Monday, September 25, 2006

Win your division, lose your identity

I was watching the Tigers’ locker room celebration on Sunday and realized something was different.

The players were all running around dousing each other with whatever they could get their hands on, which is to be expected — except in the minds of Yankee hacks. That team, in theory, shakes hands like executives. But in reality it behaves like everyone else.

But I digress. Something else was different. And it didn’t strike me until seeing a photo in my newspaper today: They were wearing their beautiful jerseys instead of a cheesy T-shirts and caps.

The Tigers were celebrating not a division title nor wild card, but the fact that they clinched that they will be one or the other.

There is no shirt advertising a guaranteed post-season appearance. And that’s good.

The truth is that I absolutely hate these things. Not that the shirts and caps themselves are always ugly — though this year’s caps sure are brutal.

But it bothers me that some clubhouse guy has run on the field during a celebration, pull guys off the pile and say "better get this shirt and cap on quick!"

The shirts are rushed out on the field for the sole purpose of being able to sell them as "authentic" clubhouse celebration T-shirts.

Seriously, there must be a sign in the clubhouse reading in big letters: Attention! It is mandatory that you wear the official clubhouse T-shirt at the conclusion of the game.

And because the design is the same for each team except for the team logo, it makes every celebration look exactly the same. I don’t want David Wright looking like Derek F. Jeter.

Of course, my biggest fear is that they'll both soon look like Jeff Gordon and the other ad-covered NASCAR drivers, and we'll be watching the Verizon World Series.

I realize that everything associated with the game is commercialized. It’s a business, and they are going to get every last dime they can.

But could they at least take the hang tags off the caps before they force them on the players?


Mike V said...

Great post Dave. I wish I read this before I told my wife to buy me a shirt!!

G-Fafif said...

Gotta come out in favor of the cheesy, greed-driven tradition. The commemorative t-shirt is the very first spoil of victory. It is a sign that you have been ushered into the world's most exclusive club (no, not the senate). I can't tell you how excited I was when after Al Leiter's two-hitter over the Reds on October 4, 1999 the Mets were suddenly sporting Wild Card tees and caps. A year earlier, Turk Wendell had made up Wild Card Winner shirts for his teammates only to see them turned to rags by season's end. John Franco stuffed his into a bag and said, good, now I'll have something to clean my house with.

The funniest scene in the underrated "Baseketball" was following a championship game. In the jubilant locker room were players wearing CHAMPS t-shirts. And in the clubhouse of the defeated, they wore ones that said LOSERS.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Very vaild points, Greg! And BASEket Ball is a very underated movie. It's a hoot!

Anonymous said...

I own this year's t-shirt and cap. I also own the WS t-shirt for every team that's had to destroy the Yankees to win it -- I am hoping to add to the collection (I own D'backs, Angels, Marlins and Red Sox shirts as of now) with a Tigers (although the Tigers looked like CRAP this weekend), Twins, A's or (dare I say it?) METS World Series Champion t-shirt.