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True Colors Vol. V-b: Matt Olbert Strikes Again!

By Phil Hecken

I’m back again today with colorizer Matt Olbert, who I featured in February and again in early May. Matt really needs no additional introduction, but if you missed either of those two columns, I’d recommend clicking either link (the first one contains a “getting to know you” interview as well). Matt, who posts on Twitter as @FenwayPhotoshop, has kept up his colorization skills, though he tells me he recently got a new job (congrats!) but also his laptop — on which he creates his colorizations — died (oh no!). As his name implies, Matt likes the Red Sox, so his colorizations tend to favor the Sawx and games at the Fens (and of course the greatest hitter of all time). But not all of them.

So, without further ado, here is another sweet batch from Matt (with his descriptions below). Click to enlarge. Enjoy!

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Ted Williams, Yankee Stadium

Really went for the realism with this one, hopefully I pulled it off. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and watch these legendary players play in these legendary parks. By the way, another very difficult thing to colorize is the transition from grass to dirt, which is a big part of this one.

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Jimmie Foxx & Hank Greenberg, Fenway Park, 1937

Two of the greatest hitters of all time posing in two of the most classic uniforms of all time.

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Jimmy Dykes, Chicago White Sox, 1933

I don’t know much about Jimmy Dykes or the ’33 White Sox but I love this uniform and this photo. Look at that face! What does he know that I don’t? Probably a lot about the ’33 White Sox.

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All Star Game Starting Pitchers Lefty Grove & Dizzy Dean pose together at Braves Field in Boston prior to the 4th Annual All Star Game, July 7th, 1936

Those Cardinals caps almost look inside-out, like a rally cap, very strange look. Love how little both these jerseys have changed over the past 80 years. Also, the Red Sox lettering in blue with the red trim is MINT.

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Manager Connie Mack and his star slugger, Jimmie Foxx, Fenway Park, circa 1934

Usually it takes me a day or two to color a photo but this one took months, I kept putting it down and coming back to it multiple times. The hardest part was honestly getting Mr. Mack’s hair to look natural, it’s really hard to color thinning white hair. ‘Double X’ is also one of my favorite subjects to colorize.

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Ted Williams

The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived during arguably his greatest season, 1941

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Jackie Robinson watches intently to ensure that Bobby Thomson touches home plate following the Shot Heard ‘Round the World, Polo Grounds, Oct. 3, 1951

I recently stumbled upon this photo and couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before, I think it should be considered one of the greatest sports photos ever taken. The jubilation of the Giants andtheir fans celebrating the fact that “the Giants win the pennant!” juxtaposed with the despair and lonliness of defeat that so evident in the body language of Ralph Branca and Robinson, whose iconic ’42’ is so bold in this picture. I hope that by adding color I was able to bring it to life just a little bit.

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Wood, Young, Grove, and Johnson

4 of the game’s greatest pitchers, Smokey Joe Wood, Cy Young, Lefty Grove, and Walter Johnson, pose for a photo in the Fenway Park dugout before an Old-Timer’s game. The great rivalry between Wood and Johnson during the 1912 season is one of my favorite duels in baseball history, I love thinking of the two of them getting to talk about it so many years later. Cy Young looks like he’s probably got a few more good fastballs in him, I bet he could’ve gone out and gotten win #512. I also like how Lefty Grove is dressed exactly like my Dad on his way to a parent-teacher conference.

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Young Ted

A Red Sox stand-out rookie stands by the cage during batting practice, 1939. I love photos from 1939 because that giant sleeve patch makes them so easy to date.

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Wonderful stuff, once again, Matt. Thanks!

Kreindler’s Korner

I had the distinct pleasure of featuring the wonderful artwork of artist Graig Kriendler on two occasions over the summer and fall of 2017.

For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.

Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.

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

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Title: “The Heater Makes History”
Subject: Bob Feller, 1940
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 56″ x 34″

The first time I saw the reference photo I would eventually use to make this painting, I was taken aback by how much energy it had. Nevermind that fact that it depicted a pitch from his no-hitter on Opening Day in 1940. It was the image itself that hooked me. The swooping diagonal of his arm and the ball. The knee almost brushing against the mound. The blur and strain in his face. I had always heard tons of anecdotes about Bob Feller and his intensity, and over the years, had familiarized myself with his wind-up and pitching motion. This particular photograph seemed to capture it all, as I could picture the entire action of his throw – almost like a GIF file, playing over and over again in my head.

In this sort of composition, it was a bit tough to make sure that the viewer’s eyes went to Bob first, especially since he’s not the largest figure in the painting. The catcher, umpire and Joe Kuhel had to really sit back in a secondary role, despite the fact that they were towering over Feller in terms of size. I was able to draw the attention away from them by edge control – keeping them very soft with few sharp lines, as well as cropping tight into them and giving Bob a bit more room to breathe on his left side (the centerfield wall, specifically). They were minor adjustments to the original photograph, but in the end, I think they really did the trick.

Through my research, it was interesting to note how few people attended the game because of the frigid temperatures in Chicago that day – only 14,000 fans were in the stands, including Bob’s mother, father and sister. With that in mind, it was important for me to keep the palette pretty dark and cold in temperature, hence a lot of the icy blues and greens. It made for the ballpark being a pretty uninviting place, but for those of you who have been to games in mid April, you know that it certainly can be as such.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about this painting is what happened to it after it was completed. In the summer of 2009, I presented it to Bob Feller himself to hang in his museum in Van Meter, IA. Upon seeing it he remarked that I had gotten so many of the details right, especially the weather conditions, crowd size, and what it felt like to be in Comiskey that cold afternoon (it should come as no surprise that he remembered all of this, himself).

Soon after Feller passed away in 2010, the painting moved to its new home: Progressive Field in Cleveland. Hopefully it’ll reside there for a long time.

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

Beating a Dead “P”?

