Uni Watch Craft Project: Tecmo Super Bowl Cross-Stitch!

Click to enlarge — it’s worth it!

When the Chargers announced their new primary jersey and new facemask color last week, most fans were happy. But Charles Wagner, a longtime card-carrying Uni Watch member, was annoyed. The new facemask meant he’d have to go back and revise a spectacular DIY project he’d just completed.

As you can see above, Charles’s project — one of the best ever featured here on Uni Watch — is a Tecmo Super Bowl-inspired cross-stitch, which is a genuinely brilliant idea. Although Tecmo Bowl is a digital video game from a few decades ago and cross-stitch is an analog form of embroidery that dates back at least to the Middle Ages (you can learn more about cross-stitch here and here), the two are actually quite similar, because they’re both based on pixel/raster-style points of color that form low-resolution images. So depicting Tecmo Bowl graphics in cross-stitch is a natural pairing, if a somewhat counterintuitive one.

How did he do it? I hereby hand the mic to Charles.

My Tecmo Super Bowl Cross-Stitch
By Charles Wagner

I started this project around the beginning of March, because I was going stir crazy with the bad winter we had in Kansas City. I got the idea based on other video game cross-stitch projects I’ve seen (8-bit graphics and their big pixels lend themselves well to being replicated via cross-stitch). Tecmo Super Bowl was one of my favorite games as a little kid, I’m a big football fan, and it just seemed like a fun project.

I began by firing up the game on my NES [Nintendo Entertainment System] and taking photos of the game’s team-select screen from my TV. Then I used an online cross-stitch pattern making website to transcribe the game graphics to font and helmet templates. The same online pattern maker was used to make the layout (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

The game was released in 1991 and only nine of the 28 helmets in the game have stayed unchanged then. For those nine, I tried to keep everything pixel-perfect so my cross-stitch helmets matched the game helmets. For the remaining 19 teams — plus the Jaguars, Panthers, Texans, and Ravens, all of which have joined the league since 1991 — I either made the new pattern myself or tweaked a version from user-updated versions of Tecmo Super Bowl via TecmoBowl.org

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Once the patterns were done, I got my embroidery hoop and began stitching the helmets and lettering:

Fortunately, I didn’t go left to right (I went division by division: south → west → north → east), so I hadn’t gotten to the AFC East yet when the Jets released their new uniform set. Otherwise, I would have done their old helmet design.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky with the Chargers. I had already stitched their helmet with a blue facemask when they announced that they’d be changing the mask to yellow. So first I had to go back and use a seam ripper to remove the mask:

Fortunately, the facemask was a different color than the rest of the helmet, so I only had to rip out the blue floss. If, say, the Falcons had gone with a different facemask, I would have had to rip out the black from the entire facemask/helmet and redo it. But for the Chargers, it was just a matter of cutting some of the stitches, pulling all of the floss out, and restitching the mask with the new color:

For the record, I think the cross-stitch version looked way better with blue facemask. We’ll see which will look better on the field.

I think a few helmets look especially good in cross stitch Tecmo form: Cincinnati, Tampa, Jacksonville are my favorites. This is in spite of how bad I think the Cincinnati and Tampa helmets look in real life.

As you can probably tell from the little Player 1 arrow icon next to the Chiefs helmet, I’m a Kansas City fan. If they make it to the Super Bowl this season, I can add another selector arrow to make the NFC team Player 2.

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Paul here. Is that awesome or what? I reallyreallyreally love this one.

One thing was bugging me, though. Take a look at this stitch I’ve highlighted on the Vikings helmet depiction:

That stitch should be yellow, not purple, right? It was driving me nuts (and not just because it’s purple), so I asked Charles about it. His response: “When I was designing the pattern for that helmet, I initially had that stitch yellow. But when I zoomed out and looked at it from a distance, having that stitch yellow really threw off the balance of the colors. The helmet overall just looked too yellow. Making that stitch purple helped with that. Similarly, with the Steelers helmet, it would technically be more correct if the bottom-left stitch on the logo was white, but that would make it look too white overall.”

On a side note, Charles’s brother Jim wrote a guest entry for Uni Watch 10 years ago, which Charles mentioned in the very first sentence. So for the Wagners, uni-watching has clearly been a family affair — since childhood!

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Click to enlarge

All hail Hal: Woke up this morning to find that there was major news out of Oakland, where last night’s A’s broadcast spent the better part of a minute in the bottom of the sixth showing a hot dog vendor wearing a Uni Watch cap! (And yes, also a necktie.) It is in A’s colors, after all. Now we just have to get him to add capers to his toppings.

The broadcasters said the vendor’s name is Hal the Hot Dog Guy (he even has a cool little green/gold name tag). Some quick Googling reveals that he’s been featured on A’s telecasts many times before, although probably not with a Uni Watch cap.

Hal, if you’re reading this, I’d love to hear from you. In any case, thanks for wearing our cap!

If you’d like to be like Hal (at least in terms of his taste in headwear), the Uni Watch Classic Cap is once again ready for ordering after a brief hiatus — and at a lower price! This is the same cap we’ve had available all along, made by Ebbets Field Flannels, but now we’re selling and shipping it ourselves instead of having Ebbets do it for us.

Here’s the deal:

• The price is $42.99 ($6 less than Ebbets was charging!). Shipping is $5 for one cap and $7 for two caps. (For more than two caps, or for non-USA orders, check with me to get the shipping charge.)

• As of now, all sizes from 7 to 8, in 1/8 increments, are in stock. But we only have one 7-3/8 remaining, so that will probably go almost immediately. (I’ve already ordered new inventory, so we should be restocked on that size by about the end of May.)

• Not sure of your size? We also offer the adjustable version with a handsome leather strap and burnished metal buckle.

• To order, start by sending the appropriate amount to me by one of the following methods:

a) The best ways to pay are via Venmo (use @Paul-Lukas-2 as the payee) or Zelle (plukas64@gmail.com) or Apple Pay (718-915-4943), because they don’t impose any fees. If you’re not familiar with Zelle, it’s the system most banks now use for free cash transfers to other banks. If you use your bank’s website, click on the “Transfers” or “Send Money” tab — you’ll probably see an option for Zelle. It’s free and easy to use.

b) You can also use the Cash App, although they skim a bit off the top. Use plukas64@gmail.com as the payee.

c) If you don’t like electronic payments, get in touch and I’ll tell you where you can send a paper check or well-concealed cash.

Unfortunately, I can’t accept PayPal (a long, extremely frustrating story). But if you live overseas and PayPal is the only feasible option for you, get in touch and I’ll explain how we can come up with a workaround.

Important: After paying, email me with your desired cap size and shipping address.

(My thanks to Zach Matthews, Chris Harris, @shtc10, Brock Towler, and Russell Ebright, all of whom sent screen shots of Hal my way while I was sleeping last night.)

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

ITEM! Yet another one-day membership raffle: Our most recent membership raffle winner was Scott Curl, who has paid it forward by purchasing another membership that we’re going to raffle off today.

