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LA Times January 25th 1985

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  1.  Dizzy Dean, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Cy Young would have been flabbergasted. Quite likely, even Ray Kroc would have been amazed.
  2.  
  3. When a baseball team switches uniforms, it is usually "unveiled" in the presence of maybe two equipment men, a trainer and a bat boy. Such occasions traditionally have merited all the pomp and circumstance of hauling the garbage to the curb.
  4.  
  5. When the Padres unpacked their new duds on Thursday, I didn't even see an equipment man. I don't even know if the uniforms have been in the clubhouse yet.
  6.  
  7. The Padres unveiled their new uniforms at a fashion show. A baseball uniform at a fashion show is about as appropriate as a tuxedo at a waterfront saloon. So is a baseball player, for that matter.
  8.  
  9. Yet there were the Padres, cavorting on a ramp in front of 800 persons in the Champagne Ballroom at a Harbor Island hotel. The bandwagon can get a little crowded when the home team is coming off a National League championship.
  10.  
  11. As Mac Hudson, the irrepressible KFMB microphone jockey, observed: "1984 is a season that hasn't ended."
  12.  
  13. Indeed, anything involving the Padres is an event. Let Bruce Bochy cut the ribbon at the opening of a new rest room in Horton Plaza and 500 folks will show up.
  14.  
  15. I'd never been to a fashion show, but I was there Thursday. Of course, any of you who have peaked into the press box through your binoculars will understand that sportswriters know even less about fashion than they do about baseball.
  16.  
  17. As a writer, I knew I had certain duties at such an event. I realize the populace is eager to read about the exciting new color combinations and whether cuffs are back or the pinstripes would be double-breasted with wide collars or . . .
  18.  
  19. Colors? I don't know. I'm color-blind. All the squares on the family Trivial Pursuit game have little letters in the corner, so I can tell whether I'll have to answer a question about science and nature or arts and literature.
  20.  
  21. With some help from my friends, I can describe what will be fashionable for the Padres this spring-and, to hear club President Ballard Smith tell it, forever after.
  22.  
  23. First of all, the pullover shirts and sansabelt slacks are out. If you've got any in your closet, call Salvation Army. Or save them for Halloween, especially if they happen to be the old Padre colors.
  24.  
  25. Yes, the old Padre colors also are out. Catsup red and mustard yellow henceforth will only be worn on golf courses or hot dogs.
  26.  
  27. Also out are the hats with the slice-of-pie-shaped panel in front and the white shoes.
  28.  
  29. "I've got to get used to these brown ones," Tim Flannery said. "They make me look slower."
  30.  
  31. What's in? Pinstripes. Get them out of your closet and get them to the cleaners. They're back.
  32.  
  33. The Padres' pinstripes will be brown over white at home and brown over a light gray-brown on the road. The shirts button up. No one demonstrated whether the pants zip up or button up, and I frankly forgot to ask.
  34.  
  35. How am I doing? If it turns out that I'm good at this, I expect to be sent to Paris to review the fall showing.
  36.  
  37. More on what is "in." The home uniforms will display the Padres' latest logo across the front, brown outlined in burnt orange. The road uniform will feature an interlocking SD over the left breast. The lightness of the material undoubtedly will make this a much faster team.
  38.  
  39. To top off the ensemble, the Padres will be wearing solid brown hats with the interlocking SD in front.
  40.  
  41. It was like the Padres were telling us the conservative look is the rage.
  42.  
  43. However, that look was not reflected in other fashions modeled Thursday, which struck me more as being bold, brash and baggy. Most of the swimming trunks looked like something Barney Rubble would wear.
  44.  
  45. But those "other fashions" were merely hors d'oeuvres. The crowd waited patiently for the moment when the main course-the new unies-would come prancing down the runway.
  46.  
  47. After all, those old uniforms had been the objects of so much ridicule. How many million people had lamented that a team so attired should find itself playing in a World Series?
  48.  
  49. "I haven't had more mail on any subject than the old uniforms," Smith said. "We'd like to think we're in the business of satisfying fans."
  50.  
  51. The Padres thoroughly satisfied their own fans in 1984. Smith admitted he got no complaints about the uniforms after June 9, the date the Padres moved into first place to stay.
  52.  
  53. It would seem, thus, that clothes really don't make the man. I don't know if that line was uttered by Patton, Lincoln or Rodney Dangerfield, but it seems appropriate.
  54.  
  55. However, on Thursday, uniforms certainly made the occasion. The emcee was the nattily attired Steve Garvey, looking quite senatorial, standing at the podium while a stream of matrons took his picture with their Instamatics. He was the force behind the fashion show, and maybe even the force behind the Padres' new fashion.
  56.  
  57. "As Steve was signing his contract," Smith said, "he said, `Now, about those uniforms . . . ' "
  58.  
  59. Garvey has to love the new uniforms. He looked much taller after he changed into the pinstripes. Of course, he was standing on a ramp.
  60.  
  61. Believe it or not, this fashion show-and this unveiling-was followed by a full-blown press conference. I didn't really know what to ask. I was lost.
  62.  
  63. So was Goose Gossage. He was a late-comer.
  64.  
  65. "This," he said, "is really our new uniform."
  66.  
  67. He was wearing white shorts, a green golf shirt and sneakers without socks. His outfit might not have been appropriate in the National League, but it was definitely San Diego.
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