Another Oakland A's Stadium Design


If you read Uni Watch during Paul’s August sabbatical (and I know you did), I was fortunate to feature my friend Mark Anderson’s concepts for a proposed Oakland A’s ballpark (if you didn’t read that — please take a few minutes to do so). Shortly after running that piece, Garrett Zubler sent an e-mail which read, in part,

I saw that you had an article about a design for a new ballpark for the Oakland Athletics. I was intrigued because I’ve been following the Athletics’ pursuit of a new stadium semi-frequently for the past two and half years or so. In order to receive my degree of Bachelor of Architecture, I needed to complete a thesis design project. My project was the design of a baseball stadium for the Oakland Athletics. Coincidentally, I had chosen the Howard Terminal site, which is the same site that Mark Anderson had used in the article on your site.

My design for the stadium sought to create a contemporary feel while also drawing inspiration from the successful elements of the retro-classic and retro-modern ballparks. In addition, my project being a year-long effort, also looked at the site design around the ballpark. In the end, I was able to find the number one selling point for building the stadium at Howard Terminal: the view. After setting the stadium into Google Earth, I was able to show that the stadium would provide a picturesque view of downtown Oakland AND the hills beyond the city.

I was intrigued and one thing led to another, which culminated in what follows. Garrett sent along some of his very detailed sketches for his proposed stadium, along with descriptions, and I also interviewed him about this project. The interview is first, and the stadium proposals follow. Please enjoy!

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Uni Watch: OK, standard question first — are you a Uni Watch follower (and if so, for how long?) and what first brought you to the blog?

Garrett Zubler: Yes, I’ve been following for a few years now. I originally found the site from the season preview for college football uniforms.

UW: How old are you and where do you live?

GZ: I’m 25 and living in Philadelphia, PA.

UW: You sound a lot like me: in addition to unis, you love stadium design. Have you been into both since childhood?

GZ: I’ve always been fascinated by football helmets and I would actually draw football uniforms as a kid. As far as stadiums go, I always enjoyed going to different ones, but found a passion for them as I became interested in architecture in high school.

UW: Your thesis for your Bachelor of Architecture was the project we’re about to see. How did you come up with this?

GZ: One of the main goals of a thesis project is to come up with a design solution to a real world problem. Being an avid baseball fan, I knew that the Athletics and Rays were in dire need of a new stadium. Having previously researched major league baseball stadiums in Philadelphia, I was aware of the Athletics’ history in Philadelphia and I chose to design a stadium for them.

UW: Where did you go to school for this and do you plan to create other stadia proposals in the future (either for fun or for your vocation)?

GZ: I graduated from Drexel University and was fortunate to have Don Jones, who worked on the design of Citizens Bank Park, as my adviser. While I would love the opportunity to design stadiums, unfortunately there are not a ton of firms that get to consistently focus on designing them. At the moment I’m studying to get my license as an architect and working for JacobsWyper Architects.

UW: Obviously it is coincidental both Mark Anderson and you chose the Howard Terminal site for the proposed new ballpark. Having never been to Oakland (or San Francisco for that matter), is this a “logical” location or what made you choose it?

GZ: When I first started the project I researched sites that the Athletics’ had been considering for the stadium. Hindsight being 20/20 I really wish I had sent a survey out to Oaklanders (I hope this is the correct term) and Athletics fans to get their opinions on the location and what they would like in a new stadium. While it cannot be overlooked that the site is currently being used by a shipping company, I think the site has too many positives for the city to allow that to stand in the way. Obviously my number one selling point was the potential view toward downtown, but further research indicated the development would help diversify the Jack London neighborhood, increase waterfront development, cleanup the existing industrial site, and could strengthen the relationship between the team and the city.

UW: Was the goal of the location access to mass transportation or is it convenient for those living in the vicinity or the picturesque view it would present, or a combination of things? Was any factor the deciding one or did each one add up to the whole?

GZ: Having been able to take public transit to Phillies games for $3.60 round trip (a couple years ago) made me question why anyone would drive to the ballpark if public transportation was convenient. If public transportation is safe, easily accessible, and cheap you don’t need a giant sea of parking around the ballpark. Upgrading the infrastructure for a new train station just outside the ballpark would be beneficial to the city, neighborhood, and stadium. It would be foolish to undertake a project of this scale without doing so. I’m going to make a number of references to the picturesque view this location offers, but honestly, its only worth it if the other necessities are taken care of as well.

UW: What would be the seating capacity for the stadium? How much room for cars (either in the parking garage/area or in nearby lots) is there and would it be just as easy to get to via mass transportation? In other words, is this something that would be driveable, but just as easy to get to in other ways?

GZ: The capacity is 42,854 seats including 84 suites. On-site garages and lots would park about 5,000 cars with additional 1,500 spaces plus street parking within a half mile of the park. However, the location is very easy to get to by other means and one of my main focuses was to maximize the ease of access to the site in ways other than by car. A new local and regional train station could be built less than 500′ away from the stadium. Being located on the bay also allows for fans to arrive by water. The San Francisco Bay ferry has an existing stop at Jack London Square and I also showed docks being constructed for fans to arrive by private boats, canoes, or even kayaks. As the stadium is less than one mile from downtown, many fans could walk to the game after work (in doing so they would walk past neighborhood bars and restaurants for dinner). I also looked at census data and I was able to find that approximately 15,000 people live within 1 mile of the stadium and this number would increase as new residential buildings are constructed around the site.

UW: Did you decide on the location first and then work from there, or did you design the ballpark and tailor it to fit into the location?

GZ: Location was the first thing to be determined – I love the fact that baseball outfields don’t have fixed dimensions and originally fields were constrained to their sites. Being a large open lot, my stadium wasn’t really constrained to any city blocks, but the site planning around the park was. I carried some of the city blocks through to the site but let them disintegrate and mesh into the ballpark in various ways; specifically having M.L.K. Jr. Way and Market St defining the east and west edges of the ballpark property. The public park to the east of ballpark was also one of the driving factors as I wanted a way to create more public green space and gradually extend Jack London Square until it led into the ballpark. This is one way that the ballpark can do more to enhance the existing neighborhood.

UW: What made you choose the exterior materials?

GZ: Great question! The base material of limestone comes in various scales, is tactile, casts varying shadows throughout the day, and can be locally sourced. The metal panel also casts shadows through a deep rib panel but provides a linear patterned surface to contrast the stone. Finally, the copper accents are a tribute to the copper-trimmed mansard roof of Shibe Park. The added benefit of using copper is that it adds color and will patina into a green for the Athletics over 5-30 years.

UW: I note both Mark’s plans and yours detail extensively activities OTHER than simply watching the game (amenities to draw in fans and give them something to do when they’re at the park). I guess this is a major concern nowadays for architects. Would everything be all WiFi and other “necessary” amenities?

GZ: This is really something that all professional teams should be concerned about as tv and streaming quality increases and attendance decreases. Die-hard fans will always go to the games, but teams should get creative in how to bring families and casual fans to the game. Not to mention, the longer fans are at the game, the more likely they are to spend additional money on things like food and beverage. I wanted to spread the activities out, starting with a wiffle ball field and beer garden outside the park this provides fans a reason to get to the game early. Inside the stadium, I put the beer garden, entertainment, and gaming area on the upper deck as it’s less crowded than the main concourse and a number of these fans may have purchased lower price tickets to hang out at the park rather than be highly focused on the game. This space also gives fans a place to spend time after the game ends until they are ready to leave.

UW: This is really fantastic. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about the stadium proposal?

GZ: A few other things to note: I was heavily influenced by City Baseball Magic by Philip Bess and would recommend it to everyone with an interest in baseball stadiums. The outfield dimensions are noticeably deep due to strong winds from the WSW direction from April through October. This could also be beneficial for how the Athletics build their roster – by acquiring fast, line-drive hitters that can rack up doubles and triples. Also, the ballpark would be a lot more beneficial to the neighborhood if it can be used throughout the year rather than just for games, which is why I fully developed the site around the stadium. For this I’ve included a public park, ground floor retail and dining around the perimeter of the ballpark that is open year-round, and adjacent housing and office space.

UW: Do you have a website, blog and/or social media presence? How can folks follow you if they wanted to?

GZ: I don’t have a social media presence for people to follow as I wouldn’t really have the free time to keep up on it. If anyone had comments on the design or wanted to reach out, they could use my email address of gmz26@drexel.edu.

UW: Awesome! OK, let’s take a look at your project (click on any images to enlarge)!

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Urban Stitches: A Major League Baseball Stadium Design for the Oakland Athletics
Thesis Project for Bachelor of Architecture Degree at Drexel University

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Downtown Proximity: One of the benefits of building the new ballpark at Jack London Square is its proximity to downtown. A stadium here would be less than one mile from downtown Oakland compared to nearly five and a half miles of the current location of the Coliseum.

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Public Transportation: One of the major concerns with building the stadium at Howard Terminal is the question of how to maximize public transportation to get fans to the game. Currently, the nearest BART Stations are over 1 mile away; however, there is an Amtrak line that runs adjacent to the site already. There is no reason to think that this line cannot be overhauled and tied into the existing BART lines to increase access to the site via train.

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South Approach: Additional transportation outside of cars could be considered by constructing docks for the San Francisco Bay Ferry, private boats, and even kayaks.

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Site Amenities: Looking at the current amenities in the area one can see that the Jack London Square neighborhood has ample restaurants and bars but has very few green spaces and entertainment options. The addition of the ballpark will add a new entertainment destination, public parks, increased retail, and residential and hotel buildings.

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Site Plan: One of the under considered aspects of a ballpark is the design of the site around the building. If the Athletics are to acquire Howard Terminal we can assume that the current users of the terminal will be relocated leaving the A’s free to fully develop the entire site.

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Center Field Approach: In addition to the ballpark there will be a new public park to the east that leads to the center field entrance of the stadium. This park is an extension of Jack London Square and will also have a waterfront portion that wraps around and is partly covered by the stadium. To the north is a retail, entertainment, and residential district that is adjacent to the new train station.

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Center Field Approach Night: At night, fans are drawn through the public park by the bright lights emanating from the stadium.

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Tailgate Area – Third Base Side: To the west side of the ballpark are office buildings, parking garages, and another public park. During the day the garages and green space can be used for the office employees while at night they are used for fans to park and as a tailgating space.

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Façade Materials: The exterior of the building is made of heavy textured stone, corrugated metal panels, and copper accents. The stone and metal panels provide texture and shadow to the building that changes appearance throughout the day. The copper pays tribute to the Athletics origins at Shibe Park, and it will also patina to a green over time. Part of the façade features large bridge-like spans of glass. There are also openings where fans inside the ballpark can interact with people outside.

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Main Concourse Plan: The main concourse completely encircles the field, allowing fans to freely roam in any direction around the field without missing a minute of action. There are also large sections of the concourse pulled away from the field for fans to get food and experience different views out of the stadium. The field dimensions are fairly deep due to the wind primarily blowing out right center field.

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Main Concourse, Home Plate: The view from behind home plate opens up in center field to allow sights of the downtown area and the hills beyond. Unlike the Coliseum where the field was shared with a football team, the foul territory here is substantially smaller. The scoreboard in left field is made entirely of LED’s.

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First Base Seats, Night: This night rendering shows how close the seats are to the field and the band of lights above the upper deck. With the use of LED’s, the number of light fixtures can be substantially reduced.

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Upper Concourse, Home Plate: Views from the upper concourse allow for a more expansive view of the downtown area and the hills beyond.

