From our Late to the Party desk
On Thursday the always readable Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Gay served up this ode to the baseball uniforms of the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants.
This is not a World Series story about managers, clean-up hitters, shortstops or bullpens. It is not a baseball breakdown, an analysis, or a tribute to the civic merits of San Francisco or Detroit. This will not tell you who will win, the Giants or the Tigers. This is not a homage to the “Fall Classic,” a fussy term that should be retired from the sport, because it’s dated and precious, and smells like an mothballed pair of corduroys. Baseball is overly obsessed with its past, to the point that any discussion of it begins to feel like drinking a sarsaparilla under a 120-year-old oak tree.
This is not that. This is old, but this also new. Classic, but current. This is about the uniforms. The Giants and Tigers uniforms. Because they are close to perfect. The 2012 World Series is a Uniform Series.
We live in an era of terrible sports uniforms, Gay asserts. They’re, well, uniformly inferior to their predecessors, as he illustrates here:
Last Sunday, the New England Patriots wore their classic red “Pat the Patriot” uniforms in a game against the New York Jets. They were, embarrassingly, 300 million times better than their current ones. The modern, silvery Patriots uniform looks like something you’d wear working at an aerobics studio on Jupiter. It’s a mistake.
Not so with the Giants and Tiger kit, he adds.
The Giants and Tigers basically do it right. For the purpose of this I’m going to skip the road uniforms, though both San Francisco and Detroit possess fairly standard nonthreatening road uniforms, gray and subdued and accomplishing the three simple objectives of a road uniform, which are to A) tell you the city the player is from B) the name of the player and C) be a little boring and not call too much attention to itself (San Francisco actually has two gray roadies—one that spells out SAN FRANCISCO, the other with an SF on the front. Both are equally ho-hum.) A road uniform should not try to be cool. A road uniform should resemble the type of practical clothing an ordinary person brings on a business trip: dull, utilitarian, easy to clean when you spill an airplane salad on your khakis. Nothing more. Don’t go crazy. You are not home. Just get to the Marriott, eat a club sandwich and fall asleep watching “Seinfeld.”
(Sorry. Gay’s just too quotable.)
The Giants home uniform, on the other hand is “glorious.” And Detroit’s? “Almost perfect. No clutter.”
Just like Jason Gay’s prose.