Great Moments in Fine Print


The New York Times Bats blog digs up a very interesting tidbit from the newest Collective Bargaining Agreement. While it isn’t as sexy as drug testing or Dominican teenager jobbing, it is an odd thing to write into a legal document.

It turns out that players must now give their clubs eight months notice if they plan to change uniforms unless they want to buy all the leftover stock featuring their name and former number. Weird!

The provision excludes players who are traded and technically stipulates only “in-season changes” but the eight month lead time means players must alert teams by July 31st if they plan to change their jersey number for the following season.

One would assume poor Edwin Encarnacion here might be exempt, seeing he really only changed his jersey once. The Jays retired number 12 on him so he moved into the number 10 vacated by the departed Vernon Wells. One would also assume that at no point in the last three seasons has there been a great run on EE jerseys. Whatever stock he’s buying out of the team shop is pretty minimal.

What about guys like Lyle Overbay, who take a number when they join a team, then adopt a new number after selling off their traditional jersey to an incoming veteran teammate, then run back to it like a it’s the girl who took their virginity when she’s home for Thanksgiving? Add it into the price of the number, I guess. Make it two Rolexes and a MacBook Pro.

Good on the owners to strike another blow for the little guy. This exemplary group of philanthropists always keep the fans best interests in mind. For that, we salute them.

Comments (22)

  1. I can see this change being made for one reason, and one reason only….the popular clubs don’t have names on the back of their jersey’s. A number change could totally make your jersey lame. (Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees….I’ve said enough…3 of the largest markets right there)

  2. This is will be interesting for, say, relievers that are called up in September with numbers in the 60s and beyond and then make the team the next year.

    “Sorry, Scooter. You came up with 73, you’ll stay 73.”

    • For this very reason, I scratch my head.

    • “Scooter McGoof led a long illustrious career and will go down as one of the greatest Yankees of all time. For that reason, on this day, we are retiring his number… Long Live Scooter McGoof New York Yankees Number 71!!!”

    • To be fair, I don’t think they stock a lot of September callup jerseys in the team shops of the league. I don’t think the Jays Shop wall is an accurate representation of the 25 man roster.

      • Well… also to be fair. at this point #71 might be the only number left for the Yankees that isn’t already retired.

        • Over under for when the Yank’s have to start using fractional jersey numbers. 40 years.

          I vote under…

          • If it was me I’d try to get Jersey number “10 / 6″
            or maybe “π ”

            Or better yet ” ∞ “

          • Technically the Orioles have already done that. When they were the St. Louis Browns. Bill Veeck, their owner, had Eddie Gaedel (a little person) go up to bat with a jersey number of 1/2. He was told to not swing at anything. Eddie took the walk and was immediately subbed out. As politically incorrect as it may be, I think the Orioles should definitely retire the 1/2 number.

            “He was, by golly, the best darn midget who ever played big-league ball. He was also the only one.” – Veeck

  3. Thankfully Don Zimmer’s taken a back-office job with the Rays – each year he’d increase his jersey number by 1 to represent the number of years he’d been involved in the game, culminating in 2010 when he wore #62.

    That would be a bit of a dick move – “Hey Don, planning on changing your number again? Well we made up a dozen ZIMMER #61 jerseys this year on spec, and they’re still gathering dust on the discount rack in the pro shop, sooo, about that $1500…”

  4. The Encarnacion rainbow looks ridiculous

  5. *Scraps next week’s article, starts again*

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