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Upper Concourse Plan: Each seating level in the stadium has different features and elements for its users. The upper concourse has places where fans can look down and interact with people on lower levels. On the south side of this concourse there is a large entertainment area with different sections. This space has a flexible, open entertainment area, small quiet dining areas, a large beer garden, and a gaming section. All of these spaces look out over the San Francisco Bay.

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Quiet Dining Space: Here fans can get away from the busy areas and relax on Adirondack chairs overlooking the Bay.

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Beer Garden Area: There are large tables as well as cluster seating for smaller groups. The shipping containers, referencing the history of the site, are fit-out and painted Athletics’ colors.

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Gaming Area: This area is adjacent to the beer garden. This is a way for the team to get fans to arrive earlier and stay later.

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Section Perspective: This view captures the different elements for the fans on various levels. Not mentioned earlier is the two story space overlooking the bay for the club and suite levels. On the ground level outside the park is a boardwalk along the water. People walking out here can be partially protected from weather by the cantilever above and they can interact with fans on the main concourse level.

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Right Field Seating Section: Fans on the main concourse level have access to a large concession area. Fans in the upper decks have the advantage of being covered by the roof above. Additionally, the seats in the last row of the upper deck are still able to see to the edge of the outfield wall below.

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Right Field Upper Deck Seating: Fans in the “cheap seats” still get a great view of the game. They are only unable to see a play that is right up against the wall.

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Site Model: To help visualize the space in 3-D, I built a site model at a scale of 1”= 80’. This helps to put the size of adjacent buildings into perspective. In this model, gray buildings are new and brown buildings are existing. Much development would be constructed around the stadium to help the community thrive.

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Section Model: This model was built at a scale of 1” = 10’ to help visualize the structure of the cantilevered portion of the building and the roof. The seating rows also help convey the scale of the building.

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Wow! Fantastic stuff Garrett. This is another proposal the Oakland A’s need to see before they finalize anything for a new home at some point down the road. OK readers…what say you?

Calgary Flames Release New Third Sweater

If past is prologue, then Adidas seems intent on making NHL teams’ new third sweaters either full throwback, or certainly retro-inspired. The new Calgary Flames third sweater, revealed yesterday, follows this trend (one of the few new uni trends in sports with which I’m 100% on board).

I’ll attempt to dispense with most of the corporate speak, but according to the Flames/Adidas

Calgary set out to create the new while honoring the past by bringing back a heritage jersey that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the team’s 1989 Stanley Cup® victory. This true-to-form retro look features a primary red base with the flaming “C” logo and gold and white accents, along with stripe detailing on the sleeves and hem.

Inspired by a version of the 1989 uniform from the team’s glory days, the fan-favorite jersey was reimagined and reengineered for the innovation and technical design of the adidas adizero Authentic jersey silhouette and will carry a significant piece of team history into the upcoming season.

Unfortunately — as is completely the trend as well these days — the team/Adidas did not provide photos of the full uniform — in fact, they only included one full jersey shot, with a couple up close versions showing some details. Fortunately, since this is basically a throwback to 1989, we know what the rest of the uni should (and likely will) look like.

Here’s the new jersey (click on any photo to enlarge):

Here’s how those original 1989 jerseys looked:

And of course — if that design looks familiar to you in a more recent era, it should. The jersey was worn first as a throwback (beginning in 2009) and then as the team’s third jersey back in 2016. So, as I’ve said before with other new third jersey unveilings: what’s old is new again.

Here’s how that third jersey (and full uni) looked in the prior Reebok template (so it will look slightly different with the new Adidas update):

Nice right?

So far, I’ve pretty much loved every “new” third jersey teams have unveiled so far!

Your thoughts?


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, and more recently, in August of 2018.

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: “Sandy’s No-No”
Subject: Sandy Koufax, 1964
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 24″ x 33″

This was a tough painting to pull off. With the background element of the lit scoreboard, I knew that most of the contrast had to come from those lit numbers, which because of that difference in value, was where the viewer’s eyes were going to go first. In this case, that was fine, though I couldn’t have them dwell TOO long there, as I still wanted Sandy to be the focal point. The best thing I could do to facilitate that was to make sure my edge control was just right. Each number had to stay on the softer side, with very few – if any – hard edges. And most of the nuance would go to Koufax and that mound he was on.

I had a good guide, as the photo the painting was based on (by the master, Walter Iooss) had some of that work done for me. Even though I changed elements of the scoreboard itself (making the scene from a later inning and including final scores from out-of-town games), it retained a lot of the original characteristics found as a result of his lens. But when these images enter the realm of color via paint, it can – and should – change some of those dynamics. I was able to separate Sandy from the background even more with the surface texture I could develop with the medium (while keeping the scoreboard flat and smooth by comparison), in addition to making him more three-dimensional with the manipulation of his edges. It also didn’t hurt that he was the most recognizable human element of the piece, as we are often drawn to that detail above others if one is presented in an image.

However, there was also a bit of an issue with the player in the background. This is one of those situations where if I had to do something over or make a change, I would have done so. I placed center fielder Willie Davis in the picture, which in itself was the right way to be, but I believe he’s probably a bit too big. Reason being, I made him that size as it would have been a bit more true to how we would see him with the naked eye, rather than how compressed he becomes because of the camera. Though as a result, and because we don’t see Dick Tracewski in frame, most viewers might assume that I mistakingly depicted a left-handed second baseman. I often have to explain that when I post the painting on social media, but even then, shouldn’t have made the decision that required me to do so.

A tough painting to pull off, indeed.

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

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: The Cardinals wore hockey-themed BP jerseys to celebrate the impending start of the NHL season (thanks, Brinke). … The Rockies’ Twitter account made a delicious typo (from @YAMANSDOOD).

