Category Archives: Custom Softball Jerseys

Lakers News: Robert Horry, Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels Attend 2020 California Strong Celebrity Softball Game

Fresh off sweeping a two-game road trip, Los Angeles Lakers teammates Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels were on hand at Eddy D. Field Baseball Stadium for the 2020 California Strong Celebrity Softball Game.

So too were former Lakers Matt Barnes and Robert Horry, along with Los Angeles Dodgers All-Stars Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson, among other professional athletes and celebrities. They all made the trip to Pepperdine University in support of California Strong.

It’s the brainchild of Milwaukee Brewers teammates Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun, Cincinnati Reds infielder Mike Moustakas and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff. They were on a group text in 2018 when wildfires set Southern California ablaze.

Their homes were spared, but the group nonetheless was determined to assist those who weren’t as fortunate. The nonprofit organization has raised over $3 million to give back to Californians impacted by wildfires and the mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.

“The community has given so much to the athlete,” Horry told LakersNation.com of the importance for professional athletes to use their platform.

“The community is the one that buys the jerseys, the community is the reason the TV contracts are what they are and the reason the athletes can get paid what they get paid. So if you forget them, they should forget you. You can’t do that.”

Horry had a highlight-worthy catch in center field when he caught a fly ball that deflected off his teammate’s glove. The play supported Horry’s confidence that baseball skills from his childhood days were still present.

Cook and Daniels mingled with fellow participants and signed autographs throughout the day. “I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Cook said of attending. “It’s a great cause they’ve got going on. To have this kind of turnout is amazing.”

When asked which player from the current Lakers roster they would pick to hit a home run, Horry and Cook both unsurprisingly named LeBron James. However, Cook added a second selection in Dwight Howard.

This year’s event didn’t come under the same cloud of disaster just having struck, but those who have been impacted in the past were hardly forgotten. Checks were presented to two families that experienced loss in wildfires, and the owner of Borderline Bar and Grill.

All-Star Celebrity Softball game rosters set, uniforms unveiled

Rosters have been announced for the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game this weekend at Progressive Field, along with the uniforms the teams will wear in the game themed “Cleveland vs. the World.”

Also, multi-platinum recording artist Anuel AA and hip-hop performer Quavo have been added to the game. Participants were announced last week for the game, which is Sunday, July 7, but team rosters were revealed today.

Cleveland

• Allie LaForce, Turner Sports broadcaster

• Carlos Baerga, three-time All-Star

• Dr. Oz, television host

• Drew Carey, comedian

• Jim Thome, Hall of Famer

• Joe Thomas, former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman

• J.R. Smith, Cleveland Cavalier

• Kenny Lofton, six-time All-Star

• Machine Gun Kelly, musician/actor

• Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, WWE superstar

• Quavo, member of Migos, rapper/producer

• Simone Biles, Olympic gold medalist

• Stephanie Beatriz, actress, “Brooklyn 99”

• Stipe Miocic, MMA fighter

• Travis Hafner, former Cleveland Indian

• Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Cleveland Heights High graduate

The world

• Anthony Mackie, actor, “Avengers”

• Anuel AA, Reggaeton recording artist

• Colton Underwood, former NFL player and television personality

• Bernie Williams, World Series champion who played 16 years with the New York Yankees

• Daddy Yankee, Reggaeton recording artist

• Dascha Polanco, actress, “Orange is the New Black”

• Jamie Foxx, Academy Award-winning actor

• Jennie Finch, softball Olympian

• Jerry Lorenzo, fashion/sneaker designer

• Johnny Bananas, MTV Challenge

• Max Greenfield, actor, “New Girl”

• Priah Ferguson, actress, “Stranger Things”

• Quincy, actor, “Star”

• Ryan Howard, who played 13 years with the Phillies and won a World Series title

• Scott Rogowsky, comedian and DAZN host

Gates open at 3 p.m. with first pitch scheduled at 5 p.m. at Progressive Field.