Weekend readers will recall a topic of discussion last weekend (click here, scroll down to the “Too Good For The Ticker” section) generated by Alan Filipczak which centered around possibly “hidden” elements in the current “P” logo used by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Alan has offered up one last “think piece” and drawn some of his own conclusions on the logo.

Here’s Alan:

Last weekend’s Uni Watch discussions centered around the Pirates’ logo, and whether or not there were intentional hidden images (keystones, hypocycloids) in the P itself. The headslap moment for me was someone pointing out the obvious–the Giants began using the same font at least as long as the Pirates have, if not earlier. I had never noticed that the Giants and Pirates use basically the same font, but once it was pointed out, it was painfully obvious.

So the hidden feature phenomenon can be chalked up as something in between happy coincidence and squint-and-you-see-it confirmation bias. Still, I wanted to see what the P logo would look like with those features, so I mocked up this altered Pirates logo. The lower left portion of the letter is a keystone for Pennsylvania and the pointed corners (upper right) are drawn around US Steel-style hypocycloid curves. The end result looks like a slightly more jagged version of what the Pirates currently use.

Thanks Alan. So how does the “new” logo look with those elements added?

Last year, reader Ed Kendrick provided uniform tracking for us for four teams: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. This year, he’s added a fifth team, the San Francisco Giants.

Now that we’ve reached the “mid-point” in the season (post All Star Break), Ed has updated all the combos for all the squads.

You can check them all out via this link.

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Last night, Martín Pérez of the Rangers pitched to Cleveland’s C Roberto Pérez. Note that both spell their name with an acute accent over the ‘e’. But only one Pérez (Roberto) actually had the acute accent on their NOB (from @bs_brewer). … The conventional wisdom says that between 1999 and 2006, at the height of the Reds BFBS era, the Reds never wore their all-red cap. Our own Alex Hider discovered that’s not true, and the Reds went with their red caps for at least one game in 2000. Eventually, Cody Tescher chimed in with a screenshot of Wikipedia saying that the all-red caps were Sunday specials in the 2000 season … Speaking of the Reds, it seems the Brewers (or whoever makes their officially licensed calendar) don’t know that it was Cincy who wore the last pullover primary unis in the big leagues (from Kurt Rozek). … According to reader Robert Hayes, the Indians have gone with the Wahoo cap the last several times Trevor Bauer has pitched, including with the road greys, a combination never seen before this season. So much for phasing out Wahoo. … The Brooklyn Cyclones’ Seinfeld Night unis are absolutely amazing. And normally, we at Uni Watch don’t like stadium sponsorships, we’ll make an exception for Vandelay Industries Park (from Chris Honeycutt). … Pitcher Jacob Turner is still around, now playing for the Toledo MudHens and inexplicably wearing No. 419 (from Jeffrey Sak). … Travis Woods found a David Ortiz jersey at Goodwill that had a Blue Jays’ 40th Anniversary patch. Judging by the look of the numbers, I think this is a knockoff. … Also posted in the basketball section: new Dodger Manny Machado chose his new uni number not because of Cal Ripken as has been previously reported, but mostly because he’s a big Kobe Bryant fan and even named his dog Kobe (from Mike Chamernik and Griffin Smith). … When the Colorado Springs Sky Sox met with the Memphis Redbirds in Tennessee, not all of their gear came with them, so Sky Sox players had to wear spare Redbirds helmets (from Noah Petro). … Want the DC flag headband Bryce Harper wore during the Home Run Derby? That’ll cost you $15.99 (thanks, Phil).

NFL News: SB Nation has declared that the Bucs’ creamsicle unis are badass, and I’m inclined to agree (thanks, Phil). … SB Nation’s 49ers blog Niners Nation has similarly declared that the Niners’ early 2000s unis matched how bad the early 2000s Niners were (thanks again, Phil). … Not uni related, but there are some great vintage Packers pics in this article (from Chance Plett). … Speaking of vintage photos, Richard Green sends in this gallery of vintage Saints training camp pics. … A Pittsburgh-area theme park will be opening a Steelers-branded roller coaster in 2019 (from Kary Klismet).

College/High School Football News: Nevada revealed their new unis yesterday (from Matt Turley). … There was a minor kerfuffle around Austin recently as some early pics of Texas players appeared to show the Longhorns’ jerseys as a brighter orange than usual. After the AD got involved, it was revealed it was just an Instagram filter that made the jerseys appear a brighter orange (from Joey Breeland). … Florida posted a five second video of their seamstress getting their new Jordan Brand practice jerseys ready (from @DaveDoop).

NBA News: The Chicago Sky’s breast health awareness jerseys went from being majority pink during the Adidas years to majority black now with Nike (from @TheSkyShowCHI). … Cross-posted from the baseball section: new Dodger Manny Machado chose his new uni number not because of Cal Ripken as has been previously reported, but mostly because he’s a big Kobe Bryant fan and even named his dog Kobe (from Mike Chamernik and Griffin Smith). … Also posted in the soccer section: artist and designer Franco Carbajal made some absolutely gorgeous soccer kit designs for NBA teams in the Western Conference. Highly recommended (thanks, Phil).

Soccer News: Kind of difficult to see here, but the Renault F1 team has added two stars to their livery (right on the tip of the nose) in honor of France’s World Cup victory (from @bdh_photos). … Josh Hinton writes in with several soccer items, including Hull’s away, Bolton’s away and news that Manchester City will wear the logo of the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi instead of Etihad Airways for their first friendly match in the United States. … Cross-posted in the soccer section: artist and designer Franco Carbajal made some absolutely gorgeous soccer kit designs for NBA teams in the Western Conference. Highly recommended (thanks, Phil).

