Ratto: Bay Area jerseys are uniformly uninspiring

September 6, 2011, 6:02 pm
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Sept. 6, 2011


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On the off chance that you watched Maryland play Miami last night and are sharing your cornea-searing whinings with your mates around the coffee room today, let us help.Stop it. Stop it and shut up. Youre grown people. You really dont care that the Maryland players looked like half-Crusaders, half-Crash Test Dummies. You dont really mind it one way or another, if you want to be honest with yourselves. Youre too old to buy a jersey, and you didnt go to Maryland anyway, so this doesnt affect you in any shape or manner at all.At least you now have some visual frame of reference for Maryland. Plus, you dont have a fashion show on Bravo, so nobody gives a hot sizzling damn about your fashion views.We get why youre confused and annoyed. You live in the most vibrant area in the United States, and when it comes to your local teams, you may as well be a dog. At least they come by their color-blindness honestly.
But its not just color blindness that marks us as a culture. You want no uniforms that ever allow you to fold an envelope, let alone stretch one.The last truly bold design any of our teams ever attempted was the Warriors classic The CITYcable car ensemble. That was 1966, and it was ruined in 1971 when the franchise left for the mythical land of Golden State and turned perfection into a bad cartoon. It was, and is, one of the high-water marks in the history of sweat-soaked haberdashery.For the most part, though, we are hidebound conservatives when it comes to our teams and their garb, so were in no position to mock Maryland for getting wacky with its flag shoulder patches.The 49ers are red and white with khaki pants. When Eddie DeBartolo brought black shadowing to sell new stuff, he was mocked for ruining perfection, which of course wasnt perfection so much as it was better than this Arena Football crap.The Raiders are black and silver, and have been for 48 consecutive years, which works great for dogs but is otherwise designed to blend in with the surrounding when youre on stalking patrol.The Giants are black and orange, orange and black, and the bold addition in 2000 was, yes, wait for it . . . cream. The As are dark green, and when they want to be wacky, they throw in a yellow top. And the white shoes that were so radical in the early 60s now look like wing-tipped spats.Stanford is cardinal and white. Cardinal is a slightly redder version of maroon, and maroon is red for people who like the sight of blood. Cal is blue and gold, mostly blue, and when it goes to yellow, the older alums complain about the glare.The Warriors havent gotten the uniform right in 40 years, and the Sharks great innovation (after stealing the inverted triangle motif from the Pittsburgh Penguins) was to add goldenrod. And having done so, they still go to all black home jerseys because the players like to look like ninjas, or something like that.All Im saying, then, is that were not really in a position to judge Maryland -- not with our Brooks Brothers fixations.Besides, Maryland isnt aimed at you anyway. The kids are the ones who like the loud noises and flashing colors, and theyre the ones who end up buying the stuff. You have your Gus Otto and Purvis Short and John Ayers and Orlando Cepeda jerseys in your heads because thats how you grew up. Maryland is how your kids grow up . . . Maryland and Oregon (oh God, Oregon) and Boise State and whatever the Nashville Predators and Barcelona are wearing these days.So spare us your outrage about Maryland. If they need to juice T-shirt sales by making their players look like harlequins, well, this is just the way of the world in the time we have left before the meteor hits. Suck it up, rub some dirt on it, walk it off.And when the 49ers have that third jersey ready for sale next year, buy a dozen for you and all your friends. I mean, youre going to anyway because youre not that different than your kids. You like new stuff and loud colors and piercing noises, too.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

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