By Phil Hecken
I’ve never been a big jersey owning guy (hard to believe, especially for an editor on Uni Watch, right?) — in fact, the few jerseys I do own were all thrift store pick-ups. Like Paul, I care about what the players wear on the field, and not so much about the fans off of it. I care even less about the jerseys worn for batting practice or spring training. And there have been few, if any, All Star game jerseys I’ve ever liked.
Ever since MLB announced the “Big 5” (Mothers Day, Memorial Day, Fathers Day, Fourth of July and All Star Game) jerseys, I’ve been excited for the All Star Game batting practice jerseys you see above. Of course, given my druthers, I’d rather see the players compete in the home run hitting contest (and all other non-game activities) in their regular uniforms, but since that hasn’t been an option in decades — if they have to wear a special uniform for the non-ASG stuff…well, these are fantastic.
Of course, the reason we have the colors (gold and brown) that we do is because the game is being held in San Diego, and for the better part of two decades, the BP jerseys have usually reflected the colors and sometimes the fonts/wordmarks of the host team. It gives a local “feel” for the game, and allows those who have excess cash to pick up not one, but two new jerseys every year. Or, for the casual fan whose favorite player makes the team, a chance to buy another jersey his favorite player will wear. I’m not likely to ever purchase an All Star jersey, but if I were (or if perhaps Majestic would love to shoot one my way), these would be the jerseys I’d buy. And as Jimmer Vilk is wont to say, “I’d wear that.”
I love that San Diego has embraced its former colorscheme of brown and gold (with a hint of orange thrown in). These resemble the jerseys worn by
Tony Gwynn Gary Templeton and his Padres back when the team wore those colors. Those are the THE uniform you think of when you think Padres. It’s their signature look. I know many of you don’t like it (and you probably don’t like the ASG BP jerseys either), but it is one of the most distinctive looks in all of baseball history (for better or worse). And 50 years from now, when we look back at photos of Home Run Derby’s from past All Star Games, we’ll instantly recognize this one and say, “Ah yeah — twenty-sixteen…San Diego.”
Like I said above, I have never been a real fan of the All Star Game BP smocks, and most of them have (in my opinion) sucked. But they have always tried to give a flavor of the home team (some better than others) or the home city. Let’s take a look at what the teams have worn since 1997, shall we? (You can click on the photos below to enlarge)
1997: Jacobs Field, Cleveland
Red and blue jerseys (Indians colors), with a pretty basic font.
1998: Coors Field, Denver
The American League got black jerseys with purple trim (Rockies colors), but for this game, the National League wore green jerseys.
1999: Fenway Park, Boston
If you folks recall, 1999 was the year of the stupid Turn Ahead The Clock promotion(s). So that explains these BP unis. At least they were in blue and red, the BoSox colors (with contrasting sleeve colors).
2000: Turner Field, Atlanta
Chicks were digging the long ball in 2000, and these featured “cut off” sleeves (almost) to allow the players to show the guns. But almost everyone wore undersleeves anyway. Kind of dumb. Notice how three of the first four games have been red/blue? Those just happened to be the colors of the teams involved. But very popular colors nonetheless.
2001: Safeco Field, Seattle
With the game in Seattle, the American squad got nice hunter green tops. The NL got red tops. Note the jerseys both have little Mariner compasses on them, to further tie in to the host city.
2002: Miller Park, Milwaukee
Ah…the All Star Game that had no winner. And made all the rest of the All Star Games count. “Lager” (piss yellow) for the home National League team, and navy for the road American squad. The fonts on the jerseys were also in “Milwaukee” script too.
2003: US Cellular Field, Chicago
Interesting — the 2003 jerseys featured crisp white tops for the AL squad, with black tops for the visiting NL team. And really awful underarm panels. White Sox colors are basically black and white, but I’m surprised they didn’t try to go with a silver/gray there.
2004: Minute Maid Park, Houston
You would have figured one of these jerseys would have been in “brick” red (or whatever Houston used to call their shade of red), but once again you had the home team in white and the road team in black (remember, Houston was still in the National League in 2004). Jerseys also featured the classic Houston “Star”.
2005: Comerica Park, Detroit
For the Detroit game, you had the matchup of orange vs. midnight blue, with a font resembling that of a classic Detroit auto (or at least, I think that’s what it was). There were crappy underarm panels and yoke stripes, but also featured flag patches for international players.
2006: PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Classic black and gold for Pittsburgh. The wordmark is also Pirates-esque.
2007: AT&T Park, San Francisco
Classic orange and black for San Fran. Both jerseys also featured an image of the Golden Gate Bridge upright for the “I” in each word.
2008: Yankee Stadium, New York
The home team, of course, wore midnight blue while the road team got to wear gray (and specific national and american caps too). Notice the frieze pattern (mimicking the frieze at the OLD Yankee Stadium).
2009: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
These red National and blue American jerseys both featured the St. Louis arch iconography, atop a bat. OK, these were pretty cool (except for the side panels).
