D-backs in black to hex Rockies?
Arizona's uniform choice forces visitors to change jersey color
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks made sure at least one Rockies streak came to an end on Friday night.
The D-backs wore their black jerseys for Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, forcing the Rockies to abandon the black sleeveless jerseys they've worn while winning seven straight games. That streak includes a three-game sweep of the Phillies in the NL Division Series and the Rockies' 5-1 victory over the D-backs in Thursday night's NLCS Game 1.
The home team picks which jersey it wears, and the D-backs wore their primary white home jersey for all four previous playoff games at Chase Field. They usually wear black only at home on Saturdays, compiling an 11-2 record while wearing the black tops.
Since teams are discouraged from showing up wearing the same colors, the Rockies wore their gray road jerseys with purple pinstripes. Rockies spokesman Jay Alves said the Diamondbacks called the Rockies' clubhouse on Friday afternoon to inform them of their uniform decision.
The Rockies last wore a different jersey -- white sleeveless with purple pinstripes -- on Sept. 28, when they lost to the Diamondbacks, 4-2, at Coors Field. The Rockies won the next two over the D-backs and the NL Wild Card tiebreaker in black, and continued the practice in the postseason until Friday, when the D-backs made sure they couldn't.
Teams with multiple jerseys have various methods for determining what they wear. Some have the starting pitcher make the decision. Others have an established pattern. In any case, it's standard procedure that the home team informs the visiting team which jersey it will wear.
However the decision to wear black came about, some planning was put into it. As the D-backs took the field for the top of the first inning, Will Smith's "Men In Black" blared over the public address system.
The possible gamesmanship occurred hours after Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said the best way to approach a streaking opponent is to not get caught up in the streak.
"We try not to get caught up too much in the other team," Melvin said. "We try to take care of ourselves and do it day-to-day, and therefore the distractions maybe aren't as much, especially when you get later in the season, especially when you get in the postseason.
"We're aware of what's going on over there, saw the culmination of it at the end of the regular season, seen these guys enough."
They wanted to see them wearing something difference.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.