Back to School Goes Old School

By Dave Trausneck @trausneck

It’s the 1992-1993 school year. You’re the envy of your friends because you’re rockin’ a Starter jacket for the Charlotte Hornets. You’re the man. That teal and purple schwag make you feel like you just scored a date with the prom queen.

HORNETS

Fast forward 20 years. That jacket 17 years removed from a donation to the local Goodwill store gets revived in all its glory. Starter announced they are bringing back the satin jackets that rose to prominence in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

starter jacket ad

For most kids in white suburbia, starter jackets were their first foray into hip-hop gear. Before flat brims were widely acceptable, if you had a black Raiders satin jacket, you were tough. You saw the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff sportin’ the gear. Before that it was RUN-DMC.

RUNDMC

You didn’t have to listen to NWA or rap to wear one. It was cool. Nordstrom started selling them. I know; I got one as a Christmas present in 1992. Somewhere there’s a picture of me wearing one with a bowl haircut.

And then the wheels fell off. Besides every white kid in the burbs getting one, they became the “norm” for MLB pitching staffs… and rotations like Atlanta’s with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Steve Avery and the 5th guy that never seemed to catch on would always be seen on Braves TBS baseball would be seen every night spitting sunflower seeds wearing those jackets. The jackets weren’t just street style anymore. Into the closet they go to gather dust.

braves starter jacket

But like all good things retro, Starter revived the iconic jacket, and with good reason. So
much of street style now derives from early 90’s hip-hop. Ok, Reebok Pumps might never come back (although I wish they would for a hot minute, just so I can buy one to collect), but the Starter jacket was a staple.

The trick was, the jacket was simple. No crazy swirl patterns or progressive striping. A solid jacket with a logo and that S with a star on the left cuff, that’s all the jacket needed. Simple enough that it could translate to this generation, and people wouldn’t confuse it with a Members Only jacket that lived past its prime.

The jacket won’t be released until later in 2013 (Fall is the rumor), and it’s only fitting. Because when the kids go back to school, you can take your friends to school in the style department.

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The other Tommy John question.

The Washington Nationals famously shut down their pitching ace Stephen Strasburgh. The Nationals announced they were shutting him down earlier in the season because of the Tommy John surgery he’s still recovering from and since then there has been a whole lot of noise about whether it’s right or wrong. However, not a lot of people are talking about Kris Medlen’s comeback or what the San Francisco Giants are going to do about closer Brian Wilson.

Medlen is gaining a lot of exposure about how the Atlanta Braves rehabbed him and how well he’s doing. In fact the Braves have now won the last 20 games in which he has started. Another big question out there is how will the Giants treat their All-Star closer Brian Wilson when he’s ready to comeback?

Wilson, aka Fear the Beard, aka Willie, has had Tommy John surgery before. It was done back when he was at LSU. So unlike Strasburgh and Medlen, Wilson is older and having to do this for a second time. Unlike Strasburgh and Medlan, Wilson is a closer and only pitches an inning or an inning and a half so the Giants don’t have to have to rehab him like a starter. They don’t have to worry about him being able to pitch six or seven innings like the Nationals and Braves did with their pitchers.

Wilson is also a veteran. He’s won a World Series. He’s been to a few All-Star games but he’s also 30. That last point alone begs the question, ‘will he be able to recover like these younger pitchers?’ The surgery Wilson, Strasburgh and Medlan had is named after the pitcher who first had the surgery, Tommy John. John had the experimental surgery at the age of 31 and pitched until the age of 46. If your a Giants fan that’s good news. However John had the surgery once not twice by that age.

Baseball is a physical sport. It’s a marathon and probably more physically demanding for pitchers. The overhand throwing motion is not a natural motion for the human body. While it’s amazing science to have a tendon replaced it’s probably even more amazing to return to throwing a baseball at high velocity in front of thousands of people.

What this really comes down to is the pitchers state of mind. If Wilson can stay positive and overcome the mental rigors of rehab then Giants fans have reason to hope. If for some reason he can’t then the Giants may have to find a longer term solution to closing baseball games than Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez.