Iowa Western’s camouflage uniforms bring a coolness factor to JUCO

Iowa Western's camouflage uniforms bring a coolness factor to JUCO

Iowa Western pitcher AJ Gaura sports the Reivers’ unique camouflage uniforms Tuesday in their 14-1 victory over Neosho (Kan.) County at the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series. Iowa Western normally wears the uniforms for home Sunday games, but decided to wear them Tuesday. The eye-catching tops are a hit with the players and the coach’s 5-year-old son.

They’re the newest baseball uniform craze, a tradition adopted in 2000 by the San Diego Padres. And now the boys from Council Bluffs, Iowa — the Iowa Western Community College Reivers — are sporting camouflage baseball uniforms.

In their 14-1 win over Neosho County (Kan.) Community College on Tuesday, the Reivers rocked the uniforms they primarily have worn at home on Sundays throughout this season.

They are effective, as some Reivers players said they seem to win with the eye-catching tops.

But are the uniforms in their ability to do just that — camouflage — distracting, or a hindrance, to opponents?

“There’s no question,” said Neosho coach Steve Murry. “You can’t see the numbers, either.”

Murry was not making excuses.

“I love them,” he said.

If you can’t beat them, wear camouflage.

“We’re ordering them,” Murry said. “We had our equipment guy look at them. They’re very unique. Fans love them; players love them. I’m an old man, but I love them.”

Griffin Rardin, the 5-year-old son of Iowa Western coach Marc Rardin, loves them. He’s figured out the gritty appeal of military garb.

Griffin said the uniforms are “like the ground.”

Marc Rardin said he picked out the uniforms. But he’s a bit more indifferent than his son.

“I’m color-blind,” Marc Rardin said. “I don’t give a crap. I never wear a uniform.”

No Iowa fans in the general vicinity directly behind the Reivers’ dugout had any complaints.

Not when they were ahead by 13 runs.

And the players? Think silk.

“I like the way they feel,” said Iowa Western center fielder and lead-off hitter Iseha Conklin, who was 2 for 3 with two RBI. “They’re not heavy. Our white jerseys are heavy. But a jersey’s a jersey. As long as it has Iowa on it.”

As long as they’re effective ...

“I can’t help but think they’re distracting (to opponents),” Iowa catcher Levi Meyer said.

One theory is that perhaps the ball coming out of the pitcher’s hand is camouflaged to the batter’s eye. But Neosho County catcher Tyler Palmer, who was 1 for 2, wouldn’t go so far.

“Maybe a little (distracting),” he said. “But they’re not too bad.”

Majority did seem to rule on one matter: The uniforms are cool.

“Camo uniforms are kind of the craze right now with all the teams out there,” Meyer said. “You see them at Division I; the Padres even have them. I love everything about them.”


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