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Lost in Space: Mets Broadcasters Have Bizarre Uni Chat

Hello, and happy summer solstice! Hope everyone had a good Juneteenth and Father’s Day. Since yesterday’s post was Phil’s annual “Fathers in Uniform” installment, I want to catch up today on a few items that took place on Saturday.

Let’s start with this: The Mets currently have relievers Yennsy Díaz and Edwin Díaz in their bullpen. That led to some surreal banter between SNY play-by-play man Gary Cohen and color analyst Keith Hernandez during the second game of Saturday’s Mets/Nats doubleheader.

To set the stage: It’s the bottom of the fifth inning (remember, it’s the second game of a twinbill, which means it’s only a seven-inning game) and the Mets are getting blown out, 6-0, so at this point everyone just wants to go home — nobody more so than Hernandez, who gets cranky during doubleheaders and/or blowouts. Yennsy Díaz is on the mound for the Mets, and the following dialogue unfolds:

Cohen [clearly just trying to fill time]: You know, it used to be that if you had two players with the same last name on the same team, you would have an initial on your back. It would be “Y. Díaz,” because the Mets also have an “E. Díaz.” But they don’t do that anymore.

Hernandez: That’s true.

Cohen: Why do you suppose that is?

Hernandez [cutting him off]: I don’t know. I have a hard enough time, Gary, you know, doing my job. I can’t worry about these little details.

Cohen: But this is part of your job, worrying about these little details. And it’s part of my job to bug you about these little details.

Hernandez [audibly annoyed]: As far as I’m concerned, it is not part of analysis.

Cohen [egging him on]: I mean, when Howard Johnson came to the Mets [in the mid-1980s, when Hernandez was on the team], it said “H. Johnson” on his back, because Davey Johnson was the manager. Right?

Hernandez: Right. Davey didn’t have a “D,” did he?

Cohen: No, he just had “Johnson.”

Hernandez: But Howard had “H”?

Cohen: Yes, he had “H. Johnson” on his back.

Hernandez: All these details, Gary…

Cohen: Now, if the Mets were to do that, of course, they would run into a further problem, which is that they have two players whose last name is Smith, and for both of them, their first initial is D — Dom Smith and Drew Smith.

Hernandez: Right. [Suddenly seeing the light.] Ooohhhh…

Cohen: So they’d have to put “Do. Smith” and “Dr. Smith,” and then people would think Drew Smith had a medical degree.

Hernandez: That — yeah, I never thought of that one. That’s a good one. That’s a conundrum.

Cohen: And if it said “Dr. Smith,” they might think he was a character from Lost in Space.

Hernandez: That’s right.

Cohen: “Danger, Will Robinson!”

Hernandez [clearly back on more comfortable footing]: Yes. June Lockhart was the wife, remember? Our young audience has no clue.

Cohen: Billy Mumy played Will Robinson.

Hernandez: Was that his name? Okay. I liked that show, it was fun.

Cohen: It was silly.

Hernandez: It was silly, but it was fun.

[Inning mercifully ends.]


Okay, so that was a classic. But there are several follow-up points worth making here:

• Cohen and Hernandez completely missed the fact that while Edwin and Yennsy Díaz both have an accent in their surnames, only Edwin has the accent included as part of his NOB (as you can see in the pics earlier in this entry). That’s the real story here, not the lack of first initials!

• Contrary to Cohen’s assertion, there are still some first initials floating around MLB. At the start of this season, for example, the Pirates used initials for Adam and Todd Frazier:

Todd was released in early May, but Adam is still wearing the initial, even though he’s now the only Frazier on the roster.

• Cohen was also mistaken when he said Davey Johnson never wore an initial. It true that he didn’t have it for most of the time that he and Howard Johnson overlapped, but there was a brief period, I think in 1985, when he wore it:

I don’t mean to pick on Cohen, who’s a great broadcaster. But hey, if you’re gonna make a point of delving into the details, you have to get the details right!

(My thanks to Steve Dodell for bringing this dialogue to my attention.)

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MLB Juneteenth recap: The Giants wore their San Francisco Sea Lions Negro Leagues throwbacks for Juneteenth on Saturday. Here’s a closer look at the bear on the jersey (which is part of the design because the original Sea Lions purchased their uniforms from a defunct team called the Cubs):

Since the caps were blank, it seems like it would’ve been simple enough to remove the “SF” logo decals for the helmets to create matching headgear, but they didn’t bother to do that:

(As an aside: Until I saw that last photo, I didn’t realize that Giants first base coach Antoan Richardson wears No. 00. Not only that, but the team’s bullpen/catching coach, Craig Albernaz, wears No. 0. How often have zero and double-zero ever been worn by coaches on the same team?)

