Gear up for the 2020 MLB Season with new gear from Nike

For Better ... or For Worse? 2020 Edition

By Phil Hecken

A little over a year ago I penned a column, For Better … or For Worse?, which took a look at all the NFL redesigns teams underwent during Nike’s take over of the league-wide contract. At the time, there were ten redesigns (Seahawks, Jaguars [twice!], Dolphins, Vikings, Buccaneers, Browns, Lions, Titans and Jets) — while I thought then that most of the redesigns were worse than what they replaced, surprisingly not every team’s overall look was made worse — some were about the same, and a couple actually improved.

Now, “improved” is a relative term because I was grading the unis based on what they replaced, not whether or not the uniform was an all-time improvement or even whether or not it was actually that good a look. So, there were 10 redesigns during Nike’s first eight years — I figured I’d be writing a follow-up to that in another few years. But 2020, as you all know, has featured (a record-setting?) seven teams who underwent redesigns (and perhaps unsurprisingly, two of those were of teams who already underwent a redesign under Nike). Like the Jaguars, you could argue Nike’s original redesign was so bad they had to “fix” it. So, going forward, we can be sure two of the seven redesigns for 2020 have been improvements over what they replaced. What about the other five?

Let’s see how they did:

• • • • • •

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The Bucs had arguably the worst uniforms in pro football, regardless of the combos, so there was almost no question that whatever replaced them would be superior. That they basically returned to their Supe-winning look was probably no surprise. Yes, many of us, myself included, were hoping for a return to their Bucco Bruce set (or something similar) and were disappointed. I’ve never particularly liked the red/pewter combo, but obviously, what they’ll be wearing in 2020 (?) and beyond is a giant improvement over the digital clock era.

VERDICT: For Better

• • • • • •

ATLANTA FALCONS

Let’s get this out of the way, right away: I don’t hate the new uniforms — they’re not great, that’s for sure, and that red/black gradient jersey is brutal, but overall, they’re … well, they’re different. There are some negatives, obviously — the ATL and custom block shadow font leave much to be desired, and look more like a college uni. But I think that’s kinda the vibe they’re going for, and to that extent, well, they succeeded. But I’m willing to give these a chance, and see how they look on the field. And let’s not forget, what they replaced was also one of the worst uniforms in the NFL. Would they have been better served by making the throwbacks the primary (instead of keeping it as their alt/Color Rash for 2020 and beyond)? Of course. But anything that gets rid of those brutal shoulder caps and side panels and side/pants striping that flared at the ends can’t be all bad. Can it?

VERDICT: Push

• • • • • •

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Perhaps surprisingly, the Patriots didn’t change their uniforms up all that much — but very surprisingly (at least so far) the biggest “change” is the fact that the team will have only two jerseys and ONE pair of pants — and the pants are solid blue (with a fairly normal stripe pattern). That means every time they wear their dark jersey, they’ll have a monochrome look almost identical to their color rash uniform from the past couple seasons. (At least according to photos, they won’t have solid blue socks, but will instead break the look up slightly with low white socks.) I’m willing to bet they will, at some point, add either white or silver pants, but for now, it’s just blue/blue or white/blue. Now, the question is: is this look an improvement over what they previously wore? I always hated the very visible side panel on the white jersey and the more subtle one on the blue jersey, and despite their incredible success while wearing this uni-set, never really thought it was an attractive uniform. And as with the Bucs & Falcs, it would have been fantastic if the team went back to Pat Patriot look, but we’ll have to wait until the “one shell rule” is lifted, possibly as early as 2021 for that. Are the new unis an improvement? Meh. I’d say it’s a definite maybe.

VERDICT: Push

• • • • • •

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The Colts introduced only the tiniest of changes for 2020, and that’s probably a good thing, as they already had one of the best looking uniforms in the NFL. In fact, if you weren’t paying attention, you might not even have noticed. What even changed? Well, there’s a slightly tweaked logo. The font has been tweaked (and made retro, which is a plus). The MOTB has changed color on the white jersey. The wordmark has changed. But really, this is much more of a “tweak” than a redesign, and that’s a good thing. However, the biggest change is the old-school font, which I love.

VERDICT: For Better

• • • • • •

CLEVELAND BROWNS

If the Buccaneers didn’t have the worst uniform in the NFL prior to 2020, then the Browns did. So, like the Bucs, there was nowhere to go but up. Everything about the new uniforms, even the brown pants (instead of they much hoped-for orange trou) is fantastic. In fact, there’s even talk the team will still introduce a set of orange pants (they just didn’t show them at the unveiling). It’s not even worth taking up any more space here complaining about how bad their previous set was, and how great this new set is. You’ve got eyes.

VERDICT: For Better

• • • • • •

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

I didn’t hate the Chargers previous uniforms, especially since they moved to powder blue for their primary, and I rather liked their royal blue color rash outfits. So, their new set would have to be something special to be an improvement. Well, they absolutely hit it out of the park (pardon the baseball analogy) with the new set. Their white/blue/gold may be the best looking uni in football! About the only thing of which I’m not a fan is the dark blue alternate (color rash?) — I put a question mark there only because they have a second mono royal uni that is also a color rash uniform. So, the fourth uni is well, to use one of Paul’s favorite descriptors, stupid. But in a 17 game season, we’ll probably only see that dark blue getup once, and I guess I can live with that. The remaining unforms (including but especially the powder & white over gold pants) are outstanding. Well done Nike/LA. This one was worth the wait.

