Play Ball! Spring Training Games Provide Lots of Uni Observations

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Good morning! Greetings from Uni Watch HQ, where all three inhabitants continue to be safe and well.

MLB spring training games got under way yesterday, and we were promptly confronted with a the Nats and Cardinals going red vs. red (see above). I usually don’t mind when two MLB teams wear same-colored jerseys — unlike most other sports, baseball doesn’t have all the players on both teams appearing on the field at the same time, so there isn’t much opportunity for a confusing kit clash. Then again, sometimes you get a situation like the one shown above. Obviously, this particular TV camera view makes it seems worse than it really was (sort of like selectively cropping a photo), but it’s still pretty funny!

A few other notes from yesterday’s Grapefruit and Cactus League openers:

• In a very different kind of color-vs.-color game, the Padres and Mariners went brown vs. light blue:

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• At least two spring ballparks — Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. (home of the Tigers) and the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Ariz. (home of the Mariners and Padres) — allowed fans to sit on the grass beyond the outfield wall, but only in designated socially distant squares:

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• Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette’s super-high pants cuffage, which he’s been doing for the past two seasons, is in midseason form:

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• At least two first base coaches — Mark Budzinski of the Blue Jays and Wayne Kirby of the Padres — had uni-numbered masks. I know we saw plenty of that last season, but I’m just noting that it’s carrying over to spring training:

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• Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini, who missed the 2020 season while recovering from colon cancer, got a nice response from the crowd for his first plate appearance (and then promptly singled — good for him!):

What really interests me about that video, though, is the way plate ump Will Little repeatedly kicked the plate “clean” with his feet. I get that he was doing it a bit longer than usual in order to let Mancini enjoy the ovation, but why was he using his feet to begin with? Come on — bend over and use the whisk broom! I know umps have been using the kick method for a long time now, but part of a game official’s job is to project a sense of righteous authority and proper protocol — the kick method always seems to undermine that, at least to me. If spring training is for brushing up on fundamentals, shouldn’t they at least break out the whisk broom just to get reacquainted with it?

• Speaking of umps: Ryan Blakney, who was working the plate for the Reds/Cleveland game, was still wearing last season’s memorial patches for former umps Eric Cooper, Chuck Meriweather, and Rick Reed. I didn’t see any other umps wearing those patches yesterday (although, obviously, I didn’t find photos of every single ump, so others could have been wearing the patches):

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• Last week I noted that the Yankees’ Whitey Ford memorial patch appeared to be positioned very low on pitcher’s Gerrit Cole’s sleeve. Unfortunately, that appears to be the rule, not the exception:

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An inch or two higher would look so much better!

• Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty wore a St. Louis Browns jersey for his postgame press availability:

Ah, MLB uni-watching — it’s like riding a bike, I tells ya! Here’s to lots more uni-notable baseball moments in 2021.

(Thanks to Jim Howicz and @mrmichael21 for their contributions to this section.)

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ITEM! March Pin Club release: Up until now, pin collaborator Todd Radom and I had done only one hockey-themed design (that was last October’s pin — about 30 of those still available), but this month we return to the ice with a pin based on classic table hockey players. We even included the two slots for the pin to go through! It’s one of my favorite designs of the entire Pin Club project, and it’s available here.

This is a numbered edition of 200. Here’s another view:

Again, this pin is available here. If you need to get caught up on the 2021 pins, here are the January and February designs. In addition, all of our remaining 2020 pins have been reduced in price by nearly 30% — they’re available in the Uni Watch Shop.

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ITEM! Unified T-shirts now available: I’m happy to report that the Unified podcast now has its own merch shop, featuring an assortment of T-shirts and stickers. You can see our initial offerings here, and we’ll be adding new items in the weeks and months to come. If you have any specific requests or suggestions, feel free to let me know.

You can listen to our show, and subscribe to future episodes, on Apple, Google, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify. Photos of things we’ve discussed in the episodes can found in the show notes on our website, and those same photos appear in the video versions of our episodes, which you can find on Chris’s YouTube channel.

If you haven’t caught our latest episode, you can also listen to that one here:

Thanks for the all the enthusiasm and support about this project!

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Cooler heads prevail: Forty years ago today, this wire photo of Mariners pitcher Dave Heaverlo appeared in newspapers across America. Somehow his cap-modification style never caught on!

(Big thanks to longtime reader/pal Jeff Ash for this one.)

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That's breaking Nike!

Take that, swoosh! Even if you don’t care about logo creep as much as I do, I’d like to think that everyone reading this can appreciate the creativity and thought that went into the project shown above. First-rate!

(Big thanks to Paddy Raven for this one.)

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Waaay too good for the Ticker: All the recent chatter about zero and double-zero inspired reader Scott Williams to dig out this photo of himself from 1972, when he was nine years old. Is that pure gold or what? The Northwestern-striped tube sox, junior Chucks, the double-zero, and double-decker vertical arching! So good.

“Our entire entire 10-member squad wore only 00, 11, 22, etc., up to 99,” says Scott. “How many people can say they wore their entire season stats on their jersey, like I did?”

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Blue Jays in Brooklyn? A reader who prefers to remain anonymous was getting vaccinated in Brooklyn the other day and saw these signs with Blue Jays logos and typography. This particular vax site was run by the state, not the city, so he theorized that the signs could have been repurposed from being used in Buffalo, where the Jays played their home games last season.

