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Padres Swing Into Spring in Navy Blue

November 18, 1990|DAVE DISTEL

Fashion shows are not my forte. Of course, I have been told that being fashionable is not my forte, either.

No, I don't wear Nehru jackets or narrow ties or bell-bottom trousers. It's just that I'm inclined toward . . . plain. Not plaid, plain. Henry Ford would paint a car any color as long as it was black, and I'll wear any shirt as long as it's white . . . or, at my most outrageous, light blue.

But there I was, Saturday morning, headed for a fashion show.

For some reason, I decided I should know what was "in" for the spring, even if I wasn't going to wear it.

What would it be? Wide lapels? Cuffs? Pleats? No pleats?

Would polyester make a comeback and bring all those pants in the back of my closet back into style?

Unfortunately, this fashion show was rather narrow in focus. I devoted part of my Saturday morning to the coming-out party for the Padres' new uniforms.

The main thing I learned is that navy blue and orange are going to be very big in the spring of 1991 in San Diego. Navy blue? Orange? Can redheads wear orange? Darned if I know. I'm just glad I'm not a redhead. Right off hand, the only place I've seen navy blue hair is on MTV.

So it was with considerable skepticism that I ventured to this occasion. No, I was not fearful that Roseanne Barr would be one of the models. My problem was that I didn't think there was anything wrong with the old uniforms.

The brown and orange worked nicely together. Both the home and road uniforms were classy and understated. When those uniforms were introduced for the 1985 season, I thought the Padres had struck on a combination that would be worn into the 21st century.

You see, I'm a traditionalist about stuff like that. I like uniforms that change only in the most subtle ways, uniforms that become timeless. The New York Yankee uniforms are the New York Yankee uniforms, period. DiMag wore them and Mantle wore them and Reggie wore them. They were the one thing Steinbrenner did not ruin.

You probably can guess that I also like the uniforms worn by teams such as the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and even the Dodgers. I don't like my uniforms to be fickle. I like them to be a constant. A given.

What's more, brown was perfectly appropriate for the Padres. That was what the real Padres wore. I suspect they weren't big on orange, but that was fine. It was just a little splash of color, about like pimento on a pizza.

So now these Padres--Manager Greg Riddoch and players Bip Roberts, Craig Lefferts and Mark Parent--were strutting their stuff on a little platform in navy blue and orange. I wondered if they were going to have to change the color scheme at Mission San Diego de Alcala to stay in step. I hoped not. Navy blue robes with orange sashes just would not do.

This was not, to be sure, an occasion marked by blaring trumpets and glaring klieg lights. A few dozen media types and hangers-on milled about munching on Danish and sipping juice while the models hitched up their stirrups in the clubhouse downstairs.

When the last uniforms were unveiled, it was at a full-blown charity gala on Harbor Island. But that was a total remake of what the uniforms had been, which was to say something borrowed from a condiment tray what with all the ketchup and mustard splashed all over them.

This off-season's "re-do" is not quite as drastic. Basically, the only change is the color change. It was a brownout, literally and figuratively. Navy blue replaces brown, wherever brown might have been, and the style remains pretty much unchanged. Those of you watching on black-and-white television sets won't notice a thing.

This being the case, I guess this new look is almost acceptable. I liked the style of the uniforms the Padres have worn the last six seasons, and this stays the same.

However, this notion of navy blue does not sit well. Colors, to me, are as big a part of a team's identity as the nickname. Please do not tell me San Diego State is going to come out in something like red and gray, and the Chargers are switching to green and magenta.

Alas, this is a new era for the Padres. There's new ownership, and new ownership is changing everything but the furniture, and that's probably coming soon. Folks in the front office need name tags, presumably in navy blue and orange.

About all that has not changed this off-season is the team itself, which is to say the players. Thus far, they are all the same.

This is the area in which I am most interested in seeing change. OK, I've seen the uniforms. Don't wake me up any more Saturday mornings unless you have something to announce about the contents .

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