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Sabres Unveil New Unis: Return to Royal & Gold For 50th Season

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken

The Buffalo Sabres unveiled two new uniforms and a new logo yesterday, and you’d be forgiven if you got a sense of déjà vu all over again. For all intents and purposes, these “new” uniforms are a return to the look the team wore from its inception in 1970 through the 1995-96 season — but with a few minor differences.

The fans have been clamoring for a return to the royal and gold color scheme basically since the team abandoned it (and suffered through a series of bad-to-awful uniform sets in the years since). Before we look at the new get-ups, let’s first see what the inspiration for the new uniforms was (for all images you can click to enlarge):

That is essentially the uniform the team wore from 1970 thru 1996. The new uniforms attempt to replicate that overall look, but as mentioned, there are a few slight differences between the two.

Let’s look at the home (dark) uniform first.

As you can see, the team has returned to the royal shade of blue that made up the first quarter-century of their existence. The jersey features a slightly larger crest than the original (more on that in a second) which is slightly different than its predecessor, and the sleeves and hem feature three gold stripes, separated by a thin white stripe of the bottom of the top stripe, and on the top of the bottom stripe. That pattern is repeated on the sleeves. The white stripes are new — those were not a part of the original jersey, which had three solid gold stripes.

The new jersey features gold numbers outlined in white:

That feature mimics the original. The pants have a gold stripe down the sides. The socks that will be worn with the home jersey also mimic the striping pattern found on the jersey:

In what is seemingly becoming a rarity these days with jersey reveals, the team also showed a look at the back. The numbers will be gold with a white outline (same as on the shoulders), and the NOB will be solid gold in a basic block font:

The new away (white) jersey also bears many similarities to the original.

That jersey had an interesting quirk: the striping pattern on the sleeves was blue/white/gold/white blue, but on the hem it was the opposite: gold/white/blue/white/gold. In an attempt to recreate that look, the new white jersey also features the mismatched striping patterns. The shoulder yoke, like the original, is royal with a gold stripe wrapping around it.

The socks which will be worn with the white jersey have the same striping pattern as on the sleeves:

Interestingly, in the original uniforms, the team wore multiple sets of stripes on their socks (both home and road) — with the new set, the socks have just one set of stripes (mimicking the sleeves on the white, and the sleeves and hem on the royal).

Numbers on the sleeves and back of the jersey are blue outlined in gold. NOB is solid blue, in the same basic block font as the home jersey (and on a nameplate):

I mentioned above the crest, aside from being larger than the original, is slightly different. How different? The differences are almost negligible, and only uni watchers will probably notice (or care), but our pal Chris Creamer over at SportsLogos has detailed the discrepancies.

It’s a good looking crest (and always has been):

The team also provided surprising details on the new jersey/uni design, starting with this nice graphic:

They also provided several graphics to give more detail into the design process.

Design Goals

Our goal throughout this process has been to create a timeless uniform system that respects team heritage and looks boldly towards the future as well. Returning to our beloved royal blue was just the start – we wanted to create something truly unique. To do that, we needed to identify key elements that harken back to what’s made this franchise so special through the years.

Old Meets New

Neck Detail – The inner neck collar is our way of paying homage to our hometown, touching upon the City of Buffalo’s official crest. This team enjoys an unparalleled bond with the community at large, so it felt appropriate to honor that within the jersey itself.

Striping – We wanted to pay tribute to the striping patterns of the past but also introduce some nuanced detail. We layered some simple white piping on top of the gold stripes to accomplish this. In conjunction with Adidas, we also developed the white uniform shoulder striping.

The Final Design

Crest & Main Logo – The crest has been slightly simplified from the original, with silver accents removed to create a sleek modern appeal. Also, details first seen in the 50th season jersey crest have been carried over to this uniform system, most notably the stitching pattern in the buffalo.

All in all a very nice job! Even though the fans have been clamoring for a return to the full-time royal and gold unis since forever, the team has teased this look a few times over the years.

The team basically returned to this look for the 2008 Winter Classic:

In 2006-07, the team wore a royal alternate:

In 2010, for the 40th Anniversary, the team broke out a royal blue alternate (which they wore several more times into the 2012 season):

And for the 2018 Winter Classic, the team again sported a royal-based uniform with many elements from the original, but with some striping differences:

As I like to say, there are some teams that “got it right the first time” in terms of their uniforms, and the Sabres were definitely one of those clubs. They will look great (again) in time for the 2020-21 season (if there is one — it’s expected to begin in December of this year, assuming the coronavirus is under control by then). But no matter when they break it out, it will be spectacular! My one complaint is the addition of the new white piping on the royal jersey/socks. I know designers think it makes them “pop” more, but I think the original, with just the gold stripes, was better. And as much as we all like striped socks, keeping the new sets to a single set of stripes is a marked improvement. The rest (including the very very minor changes to the crest) is basically a throwback to the original set, which was awesome.

Wanna see a bit more? Here’s the hype video:

Readers? What say you?

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Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Cey Hey Kid.

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.

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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:

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Title: “The Beast Bangs Gomez, Yanks”
Subject: Jimmie Foxx, 1933
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 50″ x 38″

In the late 1920s and 1930s, the general consensus around baseball was that Jimmie Foxx of the Philadelphia A’s was the right-handed Babe Ruth. With his bulging biceps and broad body, Foxx drove fear into the hearts of opposing American League pitchers with his savage swing. It was he who posed the biggest threat to the Babe’s single season homerun mark by slugging an incredible 58 during the 1932 season, a total that was not eclipsed until Roger Maris’ magical 1961 season

‘The Beast’ was no slouch the year after, winning his second consecutive MVP award, as well as the coveted Triple Crown, leading the league with a .356 batting average, 163 RBIs, and 48 homeruns.

The Hall of Famer’s dominance in 1933 was evident during this sparsely attended June 8 game against the New York Yankees. Here he is shown crossing home plate in the fifth inning of the contest, greeted by teammate, catcher Mickey Cochrane. The slugger pounced on Yankee pitching all day, as we see him triumphant after his third round tripper off of hurler Lefty Gomez. The Yankee left-hander never faired well against the slugger, and when approached by catcher Bill Dickey to decide how Foxx was to be pitched to, Gomez replied, “I’d rather not throw the ball at all”. Jimmie’s slug-fest resulted in a 14-10 win for Connie Mack’s A’s during this swelteringly hot and hazy summer afternoon.

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

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And now a few words from Paul

Hi. In case you missed the earlier announcements, I’ll be participating today in a Zoom panel discussion about the use of Native American imagery in sports. The event, organized by Baruch College, will run today from 12:30-2pm Eastern and is a follow-up to a similar discussion I took part in back in 2016 (you can see video of that one here).

Registration for the discussion is free and can be done here. (If the page asks you which part of the “Baruch community” you belong to, just say you’re an alum, even if you’re not — it’s fine.)


• In case you missed it on Monday, Bill Henderson has just released the latest edition of his guide to post-flannel MLB jerseys — and for the next day or two you can get this new edition at a significant discount. I cannot stress enough how wonderful Bill’s guide is — I refer to it literally almost every single day, and I’m sure most of you will find it just as essential as I do (even though you don’t write about uniforms for a living). Full details here.

• I’m fully caught up on Uni Watch trading card orders — all orders have shipped. If you don’t yet have a card, you can get one here.

• Some inventory updates: We’re down to about 55 of the August pin, about 35 of the July bobble-pin, and about 35 of the key ring.

• In case you missed it last week, Brooklyn Branches T-shirts are now available in home white, road grey, and green and brown alternates.

