Uniforms matter. When it comes to sports, they might be the only thing to which we’re actually loyal. Sports uniforms are packaging. But unlike any other packaging, if the product inside changes or degrades, we remain loyal. Players come and … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars when it comes to sports. The uniforms manner a lot Jerry Seinfeld famously said team loyalties, a kind of hard thing to justify me and you, I love the giants, but when you think about it, the giant I mean
You know what I mean that many of us it's different guys, never years different guys. Right teams will move from city the city, the players come and go. They traded, they retire. They leave the pre agency. Will you keep rooting for those colors in that logo and that uniform you're running for clothes when you get right down to the same, say I'm running heard after that? I want. My change is to be closed as not so bad, either really wrong without injury rerouting recently and the measure of this. According to Paul Lucas, the creator of Union Watch website devoted to the excessive study of athletics Aesthetics is this. I am a passionate York, Metz fan and I really really hate the New York Yankees. But if the entire Metz team, twenty five guys, is traded even up for the entire Yankees team. Twenty five guys today,
who do I route for tomorrow and to me the answer is obvious: it's no brainer I route for whoever is wearing the Mets uniform, no matter who, Is even if it's a bunch of guys who were wearing the Yankees uniform the day before, so the identities of the players are almost irrelevant. What we route for is the uniform, and that is an unusually strong form a brand loyalty, because if I like, say a certain brand of cereal. What's I like Cheerios, while I identify with the box and the logo and colors, and all that the package is fine, but I also presumably like the problems, and if I find the quality of the product has changed if it doesn't taste good anymore or if it's some aspect of it, if it doesn't stay crunchy in milk or whatever
I may give it one or two more tries based on mine, my brand loyalty, but eventually I will leave that brand. I will abandon it if I find that the quality is no longer there, but in sports, the content of the product and the quality of that content, meaning the players, is changing all the time. You can be really good one year really bad the next year. Your roster can turn over. So the content of the product is constantly in full but we stay loyal to whoever is wearing that uniform, and that is an unusually it's up, to my mind, is a unique form of Brandon. There's nothing else like it in our consumer landscape like Paul Luke my friend, Jesse Thorn, also obsesses, over baseball uniforms, although he it make a career of it. He has another job, I'm Jesse Thorn. I me owner of maximum find out org and the host of the NPR show both. There are certain things about a uniform that serve a purpose by being uniform, they have the players if I each other, they help
rally behind our team. They give us because by, but there are certain things on a uniform that aren't uniform things that are player can choose, and the number things that a player can choose are very, very small. I mean it was a big controversy when I was a kid when Kangaroo Fijian Year Show Balls in the outfield, during batting practice with his baseball, had on backwards It's a big controversy now, when a baseball player, where, his cap brim totally flat in what you might call the hip hop style. Supposed to curved kind of like without you yeah. Well, I mean they literally make a device that you can buy at the sport. Store or order via mail order. They will give the court quote the perfect curve to your brim, and I I mean I remember as a little eager obsessing over getting the brim of my pat to curve. Exactly right am, I was, the only one
we had Jesse Thorn Talk with Paul Lucas Emine watch any discover that Paul also zeros in on the subtle expressions of individuality on a baseball players uniform I'm always it's very alert for any glimpse of. Underside of players. Cap Bryn because, over the years, the color of that element, that's copy, underbred or the under visor has chain. When I was a kid they were green and they changed. For most teams and now they are mostly black and some fires will write something on the underground you were players. Do it now that they're black, because you have to use with a white or a silver sharpie back when they were gray, players, could just use any old ten and where is ripe unusual things there inspirational messages were the names of their children or whatever the case might be, and that always to me was an interesting sort of stealth area of uniform world with a universe as I like to call it The other thing I'm coming
if you like, that is their continuity in the universe, But when you get to baseball uniform aficionados like Paul and Jesse together in conversation, there is one area of the baseball uniform that they truly gig out about the intersect. Between the parent leg and the sock basically. The whole area below the knee, and it's the waste legislated regulated and really least a uniform part of the uniform, even though What teams have been historically named after the color of their socks? There is no rule governing the length of the pan. Whether or not you will actually see those, and that has really changed in the last generation and is changed particularly lot over, the last century or so are we small uniforms had essentially niggers and what he wherewith Nick see where stockings and that's what early baseball uniforms were and were the course of the twentyth century. Those knickers
started getting longer and longer and they started droopy a little lower and a little lower and they went to mid calf and then lower calf and then little lower. And now we have so many players who wear their pants all the way down to their shoetops like but he pajamas and and then you have a handful of players like say, Alex Rodriguez and this grand us into each of us as UK, who like to hike their pants up high, so their minority. But there is a faction of players who do that, but there's no uniformity to it and I think it a shame or even a tragedy that we ve got these players who, where the the pants, although it down with Shoetops, because when you cover up the soft your basically dishonourable baseball's Hungary heritage. So, let's break it down today, baseball pants are stretched polyester, they used to be Wall Flannel, so the pants but they have now. You can wear them kind of tighter loose, and you can wear your pants at a variety of different length. So,
