Why I Support, and Even Applaud, Gov. Greg Abbott’s Decision

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The photo above shows Texas Gov. Greg Abbott throwing out the first pitch for the Rangers’ 2019 season opener against the Cubs. He also threw out a virtual first pitch to open the Rangers’ season last year, and he was scheduled to extend his personal Opening Day streak by doing the honors at the team’s 2021 home opener yesterday.

But as you’ve probably heard by now, Abbott announced a few hours before yesterday’s game that he’d decided to boycott the first pitch as a way of protesting MLB’s decision to pull this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to Georgia’s new voting law. (The Rangers had a bunch of pandemic “frontline heroes” throw out first pitches instead.)

I saw some people critiquing or ridiculing Abbott’s decision. Personally, I disagree with those people. Here’s why.

First, as I’ve previously said many times regarding many issues, boycotting something seems like a perfectly reasonable form of self-expression, and a good way of exercising one’s freedom of association. If Abbott doesn’t want to be associated with MLB right now because of the All-Star Game situation, then skipping the first pitch makes perfect sense. It’s an effective use of the platform the Rangers gave him and the power of his office.

Moreover: Is Abbott engaging in a nakedly transparent bit of political grandstanding here? Yeah, probably — and what’s wrong with that? He’s a politician — making grandstanding maneuvers based on raw political calculations is a big part of his job. Whether yesterday’s move was rooted in principled sincerity or something more cynical, it was completely sensible when viewed from a political perspective.

All of which leads me to a question: Why the hell should politicians of any stripe be throwing out the first pitch to begin with?

Politicians already get tons of free media coverage and publicity (and can get more whenever they want simply by calling a press conference). Plus they get to kiss babies, cut ribbons at grand openings, stick shovels in the dirt at groundbreakings, serve as grand marshals at parades, and appear in lots of other ceremonial photo-op capacities. Why should they also be given the high-profile showcase of tossing out a first pitch? It basically turns a sporting event into a campaign event. It would be easy to say that Abbott was politicizing the first pitch yesterday, but the reality is that the first pitch has been politicized all along, at least when it’s being performed by a politician.

Everyone’s always saying they want to get politics out of sports. This seems like a good place to start, no? No more elected officials tossing out the first pitch (at least 40% of the fans in the crowd probably voted against the politician anyway, so why give the honor to someone whose presence will annoy a large subset of your customers?). And ditto for White House team visits, which turn players into campaign props. Just scrap all of that.

As an aside: Abbott, in his announcement yesterday, also said he doesn’t want MLB to move the All-Star Game to Texas. That’s a laugh, because Texas (among several other states) is considering new voting laws very similar to Georgia’s, so the chances of MLB moving the ASG to Houston or Arlington were approximately zero anyway. Abbott saying, “Don’t even think about bringing the game here, we don’t want it!” is like the math nerd telling the prom queen that he’s not interested in dating her. But because Abbott got to make his grandstand play of boycotting the first pitch, he got to piggyback this additional grandstand play of not wanting to host the ASG. Two for the price of one! I don’t blame him for doing that — again, it’s smart politics, at least in terms of appealing to his base — but it’s yet another reason not to involve elected officials in this stuff in the first place. (Footnote: Later in the day, it was reported that the game will be relocated to Colorado. The official announcement is supposedly coming today. It’s not yet clear whether the Rockies will add a sleeve and/or cap patch for the occasion.)

Now that Abbott has chosen to take his ball and stay home, I wonder if teams will start to rethink inviting politicians for the pregame pitch. Maybe getting involved with elected officials will become more of a loaded proposition than teams want to deal with and they’ll stick to non-politicians. Hope so. (Yes, I know, it’s funny when a politician botches the pitch and we all get a good laugh. But still.)

It would be fair to say that Greg Abbott’s worldview differs significantly from my own. But I think he has every right to express that worldview by boycotting a first pitch ceremony — which is a good reason why he shouldn’t have been offered that opportunity in the first place. He’s done us all a favor by shining a light on a longstanding practice that should be retired. If his decision yesterday goes down as the beginning of the end for politicians tossing out the first pitch, we’ll all owe him a serious debt of gratitude.

Let’s please keep today’s discussion on the issue of politicians throwing out the first pitch and any uni-related aspects of the situation, not on MLB’s course of action regarding the All-Star Game. Thanks!

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All that glitters: The Dodgers finally made it official yesterday, revealing the gold-trimmed championship uniform that they’ll be wearing for their home opener on Friday. The Roman numeral VII on the left sleeve is for the franchise’s seven World Series titles.

The cap had already leaked nearly two weeks ago, but here’s the official view of it:

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Dang: As you might expect, I’m happy that a team whose colors are green and yellow won the national championship last night. But I’d be a lot happier if they actually, you know, wore green and yellow instead of going AFAS (anthracite for anthracite’s sake). A puzzling choice for the biggest game in program history, although I guess it’s hard to argue with the results.

