Green has been one of the rarest colors in the Major League Baseball uniform spectrum over the game's history, clashing with the sport's playing surface and never catching on as a sartorial staple. It was incorporated famously by the Oakland A's and experimented with for one 61-win season in 1937 by the Brooklyn Dodgers, who switched to blue the next year.
On this day, however, green is all the rage.
St. Patrick's Day is an annual blast throughout the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues, where it has become tradition for on-field personnel to don varying amounts of green, and in some cases even dye their facial hair green. The color will be saturated on a 20-game slate again on Saturday as you watch in person or live on MLB.TV, and you will see it everywhere in the stands as crowds celebrate the annual occasion in their own special ways.
Tedi the Leprechaun is a St. Patrick's Day fixture at the Red Sox's Spring Training home in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP)From now until 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, the MLB.com Shop is offering all items in its St. Patrick's Day collection at 20 percent off. You'll find everything from a Cubs Women's "I Love Green" T-shirt to a Yankees Authentic Personalized Batting Practice Jersey to a Royals Cleanup Adjustable Cap with the shamrock on the back.
"It's a good day to wear green," Giants closer Brian Wilson said, as fashion watchers again wait to see if he might dye his beard green. "Everybody likes to wear green on St. Patrick's Day."
While the Reds got this tradition going by wearing green trim instead of red for a 1978 St. Patrick's Day exhibition game, it is also worth pointing out that particular Phillies 1981 Tug McGraw St. Patrick's Day jersey at the Shop. It was in that year that McGraw, coming off the World Series title he clinched with the final pitch, had his entire uniform dyed green. He had always said it was his favorite holiday.
On March 17, 1981, McGraw came in to pitch wearing the green threads. Umpire Nick Colosi waved him off the field.
"Tug popped out of the dugout. Nick Colosi went, 'No, no, no.' He kind of threw cold water on the party that day," longtime broadcaster Chris Wheeler told Paul Hagen, veteran reporter for MLB.com. "I don't ever remember seeing [anybody wear green] before. It wasn't like the guys were wearing green hats in those days. That became a tradition later. This was just impish Tug being the leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day."
Today, it is standard uniform protocol. For Brewers pitcher Kameron Loe, that usually means dying his facial hair green on this day.
"It's kind of a tradition I've got," he said at last year's St. Patrick's Day game. "I'm a quarter-Irish or so. I have a little fun on St. Patrick's Day. It's about the only hair I can grow, so I figured why not color it green?"
The Red Sox are at home for a 1:35 p.m. ET game against the Orioles in Fort Myers, Fla., and for Boston fans that always means the sight of Tedi the Leprechaun. He usually can be found signing autographs, hanging out with players and fans, and stopping by the Red Sox broadcast booth.
What does he do the other days each year?
"Work my way up and down the East Coast, visiting people, spreading my Boston Red Sox cheer," Tedi said. "That's it."
Everyone is going green. And even better, there are 20 chances to see it happen. It is one of the biggest dockets of the year in baseball, including 10 split-squad games. That includes a Cubs split-squad that is going to Las Vegas for games against the Rangers on Saturday and Sunday.
Take a look around Spring Training on this day, and be reminded of all that is green in the game, even greener than before. The official changing of the calendar season is on Tuesday.
"Natural green grass stirs our conscious to remind us that spring is just around the corner," MLB groundskeeping guru Murray Cook said. "We all have childhood memories of playing in the yard or ball field with our friends, and the beauty of green grass breathes new life into those feelings, telling the world we are ready for spring. So plant a plant in honor of St Patty's day. Preferably not a shamrock, as they are considered a broadleaf grassy weed for baseball fields."