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Could the Ratchet Be Turning the Other Way?

Craig Calcaterra of NBC’s Hardball Talk provided a a preview of last night’s World Series opening ceremonies and had some interesting analysis regarding the degree of “patriotic” and military-themed displays:

[L]ast year was way more over the top. Last year the Commissioner’s visit by Bud Selig was of a local veteran’s group, accompanied by the V.A. Secretary and one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There was also a special first pitch by a local veteran. The Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat was also bestowed on a veteran, in honor of his military service. There was a special item that didn’t deal with an event, actually, it was just a note that Bank of America sponsored the flags at the stadium entrances. There was an item noting that the son of an army major would be announcing “play ball.” There was also a note about a new “Welcome Back Veterans” commercial on the Fox broadcast.

As I said last year, it’s hard to take issue with any one of those efforts, but it’s also the case that the obligatory manner in which we have imported patriotism and honoring of the military into baseball has caused us to lose sight of the fact that, even if doing these things are good and admirable, when we make our patriotism obligatory and mindless, we lose an essential part of it, which is thoughtfulness.

Having spoken with some baseball sources about this over the past year, I got the sense that there is some of this feeling shared at the league office as well. That, however well-intentioned all of this is, baseball sort of painted itself into a corner with all of this since 9/11 and doesn’t know how to get out of it without looking callous or less-than-patriotic. If that is true, and perhaps the solution they settled on is to remove an item or two from the pregame patriotic agenda each year. Which is probably the best way to handle it, really.

That’s good writing, and I agree with it. But it’s particularly interesting in light of the following tidbit that I’ll now share with you: One MLB team that currently has a camouflage alternate uniform — I can’t say which one — will be discontinuing that uniform next season.

Could the ratchet be turning back the other way? Let’s hope so.

(Thanks to my ESPN colleague Dave Schoenfield for alerting me to Calcaterra’s piece.)

•  •  •  •  •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Check this out: video from the 1917 World Series! Great stuff (from Eli Ganias). ”¦ Good job by Chris Creamer, who’s put together a solid look at Royals uniform/logo history. ”¦ A coach in the Royals’ dugout was wearing Nike baseball pants instead of Majestic last night (excellent spot by Jason Kerepesi).

Pro and College Football News: The Broncos will wear their blue alts against the Packers this week, creating a visual rematch of Super Bowl XXXII. … Here’s this week’s uni combo for UNC. ”¦ Anyone know the story behind the little dove helmet decals in this Syracuse photo? (From Francis Simmonds.) ”¦ UConn’s seriously ugly GFGS alts will debut this weekend (thanks, Phil). ”¦ “Georgia will end up wearing its red home jersey for 10 out of 12 games this season,” says Justin Michaels. “This is almost certainly a record (at least for Georgia, and possibly more broadly), and probably by a wide margin. In addition to their home games, they wore red at Vanderbilt on Sept. 12 (Vanderbilt wore light gray ‘Anchor Down’ uniforms), plus Georgia always wears red at Georgia Tech, which is one of only four true road games on the schedule. And Georgia will again wear red against Florida on Oct. 31, as the teams are going color-on-color for the second consecutive year. The only games at which Georgia wore or will wear their white away jerseys would be at Tennessee (Oct. 10) and at Auburn (Nov. 14). Depending on home/away status in their bowl game, UGA might end up wearing their home jerseys for 11 out of 13 games.” ”¦ Western Illinois’s helmet logo will be purple/gold digital camouflage this weekend (from Joe Ringham). ”¦ UTEP and Southern Miss will wear Halloween colors on Halloween (from Matt Snyder).

Hockey News: The Devils will wear these really ugly cancer-awareness warm-ups tonight (from Ryan Walters). … New helmet decals for the Blues. ”¦ Worst of both worlds: Pink-trimmed tuxedo jerseys for the Indy Fuel.

NBA News: The Timberwolves are adding a Flip Saunders memorial patch and will also wear a commemorative shooting shirt in his honor during the month of November (no visuals yet on the shirt). ”¦ With NBA season opening last night, the Warriors celebrated their titles by wearing an O’Brien trophy patch. They also had gold-accented lettering, although it’s hard to see in the game photos. ”¦ Meanwhile, the Hawks awful new unis made their regular season debut, plus they upped the ante with neon-green sneakers and shoelaces and history’s first neon-green umlaut). ”¦ Here’s more about what the Hawks’ new uniforms supposedly say about Atlanta (thanks, Phil). ”¦ “LeBron posted a photo on Instagram of his personal logo on the top of Simeon Career Academy, a Chicago high school and perennial basketball powerhouse,” says our own Mike Chamernik. “LeBron is a sponsor for the school. The Cavs were scheduled to play the Bulls last night, and Simeon’s most famous alum is Derrick Rose.” ”¦ The D-League is adding a new franchise in Greensboro, North Carolina. The name will be chosen later on. ”¦ For reasons that elude me, someone found it necessary to put a Bulls jersey on the Chicago statue of Michael Jordan — which already includes a jersey (from Dan Erbach). ”¦ The Warriors have apparently changed their banners.

College Hoops News: New uniforms for Indiana of Pennsylvania. ”¦ New uniforms for Michigan State as well. ”¦ And also for Eastern Illinois, whose new uniforms are very stripe-centric. ”¦ And also for Old Dominion (from Jason Rhodes).

Soccer News: Here’s more on that Vancouver youth soccer club that was suspended after one of the players dared to say something negative about the team’s sponsor (from Mike Styczen). ”¦ President Obama was given a stars/stripes USWNT jersey yesterday.

Grab Bag: Pretty sleek-looking new logo for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, although I have no idea what that shape is supposed to represent (from @GKG_77). ”¦ Verizon forgot to use its new logo on the Droid Turbo 2 (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ New uniforms for the University of Minnesota marching band (from Thomas Hack).

• • • • •

What Paul did last night: Phil came over to Uni Watch HQ last night to watch the Strip Tease with me, and of course I made us a pair of New York strip steaks for dinner.

I started with a pair of beeYOOteefully marbled one-pound bone-in New York strips, seasoned them with salt and pepper, cooked them in butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet, popped them into the oven for a few minutes to finish them off, and voila — perfection (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):

As for the game, obviously it didn’t go quite the way we scripted it (Phil actually had to leave in the 12th inning, just so he could get home at a semi-reasonable hour), but that’s how it goes sometimes. Still plenty of baseball left. Let’s go Mets!

Comments (100)

    The 2019 Rugby World Cup logo incorporates an image of Mount Fuji and the risiing sun into the World Rugby Shield. The shield is the logo of World Rugby the governing body for Rugby Union. The shield is made up of the bottom part of a rugby ball that has been cut across the top to represent the curve of the earth and to turn it into a W. Up until a year ago World Rugby was called the IRFB (International Rugby Football Board).

    Some further details on World Rugbys new logo can be found: link

    Just to clarify, they dropped the Football part in 1998 and it was just the IRB up until last year.

    In the football section, that’s not Washington’s helmet that’s purple with digital camo. That’s Western Illinois from Macomb,Illinois.

    “(Phil actually had to leave in the 12th inning, just so he could get home at a semi-reasonable hour)”


    Might have been the 11th — listened to the game the whole way home on the radio, and STILL got home before the damn game ended (and not in a good way).

    Ah well, that’s how it goes sometimes. Thanks for being a great host — and those steaks were every bit as tasty as they appear in the photo!

    Also — my gracious host was cooking all of this with ONE WING (no green camo cast, alas — just a plain white one) — so it was quite the culinary feat to prepare and cook those beauts.

    Well done… er medium … sir!

    The length of the game was perfect: I watched the first two innings, drove across town for curling, curled, drove home, and watched the last two innings. The Commish should think about making 14 innings the regulation length of a game.

    Was hoping for several more innings. Then we could have had some day baseball.

    Who got the bigger piece o’ meat?

    KC is one resilient ball club, as a Blue Jay fan, gained a whole lot of respect for the Royals in the ALCS

    The shape used in the Rugby World Cup logo is currently being used as part of the 2015 graphic package; you’ll see it used as the icon with each team’s flag. Not sure of any further significance.