Anyway: Congrats to the Bears and their fans. Keep it green!

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Buccos history mystery, continued: In yesterday’s post, I wrote about how the Pirates had at least two players wearing their uni numbers on the side of their batting helmets in 1976, and how the team had previously used those same number decals on the helmet brim. Now reader Chris Hickey has found a photo of Richie Zisk (one of the all-time great MLB names, no?) wearing those same numeral decals on back of his helmet.

This photo is definitely from 1976, because Zisk is wearing the telltale National League centennial patch. Seems like Pirates equipment manager John Hallahan was having a hard time coming up with a consistent helmet number protocol! Unfortunately, he died in 1991 (the team even wore a memorial patch for him, so we can’t ask him about this unusual chapter in Buccos uni history. Too bad.

(My thanks to Jerry Wolper for reminding me about the Hallahan memorial patch.)

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Too good for the Ticker: This is so awesome — reader Pete Woychik has created a dingbat font based on hockey jerseys! It’s a brilliant little project, and you can learn more about it here. Great job, Pete!

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie
    

Leading off this week with some classic-looking artwork for the Chicago White Sox. This is a scorebook from May 7, 1971, when the visiting Yankees beat the Sox, 2-1. That season was the first time the Sox wore the color red, so this cover art had just been unveiled a month earlier!

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

 • Another program for you, from two seasons earlier: This is a “Programme Officiel des Expos” from 1969, their first season (or première saison, if you prefer). Southpaw Larry Jaster is your cover star.

 • Don Mattingly closed his “Mattingly’s 23” restaurant in Evansville, Ind., back in  1996. Here’s a mug bearing his image. (It also shows the Yankees’ “NY” logo on his cap. Wonder if that was officially licensed or if he just did it on his own!)

 • You could personalize this 1967 NFL Helmet Bank with a small gold decal bearing the name of your favorite team.

 • This 1970s red/blue T-shirt from Russell Athletic features the NFL shield on the front.

 • “Hats Off to the Mets!” That’s what this promo visor says on the front. It was sponsored by Thom McAn shoes and given away during the 1969 playoffs. (By the way, ever wonder where the name “Thom McAn” came from? Wikipedia says it’s from a Scottish golfer named Thomas McCann, but this article maintains it was simply made up.)

 • Let’s Talk Hockey was a 1964 album featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs and their coach. This edition comes with an instructional booklet. Comin’ off three straight Cup wins, these guys knew their stuff.

 • This early-1970s NFL team catalog is from a company called Pro-Central. Check out all that team-branded merch! Pretty much exactly what you’d find at Sears.

 • Here’s a 1960s San Francisco 49ers Punt, Pass & Kick varsity-style jacket, made by a company called Timberetta. The sleeves of this jacket are in “Dry Cleanable Vinyl,” aka the “New Leather Look.” These were awarded to PP&K winners. To the losers? “Here’s a T-shirt, kid.”

 • Red Sox star Carl Yastrzemski “shares his know-how with you” in this 1969 book simply titled Play Ball.

 • Just the basics, m’am: No flashy trim on this 1970s-80s Detroit Pistons sweatshirt/sweatpants set made by Champion. Just a white logo on navy blue. 

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Pin Club reminder: In case you missed it last Thursday, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s latest release has a golf/Masters them. It’s a numbered edition of 200, with each pin individually numbered on the back, and as of this morning there are fewer than 70 remaining. It’s available here, and we’re donating all the profits from this one to Fair Fight. (You can learn more about why we’ve chosen to do that here.)

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Something I certainly hadn’t noticed until now: Apparently, Nike’s MLB pants have a ventilation panel at the crotch, which looks particularly weird on pinstriped pants. I will never unsee that (from Justo Gutierrez). … Earlier this spring, Jeff Frandsen noted that Mets SS Francisco Lindor appeared to be wearing the belt of teammate Michael Conforto. That continued during the Mets opener yesterday, when Lindor again wore Conforto’s belt (from C.B. Ciullo). … Speaking of belts, Twins RF Nelson Cruz wore a grey belt during Saturday’s game, while the rest of his teammates wore navy belts (from John Luther). … More belt news: The Red Sox were mixing and matching red and blue belts last night (from Lorne Geller). … Reds manager David Bell was wearing a batting practice cap during last night’s game. … A Blue Jays coach was also wearing a BP cap during their game (from James T. Paterson). … Cubs OF Joc Pederson switched his cleats midway through Sunday’s game (from @MBDChicago). … Sales of this Mets/Metropolitan Museum of Art mashup cap, which we’ve discussed before, have reportedly raised $15,000 for charity (from Chris Nordloh). … Victory Field, the home of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, had the NCAA Final Four logo mowed into its outfield in honor of last night’s national championship (from Michael Kinney). … An ESPN graphic that aired yesterday mistakenly listed Barry Bonds as a Hall of Famer (from Joseph Matlock). … For sale on eBay: an Expos mini football helmet (from @BenOnSports). … Oregon State debuted a retro/throwback cap yesterday (from Max G. and @peeweereis). … Here’s a great story: Sam Chatto works at a middle school in Maine — heavy Red Sox territory — and to boost fundraising for a cancer charity drive, he and his co-worker (also a Sox fan) promised to wear Yankees jerseys for a day. It worked — the students raised close to $750. Congrats! … Former MLB P Daniel Mengden, now playing in Korea with the Kia Tigers, wore some serious candy-striped socks yesterday (from Brian Smith).

