Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting reunited with the stirrup sock

The following is written by David Kamoe, a life-long sports fan whose sister is a close friend. David is an avid A's fan, wen to to high school with Drew Gooden and can't believe that Giants commentator Mike Krukow used to refer to the right-centerfield expanse at Pac Bell Park as "Finley Alley," referring to Steve Finley who remarkably wore a Giants uniform for a season. David will likely be stopping by these parts a few times a month, so treat him right. And no sister jokes.

One of the great phrases of all-time was whoever first referred to the NFL as the “No Fun League.” The fact that there are “uniform police” in the NFL borders on the fully ridiculous. One of the best examples of this was Jon Kitna getting fined by the NFL because he wasn’t wearing a Bengals hat during his post game press conference. Never mind that the hat was orange, it was more that it was religious. That is a different argument for a different time. What bothers me is not the NFL and its “uniform police.” What pisses me off is the lack of a “uniform police” in Major League Baseball.

I don’t know who first started wearing the uniform pants all the way to the shoe tops but has to stop. I could argue that this is a safety issue because people like Manny Ramirez look like he’s going to trip over himself. The issue is the disappearance of the stirrup sock. What is the stirrup sock you ask? It is generally a solid color sock worn over a “sanitary sock.” The A’s, for example, wore a green stirrup sock over a gold sanitary sock. The Cardinals wear the “barber pole” socks favored by Brendan Ryan and others. Most of the stirrup socks, however, were a simple solid color.

I realize that the authoritarian nature of league officials is bad for sports. No one wants to have people telling Jon Kitna what hat to wear or Wayne Gretzky how to tape his stick. What is at stake here is the definition of the word “uniform.” As I have heard one Adam Carolla yell on a few occasions, it is about “uniformity” or “sameness.”

I want people to wear stirrup socks because it is a safety issue. Take the aforementioned Manny Ramirez. The way he wears his uniform makes it look as though it is at least two sizes two big. This is compounded by the fact that the cuffs of his pant hang low over the back of his cleats. I can’t remember what Mr. Ramirez’s contract is worth, but I doubt Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti, or Joe Torre would like to see him blow out his ACL because he tripped over his pants.

On a selfish level, the stirrup sock look is a classic look that further makes each team unique. From the Kelly green and Fort Knox gold of the A’s to the Oriole orange, stirrup socks were an extra reminder of the team’s colors. Frankly, my only regret is that the Giants used to wear black stirrup sock but white and not orange sanitary socks.

There is hope on the horizon. A’s rookie pitcher Josh Outman donned the traditional A’s stirrup socks and showcased them to the general sporting public until he was shelved by surgery on his pitching elbow. I know one person can’t reverse a trend, so if Manny Ramirez wouldn’t mind tripping while rounding first, “That’d be great.”


CT Buckeye said...

I believe it was "joggin'" George Hendrick that started wearning his pants low. I don't think they reached the shoe, though, but it was close.
I can't stand the pajamas-looking uniforms that Ramirez and Sabathia wear.

Anonymous said...

I had heard that and seeing as Hendrick played for the A's, I probably should've known that.

JMC said...

gotta love the 'rups - the UniWatch guy is a huge stirrups fan. There are some other guys out there who sport em also. Jamie Moyer, Rajai Davis on occasion, David Wright's done it, some pitcher for the cubs, Nyjer Morgan, etc

Anonymous said...

"some pitcher for the Cubs" is Aaron Heilman. I might have referenced him but he's terrible out of the 'pen. David