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

Speaking of membership cards, I’ve just added a bunch of new designs to the membership card gallery. This batch includes Pete Walker’s card (shown at right), which is based based on our Uni Watch Tequila Sunrise Deluxe shirt — a brilliant request!

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, quite frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop and our Naming Wrongs shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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A different kind of face guard: Yesterday I donated blood for the first time in about a year (I had to stop after getting my Brannock tattoo re-inked last spring, because New York State imposes a one-year post-tat donation ban). As usual, the technician pricked my finger so she could check my blood’s iron level. And as usual, she shielded herself from any inadvertent blood spurts with a little plastic splatter-guard thingie, which she positioned in front of my hand as she drew my blood.

But here’s the thing: The plastic thingie is not meant to be a splatter guard. It’s actually a placard holder — an office-supply item, not a medical-supply item.

They use these at every blood donation center I’ve ever been to in NYC. It’s a clever repurposing of a simple item, I suppose, but is there really no item available that’s intended to be a blood splatter guard? (Update: Yes, there is. But it’s just a wee bit pricier than the placard holder. Yikes.)

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Design contest reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, Uni Watch is teaming up with the Portland Pickles — that’s a college wood bat summer team — for a contest to design the Pickles’ “Future Baseball Night” jersey, which will be worn on July 4. There’s a $150 cash prize for the winning designer, along with a free futuristic jersey.

Entry deadline is Friday, May 3. Full details on the contest rules and entry requirements, along with the full scoop on what “Future Baseball Night” will entail, can be found here.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: Nobody noticed until now, and apparently there was no announcement, but MLB has darkened the colors of its silhouetted-batter logo. … Reds RF Yasiel Puig wore Jackie Robinson gloves last night (from @Coach_KT). … What does Mr. Met look like without his hat@michebag22 shows us. … Star Wars Night uniforms for the Carolina Mudcats, Single-A affiliate of the Brewers. … The Twins confusingly tweeted a furry version of their cap logo. … Twitter was advertising the Marlins/Indians game last night and inexplicably used a picture of Mariners SS Tim Beckham, who obviously doesn’t play for either the Marlins or Indians (from @djpremis). … A baseball from the first victory in Mets history, way back in 1962, has finally come back to Queens. … A DC-area Dick’s Sporting Goods is carrying a cap that mistakenly has the Cardinals script logo on a Nationals cap (from @The_VZA). …  A web series that keeps track of what Connecticut baseball teams in are wearing calls itself Uni Browse. Well, at least they didn’t poach “Uni Watch” (from our own Phil Hecken). … Here’s a photo of Joe DiMaggio re-upping with the Yanks 81 years ago yesterday. Check out his new jersey, complete with a 1939 New York World’s Fair patch (from @BSmile).

Football News: The Jets wore their new helmets at practice today but were still using their old practice jerseys with the darker shade of green and old number font (from Jason Klein). … 49ers WR Trent Taylor gave us another look at how the NFL 100 logo will look on jersey collars (from CA Bells). … Texas A&M’s athletic director left to take up a position at LSU, so they replaced him on an interim basis with legendary former Aggies football head coach RC Slocum. The A&M fan site asked him some uniform questions, including one on how Nike asked him to make uniform changes. Skip to the 12-minute mark of the video to hear that sequence (from Dave Wilson). … Ball State is letting their fans pick which uniform they’re going to wear against Florida Atlantic in September (from Jake Elman).

Hockey News: NHL ice hasn’t always been white. Here’s how that came to be (from Jack Wade). … This group of sportswriters gave their critiques of the UHL’s Danbury Hat Tricks’ new name and logo. … Jeopardy! champion and Las Vegas resident James Holzhauer once again incorporated a Golden Knights logo in his signature when he appeared on the show last night (from Donald, who didn’t give his last name). … It’s become a tradition for the wives and girlfriends of NHL players to wear custom-designed jackets during the postseason (from Jason Hillyer).

Basketball News: A marketing identity crisis in Denver: The Nuggets’ jerseys say “Mile High City,” their court says “Mile High City Basketball,” and their sideline says “Mile High Basketball.” … The Edmonton Stingers of the new Canadian Elite Basketball League have revealed their uniforms (from multiple readers). … Ewan Williams found an artist’s renditions of NBA logos in the style of Australia’s old Victorian Football League (VFL) crests. … When then-UNLV PG Greg Anthony was recovering from a jaw injury during the 1990 season, he wore a hockey helmet with a football face mask (from James Gilbert).

Soccer News: Juventus’s new home shirt has leaked. Instead of keeping with tradition and using black and white stripes, the club has (bafflingly) elected to go with a half-black, half-white design with a red stripe bisecting the two halves (from Josh Hinton). … Russian third-tier club Volga Ulyanovsk wore a Vladimir Lenin-themed kit over the weekend to celebrate the 149th anniversary of his birth (from Ed Zelaski). … Here’s an article tracking MLS’s expansion since its inception in 1993. MLS is looking to expand from 24 to 30 teams in the near future (from James Gilbert).

Grab Bag: Here’s what IndyCar driver Conor Daly’s car for next month’s Indy 500 looks like (from Alan Wedge). … Here’s a breakdown of all the different brands athletes are wearing going into the All-America Girls Lacrosse Senior Game and what brand they’ll be wearing in college. … The Fairmont Austin hotel celebrated their new advertising partnership with the University of Texas by creating a Longhorns logo out of the hotel’s room lights. … $12 million in fake championship rings from the Big Four US sports leagues were seized from a shipment to the US from China by US Customs (from Marty Ballard). …The West Coast Eagles of the Australian Football League have released an indigenous-themed uniform (from Will Pike). … Frisbie Pies, the pie company whose pie tins gave the name to the Frisbee flying disc, are coming back (from @walbergLines). … Sprint and AT&T have settled a lawsuit over AT&T’s “blatantly misleading” 5G E logo. … Gloucester, Mass., has released its 400th-anniversary logo. … United Airlines will apparently unveil a new livery today (from Charlie Hobart). … A Houston high school has announced a new dress code — for parents. Ironically, a memo from the principal in which she explains that the new policy is an example of the school’s “high standards” is riddled with grammatical errors.

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What Paul did last night: About two months before the Uni Watch column debuted in The Village Voice in 1999, a guy named Kevin Walsh (who had been a fan of my “Inconspicuous Consumption” column in NYPress, although I didn’t learn that until later) launched a website called Forgotten New York, which was devoted things like old neon signs, old street light fixtures, ancient signs painted onto the sides of buildings that suddenly got exposed when an adjacent building was torn down, old streets that technically no longer exist but you can still see traces of them if you know where to look — you know, all the shit that I love.

Twenty years later, Forgotten New York is still going strong. It’s a major accomplishment, and last night I went to an event at a VFW hall in Queens to help Kevin celebrate. Much like Uni Watch, Forgotten New York has its own little community (I’m a very peripheral member these days, but I sort of have emeritus status because I’ve been a fan of the site almost from the very beginning), and it was great to see Kevin basking in the attention and affection of his followers. He gave a slideshow presentation about the site’s earliest days, and then there was champagne and cake (see above). A swell time.

