Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fire, Aim, Ready

Are you, like me, wondering just how low we'll go in the throwback fad? Having seen the Memphis Tams abomination, as well as the recent Clippers and Spurs eyesores, I know I am... but the fun part of the thing, really, is the idea that you will get the exact same outfit as what they wore back in the day. Fans of the Houston Astros baseball team -- yes, I was as surprised as you were that not only was Houston still in the league after the Ed Wade Era, but also had fans -- were going to have the opportunity to get their hands on the original Colt 45s gamers.

Missing, of course, the smoking revolver that is more or less the whole point of the outfit in the first place.

You see, the gun is just too, um, well, on the point for modern eyes. Perhaps it would be picked up by the Wrong Type Of People (young criminals, as if they cared enough to buy American), rather than ironic hipsters or old fans. Maybe they thought they would get picketed by anti-gun activists, as if they actually have them in Texas. And perhaps, just maybe, that the whole kerfluffle has been designed to get this laundry the extra PR juice that, well, I'm giving it right now.

But that's not really the point I'd like to make, simply because the gear isn't interesting enough to make real coin in any market. Rather, it's this peculiar desire among fans -- because, well, they are the ones that are buying this stuff -- to mark themselves with the past, the past that can never disappoint, discourage, or humiliate the wearer. A throwback jersey is one that won't show up on Deadspin, TMZ or the Smoking Gun, and they also can't suddenly go to another franchise or become otherwise unwearable. I get the appeal, I really do.

But you can't go changing the look, losing the logo, or otherwise white-washing the era. The Houston Colt 45s were an expansion team with a couple of truly great players, the best known of whom were Joe Morgan and Jimmy Wynn. They played in a stadium were grass could not grow because it was indoors, so they invented Astroturf. They never won a World Series, not even once, and have racked up quite a history of lowly publicized angst. They changed their name and identity to the Astros.

And their original jersey had a smoking gun on it. So should the throwback, if a throwback should be allowed to exist. Fire me out.

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