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Which Heroes Will the Post-Pandemic Uni-verse Celebrate?

Good morning! Everything here at Uni Watch HQ continues to be fine. I hope that’s also the case at your home.

Now then, here’s something I’ve been thinking about: For the past 10 to 15 years, the sports world in general and the uni-verse in particular have largely defined heroism in terms of the military, as evidenced by all the now-familiar military appreciation uniforms. Some people are cool with this; others (myself included) find it problematic.

But no matter which side of that debate you fall on, it seems to me that some sort of reckoning will be at hand when live sports events eventually resume, and that the uni-verse will have to redefine its concept of heroism. That’s because the pandemic had led all of us to redefine our concepts of heroism.

For example, I think the following statements are all fairly self-evident and uncontroversial:

• Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, who are doing their best to battle this plague, often in ways that risk their own health and that of their families, are heroes.

• Pharmacy workers, who continue to make crucial medications available to those who need them, are heroes.

• Teachers, who are meeting the enormous challenge of educating and engaging with our youth while working remotely, are heroes.

• Transit workers, who continue to run our trains and buses so medical professionals and other essential workers can get to their jobs, are heroes.

• Sanitation workers, who continue to collect our trash and thereby keep this public health emergency from being even worse than it already is, are heroes.

• Supermarket and grocery workers, who continue to make food available to us — often under conditions that don’t allow for social distancing and are therefore clearly unsafe — are heroes.

• Food deliverers, who bring groceries and pizzas and other food to us so we don’t have to venture outside, are heroes.

• Letter carriers and UPS/FedEx delivery people, who continue to bring mail and packages to us while we’re stuck indoors, are heroes.

• Utility maintenance workers, who are keeping our electricity, water, phone, sewer, cable TV, and internet functioning at a time when they’ve never been needed more, are heroes.

• The behind-the-scenes support staffs that back up most of these workers — the people who sort the mail, produce the food, drive the tractor trailers full of groceries and packages, clean and maintain the subways and buses, service the garbage trucks, and so on — are heroes.

That list isn’t complete, of course — it’s just a start.

Many of these people, frankly, have been heroes all along; others, to paraphrase Shakespeare, have had heroism thrust upon them by the pandemic. But most of them are literally risking their lives out there, and all deserve our heartfelt thanks. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been saying, “Thanks — y’all are heroes!” to every garbageman, letter carrier, and food deliverer I’ve seen over the past few weeks.

How might the uni-verse acknowledge this heroism when the sports world returns to live action? Camouflage is a very handy visual signifier, so it’s easy (too easy, I’d say) to come up with a military tribute uniform, but it’s a lot harder to conceive of a uniform that salutes, say, a supermarket cashier, or a pharmacist, or a teacher. And aside from the design challenges, the bigger issue is that the sports world likes the visual symbolism of comparing athletes to soldiers but may not so readily embrace the optics of comparing athletes to garbagemen. Still, it will have to be done, at least if we want to be honest about recognizing the genuine heroism of the people who are holding our world together while the rest of us shelter in place.

Personally, I’d prefer to see the sports world stop with the uni-driven heroism themes altogether (it’s mainly just another form of self-serving mythmaking, which sports already has more than enough of), but the industry seems to have decided that sports and uniforms are part of the story we collectively tell about ourselves as a society. I can accept that, but what kind of story will that be in a post-pandemic world? Will it be a story that fairly acknowledges all of these various kinds of civilian heroes? I hope so — the uni-verse, the sports world, and our society at large would be better off as a result.

Finally, if anyone reading this falls into any of the categories I mentioned, please accept my sincere thanks for your service during this national emergency. You, and people like you, are heroes.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Take a look at this vintage beauty! It’s a menu from DiMaggio’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. I’d say 1940s-1950s, judging from the people’s attire and the phone number. And look at the prices! Research shows the location was open from the late 1930s to the mid-1970s.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Here’s a stuffed Texas Rangers doll from the early 1970s. He’s kinda dingy in places but maybe some a squirt of Oxy-Clean stain remover will help. Notice no sheriff’s badge in the capital R. And did the Rangers really make the R and S capitalized for owner Robert Short? This 2009 article says yes.

• Looks to be mid-1980s for this NFL ruler showing all 28 teams at the time. Love that period’s helmet style!

• I like the contrasting red sleeves and the ringer-style collar on this 1970s Buffalo Bills T-shirt, although I don’t know that “paper thin” is a great selling point for a shirt costing close to $300.

• Boston Red Sox fans will like this vintage 197os pocket knife.

• There’s no hang tag to back it up, but this Champion jersey does bear a resemblance to a Kansas City Chiefs jersey. Since this is a retail item, what’s noticeable here are the sleeve cuffs — notice how they’re tailored (if that’s the term) rather than the usual look.

• Bucco Bruce is among the helmet designs featured in this set of 1970s NFL helmet air fresheners. I guess they’re still fresh?

• Here’s a Los Angeles Rams boys’ football kit from Rawlings, with shoulder pads and the blue/white helmet (the jersey and pants are MIA). I doubt we’ll be seeing new editions of these in Sears for the upcoming Rams uni rollout. 

• Your entire tabletop hockey team will be comprised of the Great One with this Winnipeg Jets team set.

• Why did they use the powder blue, instead of royal, for the cover of this Amazin’ Mets World Champions 8mm home movie?

• This USA Hockey pin reminds me of a 1960s TV show!

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Cycling jersey reminder: In case you missed it, we’re taking orders for another round of Uni Watch cycling jerseys. Just like before, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB.

We’re taking orders through the end of this week, and the product should be ready to ship in early May. Full ordering info here.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsGross: The Reds shared shared a “draw your favorite Reds player” template that included the Nike maker’s mark (from Michael Kinney). … Joseph Aronoff has started a petition calling on the Tigers to bring back the old “jersey version” of the Old English D. … The Yankees were selling baseball caps in their team yearbooks as early as 1950 — much earlier than I would have thought! (From @Titan4Ever2488.) … We’ve covered this before, but once more won’t hurt: The Phillies have never worn the word “Philadelphia” on their jerseys, but they considered doing it in 1991, as seen on this prototype (from Steve Kusheloff). … Here’s some great footage of the Royals and Mariners playing the very first futuristic MLB game in 1998. That game was the model for the larger TATC program that followed in 1999.

NFL News: The Broncos signed former Lions P Sam Martin yesterday and used a photo of him in a number-less Lions jersey in their introductory Twitter graphic (from Michael Blake Raymer). … Spotted on eBay: This “prototype” Pats jersey from 1995 — the first year they wore the style with Flying Elvis-clad shoulders (from Kenny Saidah). … Check out the kerning on Giants’ LB Jim Clack’s NOB during the 1978 “Miracle at the Meadowlands” game against the Eagles. You could run a semi through those letters! (From Patrick Henderson.) … Stefan Vasilev took a stab at designing a new logo for the Rams. … Speaking of the Rams, they did a live Instagram session last night and fans just wanted to shit all over the new logo. … Travis DeMarco was watching Season 4 of Amazon’s All or Nothing, which follows the Carolina Panthers. Footage from the show caught a miscolored logo on CB Donte Jackson’s jersey that doesn’t include any grey elements. … Check out this Oilers logo that Bum Phillips was wearing on his cowboy boots back in the ’70s (from @NFL_Journal).

College Football NewsTulane will have new turf and field design when football returns (from Patrick Barnett). … Writers for The Athletic determined the best player to ever wear each number (from @Wilds_Lee). … Clint Richardson hopes that SEC football can return by this fall, but if not, he has a backup plan: Quarantine Ball!

Hockey NewsThe pandemic has halted work on the Islanders’ new arena (from Kary Klismet). … The Canucks’ mascot, Fin, went to visit a boy on his fifth birthday the other day (from Wade Heidt). … A Twitter user had his non-hockey fan friends guess NHL team names based on the team logos — with entertainingly bad results (from James Gilbert). … The Charlotte Checkers of the AHL shared photos of their uniforms through the years yesterday and encouraged fans to submit their own jersey designs (from Canes Uniform Tracker and @CJWinterberg). … The great Wafflebored DIY’d himself a sensational hybrid jersey that combines the Canucks’ “flying V” design with the old Vancouver Millionaires’ design. Note the Wafflebored maker’s mark above the NOB — a first, he says, “to cover a mistake.”

NBA NewsThe Mavericks have updated their Twitter avatar to a logo with neon green accents. Not sure what that means for the future (from Ethan Angel Cardona). … A judge has thrown out a lawsuit that a group of tattoo artists had filed against the makers of the NBA 2K video games. The suit alleged that the game infringed on the artists’ copyright when it replicated LeBron James’s tattoos, but the judge ruled that the tattoos were simply part of the depiction of James himself (from Timmy Donahue). … When NBA and ABA players played exhibition games against each other in the 1970s, both teams wore jerseys with wider shoulder straps (from Tom O’Grady). … Check out future Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain competing in the high jump in high school (using the old forward roll technique) — while wearing a driving cap! (From Michael, who didn’t give his last name.)

Soccer NewsThe Athletic has a great piece about a company that’s making soccer cleats designed specifically to fit women’s feet — as they put it, no more “pink it and shrink it” (from Ed Żelaski). … Speaking of Ed, see more soccer updates over on his Twitter account.

