In 1984, manager Billy Gardner removed Ron Davis in the eighth inning of a September game in Cleveland when the Twins turned a 10-0 lead into an 11-10 defeat.(UPI photo)
The Twins on Monday announced the return of a baby blue uniform as an alternate look for 2020, patterned after the team’s primary road uniform worn from 1973-1986.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the whole thing: If you’re trying to figure out what people think of the baby blues, it completely depends on where you look.
As of 2:30 p.m. Monday, there were 69 comments on the Star Tribune story about the uniforms. I read each of them so you don’t have to, and of the 32 that specifically commented on the appearance of the uniforms the tally was this: 24 didn’t like them, often strongly; 7 did like them, often strong; 1 gave a confusing account of liking them once in a while for their ugliness. The words “ugh,” “worst,” “hate” and “yuck” were bandied about freely.
So basically three of every four Star Tribune commenters that took the time to voice an opinion about the subject of the story did not like the baby blues.
Also as of 2:30 p.m., there were 477 replies on the Twins’ official tweet from Monday morning announcing the return of the baby blues. I did NOT read every single one of them, but I looked at a representative sample big enough to convince me that the preference was basically flip-flopped: three of every four Twitter responses were in favor of the retro alternative look — with fans demanding that the Twins “take their money” for the “awesome,” “fire” and “best in the league” jerseys.
Now, you don’t have to watch much Fox News or MSNBC to know that a set of facts can be interpreted a variety of ways by different audiences, but can something as simple as a reaction to a jersey be swayed by such a thing?
In a word, that answer sure seems like “yes.” Here’s my partial attempt at an explanation as to why:
*Per this News Media Alliance piece from 2017, the average age of an online newspaper reader is 41. And the average age of a Twitter user is 34.
The average 34-year-old was a baby the last time the Twins wore the baby blues as part of their regular rotation (1986, which was 33 years ago), while those a little younger were not yet born.
But the average 41-year-old (and those who skew older) probably has pretty clear memories of the Twins wearing those uniforms. And, let’s face it: Those were not great times.
The Twins wore them from 1973-1986 as their road uniforms, a span of 14 seasons during which the Twins made zero playoff appearances; in the final seven of those years, they never finished above .500.
The year after they ditched them, the Twins won the World Series. Coincidence?!?! (Probably, particularly considering they were awful on the road in 1987).
It stands to reason, then, that the average Twitter user might just look at the colors and say, “I like that!” while the average Star Tribune commenter might associate the colors with bad baseball memories and decry their return.
*The comments section of a web site and Twitter both perpetuate a herd mentality.
Once the ball got rolling with some negative comments on the Strib site — a group of commenters that *some* might say skews pessimistic to begin with — my guess is that others felt more comfortable chiming in.
Likewise, positive feedback on Twitter — on the Twins’ official feed, which probably includes more optimistic-leaning fans — possibly perpetuated even more platitudes.
*As for me? I like the look. Then again, I’m a 43-year-old who didn’t pay attention to the Twins until the late 1990s and therefore I have no mental imagery of Ron Davis blowing a save while wearing one. And I spend a lot of time on Twitter and the Startribune.com site.
I encourage you to make up your own mind, though I did like this comment from @ryannolan about all the options available to the Twins (and for purchase by fans): “So the Twins now have six uniforms. They’ll have more wardrobe changes than a Lady Gaga concert.”