When I posted the photo on Twitter, @golbmchallenge confirmed that similar signs were posted at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field last season.

I’ll be able to see these same signs myself on Friday, when I’ll be getting vaccinated at the same site where the anonymous reader took the photo. Excited to be doing my part to protect myself and protect others!

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Membership update: A new batch of designs has been added to the membership card gallery, including Zach Spencer’s, shown at right. If you don’t recognize the team, that’s because it’s based on his beer league hockey jersey — a great choice!

As of this morning, I have one remaining slot on the current sheet, so the next person to sign up will get their card without much of a wait time.

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, plus a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in the Uni Watch, Uni Rock, and Naming Wrongs shops, and the discount also applies to our Uni Watch Classic Cap and Uni Watch toque. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me and I’ll hook you up.)

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 3,000 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: Some Texas A&M players are wearing both the SEC’s graduate patch and the conference logo patch, when the former usually replaces the latter (from Clint Richardson). … Vanderbilt’s military-themed alternates apparently now have matching helmets (from @eggsngrits). … Reader Max Weintraub was watching a PBS documentary about Al Capone that frequently used this picture of him with Cubs C Gabby Hartnett, which is probably from a September 1931 Cubs/White Sox charity game.

Football News: Troy presented the “offseason MVPs” on offense and defense with spears as trophies (from Ben Whitehead).
 

Hockey News: The Predators wore Black History Month-themed warm-up jerseys on Saturday (from Wade Heidt). … The NBCSN soccer show Men in Blazers recently featured a Capitals ЯR sweater visible behind host Roger Bennett, who is a Caps fan — and he was also wearing a Whalers sweater. Bennett has also used that spot recently to display shirts belonging to American soccer players (from Max Weintraub). … SportsLogos.net head and Unified podcast co-host Chris Creamer appears in this article discussing the Sabres’ uniforms and ЯR design (thanks, Brinke).

Basketball News: Women’s college teams that wore pink or pink accents included both Syracuse and N.C. State, with Syracuse wearing pink at home; both Delaware and Towson; Georgetown; and Division III Baldwin Wallace. … The Ohio State/Iowa men’s game yesterday was color vs. color and script alternate vs. script alternate (from Nick Souza). … Ohio State also apparently gets a silver jersey tab for making a men’s Final Four as a Nike school, instead of the gold one national champions get, even though they did win the championship in 1960, before Nike existed (from @5th_Factor). … Whoa — looks like players in the Korean Basketball League are wearing advertising stickers on their bare upper arms!

Soccer News: In MLS, the Chicago Fire have two new shirts, while one for Orlando City is to come this week. … New shirts also for Georgia’s Dinamo Tbilisi (from Ed Żelaski). … English League Two’s Forest Green Rovers wore shirts partially made out of recycled coffee grounds and plastic on Saturday. FGR chairman Dale Vince owns a green energy company and is also responsible for other initiatives like changing the club colors to lime green and black and putting in some eco-friendly features at the stadium. … The final of the Copa Verde, a cup competition for clubs in western and northern Brazil to qualify for the Copa do Brasil, had sleeve patches featuring endangered Amazon animals (from Trevor Williams).

Grab Bag: Several pro golfers yesterday wore Tiger Woods’s trademark Sunday outfit of black cap, red shirt, and black pants to show support for him after his car accident (from multiple readers). … AFL Women’s recolored their logo for this weekend’s Indigenous round, and officials participated through their shirts. Teams also wore the same “Free the Flag” warm-up shirts, a reference to the Aboriginal Australian flag being copyrighted, as appeared in the men’s counterpart of the event last year. … Meanwhile, Adelaide’s Indigenous guernsey is white and is appearing for all away games this season, but they got a home game this weekend, so the result was a white-on-white matchup with St. Kilda (from Graham Clayton). … Reader Ryan Hemminger’s alma mater, Division III Bethany (W.Va.) College, had striped shorts for its men’s cross country team at the time of them winning an NCAA regional in 1980. … Ohio State field hockey has a 50th-anniversary logo. … Virginia’s Klöckner Stadium hosts soccer and lacrosse, which usually don’t overlap but do now because of part of the soccer season moving to spring, so the field lines for all three of soccer, men’s lacrosse, and women’s lacrosse are visible and painted a mix of white, orange, and dark blue.

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Emancipation Day (observed): Twenty-five years ago today (well, it was actually Feb. 29, but that date doesn’t exist this year), I walked out of my office at Billboard Books for the final time and began life as a full-time freelance writer. I’d been freelancing on the side for a little over two years and decided it was time to take the plunge. Giving up a stable job was a bit scary, but I had to give it a try, because I wasn’t happy with my life or career up to that point and knew I needed to make changes or else I wouldn’t be able to keep facing myself in the mirror each morning. Can’t believe it’s been a full quarter-century since that day!

The flip side to the flexibility I’ve enjoyed since then, of course, is a lack of security (something that feels particularly precarious in the midst of the pandemic). But despite a few rocky moments, in the big picture it’s all worked out much better than I ever could have imagined, in part because of of the wonderful and supportive comm-uni-ty that’s formed around this website. On a near-daily basis, you folks make it clear to me that I made the right choice.

As I like to remind people each year on this date — and also remind myself — the moral of the story is this: If you want to change your life or reinvent yourself, don’t just sit around fantasizing about it — make it happen. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you won’t spend the rest of your life wondering about what might have been.

