Don't mess with a Winner: a guide to jersey editing

Monday, October 10, 2011

How long of a prison sentence would someone get if they attempted to make alterations to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa

I think the Italian criminal code would have to be amended to punish someone for such an offense. 

The Mona Lisa, David (by Michelangelo), and the mural of the Sistine Chapel are all considered masterpieces. But you knew that already. I didn't have to tell you. And if you didn't, go jump into a bushel of thorns for not paying attention in Art History class.

It can be argued that sports jersey are also pieces of art. They're designed by artists after all. And artists create art. There you go. 

Some jerseys, like the ones dawned by the New York Yankees, or the Montreal Canadiens, are untouchable. There's too great a legacy of winning, history, and nostalgia with those teams to make any conscious edits to its uniforms. Just like the Mona Lisa, you don't mess with a winner. 

Don't believe me? Check out these examples. 

The 1926 version of the New York Yankees' away uniform (as sported by Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth) are very similar to the version worn by Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter in 2009.

As mentioned, the same goes for the Montreal Canadiens. Two minutes for looking so good, Richard. Can we say the same for current Habs forward Mike Cammileri?

For any sports purists reading this, you may want to overt your eyes. It's going to get ugly. Real ugly.

Both the Yankee and Canadien franchises have been around for over 100 years. As you've seen, no legit changes. 

The Chicago White Sox, a Major League Baseball team that's been around almost as long as the Yankees, has changed its jersey scheme numerous times throughout its history. Hey, if change is for the better, than I'm okay with it. But take a look at these rags and judge for yourself.

Let's start with the good. The 1917 version of the White Sox's uniform is classy. Although this picture is black and white, the colors don't clash, and everything is where it should be. 

The Bad: I'm not sure if White Sox owner Bill Veeck partook in the LSD movement of the 1970s, but coincidentally or not, it's uniforms went through some pretty psychedelic transformations.

And, the otherwise: "Shoeless" Joe Jackson is spinning in his grave right now.

Can you imagine if the Yankees ran out of the dugout wearing bright red pinstripes, on top of a black uniform, with a neon green Yankee logo in the centre of the chest? The ensuing riots would make the OccupyWallStreet ones look tame and elementary.

I could list another 20 examples of uniform edits gone bad. But I won't. You get the picture.  The White Sox came to its senses in the 90s, and now have a uniform that closely resembles its original version.

Often, teams feel the need to re brand and re image. And I get that. Some jerseys are just god-awful bad to begin with. Sometimes teams need a spark to set itself on the winning track. Uniforms are usually the first pawn in that proverbial game of chess. 

Can you imagine if one of da Vinci's sons decided that he didn't like the look of Mona Lisa's nose, and then made some alterations to it? Maybe he adds a nose ring to keep up with societal trends. 

To me, that's the same thing as a team (or owner) making a drastic change to its uniform.

A wise man once told me, "Garrick, if you go into an ice cream shop, and have one of everything, you'll get sick, maybe throw-up, and not enjoy yourself. That's why you need to find your favorite flavor and stick with it."

So, owners of the sports world, listen up. Don't mess with history, or a good thing. 


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