By Phil Hecken
Whenever a new uniform is introduced, we go through a couple of stages before we can truly rate it: first, we get the slick computer graphics and photos on models. Then (sometimes) we get a fashion show. Finally, we get some unis unis on models at spring training and some pictures when pitchers and catchers report. At every stage along the way, almost universally, we’ve panned them. But, we always couch our reviews with, “gotta see them on the field.”
Well, this week, Spring Training games started, and we got our first looks at the new Diamondbacks uniforms in action. I really had high hopes for them — I really did — and I still hope they’ll grow on me like the Seattle Seahawks unis have. But after seeing them in action, I’m not getting my hopes up.
The team still hasn’t worn a white top (going with the red ST top for both a home and away game), but the team has now worn one set of white pants (yes, they have more than one) and one set of gray pants (same). We’ve already documented the problems with the unis (and Paul wrote about them on the Mothership and on Uni Watch), so I won’t repeat the myriad idiosyncratic design elements. But a few things stand out. I actually didn’t think the red top/white pants looked too bad (click any photos below to enlarge)…
…but the red snakeskin pattern on the back of the pants will be the butt of jokes for a long time. Curt Schilling’s bloody sock will become known to legions of kids who are too young to remember it. From a distance, the rest of the snakeskin on the jersey isn’t too noticeable, and up close, it’s not that bad. But it’s the pants — with the truncated stripe and “red cuffs” that are going to plague that look for a long time.
It’s the first look at the dark gray pants, which they wore yesterday, that are more concerning.
Here they are in action (thanks to @RN’s Funhouse for these). The garishness of the new unis is particularly stark in comparison to the beautiful crisp whites the Dodgers are wearing, too:
Take a good look at that second screen shot for a second — notice anything that seems slightly out of place?
OK, now take a look at this next shot:
The new dark gray pants are almost the same color as the umpire’s pants. Now, it’s not like the players are likely to confuse the umpire with the players on the D-Backs, especially if the team wears red tops or gray tops. In fact, in their “multiple uniform preview,” they don’t even show the two black alts with the gray pants. But it looks like it’s definitely an option. It probably won’t be a problem when the games count (imagine a player throwing to the first base umpire during a bang-bang play), but I hope they never wear the black tops with the gray pants, just in case. The unis look bad enough as it is…
That's how you do it, kids. #DbacksSpring pic.twitter.com/xR6E95lc1k
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) March 4, 2016
It’s only a momentary glimpse in the video above, but is the player on the left an umpire or a backup catcher? Probably the latter, but it really shouldn’t even be a question. The umpires are supposed to be “invisible” — but if the players confuse the umps for other players, it probably won’t always end well.
The white pants are bad because they look like they were dipped in red paint, or at least the MAIN white pants are — they also have an alternate pair that from a distance will just look dirty. The dark road pants make it look, from a distance, like the players are wearing unlaced black high tops:
But maybe there’s a glimmer of hope — remember when Paul found out that the team will offer a set of pants without any snakeskin for players wearing socks/stirrups? And we hoped we might get a glimpse of how that will look? Well, here’s the answer (and it looks like the D-Backs have a striped sock option!)
Tough to say from that one shot that hosiery may save those pants…but hosiery may make the overall look better. It certainly won’t make it any worse. Hopefully it will catch on. I’m sure the team isn’t ready to all start wearing stirrups or socks just yet, but if the jeers for the bloody/dirty pants are loud enough, maybe…just maybe…hosiery will begin making a comeback. That will certainly turn a bad thing into a good one. I’m not holding my breath, but we can hope.
Now, get off my lawn.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
i have colorizations from two folks today, one of whom (in fact, the original colorizer on Uni Watch), is Larry Bodnovich, and of course the other is Bruce Menard.
Click photos to enlarge.
Up first is Larry:
I did this recently and have to thank TimmyB for letting me know the opponent was the Boston Yanks. My first guess was Eagles but helmet threw me off.
Included is black and white version.
