Something off-putting about those ‘patriotic’ uniforms

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I thought about posting this on Memorial Day itself, but decided to wait.

For me — a guy who’s all about some patriotism and support for the military (and if there’s a spectator sport I love, it’s baseball) — there’s something off-putting about those special uniforms MLB players donned over the holiday weekend.

It’s not just that it’s so contrived, such a cheesy, sterile form of tribute to men who died in the blood and noise and fury and filth and noise of battle. They did not wear clean, white uniforms with camouflage numbers. They did not wear caps that look as much like what a deer hunter would wear as anything you’d see on a soldier.

But there’s also something… decadent, something last-days-of-Rome about it.

Of course, I’m guilty of romanticizing baseball. I think of it in very anachronistic terms as a humble, pastoral game played by plain men who did it for the love of the sport, guys who maybe had one uniform to their names, and that uniform made of wool that caused them to roast in the summer sun. (And they liked it, as Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man would say.)

I just can’t help thinking of all the money spent on these uniforms that these players will probably wear only once. Which makes me think about how much — way too much — money there is in professional sports today, so much that vast sums can be thrown away on PR gestures that, as I said above, seem inadequate to the kind of tribute our war dead deserve.

I’m not blaming MLB here. This occurs in a context in which the fans, the entire society, seem to have lost all sense of materialistic restraint.

You, too, can have a genuine copy of the jersey your hero wore for one game for only $119.99. Or, if you’ve really lost your marbles and have more money than anyone needs, you can have the actual jersey that a player wore, for $2,125! Unless someone with priorities even further out of whack outbids you!

It just all seems kind of nuts to me. And vaguely offensive. Does this make any sense to anyone?


4 thoughts on “Something off-putting about those ‘patriotic’ uniforms

  1. Claus2

    I don’t watch baseball, but I’m sure there are some that do that would say people are idiots for buying books when they could check them out or download them onto Kindle or iPad. Or do what I do, wait for the movie.

  2. Doug Ross

    The proceeds from the auctions for the game used jerseys go directly to charity…

    ” Red Sox Scholars Program, which provides tutoring, mentoring, enrichment programs and a college scholarship to academically talented but economically disadvantaged Boston public school students and the Red Sox Foundation’s RBI and Rookie League youth baseball and softball programs serving more than 2,000 inner city teens each summer. ”

    Is that still a problem?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s nice. I still find it an odd way to pay tribute, and have trouble understanding why anyone would spend all that money on a jersey — especially one that isn’t the jersey the team usually wears.

      Perhaps they do it ONLY to contribute to charity. What do I know?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I see proceeds from the Braves products I showed will also go to charity:

        Wear this new camouflage-designed Cool Base version of the jersey worn by Players during all games taking place over Memorial Day weekend – the sixth year in a row that Majestic designed a jersey specifically for this holiday. MLB will donate its licensed royalties from the sales of these jerseys to MLB Charities to support programs for service men and women, veterans and military families.

        … but I had to click on the item, and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, to learn that.

        But maybe MLB is just so noble that they don’t want to brag about doing a good thing. I dunno…


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