Craig Calcaterra of NBC’s Hardball Talk provided a a preview of last night’s World Series opening ceremonies and had some interesting analysis regarding the degree of “patriotic” and military-themed displays:
[L]ast year was way more over the top. Last year the Commissioner’s visit by Bud Selig was of a local veteran’s group, accompanied by the V.A. Secretary and one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There was also a special first pitch by a local veteran. The Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat was also bestowed on a veteran, in honor of his military service. There was a special item that didn’t deal with an event, actually, it was just a note that Bank of America sponsored the flags at the stadium entrances. There was an item noting that the son of an army major would be announcing “play ball.” There was also a note about a new “Welcome Back Veterans” commercial on the Fox broadcast.
As I said last year, it’s hard to take issue with any one of those efforts, but it’s also the case that the obligatory manner in which we have imported patriotism and honoring of the military into baseball has caused us to lose sight of the fact that, even if doing these things are good and admirable, when we make our patriotism obligatory and mindless, we lose an essential part of it, which is thoughtfulness.
Having spoken with some baseball sources about this over the past year, I got the sense that there is some of this feeling shared at the league office as well. That, however well-intentioned all of this is, baseball sort of painted itself into a corner with all of this since 9/11 and doesn’t know how to get out of it without looking callous or less-than-patriotic. If that is true, and perhaps the solution they settled on is to remove an item or two from the pregame patriotic agenda each year. Which is probably the best way to handle it, really.
That’s good writing, and I agree with it. But it’s particularly interesting in light of the following tidbit that I’ll now share with you: One MLB team that currently has a camouflage alternate uniform — I can’t say which one — will be discontinuing that uniform next season.
Could the ratchet be turning back the other way? Let’s hope so.
(Thanks to my ESPN colleague Dave Schoenfield for alerting me to Calcaterra’s piece.)
Baseball News: Check this out: video from the 1917 World Series! Great stuff (from Eli Ganias). ”¦ Good job by Chris Creamer, who’s put together a solid look at Royals uniform/logo history. ”¦ A coach in the Royals’ dugout was wearing Nike baseball pants instead of Majestic last night (excellent spot by Jason Kerepesi).
Pro and College Football News: The Broncos will wear their blue alts against the Packers this week, creating a visual rematch of Super Bowl XXXII. … Here’s this week’s uni combo for UNC. ”¦ Anyone know the story behind the little dove helmet decals in this Syracuse photo? (From Francis Simmonds.) ”¦ UConn’s seriously ugly GFGS alts will debut this weekend (thanks, Phil). ”¦ “Georgia will end up wearing its red home jersey for 10 out of 12 games this season,” says Justin Michaels. “This is almost certainly a record (at least for Georgia, and possibly more broadly), and probably by a wide margin. In addition to their home games, they wore red at Vanderbilt on Sept. 12 (Vanderbilt wore light gray ‘Anchor Down’ uniforms), plus Georgia always wears red at Georgia Tech, which is one of only four true road games on the schedule. And Georgia will again wear red against Florida on Oct. 31, as the teams are going color-on-color for the second consecutive year. The only games at which Georgia wore or will wear their white away jerseys would be at Tennessee (Oct. 10) and at Auburn (Nov. 14). Depending on home/away status in their bowl game, UGA might end up wearing their home jerseys for 11 out of 13 games.” ”¦ Western Illinois’s helmet logo will be purple/gold digital camouflage this weekend (from Joe Ringham). ”¦ UTEP and Southern Miss will wear Halloween colors on Halloween (from Matt Snyder).
Hockey News: The Devils will wear these really ugly cancer-awareness warm-ups tonight (from Ryan Walters). … New helmet decals for the Blues. ”¦ Worst of both worlds: Pink-trimmed tuxedo jerseys for the Indy Fuel.
NBA News: The Timberwolves are adding a Flip Saunders memorial patch and will also wear a commemorative shooting shirt in his honor during the month of November (no visuals yet on the shirt). ”¦ With NBA season opening last night, the Warriors celebrated their titles by wearing an O’Brien trophy patch. They also had gold-accented lettering, although it’s hard to see in the game photos. ”¦ Meanwhile, the Hawks awful new unis made their regular season debut, plus they upped the ante with neon-green sneakers and shoelaces and history’s first neon-green umlaut). ”¦ Here’s more about what the Hawks’ new uniforms supposedly say about Atlanta (thanks, Phil). ”¦ “LeBron posted a photo on Instagram of his personal logo on the top of Simeon Career Academy, a Chicago high school and perennial basketball powerhouse,” says our own Mike Chamernik. “LeBron is a sponsor for the school. The Cavs were scheduled to play the Bulls last night, and Simeon’s most famous alum is Derrick Rose.” ”¦ The D-League is adding a new franchise in Greensboro, North Carolina. The name will be chosen later on. ”¦ For reasons that elude me, someone found it necessary to put a Bulls jersey on the Chicago statue of Michael Jordan — which already includes a jersey (from Dan Erbach). ”¦ The Warriors have apparently changed their banners.
College Hoops News: New uniforms for Indiana of Pennsylvania. ”¦ New uniforms for Michigan State as well. ”¦ And also for Eastern Illinois, whose new uniforms are very stripe-centric. ”¦ And also for Old Dominion (from Jason Rhodes).
Soccer News: Here’s more on that Vancouver youth soccer club that was suspended after one of the players dared to say something negative about the team’s sponsor (from Mike Styczen). ”¦ President Obama was given a stars/stripes USWNT jersey yesterday.
Grab Bag: Pretty sleek-looking new logo for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, although I have no idea what that shape is supposed to represent (from @GKG_77). ”¦ Verizon forgot to use its new logo on the Droid Turbo 2 (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ New uniforms for the University of Minnesota marching band (from Thomas Hack).
What Paul did last night: Phil came over to Uni Watch HQ last night to watch the Strip Tease with me, and of course I made us a pair of New York strip steaks for dinner.
I started with a pair of beeYOOteefully marbled one-pound bone-in New York strips, seasoned them with salt and pepper, cooked them in butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet, popped them into the oven for a few minutes to finish them off, and voila — perfection (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):
As for the game, obviously it didn’t go quite the way we scripted it (Phil actually had to leave in the 12th inning, just so he could get home at a semi-reasonable hour), but that’s how it goes sometimes. Still plenty of baseball left. Let’s go Mets!