, please know that my beef is with MLB, not with you — I respect what you do. But I also know that not all soldiers are heroes and not all heroes are soldiers.

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Cell phone case voting results: Big congrats to reader Matt Beahan, whose cell phone case design, shown at right, won the first round of reader voting and then also won the run-off voting yesterday. He’s won himself $100 and a free phone case.

I want Matt to make a few teeny-tiny adjustments to his design before we put it into production, but it should be available for purchase next week. Stay tuned.

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PermaRec update: An Oklahoma man who bought an old building that used to house a commercial cafeteria found five file cabinets’ worth of old recipes inside the building. Get the full story over on Permanent Record.

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’Skins Watch: The U. of North Dakota has released a list of proposed new team names to replace “Fighting Sioux” (from Jerry Nitzh). … The California bill that would ban “Redskins” as a school team name has passed in the State Assembly.

Baseball News: Our own Phil Hecken’s latest Sporting News piece is a ranking of National League uniforms. … This is interesting: When Nats OF Bryce Harper had that three-homer game on Wednesday, he did it without wearing batting gloves. … Matt Shepardson was watching an old Andy Griffith Show episode and spotted some nice little league uniforms. “The only thing that would’ve made it better is if Opie and his Mayberry teammates had worn the super-awesome striped stirrups that Aunt Bee is seen giving to him along with his washed uniform, instead of the standard-awesome orange stirrups they wore in-game,” says Matt. ”¦ Here’s a whole site devoted to sophomoric but entertainingly modified baseball cards (blame Dennis Budell). ”¦ In what I believe may be an unprecedented move, the White Sox wore their 1983 throwbacks for the third game in a row yesterday. … New orange jerseys for the Dayton Dragons (from Ben, who didn’t give his last name). … The Pirates went G.I. Joke last night. … The Medical College of Virginia’s baseball team used to use a skull/bones jersey insignia (from Phil Chapman). … “I had Gameday up for Thursday’s Cardinals game,” says Tom Qualls. “I got rid of the usual two side panels they have up and noticed an oddity for the illustration on the outfield wall: In Busch stadium that part of the wall has a mural of all of the retired numbers and accompanying pictures of those players. But Gameday shows a ’50’ and a picture of Adam Wainwright. I’m a pretty devout Cardinals fan and I do not remember them retiring his number just yet. I understand that the adverts would not match up, as they don’t own the rights, but the retired numbers are shown on the brick building in right-center, so why not put them on the wall as well? Maybe they don’t have rights to the images of those players? Weird.” … Some G.I. Jokes are bigger jokes than others. Seriously, how ugly is that? Perfect for Mother’s Day, too (from Kary Klismet). … The Royals will mark the 30th anniversary of their 1985 World Series title by wearing an odd-looking cap patch on May 24 and June 14. … While listening to last night’s Yanks/Orioles game on the radio, I heard something I hadn’t been aware of: O’s skipper Buck Showalter wears No. 26 as a tribute to former MLBer Johnny Oates, who was his first manager in the minors. … Holy moly, check out the mask being worn by Florida infielder Peter Alonso to protect his broken nose. Never seen a ballplayer wear anything quite like that before (big thanks to James Gilbert). … And if you think Alonso’s mask looked weird in that last shot, check out how it looks next to a pair of Vanderbilt uniforms — wow. Here’s another view (from John Furstenthal and @ashavadyn). … Remember when Will Ferrell played for 189 different teams in one day, or whatever it was? Topps has now produced a series of trading cards showing Ferrell in each of the uniforms he wore that day (thanks, Mike). … Check out this Yankees Old-Timers Day BP cap, complete with a miserable hashtag on the back (because nothing says old-timers like a hashtag). There’s also a grey-brimmed version. Altough it’s not explicitly stated in the listing, I think these caps will be worn during the old-timers ceremony/game. … The Diamondbacks wore their throwbacks last night and even issued throwback-style game notes (from Adam Vitcavage).

NFL News: Here are the Browns’ new helmets, ready for rookie camp. … Here’s a weird one: Former MLB pitcher Kyle Farnsworth is now playing semi-pro football and is wearing a Justin Tuck-style facemask (from Chris Flinn). ”¦ Here’s a video of Broncos rookies being fitted for their new gear.

College Football News: Whoa, check out this shot of Wake Forest in mono-black vs. UNC in this 1948 color vs. color game (from James Gilbert). … Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed the so-called Todd Gurley bill into law yesterday, making it a crime to entice college athletes to break NCAA rules for money. According to this story, the bill was officially known as House Bill 3, to match Gurley’s uniform number.

