Monday Morning Uni Watch: Super Bowl Preview

Well, we won’t get to find out how they would’ve fit a fourth patch onto Drew Brees’s jersey, nor will we have a Blank Bumper Bowl, both of which would have been interesting.

But on the plus side, the Super Bowl will continue its run of never having had a mono-black team (a narrow escape), and the Rams have already announced that they’ll wear throwbacks for the big game, becoming the second team ever to do so. (The first such team, of course, was San Francisco in Supe XXIX.)

Personally, I was rooting for a Rams/Chiefs matchup, which would have looked great (especially if the Chiefs wore their red pants), but at least we’ll have the Pats’ striped socks, which are always a welcome element on the field.

Lots of people are already complaining about how the Rams’ helmets don’t match the shade of blue on their jerseys, “this just proves that the one-shell rule is stupid,” blah-blah-blah. For the umpteenth time, people, the helmet and jersey didn’t match back in the day either:

This will be the second time that the Rams and Pats have met in the Super Bowl. The first time — Supe XXXVI, in 2002 — looked like this:

Ugh, I’d forgotten that the Rams used to have gold side panels on those jerseys. They got rid of them, thankfully, the following season. (Also: It is a sobering thought to realize that Pats quarterback Tom Brady played in that game while Rams quarterback Jared Goff was busy being seven years old.)

Meanwhile: As per his annual custom, reader Jay Braiman has come up with the definitive list of trivia pertaining to this year’s two Super Bowl teams. Take it away, Jay:

The Rams will be the second team to wear a throwback uniform in the Super Bowl, after the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX. They’ll also be the second team after those 49ers to appear in the Super Bowl wearing one uniform design, then appear in a different design, and then appear again in the first design, although both of the times the Rams wore the first design they wore white jerseys (XIV and XXXIV); this will be the Rams’ first appearance in blue jerseys of any design.

The Rams are the second team to have both represented two different cities in the Super Bowl and returned representing the city they first represented. The first such team was the Oakland-L.A.-Oakland Raiders.

This is the first Super Bowl rematch in which one team is using the same uniform design it wore the first time, and the other is using a different design. It’s also the first Super Bowl rematch in which one team is representing a different city, and this is the first time that consecutive Super Bowls have been rematches.

The 17-year rematch gap (XXXVI–LIII) ties a record with the Steelers/Cowboys rematch in Super Bowl XXX 17 years after they met in Super Bowl XIII. Also, the Patriots are the first team to have Super Bowl rematches against three different teams (Giants, Eagles, Rams); they lost the first two.

This will be the first Super Bowl matchup of blue pants vs. yellow pants, and the 16th time that neither team will wear white pants (including the Rams/Patriots meeting in SB XXXVI). The Patriots are 2-4 in Super Bowls against teams wearing non-white pants, having beaten the Rams and Seahawks and lost to the Bears, Packers and Giants (twice). The Rams are 0-2 against teams wearing non-white pants (Steelers, Patriots).

[Update: Longtime reader/proofreader Jerry Wolper points out that the claim that this is the first blue/yellow pants matchup is inaccurate, since the Seahawks and Steelers wore those pants colors in Super Bowl XL. — PL]

This will be the eighth Super Bowl in which one team wears blue jerseys and the other has blue numerals on its white jerseys. Although not always the same shade (e.g., Colts/Bears in SB XLI), blue is the only color family to have appeared this way in Super Bowl games (i.e., there has never been, red jerseys vs. red numerals, black jerseys vs. black numerals, etc.).

This is the sixth consecutive year that both teams have mirror-image helmet decals (extending last year’s record), and that neither team has letters of the alphabet in its helmet decals (ditto). The Patriots are 5-1 in Super Bowls against teams without letters in their helmet logos (the one loss was to the Eagles last year) and 0-4 against teams with letters.

This is the third consecutive year, and the seventh time overall, that neither team’s helmet has center striping. The Patriots have been involved in six of those seven. The only one they weren’t involved in was Super Bowl IV (Chiefs/Vikings).