Of course, maybe you already like your life just fine the way it is, in which case more power to you! Either way, thanks for listening, and thanks again for helping to make my choice a good one. — Paul

A Uniform's Relationship to City Colors

By Phil Hecken, with Logan Paige

Good Sunday morning, Uni Watchers. Hope you’re all staying safe and well.

Now then, I received the following e-mail from reader Logan Paige earlier this week:

Hey there,

As a lifetime Philly fan, former PA resident, and big time Uni Watch fan, I recently had a thought run through my head. Why is it that Pittsburgh pro sports teams have a cohesive look that matches the colors of their city flag and yet none of my own Philadelphia teams sport the powder blue and yellow (sans one 2007 Eagles game)?

This led me down a path of researching how other teams in other cities have approached this. Are there other cities like Pittsburgh where many, if not all, of the teams share the local colors?

I found some interesting things, including many teams that I had no idea were derived from their city’s flag (Knicks, Mets), and some cities that surprisingly had no chromatic connection whatsoever to their pro sports teams (Los Angeles).

Let me know if you’d like to learn more about my findings, my process, and if you think this would make good content for the site. Either way, I found it very interesting as someone who enjoys uniforms and municipal flag design and hope that you do too!

Best,
Logan Paige

I’m not quite the vexillologist (or even vexillophile) that some in the readership are, but I have always been intrigued by nation, state and city flags — but for uni-philes such as ourselves, flags bear a close kinship to uniforms. On several occasions we’ve featured uniform/flag articles on this site (I remember doing a set of concepts about a dozen years ago for baseball where I attempted — as best one can do in MS Paint, anyway — to place every team in color elements based upon their city flags), so when Logan approached me with this I was quite intrigued and thought it would make for an interesting piece. Here’s Logan.

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Uniform Colors and City Flags
by Logan Paige

As a lifetime Philly fan and longtime PA resident, I was often jealous of the fans on the other side of the state. Pittsburgh is of course known for its cohesive look across its professional teams, with the black and yellow matching that of the Pittsburgh official city flag. Meanwhile, my teams were a hodge-podge of colors that had no connection to the powder blue and yellow of the Philadelphia flag (which would be an excellent uni color set!). We got one Eagles game in 2007 with those colors as a throwback that didn’t really ever exist and that’s it.

This got me thinking about sports teams and their connections to city colors. Were there other cities like Pittsburgh? Or were most like Philly? I went to work to find these answers. I had a simple methodology for rating cities in terms of their cohesive colors. For each team, they received a point if their colors were a match to the city flag, half a point if it seemed derived or inspired by the colors but not an exact match, and zero if it wasn’t close. To make things simpler, I only looked at cities with more than team in the big 4 pro leagues and only counted primary sets of colors (no NBA “City” uniforms here).

Below are my top 3 cities based on uniform-flag color cohesion, as well as a couple I found surprising that mostly lacked this type of connection at all.

3. Washington DC

I struggled a bit at scoring the uniforms in our nation’s capital. Technically the flag of the city only uses the colors red and white. However, it is also so closely tied with the United States, that the inclusion of blue is understandable. I ultimately settled on 1 point if the team was predominately red and white, and half a point if blue was pretty prominent in the uniforms and logo. This gave DC 2 points with only the Football Team receiving zero points in a mostly cohesive district.

2. New York City

Now this one might be slightly controversial. It was tied for the most points at 3, though the argument could be made that the city as a whole is not cohesive. The flag of the Big Apple proudly flies the colors of blue, orange, and white. This strongly matches the Mets, Knicks, and Islanders but is a complete disconnect from all of the remaining NYC teams. Makes you wonder if the Giants or Jets ever thought about donning the city’s blue and orange?

1. Pittsburgh

Alright, no surprise here. Not only does it have 3 points, it does it with a 100% success rate and no doubt in my mind that if they were the next NBA expansion team that they would do so wearing the famed black and yellow. No other city had uniform-flag cohesion quite like the Iron City.

Surprises

My biggest surprise was that were exactly zero matches in the City of Angels. A metro area that consists of 7 professional teams has absolutely no connection to the red, yellow, and green of the Los Angeles flag. Though to be fair, I’m not sure it’s the most appealing color combination so I don’t entirely place the blame on the teams. Maybe we’ll see an appearance in a future Clippers alternate uniform one day.

And finally, a city that I think is completely missing the boat is Chicago. The powder blue and red flag of the Windy City is iconic and an excellent color combo for uniforms. I gave the Cubs half a point for at least going the route of red, white and blue but no other team decided to even come close. While it’s hard to argue changing any of the teams’ looks at this point, it’s worth considering what could have been.

And that’s what I’ve got for you. I always found flag design to be pretty interesting and enjoyed seeing how it connected to the uni-verse.

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Thanks, Logan! I’ve vacillated on this sort of thing over the years. On the one hand, I love how Pittsburgh teams embrace the black and gold of their city flag — it’s their thing, and it totally works. However, would I like it if some other teams from the same city did the same thing? I don’t think I would, because it’s unique to Pittsburgh. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it squads from cities other than Pittsburgh were to rally around the flag colors, it would make it less special, for them and for Pittsburgh. Now, would I like perhaps one team (or even a couple out of many) from a city to embrace the city flag colors (like NY has done to a certain extent with the Mets, Knicks and Isles)? I think that would depend on the colors and the designs. Just as black and gold are great colors together, so too are orange and blue. Also, I will give a tip of the cap to the Chicago Red Stars for literally incorporating their flag onto their unis.