2010: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim
Ho hum. Starting to sense a pattern here. Navy and red jerseys in the Angels font with halos over the “N” and “A” (also true smocks, and bad side panels).
2011: Chase Field, Phoenix
Sedona red and black, D-backs font. Check and Check. These also featured a seemingly reflective/metallic gold for the numbers and wordmarks. I honestly don’t remember these at all, but it’s probably because I didn’t watch the derby, as my pop had passed away earlier that day.
2012: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
Now we’re talkin’ — powder blue for the home team and royal blue for the road. Royals colors, of course (and they’re nice). OK, the crown on the jerseys is getting cliched, but these were pretty nice.
2013: Citi Field, New York
As the many teams who hosted before the, the home and road teams got dressed in royal road and home orange. These featured the New York City skyline as their tip o’ the cap to the host city.
2014: Target Field, Minneapolis
Red and blue, like the host Twins. These were actually fairly understated, like the logo (designed by Todd Radom, btw). Nice, but not spectacular.
2015: Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati
Red and black, with contrasting sleeves for both.
2016: Petco Park, San Diego
Best yet. Can’t wait to see them tomorrow night.
…for the rest of us
You readers may recall back in May I had a sub-lede detailing New York Mets’ slugger Yoenis Cespedes (scroll down, it’s in this post) and his seemingly random wearing of his (patented) neon sleeve. Towards the end of the post, I (semi-jokingly) asked if anyone was interested in charting/tracking Yo’s wearing of the sleeve (win/loss, left arm/right arm, his success, etc.). I never thought anyone would actually take me up on the offer. Well, reader Matt Logan did, and you can see the fine bit of tracking he did towards the end of this post (again, scroll down). At the time, we thought it would be nice if we got an update on the Cespedes Tracker from Matt. Today is that day.
So at this point I’ll turn the rest of this section over to Matt (a link to his excel file is below as well)…
Hey everyone, Matt Logan here. In the first Cespedes Sleeve update I didn’t introduce myself, so I figured now would be a good time to catch up on that. I’m currently in grad school for College Athletics Leadership at D-III Messiah College in south central PA, and I work part-time in the athletic communications and marketing offices on campus there. My heart truly lies with football, specifically the Packers, but over the past few years I’ve grown to be a serious Mets fan.
Anyway, back to that sleeve”¦we’ve seen Yo wear the neon on his arm a total of 19 times this season, with six different uniforms:
Home White: 6
Road Gray: 7
Home Blue Alternate: 1
Road Blue Alternate: 1
1986 Throwback: 3
Independence Day: 1
As you can see, it’s been spread evenly across the regulars, with the occasional usage with an alternate. I was surprised to see it worn on the 4th with the holiday uniform, since he didn’t wear it on Mother’s, Father’s, or Memorial Day. And just like in uniforms, the mix between going high-cuffed and pajama is even as well. He’s worn the sleeve nine times while going high-cuffed and 10 times pajama style. I was really hoping he’d get hot while going high cuffed to start a trend, but that hasn’t taken off.
The only place we’ve seen a choice/preference on his part is on what arm he’s worn the sleeve. He’s worn it 17 times on his left and only twice on his right arm. The only two games he wore it on the right arm were the sleeve’s second and third appearances in the season (4/10 and 4/12). The Mets lost both of those games, and we haven’t seen it there since.
The Mets haven’t seen increased success with the sleeve on the field, (they are 11-8 in those games), but Yo has batted pretty well with it on. He’s already batting a nice .302 on the year, but with the sleeve Cespedes is mashing at .366! I’d say the most successful pairings are with the home whites (4 HR, 10 RBI, .391) and pajama pants (5 HR, 15 RBI, .368).
I’m sure some of you caught this, but the Mets did pick up on the trend with a neon sleeve giveaway back on July 3rd. They were scattered throughout the park, and some other players even wore the sleeve. In fact, back up catcher Rene Rivera has worn it in games he’s played since the day of the giveaway. Was anyone at Citi Field that day to get one?
Thanks for listening, everyone. I’d love to hear what some of your thoughts are on the sleeve, or if anyone picks up some other trends from the stats!
I’ll probably have Matt back again sometime in August and then again at the end of the season so we can see if indeed the neon compression sleeve is his spinach…or his kryptonite!
Rio Olympics Uni Correspondents Wanted!
In case you missed it yesterday, I’m still soliciting eager Uni Watchers to be “Olympic Correspondents” during the Rio Games (which begin August 5th).
Since Paul will be taking his annual (and well-deserved) sabbatical from the boards during the Olympics, I’m looking for a few good men and women who would like to delve into the uniforms for a particular discipline to be featured as ledes during the Games. So far, I already have correspondents for the following disciplines:
but all other sports (both team and individual) are open — and there are 42 of them (although some obviously won’t be really ‘uni-worthy’).