Hockey News: Evgeni Malkin has been wearing his Penguins gloves while playing for Russia at the world championships (from Layne Davison). … Meanwhile, Belarus captain Alexei Kalyuzhny, who wears No. 17, lost the “7” from his helmet (from Derek Smith). … Discover has renewed its sponsorship with the NHL, and one aspect of the new agreement is that people can apply for a Discover card with the NHL logo or any of the 30 team logos. … Here’s something I’d never heard before: According to this trading card, the Whalers got their name in part because the first three letters are “WHA” (from Aaron Husul). … Dane Drutis posted this comment on the site last night: “The first Canadiens goal tonight was scored by Markov and assisted by Subban and Pacioretty — uniform numbers 79, 76 and 67. That made me wonder what is the highest number combination to produce a goal in an NHL game. Have Hossa, Kane, and Richards (81-88-91) been on a line for the Blackhawks? The Penguins may have come close a couple of times, with Lemieux, Jagr, and Coffey (66-68-77) or Letang, Malkin, and Crosby (58-71-87) (or very briefly, Hossa). I can’t find a third high number on the Kings when Coffey and Gretzky were there.” ”¦ Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival was missing the little “X” stitching on his left shoulder patch last night (good catch by Jeffrey Seals).

Soccer News: New uniforms for Olympique Marseille (from Alex Cohen). … This fan message at a Barcelona game was actually a Nike marketing campaign (from Stefan Schubert). ”¦ Alfreton Town FC is letting fans choose the team’s new kit (from Casey Wieder).

Grab Bag: Tennis player Andy Murray has his wedding band tied to his sneaker, just like NBA player Mark Jackson used to do (from Andrew Cosentino). … A Somali-American woman was hoping to join the Columbus police force but dropped out the program because she wasn’t allowed to wear her hijab. She’s now receiving offers from other police departments that don’t have anti-hijab policies (from Jason Hillyer). … Here’s a cause that I haven’t seen represented on a uniform before: A Gaelic football team will be wearing a farm safety message on May 17. … European boarding schools are being urged to use gender-neutral uniforms to avoid discriminating against LGBT students. ”¦ New athletics dept. wordmark for Metropolitan State. … Organizers of a North Carolina apple festival have revised their logo after people complained that the original design featured a musical note facing the wrong way. … Here are the five designs being considered for NASCAR driver Ben Kennedy’s new helmet. … Speaking of NASCAR, Goodyear is rolling out some throwback tires (from Patrick Lindsey). … Nike execs say they will create 10,000 American jobs if the Pacific free-trade zone, which is currently a priority for President Obama, is approved.

Comments (129)

    I’m afraid the Pirates are scheduled to wear the camo every home Thursday.

    Will the governor of Texas order the state militia to observe Rangers and Astros games over Memorial Day weekend to make sure all that camo isn’t part of a plot to declare martial law?

    Psst – link in the Grab Bag about Columbus police – wrong link…


    “I respect what you do. Except when you might be forced to, you know, actually kill someone. Then I get a little squeamish cuz it kills my hipster vibe. Guns are so bad and stuff. And those of you who aren’t heroes? Ya, no respect for you at all.”



    Your post over simplifies the situation. You attack Paul’s NY hipster style and taste instead of addressing the reasons and impact of ‘actually killing’ someone.

    Your post seems more concerned about what you perceive as fake praise given by anti-imperialists to soldiers.

    I have 3 brothers in the military and I teach high school middle eastern war refugees. I understand the situation. Jingoism in sports indoctrinates our society to support a nasty, deadly imperial mechanism and it is a shame.

    It’s funny how the words you read are so different from the ones Paul wrote. I thought he expressed himself pretty well here, and he’s always had the same position on camo (especially around Memorial Day).

    The Browns got themselves one of them new-fangled label makers.

    What? No white athletic tape and hand-written names??!!

    If this is the future, I do not like it.


    Seems Phil used the wrong Cubs road jersey in his list – that’s the 1990 throwback shown, not their current road jersey.

    Though, it’s an understandable slip; the Cubbies hadn’t even broken out their regular road jerseys until link. They’ve preferred the blue tops on the road thus far.

    Yep, couple people caught that. I even had this discussion with Paul and the Mets game the other night. In order to find photos from 2015, I made sure to google Cubs and 2015 and three or four photos of that particular jersey came up — I didn’t realize it was from the game the Reds threw back until I’d sent that piece to my editor. Their ranking wouldn’t have changed (I’m not a huge fan of the Cubs’ regular gray top either), but I should have double-checked the style guide to make sure. My bad, and good spot.

    Of course, if the Cubs had actually just worn their regular road unis for a few games in April… ;)

    Seriously, though, is there any other case in recent seasons of a team not breaking out their regular road grays until May? (The Marlins not wearing theirs at all for 2013 and 2014 aside.)

    But Phil’s lists yesterday and today demonstrate how aesthetically superior the NL is versus the AL. Although the best-dressed NL teams have all downgraded themselves in the last few years, they’ve gone from excellent to very good. And the worst unis in the NL are still pretty good. The worst Phil can say about the number-15 entry on his NL list is that it’s “boring,” a critique that equally applies to each of the top three entries on his AL list.