Chris Rose and Kevin Millar, co-hosts of MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk,” are emcees.

The softball game precedes the All-Star Futures Game and includes performances by Welshly Arms and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.

UCLA softball star Rachel Garcia named Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year

There are few collegiate athletes with resumes as long as Rachel Garcia’s, and UCLA’s star pitcher added yet another trophy to her collection Monday night.

At the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Show in Los Angeles, Garcia won the Honda Cup, which the CWSA presents annually to the top female collegiate athlete.

The accolade is one of many she picked up while leading the Bruins to their first Women’s College World Series title since 2010.

The redshirt junior was also named the USA Softball collegiate player of the year for the second time, National Fastpitch Coaches Association pitcher of the year, ESPNW national player of the year and Most Outstanding Player at the WCWS. This is the second year Garcia has been nominated for the Honda Cup after being selected as the Honda Sport Award winner among softball players last season.

“I’m super excited and super humbled and grateful to be a part of this for the second year in a row,” she told USA TODAY Sports. “I also have to thank my coaches, my teammates and my friends and family (for) the unconditional love and support that they give me because without them, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”

With impressive stats on the mound and at the plate, Garcia became the first player to earn Pac-12 player and pitcher of the year honors in the same season. In 208 innings, she totaled 315 strikeouts and posted a 1.31 ERA. Batters hit just .143 against her.

It was the opposite when Garcia was in batter’s box as she hit for a .339 average and ranked third and fourth, respectively, on the team with 54 RBI and 11 home runs.

Her biggest moment came in a game against Washington at the Women’s College World Series when she threw 179 pitches and struck out 16 batters before hitting a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to send UCLA to the championship series against Oklahoma.

When she isn’t suiting up for the Bruins, Garcia plays for the USA Softball women’s national team. In the semifinals of the 2018 women’s world softball championship, she drove in the winning run that sent the Americans to the championship game. The U.S. went on to win the title and secure a berth to the 2020 Olympics.

As the 2019 Honda Cup winner, Garcia becomes the fifth Bruin to claim the title. Basketball player Ann Meyers, track and field star Jackie Joyner, softball pitcher Lisa Fernandez and shortstop Natasha Watley also received the award for their collegiate accomplishments.

The CWSA presented three more awards to student-athletes across multiple NCAA divisions. Jenna Fessler, a volleyball player at Thomas More University, received the Honda Inspiration Award. Taylor Reiss, a volleyball player from Southwest Minnesota State University was selected as the DII Honda Athlete of the Year, and Madison Temple, a basketball player at More University, was named the DIII Honda Athlete of the Year.

Eleven other nominees were recognized as Honda Sport Award winners in their respective disciplines, including: Oklahoma’s Maggie Nichols for gymnastics, Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer for volleyball, Maryland’s Megan Taylor for lacrosse, Indiana’s Lilly King for swimming, Colorado’s Dani Jones for cross country, Florida’s Yanis Davis for track and field, Arkansas’s Maria Fassi for golf, Iowa’s Megan Gustafson for basketball, North Carolina’s Ashley Hoffman for field hockey, Florida State’s Natalia Kuikka for soccer and Miami’s Estela Perez-Somarriba for tennis.

New Rainbow, All-Black, and Character Spirit Jerseys Arrive at Walt Disney World

Just in time for snuggle season, there is a new line of Spirit Jerseys available at Walt Disney World. They can be found at the World of Disney Store in Disney Springs. The new Spirit Jerseys feature the classic soft jersey fabric and a colorful array of Mickey and Minnie inspired designs.

The new Spirit Jersey line comes in a few color schemes, so there is something for every fan of the merchandise.

The rainbow colored Spirit Jersey features pastel text on a gray long-sleeved jersey. The text lines the front of the jersey from sleeve to sleeve and is embroidered onto the jersey fabric. It features the Walt Disney World Resort logo adorned with Mickey Ears inside of the “D”.