Grab Bag: Cross-posted from the soccer section: Kind of difficult to see here, but the Renault F1 team has added two stars to their livery (right on the tip of the nose) in honor of France’s World Cup victory (from @bdh_photos). … Rugby fans on Reddit think the new French national rugby sevens kits look like the kits of an unlicensed team from the video game Rugby Challenge. Here’s how they look on-field (Reddit thread from Eric Bangerman, match pic from J Keith Privett). … The following rugby items are both from Josh Gardner: Scarlets, an English team, released their new kits yesterday, revealing an astonishing 17 different uni ads. … Racing 92, a French club, moved their club’s crest to the bottom of their jerseys in order to fit more ads. “Madness,” Josh says. … Wichita State is bringing back its marching band for the first time since 1986, and their unis are…interesting, to say the least (from Paul Deaver). … Here’s a great look at a former pro soccer player’s new “simplistic” sneaker brand (from Tom Turner).

Uni Watch Field Trip: A Visit to the Brannock Device Co.

For all photos, you can click to enlarge

I had a blast throwing out the first pitch for the Syracuse Chiefs’ recent Brannock Device Night promotion, but the high point of that day did not come at the ballpark. It came a few hours earlier and a few miles away, when the Tugboat Captain and I visited the Brannock Device Company and got a tour of their factory, which is about as close as I can get to a holy pilgrimage.

The guy shown above is Tim Follett, the company’s vice president and day-to-day operations manager. His father-in-law, Sal Leonardi, bought the company in 1993, shortly after Charles Brannock’s death. Brannock had no family and hadn’t set up a succession plan, so his estate ended up selling the company to Leonardi. (Leonardi was not at the factory when I visited, but I did get to meet him later on at the ballpark.)

The current factory is not the original one, unfortunately. Shortly after Leonardi bought the company, he moved it from its original location in downtown Syracuse to its current spot in the neighboring town of Liverpool. The new facility was also furnished with new equipment, so not much remains from the original Brannock site. That includes most of the old files, paperwork, and many other artifacts, which were acquired some years ago by the Smithsonian Institution. Follett told me he and his family have gone down to Washington and seen some of the old Brannock items on display.

Still, there are some remnants of the old regime, including a few portraits of Charles Brannock himself on the walls. Also on the walls: assorted articles about the company — including one that I wrote back in 2001, when I was a columnist for Fortune Small Business. I won’t lie, people: It was a big thrill seeing that on the wall. (If you’re curious, you can read the piece here.)

Even if I hadn’t seen my article up there, I still would have been in heaven. Everywhere I looked, there were boxes and stacks of Brannock Devices in various states of assembly:

Follett walked us through the production process, which turned out to be more involved than I anticipated. Here’s a slightly truncated version of how the devices are made:

1. The main body of each device is die-cast from aluminum. I was surprised and a bit disappointed to learn that this step has always been outsourced to other metal fabricators and has never taken place in Syracuse. The current supplier, which is based in Pennsylvania, also makes the device’s two sliding parts — the T-bar (which measures foot width) and the pointer (which measures arch length). All of these parts are shipped to the Brannock plant.

2. The body of each device arrives in an unpolished and unfinished state, with lots of stray pieces of metal attached to it. You can see what I mean by looking at this next photo — the device on the right has lots of stray pieces along its edge, while the one on the left is nice and clean:

The stray bits are removed by putting the devices onto a machine that cleans off their edges, like so:

3. After the devices are removed from that machine, they’re put on another machine that sands down the edges:

4. The next step is for the devices to be polished. This actually entails several stages, the most interesting of which involves these big, vibrating tubs. Inside the tubs, the Brannock Devices are cleaned with a polishing solution and are scrubbed by dozens of little porcelain cones. I’d never seen anything like this before, and it was fascinating:

5. After the polishing, the next step is the buffing machine. I thought I had shot a good, long video clip of this one that showed the whole process, but it turns out that I botched that shot, so all I have is this short clip:

6. Around this time there’s a step where the inlays with the graphics are applied to the devices. Unfortunately, nobody was working on that during our visit. But here are the inlays (which are metal, with an adhesive backing), ready to be applied:

7. Graphics also need to be applied to the T-bars. And before they can be applied, they have to be bent. You can see both of those processes in this video clip:

8. After the T-bars are ready to go, the T-bars and pointers are both attached to the devices. In this next video, you’ll see a worker brushing something onto the back of the device — that’s Vaseline, to help the T-bar and pointer slide more easily. (I asked if it was “special Brannock Vaseline” and everyone laughed.) The next thing she applied, from a red bottle, is glue.

And that’s it — the final product.

I’ve always been intrigued by the pointer design, which is very ornate, almost like one of the feet on a clawfoot bathtub. I mentioned this to Follett, who said, a bit sheepishly, that they had actually “dumbed down” the pointer design a bit in recent years. You can see what he means in this next photo — that’s an older pointer, with the original design, on the right, and a newer “dumbed down” version on the left:

You can also see the difference in my older Brannock Device, which I purchased from a shoe store in 1993, and the souvenir device that I received at the ballpark, which was made last month. Original pointer on the left, newer “dumbed down” pointer on the right:

Before we left, Follett showed us what he believes to be the oldest Brannock Device remaining in the shop. He said it probably dates to the 1920s or ’30s:

It’s interesting to see how the T-bar design changed quite a bit from that early version, but the pointer, with its original ornate design, is still instantly recognizable.

The whole experience was tremendous, and in some ways was the realization of a longtime dream. Big thanks to Tim and his staff for showing us around.

I’m pretty sure this brings my admittedly very extensive coverage of Brannock Device Night to a close. I realize we’ve had a lot more Brannock coverage than the average Uni Watch reader probably expected or cared about. Thanks for your indulgence.

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Stoop sale update: My epic stoop/open-house sale will commence tomorrow at 10am sharp (no early birds, please). This is a major purge, people — in addition to all the cool collectibles shown here (which I’ll be selling right off the walls of my apartment, sort of like an estate sale except I’m not dead), I’ll also be selling all of the pencil sharpeners, all of the meat recipe booklets, a really good goose down quilt and an accompanying cover, an ice cream maker and accompanying ice cream recipe book, my mom’s vintage stand mixer, my father’s vintage soldering iron, 11 boxes’ worth of books, some very cool retail display shelves, a pair of stereo speakers, and a lot more. Out with the old, to make room for the new!

