Thursday, July 06, 2006
Finally I'm fashionable
It appears that my wardrobe is suddenly fashionable, possibly for the first time in my life.
You have to understand that I'm not the most adventuresome dresser. We had a discussion in the office that my many khaki Dockers were the type O blood of men's clothes because they go with everything -- at least all the dark-colored polo shirts I wear. I wore a shirt with a pattern one day and the newsroom was abuzz.
But according to the New York Post, my outside-of-work wardrobe, assorted Metswear, is now hot, hot, hot. Mets merchandise is now among baseball’s best-sellers. And David Wright has bumped off Derek F. Jeter as the most popular player for T-shirts and jerseys.
This shouldn’t be a complete surprise. The Mets have long had the best-looking uniforms in the game, just ahead of the Cardinals and Dodgers.
But I suspect this means a lot of demoralized, bandwagon-jumping Yankee fans are realizing that life is better on the Queens side of the street. Or maybe they’re trying to infiltrate.
I’ve long been a jersey-lover, and I mean the apparel, not the state. And Mets gear always maintained a large presence in my closet.
Now that I have a baseball room, I have a special rack to display my jerseys. I’ve searched for both authentic and game-worn, when I can find and afford them -- and I don't spend a lot of money on these things. I stay away from the cheesy replicas on principle.
I get them from various sources; including a family-owned business that always have a booth at the National Sports Collectors Convention. You know the jerseys are legit because they have all almost all the players, including the scrubs and coaches. And I favor the srcubs and coaches because they’re affordable and they’re more likely to fit me, since I only buy jerseys I can wear.
Here are my favorites, at least the ones from our beloved team.
1) 1969 Mitchell & Ness Tom Seaver home flannel. (Authentic replica)
This was an anniversary present, and it was expensive, but before these things got stupid expensive. I wear it on special occasions. When you are with my company for 10 years, they shoot a photo of you and make a little plastic cut-out that is displayed in the cafeteria. To prevent them from all looking the same, you’re supposed to be doing something that shows who you are or what you do. Naturally, I’m wearing the Seaver jersey and holding a big red apple.
2) 1991 Barry Lyons warm-up.
This is kind of a strange thing. It’s a pull-over with a short zipper. The player’s name is stitched into the back, but the number is on the sleeve. The classic NY logo is on the chest. And for some reason, there are pockets sewed into the sides.
3) 1986 home (authentic replica)
I don’t know if there is still a Gerry Cosby store on Long Island, but it was jersey Mecca when I was a kid. This was my first real jersey, and Mom sewed the 1986 patch properly on the racing stripe. I proudly wore this when I was attending the University of Missouri at the height of the Mets-Cards rivalry. And I was wearing it when I proposed to my wife. Would she have said yes if I was wearing a cheesey replica instead? We'll never know.
4) 1992 Eddie Murray home (authentic replica)
It is the button-down version of the racing stripe jersey. And I was thrilled when Mets acquired the surly slugger because I could finally put my own name on a jersey. I have the 1993 version, too, with the disastrous addition of the tail under the team name. Now that Metstradamus has labeled it “the wardrobe of failure” I don’t wear it much.
5) 1997 Mel Rojas road batting practice
I got this from the team store, and there’s two reasons I can’t wear it much. The first is that it’s autographed, which makes it hard to wash without ruining the autograph. The second is that it’s Mel Rojas instead of Cookie, who I like. It’s a weird jersey, made of a satin mesh that seems too thin. And the letters are gray on a blue jersey, so they don’t stand out much.
6) 1997 Rick Trlicek home batting practice jersey
I like this one better. Trlicek had cups of coffee with the team in 1996 and 1997. The high number makes me think this one is from spring training. The home version is just so much brighter than the road BP jersey, and Trlicek, while not especially successful, is no Mel Rojas.
7) 1999 Mercury Mets “Turn Ahead the Clock” Night (authentic replica)
For one infamous night, most teams wore futuristic versions of their uniforms. Some were awesome. The Mets versions were not. Other teams had bright colors and their logos blown up to cover almost all the chests. For reasons unknown, the Mets decided to become the Mercury Mets, with a silver symbol for the planet taking the place of the NY on the cap, and a black and gray jersey featuring the symbol floating above the planet’s surface. It’s so horrible...that it’s kind of cool.
8) 1993 Bobby Bonilla road (Authentic replica)
Kind of a double whammy here. It represents both the wardrobe of failure and the player who personified the era. But I found it on clearance at the outlet store for Manny’s Baseball Land in Florida, which was like Cosby’s South but with much, much cheaper stuff and sales clerks that were actually nice. I was wearing it to a spring training game one night, and it turned out I was sitting a row in front of Shawn Abner – he was trying to make a comeback – and some other Mets minor-leaguers. Abner was mocking me for wearing a Bonilla jersey, and we all got to talking and had a nice conversation throughout the game. At one point Abner, who was loud and kind of obnoxious, went to get more beer and one of the other players said to me, “Can you believe the Mets wasted a No. 1 pick in the nation on that goofball?”
9) 2001 Robin Ventura alternate road (Authentic replica)
Found this one really cheap on eBay. It’s my one black Mets jersey. Ventura was such a classy guy, and it’s my souvenir of those magical 1999 and 2000 seasons.
10) 2005 Pedro Martinez All-Star game batting practice jersey (Authentic replica)
This was on clearance because, as you know, Pedro was selected for the team but didn’t go to the game. I love the All-Star Game, and this one in Detroit so I was able to hang out at the FanFest all day and check out the action around the yard and clean up on some last-minute souvenirs.
I have several more, but these are the favorites. And they even go with khaki Dockers.