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From Cold Case to Case Closed: The 1977 All-Star Mystery Man Has Been Found!

If not for the world going kablooey, the 2020 MLB All-Star Game would have been played today. That won’t be happening, of course, but it would be nice if we could have some sort of All-Star-related story for the occasion, right?

I happen to have just such a story, and it’s a doozy, because today I’m happy to report that the coldest of Uni Watch cold cases has finally been solved: I now know the identity of — and have spoken with! — the 1977 All-Star Game Mystery Man.

It’s a good story with a good resolution, and I’m going to take my time telling it to you, so sit back and settle in.

The All-Star Mystery Man made his Uni Watch debut on Sept. 2, 2008 — nearly 12 years ago! — when I wrote a blog post about two snapshots that had shown up on a now-defunct discussion board. The snapshots showed a guy in a Yankees road uniform who inexplicably appeared amidst the home-uniformed 1977 American League All-Stars as they set up for their team portrait at Yankee Stadium (click to enlarge):

That guy did not appear, however, in the official American League team portrait that was eventually used in various media settings:

So who was that guy in the Yankees road uni, and why was he there during the setup for the team photo but not in the final photo? There was a lot of discussion, a lot of conjecture, a lot of theorizing about who he might be, but none of it panned out. The following summer, on July 14, 2009, I wrote an ESPN column about the ongoing mystery, in the hopes that someone might help us solve it, but nothing came of it and the mystery remained unsolved. (If you haven’t already read that original 2008 blog post or the ESPN follow-up — or if you just need a refresher course — I strongly suggest that you read them now before going further with this blog entry.)

And that was about it. Every so often I’d get an email from someone asking, “Hey, whatever happened with the mystery of that guy at the All-Star Game?” In theory, the mystery was still there on the back burner, waiting to be solved. In practice, though, as the years passed by, I confess that I kinda checked out and moved on. I just didn’t feel that emotionally invested in the story anymore.

Fast-forward to last summer. On July 31, the Tugboat Captain and I flew to Ireland for a vacation. During our first day there, I received an email from a Uni Watch reader named Roger Faso. He reminded me that he’d sent me a potential lead regarding the Mystery Man a few years earlier (that lead hadn’t panned out) and then said he’d been researching the case again and had found someone who claimed to know who the Mystery Man was. He offered to introduce me to this source he’d discovered.

I appreciated Roger’s diligence, but I didn’t really want to think about work while I was on vacation, and I especially didn’t want to be dragged back into this particular storyline while I was jet-lagged in Dublin. So I pretty much ignored Roger’s email and went back to drinking ale, looking at castles, eating toffee, and so on.

In mid-August, after I was back in NYC, Roger sent me another note: “Welcome back, Paul. Did you see my email about the 1977 All-Star Game Mystery Man? I found someone who knew the guy.” I told him that I had indeed received his email and that I’d get to it when I got caught up on some other stuff.

I didn’t delete Roger’s email, or even put it in a “To do” folder. I just left it there in my in-box as a reminder that I should deal with it. Every day, for the better part of a year, I saw it there. And every day I found ways to ignore it and work on other stuff. I felt increasingly guilty about it, but for some reason I just couldn’t motivate myself to crank up the particular corner of my brain that would be needed to care about this story again.

Nearly another whole year went by. Then, a little over a month ago, on June 3, Roger got in touch again: “Hi Paul. We’re almost a month away from what would’ve been the MLB All Star game. Would you like the intro to the guy I found, who knows the 1977 All-Star Game Mystery Man?” At this point I was embarrassed not to have responded sooner, so I apologized to Roger for that. “No problem,” he said. “I figured you were waiting for the [2020] All-Star Game to come around.”

In fact, I had not been waiting for that at all. But at this point Roger had worn me down, and I figured it was finally time to get back on the Mystery Man horse. I told him to put me in touch with the source he’d located.

I then went back and re-read the original 2008 blog post that introduced the Mystery Man and the 2009 ESPN follow-up. I noticed two things right away: Roger Faso had posted three comments on the original blog post, and I actually quoted him in the ESPN piece. So he’d been all in on this story right from the get-go, and he was still as obsessed with it as he’d ever been. I liked that.

The next day, June 4, Roger e-introduced me to a guy named Joe D’Ambrosio, who was a Yankees batboy back in the 1970s. The backstory was that Roger had gotten in touch with D’Ambrosio last summer after stumbling across a blog post that D’Ambrosio had written about his time with the Yanks. Roger showed D’Ambroiso the Mystery Man photos, and D’Ambrosio said, “Oh yeah — I know that guy.” That’s what prompted Roger to write to me when I was in Ireland. That’s what I had stupidly refused to deal with for nearly a year.

The following afternoon, June 5, I was on the phone with D’Ambrosio, who’s now 63. After telling me all sorts of stories about his time with the Yankees, he confirmed that he did indeed recognize our Mystery Man. “That was the visiting clubhouse batboy,” he told me. “His name was either Roy or Ray — but not Ray Negron [yet another former batboy who had already told me years ago that he was not the Mystery Man — PL]. He was a little bit bold, and he would work himself into certain situations.”

So that explained why the Mystery Man was wearing a road uniform: Since the 1977 All-Star Game was being played at Yankee Stadium, he was going to be the road batboy for the National League team. (I had actually identified this in the ESPN piece as the most likely explanation for the Mystery Man’s presence.) But that still didn’t explain why he was posing with the American League team, or why he was part of the photo setup but not in the final photo.

D’Ambrosio couldn’t remember Roy/Ray’s last name. But he said Yankees clubhouse manager Lou Cucuzza would probably know. His father, Lou Sr., had been the visiting clubhouse manager back in ’77, and D’Ambrosio said the younger Lou, who was a kid in those days, was always hanging around the ballpark and would probably remember Ray/Roy.

As soon as I got off the phone with D’Ambrosio, I emailed Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo and asked if he could either put me in touch with Lou Jr. or at least show him the Mystery Man photos. This seemed like the kind of request that makes PR people roll their eyes (“Yeah, hi, can you please get in touch with one of your employees in the middle of a global pandemic and ask him to identify a batboy who appears in a blurry photo from 43 years ago?”), so I wasn’t optimistic about hearing back from him.

Exactly 18 minutes later, I received a response from Zillo: “Lou says the person’s name is Ray Santiago.” Wow — paydirt! Any idea where Ray might be located these days? “Lou says he does not know.”

So now I had a name. Unfortunately, it was a very common name — there are lots of Ray Santiagos out there. So I went to Twitter and asked if anyone had any leads:

Exactly 16 minutes later, I received an email from a guy named Josh Kagavi, who I remembered because he made some sports themed blankets a while back. “For a project I’m working on, I constantly track down people from back in the day and am getting pretty good at it,” he said. Josh said the Ray Santiago I was seeking appeared to be living in California. He included what he believed to be Ray’s phone number.

Was it really that easy?

I dialed the number. It went to voicemail, where someone who identified himself as Ray Santiago invited me to leave a message. After the beep, I explained that I was looking for the Ray Santiago who had once been a Yankees batboy, encouraged Ray to call me back, and hung up.

Five-ish hours later, the phone rang. It was Ray Santiago.

I asked him if he was the Ray Santiago I was looking for. He confirmed that he was, and asked what he could do for me.

Here’s how our conversation went from there:

Uni Watch: The reason I’ve been searching for you is that I have some photos from the 1977 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. They were taken before the game, when the American League All-Star team was getting set up for its team portrait. They’re snapshots that were taken by someone who must have been standing nearby — not by the official team portrait photographer. And there’s someone in the photo wearing a Yankees road uniform, which seemed sort of weird. I’ve been trying for a long time to figure out who that person was, and now I have reason to believe that it was you.

Ray Santiago: I have that photo, or one like it. I’m right there in the middle, next to Wayne Gross and, uh…

UW: I think it was Dennis Eckersley.

RS: Yeah, that’s right. [After we spoke, Ray sent me the photo shown below, which is the one he’s kept for all these years.]

UW: Could you tell me more about that? Why were you in the photo?

RS: I was the visiting batboy for that game. I was in the picture originally, but when it came down to taking the actual [official] picture, they just asked me to step out of the final picture.

UW: Were you asked or invited to be in the earlier version, or did you just go ahead and join the photo on your own?

RS: No, they put me in the picture.

UW: So they asked you to set up for the photo with the players, and then ultimately asked you to leave when they were set to take the official shot?

RS: Yeah.

UW: Did you also pose with the National League team, since you were their batboy?

RS: I don’t think I did.

UW: Huh, that’s interesting. But of course the American League team had several Yankees players who you were presumably familiar with, along with players from other American League teams who you may have worked with as the visiting batboy at Yankee Stadium, so maybe it makes sense that they called you over..?

RS: Yeah. I wasn’t just the batboy — I was sort of the assistant clubhouse guy too, so there was a lot of interaction with the players. That was one nice thing about being the visiting batboy — you get to meet players from all the different teams. A lot of those guys are in the Hall of Fame now, and I kept up relationships with some of them, like Brooks Robinson. He was my idol growing up.

———

And that was about it. Cold case is now case closed! It feels a bit anti-climactic that the explanation was so straightforward and non-dramatic (no imposter, no placeholder standing in for someone else, etc.), but it still feels good to have solved the mystery.

Ray was nice enough to send me a few photos of himself. Here’s one showing him as a batboy on a day that the Royals were visiting Yankees Stadium (visiting batboys get to wear the uni of the road team):

And here’s a current shot of Ray, who still keeps the Yankees close to his heart:

It bears repeating that once I finally let Roger Faso tell me that he’d found someone who recognized the Mystery Man — something he’d been trying to tell me for nearly a year — the whole thing fell into place in about a day. It was so stupid of me to let the story sit for so long.

Roger, in fact, is clearly the hero of this entire saga. He’s been engaged with it literally since Day One and never gave up on either the mystery or me. I decided to interview him about that:

Uni Watch: When I went back and looked at my first blog post about the Mystery Man in 2008, I saw that you posted three comments that day, and you were also mentioned in the ESPN follow-up piece I did a year later. So you were clearly intrigued by this story right from the start. What was it about this storyline that you found so interesting?

Roger Faso (shown at right): It just seemed interesting and fun, like when you were trying to find the blue horse on the side of the Broncos’ helmet. Like, “I could find that!” It triggers something in my head. It’s just pure fun.

UW: I confess that at some point I kind of gave up on this particular mystery, and even stopped caring. What about you — were you diligently plugging away the entire time, sort of circling back every so often?

RF: I kind of gave up on it, I think when I found Ray Negron, who I figured was the guy, and then it turned out that he wasn’t. That was pretty much it for me. And then I think I stumbled upon a 1977 Yankees photo that listed Joe D’Ambrosio’s name as a batboy, so I thought, you know, why not?

So I went looking for him, and it turned out that he recognized the guy. That definitely rekindled my interest. So I reached out to you, and I knew you were on vacation, but I worried that if I waited, I might forget.

UW: That seems highly unlikely! Did I even respond?

RF: No, I don’t think you did.

UW: Yeah, I didn’t think so. I feel really bad about that, Roger!

RF: Don’t — I’ve been to Dublin, I know what it’s like!

UW: As weeks and months went by, were you getting annoyed or impatient with me?

RF: No, not at all, Paul. I work in video game production — I flag things all the time that I mean to get back to later, and then time goes by. It happens. We all have only so much bandwidth — I totally understand. But with the [2020] All-Star Game date coming up, I thought it might be a good time to check in.

UW: That was really smart of you, that you chose to poke me then.

RF: Now that the mystery has been solved, how do you feel about that? One reason I ask is that sometimes it’s fun to have an unsolvable mystery. Sometimes the questions are more fun than the answers, you know? So now that we’ve finally caught the car, how do you feel?

UW: I understand what you’re saying, but I feel satisfied to finally have the answer. It’s not a familiar satisfaction, either — like, okay, so this is what it feels like to get to the bottom of something!

———

And there we are. After nearly 12 years, the mystery has been solved!

I want to thank everyone who contributed to the cracking of this case, including Roger Faso, Joe D’Ambrosio, Jason Zillo, Lou Cucuzza Jr., Josh Kagavi, and the countless other people who sent suggestions and tips over the years. Extra bonus thanks to Ray Santiago, who’s been our unwitting white whale for all these years and couldn’t have been nicer once I finally found him.

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Patchwork: The Cowboys revealed their 60th-anniversary logo way back in January. Frankly, I’d forgotten about it until last night, when this photo of rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs in his new uniform began circulating. As you can see, they’re apparently wearing the logo as a patch — looks good!

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The latest in pandemic-wear: Last month I wrote about a new full-face football visor shield that Schutt had developed. Now Oakley, working with the NFL and the players’ union, has come up with its own version.

Unlike the Schutt shield, Oakley’s design calls for a cloth filter, as you can see in this diagram:

For more details, I strongly recommend reading this well-reported article.

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Too good for the Ticker: By now we’ve all seen dozens or even hundreds or team logos modified to encourage social distancing and/or mask use. But this one, which appeared yesterday in the Twitter feed for the Single-A South Bend Cubs, is by far my favorite. Look at that cute Cubbie!

The design is based on, of course, the famous “Be Alert for Foul Balls” signage at Wrigley. But it’s so much better in full color — and with a mask!

(Big thanks to Phillip Santos and Kasey Ignarski for this one.)

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Going back to 1967 today. The image shown above might just be my favorite Collector’s Corner showcase photo ever. It’s for The Cardinals ’67, a record album documenting the “highlights and heartbreaks” of the Cards’ World Series-winning 1967 season (although there couldn’t have been too many “heartbreaks” if they went 101-60 and won the championship). Look at the expressions of the ump and the runner — fantastic artwork by the late, great Bob Peak, the Father of the Modern Hollywood Movie Poster.

Oh, but there’s more from the 1967 Fall Classic. How about the cover artwork on this World Series program? Wow:

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Couple of more Boston Red Sox items for you: The ’67 Sox lost that World Series to the Cardinals, but they issued a commemorative record album too, called The Impossible Dream. And for the discriminating Bosox fan, here’s a piece of the Green Monstah from 1976!

• Still more from ’67: Look at the box artwork for this 1967 NFL model kit by Aurora! I had not yet discovered pro sports by that year, otherwise this one would’ve been on my shelf next to my Apollo Saturn V rockets and exceedingly delicate Lunar Modules.

• Check out this 1968 National League schedule booklet, compliments of the “National League of Professional Baseball Clubs.”

• Any Seattle Pilots fans out there? Well, maybe there are a few Milwaukee Brewers fans interested in this item judging by the number of bids so far — it’s a display board with 24 Pilots patches from 1969, still in the original wrapping!

• Here’s a 1977 Yankees/Dodgers World Series press release detailing financial facts and figures, among other data. This was issued after the Yankees’ Series-clinching Game Six win on Oct. 18, 1977. That was the famous game when Reggie Jackson earned the nickname Mr. October by hitting three home runs on three consecutive pitches — yet his feat is barely mentioned in the press release!

• We have a selection of Montreal Expos items today, starting with a pocket AM radio sponsored by Coke in blanc or bleu. Not into radios? How about these blue and white duffle bags.

• This is a Topps Sports Talk Player from 1989. I have no clue how it works, but the box says you can “listen to the real voices of your favorite sports superstars!”

• From the “Land of Sky Blue Waters” come these 1960s Hamm’s Beer/Minnesota Twins coasters.

• Here’s a New Orleans Saints gumball helmet buggy styled after with the team’s short-lived black helmets.

• You can cycle in style with these New York Jets bicycle “hub caps.”

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: A handful of MLB players plan to wear masks on the field when the season opens later this month. … The Blue Jays announced yesterday that they will wear a memorial patch this season for longtime IF Tony Fernández, who died earlier this year. They had previously worn a black armband for him during spring training games (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … According to this nugget in a Brewers-related post, MLB has provided teams with “crowd effects” that can be played in stadiums during games without fans (from Michael James). … Three longtime Atlanta-based sports marketing folks — including former Braves PR man Bob Hope, who came up with the idea for the Braves’ 1970s nickNOBs and was interviewed here on Uni Watch back in 2012 — think the Braves should change their name to the Atlanta Brave. One of them, former Braves team photographer Pouya Dianat, has even created a full branding proposal, complete with jersey mock-ups. As you may recall, Paul had a similar idea a few years ago, when he proposed changing the name to Bravest. … During a scrimmage yesterday, one of the Tigers teams on the field in Detroit was wearing orange-trimmed “road” BP jerseys with white-logoed home caps (from  @ryankbowman). … In the White Sox scrimmage, whoever was acting as the home plate umpire was wearing a strange-looking helmet (from Steve Johnston). … Jake Buj mocked up a logo and a cap for a potential Portland-based MLB franchise. … Two notes from Kary Klismet: Names and logos have been released for three teams that will compete against the host Joliet Slammers of the independent Frontier League in the “City of Champions Cup” starting this week. Also, a couple’s quest to visit every minor league ballpark has stalled out due to the pandemic. … Oh man, look at these sensational 1970s Giants jackets!

Pro Football News: Here’s a good piece, with lots of quotes from Uni Watch pal Todd Radom, about the next steps coming in the Washington brand makeover (from Brinke). … Speaking of Washington, ESPN published a list of every logo they’ve ever used (from Mike Chamernik). … Saskatchewan Roughriders blog Rider Prophet is continuing to count up the best players in franchise history to wear each uniform number. Here’s the list for Nos. 80 to 89 (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade: The BC Lions are holding a team poll to determine the best player to wear No. 9 in team history.

College Football News: Most readers probably remember Michigan QB Devin Gardner wearing No. 98 for a few games in 2013. But what I didn’t know was that he continued to wear No. 98 in the CFL and while playing professionally in Japan (from Heath Hendricks). … Ever wondered who holds the record for longest last name in Georgia Tech history? Wonder no more — the record belongs to 1949 QB William Scharfschwerdt (from Jason Scherer). … Per this video, Florida State doesn’t seem to have a uniform mask color for players — but coaches appear to have been issued plastic face shields (from @VictoryCB). … The field at Texas’s Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium — formerly named after donor Joe Jamail — will be renamed Campbell-Williams Field after former Longhorns greats Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams. The Jamail family requested the change as a nod to the current racial justice movement and because of “a president who supports white supremacists” (from Ignacio and Timmy Donahue).

Hockey News: The Athletic (hard paywall) reports that a logo change is coming in Ottawa, with the new logo marking a return to the old two-dimensional/profile logo style (from Wade Heidt and Kary Klismet). … Canucks G Jacob Markstrom will have a new mask when play resumes (also from Wade Heidt). … When in Minnesota, you canoe on a lake — preferably in a North Stars canoe (from @btxj). … The Kalamazoo Wings are auctioning off a one-of-a-kind Bell’s Brewery sweater commemorating the brewery’s famed Two Hearted Ale (from Brandon Weir).

Basketball News: The Heat plan to wear their blue “Vice” alternates multiple times during the NBA restart “seeding” games. … Speaking of the restart, the Mavs will be sticking with navy and white uniforms (from @MavsTracker). … The Nuggets also announced their uniform schedule — they’re sticking with their white unis and the “Mile High City” alternates (from @davefarmaryoga). … The @UniMockups Twitter account put together Knicks/Nets  and Hornets/Magic mashup jerseys. … This video recaps the Heat’s entire uniform history in about 150 seconds (from Kary Klismet). … Here are the messages that some Thunder players will be wearing in place of their NOBs (from our own Anthony Emerson).

Soccer News: Looks like Charlotte’s yet-to-be named expansion franchise is a bit closer to picking a team name (from @CLTMLSKits). … Both Arsenal’s and Man City’s 2020-2021 home jerseys have reportedly leaked (from Josh Hinton). … New badge for second-tier Ukrainian club Ahrobiznes Volochysk. This was the club’s old logo (from Ed Żelaski). … Premier League teams playing Sunday wore black armbands in memory of Jack Charlton, who died on Friday. Charlton was a center-back on England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team who also was well known as the Republic of Ireland’s manager in the ’80s and ’90s (from Mark Coale and our own Jamie Rathjen). … Also from Jamie: NWSL teams were allowed to have “pride games” on Sunday and Monday. Not every team did something uni-related, but several wore pride warm-up shirts, Houston Dash striker Rachel Daly wore a rainbow captain’s armband, and OL Reign wore rainbow numbers. … We’ve got more leaks of Bayern Munich’s new away jersey (from Josh Hinton). … Couple of notes from Kary Klismet: We have a first look at Louisville City FC’s newly-completed stadium — it opened on Sunday. Also, a fan of English Championship club Coventry City F.C. created a scale model of a concept stadium for the team, complete with working lights. … One more from Jamie: “The USL Championship’s Sacramento Republic filled one of their grandstands with artwork to be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to organizations supporting Black youths.”

Grab Bag: New logo for the International Handball Federation (from Chris Corbaz and Jeremy Brahm). … NASCAR legends Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham are teaming up to create a new racing circuit, reminiscent of the old IROC Racing Series (from Chris H.). … Never knew this: The Miami headquarters for Royal Caribbean Cruises is shaped like the company’s anchor logo (from James Gilbert). … Evan Stewart noticed that ESPN+ was using an old logo for the Western Force, an Australian rugby union club. … In an effort to provide a more professional appearance, Naval and Marines service members are now prohibited from wearing flight suits and camouflage in the Pentagon and other areas around D.C. (from Timmy Donahue). … Also from Timmy: U.S. Forces Japan has banned the Confederate flag. … One more from Timmy: A 94-year-old woman who built bombers in World War II is putting herself to work again, this time to make masks. … The title of Donald Trump Jr.’s new book contains an apostrophe catastrophe. … Capital University in Ohio will no longer call its teams the Crusaders (from Patrick O’Neill). … Two notes from Kary Klismet: New logo for the Indian Olympic Association, and North Carolina State blog Backing the Pack published a comprehensive retrospective of the school’s 2010s uniforms in football, basketball, and baseball.

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What Paul did last night: Although you can’t see it in this photo, the fireflies have been out in force over the past few weeks. Even after a lifetime of seeing them, they still seem completely amazing and impossible and otherworldly.

Last night I was thinking about how the fireflies’ fluorescent glow is a color that’s normally not found in nature. And then it hit me: That neon-green fluorescence is exactly the same color that we’ve been seeing in recent years in the uni-verse. Nike calls it “volt,” the Seahawks call it “action green,” Adidas calls it whatever the fuck they call it, many of us simply call it neon — but we should really be calling it firefly! And from now on that’s what I’ll be doing.

As always, you can see the full set of daily Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos, dating back to mid-March, here.

Washington Redskins: 1937–2020

Good morning! Greetings from Uni Watch HQ, where all three inhabitants continue to be safe and healthy. Hope the same is true for everyone at your home.

Now then: Multiple news outlets began reporting last night that the ’Skins will make it official this morning and announce that they are retiring their team nickname. The move comes 10 days after the team announced that it was conducting a “thorough review” of its name, and 11 days after several of the team’s major business partners began exerting financial leverage in support of the name change.

Different media outlets, all citing confidential sources, have reported slightly different things about today’s announcement:

• Sports Business Journal, which was the first to break the story, said that the announcement will only be about the retirement of the current name, with the new identity to be announced at some unspecified point in the near future.

• The Washington Post also said that today’s announcement would only involve the demise of the current name, not the unveiling of a new one. According to the Post, that’s because “the preferred replacement name is tied up in a trademark fight.” (Earlier in the day yesterday, before the reports of this morning’s announcement, NBC Sports had a good piece on a trademark squatter who was complicating the team’s identity change.)

• ESPN also said the new name would not be forthcoming today but added one noteworthy detail: “[T]he plan, as of now, is to retain the franchise’s use of burgundy and gold colors.”

USA Today, however, said the team plans to “announce the retirement of the ‘Redskins’ nickname and reveal a new team name Monday morning.” To my knowledge, they are the only outlet reporting that today’s announcement will include the unveiling of the new team identity.

• Yahoo Sports did not specifically report on today’s announcement but said that “the league has asked teams to begin scrubbing ‘Redskins’ from their platforms.”

So that’s where we stand. It’s not clear exactly when this morning’s announcement will take place, but I’ll update this post once the team issues its statement. While we’re waiting for that, the Post has a good breakdown of how we got to this point.

Update, 9am Eastern: The announcement has been made. It confirms that the team “will be retiring” its name and logo, although it’s phrased in the future tense, not as something that’s effective immediately. No word on what the new team identity will be or when it will be released:

Since they did this on virtual ’Skins letterhead, and used the existing team name in the headline, I guess you could say that the legacy name is still current/active/etc. But it’s now just a lame duck, a placeholder, a dead name walking, until the new name is finalized.

(My thanks to our own Brinke Guthrie for the link to the trademark squatter story.)

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Loop-de-loop: Reds pitcher Luis Castillo is the latest MLBer to be spotted wearing his uni number on his belt’s built-in loop. As you may recall, we Ticker-linked last week to photos of Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman doing likewise. So that’s apparently a new thing this year.

The weird thing is that they’ve made the built-in loop white. That loop normally matches the color of the belt. They could have kept it that way and printed the uni number in white, but instead they’ve made the loop white. That looks okay in the Castillo and Stroman pics, because they were both wearing white pants, so the white loop on the belt sort of mimics the pants’ existing white loops. But I think it’s going to look really weird if this white-looped belt style is worn with grey pants on the road. Hmmmmm.

(My thanks to Joanna Zwiep for spotting the Castillo loop number.)

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Alphabetically speaking: Got an interesting note the other day from reader Jordan Richardson, as follows:

Given that so many colleges and universities use a single letter as their logo, I wondered if a full alphabet exists. I limited myself to Division I schools and discovered that 25 of the 26 letters are represented as single-letter logos.

The one exception surprised me: J. A few schools do use J in their logo, but they all use it in conjunction with other letters (James Madison’s “JMU” logo for example).

Wondering about those 10-point Scrabble letters? The Q is a secondary logo for Quinnipiac University, and the Z is the primary logo for Akron.

Really fun little research project there by Jordan! Is there a D1 J logo that he somehow missed..?

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Like a splinter in my brain: As MLS has returned to action, one thing that’s really been bugging me is the lowercase “is” in their current tournament name.

That’s incorrect title case. In the phrase “MLS is back,” the word “is” is the predicate, the verb. If you’re going to render it in title case, where the rule is that all verbs are capped, then “Is” should be capped, even though it’s only two letters. It appears that they may have styled it incorrectly because it reads better that way as a hashtag — #MLSisBack (instead of #MLSIsBack) — a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.

This has also created a confusing situation for media outlets. Most coverage of the tournament has parroted the incorrectly styled name, and I can see an argument for doing that — that is the official name, after all. But there’s never a [sic] or any other indication that the styling is incorrect, so the rubber-stamping the incorrect version just reinforces title case illiteracy among the populace.

Grrrrrrrrrr.

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Pin reminder: In case you missed it last week, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s July design — a bobblehead pin whose head actually bobbles! — is now available.

This one is a limited/numbered edition of 500, and we’ve already sold through more than half of them. Here’s a closer look:

Again, the July pin is available here. Here’s how the monthly series of pins looks so far (click to enlarge):

Need to get caught up? Here are the January, February, March, May, and June pins. (Sorry, April is sold out.)

And remember, if you order multiple pins and get hit with multiple shipping charges, contact me and I should be able to get Teespring to give you a partial shipping refund.

• • • • •

• • • • •

Caps reminder: In case you missed it last week, Uni Watch headwear is back! All fitted sizes of the Uni Watch Classic Cap (above left) are once again available, and our cotton “gold circle” strapback cap is back for another round of orders as well (that one will likely be available only for this week, so move fast).

My thanks, as always, for your consideration!

• • • • •

• • • • •

Mask update: The response to Uni Watch masks has been overwhelming. After the first batch of 85 masks sold out in a mere 40 minutes a few weeks ago, the second batch of 300 sold out in about a day and a half last Thursday and Friday! All of the Uni Watch profits from this batch are being donated to Feeding America, so your purchases last week raised $1200 for them — nice!

The most incredible thing about this is that these masks have been provided free of charge by ProLook Sports. I didn’t ask them to do this; in fact, I’d never even heard of ProLook until their COO, Dan Mullins, got in touch last month to say, “I just made a bunch of Uni Watch masks for you — where I should I send them?” After the first batch sold out in no time flat, I offered to pay for a follow-up order, but Dan insisted on doing the second batch for free as well.

Now that the second batch has sold out, Dan has generously offered to do yet another batch free of charge. How amazing is that? We may do a different design this time around, just to change things up. Either way, it’ll likely be a few weeks before we’re ready to take orders again, so stay tuned until then. (If you’d like to be notified when the new masks are ready, shoot me a note.)

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• • • • •

Click to enlarge

New photo project: There are things I very consciously collect because the act of collecting them feels like a creative project (salesman sample catalogs, pencil sharpeners, recipe booklets with the word “Meat” in the title, etc.), and then there are things that I just seem to accumulate a lot of because I like them.

Case in point: I have a lot of vintage short-sleeved green plaid/checked shirts (you might even call them my, uh, uniform). I don’t exactly go hunting for them, but when I see one, I think to myself, “Oh, that’s nice,” and then I’ll buy it if the price is reasonable. Each time I do this, the Tugboat Captain says, “Don’t you already have a shirt just like that?” and then I have to say, “No no no, this one is completely different from the others, can’t you see?”

So while I was rooting through my closet the other day, an idea occurred to me: For how many days in a row can I wear a different vintage short-sleeved green plaid/checked shirt? I started on Friday, so I’m currently up to three days/shirts. I’m documenting the project on Facebook and also in this Flickr set. (As you can see above, I decided to take mirror selfies, which maybe wasn’t the best idea, because our house’s only full-length mirror is in a poorly lit hallway [putting the mirror there also wasn’t the best idea], but that’s the format and I’m sticking with it!)

This will be a short project — we’re not talking dozens of shirts or anything like that. Probably about 10, I’m guessing. Still, it’s always fun to wear my favorite color, and it’ll be interesting to see all the designs side by side by side. Also, the final photo will have an interesting twist, with a Uni Watch connection! Stay tuned.

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

“He hates these cans!”: One of the best things about living in NYC is having access to assorted furtive/underground art events. One of the worst things about the pandemic has been the disappearance of those events, and of live events in general.

So I was super-excited to attend a furtive “bike-in theater” screening of The Jerk that took place on Saturday night in the parking lot behind a business I won’t name because they didn’t know their lot was being repurposed for the evening. The organizers provided chairs and bags of popcorn, we brought beers, everyone spread out for pandemic safety, and there was an intermission featuring video of Steve Martin playing banjo. Cars were not welcome (the invitation, channeling Orwell’s Animal Farm, said, “Two wheels good, four wheels bad”), so the scene had that nice indie/DIY/autonomous “can do” vibe that urban cycling tends to provide.

Okay, so it was just a few dozen people watching a movie. But for a few hours, it felt like New York again.

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul (pinch-hitting today for Jamie Rathjen)

’Skins Watch: The Atlanta Braves have sent an email to season ticketholders, including longtime Uni Watch reader/pal Marty Buccafusco, indicating that their team name will not be changing and that the tomahawk chop is “one of the many issues that we are working through.” Although the email carried a date of Friday, July 10, I hadn’t heard anything about it until Marty forwarded it to me yesterday afternoon, at which point I then tweeted the email’s “View in browser” link. I guess nobody else had seen the email by that point either, because my tweet quickly became the basis for this ESPN newser. Surprised the email hadn’t already been circulating by then and that it hadn’t been accompanied by a public statement from the Braves. … A Utah town is debating whether the local high school should still call its teams the Braves, and things have gotten a bit more bitter after the mayor gave a rather inflammatory response to a resident who inquired about local teens wearing Native headdresses and red face paint at local events (from John Ewanowski). … The sponsor of a youth football team in Ypsilanti, Mich., plans to stop his financial support if the team doesn’t stop calling itself the Braves.

Working Class Wannabes™: A football player being recruited by LSU says, “Me and [offensive line] coach [James] Cregg had a real nice conversation about why he likes me as a player. He says I’m a blue collar type football player. I’m nasty, I get the job done, I’m big, athletic.” … An article about fans’ proposed new names for the Cleveland Indians included a whole category of Working Class Wannabe™ names, including the Union, the Blue Collars, the Ironmen, the Painters, and the Industrials (from Mike Menner). … The packaging for a pro wrestling action figure toy describes the wrestler as part of a “blue collar solid tag team” (from John Freeman). … An article about the 1992 Team USA Olympic basketball team describes Christian Laettner as “blue-collar Laettner.” … An article about the top NBA players in the Orlando bubble describes the Miami Heat as a “blue-collar bunch.” … An article about Toronto Maple Leafs player Zach Hyman describes him as “one of very few top-six, blue-collar NHL players.” … Edmonton Oilers communications veep Tim Shipton describes one of the team’s players, winger Zack Kassian, as a “blue-collar, fan-friendly guy.”

Baseball News: At least two MLB players — Astros IF/OF Aledmys Diaz and Yankees OF Clint Frazier — say they intend to wear masks on the field when the regular season starts. Of course, we’ve seen lots of players wear balaclavas in cold weather, so masking up on the field isn’t unprecedented, but it’s probably never happened before in July (from Ignacio Salazar and David Strauss). … Here’s an aerial shot of the construction progress on the ballfield that will be used for the Chisox/Cards “Field of Dreams” game next month (from Kary Klismet). … With Canadian health officials not yet giving the green light for regular season games in Toronto, the Blue Jays are exploring the possibility of playing home games in Buffalo instead. … The latest episode of the great podcast Sidedoor, which I’ve recommended before, is about the history of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Did you know that the familiar version played during the seventh inning stretch is actually the chorus of a much larger song about an independent-minded female baseball fan? I didn’t! … Following up on a Ticker item from last week, the Dodgers have added a black tarp to improve their new batter’s eye after Max Muncy blamed a recent hit-by-pitch injury on not being able to see pitched balls against the backdrop (from Kary Klismet).

College Football News: Here’s the first look at Cam Newton’s brother, Caylin Newton, in his Auburn uniform.
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Hockey News: NHL season ticketholders are being invited to record chants and cheers supporting their favorite teams and players. Those recordings will then be cobbled together into faux crowd noise that will be played during games when the season resumes. The fake noise will be played in the arenas themselves, not just as part of the TV audio feed.

NBA News: Bucks G Kyle Korver will wear “Black Lives Matter” instead of his NOB when the NBA season resumes, and Nets G/F Joe Harris will wear “Equality,” but Lakers F Anthony Davis is sticking with his standard NOB. Davis is the second high-profile Lakers player to go that route, following teammate LeBron James. … Here’s a video showing social distancing-themed logo variations for all 30 NBA teams (from Mike Chamernik). … The Basketball Hall of Fame has just wrapped up a major renovation. … You know the de facto fashion show that happens as NBA players arrive at the arena for a game? That won’t be happening in the Orlando bubble, where players will reportedly have to arrive at the game in uniform (thanks, Brinke).

Soccer News: Lots of leaks yesterday, including the new Pumas UNAM away kit, the new Stoke City home kit, and the new Bayern away kit. … New shirt for New York Red Bulls II. … Since the telecom company Three UK became Chelsea’s shirt advertiser, the team has had lots of games involving three goals (from @TexasTrevor). … Tottenham MF Giovani Lo Celso’s NOB didn’t look quite right yesterday (from Jeff Wilk). … The Chicago Red Stars honored police brutality victims on their warmup gear yesterday (from Mike Chamernik).