VERDICT: For Better

• • • • • •

LOS ANGELES RAMS

In order to assess whether these are “for better” or “for worse,” we first have to establish what the Rams prior uni-identity even was. Was it the glorious royal and gold throwbacks … or was it the banana color rash getups? Or was it the mismatched white/blue/metallic gold mashup that seemed to clash with the old school look? Or was it all three? I’d argue that if you took the white jersey/helmet horn look out of the equation, the new unis are decidedly a downgrade, but since they wore those for half (or more) of those games, you can’t really take them out. On the new unis, I hate the gradient numbers and I’m not a huge fan of the bone colored road uniform (which I think they may also wear at home). As Paul has pointed out, the differences between the road and home (or light and dark) unis is stark — almost jarring. I prefer a more cohesive look across the uni-sphere. But I’ll need to see these on the field to render a full verdict. One thing I thought I’d hate, but I actually like, is the new helmet — there was nothing wrong with the old one, but as far as a replacement goes, this one is OK. But let’s not kid ourselves, these could have been so much better. Even if we take the old white unis into account (which were bad), I don’t think this is in any way shape or for an improvement.

VERDICT: For Worse

• • • • • •

And there you have it — of course, there’s really one important caveat to all of this, and that is we will need to see how all these unis look on the field of play. Obviously, with the COVID-19 affecting the unveilings (some teams obviously have photoshopped the unis onto players) and none of photos were taken outside on a field. That may temper (good or bad) some of the rankings, but for the most part, I don’t think that would change my opinion all that much. There are still a bunch of teams that can really use a redesign — Top of my head the Cardinals, Bengals, Broncos, Eagles, Vikings, Dolphins and Saints are way overdue — and we may see some of those teams redesign in the next few seasons. By and large, this new batch has been better (or at least better than the uniforms that were replaced), and with the exception of the Rams (and possibly the Falcons), teams have definitely improved or made some headway.

Your thoughts?


Uni Concepts & Tweaks

Time for more Uni Tweaks from the UW readership.

I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

• • •

Today’s tweak comes from Art Aranzazu, who has some tweaks for the Arizona Cardinals.

He writes,

saw the pic and had to render it out. love the site.

• • •

Thanks Art!

OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Will Shoken.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.

The “BEST OF” Kreindler’s Korner

Hey guys & gals. You’ve enjoyed Kreindler’s Korner for several years now, mostly on the weekends, on Uni Watch, but with the recent coronavirus outbreak, Graig’s time is just too precious and he needs to tend to other things besides coming up with a new writeup each weekend.

So, going forward, for as long as the COVID-19 situation is bad in New York, I’m going to run a few “Best of’s” until Graig returns.

Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):

• • •

Title: “Chief Prospect”
Subject: Mickey Mantle, 1951
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 22″ x 28″

This Mickey Mantle painting was a rough one to get through. Obviously the image is pretty instantly recognizable from his famous 1952 Topps card, which still remains one of the baseball card hobby’s most famous issues – undeniably the most popular post-war card in existence. The ubiquity of that image notwithstanding, it was important to make sure that this painting didn’t really look or feel like that treasure on too many levels. I’ve always found that particular set to be a bit too pastel-like and unrealistic in its coloring (especially that yellow bat), so I wanted to make sure the artwork was far away from those hue choices and as close to real-life as possible. I’d made a few color studies of the thing over the last 10 years, and it was only semi-recently that I finally “figured it out”.

The main issue was that the original photograph that I was using as reference was taken with a flash. So, you have that hot Phoenix sun shining down on Mickey, and then a flash bulb lighting him from below and bleeding into those shadows. That combination created some tough problems to sort out, especially since the photography method had all but flattened Mickey’s form out. Everything that as lit from the flash had to be cooler in temperature than what was being lit from the sun, and the photograph kind of exaggerates how bright those shadow planes get (especially in his face). I had to make sure that although he was being lit from two sources, one of them would win out in the overall hierarchy of light. In this case, what was lit artificially stayed a bit deeper in value than I might have originally planned it to, making that flash factor a bit less obvious. As a result, I think his features (as well as those of the bat and jersey) really pop where they should, and at the same time, sit in the space well enough.

And of course, when looking at the painting, one will always think of that famous card, but if he/she can enjoy it on a different unrelated level, then I’ve definitely achieved my goal.

• • •

Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.

And now a few words from Paul

Hi there. In case you missed it on Friday, my latest piece for InsideHook features my list of 20 uniforms that should be revived as throwbacks (and have never gotten the throwback treatment before). Check it out here.

Also:

• Don’t these cream and grey Brats mockups look nice? Wouldn’t it be fun, just theoretically, if they existed for real? If you agree, let me know.

• The Uni Watch Pin Club’s design for June will launch on Monday. I think you’ll really like it! Meanwhile, we still have some of the May pins left, along with the March, February, and January pins. (Sorry, April is sold out.)

Speaking of which: If you order multiple pins and find yourself getting hit with multiple shipping charges on the one order, go ahead and place the order and then email me — I can arrange for the extra shipping charges to be refunded.

• Remember that you can save a 15% on all of the pins, and on everything else in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

• In case you missed it last week, Uni Watch cufflinks, which usually sell for $26.99, are now just $16.99. Perfect for all those formal events on your busy shelter-in-place social calendar!

• I was about to run out of green seam rippers, but I just got another big shipment from the factory, so I’m well-stocked on all colors.

• Don’t forget about the awesome Uni Watch chain-stitched patches, hand-made for us by the great Amy Bengtson!

As always, thanks for listening, and for your consideration.

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: The Kalamazoo Growlers have made a major announcement regarding their team name. This year, the Growlers will temporarily re-name themselves the Kalamazoo Mac-Daddies. The team’s new mascot is an angry looking cheese macaroni noodle with a fork. Submitter Brandon Weir adds, “I can’t tell if this is real or a prank.” It’s real. And it’s spectacular. … Scott Chamberlain writes, “Interesting photo taken at the 1978 All Star Game in San Diego. The thing that catches my attention is Willie Stargell has a Stargell Star on his jersey! Never saw that before. Always on the black pillbox caps.”

