The Best: The Blue Jays came out of the gate in 1977 with a bird’s head smack dab in the center of the jersey. And you know what? I liked it! No, it wasn’t totally sharp in an absolute sense, but it’s certainly better than anything they’ve worn since. It has character, and it’s pretty unmistakable. And I liked their old powder blues too. The newer teams that came up in the age of powder blues tend to look pretty good in them. Yes, I know they’ve brought them back as an alternate, but they should be a road jersey. The gray roadies still look wrong to me, even after all these years.
The Worst: I hated the caps with the big maple leaf they wore in the Roger Clemens era, but I really hate the “Jays” lettering on the current duds, especially the black alternates. Like so many teams searching for a sartorial identity, the Blue Jays have settled on something that is simply generic. If you were making a movie about baseball and couldn’t get the rights to use real major league teams, you’d come up with something that looks a lot like what they wear these days.
Assessment: If they’re not going to embrace the big Jay head in the middle of a pullover shirt, they should at least try to do something memorable and maybe even a little audacious. What they have right now is so blah.
A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.
The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:
- Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
- Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
- Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
- Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.
As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.
The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.
La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.
Do you miss David Ross? I miss David Ross. The season hasn’t even started yet and I miss David Ross. There’s something comforting about having a likable graybeard catcher in the game with bonus points for being bald. His loss will be felt.
But while we won’t have David Ross in baseball all this year — at least on the field; he’s a special assistant with the Cubs — we’ll still have David Ross someplace:
Johnny Damon did “Celebrity Apprentice” — Trump fired him, sadly — but we’ve never had a ballplayer on “Dancing With The Stars.” There have been several football players and some Olympians, but no baseball guys. Which makes some amount of sense as, outside of the middle infielders and first basemen, footwork isn’t necessarily the most important tool.
Catchers are particularly plodding for athletes, so good luck, David. Unless you have some moves you haven’t flashed in the past, you’ll probably need it.