Louisville’s blinding new uniforms bring Houston Astros retro rainbow style to college baseball

David Brown
Big League Stew

Now you've done it, Adidas. The official outfitter of the University of Louisville (and others) created a blinding new uniform for the Cardinals, which they wore Sunday in an NCAA tournament victory to help them reach the College World Series. If you are lucky enough to be sight-impaired, allow me to describe them. As for the jerseys, just think "1980 Houston Astros," with the "tequila sunrise" rainbow pattern made notorious by Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard, Jose Cruz and the Astrodome gang. Only with Louisville's Cardinal red hues instead of orange.

And it's not just the jersey. It's hard to tell from the stylized photo that Adidas shared on Facebook, but the pants appear to be a dark red — ox blood! — almost a maroon color, and they're cut to look like regular trousers. And, best (?) of all, the white belt. It might be more appropriate on a golf course, worn by a 65-year-old man, in 1977. But you know the rule: If it's before Labor Day, the white belt is in play. (It's in the Constitution.)

UPDATE: Virginia Tech donned starburst uniforms in their own homage to the Astros in 2009 (H/N: @AndyBitterVT). And, lest we forget, the Tucson minor league club just had its own Astros homage over the weekend.

If routine and superstition (if not fashion) mean anything, Louisville will be wearing these unis in Omaha. And they won't be the only team at the College World Series to bust out the retro look thanks to Adidas:

On the left is the Mississippi State interpretation of the 1980 Astros, done with Bulldogs colors instead. Will Clark probably is rolling his giant eyes. You're on your own with the color scheme.

On the right, North Carolina State — which has qualified for the CWS for the first time since 1968 — has gone with the 1983 Chicago White Sox look. Holy Greg Luzinski. Note the white belt, too. Is this Bushwood? This isn't Bushwood.

One thing all of these uniforms lack: Numbers on the pants. Perhaps it would be an NCAA violation. You never know with those people.

The fashionable changes are a continuation of what college football teams and basketball teams have been doing in recent seasons: Breaking out flashy, non-traditional-looking duds for big games and the playoffs. It's all about marketing and making money for the schools and shoe companies (which is fine, given the system in place), fun for the players and blinding people in the stands and on TV. Everybody gets something.

Big BLS H/N: Uniwatch

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