By Phil Hecken
It’s baaaaack. OK, so it doesn’t quite have the panache of the Olympics or the cachet of Soccer’s World Cup, but the 2017 World Baseball Classic is set to begin this week. The action gets going as games begin on March 6 in Seoul, South Korea, for the first round. Sixteen teams are divided into four Pools (A through D). Other first round games take place in Tokyo, Japan, in Miami, Florida, and in Guadalajara, Mexico. The second round hosts will be Tokyo and San Diego, and the championship round will be played in Los Angeles.
Two-time champion Japan begins play March 7th against Cuba at the Tokyo Dome. The United States begins play on March 10 in Miami against Colombia. The first round is a round-robin format, with the top two teams at each site advancing to the second round, which will be played at the Tokyo Dome and Petco Park from March 12-16. The winners and runners-up then advance to the finals at Dodger Stadium from March 20-22.
This will be the fourth iteration of the WBC, with the first three having taken place in 2006, 2009 and 2013. After a three year gap between the first and second, the Classic is now held every four years (like the Olympics and World Cup). We’ve seen most of the teams before: twelve of the sixteen nations qualified based on their performance during the first round of the 2013 tournament; the remaining four nations are the winners of four qualification tournaments that took place in February and September 2016. Two of those teams (Australia and Mexico) played in the tourney before; two other qualifiers (Colombia and Israel) will each be making their first appearance in the WBC.
I’d hoped by now we’d have seen all the uniforms for the Classic fully revealed (like is done in virtually every other sport before a major tournament), but the WBC is a bit different. Most of the teams, as in the past, are outfitted by Majestic — and as in previous years, they follow a template. Fortunately, this year that template is better than past seasons (2009 was notable for the pit stains, while 2013 featured the contrasting shoulder and side panels). This year, for Majestic teams, it’s contrasting color sleeves. A few squads don’t use Majestic, and their unis are arguably better. As you’ll see below, several teams who have revealed their road uniforms are wearing darker grays — I can’t say for sure if all teams will have these or if solid color “road” tops will be worn, but I’ll give you the unis as best I know them at this point. For whatever reason, uni releases/photos for Pools C & D were almost impossible to come by, so most of those will come from the MLB shop.
Now then, let’s take a look at what the teams in the four pools are wearing. Every effort was made to find the most up-to-date photos and released unis (even if they are just from the MLB shop). Keep in mind these uniforms *might* be slightly different when the games get underway. Almost all teams use their national colors (or colors on their flag), and several are using the same fonts/wordmarks from previous WBCs. Following each team (except the USA, which for some reason wasn’t [yet?] released) is a brief “getting to know” video.
Israel, making its first appearance in the WBC, will be in blue and white with a blue cap featuring the Star of David, which is pretty cool. They will definitely be wearing the white jersey pictured above, while the other two photos show uniforms worn during qualifying. It’s almost a guarantee their road jersey will be dark gray with blue sleeves.
Welcome to the show, Israel. Let’s see what they can do in their first World Baseball Classic. pic.twitter.com/CqZ1WvIB0x
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 3, 2017
Korea will also be in blue and white. Their cap is blue with a thin red edge on the brim and a script “K”. Unlike most of the Majestic-outfitted teams, their white jersey will have white sleeves.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 1, 2017
Netherlands will be wearing the white jersey you see above, but not the black one — they’ll have an updated one (likely black, but possibly orange or gray) with the new font seen on the jersey at the left. Their cap is black with an interlocking “NL” and orange brim.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) February 27, 2017
Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)
Chinese Taipei are outfitted by Mizuno and will have white homes and blue road tops. Their cap is blue with a “CT” in red/white — a bit of baseball stitching appears in the negative space inside the “C” which is a cool touch.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 3, 2017
The Aussies will be in green and gold, with white home jerseys and gray roadies, both with green contrasting sleeves. Their cap is an Oakland A’s-esque green crown/gold brim with 5 stars (similar to star arrangement on their flag).
