Sneaker Blowout Becomes Corporate Theater

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Surreal moment in the opening minute of last night’s UNC/Duke game, as Duke forward Zion Williamson — widely assumed to be the first pick in the 2019 NBA draft — planted his left foot and then took a tumble as his sneaker came apart. He left the game with a mild knee sprain and did not return.

Lots of news reports said the sneaker “exploded,” but that seems like irresponsible hyperbole. As you can see in the photo above, the sole separated from the upper along one side. Here’s video of the play:

And here it is from a different angle:

The defective sneaker was made by Nike. So, perhaps predictably, lots of people turned the incident into an episode of corporate theater:

Okay, so that last one is pretty funny. Still, I was surprised (but perhaps shouldn’t have been) by the degree to which so many people seemed more concerned with what the incident meant for Nike than what it might mean for Williamson or Duke. Sigh.

Obviously, I’ve had my own issues with Nike over the years. But honestly, considering how big today’s basketball players are and the amount of torque they bring to bear on their footwear, I’m surprised this kind of thing doesn’t happen more often.

It does happen occasionally, however. Last night’s incident immediately reminded me of an NBA game from 2014 (five years ago almost to the day, in fact), when Spurs guard Manu Ginóbili blew out his left sneaker. But in his case, all that was hurt was his pride:

That sneaker was also a Nike. But I’m pretty sure that’s just coincidence.

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Reimagining MLB: It’s not uncommon to see bloggers or designers coming up with new concepts for a team or league. But it’s fairly unusual to see a league doing this for its own teams. Yet that’s what MLB.com has done with a new project to rename all 30 MLB teams and give them new cap logos.

It’s all for fun — or could it be something more? After all, minor league teams now routinely give themselves one-game makeovers, so could that approach be coming to MLB, where the higher-ups seem determined to make the game more appealing to a younger demographic? Also worth noting: The ground rules specify that the new team name “should be something related to the team’s area or its history,” which sounds a lot like the approach that the NBA and Nike have taken for the NBA’s “City” uniforms. Nike, of course, will be taking over the MLB uniform contract next season. Hmmmm.

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Photo by Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press; click to enlarge

Don’t tell Don Cherry: Yup, that’s just what it looks like — hockey players in skirts. They’re Hutterite women in Manitoba, and they traditionally play hockey on Louis Riel Day, which was on Monday. The photo shown above is actually from last year’s game (here’s the article it came from, which is excellent — recommended); here’s an article on this year’s installment of the game.

I wanted to know how the skirts looked in action, so I went looking for some video. Here’s a clip from 2014 — too bad about the vertical orientation but still plenty interesting:

(My thanks to Adam Franz for letting me know about this one.)

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Cap update: We had been sold out of several popular sizes of the Uni Watch Classic Cap, but I’m happy to report that all sizes have now been restocked. So if you were waiting for a particular size (or the adjustable version, which I believe was also temporarily out of stock), now you’re good to go.

Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who helped me liquidate our excess inventory on our alternate flex-fit cap. That item is now sold out and will not be offered again.

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Membership update: When someone asks us for a membership card based on a vest jersey, we usually don’t depict the undershirt. But Tim LaDuca specifically asked us to include the undershirt on his new card, which is based on the old Oakland A’s vests. MLB vests were much more narrowly tailored across the shoulders in those days (today’s “vests” are really just sleeveless jerseys, not true vests), so including the undershirt on the card made sense. Looks great!

Tim’s card is one of four new designs that have been added to the membership card gallery. As of this morning, we’re fully caught up on orders.

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, quite frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop and our Naming Wrongs shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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Wafflebored jersey reminder: We’re currently auctioning off the very excellent Uni Watch hockey jersey shown above, which was made by the one and only Wafflebored. Full details here.

While we’re at it, we also announced this week that Uni Watch is once again partnering with Grey Flannel Auctions to provide free appraisals of your sports-related collectibles.

If you have game-used jerseys, autographs, or other potentially valuable memorabilia, you can submit photos and descriptions to GFA and get a free appraisal, with no further obligation, within 72 hours. It’s like an online version of Antiques Roadshow. If you want to consign your item to GFA, that can be arranged, but you’re under no obligation to do so.

For full details on all of this, look here.

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The Ticker
By Yianni Varonis

Baseball News: The Reds became the second team to announce a Frank Robinson memorial patch. The Reds will also honor Robinson twice in July on days they wear throwbacks from the era he played with the team (from our own Alex Hider and multiple readers). … Former MLB and Negro League P Don Newcombe passed away this week. It’s worth a reminder that he likely served as a model for the Senators’ 1961 logo, though he never played for the team (from Kevin Zdancewicz). … Reader Andrew Lockett writes that the Nationals’ mascots recently visited his daughter’s elementary school and gave her and her classmates eye patches modeled after P Max Sherzer, who has a blue eye and a brown eye. … From Phil: The Tigers released a list of promotional items that the team will give away this season, including a bobblehead of former manager Sparky Anderson sitting on an “Iron Throne.” … Here’s a fascinating look at the history, culture, and politics that surrounded the building of Dodger Stadium during the 1950s (from Andrew Cosentino). … New White Sox OF Jon Jay now wears No. 45 in honor of Michael Jordan. … Manny Machado hasn’t yet signed his contract with the Padres, but the team’s store was nonetheless selling Machado jerseys yesterday, although they were then removed (from Phil and Brinke).