NFL News: Ravens WR Sammy Watkins will wear No. 14 with his new team (from Andrew Cosentino). … Washington has released the first episode of a new video series giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the work in putting together its new team identity (from @realRosebud). … Darrell Dawson notes that the Colts’ Ring of Honor graphic for Peyton Manning lists him as having played for the team from “1998-11,” which makes no sense. Should be 1998-2011.

Hockey News: The Jets wore Pride warm-up sweaters before last night’s game (from Wade Heidt and Anthony). … Reader Josh Pearlman received an email from the Coyotes indicating that the team has a new sweater in the works.

Basketball News: Steph Curry wore sneakers featuring Bruce Lee as a show of solidarity with the AAPI community amid a rise in hate crimes (from Brinke). … A Raptors blog counted down the top five uniforms the team has worn this season (from Phil).

College Hoops: It’s been 80 years since Wisconsin won the national championship, and they looked good doing it. Check out those striped socks and coaches’ jackets (from David Petroff). … North Carolina hired Hubert Davis as its new head coach yesterday. James Gilbert notes that Davis modeled the Tar Heels’ argyle unis when they were unveiled in 1991. … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Indianapolis’s minor league baseball stadium had the Final Four logo mowed into its outfield in honor of the national championship (from Michael Kinney).

Soccer News: The NWSL’s Houston Dash have a new second uniform (from Ignacio Salazar and our own Jamie Rathjen ). … Also from Jamie: Chelsea women’s midfielder Maren Mjelde got a framed No. 100 shirt for reaching 100 total appearances with the club. … The San Jose Earthquakes have sold the naming rights to their stadium (from our own Lloyd Alaban). … Polish club Górnik Zabrze wore retro-inspired uniforms yesterday (from Ed Żelaski).

Grab Bag: Bloomberg has a new piece that looks into the current branding trend of removing detail and depth from logos (from William F. Yurasko and David Raglin). … Oscar Mayer has released limited edition bacon-scented shoelaces (BrandNew article, hard paywall) to accompany the re-release of Nike’s bacon-themed sneakers (from James Gilbert).

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Our latest raffle winner is Dave Feit, who’s won himself $50 worth of Uni Watch merchandise. Congrats to him, and thanks again to Jerry Kulig for sponsoring this one.

96 comments to Why I Support, and Even Applaud, Gov. Greg Abbott’s Decision

  • Dave Fisher | April 6, 2021 at 8:38 am |

    Will Ross talk about the golden uni on part 2 of the podcast? Any roman numeral that doesn’t contain an X seems to get no love, so this is an interesting choice.

    • Paul Lukas | April 6, 2021 at 8:39 am |

      We discussed the gold uni’s existence, but not any of the design details.

  • Jason Wileman | April 6, 2021 at 8:44 am |

    I have to say I applaud you for this piece, Paul. I don’t always agree with you, but you always present your opinion in clear, concise terms, with reasoning and facts behind you. We live in a world where everything seems to be partisan. It always frustrates me when people on both sides of the aisle attack the other – for doing the exact same things they do. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, I always say; or, in other words, point a finger at someone and there’s four more pointing back.

    • Paul Lukas | April 6, 2021 at 8:49 am |

      Thanks, Jason — appreciated.

    • Ian D. P. | April 6, 2021 at 8:57 am |

      Additionally to what Jason said, I appreciate that Paul has a very grounded, principled philosophy when it comes to the protecting the sanctity of our sporting events. Some might say it’s a bit old-fashioned, but that’s perfectly okay with me.

      • SaveFarris | April 6, 2021 at 5:11 pm |

        Paul? Old-Fashioned?

        I’ll bet he takes that as a compliment.

        • Paul Lukas | April 6, 2021 at 5:42 pm |

          I wish you all could decide whether I’m an old-fashioned stick in the mud or a radical commie. It gets confusing sometimes.

  • Graf Zeppelin | April 6, 2021 at 8:47 am |

    It basically turns a sporting event into a campaign event.

    I think that’s been true for the last 30 years or so, since talk radio, then cable news, then the Internet created the “permanent campaign.” Before the 1990s the President was simply the President, the Governor simply the Governor; whether you voted for him or not, or whether you planned to vote for him next time or not, didn’t really matter unless there was an actual campaign going on, i.e., an election coming up in few weeks/months. Now, every elected official from the POTUS on down is constantly campaigning, and advocates are constantly campaigning on their behalf (or against them), every minute of every hour of every day of every year.