The Giants’ opponents, the Phillies, just wore their regular road uniforms. Their starting pitcher was Aaron Nola, whose red cap included the New Era logo.

You can see more photos from this game here.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, the Mariners also wore Negro Leagues throwbacks for Juneteenth, dressing up as the Seattle Steelheads:

Unlike the Giants, the M’s had throwback batting helmets (which also had very prominent uni number decals on the back — an odd touch):

You can see more photos from this game here.

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Cooler than Pantone swatches: I recently got this vintage thread sample card on eBay for $4. It’s hard to see in the photo, but each little color swatch is made up of actual threads! I love the color names — Moonlight Mauve, Bicardi Brown, Cloverdust.

Anyway, as you can see, I stuck it in a frame ($10) — looks great! We’re gonna put it on the wall next to Mary’s sewing machine.

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What’s in a name? It’s fairly rare that I see my surname “in the wild.” One simple measure of that: There has never been a Lukas in any of the Big Four pro leagues. (Lucas, yes, but not Lukas.) So I was surprised to discover the other day that one of our neighborhood groceries carries a bunch of pastries and candies made by the Lukas Manufacturing & Trading Co., a Ukrainian firm I’d never heard of before.

Here are a few more of their products (click to enlarge):

Let’s have a closer look at that logo:

I like the lozenge shape (a bit like a rugby ball, no?), but I don’t really understand the two white arcs running through the lettering. Still, I have to admit that it’s a kick to see my surname get an official logo treatment. Look, there’s even this animation of it:

You can learn more about the company here and here. Full disclosure: Initial research suggests that Lukas’s “Taste of Quality” slogan may be a slight exaggeration. But I’m inclined to give them a bit of a pass, for obvious reasons.

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Culinary Corner: Every year around this time, I go to my favorite fishmonger in Chinatown and get a bunch of crawfish so we can have a crawfish boil. This year, that day was Saturday. The video above shows the five pounds of bugs I came home with.

We added, corn, potatoes, andouille, kielbasa, and this spice mixture. Here’s how it turned out (for all photos, click to enlarge):

Our friend Sujan came over to join us. To help make the proceedings feel more Louisiana-y, we had Abita beer and Zapp’s chips:

And here was the crowning touch: The day before we did all of this, we were shopping at a local market (the same one where we found the Lukas confections) and discovered a candy with crawfish-themed packaging! Look:

It’s actually a chocolate/peanut candy, so I don’t really understand the crustacean theme on the wrapper. But whatever — of course we got a bunch.

It was a fun, festive time. The potatoes and, especially, the corn absorbed
a lot of the spices, and the crawfish tails were big and meaty:

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Cap update: We continue to sell through the remaining inventory of Uni Watch caps. We should get our new supply of shipping boxes today, so all orders from the past five or six days or will now ship out. Thanks for your patience!

Most sizes are now sold out. Here what we have left, broken down by size:

7-1/4: 3
7-3/4: 5
7-7/8: 5

Once they’re gone, they’re gone! So if you want one (or more than one), get your order in now.

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PPPC reminder: In case you missed it last Friday, reader Bob Andrews has come up with a good idea, as follows:

I ordered a couple of the Uni Watch pint glasses yesterday. Maybe once enough of them are sold and distributed, you could schedule a “Post-Pandemic Porch Cocktails” event — everyone raising a (Uni Watch) glass to the “new normal,” whatever that means, and posting a pic.

I have to say, I love that idea! So here’s what we’re gonna do:

• I hereby declare that Thursday, July 8, will be Uni Watch Post-Pandemic Porch Cocktails Day.

• On that date, I encourage all Uni Watch readers to take some sort of photo of themselves enjoying a beverage on their porch (or stoop, or deck, or terrace, or sidewalk, or wherever). The photo can be like the one at the top of this section, or it can be a more traditional selfie that shows your face as well as your libation, but it should definitely include a view of your glass. Maybe I’ll even livestream the proceedings from the Uni Watch HQ porch.

