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Cream Didn’t Rise to the Top

The New Era folks must have thought they had it all figured out. Grey all-star caps for the American League, whose players would be wearing grey uniforms, and white caps for the white-clad National League. As you can see above (and as a surprising number of people on Twitter kept pointing out), there was just one problem: The Giants don’t wear white — they wear cream, so their caps didn’t match their uniforms. No wonder N.L. skipper Bruce Bochy looked so befuddled throughout much of the game.

Here are some other notes from last nigth’s Midsummer Classic, beginning with the pregame festivities:

• Hall of Famer Johnny Bench wore a red blazer and a red tie when being introduced as one of the Reds’ franchise four, but he switched to a blue blazer and a blue tie when introduced as one of the four greatest living MLBers. When he caught the ceremonial first pitch from Sandy Koufax, he wore a red glove, something he almost certainly never wore as a player.

• Pete Rose, another of Cincinnati’s franchise four, wore white shoes.

• Willie Mays, as usual, wore his favorite outdated BP cap.

• Continuing the protocol of recent years, the game was 100% white vs. grey — no solid-colored alternate jerseys.

• The All-Star Game sleeve patch forced the Cubs’ representatives — Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo — to wear the Ernie Banks memorial patch on their upper-left chest area:

• The Indians’ Al Rosen memorial patch moved to the same spot for the same reason.

• Leaving aside the Giants’ color-matching issues, the caps were awful. I mean, look at this — does that make you think, “Hey, that’s special!” or does it make you think, “Hey, that must be a spring training game!” Just stop trying to milk every last penny out of the game and let the players wear their regular caps.

• Buster Posey wore a gold-toned catcher’s mask. Gold accents on his shinguards, too.

• Salvador Perez, not to be outdone, wore a gold chest protector. (So did Yadier Molina, but I didn’t get a photo of him.)

• I’ve noted before that Bryce Harper has variously worn two, one, and zero batting gloves during the course of this season. Sure enough, he wore one glove during one plate appearance and went bare-handed in another. He also went without an undershirt. Too bad he didn’t wear stirrups, as he sometimes does.

• The game did feature one hosiery hero, however: Chris Archer. He got my MVP vote.

• This is pretty awesome: We’ve noted before that David Price usually goes without a squatchee (or, as he calls it, “the ouch button”). So did they get him a squatchee-free ASG cap? Yup. (Big thanks to James Paterson for that screen shot.)

• I’m tired of typing “neon,” “DayGlo,” “highlighter,” “fluorescent,” and the like. Let’s just say “asinine.” For example: Several players wore asinine arm sleeves, including Alcides Escobar, Jose Altuve, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Mark Teixeira. Memo to all these guys: Your asinine accessory matches what the vendors are wearing. Not a smart look, no matter how much your shoe company is paying you for it.

• Lots of players also wore asinine footwear, but I got tired of keeping track of that. Let’s just say there was way too much of it.

• Nice to see Felix Hernandez going high-cuffed, instead of his more typical pajama style.

• Fox analyst Harold Reynolds mistakenly said that the stars on the jerseys’ back neckline were a new feature and suggested that they correlated to each player’s number of all-star appearances. They’ve actually been there for several years and every player gets two of them, regardless of his all-star history.

• White shoes, once a staple of the ASG, were nearly absent this year. The only players wearing them, at least that I noticed, were Frankie Rodriguez and Yadier Molina.

• The baseballs had red and black stitching — Reds colors.

Oh, and Jacob deGrom struck out the side on 10 pitches in his one inning of work. That has nothing to do with his uniform, but it made this Mets fan very happy.

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Raffle results: The winner of the Mizuno all-star cleats is Brian Edwards. Congrats to him, and thanks to all who entered.

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T-Shirt Club UPDATE: In case you missed it yesterday, the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s latest design — the green alternate shirt — is now available. And yesterday afternoon, in response to requests, we added a women’s V-neck option, which comes in a slightly lighter shade of green. The men’s crew neck and women’s V-neck options are both shown below (click to enlarge):

To order, go here, and you can get further info here.

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Some thoughts about the Little League World Series: When I was a kid, I loved playing Little League. I pitched (reasonably well), played the outfield (pretty well), and played first base (ridiculous, given how short I was, but my coach liked the idea of having a left-handed first baseman). In my final year, when I was 12, I made my village’s all-star team. That team won three or four postseason games on the way to winning our township’s championship.

I guess we weren’t part of the feeder system that led to the Little League World Series, because that was the end of our postseason. But I usually watched the LLWS championship game on ABC (this was in the 1970s, when Taiwan routinely won), and of course I imagined what it would be like to play in it.

I continued to watch the LLWS in the 1980s and ’90s, but along the way I grew increasingly uncomfortable with it. There was too much media coverage, and too much of that coverage didn’t feel right for an event centering on a bunch of children. I mean, really, putting a radar gun on a 12-year-old? That just seems wrong. And then there are all the controversies: the Danny Almonte thing, the legal tussle over last year’s champions, and so on, all of which just bring more media attention. It all feels like the grown-up world intruding way too much on the kid world.