    Across the board, MLB looks almost as good as it ever has; there are only a couple of true duds at the moment. Someday, when half the teams look like the Twins or Marlins, we’ll look back on the twenty-teens as a golden age of baseball uni design.

    “Phil’s lists yesterday and today demonstrate how aesthetically superior the NL is versus the AL.”


    Funny you should say that, because if I were ranking them 1-30 (instead of breaking them down by league), I’d say the NL bottom three would probably also be the MLB bottom three (although the Angels might eke out he 28th spot). I’d give the slight nod (overall) to the AL for better unis, but just barely. As far as actual criticisms of the “worst” unis in each league, I tried not to be *too* harsh — I could certainly have unloaded more but chose restraint and to simply let the photos do more talking than I.

    Since the Angels are not, by any sane standard, even close to the worst in the AL, the fact that you can only identify 2 NL unis worse than the Angels nicely demonstrates my point. QED or something.

    Paul, I am glad you have the courage to speak out against jingoism in sports. It is a very unpopular stance and societal pressure keeps most objectors silent.

    No mention of the link changes?

    “The university will add add homosexual, female, transgender and multiple racial incarnations of the Scarlet Knight to more accurately represent the student body.”

    While the female and ethnic variants should be relatively easy to depict, one wonders how the other variants might be portrayed.

    How the hell do you portray a “homosexual” knight without resorting to stereotype and thus defeating your purpose? Or a “transgender” one, for that matter?

    As an RU alum, how can you tell if a cartoon headed mascot isn’t already gay or transgendered?

    Wouldn’t it be easier just to make something neutral and vague, and let people project whatever they like onto it…?


    It’s a running joke on the TV show “Commmunity,” for those who may not be familiar.


    . . . doesn’t most news these days read like something that was in the Onion a few months previously?

    The Medical College of Virginia’s insignia looks more like a poison warning on an apothecary jar than a pirate flag. Great find!

    PS Just for Old Timer’s levity, to counteract the #hashtagepidemic:

    “Boy, I hope I never see my name up there.”

    One thought: maybe stop all coverage of camo in sports. Kind of how you (I think) stopped reporting most instances of color on color match-ups across the leagues. No more ticker items, no more main articles…mainly because it is becoming so common across all sports. And secondarily because it is, at least in my opinion, not very newsworthy.

    Camouflage uniforms will always be newsworthy because, unlike color vs. color, they represent a political point of view — and, in my opinion, a badly flawed one. Ceasing to mention them would mean letting that point of view go unchallenged, which is not an acceptable option, at least for me. So I’ll continue to push back.

    Disagree about camouflage uniforms representing a political point of view, as a nation, we do have the right to defend ourselves. War was declared on us roughly 25 years ago, and after having 3000 civilians slaughtered for nothing, it’s amazing to me we’re even having this discussion.

    Also, I don’t think we can put Peace Corps volunteers or teachers at the same level as people who are putting their lives on the line. This notion of some kind of “imperial mechanism” connected with camo uniforms is indeed laughable.

    “War was declared on us roughly 25 years ago”


    It was?

    Can we just cut the bullshit and recognize military appreciation for what it is? It’s merchandise sales mixed in with recruitment dressed up as something more noble than both.

    Disagree about camouflage uniforms representing a political point of view…

    If it were one tribute among many, you might have a point. But when the military is glorified over and over and over and over again to the near-exclusion of all other sectors of society, and when support for the military is falsely equated with patriotism, that is the very definition of a political statement.

    ” I don’t think we can put Peace Corps volunteers or teachers at the same level as people who are putting their lives on the line.”

    link and link don’t put their lives on the line? Really? That’s news to me.

    “…as a nation, we do have the right to defend ourselves.”

    Did someone suggest otherwise?

    I’m curious, though; how does a painfully-transparent merchandising gimmick help our nation defend itself?

    “War was declared on us roughly 25 years ago…”

    Does anyone actually still declare war these days? Everything lately seems to be a “police action,” “armed response,” “peacekeeping mission,” or “exercise of executive power.”


    War was declared on us roughly 25 years ago…

    And we went and invaded two countries, one of which had nothing to do with 9/11 and made it a hotbed of terrorism.

    I can only presume that he’s referring to the December 15, 1989 resolution by the Panama Assembly “To declare the Republic of Panama in a state of war for the duration of the aggression unleashed against the Panamanian people by the US Government.”

    Happy V-E Day, y’all. I’ve just spent an hour or two watching old newsreels and reading and listening to scratchy recordings. Recommend as a starting point: the newsreel of London going batty is awesome. “The evildoers lie prostrate before us,” Churchill said. Yessir.

    Along with a very cool fly over of WW2 planes in DC. Too bad real life (i.e. need to the pay the bills) put the kibosh on a visit.

