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Complaining About Boston’s New Piss Jersey Might Just Be Pissing In The Wind

Via the Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have introduced a new Boston Marathon–themed jersey that is as far from their standard look (unchanged since King George III bent the knee and went bughouse), which essentially raises the Kierkegaardian question:

If you’re offended by RED Sox jerseys of street-sign YELLOW, are you dying inside, old before your time, and just circling the warning track aimlessly until the reaper (a.k.a. Adam Ottavino) claims your soul? Or are you upholding what few standards are left in this ant-farm-on-antidepressants we call culture?

It is an open-ended question that sports make you answer every day. The NBA City Editions … the NFL throwbacks … whatever the hell the Anaheim Ducks did before they became demonstrably awful … and now, the Yellow Sox in their rendition of “Baby Got Jaundice.”

And because they ask that question with a three-digit price tag, you become consumers as well as observers in an issue of personal taste. Are you fashionable? Are you a mark for the teams and their next uniform whim? Are you boldly visionary? Are you sheep? Do you look like a date magnet? Do you look like you can’t dress yourself until some clod in marketing tells you what to wear?

And now, do you look like tooth decay?

The general rule is that anyone over the age of 25 probably shouldn’t wear a jersey at all except for special occasions: attendance at a game, the traditional Thanksgiving Break Auntie’s Leg Diving For That Ball You Can’t Catch flag football game, the wedding rehearsal dinner or court date. Kids should wear them if only to give their elders a hint about what to buy the wretched little sprog for Christmas. Otherwise, Little Tad is getting pajamas and a two-dollar bill in an old electric bill envelope again.

But the 25-and-under rule is routinely broken, in large part thanks to the fact that one of the enduring scams of fandom is that the fan is a part of the process, and the jersey is the vaccination card that proves it. Of course, the fan’s contribution is never so noble, and is typically the answer to the question your friends always ask behind your back: “Are You A Doof?” So maybe we have to adjust the demarcation line to 50, because absolutely no 51-year-old ever can carry the look even though the pricing is only affordable for 50-year-olds.

There are exceptions, of course. Auntie can wear one for the Super Bowl party as her leg mends. Dogs can wear them even though we can assure you with metaphysical certitude that the dog wants nothing less than to wear some ridiculous affectation of yours, and if it had a dialing finger would be on hold even as we speak with the SPCA to report a felony for animal cruelty through misdirected narcissism. The dog isn’t a member of your team, Socko. It’s a dog.

But we live in jersey culture (as opposed to Jersey culture, which is a hell of a different level), so what you do to your dog is not really the focus of our screed today. The issue is whether your jersey choice is complementary or condemnatory, and that is done on a case-by-case basis. After all, it’s not what the jersey looks like on a player, but how it looks on you. The Yellow Red Sox jersey, for example, is only for psycho-completists—not because of tradition but because it makes you look like a light pole, which brings us back to your dog and how it views light poles as a general rule.

The Yellow Red Sox jersey, though, also tackles a new world the Sox, and to a greater extent baseball as a whole, have been confronting for a number of years now: how not to be the official sport of Auntie’s rest home when the leg thing goes bad. Baseball wants to skew younger, which is why it has taken a rototiller to its own playing rules. Plus, the Yellow Red Sox jersey is supposed to be a one-off even though you know it won’t be. The last time the Red Sox tackled fashion so boldly was when it first hit on the Green Red Sox jersey for St. Patrick’s Day games, and that was decades ago for a Bostonian demographic that has changed considerably since the days of the railroads.

As for most uniform innovations, it is better for the older folk to leave that as an affectation for the young. If your child wants to wear the Steelers’ bumblebee jersey, let him or her go with God. In fact, we would refer you to this Greg Davies anecdote (starts right at 10:00) for further clarity.  Almost any jersey is fine as long as it isn’t on you, and as long as it doesn’t look like a knockoff or have a nameplate on the back. We know you’re not Ja Morant, and we don’t care that you’re Todd Schmidt. Let a thousand idiotic outfits bloom because everyone gets their own idiocy.

But in the singular case of the Malarial Red Sox jersey, well, it is simply an abomination in all cases and on all torsos, not because it isn’t traditional but because it makes for execrable camouflage. If the Sox are trying to hide the fact that they’re aggressively not good, bright yellow is a poor trail to blaze.