    Yeah, pix show that Paul has some serious meat skills to turn to.

    If this Uni-Watch thing doesn’t pan out*.

    (*Okay, that pun was uncalled for.)

    Regarding the coach wearing Nike baseball pants: I have never seen a white Nike Swoosh on baseball pants, usually it is the color of the stripe or black. My guess is he has some dark leggings/pants on underneath his pants and because the Swoosh is white it shows a little brighter through the baseball pants.

    This is definitely the case. He either has his blue team issued shorts on underneath his pants, or his long compression underwear have the swoosh on the upper thigh.

    Good Lord, man. Those steaks in the skillet are making me drool. Quite possibly the most Pavlovian response I’ve ever had.

    I wouldn’t exactly put much stock in what Craig Calcaterra says, he’s also a strong advocate for PED users in the Hall of Fame. Yes, it’s possible to be both patriotic and thoughtful.

    Yes, it’s possible to be both patriotic and thoughtful.

    Which is exactly what Calcaterra’s advocating for. He just doesn’t think MLB’s recent “patriotic” gestures, and the responses they tend to prompt from fans, qualify for that description.

    Not sure what’s so intrinsically awful about advocating putting PED users in the HoF. Without getting in to too much detail, IMHO, the HoF is a museum. Wouldn’t you think it odd if you went to a museum that omitted sizable chunks of a portion of its subject matter? An art museum without impressionists, history museum neglecting artifacts from the medieval times, etc.

    That said, I’m all for giving guys who tested positive once that was implemented a little asterisk on their plaque, or adding a note in their bio. Unfortunately, there’s no tactful way to handle guys like Sosa, Bonds, and Clemens who otherwise should be in the Hall but have never (to my knowledge) admitted to any wrongdoing, been caught in the act, or tested positive.

    If you really want to exclude PED users, then MLB should conduct a witch hunt and find out everyone who broke the rules during their respective careers. Amphetamines, coke, gambling, and let’s play morality police and throw in infidelity and binge-drinking. Basically, it’s a slippery slope when you start excluding one group of players that cheated but not others.

    Hey Paul, what sort of table is that you have there? Looks cool, reminds me of something like an old meat locker door.

    It’s this heavy old table on big old industrial wheels — was originally used in a factory or some such. I’ll take a picture later on.

    Sounds very cool. Lookin’ forard to some pics.

    In the 80s, I worked in an old grocery store whose entirety was about the size of one-half of one of the departments in today’s grocery stores. Our “back room” was actually in the basement and all the cooler doors had that same look. Aged, beaten, heavy oaken doors with a thick steel plate riveted to the bottom and hardware that would have looked at home on a battleship. They were inefficient, temperamental and always felt damp, but dammit they were awesome.

    Syracuse’s helmet decal is in honor of Remembrance Week. Each Year the school honors the lives of 35 SU students who were killed in a terrorist bombing on Pan Am Flight 103 in December of 1988.

    Celtics have unveiled they’re new floor. Third floor in franchise history. Also a franchise first, a coperate logo (a real bummer).

    baseball sort of painted itself into a corner with all of this since 9/11 and doesn’t know how to get out of it without looking callous or less-than-patriotic

    If this really reflects the commissioner’s office’s thinking, then they’re cowards and idiots. How do you back out of the post-9/11 corner? Simple: You just stop doing stuff. GBA in the Seventh Inning Stretch? You just stop playing it. Easy to phase out. Maybe next year, just play it at the first home game of each playoff series, then the following year at the first game of each series, and the year after that only play it when the Yankees are hosting playoff games. Because the Yankees are never going to stop wrapping themselves in 9/11. Never.

    And for all the other stuff, nobody will even notice if MLB phases it out, or just stops cold-turkey. Well, a few people will notice, and they’ll complain, and they’ll kick up a three-day-long shitstorm on Twitter or Breitbart or Redstate or wherever. But that tiny minority of loud whiners will kick up a new shitstorm every week no matter what MLB does. There aren’t many of them, they don’t actually affect the marketplace with threatened boycotts, and the whole right-wing umbrage-industrial complex has a very short attention span. Even if they get up a weeklong campaign of “MLB is banning the American flag!” on the interwebs and talk radio, they’ll move on to the next shiny object Rush or Erickson puts in front of them.