• If you haven’t already check out the Uni Rock Shop, there’s no time like the present.

Okay — now on to the ticker.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: MLB Network was caught using the Marlins’ old logo, which the club hasn’t used since 2018 (from multiple readers). … Blue Jays 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr wore a bucket cap during warmups last night against the Marlins (from @EJL1984). … The Tennessee Smokies, the Chicago Cubs’ affiliate in the Double-A Souther League, have unveiled rendering of their proposed new stadium (from Kary Klismet). … Reader Kevin Cearfoss made a 3-D wall art rendition of the Astros logo.

Football News: The Patriots released photos of players in the team’s new uniforms, and there are a few number font inconsistencies (from many readers). … Reader Nicklaus Wallmeyer found a Steelers figurine with a Packers nose bumper. … Before the Bengals, a group of people formed Cincinnati Romans, Inc. in hopes of landing an NFL franchise in the city. Here’s what they could have looked like (from Timothy Jenkins). … Virginia Tech announced their new numbers (from Andrew Cosentino). … New turf for Big Cat Stadium in Morris, Minn., which serves as the home field for the University of Minnesota-Morris Cougars and the Morris Area High School Tigers (from Kary Klismet).

Hockey News: Here are the logos for the Motor City Rockers, the newest team in the FPHL (from Christian Gardecki).

Soccer News: German club 1. FC Köln publicly called out a fan who canceled their club membership because the skyline on the club’s new second shirt includes the city’s mosque (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … New away shirt for the New York Cosmos (from Ed Zelaski). … Also from Ed: New home shirt and kit manufacturer for Pogoń Szczecin. … One more from Ed: New shirt for Zagłębie Lubin.

Grab Bag: New home shirt for Newhampton Saints (from Sy Hart). … Here’s a helmet made of trophy plates you might see at this year’s Indianapolis 500 (from Omar Jalife). … New uniforms for the Lenawee County (Mich.) Sheriff’s Office (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: Team Canada unveiled its uniforms for the rescheduled 2021 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo. … Disney has renamed its three TV studio divisions — 20th Century Fox TV, Fox 21 TV Studios, and ABC Studios — to 20th TV, Touchstone TV, and ABC Signature. All three have been given new logos. When Disney bought Fox, the deal required the Fox name to be removed from all branding (from @PhillyPartTwo). … New logo for the Biden campaign, which includes his recently-announced running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California (from Anthony Emerson).

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And finally… that’s all for today. Love to hear what you think about the Sabres new unis!

Catch everyone tomorrow.



Bowen Hobbs Redesigns MLB, AL Edition

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Bowen Hobbs

Hey kids, back again today, and I’ve got a real treat in store. Weekend readers will remember the absolutely outstanding design work done on the NBA by today’s featured artist, Bowen Hobbs. If you missed either of those articles, click here for Part I, and click here for Part II. Bowen also did some amazing posters in an earlier post with me. All those were met with great enthusiasm in the comments section, and I promised I’d have Bowen back when I started my August weekday run.

Today, we’ll be treated to Bowen’s redesigns for the American League. If you’re not familiar with his work, you’ll note he creates his own bespoke fonts and logos for each team, and the uniforms are all unique as well. It’s quite an undertaking, and a brilliant one at that. Click on any image to enlarge. Upper left would be the main uniform(s), upper right are the alternates. Middle left is the cap logo. Middle right is the team logo, and the bottom image is the logo slick. All original, all amazing!

There’s a lot to get to today, so let’s get right to it.

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MLB Redesigns — American League Edition
By Bowen Hobbs

Hi everybody! It’s Bowen Hobbs back with a collection of redesign concepts I developed for MLB. Each team has a handful of logos, a custom font, and six uniforms (home, away, throwback, home alternate, away alternate, and BP/training). One of my goals in this series was to find a way to deal with the overabundance of navy and red teams, which account for roughly one quarter of MLB with seven squads (BOS, CLE, MIN, LAA, ATL, WAS, and STL) wearing that one color palette.

AL West

Houston Astros

As with my previous Rockets concept, my Astros concept ties the team to NASA. The new “mission patch” primary mark and cap logo feature an A-star mark with a retro segmented gradient. To make the team more unique within the pros, orange is now the primary color, although navy is used more on the aways. The uniforms bring back a modified tequila sunrise similar to the Nuggets’ City Edition uniforms.

Los Angeles Angels

I wanted the Angels to sport a less demonic color scheme, so I restored navy as the primary color, with an option for a red secondary cap, both of which sport an athletic gold halo on top. The primary logo features a new haloed script-A. Although the Angels never wore powder blue away uniforms, it just felt right for the angelic brand, so I went with it.

Oakland Athletics

The A’s have one of the best color palettes in baseball and have long been the only team in MLB to not wear black, navy, royal, or red as their primary color, although the Padres have since joined them on that very short list. My A’s concept features a geometric elephant standing atop a baseball on a diamond as the primary logo. The home caps are forest with gold brims and feature a Tuscan-style O against an oak leaf, while the elephant appears on the all-forest road caps. The home and away uniforms contain vests and forest green undershirts, with gold and forest softball tops as the alternate jerseys.

Seattle Mariners

I love when a city has a unified color scheme, such as Pittsburgh’s black and gold. With that in mind, I developed a Mariners identity in navy, sea blue, and lime. A version of the pitchfork-M returns for the primary logo, while the caps opt for an old-timey S that looks at home in a fish market or at sea. The road greys adjust their base color to an especially cool grey.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers are currently a walking identity crisis. They don’t know whether they’re a royal team, a red team, or now, a powder blue team. My redesign positions them as a royal team with a strong red secondary option. The primary logo uses a sheriff’s badge design that works a baseball and a stylized T into it. To help differentiate Texas from the Cubs and Dodgers, I warmed up their grey and added a touch or burgundy that gives the overall palette a western touch. An italicized western font is used throughout.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

After bouncing around between blue and red for decades, the Sox finally found their chromatic home in black and silver. The primary is a modernization of the mid-century winged sock mark against a black diamond. The uniforms keep the pinstripes subtle, using silver on white and mid-grey on the aways. The black alternate jerseys can be worn as softball tops or as part of an all-black look. And of course, I made sure they wore white socks.

Cleveland Spiders

My personal vote for Cleveland’s new team name, if they follow through with their review, is Spiders. Drawing from the NL team of the late 19th century, Spiders would give Cleveland a unique mascot and a chance to reimagine their brand. In accordance with my goal to have fewer navy-and-red teams, I opted for a charcoal grey and red scheme. The block-C is retained on the caps with webbing added. Speaking of the caps, the feature piping along the panel seams, similar to the 2019 ASG caps. The home uniforms are cream while the aways contain a faux-flannel pattern for an aged look.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have some of the most iconic uniforms in baseball. The Olde English D is perfect. But part of this project was to find ways to reinvent even the most classic brands, and Detroit is no exception. To that end, I developed a block-D with stripes on the stem of the D. One thing I always found odd was the use of orange only on the road. To remedy that, the uniforms themselves are strictly navy and white (or faux-flannel grey on the road), while the socks are striped in navy and orange, so players can show their stripes if they go high-cuffed. The home alternate places the cartoon tiger mark on an orange pinstriped uniform, recalling the 1927 team.

