Monday, July 29, 2013

The #47MysteryScrum

There's no question I've always been fascinated by sports apparel. I had a satin (well, not really) Yankees jacket circa 1980. I also had – still have (but never wear) – an interlocking NY necklace*.

*I haven't worn a necklace in probably 20 years, by the way, and other than a watch, I don't wear jewelry, especially after taking my wedding ring off.

So when Tim Parry mentioned to me that '47 Brand was doing a “Mystery Scrum,” I was interested.

The “scrum” is the opportunity to buy some really nice stuff – hats and t-shirts – at a major discount, with one catch: you're not allowed to pick the details of your purchase.

But it's all top quality stuff. The hats, which can often cost north of $25, would be $12, and the t-shirts, normally $35 or more, were $15.

So in the name of marketing, social media, and the unknown, I jumped in. Paul Silverfarb, Pat Pickens, and Scott Ericson – sportswriters, all – took the plunge also.

Tim, by the way, hasn't done so yet, but thinks he will. He was, for now, a happy observer.

I'm sure each of us will tell you that we really didn't need another hat and/or t-shirt. But given the quality of '47's merchandise, and the aforementioned unknown, it seemed like fun.

Then the reality began to creep up. What if I opened my package and there, laughing at me, was a Mets hat and a Red Sox shirt? Or some other woebegone franchise whose merchandise I wouldn't be buried in?

Would they be on their way to a tag sale?  Sell them on eBay?  Burn them in the front yard and upload the video?

Scott seemed satisfied with his Washington Caps shirt and Florida Gulf Coast University hat. Pat flashed an LA Dodgers 1980 All-Star Game t-shirt and a Carolina Hurricanes hat.

The former Hartford Whalers? Ouch.  Still, early results were good.

By Wednesday morning, no package had arrived in Mahopac, so I had to drive away, knowing that I would be spending the weekend in Cape Cod and wouldn't get my answer until Sunday night. Paul and I exchanged messages as we each traveled to our respective long weekends. He had his package with him and opened it to reveal a Brooklyn Dodgers hat.

He was OK with it. I'm not sure how I would have felt, still holding a long-smoldering hatred for them. I did like Pat's shirt, but not sure I would have been thrilled about Paul's hat, especially given that the “B” looked quite Red Sox-esque.

To that end, he was encountering “brilliant” Sawx fans through the Springfield area, complimenting him on his hat.

Through a nice, albeit wet and cool weekend on the Cape (yes, Red Sox Nation), I wondered what was back in Mahopac. Finally, my question was answered when I spied the box. I took the time to unpack first, fully prepared for the worst.

I kept hoping. Maybe it would be a college team? There's nobody I truly detest in the NCAA, for the most part. Wouldn't it be nice if it was, say, the Pirates, or a team that is completely innocuous?

I took a deep breath and cut the tape on the box. I opened the flaps. I glanced...wait, is that an Uncle Sam top hat?

My hope began to build. It can't be? But yes, there it was in full glory:




I jumped up and down like the 11-year-old I had dropped off only a half-hour earlier. I felt like Ralphie as he opened his Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

The fact that there was a pretty cool looking Ottawa Senators hat was fine with me. In fact, that was a bonus. A hockey team that, honestly, I couldn't care less about (yes, that's the proper way to say that phrase). Sure, they play the Rangers, but I saw no harm. In fact, I donned it and wore it to work today.

But a 1962 World Series Yankees shirt? In the series that they beat the Giants, four games to three, with Willie McCovey smashing a liner to Bobby Richardson with the winning run on base in Game 7? As George Kell said on the radio broadcast, “If that had gotten through, the Giants would have won it. Now it's the Yankees.”

Fate smiled, or as Lisa said to me via text:

“You scored!”

OK, Tim, you're next!

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