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The Cutting Edge: Chris Sale Fallout Continues

As you can see at right (and can click to enlarge), a fan at last night’s Cubs/White Sox game had a bit of fun at Chris Sale’s expense. I’m assuming someone will be showing up at Comiskey in full-on Edward Scissorhands regalia by tomorrow.

Sale gave an extensive interview to MLB.com yesterday, and it provided our first opportunity to hear what happened straight from the horse’s mouth (or, really, from any mouth other than unnamed sources). Here are some key passages from that story:

The issue, for Sale, began in Spring Training when the players were fitted for the special jerseys, which in 2015 were too large and therefore uncomfortable to play in. Sale said that players were not fans of this jersey overall, and he said then that if the jerseys fell on his day to pitch, he didn’t want to wear them, in part because he never had pitched in an untucked jersey in his life.

On the night before Sale’s Saturday start, he was advised that the ’76 throwbacks were set for his start and Sale asked the clubhouse manager for a different uniform, then expressing the sentiment to pitching coach Don Cooper. Sale was in favor of the ’83 throwbacks, which eventually were worn Saturday, because he didn’t want the untucked style of the ’76 uniform.

When he arrived Saturday and the ’76 throwbacks were set out for the players, Sale again took his issue to Cooper and manager Robin Ventura, with whom he admittedly lost his cool. He did not get the answer he wanted and, upon returning to the clubhouse, Sale reportedly cut up his uniform and then those of his teammates, rendering them unwearable.

[…]

“[The ’76 uniforms] are uncomfortable and unorthodox. I didn’t want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn’t want anything to alter my mechanics. … There’s a lot of different things that went into it. Looking bad had absolutely zero to do with it. Nothing.”

In other words, Sale’s saying his concerns about the uniform were all from a performance standpoint, not from an aesthetic standpoint. And it’s true that this uniform is unique in that regard — no other jersey in MLB history has been designed to be worn untucked or had a billowy collar. (Of course, that didn’t keep the White Sox for wearing it for five seasons back in the day.)

Although I’ve given some context and analysis about the Sale situation and have also explained how I came to write that piece, I haven’t actually said what I think about Sale’s actions. So let’s talk about that for a few minutes.

On the one hand, I think what Sale did is really unprofessional. Part of your job — and part of what’s stipulated in your contract — is that you suit up in whatever they put in your locker, whether you like it or not. And as I mentioned during a radio interview yesterday (I’m paraphrasing here), “On any given day there’s at least one minor league team wearing some sort of wacky theme uniform that’s a lot more ridiculous than those White Sox leisure suit throwbacks. The players probably roll their eyes at some of those designs, but they suck it up and go do their jobs. Sale probably had to wear plenty of those when he was in the minors. Maybe he thinks he’s too good for that now that he’s in the majors.”

After I did that interview yesterday, I looked up Sale’s background and learned that he played only 11 games in the minors — four at Single-A and seven at Triple-A — before being promoted to the bigs. So maybe he didn’t wear any of those wacky theme uniforms. That may be a contributing factor here. (As an aside, I’d like to know more about how minor leaguers feel when they have to wear ridiculous theme unis. That might be a topic for a future piece.)

In any case, as Sale explained yesterday, his issues with the throwbacks were not rooted in aesthetics. I suspect he would respond to me by saying, “You’re calling me unprofessional? Dude, I’m the one trying to be professional here. I take my job seriously, I take winning seriously, but that’s harder to do when the team wants me to wear something uncomfortable, all so it can sell some more merchandise.”

The merch angle didn’t come up in Sale’s interview with MLB.com yesterday, but it was part of the reporting that came out on Saturday night:

That has made Sale a hero to some people. In yesterday’s Miami Herald, longtime columnist Greg Cote said Sale’s act marked him as “the worst kind of petty, putulant [sic], pampered, tone-deaf professional athlete,” but also said he had a point:

Sale’s spasm of derangement is only defensible as a statement against sports’ growing trend of throwback and other alternative jerseys. The anti-throwback movement finally has a face, and it is Sale’s scowling mug.

Enough with this parade of decades-old uniform looks, most of which were hideous and have not aged well. That includes the ’76 White Sox unis with that ridiculous collared jersey. Nobody needs to see the Pittsburgh Steelers stepping out of the 1940s or the Miami Heat in the pastels of the ABA Floridians circa 1971. Camouflage uniforms? Hide them. Forever.

Redesigned uniforms, throwback uniforms, alternate uniforms and different colors are done for one reason only: Money. It isn’t to honor a franchise’s heritage. It’s to move new merchandise, which fan-consumers flock to like lemmings or Pavlov’s dogs. You want to honor your heritage, teams? Do it with a video montage or a halftime ceremony, not by making your current players dress like clowns.

I don’t fully agree with Cote’s argument here, because I think throwbacks are fun and usually enjoy them. And I know that the very first throwbacks (which were created, coincidentally, by the White Sox) hit the field in 1990, when jersey merchandising was barely a ripple in the sports pool, so the basic concept of throwbacks was not about selling overpriced polyester shirts.

But Cote’s argument isn’t really about throwbacks — it’s about how the larger merchandise-industrial complex has taken over what we see on the field, and he’s right about that part.