The black Spirit Jersey features sparkly silver text and the same Mickey logo as the Rainbow Jersey.

There is also a gray Spirit Jersey with the classic Mickey Mouse color scheme of yellow, black, and red. Instead of the Walt Disney World Resort logo, this one features Mickey’s iconic pants and ears. The text is lined with red threading.

And for the Minnie fans out there, there is a red on white option. A sparkly, silver Minnie silhouette decorates it. How cute are the polka dots that carry from Minnies bow to the text across the front of the shirt?

These Spirit Jerseys retail for $54.99 each and so far have been spotted at the World of Disney store at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World.

This weekend, the Phillies are bringing back the burgundy uniforms that were so ugly the players trashed them

Imagine John Middleton waiting in the Phillies clubhouse on a Saturday night after a tough loss and Rhys Hoskins storming through the doors, angrily ripping off his brand-new jersey and telling the team’s owner that he can trade him or release him before he ever wears that uniform again.

That’s precisely what happened on May 19, 1979, after the Phillies debuted their ill-fated “Saturday Night Special” burgundy uniforms. Greg Luzinski told then-Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter in the Veterans Stadium locker room after a loss to the Expos that he would play for a different team before dressing again in burgundy, a uniform his teammates said made “The Bull” look like a “giant grape.”

The rest of the Phillies joined in, threw their uniforms into the center of the clubhouse, and made sure that the team’s most infamous uniform would last just one night.

“Our clubhouse attendant gathered them together and put them into a laundry cart that was pushed into Never Never Land,” said Larry Christenson, that night’s starting pitcher.

Forty years later, the all-burgundy uniforms are being plucked from the trash and pushed back into the clubhouse. The Phillies will wear their infamous uniforms Saturday night for the first time since that day in 1979.

The new ones look just like the ones worn by Christenson, Luzinski, Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, and Pete Rose. They even have zippered fronts instead of buttons. The Phillies planned in 1979 to wear the burgundy uniforms every Saturday at the Vet. Instead, they lasted just nine innings.

“I didn’t like them,” Luzinski said. “I didn’t like them. Period. Those were terrible. The pants were grape. It didn’t flatter me.”

 

“They reminded me of a uniform for a Sunday afternoon softball game,” Bowa said. “Like something you see when you drive by a park.”

The Phillies did just about everything they could do in 1970s to draw fans to the Vet. They used Kite Man and Cannon Man. The Great Wallenda walked a tightrope across the stadium between games of a doubleheader, and a “Crazy Night” promotion was highlighted by Benny The Human Bomb blowing himself up.

 

Then they tried getting crazy with their uniforms.

The Phils had changed colors from red to maroon before leaving Connie Mack Stadium and added a powder-blue road uniform in 1972. They tried wearing it once at home, they lost by 12 runs, and the players said never again. They wore pillbox hats in 1976, but those too were met with chagrin. Three years later, they were inspired by their batting-practice jerseys to introduce an all-burgundy uniform.

“The uniforms were hanging in our lockers, and we went, ‘Oh my God.’ These were dark. These were burgundy. These were just a real different color,” Christenson said. “I was the starting pitcher, so I was focused on the game. But I couldn’t help but just laugh about all of it. It was totally different. It looked like something else was going on in that locker room than a baseball game.”

 

Jim Lonborg put his arm around Christenson and laughed. They looked across the clubhouse to where Luzinski, Schmidt, and Bowa were zippering their jerseys. Christenson told Lonborg, one of the team’s starting pitchers, that Luzinski looked like a grape. He then dared Lonborg to let Luzinski know.

“I mean, Luzinski got [ticked]. He was livid,” Christenson said. “It got pretty wild in there before the game.”

 

The Phillies lost that night to the Expos, 10-5. The uniforms were an easy scapegoat. They were ugly and didn’t fit right. That explained why they lost.