NFL News: From Phil: Nike is now selling a Colin Kaepernick jersey only days after he reached a settlement with the NFL on his collusion case. … The Jaguars will unveil an anniversary logo next month to celebrate the team’s 25th season in the league.

Hockey News: The Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League will wear sweaters featuring player nicknames that will be auctioned off for charity with proceeds going to the fight against cancer (from Wade Heidt). … The Gatineau Olympiques — that’s a major junior team — retired Claude Giroux’s No. 28 last night (from @FSBabyHuey). … New “Miracle on Ice”-themed uniforms for the Charlotte Checkers (from Matt French). … Here’s another 1970s shot of hockey players wearing bulbous helmets that look more like football helmets without facemasks, although that’s not what they are (from Ryan Dever).

NBA News: This piece, which has quotes from Paul, argues that the Mavericks are due for a logo and uniform change. … Newly signed G Jordan Sibert will wear No. 8 with the Hawks; G Jodie Meeks will wear No. 20 with the Raptors; and F Emanuel Terry will wear No. 12 with the Heat (from Etienne Catalan).

College Hoops News: Former president Barack Obama was at the UNC/Duke game and wore a jacket with “44” on the sleeve (from Gregory Zitelli). … Ohio State wore its Clark Kellogg-era throwbacks last night in a color-vs.-color game, with the Buckeyes in scarlet and Northwestern going GFGS (from multiple readers). … Ohio State also had Black History Month warmups (from Ben Teaford). … Memphis also wore throwbacks, becoming “Memphis State” last night (from Kendall Cruse). … Georgia Tech’s athletic department recently adopted a uniform shade of gold for its teams. The school’s basketball court, however, will need to undergo another update because the new shade of gold has a greenish tint from the stands and on television (from Michael Rich). … Augsburg G Booker Coplin, a likely DIII All-American, also cleans his team’s laundry (from Tom Whitfield).

Soccer News: MLS’s newest franchise, Nashville SC, officially unveiled the colors and crest it will wear beginning in 2020 (from multiple readers) … From Phil: The Colorado Rapids have a new, all-white kit, and one writer thinks that’s all the uniform should be thought of as. … The Los Angeles Galaxy unveiled a new away kit, which prompted one site to rank every change shirt the team has ever worn (from GISHammer). … The National Women’s Soccer League ended its TV agreement with Lifetime. However, every team in the league will continue to wear a Lifetime sleeve ad this season, as they have the last two years (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … It appears that English club Leeds United has tweaked its badge for its 100th birthday. … This is pretty unique: The new home and away kits of Argentinian club CA Colon were released, featuring the maker’s mark of a company that is a knockoff of another manufacturer. More information here (from Ed Zelaski). … Soccer kits tend to have one-season lifespans nowadays. Here’s a look at kits that have bucked the trend by lasting three years (from Denis Hurley).

Grab Bag: We mentioned last week that golf’s Players Championship has a new trophy. It turns out that the tournament is also tweaking the colors of its logo (from @MadeByTim). … Pro golfer Steve Stricker was recently announced as captain of the 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup team. To honor the Wisconsin native, Stricker was presented with jerseys from the state’s major professional and college sports teams (from Michael Brighton). … A Wisconsin high school is facing major scrutiny from the ACLU after cheerleading coaches gave “awards” to students for having “enormous boobs” and a “big booty” (NYT Link) (from Langhorne Mayor and Amare Smith). … Cedar Rapids, Iowa is designing a new municipal flag after the current design, which was created by a high school student in the 1960s, was deemed one of the worst in the country (from Aaron Telecky). … Speaking of which, Scottsdale, Ariz. will also unveil a new municipal flag, and here are the two finalists. … Burberry has apologized after receiving criticism for designing a hoodie with a noose around the neck. … A convention center in Detroit is being renamed after the policies of its former namesake, 1950s-era mayor Albert Cobo, has been criticized for being racist (from Ryan Keberly and Alex Dewitt). … In Chicago, the proliferation of craft beer has also inspired a wave of artistic beer-label designs. … Puma is selling a shoe that appears to be inspired by the popular California fast-food restaurant, In-N-Out Burger (from our own Brinke Guthrie). … McDonald’s has more than 36,000 locations around the world. Did you know that one — and only one — features turquoise instead of golden arches? … Kennesaw State University has unveiled a new logo.

Cincy One Five-O: Reds Buck Trend on MLB Patch

When the MLB 150 patch was recently unveiled, several people asked whether the Reds — who had already unveiled their own 150th-anniversary patch several months earlier — would wear both patches together, doubling up on the sesquicentennial-celebratory action. After all, the MLB 150 patch, with its thin, horizontal orientation, was clearly designed to allow room for another patch appearing on the same sleeve. Would the Reds go that route?

We got a hint at the answer to that question yesterday, when the Reds tweeted some photo-shoot pics like the one shown above, showing the team patch but not the MLB patch. I checked with a team spokesman, who confirmed that the Reds will only wear the team anniversary patch in 2019 — not the MLB patch.

I suppose the Reds’ approach makes sense, since the two patches are essentially commemorating the same thing (i.e., the anniversary of the first salaried baseball team), so having both patches would’ve been redundant. Still, it would’ve been fun to see the stacked 150s. Or maybe I’m just disappointed that I won’t be able to say things like “doubling up on the sesquicentennial-celebratory action” all season long.