Readers? What say you? I know we’ve discussed flags and uniforms before — but it never hurts to refocus the discussion as Logan has.


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).

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Today’s concept come from Drew Abernathy, who has some concepts for a redesigned Houston Texans football team.

He writes…

Hey, Phil;

Here is a redesign I did for the Houston Texans.

Description:

A buddy of mine on Twitter mentioned that the Texans’ seemed like a team that’s either an afterthought or unfinished. Digging around the G.U.D., their uniform looks like a different take on the last Patriots uniform (debuted in 2000, I think).

So, I decided to try my hand at a redesign. Using a Light Royal Blue in response to the Adams’ family. I flattened the bull, kept the dark steel blue as an accent, and made a different stripe pattern. Kept their number and name fonts and added a stripe to the helmet. Even made a battle red color rush, uniform.

And here are his designs:

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Thanks Drew!

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.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from ojai67.

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.

Threads of our Game…

Got an e-mail yesterday from the great Craig Brown, who runs the fantastic Threads Of Our Game website. If you’re not familiar with it, the primary focus is on pre-1900 baseball uniforms and related ephemera.

He wrote:

Hello baseball historians,

Here’s a quick look at a long-lost uniform: the Boston black of 1899.

The all-black uniform was one of baseball’s more intriguing fashion statements. The trend started big in New York on July 28, 1888, when the Giants took the field in “stunning suits of coal.” The look spread quickly westward — to the Alleghenies, to the Plains, and to California — but eventually the fad would fade. Enter the 1899 Bostons and manager Frank Selee, who decked out his team this year in an all-black road uniform, augmented by scarlet stripes on the caps and socks. It seems there are no pictures of Boston’s men in black, so please allow Threads to bring this long-lost uniform out from the shadows of time.

See the Boston uniform here.

See the Threads News Feed here.

Thank you for your time,
Craig Brown
Threads Of Our Game

Thanks, Craig! Great work (as always) on this!

Podcast reminder: Paul here. In case you missed it, for this week’s episode of Unified, the recent scenario in which the Mets’ starting rotation could have featured both a No. 0 and a No. 00, which I wrote about on Monday, led us to explore various situations featuring zero and double-zero (including, as shown above, such famously zero-clad players as Benito Santiago, Jim Otto, and John Davidson). It was a really fun discussion, in part because Chris isn’t usually that into uniform numbers, but he still ended up having a lot to say!

We also talked about the Jags’ new emphasis on teal, the news that the Washington Football Team’s placeholder identity will be extended for another year, the ЯR uniforms that we think deserve to be upgraded to full-time status, and more.

You can listen to this episode, and subscribe to future ones, on Apple, Google, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify, or just use the player below:

The show notes from this episode, which include photos of most of the things we discussed, are here. Those photos also appear in the video version of this episode, which you can watch here:

Enjoy the episode, and thanks for all the enthusiasm and positive feedback on this project.

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: The website MLB.com has put out a piece we here at Uni Watch could probably have written: The best baseball cap for every team. Lots of good (and surprising) choices in there. Definitely worth the read (from David Cline). … Western Illinois has an interesting look, with the team name and uniform number on top of a large image of the mascot (from Tom Pachuta). … “Odd” Cardinals font: “Saw this ad in my Facebook feed today,” says Darren McFadden. “The number font on the middle mask is obviously not the Cardinals’ uniform font.” … 114 years ago yesterday, the New York Yankees first added pinstripes to their unis. … The St. Louis Cards gave Carl Taylor a full NOB in 1970 (they also had a Chuck Taylor). From MBD Chicago. … The Arizona Wildcats debuted a new white panel cap yesterday (from Chris Mycoskie). … Mount Marty Softball has some new unis (from Timmy Donahue). … MLB just released MLB Local Collection. Says Ignacio Salazar, “Logos combined within each teams state outline. Rest can be seen here.” … According to some Instagram stories, a few players received pairs of Francisco Lindor’s New Balance cleats, including Salvador Pérez and Ronald Acuña Jr. (from Balsley). … UTRGV Baseball has new uniforms (from Timmy Donahue). … The Danville Baseball Club will announce a new name and identity March 16 (from Tommy Turner).

NFL News: Maybe some things are best just left alone. Ever wonder what “Reverse Retro” jerseys would look like for the NFC North? Wonder no more. If you check out his Twitter homepage and scroll a ways, you can see more NFL reverse retro concepts. … We talk about how the NFL’s potential dropping of the one-shell rule could allow us to see Bucco Bruce and Pat Patriot again, but how about seeing classic Seahawks unis once again? (seeing how long it takes Steve McQuistran to make a “blank helmets” reference in the comments…) … “Before Black History Month comes to an end, let us not forget Gene Mingo, recognized as the first Black kicker in the NFL,” writes Jimmer Vilk. “He also was the very last straight-on kicker for the Steelers.” He adds, “Gene Mingo was not the last Black straight-on kicker in the NFL, though. In week 2 of the 1979 season, Saints K/P Russell Erxlaben was injured, so RB Tony Galbreath handled the placekicking and WR Wes Chandler did the punting. Which might be the only game with a Black kicker and punter on the same team (couldn’t get a clean screenshot of Chandler).” … The Cincinnati Bengals had “fun” with a jersey redesign joke on social media.

