The Socccer Out of Context project has, so far, seen all 30 Major League Baseball clubs get soccer-style jerseys. So what comes next? Allow me to quote from the very end of my final M.L.B. post, covering the National League East:
Every few weeks or so, as I can, I’d like to do a further S.O.O.C. design from a pool of historic identities. (I’ll start with baseball clubs, but this could go anywhere, really.) Some of these names will have prominent histories; some existed in brief flourishes and are not well-documented. Some are the ancestors of existing professional franchise (i.e., “grandfathers”); others became visual dead ends (or “ghosts”). But all present some really interesting visual opportunities.
So here, I’m announcing the next phase of Soccer Out of Context pieces - a fictional league beyond the American and National, if you will. In fact I’m christening it the Ghosts and Grandfathers League. And I want you to help me decide which clubs are featured.
(The quotes are out of order, but then, this whole TRIAL is out of order!)
A few hundred of you took me up on my invitation by voting in the first G.&G. League ballot, and I can’t wait to get started. But lest I get ahead of myself, before we do, I thought I’d introduce you to the new series, explain a little more about why I’m going in this direction, and provide some more detail about how this continuation of Soccer Out of Context will work.
The entire Soccer Out of Context: Major League Baseball series is complete, and it was a joy to write, design and produce. Thanks to all for for reading. If you haven’t read any Soccer Out of Context work yet, then start here and make your way through. And though the majors are now finished, this project continues with the Soccer Out of Context: Ghosts & Grandfathers League series - where classic and forgotten athletic identities are revived with soccer-style aesthetics. You can vote on the first identity here.
Also, I’ve introduced Clean Sheet Co. - a brand new shop to buy original soccer-inspired t-shirts and apparel. We’re starting out slow - our first shirt is made for US Soccer fans, and it’s called The Gadsden - but we’ll be ramping up over the next couple months. Check it out if you like that sort of thing.
More fútbol-style inspiration coming soon.
Well, we made it. This piece covers the last division I’ve yet to look at - the National League East - and it also marks a full trip around the country and around the Major League bases. As of today, all 30 M.L.B. clubs will have received their Soccer Out of Context re-imagining.
Indulge me for just a second.
Jake glanced out at the mound. Ricky looked a little shell-shocked, but the moment was undeniably his now. The shadow of Haywood’s hulking frame flickered off to the left of Jake’s peripheral vision, every little chopping check-swing designed to intimidate. And why wouldn’t it? The Yankees had been here before. The Indians hadn’t. Jake returned the last warmup pitch, shook out a few quick, involuntary hop-stretches as he always did before settling into his crouch, and prepared himself to talk Haywood’s ear off the second he stepped into the box.
Sixty-odd feet away, Ricky toed the rubber, as ready as he’d ever be. He tried to lock in as the stadium tensed up around him. This was it; this was the whole dream, strung out on a line. One of those excruciating, salivating, only-in-baseball confrontations had been laid at his feet. 2–2 game, ninth inning, bases loaded, slugger up, loser goes home. No matter what else Ricky had done, or would do, he’d always have this.
It was impossible not to sense the moment; everyone in the stadium - hell, the state - could feel it. And during that brief, hanging hesitation between the last warmup toss and a hardy “play ball” from behind the plate, Roger Dorn did too. He bolted from his spot at third towards the mound. Ricky looked over in surprise, and then briefly off into the distance, hoping something would save him. Now? Really? Ah, shit, Jake muttered to himself. Of course Dorn would do this now.
Made the West Coast. Women, wine, baseball weather… might have to hang here for a bit. Send money and/or Cactus League schedule.
Best, — M.
With this week’s Soccer Out of Context piece, a nice arc to the project should begin to emerge. We started with the Red Sox and friends, indulging my favorite team (and as any good Bostonian will suffer from, a healthy amount of my east coast bias). We then switched leagues, moving on to the heartland and some of baseball’s oldest clubs in the N.L. Central, then kept carpetbagging out to the Pacific (via Texas) on our way to the American League’s wild collection of western teams. Now, we start the journey back. Today, the National League West gets a soccer makeover.