Minnesota Twins

Another navy-and-red team, the Twins could do so much more. To give them more Minnesota pride, I sampled burgundy and metallic gold from the Gophers and paired it with navy. The primary logo shows the state of Minnesota, its trees and rivers, and a baseball front-and-center with the lower seams doubling as a bridge over the river. The uniforms balance burgundy and navy throughout, with burgundy appearing slightly more at home and navy appearing more on the road.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals have a very classic scheme, focusing on royal and white with powder blue, metallic gold and grey also mixed in. My redesign eschews grey in favor of building out the scheme with powder blue and metallic gold. The primary logo shows a crowned baseball against a gilded home plate, while the new Tuscan-style font is used on the KC cap logo.The home uniforms keep royal caps while adding blue and gold trim, whereas the aways used a faux-flannel powder blue base. The crown mark accents the socks.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

For Baltimore, I developed a clever Tuscan-B mark with a bird hiding in the negative space. It is the center of the primary logo and stands alone on the caps. The new font uses orange accents on the lower half the mimic the shading on an oriole. The home caps show off the new cartoon bird, while the away caps use the B-logo. Both the home and away uniforms use black contrasting sleeves and orange piping.

Boston Red Sox

While I’m sure this will get under the skin of many BoSox fans, I’ve never really liked the team’s use of navy. When their biggest rival wears the same hue, it muddies the visuals of the rivalry. My Red Sox concept uses a muted green that mimics the Green Monster to complement the red and refines the Tuscan font the team uses. The home and away uniforms are mostly red and white, but with green caps and belts.The home alternate jersey is red and white, while the second alternate wears Monster Green proudly.

New York Yankees

Much like the Tigers, the Yankees have an iconic brand and attempting to create some different was a challenge I relished. The primary logo uses the Yankee Stadium facade to keep the team’s history alive, while a new thin block NY graces the caps. While minimal edits were made to the home uniforms (logos, fonts), the disappointing aways move to pinstripes to match the homes, eliminating the unnecessary white trim. The navy alternate jerseys also use sublimated pinstripes to reinforce the team’s brand.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays have been a tale of two extremes. While their 90s uniforms were seen as too loud, their current branding hopes to not offend. Wanting to strike a balance between the two, I kept navy, but paired it with volt yellow, electric blue, and powder blue. The script exudes fun, while the manta ray returns to give the team a tangible mascot. The primary cap is navy with a volt TB, and the home alternate cap is volt with a white front and the manta ray on full display. The aways are powder blue, but the alternates steal the show between the volt home alternate and the navy alternate with a gradient script.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays made the right move by nixing charcoal grey, but I’m less impressed by their decision to wear navy caps with their powder blue uniforms. My concept uses multiple shades of blue, from powder blue to Honolulu blue to royal. A new three-quarters view jay head appears at the center of the primary logo, while a maple leaf logo that mimics a blue jay’s tail and a TO mark featuring the new inline font expand the brand. The home uniforms are white with Honolulu blue type and primarily pair with the Honolulu blue cap, but the royal cap can also be used. The powder blue aways contain royal type and pair with royal caps only. The royal socks are striped to mimic a blue jay tail, similar to the maple leaf logo.

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Wowsa! Thanks (again) Bowen. Those were fantastic.

I’m going to be back with Bowen for the National League in the near future, and I hope to get in a Q & A session with the man, so that you can get to know him and his work a bit better.

Readers? What do you think? Please let Bowen know in the comments below!

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Leading off this week with a spectacular example of 1970s NFL poster art. This one for the Miami Dolphins has all the requisite South Florida references; the ocean, beach, high-rises, and of course, dolphins. The seller says it has pinholes and rips on edges- well, fine, it’s also 50 years old. (It says 1970 NFL Collector’s Series- 1970 National Football League Properties.) What concerns me a bit more is it looks to me like it has some ripples, which would be a bit tough for me to take if I were going to display it.

Now for the rest of the week:

• The Swinging Friar made a welcome full time return to Padre uniforms this year. Here he is in a belt buckle for the 1978 All Star Game.

• The logo on this Dallas Cowboys gym bag is one I’m quite familiar with- it was on our family station wagon when we lived in Dallas. But I’ve never seen it on a product like this before- just on decals and key rings.

• Over the past couple of months, several vintage Pete Rose-endorsed items have turned up here on Collector’s Corner, like chocolate drinks and candy bars. This week? A leather baseball glove wallet!

• Here’s a No Smoking sign from the old San Francisco Candlestick Park.

• And another stadium-related item here- this is a nice looking small scale model of Seattle’s then-named Safeco Field.

• The New Orleans Saints had black helmets ever so briefly in the 1969 preseason, and someone has decided to make a helmet buggy in their honor. That’s a great look IMO.

• Dig the cover art font on this 1981 Philadelphia Phillies Eastern Division Series Official Program.

• This Minnesota Twins ashtray commemorates their 1965 AL pennant.

• Wanna spice things up? How about a bottle of “Ron Guidry’s Very Own Lightning Hot Sauce. It’ll probably light you up just like his fastball did!

• St. Louis Blues players Barclay (scrappy defenseman) Plager and Garry (mod, blonde) Unger were featured on this 1972 “Tips On Hockey” 45rpm record, brought to you by Shakey’s Pizza.

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Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Bobby Hunter.

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.

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How Well Do You Know Your NFL Teams?

Got a fun quiz in the e-mail from Michael Cahalan, which asks you to name the NFL teams from the clues provided below (he left out one team who remains nameless for now).

Yesterday I ran the quiz — and here are the answers (a couple of you already solved these in the comments yesterday, so congrats to them).

1. Pope’s minions: Cardinals
2. Lone star staters: Texans
3. Udder young males: Cowboys
4. Revolutionaries: Patriots
5. Panned for profit: 49ers
6. Before the movers: Packers
7. Indigenous to India: Bengals
8. Pic-a-nic basket pilferers: Bears
9. Credit card users: Chargers
10. Luxury autos: Jaguars
11. Mythological foes: Titans
12. Christianity’s MVPs: Saints
13. Monthly expenses: Bills
14. Jungle kings: Lions
15. Rodeo buckers: Broncos
16. West side gang: Jets
17. Jim, Tim, Paul, Charlie: Browns
18. Desperado crooners: Eagles
19. Head butters: Rams
20. Clouseau foe: Panthers
21. Ace Ventura’s Snowflake: Dolphins
22. Mr. Ed’s Sons: Colts
23. 8th Commandment breakers: Steelers
24. Ocean Osprey: Seahawks
25. They kill bugs dead: Raiders
26. Head honchos: Chiefs
27. Made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs: Falcons
28. A dollar for corn: Buccaneers
29. Poe quotes them: Ravens
30. Soldier Joe insects: Giants
31. Roman 6 monarchs: Vikings

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The Ticker
By Paul (pinch-Tickering today for Alex Hider)

’Skins Watch: Good backgrounder on how Native iconography is still a stubborn issue in high school sports (from @OlegKvasha). … The Missouri town of Savannah is divided over a campaign for the local high school to stop calling its teams the Savages (from Kenneth Traisman). … Many Ohio schools, however, are dropping their Native-based team names (from Tom Pachuta).

Working Class Wannabes™: A high school football coach in Ohio says his key for defensive success in 2020 is that “we’re going to be the blue collar, get down and dirty and get it done.” Sounds like a real mastermind. … The University of Charlotte football team announced a new helmet design by saying, “New hard hats are here. Time go to go work.” … Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Vonn Bell describes his daily routine as “Just having a blue-collar working mindset and just going to work and getting it every day.” … Over in Australia, an article about the AFL’s Port Adelaide club described two of the team’s players as “blue-collar midfielders.” … An article about the restarted NHL season says the Toronto Maple Leafs “don’t abide by the virtues of blue-collar hockey or have anything close to a small-market attitude.” … An article about the East Fairmont High School boys’ soccer team in West Virginia says, “Role players have humbly taken up the blue-collar tasks of infusing games with hustle and work rate.” … An article about the Slocomb High School football team in Alabama uses the term “blue-collar” four times in the first five paragraphs. … Offensive lineman Brian Winters says he signed with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills because “it’s a hard-nosed blue-collar area and that’s type of football I play.”