It’s interesting that Cote included camouflage uniforms in his litany of things he’s had enough of. That touches on something I’ve been thinking about, which is that our perception of Sale’s tantrum is almost certainly affected by the fact that he directed his rage at one of history’s goofiest designs. I think that makes it easier for people to say, “Okay, he shouldn’t have done that, but let’s face it — that is a ridiculous uniform.” But what if he had vandalized a more conventional throwback, like the ones the White Sox normally wear on Sundays? Or the pink Mother’s Day uniforms? Or a camouflage uniform? I think he would’ve been vilified much more than is taking place now.

Of course, Sale would say, “But I’d have no reason to cut up any of those uniforms. They don’t have untucked jerseys that distract me when I’m trying to do my job,” or something along those lines.

There are lots of factors at play here, and it’s all good food for thought. I’m still working out what I think of all of it. Feel free to keep discussing.

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

It would appear that these sneakers made by “Chex” were the choice of the NHL Players Association in the 1970s. Says so right on the tag! Of course, why there would be an official basketball shoe for hockey players is another matter. And how did the cereal people feel?

Now for the rest of the week:

• • • • •

Timberwolves-redesign contest reminder: In case you missed it last week, I’m running an ESPN contest to redesign the Timberwolves. The deadline is tomorrow. Details here.

• • • • •

rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

Raffle results, and today’s new raffle: The winner of the Indians cap is Louis M Castrello. Congrats to him, and thanks to all who entered.

Our next ’47 cap up for raffle is this White Sox snapback:

Here’s a closer look at the logo on the side (against a different background). There’s a ’47 maker’s mark on the other side. Memo to Chris Sale: Scissors not included.

To enter, send an email with your name and shipping address to this address (not to the usual Uni Watch email address, please) by 8pm Eastern TODAY. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow, and I’ll also announce tomorrow’s raffle cap, and then we’ll keep repeating that process for each remaining weekday this month. If you win one of the raffles, please be nice enough to step aside and stop entering the remaining ones. Thanks.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Here’s a closer examination of what Ken Griffey Jr. wore for his Hall of Fame induction this weekend. His wingtip shoes had pieces of a game-used bat built into the heels (from Ryan Wise). … Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista usually goes low-cuffed. On a rehab assignment over the weekend, though, he exposed his socks all three days. Bautista went back to pajama pants last night in his return to the Jays (from Tom Gronek). … Pitcher Jesse Hahn and several other A’s wore throwback jerseys in the locker room after their game on Sunday. Richard Paloma thinks it might be a final fitting for their 1980s throwbacks game on Aug. 6. … The Reading Fightins wore Elf on Your Shelf jerseys last night (from Eric Scarcella). … “C’mon, blue! Uh, red, white, and blue!”: Umps are wearing American flag-themed polo shirts for a baseball tournament in South Carolina. … The Lake Elsinore Storm will wear these jerseys for “Double Dare Night,” an homage to the 1990s kids’ game show. … Blue Jays OF Kevin Pillar had five teammates suggest a new walk-up song, and he’s letting fans vote for the final choice. … The Brewers’ TV broadcasters ridiculed the Diamondbacks’ uniforms on the air. … Junior Griffey isn’t the only one who’s worn his cap backwards. That’s none other than Shoeless Joe Jackson — wearing what appears to have been very nice shoes, ironically (from Jerusalem Stone). … Remember when Dave Parker broke his cheekbone and wore a variety of facemasks when he returned to action? Cubs 1B Karl Pagel mimicked Parker by wearing a mask made out of tape (from Jerry Wolper).

NFL News: Richmond is hosting the Electric Football World Championships and Convention this weekend (from Tommy Turner). … For a few weeks in 1981, Niners DE Fred Dean didn’t have a serif on the “7” on his jersey. Odd.

College & High School Football News: Georgia might be bringing back black jerseys, but Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart would not confirm that (from Phil). … Bowling Green will unveil military-themed helmets today (from Tom Konecny). … A Notre Dame blog speculates that the Irish might wear an alternate jersey in 2017 (from Phil). … New chinstraps for North Carolina (from James Gilbert). … You can vote for the best helmet in Alabama high school football. Warning: there are a lot of helmets to sift through (from Blake Hunter). … New unis for Ottawa University (from Casey Wieder). … A Michigan blogger is very happy about Nike’s impending return to Ann Arbor (from Brinke).

Hockey News: A standard blogger trick is to take a current event and apply it to your beat. So, here are five NHL jerseys that players should have cut up in disgust, à la Chris Sale (from Rob Yasinsac). … A Redditor made clip art logos for every NHL team. … New Oilers D Adam Larsson will wear No. 6 in Edmonton.

Soccer News: Vote for your favorite EPL home kit, or just skip ahead for one observer’s final rankings (from Donald Wine II and Josh Hinton). … New kits for the Russian club Rubin Kazan (from Josh Hinton). … New third kit for Celtic FC. Here’s a closer look (from Rhys McManus and Sean McLaughlin, probably the two most perfect names to send in that item). … New kit for Panathinaikos (from @DinosArmy). … Charlie Mrosko of the old NASL had FiNOB in this 1978 game (from Jerry Wolper).

Grab Bag: The numerals on Team USA’s basketball jerseys have some weird textured beveling. … Companies that are considering a redesign should be aware of potential backlash. Most companies, though, fare well when standing behind their new look (from Jim Brunetti). … A veteran lifeguard is fighting the State of New York over its Speedo requirement. He argues that the mandate was enacted to weed out older lifeguards. The state says that the rules are in place to prevent weaker lifeguard applicants from getting a boost from sophisticated speed-enhancing swimsuits. … Marvel designed a mission patch for the International Space Station (from James Gilbert). … New logos for WWE’s two brands, Raw and Smackdown (from Kyle Martinek). … Starbucks relaxed its dress code a bit. … Some of the outfits for the opening ceremonies in Rio are prompting ridicule (from Christine Freeman).

