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The Latest 2020 Weirdness: A Triple-Digit MLB Ump!

Check out umpire Edwin Moscoso who was working the plate for last night’s Mariners/Angels game in Anaheim. Is he really wearing No. 09, à la Benito Santiago?

That would be remarkable enough. But it turns out Moscoso is actually wearing No. 109! It’s hard to make out the entire number unless you have a good side view, as seen here:

Moscoso’s triple-digit number was spotted by reader Rich Fronheiser. “With all the umpire opt-outs and the number of rookies they’re using, I guess it was inevitable,” he says. “But I almost expected them to not assign numbers this season to these folks.” In other words, it’s yet another unusual outgrowth of the pandemic.

The umps’ sleeve numerals are so big, and they wrap around so far on Moscoso’s sleeve, that he appears to be wearing different numbers depending on which angle you view him from:

I’m fairly certain this is the first time I’ve seen an MLB ump with a triple-digit number. Is Moscoso the first ump to wear one? I’m not sure — MLB’s all-time ump roster doesn’t include uni numbers.

All of which raises the question: Why do umps have numbers to begin with? Quick, can you name a single umpire’s number (well, aside from Moscoso’s)? I can’t — not even relatively (in)famous umps like Joe West or Angel Hernandez (who, after looking them up, are Nos. 22 and 55, respectively). It’s true that some umps have had their numbers retired — but when an umpire dies, do the active umps wear a memorial patch with his number? No! They wear his initials, which suggests that the numbers don’t really matter or signify with anyone, not even fellow umps.

So from a rational perspective, the umps should probably just stop wearing numbers. But from a selfish perspective, I hope they keep wearing them, so we can continue to have fun anomalies like Moscoso wearing No. 109.

(Big thanks to Rich Fronheiser for spotting Moscoso’s unusual number.)

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Too good for the Ticker: We can never see too many photos of the 1970s Brewers grounds crew in their lederhosen, am I right? The woman in the foreground is Bonnie Brewer — Bernie Brewer’s female sidekick. There are more photos of her here.

(My thanks to Michael James for this one.)

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Uni-cycling: What’s even better than wearing a Uni Watch cycling jersey? Wearing a Uni Watch cycling jersey on a unicycle — while juggling! That’s reader Kyle Campbell showing his skills and looking sharp while doing it. Nicely done!

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks announced yesterday that fans will no longer be allowed to bring headdresses into the team’s arena (thanks to all who shared). … The English rugby union team Exeter Chiefs, which has been under pressure to change its identity, announced yesterday that it will keep its team and and logo by retire its costumed mascot. The fan group Exeter Chiefs for Change, promptly issued a statement criticizing the decision. … The board of ed in Winton Woods, Ohio, has voted to scrap its Native-based mascot and logo (from our own Alex Hider). … The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, is reassessing its team name but has not yet committed to changing it (from many readers). … The rest of these are all from Kary Klismet: A Pop Warner team in Connecticut will no longer be called the Redskins. … Elko (Nev.) High School is keeping “Indians” as its team name because it has approval to use it from the local Elko Band Council of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians. … New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor has called on Cobre High School to remove the Chief Wahoo logo from its baseball field. … Interesting story about how Central Michigan continues to use “Chippewas” as its team name with the approval of the local Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. … Denver Post sports columnist Sean Keeler has called on Lamar (Colo.) High School to discontinue its “Savages” team name coupled with Native American-themed imagery. … A youth hockey team in Strathcona, Alberta, has scrapped its Blackhawks-style logo. … Some students at Caldwell (N.J.) High School want to change the school’s “Chiefs” team name. … Several Iowa high schools are considering changing their Native-themed team names and mascots. … Esko (Minn.) High School is considering changing its “Eskomo” team name.

Working Class Wannabes™: An article about the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers says the team’s 1970s squads “embodied the ‘blue-collar’, ‘hard-nosed’ football that was ubiquitous in that era.” … South Carolina football defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson says he wants his players to have a “blue collar mentality.” … An article about the NHL’s restart described one of the playoff matchups as “the blue-collar [Blue] Jackets [against] the white-collar [Maple] Leafs.”