Baseball News: Just as my own trading card is based on the 1973 Topps baseball set, someone has made a series of cards for Dr. Anthony Fauci, based on assorted old Topps templates (from Bruce Adams). … The A’s usually wear their Kelly alternates only at home, but they took them on the road for last night’s game in Anaheim because of a six-game winning streak when wearing them (from R.E. Stern). … Here’s a thread featuring lots of photos of the Blue Jays’ new “home” stadium in Buffalo (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … Here’s an article about the artist who created the logo of the Albuquerque Dukes, the Dodgers’ former Triple-A affiliate from 1963 to 2000 (from Kary Klismet).

NFL News: Here’s something I don’t think we’ve ever seen before: Tom Brady — now with the Bucs, of course — wearing a red-tinted visor (from William Clancy). … KC’s practice shorts have pretty cool name/number/skyline tagging (from Ted Taylor). … This 1996 Sports Illustrated piece includes an interesting bit of info about former NFL RB Herschel Walker’s shoulder pads: “Walker has less than 1.5% body fat on a body that has never lifted weights. It seems that whatever food goes into his mouth gets turned into fiber and sinew. Most marathoners have more body fat than he does. He is, in fact, dangerously muscular, with very little cushioning for the blows of his sport and in constant jeopardy of having a muscle snap from its own force. That is why he stretches rigorously and wears massive, customized shoulder pads” (from Johnny Garfield).

College and High School Football News: New advertised name for Georgia State’s stadium. … New turf for Neosho (Mo.) High School and Santa Maria (Calif.) High School (from Kary Klismet). … This article about UVa’s workouts includes the following tidbit: “As in years past, no numbers have been awarded this early in camp, but there is a twist this summer. On the back of each player’s jersey is his last name.” So the players are wearing numberless practice jerseys with NOBs. Weird! (From proud UVa alum Jamie Rathjen.)

Hockey News: The Sabres will unveil their new royal blue uniforms, to be worn for the 2020-21 season, today. Phil will have full coverage tomorrow. … New logo for the Fort St. John Huskies, a Junior B team in British Columbia (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s a look at the Ping-Pong ball that gave the Rangers the top pick in the next NHL draft (from Alan Kreit).

Basketball News: New court design for Bethel University, an NAIA school in Tennessee (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s a podcast interview with longtime sports designer Tom O’Grady, who created a lot of the NBA’s boldest looks of the 1990s. … Suns G Devin Booker apparently wore his mask upside-down during a press conference yesterday, resulting in an upside-down Nike logo. … Mavs G/SF Luka Dončić previewed the team’s throwback shorts yesterday (from @profjimmyc).

Soccer News: Renderings have been unveiled for a new stadium to be built in 2021 in Sumgait, Azerbaijan, home of Sumqayit FK of the Azerbaijan Premier League (from Kary Klismet). … New shirt for Fairant Kraków. “They play in the A-Klasa, the seventh tier of Polish soccer,” says Ed Zelaski. … The Portland Timbers are adding “MLS Is Back Final” lettering to their jerseys for today’s tournament title match (from @bryant_rf).

Grab Bag: Here’s a profile of a designer who creates vehicle logos for GM. … Speaking of cars, here’s a weird one: The “Edge” nameplate on this Ford Edge is misspelled (from @NYCommenter). … New uniforms for Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club (from @MrBudziszewski).

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• • • • •
And finally… big thanks (again) to Bowen for those amazing MLB concepts (and wait till you see the NL!).

Like Paul said above, today the Sabres are unveiling (I think) a Royal Blue and White sweater, and hopefully they’ll show the breezers and socks too. I’ll have full coverage of that tomorrow.

Everyone stay safe.



Gone But Not Forgotten: NHL Defunct Teams, Part I

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Mike Styczen

Hey boys and girls — as you can see from the italicized words above, Paul’s taking his annual August break (slightly different from years past, as this year he actually blessed us with a week’s worth of columns last week). You will also note the weekends are going to be different for the remainder of the month, since I’m taking over the weekday articles.

I have a bunch of great guest writers lined up, since I’m not sure how much new uni news we’ll have, but I think you’ll greatly enjoy the guest contributors in any event. Lots of different perspectives, and many of the writers will be covering subjects we don’t normally feature on Uni Watch.

We start this off with my buddy Mike Styczen, who is Canadian, and that by definition makes him a hockey aficionado. Mike’s going to be telling us about some of the more obscure NHL teams which no longer exist (a longer list than you’d expect, actually), and he’s breaking it into two parts. This is part the first. So without further ado, here’s Mike …

• • •

Reviewing the NHL’s Defunct Teams, Part I
By Mike Styczen

When the Seattle Kraken take the ice next fall, the NHL will have an even 32 teams. Like most leagues, however, the NHL has had its ups and downs in terms of membership.

Founded in 1917 with four teams, the league quickly dwindled to three teams, grew to as many as nine teams, and then settled in at what hockey fans refer to as the “original six” teams for a quarter century between 1942 and 1967. A total of nine franchises became defunct prior to 1942, either through ceasing operations or relocation.

After 1967, the league exploded. New teams were added across the continent in wave after wave of expansion and merger. Many survived, many did not. Ten teams vanished during this period – almost all by relocation.

This week, and next, we’ll rank the looks of the defunct NHL teams. First up, we’ll rank the pre-1942 defunct teams, and then we’ll rank the post-1967 defunct teams.

A couple of notes: we’re not going to look at the pre-NHL teams. Like most leagues, the NHL had a variety of predecessor leagues and teams, we have to cut this off somewhere, and that somewhere is the founding of the NHL in 1917. Second, some of the most memorable designs of this era were in other leagues – particularly the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and the Western Canada Hockey League, which competed against the NHL for the Stanley Cup from 1917 to 1926. The Vancouver Millionaires, Seattle Metropolitans and Victoria Cougars would top plenty of uniform surveys, but none of them were NHL teams. Finally, we’re not going to look at teams that renamed themselves (Toronto St. Pats, Detroit Cougars for instance) – we’re just looking at the teams that vanished or moved.



9. Quebec Bulldogs

While the Bulldogs had a great deal of success prior to the NHL’s founding, they lasted only one year in the NHL before moving to Hamilton. It’s surprisingly difficult to find photos of the Bulldogs in their one NHL season – suggests that they wore a plain blue and white striped jersey, with no logo, but there don’t seem to be any photos of that jersey in action.

Their prior jersey, white with a blue stripe and “QUEBEC” in capital letters, is a pretty bland look with no logo.

A couple of bonus points for the striped socks, but still last on the list.


8. Montreal Wanderers

Six games into their first NHL season, in 1917, their arena burned to the ground and destroyed all of their equipment, and the team folded. They were a good looking team, but what can you do with a team that only played six games? Ahead of the Bulldogs with the bright red-and-white look, but still at the bottom of our list.


7. Philadelphia Quakers

Played for one year (1930-1931) after relocating from Pittsburgh, set a futility record by winning four games in their only season, and folded. A strange script logo with a weirdly bent tail. Is it surprising that the Flyers have never bothered to throw back to their predecessors in orange and black? Not really.


6. Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh, we’ve often noted, is one of those unique cities in which the pro sports teams wear a consistent colour scheme. The team that kicked it off? The 1925 NHL Pittsburgh Pirates.

The team wore a variety of designs in its short (1925-1930) existence. First was a script logo with a capital “P”.

Look closely at the sleeve of that jersey and you’ll see the City of Pittsburgh seal, later worn by the NFL Pittsburgh Pirates in their first season (1933) and revived by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1994.

Later came a blue and yellow design for one season (of which no photos seem to exists). Nothing particularly strong.

Finally, a triangle design and a pirates head logo. Again, nothing special. The Pirates moved to Philadelphia to become the Quakers after five seasons.


5. St. Louis Eagles

The Eagles played for one season, in 1935-1935, after being relocated from Ottawa. A very bright look, with vibrant red and blue on a white jersey. The logo is solid, if a bit collegiate. I’m surprised we don’t see more of this one, either as a fan fashion jersey or a throwback look for the Blues.


4. Hamilton Tigers

The Tigers played five seasons between 1920 and 1925. They made great use of black and yellow stripes – both horizontal and vertical – and their final jersey had some pretty amazing sleeve stripes. The logos are average – the tiger head logo is particularly bad. That final jersey, with an “H” logo and the sleeve stripes, has attracted plenty of attention as a throwback jersey, being worn at least once by the OHL Hamilton Bulldogs. Great look overall, dragged down by some bad logos.


3. New York / Brooklyn Americans

The Americans played for 17 seasons, from 1925 until 1942, and their demise left the NHL with six teams, kicking off the “original six” era. They used a number of different designs in the first few years (red on top, blue on top, different arrangement of the words) but the design was consistently patriotic through most of their existence, stars up top and stripes down below, evoking a giant American flag. Great striped socks in every design. A very memorable scheme.

Here’s an interesting shot, showing two very distinct jersey styles in the same photo

They simplified their look a bit in the 1930s, and then rebranded themselves as the “Brooklyn” Americans without moving out of Madison Square Garden. Those later uniforms were less memorable, but overall the Americans maintained a very good look for their entire existence.


2. Ottawa Senators

This is a very familiar look. The original Senators played in the NHL from 1917 to 1934 (before moving to St. Louis to become the Eagles) and won four Stanley Cups. Long after the original Senators folded, their look was carried on by the OHL Ottawa ‘67s and later by the expansion Senators. What else can you say about a jersey that’s still being worn over 100 years after it debuted?


1. Montreal Maroons

Playing for 14 years, from 1924 to 1938, the look of the Maroons was just perfect. Maroon jerseys, the right number of white stripes, a perfect “M” logo. This uniform wouldn’t look dated or out of place today. Absolutely perfect.

• • •

Thanks, Mike! Great stuff. Looking forward to seeing the post-1967 defunct teams next week!

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Jack A. Row.

This game usually runs on the weekends. If you’re not a weekend reader, it’s all explained below.

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!):

(For an even larger view, click here.)

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

Click to enlarge

And Now a few words from Paul

Hi! Although I’m technically on blog-cation for the rest of August, I’ll still be popping up here from time to time.

The green-bordered toploaders have arrived at Uni Watch HQ, so almost all of the pre-ordered trading cards have mailed out (each with a relic swatch of the shirt I was wearing for the Topps photo shoot that became the basis for Rob Ullman’s front-card illustration), and the rest will mail out today.

So far three of the green-ink autographed cards have gone out, along with the one purple-signed card, so there are seven green-signed cards remaining. If you want to order, here’s how.


• I’ll be participating in a Zoom panel discussion about the use of Native American imagery in sports this Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 12:30-2pm Eastern. The event, organized by Baruch College, is a follow-up to a similar discussion I took part in back in 2016 (you can see video of that one here). Registration is free and can be done here. (If the page asks you which part of the “Baruch community” you belong to, just say you’re an alum, even if you’re not — it’s fine.)

• Here’s some big news: Bill Henderson has just released the latest edition of his guide to post-flannel MLB jerseys — and for the next day or two, you can get this new edition at a significant discount. I cannot stress enough how wonderful Bill’s guide is — I refer to it literally almost every single day, and I’m sure most of you will find it just as essential as I do (even though you don’t write about uniforms for a living). Full details here.

• We still have about 60 of the August pin, about 40 of the July bobble-pin, and about 40 of the key ring.

That’s it. Now back to Phil.

How Well Do You Know Your NFL Teams?

Got a fun quiz in the e-mail from Michael Cahalan, which asks you to name the NFL teams from the clues provided below (he left out one team who remains nameless for now).

I’ve seen quizzes like this before, but this one is new to me. No, it’s not really uni-related, but it’s still kinda fun. See how many you can guess (you can post your guesses in the comments below).

I’ll have the answers tomorrow!

1. Pope’s minions
2. Lone star staters
3. Udder young males
4. Revolutionaries
5. Panned for profit
6. Before the movers
7. Indigenous to India
8. Pic-a-nic basket pilferers
9. Credit card users
10. Luxury autos
11. Mythological foes
12. Christianity’s MVPs
13. Monthly expenses
14. Jungle kings
15. Rodeo buckers
16. West side gang
17. Jim, Tim, Paul, Charlie
18. Desperado crooners
19. Head butters
20. Clouseau foe
21. Ace Ventura’s Snowflake
22. Mr. Ed’s Sons
23. 8 th Commandment breakers
24. Ocean Osprey
25. They kill bugs dead
26. Head honchos
27. Made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs
28. A dollar for corn
29. Poe quotes them
30. Soldier Joe insects
31. Roman 6 monarchs

The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: It rained during yesterday’s Nationals/Orioles game, and the Nationals grounds crew spectacularly failed to unroll the tarp because it became tangled somehow, eventually causing the game’s suspension (from @bryanwdc). … The Rangers wore a new entirely powder blue and red combo yesterday (from multiple readers). … Braves C Travis d’Arnaud has a well-known initial lowercase D in his NOB, but not so on his catcher’s gear. “I guess he just has to live with it,” says Michael Driscoll. … No pic but interesting observation from Jason Hillyer: “James Karinchak #99 of the Indians retired Luis Robert #88 of the White Sox in their game Sunday.” He continues, “Don’t know how to look it up, but that has to be a record (or in the Top 3) for sum of pitcher/batter uni numbers, yes? (At least until Karinchak faces Aaron Judge in playoffs or next season.)” Anyone want to confirm or deny?

Football News: A thread from earlier this year contains some pictures and video of the ’70s-era National Women’s Football League. I vote for trying a fully professional women’s league instead of trying the XFL again (from @MeanJoeFranco). … In 1986, the CFL’s end zones were reduced to 20 from 25 yards in length, so at first the Saskatchewan Roughriders just painted the extra five yards white instead of making any changes to their designs (from Johnny Garfield). … Some Virginia players and wide receivers coach Marques Hagens formed a community outreach group, the Grounds Keepers, that already has its own logo. … Reader Kurt Rozek refurbished old Bengals and Chiefs helmets, citing this entry from January as inspiration. … Another DIY-er finished a wall-mounted Virginia Tech helmet and logo collection (from Matt Wise).

Hockey News: The Sabres are marking the end of their 50th season by returning to royal blue as their primary color this week, with new uniforms revealed tomorrow morning (from multiple readers). … Here is a selection of the sardonic “messages to fans” displayed on Edmonton’s scoreboard video screen (from Wade Heidt).