“We had a bunch of guys who were really superstitious,” Bowa said. “It was the uniform’s fault.”
But four decades later, Christenson takes the blame. The Phillies were ahead, 4-0, when he beaned Expos catcher Gary Carter. Christenson and Carter played winter ball together in Puerto Rico, but the pitcher didn’t like him.

 

“I had about enough of him. He would run down to first base like Pete Rose,” Christenson said. “I just didn’t like his antics. He also hurt us, and they were a tough team.“

So he brushed him back in the second inning and Carter, the future Hall of Famer, fell to the dirt to avoid a fastball. Christenson worked an 0-2 count in the fourth inning against Carter and decided to throw inside again. This time, Carter failed to get out of the way.

“He then came out running to the mound. I threw my hat down and my glove down,” Christenson said. “He charged the mound, but he only came three-quarters of the way and then ran directly to first base. I was screaming at him, ‘Get your [butt] back here. I want a piece of you.’ ”

The benches cleared, but there were no ejections. Christenson picked up his cap and glove, and the game rolled on.

“I thought it was going to be a brawl in these purple-nurple uniforms. But nothing happened,” Christenson said.

The only thing that happened was the Expos lineup came alive. An inning later, Montreal jumped on Christenson for four runs and forced him from the game. The Expos scored 10 straight runs before the Phillies scored a run in the ninth. The Phillies seemed headed for an easy win in their ugly uniforms before Christenson hit Carter in the head.

“I woke them up,” Christenson said. “Instead of just playing the game, my thing against Gary Carter ended up being where I opened their eyes.”

 

Maybe the players would have never railed against the all-burgundy uniforms had Christenson not given the Expos a reason to rally. Perhaps the Phillies would have worn them every Saturday if they had won that game. Instead, they sold the uniforms — jersey, pants, and cap — through the mail for $200 to raise money for charity.

Instead of celebrating a win, Christenson returned to the clubhouse early as an early-season loss in a disappointing season unraveled. Carpenter, as he always did, soon came down from the owner’s box, turned a locker chair backward, and waited for the players. Christenson iced his arm and was sitting at his locker when Luzinski stormed up the tunnel.

“He looked right at Ruly Carpenter and said, ‘Ruly, I’m never wearing this uniform again. You can release me. You can trade me. I don’t care. I’m never wearing this thing again,’” Christenson said.

The Phillies decided to keep Luzinski and release their burgundy uniforms. Bill Giles, then the team’s vice president, told the press that the uniforms didn’t fit right and that photographers had trouble taking pictures of them because they were so dark. That was enough to never see them again. Until now.

“I was thrilled,” Luzinski said. “Phew. They were horrible. Thank God that it was just one day.”

 

The Phillies now wear their powder blues at home on occasion, they brought back the pillbox hats three years ago for a series, and they will wear the burgundy uniforms Saturday night. What was once old is new. But even stranger, what was once reviled is now enjoyed. If John Middleton needs any immediate feedback, he can wait in the locker room Saturday night just as Ruly Carpenter did.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s coming back,” Bowa said. “This generation, they might like it. The millennials. They like that loud stuff. But when I know everything is messed up is when they go back to bell bottoms.”

‘She was big time’: Gamecocks retire jersey of softball great Trinity Johnson

When Ray Tanner came to South Carolina to coach the baseball team in 1997, the Gamecocks already had an ace on campus. Unfortunately for Tanner, she was pitching for the softball team.

Trinity Johnson was named the sport’s national player of the year that season and led South Carolina to the College World Series. On Saturday, Tanner, now the school’s athletics director, and the Gamecocks retired Johnson’s jersey at the Carolina Softball Stadium.

“Trinity is one of my first memories at the University of South Carolina,” Tanner said. “In the spring of 1997, they were rolling. They were packing them in. They were 10 deep in the outfield to watch Trinity throw shutouts. She was awesome. I don’t know if she pitched every inning that year, but it seemed like it. I’m thinking, ‘Wow, I have a long ways to go in baseball.’ She was big time.”

