The Jersey Boys: O, What a Night
Uh-oh. Or should we say "O, O"? That's what went missing from Friday night's Nationals-Marlins game, as both Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn took the field with a slight misspelling on their jerseys: "NATINALS."
Was it a jab at the Orioles, our blogger colleague Dan Steinberg wondered? Or a celebration that the Nats are no longer oh-fer this season? (They scored their season's first win the night before.) No, just a catastrophic wardrobe malfunction that still could not be fully explained yesterday.
The Nats front office offered a terse explanation: Major League Baseball asked each team to send three jerseys worn by players on Opening Day to headquarters in New York; the replacements arrived from the factory with the wrong lettering.
Uniform typos are not rare, said Paul Lukas, author of ESPN's Uni Watch blog, citing such infamous snafus as Blue Jay Joe Carter's "TOROTNO" jersey and the one that misspelled Wayne Gretzky's last name. But "for it to happen to two players on the same team in the same game -- it's unprecedented."
Lukas outlined the many layers of fail: "The equipment manager or clubhouse guy who hung those jerseys in their locker, the players who put them on, the teammates who looked at them -- an awful lot of people saw that" before they took the field. (Less obvious: Pitcher Wil Ledezma suiting up in a Nats jersey with an upside-down "N" last week.)
But Lukas sympathized with the Nats for not joining our mirth: "The equipment managers for these teams are very proud people. They take a sense of pride and professionalism in their work."
As do the folks at the uniform factory. Majestic Athletic of Easton, Pa., issued a chagrined apology yesterday. "We're diligently trying to, one, find out what happened," spokesman Michael Johnson told us, "and, two, make sure it doesn't happen again."
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