There’s also precedent for the Reds’ move. Back in 1994, while the other teams all wore the MLB 125th-anniversary patch, the Reds wore a team patch — but that patch design, unlike the anniversary patch that the Reds will be wearing this year, was clearly modeled on the MLB patch that the other teams were wearing:

The problem with that patch, of course, is that it mostly looked like a black and gold splotch on the sleeve — and on the chest, for that matter:

Going back another 25 years before that, in 1969 the Reds wore the MLB centennial patch just like all the other teams, and did not have a separate patch for their own centennial:

Some additional notes:

• The way the Reds are handling this is similar to the situation that’s looming this fall in the NFL, where I’ve been told that the Bears will wear a team centennial patch rather than the NFL centennial patch that everyone else will wear.

• In case you were wondering, MLB teams celebrating non-150th anniversaries will have a team patch and the MLB patch:

• And in case you’ve forgotten, sleeve patches are the least of the Reds’ uni news this season, as they’ll be trotting out a whopping 15 different throwbacks.

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Membership update: Fifteen new designs have been added to the membership card gallery. My favorite of the new batch is Mark LaFountain’s (shown at right), which is based on, of course, the old NBA ref jerseys. An inspired choice!

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, quite frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop and our Naming Wrongs shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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Nameplate feedback reminder: In case you missed it on Tuesday: I’m working on an article that explores how 2019 will be MLB’s first nameplate-free season since 1972, and I could use some input from fans. I’m particularly interested in hearing from people who purchase retail jerseys fairly regularly and feel strongly about nameplates vs. direct-sewn lettering (you can be either pro-nameplate or anti-nameplate, as long as you have a strong opinion). If you’re a Rays or Indians fan, even better.

I’d also be interested in hearing from Rays and Indians fans who don’t necessarily purchase jerseys but have strong opinions about the change.

If you fit any of these descriptions, please drop me a line. Thanks.

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Wafflebored jersey reminder: In case you missed it on Tuesday, we’re currently auctioning off the very excellent Uni Watch hockey jersey shown above, which was made by the one and only Wafflebored. full details here.

While we’re at it, we also announced this week that Uni Watch is once again partnering with Grey Flannel Auctions to provide free appraisals of your sports-related collectibles.

If you have game-used jerseys, autographs, or other potentially valuable memorabilia, you can submit photos and descriptions to GFA and get an free appraisal, with no further obligation, within 72 hours. It’s like an online version of Antiques Roadshow. If you want to consign your item to GFA, that can be arranged, but you’re under no obligation to do so.

For full details on all of this, look here.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: The Orioles are adding a “20” memorial patch for Frank Robinson. Expect the Reds, Indians, and possibly the Nationals to announce their own Robinson patches in the days and weeks to come (from several readers). … Subtle change for the Royals, who are dropping the team wordmark and drop shadow on their primary logo. This will have no practical effect on their on-field look. … Astros P Forrest Whitley received an unusual NOB from his teammates (from multiple readers). … Interesting Braves logo on P Luis Gohara’s shirt (from William Vaughan). … More Houston news: Here’s some rare footage from the Houston Colt .45s first spring training in 1962. They had some great uniforms! (From @BSmile.) … The Astros won a vote for being best-dressed MLB team (from our own Phil Hecken). … Phil also found this MLB uniform tracker for all uni-related news for this season. … Over 2,000 fans ranked all 30 MLB cap logos from worst to best (from Mike Chamernik). … Brad Eenhuis watched Iowa square off against Pitt in Kissimmee, Fla., and noticed a ton of raised logos on Iowa’s helmets. … New BP jerseys for the Yankees (from @ChrisRiz). … More from @BSmile: Rare footage of the Mets’ first spring training in 1962. … Eastern Kentucky P Aaron Ochsenbein had a stirrup malfunction on the mound yesterday against Louisville (from Joseph Matlock).

Football News: The Tucson Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League will have grey turf (from multiple readers). … A trio of Sooners WRs received their uni number assignments yesterday.

Hockey News: The Maple Leafs will wear St. Pats throwbacks on March 15 and 16 (from Mike Lucia). … The Metropolitan Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League are auctioning off their Pride-themed sweaters and other equipment. … GK Colton Incze of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires has a set of Top Gun-inspired pads (from Goalie Gear Nerd). … We mentioned in a previous post that actor Patrick Warburton would reprise his role as “Puddy,” a crazed Devils fan, for a game. That game was last night, and fans in attendance received a Puddy bobblehead (from multiple readers).

Basketball News: Check out this classic Cincinnati Royals warmup jacket (from @IUArtifacts). … Penn State men’s wore their “original” colors again last night. The Nittany Lions are now 3-0 on the season when wearing the pink and black unis (from our own Phil Hecken). … Kentucky and Mizzou went color vs. color last night (from multiple readers). … Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what the Maryland equipment staff goes through (WaPo link) on a road trip (from Tom Turner).

Soccer News: New uniforms for the Colorado Rapids (from Jeff Steiner). … CAI Panama of the Panamanian Football League wore kits last night with Adidas’s 2018 World Cup number and letter font, despite the kits not being made by Adidas (from Erin Perez).

Grab Bag: At last Sunday’s Daytona 500, Jamie McMurray’s No. 40 pit stall sign was a repurposed No. 42, as indicated by the ventilation holes (from Christopher Hickey). … Here are some limited-edition Shamrock-themed shoes for this year’s Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, Va. (from Griffin Smith). … Here’s a list of 10 bad uniforms from the Big Four leagues (plus one European soccer club) (from our own Phil Hecken). … The UNC equipment team had a bit of fun with the Nike swoosh in this “employee of the month photo” (from James Gilbert). … A US Army veteran from Southern California found his long-lost uniform in an antiques shop after it went missing three years ago.