Of course, I’m in a good position to appreciate what it means to keep a creative project going for two decades, because Uni Watch’s own 20th anniversary is coming up next month. I’ll have more to say about that soon.

Exclusive: The Man Who Brought ‘God Bless America’ to MLB Ballparks

As most of you surely know by now, the Yankees and Flyers have both distanced themselves in recent days from Kate Smith’s recording of “God Bless America.”

When I mentioned the controversy on the site last Friday, longtime reader/contributor William Yurasko, who lives in DC, told me that he used to know a guy named John Dever, who worked for the Nationals at the time. According to William, Dever had been responsible for bringing “God Bless America” to MLB’s seventh inning stretch back in 2001, when he worked for the Padres. (For those too young to recall, the song began being played during the stretch toward the end of the 2001 season, in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.) William pointed me toward Dever’s LinkedIn page, which, sure enough, includes the following passage from his résumé: “In aftermath of 9/11 attacks in NYC and DC, prompted MLB’S placement of God Bless America in the 7th-inning stretch during 2001 postseason.”

I often talk about how uniform and logo designs are usually attributed to institutions instead of people (“Nike came out with a new design,” “The NFL revealed its new anniversary patch,” etc.), but the same could be said for things like adding “God Bless America” to the seventh inning stretch. I’ve always thought of it as something that was done “by MLB” in the aftermath of the attacks. It never really occurred to me that it must have started with one person’s idea — even though, obviously, it had to have started that way — or that we might actually know who who that person was.

According to William, that person was John Dever. Dever’s LinkedIn page indicated that he’s currently a PR manager for the PGA of America, so it was easy enough to contact him and ask if he’d be willing to share his story. He was initially a bit reticent, but I assured him that I wouldn’t ask him anything about the Kate Smith controversy. I was more interested in how he got the idea and what he thought of the song’s continuing use nearly 18 years later.

I spoke with Dever by phone on Sunday evening. Here’s an edited/condensed transcript of our interview.

Uni Watch: In 2001, when you were working for the Padres, what was your job title at the time, and what did that job entail?

John Dever [shown at right]: I was the assistant public relations guy, or something like that. I don’t recall the exact title, but I was the number two guy in the baseball PR department.

UW: Prior to the attacks of Sept. 11, what did the Padres do for the seventh inning stretch?

JD: I’m pretty sure that it was just, you know, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” like most places.

UW: As I recall it, after the Sept. 11 attacks, the MLB schedule was suspended for about a week — is that right?

JD: Yes, that’s right.

UW: As the Padres prepared to resume play after that break, what were your concerns about the seventh inning stretch?

JD: My recollection is that this whole thing was birthed on Sept. 11, not after the break. I was on the west coast, so when I woke up that day, I think one tower had already been hit. So I’m getting ready for work, it was like, “Wow, can you believe what just happened?” Then the second one was hit, and you knew something grave was happening.

UW: And at this point it’s not yet clear that the games are going to be suspended, so you’re just getting ready to go to work like on any other day.

JD: Yeah. Nobody knows anything yet, and there’s no social media, so I went in to work. And we’re talking about what could be done — and I think this was before all the games were called. Because that wasn’t an instantaneous thing. It took a few hours.

UW: So are far as you’re concerned, there’s still going to be a ballgame that night.

JD: Right. And we had some talk in the office about how we had to do something different. It couldn’t just be a normal day. So I was in this meeting, and I probably didn’t talk the whole meeting. And I think maybe we talked about doing something after the national anthem — that was going to be a big moment. And I remember thinking that the national anthem is about a battle, okay? And maybe it was just a day to not — a day to be more peaceful. So I said, “Hey, why don’t we think about another song that speaks to America that people in the ballpark can kind of unify around?”

I still wanted to play the national anthem, don’t get me wrong. But I think “God Bless America” came into my head. And then I thought, you know, people’s attention spans are only so long. If we do two straight songs — the national anthem and then another one — that’s a lot. So I said, “You know, is anyone really going to be happy today, or gleeful? Instead of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame,’ why don’t we put this other song in there [in the seventh inning] and see if that works.” And people liked it. So that was the plan, just to do it at our stadium.

But what happened was, Larry Lucchino was our president and CEO at the time, and there was an owners’ meeting in Milwaukee, so Larry had headed there to meet with Bud Selig and the owners.

UW: So he was already there? He had flown there before all the airplanes were grounded in response to the 9/11 attacks?

JD: Yeah. I think he had to leave the day before, and I think he might even have been the only owner, or one of the few owners, who’d arrived by then. And of course he saw what was happening and checked in, so Charles Steinberg, my boss, relayed the [“God Bless America”] idea to Larry. And he said, “Wow, that’s pretty good. I’m gonna let Commissioner Selig know about that.” Now, I wasn’t there, so I can’t tell you exactly whether they loved it, whether it was an instant take or they debated it, but the telephone game began and it was in the right person’s ear.

And then at some point, the games were cancelled and we waited a week. And honestly, Paul, I don’t think I thought about the song for one second during that week, when we were all worried about who’s alive, who’s missing…

UW: Right, we all had bigger things to worry about.

JD: And then after a while it was, alright, we’re gonna ramp this puppy back up. And when games resumed, I believe we were in Los Angeles.

UW: That’s correct. I looked up the schedule, and you guys played three games in L.A. and then had an off day before coming back to San Diego.

JD: Yeah, so we didn’t even get to do the song at first.

UW: Did the Dodgers do it for those three games in L.A.?

JD: I kinda remember that they did, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. I believe it became a league-wide initiative.

UW: That was my impression as well, that it came down as a league-wide thing. But it sounds like Bud Selig never contacted you, nobody from the MLB offices ever got in touch with you to discuss the idea. They just basically ran with it?

JD: Yeah. Which is fine.

UW: When you got the idea, was “God Bless America” the only song you considered? Or did you consider any other songs, like “America the Beautiful” or “My Country ’Tis of Thee” or “This Land Is Your Land”?

JD: You’re the only person who’s ever asked me that. The truth is, I’m not the most knowledgeable music guy. But yes, more than one song jumped through my head. Now I’m trying to think what the other one was. I think it was “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood [which, as it turns out, Greenwood actually sang prior to Game Four of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium — PL].

Anyway, I had a couple of songs in my head, none of which I was really able to grasp the title of, and this wasn’t really the time and place where you went to meetings with laptops in front of you and could just Google something. So when I said it out loud, “God Bless America” came out. And I think I knew what it was, but I didn’t know — was it Kate Smith? I had no idea who she was, or is. If you had called me a week ago [before the current Kate Smith controversy] and said, “Who’s the famous woman who does ‘God Bless America,’ at Yankee Stadium,” I wouldn’t even have known.

UW: So it sounds like the specific song recommendation you came up with was somewhat random.

JD: To some degree, yup. Some degree of randomness, and a little bit of blind luck.

UW: When you came up with the idea, were you thinking of it as a one-game thing, a “rest of the season” thing, or something more?

JD: I didn’t think anything about that. I thought it was just going to be for the Padres. And really, the Yankees took it mainstream and perfected it. And of course they’re in New York, close to Ground Zero. I said something out loud, but other people perfected it. It had almost nothing to do with me.

