Teams wear throwback jerseys so often that the practice has become largely unremarkable. Everyone now seems to recognize what's at work here: Teams honor their history and, of course, sell additional forms of memorabilia to their fans. Red Sox fans accustomed to the contemporary blue cap might be moved to buy a red 1970s era lid. Or Baltimore fans acclimated to the plain black bird might be prompted to buy the smiling Oriole lid of years past (perhaps as a reminder of when the team was more relevant).

If you're a Tampa Bay Rays fans, however, your historical options are rather limited, since the team only came into existence in 1998. Which brings us to this weekend.

The Rays' organization has over the years turned to throwback jerseys from minor league teams with connections to the area, including the Tampa Tarpons and the St. Petersburg Saints. Instead of widening the web to include, say, great high school teams of yore, the team is wearing a uniform on Saturday to honor the Tampa Bay Smokers, a minor league team that won a championship in 1951.

The Smokers, you might have guessed, were not named after outdoor grills used to "smoke" meats. Rather, they were named after people who enjoy smoking tobacco. Namely, cigars, which used to be manufactured in great numbers in Tampa and led to the nickname Cigar City. You might not be able to glean that connection from the uniforms the Rays will be wearing Saturday, however, as the cigar has been removed in deference to contemporary attitudes toward smoking.

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"We have chosen to wear the Smokers jersey to celebrate the rich heritage and traditions surrounding baseball in Tampa Bay and this version of the logo is intended only to be a slightly more contemporary version of that wonderful history," the Rays said in a statement.

This falls in line with Bud Selig's stance on tobacco; he wants it banned from major league baseball.

Only one problem: The Rays warmly invite fans to visit the Cuesta-Rey cigar bar in their home field, which is advertised by the Rays' own website thusly:

"The only cigar bar at a Major League ballpark. Watch the game on TV from leather chairs and sofas while you savor cigars that aficionados recognize to be among the finest produced. A great place to meet before, during or after a game, it's on the upper level of Center Field Street across from The Batter's Eye Restaurant."

When asked about this seeming inconsistency, Mark Vaughn, the Rays' head of communications, responded via email: "Thanks for your interest. We will have no further comment on the throwback uniforms. Thanks again."

Cork Gaines writes about the team for Rays Index, and he says removing the cigar is a disservice to the history of his home city.

"The city of Tampa was kind of built on the cigar industry. If you’re gonna honor that heritage and history, then it seems kind of half-hearted to take the original logo and alter it. What they call 'modernizing' it, I guess. That’s just silly. If the idea of the cigar bothers you and you don’t want to promote smoking to children, then maybe they should have just honored a different team with a throwback. I mean, you still have the word 'Smokers' on the front of it."

Jonah Keri, author of The New York Times bestseller about the Rays called The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First, says he can't fault the team for trying to market memorabilia in a way that's more appealing.

"It's a visceral thing," Keri says. "When you market a jersey, a lot of it's for kids. And I just don't know if parents are going to buy a jersey for a kid if it's got a cigar on it. Whereas if it's just a name, there might be some cognitive dissonance there. I don’t see it as a big deal necessarily. It's a way to try to make parents feel a little better about it."

If historical accuracy has to suffer for the team to make money, Keri says he's fine with that.

"Honestly, the Rays have revenue issues," he says. "And if this is a way to raise revenues…short of doing something illegal or blatantly immoral, I don't have a problem with them doing anything to raise revenue. Go for it."

Gaines, for his part, doubts the removal of the cigar would prompt parents to buy the jersey.

"If a parent has a problem with a cigar on the front of it, he or she is gonna have a problem with the word 'Smokers' on the front of it," he says. "Besides, 'Smokers' just opens you up to a whole litany of other possible things beyond cigars. For the Rays organization, it might have seemed like a great idea at the time (to remove the cigar), but they kind of screwed it up, I thought."

For fans who want to see the cigar omission as another example of political correctness gone amok, the evidence is there. For fans who simply want to light up a stogie at Tropicana Field and watch the Rays play the Cardinals on Saturday, well, sometimes a jersey is just a jersey.

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In a battle between a carcajou and an aggressive leprechaun, it would be tough to know who to put your money on. But thanks to this Zephyr Original Snapback, you don't have to decide.

Heresy! Good luck finding a single person who would wear this faux pas. If you do find him, ask to borrow his "Why Can't Gators and 'Noles be Friends?" T-shirt.

But maybe this isn't just a manufacturing error. Michigan plays Notre Dame on Sept. 10 in the first-ever night game at the Big House. If you got your undergrad in South Bend and your Ph.D. in Ann Arbor, here's a way to show all of your colors (especially yellow). Maybe in the gloaming of the midwest dusk, you'll go unnoticed.

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NBA Draft fashion has finally calmed from a frenzy of iridescent brights and gaudy stripes to a GQ-worthy palate of neutrals and classics with just a hint of flash.

What a shame.

Let's harken back to to days when draft outfits glowed and repulsed like so much uranium. Here are the most laughably bad NBA Draft outfits of all time:

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10. Karl Malone, 1985

Malone took "Mailman" a little too seriously with this ill-fitting failure. I do know that the Trail Dust Steakhouse in Arlington, Texas, was still open in 1985, so maybe he stopped in for their famous tie chop and a quick run down the kiddie slide before the Jazz snagged him, but if your jacket sleeves are already cutting off circulation to your hands, then at least go for a full-length tie.