    Thank you for promoting my stream of consciousness to the ticker this morning. Ken replied last night that the current Capitals roster offers potential. Johansson and Kuznetsov (90 & 92) were part of a goal in Round 1. Now we need Beagle (83), Carlson (74), Burakovsky (65), Green (52), or even goaltender Holtby (70) in the mix.

    Any other suggestions can be posted here. Thanks, everyone.

    Just an FYI, Hossa wore 18 for the Pens; he didn’t switch to 81 until his stint with Detroit.

    Which does open up the possibility of some high-number combos for the 2008-09 Wings: Hossa, Kopecky (82), Franzen (93), and Holmstrom (96).

    I seem to remember a Montreal Canadiens goal from the 2002-03 season that involved Joe Juneau (#90), Doug Gilmour (#93) and either Yannick Perrault (#94) or Sergei Berezin (#95). IIRC, though, Perrault and Berezin were both on the ice at the same time.

    Rick Tocchet (92) and Petr Nedved (93) also played alongside Lemieux & Jagr in Pittsburgh, although the two were not on the Penguins at the same time.

    On January 27, 2002 Sergei Berezin scored the 10,000th goal in Montreal Canadiens history. It was assisted by Yannic Perreault and Doug Gilmour.

    Berezin wore #95, while Perreault wore #94 and Gilmour wore #93.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the record.

    Incidentally, this week is Public Employee Appreciation Week, would love to know if any team is does even a PA announcement to recognize these folks

    There was a time the Old Timers Day game participants wore the standard Yankees cap with the jersey. But beginning in 2012 they started wearing alternate caps. First it was a variation of the Grey and midnight navy New York Highlanders cap the team wore in Boston as part of that throwback game (only difference being the addition of a patch on the side). Then they started wearing that BP hat with the white brim. The hashtag also looks tacky to me, too.

    Wow, those UND submission lists are crazy.

    As someone with printing experience, though, it’s amusing to see that they didn’t bother with any formatting on the spreadsheet when they exported it to PDF. The end result is dozens of blank pages at the end of the file, with a few pages interspersed containing a single line of text (in one case, all of two characters).

    Some decent choices, despite the spirit of whiny self-righteous grievance that dominates even most of the good entries. Though Prairie Rose doesn’t seem to be on the approved list.

    Bummed to see “Thunderbirds” on the ineligible list (my choice), but also surprised to see “Roughriders” in the thumbs-down group. My guess? They couldn’t get domain rights to either. seems to be held by a domain squatter – it’s not used by either the Cedar Rapids Roughriders or the Frisco Roughriders minor-league teams.

    A shame that domain availability seems to be such a key point, since domain names have become largely pointless with regard to branding and search placement. Just make the subdomain or whatever and they’ll be fine.

    I believe one reason Roughriders is on the ineligible list is due to one of the local high schools in Grand Forks already uses that name.

    It’s interesting to see that “Seminoles” made the list of nicknames under consideration by UND:


    I’m guessing someone forgot to include that term in the filtering program used to weed out Native American-themed nickname suggestions.

    Gotta say, I think the coloring on that camo Blue Jays jersey really pops.

    But for the effect being ruined by not having the sleeve piping match.

    In that photo of Malkin, the goalie in the background has an unusual and awesome red throat guard. These have been available for a while but most goalies don’t wear them. Hard to see in the photo but it’s transparent red. I had a similar one in yellow when I played.

    “O’s skipper Buck Showalter wears No. 26 as a tribute to former MLBer Johnny Oates, who was his first manager in the minors”

    Would be pretty hard to get visual evidence of this considering Showalter always wears a jacket or a smock over his jersey. Very infuriating. They make uniform tops for the managers and players. Wear them visibly.

    One other point about Phil’s rankings: In his AL piece, he said the Astros have not worn the BP tops in a game. That’s incorrect. They wore them for Sunday home games in 2013 and for the first part of 2014. I was at a Mariners-Astros game in Houston on a Sunday in May last year when the Astros wore the BP tops.


    “One other point about Phil’s rankings: In his AL piece, he said the Astros have not worn the BP tops in a game. That’s incorrect. They wore them for Sunday home games in 2013 and for the first part of 2014. I was at a Mariners-Astros game in Houston on a Sunday in May last year when the Astros wore the BP tops.”


    If that’s what you thought I meant, I apologize — I know very well they’ve worn them in games — I was saying that thus far THIS YEAR, they haven’t worn them in a game. And I hope it stays that way. Sorry if that didn’t come across in the writeup.

    All of the Ben Kennedy helmet design entries can be seen here:


    Somewhat disappointed that no one submitted a design in the old Binghamton Whalers colors, since Kennedy’s personal logo is (to me) very similar to the one the team used.

    I wish that every school teacher and boss had to read your intro peace every day to their people for the week leading up to memorial day. I have lived all over the world and they manage to treat their remembrance days with a much more subtle and to the point fashion.