Johnson, who played for the Gamecocks from 1995-97, is the first USC softball player to have her jersey retired.

“I just keep using the word ‘honored,’ and that’s such a cop-out, but it is,” Johnson said. “It’s such an honor to be the first of hopefully many.”

The Gamecocks will retire the jerseys of track and field stars Terrance Trammell and Miki Barber and baseball pitching great Earl Bass later this year.

“I read an article that talked about the athletes being honored and I felt like such small potatoes when I read all their stats,” Johnson said. “The honor of being grouped with these elite people is crazy.”

Johnson was just as elite during the 1997 season. She was an All-American and the unanimous SEC player of the year after recording a 0.38 ERA (0.00 in SEC play) and a 34-4 record. She had 24 shutouts and three perfect games in that stretch, recording 12 straight shutouts at one point in the season. She finished her career as a three-time All-American with 1,032 strikeouts.

Johnson played with the U.S. national team and one year of professional softball before shoulder surgery ended her career. Saturday’s honor helps ease the sting of that premature ending, she said.

“It’s always wonderful coming back and being recognized by people who have been in the stands for 25 years,” said Johnson, who is now a sonographer in Memphis, Tennessee.

The crowd at Saturday’s game against Alabama was 2,156, the second-highest in program history and highest since Johnson’s senior season in 1997.

Jersey retirements

FOOTBALL

#2 Sterling Sharpe (1983, 85-87)

#37 Steve Wadiak (1948-51)

#38 George Rogers (1977-80)

#56 Mike Johnson (1964)

MEN’S BASKETBALL

#3 BJ McKie (1996-99)

#11 John Roche (1968-71)

#22 Alex English (1972-76)

#42 Grady Wallace (1955-57)

#43 Kevin Joyce (1970-71)

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

#13 Martha Parker (1985-89)

#14 Shannon Johnson (1992-96)

#53 Sheila Foster (1978-82)

BASEBALL

#1 Ray Tanner (1997-2012)

SOFTBALL

#11 Trinity Johnson (1995-97)

Wyoming Area intercepts five passes, defeats Tamaqua for spot in state title game

The offense started the road to Hershey early Friday night. The defense made sure things never veered off course.

Wyoming Area scored on its first two possessions and the defense picked off five passes as the Warriors defeated Tamaqua 21-0 to advance to the PIAA Class 3A state championship game.

District 2 champion Wyoming Area (13-1) will play D7 champion Central Valley (13-1) at noon Saturday, Dec. 7, at Hersheypark Stadium for the championship. Central Valley defeated D6 champion Bald Eagle Area 45-0 in the other semifinal.

Not only will Wyoming Area be playing for its first state football championship, it’s the first time in school history a team in any sport advanced to a state championship game based on available PIAA records.

“It’s just incredible, historic for our program to play for a state championship,” said Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer, who was also a player and assistant coach for the Warriors. “As great as that is and as big as that is, we’ve been talking all year with this group about just playing one more together.”

The offense overcame a couple penalties in its first possession to finish off an eight-play, 82-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run by quarterback Dominic DeLuca. The score was set up with a 41-yard DeLuca to Brian Williams pass that placed the ball at the Tamaqua 8-yard line.

Running back Darren Rodney, who missed the quarterfinal win vs. Montoursville with an injury, carried five consecutive plays on the Warriors’ next possession. DeLuca ended it by dropping a pass over a defender and to Brian Williams in the left corner of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown.

Rodney finished with 133 yards on 23 carries.

“Last week, we didn’t want anything bad to happen so I sat out,” said Rodney, who was scratched from the lineup the morning of the Montoursville game. “Going into this week I felt great. I knew I could do it.”

Wyoming Area scored just once more — on a 1-yard run by Rodney midway through the third quarter — but the way the defense was playing it was just added insurance.