    If MLB really wants to back out of the corner it’s painted itself into, it just needs to start walking backwards and develop enough backbone to stand a few days of potential negative publicity from a few extremists. That’s all.

    Has the MLB standardized playing “God Bless America” during the 7th evening across all games for all teams, or is it only during a specific set of games? I went to a Cubs game back in early September and there wasn’t flag waving during the 7th inning, but certainly before the game with all the jingoistic worship.

    I’m fairly certain the Yankees are the only team that plays GBA at every single game.

    Not positive, but I believe most (all?) other teams do it on holidays, in the postseason, and maybe on Sundays.

    The Brewers did it as late as last year. Didn’t make it to Miller Park this season to see if they still do.

    Can’t wait for that to be an historical footnote.

    I did not hear GBA during the game last night. Normally, it’s during the 7th inning stretch. If it was played, it was not shown on TV. Fox went right to a commercial.

    Do they show GBA on games using the International Feed? Maybe Fox was still using that one after their truck went down. I know that Buck and Reynolds snuck past security and got into the IF broadcast booth with Vasgersian and Smoltz, so maybe they were still using the IF cameras.

    One team ditching the camo is an excellent start. Teams will see that they aren’t accused of being Communists, the world will keep spinning on its axis, and we can start returning to sanity.

    In a world where Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Sean Hannity, and other blowhards receive attention, praise, and support, I can’t say that everyone agrees with you. ;)

    …”the Yankees are never going to stop wrapping themselves in 9/11. Never.”


    So true. And so sad. Just another reason to hate them…

    This thing:

    The handlebar mustache has kind of become the Red’s shtick. The nicest seats are known as the handlebar club. Most of the All Star game was marketed around mustaches (link).
    At least it’s a distraction from our batting averages.

    What’s with the salad next to the steak?

    And nice to see ya washed it all down with some Lagers

    I am a big Browns fan, so it’s sucks when this site rails on their new uniforms ( a lot of which I agree…the Browns on the leg, ugh)but I feel good today after watching the beloved Mets wear that hideous alternate uniform. Nice Gray lettering! When I think of the Mets, I think of gray for sure! It looked like reflective tape or something.

    I know I am nitpicking, but I just felt like tossing a little fun ribbing back at you guys. I am rooting for the Mets, so hopefully you guys can see your team win it, just hopefully NOT in those gawdawful alts.

    In case you weren’t aware, both Paul & I have trashed the blue alternates and wish they’d never be worn. So you’re preaching to the choir.

    We can love the team AND hate the unis (see, it’s not so hard) and don’t mind if/when others trash the hideous alts because they. are. awful. Just like we can trash the Browns hideous unis but still respect the team and your city.

    Thanks for the well-wishes for the Mets. But if they don’t win, it’s not the end of the world. And just because I’m not wearing *team gear* that doesn’t mean I don’t love and support the team.

    I know you’ve talked about it at some point, just I usually don’t pay attention to baseball uni talk, but what do you think of the 80’s Mets unis, with the stripe from the collar to the sleeves? I LOVED those unis growing up. Although as someone born in 1980, I really have an affinity for unis teams had from when I was a kid.

    Objectively speaking, I know they’re bad. The racing stripe is ridiculous, the pullover isn’t as satisfying as a button-front, etc. But from an emotional standpoint, I do have a certain nostalgic fondness for them.

    They are my least favorite Mets uniform (as many on here are aware, and disagree with, so I won’t get get into it here). The racing stripes on the pins (plus the pullovers with belts, feh) are just such a BAD combination.

    I am on record, oh, a few jillion times as opposing the Mets’ blue tops, and as recently as yesterday I bemoaned the blue tops’ likely appearance in Game 1.

    But the Mets’ blue tops are still light years better than the Browns’ current uniforms. (Hey, you brought up the comparison.)

    Ha! All in good fun, fellas. The gray numbers are the killer. Rest of the top isn’t that bad. Those gray letters are like a team writing their name down the side of their pants, IMO.