NFL News: Apparently the Browns’s color rash unis featured the old Browns wordmark (from Chris J. Spisak). … The Falcons released their black jersey schedule yesterday (thanks, Phil). … The Panthers are going all white (thanks again, Phil). … The Packers have recreated one of Vince Lombardi’s famous jackets, complete with minimalist chain-stitching (from @MilesCliatt).

College/High School Football News: Here’s an awesome — but brief — video of the grounds crew at Neyland Stadium putting down their famous orange-and-white checkerboard end zones (many thanks to Moe Khan). … The Sooners will wear a Thunderbird helmet decal during the game against Army to honor the Oklahoma National Guard (from @PaytonGlen). … Utah State is going all white today (from @akaggie). … Houston will go white-red-red today (from Ignacio Salazar). … Rice is going blue-white-white today (from Bronson Black). … Kentucky are wearing blue lids today (from Drew O’Neal). … The following are all from Phil: Orange-white-blue for the Gators. … Blue-red-white for Ole Miss. … West Virginia will go blue-gold-blue against K-State (thanks, Phil). … TAMU is going with white jerseys today, and that’s all you can get out of this teaser video. … ‘Cuse is going blue-orange-blue with a special camo helmet logo. … “Superintendent of Willoughby-Eastlake Schools in Ohio rocking a split jersey for the annual game between North HS and South HS, both High Schools in the same district” says @JThrock45.

Hockey News: Coyotes goalie Antti Rantaa’s new pads may be the greatest in the history of organized hockey (from Tyson Tomao). … No design yet, but the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals — still feels weird to type that — will have a third jersey (thanks, Phil). … Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy wore a fleece pullover with the Bruins 1975-1994 logo during a press conference. Perhaps a hint as to the Bruins’s as-yet unreleased third jersey (from @WeberKing).

NBA News: So we have jersey schedules in football. And now, the Jazz bring jersey schedules to basketball (thanks, Phil). … One of the last teams that hasn’t gotten the Mr. Yuk treatment is now exploring ad patches (thanks again, Phil). … Also posted in the soccer section: The Junior Basketball League (aka the Ball family’s personal basketball league) has Team USA uniforms for their international tour, and they look very similar to US Soccer’s crest (from Nate Olivarez-Giles).

Soccer News: AEK Athens wore the logo of UEFA’s anti-racism campaign heat-pressed over their typical advertisement, a betting company. The match was against Ajax in Amsterdam, and the Netherlands does not allow betting advertisements on unis (from Josh Hinton). … Uruguayan club Peñarol inexplicably released a 127th-anniversary kit (thanks, Jamie). … Cross-posted from the basketball section: The Junior Basketball League (aka the Ball Family’s personal basketball league) has Team USA uniforms for their international tour, and they look very similar to US Soccer’s crest (from Nate Olivarez-Giles). … The soccer world has seen a bunch of crazy and bad shirt advertisers, but this is the first time I’m seeing a primary ad for something as benign as mops. That’s the 1995-96 AS Cittadella kit (from Lucan Denfield).

Grab Bag: St. Louis’s Laumeier Sculpture Park is hosting an absolutely amazing neon sign exhibit (from @matthewkd1982). … The National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Stealth are rebranding as the Vancouver Warriors (from Zeke Perez Jr.).

The Story Behind Inter Miami’s Crest

Click to enlarge

I rarely write about soccer, because I know so little about the sport. But I have a really fun new soccer-centric piece up on ESPN — it’s a look an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the crest for David Beckham’s new MLS franchise, Inter Miami, with lots of developmental sketches (see above) and inside info. It was really fun to work on, and it even has some quotes from Beckham (although I didn’t get to interview him directly — had to deal with an intermediary, grrrr). Check it out here.

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Living up to their name: The Browns’ mono-brown Color Rash uniforms finally made their on-field debut for last night’s game against the Jets and looked about how you’d expect. Can’t say I’m a fan, although at least they don’t have the big honking wordmark on the pants.

I am a fan, however, of the Browns’ new striped end zones — although I’d be a much bigger fan if the old Browns script weren’t bleeding through the stripes (click to enlarge):’

Speaking of stripes, the stadium’s sideline fans have a Browns helmet design theme — even for the visiting bench:

In that same game, several people noticed that Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s captaincy patch had two stars. The stars are supposed to represent how many years the player has been a captain for his current team, and this is Taylor’s first year with the Browns, so there’s no way he should have two stars. And yet:

I did some quick photo research and discovered that Taylor had two gold stars — which, again, doesn’t make sense — for last Sunday’s game against the Saints, but none of us noticed (for all of these pics, you can click to enlarge):

But Taylor had only one gold star for the Browns’ season opener against the Steelers:

Taylor isn’t the only NFL quarterback with captaincy patch issues. Reader Clifford Baxter notes that Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford, who’s in his first season with Arizona, had three gold stars last Sunday:

But for the Cardinals’ season opener against Washington a week earlier, Bradford had only one gold star:

Just to compare some recent examples, when Peyton Manning moved from the Colts to the Broncos in 2012, he went back to wearing one gold star. Ditto for Brett Favre when he joined the Jets and Vikings. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

Speaking of the Vikings, quarterback Kirk Cousins joined their roster this year. Sure enough, just one star. Well done, Vikes.

(My thanks to Billy King for the end zone shot and Kenny Kaplan for the sideline fans shot.)

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Early uni ad: The excellent Threads of Our Game site, which documents pre-1900 baseball uniforms, recently came up with an interesting example of ads on unis. It seems that in 1894, the Milwaukee team in the Western League — that was a short-lived minor league — wore blue ribbons on their road uniforms as a nod to Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, which of course was brewed in Milwaukee. At the time, PBR’s packaging featuring actual blue ribbons on the bottles, so the ribbons on the uniforms were a very literal evocation of the product.