    Personally I don’t think that’s a healthy thing, in the sense that politics and government are two different things but because of the permanent campaign, election officials spend less time, effort and energy on governing and more on campaigning, leaving fewer and fewer people with an understanding or appreciation of the difference.

    • RICKAZ | April 6, 2021 at 10:14 am |

      Well said.

    • Nestor Chylak | April 6, 2021 at 10:26 am |

      There used to be a saying, “We only have one president at a time”. We’ll never be that magnanimous again. Now it’s “You’ve got your president and I’ve got my president (in waiting).”

      No one ever breathes out anymore when it comes to politics.

      • Jim Vilk | April 6, 2021 at 11:16 am |

        No one ever breathes out anymore when it comes to politics.

        I’m going to borrow that line. Well said.

        Good piece today, Paul.

    • Michael | April 6, 2021 at 12:59 pm |

      Came here to say the same thing — I understand and agree with the cynical view that governance and politics are basically one in the same now, but it’s too bad that governors/presidents can’t play the head of state role very well anymore.

  • Doogie Stardust | April 6, 2021 at 8:49 am |

    Historically speaking, there’s something comforting about seeing the POTUS throw out the first pitch. You have the nation’s leader involved in America’s pastime and it’s a tradition that stretches over a century. Regardless of party, war or plague, the game, the country and it’s traditions continue. However….

    In today’s supercharged political climate I’m onboard with not wanting politicians involved in the game. We’re all better off without the distraction and vitriol.

  • RS Rogers | April 6, 2021 at 8:58 am |

    Executive officeholders serve, or are supposed to serve, two distinct roles: Political leader of the government, and ceremonial head of state. It’s the second role that makes it appropriate, to my mind, for a public official to engage in ceremonial activities like cutting a ribbon at a new store or throwing out the first pitch of a baseball game. But it’s incumbent on a public official to take care to distinguish between the two roles, and stick to the ceremonial stuff when performing a ceremony. Increasingly few do so. It’s also incumbent on the public to recognize the distinction, and ever fewer of us seem to do so. I attended the first game at Nationals Park in 2008, and I was dismayed by how loudly and ubiquitously the then-president was booed while briefly and silently performing the ceremonial duty of throwing a first pitch. You will not find many people who more strongly opposed that particular president’s policy agenda, and I rated him the fourth worst president in American history at the time, but he wasn’t there as a politician, he was there as the ceremonial head of state.

    But, so long as politicians and the public fail to respect the distinctions between public officials’s different public roles, it may be better to eschew inviting them to perform ceremonial public events like a first pitch. On the other hand, so long as we fail to respect those distinctions, I fear it may not be possible to maintain a self-governing republic.

    • RICKAZ | April 6, 2021 at 10:12 am |

      Well said.

  • Skott Schoonover | April 6, 2021 at 8:58 am |

    I’ve never understood the concept of a First Pitch, or the ceremonial Puck Drop. Who decided that fans needed to be part of the game (or the ceremonies before the game)?
    First pitches should be scrapped altogether. No politicians, no celebrities, no contest winners. Just start the game 2 minutes earlier.

    • marchingkazoo | April 6, 2021 at 9:31 am |

      Hear, hear! There’s no reason to limit the scope of this proposition to politicians. The ceremonial first pitch itself should be relegated to the dustbin of history.

      • Nestor Chylak | April 6, 2021 at 12:38 pm |

        At least they could throw it from the grandstand like they used to. Pitchers mounds should be sacred.

  • JFinDC | April 6, 2021 at 8:59 am |

    Will you look at the apostrophe placement on that Don Mattingly mug in Collector’s Corner? Enough to make one want to buy it just so you could smash it!

    • Ron Ruelle | April 6, 2021 at 11:09 am |

      And those sideburns! Yikes!

  • RS Rogers | April 6, 2021 at 9:01 am |

    I like the look of the gilded Dodgers jersey, but the cap is a mess. A gold outline around white doesn’t read as white and gold, it reads as off-white bleeding messily outward. A shame the team didn’t just render the LA logo in gold. Would have looked sharp against the classic Dodgers royal.

  • Brian | April 6, 2021 at 9:02 am |

    The vented crotch was a vestige of the Majestic Flex Base uniform, as the Nike jerseys are pretty much Nike branded Flex Base uniforms in the interim.

    • walter | April 6, 2021 at 10:10 pm |

      Is that a “gusset”, or is there an even-more specific word?

  • Dane | April 6, 2021 at 9:08 am |

    Politicians and team owners are business partners. The team wants things from the government, such as tax breaks for arenas or antitrust protection. Ceremonies are a way to make the politician feel like part of the team toward obtaining those goals.

