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The Funniest Thing Ever Written About the MLB/Nike Fiasco (or anything else)

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Good morning! Today is my birthday — I’m now 60. Not quite sure how that happened, and I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around it, but I still feel about 45 and will keep doing my best to live that way. That’s the most important thing, right?

Anyway: Reader Casey Goldman gave me an early birthday present yesterday by sending me a link to this brilliant piece called “A Uniformity of Errors,” which was published a few days ago on SB Nation’s Dodgers blog. It imagines a corporate boardroom meeting in which some Nike employees are trying to tell a high-ranking Nike executive about the public reaction to the new MLB uniforms. Uni Watch is mentioned several times (I am repeatedly and amusingly referred to as “Uni Watch guy”), but that’s just a nice bonus — the piece would still be a must-read even without that. Here’s a passage that captures the flavor of the proceedings quite nicely. They’ve already discussed the narrower placket and smaller NOB lettering and so on, and now they’re getting to the part about the off-white home uniforms:

Exec: So, where are we? We’ve got a crowded jersey-back with a lowered MLB logo and archier lettering and smaller numbers and a bunch of pitchers who look like hippies.

VP: Rich hippies.

Exec: They’ll learn.

Assistant: [sighs]

Exec: What else?

Rep: Well….

VP: The white thing.

Rep: Yes, the white thing.

Exec: Oh, Christ…

Rep: So…

Exec: This company does not need another race problem. The last thing this company needs is some goddamn viral goddamn…

VP: Oh, not that. Not that.

Rep: Not that, Sir.

Assistant: Different “white.”

Rep: It’s the color, Sir.

Exec: You don’t need to tell me it’s the color. I know it’s the color. It’s been the color since before this country got started.

VP: Sir.

Assistant: Different “white.”

Exec: Why do you keep saying that?

Rep: The color of the jerseys, Sir. The color of the white jerseys.

Exec: I don’t understand.

VP: We’ve changed the white, Sir.

Exec: Good! That’s the idea, isn’t it? All that shit LBJ signed off on, the progress we’ve made with sports, for God’s sake. Do you people know how many consultants we brought in a couple years ago when all that goddamn protesting went on, Freddie something? No, George something… I know this…

Assistant: Gray, Sir. And then Floyd.

VP: This has nothing to do with that, Sir. We’re talking about the color of the white jerseys. The home whites.

Rep: Yes, just the color of the white, Sir.

Exec: I see. Yes… I see. The color… of the.. Hold on, what color is white?

VP: It’s not a big deal, Sir. It’s not at all what you were thinking.

Exec: Can someone please explain to me what we’re talking about?

Assistant: All of it, really.

Exec: Not now.

Rep: Sir, simply put: the quality of white… no, hang on, not that. The kind of white we’re using this year is different than the kind of white used last year.

VP: Or the year before.

Rep: For many years.

Exec: I still don’t understand. I’m sorry I got excited. This whole “white” thing threw me.

Assistant: It can do that.

Exec: Stop.

Rep: Here, maybe I can help… Have you ever seen… did you ever see the movie American Psycho?

Exec: An all-time favorite.

Rep: Perfect.

Exec: Isn’t it? Christian Bale eats.

Assistant: Sir.

Exec: What? It’s language. You are this close…

Rep: Okay, so do you remember the scene where they’re talking about business cards?

Exec: I wrote two papers on it. High school and college.

Rep: Perfect.

Exec: It really is. He EATS.

Rep: So, the color of the business cards…


Rep: Exactly. We’ve changed the home white jersey color from a white that could be described as…

Exec: “Bone?” Is it “bone?”

Rep: “Wedding gown.”

Exec: Ah.

Rep: The home whites used to be “wedding gown white,” and we have changed that white. Now the home whites are…

Exec: “Bone?” Please say “bone.”

Rep: Well, “off-white” is what we’re saying. It’s a sort of slightly warm cream.

Exec: You should just call it “bone.” Can we call it “bone?”

VP: Sir, we think avoiding the nomenclature of that film might better represent…

Exec: Okay. Okay. I get it. I get it. I’m gonna call it “bone,” though. To myself.

VP: Very well.

If that seems like a long excerpt, believe me when I say it’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Read the whole thing here — Uni Watch’s highest rating!

And who was the author of this masterpiece? The byline lists the writer as Mack Astin, so I did a bit of poking around and learned that it’s actually the actor Mackenzie Astin. If his acting career ever goes bust, he can definitely get work as a writer.



AMA Reminder

In case you missed it yesterday, my latest installment of “Ask Me Anything” is now available over at Substack. Like all of my AMAs, this one is not paywalled, so everyone can check it out. Enjoy!



Can of the Day

“Permatex” and “Form-a-Gasket” are both fun things to say out loud. But what really makes this one is the parenthetical “(Liquid)”!

• • • • •

I’ll be busy with birthday stuff for most of today and all of tonight. Phil will cover for me tomorrow. Next week I’m off to Hawaii, so Phil will be running the show then as well, but I’ll leave a few posts of my own for him to publish, plus I’ll have the annual MLB Season Preview. Happy spring! — Paul

Comments (71)

    Happy 60th Paul! Glad you’re celebrating it the right way. Not everyone gets a birthday so I say celebrate them all and maybe a little more on the milestones. (Need to get yourself a “60th” jersey patch!)

    Happy birthday, guy from “that goddamn internet site that gives us shit.”

    And a cap tip to Mr. Astin.

    Exec: He’s gonna notice?