So far, there are no photos of this uniform, but Threads of Our Game historian Craig Brown has turned up several written descriptions of the ribbon-clad unis and used them to create the mockup shown at right. Brown’s research also turned up an 1894 article with this passage:

The team is backed by a brewery, and its players are advertising the same on their uniforms. There have been advertisements on jockey’s jackets at Latonia [a local horse racing track], but never before on a ball-player’s back.

That indicates that there may have been a rear-jersey ad in addition to the blue ribbons, and also suggests that uni ads were unheard of up until that time.

Fascinating stuff. For additional info, check out Brown’s full report.

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Last call: Today’s the final day to get your entries in for my Jets-redesign contest. As usual, the best entries will be featured in one of my upcoming ESPN columns. Full details here.

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Naming Wrongs update: We had previously done some Riverfront Stadium shirts in Reds colors. But with the NFL season underway, we had some requests for Bengals-colored versions. They’re now available in black with white lettering, black with orange lettering, and orange:

These designs are now available in the Naming Wrongs shop. They’re also cross-listed in the Uni Watch shop, where card-carrying members can get 15% off. (If you’re a member and need the discount code, send me a note and I’ll hook you up.) My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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Bat giveaway: One of our steady advertisers, the Pillbox Bat Co., is raffling off one of their “Join or Die” bats (the barrel of which is shown above). Full details here.

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The Ticker
By Brinke Guthrie, pinch-Tickng today

Baseball News: No polo pony here, but that is indeed designer Ralph Lauren wearing a Yankees cap with his signature on the bill. Looks like the cap is using the jersey version of the “NY” (from @GuffMichael). … The Round Rock express are now affiliated with the Astros and have new logos and uniforms. … When the Twins used to play at the Met, the grounds crew would chalk up the visiting team’s logo on the fungo circle (from Chris Hickey).

NFL News: Reader Alan Topolski was in a Los Angeles Ralph’s supermarket and took note of the store’s Rams balloon display. “They had a display of Rams helmet foil balloons. I was surprised that they were using the outdated style that they stopped wearing during the 2016 season.” … Jason Brooks created a set of Eagles concepts. …A Browns fan came up with a new NOB for a Browns jersey after last weekend’s kicking woes. … The NFL is closing its NFL Experience store/exhibit on Times Square. Paul had written about it earlier this year. …@IHSAState wants to know if there’s a cooler football helmet anywhere than this one for the Fisher (Ill.) HS Bunnies. … Deadspin published a piece on how the NFL uniform code “needs to be destroyed” (from Eric Bangeman). …The Bengals are wearing their home black over white when they visit the Panthers this Sunday (from Joshua Hinton).

College Football News: Syracuse will retire Joe Morris’s No. 47 on Saturday (from Phil). … Virginia Tech will wear white/orange/white at Old Dominion this Saturday (from Andrew Consentino). …Clemson to wear white jerseys at Georgia Tech for the first time since 2007 (from Benji B). … Hard to believe, but the University of Oregon is cutting back on uni combos (paywalled, from Jason Hillyer). … Oklahoma will wear a “thunderbird” decal on their helmets this Saturday vs. Army, and Tennessee will go orange over white against Florida (from Phil). … The Force is clearly with Temple University (from Phil).

Hockey News: The Sabres tweeted “there’s a story behind every (goalie) mask.” …Chris Creamer has a history of the NHL All-Star Game logos following the 2019 ASG reveal for San Jose. …The Shawinigan Cataractes (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) will wear these throwback jerseys for Oct. 7 and 13 home games (from @PThomas19). …The AHL San Antonio Rampage will use this logo for their first-ever “Dia De Los Muertos” game. The team will be known as “Los Chimuelos De San Antonio” (from @StrosBros1).

Basketball News: Virginia Commonwealth University showed off its new home whites (from Tommy Turner). …Nike has released the new Air Jordan XXIII.

Soccer News: Jimmy Lonetti says, “Minneapolis City SC of the NPSL has created an alternate logo that honors the Minnesota Kicks of the old NASL”.

Grab Bag: Roger Federer is using a new red version of his Wilson signature racket for this weekend’s Laver Cup in Chicago. … If red’s not your color, Head has released a yellow 25th-anniversary edition of the Andre Agassi Radical rackuet design. … Naomi Osaka, who won the women’s title at the U.S. Open, has scored a huge payday from Adidas. … How tech times have changed: Teams and leagues used to send Uni Watch confidante/logo designer Todd Radom info on floppy discs! . … An Italian clothing company is selling battered-looking sneakers that are intentionally distressed and critics say they are “mocking poverty”. They also cost, er, $530 (from Jason Hilyer). …”Hank Steinbrenner bought into Indycar’s Harding Racing, to form Harding Steinbrenner Racing. His son George IV races for Indy Lights. The kicker, next year we’ll see Yankee pinstripes on an Indycar,” says Tyler Scott

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Happy birthday to DIY genius Wafflebored, who turns 50 today. Have a good one, buddy. By coincidence, today is also my half-birthday, so Wafflebored and I are both equinox babies. The 21st is a very good day on which to be born!

How to Photoshop a Player Into a New Uniform

We’ve come a long way from the days when Topps would clumsily airbrush a new uniform onto an old photo of a player who’d joined a new team. Nowadays, a player who’s changed teams — or who’s even the subject of trade rumors — gets Photoshopped into a new uni lickety-split.

But what does that digital uni-swap process actually entail? I’m not a Photoshop guy myself, so I couldn’t tell you. But Bryndon Minter, who does creative work for the NFL’s social media channels, gave us a fascinating insight into that process the other day by tweeting a time-lapse video showing how he took a photo of Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who’d just been traded to the Patriots, and gave him a Pats uni. Check this out:

Pretty cool, right? I wanted to know more, so I got in touch with Minter and asked if he could tell us a bit more about how he approaches this type of task. Here’s his response:

To start, I look first for images from formal photo shoots. Those are a lot easier to use, because it’s usually a higher-quality photo and the players aren’t wearing a helmet. If those aren’t available, I try to find a badass photo of a celebration or anything showing emotion.