Grab BagDayton, Ohio, is seeking the public’s input on the design for a new city flag (from Kary Klismet). … A police officer in India made a scary-looking coronavirus helmet and wore it out on the streets to encourage social distancing (from Jeremy Brahm). … New uniforms for the Lower Paxton Township Police Department in Pennsylvania (from Timmy Donahue). … Also from Timmy: The Seal Beach Police Department in Orange County, Calif., will be among the departments wearing puzzle piece badges in April for Autism Awareness Month. … The apparel company Brooks Brothers, which had shut down its domestic factories due to the pandemic, is now reopening them to make masks and hospital gowns for healthcare workers (from Tom Turner).

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What Paul did last night: The Tugboat Captain’s grad school classes were cancelled last week, and the week before that was spring break, so yesterday was her first day of virtual classes. We spent our porch time talking a lot about that (the short version: She didn’t find it very satisfying). Today she has to teach a virtual class herself, as part of her graduate assistantship, so she’s stressed out about that.

Grad school was supposed to be a way for the Captain to reinvent herself career-wise (she was a journalist but decided that that’s too risky, so she’s getting a library/information degree), but now who knows what sort of job market will be waiting for her when she graduates six weeks from now. Plus her graduation ceremony has been cancelled, plus-plus some of her classmates went home to their parents’ houses for spring break (they’re all younger than she is) and then ended up staying there, so she may never see them again. Basically, she’s in mourning — she’s worked really hard on this degree, and now it’s all ending in disarray and uncertainty.

Obviously, those are minor problems compared to, say, being on a ventilator with Covid-19. But still — it’s sad. Fortunately, Uni Watch girl mascot President Caitlin always brightens the Captain’s mood:

Hope everyone’s keeping healthy and safe. This too shall pass. Stay well! — Paul

Question Time, Vol. 11

Good morning! Greetings from Uni Watch HQ, where we all continue to be in good health and relatively good spirits. Hope the same is true for you!

It’s time for another round of Question Time, the segment where you get to ask me anything (within reason) and I do my best to answer. Ready? Here we go:

With the ongoing pandemic, do you think we will see some type of decal or patch on uniforms when sports return?

I’m fairly certain that all major sports and leagues will wear something that acknowledges the pandemic, yes.

Teams and leagues are losing a lot of money due to the pandemic. Do you think this will accelerate the move toward ad patches on uniforms (for leagues that don’t already have them), because of the need to make up the lost revenue?

I suppose that’s one possible scenario. But sports teams and leagues aren’t the only ones losing money at the moment. Most of the companies that could serve as uniform advertisers are also going through wrenching changes, and you could just as easily envision a scenario in which there’s a decrease in uniform ads because companies have to cut back on their ad budgets. We’ll have to wait and see.

Vinyl, CDs, MP3s or streaming?

All except MP3s.

Why did you choose to go to U. of Binghamton, what was your major/minor, did you enjoy your time there, and finally would you recommend that school to a person interested in studying journalism?

I wasn’t particularly directed as a 17-year-old. I didn’t really know what I wanted out of college or even why I was going, except that it was the thing you’re supposed to do. So I went to SUNY-Binghamton largely by default — I didn’t have enough sense of purpose to justify the expense of going to a private school, and Binghamton was considered the best school in the SUNY system, so that’s where I went.

I was a political science major and also took a lot of philosophy (probably enough for a minor, but Binghamton didn’t offer minors at the time). I wrote a lot for our school paper, but Binghamton didn’t have a journalism program back then — just a single course in the English department (which I took). It does offer a journalism program now, although I don’t know anything about it except that it exists.

The good things about SUNY-Binghamton: It has consistently been rated as an excellent school that offers a good education for a reasonable price (at least by today’s standards). Lots of good student activities, too. And a very diverse student body.

The bad things: (1) The campus is hideous. Terrible architecture, miserable grounds. My mom didn’t see the campus until she came to pick me up at the end of my freshman year. She later told me, “That is not the kind of landscape that stimulates a young mind. If I had known what it was like, I would never have allowed you to go there.” (2) The campus is located on a stretch of highway and is very isolated from the rest of the Binghamton community. Students who live on campus can often go the entire year without venturing off-campus and into town, which I don’t think is a healthy state of affairs. It also creates an even greater town/gown disconnect than is present in most other college towns. (3) The city of Binghamton has been depressed for a long, long time. It can make for a somewhat grim backdrop. (4) The weather really sucks.

Given your feelings about advertising, how do you feel about ads on outfield walls? In the long history of the major leagues, it’s been around for the majority of the time but faded away for 20-30 years before coming back.

Personally, I prefer ad-free outfield walls.

You’re given an expansion team in any of the Big Four sports leagues. What would the team name be, what would the visual identity be, and which rules for players (like the Yankees’ facial hair prohibition) would you enact?

Great question! It’s hard to know what the team name would be without knowing which city we’d be located in, but I’d lean toward the Kittens or the Puppies. Our primary color would of course be green. It’s tempting to have a policy requiring high-cuffed pants (if we’re a baseball team) or real sleeves (football), but we’ve seen that today’s athletes can’t be told how to wear their uniforms, so I don’t think I’d go down that road.

If you were the owner of a new expansion MLB team in Brooklyn, what would you name the team and what uni colors would you use?

See above — Puppies or Kittens! And the Dodgers wore green one year, so we’d have historical precedent for weearing my favorite color.

Baylor University had a campaign last year to “Unite” the brand across all sports, and in doing so simplified the football uniforms, doing away with black, grey, and chrome. But basketball has GFGS and neon green, baseball has “Bears” across one jersey and GFGS on another, and women’s basketball got BFBS and pink. Can you help me understand why they would have a “Unite” campaign, then intentionally NOT do it?!

Beats me! Seems odd, I agree. For what it’s worth, though, I don’t mind it. I think it’s fine for the different sports to have different visual styles, as long as they all have the same primary team colors. I realize others may disagree.

Have you ever been to Kansas City and sampled some of our BBQ?

Yes! It’s been a while (2005, maybe..?), but I’ve been to Arthur Bryant’s, I’ve been to Gates, I’ve been to Jack Stack (my favorite of the three). KC has great ’cue!

Do you have certain uniforms that you consider “perfect” and should never be altered? MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL preferences, please.

The following lists are just off the top of my head, and refer just to primary home/road designs:

MLB: Cardinals, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers.
NFL: Raiders, Packers, Chiefs, Cowboys (yes, really).
NHL: All of the Original Six teams.
NBA: Celtics, Warriors.

You have one choice: Throw out a first pitch at an MLB game, flip the coin at an NFL game, drop the puck at an NHL game, or jump ball at an NBA game. Which would you choose, at which arena or stadium, regular season or postseason, and which uni would you wear?

Definitely first pitch at a big league game — preferably a Saturday-afternoon Mets home game in June. I’d wear a Uni Watch shirt and cap, of course!

Have you ever addressed why your better half is called Tugboat Captain?

It’s a private reference that will remain private. The only two things I’ll say are that it’s not sexual and has nothing to do with the Galaxie 500 song “Tugboat Captain.”

I was (again) recently talking to a friend about your homemade Irish cream recipe and sent him a link to it. I call it “Uni Watch Irish Cream.” That got me wondering about the story of when you first had it and/or how you got the recipe. And if I never thanked you publicly for it, I will now. Thank you!

I got that recipe many years ago — early 2000s, I’d say — on a message board. Tried it, loved it, made it part of my annual holiday routine, and at some point began sharing it on Uni Watch. Many, many readers have told me that they’ve made it part of their own holiday routines. Glad you like it!

Greetings from France! Have you already been to Paris? If yes, would you come back at some point and also throw a Uni Watch party as well?

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never been to France, and even more embarrassed to say I’ve never been to any part of Europe except the UK and Ireland. I hope to rectify that problem soon.

How many cats have you had in your life, and what were their names? Have you ever owned a dog or other animal?

When I was five, my brother’s girlfriend stole a gerbil from her high school biology class and gave it to me. That became my first pet, and the first of several gerbils I had while growing up. I also had lots of turtles and goldfish. No cats or dogs, because my father was allergic. As an adult, I’ve had a bunch of cats: Lizzie, Barbarella, Trevor, Roscoe, Maybelline, Tucker, and President Caitlin. I’m sure there will be more cats to come — I can’t imagine a life without them.

Never owned a dog, although I’m a total sucker for them. Pets of any kind are so amazing — as I’ve said before, I think it’s a miracle that we share our lives and our homes with these other species.

With all of the throwback uniforms across major sports leagues and merchandising, why hasn’t a league adopted a day, week, or series to use throwbacks, complete with warm-ups, umps/refs, fan giveaways, scoreboard graphics, to really sell the nostalgia?

I agree that a coordinated program could be really fun. If the NFL decides to lift the one-shell rule in 2021, maybe Thursday-night games could become Throwback Thursdays, which would be a blast (and certainly better than Color Rash).

Now that you’ve got people removing the New Era logo from their caps, do you think New Era will wise up and make the logo more difficult to remove?

Honestly, I don’t think they care. If a few hundred people are customizing their caps this way (which I’d say is the about the size of the remove-ment), that’s barely a drop in the ocean of New Era’s overall business.

But even if they do respond by making the maker’s mark harder to remove, at least a few hundred people will have had the satisfaction of customizing their caps to suit their tastes, which seems like a better state of affairs than if they hadn’t done so. In other words: No matter what happens going forward, the remove-ment is already a success. #NoEra

What do you consider your top professional highlight or moment?

Taking Uni Watch, which started as a very small idea, to ESPN, and having it run there for 15 years, was tremendously satisfying and validating. Convincing the Syracuse Chiefs to hold Brannock Device Night, and getting to throw out the first pitch, was also a big highlight.