At some point — I no longer recall exactly when, but I’m pretty sure it was at least five or six years ago, and maybe more — I decided to stop covering or even mentioning the LLWS here on Uni Watch (although I don’t think I ever explained why, like I’m doing now). The event takes place in August, when I’m usually taking my annual break, so I’ve asked Phil not to mention it either, and he’s always agreed.

So when a publicist approached me last week and asked if I’d like to have an exclusive first look at this year’s LLWS uniforms, my initial reaction was to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” But then I thought the uniforms might give us a good excuse to discuss what you people think of the LLWS. Does anyone share my misgivings about it? Do you think I’m totally out to lunch?

As for the uniforms, they’ll be officially unveiled later this morning, but I was permitted to tweet them late last night. Here they are (click to enlarge):

All the graphics are sublimated, except for the Little League patch on the left sleeve, which is sewn. The colored patterns on the shoulders — yes, they look like stains — are actually stylized letters that spell out the name of the region (for the international teams) or the names of regional states (for the American teams). Not my idea of a good design, but whatever — if the kids are too young for radar guns, they’re too young for harsh uniform design critiques too.

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Baseball News: This old wool flannel Moose Lodge baseball uni is right up my alley — look at that sleeve patch! — but too pricey. Made an offer but the seller turned it down. Whaddaya gonna do. ”¦ Some great photos in this fascinating article about black ballplayers in Japan. ”¦ The Cincinnati Fire Dept. came up with a T-shirt based on this year’s ASG logo. ”¦ This year’s ASG press pin is a beauty. ”¦ The steakhouse inside of Yankee Stadium (which I wrote about shortly after it opened) has won an award for its staff uniforms. ”¦ Here’s another article on Majestic’s top tailor. ”¦ Bryce Harper was wearing slippers with his own “BH” logo in yesterday’s all-star parade (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Sons of Anarchy jerseys this Saturday for the Stockton Ports (from Richard Paloma).

NFL News: The Ravens are putting former RB Jamal Lewis on their season tickets (from Andrew Cosentino). ”¦ Here’s a look at all the helmets in Jaguars history. ”¦ Check out this awesome Eagles letterhead from 1933 (from Rahul Vyas).

Hockey News: What’s better than a skating penguin? A skating penguin carrying barbells (from @seekarete). ”¦ New goalie gear for Marc Andre Fleury, Roberto Luongo, and Cam Talbot. Two of them have new masks, too (from Dane Drutis). ”¦ Another hockey team that mixed Canadian and Confederate imagery: the now-defunct Roanoke Valley Rebels, whose jersey can be seen second from top-left in this photo (from Brian Mo).

NBA News: Nemanja Bjelica, newly signed by the Timberwolves, will become the first player in franchise history to wear No. 88 (from @holycalamity). ”¦ Latest WNBA team to go with jersey advertising: the Connecticut Sun. Of course, the team’s name is also a form of advertising, since the team is owned by the Mohegan Tribe, which owns the Mohegan Sun casino (from Kevin Brown). ”¦ Should the Celtics un-retire their retired numbers? Discuss (from Phil Lawson).

Soccer News: New uniforms for Hull City (from Ben Karnsh). ”¦ Very interesting new third kit for Torino (from Phillip Foose). ”¦ Arsenal’s new away kit leaked ahead of its unveiling. ”¦ New third kit for Newcastle United. ”¦ Here’s a slideshow of Bundesliga unis for the upcoming season (from H King). ”¦ New cleats for Notre Dame. ”¦ Kashiwa Reysol supporters tried to re-create their team jersey in the stands (from Yusuke Toyoda). ”¦ New kit for West Ham (from @The_Har).

Grab Bag: The NAACP is calling for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from Alabama state troopers’ uniforms and vehicles. ”¦ Here’s what a bunch of Nike-clad golfers will be wearing in the British Open (thanks, Phil). ”¦ New Rugby World Cup kit for Ireland (from Eric Bangeman) and also for Argentina. ”¦ The next X-Men movie will apparently featured 1980s-style costumes. ”¦ Did you know the Minions have their own branded Pantone color? Jeez (from Mark Coale). ”¦ Here’s a look at some of NASCAR’s most notable fast food-based paint schemes (from Ricky Schumaker). ”¦ New volleyball jerseys for Purdue (from Kurt Esposito).

Comments (134)

    The LLWS coverage on the surface is over the top as you have said. However, the perspectives of the children playing might change your opinion. I still look at these players in envy because of my desire as a kid to play in the majors. I would’ve killed to have brand new uniforms (ugly as they are this year), media coverage, the feeling like I was a real major leaguer, etc. I loved baseball and that kind of experience would’ve stayed with me forever, win or lose.

