Chris Colabello reached on a throwing error as a pinch-hitter in the top ninth inning of Tuesday night's 14-inning game between the Twins and Brewers, then was stranded when Jamey Carroll grounded out and replaced defensively in the bottom of the inning. His appearance wouldn't have been worth a second thought had he not worn the wrong jersey for it.
You see, the Twins have two navy alternate tops. The home version reads "Twins," the road version reads "Minnesota." Tuesday night in Milwaukee, the Twins were wearing "Minnesota," the road alternate. Colabello, however, wore "Twins." Compare him to his first-base coach at the 18-second mark in the clip below (Yuniesky Betancourt was okay, by the way).
With all of the alternate uniform options teams have these days (only the Yankees, Tigers and Dodgers don't have an alternate uniform, though they still have to participate in the league-wide holiday alternates), this sort of thing happens every so often. In fact, thanks to the ever diligent Uni-Watch.com, we can find instances of the home/road alternate snafu going back a full decade to June 2004, when two Mets, catcher Tom Wilson and reliever Jose Parra, had to wear their home black alternates on the road ("Mets" when their teammates wore "New York") because the team packed the wrong jerseys for them.
Last May, the Rangers' Robbie Ross warmed up wearing a gray jersey despite the fact that all of his teammates were wearing blue (he quickly changed and didn't pitch in the game).
In July 2011, Kyle McClellan started a game at Citi Field for the Cardinals wearing a "Cardenales" alternate despite the fact that all of his teammates were wearing their standard road uniforms (he changed by the third inning).
In that season's opening weekend, Yunel Escobar wore the wrong Blue Jays cap, and Astros first-base coach Bobby Meacham wore the wrong brick-red alternate jersey (like Colabello, he wore the home version on the road).
In July 2010, Brewers reliever Chris Capuano also made the same mistake as Colabello, wearing his home navy alternate (with "Brewers" on the chest) for a relief appearance on the road when his teammates were all wearing "Milwaukee."
One imagines this had to happen every so often back in the '70s, as well, when the Pirates
mixed and matched (and likely mis-matched) a variety
of jerseys, pants, and caps. Of course, the easy solution is for teams to simplify their uniform options, but as evidenced by the recent league-wide Memorial Day alternates, the introduction of interview caps
and baseball's recent request that teams wear their batting practice caps during "natural rival" games
, it's clear that MLBl is more interested in diversifying their products than simplifying their aesthetics.