You’ve often said you had no idea that this little comm-uni-ty would grow into what it has become. Looking back, what were your hopes for Uni Watch when you started it? Just a sideline while your “real” job took its sweet time finding you, or did you hope that it would be as consuming and satisfying as it has become?

When I started Uni Watch in 1999, I had already begun thinking of my work and career in terms of creative “projects” that tended to run a few years, and then I’d move on to the next project. That was my goal for Uni Watch: I had come up with the idea of creating a new sports beat and wanted to get some editor to buy in so I could pursue that project until it ran its course, which I figured would be three or four years.

More than two decades later, I still think of Uni Watch as a creative project. It’s just proven to be much more durable and long-lived than my other ones (Permanent Record, Gromm•It, Show & Tell, etc.). I certainly never expected that, but it’s nice that it’s worked out that way.

I still tend to think in terms of creative work projects, and I’d like to think that I still have a few more left in me.

I know you’re a fan of The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker, but have you ever read his other similar novel, A Box of Matches?

I have not read that one. I have read Room Temperature and Vox, which are sort of similar. But The Mezzanine remains my favorite.

Other than teams with purple as a primary or secondary color (because I know how purple works in your mind), which major American sports team do you feel needs a completely new color scheme, and why?

Believe it or not, I wish the Diamondbacks would go back to purple and teal, which I thought suited them perfectly.

Also: The Rays have always felt so plain as just another blue team. Go back to green, or maybe orange (they’re in Florida, after all).

Also-also: Thanks to the profusion of alternate uniforms, lots of NBA teams are now in a state of color confusion. When you think of the Jazz, for example, do you think of their official primary colors, or the “red rock” stripes? When you think of the Hawks, do you think red, black, neon, or peach? This is a problem, but it also presents an opportunity for a reset — the Jazz could now easily claim the red rock palette as their new primary colors, for example.

What is your favorite band logo and/or wordmark?

It’s funny that you bring that up, because Scott M.X. Turner and I have been working on some T-shirts that render the words “Uni Watch” in the style of some classic band logos. Two of my favorites are this one for the Who, this one for Hüsker Dü, and of course Paula Scher’s great typewriter treatment for Cheap Trick.

I have to say, though, that I’m also somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of bands having logos. Music is art, and art is not the same thing as a product (even if it’s for sale). This could be a topic to explore in greater depth later on, but the short version of my position would be this: Logos are fun, but let’s remember that they’re bands, not brands.

You may not be a fan of auto racing, per se, but has there ever been a racing livery that has made you say, “Now, that’s something”?

I’m sure there has been, but it’s never stayed with me. Sorry!

Being here in Tampa, I was wondering, why wouldn’t the Bucs announce TB12 and hold up his new jersey, with new design, at a press conference? The Bucs were set to have a “proper unveiling event,” but there is no way that could happen now. People in town are dying to get their hands on a new Brady uni.

My understanding is that they haven’t unveiled the new design because the retail product isn’t yet ready to go, so there’s literally nothing to sell.

In your opinion, what is the best-to-worst ranking of the uniforms of referees in the five major sports?

I’m going to restrict it to the Big Four, because I don’t have any day-to-day familiarity with how soccer officials dress.

So: At one point, back when NFL zebras wore knickers, I would have put them at the top of the list, but I really dislike their current slacks with the wide white striping. So based on the current designs, I think my rankings would be MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA.

Cannonball Run or Smokey and the Bandit?

Never seen either one. Sorry.

You’ve gone on record before with your favorite uniforms from the Big Four sports leagues, but how about some favorites from lower levels (minor leagues, college, Olympics, any other levels of amateur sports, etc.)? I’m just looking for a handful that have gotten your attention over the years.

A few that come to mind: Team USA’s 1980 white “Miracle on Ice” uni; anything with the Toledo Mud Hens’ logo on it; Ohio State football; Notre Dame football; Michigan football.

Name your top five favorite bands.

Since you specified bands, I won’t include individual artists like Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello. So: the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, the Clean, and the Beatles. (The first three entries on that list are immutable; the last two could change depending on my mood.)

Do you have any bands you’re into during the quarantine?

I wouldn’t say it has anything to do with the quarantine per se, but lately I’ve been listening quite a bit to the Australian band the Stroppies and have also rediscovered the greatness of the amazing 1987 Strum and Drum! album by the Alabama band Sex Clark Five.

As someone who really enjoys discovering music and art, I’m curious to know who some of your favorite artists are.

My favorite visual artist, at least in strictly aesthetic terms, is the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. I’ve always loved the sense of geometry in his work. It feels very design-y to me.

Most of my other favorite artists take a conceptual approach to their work: Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Andy Warhol. In other words, their work is designed more to make you think than to make the world beautiful (although I think they achieve both).

Which do you prefer: Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper or some other brand of cola?

Diet Coke, preferably with a bit of lemon.

Brian Wilson, circa 1963-1967: genius or overrated?

I assume we’re talking about this Brian Wilson, since this Brian Wilson hadn’t yet been born during the time frame you indicated.

It’s worth noting that “genius” and “overrated” aren’t mutually exclusive. As with so many rock stars, especially ones from the 1960s, Wilson is the subject of a certain amount of mythmaking, but I think he really was a musical genius. I’d also say he might be a bit overrated, given that his lyrical themes were often pretty facile.

If it was left solely up to you, what would the new Seattle NHL team be called, and what would their colors be?

I’m totally on board with the Kraken (a rare instance in which I’m embracing a team name that doesn’t end in “s”). And of course I want them to wear green — in part because I want more green in the uni-verse, and in part because green is a Seattle color.

Are there any numbers or teams from the Big Four not represented on Uni Watch membership cards? What’s the most popular team and number?

I believe this question was submitted just before reader JohnMark Fisher presented his findings regarding the most popular membership card numbers. You can read about that here, but the short version is that 13 is the most popular number.

I haven’t crunched the data regarding which are the most and least popular teams. If anyone wants to tackle that one, get in touch and I’ll give you the tools you need to get started.

What is your favorite non-sports uniform (USPS, British Navy, etc.)?

Oh wow, great question. I’m sure there are lots of great uniforms out there that I’m not aware of, but I am definitely fond of the U.S. Postal Service uni. I also like how cops in Pittsburgh wear checkerboard hats.

In the space of 15 minutes, I was able to concoct the following list of unused team nicknames: Astronauts, Atlantics, Bluebirds, Captains, Centurions, Daredevils, Desperadoes, Magpies, Mermaids, Meteors, Pathfinders, Quicksilver, Ramblers, Satellites, Skylarks, Tattoos. With all of this available variety, why do you think athletic programs fall back on hoary clichés, like Bulldogs, Panthers, Tigers, and Wildcats?

I’m not so sure new programs are falling back on the old clichés. The old standbys are often used by old teams that have used them forever, no?

But if it’s true that new high school or rec league teams are using the old standbys, I’d say it’s for two reasons: First, it’s much easier to choose something safe and established. And second, uniform companies may have stock designs that already use those team names.

I’m a print journalist who has never freelanced, and I’m curious: How much of your freelance writing comes from you pitching ideas to various outlets, and how much is from outlets reaching out to you?

The vast, vast majority of my work over the years — over 90%, I’d say — has come from me coming up with the ideas and pitching them. But that’s just me. Most editors have a few “go to” writers who can execute just about any idea or assignment presented to them. I am not one of those writers — I need to be really enthusiastic about an idea in order to pursue it, and that usually (but not always) means I had to think of it myself.

When I finally get to visit New York, I want to attend as many baseball, football, basketball and hockey games as possible. What would be the best Time to go?

Well, the NFL, NBA, and NHL seasons are all in full swing by late October (at least in a normal year — things may obviously be different in 2020), and there’s usually a decent chance that the Yankees will be active in the MLB postseason during that same period.

Or: In early April, you can get the start of the MLB season and the end of the NBA and NHL seasons. No NFL, but maybe XFL, if that still exists next year.

Approximately how many entries do you receive on average for the various Uni Watch raffles (Vintage Brand, membership cards, etc.)?

It varies, in part because some raffles are just for one day, while others are for three or four days. Membership raffles, which are usually for one day, tend to get fewer than 100 entries; Vintage Brand raffles are usually in the 600ish range. A few raffles have received over 1,000 entries, although I can’t recall which ones.

No matter how many entries we receive, I use’s integer generator to choose the winners.

In the last few years, many MLB teams have either moved into new spring training ballparks or extensively remodeled their existing facilities. My question is this: Why wouldn’t they build them to their regular season home field specs?

I agree that that makes sense, especially if your MLB ballpark has unusual dimensions, like at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park. And some teams do replicate their big league specs for their spring ballpark for precisely this reason. But yeah, it’s odd that more teams don’t do it.

I’ve always wanted to get into creating uniform/logo concepts as a hobby, but I’ve never known where to start. I recently bought a laptop so I can work remotely from home. Do you or anyone in the comm-uni-ty have some practical advice for someone with no graphic design experience?

Since I don’t make concepts myself, I’m not a good person to ask. But for the many people reading this who create uni design concepts, can you please post some advice in today’s comments? Thanks.

Can you name a good Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson movie?


Where is the right place for loud, eccentric sports uniforms?

Arguably anywhere. I mean, the Astros made the tequila sunrise work at the big league level, right?

Still, minor league baseball and hockey would seem to be the best platforms for the loud/eccentric approach, and maybe the NBA. It just fits better with their ethos.

Stanley Kubrick is my favorite director. What is your favorite film of his?