From a sports perspective, there’ll be four boxes of sports-centric books, a bunch of vintage jerseys, several dozen pairs of stirrups, six regulation footballs, a 1960s reproduction Packers helmet made by Helmet Hut, set of vintage NHL sheets, a vintage NFL bedspread, lots and lots of bowling-themed items (including a few pins), and probably a few other things I’m forgetting. I’ll have signed/numbered Todd Radom Uni Watch “Rain Check” prints and theoretical T-shirts (and onesies!) on hand as well.

Some final notes:

• The weather forecast calls for rain in the mid-afternoon (grrrr), so plan to arrive before then. If the forecast gets worse — calling for rain in the morning, for example — it’s possible that we’ll move the sale to Sunday. The best way to stay informed on that is to keep an eye on my Twitter feed and the sale’s Facebook event page. I promise that I will post a status update to both of those platforms before going to bed tonight and another one when I wake up tomorrow. No emails, please — thanks.

• Cash is preferred (and there’s a Chase ATM right at the corner), but I can also accept Venmo and credit cards.

• Prices are fluid and may depend on a bunch of factors, including my mood. Generally speaking, the non-collectible stuff will be very priced to move; the collectible stuff will be a bit spendier.

• As of this morning, there’s some talk that The New York Times may be sending a reporter and photographer to cover the sale. My sense is that it’s probably not going to happen (a final decision will come later today), but if it does happen, the reporter is particularly interested in talking to Uni Watch readers who’ve never previously met me, or each other — a fun angle.

I think that’s it. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

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XXL cap reminder: If you want us to stock the upcoming Uni Watch “alternate” flex-fit cap in size XXL, you must pre-order it now. If we get enough pre-orders to meet our supplier’s 144-cap minimum (or close to it), we’ll go ahead and stock the cap in XXL; if we don’t get enough pre-orders, we’ll issue refunds.

The other two sizes — S/M and L/XL — do will be in stock and available for purchase right around the end of July, no pre-order required. Thanks for your patience!

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The Ticker
By Kris Gross

Baseball News: Cubs INF Addison Russell broke his belt making a diving play last night, so he had to get a new one (from Eric Lovejoy). … It looks like new Dodger Manny Machado will wear No. 8. He wore No. 13 with the Orioles, but that is taken by his new teammate Max Muncy (from Billy Ballas). … An interesting number note from Griffin Smith: Cardinals interim manager Mike Shildt wears No. 8 because he used to shine Cal Ripken’s shoes. … The Pirates entered the All-Star break on a five-game sweep of the Brewers. Why do we care? They did it in five different uniforms (from Charles Sherrange). … Here’s a story on the life of Bryce Harper’s Washington DC flag headband (WaPo link) that he wore during the Home Run Derby (from Tom Turner). … The Fresno Grizzlies played as the Tacos last night. … We have more details on the Expos tribute jerseys the Vancouver Canadians will wear on Monday. … The New Orleans Baby Cakes are thinking of bringing back their tequila sunrise jerseys for next year. Should this even be a question? (From @danielbowen21.) … A strange sight from last night, as Cardinals and Cubs affiliates played in the opposite colors of their big league parent clubs (from Josh Miller). … A Pioneer League team is taking over after the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox leave, and here are the finalists for the new team name. Fingers crossed for Rocky Mountain Oysters!! (From Zeke Perez Jr.) … The Fort Myers Miracle will play as the Groupers tomorrow (from Reggie Holly). … Byrte Johnson needs help identifying this 1960s flannel jersey. Any ideas? … Reader Ian Cox broke in his new Uni Watch cap by bringing it to Wrigley Field for last night’s Cubs/Cards game. “Feels only appropriate to wear this for the first time while attending a classic uniform matchup at a historic ballpark,” he says.

NFL News: Here’s a fun look at the first year the Packers wore green (from Jeff Ash). … Browns fans, your season tickets are on their way. If you aren’t excited about the football this year, you’ll be excited about the ticket packaging that is coming your way (from our own Alex Hider). … FedEx Field should be a more attractive destination for fans (WaPo link) this season (from Tom Turner). … Looks like the Dolphins had some helmet striping tape issues during a 1983 game against the Chiefs (from Steven Marks). … The league has agreed to suspend its new policy on national anthem protests while it works out some objections with the players’ union.

College Football News: The new NC State jerseys feature a tribute to the state flag (from James Gilbert). … New unis for Maine. … Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson wins today’s lapel pin contest (from Benjamin Thomas). … Miami has made several tweaks, which are explained here and here (from Aron Christiansen).

Hockey News: The Golden Knights and the US Army have resolved their trademark dispute, which means the team name is no longer in legal jeopardy. … The Kalamazoo Wings are holding a uniform design contest for what the team will wear in December. … New uniforms for Merrimack College (from Stephen Hayes).

Basketball News: The Warriors’ Boogie Cousins press conference yesterday had lots of uni-notable details. First, it appears that the team will have a new NOB font. Second, it appears that the ad patch on the front has a new design (here’s the old one). Third, the jersey they gave Cousins had an incorrect champions tag (they won their sixth title last month). And finally, Cousins will be wearing No. 0 (from @leo_bopp and UnkieNoah). … Did you know: the Jazz had a .500 or better record in each of their four jerseys last season (from @HitTheGlass). … Thunder G Russell Westbrook pays homage to UCLA with his newest shoes (from Griffin Smith). … The Nuggets have a new practice court. … GameStops received life-size LeBron James cutouts to help promote the new NBA2K game. Some stores have found creative ways to cover his Cavs jersey — much respect to those keeping them ad-free! (From Joe Nguyen.) … Pictures of the Bucks’ new court have leaked. … New court design for Sacramento State (from Russell Preston).

