The more you know: Mets pitchers pick uniform when they start
NEW YORK — Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and the rest of the New York Mets’ starting pitchers have a slew of selections to make each time they take the mound at Citi Field.
Fastball or curve? Inside or away? High or low?
But before those decisions, they must make their most colorful choice: white or blue?
Manager Terry Collins lets his starting pitchers pick the uniform style the Mets wear each game.
For those intrigued by sartorial statistics, the Mets went 37-24 in their traditional white home uniform with pinstripes during the regular season, 9-8 in the alternate blue jerseys that made their debut in 2013 and 3-0 in the camouflage outfits worn on Military Mondays, according to a review by The Associated Press.
On the road, they were 26-22 in their primary gray threads, 15-17 in the blues and 0-1 in the all-blue attire of the Brooklyn Royal Giants, worn for the Atlanta Braves’ Heritage Weekend in June.
In a sport filled with superstitions — notice players who avoid ever stepping on a foul line? — the uniform choice could color the entire day.
"I try not to pay too much attention to superstition," Syndergaard said Thursday, a day before the rookie starts Game 3 of the World Series against Kansas City. "I just show up at the field every day, and the jersey is hanging in my locker, and that’s the one that I wear. Superstitions are just simple distractions that distract you from the task at hand."
But for those who try to fathom fashion trends, the Mets are 3-0 when wearing blue at home in the postseason and 0-1 in white — the uniform they planned to wear Friday night against the Royals.
Equipment manager Kevin Kierst usually puts out white for home games, except on Fridays, unless the pitcher tells him differently. For road games, he asks the starter. Pitchers have up until about an hour before first pitch to change their mind.
Each opposing team must be consulted to make ensure both clubs don’t wear similar looks. Major League Baseball would not want the Mets to use their alternate jerseys at the same time Kansas City wears the royal blue alternate top it uses on occasion. Both team’s primary color happens to be the same Pantone 288.
(Don’t fret, fashionistas: Kansas City planned to wear gray for all its Series road games).
New York used to have even more choices. A plain white home uniform was launched for 1997 and dropped after the 2014 season, and black alternate jerseys were used starting in 1998, then phased out in 2012.
All those options caused commotion: Visiting teams had to constantly inquire to make sure there wasn’t a color coincidence.
Harvey has a clear preference: The Mets wore blue in 21 of his 29 starts during the season and in all three of his postseason appearances.
Jacob deGrom dislikes the blues, wearing the alternate just once in 30 starts. Known for his long, flowing hair, deGrom prefers feel of the customary cap which is paired with the primary uniform.
Bartolo Colon also is a traditionalist, wearing whites and grays for 28 of 31 starts.
And, in a sign some players may be more superstitious than they would like to admit, when the Mets won their home opener in white, they stayed with that style throughout their first homestand, when they swept all 10 games.
After losing to the Yankees in the first game of their second homestand, Harvey pitched in blue the very next day.
However, don’t expect players to stick with the exact same sweaty jerseys every day during the Series if they get on a roll. Those days are long gone in these commercial times. MLB started an authentication program in 2001.
"Tonight we’ll have a different uniform on," Mets manager Terry Collins said before Game 2. "When the game is over, they will take, stamp it and we’ll wear a different uniform tomorrow. So it’s pretty hard to be superstitious. There were times when you didn’t wash your stuff. Now it’s on eBay the next day."