I’m a big Kubrick fan as well. Depending on which day you ask me, I’d go with Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, or Full Metal Jacket. As I type this, I’m thinking A Clockwork Orange, because dystopia feels about right for our current historical moment. (I like other Kubrick films as well, including 2001, Eyes Wide Shut, Lolita, and The Killing, but the ones I like best are the first four that I mentioned.)

I bought a lot of blank Majestic MLB jerseys ahead of the swoosh takeover, and now I’m left with the question of where to find a reliable vendor selling iron-on name/number kits that match the styles of MLB teams. Can you recommend anyone?

I don’t know anything about iron-on name/number kits, but I do know that longtime Uni Watch reader/pal Joe Hilseberg can do a super-professional job of lettering up just about anything for you. You can contact him here — tell him I sent you.

For Wisconsin football’s road unis, do you prefer the Badgers’ red facemasks or the white?


Football question: Why is mono-white with a colored helmet acceptable, but mono-color uniform with helmet of white, same, or another color, almost always derided?

Just one of those tradition/habit things. Mono-white still feels like a football uniform to me, while mono-color feels like a superhero costume. Maybe it’s because most superheroes don’t wear white..? Just one of those intrinsic “feel” things. That said, I tend to prefer white jerseys paired with colored pants, rather than mono-white.

What other blogs do you read? I’m particularly interested to know if you are familiar with Forgotten New York, which has an appreciation for obscure and overlooked things, but related to the built environment.

I love Forgotten New York and have been friends with the guy who runs it, Kevin Walsh, for over 20 years. We’re mutual fans!

The only other blogs I read on a regular basis are Mets-related — Mets Police, Mets by the Numbers, that kinda thing.

You’ve turned me on to a couple of really wonderful films that I otherwise would never have seen — Uncertain, Texas and of course the incredible Faces Places. So thank you! Personally, I’m pretty up-to-date on popular culture but haven’t really spent any time exploring documentaries. What is it about these types of films that resonates with you, and how do you stay informed on releases like those two?

Staying informed on movies is easy here in NYC: The New York Times’s longtime policy is that they will review every film that gets a theatrical screening here in the city, even if only for one day. So I read the movie reviews.

As for why I like documentaries: As a journalist who often takes a storytelling approach, docs are right in my wheelhouse. That’s not to say that I don’t like fiction movies — I do! But I like docs a lot too. And there are more of them coming out now than ever before, because it’s now possible to shoot a movie on a smartphone.

Do you have a “guilty pleasure” uniform? One that is universally disliked, but you have a soft spot for?

Sox in shorts! But I don’t feel any guilt about it — just pleasure.

Why doesn’t Uni Watch publish the correct answer to each week’s “Name the Scoreboard” contest? It would be nice to know if we were anywhere close to the right answer.

That feature runs on the weekends, so I forwarded it to weekend editor Phil Hecken. His response:

I’ve never stumped the readers, so the correct answer is always found in that day’s comments. There may be an occasional wrong guess, but that is usually corrected by another commenter. So just check the comments!

What do you think will happen when a team runs out of numbers to give to players due to all the retired numbers? Fractions? Triple digits?

I don’t think any team will ever “run out.” Even the Yankees, who’ve retired more numbers than any other pro sports team, have plenty of numbers to choose from.

How much, if at all, does it affect your ability to enjoy a band’s music if you can’t abide the band’s (or a band member’s) politics?

The extent to which we can or should separate the art from the artist is a topic that’s been debated almost as long as art itself has existed. It’s also a debate I often find myself feeling conflicted about. A few random thoughts:

• My favorite music is Delta blues. There’s no getting around the fact that many Delta bluesmen sang rather casually and matter-of-factly about violence toward women. I’ve never let this stop my enjoyment of the music, but some of my girlfriends over the years have had major issues with it.

• I like a lot of pre-1970s country music. Most of it was made by people whose worldviews probably don’t align with mine. Occasionally those worldviews are expressed in the lyrics. Again, I don’t let it stop my enjoyment.

• In those blues and country examples, I probably find it easier to rationalize my enjoyment because the artists are now dead and the world they were describing feels more like a museum than the world we live in today. If a current artist expressed views I found problematic, that would be trickier. I’m trying to remember if this has ever happened, and for now I’m coming up empty, but I guess it might depend on the context. For example, if a band recorded a homophobic song, that would presumably be a lot worse than if their drummer made a homophobic comment during an interview. Or would it? Not sure. Tricky territory.

• These issues go way beyond music, of course, and also go beyond politics. As a kid, I was a big Bill Cosby fan; not anymore. I’ve spent most of my life as a big Woody Allen fan, but that’s become more complicated in recent years. Similarly, movie fans have wrestled for decades with the question of how to assess the work of Roman Polanski, a convicted statutory rapist who’s been a fugitive from U.S. justice since 1978.

• Finally, I know there are Uni Watch readers who have issues with my worldview, and who therefore wrestle with these same issues when reading this website.

In short: Separating the art from the artist (or the blog from the blogger, as the case might be) is complicated. I don’t know that there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to it, as we all have different ideas as to what constitutes a dealbreaker, what counts as disqualifying, and so on. Endlessly fascinating topic, for sure.

Do you have (or do you even desire to have) any sort of beer tap in your home?

Nah. I do have a small collection of vintage tap heads, but I’m not looking to hook them up to real taps.

How do you decide how to balance covering uni-verse without providing free exposure to the companies whose advertisements continue to encroach on uniform design? On the one hand, you’ve used Mr. Yuk to cover NBA ad patches without giving prime real estate on the site to the advertiser. On the other hand, I’ve noticed over the last several months that (particularly on Twitter) you’ve highlighted “good looks” at the Nike logo on various MLB jerseys, even when there was no other design change since last season. Once the presence, size, and placement of the Nike logo was made clear, I thought you might entirely ignore these “reveals” when there was no other design change. Obviously there are other examples, but these two polar opposites particularly jumped out at me.

The big thing about the Nike logo on MLB jerseys this season, at least to me, isn’t the change from Majestic to Nike — it’s the change from the sleeve placement to the chest placement. That’s a big (and horrible) change, so I wanted fans to be able to see how each team’s jersey would look — and how bad it would look — with that new maker’s mark positioning. If they had stuck with Majestic but moved the Majestic logo from the sleeve to the chest, I would have done the same thing.

Mr. Yuk was (and still is) my way of protesting the NBA’s uni ad program. Maker’s marks are bad, but third-party ad patches are exponentially worse, at least to my way of thinking. The point is that it doesn’t matter who the advertiser is because ad patches look like shit, period.

I’ve noticed that when you respond to someone in the comments or on Twitter, you always start by using the word “Actually.” How come?

Actually, I only start a response with “Actually…” in specific circumstances. Generally speaking (there may have been a few exceptions), I do it when responding to something that’s demonstrably false or not yet supported by facts. This can come in several forms — for example:

• When someone posts something that’s factually inaccurate: “Nike made a change to the Yankees’ jerseys by making the pinstripes go horizontally on the shoulders.” (Actually, the pinstripes have been that way, due to the Yanks’ use of raglan sleeves, since 1973.)

• When someone posts an unfounded assertion: “It’s obvious that all the major pro sports leagues will be wearing ad patches on their uniforms within a couple of years.” (Actually, there’s been zero indication that the NFL or NHL is currently moving toward ad patches.)

• When someone exaggerates or “rounds up”: “Nobody wears stirrups anymore.” (Actually, a small but stubborn group of MLB players continues to wear them.)

• When someone posts a speculative conspiracy theory: “The NFL enacted the one-shell rule as a way for them to cover their asses against liability lawsuits.” (Actually, while that is a common speculation, we don’t know whether it’s true.)

• When someone posts a disprovable conspiracy theory: “The reason NFL teams stopped wearing triple-striped socks is obviously because Nike doesn’t want the players wearing Adidas’s signature symbol.” (Actually, the Bears and Patriots still wear triple-striped socks.)

• When someone falsely purports to speak for everyone else and/or engages in mind-reading: “Nobody comes here to read about your vacation.” (Actually, people come to Uni Watch for all sorts of reasons, and many readers have told me they love the travelogues.)

• When someone mischaracterizes me and/or my work: “You’re a traditionalist, so you hate everything Nike does.” (Actually, I’m a classicist, not a traditionalist, and while it’s true that I’m not a big Nike fan overall, I’ve praised lots and lots of their designs and initiatives over the years.)

• When someone insults my personal integrity based on a faulty premise: “You’re such a hypocrite! You say you’re opposed to capitalism but you sell lots of merch!” (Actually, I’ve never said I’m opposed to capitalism. I simply think we should be on guard against its excesses.)

There are probably a few other categories I’m overlooking, but you get the idea.

Why have I leaned so heavily on “Actually…” lately? For starters, it usually allows me to avoid using words like “no,” “wrong,” “faulty,” “incorrect,” and so on. Those are all negative words, negating words, and I’ve found that they often have a bad effect on the discussion. “Actually…,” on the other hand, simply provides a factual counterpoint, so it seems less inflammatory (or at least that’s my hope).

And then there’s this: One of our society’s biggest problems these days is our inability to agree on a shared set of facts. There’s so much misinformation and disinformation out there, and so many people either unwittingly or intentionally spread and circulate that false info (I’ve sometimes unwittingly done it myself, by retweeting something that turned out to be inaccurate), that it’s more important than ever to stay grounded in reality. Obviously, I can’t solve this problem all by myself, but I can at least try to keep my own yard clean, so to speak. And that’s what “Actually…” tries to do: It steers the discussion back to the realm of the actual — the realm of reality — instead of the realms of fantasy, speculation, conspiracy theorizing, unfounded assertions, and confirmation bias.

