SportsNation Blog Archives Seattle Mariners
Jerry Seinfeld famously said that because of the way players constantly change teams and teams occasionally change cities, sports fans are actually rooting for clothes.
"You are standing and cheering and yelling for your clothes to beat the clothes from another city," he said. "Fans will be so in love with a player, but if he goes to another team, they boo him. This is the same human being in a different shirt, but they hate him now. 'Booo!!! It's a different shirt! Booo!!!!'"
Well, he's right about that. We do root for clothes. And against clothes. As well we should. If Yankees pinstripes or red socks or Dodger blue or, worst of all, those powder blue alternate Royals tops don't get your blood boiling, then you're not a true fan.
Which is why we're holding our Battle of the Uniforms. As Seinfeld said, what is most important is not the player but what the player is wearing. And no, we're not just talking about Kevin Youkilis, but that's a good example.
It's the uniform that is most important. After all, your team may stink. It may not have had a winning record in 20 years. It may not have reached the postseason in your lifetime. It may not have reached the World Series in your grandparents' lifetimes. But chances are your closet is still overflowing with your team's replica jerseys that you proudly wear to the ballpark, the office or the nightclub.
We can look at the standings and know which teams are on top, but which teams have the best uniforms? Which designs have stood the test of time, and which are as dated as the grunge look? Do you prefer the classic look of Detroit's old English "D" on the chest and the Yankees pinstripes? Or do you appreciate the South Beach neon look of the Marlins' jerseys? Should the bill of a cap be as profoundly curved as Christina Hendricks or as flat as the Marlins' offense? Should socks be visible to midcalf, to the knee, or tucked under baggy pants legs?
All this is for you to decide. We've seeded all 30 teams based on their standard home and road uniforms and placed them in a bracket. Throughout the week, you'll have new matchups to vote on each day until only one uniform is left standing. We'll announce the winner next Monday.
Until then, we'll also provide stories and lists about such things as what caused the god-awful '70s look, the rules for when and how to wear replica jerseys, and the good, the bad and the ugly of uniforms throughout the decades.
So check out the bracket. Read our style analysis. Vote for your favorite uniforms. Vote against the ones you hate. And keep checking back each day to see which teams advance and who ultimately tops your best-dressed list.
One request: We know people can get pretty passionate about uniforms, but please keep things civil. If the fashion police can't maintain order, we may have to call in the security in those Padres camouflage jerseys.
Note: Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals have first-round byes; first-round polls close at
9 a.m. Tuesday, and the next round begins shortly thereafter.
Mobile users: To vote, click here.
Jim Caple bracket: American League
(2) Yankees vs. (15) Indians
With one of sports' greatest logos (the Tiffany-designed NY) pitted against one of the worst (Chief Wahoo), this battle should be as lopsided as the trade that sent Graig Nettles from Cleveland to New York.
(3) White Sox vs. (14) Rangers
With that great SOX design across the chest, this should be a much more favorable matchup for Robin Ventura against Texas than when he charged Nolan Ryan.
(4) Astros vs. (13) Orioles
The Orioles would stand a much better chance if this were the late 1970s and early '80s when their white-front cap style was in fashion and the Astros were wearing rainbows.
(5) Royals vs. (12) Rays
K.C. should win this matchup unless the Royals wear their powder blue alternate tops or Joe Maddon comes up with another great road-inspired costume theme for his players to wear.
(6) Red Sox vs. (11) Mariners
Have to favor the old classic Red Sox look in this matchup, unless Seattle's King Felix shows up wearing his crown and velvet robe.
(7) Blue Jays vs. (10) Athletics
The Jays should win this matchup. Then again, the Jays should look a lot better in their uniforms this year than they have so far. But never underestimate the power of an elephant.
(8) Twins vs. (9) Angels
In the logo battle between TC and the haloed A, the Twin Cities of Minnesota get a slight edge over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Paul Lukas bracket: National League
(2) Cubs vs. (15) Padres
A gorgeous, time-tested look versus a generic slate of blandness. Feels like a mismatch, right? But hey, upsets are always possible.
(3) Phillies vs. (14) Diamondbacks
Old-school versus new-school: The Phillies have had only two different uni templates since 1950; the Diamondbacks had two different uni templates within their first decade of existence.
(4) Pirates vs. (13) Marlins
Let's say you're a baseball player, and you can be drafted by the Pirates or the Marlins. Either way, you're gonna lose a lot of games. But wouldn't you rather lose them in that nice Pirates uni?
(5) Giants vs. (12) Rockies
Fun fact: The Rockies are the only MLB team that currently wears purple. But it may take more than that to defeat the classic look of the defending World Series champs.