If you’d like to preview the uniforms for any of the events for the upcoming games and have your story featured on Uni Watch, e-mail me at Phil.Hecken@gmail.com and let me know what you’d like to cover (please include in the subject line “Olympic Correspondent Request”). I’ll do this on a first-come, first-served basis, so if there is a sport whose unis you want to write about, let me know ASAP.
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it Friday, with the MLB All-Star Game coming up next Tuesday, Paul’s weekly Friday Flashback column on ESPN takes a look back at uni-notable moments from past All-Star Games (including the National Leaguers wearing pillbox BP caps in 1976, as seen here on Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt).
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: “The Player’s Tribune did a great article on life at the Cape Cod Baseball League,” writes Josh Edney. “Here is a photo of the catcher’s gear, equipped with stirrups.” … That “Best MLB Cap” tournament is now down to the final eight (thanks to Kris Kramer). … The Toledo Mud Hens did a Pink in the Park (anti-breast cancer thingy) yesterday (from Minor League Promos). … On July 16th, the Omaha Storm Chasers will
become completely invisible wear these camo tops (from OT Sports). … The West Virginia Black Bears held their “Tribute to Miners” event yesterday and they sported these jerseys (from Minor League Promos). … Our pal Brady Phelps saw this Yogi Berra replica and “a Yankees jersey w/ a name on the back drives me nuts. Then I noticed the Y. on this & now I’m personally offended.” But at least the “8” wasn’t, ya know, upside down. … The Mankato MoonDogs, “Minnesota’s home for affordable family fun since 2002,” will wear these pink gradient breast cancer jerseys (w/proceeds going to Susan G. Komen) today (via OT Sports). … The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs are giving away this cowboy hat on Thursday (from Thom D.). … Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Pirates were sporting a bi-centennial patch (from Scott Bonnett). … OOOOOhhhhh…check out the gorgeous 1942 Cubs powder blue vested jersey (from John Turney). One of my all-time favorite unis. … The Nashville Sounds wore these Tennessee flag-inspired unis last evening (from Lee Wilds). … Here’s a “Great Lakes Loons hat tower” (sent in by AJ DeWitt). … “Rockies gift shop find” read the subject line in an e-mail from JBird. Followed by “Wait, what?”. … “Looks like they jumped the gun on Joc (Pederson), he is shown not only wearing the All Star cap, but he is labeled as a two-time All Star as well,” says Michael Hobson. “He was an All Star last year but was not one of the three Dodgers selected this year.”
NFL/CFL News: So, Johnny Manziel didn’t appear to be too upset his jerseys were selling for $1.99 — he reposted the photo to Instagram, added a black and white filter, and wrote, “LOL.”. … “Came across the following and had to pick it up,” writes Tim Constantin. “Logo from the Sonny Wade era of the Montreal Alouettes.” … Although the Los Angeles Rams aren’t switching (yet) to their classic royal & (yellow) gold unis, they are eliminating white trim from the current set (thanks to ssj homeslice).
Hockey News: All the way around the world, Red-Star Kunlun will wear some sweet unis for their first KHL (which stands for “Kontinental Hockey League”) season (from Mark Grainda). … No surprise here, but along with the Toronto Maple Leafs announcing they’ll wear their special “St. Pats” unis on March 18th of next year vs. Chicago, they will also wear a “special” uniform on New Year’s Day, when they play the Winter Classic against the Red Wings. If history is any guide, it will likely be a fauxback.
NBA News: In case you were concerned: NBA summer league jerseys are spell-checked (sent our way by Zach). … The New York Knicks had a hard time matching the font size & shades of orange/blue for Patrick Ewing’s banner (from Doug Smith). … This is how Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers introduced newest player Gerald Henderson, Jr. to the fans on social media (from Thom Pucks). … “I was wondering if the warriors changed their shade of yellow for their court in the last two years,” says Harshdeep Dhillon. Highlights from the 2013-14 season show a a darker floor color and lighter yellow. 2013-14 season vs. 2015-16 season. Maybe they changes the lighting in the arena. But it sure seems different.”
Soccer News: Tweeter Bennett Berry reminds us to never underestimate Nike’s ability to logo-creep. … Yesterday, Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma was sporting a new haircut for Euro2016. Submitter Tim Cross asks if this is the “anthesis” of uniform.
Grab Bag: When Collingwood of the VFL played Swan Districts of the WAFL in the 1982 Escort Cup, both teams wore black and white stripes as their home guernseys, notes Graham Clayton. Collingwood lost the coin toss to determine who wore the stripes, and thus played with an alternate guernsey of all-white with a black yoke. … Check out the uniforms for the St John’s puffins, Sydney giants, and Halifax dockers (from Tim Donovan). … Check out these pretty cool pics of scoreboards from Spain (nice find by Derek Noll).
And that’s going to do it for today. Everyone have a great week and I’ll catch you guys next weekend, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken
“I like the fun and silly minor league jerseys. But on some of them, unless the jerseys are untucked, the design is running way too low. Half of Darth Vader’s face would be below the belt!”
— Dave Murray