    The kids that cry after losses are the kids who would’ve cried with or without cameras, and the flare-ups with Almonte and the Chicago team last year would still find their way into the 24-hour media cycle (and quickly disappear from public consciousness like 24-hour news stories tend to do). I know people only do this because it makes them money, but the LLWS is an incredibly meaningful experience those kids cherish, which as a teacher, is most important in my mind.

    I’m pretty sure that ESPN broadcasts the regional games now, too, right? The LLWS itself is fine (with its over-production and what not), but I think it’s too much to broadcast all of the regional games that lead up to it.

    I think there are also lots of other pressures on those kids in the game. I believe some of them are throwing curve balls and based on my understanding, it’s way too early from them to be doing that. So it’s not just the broadcasting that could hurt them, but even the coaching can.

    The uniforms are fine for little league. I’m sure the kids will love them. Then 20 years from now look back at them like, “Wow.” They’re certainly not the worst uniforms in the world.

    Yes, ESPN broadcasts the regionals. The Junior (age 13-14) Western regional in Vancouver, Washington next month had to change venues – because the original site “didn’t have any place to park the ESPN truck.”

    If our son is ever fortunate enough to play in an ESPN televised game, when they have the players introduce themselves, he is going to say, “My name is Kirk Brown, and my favorite baseball player is Ricky Vaughn…”

    The problem is that 12-year-olds should be playing for their own fun, not for anyone’s entertainment. Nobody that age should have to worry about his or her mistakes being seen by a national (or even international) audience. That’s why I agree with Paul’s policy of ignoring the event.

    Several years ago I watched a friend’s son play in a regional final that was telecast on ESPN. Despite being maybe the third-best hitter on the team (he batted 5th in the order), he not only went hitless, he struck out with the tying run in scoring position to end the game. I asked my friend later how he dealt with it, and he said just fine. I think the kids are a helluva lot more resilient than adults tend to give them credit for; and speaking as the parent of a child who played in her fair share of similar-type national events (though not televised, attended by dozens of college coaches), probably more resilient than their own parents.

    re: LLWS…

    Paul, what I wish you had done, is type up your lede, and sent it to the publicist that approached you about the exclusive look at this year’s LLWS uniforms.
    Then let him decide if he still felt your site was an appropriate venue to for the first look.

    That there is even a publicist whose job it is is to peddle ‘first looks’ at LLWS uniforms is — to ME — just an indication that the amount and type of coverage the LLWS get is out of whack.

    I did watch (and supported financially) a couple years ago when my hometown of Petaluma had a team play, because I do think its a special thing for the players and their families, but the coverage is what bugs me.
    There should just be some cameras, they should keep score, but thats it. No cumulative stats, no measurements (pitching speed, height, weights, etc…), no record keeping. Just play the game, tell us about the kids away from baseball, interview mom and/or dad. Be done with it.


    Agree w/ Paul. I was stunned the first year the LLWS was on ESPN and it still bugs me. I’m no fan of all the travel teams and that sort of stuff these days either. When I was a kid, we all played ball by getting together with our friends at the school down the street. My buddy had a stencil kit and we made our own jerseys (early UW’ers). You never see that sort of thing anymore and it’s a damn shame. Parents are too busy competing with other parents or keeping their kids busy and out of their hair and not letting the kids just be kids.

    I was looking for the Nelson Doubleday memorial patch or armband on deGrom’s uniform … and I’ll still be looking in October. Sleazy Wilpons/Mets.

    I completely agree with you on the LLWS. In my mind, it’s a very dangerous thing to give any kid thatuch attention at that age – even adults can let that bit of fame for excellence go to your head. For a kid in their developmental years it cannot be good.

    Re: Cream v. White

    The mismatched Giants uniforms and hats remind me of one of my more recent uni pet peeves: when white logos on team hats, white sannis, white stripes on stirrups (e.g. Braves or Cardinals) don’t match up the the teams cream alts. Grrrrrrr.

    Well, my pet peeve is mismatched jerseys and pants, which happens anytime teams break out their softball tops. So the All-Star Game looks pretty terrific since the white jerseys match the white pants and the gray jerseys match the gray pants.

    Solid white with pinstriped white (like in that Cubs pic above) is also horrible, stupid and unacceptable.

    Looking at the Giants picture… it just looks like the uniform is dirty or old to me. Like it used to be bright white and now it’s fading.

    Pffft. It’s the best one yet.

    A V-neck AND it’s a lighter shade of green? You’re killing me, Lukas. What’s a guy gotta do to be treated like a lady here? Oh well, I have a light green V-neck I can always DIY.

    The idea of covering the LLWS is a good one. The execution of it is . . . less than idea.

    Also, I’ve never much cared for giving out these regional jerseys. Makes the entire thing feel way too corporate. I would much rather see these kids with their local jerseys.

    I suppose it’s rather like one of the rationales for school uniforms in the public schools; it prevents a “status” contest between those who can afford the latest trends in clothing, and those who cannot. Plus, a brand new uniform becomes another treasured souvenir of the experience.