UW: Did it make you feel good, though, to see how your idea was playing out?

JD: Oh, I loved it. You know, I worked in Major League Baseball for 17 years, and I sat through “God Bless America” hundreds if not thousands of times. And yeah, sometimes I think about it. And I’m extremely — it’s a neat thing. I’m proud of it. I don’t talk about it very often. My wife knows, a few people know. Obviously, Will [Yurasko] knows. But it doesn’t come up very often.

UW: When the Padres were getting ready to begin the 2002 season, did MLB have a policy about what would be done regarding “God Bless America,” or was it left up to the individual teams to decide?

JD: Paul, I don’t remember the specific timing, but at some point Major League Baseball let the clubs choose their own direction, and I think you saw a divergence. Some teams used it on holidays; I think most did it on Sundays; the Yankees still do it every day. So again, there’s this divergence, and I think that’s so perfect, to be honest with you. I think it’s ideal.

UW: It’s perfect and ideal that the teams get to set their own policies?

JD: Yes, that they can decide what works for them and their ballpark programming and their fan bases.

UW: I see from your LinkedIn page that you went to work for the Montreal Expos in 2003. How did they handle the seventh inning stretch, since they’re obviously not an American team?

JD: I don’t know how they handled it in 2001 and ’02, because I wasn’t there. I know we didn’t use it in ’03 or ’04. It wouldn’t make sense. I think they had a lot of compassion — Canadians as a whole have a ton of compassion for what happened — but it wouldn’t have made much sense [to play “God Bless America” in Canada].

UW: In 2005, when the Expos became the Washington Nationals, you remained with the franchise and moved to DC, right?

JD: Yes, correct.

UW: And how did the Nationals handle the seventh inning stretch during their first season, especially with the team bringing baseball back to the nation’s capital?

JD: I don’t really remember what the Nats did regarding the song. My best guess is that it was a Sunday/holiday thing. Probably Opening Day, too. I can tell you it definitely wasn’t every day.

UW: And is that how it remained up through the end of 2014, which was your last season with the team?

JD: I think so. I don’t remember it changing or being more than Sundays and holidays.

UW: Did your co-workers with the Nats know that the whole “God Bless America” idea had started with you?

JD: Some of them knew. A smattering of people. It wasn’t something I talked about a lot.

UW: It’s now been almost 18 years since you came up with your idea. Are you surprised that “God Bless America” is still being played at big league ballparks, and could you ever have imagined that your idea would become a standard part of the baseball experience?

JD: No, I’m not surprised, because I think it was good for baseball fans, and for Americans who happen to be at baseball games. It’s a nice moment when we all get together and stand up for a moment of remembrance and such. It’s a nice song. It’s not even that long; it probably takes about a minute. So I’m not surprised. I don’t think — I don’t really want to get political here, but I don’t think the 9/11 experience has really left anyone who was there for it, so — yeah. I’ll leave it at that.

UW: There have been some controversies involving “God Bless America.” At one point, for example, the Yankees had a policy of not letting fans move around the stadium during “God Bless America,” and in 2009 they even ejected a fan who tried to use the restroom during the playing of the song, which led to a lawsuit and a five-figure cash settlement. Were you aware of that, and do you have any thoughts on it?

JD: Huh. No, I did not know that, so I don’t really have any comment on it.

UW: Also, in 2004, Carlos Delgado of the Blue Jays protested the Iraq War by not being on the field when “God Bless America” was being played. That was pretty widely reported — were you aware of that at the time, and what did you think of it?

JD: I vaguely remember it, but I don’t have any thoughts on it, and I don’t think I did at the time.

UW: Some fans and sportswriters have said that “God Bless America” may have made sense in 2001. But in the years since then, MLB has added all sorts of other patriotic gestures, including stars-and-stripes uniforms, camouflage uniforms, military jet flyovers, “veteran of the game” promotions, and more. And of course the national anthem is still played at the beginning of the game. So when viewed in that context, the argument goes, “God Bless America” is basically overkill. What do you say to that?

JD: I’d rather not go there, Paul. That’s the kind of no-win question I’d prefer to avoid. Thank you.

UW: No problem. Last question: If you owned an MLB team, or if you were the commissioner, what policy would you set for the seventh inning stretch?

JD: I think the way it’s been handled, with each individual team choosing their own path and their own direction, I think that’s perfect. And in some ways, it’s what America’s all about. I’m proud of my minute role in this, and I’m proud of how the game of baseball has handled it through the years as well.

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Faaaaascinating. As you can probably tell, John was very gracious and humble throughout the interview, and he shared some really interesting details. To my knowledge, this is the most complete account of this topic that’s ever been published.

I happen to be one of those who believe it’s time for “God Bless America” to be retired from MLB ballparks, but I think reasonable people can differ on that. And hell yeah, John should be proud — how many people can say that an idea they off-handedly proposed at a meeting ended up changing the MLB ballpark experience, perhaps permanently? It’s a pretty amazing story, and I’m grateful to John for sharing it with us.

We didn’t discuss the Kate Smith situation with the Yankees and Flyers, and there have been no new developments on that front in the past 24 hours, so let’s please keep today’s comments to John and his story. Thanks.

(My thanks to William Yurasko for bringing John’s role in this story to my attention.)

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What can mono-brown do for you: Lots of uni-watchers noticed that newly acquired Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was given a Color Rash jersey at his introductory presser and also wore the Rash in his first Browns photo shoot, leading many fans to wonder if the Browns might be planning to redesignate the Rash as their primary home uni for 2019.

Now a Cleveland radio station is reporting that that’s exactly what the Browns have in mind. According to the report, the team has asked the NFL for permission to elevate the mono-brown design to primary status, which would allow them to wear it more often than the three-game limit that would normally apply. The report also says that the current Rash design will be retained when the team undergoes its planned 2020 redesign (although it’s not clear if this means the Rash design would go back to non-primary status and make way for a new colored-jersey uniform).

The report doesn’t suggest any time frame for when the request might be acted upon.

Meanwhile, as long as we’re talking about the NFL: The Texans made an earthshaking change by adding their primary logo above the nameplate on the back of the jersey. This is never a good idea. Pretty sure the Bills and Cardinals are the only other teams with this uni detail, and let’s hope it stays that way.

(My thanks to Phil for bringing the Browns item to my attention.)

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Did you ever have View-Master slides growing up? Mine always seemed to be for Disney TV shows, movies, and theme parks. This set, though, is for MLB. “Famous American and National League players pictured in three dimension, 7 scene Kodachrome View-Master reels”! Believe me, VMs were very cool back in the day. The images really did pop out at you.

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Does anybody really know what time it is? You will with this 1970s Ted Williams pocket watch! A great item for fans of Teddy Ballgame, or the Splendid Splinter, or whatever your preferred Williams nickname might be.

• This is a set of late-1970s “Crack N Peel” NFL helmet stickers. I always loved this depiction of the helmets, and two things stand out here. One, you’ve got NFC teams facing left, AFC facing right (maybe so they’d show the Steelers’ one-side logo?). You just don’t see many left-profile helmet views. Second, Bucco Bruce needs to be flipped around — oops!