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What Paul did last night: In 1985, while I was in college, I got a great LP by a New Zealand indie-pop band called the Chills. I remember thinking that the whole notion of a Kiwi indie band seemed exotic. I didn’t know that the Chills were part of a burgeoning music scene in New Zealand, or that I would become such a big fan of that scene that I’d end up traveling to New Zealand to see music and make friends in 1993 and again in 1996.

More than three decades later, most of those bands no longer exist, but the Chills are still at it. There’ve been innumerable lineup changes, but the one constant has been frontman Martin Phillipps, whose near-angelic singing voice — pure sugar, never saccharine — remains undiminished by age. (He captured his own mythos in the 1990s songs “Heavenly Pop Hit” and “Soft Bomb,” both of which live up to their titles and are an apt summation of Phillipps’s musical gift.)

Phillipps brought the latest iteration of the Chills to Brooklyn last night to kick off an American tour. For some reason, they all wore black — an odd choice for a band whose sound evokes all sorts of shimmery colors, but whatever. They alternated between songs off their latest album, Snowbound (so-so) and older favorites (excellent). I bumped into lots of friends, had fun singing along, and was extra-happy when they played my favorite Chills song, “Doledrums”:

After the show, some friends invited me to join them for a nightcap. I said, “No, I have to go home and finish writing about the Reds’ sleeve patch.” Then I realized how absurd that was and decided to join them after all. Got home at 1am, finished writing today’s lede, then wrote this text that you’re reading right now, then went to bed with Chills songs running through my head.

How You Can Get a Uni Watch Hockey Jersey by Wafflebored

Over the last several years, we’ve showcased lots of projects by the gifted jersey DIYer who calls himself Wafflebored. In a few instances, Wafflebored has very generously donated some of his homemade jerseys for our year-end raffles. But despite many requests and offers from Uni Watch readers, he has declined to sell his jerseys or to take commissions. He appears to be that rare artist who’s truly interested in art for art’s sake — brilliantly creative but not particularly entrepreneurial (which I mean as a compliment). So those of you who’ve wanted to purchase a Wafflebored jersey have been out of luck.

Until now. In a few minutes I’m going to explain how you can acquire his latest creation. Check this out (for all of the photos that follow, you can click to enlarge):

Pretty sweet, right? Here’s the backstory: After I announced the recent unpleasantness, Wafflebored got in touch and asked if he might be able to support Uni Watch by making jerseys that could be sold to raise some cash for the site. That’s an incredibly generous gesture — so generous, frankly, that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it, because I think Wafflebored should reap some of the rewards from his work. So we’ve decided to split the proceeds evenly.

As for the jersey design: As you may recall, back in 2016 we did a T-shirt featuring a hockey player wearing a Rangers-esque Uni Watch jersey. The design concept was mine (I had actually thought of it back in 2015), and the illustration was by Bryan Molloy. I thought that would be a good design for Wafflebored to execute, so that’s what he did (but he opted to make the chest lettering green with gold block-shadowing instead of the other way around, and also omitted the captaincy designation because the magnifying glass would have been too tricky to render in tackle twill).

Here’s how the jersey looks from the back:

As you can see from that rear-view shot, the jersey includes a fight strap. Other key details include a lace-up collar, reinforced elbows, a “W” inner tag (think of it as a tastefully hidden maker’s mark), and more. Here are some close-up pics:

The jersey measures about 25″ pit to pit and 31″ long. The normally camera-shy Wafflebored even took the extra step of providing a photograph of himself wearing the jersey. “I’m about 5’9″, 170 pounds, and am wearing the jersey over a sweatshirt in this photo,” he says.

The jersey is a one-of-a-kind original. Wafflebored will not be making additional versions of it — this is it.

We’re going to sell it via a blind auction, and we’ll start the bidding at $150, although I think it’s fair to say that the jersey is worth a whole lot more than that. (The winning bidder will also have to cover shipping costs from Vancouver, which is where Wafflebored lives.) To participate in the auction, email your bid to me by next Wednesday, Feb. 27, 7pm. High bid wins, and Wafflebored and I will split the proceeds.

If you have any questions, want to see more photos, etc., feel free to be in touch.

I can’t fully express how grateful I am to Wafflebored for doing this — not just for the financial support, but for sharing his remarkable talents and considerable labor on Uni Watch’s behalf. It’s no small thing, and I’m very, very humbled by it.

Also, it’s worth noting that this jersey is really plain by Wafflebored standards. In addition to being someone else’s design (which in turn was based on a real NHL team’s design), there’s no weird collar or other unusual tailoring features, no made-up team name with a fun backstory. Wafflebored usually takes a lot of joy in those types of elements, but he sacrificed all of that in order to make something, well, normal. Although he probably won’t admit it, I suspect this project was fairly tedious and unrewarding compared to his more freewheeling designs. Thanks for being willing to do that, buddy.

Speaking of being humbled: This is just one of many kind gestures that the Uni Watch community has sent my way since I announced the recent unpleasantness two months ago. We’ve had a significant spike in Uni Watch membership card sales, a lot of donations, and a big outpouring of very kind, thoughtful emails. All of this has been super-special, people — thanksthanksthanksthanksthanks.

Lots of you have also asked about how things are shaping up for my post-ESPN career path, and what that will mean for this website. The short answer is that I don’t know yet, although I’m in discussions with several interested parties. I should be able to tell you more soon. Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.