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 4, 2017
China will be predominantly red with splashes of gold, sporting home white and dark gray roads (yes, we’re seeing a pattern here — the darker gray might be something Majestic is looking to get MLB teams to do in the final years of its contract, similar to the darker gray worn by the Diamondbacks). China has a nice red crown/gold brim cap with an old-English “C”.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 2, 2017
Cuba will *not* (apparently) have their traditional and classic all-red uniform this year — their home jersey is white (it’s difficult to tell, but I believe it will be paired with red pants), while their road uni will be all gray. Both unis have contrasting red sleeves and they’ll wear blue undershirts. The cap is blue with a red brim and a “C”.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) February 28, 2017
Unlike the templated Majestic teams, Japan will have a white pinstripe home uni, and a dark pinstripe jersey (with solid white pants) for their road uniform. Their cap is solid blue, with a blue “J” outlined in gold. Japan were champs in 2006 and 2009, and they’re looking to win it again this time around.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) February 26, 2017
Canada will have a white jersey with red contrasting sleeves for their homes. I’m unsure about their road uniform. For most of the teams in Pool C & D only the home jersey is known for sure. The Canadians may go with a red road top, or dark gray. Their cap is red with a black brim, and a “C” (formed by a “swooshing” baseball) atop a maple leaf.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) February 28, 2017
Colombia wore both red and blue tops in their qualifying rounds — I didn’t see a white jersey at all — and the MLB shop shows only a red tee shirt for purchase. I don’t want to even guess what they’ll wear for sure, but it would be cool if they went with the red and blue for the WBC. Their cap is solid blue with a red “C”.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 2, 2017
I know for sure the DR will have a white jersey with red sleeves. Whether they have a gray top (also with red sleeves) or a red jersey (similar to the tee shirt shown above) is still unknown. Their cap is red with a blue brim, and an interlocking “DR”. The Dominicans won the WBC in 2013 and are looking to go back-to-back.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) February 23, 2017
The USA will have a white home jersey with blue sleeves, and a dark gray jersey, also with contrasting blue, for their road unis. The classic “USA” (with the “S” make up of red/white ‘stripes’) is across the chest. The cap is blue with a red brim and an interlocking “US”.
Italy’s home jersey is white with blue sleeves. Whether they go with a blue top or a gray top is still unknown. Their cap is solid blue with an “I”.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 1, 2017
Mexico’s home jersey is white with red sleeves. In prior WBC’s they had a green road jersey, but I have no idea if it will be gray, green or even red (as is the tee shirt pictured). They *own* the green, so let’s hope that’s back this year. Their cap is, as always, awesome with a green crown, red brim, and “M” styled after the 1968 Mexico City Olympic font.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) March 4, 2017
Puerto Rico will definitely have the white top with red sleeves. Again, the road jersey is unknown (I’m going to guess it will be gray, but it could be a solid color). The cap is blue with a red brim and the letters “PR”.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) February 24, 2017
Venezuela is one of the few teams in Pools C & D I know for sure — white homes with blue sleeves, and blue roads with contrasting red sleeves. Nice look! They’ll sport the script “Venezuela” in gold, outlined in red, across the chest. The cap is blue, with a red brim, and a gold “V” outlined in red.
— WBC Baseball (@WBCBaseball) February 25, 2017
There you have it. The games start early (and early in the morning) next week — and if you’re a die-hard (or an insomniac), every game will be either on MLB network or ESPN Deportes — tha link contains the schedule. The first game the USA plays is on March 10 against Colombia, at 6:00 pm (eastern). Maybe someday the WBC will approach the clout of a World Cup, but for now it’s just some games that take place during spring training involving some of the guys on your team who you hope don’t get hurt. But hey, it’s still baseball, and yes, I will watch.
A FOUR Jersey Game?
Got a note from reader Neil Kemp who brought to our attention a player who possibly wore FOUR different jerseys in a game. This would have to be some kind of record, if true, right?
Anyway, I’ll let Neil explain:
Hi Paul, Phil,
First off, longtime reader & member, love the site!