Baseball News: The Brewers’ racing sausages are the latest masked-up mascots (from Mike Chamernik). … With the Blue Jays playing as the designated home team in DC yesterday and today, fake crowd noise at Nats Park is supporting the Jays (from Tommy Turner). … The Twins wore their new powder blues last night for the first time. … Mariners P Bryan Shaw is the latest MLBer to wear his stirrups backwards (from Bryan Beban). … Speaking of Shaw, his glove still has his “29” uni number, which he wore while playing for the Rockies (from Derek Brownlee). … White Sox P Ian Hamilton is the latest player going with his pants hiked up well above his knees, Hunter Pence-style (from Logan Hard).

Pro Football News: Here’s a good look at Washington S Landon Collins in the team’s new uniform. … Speaking of Washington, a Nashville man unwittingly sold them a domain name that he had registered years ago (thanks, Alex). … The Broncos’ website has a feature on the greatest player in team history for each uni number (from Kary Klismet). … Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe recently wore a Saskatchewan Roughriders mask (from Wade Heidt). … If being a Browns fan drives you to drink, now you can drink Browns-themed wine (from Jason Hillyer).

College Football News: Here’s another look at Florida State’s new white numbers (from @VictoryCB). … LSU is the latest SEC West school to switch to mobile ticketing. “Mississippi State is the only school in the division to still allow print-at-home tickets,” notes Griffin Smith.

Hockey News: This is a bit weird: A few NHL teams have purchased highway billboards in the hub/bubble cities. In Edmonton, for example, there’s now a Predators billboard. And the Flyers have put up a billboard in Toronto (from Wade Heidt). … Here’s a good video clip on how the graphics are being added to the ice at the NHL hubs (from Andreas Papadopoulos).

NBA News: Here’s a team-by-team listing of the social justice messages that NBA players will be wearing in place of their NOBs, along with the reasoning behind some of the Jazz players’ choices.

Soccer News: New kits for English side Reading FC (from Ed Zelaski). … New crest for La Liga’s Deportivo Alavés (from Ryan Maquiñana). … New shirts for Serie A’s Lazio (from Germán Cabrejo). … Here’s an Instagram slideshow showing the history of Premier League ball design. “The ball for 2020-21 is shown with a Liverpool kit that won’t ever be worn while using that ball, as Liverpool switches to Nike for next season,” notes John Flory. … New outfitter for Polish side Jaguellonia Białystok, which is now with Kappa (from Ed Zelaski). … Portuguese side Benfica’s new shirts have leaked. … Interesting note from our own Jamie Rathjen: “English Championship team Luton Town, who last week switched from Puma to Umbro, just released a bizarre statement featuring the sentence ‘We are aware that there have been a number of statements in the public domain from organisations claiming that our decision to change kit supplier is a success for their own causes.’ What they’re referring to is that since Puma currently outfits Israel’s national team, some pro-Palestinian organizations are calling for a boycott of Puma, and so at least one such group claimed Luton changing outfitters as a victory for Palestinian rights. Of course, lots of soccer teams change outfitters every summer, so Luton’s statement says it was just a business decision.” … Also from Jamie: New home and away kits for Tottenham Hotspur’s women’s team.

Grab Bag: Pop star Taylor Swift is refuting accusations that the logo for her new album and its associated merch was poached. … The U.S. Open golf tourney, scheduled to take place in September, will be held without live fans. … Check this out: Bluetooth speakers housed in tournament-used tennis balls! (From Jason Hillyer.) … New Indigenous-themed ref’s jerseys for Australia’s National Rugby League (from EP Conrad).

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What Paul did last night: A rather abbreviated porch session yesterday, as Mary had a Zoom conference call to deal with and I had to prepare dinner.

About the latter: I’m working on an article about seafood on the grill. Last night I made a clambake — foil-wrapped pouches of littleneck clams, corn, potatoes, and andouille sausage, with some spiced butter. It all came out spectacularly well. Check out these before/after pics:

Hope your dinner was just as delicious!

As always, you can see the full set of daily Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos here.

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Our latest raffle winner is Robert Turning, who’s won himself a Cubs-themed Bugs Bunny print. Congrats to him, and thanks again to artist S. Preston for making this one possible. — Paul

44 comments to The Latest 2020 Weirdness: A Triple-Digit MLB Ump!