Next up is Bruce, who has a set of three (all spring training-related):
Here’s the three latest colorizations, all baseball spring training related & with before/after comparisons. So let’s do this chronologically:
1) The Boston Red Sox & “Nuf Ced” McGreevy Pose At Spring Training in Hot Springs, AR (March 2, 1909)
~ What an assortment of great uniforms and sweaters on the Red Sox team of that time! I first worked on the badly damaged original image for the documentary, “The First Boys Of Spring”, which explores the rich history of spring baseball in Hot Springs. This color version is something I’ve been working on since the production wrapped on the film. Here’s a brief explanation of what’s going on in the photo from the archives of the Boston Public Library: “Michael T. “Nuf Ced” McGreevy presents diamond ring to Amby McConnell, Boston Red Sox Spring Training – Taken on March 2, 1909 during Spring Training in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1908, McGreevy had promised a diamond ring to the Red Sox player with the most stolen bases that year. Amby McConnell was the winner with 38 steals for Boston in 1908.”
2) “The Fordham Flash” Frankie Frisch Practices His Base Running – N.Y. Giants Spring Training (March 4, 1924)
~ He’s actually posing like his famous head-first diving slide technique, and I love how the players back then were so cooperative with the photographers!
(Wire Tag) “Sarasota, FLA – Fordham Frankie Frisch, a real New Yorker, is pictured here practicing one of his famous diving slides for which he is known. Frisch expects to have the best year of his brilliant career, and bids fair to contest the right of Rogers Hornsby as the best and Most Valuable Player in the National League. 3-4-24”
3) Baseball Legends In The Spring Training Sun ~ Jackie Robinson and Mickey Mantle at First Base (March 1953)
~ This one first started as a black & white edit I made that was first posted on Uni Watch back in March 2015. It’s one of my all-time favorite spring training photos…and I’ve been tinkering with colorizing it for a while now. More recently, Tom Shieber, the Senior Curator for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, put together an amazing research piece on his blog “Baseball Researcher” about the photo. Specifically, Tom goes in-depth to track down the exact date and location of the game, which I would highly recommend everyone check out. Link: Baseball Researcher: Jackie and Mickey
That’s all for now…but there’s more to come.
Great job, Larry & Bruce!
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN took a look at the oft-forgotten MLB-Season-Opening games played in Japan in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012, all of which featured advertising on the uniforms of the participants, in what counted as regular season games. So — we’ve had ads on unis for major sports leagues before…just not for a full season (or even a partial season) and never on North American soil. Interestingly, this was confined to Japan, as MLB has played games (both exhibition and regular season), in other countries, plus Puerto Rico; (there have also been exhibition games in Canada) and none of those unis for those series had advertising for the regular season games.
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you missed it!
…to the Hack
Most (all?) readers know I LOOOOOOVE curling, and probably know that each fall and winter, I curl down at the Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club (they sorta have a Facebook page) — held on a hockey rink down at the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Last season, I skipped a team and Paul ably served as my Vice. We were all set to team up again this past fall/winter, but for a variety of reasons (including Paul’s bike accident which broke his arm), he was unable to play this season.
Paul will be back in the hack tonight, joining my team (The “Rock-Its” — don’t ask) as a substitute for one of my teammates who is out of town. Hopefully he’ll be wearing that sweater.
We’re locked in a tight race this time around (there are three sessions, and this is the final session of the season — we won the first season, and finished third in the second; currently we’re tied for second, and a win tonight sets us up well going into the playoffs). I’m sure Paul will be able to shake off the rust after a couple rocks and help us cruise to victory.
If you’re in the area, come down and check it out and say “Hi.” And if you like what you see, think about joining the club next year — it’s one of those games that is “very easy to learn, but takes a lifetime to master” — so you’ll get good quickly. But even if not, you’ll get to see me break out a new pair of fancy pants, possibly louder and more garish than these:
We start at 7:30 pm (if you do plan to stop by, the directions are in the link above or click here). There’s plenty of parking just off the Lincoln Street entrance and it’s a short walk down to the rink. Love to see a reader or three there!
And now a quick word from Paul
Hi there. In case you missed it this past week, I’m running an ESPN contest to redesign the Detroit Lions. Full details here.
