What was it that Jerry Seinfeld said? Something about rooting for the clothes?
He has a fair point. But rooters take note: sometimes the laundry is tricky to sort, and Thursday's Cactus League contest is a case in point.
Avoid the risk of embarrassment and ostracism that inevitably results from mistaken identification. Prior to gametime, for your own safety and enjoyment, please familiarize yourself with the following rudiments of habilimental discrimination.
Lesson 1. The Basics
Examine the following pairs of strangely featureless but distinctively clad figures.
What do you see? Never mind that the flesh of the Royals' "Home" guy has the pallor of dolomite; try again.
If you can tell that the guys on the left are members of a degraded organization that has been plundered by selfish and callous ownership, has sold its rich heritage for a mess of pottage, and has won nothing in more than twenty years, while the guys on the right represent a proud and reinvigorated line of achievement and distinction, possess the enthusiasm of youth and the marks of skill, and are destined to reach for greatness, then you are well on your way to successful and rewarding laundry-based bias.
If you were unable to discern these significant differences, distracted by the similar script and swirl of the insignia, the placement of the numbers, or any other superficial comparison, I suggest that you reexamine the guys on the left until you begin to perceive the telltale indications of pettiness and decadence. Caution: it would be ideal if you refrain from making the jump to the remaining lessons until you can do so successfully, with no more than a brief hesitation. You will thank yourself later for having put in the practice time now.
Lesson 2. The Identity Element
Do the following two pictures show the same guy?
Answer: of course not! The guy on the left lacks both patience and power, nullifies the advantages of his natural speed by making too many outs on the bases, takes poor routes to fly balls, and costs too much. He is a bum.
The guy on the right also lacks both patience and power, nullifies the advantages of his natural speed by making too many outs on the bases, takes poor routes to fly balls, and costs too much. But hey, what do I see there? — a blue number on the front! Approbation. Easy call.
Lesson 3. One Of These Things Doesn't Belong Here
Try to spot the interloper among the following figures.
Wait, what is that? Did those guys originate the beloved white-on-powder blue look back in the old borough? Are we them? Are they us? This raises so much uncertainty.
Let us take a careful step back. No, of course their laundry is not the same as our laundry, although that is precisely the sort of notion they're hoping you'll accept.
Back in 1944, they were in fact wearing shiny satiny baby blue, for the benefit of fans trying to follow their movements under the still primitive lighting of night games, which were about as refulgent then as they are now in your local softball beer league.* In other words, their dodgy alternate look of that era was an independent and unrelated adaption.
But when they exploited their heritage and "recreated" their old laundry as their throwback uniforms last year, it came out looking like this:
What is up with that? Whom were they trying to fool? And what was the point of this mendacious so-called "historical throwback"?
There can be only one explanation: you. They're trying to fool you.
Allow me to explain. This is a well-classified case of parallel evolution known as disjunctive mimicry. As with weeds that develop the appearance of domesticated plants in order to survive an ordinary winnowing, this is a manifestly fraudulent atavism for the purpose of defeating your biases and swaying your selective response, duping you (the dupe) into treating their guys (the mimics) like our guys (the models).
Simple? Yes, but it can also be effective. You must avoid this trap; if you're looking for a West Coast team as a secondary rooting interest, I suggest the Giants. They're easy to tell apart from Royals: they wear orange and black, they can pitch, and they can't hit. Also, this year's advertising campaign isn't unbearably annoying. Yet.
Advisory: don't hold a grudge against the arrant mimic immediately above on the left (and with a noteworthy extent toward the right), because he really is one of our guys now. (Confused? Repeat Lesson 2.)
Answer: trick question. All three of the guys on the left up there in Lesson 3 are interlopers. You should have gone with your gut response.
All right, now it's your turn to try your skill.
The modern era. This is what you will have to cope with after you complete your training.
The guys on the left are ____________.
The guys on the right are ____________.
If this guy put on a Royal uniform at some point before 2021 I would ________________.
Take that picture of those Brooklyn guys above and use your favorite image editor to make the middle one all shiny and glowy. Then put sunglasses on the other two, because that would be awesome.
I can tell that you're coming along nicely. Submit your exam responses below, enjoy the game, and whether you're able to watch it live on MLB.tv or tonight when it will be shown "tape-delayed" on MLB Network, don't forget to practice your freshly honed powers of sartorial perspicacity.
*Excepting Phil's softball beer league, since the lighting is pretty good there all summer.