Grab Bag: Ever heard that line about needing to pee “like a racehorse”? That presumably explains this urinal splash-guard brand name (from Jon Solomonson). … A man wearing a firefighter’s uniform stole an ambulance in Chicago. … Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton raised his fist in a Black power-style salute while standing on the podium yesterday following his latest win. … New mascot, logo, and school colors for the new Viera (Fla.) Elementary School (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: Here’s a ranking of the newly released uniforms in the Premier Lacrosse League. … Branding experts say racialized brands like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s need to do more than just change their logos in order to achieve lasting change.

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• • • • •

Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: Just as I was snapping this photo, the Tugboat Captain was swatting a mosquito. They were out in force yesterday — the first time we’ve been seriously bothered by them during Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ session. We keep some insect repellant on the porch for such situations but prefer not to use it if we don’t have to. Unfortunately, we appear to have reached the part of the summer when it may be necessary.

Meanwhile: See how interesting the Captain’s drink looks? She made herself some white sangria — not really my thing, but it sure looks purty:

As always, you can see the full set of daily Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos, dating back to mid-March, here.

• • • • •

Teaser: I have something very special on tap for tomorrow. If you’re a longtime reader, you won’t want to miss this one. And even if you’re a relative newbie, I’m pretty sure you’ll still get a kick out of it. See you then. — Paul

What If Your Team Wore Your Rivals Colors?

By Phil Hecken, with Mike Joseph

Hey everyone — hope you’re all doing well this fine Sunday. Got a real treat/thought-provoker today from my buddy Mike Joseph. Now, this concept isn’t new — people have been doing “color swaps” for years, but Mike has, to borrow a line from Emeril Lagasse, taken it “up a notch” here. I’ve always thought of teams primarily in terms of their colors, rather than their uniform design (even the tequila sunrise Astros and beach blanket bingo ChiSox were still more about color than design, IMO). Like, the Mets are an orange and blue team; sure, they may have pinstripes or alternate jerseys or design changes over the years, but they’re still blue and orange. To me, colors define a team as much or more than anything.

That’s why I’ve always hated it when teams rebrand (see: Diamondbacks, Arizona or Rays, Tampa Bay) and change colors. Any association we had with the team is lessened when new colors (I’m talking a wholesale change, not the addition of a single color) are introduced. And that’s also one of the reasons I really don’t like NBA uniforms these days — almost every team has five or six different uniforms, and some of those have colors that are completely “different” than their official set. If the NBA were actually playing, you could turn on a game and have NO IDEA which two teams were playing if either or both are in their alternate unis. But as bad as the lack of color uni-formity is, seeing your favorite team’s RIVAL wearing YOUR colors is well…wrong.

But that’s not quite what today’s post is about — and it’s pretty in depth — so I’ll just let Mike take it from here…

• • • • •

NBA Rivals
By Mike Jospeh

The template:

UniMockups Lead Designer Stefan Vasilev built this thing from scratch and we’ve probably been testing and tweaking for a month. All of these were done during the testing process which was great for working things out, so if you see anything that looks a little weird, that’s why. There are things in these images that have since been changed in the templates. I went alphabetically by city name (for the most part) so you can kinda follow the evolution that way.

This is obviously just the jersey front, but we’re also releasing it as a front/back, a front/front (home/away) and then both of those options with shorts as a full uni set. All options will be on sale at UniMockups.com soon — jerseys today, shorts possibly as early as today, but definitely by later this week. The look is sort of a combination of the styles. Stefan and I both love the 90s cuts but I wanted a bit of today’s fit in there so I think it lands somewhere in between where it’s not as baggy as things were in the 90s but not quite as tight fitting as some of the players are wearing today. We’ll have a wider range of looks in the future.

The Rivals theme:

The jersey swap concept is always centered on the player changing teams, but what if your favorite team wore the colors of your biggest rival? I wanted to do something that would make people cringe, and many of these will definitely do that, but surprisingly some of these actually look pretty nice. Many of the big rivalries really hurt the eyes, and some others feel like a reach because some of these teams just haven’t really been good for a long time or haven’t been around very long. The other challenge is that not all rivalries go both ways: the Suns’ biggest rival is the Lakers, but the Lakers’ biggest rival is not the Suns. I used knowrivalry.com as well as a pretty spotty Bleacher Report article for many of these, but also did some polling on Twitter and Reddit to help figure some out (Blazers, for example). Some are based on classic/historical rivalries, some more recent rivalries and some maybe just based on my gut I guess. I’m sure not everyone will agree with the choices. I also tried to use some classic jerseys and some modern as well as mix in some white (sparingly) to break things up when some teams were getting repetitive (Knicks, Bulls) or just because it felt right (Grizz as Clippers).

Lance:

I want to thank Lance Hinesman (IG: lance_hinesman) for putting together the jersey swap images of Magic/Bird, LeBron/Steph, MJ/Ewing as well as the backdrops for the jerseys. Lance is an up and coming designer that I’ve done some collaborations with over the last year and he recently finished 2nd in our Jordan 1 Design Contest with an awesome Spider Verse design. He’s only 16 and hails from eastern PA, his favorite player is Dwayne Wade and his favorite design that he has done personally is this Detroit Pistons concept. He hopes to design NBA uniforms someday. He’s only been doing this for a little over a year and he’s extremely talented so I really wanted to help him get his work in front of more people any way that I could. If you’re reading this, please give him a follow on Instagram as that is where he is mainly focused.

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The Rivalries

Atlanta Hawks – Magic

This one is definitely odd to look at but probably won’t make anyone angry since neither team has been very good lately.

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Boston Celtics – Lakers

Insert puke emoji here. Man this is hard to look at. And that swap of Bird that Lance did makes my head spin. Just plain wrong.

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Brooklyn Nets – Knicks

KD has still never played for the Nets or Knicks, but here’s a jersey for both.

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Charlotte Hornets – Magic

I remember the old Zo vs Shaq days. Really glad I got to use the black Magic jersey from the 90s. Total classic.

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Chicago Bulls – Knicks

MJ almost went to the Knicks. Knicks and Bulls jerseys are very similar, so it would have looked like this. Lance’s swap is cool because Patrick isn’t actually in this pic, Scottie is. Patrick’s jersey here is white/red/black but you have to look close to see it – very similar to Knicks colors due to lighting.

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Cleveland Cavaliers – Warriors

This one is pretty cringe-inducing and the swap makes you do a double-take for sure.

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Dallas Mavericks – Spurs

I had fun recreating the wordmark here by downloading a font, flipping the A’s and straightening the whole thing out a bit. Took all of 5 minutes and was an exact match.

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Denver Nuggets – Blazers

This one just looks cool and was fun to do with the skyline and the color banding. I think the Blazers may have the best uniforms in the NBA and the colors lend themselves well to any set.

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Detroit Pistons – Bulls

Not too far off from the normal colors, but it does still look odd without the trademark blue. I’m sure Isiah would hate this.

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Golden State Warriors – Cavs

I’m not sure if it’s the colors that make this work or if the design is just so good it would work with just about any colors, but it just works.

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Houston Rockets – Spurs

Weird. This one got the Spurs side panels added just to make it a little more interesting. May need to ask Lance to swap Hakeem into this because I just can’t see it in my head.

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Indiana Pacers – Knicks

This one I find really hard to look at. I loved watching Reggie kill the Knicks [So did Jim Vilk. I saw this game — and many others — live and Miller became public enemy #1 in NY — PH]. This is the only one where I actually cut the wordmark and numbers out of a picture of an actual jersey, which is why it looks a little wavier than some others. I thought it was fun.

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Los Angeles Clippers – Lakers

Okay, I like this one. The Clippers need a new look so bad. They already share a city and arena, can’t they just share colors, too?

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Los Angeles Lakers – Celtics

Again, BARF. Just makes your head hurt. The swap of Magic isn’t as bad since it’s basically Michigan St. colors, but still.

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Memphis Grizzlies – Clippers

Meh. I didn’t really know this was a rivalry. The jersey is pretty boring but I didn’t want to use the old Vancouver throwback because there was definitely no rivalry back then. Hopefully something more interesting is coming for Ja and Co. in the future.

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Miami Heat – Knicks

Another hard one to look at. So many intense battles between these teams. I probably should have used 33 on the jersey since Wade wasn’t really part of those battles but I love him too much.

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Milwaukee Bucks – Bulls

I think this one looks great in these colors. This rivalry was big before my time so I have no nausea over this one.

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Minnesota Timberwolves – Spurs

Another one that’s not really too far off from the original and doesn’t look bad. Wasn’t a huge rivalry so I don’t see anyone gagging over this.

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New Orleans Pelicans – Mavs

This is a reach. When a team moves and changes its name, then another team picks it up, who carries on the rivalry tradition? And in this case it wasn’t much of a rivalry to begin with so I decided to have fun and use the Mavs already nauseating City edition jersey for the Pelicans. GROSS.

