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…
— 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.