    I hate the idea that we ever hear the coaches speak at all. That’s none of my business.
    Plus, woe be the poor schmuck who says the wrong thing while mic’ed up.


    How about everyone gets new uniforms, identical fabric, etc, but they are new more expensive versions of their existing uniforms? I too don’t like that they don’t use their league issued uniforms.

    That’s an awfully quick turnaround; less than a week between clinching a place in the finals and getting the uniforms made. I think the manufacturer prefers the certainty of the current arrangement.


    It’s always great to see a kid make a great play, and heartbreaking when they can’t seem to buy an out (I played a lot of games as a kid when the latter occurred!).

    Do we need all the backstory stuff? If it’s going to be on TV, yes; otherwise there is a lot of dead air. (Actually, as I’m typing this, that does seem like a bad idea). Does it *need* to be on TV at all? Probably not, but it IS a great show of sportsmanship (sportsboyship).

    It’s also great to hear the coaches giving encouragement/comfort in a proper way. Too many coachzillas and dugout-parents these days can tarnish that sometimes.

    Lee | July 15, 2015 at 11:58 am | Reply
    I hate the idea that we ever hear the coaches speak at all. That’s none of my business.
    Plus, woe be the poor schmuck who says the wrong thing while mic’ed up.


    The branding of the Roanoke Valley Rebels has always confused me. I’ve never been to the Roanoke Valley so I don’t know if it’s full of maples or if maybe the maple leaf is meant to acknowledge that most of the players were Canadian. Let’s just say that logo has troubled me for a long time on a couple of levels.

    I don’t know what that part of the Commonwealth thinks about itself, but if folks outside that corner of Virginia know anything about it, they’re likely to think of two things: Bluegrass music and fall colors. Lot of beautiful, tree-covered hillsides down there, lot of maple trees turning those hillsides fiery red and orange every autumn. A maple leaf seems like a natural symbol for a team there, regardless of what the True North Strong and Free puts on its flag.

    Thanks that’s good to know. I leave no where near Virginia and the maple leaf on that logo has always been a mystery to me.

    Paul, you really outdid yourself with today’s headline. I knew you’d churn something good out.

    Three years ago my dad and I went on a trip around NY and Penn. We visited the Hall of Fame, a major league game and all levels of the minors. BY FAR our favorite experience was the LLWS. We hadn’t planned on it, it just kinda happened. The vibe is unlike anything I have experienced. It is actually so supportive of all the players. The fans root for everyone, including the parents. In person it had a very small town, old timely feel and you really had no idea that it was being covered on TV.

    The two really embraces the even and I would HIGHLY recommend anyone go in person.

    I love Little League as an organization, but I hate the overblown television coverage by ESPN. Little League World Series, college spring football, and the NFL Draft are the Holy Trinity of awful overhyped non-sports television.

    Poker is unwatchable to me on TV. (Shockingly telegenic: Snooker. That game is absolutely made for the TV screen. I’ve literally lost entire days to BBC snooker tournament broadcasts.) But at least poker features adults. It really creeps me out to see the kind of hype of modern sports coverage applied to children, such as the Little League World Series or the National Spelling Been. If they could just show the events with a bare minimum of play-by-play announcing, no special features or color commentary or whatnot, I’d be OK with it, but the way we broadcast sports these days comes off to me as icky and exploitative when applied to children.

    NFL Combine is something that needs less coverage. But I don’t know if that qualifies as “non-sports”

    Huh? How is the Combine a “sport”?

    It’s simply a series of measurements, nothing more. And those measurements don’t provide winners or losers, at least not in a competitive sense.

    Definitely a non-sport.


    But fortunately, the hot dog eating contest is just a couple of hours on a national holiday when ESPN would be running First Take, or something. LLWS, spring football, and the NFL Draft take up multiple days and lots of additional air time.

    At least with the hot dog eating contest, there’s always the chance to see a “reversal of fortune.”

    The ASG balls were black and red (not blue and red), continuing what MLB does in using the colors of the home team. I’ve got ’99 (red and blue), ’01 (blue and green), ’05 (black and gold), ’06 (orange and black) and ’08 (navy and grey) for the ASGs I was lucky enough to attend. I think it’s a very cool thing that MLB does (unlike mismatched hats).

    Tartans90, I think you mean the ’06 and ’07 games, not ’05 and ’06. The Tigers (navy and orange) hosted in ’05; the Pirates (black and gold) in ’06; and the Giants (black and orange) in ’07.

    My ESPN watching fades to black during the LLWS. I completely agree with Paul. Way too much pressure on youngsters.

    I lived in the Bridgeport, Conn. area when Chris Drury led the Trumbull team to the Little League championship. That was pretty exciting, and it was fun to follow Chris’ career — in the NHL.

    I don’t have any problems talking about uniforms and such during the Little Leauge World Series. The coverage maybe over the top, but let us lead by example by keeping the discussions in the proper context.