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New York Knicks – Bulls

As stated before, this whole orange/blue to red/black thing isn’t that far off when you do it on white and I actually think this one looks pretty good but I’m sure Knicks fans will hate it.

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Oklahoma City Thunder – Warriors

I think this looks nice. I’m sure Thunder fans will disagree.

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Orlando Magic – Heat

The best Magic jersey ever, the best Magic player ever (he still is, right?) in the colors of the other Florida team that same player won a title with. Ouch, Magic fans.

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Philadelphia 76ers – Celtics

Man, Dr. J would probably not like this. I know I don’t.

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Phoenix Suns – Lakers

Okay, as a Suns fan this one was really hard for me. It was also the hardest one as a designer. Such a complicated logo with all the angles and gradients. I know most of Nash’s years with the Suns weren’t in this jersey, but some were and he had some great battles with the Lakers and I really wanted to use this jersey, so here it is.

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Portland Trail Blazers – Nuggets

Portland’s colors work on any jersey and it turns on their jersey works with any colors.

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Sacramento Kings – Lakers

I kinda hate this one. Then again, I kinda hate the Lakers, so… [It also shows just how shitty this particular Kings jersey is — no matter what the colors, it’s just bad — PH]

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San Antonio Spurs – Mavs

This one is interesting because I strongly dislike both teams but somehow kinda like the jersey mashup.

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Toronto Raptors – 76ers

This could be a strong rivalry for some time, but you can’t really go wrong with red, white and blue. Definitely doesn’t fit with the Raptors, though.

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Utah Jazz – Bulls

Many would say this should be the Lakers, but when you lose to a team twice in the Finals I’d say that’s your rival and I really liked the big contrast with the red.

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Washington Wizards – Cavs

Tapped into an old Bullets/Cavs 70s vibe here since the Wizards don’t really have much in the way of a rivalry other than some recent beef with the Celtics that Stefan reminded me of.

• • • • •

Wow. Thanks (I think) Mike! That’s just a whole lot of … wrong. But a great effort. I’m sure the readers will have some thoughts on this as well. So… readers? What say you? Which of these is the most cringe-inducing? Which doesn’t actually “look so bad” (especially if you’re not a fan of either team”?

How important are a team’s colors? Does seeing your team in another color scheme (especially if it’s your biggest rival) just make you want to wash your eyes out?

Please share your thoughts on this one — and give Mike a big hand for the effort.

The “BEST OF” Kreindler’s Korner

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

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

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

• • •

Title: “Jackie Robinson, 1945” (color study)
Subject: Jackie Robinson, 1945
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”

Jackie Robinson spent only five months with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945. He had joined a squad that had come off of a sub-par year in ‘44, going only 35 and 51 for fifth place in the league.

Robinson was signed at the recommendation of pitcher Hilton Smith, who had seen Jackie play at Fort Hood. Monarchs owner J.L. Wilkinson supposedly sent him a contract sight unseen, what with his team being decimated by WWII – Buck O’Neil, Hank Thompson, Ted Strong and Willard Brown were all still in the service.

The ‘45 edition sported Jackie at shortstop primarily, and at a salary of $400 a month, he made his debut with the club on May 6, 1945, going 1-4 with an RBI double in a 6-2 victory over the Chicago American Giants.

By the end of the season, Jackie was leading the team with a .345 average, complete with ten doubles, four triples and five home runs. He was even selected for the East-West All-Star Game. During that season, he had also began trying out for various Major League clubs, including that infamous workout with the Boston Red Sox. It was in August at Comiskey Park in Chicago that Jackie was approached by scout Clyde Sukeforth on behalf of Branch Rickey and the Brooklyn Dodgers. By the time Robinson had met Rickey in his office on Montague Street in Brooklyn on August 28, baseball would finally become the national game.

Here Jackie is pictured in his ‘45 Monarchs home jersey. This is one of 200+ such paintings of mine that were on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.

• • •

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

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Billie Sundae.

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.


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).

• • •

Today’s tweak comes from Trey Gorman, a student with a couple new looks for the Cleveland and Atlanta baseball teams…

He writes,

With all the things going on in the world, I decided to rebrand 2 MLB teams with Native American imagery, the Indians and Braves. For Cleveland they became the Spiders, with pinstripes to emulate the webbing of a spider. Same reason for the cursive. No NOB for all but the blue to pay homage to old timey baseball. The primary spider logo appears on the sleeve of the home and away, the “C” web on the blue alt.

And here’s a look at Trey’s new Clevo concept:

Trey continues…

The name Braves isn’t bad (in my opinion), but the tomahawk is. It has been changed to a fireman’s axe. No NOB again to pay homage to their past, and the state outline with “ATL” appears on the home and away, with the crossed axes on the red alt.

And here’s a look at Trey’s new Atlanta concept:

• • •

Thanks Trey!

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.

And Now a few words from Paul

Hi there. In case you missed it over the past few days, we’ve had a lot of merch news, beginning with the Uni Watch Pin Club’s July design. As you can see in the video above, it’s a bobblehead pin whose head actually bobbles! This is a limited/numbered edition of 500 pins, more than 200 of which were snapped up in the first two days. You can get yours here.

Need to get caught up? Here are our January, February, March, May, and June pins. (Sorry, April sold out!) If you order multiple pins and get hit with multiple shipping charges, contact me and I should be able to arrange a partial shipping refund for you.

Meanwhile, after a long period of not having any Uni Watch caps available, we’re now offering two different versions (click to enlarge):

All fitted sizes of the Uni Watch Classic Cap (above left) are available here, and our cotton “gold circle” strapback cap (above right) is back for another round of orders as well.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration. Now back to Phil!

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Chief Wahoo may officially be gone, but that doesn’t mean he’s gone-gone. “I don’t know if you should even bother with this for the ticker,” writes submitter Jen Hayden It will probably draw out negativity. The comments on the post are loaded with “Maga” stuff. I edited out the store name.” … Thirty years ago yesterday, the Chicago White Sox played what is widely considered to be the first Turn Back The Clock game ever, launching a promotion that still resonates today and in which almost every team participates. … And speaking of ChiSox throwbacks, this article lists three throwbacks the author would like the team to wear. … My curling buddy (and oftentimes rink-mate) Johnny Lusardi writes, “Found some old commemorative coins in my grandmas house, figured you’d enjoy seeing them.” … Here’s some cool aerial drone footage of recently completed renovations to Dodger Stadium (from Kary Klismet. … Speaking of which, the Dodgers’ Max Muncy says his recent injury from being hit by a pitch was the result of changes to the stadium’s batter’s eye made during those renovations, which have made it harder for hitters to see pitched balls (also from Kary Klismet). … Still more from Kary: Here’s one commentator’s list of the ten worst jerseys uniforms in Major League history. … Is there anything worse than a Mets (or Yankees) fan wearing BOTH teams gear (even if it’s on a gameshow)? From Shawn Hairston. … Did you realize the D-Backs were almost the Arizona Rattlers and would have taken the AFL team’s branding? If you didn’t know. Now you know (from Adam Jacobi). … Oooohhh: A Houston man unearthed his grandmother’s fascinating home movie of Astrodome’s 1965 opening weekend (from Ignacio Salazar).

NFL News: You can now add DeShaun Watson to the growing list of NFL players who think that not allowing post-game jersey swaps between players is silly. … Dwayne Haskins is in favor of these Washington Red Wolves jerseys. … I guess this one is technically more golf, than NFL, but I’m putting it here anyway: “Check out Aaron Rodgers’ hat at the American Century Championship…El Chapo’s Taint..The Toughest Two Hole Stretch In Mexico,” writes Scott B. … For anyone who missed it, Paul was interviewed by Andrew Beaujon of The Washingtonian about the potential logistics behind the Washington football club’s name change (from Kary Klismet). … More from Kary: NBC Sports Washington has compiled a variety of fan-created logo and uniform designs of potential new names for the Washington football club (although many of them will certainly not be selected since they involve Native American imagery, which the team has indicated its new visual identity will not include). He adds, “What say you, readers? Do any of them hold a candle to Brittain Peck’s contest-winning Warriors design we just dusted off in yesterday’s Uni Watch entry?” … Still more from Kary: And speaking of “Warriors” as a possibility for the Washington football club’s new name, a recent op ed in USA Today explains why the Washington football club shouldn’t rebrand itself as the Warriors because of the term’s longtime association with Native American-themed team names. “Sorry, Brittain! It’s just one columnist’s opinion!” adds Kary.

College Football News: You guys know that Oregon is known probably as much for their uniforms as their football (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). But did you know that current and former players have a good deal of input into what Oregon wears. Several former players have gone to work for Nike after graduation and have a hand in designing the teams unis. … There hasn’t been much College Football uni news (and it’s possible there won’t even be a season), but the Texas Tech Red Raiders have unveiled new uniforms. … Oklahoma Football’s 1st logo was round font interlocking OU introduced by 1st year coach Jim Mackenzie in ’66. He would only coach 1 year as he passed away from a heart attack in ’67. OU changed the logo in ’67 to a block font (from Blaise D’Sylva).