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Nameplate feedback wanted: Last Thursday I reported that the Rays and Indians — the last two MLB teams to use nameplates for their NOBs — are switching to direct-sewn lettering, which will make 2019 MLB’s first nameplate-free season since 1972.

I’m working on an article that explores this issue in greater depth, and I could use some input from fans. I’m particularly interested in hearing from people who purchase retail jerseys fairly regularly and feel strongly about nameplates vs. direct-sewn lettering (you can be either pro-nameplate or anti-nameplate, as long as you have a strong opinion). If you’re a Rays or Indians fan, even better.

I’d also be interested in hearing from Rays and Indians fans who don’t necessarily purchase jerseys but have strong opinions about the change.

If you fit any of these descriptions, please drop me a line. Thanks.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Kinney Shoes offered up this 1970s “Slam Dunk” NBA T-shirt, probably a promo item when you bought a pair of shoes. (Kinney was big-time into the NBA back then, it seems. And how about that upside-down swoosh?) That “zooming stars” motif reminds me of a certain 1970s TV show open, with the rockin’-est theme song ever (“In your satin tights, fightin’ for your rights, and the old red white and bluuuuue”).

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• How about this great-looking 1970s Sears trading card locker? Looks like it is made of heavy-duty cardboard with vinyl covering, and plastic shelves inside. It’s covered with generic-looking pro sports players, though the No. 20 football player at lower right looks like Mel Renfro of the Cowboys, and the NBA player above him vaguely resembles Dave Cowens of the Celtics.

• There’s an interesting tidbit (at least to me) in this Terry Bradshaw 8-by-10 photo. Note those shoes he is wearing. There was a period of time when these were all the rage in the NFL. They were from Canada and known as broomball shoes. (Here they are again, on the previously mentioned Mel Renfro.)

• Keep your No. 2 pencils sharp with this 1970s Atlanta Flames hockey puck pencil sharpener.

• Couple of SF Giants items here: this Apex jacket from the 1990s, and this radio station bumper sticker from the 1970s. “For the Good Times.”

• For the diehard St. Louis (football) Cardinals fan, we have this set of four 1970s “see-thru” glasses.

• More NFL glassware: This pair of glasses features the helmets of the NFC’s Eastern Division.

• He shoots, he scores! Buffalo Sabres fans will love this 1970s hockey stick pen. The seller tosses in an ad for Sabres stuff — look at those prices! A knit ski cap just $4, and a men’s tee just $3.50.

• This 1970s Kansas City Chiefs rain jacket was just the thing to keep you dry at then-new Arrowhead Stadium.

• Here’s a set of the 1970 Chiquita banana helmet stickers. Seller says they are “near mint.”

• Waddingtons was a UK puzzle and game maker that went out of biz in 1994. Before they did, they came up with this 500-piece Miami Dolphins puzzle.

Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.

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Brannock-cycle update: In last Friday’s Ticker we had an item about a custom Indian motorcycle with foot rests made from a Brannock device (see above). Today we have a bunch of additional photos that show the details much more clearly.

The pics are all from the Instagram account @jshia, which is run by a motorcycle enthusiast. As I’ve mentioned before, a Brannock was used as a gas pedal in the movie Mad Max Fury Road, but this is the first time I’ve seen one used on a real vehicle. Here are some closer looks:

In addition, @jshia used another Brannock to create the motorcycle’s battery box:

And then there’s this drawing, which I don’t really understand, but it includes a Brannock:

(My thanks to reader James Hayes for first bringing this to my attention, and to reader Timmy Steffes for following up with the additional images.)

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“What’s it worth?” reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, Uni Watch is once again partnering with Grey Flannel Auctions to provide free appraisals of your sports-related collectibles.

If you have game-used jerseys, autographs, or other potentially valuable memorabilia, you can submit photos and descriptions to GFA and get an free appraisal, with no further obligation, within 72 hours. It’s like an online version of Antiques Roadshow. If you want to consign your item to GFA, that can be arranged, but you’re under no obligation to do so.

For full details on all of this, look here.

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Culinary Corner: A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’d recently had two restaurant renditions of cassoulet — the traditional French casserole that usually features white beans, duck confit (or sometimes goose, or sometimes mutton), garlic sausage, and pancetta or some other type of cured pork — and wanted to try making it myself. Over the weekend, the Tugboat Captain and I did just that.

There are lots of different cassoulet recipes out there, so we did a bit of reading. We were ultimately swayed by this article and an accompanying recipe by the great “Food Lab” chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who argued persuasively for the use of chicken instead of duck confit (it’s cheaper and holds up better during the stewing process) and suggested that we could still impart plenty of duck-y flavor by browning the chicken and several other ingredients in rendered duck fat (which can be purchased, but we happened to have some on hand, rendered from an earlier duck project). Here’s how we did it:

1. Before we could get started, we came up against a problem: The cured pork element in Kenji’s recipe was salt pork belly, which we couldn’t find at any of our local shops. At this point, we had two options: We could substitute a different kind of cured pork (bacon, jowl, pancetta, etc.), or we could make our own salt pork belly. We decided to do the latter.

