Pretentious Metal
The next Livestrong-esque accessory trend appears to be those necklaces that so many ballplayers are now wearing (and that Page 2's Tim Keown adroitly summarized toward the end of his Tuesday column).

It turns out that the necklaces are embedded with titanium, which supposedly relieves pain, relaxes muscles, and counteracts fatigue – at least according to the Japanese company that makes them. And hey, that sounds like an unbiased source, right?

The first player to wear the necklace was Randy Johnson, who now shills for the manufacturer and has been quoted giving the following highly scientific explanation of titanium's benefits: "The titanium itself penetrates through the skin, I guess, and gets into the blood, I guess, and allows the blood in those areas that wouldn't normally flow as freely, to flow a little bit better." Sounds reasonable to Uni Watch. No word on whether Johnson is also burning incense, sucking on a crystal, or recharging his chakras in-between starts (or whether he still believes in the Tooth Fairy).

The manufacturer estimates that the necklaces are now being worn by about 200 MLB players, which just goes to show that P.T. Barnum's most famous statement is still valid. And besides, wearing a necklace on the field seems like a bad idea to begin with – anyone looked at Jeff Weaver lately? If you really want a performance-enhancing necklace, Uni Watch suggests this kind.

Uni News Ticker
MLB's annual Father's Day promotion, in which players raised awareness of prostate cancer by wearing blue jersey ribbons, blue wristbands, and "eye blue," was taken to a new level by Royals pitcher Brian Anderson, who wore a blue ribbon temporary tattoo (with thanks to reader Lee Leslie). … That '70s look: The Cardinals recently set several readers' hearts all aflutter by breaking out the powder blue throwbacks. Look for Uni Watch to present an exhaustive overview of the powder blue phenomenon in the near future. … An even cooler throwback game took place June 25, when the Padres and Mariners wore 1930s Pacific Coast League unis, complete with era-appropriate caps – which in San Diego's case meant blank caps (which is what the minor-league Padres actually wore back in the '30s). ... Speaking of the minor leagues, Matt Cook reports that the Las Vegas 51s -- the Dodgers' triple-A affiliate -- wore gonzo Hawaiian-style jerseys on June 18 … And speaking of gonzo, the Korea Baseball Organization recently faced an interesting situation when Doosan Bears pitcher Park Myung-hwan's cap fell off, revealing a frozen cabbage leaf that had been on his head – really! "I'm sensitive to the heat and my wife recommended I put frozen cabbage leaves under my cap to cool my head," Park said. The league, unmoved by this creative exercise in thermodynamics, promptly banned the practice (with big thanks to Jeremy Segall).

Kudos to Uni Watch research fellow and Brooklyn Cyclones devotee Chris Herles, who points out that the Yankees, who have more retired numbers than any other team, have also retired those same numbers throughout their minor-league system, presumably as a way of giving their prospects an early indoctrination into the much-vaunted Yankee mystique. Anyone know if other organizations have done this? … On June 23 and 24, the Twins became the latest team to wear their batting practice jerseys for regular-season action – first at home against the Tigers (at pitcher Carlos Silva's suggestion) and then on the road against the Brewers. Although the BP duds are very similar to the team's navy alt unis, there's one key difference: Minnesota is among the handful of teams that doesn't put player names on the back of its BP shirts, so the visual effect is kinda old-school. … Eagle-eyed Gary Wong earns Uni Watch bonus points for noticing that Pistons coach Larry Brown was wearing different eyeglass frames at home and on the road during the NBA Finals. … Meanwhile, reader Joe Hilseberg was going nuts during Game 7 of the Finals, because Tim Duncan's front jersey number was a bit crooked. Hilseberg, who used to work for the shop that made jerseys for the Baltimore Orioles, steadfastly maintains, "That jersey Duncan was wearing would have never made it off of my heat press!"


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