Soccer News: Manchester City will wear Manchester-themed kits during their tour in the United States. One of the features is the “worker bee” symbol inside the numbers (from Aaron Dorfman). … As part of Manchester United’s new uniform, they do indeed have black shorts. According to our own Anthony Emerson, it is the first time they haven’t had white shorts since 1901. … Everton used their women’s team to announce their 2018-19 away kit (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Tottenham Hotspur played home games at Wembley Stadium while their new stadium was being built last year, so they wore a badge on a shield on their shirts. Now they’re home, and the shield is gone on their new kits. Additionally, the new shirts have the team’s postcode and field coordinates inside the collar (from Alan Collins, Rok Grilec). … New kits for Dinamo Zagreb, Arka Gdynia, Piast Gilwice, and Macclesfield Town (from Ed Żelaski). … Manchester City’s new away kit appears to have leaked. … A Club America player was wearing No. 286 during last night’s friendly against Manchester United (from our own Anthony Emerson). … Watford unveiled their new kit by sending free shirts to supporters who attended all of last season’s games (from Josh Hinton). … New third shirt for Celtic (from Ed Żelaski). … Tottenham’s new away kit sure looks a lot like Barcelona’s training kit. Looks like Nike just recycled the design (from Blake Geschke). … In a 1995 UEFA Cup first-round first-leg game against Leeds United, Monaco used three goalkeepers (the third an outfield player who went in after the other two became injured) who wore three different jerseys. “In the second leg, another goalkeeper played and he had yet another design,” says Denis Hurley.

Grab Bag: Here’s why Tiger Woods wore tape on his neck (WaPo link) in the first round of the British Open (thanks, Phil). … The United States Olympic Committee has told a Vermont high school to drop the nickname “Olympians” (from David Bailey). … It’s true, Winston Churchill’s mom gave Williams College the school color of purple (from Paul Friedmann). … Australian rugby league team Canterbury is facing potential sanctions for wearing the wrong uniform last night (from Jackson Russell).

UK Team Sparks Discussion of Women’s Soccer Uniforms

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Ticker assistant Jamie Rathjen, who’s going to discuss some interesting issues regarding women’s soccer. Enjoy. — PL]

By Jamie Rathjen

Twitter-er @Starkman55 recently pointed us toward an article about a grassroots women’s soccer team in East London called Romance FC, which collaborated with Nike to design a shirt that’s more, well, feminine than the typical women’s soccer jersey (as shown at right; click to enlarge).

That raises an interesting point, because women’s soccer — like many other women’s sports — often looks like an offshoot of the men’s game. Let’s start with the UK, where 32 of the 38 teams in the English and Scottish top two women’s tiers are affiliated with a men’s team.

The six outliers are English second-tier team Durham and five in Scotland: 12-time defending champions Glasgow City, top-tier teams Forfar Farmington and Stirling University, and second-tier teams Central Girls (which, incidentally, appears to use a derivative of Sporting KC’s logo) and Glasgow Girls.

The other 32 women’s teams look pretty familiar, because they’re outfitted almost exactly the same as their male counterparts, with perhaps a few more ads plastered on (click to enlarge):

In the second picture shown above, Celtic’s shirts even have last season’s commemoration of the 1967 European Cup won by the men’s team

It seems it hasn’t yet occurred to these teams that they can come up with designs that incorporate team color but nonetheless have a different look, as the U.S., Japanese, and German national teams have recently done.

Back home, four of the nine NWSL teams — Houston, Orlando, Portland, and Utah — are affiliated with and wear colors used by the MLS teams in their respective cities. However, three of those teams — all except for Portland — are the only ones in the league’s short history that haven’t used blue or red as their primary color. 

That observation brings us to another point about the women’s game: It can be visually bland at times. Turn on most NWSL games and you’ll likely see the same colors repeated: blue, red, white, and black. Every team in the league except Seattle currently has a white shirt as second choice.

In the UK, thanks to low budgets, basic designs and manufacturers’ templates abound among unaffiliated teams.

There some potentially complicated issues at work here. On the one hand, outfitting the women to look more or less the same as the men may seem to give the women equal status and make them feel as “official” as the men’s sides, but it can also turn the women’s kits into little more than an afterthought or a rubber stamp. For example, why can’t Tottenham Hotspur Ladies — shown in the third picture above — make blue shirts first choice, rather than white? It would be distinctive and would also incorporate a design often seen in the team’s visual history.

Similarly, coming up with “more feminine” designs can give the women’s teams their own visual identity, but it also runs the risk of devolving into a clichéd ghetto of cutesy kit designs.

But at least for Romance FC, that risk was worth taking. It will be interesting to see if other women’s teams stake out their own aesthetic turf. It would also be interesting to hear what Uni Watch’s female readers think of all this — please let us know in today’s comments.

Update: As if on cue, just as this entry was being published, Everton announced that it was the first Premier League team to use its women’s team to reveal a kit — that is, before the men’s team.

(Thanks to Twitter-er @Starkman55 for sending us the article that initiated this discussion.)

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Concussion discussion: College football conferences’ annual preseason media days are usually pretty rote affairs, but yesterday’s ACC Kickoff Day had a bit of juice thanks to UNC coach Larry Fedora, who made a fool of himself and gladly kept digging when someone offered him a shovel.

Fedora outed himself as a CTE denier, saying he believed certain medical studies and not others (spoiler: he believes the now-discredited studies that show low CTE risk from football) and offering up this whopper: “I’m not sure that anything is proven that football, itself, causes [CTE].” As many observers quickly pointed out, the link between football and CTE has been established right there at UNC, where Fedora coaches.

Fedora also cooked up an interesting conspiracy theory with a side of military jingoism. Check this out:

“Our game is under attack,” Fedora told reporters. “I fear the game will be pushed so far from what we know that we won’t recognize it in 10 years. And if it does, our country will go down, too.”