• If you want to order a Uni Watch pint glass for the occasion (or a Uni Watch koozie, for that matter), that would be great! But feel free to use any glass you like, Uni Watch or otherwise. The idea here is to celebrate our comm-uni-ty and the return to some semblance of normalcy, not to move merchandise.

• When we get closer to the date, I’ll let you know where you can email or post your PPPC photo. Not sure yet if I’ll set up a Facebook page or something like that, or if I’ll just have you email the pics to me. But we have a few weeks to get that sorted out.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: MLB players wore Father’s Day caps and accessories yesterday. Catchers who wore Father’s Day-themed gear included the Astros’ Martín Maldonado (from Chris Bowman) and the Cubs’ Willson Contreras (from Josh Claywell). … Tigers P Casey Mize used fellow pitcher Kyle Funkhouser’s glove yesterday (from Eric Kohli). … An Astros player ripped his pants while sliding yesterday (from Sean Robbins). … The Edmonton Prospects of the collegiate summer Western Canadian Baseball League have a new stadium coming (from Wade Heidt). … The Pioneer League’s Ogden Raptors have an ad patch for the company named after the family that their stadium is also named after (from Brice Wallace).

NFL News: The Washington Football Team has been trying to trademark its placeholder name, but its application has been denied. This doesn’t mean they can’t keep calling themselves the WFT; it just means that that name can’t be legally protected as intellectual property (from our own Brinke Guthrie).

Hockey News: The Junior A British Columbia Hockey League’s Nanaimo Clippers briefly moved down Vancouver Island to Esquimalt for part of the 1982-83 season. While there, they called themselves the Buccaneers and used a logo very similar to Bucco Bruce (from Wade Heidt).

Soccer News: Juneteenth and Pride collided in this weekend’s NWSL games. First, the North Carolina Courage and OL Reign wore “Believe Black Voices” warm-up shirts for Juneteenth. The Portland Thorns also wore their own shirts with the same theme and the old NWSL number font. … Team captains wore commemorative armbands. … The Orlando Pride wore rainbow numbers, among other things, including their warm-up shirts, all tying into the fifth anniversary June 12 of the Pulse nightclub massacre in the city. … Germany men’s captain Manuel Neuer wore a rainbow armband for their first two Euro 2020 games, which briefly earned them an investigation, as it was considered potentially a political statement. About two hours after that story broke yesterday, UEFA decided not to take action (also from our own Anthony Emerson). … Meanwhile, Munich’s city council and mayor want the stadium to be lit in rainbow colors when Germany play Hungary there on Wednesday, as Hungary’s parliament recently passed a law usually described as banning the “promotion” of homosexuality or non-binary gender identities to minors. … Black armbands also made a rare appearance in a tournament at Euro 2020, as Italy wore them in memory of striker Giampiero Boniperti. … New kits for Scottish club Kilmarnock and Germany’s Hansa Rostock. … New away shirt for Croatian side Hajduk Split and new home shirt for Portuguese club FC Porto (both from Ed Zelaski).

Grab Bag: Formula One team Aston Martin added rainbow stripes to their halos at this weekend’s French Grand Prix. … Golfer Bryson DeChambeau has two middle initials but includes only one of them on his yardage booklet (from @Byron_2284). … Team USA hurdler Christina Clemons wore Cool Ranch Doritos earrings at the Olympic qualifying trials (from David Wiechmann). … The volleyball organization Volleyball World is promoting gender equality within the sport by via a new “Equal Jersey” campaign, which will see the sport’s top players wearing a jersey featuring their own name and that of a player of the opposite gender (from Jeremy Brahm).

Comments (50)

    Diaz / Diaz discussion reminds me of the Jose / Julio Gonzalez quinella on the Cardinals in the early eighties: FNOB in tiny letters above the NOB.

    I assumed the “Lost in Space” part of the headline was somehow going to tie back into how there isn’t proper space for the accent and it butts right up onto the orange neck spoon.
    Also the conversation is a great illustration of the difference between people who get it, and people who don’t.

    I’ve only seen my name in the wild a handful of times, so I’m with you, Paul. I do make a point of buying from Feit Electric whenever I need something they sell, though.

    Same first initial and same last name. Always a few ways to handle it. 1991 BC Lions had brothers Doug and Darren Flutie on the team. Darren Flutie had “D. FLUTIE”. Doug Flutie had “FLUTIE”.


