[Today we have a guest article from our own Anthony Emerson, who is going to take a look at the uniforms for the World Baseball Classic — there are 20 teams involved — and this week we’ll look at 10 of those, from Pool A & Pool B, who began play earlier this week. Pools C & D start today, and Anthony will be back next weekend with his take on the final 10. Enjoy! — PH]
After a six-year hiatus, the World Baseball Classic is back, and many teams have new looks. For the first time, 20 teams are competing for the final (previous iterations had 16), including debuts for the Czech Republic, Great Britain and Nicaragua. I’ve decided to rank each team’s uniform sets (not individual unis) on an A-to-F scale. Alright? Let’s get started.
The two-time defending fourth-place finishers, the Dutch have mixed things up this year, adopting pinstripes and completely removing orange, the national color. I gotta be honest here: I don’t dig this. While I really like the caps, I don’t like the total removal of orange. I think the new wordmark, including the preface “The Kingdom of the,” is completely unnecessary, and I think that the typeface is worse than the previous one. I also think the lack of any outlining on the lettering and numbers makes the jerseys look cheap and amateurish. Overall: D+, saved by the cap.
Chinese Taipei (Taiwan)
The hosts of Pool A, the Taiwanese have some rather nice, albeit plain, unis. I’m not a huge fan of the team’s logo, but you really have no other options than to put it on your jerseys if your dictatorial neighbor insists you call yourself Chinese Taipei in international sports. I do really like the sleeve cuff striping, but I don’t dig that NOB and number font. One thing that’s hard to tell in this picture is that the Taiwanese jerseys are made from a really thin mesh material, making their white jerseys nearly transparent. Overall: C. It’s fine, but nothing spectacular.
As with all other national sports teams of Italy, the Italian baseball team usually wears Savoy blue, the color of the since-abolished royal family of Italy. However, this year, they’ve been wearing a primarily navy jersey, with some really odd Savoy blue shoulder striping. They also have a Savoy blue jersey with grey striping, and a white jersey with Savoy blue striping. I really don’t like any of these! Look at the photo above — the Italians are wearing three different shades of blue! The jerseys are way too busy — there’s no need to have headspoon striping and weird shoulder striping and front numbers (that look awkwardly small) and have a really thick, double-outlined wordmark. Too busy! Overall: F.
Our baseball-mad southern neighbors, Cuba certainly look striking on the diamond this year, sporting a mono-blue look with a red gradient jersey, an inverted look of mono-red with gradient blue, or a white uni with blue-and-red gradient sleeves. And, to be honest, I kind of dig it. I feel like I shouldn’t but Cuba, a country with a vibrant culture, can pull off a gaudy uni. And the unis aren’t outrageously gaudy — they’re less busy than the Italians’ above, and the gradient effect is cut off at just the right moment before it overstays its welcome on the jersey. I’m not really digging that screen-printed Arial NOB font, though. Overall: B-.
Okay, so I don’t know why Panama dropped their gorgeous script used in previous World Baseball Classic appearances, and instead adopted something that would look more at-home on a 1990s video game case. And why is it so big? It looks like it’s going to fall of José Ramos’s chest here. The only bit of decoration the jersey has is the logo of the Panamanian Baseball Federation — as far as I know, Panama are the only team to include a separate logo of their baseball federation. There’s also a red version, equally as boring — though I kinda dig those “7s” on José Caballero’s jersey. Overall: C-.
Okay, I love everything about these. The font of the wordmark is perfect — simultaneously retro and timeless. The pinstriped uni is a class above everyone else in the WBC. It’s phenomenal. I’m not as big a fan of the blue softball top, and the template is largely unchanged — save the wordmark — from Japan’s dominant 2006 WBC debut. Overall: A.
The Aussies have made some minor changes from six years ago. No longer using the southern cross constellation (as made famous on their flag), the team has instead adopted an Aboriginal sun design and boomerang, which is used as a joint-primary logo along with the shooting-star A logo the team has been using for years. Again, the jerseys appear to be screen-printed (look at this split in the “T”) giving it a cheap look overall. Overall: C, salvaged by the boomerang logo.
As much as I love those socks, it’s another cheap, screen-printed jersey with a generic font. I do really like the cap, but the superfluous red shoulder stripes really just knock this entire set down towards the bottom. Overall: D+.
Honestly, these don’t do anything for me. Somehow simultaneously too busy and too boring, the navy is extremely dark (appearing as black depending on the lighting). Perhaps they thought the brighter blue used at previous WBCs was too close to Italy’s Savoy blue. I really don’t get what’s going on with the sleeves and side panels, but the Koreans have done weird things there in the past, so I guess it was to be expected. Overall: C-.