• Another example of a left-facing helmet, this time for the San Diego Chargers on a nice lined jacket made by Active Generation. Which presumably means that you can’t wear it while slumped in the recliner eating popcorn and watching the Chargers.

• A Collector’s Corner favorite: these shiny, laminated 1970s NFL team plaques (in this case for the Cincinnati Bengals) from Kentucky Art Plaques of Morehead, Ky. I proudly displayed one just like it alongside my Cowboys version. The one downside? The cardboard back tab would eventually fold over and it wouldn’t stand up without being propped up.

• Phil Esposito (minus the Bruins B, as you can see) had his own hockey accessories line. One of his items was this jacket-sized emblem of his arch-rivals, the Blackhawks!

• Who would ever wear a big ol’ enameled belt buckle like this one for the St. Louis football Cardinals?

• Yikes! Check out the excellent graphics on this 1970s-1980s “American Footballers” wallpaper from the UK. We’ve all seen those images before on posters, no?

• This 1970s St. Louis baseball Cardinals thermal cup caught my eye because they used the team’s non-primary color — yellow — as the cup’s featured color.

• Check out this lot of 11 1970s MLB mini-pennants.

Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.

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Click to enlarge

LOWER PRICE! Cap update: I’m happy to report that the Uni Watch Classic Cap, after a brief hiatus, is once again ready for ordering. This is the same cap we’ve had available all along, made by Ebbets Field Flannels, but now we’re selling and shipping it ourselves instead of having Ebbets do it for us.

Here’s the deal:

• The price is $42.99 ($6 less than Ebbets was charging!). Shipping is $5 for one cap and $7 for two caps. (For more than two caps, or for non-USA orders, check with me to get the shipping charge.)

• As of this morning, all sizes from 7 to 8, in 1/8 increments, are in stock. But we only have one 7-3/8 remaining, so that will probably go almost immediately. (I’ve already ordered new inventory, so we should be restocked by about the end of May.)

• Not sure of your size? We also offer the adjustable version with a handsome leather strap and burnished metal buckle.

• To order, start by sending the appropriate amount to me by one of the following methods:

a) The best ways to pay are via Venmo (use @Paul-Lukas-2 as the payee) or Zelle (plukas64@gmail.com) or Apple Pay (718-915-4943), because they don’t impose any fees. If you’re not familiar with Zelle, it’s the system most banks now use for free cash transfers to other banks. If you use your bank’s website, click on the “Transfers” or “Send Money” tab — you’ll probably see an option for Zelle. It’s free and easy to use.

b) You can also use the Cash App, although they skim a bit off the top. Use plukas64@gmail.com as the payee.

c) If you don’t like electronic payments, get in touch and I’ll tell you where you can send a paper check or well-concealed cash.

Unfortunately, I can’t accept PayPal (a long, extremely frustrating story). But if you live overseas and PayPal is the only feasible option for you, get in touch and I’ll explain how we can come up with a workaround.

Important: After paying, email me with your desired cap size and shipping address.

That’s it. My continued thanks to reader Mark LaFountain for serving as the official Uni Watch Cap Fulfillment Manager.

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Design contest reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, Uni Watch is teaming up with the Portland Pickles — that’s a college wood bat summer team — for a contest to design the Pickles’ “Future Baseball Night” jersey, which will be worn on July 4. There’s a $150 cash prize for the winning designer, along with a free futuristic jersey.

Entry deadline is Friday, May 3. Full details on the contest rules and entry requirements, along with the full scoop on what “Future Baseball Night” will entail, can be found here.

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Mmmmmm & Mmmmmm: I like M&M’s. Who doesn’t? I usually stick to the basic plain or peanut varieties (almond is good, but you only get like five or six per pack). Lately they’ve been coming out with all sorts of crazy flavors, most of which I don’t care about. Thai Coconut M&M’s? Come on. Gingerbread M&M’s? Just stop.

But there’s a new-ish variety — it came out earlier this year — that I’m pretty stoked about: English Toffee Peanut. I happen to love toffee, but I actually think this variety tastes a bit more like coffee — lots of mocha notes in there. Really good! I’ve gotten a bit addicted to them and typically grab a pack on my way to the subway.

English Toffee Peanut M&M’s are one of three new flavors that are currently up for a consumer vote. The winning flavor will be kept on board as a permanent variety, while the other two will be scrapped. In a just world, this would be a landslide. But we all know this isn’t a just world, so I strongly recommend that you (a) try English Toffee Peanut M&M’s and see for yourself how completely awesome they are, and (b) cast your vote here to keep them in production. Otherwise I’m gonna start getting the shakes every time I get to my subway platform, and nobody wants to see that.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Visiting hitters are having trouble picking up the ball (WaPo link) at Marlins Park when the roof is open due to shadow patterns (from Mike Chamernik). … David Wishinsky was watching highlights from Sunday’s Brewers game and noticed a pre-2019 ball-and-glove logo without the white webbing. … EvoShield, an equipment company, is launching a line of custom-molded armguards and shinguards for baseball players (from Josh Claywell). … Astros P Lance McCullers Jr. wore the jersey of former ’Stros manager Larry Dierker yesterday (from Ignacio Salazar). … We’ve mentioned this before, but once more won’t hurt: Back in the early 1970s, Indians coaches wore white piping on their caps to differentiate themselves from the players (from @History_Cle). … Remember how the Omaha Storm Chasers said they’d wear “Potholes” uniforms as an April Fools’ joke? Well, the joke landed so well that they’re actually going to do it tomorrow! … Will Chitty notes that perhaps the two biggest Yankees stars to go through Class-A Charleston in the past few years, Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez, both wore No. 35 with the RiverDogs. … The San Antonio Missions, the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, will wear Fortnite-themed uniforms on Saturday. … The McNeese State softball team wore pink jerseys over the weekend (from Chris Mycoskie).

Pro Football News Check out these beautiful NFL patches, which once belonged to former Giants tackle Ed Widseth (from Derek Martin). … Here’s another look at the new uniforms for the AFL’s Albany Empire (from Chet Winchester).

College Football NewsReader Robert Delano found this (presumably) homemade Notre Dame Randy Moss jersey at a thrift store. Remember, Moss did give them a verbal commitment at one time.

Hockey News:  Jeopardy! single-game record-holder James Holzhauer incorporated the logo for his hometown Vegas Golden Knights into his signature on last night’s broadcast (from Judson and John Kelemen). … The Blue Jackets held an open intra-squad scrimmage yesterday, and all players wore blue helmets — even those in white sweaters, who would normally wear white helmets (from Tyler Johnson and Shawn Humphrey). … The Federal Hockey League, a Single-A minor league hockey league, has a new team: the Danbury Hat Tricks (from Stan Capp).

Soccer NewsA Twitter user noticed over the weekend that LAFC doesn’t put much effort into its captaincy armbands. In fact, the design the team uses is available on Amazon for $4 (from John Flory). … Five-year-old 3-on-3 soccer update from Jon Kasper: We had a color-on-color matchup — nay, make that orange-on-orange— yesterday! … Paris Saint Germain’s new home kit has leaked (from Josh Hinton).