As a big fan of college football tradition, I’ve noticed that many traditional “black cleat programs” (USC, Penn State, Alabama) tend to use white shoelaces with their black cleats, to the point where they’d even replace black laces with white. That tradition has slowed down a bit, but it used to be a staple. Any background you can tell me about this tradition?

I’m not 100% certain about this, but I think it was because some of the older shoe brands, like Spot-Bilt, routinely used white laces with their black cleats. Since those older brands were the standard for many years, the black/white look also became the standard.

If anyone knows more about this, feel free to enlighten us in today’s comments.

What is the earliest documented example of a uniform worn during a sporting event that you have come across? Perhaps in a drawing/painting, or described in words.

Well, the athletes in the original Olympics in ancient Greece reportedly competed in the nude!

I know you’re a fan of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s writing and recipes. Me too! I also like Alison Roman — I dig her style. Any thoughts on her?

I’m aware of her existence, and also aware that she’s a bit controversial. I think the Tugboat Captain kinda hates her..? In any case, I haven’t really read enough of her stuff to get a fix on her. Will try to do so soon.


That’s it for this round of Question Time. Thanks for all the great questions! You can see the previous installments in this series here.

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Cross-tastic: My friend Miriam Sicherman, who’s a serious crossword puzzler (she even competes in tournaments!), got in touch with me on Saturday to direct my attention to that day’s New York Times crossword — specifically 10-Down, a three-letter word with the clue “Sports getup, for short.” Uni!

Miram says, “Although UNI is in the puzzle fairly often, I only remember it being clued in relation to sea urchin. So, thought you should know!”

The byline indicates that the puzzle was created by Erik Agard. I looked him up on Twitter to see if he’s one of my followers — nope. Sent him a DM, but no response yet. I’ll report back if he responds.

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Flattening the curve: This isn’t an endorsement or an exhortation (I know many of you feel very strongly about brim curvature). It’s just a uni-centric visualization of a now-familiar phrase, meant to be amusing. I’m a little surprised New Era hasn’t come up with something similar and tried to turn it into a sales pitch.

(My thanks to reader Steve Krupin for giving me the idea that led to this graphic.)

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ITEM! Cycling jersey returns: With the weather getting warmer and more people riding their bikes instead of driving because they’re staying closer to home, Adelph Wear’s Nathan Haas and I have decided to revive the Uni Watch cycling jersey.

Just like before, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB. We’re taking orders for one week, and the product should be ready to ship in early May. Full ordering info here.

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All dressed up with no place to go: The Tugboat Captain got me a gorgeous vintage blank North Stars jersey as a Christmas present. I wore it by itself for a while (I really like blank hockey jerseys — I love the basic yoke/stripe template on its own) but then decided to turn it into a Uni Watch jersey. So I had master embroiderer Amy Bengtson make a chain-stitched crest (a larger version of the ones we sell; in retrospect, maybe I should have had her make it even bigger), and then the Captain sewed it onto the jersey for me. Look how perfectly the colors match — I love it!

When I tweeted that photo over the weekend, some people said the logo looks like it’s a bit too low. But that’s because the hemline is riding up a bit. If I showed you the jersey laid flat, you’d agree that the logo is properly positioned — trust me.

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Membership update: Got a nice note yesterday from reader John Goodrich, who recently ordered a membership card for his son Evan (patterned after Rudy Ruettiger’s Notre Dame jersey, don’tcha know). He wrote:

We were happily surprised when Evan’s card came in the mail yesterday. It was a welcome distraction amongst all that has been going on. He showed the card to his sisters and then stored it with his most prized possessions — his mini helmet collection. I’ve attached a picture of the proud guy.

Thanks again for keeping things going on Uni Watch. It’s been a comfort to still be able to read it every day.

How great is that? Welcome aboard, Evan — you totally Get It™ (and so does your dad, clearly).

Meanwhile, a bunch of new designs have been added to the membership card gallery, including Julien Marques’s card, which is based on Ferndando Alonso’s 2017 Indy 500 helmet. Great job on this one (and one many other challenging requests from this batch) by card designer Scott M.X. Turner.

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, as a gesture of comm-uni-ty solidarity, the price of a membership has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.

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 (now more than 2,500 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

And while we’re at it, remember that I’ve also lowered prices on Uni Watch caps and seam rippers, plus you can get a 15% discount on everything in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop with the checkout code COMMUNITY. You can also help support Uni Watch by (which, quite frankly, could use your support these days) by making a donation. As always, thanks for your support and consideration.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: Reader Tyler Maun points out that a picture of Shea Stadium is visible in an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which takes place in 1958. Shea didn’t open until 1964. … Mike Chamernik sent us a series of two MLB team logos fused together into one. … Here are five odd moments in Tigers uni history (from Timmy Donahue). … Chris Mycoskie’s son has been putting Chris’s childhood collection of baseball mini-helmets on his own collection of Paw Patrol figurines. “It’s been a fun way to teach him about the different MLB teams,” says Chris.

Football News: The Ravens revealed a 25th-season logo yesterday. Although they didn’t say anything about it appearing on the uniform, it will presumably be worn as a jersey patch, as they’ve done with similar logos in the past (from many readers). … CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said that the Calgary Stampeders will get new uniforms this season, and the rest of the league might follow in 2021 (from Wade Heidt). … What appears to be a new Sun Belt Conference logo appeared on South Alabama’s practice field; note that it appears to be rendered in team colors (from multiple readers). … Colorado is conducting a March Madness-style bracket to determine the best helmet design in school history (from Kary Klismet).

Hockey News: Reader Frank Mercogliano sent us video of this 1978 Islanders/Maple Leafs game that provides a great view of the Leafs’ non-contrasting NOBs, plus the broadcasters briefly mention it. … Here’s a series of videos featuring hockey players explaining why they wear their current uni numbers (from Jerry Wolper).

Soccer News: English Championship team Bristol City produced a history of their kits. We also missed the Robins wearing 125th-anniversary shirts, which were a mismash of nine designs from the club’s history, March 7 in their last game before coronavirus stopped everything. … Staying in England, sixth-tier York City started a contest to determine their best-ever kit, and they’ve worn some pretty distinctive ones. … Reader David Raglin tells us that a new book on soccer shirts is out today.

Grab Bag: A few years ago, the Italian women’s volleyball team Saugella Monza wore slanted NOBs to go with their design at the time (from Jeremy Brahm). … More volleyball from Jeremy: Argentine team UPCN San Juan became the latest team in the sport to put their logo in a house to tell people to stay home. … The Mercedes Formula One team helped to design CPAP machines for use in hospitals as an alternative to ventilators, and its engine-manufacturing company is planning to manufacture them. … Julian LaFerla tells us that a Minnesota company redesigns NFL, MLB, and NBA team logos with Native American cultural features, among other projects. … Here’s an article about the enduring impact of the typeface Helvetica. … The inductions that had been scheduled for this summer at the International Boxing Hall of Fame have been postponed due to the pandemic.

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What Paul did last night on Friday night: Friday was so nice — sunny, warmer, no wind. Our friend Sridhar (in the red cap) had arranged to come over and join us for Pandemic Porch Cocktails™, and then our neighbor Jason (in the striped shirt) wandered over from across the street to join the gathering — with everyone maintaining safe social distancing, of course. It was really nice.

The next morning, our landlords, who live upstairs and are elderly-ish, asked us to stop having guests, because it makes them nervous. Sigh.

So the next day it was just us, although we made up for it by bringing some snacks:

Yesterday it rained, which meant the front edge of the porch was wet, so we used the deck chairs:

You can see all of the Pandemic Porch Cocktail™ photos here.

Afterward, we made dinner. There were some lamb chops that had been in the freezer for three or four months, and we decided last night was as good a time as any. Some green beans and roasted potatoes completed the meal:

A really nice Sunday night — except for, well, you know.

Meanwhile, as you can see, the stress is really getting to Uni Watch girl mascot President Caitlin (whose birthday is one month from today!):

Hope your weekend was a good one. Hang in there — we’re all in this together, and we’ll get through it together. — Paul

(Corona) Vilkmas ... in March!

By Phil Hecken & Jimmer Vilk

Readers of Uni Watch know that our own Jimmer Vilk is a very generous hombre; in the past he has gifted some of his most prized possessions to our readership (including shipping!). We thusly had Vilkmas in December in 2015 and again in December 2016. Rather than having a LOT of items to ship during the holiday season, Jimmer broke his Vilkmasses in 2017 into two parts: one in July, and again in December of 2017. Jim’s edition for 2018 actually ran a couple days after 2019 began, but this year he (and I) got our shit stuff together, and then, once again this past December.

Normally, we run these around Christmas (Vilkmas) time, and occasionally over the summer, but with the COVID-19 pandemic bearing down on us, Jim felt now would be a perfect time to offer up some of his used goods. We can all feel a little bit better about the kindness of our fellow men/women in this time of national #AloneTogether unity. So without further ado, I’m pleased to AGAIN offer Jimmer’s generosity to the Uni Watch readership.

Take it away, Mr. Vilk!

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Down to the basement,
It’s time to go through my sports books and shirts again.
Fill up the mailbox,
I may be rushing things, but I’ll give stuff away now.
For we need a little Vilkmas
Need a little laughter,
Need a little snappy
“Happy ever after,”
Yes, we need a little Vilkmas
Right this very minute
We need a little Vilkmas now.

