As my beautiful wife can attest, I often have random thoughts going through my head that make me wonder who’s in charge or the thought process behind certain decisions.
MLB Players’ Weekend
For several seasons, Major League Baseball has held a Players’ Weekend. Each year, teams step onto the field with unique uniforms featuring players’ nicknames.
While I haven’t always agreed with the designs, at least there were designs and some thought into them.
Whoever was responsible for the “design” part of Players’ Weekend Aug. 23-25 must have been on vacation when the assignment was due.
Calling it a disaster would be an insult to disasters everywhere.
Phoning it in would insulting to people who really do phone it in.
In other words, there was no effort.
This year’s “designs” were this: Each home team wore a plain white uniform with white letters and numbers. Each road team wore a black uniform bearing black letters and numbers.
I’m not making that up. No colors to be seen anywhere.
No Cubs blue or Cardinals red to be seen anywhere, except for rogue players who opted to wear a team-colored cap.
The whole idea makes about as much visual sense as high school basketball teams wearing the jerseys with numbers the same color as the jersey.
At least the National Federation of State High School Associations knows that isn’t a good look. Beginning with the 2024-2025 season — allowing schools time to buy and replace jerseys — that won’t be allowed.
I get it that Players Weekend is only a few games, but who thought it was a good idea to take the elements that identify teams and players — namely their team colors and numbers — and render them virtually invisible?
Jersey of the Month Club
In professional sports leagues, it used to be easy to tell who was the home team and which team was away if you were watching a game on TV.
With the exception of the Los Angeles Lakers, who for years wore gold uniforms for home games, the home team always wore white and the visiting team wore dark jerseys.
When the shoe company — I refuse to name the brand or wear their shoes — took over licensing NBA uniforms, all of a sudden every team had four, five or even six different uniforms.
There’s certainly logic for having some different options, particularly if a team is embarking on a long road trip or an extended home stand.
The problem is that home and away designations went away, replaced by such terms as “association,” “icon” and “earned” to name a few.
Makes perfect sense to me — not.
The other problem is without specific home and road designations, more games feature both teams wearing jarring, dark colored jerseys.
The only thing that would be worse is for one team not to get the memo and trot out its white jerseys while the home team is also wearing white.
I get it; black-and-white TV is a thing of the past. I’m not making that argument at all.
There’s nothing like trying to watch a game where one team is wearing red and the other team is wearing black. Red-versus-orange, blue-versus-black and green-versus-purple are some of the combinations that have shown up on the court.
I’m calling a technical foul on the NBA, the franchises and the shoe company for allowing this happen.
Can you say cash grab?
My days of buying uniforms are long past, but the last thing I want is for some corporate logo to be on the front of a jersey I’m paying good money for.
Once you let the genie out of the bottle, you can’t put it back.
One ad leads to another, and then another, and then another.
That’s when you end up having uniforms looking like those found in the WNBA, MLS and other leagues that allow such advertising.
In those leagues, individual team identities are at best, relegated to a small badge in the front chest area, or nowhere to be found at all.
At some point, those leagues decided to eschew individual team identifies for the almighty dollar.
Once one league does it, another league will follow suit.
When the same unmentioned shoe company takes over producing Major League Baseball uniforms next year, its logo will be slapped on the front of the jersey, right there with the name or city name. It will be the first time the manufacturer’s label won’t be on the sleeve.
It’s the first step to other horrors.
Instead of the Chicago Cubs or New York Yankees, one day teams will be identified like this — insert subject to change every two or three years sponsor name here — Cubs — brought to you by insert subject to change every two or three years sponsor name here.
At the end of the day, it’s just a uniform, but at the end of the day, it’s still a uniform.