    • Paul Lukas | April 6, 2021 at 9:16 am |

      This may or may not be an explanation; it is definitely not a justification.

  • Typo | April 6, 2021 at 9:10 am |

    San Jose Earthquake”s”, with an “S”.

  • AJ Kane | April 6, 2021 at 9:11 am |

    Bacon scented shoelaces seems like a terrible idea if you own a dog.

  • Mike Engle on iPhone | April 6, 2021 at 9:13 am |

    My peculiar brain has a much easier time accepting the governor of Minnesota throwing out a Twins first pitch (office is close by, and only one team in the state), as opposed to the governor of Texas throwing out a Rangers first pitch.

    Austin is far enough away from Arlington to make a big deal, and now you probably have to plan an equal time trip to Houston. All that work makes it even more transparently campaign-y. And then all the team garb…meh, makes one politician look even more of a turncoat when they’re wearing Rangers stuff today but you know they’ll wear Astros stuff later. To think that taxpayers are inevitably paying for ALL THAT STUNT WORK. I’m exhausted for Texas constituents.

    It’s easy to think that governors (and mayors and congress members to Washington and state senators and POTUS etc) have more important things to do than throw out a ball. If they agree and if I never see a politician at the base of the mound again, no great loss.

  • Wade Heidt | April 6, 2021 at 9:19 am |

    Could the new unreleased Coyotes jersey be the white kachina jersey? It feels like the Coyotes are evolving to a return to their original kachina uniforms as their primary uniforms.

    • ChrisH | April 6, 2021 at 10:35 am |

      It’s probably a safe bet to say it will not be based any iteration of their Winnipeg Jets identity. ;)
      Though not historically accurate, I’d like to see them throw back to the ’75-’76 Phoenix Roadrunners template/colors…replace the cartoon bird in the state outline with a skating coyote. Sure, why not?

      • walter | April 6, 2021 at 6:12 pm |

        The Desert Canines of the Grand Canyon State are turning into another team who Got it Right the First Time™. It’s just that it took us a while to appreciate the Kachina design of the Hockeydogs.

  • Steve | April 6, 2021 at 9:19 am |

    Are people complaining about Abbott not throwing out the first pitch, or are they complaining about WHY he’s not throwing out the first pitch? I’ve only seen the latter, and there’s a big difference between the two.

  • ThatRodneyGuy | April 6, 2021 at 9:23 am |

    “jersey’s”

    SMDH, Coyotes.

  • Stan Bunting | April 6, 2021 at 9:24 am |

    The Dodgers’ World Series jerseys really use Roman numerals in a classy fashion!

    It is almost as classy as when the Big 12 was originally formed and on one side of the field they had XII for the new Big 12 and on the other side of the field they had IIX to honor the legacy of the Big 8.

    • DJ | April 6, 2021 at 9:45 am |

      Sorry… IIX is not the Roman numeral for 8.

    • Scott Nuzum | April 6, 2021 at 10:43 am |

      I see what you did there.

    • Paulio B | April 6, 2021 at 1:25 pm |

      This is one of the better jokes I’ve read in a while!

  • murph | April 6, 2021 at 9:55 am |

    Oh man! On one hand, thank you so much for posting that Mattingly mug find. My good friend is a HUGE Donnie Baseball fan. He definitely does NOT have that in his collection. On the other hand…now the whole Uni-Verse knows about it and will be bidding against me :)

  • Kek | April 6, 2021 at 9:58 am |

    I wonder if Baylor thought maybe Gonzaga would get knocked out of the tourney before the final four and they would only need a white/home uni being a 1 seed. Their Equipment Managers just might have grabbed on road set as an afterthought. Zags wore white all tourney naturally as they were the #1 seed overall.

    It WAS a bummer to see THAT be the uni they won the national championship in, I watched a good bit of the Bears this year and they have so much better to offer!

    • Pedro N | April 6, 2021 at 10:26 am |

      Nobody has mentioned it yet, but Gonzaga wore a different white uniform last night, They previously wore what appeared to be an alternate that had “ZAGS” in white on the chest. Last night they wore their standard home uniform with “GONZAGA” in blue and red on the chest, and stripes down the sides. I was pretty shocked that they didn’t stick with what they wore the whole tournament. My first thought was that the NCAA might have made them switch, but Baylor wearing anthracite seems to eliminate that as a possibility.

      • Jim Vilk | April 6, 2021 at 11:09 am |

        When I saw Saturday’s jersey with the ghosted ZAGS, I immediately decided to root for UCLA. When the Bulldogs came to their senses (or were made to switch) and wore the better looking home jersey last night, I rooted for them. Needless to say I’m doubly disappointed. Triply, because Baylor went AFAS.

        • walter | April 6, 2021 at 6:05 pm |

          The detail of the Zags’ uniform I was especially keen on was the Mobius detailing of the Gonzaga wordmark, which is, as it turns out, identical to the numerals of the Los Angeles Rams’ jerseys. Is this the Emigré typeface of the 2020s?