College Football News: The Michigan State Spartans will have a new helmet this season, based off the classic script worn by their hoops teams of Magic et. al. You can see the video reveal here. … Southern Utah University unveiled some new uniforms yesterday (from Timmy Donahue).

Hockey News: “The WHL started their short season on Friday night. Just the Alberta teams in the Central Division have started at this point,” writes Wade Heidt. “The Edmonton Oil Kings usually share Rogers Place with the Edmonton Oilers. Not this year with pandemic restrictions. They are playing in the much smaller Downtown Community Arena as you can see from these highlights. Strange to see regular season major junior hockey in a venue this small. No fans in the building anyway so does not really matter how many seats.” … Also from Wade: “The WHL’s East Division will be soon begin the season playing out of 1 hub city. All East Division teams will play at the Brandt Centre in Regina, SK. Here is the centre ice paint job for the arena during this season featuring the WHL logo.” Is it poetic (sartorial) justice that one of the worst Reverse Retro looks, sported by the Vancouver Canucks, resulted in the team going 0-4 while wearing them? … The Tampa Bay Lightning wore Black History Month patches last evening (from Jakob Fox), who also point out the hangers have Stanley Cup Champion logos on them. … Really nice looking matchup last night between the LA Kings and Minnesota North Stars Wild, both wearing their Reverse Retro uniforms (from Jakob Fox). Even the lineup cards were rendered in RR colors. … It really was a outstanding looking game.

NBA News: The Boston Celtics green uniforms may be iconic, but according to this article, they should consider not wearing them any more (or as often) since their record while sporting them isn’t as good as other uni options. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re “cursed.”

College Hoops News: It’s not that rare in college hoops, but Virginia Tech wore orange at home to create a color versus color game against Wake Forest (from Andrew Cosentino). … Also from Andrew: Yesterday was originally scheduled to be Virginia Tech’s senior day, so they celebrated accordingly. However, their game against Louisville on 2/13 was rescheduled for 3/3. Therefore, this game technically wasn’t their last home game of the year. Per their annual tradition, the Hokies put their senior players’ numbers and senior managers’ initials near mid court. … Xavier unveiled some gorgeous throwbacks (from Evan Nash). They were worn from 1976-79. … Nicklaus Wallmeyer notes both Xavier and Washington wore throwback units for their games … UC Riverside with an urban camo treatment on their shoulders and, while its hard to see in the picture, on the bottom of their shorts (from Timmy Donahue). … Roy Williams was presented with a “900” jersey on the occasion of his 900th win (from James Gilbert). … The Kansas Jayhawks wore red uniforms last night against Baylor (from Adam Franz).

Soccer News: A few soccer bits you may have missed: Inter Miami CF have launched a “La Palma” secondary jersey for 2021 season. … Nashville SC unveiled a new away jersey for 2021 Major League Soccer season: The Vibe II. … Minnesota United unveiled their 2021 River Kit as a secondary jersey. … The Atlanta United unveiled a new primary kit. … The San Diego Sockers & St. Louis Ambush played in retro early #MISLSoccer 80s jerseys on Friday night in St. Louis (from the San Diego Sockers). Jimmer Vilk will require a pants change.

Grab Bag: Get the Caddyshack jokes ready: did you know the Phoenix Open has a mascot? It’s a gopher (from Shawn Hairston). … UCLA gymnastics debuted new leotards last night (from Timmy Donahue).

And finally… big thanks to Logan Paige for sharing his thoughts on the relationships between city flag colors and the extent to which teams share those colors — really a good think piece!

Everyone have a good Sunday, and I’ll catch you all back here next weekend.

Peace,

PH

Red/Orange Snafu Leads to NBA Uni First

By Phil Hecken

Greetings and Happy Saturday, folks! We made it to the weekend. Hope everyone had a good week.

As you may have heard by now, there was a major uni screwup in OKC last night, as the visiting Atlanta Hawks, wearing their “icon” (red) uniforms took the court against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were dressed in their “statement” (orange) uniforms. The lack of contrast was, predictably, awful:

From a distance it was tough to tell which team was which. It wasn’t much better in close:

For those watching on television, it was pretty brutal:

The matchup was so comically bad, even the NBA on ESPN’s twitter account had some fun with it:

…which did not go unnoticed by the road team…

Now, the red vs. orange, in and of itself, was particularly uni-noteworthy. The question is how did this even get on the court? I was reminded of a very similar situation, which happened in 2013, between the New York Knicks and those same Atlanta Hawks:

So, red vs. orange isn’t even unprecedented in the NBA. But this wasn’t supposed to happen under Nike — every game has the uniforms scripted, and if the colors are too close, then the matchups are rejected. Back in 2013, the protocol was different, and (I’m doing this from memory but I’m pretty sure) back then color uniforms were designated as “light” and “dark” — so you couldn’t have a dark vs. dark or light vs. light matchup. The Knicks orange alternates were actually designated as “light,” so the red/orange pairing was deemed acceptable. Obviously, it wasn’t and the NBA vowed never to let something like this happen again. But yet, it did.

Someone obviously screwed up, but who? Early reports were blaming the Hawks:

Since the Hawks were on the road, they had only brought along their red uniforms. So should they have brought along another of the half dozen or so they could wear?

