The St. Louis Cardinals have strongly hinted that they will return to their powder blue road uniforms of the 1970s and early 1980s in the upcoming season.
A tweet from the club shows a photo of Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith doing his trademark backflip in the sky blue duds and notes there will be a special announcement coming up next week. Since the well-known original of the photo showed The Wizard wearing a white home uniform, it’s obvious that the blue color has been added to the picture, so the hue is the clue about what the secret is.
That being said, I wish they wouldn’t do this.
First of all, while young people who didn’t live through it might not feel that way, baseball was terrible in the 1970s and I would prefer not to be reminded of it. While the 1982 World Series is a great memory, when I think of those pullover uniforms, I mostly think of the Cardinals malaise that lingered most of the time the Redbirds wore those hideous uniforms. I remember when the stands at Busch Stadium II were one-third of the way full most nights and the ballpark was desecrated with artificial turf. And, oh, that artificial turf with huge, discolored patches in the outfield that didn’t match the rest of the phony grass.
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Young folks, you just don’t realize how much better things are today than they were back then.
Second, for some reason people seem to think those old uniforms are unique in some way. They aren’t. Don’t people realize they were entirely generic? The Cardinals didn’t choose to wear blue when all the other teams wore gray on the road, somehow making them special. the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays all wore the same light blue road uniforms for a spell in the days when people also thought lamb chop sideburns, bell bottoms and disco were fashionable.
Still, if your childhood heroes like Ted Simmons, Willie McGee and the previously mentioned Ozzie Smith wore those outfits and you think it will remind you of watching them play to see the current Cardinals dressed like them. Well, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but it won’t. Players don’t wear their uniforms skin tight like those 70s getups were made to wear. It just looks sloppy to see a modern ballplayer wearing form fitting uniforms so large they look like they’re modeling a garbage bag. But, more importantly, they’re not going to look like those classic Redbirds team unless they go out and get some guys who can catch and throw the ball like the vintage Cardinals used to.
Enough with the window dressing. Let’s worry more about the product their putting on the field instead of trying to put lipstick on a pig, as they say.
Although the design is nice, to tell the truth, I think having special Saturday uniforms for home games is silly. The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cardinals are three of the classiest and most classic franchises in baseball history. They’re brands that have stood the test of time and that mean something. Until the last couple of years, they all had something in common — that they didn’t mess around with their image. Their uniforms are consistent from year to year and when you see a player dressed in them, it doesn’t matter the era, you know exactly who they play for.
I don’t know when the Redbirds plan to wear these get ups. But I am assuming, although they wore the blues on the road when they were the official outfit, that they’re planning to wear them in front of the home fans now. I think wearing colored tops at home, where teams are supposed to wear white, is silly. Then you basically have two teams on the same field wearing road uniforms.
All these costume changes are simply an effort to make more money buy getting us gullible saps to cough up part of our paychecks to have the latest thing. I never bought the Saturday jersey and I can’t imagine wearing this one. I’d rather put on my 1967 Orlando Cepeda jersey in traditional road gray. That is what a St. Louis Cardinals jersey is supposed to look like.