Friday, March 10, 2006

MLS: The Early Years

I have to thank my man Bill-DC for providing the above photo detailing the uniforms of all ten charter franchises during MLS' innaugural season in 1996. After initially letting out a frightened yelp and instinctively jumping back from my screen, and after the sheer horror of the photo subsided, I actually had to chuckle. That's some funny shit right there.

I've always been enamored - nay, obssessed - with the subtleties of sports. Stadiums. Arenas. Uniforms. In other words, the things in the world of sports that come and go but briefly make it what it is while they exist, other than the personalities, of course. For instance, I love the throwback uniform phenomenom even though I'm much too poor to afford them ($300?!?!) and much to white to pull the look off.

So something like the above photo makes me smile, or in this case, bend over with laughter. Hell, there is too much going on this pic to not comment...

Botton row (left to right)
Dallas Burn - First of all, the mullet on the dude. Look at that thing. And look at the grin on his face. It's as if he's saying, "Try as you might, mere mortal, you will never grow a mullet like this." As for the uni, it really isn't all that bad. Simple red and black - nothing wrong with that. I never understood the Burn logo, though. What exactly does a stallion have to do with being called the Burn? The Burn? What did that mean anyway? Perhaps it's a stimulant given to racehorses?

Los Angeles Galaxy - As will become a trend in this photo, it seems as though the Galaxy had a tough time deciding which colors to run with and thus decided to get as many on a single jersey as humanly possible. This can only have disastrous results. I do have to give the Galaxy credit for being a model franchise and eventually getting their stride in the uniform deprartment. Their current duds are very nice. The above? Not so much.

Columbus Crew - See, the Crew got it straight. They picked a pair of colors and went with them. No screwing around. Black and yellow. Their uniforms have hardly altered in the ten years since and they still look just as nice. Too bad they went with such a questionable nickname. The Crew? What does that mean? And the Crew logo always screamed gayness to me. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Look at those guys. It looks like they're on stage and are about to strip off their clothes for a crowd of screaming women, no? There is something disturbingly Village People-ish about it. Am I wrong here?

San Jose Clash - I'm speechless. I really am. Awful. Just awful. I mean, was the San Jose franchise trying to be as unlikeable to potential fans as possible? You'd be hard-pressed to find an uglier uniform in professional sports - ever! There's just no excuse for that. None. No athlete should be forced to enter the field of play while wearing such a heinous design that would only make one feel like running for cover at the sheer embarrassment of it all. No wonder the Clash sucked back then. They looked like flowers or an Easter egg! How can a player be expected to compete while wearing such an atrocity? And that dude's mullet is out of control. Out of control.

Tampa Bay Mutiny - Like San Jose, it's little wonder there is no longer an MLS franchise in Tampa when the Mutiny actually expected its potential fans to rally behind a team wearing such a hideous uni. Lime green and sky blue? Who was coming up with this stuff, what drugs were being consumed, and how can I get my hands on some? Clearly, the stuff makes you crazy! Not even Carlos Valderrama's famous hair could pull it off.

Back row (left to right)
New York/New Jersey MetroStars - Hmm. I'd actually forgotten that the MetroStars didn't wear the red and black stripes from the start. I guess they didn't immediately think of ripping off the AC Milan look. That came later. And that's Tab Ramos in the pic. I'd forgotten about him, too. What's he doing these days?

Colorado Rapids - Nothing much to say here. I'm actually a bit sad to see that the Rapids got rid of the green uniforms. What's the deal with the blue and black striped imitations of Inter Milan they've been sporting in recent years? A little creativity, people. Come on. The guy in the pic seems alarmingly interested in Ramos.

DC United - Like the Crew, I have nothing bad to say about United's choice of uniforms. They originally went with simple black and red and have stuck with the same general look over the years. Today, if you see the uniform, you immediately think of DC United. Simple. Memorable. Classic. Besides, you can never go wrong with black. Never. John Harkes doesn't look happy in the pic. Perhaps he was already having a falling out with Bruce Sampson?

New England Revolution- Hideous. I can appreciate going with the classic red, white, and blue, but the jersey looks like someone splashed paint on a shirt and said, "Fuck it. Looks good to me."

Kansas City Wiz - Ah, these I like. Yeah, I understand they madly threw a whole bunch of colors in there, and normally I'd be against that, but when placed with the black, it works. So I don't question it. These unis almost made up for the fact that the team was called the Wiz at the time, before thankfully changing it to the Wizards and going with a much more simple all-blue look. The most amazing part? Yes, Preki was on the original Wiz...and he was already old even back then!

"I'm still kickin', suckers!"


Blogger Bill-DC said...

Nice analysis of a picture that still cracks me up ten years later.

Don't know what's up with the Colorado unis but if you see this coming at you in Rapidland, run.

12:46 PM  

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