On Saturday we bought a pound of pork belly, made a simple curing rub from sea salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger (we would have included juniper berries, but we didn’t have any), and coated the pork with the rub. It was sort of like making bacon, but without nitrates or smoking (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

We covered the dish and popped it in the fridge overnight. When we were ready to start cooking at noon on Sunday, a significant transformation had taken place. A lot of liquid had been leeched out of the pork, and the meat was now stiff and firm, as if rigor mortis had set in. A fun and successful chemistry experiment:

2. We rinsed off the curing rub, cut the pork into 3/4-inch cubes, browned the meat in two tablespoons of duck fat, and then removed the cooked meat and set it aside:

I tasted a nubbin — it was suitably salty. The curing had done its job!

3. We took four leg/thigh chicken quarters, separated the legs from the thighs, seasoned them with pepper, browned them in the same pot where we’d browned the pork, and set them aside:

4. Next up was a pound of garlic sausage. Again, we browned the meat and set it aside:

5. The next ingredient to go into the pot was a cup of finely chopped onions:

6. After the onions were browned, we added a pound of white beans (they had been soaking in salted water overnight), along with some aromatics (carrots, celery, parsley, cloves, garlic, bay leaves) and a quart of low-sodium chicken stock:

7. We let the pot simmer for about 45 minutes, at which point the beans were mostly tender. Then we removed all of the aromatics (in the previous photo, you can see that the Tugboat Captain very cleverly impaled the six cloves on a celery stalk so we wouldn’t have to find them and fish them out separately, which would’ve been a major pain in the ass) and added all of the browned meat, with the chicken going on top:

8. We put the pot, uncovered, into a 300º oven, checking on it periodically to make sure the liquid level didn’t go down too far. After a few hours, our friends Matt, Angela, and Nate came over, and we had fun drinking, snacking, and yakking with them while the house smelled increasingly cassoulet-y.

After the cassoulet had been in the oven for a little more than five hours, it looked ready:

We brought the cassoulet to the table and served it with a simple arugula salad:

———

It was good — very good. The perfect comfort food for a chilly winter day. My only minor gripes were (a) we didn’t end up with much of a crust on top (we had added some gelatin to the chicken stock specifically for this reason, but it didn’t seem to work the way it was supposed to) and (b) the sausage wasn’t as firm and dense as the sausage I’ve had in other cassoulets, so we might have to try a different sausage next time (and there will definitely be a next time).

All in all: a really fun project. Time-consuming, yes, but not difficult to execute. Plenty of leftovers, too. Highly recommended!

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• • • • •

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Paul mentioned last week that the Yankees will be wearing their home pinstripes for their two games in London against the Red Sox, even though the Yanks are the designated away team. Now, reports indicate that it will be a white-on-white series, with both teams wearing their home uniforms (from Brinke). … New White Sox OF Jon Jay is wearing No. 45 as a tribute to Michael Jordan’s baseball days (from Matt Lindner). … Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, who famously has MLB’s largest hat size, announced that he will retire at the end of this season. … The Marlins’ new logo is on display at the team’s spring training facility (from Jake Elman). … Indians SS Francisco Lindor wore Stance stirrups with a Block-C logo during a recent photo shoot. Is that the first time we’ve seen Stance-branded stirrups? (From Jason.) … Good to see Nats P Sean Doolittle raising awareness for the New Era factory workers in western New York who will soon be out of a job, as the company looks to open a union-free operation in Florida (from Sara and Ben). … New caps for the Single-A Asheville Tourists (from Tyler Davis). …  The Triple-A Buffalo Bisons will wear Boba Fett Star Wars jerseys on June 8 (from Joseph Pitirri and Mike Lucia). … At first glance, it would appear that Maryland is wearing traditional button-front jerseys with a headspoon. But note the top seam — it looks like these are pullover jerseys with only two functional buttons. The remaining buttons are just decorative (from Billy King). … Looks like the C-Flap is spreading to college. Some Auburn players are now wearing the attachment, and Auburn uni-guru Clint Richardson says he doesn’t remember any Tigers wearing it in the past. … New uniforms for NCAA D-II University of Illinois Springfield (from Erik Flower).

Football NewsCNN captured a Guatemalan refugee wearing a 2007-08 Patriots “Perfect Season” hoodie in a video package recently (from @OnlyInBOS). … Charles Noerenberg was watching old Bears highlights from 1991 and spotted Mike Ditka wearing a jacket with a Super Bowl XX champs patch. At that point, the Bears were five years removed from that championship. … Singer Melissa Etheridge uses a Chiefs guitar strap. A quick Google search shows she was born in the Kansas City area (from Michael Hayden). … New band uniforms for Western Kentucky (from Griffin Smith). … It looks like Georgia State will have some new helmet combinations this season (from Doug Hazard). … The Atlanta Legends of the AAF have two players named Jones: brothers WR Seantavious Jones, who goes FIOB and WR Malachi Jones, who wears a traditional NOB (from Ferdinand Cesarano). … Speaking of the AAF, the league’s emphasis on color-on-color matchups can be rough on the viewer (WaPo link) (from Phil). … Whoa, check out the zigzag pants striping worn by the Coosa High School (Georgia) Eagles in the 1970s. Good stuff! (From Austin Gillis.)

Hockey News: Here are the pads that Flyers G Carter Hart will wear in the Stadium Series game against the Penguins on Saturday (from The Goal Net). … Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas appears to have cribbed its logo from the Canadiens. … Check out this great 1928 shot of Ottawa G Alec Connell. “Between the barber-pole sweater, the cap, and the pads and gloves, this is a tremendous photo,” says Jerry Wolper. True enough! … The Blackhawks wore their Winter Classic throwbacks against the Senators last night. … A sign at the Kings’ arena misspelled the Capitals’ team name (from William Yurasko).