85 comments to The Cutting Edge: Chris Sale Fallout Continues

  • Ben in London | July 26, 2016 at 8:42 am |

    Broken link on Rams helmet bank.

  • Mike Wissman | July 26, 2016 at 8:43 am |

    None of Brinke’s links are working for some reason. I’m getting a 404 error message.

    • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 8:46 am |

      Should be fixed now.

  • Andrew Harrington | July 26, 2016 at 8:44 am |

    Why not ask the team to move your start back a day? I know that’s not ideal, and truthfully, I don’t know how big of a deal it actually is for the pitchers, but when the other option is cutting up ten grand worth of uniforms…

  • Alex Hider | July 26, 2016 at 8:47 am |

    I love that Paul is raffling off a ’76 Sox hat on a day where Chris Sale is the lede.

    • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 8:50 am |

      It’s actually a coincidence — I already had that cap lined up to be raffled off today. Set up the sequence of caps more than a week ago.

      But if the cap had originally been slated to be raffled, say, tomorrow or Thursday, I would have moved it up to today or yesterday, for sure!

  • arrScott | July 26, 2016 at 8:52 am |

    There really isn’t anything to think about with regard to Sale’s actions. What Sale did is indefensible. It’s Sale’s motivation that bears thinking about, and bears a charitable consideration. If an athlete has a concern like Sale’s about his uniform, he has two choices: Take himself out of the game, or play but share his concerns privately with a reporter before the game starts, and speak openly to the press after the game, if it turns out that he feels that the uniforms did hamper his performance. (Or three, if the player is a fielder instead of a pitcher: Play, but use the untucked jersey to attempt a hidden-ball trick during a defensive play, and watch the Commissioner’s office quietly ban untucked jerseys henceforth.)

  • Alex Dewitt | July 26, 2016 at 8:52 am |

    Missed an opportunity for more entries with one-off viewers for the Sox cap yesterday but I’m sure you had this cap thing set up at least a few days in advance.

    I’m getting annoyed with the amount of throwbacks/themes/alts done by major league teams that do seem to be only in the pursuit of sales, but until more players make statements (we’ve only had two, really, with Sale’s Scissors and LeBron’s sleeves) against them most fans or merchandising managers will care.

  • JakeK66 | July 26, 2016 at 8:53 am |

    You make a great point that not all of the throwbacks are on merchandise sales. Obviously some times it is, especially “permanent” throwbacks that teams wear as alternates (Brewers come to mind) but not always. The Cardinals last weekend wore the rare 50’s no birds on the bat jersey. Did they sell any? Not that I know of. I’ve seen teams wear retro jerseys and raffle them off at the end for charity of the game and not offer them for sale.
    Most teams sell retro merchandise and a lot of it doesn’t ever see the field. I think they are separate in that way. Teams wear them for fun mostly, people purchase retro product for previous memories, not current ones.
    The White Sox I doubt sell many ’76 uniforms. I don’t think that had anything to do with them wearing them. They more or less want to share their odd history.

    • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 8:56 am |

      The Cardinals last weekend wore the rare 50’s no birds on the bat jersey. Did they sell any? Not that I know of.

      It’s really not that hard to look things up, you know:
      http://www.mlbshop.com/St_Louis_Cardinals_Jerseys/Mens_St._Louis_Cardinals_Majestic_Cream_Turn_Back_the_Clock_Throwback_Flex_Base_Team_Jersey

      • arrScott | July 26, 2016 at 9:11 am |

        The question, “Did they sell any?” is not the same question as, “Did they make any available for sale?”

        Strictly speaking, selling one jersey qualifies for “any” in the former question, and there being 320 million people in this country, it’s almost certain that the team sold one. But given the growing ubiquity of jerseys as fan attire, selling only a small number of a given design does tend to indicate that retail sales likely were not a motivating facto behind the decision to wear that design. It doesn’t cost much to make a few jerseys available to the small number of collector-types who would want to purchase one, but neither does a small run of basically any manufactured product deliver any appreciable profit or even revenue. It would be interesting to learn what a typical production run is for the retail version of this sort of one-off jersey. That information would to along way toward answering the question of to what extent the merchandising tail really is wagging the on-field uniform dog.

        • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 9:16 am |

          The question, “Did they sell any?” is not the same question as, “Did they make any available for sale?”

          Actually, those two questions can be (and in this instance, I’m fairly certain, were) synonymous. Different ways of phrasing the same thought. I agree that the latter phrasing is less ambiguous, but the former works too.

        • Chance Michaels | July 26, 2016 at 10:38 am |

          Well, they’re sold out of three of the four sizes. So they have certainly sold some….

        • arrScott | July 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm |

          When it comes the the question of pecuniary motivation, which is what the Merchandise Tail Wagging the Uniform Dog hypothesis presupposes, the mechanics of the retail program matter. Is the merchandise tail actually wagging the dog? That question cannot be answered without a quantitative understanding of how the retail side of things works. We can assume that the merch tail is wagging the on-field uni dog, but absent data on production, sales, and revenue, that’s just an assumption, a likely hypothesis that doesn’t rise to the level of theory, much less proven fact.