Grab BagLots of team-color ties at introductory press conferences in this supercut of new college basketball coaches (from James Gilbert). … Quite the sight in Spain, as tennis players Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori hit some tennis balls on a makeshift court inside Barcelona’s Palau de la Música (from James Gilbert). … Nike has unveiled a limited-release sneaker for dog lovers that includes a brown spot to mimic a walk through a dog pile (from John Cerone). … The Canada Post has released a series of dessert-shaped stamps (from Will Scheibler). … The college spikeball championship — UGA vs. aTm — was red vs. red.

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Our latest raffle winner is Paul Bastia, who’s won himself a “NBA Draft Night” jersey from the Charleston RiverDogs. Congrats to him and thanks to the RiverDogs for providing the jersey. We’ll have another raffle tomorrow. — Paul

Portland Pickles and Uni Watch Team Up for New Design Contest

I get inquiries pretty regularly from people who want me to hold design contests for their teams. My response is always the same: “If you’re going to wear the design on the field/court/ice, etc., you must provide a fair cash prize for the winning designer. If you’re willing to do that, let’s talk. Otherwise, I can’t help you.”

That usually puts an end to the discussion, because it turns out that most of these people are just looking for free design services. But recently a team said, “Sure, we’ll pay the winner.”

So here’s the deal: The Portland Pickles — that’s a collegiate wood bat team in Oregon — will be hosting Future Baseball Night on July 4. The Pickles and their opponents that day, the Corvallis Knights, will fast-forward to the year 2050 and play by “futuristic baseball rules.” For example, bunting for a base hit will count as a double, but bunting foul will be an out. And in odd-numbered innings, runners can run the bases clockwise instead of counter-clockwise, if they choose. (There will be other rule adjustments, which the team isn’t yet ready to reveal.)

Naturally, they’ll need futuristic uniforms for the occasion. That’s where you come in — the Pickles are inviting Uni Watch readers to design their jersey for futuristic game. Here are the basics:

• You only need to create the jersey. No cap, no pants, no socks/stirrups. (Also, don’t worry about the Corvallis team, as they’ll be creating their own futuristic uni.)

• The jersey design will be sublimated, so you can use the entire jersey as your canvas.

• Your design must be submitted as a vector file (.ai, .pdf, or .eps).

• The Pickles will be wearing a blue cap, so you may want your jersey design to match or complement that. (Or, on the other hand, maybe baseball caps and jerseys will clash in 2050. Up to you!)

• Feel free, but not obligated, to use any graphics from the Pickles’ style guide.

• For any logos or graphics not found in the style guide, you will need to provide a separate vector file.

• If you use any special fonts, you will need to provide the font files so the jersey printer can install them.

• Judging will be done by the Pickles, not by Uni Watch. (If nothing else, this means you can use purple without fear of reprisal.)

• The winning designer will receive $150 and a futuristic jersey.

• You can enter as many times as you like.

• Deadline: You must send your designs to this address by Friday, May 3.

I think that covers everything. I’d like to thank the Pickles, who’ve been great to work with on this. Good luck!

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Canópening explained on the air: Last Tuesday I wrote about how Mets second baseman Robinson Canó has spent his entire career sporting the Pedro Porthole (i.e., buttoning the top jersey button but leaving the second one unbuttoned), which I suggested should be renamed the Canópening. I also tweeted about it, and one of my followers, James Beattie, tagged Mets/SNY field reporter Steve Gelbs and urged him to look into it.

Gelbs apparently did just that. When Canó came up to bat in the top of the eighth inning of Friday night’s Mets/Cards game in St. Louis, the following discussion ensued between Gelbs, play-by-play man Gary Cohen, and analyst Keith Hernandez:

Steve Gelbs: Gary, there’s been a question circulating around the internet about how Canó wears his uniform. You’ll notice he buttons the top button, but not the second button right below that.

There’s actually a very practical reason why, especially on a cold night like tonight. It creates a cubby for him in his uniform. If his hand is cold, he can stick it inside and warm it up.

Keith Hernandez: Oh, like Napoleon!

Gary Cohen [at same moment]: Napoleon!

Gelbs: Exactly. He’s a lot taller than Napoleon, though.

[An image of Napoleon appears onscreen.]

Cohen: There you go. That’s not Robinson Canó. That is merely Napoleon, keeping his hand warm.

Pretty good, right? In light of Gelbs’s explanation, I suppose “Canó Cubby” might be a good name. But I’m sticking with Canópening.

It’s also worth noting that he’s had the Canópening on warm days (that photo is from June 17, 2017, when the game-time temperature was 95º) and even indoors (that’s from a game at the Trop in Tampa), so it’s clearly not just a cold-weather thing. I got in touch with Gelbs on Saturday and mentioned this to him, and he said, “You know, when he told me why he does it, I pointed out that he does it all the time [not just in cold weather]. He said he just leaves it like that either way. Just because.”

The funny thing is that I’ve never seen Canó actually sticking his hand inside his jersey, and Gelbs said he’s never seen him doing it either. But we’ll all be watching for it now.

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MLB nameplates get reprieve: I’ve previously written about how 2019 will be MLB’s first nameplate-free year since 1972. But that has turned out to be inaccurate. The Rays wore their Devil Rays throwbacks on Saturday — the first of four times they’ll wear them this season — and lo and behold, as you can see above, the jerseys were nameplated.

I wondered if this was just a carryover from last season’s Devil Rays throwbacks, or if it was a conscious attempt to make the throwbacks true to the originals, which had nameplates. So I texted Rays equipment manager Tyler Wall and asked him.

His response (which he actually sent to me during Saturday’s game): “Yes, just a carryover. This jersey is not considered one of our in line items, so we made no changes.” (Translation: This is not one of the Rays’ official primary or alternate uniforms as shown in the MLB Style Guide. It’s just a special-occasion uni that’s being worn for four promotional dates this season.)

And there you have it. MLB nameplates — not quite dead yet.

(My thanks to Mike Tully and Nick Lineback for pointing out Tampa’s ’plates on Saturday.)

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Photo by Evan Whitney; click to enlarge

Harlequin bromance: Granted, I don’t know a whole lot about high school lacrosse uniforms. But I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say they don’t usually have harlequin-styled sleeves and shorts. That’s General Brown High School from Dexter, N.Y., in the blue and yellow, with Skaneateles High in white. Additional pics here.

(My thanks to Kris Russell for bringing this one to my attention.)

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

ITEM! New one-day raffle: I recently told you about the Charleston RiverDogs’ NBA Draft Night promotion. The team has generously made one of the jerseys from that game available for me to raffle off.

As you may recall, the jerseys were tuxedo-style, complete with a “custom inner tuxedo lining” pattern on the inside of the jersey (click to enlarge):

The jersey for this raffle is No. 19, and is a size 46. In addition to the jersey, the RiverDogs will throw in pair of their Perros Santos socks (a giveaway from their Copa de la Diversión alternate identity), a baseball glove-scented bar of soap which (part of their “The First Rule of This Promo Night Is You Do NOT Talk About this Promo Night” promotion), and a few other goodies.