NFL News: Did you ever wonder why the Eagles “can’t” wear kelly green uniforms? Well, all UWers know the one-shell rule prevents the team from throwing back — so until that’s lifted, we’ll see no kelly green throwbacks from the Eagles. … Pretty interesting article here on the 1962 Broncos, who that season ditched their brown/gold unis, and began wearing blue and orange for the first time. … The Green Bay Packers are one of just a handful of teams who should never change uniforms, but this article does feature an interesting uni concept for the team. … Check the face mask on Terry Bradshaw! He’s wearing it during a 1978 preseason game in Dallas, says Ian Tisdale

College/High School Football News: The Uniform Funding Foundation, a nonprofit also called “TUFF,” is helping to fund youth and high school athletic teams with new uniforms (from Jason Hillyer). Key quote from that article, “You shouldn’t have to wear ripped up old 15-year-old uniforms.” … Georgia Southern in 1924 changed name to Georgia Normal School when school’s mission was directed towards training teachers. The great Blaise D’Sylva notes, “Hence this helmet (L) from ’24-’41 (they dropped FB until ’84). Replicated in ’13 for 1 game (R).” … When Al Del Greco kicked the winning field goal in the 1984 Sugar Bowl against Michigan, he did so wearing an old-school single-bar facemask on his helmet.The classic facemask was still colored grey which didn’t match the orange masks his teammates (from Clint Richardson).

Hockey News: Did you ever wonder why the Capitals’ jerseys have three stars on them? It’s probably not what you thought: The three stars on the current Capitals jersey represent the three jurisdictions: Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. … The Henderson SilverKnights (a new AHL affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights) have unveiled their logo (from RJ Waddell). They’ll begin play (COVID-pending) in 2020-21. Here’s a bit more on the team.

NBA/College Hoops News: Caitlyn, then Bruce Jenner was drafted by the basketball Kings and sported a rare 4 digit number (from Steve Dodell). Here’s a bit more on that. The article doesn’t mention it, but the reason he was given “8614” is because at the time, he set the world-record score of 8,618 points in the Decathlon during the 1976 Summer Olympic games. … Reddit user u/toms47 is making neat flags for all the D-I universities (from Jeremy Baker).

Soccer News: Charlotte will join Austin FC in becoming the 27th and 28th teams to compete in MLS beginning next season. The league will then welcome Sacramento and St. Louis in 2022, bringing MLS to 30 clubs. The Charlotte club will announce its name in June (from Wade Heidt). … Yesterday, US Intenational midfielder Weston McKennie wore an armband with “Justice for George” enscribed during the German Bundesliga game to honor memory of George Floyd (from our own Anthony Emerson and Josh Hinton). … Bournemouth will be without a shirt advertiser when the Premier League resumes (from Ed Żelaski). … Vfl Wolfsburg wore their “Vielfalt” (diversity) jerseys (rainbow VW logo/rainbow “Vielfalt” on back of the neck) vs Eintracht Frankfurt yesterday (from a҉j҉z҉y҉).

Grab Bag: Check out this fun article here with some interesting history on various high school team nicknames (from Brandon Weir). … Pretty cool NYT article here entitled, “Elon Musk’s SpaceX Suit Is Like a Tuxedo for the Starship Enterprise,” (from Tommy Turner). The astronaut suits were made, despite having the NASA logo, by SpaceX and, as we anticipated 4 years ago, they were designed by a Mexican-American who specializes in making uniforms for movie superheroes. … “I think you may have covered this in the past, but Vernon Hills High School in Illinois uses a slightly modified Van Halen logo for its athletic teams with permission from the band,” writes Peter Fahey. “This current story from ESPN has a photo of a young athlete from Vernon Hills and it reminded me of the connection to the rock legends.” … Here’s kind of a fun article on the history of the New Zealand jersey. … The National Safety Council, an NGO, has updated its logo (from James Gilbert).

And finally… That’s it for this fine last Sunday in the Month of May, 2020. Once again, looks like there have been some major protest events in a lot of our major cities, and I just hope each and every Uni Watcher is staying safe. Have a good week and I’ll catch you next weekend.

Peace,

PH

Eric Steplitus' MLB/NBA (reverse) Crossover Concepts, Vol. I

By Phil Hecken

Hey guys! Well, we made it through another week! Hope everyone is doing OK and wherever you live, you’re maintaining your social distancing while everything begins to “open up.”

You’ll recall over a couple weekends a short while back, I featured the “NBA/MLB crossover concepts” of reader Eric Steplitus (if you missed it, you can click here or here). In those posts, Eric asked, “what if teams in the NBA actually played baseball? What would their uniforms look like? All looks, fonts, color scheme from a franchise’s history was on the table.” He then put NBA designs and logos onto MLB uniform (jersey & cap) templates.

Eric is back again, today, only this time, he’s working from the reverse angle? How would MLB teams’ uniforms look if they were rendered onto hoops unis?

Here’s Eric:

• • •

MLB/NBA Crossover Project
By Eric Steplitus

Unlike my first project, I tried to have the alternate jerseys be inspired by anything, as that seems to be the current trend with NBA alternates (the Timberwolves purple Prince inspired alts immediately come to mind). So some of these ideas are way out of left field (pun intended). I’ll do my best to explain.

__________

Arizona Diamondbacks:

Their original look of purple and teal made too much sense for the home and away. Alt is a black and teal version of their current word mark.

__________

Atlanta Braves:

The yellow pattern on the piping of the home and away jerseys mimic the knot pattern of the rope on the tomahawk. Alt kicks it back to the Henry Aaron days, complete with shoulder feather sleeve up the side panel.

__________

Baltimore Orioles:

Number falls inside a cutout circle of the Maryland flag. Alt is based off the St. Louis Browns, paying homage to where the franchise was before moving to BMore.

__________

Boston Red Sox:

Home and away are straight forward. The green alternate is of course in reference to the green monster.

__________

Chicago Cubs:

Home and Away uses a word mark from the 30’s. As does the alternate, mixed with Chicago stars, the navy pier ferris wheel as a shorts logo and ivy running up the side panels for Wrigley Field.

__________

Chicago White Sox:

I of course had to replicate the infamous A-Bar template on a basketball uni. Alternate in a nod to Michael Jordan, as the he played for the Sox’s AA affiliate, and also filmed Space Jam. Hence the Tunesquad inspired alt jerseys.