    Good luck rest of the way, Metropolitans

    Sorry about your Mets.
    You ever marinated a steak in Coke? Phenomenally tender and doesn’t change the taste like you’d expect!

    You just reminded me how much I miss fiesta lime chicken since the Applebee’s near me closed. Sigh.

    I hope MLB is moving away from
    It’s overt “patriotism in your face all
    the time “. While it’s probably well intentioned is becomes like white noise. An occasional patriotic themed event seem fine with me. We all love our country we just don’t need to scream about it every time there’s a baseball game.

    I’d love to hope that the Bucs will be the ones ditching the panderflauge next season, but I’d only be kidding myself…it’s only a year old, and people in Western PA regularly wear camouflage to weddings. $$$$.

    “…people in Western PA regularly wear camouflage to weddings.”


    Serious question: Is there a reason for this?

    Not just Western PA (the Alabama of the North). It’s a thing here in Wisconsin, too. And presumably anywhere hunting is still common.


    Paul…it’s only 9:30 AM here in Missouri…and for some reason, I’m craving steak…hmmmmmm…???!!!???

    Looked delicious…!!!!

    For those of you who haven’t tried Paul’s method for cooking steak in the cast iron skillet, you are missing out. I love it so much, this is how I do my steak even in the summer time when the grill is ready and available.

    Original method here, under Culinary Corner: link

    Thanks Paul!

    If you do high heat right, there’s no smoke to speak of. I do a sear/roast method with the skillet and oven both above 450 degrees, and I use olive oil, which has a smoke point of 207 degrees, and I never have smoke. The oil should be the thinnest sheen on the meat, not a giant lake of butter in the pan. We’re searing a steak here, not frying mini-donuts.

    But lower heat is definitely more forgiving if one’s attention wanders. With high heat, you’ve got less than a 30-second window to take the meat out of the oven to get your desired doneness. Get distracted for the length of time it takes to open a beer bottle and you could overcook your steak at 450.

    Hey Paul, what is the name of the NY apparel company that’s advertised on here before? I seem to remember somehow boxing being a feature.

    This will be the first time in awhile (possibly the Manning Era?) that the Broncos are breaking out their orange striped white pants. I’m surprised they even still have them.

    David Wright wore a blue undershirt last night.

    Was going to send a ticker submission, but figured you would notice.

    He wears blue when he goes long-undersleeved — which is pretty rare for him. He almost always wears short sleeves and the orange base layer.

    Games like last night are the reason I love living in the mountain time zone.

    Plus, NFL sunday starts at 11 a.m.

    Okay, figured out it was in reference to a picture in the Creamer Royals article.

    That same picture was discussed in link about the Pilots. Apparently it is the only known photograph of that particular prototype, as Todd could only post an incomplete re-creation of that wordmark.

    The doves on Syracuse’s helmets were for Remembrance Week, an annual event at Syracuse University to honor the 35 Syracuse students that died in the Lockerbie Bombing. It is a big deal at Syracuse, the highest academic scholarship in the school is in honor of the students, the Remembrance Scholarships. And we have a wonderful memorial to them right at the entrance to campus.

    Relevant to today’s entry:
    I work for a local Fox TV affiliate. I received a call today from a viewer who had heard that Fox wasn’t going to be showing God Bless America during the game. She was pretty upset that they were airing advertisements instead of that tribute to the servicemen. I get what she’s saying, but I disagree for all of the usual UniWatch reasons (plus I just want them to get back to the game quicker). It was interesting to get that perspective though.

    1) It’s interesting that she thinks GBA is a “tribute to the servicemen.”

    2) So they actually played/performed it at the ballpark, but it wasn’t shown on TV?

    It’s the Mets who are discontinuing the camo tops and caps. They told me when I noticed they weren’t wearing it on a Monday night a couple months ago. Supposedly they’re still going to offer military discounts though.

    Hey Mets fans, get used to the lady with the shades that sits in the first row behind your dugout in KC, she seems to take her style guide after the late Tammy Faye Bakker.

Comments are closed.