    As a parent of a son who’s team just got knocked out of contention for the LLWS I am thankful he won’t have to be seen in those horrific uniforms. He would agree… although being 12 he’d have wished they were all neon colours.

    “… New Rugby World Cup kit for Ireland (from Eric Bangeman) and also for Argentina. … ”

    Both of them look good to me. Green with thin white trim; sky-blue and white barrel stripes: why mess with two of the best? And each features three chest logos: the World Cup design (big and loud); the uni manufacturer logo (Canterbury kiwi heads for the Irish, a giant swoosh for the Argentines); and the national logo. I fully appreciate that the event patch and the manufacturer logo are simply part of the deal these days. I hate them, of course.

    Connoisseurs of the prickly nationalist sensibilities that inform unis and team names from the archipelago sometimes known as the British Isles will know that the Ireland team includes players from both the Irish Republic and the Northern Ireland section of the United Kingdom. Even though NI does not include all the counties that constitute the Province of Ulster, it’s still often referred to as “Ulster.” Thus the boosters of the cross-border team tip-toe through the nomenclatural minefield by employing the motto: “Four Provinces, One Team.” It’s fun to watch.

    All-Star Game was a night game, so it was highly unlikely that Bryce Harper would go high cuff.

    I don’t understand what the point of those arm sleeves that some batters wear is.

    I mean, look at this – does that make you think, “Hey, that’s special!” or does it make you think, “Hey, that must be a spring training game!” Just stop trying to milk every last penny out of the game and let the players wear their regular caps.

    This rings false to me. When has a spring training game ever looked so ugly as those hats? Never, that’s when.

    I wouldn’t mind the penny-milking, if only the execution can maintain some standards of class or whimsy. Actual pillbox caps for the game? I’d have bought at least three. And they’d likely have looked fantastic, across the board, and largely maintained the visual integrity of each team’s uniform. Don’t do white and gray, replicate the team’s appropriate home or road cap in pillbox style with contrasting piping. Giants, for example, would still have had a black cap and avoided the milk/butter clash.

    So. Next year is San Diego, which is scheduled to have new unis (still on schedule for that in 2016, yes?), so we can expect MLB to go big on a tie-in game cap for the new Padres duds. 2017 is in Miami, which is just chockablock with potential for headwear mischief. Expect every team’s cap to resemble a Peter Max poster in Miami. But in 2018, DC hosts, and I honestly can’t think of a distinctive, template-able way to ruin the caps. So maybe this awful wave will soon break against the shore of the Potomac.

    No, wait, I just thought of something. Every team substitutes a cartoon of its mascot for its regular cap logo, with the Nats featuring the racing presidents. MLB could probably sell the shit out of those caps league-wide. So never mind; we’re probably stuck with this garbage forever.

    Nah; being the brilliant marketing geniuses that MLB is, most likely they’ll do a ‘Taco Bell’ style cap for all the teams…. except San Diego.

    Senators’ hats in the late 1960s used to have soutache separating the six panels. That would look splendid.

    No, San Diego will do camo. Assuming the Padres don’t change their color scheme for next year, one league will have blue-based camo (“saluting” the Navy), the other khaki (“saluting” the Army/Marines).

    LLWS: at least the kids get button up jerseys. When I played (early 1980’s) we had those polyester pullover’s with iron on team names on the front (some thin-block arched, some cursive at an upward angle design<< If you got those you were extra cool). Teams had MLB names but no logos or hats. And colors didn't necessarily match their MLB counter parts. One year I was on the Indians and our colors were Kelly Green and White. Another year I was on the Giants and our colors were Maroon and White.

    Geez, I only know a little about shirt printing, but it seems like more trouble than it’s worth to do that type of printing/construction.

    Just give ’em a dammed button up!!

    I’ve got 2 kids in little league and what you’re describing is basically what the kids wear now. The only difference is that the logos are stitched on.

    I am curious as to if/how profitable it is to create and sell these ghastly one-off gimmick hats.

    It probably must make some money if they do it. I just would note that the major thing about the ASG that is of interest to me is to see all the teams’ uniforms. I’ve liked that since I was a kid. Now they’re screwing that up a bit with the hats. Full-on jersey monstrosities have got to be next.

    And then maybe I don’t watch the game at all. Because I more or less tune out after the intros as it is. Counterproductive from MLB’s standpoint, then? Or maybe not. Maybe the “kids” would like seeing some goofy “American” and “National” uniforms. That you could also sell!

    They already have goofy AL and NL uniforms to sell; thankfully, they are not used for the game itself.

    Nothing wrong with LL, and I think you need to separate the coverage from the actual event.
    The event, from the district level through sectionals, states and regionals, is a great experience for the kids. With very few exceptions, the sportsmanship shown throughout the tournaments is one that all leagues should strive towards.
    The TV coverage has little affect on the kids. Its a kick and all, but so is the player announcements and national anthem before a district game. The emotion of winning and the distress of losing aren’t any less without the cameras there, believe me.
    ESPN’s hype of the event makes it seem bigger than it is, but for those involved, ESPN don’t mean a thing…the experience is the best.