Basketball News: On Sunday, the NBA announced that the 2020 All-Star Game will take place in Chicago, and unveiled the game’s logo. … Clippers PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wore a double-decker NOB during the Rising Stars game this weekend. I guess there’s no other option for a name like that for a below the number NOB (from Etienne Catalan). … The Erie BayHawks, the Hawks’ D League affiliate, will wear Erie Wave throwbacks on Friday. The Wave were part of the World Basketball League and played from 1990 to 1992. … Virginia Tech wore maroon at home against Virginia last night (from Andrew Cosentino). … Both the Alabama and Auburn women wore pink uniforms on Sunday (from Clint Richardson). … Man, Michael Jordan once wore a jersey with the number and NOB riding really low.

Soccer NewsChelsea defender David Luiz suffered a torn jersey in a match yesterday against Manchester United (from Josh Hinton). … The Celtic FC women’s team wore their bright green third kits with NNOB on Sunday (from Graham Clayton),

Grab BagAlex Chu is a freshman on the Wheaton College lacrosse team, but he hasn’t been able to play at all this season  — even in practice. That’s because his head is too large to fit into a helmet, and approved helmet manufacturers don’t make helmets his size (from Phil and @Titan4Ever2488). … Wichita State has a new logo that celebrates 50 years of women’s athletics (from Michael MPH). … Reader Aaron Davenport was at the US Curling Nationals in Kalamazoo, Mich., last weekend. He noted that Olympic champion Matt Hamilton was wearing curling-modified Jordan VI shoes and that one team was sponsored by Cold Stone Creamery. “I hate ads on unis, but has there ever been a more perfect (bordering on parody) sponsorship for curling than Cold Stone Creamery?” he said. … A restaurant called the Swan and Mallard has a pretty brilliant logo (from Brendan Armstrong). … A rash of foot injuries has the Army searching for a new kind of boot. … NASCAR pit crew members are now required to wear ID patches on their uniforms. This tweet offers a good explanation as to what they mean (from JayJayDean). … Cricket fans can help choose a retro uni that will be worn by the Australian men’s one-day international team next summer (from Joel Berry). … Cross-listed from the hockey section: Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas appears to have cribbed its logo from the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. … PGA golfers are now allowed to wear shorts during practice rounds and pro-ams. They had previously been allowed to wear shorts for practice rounds at the PGA championship.

Free Appraisals: The Return of ‘What’s It Worth?’

About a year ago we ran a very successful promotion with Grey Flannel Auctions, in which Uni Watch readers were invited to submit items of memorabilia for appraisal at no charge and with no obligation, sort of like an online version of Antiques Roadshow. Lots of you took us up on that offer, and some of you then took the extra step of consigning your items with GFA and selling them for a pretty penny. Items from Uni Watch readers included this Aaron Rodgers jersey (which sold for over $25,000!), this Tom Glavine jersey ($3,723), this Rick Honeycutt jersey ($1,504), and this Jose Cruz jersey ($722).

So now we’re going to do it again. Here’s some quick background: Over the years I’ve developed a good relationship with GFA’s director of operations, Michael Russek (that’s him at right), who periodically advertises here on Uni Watch. In an industry that can sometimes be a bit sketchy, Michael has always impressed me as a stand-up guy. When my friends Sonya and Tony acquired a 1905 Princeton football jersey in 2017 and asked me if I had any suggestions on how they could sell it, I sent them to Michael because I knew he’d treat them right, plus I knew GFA would reach the right audience to bring the best price for the jersey. (It ended up selling for over $50,000.)

GFA is a family-run business that was founded in 1989 by Michael’s father, Richard Russek. Dozens of big-name athletes have trusted GFA to sell their personal memorabilia, including Rick Barry, Bob Pettit, Joe Morgan, George Gervin, Orel Hershiser, and Evander Holyfield.

But you don’t have to be a big-name athlete to consign your collectibles to GFA. Do you have some sports or pop culture memorabilia that you think might be valuable? Have you ever wondered how much it might actually be worth? Now’s your chance to find out. Here are the details:

1. Items that can be reviewed include game-used and game-worn jerseys, bats, and equipment; vintage sports and historical autographs; championship jewelry, trophies, and awards; pre-1960 trading cards (all sports); and entertainment, rock ’n’ roll, political, Americana, and historical memorabilia.

2. For each item, please provide several photos (front, back, tagging, maker’s mark) and a detailed description regarding the item’s condition and provenance.

3. Also include your name, phone number, and email address.

4. GFA only handles items with a perceived value of at least $250. If your item doesn’t meet that threshold, you may get a response indicating that the item doesn’t fit the parameters for a GFA appraisal.

5. If you submitted something for appraisal last time around, please don’t re-submit the same item unless something has changed (i.e., if you’ve learned more about its history or provenance, or if you weren’t willing to consign it last time but are now willing to do so, etc.).

6. Full disclosure: If you end up consigning an item to GFA and the item sells, Uni Watch will get a cut of GFA’s fee. (And in case you’re wondering, I did not receive anything for the Princeton jersey. That referral was just a favor I did for my friends.)

Okay, ready to see what your treasures are worth? Email your photos and descriptions to GFA. You’ll get a response in 24 to 72 hours.

Have fun with it, people. We’re excited to see the treasures you share with us.

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

NBA All-Star Game: The NBA All-Star Game was last night. Can’t say I’m too fond of this year’s black-and-white uniforms, but whaddya gonna do. You can see lots of additional photos here.