  • Greg | July 30, 2020 at 8:44 am |

    Numbers on the WFT’s helmet look so good in that picture. Real shame the Browns didn’t go uni numbers on the helmets for their recent uni change.

    • Wade Heidt | July 30, 2020 at 9:24 am |

      I disagree about the Browns. Numbers on the side work for some teams. I understand the Browns wore numbers on their helmets years ago, but I prefer the Browns with the blank helmets. It is their signature look, their thing. Happy they are sticking with the same helmet design and do really like the brown facemask.

    • Dumb Guy | July 30, 2020 at 11:47 am |

      I wish the WFT helmet number were white (maybe outlined in gold).
      And I wish they kept the helmet stripes.

      • Rob Z. | July 30, 2020 at 12:42 pm |

        I agree 100%. Losing the helmet stripes makes it look like a practice/training cap helmet. I don’t see why they couldn’t have stuck a gold or white “W” on the shell instead of the number.

        • ChrisH | July 30, 2020 at 5:43 pm |

          Wouldn’t a W (or an R for that matter) be considered a de facto logo?
          That’s something the Redsk…err, Washington Football Team wants to avoid until the rebranding process is complete.

  • Bob | July 30, 2020 at 8:48 am |

    The umpire numbers were always put up on the scoreboard under the home teams lineup (which were also number only), at least as I remember it at Shea. You then could reference your program/scorecard to figure out who everyone was. Not sure if its still needed with the modern scoreboards.

    • BurghFan | July 30, 2020 at 8:59 am |

      Yeah. Looking through https://twitter.com/vintscoreboards, you can slots for the umpire numbers on a lot of hand-operated boards, as well as some electronic ones, specifically Dodger Stadium.

  • Ed | July 30, 2020 at 8:56 am |

    Since the WFT has officially retired their former name, maybe change the name of that section as a sign of progress? Maybe the “Appropriation Observation” or something (yeah, that kinda sucks.)

    • Paul Lukas | July 30, 2020 at 10:34 am |

      There are still plenty of high schools with that name.

  • ML | July 30, 2020 at 9:09 am |

    Angel Hernandez changed his number to 5 a couple years ago when it came open.

    • Rich | July 30, 2020 at 9:45 am |

      Hernandez wore 5 in the NL back in the 90s. When the leagues merged in 2000, Dale Scott of the AL got the 5 since he had more seniority. Hernandez wore 55.

      When Scott retired after the 2017 season, Hernandez went back to 5.

      Wrigley’s scoreboard still shows the umpire numbers. I’m sure others do too.

      Umpire numbers started in the NL in 1970. They were assigned annually at first, alphabetically, so numbers changed from 1970-1978. When MLB eliminated the gorgeous burgundy umpire coats in the AL by requiring the leagues to standardize the uniform in 1980 (they went to the NL’s navy coats and the AL’s gray pants), the AL added uniform numbers to the uniforms.

  • AJ Kane | July 30, 2020 at 9:09 am |

    Paul–

    Regarding the Tottenham link, while it’s been published by the Tottenham Hotspur women’s account, it’s actually a video announcement of the 2020/21 kits being worn by the men’s and women’s squads.

    The home shirt is kind of a mess, but I do like the forest green with pink accents on the away shirt.

  • TC | July 30, 2020 at 9:16 am |

    To add to the ‘Skins watch, the Edmonton Eskimos announced they will be retiring the name. Since the announcement their online orders for merchandise have increased dramatically. Over 100 orders are being processed a day which is insane for a CFL team, especially with league not playing due to Covid-19.

  • Marcus from Baltimore | July 30, 2020 at 9:29 am |

    I’m wondering if in 5 years, the Yankees will have an active, triple digit wearing player.

    • MotorCityJeff | July 30, 2020 at 10:12 am |

      5 years? That’s doubtful. They currently have 21 retired numbers. Add 26 for active players and about 7 for current manager/coaches and that leaves 47 double digit numbers available between 0,00 and 99. Off the top of my head, I don’t see any of those 47 available numbers being retired in the next 10 years, let alone 5.

