Friday, May 26, 2017

Brushing Up on the MLB Season So Far

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We’re just a handful of days away from the NBA and NHL wrapping up their respective seasons, which means baseball will garner most of the sports media attention around the country until football season returns in the fall. If you haven’t been paying attention to baseball this season, you’ve missed some surprising developments. Here are a few pieces of knowledge to get you up to speed before the mid-season break so you can impress your friends with all your baseball knowledge while rocking your colorful, totally-appropriate-for-any-occasion game bib overalls.

1. The Rockies are good. Like really good. Playing in the high altitude has never been easy on pitchers, as the thin air gives them less room to make mistakes. That doesn’t seem to be bothering the Rockies this year. Their bullpen has converted 21 of 24 saves, the team has walked the 6th fewest batters in MLB and batters are hitting an average of .243 against them. Their defense is 4th in putouts from the field, and they have an OPS (on-base + slugging) percentage of .767. You might not know what some of those metrics mean, but trust us, they’re good.

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2. The Astros are even better. This one probably isn’t a surprise to most, but after a disappointing 2016, Houston has righted the ship and then some to grab the league’s best record. As a team, they rank in the top 10 in hits, RBI, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Their pitching isn’t too shabby, either. They have the second-best earned run average and have struck out the most batters in the league. Scary good numbers coming out of Houston.

3. The Giants have fallen off the face of the earth. After years of battling the Dodgers for NL West supremacy, the Giants may have finally lost their edge. They are second to last in runs scored, last in home runs, second to last in RBI, hit a combined .231, and have the second worst on-base percentage in the league.
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4. Aaron Judge is a beast. As this is his first full season in the big leagues, he’s considered a rookie. Through the first 60ish days of the season, he’s turned that into 15 home runs (tied for most in the league), a .315 batting average, 30 RBI, a 1.104 OPS and highlight reel after highlight reel on defense. He’s also a terrifying 6’ 7” tall. The Yankees facilities team has already capitalized on his popularity with a section of seats dubbed the Judge’s Chambers.

5. Mike Trout is putting up MVP numbers. The quietest, hardest working player in baseball is having a terrific spring with 50+ hits, double-digit two-baggers, 35 RBI, 15 home runs, a mind-boggling .342 batting average and an OPS north of 1.2.

Some call the space between basketball and football a sports desert. We beg to differ, and this season is already shaping up to be one for the record books. Who will you be watching as the calendar changes to summer? Now that you have a few nuggets of knowledge under your belt, turn on the T.V. and catch up!
Friday, May 12, 2017

The Evolution of Baseball Uniforms

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With hockey and basketball approaching the ends of their respective seasons and football not kicking off until September, America’s collective sports focus will be on baseball. More than any pro sport, baseball uniforms don’t seem entirely intuitive. Why dress head to toe in polyester in the heat of summer? What’s with the weird socks? We wanted to take a closer look at how baseball uniforms have evolved over the years to help explain why baseball players dress the way they dress.

In the Beginning
Back in the mid-1800s, baseball players wore baggy pants, a plain shirt and a straw hat. Once more teams became organized, they needed a way to distinguish between each other for the fans. Enter alternating uniforms for home and away teams as well as colors, logos and patterns, such as pinstripes and checkerboard.

It’s Not Always Pants Weather
Just the thought of playing baseball in wool pants in the summer heat has us feeling faint. Teams back in the mid-1800s remedied this by introducing knickers that cuffed just below the knee to give players a more breathable uniform option.

Identity Lies in the Sock
During the same time as the introduction of cuffed knickers, stockings became popular for absorbing sweat. Teams started coloring the accessory to match their uniform and added unique stripe patterns to make it part of their team’s identity. The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first to popularize the fad. The practice has stuck, with modern teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and A’s utilizing patterns and colors that are instantly associated with team colors and style.

Caps: More than Just Sun Blockers
Teams began experimenting with brimmed caps in the 1860s, with a range of styles including tall pillbox caps and the beginnings of the rounded, classic cap look that has endured to this day. Colors and logos started creeping into cap design until it became a staple of every team. Oddly enough, helmets were not mandated by Major League Baseball until 1971.

What’s in a Number?
At first, players didn’t wear numbers on the backs of their uniforms. Even the great Babe Ruth, known by many to have worn #3, didn’t have a number on the back of his uniform early on in his career. When numbers were first introduced, they were used to signify the batting order of the player as well as easily identify them on the field. It wasn’t until 1932 that numbers became required, and it wasn’t until 1952 that any teams featured additional numbers on the front of their uniforms (you can thank the Brooklyn Dodgers for that one).

