A few months ago I wrote that I’ve always loved watching Max Scherzer pitch, so of course I was happy when the news broke yesterday about him signing with the Mets. Little did I know that his signing would also prompt an entertaining bit of internet-driven dinner theater here at Uni Watch HQ.
Here’s the deal: As is routine these days when a player joins a new team, Scherzer’s move to the Mets prompted lots of media outlets to Photoshop him into his new team’s uniform (like the image above, which appeared on Yahoo Sports). One of those Photoshop jobs caught my eye, and — well, here’s how things unfolded:
5:20pm – 5:34pm: I prepare dinner — marinated chicken thighs — and get it into the oven. (As an aside, why haven’t those fancy-shmancy scientists bio-engineered an all-thighs chicken already? I keep waiting for that to happen.)
5:35pm: I get ready to do the dishes and a few other domestic chores. Before I start, I absent-mindedly go to the ESPN.com home page, where I see that the lead story is about the Scherzer signing. It looks like this:
I understand why the Photoshopper (or art director, or whomever) chose to depict Scherzer wearing No. 31 — that’s the number he’s worn for the past seven seasons. But as a Mets fan and a uniform writer, I know that Scherzer will never wear that number for the Mets, because it’s been retired for Mike Piazza. I also note that they’ve put Scherzer in the wrong cap. (The blue jersey is worn with the alternate cap with the white-outlined logo.) Ha-ha, silly ESPN!
5:36pm: I tweet about the uni number (but not about the cap logo, because that seems a bit esoteric for non-Mets fans):
ESPN home page shows Scherzer photoshopped into a No. 31 Mets jersey — which he will never wear, because that number is retired for Mike Piazza. pic.twitter.com/4QOZbtRdqt
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) November 29, 2021
5:37pm – 6:01pm: I do the dishes, take out the garbage, set the table for dinner, pet the cat, and so on. The chicken is making the house smell really good.
6:02pm: I see that my tweet is getting an above-average level of engagement. “Hmmm,” I think, “I wonder if anyone at ESPN has noticed?”
6:03pm: I go to the ESPN home page. Sure enough, they’re removed the Photoshopped image of Scherzer and replaced it with a game photo from last season:
I laugh out loud. The Tugboat Captain says, “What’s so funny?” I say, “Nothing, never mind.”
6:04pm – 6:49pm: We enjoy the chicken, which is very, very good, while listening to a rare Mountain Goats LP with a hand-painted jacket (a very nice gift from Mt. Goats frontman John Darnielle during my recent trip to North Carolina). It sounds great. The house feels warm and cozy. The uni-verse feels very far away.
6:50pm: After clearing the table, putting the dirty dishes in the sink, and so on, I look again at the ESPN home page. I see that they’ve restored the Photoshopped image — but this time without the number:
I laugh again, more loudly than before. The Tugboat Captain asks, “What’s so funny this time?” I start to say, “Nothing” and then think better of it and tell her the whole story.
Obviously, there’s no way to know whether all of ESPN’s photo switcheroos were prompted by my tweet. But I note with a raised eyebrow that they corrected the goof I tweeted about (the number) but did not correct the goof I didn’t tweet about (the cap logo). Hmmmm. If only they had a uniform specialist on the payroll, they might have avoided all this fuss, right?
(Footnote: Before wearing No. 31 for seven seasons, Scherzer wore No. 37 for five seasons. But he can’t wear that number for the Mets either, because it’s retired for Casey Stengel. For his first two seasons, with the Diamondbacks, he wore No. 39. The Mets haven’t retired that one, but it’s currently worn by reliever Edwin Díaz.)
To be fair, ESPN wasn’t the only media outlet that put Scherzer in the wrong uni combo. Sports Illustrated, for example, put him in the alternate road jersey (with last season’s Tom Seaver memorial patch, which Scherzer will never wear) and the primary cap:
At least SI was smart enough to crop the photo in such a way that they didn’t have to choose a uni number for Scherzer. The Athletic didn’t do that, so they had to scrub the number from the jersey, plus they had the wrong cap, plus-plus they inexplicably showed Scherzer wearing a road jersey at the Mets’ home ballpark:
The Sporting News also opted to scrub the jersey number — and did a pretty sloppy job of it — but at least they got the correct jersey/cap combo:
The Ringer also chose to scrub the jersey number — which was particularly glaring because they didn’t restore the pinstripes where the numerals had been:
New York radio station WFAN gave Scherzer a non-retired number and even got the right jersey/cap combo — but for some reason they rendered the number in the wrong color:
Clutch Points — a site I’d never even heard of until yesterday — took the smartest approach, showing Scherzer in pregame gear that doesn’t require a number. But they used Shea Stadium, instead of the Mets’ current ballpark, as a backdrop! Plus they (mis)quoted him with a grammatical error. Can’t make it up:
As far as I can tell, though, ESPN is the only media outlet that gave Scherzer a retired number — although the Mets’ own TV network, SNY, came close:
— SNY Mets (@SNY_Mets) November 29, 2021
In theory, that clipped-off number could be 21, or 24, or 34. But it could also be 31.
