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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?

 

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.