Not so fast. According to “LockerVision,” which lists all the matchups, it was the Thunder who were at fault:

The Thunder’s “association” uniform is white (it’s the “statement” uniform that is orange), so they should have been in their white unis for last night’s game. But…was it?

Here’s a listing of the OKC Thunder uniforms for 2020-21.

OK, so it was a simple screwup, right? Not so fast. Somehow the uniform matchup had to have been listed as the Hawks in their red (icon) uniforms, vs. the Thunder in their orange (statement) uniforms, because the great uni tracking site, OKC Tracker, noticed the potential snafu the day before this game (February 25):

UPDATE:

Turns out LockerVision originally had the matchup scheduled to be orange vs. red:

Turns out it was retroactively “updated” to show the Thunder as wearing white, but that one slipped through the cracks. So who’s at fault? If the Thunder were supposed to wear orange, then it’s just one of those things (the once in 4,000 as described in the ESPN piece below). Maybe it wasn’t the Thunder — but it definitely wasn’t the Hawks.

So clearly, somehow, this game was destined to have a uni snafu. If you’re not familiar with NBA uniform matchup protocol, this ESPN article offers a good bit of instruction:

With teams having multiple combinations and alternates to wear, and no longer observing the traditional standard of home white and road color, the uniform-selection process is done before the season for the entire schedule using an input system called LockerVision. The home team picks first, then the road team.

The league double-checks all combinations and approves them, but the Thunder and Hawks mistakenly slipped through the approval process, according to a league spokesperson.

Typically, when there are close contrasts, such as the red-orange issue with OKC and Atlanta, the league catches it and corrects it before it happens. According to a league source, this is the first time in more than 4,000 games since the system was introduced that this has happened.

So, how did this become an NBA first (especially if the Knicks and Hawks had basically made this same mistake about eight years earlier)? Well, in that Knicks/Hawks game, both teams played the entire game in red/orange. What was a first (at least as far as I can tell) was the fact that the NBA put the kibosh on the matchup, telling the Thunder to switch to their white uniforms. They made the switch at halftime, and it’s believed this is the first time an NBA team has ever switched uniforms at halftime.

The twitter account for the NBA on ESPN had some more fun with that switch:

Obviously the game looked much better with OKC in white:

We’ve had teams bring the “wrong” uniforms to games before, and sometimes they’ve brought along different jerseys to switch into, teams have had uniforms lost or stolen, forcing them to wear their opponents’ contrasting jerseys (or unis), so the bad color vs. color matchup isn’t unprecedented. In fact, one of the more epic uns snafus occured way back in 1964, when the Minnesota Vikings played the Detroit Lions. The Vikings had introduced purple pants that season, and wanted to show them off for their home fans. So they wore white over purple vs. the Lions. The Lions, however, brought only their white jerseys (expecting the Vikings to be in purple jerseys). The two teams played a quarter of football in white vs. white jerseys, before the Vikings switched to their purple jerseys at the end of the first 15 minutes. This also resulted in the first mono-purple game for the Vikes, even though it wasn’t intentional.

The Thunder ended up winning the game, which is also likely an NBA first: the first team to win a game wearing two different uniforms in the same game.


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).

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Today’s concept come from Chad Buley, who, in what I believe is a Uni Watch tweaks/concepts first, included a video presentation of his concepts along with the concepts themselves. We’ll start with the video, and then his redesigns/rebranding for the Washington Football Team.

Hey Phil!

Here’s a Washington Football Team rebrand I’ve been working on. The logo & shoulder stripes are based on the Tuskegee Airmen’s 99th Fighter Squadron patch, and the number font comes from WWII fuselage codes.

Thank you for your time!

Best,
Chad B.

And here are Chad’s concepts:

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Thanks Chad!

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.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Nick East.

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.

Podcast reminder: Paul here. In case you missed it, for this week’s episode of Unified, the recent scenario in which the Mets’ starting rotation could have featured both a No. 0 and a No. 00, which I wrote about on Monday, led us to explore various situations featuring zero and double-zero (including, as shown above, such famously zero-clad players as Benito Santiago, Jim Otto, and John Davidson). It was a really fun discussion, in part because Chris isn’t usually that into uniform numbers, but he still ended up having a lot to say!

We also talked about the Jags’ new emphasis on teal, the news that the Washington Football Team’s placeholder identity will be extended for another year, the ЯR uniforms that we think deserve to be upgraded to full-time status, and more.

You can listen to this episode, and subscribe to future ones, on Apple, Google, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify, or just use the player below:

The show notes from this episode, which include photos of most of the things we discussed, are here. Those photos also appear in the video version of this episode, which you can watch here:

Enjoy the episode, and thanks for all the enthusiasm and positive feedback on this project.

Also of note: Today is longtime Uni Watch pal/ally Todd Radom’s birthday. Enjoy your special day, buddy!

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: The Giants wore two different versions of their black alternate jersey in 1981 — one with vertically arched NOBs and one with radially arched NOBs. The ones with radially-arched NOBs are mesh created by a local company (from @jessir717). … Mets 1B Pete Alonso wants the black jerseys to return, and wants to turn it into a routine Friday promotion (from @ColHapablap). … Dodgers P Trevor Bauer wore the team’s Spring Training cap in his official headshot (from Josh Claywell). … New jersey for Georgia Tech (from Timmy Donahue). … New jerseys for Oklahoma State (from Sam Kissel). … The Blue Jays posted a video about their new player development facility in Dunedin, Fl. (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … Thursday night’s Oregon State/Grand Canyon matchup featured a pitcher wearing stirrups facing a batter wearing stirrups. The kids are alright! (from Eric Fisk). … This great footage of Michael Jordan in the Arizona Fall League unfortunately features two uni ads on Jordan’s jersey (from Eric S.)