  • Ben | April 6, 2021 at 10:20 am |

    I’m sure Paul will get to this tomorrow, but the worst fears about Nike unleashing their, shall we say, creative instincts on baseball appear to have been confirmed:
    https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/31202785/boston-red-sox-push-envelope-marathon-inspired-blue-yellow-uniforms
    As a Red Sox fan, my reaction is unintelligible howls of despair.

    • Pedro N | April 6, 2021 at 10:31 am |

      This can’t be real, I honestly feel this is a prank.

    • StAugustine | April 6, 2021 at 10:34 am |

      Yup. Selling out to Nike. Next up: Earned edition. Red Sox started a tradition after the Marathon bombing of wearing BOSTON on their home whites for Patriots Day. I Guess Nike threw that out the window for them.

      • Peter | April 6, 2021 at 10:44 am |

        Looks like UCLA Bruins “B” / colors

        • Tim | April 6, 2021 at 1:31 pm |

          Boston Bruins? :-D

    • ThatRodneyGuy | April 6, 2021 at 10:57 am |

      “City Connect”?

      Oh boy… heeeere we go.

    • Fred Grindstone | April 6, 2021 at 11:02 am |

      And once again the execrable excuse that it’s “for the younger fans,” who Nike apparently assumes to be imbeciles.

    • Jesse | April 6, 2021 at 11:36 am |

      Those things are disgusting, smh.

    • AJ Kane | April 6, 2021 at 11:36 am |

      As a Sox fan–these are both bad and stupid. As long as they’re kept to a once a year thing, then they’re almost acceptable.

      I do appreciate that they aren’t replacing the white “Boston Strong” jerseys that the Sox have worn on Patriots Day.

      But yeah, yikes. I really dislike the hats especially, which are UCLA hats without question.

    • walter | April 6, 2021 at 12:43 pm |

      Mine were better:)

      • BvK | April 6, 2021 at 5:34 pm |

        Indeed.

    • Stan Bunting | April 6, 2021 at 1:43 pm |

      I can’t wait to see what they do for the Yankees! It could be epic.

    • Michael Emody | April 6, 2021 at 4:15 pm |

      Nice Boston Bees caps.

    • RICKAZ | April 6, 2021 at 4:24 pm |

      The UCLA baseball hat is the tell that this isn’t real.

  • MetsFan | April 6, 2021 at 10:55 am |

    Maybe I’m not understanding correctly, but it seems hypocritical to lament a politician throwing out a first pitch while applauding the movement of the all star game due to a political disagreement/difference in political views.

    Anyways, I’m disgusted by the yellow Boston Red Sox jerseys. I hate Nike with every fiber of my being. Soon, MLB will look like the NBA.

    • Paul Lukas | April 6, 2021 at 11:10 am |

      Actually, I have not expressed an opinion, positive or negative, on the All-Star Game being moved. Why would leap to an assumption and put words in my mouth like that?

      Or were you referring to someone else..?

      • MetsFan | April 6, 2021 at 11:47 am |

        Your tweets from last week clearly support the move. You made tweets supporting fairfightaction, you sent someone who responded to your tweet an article explaining why the law “suppresses” voting, and you made a comment how you were glad you were ahead of the curve about moving the all star game. It’s pretty clear where you stand. That’s fine, you’re entitled to it and I’m not in any way putting you down for it.

        It just comes across as contradictory when you support the movement of an ASG for political reasons, but oppose politicians throwing out first pitches.

        • Paul Lukas | April 6, 2021 at 11:55 am |

          For the sake of argument, let’s say, just hypothetically, that you’re right and that I fully support MLB’s move. There’s a big difference between a (a) league making a business decision on where to do business (something that businesses do all the time), and (b) a team having an elected official in the building to take part in a ceremonial ritual, which becomes a de facto campaign event for the elected official. If you can’t see the difference between those two things, I’m not sure what to tell you.

        • MetsFan | April 6, 2021 at 12:02 pm |

          Paul, I do see the difference. I think years ago, that nuance makes sense, but these are different times where those lines are significantly blurred. One has to do with the other.

          Either way, I agree with you and I think less politicians throwing out the first pitch would be for the better. I don’t need to see Bill de Blasio throwing out the first pitch for my beloved Mets. :)

        • Graf Zeppelin | April 6, 2021 at 12:58 pm |

          I can’t and won’t speak for Paul, but there’s no contradiction here because “doing things for political reasons” is not the common denominator.

          Most of the time the differences between things are far more important, and useful to understand, than whatever commonalities one might see. There’s nothing inconsistent, contradictory or hypocritical about having different thoughts about different things.

          Look at it this way: If one person uses a shovel to plant trees, and another uses a shovel to bash someone’s brains in, it is of no importance or utility to point out that they both use shovels. Neither is there any contradiction between praising the tree-planter and condemning the brain-basher, nor does it make sense to accuse anyone who does so of inconsistency or hypocrisy by insisting that they should have the same opinion of all shovel-users.

