* A friend of mine wrote a long, moving essay about Jim Thome, the Indians, and the city of Cleveland. It’s about a lot of things, but this jumped out at me: "His salient idiosyncrasy is his hosiery: he wears his socks above the knee."
It jumped out at me because I’ve been thinking about how much I like Juan Pierre, especially how he dresses (look, it’s been a tough season for the Sox; you take your entertainment where you can).
Baseball hosiery in particular is a hot topic among the cultish devotees among us who obsess over professional athletic uniforms, as typified by the great Paul Lukas, longtime proprietor of the Uni Watch blog. For instance, here’s Lukas quoting Brewers broadcaster Mike Anderson:
Badenhop’s wearing the old-fashioned stirrups. You don’t see guys wearing the stirrups very often. That’s a lost art, the stirrups. Those are old-school. Normally guys just wear, y’know, the black socks, the full socks.
Baseball’s a tied-down, conservative sport, so those little bits of elan jump out at you. Here’s Pierre standing next to the Twins’ Orlando Hudson, who wears his pants long and relaxed:
Pierre’s stirrups are a nod to classicism, as are his hiked-up pants, which is how I wore mine back in the day. (I was a terrible baseball player, so the least I could do was look good.) But then he contrasts it with the baggy jersey and oversized hat—which maybe attributable to his head, as he has the smallest hat size in baseball, some two sizes smaller than mine*—often worn at an angle:
And keep in mind that Juan Pierre is, um, tiny. Yet he pulls off the look well. Maybe that’s why Jay-Z, no fashion slouch himself, gave Pierre a nod in "Deja Vu."
It’s odd, the little things that endear players to us. Pierre’s having a rough season, but I still like to watch him play, in no small part because I like his style.
Speaking of rough seasons, the Cubs did something unfortunately impressive last night against the Cincinnati Reds last night. They gave up seven runs while pitching an earned shutout: not a single one of the seven runs was an earned run. If you’re going to lose, you may as well lose in interesting ways, though seven unearned runs is not even half the MLB record of 16.
LeBron James has a cold. Someone on Twitter suggested that he’s setting himself up for a Michael Jordan flu game. Michael Jordan : LeBron James :: flu : cold is about where it stands right now, I think.
SportsFeat, a new sister site to Longform.org that curates long-form sports journalism, recently featured the 2007 New York Times Magazine piece about former Cub Adam Greenberg, whose major-league career lasted one at-bat. If you haven’t read it, it’s worthwhile.
* h/t @nocoastoffense
Photographs: Chicago Tribune