    I can’t stand camo anything so I am biased but these uniform abortions by each league are a total disgrace.

    I really appreciate your thoughts on having a social worker jersey. My wife has been a social worker for 10 years and that would be pretty cool to see.

    Vee63. My daughter wears a clear dangler. One team she has played against, their goalie wears a pink one.

    Thank you Major League Baseball for supporting the Welcome Back Veterans program.

    WBV is committed to providing post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury treatment to our veterans and their families.

    The camo hats and jerseys draw attention to the struggles of our veterans as our country has had men and women — all heroes in my eyes — on the front lines for more than a decade at this point.

    I don’t like this year’s design, but I deeply appreciate the effort and thank MLB for rallying around our the people of our armed forces. Your help isn’t pandering. If MLB was interested in adopting a cause, I’m glad that it selected our veterans.

    And I’m grateful to my Mets for wearing NYPD caps during batting practice on Wednesday. As someone related to several police officers, including two in the NYPD, the gesture was deeply appreciated.

    Thanks for making the point about why the camo is inappropriate for Memorial Day. Memorial Day is not about veterans. A veteran is, by definition, not honored on Memorial Day. Memorial Day is the one day every year we set aside to honor and remember our war dead. To the extent that MLB’s camo caps are calling attention to wounded veterans, MLB is therefore betraying the true purpose of this sacred day. Others may disagree of course, but in my book we don’t honor veterans by spitting on the graves of our war dead.

    There are a number of volunteer organizations that serve the families of fallen servicemembers and maintain and decorate the graves of our nation’s war dead around the world. Most Americans are fully aware of veterans support groups like WBV and Wounded Warriors Project; very few are aware of the groups that server war dead and their families. Those are the groups that need awareness raised on Memorial Day.

    Welcome Back Veterans appears to be a laudable program. Unfortunately, Memorial Day is not about veterans (the holiday for that is Veterans Day), so tying the sale of Memorial Day merchandise to WBV is yet another misrepresentation of the holiday.

    Furthermore, MLB is perfectly capable of selling ugly camouflage merchandise all year long, and donating as much of the proceeds as it wants to WBV, without sullying its on-field uniforms. The on-field use of camouflage is unacceptable, irrespective of merch sales and charitable efforts.

    Certainly what is considered “sullying” and “unacceptable” is a matter of opinion. I can understand not liking it, but I don’t understand the hostility. There’s a lot of pride in that camo. It’s not a joke to a lot of people, but a heartfelt tribute. We don’t like BFBS, either, but we don’t go to great lengths to call it a joke — every day.

    I understand the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. But the salute to veterans is closer to the meaning than what normally happens on Memorial Day, and MLB doesn’t play games in November.

    “Salute” = when a team does something for a cause we support.
    “Pandering” = when a team does something for a cause we don’t support.

    We don’t like BFBS, either, but we don’t go to great lengths to call it a joke – every day.

    Actually, the very term “BFBS” is our way of calling it a joke. It’s a term of mockery. And I invoke it at precisely the same rate I invoke my critique of camouflage — i.e., when teams wear it, I say something about it.

    In any case, that’s a false equivalence, because BFBS is just silly marketing, while camouflage is a political statement — one with which I strongly disagree. I’ll keep speaking out against it.

    “Salute” = when a team does something for a cause we support.
    “Pandering” = when a team does something for a cause we don’t support.

    Nope. I’ve used “pandering” very specifically for years now, when a team, league, or manufacturer uses a cheap appeal to Band-Aid patriotism as part of an ongoing effort to honor one sector of society over and over and over again to the near-exclusion of all others. There are lots of other uniform trends I don’t support, but I don’t refer to them as “pandering.” You don’t have to agree with my application of the term, but please don’t misrepresent my use of it.

    I just wish there was a way to disagree with it without insulting the people who consider it a heartfelt tribute. It seems to have elevated to open mockery. (You are certainly entitled to openly mock, and our soldiers fight for your right to do that. It just seems to take the discussion away from uniforms)

    Not sure what you mean by Band-Aid patriotism (Though I salute you for the proper capitalization and recognition of the brand name.)

    I know you dislike when teams incorporate the flag into a design. I don’t mind expressions of patriotism. I’m one of those people who proudly fly the flag in front of the house every day.

    Anyway, I know you don’t want to go back and forth all day. I just ask that you remember that, unlike the BFBS, there are people behind the camo, it’s very special to them and when they see the Mets run out there with the jerseys and caps, its a sign of respect and solidarity. I don’t expect people to agree, but hope for respectful disagreement.

    “I just wish there was a way to disagree with it without insulting the people who consider it a heartfelt tribute.”

    Pointed criticism is not the same thing as an insult, no matter how strongly you may disagree with the criticism. And criticizing an action, behavior, or practice is not the same thing as criticizing (or insulting) people who may agree with that practice. So, keeping those principles in mind, who, specifically, has been insulted in this debate?