Hockey News: The Sabres wore their ЯR unis at home against the Devils on Thursday night, which means they went white at home (from Daniel Estabrooks). … The Golden Knights wore their regular black helmets on Thursday night, shifting away from the metallic gold helmets they wore with their black jerseys a few times earlier this season. Their AHL affiliates, the Henderson Silver Knights, are still wearing their metallic lids (from Thomas Juettner). … The Maple Leafs have a giant Ford logo at center ice of their practice arena (from Moe Khan).

NBA News: New Nets PF Tyler Cook will wear No. 2 (from Etienne Catalan). … Also from Etienne: New Kings C Norvel Pelle will wear No. 31.
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Soccer News: Newport County AFC is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final against FC Carl Zeiss Jena with a reissue of the kit from that match (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: Last night’s 2. Bundesliga match between SSV Jahn Regensburg and SC Paderborn featured Paderborn keeper Leopold Zingerle in a new bright yellow keeper’s kit based on the template of their 2014 home kit. … Minnesota United posted some teaser images of a new kit yesterday (from Tim Nieman).

Grab Bag: A study has found that women in the military pay twice as much for uniforms as men (from Timmy Donahue).

And finally… that’s all for today, folks. Big Happy Birthday shout out to the one and only Todd Radom. Enjoy another trip around the sun, buddy!

Everyone have a good Saturday, and I’ll catch you guys back here again tomorrow.

Peace,

PH

Long-Lost Gas Giveaway Provides Blast from Cubbies’ Past

For all images, click to enlarge

Check out this illustration showing various Cubs players who won the National League MVP Award. A great composition, and so many great uniforms!

That wonderful illo appeared on an 8.5″ x 11″ print that was given away in the mid-1980s by Chicago-area Unocal 76 gas stations. There was lots of descriptive text on the back — along with, I’m happy to see, a little “About the Artist” section for the illustrator, Konrad Hack:

That is one of 15 prints that Uni Watch reader Darren Rusakiewicz recently came across. I’d never seen them until Darren recently sent scans of them to me. “My grandpa collected them in the 1980s,” he says. “They must’ve been a giveaway with a tank of gas or something like that. I can’t remember.” The running theme in most of the prints is the Cubs’ division-winning 1984 season in general and Ryne Sandberg in particular, so the prints were presumably given away in 1985.

Four separate artists, all from and/or based in Chicago, are credited on Darren’s 15 prints. Konrad Hack — the guy who did the MVPs illo — is my favorite. Here are the other three that he did:

Hack is now about 75 years old and is still active as an artist. I found this listing for a showing of his work from just a few months ago.

Darren’s collection also includes three prints by an artist named Lawrence Salk, and I like his stuff almost as much as Hack’s. Here are Salk’s three illos:

Such gorgeous stuff! Unfortunately, Salk died in 2004. (Fun fact: Among tons of other work, he did the portrait of Kramer that figures prominently in an episode of Seinfeld.)

There are also four prints by a guy named Tom Sulek. Solid work, although I found his style a bit grainier than I prefer:

According to Sulek’s LinkedIn page, he got out of the freelance illustration game in 1991 (and also worked for six years for the White Sox!).

Finally, there are four prints by Todd Doney. His style was much more stylized and less photo-realistic than the other guys’ and, honestly, not as much to my taste. Very nice compositions, though:

Doney has had a long art/illustration career and is apparently still going strong.

I poked around online to see if this series included any other prints that weren’t part of Darren’s collection. I found this Fergie Jenkins print, which looks like it was done by Salk. (Darren, if you’re reading this, you should buy that one to complete the collection!)

You can see all of Darren’s prints, including the text on the back, here. Please join me in thanking him for sharing this great artwork with us!

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Click to enlarge

More NBA leaks: The latest NBA Participation Trophy Earned designs to leak are for the 76ers and the Nets.

The Nets entry, like most of the Earned uniforms, is useless merch-dump slop. But I really like the Sixers design — a lot! I do kinda wish that the numerals either fit entirely within the Liberty Bell or, better yet, that the bell could be smaller and allow the numbers to overflow the bell’s bounds a bit more, but it’s still pretty good. How often do you see an NBA jersey without the team’s name, city, or logo on the front? Nicely done!

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Podcast reminder: In case you missed it yesterday: For this week’s episode of Unified, the recent scenario in which the Mets’ starting rotation could have featured both a No. 0 and a No. 00, which I wrote about on Monday, led us to explore various situations featuring zero and double-zero (including, as shown above, such famously zero-clad players as Benito Santiago, Jim Otto, and John Davidson). It was a really fun discussion, in part because Chris isn’t usually that into uniform numbers, but he still ended up having a lot to say!

We also talked about the Jags’ new emphasis on teal, the news that the Washington Football Team’s placeholder identity will be extended for another year, the ЯR uniforms that we think deserve to be upgraded to full-time status, and more.

