With just nine days to go before the non-waiver trade deadline, Chris Sale being scratched from a start Saturday set off alarms for everyone who follows baseball for a living, as well as fans.
Except Sale wasn’t traded, and an earlier report that Sale was sick turned out to be a red herring. The truth was much more strange.
Reportedly, Sale didn’t want to wear the throwback jerseys the White Sox were scheduled to wear Saturday night. To make sure this happened, he reportedly went to the clubhouse during batting practice and cut up each jersey to render them unfit for play. As a result, the White Sox yanked Sale from his scheduled start and sent him home.
If Sale doesn’t like Chicago’s throwbacks jerseys, he’d probably hate being a prospect these days. Nearly every team has multiple promotional or specialty uniforms, and it seems recently that teams have engaged in a sport-wide game of gaudy oneupsmanship. Anything you wear, we can wear weirder.
With that in mind, here’s just a sampling of the doozies of jerseys that some teams around the country have worn this season. Some are clever and some are hideous, but rest assured Chris Sale would need to have his scissors ready for all of them.
1. Three Amigos Jerseys—Fresno Grizzlies Designed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Chevy Chase-driven comedy, Fresno donned these babies on Saturday night, just before word got around about what Sale had done in Chicago. In this picture, five members of Fresno model their duds for the evening. The looks on their faces say it all.
2. Prince Tribute Jerseys—Columbia Fireflies When Prince died unexpectedly died on April 21, the tributes came quickly. Of all the homages paid in the weeks immediately following, none was as spectacular or garish as what Columbia put together. Dig, if you will, a picture:
3. David Bowie Night—Bowie Baysox Rock icon David Bowie also died this year, and like the Fireflies did with Prince, the Bowie Baysox decided the best way to pay tribute was to become the David Bowie Baysox. Bowie the rocker was known for his flashy fashion as well as his music, and the Baysox came up with a winner of jersey in his memory, complete with a heaping helping of stardust.
4. Full House Night—Brooklyn Cyclones The 1990s are far enough in the rear-view mirror that trends from the era are becoming ironically en vogue once more. With that mind, the originators of Seinfeld Night expanded from New York to San Francisco and honored the Tanner family with their own jerseys. John Stamos even showed up for the fun.
5. Nutria Jerseys—New Orleans Zephyrs The Zephyrs already employ two nutrias as their mascots, Boudreaux and Clotile, so the team this year decided to go full bore and plaster a picture of the swamp-dwellers across the chests of their players. If only the Portland Beavers were still around, they could have a had a great time matching up against their strikingly similar friends.
6. Crazy Hot Dog Vendor Jerseys—Reading Fightins If you’ve ever been to a game in Reading, Pa., you know about the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. If you haven’t, here’s a quick summary: He’s a hot dog vendor, and he’s crazy. Oh, and he rides around the field on an ostrich, heaving his hot dogs into the stands to whomever is lucky enough to make the catch. Last year, Reading decided to dress all of its players up in his old-timey garb. It was spectacular.
7. Wizard Of Oz Jerseys—Jackson Generals While millions of people consider “The Wizard Of Oz” a timeless classic, they probably wouldn’t say quite the same about these jerseys. It definitely took a lot of heart and courage to put these in players’ lockers before the game, and a lot of uncomfortable feelings probably could have been avoided, if they’d only had a brain.
8. Asparagus Jerseys—Stockton Ports Asparagus jerseys? Asparagus jerseys. Apparently, according to the Athletics’ high Class A affiliate, asparagus is the world’s favorite vegetable and also a staple of Stockton.
9. American Flag Jerseys—Trenton Thunder These jerseys aren’t nearly as ostentatious or outrageous as the others, but they get the nod simply because their debut timed with a rehab appearance by certain Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. Even the face of the franchise had to go along with the fun, and general manager Brian Cashman snapped a photo of the uniforms and sent it to all of the players in New York to have a little fun at the Yankees captain’s expense. The next time the White Sox want to send Chris Sale on a rehab assignment to the minor leagues, they’d better take a close look at the promotional schedule first. Or at least call ahead and have them hide the scissors.