          It’s possible that considerations unrelated to merchandising drive most decisions to adopt one-off uniforms. Perhaps teams have found that uniform variety helps drive ticket sales. Maybe team execs honestly believe that wearing charity-linked uniforms is actually a good thing to do. Maybe management and/or players just like a little variety in the midst of the sports world’s longest season. Maybe some execs really like baseball history. Whatever; a good half-dozen entirely reasonable hypothesis could explain any given one-off uniform. And then, having decided to wear the one-off, the team or the manufacturer might very well decide that experience shows that a handful of collectors will buy the jersey/cap/whatever if it’s made available at retail, so the team or the manufacturer invests the up-front costs to make and sell the merchandise. If only a few units are made for retail, it’s possible that the manufacturer or team would realize almost no profit on the sales. In which case, the merchandising could be seen as primarily about generating goodwill and brand loyalty among a small but lucrative corner of the consumer base. If that were the case, the merchandising would be following, not leading, the decision – that is, it would be a tail wagged by the on-field dog. Given how quickly sizes of the Cards’ no-birds jersey have sold out, it seems quite likely that very few were made – which would be consistent with the theory that the jerseys aren’t being sold to chase some meaningful revenue stream or profits, but simply to satisfy known fan desire. That is, the team might not see the retail sale of the throwback jersey as a profit center or a revenue source at all; it may be a matter of fan service. Whether this is the case, or whether it’s purely a mercenary matter of trying to chase every last potential dollar of retail revenue, we can’t really know without some idea of how the merchandising back-end works, in terms of numbers produced, numbers sold, and margins for limited-run production.

          Side question: Who would pay money for a Cardinals shirt without any birds on it? It’s like buying a black-and-white photograph of a Van Gogh.

      • Tom | July 26, 2016 at 9:20 am |

        I don’t buy jerseys or a lot of merchandise these days, but as a lifelong Cardinals fan, that throwback had me looking to see if it was available for sale. I love the slugger bird on the left sleeve.

        Now, do I like it $295 worth to actually order one? Probably not on my salary.

        • Alex Dewitt | July 26, 2016 at 10:19 am |

          I was just impressed that the Low-A game I went to yesterday saw three people (me being one of them) wearing any sort of Cardinals stuff. One was a powder blue Musial jersey.

      • Lee | July 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm |

        Holy cow! $300?? I guess its been awhile since I looked at jerseys, I had no idea they sold for that much!

        Lee

        • Chance Michaels | July 26, 2016 at 1:34 pm |

          Yeah, I bought one of the 1913 Brewers jerseys only because I had a hand in the throwback promotion, but even then I had a hard time justifying it. Ouch.

        • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 1:44 pm |

          I don’t call ’em overpriced polyester shirts for nothing!

    • Mike S | July 26, 2016 at 9:19 am |

      Slightly ironically the Sale ’76 jersey is on MLB shop and is nearly sold out being marked as “few left. Sale’s opposition to the jersey and actions seems to have created a market for that jersey

      Whatever Sale says this is the straw that broke the camels back and there is more to his frustration than just not wanting to wear an untucked jersey. He is getting support from Sox fans as they share similar frustrations about the malaise the team is in especially with the day to day management of the team and the executive groups influence

  • Dave | July 26, 2016 at 8:57 am |

    Greg Cote seems to have launched into cranky old man “Get off my lawn” mode.

    He’s forgetting that sports, which we all take very seriously, is part of the entertainment business. The reason we have throwbacks in the majors and silly Sponge Bob jerseys in the minors is that people like them. It’s not just about selling the jerseys, it’s about putting fannies in the seats — so they can also buy $6 ice cream in batting helmet cups and so on.

    No one is forcing me to buy a throwback jersey or an alternative batting practice cap or Mother’s Day cap (I don’t) or even the ice cream (I sometimes do). But if enough people do and it generates enough revenue for the Mets to pay Yeonis Cespedes $25 million, or if it generates enough revenue so they don’t let Noah Syndergaard eventually become a free agent and leave for another team, I’m all for it.

    Sale put himself before the team. Bad move.

    • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 9:02 am |

      He’s forgetting that sports, which we all take very seriously, is part of the entertainment business. The reason we have throwbacks in the majors and silly Sponge Bob jerseys in the minors is that people like them.

      This “argument” is essentially an attempt to silence any dissent by saying “It’s just business, so take it or leave it.”

      That’s bullshit. Just because something is a business practice doesn’t automatically make it a GOOD business practice. Critiquing a business practice, as Cote did, is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. You don’t have to agree with his critique, and you’re free to offer a counter-argument, but saying, “It’s just business so STFU” doesn’t cut it.

      I’m not saying I agree with everything Cote said. But I’m saying that “It’s just business” is not (and has never been) an acceptable response to such critiques — at least not on this website.

      More here:
      http://www.uni-watch.com/its-just-business/

      • Dave | July 26, 2016 at 9:21 am |

        I don’t think I ever said STFU or made any attempt to silence his dissent. I wouldn’t do that. I’m not sure how you could read that into what I said. More speech is always better than no speech. I just said he sounded like a cranky old man. (I kind of think you just did more to silence me than I did to Cote.)

        • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 9:26 am |

          Your argument is, “Hey, it’s just business,” which implies that no meaningful critique of business practices exists, and that any such critique (such as the one Cote presented) is therefore a waste of time. And yeah, that *is* trying to silence him.