    Paul, in the Hockey Ticker can we make a correction? Esquimalt is spelled incorrectly.

    Another way to handle having two players with the same surname on a team: Give the each player a different jersey number. Heck, if a team were to give each player a unique number, they wouldn’t even need to put the surname on the back, much less a first initial.

    [Me, doing an impression of how to handle Keith’s side of the conversation like a curmudgeon rather than like a jerk.]

    Ah, Scottie, doing a riff on my “if only there were some other way to identify a player” shtick ;). FiNOBs and DDNOBs are fun and all, but really…Mark from Shiga and his Quixotic quest to do away with NOB may be in vain, but it has its merits.

    If I were emperor, there would be no NOB on any home uniform in any sport with long-term fixed player numbering, and surnames only if NOB appears on the road.

    Also, generational suffixes would never appear on a NOB. John Doe Jr. is not John, of the family Doe Jr., he’s John Jr., of the family Doe. If John Doe Jr. marries a woman and she takes his name, she’s Emily Doe, not Emily Doe Jr. John Doe Jr.’s daughter’s name is Anna Doe, not Anna Doe Jr. A generational suffix is part of one’s given name, not one’s surname. This isn’t Iceland.

    I realize I’m quickly talking myself well past curmudgeon into Keith territory here!

    Obviously no idea if it was the intent, but the arcs through the “Lukas” logo make it look like reflections to me. Like it is an actual hard lozenge.

    The original Ukrainian name on the wrapper for the “Crabs” candy is “Rachki”, which translates as “a common name for a small crustacean”. Why they chose Crabs for the English speaking market? it fits on the wrapper, I guess. I’ve always been fascinated by Russian candy wrappers, especially from the Red October candy factory (still so-named). The designs usually have nothing to do with the flavors of the contents but are miniature works of art.

    It’s so strange that “Washington Football Team” is not trademarkable, but things like “New York City Football Club” are.

    Actually, I just did a quick search for “Football Club” at link and I see the trademark squatter’s entry for “Washington Football Club,” which clearly was approved. I don’t get it.

    And I just checked that same site for “Washington Football Team” and there are three trademarks that clearly belong to the team in question. Now I’m _really_ confused.

    That Astros player with the ripped pants isn’t Kyle Tucker. Tucker is on the COVID list and didn’t play yesterday. I think it might be Chas McCormick who wears #20 and played yesterday

    Paul took the broadcast exchange and really flushed out the uni details, superbly as usual. What struck me when I first heard it live was Keith’s utter disdain for the topic. Is this indicative of a backlash against obsessing over aesthetics or was Keith upset at Gary, at being there all day for a day-night doubleheader or at something else? How many other announcers really agree that “as far as I’m concerned, it is not part of analysis”?

    That’s pretty much part of Keith’s character. He’s the curmudgeonly one on air and it works nicely with Gary and Ron.

    To some degree that is true, but he really snapped at Gary, instead of snapping at poor fundies on the field. That was a bit out of character.

    He had already been cranky with Gary earlier in the inning, over the whole “Soto is a star at 22 while Díaz is a rookie at 24” thing. Definite tension in the booth during that inning.

    Also: Remember, this was the night that they were forced to work in the media dining room instead of their regular booth. Probably made Keith extra-cranky.

    Was this during the inning in which food had been sent to the booth, but they weren’t “allowed” to eat it?

    It doesn’t take much to set Keith off (trust me, I witnessed him live at a book signing about 25 years ago…he was a total asshole), and I’m pretty sure he hates driving in to Shea from Sag Harbor for what is probably a 12 hour shift, only to have to drive home again. At least he finally completed his COVID vaccinations.

    I can imagine, Phil…believe it or not, I once played blackjack at the same table with Keith in Atlantic City, also about 25 years ago. Was not too warm and fuzzy.

    If even 7-inning doubleheaders make him cranky, perhaps it’s time to pass the mic onto someone who’s glad to be there…

    My wife organized a book signing for Hernandez at Barnes & Noble’s flagship store in Manhattan when his first book came out in 1987. “Total asshole” were the exact words she used to describe Keith. She did another one for Dave Winfield and he took all the workers out to dinner after the signing.