(6) Dodgers vs. (11) Brewers
Say this much for the Brewers: They sure have a lot of uniforms (home, road, home alternate, road alternate, throwback, Spanish, Polish, Negro League, etc.). But does quantity equal quality?
(7) Mets vs. (10) Nationals
Granted, any uniform looks better when Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper is wearing it. But the Mets' look still feels more natural, while the Nats' feels forced.
(8) Braves vs. (9) Reds
Subtlest uni change of this season: The Braves changed the belt tunnel piping on their alternate road pants from red to blue. Will that garner any additional votes?
Battle of the Uniforms seedings
Branch Rickey always said it was better to trade a player a year early than a year late -- you might miss out on one more great season from said player, but at least his trade value would still be pretty high. The Mariners' trade of Ichiro Suzuki to the Yankees may be an example of this -- perhaps the finest pure hitter in Mariners history netted Seattle only two minor league pitchers. That might be commensurate with his current value, as he's a shadow of the player he used to be, but it's one more strange sight in a night that had Ichiro wearing an "NY" logo on his cap.
Ichiro is hitting only .261 this season with an OBP below .300 and 16 stolen bases.
Haul for the Mariners?
Seattle will receive reliever D.J. Mitchell and minor league right-hander Danny Farquhar in the Ichiro Suzuki deal.
Though the trade was a surprise, it's easy to see why the Yankees picked Ichiro up -- their outfield is hurting with Brett Gardner out for the remainder of the season.
Philip Humber's stock rose just a bit on Saturday after he threw the 21st perfect game in major league history. OK, it was against the Mariners, but that doesn't make it less impressive -- just more likely. We've seen nine perfect games thrown in the last three decades, after just 12 in the rest of baseball's history. Is Humber's perfecto a sign of the times?
Somewhere under this pile of White Sox is Philip Humber, who either accomplished something incredibly rare or something that's about to get slightly less rare.
The Mariners are a less than impressive offense, but it still takes a great deal of skill (and luck) to completely shut down an MLB team.
Humber's now something of a household name -- he's in a super-elite club with fewer members than there have been U.S. presidents. Did you know his name before Saturday?
Opening Day -- well, Opening Night, really, and we technically already had one of those in Japan, but who's counting? -- is finally here, as the Cardinals will take on the Marlins tonight in the first stateside regular-season MLB game. It's bound to be an exciting season with so many players having changed teams, but has the power structure been altered significantly?
World Series repeat?
The Cardinals prevailed over the Rangers in the 2011 World Series, but St. Louis lost its biggest gun this past offseason ...
... which is a pretty big loss, considering he might be one of the best players of all time.
Odd one out?
The Red Sox missed the playoffs last season after an epic September collapse. Will they be on the outside looking in once again?
Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols were probably the two biggest additions to teams in the American League, meaning the balance of power could shift.
Likewise, the addition of Jose Reyes to the Marlins could give the team a huge upgrade -- offensively with new third baseman Hanley Ramirez, and defensively at shortstop.
We can understand if you don't want to take the time to grade your tech-support help on the other end of the telephone, but when we're talking about the dollars and emotion you've invested in sports, we think it's worth the effort. It's time for ESPN The Magazine's Ultimate Standings, in which SportsNation grades organizations on everything from ticket prices and stadium experience to the talent on the field, court or rink. Which team will end up on top this year? It depends on what you say.
Take part in the 2011 MLB survey
2010 MLB Ultimate Standings
1. Los Angeles Angels (Overall: No. 3)
2. Tampa Bay Rays (Overall: No. 6)
3. Colorado Rockies (Overall: No. 13)
4. Minnesota Twins (Overall: No. 14)
5. Atlanta Braves (Overall: No. 15)
Take part in the 2011 NFL survey
2010 NFL Ultimate Standings
1. New Orleans Saints (Overall: No. 1)
2. Indianapolis Colts (Overall: No. 4)
3. Green Bay Packers (Overall: No. 9)
4. Arizona Cardinals (Overall: No. 19)
5. Baltimore Ravens (Overall: No. 20)
Take part in the 2011 NBA survey
2010 NBA Ultimate Standings
1. Orlando Magic (Overall: No. 2)
2. San Antonio Spurs (Overall: No. 7)
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (Overall: No. 10)
4. Dallas Mavericks (Overall: No. 24)
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (Overall: No. 25)
Take part in the 2011 NHL survey
2010 NHL Ultimate Standings
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (Overall: No. 5)
2. Detroit Red Wings (Overall: No. 8)
3. Washington Capitals (Overall: No. 11)
4. San Jose Sharks (Overall: No. 12)
5. Chicago Blackhawks (Overall: No. 16)