To enter, send an email with your shipping address to the raffle in-box by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

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Screen shot 2009-10-04 at 10.07.15 PM.png

Culinary Corner: Lamb figures prominently in both Passover and Easter traditions. The Tugboat Captain and I aren’t religious, but we do like lamb (plus we have a vintage lamb butchery chart hanging on the wall of our kitchen), so we used the spring holidays as an excuse to make lamb chops on Friday night.

I started with a bunch of loin lamb chops (essentially the same thing as T-bone steaks, but from a much smaller animal), which I marinated in a mix of olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper for about an hour (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

While I was dealing with the lamb, the Captain sliced up some Yukon gold potatoes and put them in a cast iron skillet with some more garlic and rosemary. The normal thing to do here would be to toss them with some olive oil as well, but the Captain astutely remembered that we have a jar of rendered hog jowl fat (a friend recently gave us some jowl, which we had in lieu of bacon for breakfast a few weeks ago, and then we strained and refrigerated the rendered fat), which has a nicely smoky flavor, so she used that instead. Then she popped the skillet in the oven:

After the lamb had marinated, I seared the chops for a few minutes per side in a large cast iron skillet:

After both sides were seared, I put the skillet in the oven for a few minutes, alongside the potatoes, which were still in there. Then we took everything out, let the meat rest for a few minutes, and served everything with a nice arugula salad:

The lamb was good, but the potatoes were unbelievably good. Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and just a bit smoky because of the jowl fat. Best single dish I’ve eaten this year.

Hope your holiday-weekend eating was just as enjoyable. Happy Passover and Easter!

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: Division II Colorado School of Mines softball turned a variety of things pink, including the uniforms and the sides of the bases. … Arizona OF Ryan Holgate has merit decals on his C-flap (from John Furstenthal). … Biloxi Shuckers INF Bruce Caldwell has been wearing a repurposed batboy jersey, with a ghosted “BB” still visible on the back (from Mike Krebs). … Here’s an article about the Brandiose guys (from Jeff Fouchard).

Football News: Notre Dame’s gold helmets have slightly different shades of gold depending on the helmet manufacturer. … Reader Keith Thibault found NFL helmet-themed lucha libre masks while on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Hockey News: Following up on a story from last Friday: The Flyers, who had covered up the statue of singer Kate Smith outside their arena after learning that Smith had recorded some racist songs in the 1930s, removed the statue altogether yesterday. … Sharks C/RW Joe Pavelski has been using a white stick that’s difficult to see on TV (from @Gryfey19).

Basketball News: Spanish team Miraflores wore Notre Dame-themed uniforms (from @HitTheGlass). … Celtics PG Kyrie Irving has been wearing white socks with his logo on them, instead of black socks like the rest of the team (from multiple readers).

Soccer News: MLS did its Earth Day promotion this weekend, so every matchup was light blue on dark blue. Most of what I wrote last year still applies. One matchup — D.C. United/New York City FC — saw D.C. get the light blue even though NYCFC’s primary color is sky blue, meaning the visual matchup was almost exactly the opposite from what it normally would be. … French team Paris Saint-Germain wore a picture of Notre Dame instead of an ad and “Notre-Dame” NOBs yesterday (from multiple readers). … The NWSL’s Sky Blue FC, who have not announced any new kits for this season, rather bizarrely turned out in dark blue for their first home game. They opened the season wearing a white/sky blue effort from last season, as expected. … Manchester United changed for an away game against Everton for the first time since August 1963. They might want to rethink that decision. … Scottish teams St. Johnstone and Dundee played a blue-vs.-blue matchup. … Two new kits for English National League team Barnet and Scottish Championship team Ayr United. … Scottish women’s team Glasgow City have a new second kit that they say is a sequel of sorts to the one used for the previous two seasons, which had a message below the numbers criticizing the lack of British media coverage for women’s sports. If this one has a similar message, there are not yet any pictures or videos good enough to make it out.

Grab Bag: Women’s cycling team Boels-Dolmans wore pink yesterday, including a pink version of the rainbow jersey for world champion Anna van der Breggen. … During yesterday’s Penn State/Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse game, play was stopped because somebody’s knee brace fell off (from Griffin Smith). … There is a strong and increasingly visible community of hobbyhorse enthusiasts (NYT link) among Finnish girls. … Reader Benji King sent us a 1930s-era picture of the Salt Lake Tabernacle with its roof painted with a primitive method to direct pilots to the city airport: “Salt Lake Airport” and an arrow. More information here. … The Toledo Library has a clever logo. … The LSU gymnastics team, which finished second in this year’s national championships, posted a billboard celebrating their season. That prompted a rebuke from former ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell, who’s now with the betting site Action Network. who tweeted, “No, you can’t put up a billboard for coming in second,” which resulted in an avalanche of criticism.

Oregon State Beavers Unveil Slightly Tweaked Uniforms

By Phil Hecken

On an otherwise very slow uni-news day yesterday (which makes sense, since it’s Easter/Passover weekend), the Oregon State Beavers unveiled “new” uniforms, in conjunction with their Spring Game. At first glance, they closely resemble their previous uniform set. There are some differences however. First, let’s get the obligatory “hype” video out of the way — you can basically fast forward to about 1:23 if you just want to look at the new uniforms (or watch the whole thing if you want to see some highlights of past years uniforms — keeping in mind how bad some of those were):

Three slightly tweaked uniforms were revealed: A mono-black, a mono-orange and a mono-white:

• All three were shown with a black helmet featuring an orange stripe and the Beaver logo on the side.

• All three jerseys now say “BEAVS” in block script across the chest.

• All three jerseys have stripes on the shoulders, and truncated stripes down the pants.

• The new white pants have the same stripe pattern (black/orange/black) as the previous set.

• The new orange pants have a different pattern (black/white/black) than the previous set (black/orange/black).

• The new black pants have an inverse pattern (orange/white/orange) from the previous set, which was white/orange/white.

• Number fonts appear to be the same as the previous set.

Let’s look at all three individually:

BLACK:

ORANGE:

WHITE:

You can get an idea of the striping patterns from each of the three photos above. The pattern on the shoulders is basically replicated down the pants. It’s different than any shoulder striping pattern in the college game today, as it’s a wide stripe with a thin(ner) contrasting color middle stripe. Here’s a close up on the orange jersey:

You can get a better idea of how the uniform looks as a live model was wearing the all black uni at the Spring Game yesterday. It looks like this pattern (in different color combinations) is replicated on each of the different color unis (note the guys behind him are in the last iteration of the uniform — which doesn’t look that much different):

Below is a look at the Beavers’ previous uni. Note the striping pattern was on the shoulder cap, the pants stripe was even more truncated (and reversed), and the numbers were orange, bordered in white. The new unis have the fatter stripes on the top of the shoulders, and the numbers are white, bordered in orange.

So what else is new? Well, it wouldn’t be Nike if their designers didn’t have to add at least one signature element to the uniform, right? If you go back to the hype video, you may have seen the “new” numbers:

Still don’t see it?

