Sipos might change his tune if he saw Uni Watch's mailbox, which has been overflowing recently with complaints about the off-center look. Many of the rants have concluded with, "Who started this trend, anyway?" This admirably obsessive site credits Sabathia, but Uni Watch thinks it was actually Pokey Reese, during his stint with the Reds.

In the larger scheme of things, however, players have been rotating their caps to varying degrees ever since early catchers figured out that their masks would fit more easily if they turned their caps backward. Look through old baseball photos and you'll even spot the occasional Crew Askew forefather, such as Max Carey, Rabbit Maranville (whose 3 o'clock cap was apparently something of a signature style), and Fred Clarke (whose cap swung both ways, and eventually was immortalized on his Hall of Fame plaque). More recently, Ken Griffey drew Buck Showalter's ire for turning his cap backward during batting practice. And then there's the whole rally cap phenomenon.

All of which leads to a potentially earthshaking line of inquiry: Why do ballplayers even wear caps anymore? The original reason for caps, back in the game's earliest days, was that no 19th-century man would ever be seen in public with an uncovered head, and the brim evolved as a sun visor. But most games today are played at night, so the cap's functional aspect is limited at best, and the days of men routinely wearing hats in public went out with JFK. Once you stop and think about it -- as Uni Watch does, frequently and at great length -- the cap's universal presence throughout the game starts to seem a little weird. Like, are caps really necessary on a sweltering August night? Or a cloudy day? Or in the dugout? Maybe they should even be made optional?

That sound you hear is Uni Watch's name being crossed off of New Era's Christmas card list. But they can relax, and so can everyone else -- Uni Watch was just pointing out some cultural anomalies, not advocating blasphemy. Without caps, after all, Gaylord Perry wouldn't have had any place to hide his Vaseline, Phil Rizzuto wouldn't have had any place to store his chewing gum, the 1960s Angels wouldn't have had any place for their super-cool halo and Uni Watch wouldn't have a subject for articles like this one (or this one or this one or this one). And hey, just imagine the implications for Oscar Gamble!

As for Crew Askew, Uni Watch can live with its members' antics, on the condition that they steer clear of another common hip-hop headwear maneuver: leaving the sticker on the brim. We've gotta draw the line somewhere.

Making Spectacles of Themselves
Interesting scene in Toronto on Aug. 5, as Gustavo Chacin started and was relieved by Brandon League, marking a rare instance of back-to-back bespectacled pitchers.

Chacin and League are members of a fairly elite fraternity. By Uni Watch's very unofficial count, there are only five other active MLB players who wear glasses or goggles on a full-time basis: Nate Robertson, Jason Phillips, Francisco Rodriguez, Brendan Donnelly and Juan Padilla (plus injured Ben Weber and Eric Gagne). In the likely event that Uni Watch is overlooking someone, please don't be shy about saying so.



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