Monday, April 14, 2003

Off Day Retinal Healing

The Boston Red Sox are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports, tracing their roots back to the very beginnings of Major League Baseball. The Sox actually won the very first World Series ever, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5 games to 3 (the series was best of 9) in 1903. Fenway Park, the Sox home yard, was built in 1912, and is a monument to baseball history, up to and including the seats that were designed to fit the average American of that era. Everything about the Sox entire history screams old-line, conservative and traditional. Everything, that is, except their new Sunday uniforms.

Excepting a notably misguided period in the mid-70s, the Sox' uniforms have been classic and dignified. I'd put the home whites with subtle red piping and pseudo-Olde English lettering up against any uniform in sports, and the road grays, while a bit on the drab side, reflect the stoic, subdued nature of New Englanders from Woonsocket to Bangor. Imagine the surprise of Red Sox Nation then, when the home nine announced that the team would be following in the marketing-driven footsteps of so many other professional clubs and adopting special Sunday-only home togs.

The Sox had toyed with a short-lived alternate cap a few seasons back, coming out in white lids with blue bills that sent ESPN's Chris Berman (and much of the adult male baseball-loving population) into paroxysms of laughter and derision. I actually own a green cap that's worn every St. Patrick's Day, so I'm not immune to a little fun-loving alteration to the roster of Soxwear. I even understand the need to open up new revenue streams, especially given Fenway's limited seating (and in turn, revenue generating) capacity, and am not categorically opposed to the idea of an alternate jersey - I'm just opposed to the jersey that was chosen.

How do these jerseys suck? Let me count the ways. Okay, there's really only one way - it's the color, a high-octane nod to extreme fashion, a blazing, retina-searing fuchsia that might be appropriate on an Arena football team, but certainly looks out of place on one of sports' most fabled franchises. If the Devil Rays wore these uniforms it would be silly, but less offensive. It's as hideous as those neon green, yellow, and orange Yankee caps that every Eminem wannabe south of the Bronx sports - and at least the Yankees themselves would never deviate from their classic pinstripes and road grays, which is maybe the only nice thing I'll ever say about that franchise.

A humble suggestion, then. If we must have an alternate jersey, let's look for a nobler shade - perhaps the navy blue that makes the caps such a classic. Not black, not teal, and not fuchsia, dammit. In the name of decorum and dignity, drop-ship all the existing red jerseys to the Saddam Fedayeen - they'll make excellent targeting mechanisms - and be done with them in Boston. Thank you for your time.

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