White Sox All-Star Game review: Unfortunate uniforms, explicit language

Until this year’s All-Star Game, I didn’t realize I’d taken the tradition of non-unified uniforms for granted. Major League Baseball was the only league to let its players dress in their own livery, which is a tradition that came to a jarring close when Nike designed All-Star uniforms for both leagues to wear this time around, and ugly ones at that.

Such uniforms might’ve made more sense if they were introduced in conjunction with the All-Star Game determining home-field advantage in the World Series, becuase then it would’ve been a visual representation of the new emphasis on leagues. But that era is over, the game is rightfully returned to exhibition status, and so it’s more about seeing your best guys go up with and against the best guys from other teams, which is what the individual team uniforms helped define.

There’s the possibility that I’m too old for this shift, at least if this Los Angeles Times story is any indication:

There is a four-letter answer: Nike. When Major League Baseball signed a billion-dollar contract with Nike in 2019, MLB did more than cash in. The league asked for help resolving its persistent problem in attracting newer and younger audiences.

“It really was about being able to harness their expertise in reaching younger audiences and in elevating sport, and in the power of the marketing brand that is Nike,” MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden said. […]

“It’s not supposed to appeal to me,” Garden said. “It’s supposed to appeal to my kids.”

On that score, the new jerseys appear to be a success. They are “essentially sold out,” an MLB official said.

Then again, I don’t think you’d see an MLB official say they weren’t selling. “Essentially” can be a pretty squishy qualifier.

A single All-Star uniform makes sense in sports like basketball/football/hockey where the ball/puck can be intercepted by members of the other team and moved in the opposite direction. In baseball, there’s very little confusion about who’s on offense or defense at any given time, at least in plays that don’t involve A.J. Pierzynski. Individual uniforms aren’t just something that’s always been done, but it’s always been something the sport could do, and so it seems dumb to stop doing it.

Tim Anderson, who echoed the consensus public sentiment with his enthusiastic adoption of the White Sox’s City Connect uniforms, also seemed to represent the general feedback about the All-Star look.

Perhaps the kids liked them, but the next endorsement I see will be the first.

Anderson, who made the All-Star team as a replacement for Carlos Correa, did get in the game defensively, but he didn’t get a chance to step in the box. The American League left him on deck in the bottom of the ninth, which Tampa Bay and AL manager Kevin Cash says he regrets.

Anderson sounded like he was in a forgiving mood, but it’s possible that this episode is added to the catalog of forever beefs.

As for his teammates who also represented the White Sox in Denver, here’s how they spent the first half of their All-Star breaks.

LANCE LYNN

He threw a scoreless second inning in relief of Shohei Ohtani, erasing a two-out walk with a two-out strikeout, and then dropping a couple of quality quotes after the game, including this one:

“When you make an All-Star team and don’t pitch, you almost feel like you didn’t make it,” Lynn said. “Now I can officially say I made it.”

It’s a shame he wasn’t mic’d up, but guess who was?

LIAM HENDRIKS

Hendriks closed out the game with a scoreless ninth, although he had to survive a couple of hits to do it. His appearance was more noteworthy for the usual array of expletives he sprays during an inning, except this time it was delivered crisp and clear over the Fox broadcast:

https://twitter.com/MajorLeagueGIFs/status/1415148550351110148

Supposedly he didn’t know it was on. I don’t think it would’ve made a difference either way.

Amongst the pitches he threw was a new offering: an 84-mph knuckleball that drifted low and away to Ozzie Albies for ball one.

That’s because he told Rob Friedman, aka Pitching Ninja, that he’d do it for $20 donations to an animal rescue charity.

CARLOS RODÓN

He was the lone White Sox representative to not appear in the game, so Lynn might’ve rained on his parade a little bit. That said, three-quarters of the Rodón family did appear an the actual parade.

Rodón’s absence from the box score would’ve been a bigger bummer in previous seasons, when All-Star nods and other individual accomplishments were the only feats that were really in play for members of the White Sox. But with another half next to play — and as much of October as possible — I didn’t mind seeing Rodón sit this one out, especially since his history of mid-game entrances is uneven at best.

(Photo by Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Eloytes

Shame about the Moonlight Graham for Tim, but overall seems like he enjoyed the experience.

There’s no way Hendriks didn’t sabotage his earpiece in some way. I can’t imagine a pitcher less suited to having two of the world’s most inane broadcasters chattering in his ear while he’s trying to do his job.

Hendriks later added, “I would have been a little more conscious if I had heard them back. But it all turned out, the volume was too low. Probably my fault, a little user error.”

phillyd

I thought the NL jerseys were fine.

asinwreck

The decision to put a live mike on Liam Hendriks while he was pitching is my single favorite thing Fox has ever done with any sporting event it has broadcast.

Root Cause

For a millisecond, I wondered why they didn’t put a 2 second delay on Hendricks audio but then, putting a mic on him would have been pointless.

It also seems odd that they know the vulgarities are coming yet want to pull in the young crowd. I know kids hear and see a lot but there are still parents out there that would tune last night off with small kids in the room.

Maybe next year they get Jason to type in closed captions for those who prefer video and PG only.

jorgefabregas

You wonder how much the marketers are confusing “kids” with gear nerds who have disposable income.

metasox

“Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the real money from the movie is made”

Greg Nix

I can’t find the tweet now, but someone reported that Rodon requested Cash only use him as a last resort because he wants to be ready for the second half. Big shouts to him for that, must be a tough decision to make.

Foulkelore

Thanks for this. That’s the only thing that makes sense, and Buck said a couple of times something like, “all of the pitchers who were supposed to pitch did.” I couldn’t understand why a first time guy, who was good enough to start the game, and last pitched Tuesday, wouldn’t get in. It also makes sense in the context of the quote by Cash, only regretting not getting Tim an at bat with no mention of Rodon.

joewho112

In the second video, does Liam say “God damn fuck fish“?

Right_Engel

Unless that’s an Australian saying, it sounded like “God damn fuckin’ finish it.”

calcetinesblancos

It’s hilarious how American he sounds there. Actually, the way he speaks in general is funny because at this point it’s like a mix of Aussie and American accents.

ParisSox

I didn’t / couldn’t watch but what’s with this red carpet crap? Was that a dinner or awards show or something stupid? Was Melissa Rivers there? Joan is dead, right?

Yeah I miss the players in their own uniforms. Gives fans of each team a little pride.

I’m old.

As Cirensica

Red carpets are passé. The color is purple now!!!

texag10

Kevin can’t have been too upset seeing as how he gave Bogaerts 3 at bats but pulled Shohei “The Face of MLB” Ohtani after 2 at bats…

Joliet Orange Sox

I’m not surprised Eaton was signed but I’m not expecting much from him going forward.

Angels sign Eaton

HallofFrank

It’s been a few years since anyone besides the White Sox front office has expected much from him going forward.

670WMAQtheElder

In addition to MLB extracting money from youngsters by selling ugly Nike ASG uniforms, and by promoting gambling websites (time to welcome back Pete Rose?), MLB is promoting FXT, an app where the youngsters can buy bitcoin. By patches worn by the umpires, no less. What could possibly go wrong?

calcetinesblancos

What is Liam doing in that pic?