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UNIFORMITY

[October 21st] -- Because readership here at the Beltway Boys (and all Nationals' blogs for that matter) drops significantly during the weekend, I'm not going to write about anything too terribly deep today.

Let's talk about uniforms.

Growing up as a kid, I was always saddened that the Senators wore a very traditional, almost "blah" uniform. Unlike many of the other teams who wore the team name at home and city name on the road, the Nats' uniform carried that same script "Senators" logo on both home and away jerseys. Other than that (and the number of course), there was nothing else on the uniform. No secondary number on the front of the jersey, no piping on the sleeves or around the neck, and no striping down the side of the pants. Even the stirrups were bland -- all red with no stripes. The only patch the Senators wore was the mandatory "1969 - 100 year anniversary" patch that all teams wore.

The Nationals' uniforms made up for a lot of that dullness. Where the Senators had only two jerseys, the Nationals have four different variants, not to mention four different hats (including the spring training edition). About the only thing I don't like are the letters across the jersey's front, the way they go from larger to smaller and back to larger again. The problem stems from the sheer number of letters that have to appear on the jersey. "Nationals" has nine letters, "Washington" ten. The only way you are going to get all those to arch across the jersey's front would be to make them so small that they would be hard to see (remember the '61-'63 road jersey with the tiny black letters?). A way to correct that problem would be to use the interlocking 'DC' full time -- that is, to use the basic design of the Nationals' "alternate" jersey for both home and road uniforms. Of course, that would force the team to stop using the "curly W," as differing logos on the hat and jersey wouldn't look terribly good. I don't think Washington fans are ready for that, unless the traditional hat would be kept for Sunday's and holidays.

There is one thing about the Senators uniform that I do miss, however. If you look at this picture of the '69 Senators jersey, you'll notice that the away uniform isn't just a dark gray material. It was typical of the design of the day, a texture with both dark and light grey material interwoven into the shirt, giving it more of a three dimensional quality. I'm guessing that we don't see that type of design any more because it was simply the way flannel was loomed, and it can't be reproduced using today's synthetic materials.

How boring was the Senators' uniform? I remember how excited I got when the Washington Post ran a headline in early 1971 that stated, "Senators Shoes To Be Red White And Blues," meaning that the team would be only the second team to eschew the traditional black spikes for white (the A's were the first).

Nothing important to write about, but hey, since almost no one visits on Saturdays .....

Speaking Of Uniforms: Do you think the Nationals will sport any new or revised uniforms next year? You would think that the Lerner's might have requested some changes to the togs during their first full season of ownership. Hard to say at this point. Under normal conditions, any request for uniform changes must be approved by Major League Baseball by mid season the year before, and no such request was made (of course, the Lerner's didn't own the team at that point, either). You would think, however, that the Nationals might have been given special permission considering the ownership change. We didn't hear about the alternative uniform for '06 until late winter, so we won't know anything for sure until next year.

Acta To Interview: Former Expos' coach Manny Acta will be interviewing with the Nationals sometime next week, after his interview with the Rangers. I'm a fan of Acta, and would be happy to see him in the dugout next year (though Girardi is still my top choice). Acta is one of those "above and beyond" guys -- doing whatever it takes, whenever it's needed. After making an error a few years back, Vlad Guerrero refused to talk to reporters after the game. Acta went and sought out Guerrero and "strongly urged" him to discuss his miscue. He eventually did. Acta believes in accountability -- the superstar has the same rules as the 25th player. I like that.


Comments:
The problem with the uniform lettering is the sheer number of letters required for "Washington" or "Nationals." It's almost impossible to arch either across the front of a jersey without making the letters so small that you can't really see them (remember the '61-'63 away jersey with the tiny black letters?)
 
I don't have any trouble reading "Nationals" on the home jerseys or "Washington" on the road jerseys. The print doesn't look that small to me. The one thing that I don't like is the enlarged letters at the beginning and end of each word on the front of the shirts because it's reminiscent of the original Texas Rangers jerseys with the large R in the front and large S at the end, which just happened to be Bob Short's initials.
 
I actually LOVE the home jersey. The Lettering style does not bother me in the least. When the uniform first came out, it looked strange to me that the Curly W cap, did not match the jersey lettering. The Chicago White Sox of the 1960's had a similar mismatch. But, really I am fond of those home Whites with Curly W Cap and, also, the DC Red Alternate. The Gold trim really stands out. And, on either jersey, you can EASILY read the names on the back of the uniforms. That's important to me. When you see the Nats wearing those Home Whites with Red Socks, that are TERRIFIC!! looking. Same goes for the DC Alternate. Something about that Red Top with White Pants looks sharp. The Away Grey with Gold Trim looks better upclose than on TV. The Detail of the uni doesn't stand out in pictures. That's too bad.

I now for a fact, THE LERNER's are enamored with the Curly "W" and you will see it more and more on most everything Nats as the years progress. You, in all liklihood, will not see ANY uniform change, until the new park is opened. New Park, New Uniforms--common sense--but mostly just a slight modification--Curly W Washington Away Jersey has been rumored.

I got a kick out of your comment about the White Shoes. I remember when the Senators started to wear them, most every High School Team in Northern Virginia tried to follow suit. Black became blase' very quickly. PUMA was the Baseball shoe of choice, and most every school's players, bought the White Pumas with White Puma Strip. Then, your entire team, in my case, TC Williams, used magic markers to "Paint" the Puma stripe Red for our Away Jersey (We were the first Northern Virginia School to wear an Alternate Pullover Jersey) or Blue for our home Whites with Blue Pinstripe. Had not thought about that in ages. Thanks for the memories.
 
I actually like the current uniforms. The alternate red "DC" uniform is nice, but I would not want it to become permanent and abandon "NATIONALS" and "WASHINGTON".

If you want to talk about boring uniforms, look at what the AL Nats wore in their glory years when they won pennants. Absolutely NOTHING on the front of the home or away jerseys. The only thing that made you realize these were Nats jerseys and not some generic uniform was the "uncurly W" on the sleeves. But those teams won...
 
Anomynous actually gave me an idea. I wonder if the Nats might produce a jersey where the "T" and "L" of "NATIONALS" is highlighted to honor Ted Lerner's initials...
 
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