I just wanted to expand on a ticker item from a few days ago regarding an Oilers player wearing NNOB in a brawl vs. the LA Kings in early 1990. It was deduced in the comments that the player in question was Dave Brown, the big giveaway likely was his punch-ready “chicken wing” left sleeve that he wore throughout his career: even his replacement jerseys would have the left cuff pulled all the way to his elbow pad. One thing about that particular fight was that it showed Brown likely wearing his fourth jersey iteration of the game.
Here’s a Youtube clip showing some of Brown’s scraps as an Oiler, the Kings game starts at 9:03:
We can presume Brown started the game in his usual #32 NOB jersey. The Oilers have always had an ace equipment staff that would’ve ensured any player wore their “usual” look by the time warmups began. Can’t find video proof of this though, sadly. In that clip though, you’ll notice Brown in his first scrap shown wearing a #37 NNOB jersey. What brought him to wearing that, who knows. Later on, he gets the gate again after a fight in a #37 NOB jersey, with the nameplate, likely from his usual #32, looking like it’s held on with Velcro or 2-sided tape (I’ve owned two game-worn Oilers jerseys that made use of tape for last-minute adjustments). He leaves the ice with the collar of the jersey torn to the shoulders. Obviously another change would then be needed so he pulls on the #27 NNOB jersey to end the game.
So, he likely went through the game wearing #32 NOB, #37 NNOB, #37 NOB, and #27 NNOB. That has to be some kind of record for one game. Would it be? Possibly future discussion material.
Keep up the great work, cheers,
Thanks, Neil. Great research. If indeed he wore four different jerseys in the game, that’s gotta be a record, right? Anyone have any ideas? Do you guys know of any players who’ve gone through more than two jerseys (in any sport) in any game?
for the Ticker
Got an e-mail from Jesse Gavin the other day detailing the Iowa Girls State Tournament. It’s a bit too long (and too good) for the ticker, so I’m running it here. Here’s Jesse…
I honestly did not plan for there to be so much here. This covers games from the quarterfinals of the tournament. Semifinals begin Friday, so some teams may be wearing their “other” uniform in the next round. I’ll update if there’s anything that develops when that happens. Boys’ tournament is next week.
Here we go:
– The organization that sponsors girls sports in Iowa, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, has apparently slapped its logo on every flat surface within Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Arena. In the past, they’ve put the logo over the free throw circles, but new this year are the myriad logos on table skirts at media row (seen in background here and here) and a large, pink, banner that has been hung over one section of unoccupied seats. It shows up in nearly every photo from the opposite baseline.
– The coaches from Turkey Valley wear some very bold matching shirts.
– There’s a strange set of – I’m not even sure what to call them – “guidelines” just above the chest lettering on Bellevue Marquette’s jerseys. They almost appear to make out the letters “JL,” but I’m not sure of any reason why that would be the case.
– Clear Lake, where the mascot is the Lions, has a very Cincinnati-inspired shorts logo.
– Speaking of Clear Lake, one of their guards was sporting a 3/4 sleeve length undershirt. Not sure I’ve seen that before.
– Dig that great argyle trim on the Sioux Center silks. Though the white lines are almost so faint that from a distance it looks more like a diamond pattern.
– The numbers on the backs of Iowa City Regina’s uniforms seem to be either too small or ride too low.
– North Scott wore some very snazzy red and white contrast waistbands on their gray shorts. Too bad they couldn’t get all the girls to wear them that way, because those that folded the waists over not only undid the effect, but also showed off a few extra Under Armour logos. Another knock on North Scott is that they still use the outdated and chauvinistic “Lady Lancers” on their jerseys. I haven’t seen their boys team play lately, but I doubt their jerseys say “Dude Lancers.”
– Nevada, North Scott’s opponent, had some very small rear jersey numbers. This is the best photo of them I’ve seen so far.
– It also looks like one of North Scott’s players was wearing an insulin pump on her shorts.
– There were a couple dozen teams around the state that went through a phase of wearing racerback jerseys about a decade ago. You don’t see them much any more, but the team from Boone is one that still wears them. The Toreadors also sport one of the oddest color combinations you’ll ever see: scarlet and forest green.
– Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs predates the Tennessee Titans by about 35 years, but their basketball uniforms are a very close visual reproduction of the current Titans’ jerseys. Navy blue body, columbia blue shoulder yokes, white numbers with columbia trim. One big difference is that the NFL’s Titans don’t have their wordmark printed on their butts.
– I’m not even sure what to call the side panel pattern that Waukee wears. Argyle on acid? Another look. But kudos to the Warriors’ coach for finding a purple and black plaid blazer to wear on the bench (here and here).
– The vast, vast majority of teams this week are outfitted by either Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour. The only exceptions I’ve seen are Bellevue Marquette (Russell Athletic), Cascade (Wilson), and Sioux Center (Russell). You’ll note that those schools offer some of the more unique uni quirks that we’re seeing. Unfortunately, you don’t see that from the schools that going with the templates from some of the big name manufacturers.
– The Des Moines Register has a great gallery up showing Girls State Basketball photos from the past 90 years. Some favorites: a 1944 shot featuring striped socks, satin warmup jackets, and some very rudimentary knee pads; the over-the-top stripy-ness from 1978; and an entire bench from 1985 wearing matching striped socks and knee pads, plus some very sweet warmup jackets.
OK. Now, on to the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Here’s a beautiful colorized shot of Casey Stengel, then the new manager of the Boston Bees, watching his squad at Spring Training on March 4, 1938 (from Bruce Menard). Here’s another gorgeous colorization from Bruce, this one of Frankie Frisch, “the Fordham Flash,” from NY Giants spring training in 1924. … On July 21, the Rochester Red Wings will wear these Buffalo Bills-inspired jerseys (from Jack Kehoe). … Whoops: Looks like UNC has posted the incorrect Pitt logo in their ad for women’s softball (from DGH1964). … Justin Wagner thinks Cameron Maybin’s blousing is “way too high” (and I’d agree) — “Looks like loose bike shorts” he adds. … Have you noticed that the Detroit Tigers are wearing their “hat logo” for their primary mark on this year’s Spring Training jerseys? notes Richard Strobl. “They have NEVER done this before on any authentic home, road, Spring, batting practice jersey or jacket before!” … Beau Parsons says the Detroit Tigers are using upside down numbers at newly renovated Joker Marchant Stadium. And (thanks to Bruce Menard), it looks like Hank Greenberg’s 5 is an upside down AND flipped 2! … Whoa, check out these beautiful throwback softball uniforms for FSU, which they wore yesterday (from Victory Cheeseballs)… “Color vs Color match up Sonoma State (Light blue) vs Stanislaus State (Red),” says Grizzly Fanatic, who adds, “Note: Stan wears stirrups!” … The new Binghamton Rumble Ponies mascot marched in Binghamton’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, notes Tony Arnoldine. The “Team is holding (a) contest to name it.” … The great writer Tyler Kepner saw this photo of A-rod, Junior & Jeets and asks, “Was this the only time Griffey wore the now-ubiquitous (sigh) “JR” with his NOB?” … Inspired by successful 2016 examples of Fresno “Tacos”, Lehigh Valley “Cheesesteaks” and Bowling Green “Bootleggers”, the Reading Fightin Phils will temporarily rebrand as the “Whoopie Pies” on August 7 (from Greg). … “Here’s a Omar (from the Wire) t-shirt with a play on the Orioles logo,” says Andrew Cosentino
College Football News: With yesterday’s news that the University of North Carolina Tar Heels will be wearing the “Jordan” brand logo on their uniforms this coming fall (joining Michigan), with Michael Jordan himself making the official announcement at the half of last night’s Duke/UNC game, James Gilbert unearthed this photograph of Michael Jordan (along with Sam Perkins), on the Kenan Stadium field (photo dated early ’80s). … And here’s a photo of the GOAT
Jimmer Vilk will post “That’s Not A Picture of Magic in the comments yesterday (from Ben Trachtman). … Finally, here’s a “reveal” video (also from James Gilbert).