  • JohnMark | July 30, 2020 at 9:37 am |

    I’d love to see the (theoretical) photo taken one second after the one posted of Bonnie Brewer. The guy to the far right is standing ON the drag mat ahead of him, yikes!

  • Steve | July 30, 2020 at 9:38 am |

    Does anyone actually care about the “blue collar” section? Is it really that noteworthy? Seems like a trivial thing to keep updating.

    Clams look so good btw.

    • Paul Lukas | July 30, 2020 at 10:37 am |

      Does anyone actually care about the “blue collar” section? Is it really that noteworthy? Seems like a trivial thing to keep updating.

      If you don’t care about it, Steve, feel free to scroll past it. Is that so hard?

      The clams were as good as they looked!

    • Lee | July 30, 2020 at 1:16 pm |

      I don’t know if I “care” (too much), but I do find it interesting, especially when highlighting generally good writers resorting to tired tropes.
      I’d really like to have it explained exactly what makes Columbus “blue collar” and Toronto “white collar”, without leaning into more cliches, and faulty generalities.

      Lee

    • walter | July 30, 2020 at 4:07 pm |

      I’m looking forward to the day a dockworkers’ (or automakers’ or nurses’) union boycotts a team because a coach misappropriated their intellectual property. Anything to get some pushback against the prevailing tin-eared doggerel.

  • JohnMark | July 30, 2020 at 9:41 am |

    I’d love to see the (theoretical) photo taken one second after the one posted today of Bonnie Brewer. The guy to the far right is standing ON the drag mat ahead of him, yikes!

    • RS Rogers | July 30, 2020 at 11:53 am |

      I’m pretty sure that drag mat is behind him, and he’s holding the rope to pull it. It’s his drag mat. No idea why he’s standing on it, but I doubt the “next second” photo would show any kind of dramatic mat-induced tumble. (Maybe he’s figured out how to pull the mat while standing on it, like a horse pulling a wagon from inside the wagon. In which case, the “next second” shot would revolutionize physics!)

  • Derek | July 30, 2020 at 10:03 am |

    That Grab Bag article about Taylor Swift doesn’t sound like she’s refuting accusations. I believe her PR team acted quickly to pull merch that seemed too similar to the brand The Folklore and are shipping merch instead that excludes the article “The”.

  • Kub | July 30, 2020 at 10:56 am |

    Couldn’t the ump just have worn 09?

  • Rob Z. | July 30, 2020 at 11:31 am |

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around why Washington ripped the stripes off their helmets.

    • ChrisH | July 30, 2020 at 11:55 am |

      Whatever the reason(s) may be, I’m OK with them doing so… to me, the helmet stripes always looked a bit off since they didn’t mirror/match up with the ones on the jersey or the pants (not that they ‘had’ to) all that well.

  • MJ | July 30, 2020 at 11:36 am |

    That clambake will be happening on my grill before Labor Day. That looks amazing!

  • ChrisH | July 30, 2020 at 11:46 am |

    From the gallery of the greatest player in Broncos history for each uni number…

    “The only player to wear No. 0, John Olszewski, is not pictured; there are no photos of him in the Denver Broncos Photo Archive or on AP Images.”

    While not a great pic of Johnny O, the Broncos should have consulted Uni Watch:

    https://bullpen.uni-watch.com/app/uploads/2016/05/Tripucka-Mingo-4.jpg

    • Lee | July 30, 2020 at 1:21 pm |

      What a cool photo!

      Lee

  • Greg Brown | July 30, 2020 at 12:27 pm |

    FWIW, I umpire in Little League. Most umpires at the league and district level don’t bother with numbers. A few years ago, I decided to wear “3” on the sleeve of my uniform shirts. Why? Our daughter has trisomy 21 – Down Syndrome. Whenever anyone asks what the 3 is for, I get to tell them a little bit about intellectual disabilities.

    • Rich | July 30, 2020 at 4:08 pm |

      I umpired the LLWS last year, and they put numbers on the umpires’ shirts.

      For the first time ever, I wore #2 (my number throughout my career has been 7).

      Why? It’s the softball uniform number my daughter had worn for the past 5 years. I did it so I could talk about my daughter, too. Your story is better.