    HAH! I waited on line for more than two hours in 1993 for “Pure Baseball” (had to look it up) and it was at a Barnes & Noble. I was getting a copy for a friend. After first having to purchase the book, then stand in the autograph line, I finally got to Hernandez, and he wouldn’t shake my hand when I extended it. I asked him to simply inscribe “To Woody” before his signature. He simply signed it (no inscription — all of seven letters), and handed me the book. No “thanks” for either buying it or stopping by, no good luck or anything. Didn’t say a fucking word.

    Total Asshole.

    The Eddy Arnold discussion between Cohen and Hernandez last week is still cracking me up- ensued during 1 of the Cubs games when it was mentioned the next player Pete Alonso will pass on the team HR list is Hernandez- Cohen asked him if he’d greet Alonso at home with a bouquet of flowers- which led to Keith talking about Arnold & singing a bit of “Bouquet of Roses”

    A couple of days ago, sometime last week I think, I can’t remember when, the Nationals radio broadcasters had a similar ridiculous conversation. It was about Chase De Jong and Paul DeJong and who comes first in the alphabet because of the space.

    I was amused.

    Is Casey Mize wearing a home Tiger’s cap with the road Detroit uni it is that a Father’s Day special?

    Don’t think the SF Giants should have bothered removing the logo from their batting helmets for their game wearing 1946 Sea Lions unis. If they wanted to be completely historically accurate, they should have just worn their caps, and not helmets, when batting (and that’s not allowed). Doubt that a ’46 Negro Leagues team wore helmets, or could afford them, considering they had to buy used unis.

    MLB-dot-com cites Newark Eagles’ star Willie Wells wearing a modified construction hard hat after getting beaned in 1936.

    Per Baseball-Reference: The first known use of batting helmets in the majors was by the 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers.
    In 1971, Major League Baseball made helmets mandatory, though some veterans continued to wear cloth caps with liners under a grandfather clause.

    I haven’t researched when teams first put logos on their helmets, but don’t think it’s necessary for them to alter their helmets whenever wearing pre-1971 throwback unis.

    Well, yes — I think we all realize that there were no helmets back then.

    The point is whether they should go the extra mile to have their helmet match their caps.

    The “B. A. D.” initials are on DeChambeau’s yardage book, which he carried in his back pocket.

    When the Patriots had Kyle Brady, Tom was still simply BRADY 12. I don’t remember whether Kyle was BRADY 88 or K. BRADY 88.

    Looks like Uni-watcher Eric Kohli already notified you via Twitter of Casey Mize wearing Kyle Funkhouser’s glove during yesterday’s game in Anaheim:


    But here is the reason why (no gray allowed on a pitcher’s glove):


    My last name doesn’t show up in the wild very often either, especially since it is the less common of 2 common spellings. The two notable exceptions are the trucking company, and the ladder manufacturer. In fact, my daughter’s principal, who seems to have nicknames for most of the kids in the school, calls her “Werner Ladders!” Also, in a somewhat Uni-Watch move, about 15 years ago I made a bunch of P-Touch labels with my first name, and stuck them in front of all the “Werner” logos on my 6 foot step ladder!

    Nothing like some good ole mud bugs. We get ours fresh from the Mississippi delta.

    There were a lot of catchers who wore the Father’s Day/Prostate cancer themed gear…a few more examples:

    Mariners (Luis Torrens) link
    Rays (Zunino) link
    Pirates (Stallings) link
    Padres v Reds (Both Caratini and Barnhardt) link

    Additionally, the Mariners were forced to wear whites at home (because of the marketing of MLB with the Navy Blue hats with light blue trim and light blue ribbon) instead of their Sunday creams…

    That cookie package made me wonder…when something pleases you, are you going to start saying, “Lukas happy”?

    Helfer sightings in the wild: There’s actress Tricia Helfer, and once I followed a utility van in Greenwich, CT, that belonged to “William Helfer Electricians”. Midge and Jerry Helper were characters on The Dick Van Dyke Show but that’s a bit of a stretch.

    The first initial is pointless because they wear numbers. Numbers were put on to distinguish between players in the first place so the name and initial is not needed really, just learn which Diaz wears what number. Very simple.

    “I don’t know. I have a hard enough time, Gary, you know, doing my job. I can’t worry about these little details.” Somehow, Keith, I get the feeling you’d have a hard enough time doing any kind of job, but have no difficulty at all telling everyone how hard everything is for you. God forbid you have to worry about little details.

    I am the only one who finds it ironic that Culinary Corner was done in a White Castle shirt? I have an issue with this.

Comments are closed.