    “Fox analyst Harold Reynolds mistakenly said that the stars on the jerseys’ back neckline were a new feature and suggested that they correlated to each player’s number of all-star appearances.”

    I’m shocked. Harold Reynolds never gets anything wrong.

    That is, Harold Reynolds saw a new thing in the world, made up a story on the spot to explain it, and repeated the falsehood on the air to millions of viewers? Why, I never!

    There’s a difference between getting things wrong a lot (ahem, Joe Morgan) and making stuff up. Reynolds leans more toward the fabrication end of the spectrum.

    Excellent observation about Reynolds – he does seem to make stuff up on the spot a lot and, when he gets called on it, just laughs it off.

    I’ll tell you what was excellent from last night – some of the on-screen graphics when each team’s Franchise Four were being announced. I took a picture of the Phillies example, I’ll email it to you if you’d like to put it in the ticker, Paul.

    One of my big problems with Little League baseball is best exemplified in the first photo. Look at them, scowling and looking tough. They’re 11!

    So because some photographer asked them to pose like that, thats whats wrong with the LLWS? Gimme a break. Take a look at the photo below it, and take a big helping of relax.

    That’s exactly Mike’s point, though. They’re probably emulating the pros who all scowl at the camera or – worse – the photographer told them to do it. It’s Little League. It’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun, not a tough-guy contest. Adults ruin everything.

    Forgot to add… the second photo is EXACTLY what I’d hope to see from LLWS coverage.

    The All-Star Game reminded me how much I miss “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

    Can someone remind me why I should remove my cap for “God Bless America” which is not the national anthem?

    Can anyone remind me what ‘god bless America’ is doing being sung at a baseball game? Long overdue for that “tradition on Sundays since 9/11” to end. Let’s just play baseball, okay?

    Ridiculous, and good to know if I ever make it to NY for a ballgame so I can plan a food/beer run instead of being heckled by New Yorkers for not standing.

    But “God Bless America” isn’t a patriotic song. For one thing, it’s not a song. It’s a prayer, barely set to music. But more importantly, GBA contains not one word of praise for our country, nor one word offering any reason our country might be worthy of praise. Plus, it was originally written and performed in the context of efforts to keep America neutral and out of WWII. Objectively speaking, it’s a pro-Nazi song.

    An unpatriotic non-song that roots against America’s greatest military victory, and you want me to remove my hat? No sir.

    So then you must think any song protesting the war on terror is a pro-terrorist song?

    Pick a lane. Either something is neutral, or it’s pro-somebody. Objectively speaking it’s one or the other.

    I agree it should not be used in place of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”: however, it’s most certainly a song (Irving Berlin wrote the song), and to say it’s barely set to music is ridiculous. I most certainly has a melody, etc, and is thus, a song just like any other. Regarding its meaning and the rest, yes, it was revived by Berlin as a peace promoting song in 1938, but to call it “pro-Nazi” is quite silly. Also, FYI, it was written in 1938, before the end of WWII, so say it was routing against the outcome is incorrect in and of itself.

    If it was written in 1938, isn’t that before the *start* of WWII? My history is a bit rusty and I don’t feel like googling, but Germany didn’t invade Poland until ’39, right?

    It’s quite a feat of hyperbole, not to mention revisionist history, to accuse a Jew, Irving Berlin, of penning a pro-Nazi song. In actuality, he wrote God Bless America in 1918 for a musical, but never used it. He then pulled it out of mothballs in 1938 to be played as a pacifist anthem, complete with a new intro that included a line (“Let us be grateful we’re far from there”) that he almost immediately reworded precisely BECAUSE it read as overtly isolationist. With the benefit of 75 years’ of hindsight he can be viewed as naive and sentimental, sure, but “rooting against America’s victory”? What a fucking crock.

    Nobody but a (large, in America) fringe doubted that a general European war was imminent when GBA was composed. That’s the point: War seemed all but inevitable, but America still had a choice to keep out of it. “Let Europe burn this time” being the basic sentiment. And if we had, there’s a good chance that Germany would have established lasting hegemony in Western and Central Europe. Or Germany fails, but without American involvement in the West, Germany is defeated entirely from the East by the USSR. In that case, Britain, Iceland, and Portugal probably remain outside Stalin’s empire. Probably. Either way, with hindsight we now know what opposition to joining the fight in Europe meant, and the outcome is pretty vile. That’s what GBA stands for, so I’m not doffing my cap to it.

    I’ve got no problem with anti-war songs as such. But neither would I remove my cap if they played “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” or “Fortunate Son” or “Help Save the Youth of America” at the ballpark, much as I dig each of those songs.