  • pete | April 6, 2021 at 10:56 am |

    Thanks for plugging my dingbat font project, Paul! And thanks, fellow Uni-Watchers, for taking a look.

    (Small edit: my last name is spelled Woychick.)

    • walter | April 6, 2021 at 12:45 pm |

      Amazing project! Obviously a labor of love!

  • AMDG | April 6, 2021 at 10:58 am |

    President Bush’s first pitch for game 3 of the 2001 World Series was a great moment.

    https://youtu.be/lAEXKwQ1f9M

  • Ron Ruelle | April 6, 2021 at 11:19 am |

    I’ve never like the tradition of the champions visiting the White House, so maybe that relic will become a thing of the past. The only exception would be if say, if the White Sox had won while Obama was in office or the Rangers while Bush was in office.

    To get to the uni-aspect of that… what happens to all those jerseys they present to the president? How many “Obama 44” jerseys can one man wear in a lifetime? I think they would be a neat addition to a Presidential library.

    • Paul Lukas | April 6, 2021 at 11:20 am |

      By law, all gifts of that sort go to the National Archives.

      • Ron Ruelle | April 6, 2021 at 11:25 am |

        Now I’m envisioning a warehouse like at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I have a friend who works for the archives… I’ll ask her if she knows their whereabouts.

        • David Cline | April 6, 2021 at 12:05 pm |

          I thought I read a few years ago the outgoing President may choose a handful of gifts to keep after his/her term in office is over. I don’t remember if they have to pay market value, but I have a feeling some of those jerseys may be on display in Presidential Libraries.

          Which, now that I think of it, are part of the National Archives.

          Okay. I’m done here. :-)

      • 716Scott | April 6, 2021 at 12:40 pm |

        Traditionally the items over the permissible dollar amount for gifts are turned over to custody of the National Archives. The President does have an opportunity to purchase them for the appraised cost. As the National Archives is the administrator of all Presidential Libraries (pre-Obama where there has been a shift) most items have the opportunity to be displayed at the President’s Library.

      • Tim | April 6, 2021 at 1:24 pm |

        I’ve been to the Reagan museum in Simi Valley, CA. As I recall, there’s a whole room dedicated to gifts received while he was in office.

    • Dave L | April 6, 2021 at 1:27 pm |

      When they win the WS, can the 4-0 Phillies go visit President Biden, since he and the First Lady are Phillies fans? ;-)

    • Ted Mark | April 6, 2021 at 2:12 pm |

      No exceptions, period.

  • mh | April 6, 2021 at 11:26 am |

    I feel like the header to today’s post was slightly misleading to your actual arguments. (correct me if I’m wrong), but my takeaway from your post was that 1) you disagree with the practice of politicians participating in sporting ceremonies and 2) Abbott has the right to boycott/play the politics

    Based on the his affinity for first pitches, it seems his decision making process was focused on the GA Bill and MLB’s response to it. Although you support the outcome of his decision to boycott, I don’t think you support his decision.

    Yes, Abbott has the right to boycott and I can’t blame Abbott for using this opportunity to play politician. But it does not seem like you agree with this boycott.

    Separately, I think it would be cool to see the President of the United States throw out a first pitch at a baseball game, even if I didn’t vote for him. The governor of Michigan (who I didn’t vote for) used to go to all of Michigan’s basketball game, I thought it was cool just seeing him there (pre-flint water crisis)

    • Block "O Canada" | April 6, 2021 at 1:27 pm |

      A number of years ago I basically snuck into an event where the President of the United States was speaking. I also covertly brought a baseball with me. The event was in a small arena and he was down on floor level. The very moment his speech concluded I was in a full sprint, running down stairs and dodging people. Somewhat to my amazement, only one other person made much attempt to get to him. I found myself about five feet away, so I reached out my hand (which he shook), introduced myself, and asked him to sign my baseball. At this point I was surrounded by other people who had heard me ask for his autograph and they were grabbing anything they could find and asking him to sign it. He leaned in and whispered that he didn’t want to sign anything, but if I waited around while he shook some hands he would make an exception for my ball. The arena cleared out quickly and, true to his word, he came back out with a secret service agent and carefully autographed my ball. He commented that baseballs were one of the few items he enjoyed signing.

      • RT | April 6, 2021 at 9:33 pm |

        Is this a pasta? I wholeheartedly approve.

  • Ilana Hardesty | April 6, 2021 at 11:48 am |
    • Chris H | April 6, 2021 at 12:52 pm |

      The hat has no business being associated with the Red Sox, but it’s magnificent.

  • Neeko | April 6, 2021 at 12:15 pm |

    MLB moved the game bc the players were going to boycott the ASG. MLB did this to save face.