This is the 13th Super Bowl, the fourth involving the Rams, and the fourth involving the Patriots (second involving both) between one team whose helmet decal is its primary logo, and one whose helmet decal is not its primary logo.* The former have dominated the latter, winning 10 of the 12 games.

(*According to SportsLogos.net, during the relevant time periods, the Rams’, Eagles’ and Bengals’ helmet designs were the respective teams’ primary logos. However, this statistic refers to the decal, specifically, not the whole helmet. The statistic also does not count the Seahawks (1-2), whose primary logo and helmet decals differ only in execution, or the Giants (4-1), whose logo and decals differ only in color.)

The Patriots are 3-1 in Super Bowls against teams whose helmet shell and facemask are the same color (such as the Rams currently have), including their win over the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Overall, teams whose helmet shell and facemask are different colors have a 10-14 record against teams whose helmet shell and facemask are the same color.

Teams with custom numeral fonts (like the Patriots) are 8-6 against teams with standard block or varsity numerals (like the Rams). The Patriots are actually on both sides of this equation — 0-1 with block-against-custom (Bears, SB XX) and 1-3 with custom-against-block. The Rams have also worn both block and custom numerals in Super Bowls, going 1-0 with block-against-custom (Titans, SB XXXIV), no record with the opposite.

How awesome is that? I think we can all agree that there is no place else where you’ll find that level of deep uni-based trivia!

And then there’s this:

Okay, so that’s pretty funny. Todd Gurley apparently liked it so much that he ran it on his own Instagram.

(My thanks to Mike Chamernik for that Gurley embed, and doubleplusthanks to Jay Braiman for his annual mother lode of Super Bowl info.)

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A glove story: I’ve been saying for years now that the most significant and underappreciated football development over the past several decades is the rise of super-sticky gloves, which are now worn by players at almost every position and have led to countless one-handed receptions that would have been impossible a generation ago.

Now The New York Times has run an article about modern NFL gloves, which the article describes as “probably the most significant performance-related football equipment innovation since the advent of the cleat.” The article also includes lots of good historical background and interesting scientific info about how the gloves help to trap a moving ball — recommended reading.

We generally take for granted that gloves are permissible in football. They appeared sort of organically, much like batting gloves in baseball, and apparently nobody objected or said that they ought to be disallowed. Nowadays gloves are specifically allowed in the NFL (Rule 5, Section 4, Article 4, Item 8 of the league rulebook states that “players may wear gloves with a tackified surface if such tacky substance does not adhere to the football or otherwise cause handling problems for players”), but imagine if someone had said, “Nope, not allowed” — it would be a very different game today.

Given that quarterbacks often wear gloves these days, it seems like just a matter of time before ball-throwing players in other sports begin experimenting with gloves. What will happen, for example, if a baseball shortstop wants to wear a glove on his throwing hand –will that be allowed? What about a baseball pitcher? What about an NBA player? And how might the introduction of gloves change those sports, just as they’ve changed football?

All good food for thought.

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Hoop dreams: Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day — the day when we celebrate the life of history’s greatest American. With that in mind, reader Gerry Dincher found this 1962 photo of King giving a speech — an early version of his famous “I have a dream” speech — at the gymnasium of Booker T. Washington High School in Rocky Mount, N.C. I love that they let the basketball hoop stick out through the curtains, and it looks like the old scoreboard was a beauty.

King would have turned 90 this year. It’s incredible to think he was only 39 — 39! –when he was assassinated in 1968 (or to put it another way, paraphrasing the great Tom Lehrer, when King was my age, he’d been dead for 15 years). Think how much more he could have accomplished, and how different the world might be. What a waste.

The full story of the Rocky Mount gymnasium speech, including an audio excerpt from it, is available here.

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Fun with Post-its: There’s a very large ad at the South Station Red Line stop in Boston. A few days ago Uni Watch reader Justine DeCotis noticed that the ad frame was empty, which had prompted someone to leave a Post-it message. Let’s take a closer look:

I swear it wasn’t me.