They can go down all the way to the top of your shoes and in fact some players have gone so far as to have a strap that goes underneath their shoes to keep it he from showing any socket all you can wear your pants up sort of at the bottom of your calves, which shows a little bit Isaak. That's probably what most players do and they just kind of let him set there you can wear your pants up all the way over your calves at the top of your cabs, like they were, you know, sporting pants from the early part of the twentieth century and the like, they were Breeks or plus user fuss force, and if you wear your pants in that style, with the bottoms all the way up to your knees, you can either where solid, colored socks you can wear box with a stripe up the side. That's to stimulate a stirrup sock, or you can wear actual stirrup socks of these choices. Stirrups so the ultimate in baseball hooray for the die, hard old school fans. If you need,
help picturing a stirrup. There are basically two layers of soccer. There's a bottom layer, that's a normal old sock, but there is also an exterior sock lets a different color but bottom of that sock is just a strap. That goes underneath the arch of the players foot, the idea, behind stirrups goes back about a century. Baseball pants used to be just now There's any would wear stockings with them, but in the early is a baseball baseball, is a pretty rough tumble game players would often get spite, and there were some players like the Great Hall of fame or cop who would famously sharpen their spikes so that when they see it into second or third based. They would try to cut up the inferior and if you got, liked in the Shin you get caught your stockings and the fabric die as in those days were not color fast, and so, if you got spiked die from your stockings get in the wound and you could get blood poisoning were so was the thinking
I don't know if there are any documented cases of players who actually got by poisoning, and so someone got the idea, and we don't know who some in some great hero, who deserves a statue of the statutes of the great unknown stirrups innovator that if you wore on under sock, an extra layer of sock, you have an extra layer of protection, a sanitary layer of protection, and so this under sock, because known as a sanitary or a pair of such socks became known, a sanitarium or Sandy's, and then the over stocking that while they didn't want, you have to wear the stocking over the undersigned, because now you be wearing two pairs of softening issues wouldn't fit anymore and so eight decides to cut out the foot area of the over stocking and created little stirrup opening and that's how baseball stirrups were born and originally that opening with tiny was just enough for your foot to fit through
and almost immediately players began, pulling it and stretching at home and so more and more of an opening appeared and that exposed more and more of the sanitary under sock, which was usually white. So he started having this sort of interplay of color ever widening opening of the colored stirrup and the white under sock. By the nineteen sixty they were players like Frank Robinson of the Baltimore oriels, who were actually cutting the bottom part of the stir up the part that looped under your foot and adding more fabric. So that they could pull their stirrups even higher higher than the manufacturer had had intended disturbs may have had this functional origin. They quickly lost that and they just became incorporated into the visual language, a baseball, and I think for many people, myself included it's what we think of when we think of a baseball player. It's interesting to note that, in the pages of the New Yorker Weekly magazine,
They run a lot of cartoons that are a baseball theme and their cartoonist almost invariably depict baseball players wearing stirrups, even though most actual baseball players today do not wear stirrups. I played in kids, baseball Bali and I remember how official seeming and functional turn seem to be despite the fact that with contemporary sock technology. They are rendered essentially function, but is aims. The romances gone by the time you get to the big leagues. Yet in fact their arrive. I've asked air is. Why do you wear your pants down and the answer I often get is it's just much less work. You know if you eve pass any shoetops you don't it's lower maintenance? Essentially you don't have to worry about your socks. Staying up, you don't have to worry that your stirrups are both sort of at the exact same height or level. You don't have to
people looking and checking to make sure that their just so just like most of us don't want we walk around with you know, slacks or genes or whatever, with regular pants. If you wear your pants low, you really have to worry what's going on underneath them and so it's easier, and I understand that If there's a villain in the story of baseball Hungary, that role would be filled by George Hendrick, who played, cardinals and AIDS and some other teams in the seventies and eighties he's now, the first base coach of the Tampa Bay raised is the one that most often credited or blamed the most influential player in the move towards long pants, and he liked to wear his pants down toward his ankles which, by today's standards is pretty tame, but by the standards of the Iraqi played in was seen as radical. He showed very very little of his socks or stirrups, and some people thought it was weird Don T you didn't want dignified or whatever, but there are other players who thought it looked different and therefore
native and therefore cool. White, major league baseball players as socks style, do most admire at this point it's pretty slim Pickens in terms of Hungary Heroes nowadays, because there aren't many players who wear stirrups to begin with. Anne and even fewer who wear stirrups the way I like to see that, unlike the style, I like the best, I would say, is a pitcher named Josh Outline, which is a great name for baseball right outline here, is a pitcher he gets. He gets the players out. And he wears a real nineteen, seventy style of stirrups that I love a lot of other people. Don't let us so much but he's number one as far as I'm concerned, Red Johnson who's in outfielder e, where stirrups and not to shabby way. But the fact that I have to search my mental database to come up with three or four players. It's just not that rate in terms of stirrups. Now there are other players who do hike their pants
I just where solid color socks and and do so pretty nicely Curtis Grandison Matthew yields greatly uniform Stephen Strasbourg of the nationals. The young female pitcher does something great called browsing, which means he doesn't just hikers pants up, but he talks under the cuff in a way where it just sort of blouses out a little bit at the point where he talks it under instead of just munching them up. The way Alex Rodriguez does, for example, and that of a lost art, lousy. Jim tell me, who recently retired slugger, who played for many teams great great Blausser, all time placer, so there are lots of little elements here to appreciate them is absolutely no doubt that the final kind of this peace- includes saying tone a former slugger for the Cleveland, Indians, great glass, excellent, excellent, all time great blast,
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.