D11 champion Tamaqua (12-3) came into the game with the school’s all-time leading rusher, passer and receiver. Running back Nate Boyle was unable to get the running attack going, so the Blue Raiders turned to quarterback Brayden Knoblauch.

Knoblauch was sacked just once but harassed and flushed from the pocket several times by defensive ends Derek Ambrosino and Caleb Graham. He often had to throw on the run or off balance, and the Wyoming Area secondary responded.

Defensive back Jake Williams recorded the first of his three interceptions with a minute left until halftime. His pick in the end zone stopped a Blue Raiders’ drive that moved to the Wyoming Area 12-yard line. Jake Williams grabbed his second interception on Tamaqua’s first possession of the second half after fellow defensive back Leo Haros slapped a pass away from a receiver.

“It helps a ton,” Jake Williams said of the pass rush. “For the quarterback to get forced into rushing a throw or forced into something, it’s great. It helps us down field to make plays. We wouldn’t be here without those guys up front.”

Knoblauch attempted 47 passes — the most he’s ever thrown in a game — but completed just 19 for 199 yards.

The final three Tamaqua drives ended in interceptions. Brian Williams, Jake’s older brother, nabbed Wyoming Area’s third pick of the game, again with pressure forcing a throw. DeLuca made it four interceptions just past the midway point of the fourth quarter.

Jake Williams then completed his interception hat trick as Knoblauch was chased from the pocket and floated a desperation pass to near the goal line.

Dallas also made the Class 4A championship game, marking the first time two Wyoming Valley Conference teams will play for state football titles in the same year. Berwick is 1997 was the last WVC team in a state championship.

Sneads High hosts signing party for FSU softball recruit

“The Noles may not have seen someone with her skill set on campus before.” Those words come from FSU assistant softball coach Travis Wilson. He was speaking of FSU recruit Michaela Edenfield, of Sneads High School.

He offered that observation in an FSU press release announcing her decision to play for FSU. Her high school hosted a signing party for her on Friday, Nov. 22, and a handful of her summer-ball coaches also joined with SHS softball coach Shawn Graham in praise, encouragement and talk about their experiences with the player.

And her volleyball coach, Heather Edge, was there as well. Edenfield is one of her squad members, too, and is part of the team that just brought home the Class 1A volleyball title.But as for softball, Edenfield had long ago made her mark, quite literally, with Edge in that sport. The two were strangers at the time. Edge had played college softball herself, and for a time coached that sport at another school. She was getting out of her car and heading to a softball field five years ago when a softball flew over the field fence and the outlying barrier that had been placed to protect vehicles in the rare event of a ball sailing over that. The ball landed on her vehicle. It made a little dent. But Edge was less concerned about that minor damage than finding out what powerhouse hitter had swung a bat to send the ball sailing so high and so far. She was floored to learn that it had been accomplished by an eighth-grader — it was Edenfield.

That she’d also turned into a star volleyball player, Edge said, was a testament to her willingness to strive for excellence in what was not really her “natural” sport.

Others also spoke of the work ethic that has served the player so well and which they expect to ground her success at FSU.

Some of her statistics and other facts were included in the FSU announcement press release. “Michaela Edenfield is a versatile player that can compete at multiple positions in the infield and played with the Louisville Sluggers travel ball team,” the release stated. “While at Sneads High School, Edenfield has batted .440 with 99 hits, 101 runs, 32 doubles and 28 home runs throughout her career. She participated in the 2019 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team Selection Trials, and took Sneads High School to its first State Championship game in 2019…she chose Florida State over offers from Rutgers, UAB and Virginia.”

“Michaela has off-the-charts tools across the board,” said FSU assistant coach Travis Wilson in the release. “She is a raw player that will see serious growth in this program. The Noles may not have seen someone with her skill set on campus before.”