In the last several decades, the biggest changes to uniforms have come from colors and fabrics, with the 1970s ushering in a bright splash of colors and the move towards a lightweight polyester. Since then, the biggest trend is the baggy, loose-fitting uniforms most players wear. What will be the uniform style in 10 or 20 years? We think high socks/stirrups will come back into style more than they already have, and players will start wearing more form-fitting uniforms. What do you think? Share with us in the comments below and enjoy your summer of baseball!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Predicting the NBA Playoffs by Uniform

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In what might be quickly becoming a Game Bibs tradition, we’re back to predict yet another playoff tournament based solely on team colors and uniforms. Today’s league is the NBA, owner of arguably the longest playoff tournament in pro sports. Now that the first rounds have eliminated some teams and done a bit of the legwork for us, it’s time for us to swoop in and give our infallible picks for the rest of the tournament.

The clean, classic look of the Celtics has rarely been tweaked over the years, and as fun as it has been to see the Wizards making strides in a symbolic color combo of the District, Boston’s green and white look has this one in the bag.

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The Raptors dropped their purple a few years back for a simpler, cleaned-up look of red and black. We can’t fault them for that, but no one wears wine and gold like the Cavaliers. Cleveland has our pick.

So, who’s representing the league in the finals? That’s a tough one considering how awesome these uniforms look on the court. The classic fan in us says Boston, but the new age fan can’t ignore Cleveland...unless they wear those awful black uniforms.

The Jazz made a smart move when they reverted to their old “J note” logo from their New Orleans days and updated it with some greens, blues and yellows. You just can’t ignore the iconic blue and yellow of the Warriors, though. Golden State takes this one easily.

Black, silver and white could look boring, but not when the Spurs wear it. Most sports fans have been clamoring for the Rockets to return to their yellow-and-red colors from decades past, but they’ve started wearing black instead. Spurs find a way to scratch out some victories against the pesky Rockets.

In the West, it’s a toss-up. Skill says the Warriors will win, but classic uniforms say the Spurs. We’ll go with a safe pick and choose the Warriors.

In yet another rematch of Cleveland and Golden State, NBA fans might feel like blue, yellow, wine and gold are wearing out their welcome. Maybe so, but the Finals could look a lot worse from a uniform standpoint. The Cavaliers won’t take seven games to get us to love their color combo. Cleveland in six games.

Who do you have winning it all this year in the NBA? Share your opinions with us below and keep your eyes glued to the television!

Friday, May 5, 2017

NHL Playoffs Predictions

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Now that the first round of the NHL Playoffs is in the books, the second round is nearing its end and the cream of the crop is all that’s left, it’s time for the crew to jump in and make some Nostradamus-esque predictions. Would it have been bolder of us to make predictions before the playoffs started? Sure, but then we’d look foolish for thinking the Blackhawks wouldn’t be swept by the lowest seed in the Eastern division. Chicago woes aside, here’s who we think will make their way through the rest of the tournament based, of course, off the flashiness of their uniforms and colors.

Let’s assume the school-bus-yellow-wearing Nashville Predators will continue their improbable run into the conference finals by beating the St. Louis Blues (we secretly like the yellow, btw). In a color palette mashup that would hurt the eyes of weaker hockey fans, we predict the Oilers will get past the Ducks for a conference title showdown of small market teams. Will the team most people forgot exists make a run against an Edmonton squad trying to recapture their 1980s glory? By a nose, the fellas from Nashville will hoist the conference trophy.

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The matchups in the Eastern conference seem more rooted in tradition and rivalry. First up is the Ottawa Senators and the New York Rangers. If there was ever a more classic use of red, white and blue in a uniform, we haven’t seen it. Can’t say colors combinations will help them beat the pesky Senators, but they’ve got our vote based solely on uniform aesthetics. Since they reverted to a rich, bright yellow instead of shiny gold, the Penguins’ uniforms have been a thing of nostalgic beauty. They’re also the Achilles heel of the Capitals, so we don’t see Washington making a valiant comeback. In the conference finals, we have to give the edge to Pittsburgh.

So here we are. Upstart vs. tradition. Blue and yellow vs. black and yellow. Experience vs. inexperience. A sabretooth tiger vs. a…penguin with human hands? Throwing actual hockey ability and experience out the window, this is probably a matchup few analysts would’ve predicted. We’re throwing our weight behind Nashville to continue this run and cause an uptick in yellow sports fan apparel everywhere.

Who do you think will win it all this season in the NHL? Share your comments with us below, and enjoy the games!