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ITEM! Your input is requested: When I ordered the inventory for the flex-fit Uni Watch Alternate Cap, I misjudged the size breakdown. We sold out of the L/XL last month, but we still have 94 left of the S/M caps (which, with the flex-fit factor, are roughly the equivalent of sizes 6-3/4 through 7-1/8).

For logistical reasons not worth explaining here, my supplier will not be able to do the fulfillment on this remaining inventory. I figured I could try to sell and ship them myself at a cut-rate price, so I asked my supplier to just ship them to me. Unfortunately, the supplier is based in California, so the shipping is expensive — around $100 via UPS Ground.

Now I’m wondering if it’s worth it to have all the caps shipped to me if there isn’t enough demand for them. Like, if I can only sell, say, 25 of the caps, maybe I should only have that many of them shipped to me, so I can cut down on that one-time shipping fee. Or maybe we’ve sold all the S/M caps we’re going to sell and I should just have my supplier donate the remaining stock to charity.

All of which leads to the following question: If I sold these S/M caps for, say, $10.99, plus $4 shipping, how many people would be interested? Would you want to buy one? Would you even pre-order one? If so, please make your voice heard here:

Thanks — I appreciate your input.

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Membership update: I’ve always said that the worst uniforms make the best membership cards, and it’s hard to find a better example of that than Tyler Goldberg’s new card (which is based on, of course, the Mets’ BFBS alternates). That’s one of several new designs that have been added to the membership card gallery. I’ll expect to get the latest batch of printed/laminated cards in the mail toward the end of this week.

I have four slots open in the current batch. So the next four people who sign up will get their cards pretty quickly.

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. (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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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: This picture appears to show Dodgers infielder Manny Machado wearing an Orioles uniform, but with No. 8, his number with the Dodgers. Machado wore No. 13 with the Orioles (from Mark Lackinger). … Here’s a great shot of Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes shagging flies in a Mets uniform during the 2000 World Series, when he was five years old. His father, Pat Mahomes, was a Mets pitcher at the time. … Speaking of the Mets, they’ve decided not to do a Mercury Mets “throwahead” game this season, even though it’s the 20th anniversary of that game.

Football News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: this weekend’s college East-West Shrine Game was color-vs.-color, with players wearing their team’s helmets, and also includes a few Canadian university players who have to play American football for one game (from Wade Heidt). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Here’s a great shot of Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes shagging flies in a New York Mets uniform during the 2000 World Series, when he was five years old. His father, Pat Mahomes, was a Mets pitcher at the time.

Hockey News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments, when we mentioned the WHL Edmonton Oil Kings’ Don Cherry-themed uniforms: Goalie Todd Scott had a matching mask (from Wade Heidt). … The next three are also from Wade: The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs wore Pinktober-in-January uniforms. … New Portland Winterhawks (WHL) G Joel Hofer was wearing his old Swift Current Broncos pads. … The Canadian Women’s Hockey League All-Star Game was purple-vs.-gold. … German teams Schwenniger Wild Wings and Düsseldorfer EG played a blue-vs.-teal matchup, made possible because Düsseldorf are one of two teams in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga without a white jersey this season (from @MSinBOS). … The NWHL’s Boston Pride wear vertical sock stripes this season (from Amy Beth Marantino). … Reader Mike Guterman tells us that Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman, who is Jewish, autographed this jersey in both English and Hebrew.

Basketball News: North Carolina players are wearing Pinktober-in-January sneakers tonight (from James Gilbert). … Uni Watch NBA player-numbering correspondent Etienne Catalan has started a website cataloging every jersey worn by every NBA player this season. He also reports that Pacers G/F Stephan Hicks will wear No. 17.