Entries on this one have been trickling in at a pretty slow pace, so you have a good chance to stand out as a big fish in what is, for now, a pretty small pond. Let’s see whatcha got!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: The Syracuse Chiefs unveiled their new home, road and alternate jerseys for the 2016 season on Saturday (several sent this in). Here is more on that. … Lots of gorgeous hosiery here as most of the Fairfield Stags and all Tar Heels players went high cuffed with stirrups yesterday (thanks to Elena Elms). … Gorgeous new stir-ups and turfs for the upcoming season for Quinnipiac University (from Mike Morhardt). … Several Major League teams have paired with the colleges in their states on mashup caps, including the Detroit Tigers (from Kevin Kielczewski), the Texas Rangers (from Fortlandiaâ„¢), and the Kansas City Royals (from Josh Vice). … Oh, check out the collared jerseys for Yale. Tweeter Statboy didn’t provide any details, but the unis were in honor of Prexy George H. W. Bush — A&M wore special uniforms as well.. … The new Diamomdbacks road uniform was photoshopped onto Zack Greinke’s latest Topps Card (from Blades of Steel). … The jokes will write themselves: Looks like the Bowling Green HotRods are sponsoring (or advertising) on a garbage truck (from Eric C. Leach), who adds “Like my ride?” … It’s only a matter of time, folks: David Price still has his squatchee/squatcho (good spot by Karim Moo). … Holy crap! Look at the Astros necklace chain on the guy standing up in the expensive seats (is that possibly a vendor?) H/T to RNs Funhouse for the screen shot.
NFL News: I had an interesting twitter conversation yesterday with Jim Weber, who brought up the fact that the Jaguars had changed their uniforms in 2009 (going from this to this — with the thinner, amorphous stripes and the color shifting helmet) and then again in 2013 (when they went to this monstrosity). Jim asked if I knew how they were allowed to change unis in under 5 years (which is the NFL “rule”). Jim did some digging and buried within this article is a statement that “a team with a new owner can change its uniform even if it has changed uniforms in the previous five years.” This comes about because Jim has a quest: “Finding a loophole to end Browns’ atrocities is my white whale.”
Hockey News: In case you somehow missed, Paul took a look at the World Cup of Hockey jerseys/unis the other day (both on Uni Watch and the Mothership), and now someone has gone to the trouble of ranking them all. … The SPHL Columbus Cottonmouths will wear these Mountain Dew themed jerseys on March 19th (from OT Sports).
NBA News: In yesterday’s Cavalliers game, LeBron James wore custom sneakers with a pattern in the sole that matched the stripes on the Cavs’ 1975-76 Hardwood Classic unis (from Luke the VIP). The pattern continued all the way across the bottom of the soles (Luke again).
College Hoops News: In a rather unattractive color vs. color matchup yesterday, Notre Dame and North Carolina State hooked up in a game (from Leafy Bug). … Tweeter Glen Macklin asks, “Glow in the dark unis finally happened?” Not sure if those are technically “glow in the dark” but man. Oregon jumped the shark in football this past season and now they’re shooting for hoops too. … “Interesting” would be a good way to describe the paint inside the three point line on the floor in this game between Syracuse & Louisville (h/t Luke DiVasta). … Mizzou and Florida played a Hallowe’en-esque color on color game yesterday (from #Level7Lenny).
Soccer News: A Charlottetown couple got married wearing soccer jerseys. She is a Barcelona fan, and he is a Real Madrid fan, but they both wore Real Madrid jerseys for the ceremony. This is going to end well. … Do you hate the new BFBS USNT soccer kit? Well, this is likely the white jersey (from Conrad Burry). Conrad also went ahead and took a guess at the full kit. No Navy Blue, Nike??? … Also from Conrad, “Accordingly to leaked info, here’s the new Brasil home kit. Socks will be white, but I’m not 100% sure on details.” … In case you missed it, yesterday’s Uni Watch had Part II of a nice rundown of the new MLS uniforms for 2016 by Kyle Evans and CJ Fleck. Since the MLS season kicks off today, here’s every MLS kit for the 2016 season, from Tim Cross.
