Rays to Get Their “Funk On” This Saturday

Oh how I had hope those gaudy and hideous fashion statements unveiled by Major League Baseball teams near the end of the 1970’s would lie in a deep coma somewhere, possibly in an undisclosed cement covered grave, never to see the light of day ever again. But somehow one of those funky patterns and designs did rear its head again in a 70’s inspired Tampa Bay Rays uniform.

The Rays decided to bring their own groovy edge and retro visions to life even though the ball club was not even a gleam in anyone’s eye at that time. I do not even think vision of hit baseballs entered the minds of future Tampa Bay baseball pioneers Frank Morsani or Vince Namoli during the late 70’s especially in this sunny region. So as the team takes the field this Saturday night for their annual 70’s Night, with a post game concert by 70’s icons “Earth, Wind and Fire”, you can bet more than a few people in the stands will “be trippin’ a bit” with flashbacks of some of those other MLB late 70’s unfortunate uniform logos and designs of other franchises.

I had kind of hoped I would never again see some of the fashion mis-steps and funkadelic inspirations that hovered over baseball during the end of the 70’s. From the Stove top caps of the Pittsburgh Pirates to the insane uniform worn by the Chicago White Sox whose short pants inspired uniforms just made he shiver after looking at the mangled knees of catcher Carlton Fisk’s knees. But to be honest, funky lettering fonts and swaying word patterns were popular in those days especially off the diamond.

I commend the Rays for trying to get extra funky and into their 1970’s groove thing and come up with a Rays “Turn Back the Clock” jersey top that would be a 1-of-a-kind and “must have” item. It will be extra special that each Rays field staff members’ jersey will go up for auction on the Rays website after the contests to support the Moffit Cancer Center and the Rays Baseball Foundation.

But there are a few quirks that have caught my untrained fashion eye. The uniform’s primary color (powder blue) seems to mesh consistently with another team that patrolled the American League East during the late 70’s, the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew’s road unis of that period seem to boast the same Rays flair as both jersey tops sport a portion of powder blue essence and both team’s utilized the traditional 70’s fashion item, the V-neck collar that seemed to be all the rage in that era.

But the Rays did divorce themselves from the total powder blue explosion on their uniform top by letting the chest and back region of the jersey be more of a royal blue separating these two teams a bit. But both uniforms sported powder blue pants with royal blue stirrups and white socks. Even the Rays retro baseball cap has visions of “Brew Crew” inspirations as both caps featured a yellow V-front panel with royal blue dominating the back and side panels of the cap.

The small bit of yellow trim that will fashion the Rays uniform number also plays nicely with the Brewers 1979 design. Thank goodness the Rays did not decide to use anything close to that hideous glove print design that sported the Brewers cap front. Rays decided on a more funkadelic “tb” on the cap with a Sun logo shining in bright yellow in the lower case “b” on the cap. The lower case “a” in the Rays embellished on their uniform front will also house a Sun design.

With the team having worn most of this area’s professional baseball team’s colors at some point during their previous 9 other “Throw-back” days, this meshing of the hypothetical past does have its own charm. The team will pay a bit of hometown homage to their St. Petersburg roots by having the City seal of St. Petersburg on their left jersey short sleeve.

Since it is a hypothetical design, and one that does seem to mirror a bit an actual AL East power at that time period, I can not only applaud the design, I might even buy a game used and autographed jersey through the auction on raysbaseball.com following the contest. I can’t call this a Home Run by the Rays, but possibly it is a nice sacrifice squeeze in the bottom of the 9th inning against a rival. It could have been worse, the Rays could of adopted the “tux stylings” of the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. Those kinds of tops were the rage at my prom in 1979. 

If you might want to buy one of these interesting conceptual jerseys prior to game time on Saturday, you can call or visit any of the Rays Team Store at the Trop., in Tampa, or you can visit Raysbaseball.com and buy one online.

8 Comments

I liked the 70’s unis particular the pants! :-)
And I love the music. I’d be there dancing with my Afro wig and 70’s outfit.
-Emma

Emma,
that is the year I got out of High School. A lot of good, bad and ugly memeories, but I still treasure them. I guess the thing that bothered me is the similarity to the Brew Crew gear. Then again, at least it was not an aquamarine top with a splash of yellow and white…There were alot worse combo in that era to chose from….Bombadier and balloon pants, Leisure polyester suits, platform spikes….okay, maybe not platform spikes, but you get the drift.

I love it!!! Let’s not forget the gross Cubs uniforms!!!! I had one of the stove-top Pirates caps!!!

Mark,
I still have one of the old Mariners “upside down Triton” caps from when I was 16 and spending Summers in the Seattle area. Every team has had a wardrobe malfunction in their history, I’m just hoping this “Back to the Future” jersey doesn’t bite us in the read end…in the end.

The Rays sure like their throw-back days, don’t they? I remember my only (to this point) game at Tropicana last year was an 80’s night where they had the Smokers uniforms on, I believe. I know they played against the Cardinals that night. It was the game where I got my 100th lifetime ball from Jeremy Hellickson.
-Mateo

http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

Those…uniforms…are…AWESOME!!!!!!! I’m totally obsessed with the ’70’s, back in the days of Mark ‘The Bird’ Fidrych made baseball the love of my life when I was soooo young!!!!
–Mike

Mateo,
I thought it was kind of wild the Rays were promoting their “anti-smoking” campaign during that season and wore the Tampa Smokers jerseys for their “Turn Back the Clock” promo. It was also great that the Cards agreed to wear those powder blue unis and let the Rays shine in red and white. Glad to also hear “hellboy” got you to your century mark in autographed balls.

Mike,
My teens were absorbed in the 70’s, so I have highs and low of that era. Still, the essence of “the Bird” and the “Mad Hungarian” shows the era had colorful characters who embraced the culture of the game unlike a few today (Nyger, Delmon) who think they are “the game”.

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