Soccer News: Swedish team AIK released a solid black shirt – black is a team color – to be worn during preseason, as they also did last year (from Ed Żelaski). … Some players on Costa Rican team Alajuelense (red and black stripes) wear completely different ads from one another (from Ryan Burns). … The UEFA Champions League revealed its ball for the knockout stages, which is orange. … In the Scottish Cup, second-tier Inverness CT (black) and fifth-tier East Kilbride both changed because East Kilbride’s two shirts, which are blue/gold and white/red halves, would both clash with Inverness’s blue/red halves. … Mexican team Atlas debuted a highlighter-colored third kit against white-clad opponents UNAM; their colors are red and black. … Brazilian team Cruzeiro released their second shirt; the team’s crest is simply the Southern Cross.

Grab Bag: Japanese sports club Tokyo Verdy, which has begun expanding from soccer into other sports, is planning a 50th-anniversary redesign, including new uniforms for its teams. In the included picture you can see men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, baseball, field hockey, and judo (from Jeremy Brahm). … The NLL’s New England Black Wolves wore fifth-anniversary uniforms (from Wade Heidt). … Apparel designer Gabriela Hearst says her clothing is for powerful women (WaPo link): “I just want to give [them] uniforms for their lives so they feel comfortable in their power. I don’t want them to waste too much time thinking of what they’re wearing.”

Braves Unveil Uniform Changes for 2019

Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Braves; click to enlarge

The Braves held their annual winter fan-fest yesterday (as you can see above, it has a regrettable name that they should really retire already) and unveiled changes to four of their five uniforms — all but the home whites, which are unchanged.

Before we get to the changes, it’s worth mentioning that no MLB team needs five uniforms. The best thing that could have been done to some of these designs would be to eliminate them. But since they didn’t do that, here’s what they’ve done instead.

The Road Greys
The chest script has been tweaked a bit to feel more like the script on the home whites. Here’s a comparison of the old road script and the new script as they appear on jerseys in the official MLB Style Guide (for all images, click to enlarge):

And now here’s a comparison of the scripts as they appear on jerseys in the official MLB Shop:

This isn’t a major change, obviously, but I do think it’s an improvement. Reminds me of the similarly subtle change they made to the home script back in 2016.

The Home Cream Alternates
Another really small change here, as they’ve added piping to the sleeve cuffs. Here’s a comparison — old version on the left, new on the right (click to enlarge):

I can’t say I ever thought to myself, “You know what that jersey needs? Sleeve piping.” But now that I see it, it feels like an improvement. (And yes, I know the number looks smaller in the new version, but I think that’s just the retail mock-up. No change to the official number specs.)

Also: This uniform, which had previously been worn on no particular schedule, is now being designated as the Sunday alternate.

The Blue Road Alternates
Aside from a slight tweak to the script three years ago, this jersey has been unchanged since its introduction in 2008. But now they’re making some serious adjustments. Check it out — old versions on left, new on right (click to enlarge):

Obviously, this is a major improvement. The blue-on-blue design has always struck me as more of a BP look. Interestingly, the changes they’ve made are almost identical to a concept from Uni Watch reader Britton Thomas, which was linked on the site way back in 2010. After seeing the new design unveiled yesterday, Britton said, “I’ve never felt more vindicated.”

The Red Home Alternates
From 2005 through 2013, the Braves had a garish red alternate jersey. In 2014 they modified it with a star-spangled script. Now they’ve gone back to something close to the original version, but with more subdued piping (click to enlarge):

The new version is clearly the best of the three, although I don’t like seeing the Braves in red. They’d definitely be better off scrapping this one.

This jersey will be worn for Friday home games.

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Overall: Four changes, all for the better. I still think they only need one alternate (the blue one would suffice), and of course they need to scrap the Native American imagery. But within their current confines, they’ve definitely improved their look.

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it a few days ago, I have a new ESPN piece about a very interesting new product that could solve the NFL’s one-shell problem and also make multiple helmet designs widely available even to cash-strapped high school teams. Check it out here.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: Long before the advent of Chief Wahoo, there was a hockey team called the Cleveland Indians (additional info here, complete with a headdress-centric jersey crest (nice find by Steven Schapansky).