OK, here’s a real close up:

Yes, they have a sublimated tree ring pattern inside the numbers. Because, ya know, Beavers chop down trees to make dams, so…

Yeah. Fortunately, it looks like the tree ring pattern is so subtle we won’t be able to see it except in extreme closeups. But of course, now we’ll never unsee it either.

All three jerseys feature an image of the Beaver logo on the collar:

I don’t hate the new uniforms, which look a lot like the old uniforms. Last time around, the Beavers sported black, white, and orange helmets, and I’d imagine they’ll have 3 again this time around. They also mixed and matched all the color combinations, so look for that this fall as well.

So there you have it — really, not much difference from before, although I do like the fact that they changed up the number color pattern on the black jersey. Definitely makes that one a bit easier to read:

NEW (left) vs OLD (right)

Gonna have to wait to see how they look on the field of course, but there’s nothing spectacularly good (or bad) about these so far (other than the sublimated tree ring pattern). I’d call it a lateral move — if they were a grade “B” before, they remain a B today.

Your thoughts?


Uni Concepts & Tweaks

After being dormant for a while, the Uni Tweaks/Concepts have returned!

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

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Back today is concepter John Elbertson, who has some tweaks for the Winnipeg Jets:

Phil,

This Winnipeg Jets concept started with the idea of carrying over various elements of the old Thrashers design. However, the yellows with the blues reminded me too much of St. Louis, so I scrapped that part and went back to red as an accent color. I got a tip online to reintroduce the tribute to the Royal Canadian Air Force, and I thought their roundel looked awesome on its own, so I used that as a shoulder patch instead of the Jets’ current logo. All that was left was to bring in the asymmetrical sleeve …. I just couldn’t do it. Went with some traditional stripes instead.

John E.

• • •

Thanks John. 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.

This is Eggcellent!

In the spirit of today, the one and only Gene Sanny sent in the following:

“Extra waterslide decals from my pocket pro helmet customization project led to a few of our eggs getting a classic NFL logo treatment.”

Click to enlarge
.

Thanks, Gene!

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Artist Andy Brown (who I’ve featured on UW several times) visited the Oakland Coliseum Friday evening and here’s a timelapse of his painting of that park. … Here’s a pretty good article entitled “Solving A Mystery: Sam Thompson and the ‘Philadelphia’ Uniform” — but UW friend and baseball historian Keith Olbermann doesn’t think it’s such a mystery. … On Friday, April 19, LSU Softball played at Arkansas. Submitter Patrick Walsh reports, “Down big the Tigers tried to generate some positive juju by changing batting helmets mid-game, going from purple to white.” … Reader Justo Gutierrez was at Home Depot and “they were selling these garden flags that didn’t have the apostrophe catastrophe. In fact no apostrophe at all.” … We’ve seen this before, but not in a while: Serial killer Ted Bundy wearing a Mariners sweatshirt during court in 1979. Adam Vitcavage says it’s “probably not what the team had in mind for good PR.” … The Pittsburgh Pirates wore First Responder patches yesterday (from Matt R. and Jerry Wolper). Here’s how it looks in action (thanks, Brinke). … The Tampa Bay Rays became the Devil Rays again last night (from John Sabol). Here’s how they looked in action (WTF is with those socks?). From Robert Hayes. … Good for Eric Lovejoy who says, “you know your a uni-watch nerd when you’re making your son bat handle stickers in his team colors on the morning of his first little league game.” … JFC (from Ignacio Salazar). … The Colorado School of Mines(!) broke out the pink camo top/silver pant/white sock combo for Strike Out Cancer Day (via Paul). … The Yankees Clint Frazier wears Derek Jeter cleats (from Andrew Harts). Here’s another look (from Mike Sgroi). … Steven noticed Florida was wearing yellow socks while Alabama is wearing yellow hats in yesterday’s softball tilt. He asked “Anyone know the significance of the yellow?” One answer came from Walter Young, one answer came from Tim Abel, for Alabama, and another answer came from Gators Uniform Tracker for Florida. … On Passover/Easter weekend, Clemson wore camo. Paul had a really good take on why this might not be the best time to do it (read through the whole thread). … Mets AAA starter Zack Lee rocked some solid stirrups yesterday (from Shane Bua). … The Indians and Braves went color vs. color (both in new alts for 2019) yesterday (from John Sabol). … The Indianapolis Indians were rocking a black cap/gold pullover/black (belted) pants combo with “INDIANS” across the chest, in Pittsburgh font. Confused? Don’t be, they’re a Pirates affiliate (from Lee Wilds).

NFL News: Mark your calendars. Joseph Bailey notes “September 15 will mark the last pro football game that the teams play on a combined football/baseball field as the Raiders host the Chiefs. I’m sure it’ll be a beautiful game with those two teams. Interesting about the raiders’ schedule is their next home (in Oakland) game won’t be until November 3. [When the infield will be sodded over — PH] Oakland will host their last game December 15 against the Jags (what a way to say goodbye to the fans then to play somebody other than the AFC west). It’s not like the league doesn’t know they’re moving.” … Russell writes, “Learned from Helmet Hut that @packers’ Jim Taylor had his 2-bar changed to a 1-bar as a ‘gutsy and symbolic response’ to @Chiefs’ Fred “The Hammer” Williamson’s vow to knock out Packer runners in SB I. Had never heard that one.” … On Friday the San Francisco 49ers announced they’d be wearing their throwbacks as alternates again this year. Aaron Farber would love to see them break out the red throwbacks. … Great find by What the Helmets?! who found these great pictures of Sterling Sharpe with a makeshift helmet strap designed to keep his helmet attached to his head prevent further injury to his neck.

College Football News: Whoops: slight problem with this ESPN graphic. Says submitter Tyler Connor, “Problem here, that picture isn’t Quinnen Williams. That’s Irv Smith, Jr. (82).” Quinnen Williams is number 92. … Delaware football player Colby Reeder appears to be wearing the 150th anniversary patch ahead of the 2019 CFB season during their spring game yesterday (good spot by Bob Novotny). … Unlike their compatriots in Corvallis, the Oregon Ducks didn’t get new uniforms yesterday, but their quarterbacks were wearing red jerseys in a template that was retired a few years back (good spot by Glen Matthews).

Hockey News: The Cleveland Monsters goalie Brad Thiessen paid homage to Cleveland’s hockey history with his most recent mask (from The AHL). You can read more about that here.
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Soccer News: Bugeaters FC (a men’s semi-pro soccer team based in Nebraska and compete in the USASA at the 4th level of US Soccer, according to their Twitter bio) have introduced a new home kit as well as a new secondary kit (from Protagonist Soccer FC). … The Real Madrid 2019-20 “Icon Retro” (WTF?) jersey has been leaked.

Grab Bag: Thailand’s Women’s Volleyball team design for 2019 season. Says submitter Jeremy Brahm, “I wonder if they will have to create a white one for FIVB regulations.” … The Campbellsville (KY) Fire Department uses the Tigers D (from Josh Claywell). … Check out this very cool advertisement for a salmon egg dispenser (yes, that’s what it’s called), sent in by Tyler Borm.