“Michaela has deep family roots as a Seminole, and is a multi-sport athlete,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “That is rare in this day and age, as she is a tremendous volleyball player but also wants to take her game to the next level in softball. It will be a lot of fun to watch her skill set and personality grow.”

Edenfield spoke briefly at the signing ceremony, and said she was honored to be a point of pride for SHS and the community.

After the event, she stuck around for pictures with loved ones and friends, including most of her old 10U squad from summer ball of years ago. Nostalgia and love for all those and other years of softball fun had prompted Edenfield to, for the signing event, set up a line of all her jerseys from the past, and one from the future-the FSU jersey was set dead center in the mix of shirts from youth league to high school days.

Here are some scenes from the signing.

Crown worthy or not? Best and worst KC jerseys

The Kansas City Royals’ uniforms reflect the organization’s conservative character. Changes are rarely bold or garish. What are the best and worst of the club’s jerseys?

This is not a story about baseball players. It’s a story about the uniforms they wear, specifically the jerseys of the Kansas City Royals.

Indulge me, if you will, two things: not writing about players per se, and writing in the “first-person,” a perspective from which I rarely write about baseball or anything else for that matter. I prefer the distance “third person” purports to keep me from excessive opinion, although opinion is unavoidable when writing about baseball and the men who play it. Appropriate narrative of the game must necessarily blend fact and opinion.

First-person fits here because choosing the best and worst Royals’ jerseys is entirely a subjective task, based exclusively on my opinion of what makes good baseball uniforms good and bad baseball uniforms bad. There are no objective standards by which to measure the aesthetics of such things–one either likes a uniform or doesn’t.

Take, for example, the old uniforms of the San Diego Padres, whose brown and yellow design would have driven me from their telecasts to their radio broadcasts if I’d been a fan of the club; or, most recently, the odd concoctions that made up the garb of the Arizona Diamondbacks, which strike me as the most unsightly unis in the contemporary game. (Fortunately, the D-backs are abandoning them in favor of uniforms more pleasing to the eye).

This story is my assessment of the best and worst Kansas City jerseys. They haven’t really changed all that much through the years and, but for the softball-influenced double-knit, uni era and the advent of the alternate jersey, the subject of Royals jerseys could be quickly exhausted.

You may not agree with my “findings,” but I give to you my thoughts about a highly visible component of the game, one independent from statistics, analytics, or complicated metrics and measures. Have some fun with it.

I begin with a little background of my interest in baseball uniforms…

Scouts on 3 trade packages Mets could use to get Starling Marte

Most everyone agrees that Starling Marte would be a nice get for the Mets, giving them the everyday center fielder they’ve been looking for since, well, since their new manager, Carlos Beltran, was playing the position a decade ago.

But what would it take for them to acquire him in a trade with the Pirates?

The consensus, based on conversations I had with scouts, executives, and minor-league evaluators on Monday, is that Pittsburgh’s new GM, Ben Cherington, probably would have to like the idea of taking a major leaguer such as J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, or Dom Smith in return for Marte.

Otherwise, the feeling is the Mets don’t have enough depth in their minor-league system to sell the Pirates on a package of prospects without including one of their few blue-chippers they would consider untouchable.

Specifically that likely would come down to shortstop Ronny Mauricio, third baseman Brett Baty, pitcher Matthew Allan, and catcher Francisco Alvarez — all high-ceiling prospects who are also at least a couple of years away from the big leagues.

Then there’s Andres Gimenez, the 20-year old shortstop that SNY analyst Jim Duquette recently proposed as the headliner in a trade for Marte, one which would include two other prospects, pitcher Franklyn Kilome and either infielder Mark Vientos or left-handed pitcher David Peterson.

Ranked 92nd by MLBpipeline.com on its most recent Top 100 list of prospects, Gimenez is regarded as a very good glove who might only be a solid singles-type hitter in the big leagues, raising questions about his value in this slug-heavy era.