Soccer News: Teams that released new kits or shirts this weekend included Poland’s Lechia Gdańsk, Belgian team Gent, English League Two’s Port Vale (all from Ed Żelaski), Israel’s Maccabi Haifa (from Kary Klismet), German Bundesliga team Mainz 05’s second shirt (from Greg Phillips), and German 2. Bundesliga team Holstein Kiel’s first shirt (from Ryan Maquiñana). … German team 1. FC Köln yesterday released second and third shirts, and English League Two’s Bradford City also released a second shirt. … Staying in Germany, Eintracht Frankfurt gave their women’s team — the former 1. FFC Frankfurt — their own kits, with mono-black as first choice and mono-white as second. … Yesterday’s women’s Coupe de France final had the players wear NOBs below the number, which is something women’s teams in the sport don’t usually do and which the team pictured, Olympique Lyonnais, didn’t do earlier in the tournament. … Japanese team Shimizu S-Pulse are wearing Thai-script NOBs twice, last Saturday and again next week, both to promote themselves in Thailand and because they have Thai striker and men’s national team captain Teerasil Dangda this season (from Jeremy Brahm).

Grab Bag: As Deceuninck-Quick Step cyclist Remco Evenpoel won Saturday’s stage of the Tour de Pologne, he held up the number of his teammate Fabio Jakobsen, who was badly injured in a crash at the end of the race’s first stage. … In the Australian Football League, Adelaide and Hawthorn revealed their Indigenous guernseys. The annual Indigenous round, which is usually in May, was moved to the weekends of Aug. 22 and 29. … New uniforms for the Japanese top-tier women’s volleyball team NEC Red Rockets and the top-tier men’s team JTEKT Stings (from Jeremy Brahm). … NASCAR Cup drivers often have throwback liveries at Labor Day weekend’s Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C. Ryan Blaney’s is based on former Cup driver Paul Menard’s car when Menard won his first ARCA race at Talladega, Ala., in 2003; the Menard family home improvement company is one of Blaney’s advertisers (from Jakob Fox). … The Mercedes Formula One team added a horseshoe symbol to their cars for this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, a symbol often seen on the cars of the great ’50s and ’60s driver Sir Stirling Moss. … Clemson updated its style guide to include dark grey and a darker purple as additional school colors. … Not sports-related: A website exists where you can design your own superheroes (from Heath Hendricks). … Apple is apparently taking legal action against a company called Prepear, which Apple contends is too similar to their Apple logo (from Brinke).

And finally… big thanks to Mike for the defunct NHL team piece, and to Michael for the NFL quiz. Everyone have a good Monday and I’ll catch you guys tomorrow.



What’s It Like to Be an MLB Reporter During the Pandemic?

We’ve seen a lot of articles about how players are dealing with the new rules and protocols brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve also heard quite a few broadcasters talking about how their own work experiences have been affected by this strange season.

But what about print and web journalists, the guys who are up in the press box? What’s it like to cover a sporting event this year compared to previous years? How does it affect the articles we read, and the people who wrote those articles?

I’ve been curious about that, so I asked my friend Ken Davidoff if he’d be willing to talk about it. He’s a baseball columnist for The New York Post (a role in which he covers all things MLB-related but with a strong emphasis on the Mets and Yankees) and a longtime friend of Uni Watch, going back over a decade. He spoke with me on the phone yesterday from his hotel room in Philadelphia, where he’s been covering the Yanks/Phillies series. We didn’t talk about uniforms, but I think our discussion will still be of interest to Uni Watch readers, or to anyone who’s interested in the behind-the-scenes details of the sports world. Here’s a transcript (lightly edited and condensed for clarity and length):

Uni Watch: Let’s start with the most basic thing: getting to the ballpark. Prior to this season, how would you get to Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, and how are you doing it this year?

Ken Davidoff [shown at right]: I live in Manhattan, I have a car, so I typically drive. But you know, sometimes for logistical reasons — like if I have a doctor’s appointment, or my wife is using the car — I would take the subway. But I have not taken any mass transit of any kind since I flew home from spring training on March 17. So I am driving every day.

UW: What about going to other cities? You usually travel a lot, but I assume things are different this year.

KD: Yeah. So far I’ve gone to DC and now Philly twice, so I’ve driven to those. My editor and I talked about flying to Tampa — the Yankees are in Tampa this weekend — but ultimately, I was just not comfortable making that trip because of how bad Florida is [regarding the pandemic]. And I am anxious about getting on a plane. If I could either drive to Florida or fly somewhere that’s less infested, I would have considered it. But the combination of the two just made me too uncomfortable.

UW: Have you “covered” any games simply by watching them on TV?

KD: I covered one of the Yankees/Mets exhibition game remotely, and this coming weekend I will cover the entire Yankees series in Tampa remotely.

UW: Have you ever done that before?

KD: No, not before this year. With Yankees/Mets, it was a function of the limits that they’re placing on media at the ballpark. You know, we [the Post] like to cover baseball aggressively. This year we can have a maximum of two people in the press box; we’d typically have more than that covering that game, including me, but with the current rules I had to do it remotely.

UW: Once you get to the ballpark, whether here in New York or on the road, what would you normally have done in previous years, and what’s different this year?

KD: Yeah, it’s all different. So, normally, let’s say for a typical night game, I would get to the ballpark around 2:30 and by three o’clock, 3:30, I’d be in the clubhouse, interviewing players, coaches, front office people, and whoever else. Then there’s the in-person news conference with the manager. Then you go on the field. Maybe you see, you know, an official from another team, an official from one of the New York teams, you do some schmoozing. Maybe you you even just say a quick hi to a player as he’s going from the batting cage back to the dugout. Maybe I’ll pop my head into the visiting clubhouse and see someone I know.

Now you just miss out on all of that. Each team has its own time in terms of when they open their ballpark, and I believe they’re doing it in conjunction with their respective cities. You know, health codes now come into play. So today, for the Phillies game [scheduled to start at 6:05pm], they open their ballpark to media three hours before first pitch. That’s on the earlier side, which I’m happy about. So I’ll get there at three o’clock today. Like, literally as we’re talking, I just got an email from the Yankees saying there’s gonna be at least two Zoom calls for the game — one with Aaron Boone at a time to be determined and one with Masahiro Tanaka at 3:45.

Even the act of eating, it was partially work. Maybe you would eat dinner with a scout or front office person, or with other media. That nice social element is gone now. We are not allowed to leave press box, so I have a cooler with me, with my ice pack, so I can bring my own food, and I’m making sure to stay at hotels with refrigerators and freezers so I can store my ice pack.

UW: I know they would usually provide food or sell food for the media — is it that they no longer do that, or you’re just not comfortable with that?

KD: No, they don’t do it. We need to bring our own. They do provide beverages.

UW: Regarding the Zoom calls, I assume Aaron Boone and the other managers are doing that every day, in lieu of their usual pregame press conferences.

KD: Exactly.

UW: And presumably, you don’t need to be actually be present at the ballpark for that. You could do that remotely if you were off doing something else.

KD: They tend to take place when I’m already at the ballpark, but it’s become a little tricky in that regard. I think last week I did a Yankees Zoom call from their big stadium parking garage, because I wasn’t allowed in the ballpark yet. And a couple days ago I was dropping off my son at a friend’s place in Connecticut, so I did the call in their backyard. Because again, it was too early to walk in the door.

UW: As you enter the ballpark, whichever one it might be, do you wear a mask? And does anyone take your temperature?

KD: Yes, a mask is required. And yeah, in theory, I get my temperature taken every day. In practice, they’re not batting 1.000 on that front. But yeah, the protocol is to have your temperature taken every day.

