Russell Martin, Nomar Garciaparra, the 2006 Dodgers and tequila shots

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Jeff Blair of Sportsnet writes about how Russell Martin will fit in as a team leader in Toronto. As part of that, he goes back to Martin’s 2006 debut with the Dodgers and how the veterans on that team dealt with losing streaks:

They had lost five games in a row and called up Martin to make his major-league debut going into a Cinco de Mayo tilt at Petco Park against the San Diego Padres, and a friend of Garciaparra’s had given him a bottle of tequila. So Garciaparra put two and two together and figured the team should do shots in order to break the losing streak. Martin, 23 and on the verge of going 2-for-4 in what would be the first of 121 games in his rookie season, sat there with a bemused expression and looked up as Josh Rawitch — now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but back then the Dodgers’ public relations director — sidled over and said, “Don’t worry. It’s not like this happens every day.”

I want to believe that’s true, but memories may be weird. Martin’s May 5, 2006 debut was actually in Los Angeles against the Brewers — the Padres had actually been in L.A. just before, bringing that losing streak to five games — so I assume it was a postgame tequila party, not the pregame shots this anecdote implies.

All of that said — and with all of my past skepticism about veteran leadership and it often being oversold — I do think Martin will be a nice addition to a Blue Jays team that has often seemed rudderless. Even if he doesn’t make everyone do tequila shots.

The Players’ Weekend uniforms are terrible

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The Yankees and the Dodgers have a storied World Series history, having met in the Fall Classic 11 times. Part of what made those falls so classic was the livery worn by each club.

The Yankees’ uniforms have gone unchanged since 1936. The Dodgers, though changing cities in 1958, have had the same basic, classic look with only minor derivations for almost as long. You can’t even say the names of these teams without picturing pinstripes, those red Dodgers numbers, both teams’ clean road grays, the Yankees navy and the Dodgers’ Dodger blue.

They looked like a couple of expansion teams last night however, at least sartorially speaking.

As you probably know it’s Players’ Weekend this weekend, and teams all over the league wore either all black or all white with player-chosen nicknames on the back. We’ve had the nicknames for a couple of years now and that’s fine, but the black and white combo is new. It doesn’t look great, frankly. I riffed on that on Twitter yesterday a good bit. But beyond my mere distaste for the ensembles, they present a pretty problematic palette, too.

For one thing the guys in black blend in with the umpires. Quick, look at these infields and tell me who’s playing and who’s officiating:

The white batting helmets look especially bad:

But some guys — like Enrique Hernandez of the Dodgers, realized that pine tar makes the white helmets look super special:

There was also a general issue with the white-on-white uniforms in that it’s rather hard to read the names and the numbers on the backs of the jerseys. This was especially true during the Cubs-Nationals game in the afternoon sunlight. You’ll note this as a much bigger problem on Sunday. It’s all rather ironic, of course, that the players have been given the right to put fun, quirky nicknames on the backs of their jerseys but no one can really see them.

The SNY booth was reading many people’s minds last night, noting how much Mad Magazine “Spy vs. Spy” energy this is throwing off:

I’ll also note that if you’re flipping between games or looking at highlights on social media it’s super hard to even tell which team is which — and even what game’s highlights you’re seeing — just by looking which, you know, is sort of the point of having uniforms in the first place.

I’m glad the players have a weekend in which they’re allowed to wear what they want. I just wish they’d wear something better.