A Syracuse institution finally takes the field

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Lots of people have odd little hobbies or fixations, like your aunt who collects spoons or your friend who has a blog about Martin Van Buren. In my case, I’m particularly fond of — OK, obsessed with — the Brannock Device. If you don’t know what that is, that’s kind of the point. The Brannock Device is that metal gizmo they use to measure your foot size at the shoe store. Manufactured for nearly a century now in Syracuse, N.Y., and named after its inventor, the late Charles Brannock, it’s a universal touchstone in our culture — literally everyone’s foot has been nestled in a Brannock at some point — but almost nobody knows what it’s called. It flies under the radar, hiding in plain sight.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

As anyone familiar with my coverage of the uniform world knows, I often get geeked out about things that other people sometimes take for granted. The Brannock Device, with its combination of ubiquity and anonymity, has become my ultimate inconspicuous object, my North Star — the perfect symbol of how I like to look at the world. It’s also a nifty piece of industrial design. How much do I like it? So much that I got a tattoo of it 15 years ago. (Yes, really.)18

So when I heard back in early March that the Syracuse Chiefs — the Triple-A affiliate of MLB’s Washington Nationals — had added a Brannock Device Night to their 2018 promotional calendar, I knew I had to get in touch with their GM, Jason Smorol. By the time we were done talking, I’d convinced him that the team should go all-in by doing one of those one-game rebrandings that minor league theme nights sometimes entail, and he had invited me to come up and throw out the first pitch.

This is a story about how a minor league team goes through all the steps and approvals needed to do one of those one-game makeovers, from changing the team name to designing special uniforms. It’s also a story about how local culture and local businesses intersect with minor league baseball.cheap nfl jerseys china nike And yes, it’s also a story about how my compulsive preoccupation with a metal foot-measuring gizmo led me to throw out the first pitch at a Triple-A ballgame.