Grab Bag: An international speedcars series was held at the Western Springs Speedway in New Zealand, featuring drivers from New Zealand, Australia and the United States. To help spectators identify the drivers, each car had the relevant national flag attached to the rollcage (thanks to Graham Clayton). … “Meat is Beautiful” read the subject of the e-mail from James Atherton, who writes, “thought you may appreciate this.” … The University of Michigan wore all white unis for lacrosse yesterday (from UMich Lax Managers). … North Carolina debuted new Carolina blue lax helmets yesterday. Here’s a look at the full uniform they wore, including gold socks for the Vs. Cancer Foundation (big thanks to James Gilbert).
And that’s all for today. Thanks to Bruce & Larry for the great colorizations! You guys have a great week and I’ll be back with you next Saturday. Hope to see a couple of you tonight at the curling rink. Till then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Maybe they should have consulted an OSU grad so the new tradition UM took from THE 8+ decade long tradition would make sense–like it does in Columbus. U of M, rewarding mediocrity since 2015!”
— Leo Strawn, Jr.
My first thought was “why is the umpire wearing a red shirt .” The pants are too dark. The look like dockers.
*they look like dockers.
I keep asking myself why the umpires have new jerseys
Still unsure how aTm’s outfits would honor anyone, and yet on the same field Yale manages to nail it. I never voted for him, but I would have if he had worn those beauties during a debate.
I really like the darker gray. (yeah, the stuff on the bottom of the leg doesn’t really work, but that’s beside the point) The umps can just wear khakis for Diamondback games or something.
Really? You’re gonna tell the umpires themselves to change their uniforms?
Yes. Yes I am. They’re refs, what they wear is not important, they simply need to look different than the players. If that means putting them in yellow with pink polka-dots, then so be it.
The Giants did college colored hats last year as well. Kruk and Kuip spent a solid week of home games pointing out and trying to get their hands on a pair of purple and gold SF State hats.
Why in the world should the umps have to change their outfits specifically for certain Arizona games to khakis (per The’s suggestion) just because the Diamondbacks decide to break out absolutely stupid-looking uniforms?
Why should a team not be allowed to wear the colors of their choice (regardless of whether you like them) because of the uniforms worn by the referees/umpires/whatever?
Because the officials’ uniforms are well-defined, and everyone has an interest in not confusing players with them.
Where do you think these fall relative to the garish redesign the Marlins have used for a couple of years? I thought those were hideous, and despite plenty of jeers and abuse heaped on them, there they are. I don’t think the D-backs will ditch these unless they don’t sell. The marketplace will drive the design, and the tail wags the dog.
That said, they’re bad. And no, the umpires shouldn’t change because a team created in the 1990s chose to redesign their team colors for a 3rd time to include pants the same color as what the umpires have worn for decades. And no, teams can’t just wear what they want. Do NFL or NHL teams wear black and white vertical stripes like Newcastle United or Juventus? No. Why? That’s what referees wear. I am all for freedom of self-expression but not at the cost of common sense.
It’s funny you’d bring up soccer… since in that sport, the refs attire changes based on the teams playing.
I did, and it’s part of the established culture of the sport. Goalies also dress out differently than their teammates. But soccer teams have a primary kit that is worn as much as possible, with additional kits if the two primary kits are too similar. Home and road uniforms are a relative novelty.
Similarly, in North American sports, referees dress as they do and certain uniform designs are not possible for teams. Why should the umpires have to change what they have worn for decades to placate the current whims of a team starving for attention? The D-backs have completely changed their look multiple times in 20 years, they can’t lay claim to decades of tradition with this dark gray scheme. Tie goes to the umps on this one.
The umpires should have to change because they are secondary to the teams. It’s that simple. Team uniforms come first, then the refs. Not the other way around. Ever.
Like most, I feel that the new uniforms are awful. However, as you mentioned, since they change so often, we will not have to endure them for very long.
It is a shame that the relatively new franchises seem to have Attention Deficit Disorder.
Hooray, finally made it on the ticker!