__________

Cincinnati Reds:

The number circle on the black alternates is based off Mr. Redlegs, complete with pillbox hat and mustache.

__________

Cleveland Indians:

Inspired by my favorite baseball movie of all time, Major League. Hence the Wild Things nickname on the alternate and Jobu on the shorts!

__________

Colorado Rockies:

Used a mountain top type jersey template for the home and away. I attempted a layered mountain range for the alternate.

__________

Detroit Tigers:

My hometown team gets 4 jerseys. Home and away are based around their cursive scripts. The orange alternate uses the block lettering that was used on the away jerseys in the 70s and 80s. The 2nd alternate is a take on the Detroit Stars Negro League jerseys the team wears every year.

__________

Houston Astros:

There was no other option but to try Tequila sunrise on a basketball uni. Alt is of the Houston Colt .45s, the team name before becoming the Astros.

__________

Kansas City:

I used the crown from their primary logo and put it over the numbers to give the other wise clean look a kick.

__________

LA Angels:

Home and away fonts are based off the Golden State Warriors jerseys in the early 70s. Alt is the font from the 90s over some clouds to really hammer the “Angels in the Outfield” vibe.

__________

LA Dodgers:

I used the red striping in the primary logo underneath the script to lead toward the number circle. Alt is of course in reference to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

__________

Miami Marlins:

I created the wave look surrounding the numbers to use the blue and red colors the Marlins are too afraid to push for some reason. The alternate was an easy decision, going back to the teal and black Florida Marlins days.

• • •

Thanks, Eric! We’ll be back with the second half of your concepts shortly!

OK readers? What do you think?

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Derek Reese. Two of them, in fact. Derek was at this particular game (and I think Paul may have been as well), and he snapped these pics.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

If you really zoom in on the first picture, see if you can spot Gumby in the audience.

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.


Uni Concepts & Tweaks

Time for more Uni Tweaks from the UW readership.

I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

• • •

Today’s tweak comes from Scott Russell, who has some tweaks for the Miami Dolphins.

Here’s a Dolphins refresh concept, made in isolation! I’m a lifetime Dolphins fan and hate what they did to their logo and uniforms in 2013. I would be perfectly happy if they went back to their throwback uni’s full-time, but why not try to update the logo as a natural progression from the previous set? Treat 2013 as non-canon and get back to the Dolphins looking like the Dolphins! I took a stab at refreshing the dolphin while remaining faithful to the iconic logo’s past composition, brought back and slightly refined the classic sunburst, went back to the lighter and more original orange and darker aqua tones (much like the throwbacks), and updated the uni’s and helmet to lean heavily on what made their past look iconic. I would love to see the team move forward with something like this, similar to how the Browns and Chargers leaned heavily on their iconic pasts, the Miami Dolphins should do the same

• • •

Thanks Scott!

OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.

And now a few words from Paul

Hi there. In case you missed it on Friday, my latest piece for InsideHook features my list of 20 uniforms that should be revived as throwbacks (and have never gotten the throwback treatment before). Check it out here.

Also:

• Don’t these cream and grey Brats mockups look nice? Wouldn’t it be fun, just theoretically, if they existed for real? If you agree, let me know.

• The Uni Watch Pin Club’s design for June will launch on Monday. I think you’ll really like it! Meanwhile, we still have some of the May pins left, along with the March, February, and January pins. (Sorry, April is sold out.)

Speaking of which: If you order multiple pins and find yourself getting hit with multiple shipping charges on the one order, go ahead and place the order and then email me — I can arrange for the extra shipping charges to be refunded.

• Remember that you can save a 15% on all of the pins, and on everything else in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

• In case you missed it last week, Uni Watch cufflinks, which usually sell for $26.99, are now just $16.99. Perfect for all those formal events on your busy shelter-in-place social calendar!

• I was about to run out of green seam rippers, but I just got another big shipment from the factory, so I’m well-stocked on all colors.

• Don’t forget about the awesome Uni Watch chain-stitched patches, hand-made for us by the great Amy Bengtson!

As always, thanks for listening, and for your consideration.

Too Good For the Ticker
Too Good…

for the Ticker

Once again, beautiful artwork on the Twitter from Bowen Hobbs. It’s simply Too Good…

…for the ticker

• • •

Here’s more beautiful artwork from Bown, who recently did a fantastic Gary “Kid” Carter homage (and previously a gorgeous Reggie Jackson).

Earlier this week, he added an incredible Bo (Knows) Jackson, in his KC Royals finest:

o knows football. Bo knows baseball. This illustration shows Bo warming up to bat as a member of the Kansas City Royals.

• • •

You can follow Bowen and check out more of his work @bowenhobbs.

OK. Now, on to the ticker…

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Last week the Mets’ YouTube page posted six minutes of their 1999 Turn Ahead the Clock game (from Shannon Shark). … Lotte Giants IF Dixon Machado evidently forgot his road jersey and was forced to wear the jersey of coach Hyon Choi (from Kirk Anderson). … Kiwoom Heroes C Lee Ji-young wears No. 56, and the 5 on his home white jersey looks pretty weird. Could it be a reappropriated two, or just weirdness with the font itself? (from Jorge Cruz). … MiLB is having fans vote to decide which Copa de la Diversión cap is the best (from @hvhtim). … Boston Celtic punk band the Dropkick Murphys wore Majestic Red Sox jerseys while performing a live-streamed charity concert in Fenway Park (from multiple readers). … Speaking of the Red Sox, @BSmile posted some great footage of the team retiring its first two numbers, No. 9 for Ted Williams and No. 4 for Joe Cronin, in 1984. Though no one had worn 9 since Williams retired 24 years prior to his number retirement, the No. 4 had been worn as recently as 1982. … Jersey City brewery Departed Soles has created a new beer, “Trash Can Banger,” and its can features the tequila sunrise motif (from Mike Chamernik).

NFL News: Robert Bacon has reviewed the uniforms of all 32 NFL teams on YouTube.
.
.

