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Nationals use mannequin to keep uniforms correct

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I try to avoid “back in my day-ism” as much as possible because it’s simply not a good look on a person. Or a logical approach. Stuff changes, Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and a default assumption that it’s always for the worse blinds you to the better. Be open to the possibility that new things can be good before reflexively, and inaccurately, assuming that everything was perfect for a two week period when you were 12 or 22 or whatever.

One has to work at this, however, and we all have areas in which we need to work harder. A particularly tough topic for me is uniforms.

I’m a classicist when it comes to baseball livery. Yes, there are new styles and patterns that I can appreciate once I work through my predispositions, but I have to work and since no one likes to work I tend to default to the basics: clean white home uniforms, basic gray road uniforms and a minimum of solid-colored alternate tops which, frankly, only the Oakland A’s tend to do particularly well. My list of best uniforms skew sharply traditional: I think the Dodgers, Tigers and Yankees — the teams whose uniforms have changed the least over the ages — tend to look better than most teams and always have.

The Nationals are interesting on this score because, while a newer team, I think their basic uniforms are actually pretty sweet. They have a number of alternates for which I don’t much care, but the basic home whites — especially since they went to the curly-W in 2011 — and basic grays look like they could’ve been lifted from 1960 or 1940 and are tastefully timeless.

They, like a lot of other teams, have gone a bit crazy with spring training duds, however: they have three caps, three jerseys and two different pairs of spring training pants, giving them 18 possible uniform combinations. That’s gotta be confusing for players, but as ESPN’s Eddie Matz reports, the Nats have found a way to deal with it — a mannequin that sits inside the clubhouse every day to show the players what to wear:

One of the Nationals’ clubhouse attendants, inspired by a 2015 image of mannequins modeling the Arizona Diamondbacks’ new uniforms, decided a dummy was the smart move. So in the cold of winter, as staffers packed up a tractor-trailer in preparation for the club’s annual migration to Florida, they added a mannequin on loan from the team store in Washington.

As the story notes, no one could find any evidence of a team using a mannequin to tell players what they’re supposed to wear each day, to the Nats are being novel here. Well, mostly novel:

Starter Jeremy Hellickson says that when he was in Tampa, manager Joe Maddon did have a mannequin in the locker room, but not for business purposes.

Like I said at the beginning: we need to be open to new things. Let us not judge, OK?

 

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
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In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.