Hockey News: Small news item (and update to something mentioned during third period of recent KOTP): LA Kings will not be wearing chrome helmets next season with their silver jerseys. While that was originally the idea, sounds like they didn’t mesh with those sweaters as well as hoped (from Jakob Fox).

NBA/Hoops News: In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri doesn’t think the NBA should limit its “social justice” messages on NBA uniforms to just BLM and similar movements. In fact, he’d like to put stuff like “Support our Troops” and “Back the Blue” on the backs of NBA jerseys. … LeBron James says he will wear his name, “James,” on the back of his jersey in NBA restart (from Mike Chamernik). … Here’s a bit more on that (from Brinke and Nicklaus Wallmeyer). … As NBA teams prepare to resume play in the league’s carefully secured “bubble” in Orlando, a couple of different graphic designers have come up with whimsical Disney-themed uniform concepts and logos, respectively, for the occasion (from Kary Klismet). … Looks like Frank Session on the tournament team Overseas Elite had an extra S on his nameplate that they tried to blackout (from Josh Berger). … Byron Scott wore a NNOB #00 jersey on Nov 23rd, 1988, Lakers-Heat 1st matchup ever. The reason? They lost his jersey (from Hit The Glass).

Soccer News: The Coumbus Crew have added a couple existing advertisers to their kits for the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Florida. … Speaking of adding jersey advertisers: the Colorado Rapids have also added a pair for the MLS is back tourney. … Four figures of Icelandic legend are embedded in a newly designed national sports team logo — an eagle, giant, bull, and dragon, each abstracted and then combined (from K. C. Kless). … New home and away shirts for Lorient (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: new home shirt for Livingston FC. … From Josh Hinton: “I love USL more than 99% of the average American soccer fan, given that the only team in my state (@LouCityFC) play in the USLC. But it drives me crazy that Indy Eleven play at Lucas Oil Stadium with Indianapolis Colts markings all over the pitch.” … Here’s a look at Man U’s home and away kits. … And same for Arsenal.

Grab Bag: It is not just the N.F.L.’s Washington team that could get a name change. A number of schools are also reconsidering nicknames, though some are resisting any switch (NYT link). … The Sprint Center in Kansas City will be renamed to T-Mobile Center in August. Submitter Kyle Eilts adds, “It was a Naming Wrong to begin with. My guess is that we will not be seeing any “I’m calling it Sprint Center” Naming Wrong shirts in the foreseeable future.” … The Premier Lacrosse League launched their inaugural season last year with 6 teams, Redwoods Lacrosse Club (LC), Atlas LC, Chaos LC, Whipsnakes LC, Archers LC and Chrome LC. For 2020, they added a seventh team, Waterdogs LC and new uniforms. Submitter Jared Buccola “A third party lacrosse organization called Lacrosse All Stars took it upon themselves to rank the new 2020 jerseys for all seven teams, which made for an interesting read!” … Construction has been completed on a 60,000-seat stadium (known colloquially as the “pomegranate flower” for its exterior appearance) in X’ian, China, as a host venue for the country’s 14th annual National Games in 2021 (from Kary Klismet). … New badges for the Firefighters of the Greensburg (IN) Fire Dept. The new badges replace the version the department had used for nearly 40 year-old (from Timmy Donahue). … Also from Timmy: dams County (CO) Sheriff Deputies can now wear badges to support cancer awareness. Besides the standard badge, deputies can now wear blue & pink ones in support of prostate & breast cancer awareness. … Still more from Timmy: John Jay HS (NY) has chosen Wolves to replace its Native American mascot. According to the district’s website, Wolfpack won the vote over Ravens, but they found use of the phrase in connection w/ the Central Park 5 case that led to choosing just Wolves. … David Monahan thought we’d be interested in this comment from Dan Shaughnessy in his most recent Boston Globe column, “Will sports re-starting really work? And other thoughts.”

And Finally… Big thanks to Mike Joseph (and Lance Hinesman) for the color swap piece! Again, please let him know what you think of these in the comments.

I hope everyone continues to stay safe. I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve been a weather buff for quite some time (in fact, I was a moderator on a weather board before Uni Watch), and I’m noticing that it’s going to be trending much warmer (like 7-10 degrees hotter than it is now) for much of the lower 48. And I know it’s been really hot in a lot of places, especially recently — and it’s going to get a lot hotter. Next week at this time we are likely to have broken all sorts of high-heat records (either single day, days above 90 or even 100, consecutive days over average, etc.). It all has to do with a migrating Sahara heat mass (yeah, it’s complicated). Well, it IS 2020. Why shouldn’t extreme heat have its way too, right?

Everyone have a good Sunday — stay cool and safe and I’ll catch you next weekend!

Peace,

PH

The Art and Artistry of Bowen Hobbs

By Phil Hecken

Hey everyone! After the Independence Day weekend off (Thanks, Paul!), I’m back today. Hope everyone is doing well (and staying safe!) and had a good — or at least as good as can be had during today’s trying times — 4th of July. Things here on Long Island seem, at least COVID-19-wise, to be improving, but I know that’s not necessarily the case elsewhere across the States. Please, everyone, social distance and wear a mask in public! I think I speak for everyone when I say we don’t need to go through this shit again, so don’t fuck it up, ok? OK! Now then…

You guys may recall in a couple “Too Good For The Ticker” segments over the past couple months, I featured the tremendous artwork of today’s featured artist, Bowen Hobbs. Bowen not only created the posters you see in today’s splash (and will see individually below), but he’s also a logo (and I believe possibly uniform) designer as well. And in the coming weeks, we’ll get to see more of his work and get to know him better. But for today, I asked Bowen if he could share the work he’s done on “posters” — I have run I think two of the ones below as TGFTT entries, but here’s the whole group. And as someone who has quite an affinity for the powder blue unis that many teams wore in the 1970s and 1980s, I especially love these posters for the choice of uni, as much as the subject matter. And if you’re a fan of Milwaukee, you’re in for a special treat today.

OK — let me turn this over to Bowen now. Enjoy and please let him know what you think in the comments below.

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The Illustrations
By Bowen Hobbs

Hi everybody! Bowen Hobbs here. I’m a graphic designer originally from the Milwaukee area and have also lived in Oshkosh, WI and Orange County. Over the past decade, I’ve done rebranding concepts for every team in the NFL, NBA and NHL, as well as MLB. I’ve even taken a shot at a few defunct teams. But today we’re going to talk illustration. Two years ago, I started illustrating some great players wearing some of my all-time favorite uniforms. All these illustrations are rendered in Adobe Illustrator and, as a result, are scalable with no loss of quality.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis is the subject of my first sports illustration. I started with an image of the Greek Freak flexing and showing his dominance, and I rendered that moment in a comic book style. In the background, I featured two silhouettes of Antetokounmpo against his number 34. The outline uses a Greek Key pattern of G’s to reinforce his Greek Freak moniker.

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Rollie Fingers

Rollie Fingers not only wore my favorite baseball uniform of all time, he’s also my mustache idol. Between those two reasons, I knew I had to illustrate him. Although I retrofitted the piece into Padres and Athletics versions, the Brewers version was the original and proudly features The People’s Flag of Milwaukee.

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Nolan Ryan

I can’t claim to illustrate all-time great uniforms without including the Tequila Sunrise. I imagined “The Ryan Express” as a rocket with this ’80s space theme.

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Mike Schmidt

This Polyester Era design of Mike Schmidt acknowledges the Phillies’ use of Helvetica as a number font with their burgundy home pinstripes as the background.

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Kareem Adbul-Jabbar

Fun Fact: I share a birthday with Kareem. To wish him a Happy 73rd, I developed this illustration of him as a member of the Bucks. The dot pattern calls back to the mesh of the old Sand Knit uniforms.

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Hank Aaron

To celebrate the anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, I whipped up this graphic of that night in baseball history.

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Robin Yount

I’m sure you’re noticing the plethora of Milwaukee-centric designs so far. I originally designed this piece to post on 414 Day, a celebration of all things MKE. In it, Yount is at the tail-end of his swing against a stylized portrayal of The People’s Flag of Milwaukee.

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Reggie Jackson

Feeling nostalgic for baseball while sports have been on hiatus, I decided to illustrate one of the most clutch players in MLB history. To go along with the theme, I placed Mr. Jackson against falling leaves and the Yankee Stadium facade.

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Bo Jackson

Perhaps the greatest two-sport athlete of all-time, Bo Jackson was one of my favorite athletes growing up. So it only felt natural to illustrate him in the Royals’ beautiful powder blues.

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Gary Carter

When I began this project, I wanted to highlight some of the best uniforms of baseball’s Polyester Era. The Expos’ powder blues are very high on that list. And who better to show those threads off than Gary Carter.