          One more time:
          http://www.uni-watch.com/its-just-business/

          As for trying to marginalize his position by calling him a cranky old man, that’s bullshit as well, for reasons we’ve discussed before:
          http://www.uni-watch.com/2016/04/28/hope-i-die-before-i-get-old-oops-too-late/

          I’m not trying to silence you at all — I welcome any meaningful counter-argument to Cote’s position that you can present. But “It’s just business” and “He’s a cranky old man” don’t qualify. Try harder.

        • Dave | July 26, 2016 at 9:53 am |

          You’re putting words in my mouth. I never implied that his column was a waste of time, nor did I try to silence him. I disagreed with him.

          My counter argument to his criticism was that it’s not shocking that a business would create a product to generate revenue, and that if selling such caps allows the Mets to pay the going rate for star players, then I don’t have much of a beef. I didn’t like this year’s Independence Day caps, but I like seeing Cespedes in left field, so I can live with it. That’s my personal opinion. I wouldn’t make the same argument for ads on a uniform at this point.

          I don’t think the throwbacks — the 1976 Sox jerseys or others — are “clown suits.” I enjoy seeing teams wearing such uniforms, especially when the Mets wear the 1986 jerseys. If I was planning to go to a game and had a choice of days and all other things being equal, I’d buy the ticket for the throwback game. I disagree with him. In my view, that’s a good business practice.

        • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 10:00 am |

          it’s not shocking that a business would create a product to generate revenue…

          Dave, I’m sorry, but that is not a meaningful argument, and it is a non-starter on this website. You are implying that business practices are self-justifying. That doesn’t fly here. You yourself say you wouldn’t make the “It’s just business” argument to justify uniform advertising, so why invoke it for throwbacks? Instead of saying, “It’s just business,” try to engage with the larger argument about whether it’s appropriate for the merch tail to wag the on-field dog. That’s the issue Cote is raising. You don’t have to agree with him, but saying, “Well, they’re in business to make money” is not a way of engaging with his point.

          One area where we agree: Throwbacks are fun! I love them.

        • Dave | July 26, 2016 at 10:16 am |

          I think you are misunderstanding my point. When Cote writes:

          “Redesigned uniforms, throwback uniforms, alternate uniforms and different colors are done for one reason only: Money. It isn’t to honor a franchise’s heritage.”

          My point was “no kidding.” Of course it’s about money. Why did he think otherwise?

          Meanwhile — don’t forget another display of a player vandalizing a throwback: Rob Dibble literally tearing his throwback Reds jersey off after losing to the Mets years ago, sending buttons flying! Of course, that wasn’t about comfort, but losing a big game.

        • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 10:23 am |

          I think you are misunderstanding my point. When Cote writes:

          “Redesigned uniforms, throwback uniforms, alternate uniforms and different colors are done for one reason only: Money. It isn’t to honor a franchise’s heritage.”

          My point was “no kidding.” Of course it’s about money. Why did he think otherwise?

          OK. Now let’s say MLB puts ads on its uniforms. Or, better yet, let’s just say the Mets do it, since I know you’re a Mets fan. Now, you’ve already said in a previous comment that you’re opposed to that. And let’s say that you express that opposition (in a comment on this site, say, or elsewhere).

          And then let’s say that someone’s response to your opposition to uniform ads is, “Duh, they’re in business to make money. What did you think?”

          Kinda shuts down the dialogue, no?

          My point is that you can *always* say that about *any* business practice. It’s such a blanket statement that it’s meaningless. Cote’s larger point is that merch sale SHOULD NOT drive what we see on the field (just as you think potential revenue should not drive a decision to go with uniform advertising). That is a legitimate point, and it deserves better than to be dismissed with, “Duh, it’s just business.”

          I’ll leave it there.

    • Name redacted | July 26, 2016 at 9:55 pm |

      Back when i listened to LeBatard’s radio show, Cote (then Dan’s Herald coworker) often played the role of “old fuddy duddy” so this column is keeping with that gimmick/petsona

      • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 10:02 pm |

        How is maintaining a consistent point of view a “gimmick”? Please be specific.

  • Austin | July 26, 2016 at 8:59 am |

    As a long time big fan of the Diamondbacks, I hope opposing teams continue to trash those god awful uniforms. I find it amusing that every team has had something similar to say about them but the Diamondbacks staff continues to act like they only hear positive reviews and the players all love them. Honestly, I wish Chris Sale was on our team. He would be our uniform savior, he’s not the uniform hero we deserve, but he’s the hero we need right now.

    I long for the day when the purple teal and copper return and no longer are a red and black blur amongst the dozens of other similar mlb teams. And I can’t wait for them to stop referring to themselves as the minor league nickname “dbacks” and use their full name at all times and on the uniform. Purple for life. Rant over. I’m 24 too, not all millennials are the same.

    • walter | July 26, 2016 at 9:34 am |

      Changing the colors used to indicate the raising of the surrender flag. Now it’s done on a whim. Trashing the team’s palette to goose souvenir sales is pathetic.

    • Jon Rose | July 26, 2016 at 9:52 am |

      The problem with embracing trendy things is that they become horribly dated. Minimalist stuff always ages better. It’s why a picture of the Ramones from 1977 looks cooler than a picture of, say, the Bay City Rollers. And why the Yankees have been wearing the same basic uniform since Gehrig.

  • Steve D | July 26, 2016 at 9:08 am |

    I play softball every Sunday and take it pretty seriously. I wear the same tennis shirt and Adidas shorts every week. I know if I have to wipe my eyes, where the best spot on my shirt is. My shorts are cotton with a lot of pockets and a drawstring…kind of like cargo shorts. I am very upset, because they are 20 years old and I have looked (as recently as yesterday) to try to replace them, but there is nothing on the market close anymore, except swim trunks. They are so comfortable, the perfect length and I use the pockets for keys and batting gloves.