Phil is spot on. No need to say “get off my lawn”. The Dbacks uniforms are a horror show wrapped in a tragedy. I’d really love to meet the people who designed them and ask them what they were thinking. It’s a shame became like Paul said in last years rankings baseball uni’s in this era have been pretty good. Take away the mess that is pajama pants and we’re in a real good era of baseball uniform in my honest opinion. I just hope other teams don’t follow the Dbacks disaster.
“The Dbacks uniforms are a horror show wrapped in a tragedy.”
Great line! All too true.
“I’d really love to meet the people who designed them and ask them what they were thinking.”
I’m thinking uniform design and drugs don’t mix.
I live in Arizona and I am embarrassed and ashamed of the Dbacks unis. I will not root for them again until they get a proper set of unis. Not one team in Arizona has decent uniforms in any sport. We need help.
You can barely see it in the photo because the player’s hand is blocking it, the truncated stripe on the pants when worn high cuffed looks even worse. It’s only a few inches. Otherwise, I think the dark grey looks good high cuffed.
Looked like that D-backs 1st baseman had just walked through some high water.
Apostrophe problem: “Cav’s” should be “Cavs'”.
About the NFL’s five-year rule: I’ve heard mixed things about exceptions to the five-year rule. Even the rule itself is nebulous — I’ve never seen the actual rule or statute. Seems like one of those “It’s a rule except when we decide it isn’t” things (much like how MLB has a rule against uniform ads — that one’s actually in the rulebook — which they decided to ignore each time they had the season-opening series in Japan).
Love lebron’s shoes! Great catch to whoever caught that and kudos to the creator of those bad boys!
Number 22 in the colorized football photo is a young Bobby Layne in his 1948 rookie season with the Bears. The photo was taken during this game: link
Thanks for the info about that game.
I’m pretty sure those Oregon basketball unis are just yellow – they’ve worn those alternate, more traditional tops for a few years now.
Actually, those might be my favorites – don’t worry, there’s no glow-in-the-dark happening here.
I really first thought: “Why is he wearing jeans on the field?”
The Oregon uniforms were the yellow throwback jerseys they have been wearing for a few seasons now. I saw the tweet with the “glow” affect to it, and I can confirm I have seen them do that with both basketball and football uniforms in their tweets, however they have not yet work actual glow uniforms. Yet.
As for the Detroit Tigers/College mashup I see U of M (D1), MSU (D1), CMU (D1), EMU (D1), WMU (D1), UDM (D1-ish), and Wayne State (D2). I’m surprised they went with a D2 school, although it is nearby. I can’t identify the hat above UDM and between Wayne and MSU, so any help would be appreciated. If they wanted to add D2 schools in the state there are plenty other ones with baseball teams. Norhtwood (my alma mater, powder blue/white), Grand Valley (navy/black), Saginaw Valley (red/white), and Hillsdale (Navy/White).
Scroll down to discover it is Oakland University:
That makes sense thanks!
I don’t think the D-Backs unis look as bad as I thought they would.
In a way I like them because they make the other teams home whites really stand out.
Bruce Menard and Tom Shieber provide a tandem one-two punch on the image of Jackie and Mickey! Kudos to both for some great Sunday morning reading.
Glad you enjoyed it Jerry!
I know, right? It’s fantastic.
Good to hear from ya Jerry!
Just looking at the MLS kits. NYCFC alternate…why does a Yankees-affiliated team have such a Mets-like jersey?
Whoa. It must be Snarky Sunday. You guys are seriously arguing about the d-backs pants being too similar to the umps’? The number of times this will be an issue in a game: 0. Don’t a bunch of teams wear black or dark blue jerseys…just like the umps? Now get back to arguing about serious issues like those idiotic pandering shirts.
The D-Back unis look like they should be worn by someone I give my Whopper order to. Pure shite.
Simple fix for the Diamondbacks: outlne the pants stripe, the numbers and the letters in teal (or turquoise…whatever’s on the other alts). Then I’d like it.
When I read the Real Madrid item in the ticker I thought, well that makes sense…they wear white so the bride would wear white. Then I saw the photos and she’s wearing a red jersey? Why not just wear your Barcelona one?