  • Joe | July 30, 2020 at 1:21 pm |

    “the team’s 1970s squads ’embodied the “blue-collar”, “hard-nosed” football that was ubiquitous in that era.’”

    Setting aside the Working-Class Wannabe component of that statement, is it even noteworthy to embody something that’s ubiquitous?

    Those ’70s Steelers teams sure did play football in a style common to 70’s football teams!

  • Joe | July 30, 2020 at 1:28 pm |

    “embodied the ‘blue-collar’, ‘hard-nosed’ football that was ubiquitous in that era.”

    Those 1970s Steelers teams sure did play football in a style common to 1970s football teams!

    • Special K | July 30, 2020 at 1:47 pm |

      Yes, I also noticed how that sentence was poorly written. Stating that the style was ubiquitous (present everywhere) in that era makes it pointless to mention that the Steelers also embodied that style. They are basically saying that everyone played that way, including the Steelers. “The Steelers’ style of play was not noteworthy, since everyone else was doing it too, but I’m going to note it anyway.”

      This is without even discussing whether the assertion itself is valid.

  • Milorad V | July 30, 2020 at 2:38 pm |

    As a child during the 60s-70s…I seem to remember powder-blue unis actually being lighter, more ‘powdery’…Twins set looks like SKY blue to me (someone’s idea of ‘more pop’, I’m sure), I can’t say I love it.
    Note to WFT: whatever color you ultimately land on, do NOT outline helmet numbers, it looks like hot garbage.

  • Steve D | July 30, 2020 at 3:11 pm |

    but when an umpire dies, do the active umps wear a memorial patch with his number? No!

    However, the Mets wore a patch in 1996 that said “J.M. N.L. UMPIRE 10” in memory of umpire John McSherry, who passed away working on Opening Day in Cincinnati on April 1st, 1996.

    https://goldinauctions.com/1996_jeff_kent_game_used_new_york_mets_road_jersey-lot23605.aspx

    • Paul Lukas | July 30, 2020 at 3:18 pm |

      Ah, good one! But that’s a rare exception.

  • ML | July 30, 2020 at 4:34 pm |

    Umpires aren’t the only officials wearing numbers, of course. The 4 major professional sports all have their officials wearing numbers, albeit on their backs in the other 3. They do it for the same reason the players do, identification. Maybe not by fans, but for evaluators or other personnel that may report to a league. Some umpires doing MLB games are call-ups, so it’s possible some may not know who they are, So, sleeve numbers. Wouldn’t want to complain about the wrong person:-).

    • Paul Lukas | July 30, 2020 at 5:30 pm |

      Fair points all around, Mark.

      But you ref college basketball yourself, and college hoops refs don’t have numbers. Neither do college football officials. So why isn’t identification important for them?

      • ML | July 30, 2020 at 5:45 pm |

        Well, speaking for college basketball, I *did* have to wear numbers back when I was trying out At camps since nobody really knew me. But your question is definitely valid. I’m not sure they are necessary. Might just be a tradition thing at this point.

  • Brendan | July 30, 2020 at 8:22 pm |

    The only two MLB numbers that I know for certain are Tony (Randazzo) with 11, and (Doug) Eddings with 88.

    Interestingly, it seems to be a source of pride for those two since Eddings used to own Ump88 (it wasn’t great, and folded a year or so after I moved to Las Cruces), and Randazzo’s SUV has a vanity plate with 11 (it’s unmistakably his car).

  • Mark in Shiga | July 30, 2020 at 9:17 pm |

    Japanese baseball teams have been giving three-digit numbers to their “developmental” players (who can only play on the “junior varsity” team), and sometimes they even make condensed fonts for them, as seen here.

    If we have more triple-digit umps, they should make a special thinner font, or go back to single layering rather than the triple layers they’re using now. About twenty years ago, they had two layers, and before that they were a single layer.

  • Chuck R . | July 30, 2020 at 9:37 pm |

    Cleveland Indians road grays look very sharp with no patches on the sleeves. Nice clean look.

  • Tim | July 31, 2020 at 8:13 am |

    I thought it was weird that the Lakers were wearing their names below their numbers last night. And I’m surprised not to see any mention of it today. Did I miss something earlier in the season?