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Random Sports Rant: “Replica” Jerseys

Random Sports Rant: “Replica” Jerseys

As someone who has been in New York City for nearly a decade, this is a sore point every year especially around opening day, or if the Yankees are in the playoffs and everyone seems to feel obligated to wear Yankees gear. You’ll notice replica is in quotes, on purpose. To me, it’s just wrong to wear a jersey with the team logo on the front, but otherwise not close to a replica of what is on the field. Specifically in this case, a Yankees jersey with a name on the back. I get it, you want to show you support a player, and perhaps you believe that without his name on your back, people won’t know who you are a fan of. Call me a traditionalist or a purist, but if you want to wear the jersey of the team you root for, you have but a few options.

One, just buy a blank one. I actually preferred the plain, no name/number batting practice jerseys for a stretch when I actually bought and wore them. I have two tucked away somewhere. But, they are legit. They just leave off the names and numbers but otherwise look exactly like what those teams wore during BP at that time. Easy, painless.

Two, buy into this ongoing fad of the “batting practice t-shirt”. Some of these are ball park give-aways, but I know the big box sporting goods stores sell them too. But I can’t take issue with them. For twenty bucks, you have a team t-shirt, people know who you root for, and it doesn’t look completely tacky.

Three, just buy the honest-to-goodness replicas. Lettering and numbering match what is on the big league uniforms. OK, so they aren’t’ the cheapest on the racks, but they are actually legit. They look like the real deal. And in cases of teams where the player names aren’t on the back? Nope, no names here either. If it’s not the names where there shouldn’t be names, it’s someone who got a legit looking jersey, but then paid to have the name added without ensuring that they used the right lettering (think of the rounded Phillies lettering being replaced by a name in block letters on the back). It’s irritating. It’s not too hard, or really that expensive, to get one that actually accurately represents your team. Don’t be “that guy”. The only other time I get annoyed is when some fan purchases a NCAA team jersey and badly slaps a name on the back-when everyone knows that while you can buy team apparel including jerseys, you don’t get names on the backs because the kids don’t get to get paid (yet). Or, in some cases, teams in college also adhere to the “no name on back” mentality.

For reasons I have not yet uncovered, this issue really largely seems to plague Major League Baseball fans. Best I can tell, it’s because these fans are more casual than the other sports. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed this fashion faux pas at an NFL, NBA or NHL game. Is it really because those fans are more hard core in their following of the teams? Do those teams/sports more closely manage their merchandise to the point where hideous non-replicas just can’t make it to market? Perhaps both. I think if you wandered into an NBA arena wearing a bad knockoff, you’d look bad. At a football or hockey game? You might just get pummeled. Bottom line, just don’t be that guy. Say no to the bad “replicas”.