    Dave, it’s clear that many people have a very genuine emotional response to seeing camouflage outfits, but these people are not the targets of UniWatchers’ mockery.

    The ridicule is directed at the organizations (sports teams, apparel companies, questionable charities) who seek to profit from manipulating our emotions. And I suspect that “Band-Aid patriotism” refers to just that; exploiting Americans’ natural inclination toward love of country or support for military service members by making a very public token gesture…all in the interests of boosting their bottom line.

    New Era is not making a heartfelt gesture. They’re seeking to profit from making us *believe* that their gestures are heartfelt.

    Hi UniTroll, and thanks for the friendly response.

    If New Era — through MLB — donates proceeds from the sales of the caps and jerseys to the Welcome Home organization, does that still make it a bottom-line boosting gesture?

    I don’t know what percentage of the proceeds are donated, but I think I read the MLB has donated about $25 million to the program already. (That’s off the top of my head. I’ll look for the source.)

    I’m not sure how people think the camo is a political statement. Republicans and Democrats both support our men and women in uniform.

    I’m not sure how people think the camo is a political statement.

    Camouflage by itself is not a political statement per se.

    But as I’ve repeatedly explained, the relentless glorifying of the military over and over and over again, to the near-exclusion of all other sectors of society, is the very definition of political messaging. So is the suggestion the supporting the military and patriotism are synonymous. Reasonable people can have varying opinions on whether they agree or disagree with this political messaging, but its status *as* political messaging is fairly straightforward.

    After my rather harsh comments posted earlier, I went over to New Era’s website and had a look around. The site is rather difficult to navigate, but I found a page describing the Memorial Day caps:


    I saw no mention of the company donating a share of the proceeds to charity.

    I checked out the shop section where one can order the hats, and again, found no mention of any charities.

    THEN I went to link and noted, in the descriptions for the Memorial Day camouflage merchandise, that “ will donate ALL NET PROCEEDS to the Welcome Back Veterans Fund for each cap sold.”

    So has New Era simply made a careless omission in their own product descriptions, or are charitable contributions made only when the hats are purchased from Major League Baseball’s site?

    Hopefully, someone can shed some more light on this matter, but let me get back to your question, Dave.

    “…does that still make it a bottom-line boosting gesture?”

    Yes. Yes it does. Even if they don’t make one cent from *these items specifically*, it’s still a corporation exploiting emotions in an attempt to garner goodwill by “taking a stand” on a nearly controversy-free issue — obviously, only the most extreme of pacifists will publicly decline to support the troops.

    “I’m not sure how people think the camo is a political statement. Republicans and Democrats both support our men and women in uniform.”

    Oh, it’s not *partisan*, mind you. But it’s political for the same reason that people consider it pandering. If all these companies cared about was helping out the troops (or fighting breast cancer, or ending domestic violence, etc.), they’d skip making all the special caps and jerseys, and just donate money to the charities that they chose to support.

    But that’s not enough. Like a politician wants votes, a company wants you to feel good about them and their products.

    You see, both Democrats and Republicans understand that it’s not enough to just shake hands and kiss babies. You have to be SEEN shaking hands and kissing babies.

    Hi UniTroll — I see what you’re saying, but I don’t necessarily agree. There has always been a connection between sports and the military. Think of all the stadium names – Solider Field, Veterans Stadium, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

    No Social Worker Stadiums out there. (And I love social workers — my son is one.) I view the jerseys and caps as an extension.

    MLB has adopted the Welcome Home organization as an official sponsor, just like the Red Sox for decades have adopted the Jimmy Fund. We don’t criticize the Red Sox for working with this charity at the exclusion of all others.

    re: Memorial Day.

    Historically speaking we’re being overrun by idiots.
    If not idiots, then by lazy people.

    This morning on Fox national news (chalk up another one for their accuracy) the on-screen graphic said today is about “…celebrating the end of WWII.”

    Really??? Then what was V-J Day all about?

    Other news sources I’ve seen have correctly referred to it as “celebrating the end of WWII in Europe”.

    I once heard outfielder Nick “Bro-hio” Swisher of the Cleveland Indians described as a guy who grew up in a military town but never actually joined the military.

    The seemingly endless parade of camouflage merchandise peddled to a country where only a tiny fraction of the populace has actually served begs this question: Are we now a nation of Nick Swishers?

    I grew up near Parkersburg, WV — where Swisher did — and have never once heard it referred to as a “military town.”

    I believe it was referring to his personality type not necessarily his particular history.

    I really want to see Uni Watch (or someone, ANYONE) do a feature on this. There has to be money involved, more than just what they make from merch sales.

    It’s called advertising.

    The military must pay for it’s advertising since it’s in the recruiting business. They have budgets in the hundreds of millions of taxpayer based dollars to get kids to sign up.

    Could be worse, we could reinstate the draft and send millennial’s to fat camp, er boot camp.