    What I’m saying is, it might just affect my performance if I were told to wear an outfit I was uncomfortable with. I would frankly be furious and I totally get Sale’s level of emotion. His actions were silly, of course, but if I were him, I think I would have refused to pitch, especially if he had expressed to management on multiple occasions he was uncomfortable in them (which seems like he had).

    • Chance Michaels | July 26, 2016 at 10:41 am |

      That would have been more defensible.

      Do you really keep your keys in your pocket when you play?

      • Steve D | July 26, 2016 at 11:08 am |

        Just my car key…I leave my house keys in the car trunk. I guess I could leave my car key in my bag, but it could get lost and replacing one of these remote keys cost me over $200 once. The beauty of my shorts is they have two extra front pockets with velcro closures. The car key goes in one of those and I put my batting glove in my standard pocket

        • Brinke | July 26, 2016 at 11:29 am |

          I have two pair of adidas cotton shorts, nothing fancy, just plain with the stripes on the sides- one blue, one black. wouldn’t give em up for anything and they have to be 16 years old. it’s all that shiny crappy poly now.

    • Jon Rose | July 26, 2016 at 11:01 am |

      But is someone paying you to play softball? A Sunday leisure activity is different than being an employee.

      In the early 90’s, I worked in the lab at LensCrafters. I didn’t interact with the customers at all. Yet I was required to wear a shirt and tie and a lab coat. I would have done my job better and been more comfortable in a t-shirt. But the people who paid me figured that the customers would rather see a guy in a shirt and tie and lab coat working on their glasses than some dude in a t-shirt. If I didn’t like it (I didn’t) I could get another job (I did).

      • Steve D | July 26, 2016 at 11:18 am |

        Sale is an employee who makes $15 Million a year. I guess they would suspend him for refusing to pitch instead of cutting up the jerseys. Trying to put myself in his shoes is hard, but I would probably be thinking I never want to go out on the mound not at my best for some reason that is easily preventable if the club valued my opinion at all. I would expect my manager to back me up. Apparently Ventura not siding with him is what really set him off. I’m already set for life financially, so yeah, fuck the man.

        • Alex Dewitt | July 26, 2016 at 11:34 am |

          Rich people problems, am I right?

        • Jon Rose | July 26, 2016 at 11:47 am |

          For 15 million a year, I’d dress like Sailor Moon.

    • Dan Pfeifer | July 26, 2016 at 11:35 am |

      Something along these lines is what I’ve been thinking.

      You mention knowing exactly where to wipe your sweat.

      Let’s just say, theoretically, Sale has some sort of mental tic such that he usually times his motion such that he begins moving his foot forward when he feels his uniform top begin to pull the slightest bit out of his pants when he leans backwards or something. He knows this and has never played for a team where he’s had to worry about not having a jersey tucked in such that he would have to find another timing device.

      So when they go with the untucked uniforms, he’s ticked because he knows his timing is going to get screwed up, perhaps so much that he might struggle to pitch the next time he starts, or be worried he’s going to get hurt, or whatever. Now yeah, maybe he can wear another shirt underneath, or be the one dorky guy who wears his uniform tucked in, or whatever. But maybe he even tried to talk all of that out and they just laughed at him, or said “No” or whatever.

      I dunno. Granted, cutting up the uniforms seems a little childish, but if he had asked to be bumped back a day for his start, I could see that.

  • scottrj | July 26, 2016 at 9:18 am |

    Brinke, if that belt buckle truly is from the ’70s, it’d be odd for it to depict Plunkett’s image. Aside from some marginal early success with the Patriots, his career largely floundered until the very end of that decade. Rather, I’d wager that it’s based on George Blanda:
    https://bill37mccurdy.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/george-blanda-012.jpg
    http://static.nfl.com/static/content/public/pg-photo/2013/06/23/0ap2000000214137/1-george-blanda-qb-k_pg_600.jpg

  • Jon Rose | July 26, 2016 at 9:18 am |

    Couldn’t Sale have just tucked the stupid jersey in?

    • SWC Susan | July 26, 2016 at 10:45 am |

      Exactly… and I find it hard to believe he has never taken in ANY practice or pitching around in an untucked shirt…

  • BurghFan | July 26, 2016 at 9:20 am |

    Proofreading:
    “Here are some key passage”
    “New logos for WWE’s two brand,”

  • Brian | July 26, 2016 at 9:34 am |

    I find it interesting that Sale has become a bit of a hero to the “no alternates/throwbacks” crowd when it seems like that had little to nothing to actually do with what he he did. Even if in the heat of the moment he complained about merchandising, what I took from his comments is that he would wear a different throwback/alt/clown suit every day as long as it was tailored, cut l, and worn to the specifications that he liked to pitch in. Not begrudging him that, just interesting. For example, I feel that many people here praising him would be blasting him has the Whote Sox tried to force all players to go high cuffed and he had shredded sanis/socks because he’s more comfortable pitching with long pants even though to Sale it would be the same exact thing.

  • Winter | July 26, 2016 at 9:44 am |

    Thing I noted about the Brewers’ commentators is that hey, the Brewers aren’t wearing the ball in glove hats…

    As for Sale, I’m likely falling into the cranky old man group, as I think Sale appears to have forgotten that in the end, he’s an employee. You have an issue, you go through prescribed channels, but you a) don’t be petulant and lash out, and b) you do your job.

