Wednesday, June 15, 2016

An Unorthodox Uniform - Fagan's Patch Problem

Auburn Softball won the hearts of so many Auburn fans and a lot of the country last week in Oklahoma, with the fantastic catches by Victoria Draper and Tiffany Howard, the walk-off grand slam by Emily Carosone to force a game 3, and even Courtney Shea's final at-bat. Last week I posted a full-length look at every uniform that was worn during the WCWS, even mentioning the odd cases of teams not wearing the WCWS patch. But something not mentioned was something we don't see often - an Auburn uniform mistake.

Auburn's Haley Fagan
Original photo by Adam Sparks / AU Plainsman

Following Monday night's game 1, SEC Network hosted Auburn's Haley Fagan on the stage just outside the stadium in Oklahoma City. Jennifer Majors sent me a photo of the scene, noting something odd was up with Fagan's right sleeve. Take a look:

Auburn's Haley Fagan on the SEC Network set in Oklahoma City

Being as we were still on our way out of ASA Hall of Fame Stadium at the time, I didn't have time to look at it very long. Once back to the hotel, I began to take a closer look at the photo. What could it be? Was the SEC patch ripped off somehow? Was it colored in? No, couldn't be, because Auburn wears the SEC patch on the left sleeve regardless. Fagan, being a right-handed batter, would have the WCWS patch on top of the SEC patch as well.

As I speculated more on what it could be and more Twitter followers that were commenting their own opinions, the thought of the patch being placed on the wrong sleeve and then being removed kept resurfacing. It actually took me a few minutes to even accept that thought, as Auburn equipment managers are always on the ball and rarely have miscues like this. We've seen jerseys rip and sewing machines needed, but those are different than a mistake like this.

Auburn's Haley Fagan at bat in Oklahoma City, WCWS
Fagan only played in 15 games during the season after sitting for 55 games because of
an ACL injury (Inside the Auburn Tigers photo)
With all the speculation, I thought the best idea would be to contact Haley. Low and behold, it was a mistake by one of the managers, having placed the patch on the wrong sleeve and having to remove it. "How long had it been like that, a single game or two?" I asked. "All season long," according to Haley.

I was shocked. Not only was this one of the few Auburn uniform mistakes in recent history, it had been like that for the entire season, and I never saw it! Haley's injury that kept her out the entire regular season has been well documented already. An off-season ACL tear kept the previously starting shortstop in the dugout until Auburn's run through the SEC Tournament in early May. Fagan dressed out for probably half of the season, and then was seen in the dugout in sweats and street clothes.

One of my Twitter followers, @Auburn_138, came through and shared a photo of Haley's at-bat during the game, and the patch issue wasn't seen. So, it's pretty evident that the lighting on the SEC Network set hit the sleeve in just the right way to highlight something that had been hidden all season long.

Auburn's Haley Fagan at bat in Oklahoma City at the WCWS

Equipment managers do their best to stay out of the news, and I find it funny that one small interview just happened to shine light (literally) on a small issue that hadn't been seen all season long, even though the specific jersey of concern wasn't worn much during the season at all.

Big thanks to Jennifer Major and @Auburn_138 for the screenshots used in this post, and to Jennifer for bringing this to my attention in the first place.

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