Baseball News: MLB posted a photos of the Yankees’ new bullpen acquisitions Photoshopped into their new uniforms, but they neglected to remove the Majestic logo creep from Adam Ottavino’s jersey (good spot by Ken Weimer). … We’ve shown this before, but once more won’t hurt: Ski jumping at Wrigley Field! … Check out this shot of Philadelphia A’s OF Lou Finney on Opening Day, 1934, at Yankee Stadium. Sure looks like his “2” is actually an upside-down and backwards “5”! (Good spot by @brianspeaksnow.) … The NHL’s Dallas Stars wore Texas Rangers-themed jerseys for pregame warmups last night. Here are some shots of them in action (from @esqurred, Mark Coale, and idkman5678).

Football News: I wasn’t too worried about the Chiefs possibly going mono-red for today’s AFC Championship Game. But if you were, you can rest easy. … The video showing the making of the helmets for the Polynesian Bowl offers a good look at how hydro-dipping works (from @vicious155).

Hockey News: New mask for Penn State G Peyton Jones (from Chris Grosse). … Check it out: A cement truck with a big Canucks logo, circa 1982 (from Dean McGee). … Caps C Evgeny Kuznetsov appears to have been trying to stretch out his jersey prior to Friday’s game against the Islanders (from Michael Alper). … Don Cherry-inspired jerseys last night for the Edmonton Oil Kings (from Wayne Jones). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: The Stars wore Texas Rangers-themed jerseys for pregame warmups last night. Here are some shots of them in action (from @esqurred, Mark Coale, and idkman5678).

NBA News: The Pacers used their “We Grow Basketball” logo at center court yesterday for “Basketball Day in Indiana” (from Jarrod Campbell and D.A. Ellis). … Speaking of the Pacers, they wore their Hickory throwbacks for that game — their first time wearing them with the new ad patch. Yeah, nothing says old-school Hoosier hoops like a big corporate jersey ad (from @tasty_magic). … Rockets G Chris Paul has Jordan bowling shoes (from @zanerzas). … Latest one-game makeover comes from the D League’s Northern Arizona Suns, who became the Northern Arizona Rodeo Clowns last night (from Blane Ferguson).

College Hoops News: New powder blue alternates for Creighton (from Patrick Marshall). … Detroit Mercy and Oakland went color vs. color yesterday (from Braxton Crisp). … Utah has new BFBS alternates with a retro feel (from Ramy Ahmed). … Memphis wore Memphis State throwbacks yesterday (from @MattyMok). … Weird-looking game in Blacksburg, as Virginia Tech and Wake Forest went white vs. light-grey, apparently the result of a mix-up on Wake’s part (although I still don’t understand why the host Hokies didn’t switch to a dark uni). … Auburn F Horace Spencer, who normally wears No. 0, changed to a No. 55 blood jersey after receiving a nasty cut over his eye in yesterday’s game. … New BFBS alternates for Oklahoma (from Sam McKinley).

Soccer News: Gross: The U.S. men’s national team has new training jerseys with a big, honking Volkswagen ad (from Scott Trembly). … The New York Red Bulls’ new kit may have leaked (from @zanerzas).

Grab Bag: Here’s a look at the current state of tennis endorsements. Additional info here (thanks, Brinke). … Pro golfer Steve Marino has been mixing his cap and shirt manufacturers. … D-III Fontbonne University has very cool volleyball uniforms (from Jim Vilk, who also found this volleyball-themed foot stool at a shop). … Light-heavyweight boxer Badou Jack was badly cut during last night’s bout against Marcus Browne. And if that looks like a lot of blood, look how much blood the ref ended up wearing (from Griffin Smith).

Chew on This

Paul here, pinch-hitting for Phil, who has the weekend off. Interesting package-design news yesterday from Big League Chew, which announced that a girl will be featured for the first time on the product’s familiar pouch. This is something that probably should have happened a long time ago, but it’s nice that it’s finally happening now. The new package will start appearing at retail next month.