    I get that he’s passionate, but cutting up the uniforms? Childish.

    • Chance Michaels | July 26, 2016 at 10:44 am |

      “Thing I noted about the Brewers’ commentators is that hey, the Brewers aren’t wearing the ball in glove hats…”

      True, but while the Brewers’ current unis are mediocre at best. The Diamondbacks’ roads are outright hideous.

      • Winter | July 26, 2016 at 11:12 am |

        That is true. Also, close to illegible.

  • Rob S | July 26, 2016 at 10:00 am |

    I can understand the reservations about the throwback jerseys because they are atypical and aren’t worn like regular button-ups or pullovers. However, Sale’s destruction of the team’s jerseys is still unacceptable. He could’ve just destroyed his own to make his point.

    I’m going to assume that the Sox never practiced in the throwbacks. If they had worn them in multiple practices, over the course of several days before the actual game for which the throwbacks were scheduled, the players would then have had the opportunity to adjust to them, to figure out if there would indeed be any problems wearing them in an actual game. Then, if the jerseys do prove to be an issue, something could be worked out.

  • Chris | July 26, 2016 at 10:05 am |

    I’m a big fan of the throwback uniforms. It’s fun to watch a game in those uniforms to see what a game might have looked like at a different time in history. Now I am NOT a fan of the specialty uniforms, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, etc. at the major league level. They are purely for marketing purposes. But at the minor league level, it makes total sense because those teams need to incorporate creative marketing to get fans to games.

    Now with all that said, Chris Sale’s actions are only in small part a reaction to the uniforms. He has had some major issues with team management this year. I really do believe, as a Sox fan, that he is frustrated with management. It finally boiled over in a thrashing of the uniforms.

    It would be incredibly awesome and hilarious if the team went ahead and auctioned off the cut up uniforms like they do with game worn uniforms.

  • walter | July 26, 2016 at 10:06 am |

    It disappointed me that I wasn’t able to see one of my favorite uniforms on the highlight reel, but I’ll get over it. It’s not as though Chris Sale killed the *idea* of the 1976 White Sox.

  • Douggo | July 26, 2016 at 10:17 am |

    I’d agree 100% with the “you’re a professional; put on what we hung out for you, and do your job” argument, except that most (I’m guessing?) MLB teams have already slipped down that slope by allowing the starting pitcher to choose the jerseys for the day.
    Given that, I probably still agree 95%.

  • Matt in Maputo | July 26, 2016 at 10:20 am |

    The infamous 1976-81 White Sox unis are often described as “collared.” But did they really have collars? It appears the “collar” is just a flap of fabric attached to the shoulder. It looks like a collar, but is it a collar?

    • walter | July 26, 2016 at 11:58 am |

      The 1978 American League Red Book I had described the collar as a “Byron Collar”, if that helps.

      • Chance Michaels | July 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm |

        A Byron collar is just a large collar that comes to points. Still popular on varsity jackets.

        I think what Matt was talking about is that the collar wasn’t a true collar in that it didn’t go all the way around. It was two pieces of fabric sewn on to the front of the jersey, stopping at the shoulder seam.

        • walter | July 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm |

          Back in the day, the Chisox probably tested prototypes, but the stitching looks like a solution to the complaint that the collar flipped up and blocked the player’s face. It wouldn’t surprise me if they tried to implement a cadet collar but couldn’t work it into a pullover.

  • Thomas J | July 26, 2016 at 10:40 am |

    To me what’s galling is that the Sox had specifically and individually tailored those jerseys to address the billowy look they had last year. They’d heard the player complaints and did something about it. So Sale comes off like the guy in Green Eggs and Ham who decides he won’t like something without even trying it.

    The tailoring makes a difference and those jerseys had a reputation in their day for being exceptionally comfortable.

  • Joee | July 26, 2016 at 10:40 am |

    Sale did pitch in a college minor league league called the Northern league so I’m sure he wore some goofy shit there.

    • Joee | July 26, 2016 at 10:40 am |

      Northwoods league my bad

  • Jimmy Lonetti | July 26, 2016 at 10:56 am |

    In the Collectors Corner today the NHL branded sneakers were actually marketed for street hockey.I believe the Chex brand had a whole line of street hockey gear.

    • Roger Faso | July 26, 2016 at 1:20 pm |

      Welp. You would need a grippy pair of Chex Hockey Sneakers to steady yourself when you play Chexx Hockey …

      http://www.icechexx.com

  • Graf Zeppelin | July 26, 2016 at 10:57 am |

    Can anyone identify the QB on this 1970s NFL brass belt buckle? I’m gonna say Jim Plunkett.

    Could be. My first thought upon seeing it was George Blanda.

  • BrianC | July 26, 2016 at 11:08 am |

    Trade Sale to Arizona. That’ll teach him about ugly uniforms.

    • Alex Dewitt | July 26, 2016 at 11:36 am |

      At least they’d be somewhat normal fit though which was his big complaint.

  • Another Josh | July 26, 2016 at 11:15 am |

    So when is some clever clothing designer at whichever company is supplying the uniforms these days going to come up with a tucked in jersey that looks like it is untucked like the old Sox unis? I’m guessing modern clothing technology can handle this.

  • M.Princip | July 26, 2016 at 11:31 am |

    Does anyone know of any examples where NFL or NCAA football players have worn an alternate or throwback uniform that is unlike their more conventional uniform? One that could hinder their performance because of a certain material used, cut, style….? Steelers(friction strip designs)…?