The days of having a weird Olde English wordmark are over — China drops some of the best unis in the WBC. The Chinese are one of the few teams going above and beyond for their WBC unis, and they’re really playing up the dragon motif — forming the wordmark, cap and even the sublimated design (the only team to have a sublimated design for this WBC). Now, for the downsides: I don’t actually like the sublimated design, I think the front number is too big, and the yellow piping separating the sublimated design from the rest of the uni is kind of unnecessary. Even still, China may not be an elite baseball nation like their Asian rivals, but they have hit a home run with their unis. Overall: A-.
Guess the Game from the Scoreboard
Guess The Game…
…From The Scoreboard
Today’s scoreboard comes from Travis DeBeau.
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
Guess the Game from the Uniform
Based on the suggestion of long-time reader/contributor Jimmy Corcoran, we’ve introduced a new “game” on Uni Watch, which is similar to the popular “Guess the Game from the Scoreboard” (GTGFTS), only this one asked readers to identify the game based on the uniforms worn by teams.
Like GTGFTS, readers will be asked to guess the date, location and final score of the game from the clues provided in the photo. Sometimes the game should be somewhat easy to ascertain, while in other instances, it might be quite difficult. There will usually be a visual clue (something odd or unique to one or both of the uniforms) that will make a positive identification of one and only one game possible. Other times, there may be something significant about the game in question, like the last time a particular uniform was ever worn (one of Jimmy’s original suggestions). It’s up to YOU to figure out the game and date.
Today’s GTGFTU comes from Chris Hickey.
Good luck and please post your guess/answer in the comments below.
Time for my annual reminder…
Most of you (likely) have devices (phones, clocks, DVR’s, etc.) that will automatically “Spring Forward” for Daylight Saving Time — remember there is no “S” at the end of “saving” — as a local television ad for a mattress company once said, “Leave off the last ‘S’ for saving!”, a good reminder that we’re now in the good time of the year.
As I mention every year, there is nothing better than DST. Living in the eastern end of my time zone, I greatly appreciate the “extra” hour of daylight we’re afforded for the next eight-ish months. Yes, I get that those of you who live in the western end of your time zones probably have no use for it (and yes, if you’re an early riser, you probably will wake up in darkness for a few weeks), but there’s nothing better than being able to do something outdoors after work/school (or after supper as we hit summer). We can’t really do that in the eastern end of the time zone when we’re in Standard Time.
So, in case you own some devices (analog/battery operated clock, watch, car radio, etc.) that don’t automatically “spring” ahead for you — and you haven’t already done it — now’s the time to adjust your time-keeping devices to Daylight Saving Time.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
And Now a Few Words from Paul
Hello! In case you missed it, this week’s Uni Watch Premium article on Substack is an interview with renowned music producer/engineer/guitarist Steve Albini, who you may know from the bands he’s fronted (Big Black, Shellac), his production credits (Nirvana, the Pixies, the Breeders, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, countless others), his many screeds and manifestos regarding the music biz, or his recent side career as a professional poker player.
Albini may seem like an odd subject for a Uni Watch interview, but his career has included a surprising number of uni-related and uni-adjacent moments. We talked about jumpsuits (like the one he’s wearing in the photo shown above), his company baseball team, band logos, LP cover designs, what he and others wear on the professional poker circuit, and a lot more. The resulting article is a doozy — about 6,500 words.
You can read the first part of the article here. In order the read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber to my Substack, which I hope you’ll consider doing. (If you subscribe, you’ll also gain access to my full Substack/Bulletin archives.)
While we’re at it, the next quarterly installment of “Ask Me Anything” — the series where you can ask me anything about uniforms, sports, Uni Watch, me, or anything else, and I do my best to answer — will be published on Substack next week. I plan to make this one available to all, with no paywall. If you’d like to submit a question, feel free to email it here. (Please note that this is not the usual Uni Watch email address.) One question per person, please. I look forward to seeing your queries!
Okay, now back to Phil.
Uni Tweet of the Day
I will forever read this as “Turn Cities” with a weird dot over the “r”…
It’s a beaut! pic.twitter.com/2d5FDgAL6A
— Twins Uniforms (@TwinsUniform) March 10, 2023
…that’s all for today. Big thanks to our own Anthony Emerson for giving us his take on the uni’s of the WBC (Pools A & B). He’ll be back next weekend with a review of the remaining 10 teams involved in Pools C & D.
Everyone have a good Saturday and I’ll catch you all back here tomorrow. Don’t forget to Spring Forward!!!