Honestly, I don’t have a ton of Photoshop experience — I’ve primarily focused on shooting/editing video. My first jersey swaps were for Colin Kaepernick, who was rumored to be potentially going to the Ravens, Seahawks, or Dolphins in May 2017. Didn’t really try again until the Richard Sherman 49ers signing, which happened at 6pm PST on a Saturday night. The first draft was awful. I scrapped it, completely restarted. Not sure how the quality is so drastically different, but from the second Sherman version on, I definitely started getting better at it.

I don’t really have a set way that I carry these out. Sometimes it’s colorizing the jersey hue, other times it’s “Frankensteining” and taking similar elements from other photo assets, like I did in the Josh Gordon time-lapse (pulled from a photo of Stephon Gilmore in same helmet and similar stance). The whole thing took three hours.

I’ve gotten a lot of requests from designers, so at some point I’ll most likely do a few tutorials on how I do these.

Fascinating! Big thanks to Minter for sharing these insights with us.

Meanwhile, speaking of Gordon, he appeared at his first Patriots practice yesterday and was wearing a wristwatch, which seems odd, no? (Nice spot by Joey Ellis.)

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And speaking of Photoshop: The Trail Blazers yesterday became the latest NBA team to sell out to a corporate uniform advertiser. As per our well-established protocol, we will neither name the advertiser nor show its ad. But we will show that an ad-clad Trail Blazers jersey looks like shit, which is all you need to know (click to enlarge):

There are now 24 ad-clad teams, including three that have joined the ranks in the past six weeks. There are six remaining ad-free teams.

(My continued thanks to Nic Schultz for his Photoshoppery.)

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Click to enlarge

And speaking of the NBA: Utah Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio has been hinting for about a week that the team has a new uniform in the works, and yesterday he got to show it off — a purple throwback that matches what the Jazz wore from 1986 through 1996. Here’s how it looks from the back:

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Click to enlarge

Too good for the Ticker: Check out these two NBA photos from a 1962 Warriors/Pistons game. There’s a lot to admire here, but the most uni-notable thing, obviously, is that one of the Detroit players — apparently Walter Dukes, at least according to the Twitter hive mind — is wearing his warm-up top on the court! I can definitively say that I’ve never seen that before. Anyone else..?

(My thanks to John Cannon and @ursus_arctos59 for their contributions to this section.)

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Contest reminder: Today’s the next-to-last day to get your entries in for my Jets-redesign contest. As usual, the best entries will be featured in one of my upcoming ESPN columns. Full details here.

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Cap reminder: In case you missed it on Wednesday, I’m happy to report that all fitted sizes of the Uni Watch classic cap, available exclusively from Ebbets Field Flannels, are now back in stock. Grab your preferred size before they sell out again!

Meanwhile, two weeks ago I asked for feedback on our flex-fit alternate cap, and a bunch of you said, “Actually, I’ve been meaning to buy that one, but I keep forgetting or putting it off.” If that’s you, go ahead and order one already. Thanks.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: The Red Sox had a division title banner made, but it fell off the truck that was transporting it. A few Sox fans found it and will return it — for the right price (from Mike Chamernik). … The Marlins’ teal throwbacks were such a big hit this season that they’re bringing them back for 2019 (thanks, Phil).

Pro Football News: The Browns’ mono-brown Color Rash uniforms will finally make their on-field debut tonight. … Meanwhile, check out the Browns’ striped end zones! They represent the team’s 16 Hall of Famers (from @Cdud1970 and Jerry Wolper). … WR Jordan Matthews, who returned yesterday for a second stint with the Eagles, will wear No. 80, not his old No. 81. … The AAF — the new pro league debuting in February — released four of its eight team names and logos (from Tod Meisner).

College Football News: Colorado A&M-era throwbacks on tap this weekend for Colorado State. Love that green/orange color combo. … Sportswriter Steve Rushin found his dad’s 1952 Purdue Big Ten championship belt buckle while poking around in the basement (from Jen Hayden). … Yesterday we reported that Iowa State would wear a “CBA” memorial decal for slain ISU golfer Celia Barquín Arozamena. Now comes news that ISU’s opponent this weekend, Akron, will also wear the decal (from Kary Klismet). … Here are this week’s uni combos for Washington State and Arkansas (thanks, Phil). … Throwback uniforms this Saturday for Montana (from @clarkbarniner).

Hockey News: Here’s how the Panthers’ jerseys look with the 25th-anniversary patch and the “A” and “C” designations (from @34inXXIII). … G.I. Joke pregame jerseys on tap for six games this season for the Charlotte Checkers (thanks, Phil). … Here’s the logo for the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, which will be hosted by the Sharks (thanks, Brinke). … Fun fact: Urinals at the Devils’ arena feature the team’s logo (from Dan Klein). … Bruins and Flames wore this patch for yesterday’s exhibition game in China (thanks, Brinke). … The Flames have an alternate uni unveiling coming up on Friday (thanks, Phil).

NBA News: Here’s an old Bucks team photo that appears to show Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wearing stirrups over his tube socks! Not sure what that was about (from many readers).

College Hoops News: Texas Tech is teasing new red jerseys (thanks, Phil). … Illinois’s uniforms will get “tweaks” this year and a full redesign next year (from @mrmichael21). … New uniforms for Arkansas State (thanks, Phil).