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Alex English

I also wanted to highlight some of the NBA’s best uniforms from the ’70s and ’80s. And who better to model Denver’s rainbow unis than the Nuggets’ leading scorer, the sneaky-good Alex English.

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Sidney Moncrief

Speaking of great NBA uniforms from the 1980s, here’s Sir Sid wearing my personal favorite Bucks uniforms. I like these uniforms so much that my Uni Watch membership uses the design.

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Ken Griffey Jr.

Although this illustration is not a part of the Polyester Era, the tel jersey is iconic for baseball fans in the Pacific Northwest. And Junior made it iconic.

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Vince Carter

Speaking of ’90s uniforms, the Raptors’ inaugural design is still popular today. And nobody made it look more electrifying than Vince Carter. The typography is influenced by airline travel, reinforcing the Air Canada theme.

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Thanks to everyone who took the time to view my art and read my ramblings, as well as Uni Watch for giving me this platform to show my work. If anyone would like to view my other pieces, it’s all at unofficialathletic.com.

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Thanks, Bowen! Great job on those posters. Love all that powder blue too! OK readers — what do you think? Please let him know in the comments below. I’ll be back with more from Bowen soon!

Warrior Redux?

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in March of 2012, I announced a contest on UW to Re-name and Redesign the Washington football team and Cleveland baseball team. It was quite controversial then (and it still is today), and at the time it set a record for the most comments ever for any UW post (and this was a weekend post). In light of recent events which Paul covered earlier this week, it would appear Washington will most certainly be jettisoning their current moniker (although whether the team will have new name in time for the 2020 season remains to be seen). There are also rumblings that Cleveland’s baseball team may also be searching for a new name as well. It’s possible I’ll be revisiting a new contest in the future — much of it depends on how fast things move on this front.

Anyway, the end result of the Washington football portion of the contest was a series of submissions which were voted upon, and the winner back in 2012 was Brittain Peck. I don’t think I’d spoken to Brittain for years (the last time was probably when I was in J-school, for my Capstone Project), but a little over a week ago Brittain got back in touch. He reminded me (although I hadn’t forgotten) of his winning submission. I think it’s a good time to take a look back at that now. Here’s what Brittain said in his recent e-mail:

Hey guys!

Been a long, long time! I hope you’re well.

It’s amazing to think that there a new wave of very promising momentum around the need to change the Washington NFL franchise’s name!! With that in mind, I thought it might be a great time to dust off that old Washington Warriors design (attached) from the contest 8 years ago and see how it’s received in 2020.

One aspect of the design that I am especially curious about its reception in our current times is the military association, primarily for its potential to appeal to folks on either side of growing social and political divide.

Anyways, just wanted to bring it up and let y’all know that as always, you have my full permission to republish it. If you’re interested, I may even be able to create some additional assets to accompany its re-release. Merchandise maybe?

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support of my work and the opportunities you’ve opened up for me. Please stay safe and take care.

Brittain

To refresh everyone’s memory, here’s what Brittain created back then for the contest:

Brittain also created some closeup of the uni details. Given how Dan Snyder and Riverboat Ron Rivera had both seemed to express support for “Warriors” (and lets be honest — those who oppose the name change probably won’t be happy with anything, but “Warriors” might be the most ‘sellable’ to anti-name-changers). It’s also seemingly the “clubhouse leader” as far a new names go.

Brittain added this in a separate e-mail:

And lastly, there’s also these. I thought this all might be even more relevant given the statement that the team and Coach Rivera put out and how it included a somewhat cryptic mention of honoring the military. I’m personally curious to see what they’re thinking with that.

Brittain

Here’s the closeups of the details:

And the full uni…

Thanks to Brittain for getting back in touch and it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

And Now a few words from Paul

Hi there. In case you missed it over the past few days, we’ve had a lot of merch news, beginning with the Uni Watch Pin Club’s July design. As you can see in the video above, it’s a bobblehead pin whose head actually bobbles! This is a limited/numbered edition of 500 pins, more than 200 of which were snapped up in the first two days. You can get yours here.

Need to get caught up? Here are our January, February, March, May, and June pins. (Sorry, April sold out!) If you order multiple pins and get hit with multiple shipping charges, contact me and I should be able to arrange a partial shipping refund for you.

Meanwhile, after a long period of not having any Uni Watch caps available, we’re now offering two different versions (click to enlarge):

All fitted sizes of the Uni Watch Classic Cap (above left) are available here, and our cotton “gold circle” strapback cap (above right) is back for another round of orders as well.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration. Now back to Phil!

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Loose Lucy.

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.

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Cleveland considered changing their name to the Spiders in the early ’90s. I just think there’s so much one could do uniform-wise with that nickname (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s a great article about how Pinnacle’s 1996 “Christie Brinkley Collection” of baseball cards came into existence (from Michael Rich).

NFL News: There’s a rather shocking Titans-related tidbit in this article about Washington’s potential name-change — Floyd Reese, who was Tennessee’s executive vice president following the relocation from Houston, said the team was considering adopting the name “Rebels”, before he received a call from a woman claiming to be James Earl Ray’s ex-wife — Ray assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. “She said, ‘That would have been a name [Ray] liked, and he’s a staunch racist and you can’t use that name,'” Reese said. “I said, ‘I’ve got it, ma’am.'” (from Paul Friedmann). … Here’s a good story about the year the Cowboys added a red helmet stripe, in addition to their white and blue ones, to celebrate America’s bicentennial (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton has decided against wearing a helmet with a message of support for Colin Kaepernick, after being warned that doing so would result in “consequences.” … Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is famous for his hoodies with cut-off sleeves on the sideline, but CBS Sports reminds us that the three Super Bowls he’s lost as head coach came when he wore cut-off sleeves (from Tod Meisner). … The Jaguars’ stadium will be only at 25% capacity during the 2020 NFL season due to the pandemic. And yes, everyone’s already made the joke you’re about to make.

College/High School Football News: Apparently, once upon a time, mid-aughts teen fashion brand Aéropostale was also outfitting college football teams (from Timmy Donahue).
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Hockey News: The OHL’s Guelph Storm have unveiled their 30th anniversary logo (from Wade Heidt).
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NBA News: New Nets numbers from Etienne Catalan: G Jamal Crawford will wear No. 1, F Michael Beasley will wear No. 30, and PF/C Donta Hall will wear No. 45. … There is a GoFundMe effort to help save the West Oakland, Ca., home of Lloyd Canamore, which he has decked out in Warriors merch (thanks, Brinke).

Soccer News: La Liga side Osasuna has a new kit celebrating the Festival of San Fermín, which culminates in the running of the bulls in Pamplona, where participants wear white with red scarves. Yes, Osasuna plays in Pamplona (from Ryan Maquiñana). … The Scottish Professional Football League has a new font. Here’s a look at the old one (from Ed Żelaski). … English fourth tier side Walsall unveiled their new kits yesterday (thanks, Jamie). … English third tier side Fleetwood Town have extended their kit deal with Hummel, and wore their alternate red shorts rather than their usual whites ones for the second leg of their playoff fixture against Wycombe, even though there was no clash between the usual white shorts and Wycombe’s navy (from Mark Gillingham). … USL Championship side San Diego Loyal has released a really nice looking Black Lives Matter kit. … Vancouver Whitecaps have a sleeve advertisement for the MLS is Back tournament (from Wade Heidt). … Atlanta United will have an advertisement in every permitted space during the MLS is Back tournament (from Gabriel Hurl). … San Diego Earthquakes created a space on their jerseys to allow players to write a personal message, with many players using the opportunity to promote social justice causes (from Blake Jackson).

Grab Bag: CNN had several Black artists from Mississippi give their takes on what the state’s new flag should look like (from Jason Hillyer). … The New Zealand Warriors, who play in Australia’s National Rugby League, have a shirt called “the bush shirt,” whose black-and-gold colors match Wellington’s flag. A “bushshirt” is a heavy wool jacket worn by many Kiwis (thanks, Jamie). … All cars at the NASCAR All-Star Race will have neon underglows (from Wade Heidt). … Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted has started a social media campaign trying to get athletes to use the hashtag “#IWantASeason” to get people to wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and genuinely do other things to get the pandemic under control (from Timmy Donahue). … Florida’s pro sports teams have united to promote mask-wearing, by photoshopping masks onto their logos (from Chris Fernandez and Ayden Pierce Maher). … New Mexico Gov. and potential Joe Biden running mate Michelle Lujan Grisham has been wearing a mask that says “Governor” on it, which is what I call a power move. … Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has been wearing Razorbacks-themed masks in recent weeks. … The cover art for a number of PlayStation 5 games have leaked online in recent days, giving us our first look at how Sony will brand the PS5 on the games itself. … The Premier Lacrosse League has released color hex codes for each of the league’s seven teams (from @Bogosianorris).

And finally… Big thanks (again) to Bowen for those tremendous posters, and for Brittain’s Warriors concept from 2012. Everyone have a good Saturday and I’ll catch you guys tomorrow.

Peace,

PH