Hockey News: The new Le Rocket de Laval sweaters have TV numbers and a no. 9 on the sleeves (from Shane Bua). … The Reading Royals induct Ryan Cruthers into the Royals Wall of Honor! Those in attendance receive a Ryan Cruthers bobble head (from Thom Pucks). … The Vancouver Giants will wear special Don Cherry jerseys on March 14th. … The Orlando Solar Bears wore their Noche Latina jerseys last night. … The SUNYAC Championship between Oswego and Plattsburgh was a color vs. color affair (from Sean). … Here’s a look at the Autism Awareness jerseys worn by the Reading Royals last evening (from Jeff Tasca). Here are some more looks (from Thom Pucks). … Holy crap, take a look at the uniforms worn last night by Hartford (from Tom Cotter). … Ben Bishop of the Kings now has a blank mask instead of his old TB Lightning mask he’d previously worn (from TheGoalNet).
College/High School Hoops News: Yesterday, playing Villanova, the Georgetown Hoyas broke out throwback unis (from BryanWDC). … Tweeter Michael Abelson notes this interesting nameplate for Stony Brook women’s basketball. … Nice old Sports Illustrated cover from 1968 showing Pistol Pete Maravich in LSU gear, sporting his “trademark” droopy socks (from Bruce Menard). … Auburn and Missouri went orange vs. anthracite for their season finale (from Clint Richardson). … Pretty cool Final Four soda display in a Wal Mart (from Jeff Belcher). … Good look at how they’re treating shorter/longer names with the more narrow back in the new Nike template (from Dan Kennedy). … Yesterday Arizona and Arizona State went color vs. color (from Adam Vitcavage). … Another color vs. color game yesterday involved Oregon and Oregon State (from Funhouse). … The 7A Alabama Basketball Championship between Auburn and Mountain Brook was a confusing affair. Submitter Dustin Semore notes, “Good luck determining which team is which in the Alabama 7A basketball championship. (The team in white is Mountain Brook.)” … Here is a picture of a Bloomington High School South (in Indiana) basketball player. Submitter Derek Linn notes “They have won the state basketball title two times. I believe the two stars on the back of their jersey represent those championships. I know that is a very common practice in soccer, but I’ve never seen this in high school basketball.” … Jimmer Vilk may have just coined a new term here, “VHNOB”: “West Coast Conference quarterfinal between San Francisco & Santa Clara. NNOB vs VH(Very High)NOB”. … More color vs. color yesterday, this time with Division III Hope and Washington University (from Michael Dornbos). … Last night, UCLA threw back to 1966-67 national championship team in their final home game (from EZ).
Grab Bag: Tweeter James Paige thinks it’s terribly disappointing to have the Golf Hall of Fame incorrectly posting this Masters style Leaderboard. … North Carolina Lacrosse broke out new navy helmets yesterday (from James Gilbert). Here is a closeup of the hat. … Also from James, apparently there is a Quiddich team at UNC. … This might be of interest to Tampa-area (or those who may be visiting west/central Florida in the next month) residents: From now through April 2017, the Tampa Museum of Art will present Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present, “the most comprehensive survey of the art of sports photography ever produced, highlighting the aesthetic, cultural, and historical significance of these images and artists in the history of sports.” The exhibition will include approximately 217 photographs by more than 154 photographers ranging from daguerreotypes and salted paper prints to more than 220 digital images showcasing a variety of different sports from nations around the globe (sent in by Ken Traisman). … “I’m on vacation in Sydney and went to a fan-gear store (Mick Simmons Sport) yesterday,” writes Casey Hart. “It was obviously a uni-notable experience, as it’s a uniform store. A couple oddities stuck out (see attachments): They had a nice collection of rugby socks, and a rugby-league team had a knockoff New York Jets logo back in the 1980s. Related: This collection of rugby-league throwbacks is something to behold.”
And that’s it for today. Hope you guys have a good Sunday and a better week, and maybe you’ll enjoy a WBC game or two on the telly (or not). I’ll be back next weekend, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I don’t say nice things about Georgetown very often, but kudos to them for wearing their 80s throwbacks at home while Villanova wears theirs. *I* (and other Nova fans) love being reminded of 1985, but I’m sure the Hoyas don’t.”
— Jimmer Vilk