And let’s remind Phil that Oregon jumped the shark back in the diamondplate/Bellotti Bold days.
The bride’s wearing RM’s pink away shirt from last season; groom appears to be in that same season’s third shirt. But, that aside, definitely begs the question why they simply didn’t spring for the home option from pretty much any year.
You can see from the shot of his back in the second image in the article is that it’s a customized shirt w/ his own name and, presumably, a number meaningful to him. I’ve always thought it strange that, when spending $100+ on a team’s jersey, they put their own name on it instead of a favorite player’s. I guess that’s one way to avoid the heartache of a player leaving, but I think you could be forgiven for owning a Cristiano Ronaldo jersey five years from now, even if he’s no longer at the Bernabeu.
Wish I knew this yesterday so I could have said something in the comments for the MLS article…today through the 15th is MLS free preview time on DirecTV (probably on cable and other dish services as well). Enjoy el futbol gratis!
Coloured Referees in Soccer is a relatively new thing that first started in the EPL inaugural season in 92 before this referees the world over wore all black, and it seemed to be an unwritten rule that teams just didn’t wear black kits in soccer because of this , the only exception to this was when Scotland played internationals the ref would offer wear red so not to clash with Scotland’s dark navy kits, when the EPL adopted refs wearing green uniforms it wasn’t until I think 1994 when Man Utd wore the first ever black kit in English football history which created quite. Stir at the time!!
The game officials started going color-wacky worldwide in 1994 with the Uhlsport jerseys with the black squares on them. Yellow, blue, purple, and a white jersey that was worn only once – the USA-Colombia game. If you watch, the referee changes shirts around the 21st minute because he was mistaken for the USA denim shirts. MLS went a cut above when they gave referees teal jerseys in 1996, then the Italian refs started wearing highlighter yellow.
Nowadays, game officials are wearing every color known to man. The football refs in the UFL, field hockey officials, and European basketball refs. Wow.
Those new Diamondbacks unis must have been inspired by the maroon/burgundy blazers and blue/gray slacks worn by American League umpires from 1975 to 1995.
The Governor of Alaska was sporting a pretty gaudy Frankensweater of the state’s two college hockey teams last night:
The Robinson-Mantle photo, Wow! what a great shot and the colorization even brings more life to it. I love how understated it is, their backs are to us and there are no names on the back but is there anyone who doesn’t immediately know that is Jackie Robinson and Micky Mantle? You can just feel all the talent in that shot.
At first I wouldn’t picture them playing against each other, I picture them in different eras, by the time Mantle retired Jackie had been done for over 10 years. I always like pictures like this that connect the eras.
There is a picture on Google of Deacon Jones kicking an extra point in 1974 against the Bears with Joe Theismann holding. You picture Deacon playing for the Rams in the 60’s and Theismann throwing TD’s to The Fun Bunch in the 80’s, two totally different eras. But their careers did connect one season in 1974 in Washington.
“I wouldn’t picture them playing against each other”
You’d think not, especially since there was no interplague then, but they did meet during spring training, and, due to the excellence of both teams back then, actually met in FOUR World Series (1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956). There are legions of players who never get to a World Series (looking at you Ernie Banks), much less four — and these guys played in four together!
The Mick’s career (partially due to Jackie playing in the Negro Leagues) was longer (Jackie MLB 1947-1956; Mickey 1951-1968), but they only overlapped for seven years. Four of which had them playing against each other in the World Series.
I think the same thing when I see pictures of Dr J playing against Michael Jordan. I think of the Doc playing for the Nets in the ABA in the 70’s with the big afro and striped tube socks. I picture Jordan winning all those Championships with the Bulls with Steve Kerr, the guy who I used to sit next to in Soc 341 class at the University of Arizona. Dr J and Jordan did overlap careers from 84-87, but you think of them in different eras.
Horrendous Delaware 87ers (NBA D-League) uniforms Friday night. Look at the video and the back of the jerseys. Looks like a damn AAU team:
The Diamonbacks’ striped socks had better be argyle.
I think colleges do a much better job of outfitting their baseball teams than the MLB.