Special to Page 2
Uni Watch doesn't know if there was something in the water, if the stars were in some sort of bizarre alignment, or if Bud Selig's toupee was just on crooked. But something clearly was amiss on April 10th, a day that probably set some kind of record for uni-related weirdness and set the tone for several other oddities over the course of the ensuing week.
The peculiarities began at Yankee Stadium, where Miguel Tejada, who normally wears uniform No. 10, scored on a head-first slide and emerged with the "1" partially detached from his jersey. He removed the loose numeral in the dugout and then played the rest of the game as No. 0.
"There's actually only a small amount of thread and adhesive holding the numbers on," says reader Joe Hilseberg, who brought Tejada's temporary renumbering to Uni Watch's attention and used to work in the Baltimore shop that does the stitching for the Orioles and Ravens. "Plus they're subjected to daily laundering in industrial-strength washers, so I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often."
Meanwhile, over in Houston, Craig Biggio spent the afternoon wearing a "Houston" jersey against the Reds, while his teammates were all wearing "Astros" jerseys. To hear Biggio tell it, he wasn't even aware of the snafu until the following day, when some reporters mentioned it to him. (For the improbable details, scroll down to the second item on this page.)
The trifecta came in San Francisco, where the Rockies were wearing, well, not exactly the wrong jerseys -- more like a cry for help. Uni Watch, ever detail-obsessive, is particularly amused (read: horrified) by the purple straps on J.D. Closser's shin guards. Can clown suits be far behind?
Speaking of which, down in Atlanta, the Braves were unveiling their first-ever alternate jerseys -- woof! Memo to Bobby Cox, who last year said he'd "rather wear pink" than be forced to wear a gray dugout jacket: Be careful what you wish for.
The next day, the Red Sox had their home opener and wore their gold-accented championship jerseys for the occasion. Uni Watch had previously questioned the propriety of a one-day uniform, but it wasn't clear until game day that the jerseys were even more specialized than that: The Sox only wore the gilded garb for the pregame ring ceremony, and then switched to their regular jerseys (with a one-day championship sleeve patch) for the game. So it has come to this: It's not enough to have home jerseys, road jerseys, batting practice jerseys, alternate jerseys, throwback jerseys, futuristic jerseys, and home run derby jerseys -- now we need pregame World Series ring ceremony jerseys too. What's next -- the postgame interview jersey?
The uni gremlins were at work again the following day, April 12th, when Reds starter Aaron Harang took the mound in St. Louis with "CNCINNATI" on his jersey. Reader Patrick Hyde reports that Fox announcer Joe Buck commemorated the occasion by saying, "There's no 'I' in 'team,' and apparently not on Harang's uniform either." Harang, who switched to a properly spelled uni for the third inning, later said he'd apparently been wearing the defective jersey for three days, but nobody had noticed the typo because it had been hidden under his dugout jacket.