Confession time. I played little league baseball in Parkersburg, West Virginia for a team sponsored by a business called “Doug’s Family Hairstyling.” All of the other teams were sponsored by sporting goods stores or hardware stores or at least something that sounded cool and manly. Not us! We were probably the worst team in the league and we had a pansy name. Oh, and we had all the fat kids on our team. And what did these talentless, pansy-named fat kids wear? Green and gold, that’s what. It was a nightmare on top of a nightmare on top of a nightmare. And have I mentioned that gold does not flatter my flesh tones?
The point is this: I may have hated the A’s traditional green and gold uniforms before 1985, but I know I hated them afterward, and I still hate them to this very day. I simply can’t abide the combination at all no matter who’s wearing it. My failure to develop a man crush on the Billy Beane A’s like so many of my sabermetric friends has a lot to do with the green and gold. And don’t even get me started on the white shoes, which baseball teams should never ever, ever wear, but the A’s still do for some reason.
With all of that out of the way, you can probably tell which direction this is going.
The Best: The blue elephants were kind of different, but ultimately I’ll go with the simple blue A on white, which they wore for nearly their entire existence in Philadelphia. A couple of red A’s thrown in, and yes, those elephants for a couple of years, but when Connie Mack was in charge they kept that blue A, and I like it.
The Worst: This 1973 look is pretty much exactly what Doug’s Family Hairstyling looked like. Except we didn’t have handlebar mustaches. And we had jellyroll guts and looked perpetually over-matched. Really, though. any look from the 60s through 1986 is fairly heinous. The more recent vintage Athletics teams have toned it down a whole lot, but I still see it. Like it was burned into my retinas, forever distorting my sight.
Assessment: I once thought that if I was ever a professional baseball player and I got traded to the A’s, that I’d simply retire than wear that getup. I know now that such a stance was a bit immature. With age and wisdom, I know better now. I’d simply demand a trade.
The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.
For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:
A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:
And they go on and on.
How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
Gallardo has been on the market so long because he has a first round pick tied to him due to his declining the Rangers’ qualifying offer. The Orioles would have to forfeit the 14th overall pick in order to sign him. That has been too steep a price to pay for them all winter, but as we’re mere days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it’s likely that Gallardo’s price has dropped enough to make it worth their while.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons — and had a career-low 3.42 ERA in 2015 — but his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012, suggesting that trouble could be on the horizon.
If the O’s do burn their pick to get Gallardo, it might make sense for them to go all-in with another free agent like Dexter Fowler, given that they’d not have to give up anything else to do it.
First baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland and the Rangers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.7 million deal.
Moreland requested $6 million and the Rangers countered at $4.675 million, so the two sides settled on the player-friendly side of the midpoint.
Moreland bounced back from an injury wrecked 2014 season to have a career-year in 2015, hitting .278 with 23 homers and an .812 OPS in 132 games. Arbitration eligible for the final time at age 30, he’s set to be a free agent next offseason.
We’ve posted frequently on the topic of the old Tiger Stadium site. If you’ve kept up with it you know that the site, nearly overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash before being rescued by a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew, is now being slated for redevelopment by the Detroit Police Athletic League.
The PAL is committed to keeping a baseball field as part of the development, but they are also, quite unfortunately, committed to putting artificial turf down over the bit of Earth where baseball legends once walked and ran.
Backlash to the plan has begun, however. Not just from people like me or the Navin Field Grounds Crew, who are opposed to fake grass, but to an actual donor to the Detroit Police Athletic League:
With an annual contribution of $50,000 to Detroit PAL’s programs, the Lear Corporation has been a major benefactor of the nonprofit for years. But in light of PAL’s controversial plan to redevelop the Tiger Stadium site with artificial turf, Lear’s CEO is speaking out.
Matthew Simoncini says that Lear is withdrawing its financial support of PAL for its mishandling of this delicate issue.
“I believe the [PAL] plan is severely flawed [and] a terrible use of resources,” says Simoncini. “[It] does not preserve this site and provides [an] unsafe playing surface for the children,”
I’m guessing $50,000 is not the sort of money that will seriously hinder a real estate redevelopment plan, but it’s good to hear someone with a stake in all of this voting with their wallet. Here’s hoping more do and that, eventually, PAL understands that there are some things more important than saving some money at the front end of a project.