    Today, I made an early morning visit Arlington National Cemetery… You know, to pay my respects to the fallen, the way I thought the memorial day concept was sposed’ to be all about.

    I do confess, as a Uni-watcher, I did have my eye out for anyone wearing anything remotely camouflage-y. I thought in the back of my mind of taking a snappy photo or perhaps asking politely about their choice of apparel.

    I did not see a soul wearing anything resembling camouflage (not even the military types who were all in full military dress, very shiny).

    This upcoming memorial day weekend in Dee-Cee I encourage all the locals to keep a sharp eye out for camouflage-y attire, I does not seem to be prevalent from past events and hopefully will stay that way. Knock on wood.

    Believe me, I get advertising. I work in the advertising industry. But usually advertising is a bit more overt. This feels genuine and organic, when it’s probably anything but. It annoys me that teams cheapen their product and do this, and it annoys me that my government probably pays for it.


    Couldn’t agree with you more… it truly is bad advertising, dare I say “pandering” to quote sturripus maximus himself, or perhaps just call it phoney-baloney.

    To me, this is not how you honor the troops, this is how you wrap baseball up in the flag for fun and profit.

    I don’t get why having 2 sets of jerseys for 162 games is considered better than having 10 or so…In the NFL, there is 16 games and most teams have three jerseys…if MLB had jerseys at that rate, teams would have 30 jerseys. I think 7-10 is being conservative, not radically over the top. FYI, the Brewers in their current design, but with royal blue and yellow would look outstanding.

    As with everything, uniqueness and moderation are the key. If there were one team in MLB who wanted to go absolutely Oregon and have 20 different unis/combos, it would likely make them unique and would probably be very cool.

    Therein lies the problem.

    Once that bridge is crossed (and I have no doubt there will be more teams like the Brewers who end up with eight or nine different tops/alt uniforms), you’ll also likely begin to see more and more teams doing this, ruining it for them AND for the originators (just look at how everyone wants to be like Oregon in the NCAA … it’s out of control).

    There are a grand total of TWO MLB teams (Tigers & Yankees) who do not employ any alt jersey/uni gimmickry. Everyone else has at least one and many have two or more. It’s more about merchandising than anything else. I realize teams are going to try to introduce alts (maybe to break up the “boredom” of only having two uniform choices) but also to increase revenues. But it comes with a cost: aesthetically, most (thought certainly not all by any means) alts suck. Plain and simple. When you add multiple alts that suck, it’s worse.

    MLB can justify it anyway they want: “Oh, the fans love this” etc. But it all really comes down to money. The more uniforms/jerseys a team actually wears on the field, the more fans will “need” to buy.

    I’ve got no problem with throwbacks, negro league tributes and the like, and even a few alts are OK. But for the most part, teams really should have a home and road uni that look good and are worn the majority of the time.

    In another victory for America, George Mason University’s Patriot Center, home of GMU Patriots athletics, is getting a new name: EagleBank Arena.


    This just confirms, once again, that corporate sponsorship, especially when it includes the words “eagle” and “bank,” is more patriotic than the word “patriot” itself.

    By the way, anyone who missed that article, please take a look at it. This is why I don’t like to mix sports and the military.

    This one should really be a no-brainer. Why are federal tax dollars being used this way? And don’t our service members deserve better than to be used as six-figure marketing gimmicks?

    I’ll shut up now. Just read the article.

    Along with DJ Gallo last year, two of my three favorite sports writers have now departed ESPN…

    When there are special uniforms to honor Peace Corps volunteers, teachers, civil servants, social workers, and other deserving parties, we can talk.

    Tonight is Nurse Appreciation Night in Akron. The Rubber Ducks will be wearing scrub jerseys.


    Having worked in healthcare for longer than I care to admit, nearly every nurse can go from zero to Ratched in under ten seconds.

    I think it’s pretty clear the insistence on camo uniforms is most notably a way to sell more jerseys and hats. It is no different to me than the leagues pandering to women fans under the guise of breast cancer awareness. I would prefer if neither happened or at least happened more tastefully, but alas, it is the consumer driven culture we live in.

    I’m pretty sure it’s not coincidental that the rise of “military appreciation” alt unis has coincided with the popularity of reality shows like Duck Dynasty and Buck Wild as well as “bro-country”. Baseball simply happened to find a convenient cause to incorporate camo into their uniforms.

    As a card carrying redneck, let’s be clear that hunting camo and military camo are 2 very different things. I’d be all for a real-tree (hunting) camo jersey as a minor league gimmick, but I completely get the opposition to the use of military camo (at all levels).

    The Wainwright thing on Gameday is because the stadium graphics are straight from the MLB the Show game. They take the legends out in the game and replace them with current players for legal reasons, and so that is how it appears on Gameday.

    They also seem to have ignored that Ballpark Village was built … for the opening of the 2014 season. Sure, it’s not technically part of Busch Stadium, but it’s now by far the most predominent piece of the view beyond the outfield way.