Soccer News: Manchester United has new pink uniforms, and some fans are not pleased (thanks, Phil). … New uniforms for CSKA Moscow, which has switched from Adidas to Umbro (from Ed Zelaski). … Also from Ed: New alternate kit for Red Bull Salzburg. … “Outside the Stade de Suisse in Bern is an old scoreboard from the first stadium on the site, the Wankdorfstadion, and a picture of it in action in the 1954 World Cup final,” says our own Jamie Rathjen. “In advance of the first Champions League group stage game for the local team, BSC Young Boys, against Manchester United, the ads in the picture have been covered up because UEFA only allows ads for Champions League advertisers to appear in and around the stadium.” Douchebags. … Nike has produced a new mashup kit for FC Barcelona, featuring elements from all of the team’s kits over the past 20 years. More info here. … New third kit for Scottish club Hibernian (Jamie again). … Good story from Denis Hurley: “In 1990, Cork City wore a new away shirt against Dundalk, but it proved to be the only time they wore it. However, when the clubs played again the following week, Dundalk forgot their away shirts, so they ended up borrowing the City jerseys.” … For last night’s Portland Timbers game, the jersey numbers used elements from all of the players’ home country flags (from @bryant_rf).

Grab Bag: Check out this super-cool book that presented a design proposal for an identity system for the 1976 USA bicentennial (from James Gilbert). … “Pizza” chain Papa John’s, looking to turn the page on the era of disgraced founder John Schnatter, may have a new logo in the works. … The airline Cathay Pacific misspelled its own name on a jet livery (from @deadendnights and David Cline). … More memorials for slain Iowa State golfer Celia Barquín Arozamena: Michigan’s women’s golf team wore red ribbons for her, and Ladies European Tour players will wear black ribbons and observe a moment of silence for her during the first round of the Mediterranean Open (from Kary Klismet). … Oktoberfest uniforms for the German volleyball team United Volleys (from Jeremy Brahm). … Speaking of volleyball, the U. of Florida is doing a jersey giveaway (from Evan Murray).

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I’m visiting my mom today, so I won’t be keeping as close an eye on the site as I usually do. Play nice while I’m away, okay? Thanks. — Paul

Underappreciated Uni Element Featured for First Time on Cap

The egg timer at the New Era offices — the one that rings every few weeks to remind them it’s time to feed the retail beast by cranking out another line of “lifestyle” caps that nobody really needs — apparently went off recently, because yesterday they launched a new series of NFL team caps called “Elements.”

The idea behind “Elements” is that each team’s cap design is based on “the most identifiable element” of the team’s logo. A few of the designs look pretty cool, others look ridiculous, at least one just uses the team’s entire logo instead of just an “element” of it, and another doesn’t even have anything to do with the team’s logo.

In other words, your usual pointless retail slop. None of which would matter to us here at Uni Watch, except for the one thing: In a situation like this, what do they do with the Browns, whose logo is just their helmet? Here’s the answer:

And there you have it. According to New Era (and, presumably, according to the Browns themselves, since teams have to approve these designs), the Browns’ most prominent logo element is a facemask! Too funny. Is this the first time a facemask has ever been featured as the primary logo on a baseball cap? I’m guessing yes.

Perhaps a better question is whether this will be the last time a facemask will be featured on a cap. Once you open that door, there are plenty of possibilities. After all, lots of NFL players have had distinctive grills that became their visual signatures, plus you could have a whole line of designs just for Archie Manning (collect ’em all!). Do a limited-edition, premium-priced design featuring Y.A. Tittle’s kithen sink rig and you’ll be sitting on a pot of gold in no time flat. Hell, you could even include a few MLB players in the mix!

My usual position with any Browns-related merch is “Put Brownie the Elf on it!” But in this case, I’m glad they went with the facemask. Much more absurd and thought-provoking. Thanks, New Era!

(My thanks to Jim Tischler, who brought the Elements caps to my attention.)

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Speaking of caps: I’m happy to report that all fitted sizes of the Uni Watch classic cap, available exclusively from Ebbets Field Flannels, are now back in stock. Grab your preferred size before they sell out again!

Meanwhile, two weeks ago I asked for feedback on our flex-fit alternate cap, and a bunch of you said, “Actually, I’ve been meaning to buy that one, but I keep forgetting or putting it off.” If that’s you, go ahead and order one already.

Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we did a Uni Watch “Elements” cap? It could feature just the wing. Or just the stirrup. Or just the undersock. Or just the stripes.

Or not.

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For all photos in this section, click to enlarge

Now that’s a throwback: Colgate, an FCS school, has something special planned for this Saturday’s game against Lafayette. The university is celebrating its bicentennial, and the football team is marking the occasion by wearing 1932 throwbacks. That was the season Colgate famously went, as the saying goes, “undefeated, untied, unscored upon, and uninvited” (to the Rose Bowl).

Here’s a game shot of the original 1932 unis:

Obviously, they can’t go without front uni numbers 2018, so they had to come up with a solution that looked old-school while still meeting NCAA requirements. I’d say they did a pretty good job of that:

For the back numbers, they actually applied panels of a burlap-like material to the jersey and then applied the numbers to those panels:

For the helmet, they’re going with a hydro-dipped faux-leather texture pattern, with decals to simulate the old leather stitching:

This was all the brainchild of Colgate assistant equipment director Broc Hazlet. You can read more about the design process in this excellent article from the Colgate website.

One other notable item here: Colgate will be wearing white at home for this game.

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Click to enlarge

Too good for the Ticker: There’s sooooo much going on in this 1969 shot sent my way last night by longtime reader Marc Viquez. Dig:

• The Reds did not wear a patch for their 100th anniversary in ’69 (although they did wear the MLB centennial patch). But it turns out that they had a logo for the team centennial, which they used for their on-deck circle.

• I’m pretty sure that’s the earliest example I’ve ever seen of a logo or graphic being used for the on-deck circle. I think of that as a 1970s and ’80s phenomenon. (Update: Longtime reader/contributor BSmile reports that the Yankees, of all teams, had a team-logo on-deck circle in the mid-1960s.)