Hockey News: The Coyotes will wear the Kachina jerseys at every home game for their entire playoff run when the NHL gets going again (from multiple readers). … NBC Sports Boston has a good little video on why the Bruins wear black and gold (from @MyPintOfView). … The latest episode of NHL.com’s Who Wore it Best tries to determine who was the best player to ever wear 25 in the league.

NBA News: In this clip from a Rockets/Pistons game in February, the Pistons score bug logo is the team’s old red-and-blue horse logo, which was only used from 2001 through 2005 (from @kip4sox). … Mark Price posted a picture on Twitter of seven of his Cavs jerseys, worn over the course of nine years. This just reinforces how frequently the Cavs have changed the unis (from @PunCMD). … A designer has made a University of Vermont Catamounts uni for each NBA team (from @jtharpe41).

Soccer News: A young woman survived COVID-19 and has now pivoted her fashion house into making masks from NYCFC jerseys. … Scottish fourth-tier team Stranraer has revealed its 150th anniversary kit. “it’s more of a throwback to the 1970s than the 1870s. Historical Football Kits tells us that the crest on this shirt was worn from 1961 to 1985, and the whole kit resembles what they wore for most of this period,” says our own Jamie Rathjen. … Macron has revealed the new home shirt of Welsh side Barry Town United (from Ed Żelaski). … Danish side AGF Aarhus used Zoom to create a virtual crowd for their match against Randers FC (from Wade Heidt). … Graham Clayton sends along this gallery of all the kits worn in 1984-85 Serie A. … New unis coming for the Houston Dash? (from Ignacio Salazar).

Grab Bag: Popeyes is getting a new brand identity, dropping the more goofy designs for something more staid (from Dylan Landon).
.

And finally… Big thanks (again) to Eric for the MLB/NBA crossovers, and we’ll get to the rest in a future post. Please let him know what you think in the comments below!

Lots and lots of things going down in many American cities the past several days, with even more last night. Everyone, please be safe!

Peace,

PH

The 20 Throwbacks That Need to Happen, Like, Yesterday

Good morning! My latest piece for InsideHook is about 20 throwback uniforms that I’d like to see on the field, court, and ice. As I mentioned last week when asking for suggestions, my rule for this piece was that I would only include designs that had never previously gotten the throwback treatment (so Pat Patriot and Bucco Bruce are not on the list, but the Astros’ orange-lettered shooting star design, shown above, is). Check it out here.

As an aside: Have two legendary baseball figures ever looked more out of place than Leo Durocher (above) and Yogi Berra in Astros uniforms? I suppose we could add Joe D. in an A’s uni. But the ’Stros really had a way of making the oldsters truly look like they were visiting from another era, or even another dimension, no?

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click all photos to enlarge

An Expo changes his stripes: The photo shown above was taken at Dodger Stadium on July 28, 1991, at the conclusion of Expos pitcher Dennis Martinez’s perfect game. All you can see of Martinez himself is the underbrim of his cap; the other players in the photo are, from left, outfielder Larry Walker, third baseman Tim Wallach, and catcher Ron Hassey.

Notice anything weird going on?

It’s easy to miss, but the stripes on Wallach’s pants are oriented backwards. The red stripe should be facing forward, as it is on Hassey’s and Walker’s pants. But on Wallach’s pants, the blue stripe is facing forward!

The glitch is much more obvious in this next shot (which is from that same game), because it interrupts the flow of the uniforms racing stripes:

Here are two more shots of Wallach from that same season (although I don’t know the exact dates), both showing the incorrect pants striping:

This definitely wasn’t a season-long thing, because most 1991 photos of Wallach show him with the correct striping. It was apparently just a short-term glitch that was corrected with a subsequent pair of pants. Still, the error was immortalized on two of Wallach’s 1992 baseball cards:

One side note: This would have been much more difficult to research if it involved a glitch with Wallach’s (or any Expo’s) home uniform. Wire services and card companies rarely sent photographers to Montreal — instead, they’d just wait until the Expos passed through one of the more convenient National League cities. As a result, there’s a much better photographic record of the team’s road uniforms than there is of the home whites.

(Big, big thanks to eagle-eyed reader Josh Oubadia and his friend Skip Sherman, who spotted Wallach’s wayward striping and brought it to my attention.)

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Oh for fuck’s sake: ESPN.com’s Bills beat reporter, Marcel Louis-Jacques, took blue collar bullshit to a disgusting new low yesterday. At the 18:18 mark of this podcast episode, host Mina Kimes and Louis-Jacques had this exchange regarding Bills quarterback Josh Allen:

Mina Kimes: One of the areas where I don’t think Josh Allen needs to improve at all is athleticism. His rushing ability is incredibly impressive. However, it can also be scary — the fact that, you know, he puts his body on the line and takes hits. How aware is he of the risks sort of associated with him exposing himself to those types of hits, and do you think that’s something he’s going to modulate going forward?

Marcel Louis-Jacques: Yeah, Mina, it’s like the most Buffalo quarterback thing you’ll ever hear. [Kimes laughs.] He said that coaches call designed runs for him early in the game so that he can get hit, because he likes that contact and he wants to get used to it. And that’s about as blue-collar as you can be.

Yeah, wanting to get hit is “about as blue collar as you can be.” Because as everyone knows, the working class seeks out and even craves physical punishment. I mean, that’s common knowledge, right? That’s why the working class is so admirable — because they gladly sacrifice their bodies!

The reality, of course, is that lots of blue-collar work leaves people with badly broken bodies. But nobody wants that, and the real blue-collar workers who end up that way aren’t paid $5,295,760 per year for their labor like Allen is.

What an idiotic thing for Louis-Jacques to have said. I’ve been saying all along that blue collar bullshit reduces real working people to patronizing caricatures, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of it than this. The sports world really needs to find a new metaphor, and fast.

(My thanks to reader Andrew Cosentino for bringing this one to my attention.)