    I hear Sale’s, and understand how he feels the throwbacks would’ve affected his performance. If it were a player in the NFL, the tailor/equipment manager most likely would have made the alteration to accommodate the player(s); i.e. extending jersey length… The Sox should have done the same for Sales. Is it because there are too many games, or players that equipment managers for those sports don’t do this? Or, some do?

  • Rob S | July 26, 2016 at 11:34 am |

    Aside from the Sale antics, the one thing about this weekend that disappointed me is that the Sox didn’t arrange for the Tigers to play along and bring back their c.1979 pullovers.

  • Dan T. | July 26, 2016 at 11:35 am |

    1. Am I the only one who actually kind of likes the 76 White Sox navy jersey? I would wear it, although admittedly it looks less like a baseball jersey and more like a bowling shirt or something.

    2. It seems to me that an untucked jersey would actually be more comfortable, cooler, and allow for more movement than a tucked one. When I work out, play pickup hoops, etc., I always wear my shirt untucked. It seems most people do.

    3. Sale should have taken the passive-aggressive route after the Sox refused to allow him to choose another jersey and thrown a bunch of batting-practice pitches to his opponents, allowing them to keep drilling them out of the park until the team got the message…

    • Rob S | July 26, 2016 at 11:49 am |

      The navy jersey is actually fine by me. It’s the white one, which has the blue on the collars stopping abruptly at the shoulder seam, that look bad to me. If they’d have just wrapped the blue coloring around the back of the neck, so that it actually looked like a complete collar, the white jersey would look so much better.

    • Rob S | July 26, 2016 at 11:55 am |

      Also, with the Tigers’ luck, any meatballs served up would’ve ended up as fungos or cans of corn.

    • walter | July 26, 2016 at 12:03 pm |

      No, their 1976 uniforms are great. As I once said, one of the best outside-the-box designs in history.

  • Joe | July 26, 2016 at 11:49 am |

    The White Sox wore those for six seasons, not five. 1976-1981

  • Ted Mark | July 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm |

    While his solution to the uniform issue was ridiculously inappropriate, I’m with Sale as far as not wanting to wear a uniform that is uncomfortable while playing. It also sounds like Ventura threw some gasoline on the fire and made a bad situation much worse.

  • Robert A. McIntyre | July 26, 2016 at 1:21 pm |

    Said it before, and I’ll say it again. I love those 1976-81 Chisox uniforms. As for Chris Sale, well, it’s disappointing but not everyone loves those uniforms.

    • Charles | July 26, 2016 at 3:02 pm |

      I really like them too. Something about the juxtaposition of the archaic wordmark and numbers, paired with the most modern fashion concepts of the time to create this wonderful hybrid really works for me. I wish more teams would think outside of the white-at-home-gray-away-button-front-only box.

  • Charles | July 26, 2016 at 2:57 pm |

    As a White Sox fan, it’s hard for me to know what to think about Sale. I didn’t have a knee-jerk reaction of anger or outrage, and I can really see his point—he is by far the team’s best and important player, the face of the franchise, and I’m sure it was insulting to him that the team wouldn’t budge on an unimportant promotion in order to allow their best player to play his best unencumbered.

    On the other hand, the White Sox are a bad team sharing a city with the best team in baseball, and they are, as always, desperate to bring fans to the ballpark however they can (Sox fans, unlike Cub fans, will not show up if they’re unhappy with the product on the field). The ’76 throwback jersey is a fun way for the team to connect with fans, especially older fans that were around to see the original uniforms.

    In this case I don’t believe the promotion was really about selling product—I don’t think the team even produced replicas of these throwbacks, and not many fans are willing to shell out for an authentic version. The ’76 uniforms are basically renowned just for their ugliness, not their marketability. Sale certainly has the right to have beef with the team over this issue, especially with all the trade rumors and the team’s recent struggles hanging heavily over his head. That said, what he actually did was completely uncalled for. Even so, I do have respect for people willing to be disruptive and recalcitrant in the face of authority.

  • JamesG | July 26, 2016 at 6:48 pm |

    Been pointed out but throwbacks are a different beast than the special occasion unis. One can also complain about the merchandise-industrial complex and have a point but there is also another point. That point is that with the ever increasing salaries, merchandise sales are one of the items required to be able to pay those salaries. TV, merchandise, tickets, concessions, parking, etc, are all part of raising the revenue to pay the multi-million dollar salaries. While Sale wants to win and that is great, he’s also paid millions to play a game for a living. Who of us wouldn’t have wanted to get paid millions to play a game? Sure beats going to an office every day. Therefore in the end, I think Sale deserves the criticism and the suspension. He overlooked his good fortune and acted like a spoiled brat.

    • Paul Lukas | July 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm |

      That point is that with the ever increasing salaries, merchandise sales are one of the items required to be able to pay those salaries.

      There’s a highly technical term for this type of chicken/egg argument.

      The term is “bullshit.”

  • Wade Heidt | July 26, 2016 at 7:20 pm |

    Minor correction to Ian Denomme’s article on The Hockey New website:

    Dallas Stars technically wore the “mooterus” jersey for only 2 seasons, not 3. No NHL hockey was played in 2004-2005 due to lockout.

  • Kyle | July 27, 2016 at 6:43 am |

    White Sox players fighting management is a 115 year old baseball tradition. It is petty on both sides, always has been, and I love that it still exists.