Fedora said he had talked to military personnel who had suggested the success of the United States military was due, in part, to the number of football players who went on to join the armed forces.

So when football fans chant “dee-fense,” they’re actually referring to our national defense. Who knew?

One writer has already responded to this nonsense by calling for Fedora’s dismissal.

Meanwhile, a new University of Michigan study shows that some of the school’s players had signs of brain injuries even though they weren’t diagnosed with concussions. Fedora could not be reached for comment, presumably because he was busy defending America’s national security (or maybe he was just dealing with UNC’s latest NCAA violations, which were reported last night and may result in as many as a dozen players being suspended).

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IMPORTANT cap update: As I’ve been mentioning all week, we’re now accepting pre-orders for the XXL size of the upcoming Uni Watch “alternate” cap. If we get enough XXL pre-orders to meet our suppliers minimum order requirement of 144 caps, we’ll go ahead and have the cap made in that size. (Otherwise we’ll issue refunds.)

Based on the early returns, it looks like we will not have enough pre-orders to move ahead with the XXLs. That’s a bit of a surprise, because when I asked if people would be willing to pre-order, 168 people said yes. But so far we have only 16 pre-orders. That’s not going to cut it.

I’m keeping the pre-order window open until the end of next week, so there’s still time to turn this around. But if you want the XXL, I suggest you get on board now.


• Fitted sizes of the Uni Watch “classic” cap, available exclusively from Ebbets Field Flannels, are back in stock (although several sizes have already sold out again). Order yours here.

• My epic stoop/open-house sale, which will feature a ton of uni-related books, dozens of pairs of stirrups, and more cool collectibles than you can shake a C-Flap at, will take place this Saturday. Full details here.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Here’s a rare sight: former Reds SS Barry Larkin wearing No. 15, instead of his more familiar No. 11. He wore 15 only in 1986 and ’87 (from Jason Hillyer). … After the Tuesday-night kerfuffle about Brewers P Josh Hader having posted bigoted tweets when he was a teen-ager, his family members, who had been wearing Hader jerseys while attending the All-Star Game, were given generic NNOB jerseys. … At least one other fan wearing a Hader jersey turned it inside-out. … Something I missed from yesterday’s MLB All-Star Game roundup: Cubs C Willson Contreras was wearing a catcher’s helmet with a navy crown and a red brim — probably a Nats helmet. … The Asheville Tourists will become the Asheville Hippies for Thirsty Thursday (thanks, Phil). … Check out the uniforms for the Chicago Police Department baseball team. … All-Star Game batting helmet mix-ups aren’t limited to the big leagues. … Here’s a really great story: Up until now, the only footage of Ted Williams’s final game in 1960, when he famously hit a home run in his final at-bat and refused to tip his cap to the cheering fans, was in black-and-white. But now color footage — shot by a 19-year-old art student who was cutting class that day and buried since then in a desk drawer — has come to light (NYT link).

NFL News: SB Nation apparently told their NFL bloggers to fill some dead air with uniform musings. It’s all pretty rote, but if you’re so inclined you can read about how the Broncos should make their Color Rash helmet their permanent helmet; how the Pats should keep their Color Rash jersey; how the Cardinals need to update their look; how the Steelers could make a few tweaks; how the Bengals can improve their uniforms (no jokes, please); how the Packers shouldn’t change a thing; how one change could improve the Falcons; how the Ravens can improve their uniforms; how the Seahawks mono-neon uniforms should be mothballed; and how you can enter a Jets redesign contest (thanks, Phil). … A Bengals fan had twin babies whose heads need to be reshaped, so he’s had them fitted for Bengals-themed cranial helmets (thanks, Phil). … Steelers WR Antonio Brown is the first player ever to appear on a Madden box cover without a helmet. … The 49ers will wear their white throwbacks for a Week Seven game against the Rams. Here’s hoping the Rams wear their royal throwbacks. … Titans DL Jurrell Casey says he plans to continue protesting during the national anthem, even if he gets fined as a result. … This is interesting: Cowboys QBs don’t wear no-contact jerseys during practices, and nobody seems to know why.

College and High School Football News: New logo for the ACC Network (from James Gilbert). … An Alabama fan wore a clever jersey to yesterday SEC media day (from Josh Claywell). … Drew Canady’s father is working on a website that shows all of New York State’s high school football helmets. … Here are the new rules regarding logos appearing on NCAA gridirons this season. The big change is that corporate advertising logos can now appear on the field for stadiums with corporate-advertised names. Click through the three images in that tweet for the full details, and then scroll down to see the new rules regarding jersey patches (from James Gilbert). … Also from James: Someone at ACC Media Day had a healthy sense of irony.

Hockey News: The SPHL’s Quad City Storm haven’t even played a game yet, but they’ve already announced a logo revision. Apparently their first logo, released last month, was just a placeholder while they finalized the design.

NBA/WNBA News: Here are the uniforms for the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game. … Oooh, a St. Louis community organization has refurbished a local gym with the old Spirits of St. Louis logo (from @mrmichael21). … Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns modified the team’s logo for his own kids’ summer camp logo (from Collin Kottke).

College Hoops News: Kentucky players have been wearing Jordan/jumpman practice gear, which led to speculation that the school’s game uniforms might also be getting the Jordan treatment. But that won’t be happening anytime soon (thanks, Phil). … Nevada tweeted a graphic showing the school’s 2018-19 nonconference schedule. Oddly, the graphic has an Adidas logo at the bottom but shows a player wearing a Nike uniform (from Phil Kudler).