That got me thinking: Big League Chew was launched in 1980 and, of course, was meant to mimic chewing tobacco. I never chewed Big League Chew myself (I was in high school when it debuted — a bit older than the target market), but I umpired some Little League games in 1981 and remember that it was popular with some of the kids, who had fun pretending that they had a big chaw in their cheek, just like George Brett or whoever their favorite ballplayer was.

Nowadays, though, tobacco has largely been eliminated from baseball. Do today’s kids even understand that Big League Chew is a riff on chewing tobacco? If so, would they view that as a positive thing? It seems like a product whose concept may be obsolete.

For those of you who have young kids, is Big League Chew on their radar?

(My thanks to our own Brinke Guthrie for bringing the new package design to my attention.)

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And speaking of George Brett…: Nice cross-sport uni move by the Royals, who showed their support for the Chiefs in tomorrow’s AFC Championship Game by putting a Patrick Mahomes jersey on the George Brett statue at Kaufman Stadium. Here are a couple of additional shots (click to enlarge):

(My thanks to Lendsey Thomson for this one.)

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The real thing: Bittersweet moment for me last night, as I went to Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop in Greenpoint and visited my old Coke machine for the first time since selling it to Paulie last summer. I’m glad it’s in a place where it can be used and appreciated, but it still shook me up a bit to see it on someone else’s turf. It had been mine for 21 years. Sigh.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Absolutely gorgeous new throwback pullovers for Texas A&M. Probably makes them one of the best-looking college baseball teams in the country (from @atxaggie07). … The Phillies have had their St. Patrick’s Day caps leaked: white with a green bill and squatchee, with a green Liberty Bell as the primary mark, with a small clover towards the top of the cap (from @FSBabyHuey). … Houston’s Karbach Brewing Company is teaming up with the ’Stros and launching a line of tequila sunrise-inspired cans (from Ignacio Salazar and Al Gruwell). … HatClub has brought a 1985 Padres prototype cap to life. Here’s the actual prototype cap and jersey (from Shannon Shark). … Cross-posted in the college football section: Whoa, check out these awesome pics of Astros and University of Houston football players testing out the then-new Astroturf at the Astrodome in 1966. A bit odd that the ’Stros are wearing road unis, no? (From Nick Lineback.) … Some really great old Alaskan Little League unis in this gallery (from Christopher Piscotti). … Check out the caps Lakewood is giving away on Irish Heritage Night, Aug. 10 (from John Cerone).

NFL News: So yesterday, CBS Sports Radio host Damon Amendolara sent us this picture of an awesome Bengals cap, taken on the field after the 1981 AFC Championship Game. This led to a long discussion where multiple Twitter users posted their own helmet caps, culminating in Chris Murphy posting a pic of the entire set, and an ad for them featuring Mean Joe Greene. Why hasn’t the power of nostalgia brought these back yet?!

College Football News: Also posted in the MLB section: whoa, check out these awesome pics of Astros players and University of Houston football players testing out the Astroturf at the Astrodome in 1966. A bit odd that the ‘Stros players are wearing road unis, no? (from Nick Lineback). … Here’s a really good Photoshop of Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall in a West Virginia uni (from David Cline).

Hockey News: We’ve probably covered this before, but just in case: Penguins C Evgeni Malkin wears two different gloves during games (from David Schucosky). … Color on color alert! That’s RMU in blue and Canisius in gold (from Matt Gajtka and Jonathan Hanna). … We’ve seen contrasting nameplates before, and we’ve seen nameplates below the uni number before, but have we ever seen contrasting, below the uni number nameplates? That’s Michigan Tech against Bemidji State (from DJ Belfey).

Basketball News: Memphis will wear throwbacks today against SMU (thanks, Phil). … Western University women went all pink for breast cancer awareness (from Ewan Williams). … It appears a Northwestern-branded ball had the Northwestern logo off-center compared to the Under Armour logo (from Jerry Kulig).