9. Chuck Person, 1985

This was the year the NBA invited the local glee club to perform at the draft. Show me those spirit fingers, Chuck P!

8. LeBron James, 2003

Why did LeBron go for this number? Because he's ... goin' to the chapel and he's gonna get draaaafted. Hopefully the wedding photographer buttoned the bottom two buttons.

7. Steve Nash, 1996

I thought I had a crush on Steve Nash, and then I saw this photo. Oh, wait, that's just some suburban junior high basketball coach. Whew.

6. Samaki Walker, 1996

While I do appreciate the Dapper Dan vibe of a white suit and a bowler hat, fit is still key. As in, you shouldn't be able to fit your face into the opening of your sleeves.

5. Bobby Jackson, 1997

This just wasn't a good year for NBA draft fashion. So sorry, Mr. Jackson, but I am for real. I think my high school anatomy teacher wore this exact same shimmering suit. Her name was Mrs. Hunter and she was around 65.

4. Wesley Johnson, 2010

Triple bogey! Modeling the Scottish Trifecta, Jackson never got the memo from SLAM writer Vince Thomas that the days of the NBA Draft Suit Watch might be over. First, we have the "I don't know if I'm golfing in Glasgow or getting ready for bed" trousers. Next, the "I'm being hazed by frat boys" canary shirt and finally, what is on that red tie? Scorpions? Magic lanterns? His wee bit of fashion sense is salvaged by that bonnie grin.

3. Peja Stojaković, 1996

If you're 6-10 and you can find a navy blue velvet suit, then you should also be able to find a SuperCuts. Or a comb.

2. Maurice Taylor, 1997

I love teal. My senior prom dress was teal. I have a great teal bathing suit. I vaguely remember a teal stuffed unicorn in my past. Teal is an acceptable color for those items. But even when paying homage to the Hornets, a suit does not need to be the same color as the towels at a Hawaiian resort. Maybe now that he's in Italy, Taylor can have the suit retrofitted into a Vespa.

1. Tim Thomas, 1997

Bed, Bath & Beyond was having a sale on their 250 thread count sateen sheets that year. But they ran out of the extra long twin sets. Thankfully, Thomas found some brass buckles to draw attention from his exposed ankles to his shoes.

Here's hoping we get at least one blindingly magenta pinstripe monster to deliver in the clutch Thursday.

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When you hear the word ShoeZeum, you might imagine bejeweled slippers gracing the feet of European royalty, Manolos worn by Sarah Jessica Parker and maybe some of Johnny Cash's deliciously worn-in boots. But Jordy Geller had a different vision -- and a different taste in shoes.

As ESPN.com puts it, Geller's San Diego ShoeZeum, which opens to the public Thursday, is "one man's tribute to all things Nike." Armed with a law degree and an MBA, the swoosh fanatic started with $300 at a swap meet and then spent more than 10 years collecting more than 2,000 pairs of cushioned foot fashion designed for everyone from Kobe Bryant to Eddie Van Halen. If your keyboard or mobile device is now drenched in drool, it might be time to book a trip to SoCal to see Geller's shrine.

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Nikaholics can feast their eyes on kicks inspired by Michael Vick, Andre Agassi, Pee Wee Herman, Steve Prefontaine and The Beatles. Racks and rows are edited with more precision than DSW could ever dream of -- a conveyor belt for the Air Line, a nook for rock star and Hollywood styles, a room of specialty shoes ranging from hiking to aqua socks.

If you want to see the ShoeZeum as it stands today, you'll need to just do it by July. That's when Geller's lease runs out. But don't worry, he's pondering a move to Los Angeles, Oregon or Vegas -- and maybe even a traveling show. After all, these sneakers were made for walking (and running, jumping and kicking). They can't stay still for long.

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NBA, Nike, Shoes

A member of New Zealand Parliament found herself on the losing end of a political scrum Tuesday when she was ejected for wearing the jersey of her local rugby team, the Highlanders.

Clare Curran of New Zealand's left-leaning Labour Party said she wore the traditional blue Highlanders shirt to help draw attention to the team's recent switch to lime green jerseys. She considered it a major concern of her constituents in Dunedin South, the country's seventh most populous city.

But Speaker of the House, Lockwood Smith, deemed it inappropriate and banned her from the assembly. He invited her to return, if she chose, once she changed into more acceptable business attire.

"This House has certain dress standards," said Smith, a member of the conservative National Party, to the governing body. "If a male member of this House came in wearing a soccer top or a rugby top, they would be asked to leave."

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There may have been more than just political dynamics or style sensibilities at work. The first woman was elected to New Zealand's Parliament in 1933, but one of Curran's fellow female members later tweeted that Smith's decision was rooted in sexism and favoritism.

After being kicked out, Curran told the Otago Daily Times that there is genuine worry that the shift away from the traditional blue, gold and maroon may be a sign that the team will relocate.

"This has become a significant issue," Curran said. "The brand is important to the whole region, the team is important to the whole region and the colors the team wear are important to the whole region.”

The Highlanders, which lost their first match with the new look last week, was formed in a merger of three separate rugby unions in 1995. According to the team's website, each color of the Highlanders' logo and erstwhile jersey represents one of the three union provinces: Gold for North Otago, Blue for Otago and Maroon for Southland. The franchise also operates under the motto of "United We Stand."

It just goes to show a tiger, or Highlander for that matter, can't change its stripes.

-- Watch the jersey flap unfold at the 4:25 mark of this video.



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Rugby