    This shot is from about MLB 12 or MLB 13 The Show. I know, because I have made lots of posts about Busch Stadium over on the Show Nation forums since 2011.

    Like Paul G stated, The Show didn’t renew the rights to retired players after MLB 11 or so. With that, the devs took their likenesses off the LF wall and replaced them with current players, like in US Cellular Field.

    On the PS4 version of MLB 15, BP Village is in.

    In fact, it’s straight from MLB 13. The Cardinals retired La Russa’s number in 2012 and the devs put it out under the scoreboard along with Whitey Herzog’s number while they were at it. You can see that the #10 and #24 look different than the other numbers.

    Holy shit. Abdominal Snowmen. Never mind how stupid the intented name is, but abdominal? Really? How stupid are people these days?

    I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, whether it’s Breast Cancer Awareness, Military Appreciation, or the commodification of tragedy (e.g., “Boston Strong”), what irks me most with respect to their translation into the uni verse can be summed up in one word: OVERKILL.

    Well done Paul! Way too many people do not truly understand the meaning of Memorial Day. For some reason, they’re confusing it with Veterans Day, which is the day in honor of those who have served in the military. Also, not to be confused with Armed Forces Day which honors those currently serving.

    Has anyone ever suggested to teams, leagues, or apparel companies about having a Peace Corps, or teacher, or social worker, or public service, etc. day, and having uniforms reflect those. I’m curious about the reaction about doing that consistently as opposed to the usual one-off gimmick.

    I’ve mentioned Mike Pesca to aversion to excuse things because they’re “for a good cause”, before, but it applies here. If your justification is “because military/patriotism”, then it’s probably not a good idea.

    If Peter Alonso’s “Face First” face guard is new to you, you’ve clearly not watched an NCAA softball game in the last five years.

    “Some G.I. Jokes are bigger jokes than others.”

    So, Paul, what would you think about using the term “G.I. Joke” as a way to distinguish the kind of abomination Illinois is wearing on Sunday (i.e., “camouflage” in team colors or otherwise very obviously non-camouflage colors) from “G.I. Joe” uniforms (uniforms like the Mets’ and Pirates’ alternates that actually are in camo colors)? I’m no fan of either, but I particularly dislike designs like the Illini’s, which make a complete mockery of the entire (largely misguided) notion of “honoring” the military by wearing things that don’t even remotely resemble military uniforms. That seems like a joke in and of itself, thus making “G.I. Joke” seem particularly apropos. And it’s a common enough occurrence nowadays that there would be ample opportunity to use the term in that context.

    By comparison, the Mets’ and Pirates’ camo color choice feels like they’re playing at military dress-up. In that sense, “G.I. Joe” seems like a term that still fits what they’re doing quite well. Both terms would thus continue to have some verbal cache in the uni-verse. Just throwing this out there as a thought…

    As a current serviceman, I appreciate the honesty in today’s right up. I also agree with you 100%, its nothing but shameless self promotion. One further note, it looks like its only Marine Corps camo, with the obvious exception of Toronto.

    The Ball Game, which is linked to below. Go to about 1:00 in and you’ll see Aunt Bee hand Opie the blue & white stirrups.
    Oh, and spoiler alert: Opie learns a valuable lesson from Andy in the episode.

    Looks like Michal Rozsival wears a wedding band during the game.
    on this page

    James Gilbert, I loved the Wake Forest vs North Carolina color action from 1948.

    Are you kidding me? Memorial Day honors members of the MILITARY who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Camo is absolutely appropriate. Members of the Peace Corps, while performing an important service, don’t die in action fighting for their country. If they start doing so, then the MLB can give them a day. Crazy military hating liberal.

    Phil (and Paul in the past), why do you refer to the Brewers uniforms as “bland and boring”? Their 80s uniforms, which everyone seems to love, is the definition of boring with the sans-serif generic text. The current script looks like it came from a beer can, which is appropriate, and is anything but boring. Yes, the color scheme they use with the Vegas gold is terrible, and I have no problem with your ranking of them. But it bothers me that you rank them low for “boring” instead of just overall “bad”.

    I hate to say it, but the camo on the D-backs red alt actually looks pretty good. It fits the location, team name, and is fairly close to team colors with the “sand” or whatever the hell they call the color in the solid logo anyway. I’m a little surprised it hasn’t been made a more regular look like the Pirates and Mets did.

    I also will admit unashamed that I own a Cubs stars & stripes navy blue hat that I bought the first year they were made. It was 08 and I read the percentage of the sale went to Welcome Back Veterans which I held close at that time with two cousins returning home from the war with major injuries which happen to persist today.

    While I abhor the commercialization of our armed service members, programs that can help these men and women return to a sense of normalcy when they are ready are valuable. I do not want to ever see the vitriol service members experienced after returning from Vietnam.

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