Soccer News: FootyHeadlines has leaked the colors of Manchester City’s 2019-20 away kit. They’re calling the accent color “peach” but let’s be real here — if the mockups are accurate, that’s pink. … German side TSG 1899 Hoffenheim have gotten a new stadium advertiser (thanks, Jamie).

Grab Bag: Reader Jamie Tallman found and uploaded this awesome footage of Cuban Olympic athletes exercising in satin unis on their way to Rome in 1960. Highly recommended, even though it’s less than 30 seconds. … Rugby league team Toronto Wolfpack — who play in the British rugby league system — have launched their new away kit (from James Welham). … “What the hell is this skirt!??” asks Ken Weimer.

Zero-Sum Game: Yanks Sign Adam Ottavino

The Yankees have never had a player wear zero or double-zero. But that might be changing, as reports indicate that they’ve signed free agent reliever Adam Ottavino, who’s been wearing No. 0 for the Rockies since 2013.

Ottavino, like several other zero-clad players over the years, likes No. 0 because his name starts with “O” (others who fit that description include Rey Ordoñez and Junior Ortiz), but it remains to be seen if that sentiment will sway the notoriously hidebound Yankees. The issue was discussed in this 2017 article. Here’s the key passage:

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he grew up watching Al Oliver, who wore zero, and would allow one of his players to wear it, too.

“I have no issue with No. 0,” Cashman said. “To me, it is just a number.”

Cashman is generally not involved in handing out numbers, as that falls to equipment man Rob Cucuzza. Cashman would chime in only if there is a free agent who requests a certain number, and he might start the conversation to see what the team can do.

So it sounds like there’s some wiggle room there. Personally, I’m rooting for Ottavino to wear the zero, just because it would be so incongruous on so many levels.

And what if the Yankees say no? The last non-zero number Ottavino was issued was 37, which he wore for the Rockies in 2012, but he definitely can’t wear that for the Yanks — it’s retired for Casey Stengel.

Meanwhile, as you can see in the photo at the top of today’s entry, Ottavino has sometimes sported a beard. The Yanks will definitely make him shave that off, whichever number he ends up wearing.

(My thanks to Robert Neely for bringing that 2017 article to my attention.)

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ITEM! New ESPN column: When it comes to football helmet design, there’s basically big-time college football and then there’s everybody else. The big college programs have a rotating carousel of helmet designs — often three, four, or five per school — while smaller colleges and high schools don’t have the financial resources for that kind of thing and NFL teams are hamstrung by the one-shell rule.

Now there’s a new product that could change all of that. I’ve written about it in my latest ESPN piece, and I think you’ll find it very interesting. Check it out here.

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Instant classic: Lakers forward Michael Beasley, the man who once rubbed his teammate’s knee because he mistakenly thought it was his own, had another classic moment during last night’s game against the Thunder. As he prepared to check into the game, he ripped off his warmup pants and discovered that he was wearing his practice shorts instead of his game shorts.

Beasley headed straight to the locker room for a quick wardrobe change. No word on whether he rubbed his knee while he was there.

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Braves update: We’ve known all week now that the Braves will be unveiling “refreshed” uniforms, whatever that means, at a promotional event tomorrow. Yesterday we got some hints regarding what that might entail.

The team’s promotional schedule indicates that there will be a red-jersey giveaway on April 7. The jersey shown in the promo photo is different than the star-spangled, tomahawk-free version that the Braves have been wearing in recent years. It appears to be the same red alternate they had from 2005 through 2013.

In addition, the Braves announced a series of bobblehead giveaways for 2019. One of the bobbles is a hybrid design featuring Dansby Swanson and Charlie Culberson (who are supposedly lookalikes — hence the hybrid design), with Swanson (I think) wearing the same red design from the April 7 jersey giveaway.

So I think it’s a safe bet that the Braves will, at the very least, be unveiling a new (read: old) red jersey tomorrow. My understanding is that they have other things in the works as well, although I don’t know what those things are.