    Yet Great Britain and Germany signed the Munich Agreement barely a month before Kate Smith performed GBA publicly for the first time. So at that time the British PM, at least, still thought a European peace was achievable – if not, his claim to have negotiated “peace for our time” looks not just remarkably naive, but remarkably craven. So, umm, it’s simply not accurate to say that at that precise moment in time, “nobody but a fringe doubted war was imminent.”

    The premiere of GBA also took place a mere two days after Kristallnacht occurred, which pretty cemented anti-German sentiment even amongst the U.S. population. So whatever the song’s admittedly-pacifistic overtones, they’d pretty much already been overtaken by events.

    I agree 100% that “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” should be whats sung during the 7th inning stretch.

    If you are going to go all patriotic on us though, at least do “America the Beautiful”.

    “God Bless America”? Puke.
    And no, I am not taking off my fucking hat for anything but the national anthem. Why would I? I thought that was the weirdest request.


    If you are singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch, aren’t you ALREADY at a ball game??!

    Official ranking of unofficial national anthems:

    This Land is Your Land > America the Beautiful > God Bless America

    Thanks Phil.

    I have the clarity of mind of a Canadian with absolutely no skin in the game.

    You know (or I’m hoping you do) that WWG wrote that in response to GBA. Great, great song.

    I remember when they only showed the championship game of the LLWS on Wide World of Sports. I agree with you, Paul. I too have become increasingly uncomfortable with the ESPNization of the LLWS. These are kids for crying out loud. A kid doesn;t need to become a nationwide punching bag and be seen crying on SportsCenter highlights because he struck out or made an error. That and all of the recent scandals are just too much. Another thing that once seemed so innocent but has been ruined.

    On Felix Hernandez going High Cuffed…he’s been doing that over his last 3 or 4 starts. Not sure, but I think it was a slumpbuster move after he had two consecutive bad outings.

    Jason M,

    As a former college pitcher I can tell you that a lot of players wear the arm sleeves to keep the inflammation down in their arm during the game and I would put one on between innings to keep the muscles warm. Now some guys wear them on their non throwing arm in order to protect themselves when diving, especially infielders. It also can’t be dismissed that it is a fashion statement, but I assure you there are benefits as well.

    Agreed. It could be done in the color of the uniform, not optic orange, green, yellow, etc.

    I grew up in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the home of the Little League World Series. It used to be an event that I loved and that most of the locals embraced. But, it has always been pretty controversial. My dad’s problem with it is that it exists at all. He believes that kids should just be free to play baseball all summer without the all-star process that excludes so many kids from further play. I am pretty sure that the playoffs start around Memorial Day if not sooner. This means that the kids who didn’t make the all-start team are basically done for the summer. Then as teams get eliminated more and more kids are done for the summer. In the end only a handful of LL players are still playing baseball in August. I agree with this. There should be more play and less competition. It should be about teaching kids the game and not about seeing which 12 year old is best.

    Back in the 1980s and into the 1990s it was just an 8 team tourney; four American teams and four foreign teams. Now that number is at least doubled. The vendors at the games used to be comprised entirely of local organizations. Groups like the Lions Club, the local marching bands, Kiwanis, PTOs, etc. Supplied and sold the drinks and food and sold them at a pretty low price. You could get a cherry coke for a quarter. I must have consumed my weight in cherry cokes one summer and have never had one since. Recently LL has found a way to make a butt load of money. All the vendors are corporate contracts. The prices are high. Local service groups have been pushed aside while LL rolls in the money. We used to take a picnic lunch into the complex with us. Now all outside foods and drinks are prohibited. The LLWS has lost its innocence. It brings yearly attention to the home I love and miss, but I don’t watch it anymore.

    There’s more to the story regarding the release of new gear for Louie, Talbot and Fleury; all three were previously in Reebok branded gear. This is the beginning of the complete phase-out of the Reebok name in hockey, as adidas has decided to rebrand all of the Reebok gear as CCM. How much longer before they follow Nike, and sell off the hockey operations completely?

    Beginning? No. Just another domino. The beginning was probably when CCM took over the AHL, ECHL, and Canadian juniors jerseys. And then, longtime Reebok guys Dion Phaneuf, Patrice Bergeron, and Pavel Datsyuk all shifted to CCM. Mark my words, the real true end will be when Sidney Crosby moves to CCM.

    LLWS just doesn’t interest me at all. (OK, if a team from or near New Orleans were to make it, I’d be interested.) What’s the fun in having one team full of kids who are lucky enough to have had their growth spurts? Sorry, not my cup of tea. I prefer watching professional adults.
    But on the Uni Watch angle, it’s boring for Uni Watch IMO! Once the kids get to Williamsport, it’s all templates. Russell Athletic almost everything, Wilson batting helmets…completely rote color-by-numbers schemes bore me to death. Heck, there aren’t even home and away looks! It’s all the same softball tops. Show us the uniforms once in a catalog, and that’s all we need.
    Now for a one-sentence critique of these LLWS uniforms: Why are hockey-style shoulder yokes a thing?