You can listen to this episode, and subscribe to future ones, on Apple, Google, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify, or just use the player below:

The show notes from this episode, which include photos of most of the things we discussed, are here. Those photos also appear in the video version of this episode, which you can watch here:

Enjoy the episode, and thanks for all the enthusiasm and positive feedback on this project.

• • • • •

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Speaking of double-zero: After checking out this week’s podcast episode about “heroes of zero,” reader/listener Marty Stevenson checked in with this anecdote I’d never heard before:

In 1977, outfielder Paul Dade wore No. 00 for the Cleveland Indians. On second base late in a close game, he took off to steal third (he made it).

After the game, which the Cleveland won, manager Frank Robinson was quoted as saying, “I don’t know why he wears that number, but when he took off, I thought, ‘Oh-oh.'”

Hmmmm. That’s a great story — if it’s true! Sounds potentially apocryphal, but I haven’t had time to fully research it yet. Made me smile, though!

Update: The story is indeed true, at least according to an item at the bottom of this 1977 Sports Illustrated page (which was located by reader/commenter James Gilbert — thanks!).

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Photo by Matt Jones, The Daily Independent; cick to enlarge

Too good for the Ticker: I love green and yellow, and I also love stripes. But the boys’ basketball uniforms worn by Rowan County High School in Kentucky might be too much, even for me. Yowza!

Also uni-notable: The opposing team in that game — Paul G. Blazer High — was wearing TNOB:

You can see more photos from this game here.

Regarding that “Tomcats” team name: A tomcat is, by definition, male, so I wondered what the school’s girls’ teams are called. According to Wikipedia, they go with “Kittens,” which is some serious sexist bullshit — the boys get an adult name while the girls get a diminutive/infantilizing name. That should be changed.

(Big thanks to Ray Schaefer for this one.)

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Click to enlarge

So what? Sew buttons! I recently scored this great vintage cardigan. Loved everything about it but the buttons, which were molded plastic designed to simulate leather buttons (not ideal, but I could live with it) and a pale yellow/tan color that didn’t offer much contrast from the background fabric (a much bigger issue, at least for me). So I got some brown leather buttons, which I figured would match the vertical stripes, and swapped them in.

The photo above shows three of the five original buttons replaced with the new ones. (After taking the photos, I finished the job.) The new ones look so much better! Here’s another shot:

My sewing skills are very rudimentary, but it always feels good to work with my hands like this, even for something as simple as a few buttons.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: New Mets SS Francisco Lindor wore Eddie Murphy’s jacket from Coming 2 America to Spring Training (from Mike Chamernik). … Also from Mike: Once upon a time, Earl Weaver grabbed his pitcher’s glove to prove a point to an obstinate umpire who had called the pitcher for a balk. … Here’s a look at Florida State’s many uniforms for this season (from multiple readers).

College Football News: Michigan and Northwestern have created a new rivalry trophy named after George Jewett, the first Black football player at both universities (from Mike Chamernik and Timmy Donahue).

Hockey News: The Caps wore Black History Month pregame sweaters last night, complete with a clever anti-racism shoulder patch. More looks here (from our own Jamie Rathjen and Brandon Weir). … Also from Brandon: here’s a video of Michigan State goalies discussing their masks. … Looks like Bruins D Urho Vaakanainen’s name is just short enough to allow him to have regular-sized letters on his nameplate (from @artofscorebug).

NBA News: Sportswriter Jeremy Schaap has some interesting thoughts on Nets PG Kyrie Irving wanting to change the NBA logo to honor Kobe Bryant instead of Jerry West. Irving also gave some additional thoughts about it (from @boss_hogge). … A Grizzlies blog has ranked the team’s top five uniforms. … The Mavs have worn five different uniforms in their past five games.

College/High School Hoops News: UNC wore Carolina Blue at home, creating a blue-vs-blue matchup against Georgia Tech (from James Gilbert).

Soccer News: New dark kit for FC Cincinnati (from multiple readers). … Toronto FC ST Jozy Altidore accidentally leaked the team’s new home kits in a hastily-deleted Instagram story. … It appears Rangers covered up their back ad with a piece of blue tape during their Europa League match against Antwerp. UEFA prohibits more than one ad on a kit during continental play (thanks, Jamie). … New shirts and outfitter for Belarusian club FC Vitebsk. “The shirts keep the El Lissitzky influences from last year’s Cup shirt,” says Ed Zelaski.

Grab Bag: The bib for pro golfer Rory McIlroy’s caddy misspelled McIlroy’s name (from @markinvictoria). … Temple University is retiring all of their owl-based logos (from multiple readers). … An Australian study has indicated that uncomfortable and inappropriate uniforms are turning some girls off from sports. … If you looked at a computer any time between like 2003 and 2013, you probably saw the iconic Windows XP default desktop. Here’s the fascinating story behind the photo, and the man who took it. … Cycling New Zealand has rejected a jersey design based on the country’s All-Blacks rugby jersey (from Gareth Hooton). … Third-tier Engligh rugby league team Keighley Cougars have become the first professional sports team to wear the LGBTQ+ Progress Flag on their kit (from Philip Brown). … New senior academy logos for the rugby union team Toronto Arrows RFC. … Graphic designer Rajie Cook, who designed the now-ubiquitous pictographs that appear all over airports, parks, and other public spaces, has died (from Jerry Kulig).

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That’s a wrap for this week. Stay safe, enjoy Phil’s weekend content, check out the podcast if you haven’t done so already, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.