UW: At the point where you enter the ballpark?

KD: Correct. I think the cutoff is 100.4. And then there’s a questionnaire. You know, essentially, “Have you felt any symptoms? Have you been in contact with anyone who either has Covid or has symptoms?” Which, yeah, to be honest, it’s kind of worthless, because who’s gonna answer “Yes” to any of those questions?

UW: You have to fill that out every day?

KD: Now it’s usually verbal. A team employee will just ask you.

UW: What about testing? Do you have to be tested, or provide evidence of that?

KD: No. But I’m getting tested pretty regularly on my own, just because I am interacting with the public and my family really is not. So I am testing of my own volition. But it is not required.

UW: Normally, you’d spend the game in the press box with lots and lots of other writers, most of whom you know personally. What about now? What is the situation in the press box?

KD: There’s a maximum of 35 media members. That’s what was the collectively bargained number between the players and the owners. There is social distancing in the press box — you essentially have three seats to yourself. I’m usually in there with a co-worker from the Post — usually the beat writer covering that team — and you know, we’re socially distant but we’ll walk up to each other and say, “Okay, what do you think” and “Here’s what I’m thinking.” It’s definitely not as fun or intimate as the pre-Covid days, but I don’t feel like I’m an island or anything like that. I see everybody, we say hi to each other. But yeah, it’s still markedly different.

UW: Is everyone in the press box wearing a mask throughout the game?

KD: Yes, that’s required. You can take it off to eat, but I would say I’m wearing it 90% of the time. When I decide to eat is partially based on hunger and partially based on how much my ears are hurting from the mask.

UW: I’ve seen a lot of articles and interviews where the players have talked about what it’s like to play in an empty stadium. But what’s it like for you working in an empty stadium? Is that strange? You know, the lack of the crowd noise? And what’s it like for the stadiums that are using the fake crowd noise, you know, in the actual ballpark, as opposed to just on the broadcast?

KD: I’m not really a fan of the piped-in noise. I think it’s very cheesy. But I do miss the fans — the fans added an element and could even shape your story. “Giancarlo Stanton got booed after making a big out,” or when the Phillies were in town, Didi Gregorius would have gotten a huge ovation. So yeah, we’re missing that, we’re missing those stories.

UW: What about after the game? Again, you would normally go down to the clubhouse. What do you do now?

KD: They usually do Zoom calls very quickly after the last out. You get emailed the links. So yesterday, [former Yankees manager and current Phillies manager] Joe Girardi is obviously a person of interest for our readers, and [former Met] Zack Wheeler pitched yesterday, so I did those Zoom calls. So instead of, you know, burning a few calories by at least walking to the clubhouses, I just sit on my rear end and go from one Zoom room to the other.

UW: In the clubhouse, you have access to pretty much everyone, or at least everyone who doesn’t hide from you. Whereas now you’re sort of at the mercy of who they choose to put on these Zoom calls. How frustrating do you find that?

KD: Extremely. But, you know, I get it. I certainly would not want to be in the clubhouse right now, when you look at the outbreaks with the Marlins and Cardinals. God willing, we’ll have a vaccine sooner than later, and when that happens, I would certainly hope the old rules resume. And, even right now, I wish there was a way to do more one-on-one access. But I’m quite sympathetic to the teams’ vantage point, and I get why they’re not really doing one-on-ones. It is what it is, and I just hope it’s a short-term situation.

UW: Do you or the other writers ever ask the team PR guys to make a particular player available — someone who isn’t obvious like that night’s starting pitcher or whatever — if there’s a particular subplot or angle you want to pursue?

KD: Yes, but the teams have veteran public relations officials and I’ve found that they have a pretty good feel for what we need. Good example: I think in the second game of the season, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks both knelt during the national anthem, and they both did Zoom calls after the game. We didn’t have to ask — the Yankees understood why that would be a big story. I think Stanton actually did have a big hit, too. But Hicks did not, and he spoke too. The bulk of the questions were about the kneeling, and the Yankees anticipated that. That’s what you hope for, right? You hope for that level of professionalism.

UW: How do you feel about a manager or a GM Zoom interview versus a live press conference?

KD: A hundred times out of 100, I’ll take a live press conference. I mean, it’s just far better to be in the same room with the person. I think there’s just a different dynamic in play. So it’s much worse, undoubtedly, but I understand and support what’s going on right now.

UW: Being a reporter is so much about developing relationships and building trust. How do you do that under the current circumstances?

KD: It’s close to impossible. For the most part, you’re not dealing with anyone live, in person, except the public relations official. And you know, the best relationships get formed from in-person dialogue, whether that’s just connecting on some non-baseball level — “Oh hey, you’re from New Jersey, I’m from New Jersey” — or, you know, Luke Voit is a Midwest guy, so he and I will talk Big 10 football because I went to Michigan. So that’s lost, that’s gone. You know, there’s just nothing that can be done to replicate that. So yeah, it hurts a great deal.

UW: We all know some players have opted out of playing this year. Are there any reporters who’ve opted out because they don’t feel comfortable being at the ballpark?

KD: Certainly some reporters are not going to the ballpark. Many of them, I guess all of them, have some high risk factor, whether it’s age or a medical condition. But the beauty of our job right now is that you can cover it remotely to a large extent. So yeah, reporters aren’t necessarily giving up their salary and service time, like the players are.

UW: Assuming things eventually get back to some semblance of normalcy, do you think there are any aspects of covering the sport this year that will be retained in the future?

KD: That’s a concern. I certainly hope not.

UW: Okay, that’s enough about covering the game. Let’s see how your crystal ball is working: Of the various rule and format changes — seven-inning doubleheader games, the runner starting at second base for extra innings, the expanded playoff system, the universal DH, and so on — which of those do you think will become permanent parts of the sport?

KD: I think a lot of them are gonna stay in place. You know, like seven-inning doubleheaders — I think there’s gonna be a lot of momentum for that. For the extra-inning rule, I don’t know if that’ll go into effect next year, but I think it’s going to happen in the next five years. What else..?

UW: Universal DH.

KD: It’s funny — I think it’s definitely coming in 2022, but I did think that next year they would revert, to have one farewell year for the hitting pitcher. But now that we’ve played a couple of weeks, just my hunch says that will become permanent starting next year. I just don’t think anyone misses the hitting pitcher a lot.

UW: Expanded playoffs?

KD: Unfortunately, that’s probably gonna stick. Although, you, know, I’m skeptical we’ll get to that point this year.

UW: That was my last question, actually — do you think they’ll actually finish the season and get all the way to the World Series?

KD: I don’t, no. And I don’t really blame that on Major League Baseball as much as I blame it on the United States of America. It’s just pretty clear where we’re not taking this virus as seriously as we need to.


And there you have it. Big thanks to Ken for sharing his experiences — fascinating stuff.

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Click to enlarge

Trading card reminder: Response to the Uni Watch trading card continues to be tremendous — thank you!

Full details on how to pre-order your own card are available here.

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Brooklyn Branches update: The winner of the auction for the one-of-a-kind Brooklyn Branches jersey, based on Ron Ruelle’s brilliant concept and executed by the great DIYer Wafflebored, is Rick Wessley, who submitted a winning bid of $300. I’ll be donating that amount to the Arbor Day Foundation, so Branch Rickety’s demise will result in the planting of new trees. Congrats to Rick, and my thanks to everyone who submitted bids.

Speaking of the Branches project: Yesterday I showed you the home white and road grey Branches T-shirts. Today we have two alternate versions — brown and green:

Here’s where you can order the brown and green tees, as well as the home white and road grey versions I showed you yesterday.

