The Best: I angered fellow HBTer Drew Silva with my dissing of the Cardinals’ powder blues earlier today. I have this feeling I’m going to step in it with some Astros fans now too. But here goes:
I know I’m supposed to be all hip and say I liked the crazy 70s-80s getup the best, but despite the fact that I am steeped in irony appreciation, they’re not my favorites. I hate white shoes on baseball players. I don’t like the numbers on the pants. There are all kinds of things wrong with that ensemble separate and apart from the rainbow design. My favorties: the late 60s-early 70s shooting star unis. Those things are just as pleasing as can be. Honorable mention: the Colt .45s gun uniforms. Which, if introduced today, would create a political crisis which would no doubt carry over into presidential campaigns and Supreme Court confirmation hearings. What a drag the modern era is, no?
Worst: Even if the day-glos weren’t as great as everyone now ironically says they were, the 1994-99 overreactions were far worse. Like the Brewers, they looked like a committee put them together. The current ones are better, but not that much better, especially when they wear the brick red batting practice jerseys. Just uninspired and blah. And a Texas team should not wear pinstripes any more than a city slicker should wear a Stetson.
Isn’t there a middle ground between gonzo rainbows and corporate calculation? I’d like to think Houston could find it. Oh, and one other thing: the best thing ever about those day-glos was the cap with the block H over the star
. That has to return, even in a more muted color scheme.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