Jason Vargas was masterful in Monday's win, but he did make one mistake.
As alternate caps and jersey have become the norm, this usually happens at least a couple times per season per team. If you're wondering, yes, there is a board the clubhouse that shows the night's uniform, and the entire combination to be worn. And at last check, Mets pitchers still chose which uni the team wears on a given night.
Still, I can't really blame Vargas. Now that the orange bill is gone, the Mets alternate cap is virtually identical to the primary one, save for the white outline on the 'NY.'
It isn't the first time something like this has happened to the Mets. Let's check out some other instances.
Here's a fun one. On May 29, 2007, the Mets were hosting the Giants at Shea. Back before he was a footnote in the non-Wilmer Flores trade, Carlos Gomez was a Mets rookie right fielder that was batting eighth that night. In the top of the 1st, New York took their positions wearing their pinstripe uniforms and their black-blue hybrid cap...except for Gomez.
If you're thinking something is off with that hat, you're right. Not only is it not the right cap, the Mets never even had a cap that looked like that. Presumably, it's a production mistake; New Era took a crown from their all-black alternate caps and affixed a blue bill instead. How it even got to the Mets, or in Gomez's locker, is an 11-year mystery. I quickly took a picture of my screen and sent it to Uni Watch's Paul Lukas, who ran it under a fun headline. And yes, I still bug Darren about making these for real to this very day.
Imagine you're a 25-year-old rookie who, in one year's time, went from playing for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Japan Central League to right fielder in Flushing, Queens, where you promptly stormed the scene to take over the lead off spot in the postseason, hit .300 with 10 runs scored in the first two rounds combined, and help lead your team to a National League pennant. Uniforms probably wouldn't be the first thing on your mind, right?
Well, they definitely weren't when Timo Pérez jogged out of the dugout for player introductions for Game 1 of the 2000 World Series at Yankee Stadium.
The Mets opted to wear their black road alternates for the first game of the Subway Series, which since they were introduced in 1999, had always been paired with the all black alternate cap, just as they were that night. But Timo came out in the black/blue hybrid. If memory serves, the FOX booth noticed the mistake and even put a shot back on Pérez once he had procured the right cap from the clubhouse.
It was a sign of things to come that night, as we know what happened with Timos baserunning mistake. Come to think of it, the next time the Mets were in the Series, Yoenis Céspedes straight up missed player intros because he was in the bathroom, only to play a fly ball into an inside the park home run on the first pitch of the game. Maybe it's something with the Mets and World Series player introductions? Hey, memo to the next Mets team that makes it to the Fall Classic: Get intros right!
I'm having a hard time tracking down a picture, because any of the videos of the broadcast pick up around first pitch, but I know for a fact it's true and not my memory playing tricks on me. If you have a photo, send it my way.
Of course, from the mid-90's to the 2012, when -- to coincide with the franchise's 50th anniversary season -- the Mets reintroduced beauty to their uniform set, there have been similar instances on wackiness.
In 1998, when the black alternate made its debut, it had the original blue version of the skyline patch on it. The next year, the black version was introduced and it replaced it. The Mets also wore their blue caps and accessories with their black jerseys with relative frequency that year, something they never did in subsequent years.
In 1999, (I believe with Rick Reed on the mound) they wore the snow white alternates with the all black caps. That's a combo that was worn sparingly, and maybe not ever again after the 1999 season.
Then there's the blue batting practice/all black alternate cap look the Mets broke out on August 29, 2011. And if you click over to that Uni Watch post, you'll see Paul chose a shirt to express his opinion (though I don't agree with his assessment, I thought the look was one of the better black-incorporated looks they ever wore).
It's all part of a quirky and sometimes colorful (no pun intended) uniform protocol that has really gotten straightened out since Kevin Kierst came on the job as the team's equipment manager. But when we do very rare little slip up, I love it, because it makes for a fun footnote in, what was otherwise, just another game in May. So between this and the win, Monday was a great night all around.
Our first nighttime weekend game of the season! Let's go big for this one. Swing by to see some friends, maybe meet some new ones, and responsibly wash down a couple cold ones.