• I’m old enough to remember when it was fairly common — or at least not uncommon — to see players kneeling or squatting on deck, as Pete Rose is doing in this photo. At some point, that fell out of vogue. When you think about it, it’s pretty ridiculous. Why wouldn’t you be standing as you get ready to hit? (Update: Note that Rose and the batboy both have little cushions — maybe colored bases? — to kneel on. Never seen that before! Big thanks to reader/commenter Mangler for pointing that out.)

• Never really noticed before that the late-’60s Reds had a Tigers-like profusion of belt loops on their pants.

• At first glance, it looks like the bat boy’s pants have few belt loops than Rose. But upon closer inspection, it appears that he simply missed at least two of his loops.

• Batting gloves were fairly rare in 1969, but Rose is wearing at least one of them. Some very quick photo research indicates that he sometimes wore one in ’69, but not always.

• Nowadays, bat boys are required to wear helmets. Back in the day, they wore caps. (And the “BB” jersey is very nice, of course.)

That’s a lot of mileage from one photo, right? Big thanks to Marc for sending it my way.

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Contest reminder: Just a few days left to get your entries in for my Jets-redesign contest. As usual, the best entries will be featured in one of my upcoming ESPN columns. Full details here.

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Click to enlarge

Celebrity sighting: Who was that alongside me in Soho last night? None other than the pseudonymous DIY genius Wafflebored, who’s in town to celebrate his birthday. The Tugboat Captain and I met up with him and his lovely partner, Carmen, and it was a genuine thrill to meet the man behind so many great jerseys. I’ve featured him many times here on the site, but do yourself a favor and follow his blog, which documents his many amazing jersey projects.

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New Uni Watch HQ pays porch dividends: Until now, I’d never lived anywhere that had a front porch. And I have to say, there’s something really nice about sitting on said porch, safe and dry, while enjoying wifi and Diet Coke (not necessarily in that order) during a thunderstorm.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe Orioles wore their braille-lettered uniforms last night against the Blue Jays. Paul first wrote about them earlier this month (thanks to all who shared). … Mets 3B Todd Frazier went high-cuffed last night, and his socks appeared to be a lighter shade of blue than the Mets’ usual royal (from Justo Gutierrez). … Fashion designer Ralph Lauren is throwing out the first pitch on Thursday, but don’t expect him to dress up. He says he isn’t going to “worry” about what he wears (from Tom Turner). … This family borrowed the Seattle Mariners logo for its family reunion (from Michael Miller). … The Staten Island Yankees raised $8,000 on behalf of their GM, who is battling breast cancer, thanks in part to auctioning off their pink cancer awareness uniforms (from Phil). … The Phillie Phanatic wore green for Irish Heritage Night last night.

NFL News: Resurgent Bucs QB Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick is the talk of the league right now. But it’s Dolphins DB Minkah Fitzpatrick who’s filed a trademark for the “Fitzmagic” nickname. … Yahoo took some liberties with NFL helmets in this graphic (from Dylan Nowak and @RipVanWhiskey). … A restaurant in Wisconsin has a black, yellow and white mural on a wall, and the color scheme makes a Packers helmet look like a Grambling State helmet (from Christian M. Zummer). … David Whitley put together a Raiders concept uniform.

College/High School Football News: We missed this one, but Stanford and UC Davis went color-vs.-color on Saturday (from John Furstenthal). … Iowa State will wear a memorial decal Saturday to honor Celia Barquín Arozamena, the ISU golfer who was murdered on Monday (from @cylinen). … Matt Schudel was taking a look at Davidson’s old yearbooks and noticed that the Wildcats wore plaid or checkered numbers on their white jerseys from about 1956-1962. … A Connecticut high school football website now has its own uniform column (from David Kranz). … Cross-listed from the NFL section: A restaurant in Wisconsin has a black, yellow, and white mural on a wall, and the color scheme makes a Green Bay Packers helmet look like a  Grambling State helmet (from Christian M. Zummer).

Hockey News’Canes RW Justin Williams was recently named team captain, and he’s offering to cover the cost for fans who wants to add a “C” to their jersey (from Ted Arnold). … Speaking of Williams, his “C” will be on the right side of his jersey instead of the standard left, at least on the team’s alternate jersey (from Keaton). … Staying with the ’Canes, they played a color-vs.-color game with the Lightning yesterday (from Bobby Fenton). … A Bruins blog speculates that the team will have a vintage third jersey this season (from Sara Schieve). … The Preds are painting team murals around Nashville, and they uploaded a time-lapse video of this mural of a front-facing sabertooth tiger. … The Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL have new uniforms (from Phil). … Ohio University has new 1958-inspired green sweaters to go with the white jerseys they debuted last season (from Trevor Wilson Patton). … The Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL have their center ice logo ready to go (from Brian Prutch). … Jägermeister is now the “official shot” of the NHL, but hockey fans, that doesn’t mean you need to drink it. And really, why would you ever want to?

Basketball NewsLooks like the Trail Blazers are getting ready to reveal a new uniform. The announcement will apparently come later today (from Jarrod Campbell). … The refs probably had a tough time calling fouls on the Celina High School (Ohio) basketball team during the 1943-44 season. Check out that number selection! (From Kyle Shaner). Same goes for 1947 Arlington High School (Illinois) team (from Andy Garms). … New uniforms for North Carolina. Not sure if the color is actually lighter, or it’s just the lighting in the photo. Here’s another shot (from @heelsupdates and Jason Collins). … Nebraska unveiled new pinstriped home uniforms yesterday (from Shamus McKnight).

Soccer News: New Champions League kits for Napoli (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: The South American uniform manufacturer Dana has copied a bunch of notable kit designs from other outfitters, including Nike’s much-discussed 2018 World Cup kit for Nigeria.

Grab BagThis what U.S. players will wear in the Ryder Cup next week (from Phil). … ColorWerx, the website that tracks the colors of pro and college sports teams, has changed its name and URL to TruColor.net.

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G’mar Hatima Tova to all who are observing Yom Kippur today.