Apologies to Jerry Herman…

Last week, as I read Uni Watch (not sure which day), between whatever Paul wrote about the Coronavirus and whatever the people in the comments were saying about it, Mr. Herman’s song just started going through my head. My inner voice would sing over the word “Christmas,” and that’s when it occurred to me, maybe we really *do* need a little Vilkmas. Right this very minute. So here I am, nine months early, with five more chances for you to win some fabulous free prizes.

As you know, free means free here. That includes postage. However… when you receive your prize, please note the amount of postage and strongly consider giving at least that much to an organization fighting this wretched disease. Thanks. Now, let’s see what’s in the old gift bag!


ITEM #1:

Basketball fans, we have a book on the life of legendary UCLA coach John Wooden (with lots of personal and game photos), along with five trading cards from the 1993-94 NBA season. The players include Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Sam Perkins, Danny Manning and Scott Skiles. Pure uni goodness!


ITEM #2:

Next up, another 1997-98 Pittsburgh Penguins yearbook. Here’s a second chance to win it if you missed out a couple of Vilkmases ago.


ITEM #3:

We’re in the midst of a national crisis, so no Astros jokes today. We’re all in this together. I’ll simply point out that the next item is a very cool Houston Astrodome shot glass. I drank a toast to blue-helmeted single-bar-facemask-wearing Skip Butler with it, and raised another to Billy White Shoes Johnson. You can toast whomever you want. And yes, I washed it.


ITEM #4:

Opening Day was scheduled too early anyway may have been postponed, but you can take a bit of comfort with this trio of baseball gifts: an Andre Dawson Montreal Expos card, a Washington Nationals pocket schedule from their inaugural season at Nationals Park, and a Tampa Bay Rays 20th anniversary patch.


ITEM #5:

Last but not least, we have another baseball item: a replica Roberto Clemente Pirates away jersey. No size listed, though it feels like an XL to me. The back number may be a bit small and the collar may be trimmed… hey, it’s still a good thrift store find. No ads, no makers mark. I’d wear that!


Just like last Vilkmas, I regretfully have to keep the entries to US residents only. Hopefully those of you from other countries have a contact in the States who can enter for you. Other than that it’s standard procedure and Phil can take it from here. Best of luck (and best of health!) to all of you. Merry Vilkmas to all, and to all a good night!!

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Thanks, Jimmer! Your generosity never ceases to amaze, ESPECIALLY now.

OK, this is very similar to Paul’s once-yearly raffle so here is how you enter:

1) Send an email to and put in the SUBJECT “Corona Vilkmas.”

2) In the BODY of the email, please indicate (a) your name and shipping address and (b) your top 3 prize choices, in order of preference, by description. If you’re only interested in, say, one or two items, then just list your top one or two choices; if you want all 5, you can do that too, but I don’t really expect anyone to go that far. Jim will do his best to accommodate all the winners’ choices.

3) One email per person. Entry deadline is this WEDNESDAY (April 1), 8:00 pm Eastern. The winners will be announced the following weekend.


And please, everyone please give Jimmer a nice round of thanks in the comments below. Thanks, Jimmer — you’re still the best.

Ram Tough?

With the Rams announcing their new logo earlier this week (and if you missed, it, Paul had absolutely stellar coverage of that), people have been speculating what their unis and helmet will look like, given the new color scheme and “hints” surrounding the logo.

First up is Chad Fields, a graphic designer, who took a stab at how the new helmet might look. He came with two possibilities, one where the helmet “horns” take on a gradient look (which in my opinion will look awful) and another with a solid horn. He mocked up each with a few different grills.

Dig (click any images below to enlarge):

(Gradient helmet):

Like I said above, I’m not a fan of this and hope it’s not anything like what the Rams will do. And if they were to go this way, then I’d have to say the white mask is about the only one that really works.

Now, if they go with a solid horn, there are three possibilities:

I personally think every helmet looks better with a gray fasemask — even in this case, but I could see the blue or yellow gold masks looking OK as well. But here’s gray anyway:

Obviously, we have no idea what the helmet will look like, but it could very easily look something like one of these.

Just some food for thought.

And also, reader Ian Lee decided to mock up some unis (which I’m pretty sure won’t be what the team is wearing, but who knows?) based upon the newly released logo. Here’s what he has (a home, road and alternate), and his description:

Hi Phil!

I made a Rams concept and I wanted to pass it on. It features a large amount of gradient in the helmet horn and numbers, other than that though it’s not very much different than the classic Rams uniforms.

Ian Lee

The “BEST OF” Kreindler’s Korner

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

So, going forward, for as long as the COVID-19 situation is bad in New York, I’m going to run a few “Best of’s” until Graig returns. This one appeared in 2018…

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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 $20,000 Roomate”
Subject: Ernie Banks, September, 1953
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 18″ x 24″

This classic image of Ernie has always appealed to me for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons being that great zipper-front Cubs jersey. Though the pinstriped version of the late ’50s became de rigueur, there’s something about the previous designs that have always seemed extra cool to me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Banks started his career in them? Either way, mixed with that classic Cubby blue, you can’t go wrong. Also worthy of note, Banks’ gold tooth! I don’t think he had it for too long after coming up to Chicago.

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

Refrigerator Art…

…in the coronavirus age

This is really cool. It’s addressed to Paul (but since I’m on UWing duty over the weekend, Paul OK’ed me reposting it here) and it comes from longtime reader Douglas Ford (click images below to enlarge).


In 2011, I sent you the email below with an attached pic of my original NFL helmet drawings from 1977(when I was 8). Since we are now locked down at home and street chalking has become an activity for my children I decided to make my own dream of colorizing these helmets.


Hope all is well for you and I am enjoying the porch cocktail pics.

take care!


On Thursday, October 6, 2011, 08:18:44 AM EDT, Douglas Ford wrote:

My mother always gave me paper and pen to keep me occupied in church as a youngster. She was digging through her bible and found my handywork from 1977 (attached). I would have been 8 yrs old at the time. It might be fun to have a colorization contest with them as my family had black and white TV until 1984 so I am sure I didnt know what the colors were anyway. Do with them as you wish.

enjoy the site,


PS I miss the Cincy helmets that had “BENGALS” spelled out, don’t you?

And what did Douglas’ handiwork look like in 1977?

and the new, colorized versions?

How awesome is that? Two generations of uni watchers just doing their thing. Thanks for sharing, especially during this crazy time.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Cosmic Charlie.

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

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

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

And now a few words from Paul

Hi there. How are you feeling? How are you holding up? I’m hanging in there, and I hope you are too.

I have a bunch of things to tell you about. One at a time:

1. With the weather getting warmer and more people riding their bikes instead of driving because they’re staying closer to home, Adelph Wear’s Nathan Haas and I have decided to revive the Uni Watch cycling jersey. Just like before, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB. We’re taking orders for one week, and the product should be ready to ship in early May. Full ordering info here.

2. In case you missed it a few days ago, the 22nd annual Uni Watch MLB Season Preview is now available. Just like always, it has info on all of the new uniforms and patches you can expect to see on the field this season — whenever it eventually begins.

3. In case you missed it on Friday, I’m interested in hearing readers’ stories about when they first Got It™ regarding uniforms. Was there a formative childhood uni-related moment? Maybe you were watching a game and became fixated on a particular team’s logo? Or maybe stumbling upon Uni Watch itself was your formative moment? If you have a good story about how you first knew that you Got It™, write it up (try to keep it to one paragraph) and send it to this mailbox (note that this is not the usual Uni Watch email address). No stories in the comments, please. I’ll post the stories here on the site in an upcoming post. I’m looking forward to reading your uni-watching origin stories!

4. You probably know this by now, but just in case: I’ve lowered prices on a bunch of Uni Watch products, including membership cards, caps, and seam rippers, plus you can get a 15% discount on everything in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop with the checkout code COMMUNITY. You can also help support Uni Watch by (which, quite frankly, could use your support these days) by making a donation.

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: ICYMI: the other night (remotely), Joe Biden wore a Phillies cap on an appearance with Jimmy Kimmel. When Kimmel kidded him about wearing it, Biden replied: ‘It’s the way to be able to sleep with my wife.’ … Really great story about a fan who never gave up on Ebbets Field (NYT link). From Gordon Blau. … Hmmm. Here’s a Detroit Tigers logo (shown on TWIB) that is unfamiliar to Mark Morgan. … ICYMI: Hat Club has introduced “Washington Stars” caps — the cap(s) the San Diego Padres would have worn had they moved to Washington DC back in the 1970s (from Rob Bergeron). … Lots of social distancing logos from the “Coronavirus Prevention Baseball League” (from Jeremy Brahm). … Whoops! On the A’s shopping site Richard Paloma found this for the youth home jersey. (I made a screen grab of what Rich sent, just in case they’ve fixed it.) … “The orioles posted a picture that had orioles jerseys with the “Baltimore” script across the chest instead of the normal “Orioles”,” writes Billy King. “Perhaps it’s a picture from when they did this a few years back?” … As many of you may have heard, our friends at Ebbets Field Flannels announced Friday they were closing their physical location in Seattle. They’re saying they’re keeping online sales going, and will reopen the storefront as soon as they can. Colt Foutz wrote about it from a personal angle. … What’s a player have to do to get his favorite number from a teammate? (from Kenneth Traisman). … Does the uniform a team wears impact their winning percentage by that much? Probably not, but there are vast differences in which uniforms saw the most wins and the most losses. So, the Twins blog has discovered uni tracking! … WHOA — check out this awesome Opening Day (2019) stirrup matchup (from Squatchee on Top). He adds, “Had to be creative w/Rays, Rockies, D-backs & Marlins as stirrups weren’t worn as much then or they were just solid.” … Mike Cooperman was “introducing kids to classic 80’s movies since we’re spending time at home. Watching Police Academy and I see this…Steve Guttenberg in a pullover v-neck light blue Darrell Porter Cardinals Jersey.”