    Not sure if anyone has floated this theory before in regards to willie mays’ “G” cap, but I would assume he wears it because he played for the Giants in both New York and San Francisco and doesn’t want to pick one city over the other when he represents the team.

    San Francisco Giants players coaches and staff replaced their World Champions sleeve patch and Lon Simmons memorial sleeve patch with the All-Star game patch and unlike the Cubs and Indians did not move the patches to another part of the jersey.

    Also in regards to the ASG patch, the Angels always wear it on their left jersey sleeve unlike every other team as I recall, as the single “A” with a halo emblem they wear on their right sleeve is the team’s primary logo, and the circular logo patch (Angels Baseball-1961) worn on their left sleeve is an alternate logo. I guess primary trumps alternate for the ASG patch location, even if it means not being “uniform” with everyone else.

    I agree with the llws and TV but having gone to Williamsport I recommend anyone that is a baseball fan to go. It’s totally free to park and get in to watch the games and to watch the kids interact with teams from different countries and watch the games they are not playing in is a great sight. I went in 2011 when the Pennsylvania team was only 30 miles from Williamsport and the crowd there for them was immense. The whole town went to Williamsport, that was probably nerve racking for the kids

    I, too, was curious/critical about those neon arm sleeves the players were wearing for the ASG (I’m in Cincinnati and went to everything). Perhaps an announcer commented on them, but during a crowd shot on the videoboard perhaps only seen here at the stadium, a fan had a sign which said something like “thanks to those players wearing neon to increase awareness of pediatric cancer.” Not sure if that was the players’ reasoning behind wearing those, but if it was, I’ll certainly refrain from future critical thoughts. . .

    Regarding the LLWS, the pageantry is akin to any state organization tournament or any of the Cooperstown park games, except that ESPN has played on the nostalgia aspect for adults and the kids’ desire to be major leaguers. I think ESPN overdoes it with the height/weight/batting average stats and all, but televising it is actually pretty cool. My complaint is that it takes serious the wrong things and still allows stupid crap like the umpires dancing with mascots, bad officiating, vanilla coaching (because they are mic’d up and scrutinized), LL privatizing vending, etc. etc. Fix the problems and let the kids just play good baseball.

    Neglected to mention the arbitrarily shrunken fields. They’re playing fricken’ softball dimensions! I’ve long contended that any average to good Hot Stove team (that’s our league in Ohio) could contend with any LLWS team at the proper mound and base dimensions for their age.

    Shrunken fields? Little league plays on 60′ base paths. Is this not what they do at the LLWS? Dimensions I got from Google Earth show LLWS fields similar to the LL fields I played on.

    We play 60 foot bases for 10 and under only, by 12 years old, they play at 70 foot bases and a 50 foot mound. It may seem small, but many of those close plays (and the relative speed of the pitch) look much different when the field is a bit bigger.

    “The All-Star Game sleeve patch forced the Cubs’ representatives – Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo – to wear the Ernie Banks memorial patch on their upper-left chest area:”

    Why were they “forced” to put the patch over the logo. Why not on the other, logo-free side of the jersey why not above the ASG patch? Looks like there was room, and if two patches can look passable on the front of the jersey, certainly it would be fine on the sleeve to have two patches.

    I feel like no one should judge the LLWS until you actually go there and experience it for yourself. The kids have the time of their lives and experience something that they’ll never forget as long as they live. They sit in the outfield and in the stands and watch other games and no one but kids their own age bothers them and that’s only for autographs. All of the attention that they get is positive, even from ESPN and their reporters

    Almost none of the kids playing in the Little League World Series are going to go on to be Major Leaguers. For them to experience Major-League-like coverage for this short stretch is a great treat.

    My one problem with the LLWS uniforms is the patch dead center on the side of the sleeve. Apparently the uniforms are folded along the centerline of the sleeve as well and the patch will never lose the crease that’s been created in the center of it. The sleeve should round nicely around the arm, instead the patch creates a big peak in that area.

    Unless I am mistaken, those first two Jaguars helmets were not used in games.

    Got a note from Matthew Kost: “You mentioned in the column today about the various gold trimmed catcher’s gear from last night. Not sure if Stephen Vogt got in the game but he also had gold trim on his gear.” link

    I found an Alabama shirt/jersey at a martins department store. But it’s black! And it has grey number outline. Does anybody know what this is about

    Totally agree with discomfort re: pimping the LLWS. The TV coverage is now way over the top. Just televise the championship game, talk about how the Taiwanese kids hit puberty earlier than U.S. kids and be done with it. That formula worked fine for years. Now they’re trying to make a thing out of the unis? No thanks.

    If I remember correctly from The Politics of Rage, one of the first things George Wallace did as governor was put the battle flag on state troopers’ cars.

    Without offering commentary on the present and recent history of LLWS uniform design…

    how about a contest to come up with a new design?

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