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ITEM! Wallpapers update: Reader Mike Slesinski has made five phone-sized Uni Watch wallpapers, which I’ve added to our wallpaper gallery. If you want to download any of them, click on the thumbnail; then, on the resulting Flickr image page, click on the download arrow and choose “Original” from the popup menu. Enjoy!

(My repeated thanks to Brinke Guthrie and Tom Maynor for creating the first batch of wallpapers, and to Mike Slesinski for the five new additions.)

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ITEM! International membership raffle: Reader AJ Santiago, who lives in Canada, recently donated a membership for me to raffle off, with an interesting stipulation: He wants this membership to go to one of our non-USA readers. So that’s what we’re going to do today.

This will be a one-day raffle. In keeping with AJ’s request, this raffle will only be open to readers outside the United States. To enter, send an email to the raffle address by midnight Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Monday.

Speaking of raffles, the two winners of yesterday’s membership raffle are Kevin Brown and Josh Bradford. Congrats to them, and big thanks to reader Frank Seitz for sponsoring that one.

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Pin Club update: The Uni Watch Pin Club’s design for June will launch on Monday. I think you’ll really like it — stay tuned.

Meanwhile, we still have some of the May pins left, along with the March, February, and January pins. (Sorry, April is sold out.)

Speaking of which: If you order multiple pins and find yourself getting hit with multiple shipping charges on the one order, go ahead and place the order and then email me — I can arrange for the extra shipping charges to be refunded.

Also: Remember that you can save a 15% on all of the pins, and on everything else in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

While we’re at it:

• Don’t these cream and grey Brats mockups look nice? Wouldn’t it be fun, just theoretically, if they existed for real? If you agree, let me know.

• In case you missed it last week, Uni Watch cufflinks, which usually sell for $26.99, are now just $16.99. Perfect for all those formal events on your busy shelter-in-place social calendar!

• I was about to run out of green seam rippers, but then I got another big shipment yesterday from the factory, so I’m well-stocked on all colors.

• Don’t forget about the awesome Uni Watch chain-stitched patches, hand-made for us by the great Amy Bengtson!

• Still sold out of all Uni Watch cap sizes except for 7 and 7-7/8. More coming soon (or at least soon-ish), I’m told. If you want to be notified when the other fitted sizes and/or adjustables are back in stock, shoot me a note.

• And finally, don’t forget about all the cool stickers and magnets available from our friends at StickerYou.

As always, thanks for listening, and for your consideration.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: This 1967 check from the Reds features Mr. Redlegs running from left to right. “First time I’ve ever seen that!” says Paul (from David Sonny). … Mike Schmidt was wearing a bedazzled Phillies jersey on the MLB Network last week (from Dan Cichalski). … Here’s a YouTube compilation of MLB uni mishaps (from Mike Chamernik). … The Pirates’ social media crew gave the team’s uniforms the Animal Crossing treatment (from Paul Simpson). … White Sox OF Harold Baines was missing his batting helmet logo in the 1989 All-Star Game (from @IwatchVHS). … The Kalamazoo Growlers of the Northwoods League will rebrand themselves as the Kalamazoo Mac Daddies on June 21, to “honor fathers and mac and cheese lovers.” That’s if the Northwoods League actually plays (from Will Scheibler). … Mets mascot Mr. Met apparently had gigantic “Mr. MET” NOB lettering on his jersey back in the 1970s. And yes, it’s also cool to see Willie, Mickey, the Duke, and Joe D. in that photo (from Dwayne White).

Football News: Everyone knows Ohio State has sans-serif NOB lettering. So why did a couple players on the 2002 squad have serifed NOBs? (From Mike Knapp.) … Here’s an unopened bottle of Dr. Pepper from 1981, celebrating Baylor’s Southwestern Conference championship that season. Check the whole thread, too, for lots of other unopened commemorative soda and beer bottles. … New Mexico State football unveiled a new secondary logo yesterday (from Matt Rashford). …The NFL and EA Sports have agreed to extend the Madden video game’s license through 2026.

Hockey News: Canucks F Jake Virtanen recently posted footage of himself driving while in full practice gear, including practice uniforms (from Wade Heidt). … The Vegas Golden Knights’ AHL team in Henderson, Nev., will be known as the Henderson Silver Knights (get it?) when they take the ice in the fall. Here’s a breakdown of the logo (from multiple readers).

NBA News: Here’s a really great story about how Michael Jordan switched from 45 to 23 during his first comeback season (from Mike Chamernik).

Soccer News: Arsenal’s new away shirt has leaked, and while that design is probably supposed to evoke marble or something, it’s really going to look like the players ax-murdered someone right before taking the pitch (from Josh Hinton). … Scottish second tier side Raith Rovers revealed their new primary kit yesterday. “I would guess that the numbers included in the video represent the new SPFL number font,” says our own Jamie Rathjen. … Canadian Premier League side Atlético Ottawa have unveiled some really nice home kits for the 2020 season (from Moe Khan).

Grab Bag: The logo and name for Major League Rugby’s new expansion team, the LA Giltinis, were released yesterday. This makes LA the second MLR team to be named after a cocktail, and both cocktails were invented by the same dude (from Sy Hart and Andrew M.). … The Smithsonian has a huge, free, online library, and among their vast collection, they have a full 1955 catalog from Champion Knitwear Company (from Max Weintraub). … Stephen F. Austin athletics is planning a reveal on June 1 (from Prentice C. James). … Bumble Bee Seafoods has removed the Bumble Bee mascot from its packaging (from Timmy Donahue). … The Boston Marathon, which had initially been postponed until later in the year, has now been cancelled.

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Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: Our landlords got so pissed off at the succession of cars partially blocking their driveway that they came out yesterday with a traffic cone (which I guess was floating around in the basement or something, although I don’t recall seeing it here) and used it to mark the driveway’s edge. That, plus a rare parking vacancy across the street, gave us an unprecedentedly unobstructed view yesterday.

