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Monday, September 22, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 5/2/2013

Wookiee mistake just Hens’ latest

BY DAVE HECKENBERG
BLADE COLUMNIST

In regards to the Chewbacca-inspired uniforms the Mud Hens will wear this weekend, a team official said, “There is no such thing as bad press.”

With all due respect, we’ll see about that.

On the positive side, when a last-place team has played just 27 games and is already 13 games out of first place, when it is coming off a 2-9 road trip, when it is hitting at a chilly .213 clip that ranks last and is a mere 92 points behind the International League leader — all of which was the case heading into Thursday night’s home-stand opener against Charlotte — perhaps a Witness Protection Program uniform is not a bad idea.

Certainly, nobody will recognize our sad-sack team in these, well, sad sacks.

On an even more positive note, this weekend’s walk on the Star Wars side, having the players dress to impersonate Chewbacca, the Wookiee from Kashyyyk who co-piloted the Millennium Falcon and whose actual uniform was made from yak hair, will in part benefit charity, and that’s always a good thing.

The team will conduct in-game silent auctions of the uniforms Saturday and Sunday, and proceeds will benefit, on those respective days, Read for Literacy and the Spina Bifida Association. Whether the jerseys will be laundered or come with actual game-inspired sweat from — sorry — Wookiees and veterans alike was not known at press time.

On a side note, the Mud Hens probably don’t get nearly the credit they deserve for what the franchise does, often quietly, to support and help raise money for a variety of charitable, civic, and nonprofit concerns during the course of every season.

The program is called Helping Hens, and this uniform auction is part of it. There is also Muddy’s Knothole Club to assist underprivileged kids. We could go on, but it would smack of good press, and this Hack would rather yak.

Plus, before you get the warm-and-fuzzy impression that the Hens are nothing but altruistic, remember that baseball is a business.

Replicas of those Chewbacca uniforms will be coming to Swamp Shop sales racks in the near future. You can preorder now, in fact.

There will be special T-shirts — they are said to be a limited number, although I’m guessing they’re limited to however many the Hens can sell — and toy laser swords on sale this weekend because who would want their little Luke Intentional Skywalker, Hans Solo Home Run, or Yogi Yoda Berra to be improperly attired and/or equipped.

Speaking of attire, the Chewie Unis are the most gosh-awful things ever, with the possible exception of the Chicago White Sox shorts, blouses, and knee socks, vintage 1976.

Think of those old yellow, orange, and red-striped Houston Astros jerseys, mix in the various mustards worn in the not-so-good old days by the San Diego Padres, some of those all-gold, buzzing-bees beer league unis sported by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the head-to-toe orange of the Baltimore Orioles — both from the 1970s — the current Sunday camo jerseys worn by the Padres, add a munitions belt, and voila, you have Chewbacca.

The timing for all this may be perfect. Perhaps it will shake up the Hens.

Darth Vader has an evil grip on the team’s bats. Its fortunes have been locked by laser to a Death Star.

It’s high time for our heroes to emerge from the dark side.

Contact Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398, or on Twitter @ToledoSports.



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