Soccer News: The Thai boys who were recently rescued from a cave appeared at a news conference yesterday wearing their soccer team uniforms. … New home kit for Napoli (from Ed Zelaski). … New third kit for Arsenal. … A Brazilian fan had a Flamengo jersey tattooed onto his body (from Mike Chamernik). … New crest for Ascoli (from @klimberginho). … New kits for Ukraine Kiev Dynamo. … Loudoun United have joined the USL for 2019 and have released their badge (from Josh Hinton). … Defender Jaelene Hinkle has been recalled to the U.S. women’s national team, one year after declining a call-up because she did not want to wear the team’s LGBTQ Pride Month jerseys (thanks, Phil). … Here are the uni- and field-related rule changes for the 2018 NCAA soccer season (from James Gilbert). … New kits for Tottenham Hotspur (from our own Jamie Rathjen).

Grab Bag: New name and logo for the Nigerian national airline. … Interesting piece about the legal issues surrounding tennis player Roger Federer’s “RF” logo. … As we mentioned in the Ticker earlier this week, President Trump was thinking of giving Air Force One’s livery a red/white/blue redesign. Now it’s definitely happening (from @VerbDC). … The Illinois State Police announced the winners of a logo design contest. … New logo for the Trout Creek, Mont., Huckleberry Festival. … There’s a bit of a controversy surrounding a Tennessee company that makes zippers for U.S. military uniforms but has been accused of using some non-U.S. parts. … Nintendo has its own internal sports teams for company employees. Here are some of their uniforms (from Luke Plunkett). … Kim Kardashian is being sued for poaching another company’s logo for her new fragrance line. … New athletics identity for SUNY-Alfred (from Jim Wasko). … A new statistical analysis indicates that people wearing Nike’s top-of-the-line running shoe shave three to four percent off their times (NYT link). That article includes lots of fascinating info on how they crunched the numbers — highly recommended.

A Uni Watch Look at the 2018 MLB All-Star Game

Click to enlarge

We all know that the Giants’ home “whites” aren’t actually white — they’re cream, or off-white, or vintage white, or whatever. Been that way since 2000. But in last night’s MLB All-Star Game, the Giants’ unis (as seen above worn by infielder Brandon Crawford) looked, well, creamier than usual. And it wasn’t just that one photo — I noticed it on TV too. Seemed like there was a bit more yellow in the dye mix.

I checked with our own Brinke Guthrie, who’s a big Giants fan, and he said he thought it was just the lighting or because Crawford was sitting next to a bunch of players in their home whites. Could be, but I still think it looked little off.

As you can probably guess from that opening topic, last night’s All-Star Game was pretty uni-uneventful, but there were a few small details worth noting:

• Nats outfielder Bryce Harper’s jersey had an extra button compared to his regular jersey — All-Star jersey on the left, regular jersey on the right:

• During the pregame introductions, Reds first baseman Joey Votto wore Cincy’s regular socks instead of the All-Star socks:

But when Votto came up to bat in the bottom of the sixth, he had changed to the All-Star socks:

• At least two other players — Pirates pitcher Felipe Vázquez and Nats pitcher Sean Doolittle — also wore their regular team socks during the pregame intros:

Vázquez, unlike Votto, did not switch out his hosiery. He was still wearing the Pirates socks when he pitched the top of the seventh:

Doolittle is injured, so he didn’t get into the game. It’s not clear if he ever changed his socks.

• Several players, including Yankees pitcher Luis Severino and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar, wore red undershirts that didn’t match their uniforms:

• As mentioned in yesterday’s entry, the Mets’ Rusty Staub memorial patch moved over to the upper-left chest of pitcher Jacob deGrom’s jersey, in order to make room for the All-Star sleeve patch:

• The Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay memorial patch also moved to pitcher J.A. Happ’s chest:

• As we discussed last week, Rays pitcher Blake Snell, who wears No. 4, was a late addition to the American League roster (he replaced Corey Kluber, who was injured) and entered the game in the third inning, becoming the first All-Star pitcher with a single-digit number since Lefty Grove in 1934:

• For some reason Astros outfielder George Springer was holding a Cleveland cap during the playing of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. Maybe he just grabbed the nearest cap that was handy..?

• There was some confusion regarding the umpires’ caps. Early in the game, they were red:

By the time Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras homered in the bottom of the third, third base ump Andy Fletcher had switched to a tri-color pinwheel-style cap, similar to the ones worn by the players, but home plate ump Ted Barrett was still wearing a red cap:

They all had the pinwheel design during the midgame “Stand Up to Cancer” promotion:

• Speaking of Barrett, he wore a flag-desecration mask:

One final thought: Back in late May, when Sports Business Daily broke the news that Under Armour was out and Nike would be in as MLB’s next uniform outfitter, they reported that the deal was “80% done, with a likely unveiling at or around the MLB All-Star Game in July.” Well, “at” has now come and gone, but “around” is still possible. Or maybe that last 20% of the deal is turning out to be stickier than they expected. Hmmmm.

(My thanks to all contributors, including John Bedell, Mike Dean, Zach Haile, Wade Heidt, Kevin Kennedy, @NathinJustin7, Ariel Shoshin, Tim Shriver, Billy Snider, and our own Alex Hider.)

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Click to enlarge

On any other day, this would’ve been the lede: The Savannah Bananas, who already have the best team name in baseball, took things a step further last night by wearing kilts! And not just any kilts — uni-numbered kilts.

Looks like the players were good sports about it:

And no, it wasn’t just a pregame stunt — they actually wore the kilts during the game (I recommend using the full-screen button on the video to get the full visual effect):

Unfortunately, as you can see, it was raining, and play was suspended after only half an inning. But that led to another great spectacle, because the Bananas are a wood bat summer league team, which means the players double as the grounds crew (click to enlarge):

Note that next-to-last guy on the right wore stirrups! Not sure who he is, but he’s my new hero.

Here’s hoping the make-up game will also feature make-up kilts.

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Click to enlarge

Camera for sale: My father, who died in 2009, was a good amateur photographer. Had a darkroom in the basement, taught adult-ed photography courses, had one of his shots used for a magazine cover. (Okay, so the magazine was Cat Fancy, but still.)