    • Paul Lukas | April 6, 2021 at 12:17 pm |

      1) Actually, we don’t know how many players, if any, were prepared to boycott the game. Please don’t post unsubstantiated rumors or assertions.

      2) If players were indeed going to boycott, then I would not characterize MLB’s response as “sav[ing] face.”

      Let’s please stick to what we know. Thanks.

      • MAL | April 6, 2021 at 2:47 pm |

        I’ll add this link to the discussion, where Evan Drelich from The Athletic makes the (somewhat informed) point that the All Star game remaining in Atlanta would be a distraction for the players/teams through the season. He also mentions something that could be related to how Paul feels here…

        “Inside MLB’s offices, the sense is that politics chose baseball, rather than the other way around. The passage of the law forced MLB into the middle of a fight, and arguably, a change of site was the quickest way out of it. ”

        I take Paul’s viewpoint to be that baseball/sports should no longer choose politics. But sometimes (and increasingly more often) politics are choosing sports – a challenge that will certainly spill into the uni-verse more publicly going forward.

  • Chris H. | April 6, 2021 at 12:50 pm |

    Thanks for the Realmuto crotch shot. I may never be the same again.

  • ChrisH | April 6, 2021 at 1:20 pm |

    “For sale on eBay: an Expos mini football helmet”
    Since it has a US flag decal on there, it’s more likely a Washington Nationals Throwback custom mini football helmet? :)
    I’m somewhat relieved, maybe slightly disappointed, that it doesn’t mimic the tri-colors/pinwheels with a front decal, but without a ‘racing’ center stripe it looks sorta dull.

    • walter | April 6, 2021 at 5:51 pm |

      Surprising how perfect the emblem looks on a helmet; a level of complexity I’ve come to expect from football artwork, not baseball.

  • Graf Zeppelin | April 6, 2021 at 1:34 pm |
    • Stan Bunting | April 6, 2021 at 3:59 pm |

      I am kind of shocked they even have 10 uniforms but I guess with all of the black ones they probably do.

      It will be interesting to see where their City Connect uniform ends up in the next version of this list.

  • Bryan Stroud | April 6, 2021 at 2:14 pm |

    At the risk of this getting lost in the first-pitch comment avalanche, my high school alma mater just decided “to retire all Native American imagery from the school,” which is A LOT because they are the Walsh Warriors and the mascot/logos have always been a mashup of FSU-style spears on football helmets, a stylized Native American wearing a headdress as the basketball center-court logo, and on and on.

    They’re looking for new artwork to represent the school and the winning design will get $500.

    https://www.walshjesuit.org/warrior-artwork-contest

    • Jim Vilk | April 6, 2021 at 2:40 pm |

      My daughter and I entered. Wish us luck…

      • Bryan Stroud | April 7, 2021 at 2:26 pm |

        Good luck to you both! I’m curious to see what the community comes up with.

    • RS Rogers | April 6, 2021 at 2:49 pm |

      Bryan, congrats to your alma mater for going with student/faculty/alum design in this instance. To the extent that the school has art or business/marketing classes, participation in the contest should be a part of classwork. Personally, I find pro/NCAA ripoff logos more bothersome K-12 settings than Native American iconography. There’s just so much pedagogical value in student-driven design that it’s a sin for educators to turn down the opportunity. My own alma mater recently did a comprehensive redesign – keeping the Eagles moniker – and replaced an old student-made logo with a new professionally designed one. The new logo is excellent! But the old one was well known to have been student-designed, and the message the change sends to students about the worth of their work and input is very unfortunate.

  • David Versel | April 6, 2021 at 4:58 pm |

    As the resident (self-appointed) colorblindness expert here, the Baylor uniform from last night is another great example of how grays and greens run together for me. I am aware that Baylor’s school colors are green and yellow and actually thought they were wearing green last night for the first half of the game. Right after halftime CBS put up a graphic stating that Gonzaga was wearing white and Baylor was wearing gray. It wasn’t until that moment that I noticed the green trim on the side panel of the shorts and around the neck. Prior to knowing that they were wearing gray, my brain never processed that there was a different color present on their uniforms at all. Any other colorblind folks have the same experience?

    • walter | April 6, 2021 at 5:47 pm |

      Yes, absolutely. The green would have needed to be of the Oregon Ducks quality to be visible against charcoal grey. Greens and greys of the same value are indistinguishable.

  • Gabriel Manga | April 7, 2021 at 12:24 pm |

    Creator of those Mets/Metropolitan Museum of Arts Hats here! Just wanted to let you know that I’m also a Card Carrying Uni Watch Member!

    (Also want to note that Hugo Chavez had one of the all time great/absurd opening pitches, in which he wore full uniform AND a Venezuela windbreaker while throwing out the first pitch for the Mets)

    • Paul Lukas | April 7, 2021 at 12:35 pm |

      Always good to hear from you, Gabriel! Hope all’s well. Good on ya for raising funds for charity with the cap!