    Rep: He noticed.

    Exec: I hate that guy.

    If Uni Watch ever needed a secondary motto, it should be “I Noticed.”

    That can… it looks like a jet is about to crash into the main terminal at Denver International Airport right after taking off.

    And happy birthday, my friend!

    I don’t think MacKenzie Astin needs to worry about his career or finances. He’s the son of (the original Gomez Addams) John Astin and Patty Duke.

    Happy birthday, Paul! All the best today, and here’s hoping 60 is the best year yet! Be well, my friend!

    Happy 45th! Thats the spirit! I’m almost three years older than you, but spiritually, I’m about 35, and as I tell people, I’m not old until I tell you I’m old! Which should be somewhere around never. And I have a feeling you’ll be saying the same. Enjoy your big day and your week in Hawai’i!

    Happy Birthday Paul!

    Timely reading this today. I caught some of the Dodgers/Padres game this morning. I don’t watch spring training so this was my first time seeing the uniforms in action. The changes are even more noticeable than I expected. They absolutely look like some sort of cheap knock off uniform.

    Happy Birthday, Paul! I get to 50 later this year myself, and I definitely doens’t feel like that. Most of the time!

    Not sure a plane nose-diving into the ocean is the look you want for your aviation product.

    I join the chorus in wishing you well as you blow out those six candles, Paul.

    Happy birthday, Paul! If it doesn’t rain where you are, keep in mind that Milwaukee is due for several inches of snow today. Wisconsin is having a freak blizzard in your honor!

    That is a beautiful can, but as others have noted, nothing about the design makes me want to trust the safety of an airplane with it.

    I turned 55 this year and wondered how that could have possibly happened! Happy Birthday Paul and enjoy the Spam Musubi and Poke.

    I can’t help but read the “Exec” as J. Jonah Jameson as portrayed by J.K. Simmons in the Tobey Maguire Spider-man films.

    Happy birthday Paul!

    I’m not quite 60 yet but I also like to think I look and feel young. I think of how old my parents and grandparents were at 60 (they were ELDERLY) and I just don’t feel it. We’re not elderly.

    Congratulations and continued good health and youth to you.

    Happy Birthday! The older you get, the even better your writing will get, in accordance with what the great Japanese artist Hokusai said about his own drawing skills: “From the age of six, I had a passion for copying the form of things and since the age of fifty I have published many drawings, yet of all I drew by my seventieth year there is nothing worth taking into account. At seventy-three years I partly understood the structure of animals, birds, insects and fishes, and the life of grasses and plants. And so, at eighty-six I shall progress further; at ninety I shall even further penetrate their secret meaning, and by one hundred I shall perhaps truly have reached the level of the marvellous and divine. When I am one hundred and ten, each dot, each line will possess a life of its own.” Onwards to 110, Paul!

    Happy Birthday, Paul! Two of my friends didn’t get to celebrate a 60th so enjoy this one and every one of your future birthdays. It’s better to have them than the alternative.

    Happy birthday, Paul! That article AND video clip are such perfect birthday gifts! Enjoy the 50th State getaway!

    Happy 60th, Paul: Welcome to the club! You have quite a week or two ahead of you, so here’s wishing you the nicest, the paradise-est time in the Aloha State. Mahalo!

    Happy Birthday Paul! Have an amazing time in Hawaii. What a great way to celebrate turning 60!

    Happy Birthday! Hopefully MLB teams will read that and do what KC (and others?) did and make Nike bring back the larger NOB font.

    Hi Paul, Happy “Babe Ruth Home Run Record” Birthday Year! We are getting a deluge of rain tomorrow in NY so go celebrate then. =)

    First off, Happy Birthday!

    Secondly, I imagine the voices of the guys in the boardroom as such:

    -Exec: The voice of the late Ed Asner, specifically channeling his role as Ed Wuncler Sr. from The Boondocks

    -VP: Some posh, borderline snooty butler-ish accent

    -Assistant: A regular, wholesome guy who wonders why and HOW he’s put up with the exec’s shit for so long

    -Rep: Mr. Thunder Throat himself: the late Don LaFontaine

    That was fantastic! What a great part of the celebration of your second 30th birthday! Happy Birthday, Paul! When I hit the big 6-0 a few years ago, my sister threw a surprise party/jam session with a number of the guys I’d spent much of my 20s playing music with. We’d had a great band that eventually split up because the business failed. There was no rock ‘n’ roll band drama, just an inability to find work in a radically changing market. We’d all headed to different parts of the eastern seaboard and hadn’t played together in 33 years, but it was like we’d never stopped, and we now congregate each year, once, twice, or more. It was an epic 60th, and I hope yours is equally epic, and even more so! Thanks for today’s piece – I’m still laughing my ass off, especially the “I hate that fucking guy” part. You absolutely rock!!

    Happy birthday Paul, creator of “that goddam internet site that gives us shit”
    That’s a helluva gift!!!

    My gift to Paul is that I will continue to dish it out to the Swooshketeers after he retires.

    Happy Birthday, Paul! Enjoy “Hawaii: 6-0.”

    A very happy birthday to you, Paul. I’m right behind you, turning 60 in August myself — and in feeling about 45. Thanks for sharing your day with us and making it better.

    OMG that article had me laughing out loud. “I hate that Uni Watch guy” references were hysterical. Don’t want to speak for Paul, but that article strikes me as a great Bday present itself!

    Happy birthday! If you’re really feeling 45, we’d love to have you on the blog for another 15 years. :-)

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