Just as I was taking this photo, the red car that you see in the background pulled into the spot across the street. But as the driver got out, a passing pedestrian pointed out that he had parked right underneath the hanging branch (which is still there). The driver looked conflicted — you could almost feel the gears clicking in his head as he calculated the risk of the branch falling on his car versus the annoyance of having to look for another spot. I shouted, “Don’t worry, it’s been there for months!” but I don’t think he heard me (or maybe just didn’t realize what I was referring to). He ultimately got back into his car and drove off.

As always, you can see the full set of Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos here.

Bizarre Uni Glitch Makes Kachina Logo Even Weirder

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On Nov. 25, 2016, the Arizona Coyotes wore their Kachina throwbacks as part of their season-long 20th-anniversary celebration. It turns out that there was an interesting inconsistency in their uniforms that night. Can you spot it in photos shown above?

Here’s the deal: The coyote mascot crest for the two players on the left (centers Martin Hanzal and Max Domi) shows the coyote wearing two beige skate blades. But the two players on the right (defensemen Anthony DeAngelo and Connor Murphy) have one beige blade and one brown blade. Photos from the game show that this inconsistency ran throughout the team that night. And therein lies the start of a very interesting rabbit hole.

Some background: The Coyotes began play in the 1996-97 season. Their original uniforms, which were made by Starter, featured the two matching beige blades, as you can see in these two game photos:

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

The two beige blades also appear on these two game-used 1997-98 jerseys:

I have copies of the official NHL Style Guide for the 1999-2000, 2000-01, and 2001-02 seasons. All of them show the two beige skate blades (click to enlarge):

So the original version clearly had the two beige blades. And then Reebok (which still had the NHL uniform contract in 2016) apparently introduced the brown blade, presumably by accident, on some of the jerseys worn for that November 2016 throwback game.

And what has happened since then?

On June 22, 2018, the Coyotes announced that they’d be reviving the Kachina design as their third/alternate uniform for Saturday home games (“Kachina Saturdays”) during the 2018-19 season. As far as I can tell, all of the photos and graphics that accompanied the announcement showed the two beige blades. So the Reebok glitch appeared to have been fixed by Adidas.

But when the new Adidas throwbacks made their debut on Oct. 13, 2018, here’s what happened:

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

The brown blade was back! Based on my admittedly cursory photo research, it appears that the brown blade was worn by all players for all of the Coyotes’ throwback games in 2018-19.

So was the problem fixed for 2019-20? The Coyotes’ first throwback game of that season (i.e., the current season that’s been interrupted by the pandemic) was on Oct. 5. Here are some pics from that game (click to enlarge):

Still with the brown blade! Again, based on my admittedly incomplete research, it appears to have been worn by all players throughout the 2019-20 season. In fact, earlier this month the Coyotes’ official Twitter account tweeted that the team was “missin’ Kachina Saturdays” and used a photo clearly showing the brown blade:

But wait — it gets weirder! If you go to the Coyotes’ online shop, the authentic jerseys do not have the brown skate blade, even though the on-ice jerseys clearly do have it. So the game jerseys and retail jerseys don’t match (not that I care about retail jerseys, but the inconsistency is nonetheless interesting).

How did Reebok introduce this glitch into the Coyotes’ visual program? How did Adidas initially fix it and then reintroduce it? It’s all very bizarre.

By coincidence, this all came to my attention just as the Kachina logo and its designer, Greg Fisher, were the subject of two feature articles — one on NHL.com and another on AZcentral.com. Both articles were accompanied by photos that showed the brown blade, even though Fisher’s original design did not include the brown blade.

I emailed Fisher on Tuesday to ask him about all of this — no response yet, unfortunately. I’ll post an update if I hear back from him.

(This entry would not have been possible without eagle-eyed reader Jordan Lacoste, who recently brought the brown blade to my attention.)

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Solving a history mystery: The MLB Network recently used the graphic shown above to promote some of its pandemic filler programming. Do you notice anything surprising about it?

Eagle-eyed Padres radio broadcaster and longtime Uni Watch reader/pal Jesse Agler did. I’ll let him explain:

Gary Carter was my childhood hero, so my eyes went right to him [in the bottom-left corner of the graphic, representing the 1986 Mets]. My immediate thought was “I’m guessing that picture’s not from ’86 — the uniform is too baggy and he looks a bit older.”

Then I noticed the helmet. I never remembered him wearing one with an earflap.

I can see him standing on second base in his final game as an Expo before retiring — no flap. Thinking of images of him as a Giant and Dodger, I didn’t recall a flap.

I’m going to break into Jesse’s story here to say I completely agree with him. I watched a lot of Gary Carter (especially when he was with the Mets, but also before and after his stint in New York), and I definitely think of him as a flapless player.

But! Jesse did a bit of digging and discovered that Carter wore an earflap early in the 1988 season, as seen in this clip from an April 7 game — the third game of that season — in Montreal:

I have no memory of Carter going earflapped that season, but apparently he also did it at least once at home (I say “apparently” there because the photo is undated, which is unusual for AP pics) and apparently as late as June 12 (I say “apparently” in that case because Getty captions are notoriously unreliable, plus that’s a pregame photo, so it’s not clear he was going flapped in the actual game). That was the year Carter spent nearly three months stuck on 299 career homers, so Jesse theorizes that the flap may have been an early-season thing and then he may have scrapped it as a slumpbuster move.

In any case, bad move by the MLB Network (for using an ’88 photo to depict the ’86 Mets) but great spot by Jesse!

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Worth 1,000 words: So much to like in this photo of George Halas with Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus — and so many uni-centric details! For example:

• I particularly like Papa Bear’s zippered shirt with the script insignia — but it’s odd that it includes a pocket.

• It’s hard to be sure, but it appears that Halas may also be wearing cleats (which was not uncommon for NFL coaches at the time).

• Sayers has short sleeves while Butkus has long sleeves.

• Butkus’s pants have belt tunnels and maybe a zipper; Sayers’s pants have neither.

• Both players are using athletic tape to keep their socks up.

