Ask Sports

July 17, 2011

Why does Japan wear blue soccer uniforms?

Why does Japan wear blue soccer uniforms?

With its national flag only having white and red, Japan's choice to wear blue may seem odd.

But like a number of other countries, athletic colors are not specifically tied into the colors of the flag, as they are in this country.

Today's opponent for the United States in the Women's World Cup final, Japan's use of blue has not always been consistent.

The men's team wore blue jerseys in its first major international competition, the 1936 Olympics. It won its first game against Sweden 3-2.

The national soccer federation took that as a good luck sign, according to the website

The team has worn a variety of uniforms, including red and white jerseys in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Poor qualification results for the World Cup and the Olympics sent the red jerseys packing.

The men's team now holds the nickname of "Samurai Blue," while the women's team is known as "Nadeshiko Japan," which is a kind of pink flower.

A flower is the source of another country's seemingly odd uniform color selection, too.

Australia's athletic teams don green and yellow to symbolize the golden wattle, the floral emblem of the country.

So the Braves won their 10,000th game on Friday. How are they only the third team to achieve that feat? What about the Yankees?

They're the third franchise to reach that milestone as a member of a current major league, but the fifth team to get there with any wins.

The Braves, which began as the Boston Red Stockings in 1876 are 10,000-9,992 before Saturday's game.

It's taken a 20-year run of amazing recent success to get the 135-year-old franchise just barely over .500.

Only one team has played more games: the Cubs, who have 10,278 wins in 20,182 games since 1876.

The current World Series champion Giants lead the majors with 10,490 wins, dating back to their beginnings in New York in 1883.

The Dodgers (10,177 wins) and Cardinals (10,154) are each above the Braves, but both teams played seasons in the 19th century American Association and haven't reached the mark with National League wins.

The Reds (9,961) and Pirates (9,858) are seventh and eighth in wins, owing to their 1882 foundings.

The Yankees, which began in 1901 as the Baltimore Orioles in the fledgling American League, easily lead all AL teams with 9,723 wins.

Their .568 winning percentage is 30 points better than the next best team in the majors, the Giants.

At their current rate of success, they'll hit 10,000 wins in just more than three seasons.

The Phillies, founded in 1883, lead the majors with 10,266 losses. They'll be joined by the Braves as the only professional sports teams with 10,000 losses later this summer.

—Joshua Wood

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