NFL News: The N.F.L. is one of the only professional leagues to have been spared the scheduling snafus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The league has doubled down on its annual three-day draft, but this year, there will be no crowds at the televised spectacle (NYT link) April 23-25. Top picks will be participating remotely. … Those Tom Brady jerseys (he’ll never wear) are still selling like hotcakes (from John F.). … Not only are Brady jerseys selling well, so too apparently are Brady bobbleheads (also showing a uni he’ll never wear). From Ron Jes. … Tweeter Coach KT noticed Phillips with the white helmet stripe on the ‘68 Bengals, the only player on the team with this. It’s an anomaly seen in the linked video. … CROSSOVER ALERT: Check out this 2004 photo of Allen Iverson repping the Doug Williams Buccaneers jersey at the 3 Point Contest (from Throwback Sports). Also posted in NBA. … Awesome old NFL Films stuff here from Old Time Football: In the 1950’s the Colts switched the horseshoe on the helmets from down to up (*this is news to me). And here are the Colts wearing blue helmets. … There was a time when the horseshoe was upside down, but not on a helmet (from Keith Grinde). … Or on the field (from Robert Goulet). … Speaking of NFL helmets, if NFL helmet rule change does come into effect, this article thinks they should bring back these 10 throwback looks. … Count Russell Wilson as among those who would love the one-shell rule dropped.

College Football News: With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on sports, the NFL (see above) and College Football have been largely unscathed, so far. But Kirk Herbstreit says he’ll be “shocked” if the NCAA football season happens (NFL too). That won’t be good.

Hockey News: The Penguins were scheduled to wear green St. Patrick’s Day jerseys in warmups before a March 15 home game against the New York Islanders. While the game wasn’t played due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Penguins foundation raised $20,000 from the auction of the jerseys and donated $5,000 each to the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Western PA Diaper Bank, Rainbow Kitchen and Salvation Army carry-out meal program. … Brian’s Custom Sports has shifted their production away from goalie gear to building medical gowns. They expect to make 18,000 for local EMS (from Goalie Gear Nerd). … This is pretty cool — all 31 NHL teams done in dominos (from Mike Chamernik). … The author of this article feels the Blackhawks need a “consistent” 3rd sweater. … Check out this paint ad in a February 1973 ⁦⁦Canadiens⁩ vs. Maple Leafs program (rt’ed by Paul). … The Cleveland Monsters weren’t able to wear their Purple Jerseys last night & gave one to a lucky twitterer.

NBA & College Hoops News: What do you talk about when there are no sports? You talk about the stuff they wear to play sports. Here’s “Charlotte basketball’s definitive jersey rankings—the worst of all time.” … Remember that brief period when MJ returned to hoops and wore “45” (before going back to 23)? Knicks fans, like myself, will never forget. CROSSOVER ALERT: Check out this 2004 photo of Allen Iverson repping the Doug Williams Buccaneers jersey at the 3 Point Contest (from Throwback Sports). Also posted in NFL. … Here’s a piece ranking the LA Clippers unis from 1984 to 2000. … Oooohhh — check out this Youngstown State Media Guide from 1989 (from Vintage Youngstown).

Soccer News: Reader/tweeter Josh Hinton has given us a better look at the South Korea home/away kits that were released in early February (from Colin Dowding).

Grab Bag: (Thinking this might be better under soccer, but…): “Check out the clue for 10 Down in (yester)day’s NYT crossword,” tweeted Paul. So, is it “uni” or “kit”? … “The 1987 Kevin Costner movie “No Way Out” contains a uniform error involving the Navy Cross. Costner’s character is wearing the medal prior to earning it. Also b/c his actions weren’t in combat he should’ve been awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Medal” (from Timmy Donahue). … Mikasa has added a distanced logo (from Jeremy Brahm). … Oh My — check out these “most stylish tennis outfits of all time” (r/t’ed by Paul). … “Looking at an old Volleyballai magazine from 1996 World Super Challenge and Japan’s men uniform had their names on the shorts and on the back of the shirt,” writes Jeremy again. … Check out the tie dye socks in this photo from 16 years ago (from James Gilbert). … The maker of the Racing Sausages and Bucky Badger mascot is now producing medical masks for Wisconsin hospitals (from Mike Chamernik). … Massachusetts-based New Balance will repurpose sneaker factories to produce medical face masks.

And Finally… Mom made it home from the hospital yesterday! Thanks to all for your good thoughts and kind words.

Everyone stay safe. #AloneTogether

That’s the ticket.



Gotham Baseball Gets Uniforms

By Phil Hecken, with Mark Healey

Sometime, a follow-up post takes a week or two. Sometimes longer. This one is over two years in the making.

Readers may recall an article I did with Mark Healey and Todd Radom back in January of 2018 entitled Gotham Baseball Gets a New Logo (if you need a refresher, please take a few minutes to read the lede as it sets up today’s post — thanks!). Now then, if you didn’t read that, the gist of that post was that my pal (and UW pal) Todd had worked with Mark to design a new logo for Gotham baseball, and left open the prospect that there would be uniforms to be designed and revealed at a later date. Well, the time has now come. It also coincides with the soon-to-be-released book, “Gotham Baseball: New York’s All Time Team,” which Mark authored (more on that below). There’s a lot more too — but let’s just get started now, and see what’s in store! Here’s Mark (click any images below to enlarge):

• • • • •

Gotham Baseball
By Mark Healey

When I decided to write my first-ever book, Gotham Baseball: New York’s All-Time Team, I knew that it needed artwork, and that John Pennisi would be the guy to provide it. John’s illustrations — I call them portraits — have been a part of Gotham Baseball since the early days.

I’d always been a fan of the old illustrated covers of Baseball Magazine, and John had created a few of those for our magazine, and it was extremely important to me to make sure that John was part of the project,

I also knew I needed something new; this would be the first-ever book that selected the best players from among the ranks of the Mets, Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York baseball Giants. My mission was to find a way to represent the players and their respective teams, while also creating a Gotham Baseball squad.

Enter Todd Radom. I had met Todd years ago at the Queens Baseball Convention, and over the years we stayed in touch. I was fascinated with his work and truly had no idea why he was so nice to me. One day, after we had exchanged emails about a project we had both unknowingly worked on together, he wrote that he would like to work with me on my next project.

It would more than a year when I had the idea of what that project would be.

I finally realized that putting the players in a Gotham Baseball uniform would be the best way to bring the book together and would give Pennisi a palette to bring the portraits together.

I asked Todd if he would be interested, and he said yes. So I made some crude sketches of what I was envisioning and Todd not only designed one uniform, he designed THREE, with home and road version of each.

I was amazed at how perfectly Todd understood what the Gotham Baseball team should wear:


The 1950s version:


The 1980s version:


2017 or Modern Era version:


I then supplied Pennisi with the designs, assigned each player a specific uniform, and he did the rest. The gallery of the players is in the centerfold of the book, but here’s s sneak preview of Monte Irvin, the Gotham Baseball left-fielder.

While we are not ready to mass-produce any Gotham Baseball gear just yet, Russ Gompers from Stitches did create an amazing prototype:

(photo by Matthew M. Lug)

One last thing, while it’s not uniform related, Todd also did the cover. We had talked about different concepts for the cover, I had some ideas, he had some ideas, but then I remembered these works of art he had created that captured the essence of Gotham Baseball’s identity.

Needless to say, Todd’s cover design was brilliant.

The book will be released on April 6, is published by The History Press, and features a foreword by best-selling baseball author and historian Marty Appel, in addition to the wonderful work of Pennsisi and Radom.

What better way to celebrate Gotham Baseball’s 15th Anniversary?

(logo design by Todd Radom, and updated by Mark Hogan)

If you’d like to order a signed copy. please visit Gotham Baseball.

• • • • •

Great stuff! Thanks, Mark. So readers, what do you think of the Healey/Radom unis? And how about that beautiful artwork by John Pennisi? And what better way to use some of your newly-created “free” time than to pick up a copy of Mark’s book (and no, he didn’t ask me for a plug!)? Even if you’re not a fan of New York baseball, this promises to be a great read.

Uni Concepts & Tweaks

Time for more Uni Tweaks from the UW readership.

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

• • •

I received an e-mail from Jared Pike a short while back, who has some new ideas for the Washington football team. Here’s Jared:

Hi Phil, have an interesting uni concept for you.

I was a huge Washington (‘)skins fan growing up. It’s been sad to see them wither away (thanks more to Dan Snyder than the name controversy, to which I’m largely indifferent.) Either way, I think a rebranding is just what Washington needs, and it might solve multiple issues at once.

So here’s what I propose. The Washington NFL team should announce a partnership with the MLS team, and call both teams “DC United.” This is common in Europe, where one sports organization fields teams in multiple sports (Bayern Munich has a basketball team, FC Barcelona has a rugby team, etc.) Linking themselves to the multiple MLS champions offers history to one side, and future to another.

Regarding the kit, the DC United football team would keep burgundy and gold, and add black as an accent — so they have the option of looking “traditional” in their home whites, but badass in their new dark colors. Using the DC United’s sharp-looking eagle crest on the helmet completely eliminates the Native American imagery once and for all. The soccer team would change their black-and-red to black-and-burgundy, which is just subtle enough to not offend longtime fans. They would also add gold as a new accent color, which their kit desperately needs. I think fans — not just in Washington — would buy both kits in huge numbers (and the organizations would save money by sharing a single marketing team).