He sold most of his film cameras many years ago, and I later found new homes for several others, but I still have one of them: a Minolta X-370, plus a bunch of lenses that go with it (shown above). They haven’t been used in at least a decade probably longer but are in extremely good condition. The camera’s old battery even works!

I don’t care so much about getting the best price for this stuff. I’m more interested in finding a good home for it. If you still shoot film and are interested, please get in touch. Thanks. Update: Reader Jeff Proctor has made a very fair offer for the camera and lenses, so that’s now taken care of. I’m glad to know my father’s stuff will be going to a longtime member of the Uni Watch community.

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Assorted reminders: In case you missed it on Monday, we’re now accepting pre-orders for the XXL size of the upcoming Uni Watch “alternate” cap, which is shown at right. If we get enough XXL pre-orders, we’ll go ahead and have the cap made in that size (in addition to the S/M and L/XL sizes, which should be in stock and available for purchase in about 10 days). Full details here.

In addition:

• Fitted sizes of the Uni Watch “classic” cap, available exclusively from Ebbets Field Flannels, are back in stock (although many sizes have already sold out again). Order yours here.

• My epic stoop/open-house sale, which will feature a ton of uni-related books, dozens of pairs of stirrups, and more cool collectibles than you can shake a C-Flap at, will take place this Saturday. Full details here.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: A former Mets front office employee says the Mets fired him in “cowardly” fashion after he repeatedly questioned whether the proceeds from sales of MLB’s Memorial Day apparel were actually going to military charities. … MLB commish Rob Manfred says he’s willing to loosen some of the regulations regarding shoe colors. … The San Diego Union-Tribune has some good insight into the process of how the Padres will pick their color scheme for 2020 (from Daniel Diaz). … The Diamondbacks’ famed bullpen cart now has its own baseball card (from Trevor Wilson Patton). … Kub noticed that Ken Griffey Jr. was the only Mariner to wear a vest during the 1997 All-Star Game. …  OT Sports, the North Carolina-based firm that provides most minor league baseball teams with their specialty theme-night uniforms, will also become an approved MiLB home/road uni supplier for 2019. … Arthur Savokinas spotted a replica of a Mike Schmidt Gold Glove Award at a diner in Forty Fort, Pa. The owner of the restaurant apparently has the award on loan from a Rawlings rep. … The Vancouver Canadians, a Class-A affiliate of the Jays, will wear Expos-inspired uniforms on July 23 (from Joseph Bailey). …  NASA’s head administrator wore a Dodgers/Astros logo mashup shirt in a video featuring views of ballparks from space (from Justin).

NFL NewsThe Packers’ ticket design for their Sept. 30 game against the Bills includes the designation “Third Jersey Game.” It’s not clear whether this refers to the team’s existing throwback or to some new alternate that hasn’t been released yet, but it’s worth remembering that WR Davante Adams posted photos of a yellow jersey on his Instagram feed a while back (from Brian Kerhin). … Some Eagles fans are questioning whether they want a change back to kelly green uniforms after winning a Super Bowl in midnight green (from Sam McKinley). … Reader Paul Quirk was watching the TWIPF video Paul linked to Monday and noticed that many Jets players were missing helmet logos. … In this photo from the ’70s, the numbers on Oilers QB Dan Pastorini’s jerseys aren’t a consistent font (from @TehWins). … Falcons DE John Zook’s NOB looks pretty bad in this photo from the late ’60s or early ’70s (from Edward Pelkey).

College/High School Football NewsThe NCAA will reportedly allow schools to put corporate logos on the field this year. Previously, corporate names had to be written in plain fonts (from Michael Kinney). … Virginia Tech’s media guide cover gives a good look at the Hokies’ new maroon jerseys (from Andrew Cosentino). … Speaking of, the ACC Tracker has been updated with 2018 uniforms. … A close-up photo reveals that Indiana’s new crimson uniforms include tonal candy stripes on the sleeves (from Ryan Cotter). … New helmets for UTEP (from Alex Solot). … Looks like West Virginia is upgrading to a new Nike template (from Ethan Dimitroff ‏). … Not much will change on Florida’s jerseys, other than the Jordan logo (from Eric O. and Moe Khan). … Speaking of, Florida coach Dan Mullen has some new shoes to match his team’s Jordan uniforms (from Griffin Smith). … New game balls for North Carolina (from James Gilbert). … New uniforms for Richland Center (Wisconsin) High School (from Martin Johnson).

Basketball NewsWho else remembers when the Kansas City Kings drafted Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner? Though the whole thing was just a publicity stunt, Jenner did pose for a photo in a No. 8618 jersey — a reference to Jenner’s winning score in the 1976 Olympics (from Brad Eenhuis). … Long Beach State is losing the beach motif on its new basketball floor (from Mandy Lopez).

Soccer NewsEver wonder why soccer players sit in race car seats on the sideline? It all started with one player’s back problems (from John Muir). … Manchester United’s 2018-19 home kit, sleeve ad and all, have been released (from our own Anthony Emerson). … More updates from Josh Hinton: Belgian club RSC Anderlecht released a new home kit, German club RB Leipzig released their 2018-19 home and away uniforms, and new home and away jerseys for Brighton & Hove Albion of the Premier League. … Tottenham’s third jerseys have reportedly leaked, and they’re — something (from John Muir). … These are all the new kits that teams in Bundesliga will wear next season (from A.J.). … Moe Khan noticed that England’s U19 team doesn’t have Nike logos on their socks like other teams. … New home kit for Blackburn Rovers (from Josh Hinton).

Grab Bag: Our own Phil Hecken helped pick the logos in this tournament that will determine the best logo in minor league hockey. Voting is open! … Runners who complete the Hershey Half Marathon get a medal shaped like a Kit Kat bar (from Scott Davis). … President Trump and Vladimir Putin traded sports memorabilia at their summit on Monday (from Phil). … New city flag design for Sioux Falls, S.D. (from Neil Robinson).