This was the second year that the two squads were chosen by team captains — LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo in this case — without regard for the traditional East and West conference designations. This resulted in the odd spectacle of regular season teammates opposing each other in reverse-field uniforms, which made the game seem like an intra-squad scrimmage:

NOBs were below the number, which prompted this observation from reader Brendon Browne:

Having the player’s name under the number really doesn’t serve the purpose of helping to identify the player. I’m not a huge NBA fan, so I don’t know a lot of the non-super-duper-stars. I would often find myself watching the game on mute, or only half paying attention, but then I’d notice a great play and they’d cut to a head/shoulders shot of the guy jogging back to (not) play defense, and I couldn’t tell who the player was. This was particularly annoying since they went away from the East/West format, because now it could be anyone.

Good point!

Finally, here’s a nice story from Giannis Antetokounmpo about his brother Thanasis:

(My thanks to Mike Chamernik for that Giannis Antetokounmpo tweet.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: The Giants will wear two sleeve patches in 2019 — one for 1B Willie McCovey and former owner Peter Magowan — but the designs haven’t been finalized yet (from Brinke and Josh Sandin). … New mono-sky blue combo for Old Dominion (from @MonarchsUnis). … Air Force added what Benji King says is a shark-teeth motif to their helmets. … Reader Gary Bates tells us that the Indians’ online roster still shows players, even new ones, wearing the now-obsolete Chief Wahoo cap.

Football News: Two players named Johnson on the AAF’s Orlando Apollos don’t wear FIOB; note also the numbers on the back of the helmet (from Taylor Jenkins). … Still in the AAF, we’ve already reached the logical conclusion of their one-uniform policy: good luck telling Atlanta (purple) and San Diego (dark blue) apart. I think the socks might be easiest (from many readers). … Also posted in Grab Bag: NASCAR team Joe Gibbs Racing paid tribute to J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son who passed away recently, on lap 11 of yesterday’s Daytona 500; J.D. wore No. 11 for William and Mary’s football team. … How great would it be if the Browns went back to these sideline capes?

Hockey News: Yesterday was NBC’s Hockey Day in America promotion, which saw announcers Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk wearing Charlestown Chiefs jackets from the movie Slap Shot (from James Beattie). … The Ducks retired Scott Niedermayer’s No. 27 last night, so there was the usual ritual of everyone wearing Niedermayer jerseys for the pregame skate and a commemorative patch on the game jerseys (from Mike Chamernik). … The ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies wore jerseys with the names of local cancer survivors (from Mike Lucia). … The OHL’s Flint Firebirds wore uniforms based on the Flint Tropics, the fictional ABA team from the movie Semi-Pro (from Wade Heidt).

Basketball News: Also posted in hockey: the OHL’s Flint Firebirds wore uniforms based on the Flint Tropics, the fictional ABA team from the movie Semi-Pro (from Wade Heidt). … Oregon/Oregon State was color-vs.-color (from Bryan Beban). … Michigan State wore their black/lime green alternates at home against Ohio State, who wore red (from Ian Lee). … East Carolina wore autism-awareness uniforms yesterday. … Women’s teams wearing pink or pink accents this weekend included Clemson and Boston College, Georgia Tech, Florida State, both Penn State and Minnesota, and Kentucky, the last from Josh Hinton. … Virginia will wear white on the road for the third time this season tonight.

Soccer News: Chilean team O’Higgins have McDonald’s as an advertiser and their number font on their third shirt is made of French fries, which makes the numbers barely visible. It’s unclear if this extends to their other shirts, because that was the first game of the season and the backs of the shirts appear to have been conveniently left out of the unveiling (from multiple readers). … Incidentally, O’Higgins’ opponents yesterday, Huachipato, have a crest that derives from the Steelmark, as the Steelers’ logo does, because of the steel industry in their area. … New second shirt for the LA Galaxy (from Jakob Fox). … Spanish team Valencia’s sleeve advertiser is reportedly to become their primary advertiser (from Ed Żelaski). … Scottish team Aberdeen wore decals with the logo of the club charity. … Staying in Scotland, not only did second-tier Ross County change to red at home Friday, but the officials wore yellow when opponents East Fife’s colors are gold and black. … Italian third-tier team Pro Piacenza are in a prolonged financial crisis and played yesterday with only seven players, including the team’s kit man, who wore a No. 11 shirt with the NOB taped over (from Matt Dowell). … The Iranian broadcast of Friday’s Bundesliga game between Augsburg and Bayern Munich was canceled, reportedly because state television — not for the first time — did not want to show female referee Bibiana Steinhaus wearing shorts.

Grab Bag: A Long Island NLL expansion team to start play next season revealed their name, the New York Riptide, and logo (from Wade Heidt). … For reasons unclear, the U.S. women’s field hockey team have been going gloriously ad-free in the new FIH Pro League. … NASCAR team Joe Gibbs Racing paid tribute to J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son who passed away recently, on lap 11 of yesterday’s Daytona 500; J.D. wore No. 11 for William and Mary’s football team. … More Daytona items from David Firestone: Driver Ryan Blaney had a five-dollar bill land on his grill, while NASCAR’s second-tier series added driver names to the top of the front windshield. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: in the Ticker we had an item about New Zealand rugby union player Sonny Bill Williams not wearing a certain ad when he plays for Super Rugby’s Blues. In 2013, Australian cricketer Fawad Ahmed didn’t wear the team ad when he played for Victoria (from Graham Clayton).