More to the point, scouts I spoke to doubt whether a Gimenez-led package would be enough for the Pirates, especially when other teams are likely to bid for Marte, with so few center fielders available via free agency or trade.

“If I’m the Pirates, I’ve got to get more of a high-impact guy,” was the way one team executive put it. “Gimenez is a nice player but he’s not a guy you’d build around.

“I’m not even sure any of their other top guys could be the centerpiece of a trade, because they’re so young. It would depend what type of rebuild Ben decides he needs. If he goes full rebuild then a big arm like Allan or a catcher with upside like Alvarez would have a lot of appeal.

“But I can’t see the Mets doing that. They have to draw the line somewhere as far as giving up prospects.”

That was a reference to the trades Brodie Van Wagenen has made since taking the job as GM a little more than a year ago, giving up significant prospect depth as well as a projected star in outfielder Jerred Kelenic.

Nevertheless the Mets are deep in shortstop prospects, while at the big-league level Amed Rosario seemed to turn a corner defensively over the second half last season, which is why they could afford to give up Gimenez as a centerpiece in a package for Marte.

Except the Pirates might not see enough value. In Double-A last season, Gimenez hit .250 with nine home runs and a less-than-impressive .695 OPS, but then he led the Arizona Fall League with a .391 average — and a .999 OPS — over 18 games in the desert.

MLBPipeline.com analyst Jim Callis saw all of Gimenez’s at-bats in Arizona and still came away not quite sure what to make of him.

“He’s a legit shortstop and he had plus-plus run times, so he’s faster than I expected,” Callis said. “But he’s a small guy and he doesn’t drive the ball a whole lot. Right now we project him in the big leagues as a .280 hitter with maybe 10 home runs, and a plus-defender.

“Is that enough these days? It’s going to be really, really interesting.”

If it’s not enough for the Pirates to trade Marte, what would it take? Here are three trades proposed by people I spoke with — two from scouts and one from an executive of an American League team, with brief explanations.(Remember, Marte would come with two years of control, at $11.5 million in 2020 and a team option at $12.5 million in 2021).
1) Scout No. 1: Marte for Francisco Alvarez, Kevin Smith, and Franklyn Kilome

“I’m trying to be fair,” the scout said. “I know the Mets aren’t giving up Allan because he’s their best arm, and I know they’re high on Alvarez, but he’s only 17 years old (just turned 18 last week), he’s a long way from the big leagues, and they want to win now.

“Smith is a lefty who showed promise at Double-A and Kilome is wild-card coming off Tommy John. The key is Alvarez: if I’m the Pirates I’m going to have other offers for Marte, so I have to get an elite prospect at a premium position.”
2) Scout No. 2: Marte for J.D. Davis and Thomas Szapucki

“Davis has five years of control and I like his bat,” the scout said, “so he works for the Pirates even if they’re rebuilding. He’s a below-average defender but I’ll gamble that he hits enough to play at third or in left. And with the market Marte will have, I want a prospect too: Szapucki is a lefty who was getting high marks before he had Tommy John surgery (in 2018).

“I’d have to think the Mets would rather give up Dom Smith than Davis, but with (Josh) Bell the Pirates don’t need a first baseman. So I’ll gamble that Marte makes my team better for two years with his offense and his center-field defense.”
3) AL exec: Marte for Dom Smith, Gimenez, and David Peterson

“From the Pirates side I’d want Allan but I probably can’t get him. I’ll take Dom Smith and put him at first base because I’m going to get creative and sell high on Josh Bell to bring back pitching that I need. And I feel like I’m getting value because I know Gimenez is going to be a big-league shortstop. Peterson is a soft-tosser without a lot of upside but he’s got a chance to be a back-end starter.

“From the Mets side I might feel like I’m giving up a lot, but I don’t have any place to play Smith. Gimenez is blocked at shortstop by Rosario and Peterson’s value has fallen since he was a first-round pick, so if I’m trying to win now I probably make this trade.”