(Big thanks to Brian Wulff for sharing this one.)

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ITEM! Yet another membership raffle: Reader Frank Seitz recently donated two memberships for me to raffle off, so that’s what we’re going to do today.

This will be a one-day raffle. To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the two winners tomorrow.

Speaking of raffles, the two winners of yesterday’s membership raffle are Marc Bronitt and Aaron Telecky. Congrats to them, and big thanks to the anonymous reader who sponsored that one.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: In 1998, the school district in Auburndale, Wis., complied with a request from the Apache Nation to stop calling its teams the Apaches. Since then, the district has used an “A” logo but has had no official mascot or team name. That is now changing: They will henceforth be known as the Eagles (from Timmy Donahue). … The Newmarket Redmen, a youth hockey team in Ontario, will now be known as the Newmarket Renegades. The team had been urged to make the change by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which determined that the old name was insensitive to indigenous people.

Working Class Wannabes™: According to an article about former Detroit Lions player Chris Spielman, he was popular with fans because of his “blue collar work ethic.” … The father of new Wisconsin football commit Jack Pugh says his son chose Wisconsin because it “comes across as a blue-collar type of program.” … Speaking of Wisconsin, Miami Dolphins LB Vince Biegel, who played for the Badgers in college, says, “When people draft Wisconsin guys, they know they’re getting coachable guys who are going to bring their lunch pail” (from Kyle Speicher). … An article about pro golfer Hale Irwin says he was a “blue-collar athlete” when Colorado football coach Eddie Crowder recruited him. … An article about the Cleveland Browns says highly paid star players are nice, but what teams really need are “these blue-collar players [who] come through for them.” … Former NFL player Chad Cascadden, who’s getting ready to transition into the financial world, says his high school team was “a close-knit, tight, hard-working, blue collar, no-nonsense team.” Even better, his college team — Wisconsin again! — played “a blue collar, lunch pail, no-frills, let’s-get-after-it kind of football.”

Baseball News: Everyone knows the A’s are famous for wearing white shoes. But according to a quote attributed to former A’s P Vida Blue, they would take BP in black shoes and then change to white for the game. I hadn’t been aware of that. … Gross: The Cardinals invited fans to design their own uniforms — and gave them a template with a Nike maker’s mark (from many readers).

Football News: Bucs QB Tom Brady learned a lot about golf attire during last weekend’s celebrity match. … Meanwhile, Peyton Manning’s golf cart had lots of visual references to his football career (from Kary Klismet). … Former NFL WR Antonio Brown was seen practicing in a Raiders practice jersey and helmet and Steelers pants (from our own Anthony Emerson). … Tons of awesome stuff from a 1981 NFL merch catalog. That sound you just heard in the background was Brinke Guthrie drooling. … College football bowl game naming sponsors advertisers are absurd enough as it is, but they take things to a new face-palm level when they play musical chairs with the various games.

Hockey News: “This is quite rare, and I’ve never seen it before,” says Johnny Garfield. “It’s a photo of Mark Messier, shortly after he was acquired by the Canucks during the team’s 1997 training camp, by which time the team had changed its logo to the first-generation orca design. But he’s wearing the team’s ‘flying skate’ practice jersey, part of an identity system that he’d never wear in game action.”

Basketball News: Spurs fans want the team to bring back the fiesta-themed uniforms. … Dan Kennedy put together a fun Pistons redesign concept. … The 76ers held a fan contest to design a new shooting shirt. Here’s the winning design. … The Basketball Hall of Fame is pushing back its induction for the class of 2020 to 2021.

Soccer News: FC Cincinnati fans have chosen the logo that will be created by the color pattern in the seats of the team’s stadium (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade: LAFC is seeking a new stadium name advertiser after their existing advertiser pulled out. It’ll be interesting to see if there are similar developments elsewhere, since naming advertisers are presumably feeling the financial pinch from the pandemic (just like potential uniform advertisers). … From our own Jamie Rathjen: “English club Reading’s women’s team are to be the first team in the Women’s Super League to play all their home games at the same stadium as their men’s team, Madejski Stadium. The other WSL teams all use smaller stadiums in their local areas, although most have played at least once at their men’s team’s stadium.”

Grab Bag: The astronaut suits that were going to be used for yesterday’s now-postponed SpaceX launch had some massive side panels. Here’s more on how they were made, a design assessment (NYT), and info on how these space suits are the first in many decades not to include patches (from Don Silsby, James Gilbert, and Blaise Lucas). … The Canadian rugby union team will now be outfitted by Macron (from Ed Zelaski). … From our own Jamie Rathjen: “Australia’s Seven Network, which shows the Australian Football League, is saying that AFL teams are now permitted to put ads above their numbers because of the shortened season this year. For what it’s worth, there’s not much room there and some teams have the initials of their former identities in that space.” … I can’t say for sure how legit all of this is, but here’s a faaaaascinating thread that purports to explain — with some evidentiary/sourcing backup — why right-wing protesters often wear aloha (i.e., Hawaiian-style) shirts. The explanation appears to be backed up — at least broadly, if not in every specific detail — by this short piece in The Economist, which is a reputable source. Bizarre (from the Tugboat Captain). … With Pride Month about to begin in June, New Orleans police officers have the option of wearing a rainbow-striped badge (from Timmy Donahue). … We’ve often run Ticker items about the the latest projects showcased on the @PaperStadiums Twitter account. Here’s a whole article about the guy who makes the the amazing paper sculpture (from Chris Weber).

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What Paul did last night: Being a garbage man is a tough, underappreciated job under the best of circumstances. I can’t even conceive of what it’s been like during the pandemic.

So as we hit the porch yesterday evening and I heard the rumble of the garbage truck a few houses down, I wanted to be sure to include that in the daily photo, as a way of acknowledging the essential work that continues to take place during this difficult time.

As it turned out, I got a nice shot, with the garbage truck nicely juxtaposed against the roses across the stret.

The branch is still there.

As always, you can see the full set of Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos here.