In any case, we’ll have coverage of the Braves’ refreshments on Sunday.

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The Ticker
By Yianni Varonis

Baseball News: The Cardinals’ winter caravan logo has an apostrophe catastrophe (from David Truman). … Here’s another example of a tequila sunrise-inspired design, this time on an IPA beer can featuring a generic ballplayer. Also, take note of the player’s hops sleeve patch (from Douglas Brei).

NFL News: From Phil: This article documents the history of the Browns’ helmets. … Also from Phil: This opinion piece bemoans that the Rams will wear their white jerseys in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game instead of their royal blue throwbacks.

College and High School Football News: From Phil: If you ever wanted to know every uniform combination that Florida has worn this decade, now you can. … A Utah high school football coach has been suspended for the first two games of next season because his team wore white uniforms at home during this year’s state championship game (from Paul Warne).

Hockey News: New Flyers G Mike McKenna recently received a mask featuring team mascot, Gritty, and revealed this tidbit: Through his career playing for 19 organizations, he hasn’t always been allowed to keep his sweaters, though he always kept his masks (from @PhillyPartTwo). … Check out the tenths of a second shown on the two sides of the scoreboard in this shot from a USHL game — photographer Peter Wilt must have caught it at just the right moment (from Dan Pfeifer). … The Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL will be wearing unis supporting the Jayden Deluca Foundation this weekend. “First time I’ve ever seen the foundation logo completely replace the team logo on the front of a jersey,” says Brett Thomas.

NBA News: Reader Etienne Catalan has several jersey number updates for recently acquired players: New Pistons G Isaiah Whitehead will wear No. 12, new Pistons G Kalin Lucas will wear No. 24, new Rockets F James Nunnally will wear No. 21, new Cavaliers F Deng Adel will wear No. 99 (the second player in team history to do so), and new Knicks G Kadeem Allen will wear No. 0.

College Hoops News: Michigan State has added a “Gus” memorial patch in memory of former coach George “Gus” Ganakas, who recently passed away. The patch made its debut at last night’s game at Nebraska, and Nebraska’s equipment manager, Pat Norris, got the patches added to the MSU jerseys (from @budcone7 and David Harns).

Soccer News: Italian club Roma’s new retro-inspired shirt has leaked, and it’s a good one (from @deadendnights). … A few items from reader Josh Hinton: Next season, Arsenal will apparently wear a modern rendition of the team’s infamous “bruised banana” jerseys; in the EPL, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy spooked his teammates by wearing a Spider-Man costume during a training session; and the Seattle Sounders have a new jersey advertiser has been released … Speaking of which: The Sounders and Seattle Reign of the NWSL now share a new shirt advertiser (from Ed Zelaski). … Also from Ed: New shirt for Argentinian club San Lorenzo. … Forward Madison FC, a Wisconsin-based club of the United Soccer League, has invited fans to design the season ticket holder scarf for its inaugural season (from JohnMark Fisher).

Grab Bag: Curling’s Continental Cup has begun, and with it brings new uniforms which this article describes as “loud,” “colorful,” and “patriotic” (from Wade Heidt). … The Ohio State University is hosting an on-campus exhibit on the relationship between sports and fashion (from Lain Landon). … In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope, where Paul lived until recently, mothers now have a new “uniform” (NYT link). … Donald Trump’s fashion tip for slenderizing? Long ties (from Jason Hillyer). … United Airlines has new uniforms for frontline employees and there’s a reason airlines are outfitting their employees in purple. Sorry, Paul! (From Phil and Edward Hahn.) … Speaking of airlines, here are the five design finalists for Chicago O’Hare’s $8.5 billion expansion. … Seeing double: Nike has a new shoe that includes the company’s logo inside of its own logo. … A North Dakota artist has become popular making throw pillows out of old college marching band uniforms. … A Russian company wants to put a bunch of satellites in low-Earth orbits so they can display advertisements (from Jeremy Reeder).