To my fellow sports media professionals: Maybe it’s better to skip the Photoshoppery and just use a game photo from last season.
Meanwhile: Scherzer famously has different-colored eyes. So as the news of the Mets signing him was breaking yesterday, the great Todd Radom created the perfect graphic for the occasion:
How great is that? Let’s go Max!
Click to enlarge
Army/Navy uni reveal: This year’s Army/Navy game is a week from this Saturday, and yesterday Army revealed its uniform for the game. This year’s design is a tribute to U.S. Army Special Forces who entered Afghanistan 20 years ago. As usual, there are lots of military-themed design details — you can learn more about them, and see lots of additional photos, on this very informative explainer page.
Click to enlarge
By Brinke Guthrie
Leading off this week with a very cool-looking NFL Alumni Associate Member patch. The seller says this was from a pro coach who they used to hang out with on the golf course years ago. Great item!
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• This scoreboard was part of an early-1960s Munro tabletop hockey game.
• The classic Los Angeles Dodgers logo is depicted over a baseball diamond on this pair of Wincraft seat cushions.
• The ol’ rootin’-tootin’ San Francisco 49ers gold miner logo is shown along with the pinstriped NFL shield on this 1963 lighter.
• Here’s a set of four 1969 postage stamps commemorating the first 100 years of Major League Baseball.
• Speaking of the MLB centennial this button is from that season and says, “Happy Birthday!”
• This “Go 4 It!” rally towel helped New York Islanders fans cheer their side to their fourth straight Stanley Cup win.
• Back to 1967 for this St. Louis Baseball Cardinals team ruler.
• Mickey Mouse looks sharp in a Philadelphia Flyers uni on this 1980s baby blanket.
• Pittsburgh Pirates fans will get a nostalgic rush from this highly detailed NIB (New In Box) replica of Three Rivers Stadium.
Monday Tuesday reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, today is the second day of a two-day sale on Uni Watch merch and memberships. Through midnight tonight, you can save 20% on anything in the Uni Watch, Naming Wrongs, and Uni Rock shops by using the checkout code CYBER2021.
My thanks, as always, for considering our products.
By Alex Hider
Football News: The Dan Le Batard Show polled Twitter followers yesterday on whether Oklahoma State should qualify for the College Football Playoff on the sole basis of their uniforms (from @hvhtim). … New USC coach Lincoln Riley arrived in California yesterday wearing crimson and white Jordan sneakers, likely holdovers from his time as Oklahoma’s coach (from Chris Fernandez). … With the regular season over, Chad Fields has updated Tennessee’s all-time uni tracking numbers. … Here’s a deep dive into San Diego State’s elaborately detailed helmets. … The logo for the Istanbul Rams of the European League of Football certainly seems to have been inspired by the L.A. Rams’ current “ram’s head” logo (from John Muir). … The Spring High School (Texas) Lions appear to have poached Mizzou’s tiger head logo and added a mane on its neck (from Chris Mycoskie). … The 49ers will wear their white throwbacks for this Sunday’s game in Seattle.
Hockey News: Red Wings G Alex Nedeljkovic was born in the Cleveland area and is an Ohio State fan. With the Buckeyes losing to Michigan in football over the weekend, he had to pay up on a bet with teammate and Michigan native Dylan Larkin and pose for a photo while wearing Larkin’s Wolverines football jersey (from Brandon Weir). … Throughout the season, OHL teams are participating in the “Leave Your Mark” campaign, where teams will wear uniforms designed by young fans. The Peterborough Petes and the Oshawa Generals both wore their LYM uniforms Sunday (from Wade Heidt).
Basketball News: Yesterday, Wisconsin men’s unveiled new white-on-white uniforms that were designed by players on the team. This design will be worn on Saturday against Marquette (thanks to all who shared). … Elsewhere in the Dairyland, the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ D League affiliate, wore “art-themed” uniforms yesterday as part of a fundraiser for the Oshkosh Kids Foundation.
Soccer News: Did you know that the Mexican national team’s 1978 kits were made by Levi’s? That’s one of several revelations in this article about unusual kit manufacuters (from Trevor Williams). … Here’s a video report on how a bunch of the shirt advertisers in the Premier League are actually companies trying to dodge China’s anti-gambling laws (from Steve Ammidown).
Olympics News: Nearly 30,000 uniforms made for volunteers at the Tokyo Summer Olympics have gone unused (from Kenneth Traisman).
Grab Bag: Sam Bird, a driver in the electric car racing circuit Formula E, has unveiled his new helmet design for next season (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … The Air Force will be the main advertiser on the No. 43 NASCAR for three races in 2022, and they’re asking active duty Airmen to design the paint scheme (from Christopher Hickey). … This infographic breaks down the elements of the Chicago city flag (from Ty Ferrin).