Immense thanks to Ron and Wafflebored for making this such a fun project!

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August Pin Club update: The Uni Watch Pin Club’s new design for August — a salute to old-school baseball scoreboards, complete with a few misfiring light bulbs — is now available. (If you want more info on the line score and the 4:07 time on the clock, there’s an explanation here.)

This is a limited/numbered edition of 250. As of this morning, there are 67 remaining. You can get yours here.

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Uni Rock update: Some new designs (shown above) have been added to the Uni Rock Shop.

Thanks for all the positive feedback on this project. You can see the full Uni Rock collection here.

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Catch of the day: I’ve written a new piece for InsideHook about cooking seafood (including a whole red snapper, shown above) on one of those tiny mini-kettle grills. Super-fun article to work on! You can check it out here.

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Chili dog: When the Tugboat Captain and I convened on the porch yesterday evening (more about that in a minute), we found that our T-shirts were two great tastes that taste great together. Completely unplanned, I swear!

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: For the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader and also for last night’s game, the Orioles wore their white home unis at Camden Yards, even though the Marlins were the designated home team for those two. The Marlins wore black jerseys with grey pants. (from Andrew Cosentino). … Rockies P Jairo Díaz normally wears No. 37, but took the mound yesterday wearing the No. 35 jersey of backup catcher Elias Díaz (from multiple readers). … There’s a ton of cool Blue Jays uni notes in this article from Bluebird Banter. Highly recommended. … Egon Schiele sends along this wonderful, short podcast episode about the demise of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Another one that’s highly recommended. … Bob Gassel has sent us almost an hour’s worth of footage from the first All-Star/Celebrity softball game, from 1967. … A bunch of Phillies fans positioned just outside the team’s ballpark annoyed Yankees skipper Aaron Boone by blowing an airhorn when Yanks P Jordan Montgomery was in his windup. … The A’s apologized after bench coach Ryan Christenson, apparently trying to elbow-bump, instead made a Nazi salute and then repeated it after a player corrected him.

NFL/CFL News: Browns players have finally gotten the chance to don their new unis (from Bob Moon). … A new Broncos fashion cap from New Era misspells the team’s name (from multiple readers). … The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have unveiled their Grey Cup rings (from multiple readers).

College Football News: Troy has new silver helmets. Better look here (from multiple readers). … New helmets for Charlotte. … Several Texas Longhorn marching band members say they will not perform the school’s alma mater song, “The Eyes of Texas,” which has long been criticized due to its connection to minstrel shows with characters in blackface (from Timmy Donahue).

Hockey News: A hockey blog has ranked all 31 home sweaters in the NHL, and reader Gregory Baker has called it “the worst ranking ever.” … Here are the pads for Wisconsin G Cameron Rowe for next season (from Jerry Nitzh).

NBA News: Fanatics appears to have leaked the Spurs’ 2020-21 Statement alternate. Like all of next season’s Statement designs, it will have a Jordan maker’s mark instead of the Nike logo. … Here’s a wonderful article about a designer who’s making retro-style posters for each Mavericks game this season (from Dan Kennedy). … Also posted in the soccer section: LeBron James donned a new Liverpool shirt walking to the arena in Orlando. Though he’s a part-owner of Liverpool, he rarely wore Liverpool gear during the club’s contract with New Balance. Now that they’re with Nike, it appears he’s ready to rock the red (from JohnMark Fisher). … Bad quality pic, but Lakers G Talen Horton-Tucker wears “Black Lives Matter” as his social justice message. With the NBA adding NOBs beneath uni numbers for players who have a social justice message, that makes 28 letters on his back. Wow (from Steve Kriske).

Soccer News: New kits for Premier League clubs Everton and Crystal Palace. … Sunderland of England’s League One have revealed their new home kit (thanks, Jamie). … Also from Jamie, clubs in the Champions League and Europa League have been wearing “Thank You” above their club crest, in the native language of the club. … One more from Jamie: West Ham’s women’s team is moving to Dagenham and Redbridge’s stadium, Victoria Road. … Valencia has unveiled their new kits (from Kary Klismet). … The following are all from Ed Żelaski: Hannover 96 has unveiled all three of its new kits. … Spanish side Deportivo Alavés unveiled their new home, away and third kits. … Belgian side KAA Gent have posted a teaser video of their new kit on Twitter. … Scottish side Dundee United have a purple away strip. Paul, shield your eyes. … Russian club FK Tambov have a new crest. … Cross-posted from the NBA section: LeBron James donned a new Liverpool shirt walking to the arena in Orlando. Though he’s a part-owner of Liverpool, he rarely wore Liverpool gear during the club’s contract with New Balance. Now that they’re with Nike, it appears he’s ready to rock the red (from JohnMark Fisher).

Grab Bag: Formula One has unveiled a very nice 70th-anniversary logo (from @jayappletree). … Joe Werner sends along this slideshow of the history of Valvoline Oil, as well as its packaging evolution. … The New York Times Magazine has an article about how the pandemic has impacted the fashion industry (from Tom Turner). … Also from Tom, Henrico, Va., High will retire its “Rebels” nickname. … The following are all from Kary Klismet: has a series of articles on the uniforms of all six branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. … New logo for the Trenton (Mich.) High School Trojans (from Kary Klismet). … The cities of Erving, Mass., and Liberty, S.C., both have new logos. … Gordon College has a new athletics logo, which they’re annoyingly calling a “spirit mark”. … The Las Cruces, N.M., school board has voted to change the name of Oñate High School to Organ Mountain High School, because the school’s namesake, former Spanish colonial governor Don Juan de Oñate y Salazar, was a key figure in the genocide of indigenous Acoma Pueblo people in the late 16th century.

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What Paul did last night: When I started the Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ project, I knew from the start that I planned to take a photo every single day. But I didn’t think I’d be featuring a photo here on the site every day and writing about it — I figured I’d do that only occasionally. But the response to the first couple of PPC™ was so strong that I just kept doing it, and it soon became a daily feature of the site.

That’s pretty awesome — I love it when things happen organically like that — but it’s also taken up more of my personal bandwidth than I anticipated. Tossing a photo up there and writing a couple of paragraphs may not seem like much, but it takes some thought, and it’s often the last thing I do every night (or, if I don’t get around to it, the first thing I do the following morning), which means I’m working at a time I’d generally prefer not to be working. Obviously, nobody’s forcing me to do it, and I’m certainly not looking for sympathy. I’m just explaining that it can be more of a drain than you might think, especially during a year that has more of its share of drains.

All of which brings me to this: As most of you know, I usually take a break from the site in August. I didn’t do that this week, in part because the NBA and NHL were finally restarting their seasons and I wanted to see how things played out. After today, however, two things will be changing for the rest of the month:

1. Phil will be running the site on weekdays, just as he’s done for for previous Augusts.

2. We will not be publishing on weekends.

Things will go back to normal on Sept. 1.

Although I won’t be blogging for the next few weeks, I’ll still be busy (August is when I work on my annual college football and NFL season previews), and I’ll be making various cameos here on the site. But I won’t be running the site on a day-to-day basis — and I also won’t be producing these daily porch dispatches, which will give me a nice chance to recharge my batteries.

I’ll still be taking daily PPC™ photos, though, and you’ll still be able to see them here.

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Important: If you usually scroll past the Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ section because you don’t care about it, go back and read it today. Important info.

Everyone take care, stay safe, and enjoy the rest of your summer. See you in a bit. — Paul