It would also positively affect the culture of both clubs. DC United’s fanbase has a huge number of Latinos, and DC itself is 50% African American. Replace the oompah of “Hail to the [‘]skins” with grassroots fan-made chants and tifos, and you’ve transformed a stagnant NFL stadium into one that opponents actually fear visiting. And if I were in charge, I would have them swap stadiums for a game: give the soccer team 70,000 seats for their biggest rivalry match; and take one of the NFL games to Audi Field, and as a community-building move, sell the 20,000 tickets at low cost to DC residents only.

Examples of cross-team promotions are rare in America; I can think of the Detroit Lions/Tigers, the Chicago Cubs/Bears, and the Pittsburgh teams all using black and yellow (although I can’t see the other three DC clubs giving up red white and blue!) Having an NFL team called DC United sends a strong message that their American football team isn’t a dinosaur, but a forward-thinking organization that wants to combine the best of all sport for all fans.

-Jared Pike

And here’s the concepts Jared sent along — click to enlarge:

• • •

Thanks Jared. Nice writeup as well as concepts!

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

Putting a Date on a Well-known Baseball Uni

Got an e-mail yesterday from Craig Brown, who you may know runs the absolutely fantastic Threads Of Our Game website, which is devoted to the research and study of 19th century base ball uniforms. I occasionally run sub-ledes from Craig on here.

I’ll let Craig take it from here:

Hello baseball historians,

Every once in a while, when a baseball photo get passed down from generation to generation and from historian to historian, the information behind the photo gets lost. This can be said of a well-known image of Cap Anson taken at the end of his career — a picture we’ve all seen a hundred times. But when was this photo taken? Is this information lost in the sands of time? Threads has discovered an answer to these questions, providing a date for the photo and the interesting backstory behind the image.

See more here

Thanks for your time,

This is a really fantastic writeup on a very controversial figure (if you don’t know the story of Anson’s fight to keep baseball “white,” I encourage you to further explore it). But we’re not concerned with any of that — Craig’s piece is a great historical deep-dive seeking to date an historical photo.

Well worth a few minutes of your time and highly recommended.

Thanks, Craig!

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Shannon Shark (though he didn’t submit it as such).

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

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

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

And now a few words from Paul

Hi there. How are you feeling? How are you holding up? I’m hanging in there, and I hope you are too.

I have a bunch of things to tell you about. One at a time:

1. With the weather getting warmer and more people riding their bikes instead of driving because they’re staying closer to home, Adelph Wear’s Nathan Haas and I have decided to revive the Uni Watch cycling jersey. Just like before, you can customize the back of the jersey with your choice of number and NOB. We’re taking orders for one week, and the product should be ready to ship in early May. Full ordering info here.

2. In case you missed it a few days ago, the 22nd annual Uni Watch MLB Season Preview is now available. Just like always, it has info on all of the new uniforms and patches you can expect to see on the field this season — whenever it eventually begins.

3. In case you missed it on Friday, I’m interested in hearing readers’ stories about when they first Got It™ regarding uniforms. Was there a formative childhood uni-related moment? Maybe you were watching a game and became fixated on a particular team’s logo? Or maybe stumbling upon Uni Watch itself was your formative moment? If you have a good story about how you first knew that you Got It™, write it up (try to keep it to one paragraph) and send it to this mailbox (note that this is not the usual Uni Watch email address). No stories in the comments, please. I’ll post the stories here on the site in an upcoming post. I’m looking forward to reading your uni-watching origin stories!

4. You probably know this by now, but just in case: I’ve lowered prices on a bunch of Uni Watch products, including membership cards, caps, and seam rippers, plus you can get a 15% discount on everything in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop with the checkout code COMMUNITY. You can also help support Uni Watch by (which, quite frankly, could use your support these days) by making a donation.


Remember last weekend when I posted the series of daily updates from NY Governor Cuomo listing the number of COVID-19 cases, by state, and I noted the tremendous progression as this pandemic really ramps up? Well, here’s the graphic from yesterday:

As you can see, New York has really been hit hard by this, and most of those cases are in the NYC/Metropolitan area. We had (statewide) less than 10K cases a week ago, this week it’s over 44,000 (and counting!). You’ve also, likely, seen or read about the tragic situation at one of our local hospitals (both of those are New York Times‘ links, but should be free as they’re coronavirus coverage). That situation is going to (possibly) threaten every major hospital in the United States, and in short order. I would also like to point out that Elmhurst Hospital is about 15 miles away from where I live.

But it’s not JUST New York under threat anymore. We passed 100,000 cases in the US just yesterday. New Orleans (WaPo link, which should also be free), where SMUW honcho Terry Duroncelet lives, and I’m sure many other UW readers reside or have visited, is also facing dire straits. And there are many other major American cities under the gun as we speak:

Nassau County, where I live — just 15 miles away from Elmhurst Hospital — reported (as of yesterday morning) more than 4,500 cases alone (that’s more than every other state but New Jersey).

And we’re apparently still three weeks away from the apex of the curve, which means that ALL of our hospitals will be overwhelmed with COVID-19 hospitalizations. Despite all the measures we’re taking (building new, temporary hospitals, scrambling for PPE’s and other vital equipment like ventilators, even taking over dorms for potential hospital beds), we’re still projected to be well over capacity when the “wave” hits. We’re seeing the strains already. We’re in a race against time to avoid unnecessary deaths, due to a lack of beds, equipment and more. The spread needs to be contained as best as possible, and we need to flatten the curve, or it’s going to be so bad.

And it won’t just be New York. We’re simply “ahead” of the rest of the US in terms of infections and hospitalizations, but I can assure you this will happen across the States as the disease transmission progresses.

So, please PLEASE PLEASE! For all those of you who aren’t on the front lines of this: Continue to practice social isolation. It is working, but it’s got to be continued for as long as necessary.

And to our new and still unsung heroes: especially the doctors, nurses and all health-care workers who are now literally on the front lines: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. Thanks also to our first responders: EMTs, police, fire, etc. Your service is especially appreciated these days. Big thanks, also, to everyone else who is keeping everything going (delivery folks, restaurants, pharmacies, any essential stores and their workers, mail carriers, package handlers, etc. — there’s too many to mention). They deserve our thanks and gratitude too. If you ordered food for delivery, I hope you gave the guy/gal who delivered it an extra big tip.

Sorry (again) to bring this up, but we can’t let our guard down. Don’t give up all the gains we’ve made by breaking the social distancing rules in place. I want all of you here and not sick or worse. We’ll get through all of this together, but we have to work together to get through this.

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: The Twins posted a pretty awesome .gif version of Minnie and Pete socially distancing and foregoing a handshake (from Mike Menner).

Pro Football News: The Colts helmet on the right in this video of Jim Irsay encouraging people to socially distance appears to have a larger, more rounded horseshoe than the Colts usually wear. Hmm (from Tom Ferrer). … These Browns mock-ups were floating around Twitter last night. Definitely more traditional than their current sets, but more modern than their original unis. I guess we’ll see if they’re real in the coming weeks (from multiple readers). … Jeremy Weber meticulously painted a Buccaneers jersey onto a figurine of Tom Brady, and the results are pretty great. More pics here. … CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie wore an awesome CFL/LCF sweater during an interview. It was knitted by the mother of a CFL staff member (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade, this story implies the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be going retro with their new uni design. … Here’s a picture of Broncos legend Rick Upchurch in a blank helmet because the helmet he started the game with cracked on an early hit and replacements didn’t have logos (from Matt Willison). … In 1999, Jets P Tom Tupa was drafted into emergency QB duty after Vinny Testaverde tore his achilles. He wore his regular helmet, with a facemask approved only for kickers for the entire game, and finished 6 for 11 with two touchdowns in a narrow loss to the Patriots (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: Rogers Arena in Vancouver will be lit up pink in honor of healthcare workers, while BC Place will be lit up blue (from Wade Heidt).

Soccer News: Nike has “cleared the way” (paywalled) for Liverpool to finish the season in their New Balance kits, should the season ever actually be finished. Nike was to take over from New Balance shortly after the scheduled end of the English domestic season in May (from Moe Khan). … Norway’s 2020 kit has leaked and it’s, um, interesting (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh, Bleacher Report has put together renderings of the new Liverpool and Juventus home kits, giving us our best — albeit unofficial — look at their unis yet. … Belarusian sides Rukh Brest and Energetik Minsk wore shirts reading “We are Playing for the World” — in English — before their match yesterday (from Ed Żelaski).

Grab Bag: O’Neills, an Irish manufacturer of (mostly) GAA jerseys, is switching to production of scrubs during the COVID-19 crisis (from Philip Santos).

And finally… Big thanks (again) to all who sent good wishes to me on my mom’s recent health battle. She’s been in the hospital since before last weekend, and due to the coronavirus protocol, I haven’t even been allowed to visit her. But (fingers and toes crossed!) it looks like she will be released from the hospital (and can return home) sometime today. I could be Sunday, but we’re all hoping it will be today. I really appreciate everyone’s well wishes and concerns, especially with my area’s hospitals about to be overrun with COVID-19 patients. I hope and pray none of you, or your loved ones, contract the virus, even if the odds are increasingly looking like a good number of us (or our families and friends) will, at some point in the not too distant future. To anyone who already has tested positive (or has a family member who has been diagnosed), my thoughts and prayers are with you. And to anyone who has a loved one currently in the hospital but can’t see them because of the CV19 regulations, believe me, I feel for you.

Stay safe, everyone. We can get through this together, and we will.