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An Alternate Cap That Isn’t Made by New Era


This is Passover season — the seven-day holiday officially began last night at sundown — which means Coca-Cola is undergoing its annual uniform revision. If you live in an area with a decent-sized Jewish population, you’ll see bottles of Coke with yellow caps, indicating that the product is kosher for Passover.

The alternation isn’t just cosmetic. As any serious soda pop geek will tell you, the yellow-capped Coke has been made with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup (which, like all corn-based products, is off-limits to observant Jews during Passover). Soda savants claim that this makes the Passover Coke taste better, although I drink Diet Coke, so the distinction is lost on me. I do, however, make a point of buying a new container of Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup each Passover, since it too is made with cane sugar for the holiday. Does it really taste better? Honestly, I wouldn’t argue the case on the merits, but it’s a nice little ritual I enjoy each spring, and that’s what holidays are all about, right?


Speaking of ritual, I was raised in a non-observant household. About the only religious-ish aspect to our family was that we always had matzos in the house for Passover. You can buy matzos anytime, of course, but only certain matzos are certified kosher for Passover (which basically means some rabbi got paid a lot to stand around at the bakery and give his blessing to the flour and water — what a racket), and that’s what my Mom would buy every year. She was very brand-loyal: We always had Streit’s matzos, which came in a pink box. I am even less religious than my parents, but I still buy Streit’s matzos each year for Passover, and they still come in a pink box. If they ever change the package design, that would probably be the end of my one Jewish ritual. Just goes to show the power of a uniform.

I learned very early on that I really, really like a sheet of matzo slathered in butter and then sprinkled with salt. Even better: several sheets of matzo slathered in butter and sprinkled with salt. But of course I wasn’t supposed to be snacking in between meals when I was a little boy, so I had to keep my matzo consumption on the sly. And therein lies a tale.

One afternoon when I was nine or 10 years old, I was scarfing down a nicely buttered sheet of matzo — my second of the day, I believe. As was my usual custom, I had redistributed the remaining matzos in the box to make it look like it was still fairly full, just as I always did when sneaking an extra Hydrox out of the cookie jar. Everything seemed just about right with the world, when I heard something I wasn’t supposed to be hearing yet: a car door slamming closed in our driveway.

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It was my Mom — home from work more than an hour earlier than usual. And there I was, about to be caught red-handed with contraband snackage. There was no time to run to the garbage can or the toilet — she was only seconds away from walking in the door — so I looked around and saw my salvation: Sitting on a shelf a few feet away from me was our family’s game of Scrabble. I lifted the top of the box, slipped the matzo inside, and then went and greeted my Mom.

The next morning, before I left for school, I retrieved the incriminating mazto and disposed of it. But as you probably know, the inside of the top of the Scrabble box is where they print the instructions, and I had put the matzo in the box buttered-side-up, which had left a few butter stains on the instrux — pale-yellow symbols of my transgression.

Those stains faded a bit over the years but never disappeared completely. Fortunately, my Mom didn’t play Scrabble and my father wasn’t the kind of guy who’d notice a few stains on the Scrabble box anything, so these telltale splotches never gave me away. The stains were still there in 2005 — 30 years after the original incident — when I finally told my parents the whole story and showed them the evidence. We all enjoyed a good laugh about it, although my Mom seemed a bit perturbed to learn I’d been eating so many matzos without her realizing it.

Two years after that, in 2007, I wrote an article about the Streit’s factory. While interviewing the company’s vice president, I told him the Scrabble story. He listened, then thought for a moment, and finally said, “That’s a shame to waste a good matzo like that.” At long last, I’d been called to account for my misdeed.

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Happy Passover to all who are observing, and to all who enjoy Passover Coke.

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Sleeve Stories, continued: Yesterday’s post about those TV-numbered undersleeves worn on Sunday by Todd Helton and Ian Stewart — the ones with a Nike shoe on the right sleeve — prompted some good follow-up submissions. One at a time:

• These shirts are this product. They’re customizable — you can design your own here.

• Oddly enough, the little shoe graphic on Helton’s sleeve — you can see a clearer view of it here — is Nike’s cross-country logo. They have a baseball logo (among others), so why wasn’t that on Helton’s shirt? The most obvious answer would seem to be, “Because the baseball logo doesn’t have a swoosh.” Except”¦

• I had assumed that Stewart’s right-sleeve graphic was the shoe, same as on Helton’s sleeve, even though I could only come up with a blurry view of it. But I’m now told that he was actually wearing a little barbell — Nike’s weight-training symbol (sorry, that’s the best official view of I could find). No swoosh there. But again, why not just use the baseball graphic?

• I was assuming that Helton and Stewart were Nike athletes, but Helton isn’t (I haven’t found a good look at Stewart’s shoes). So they weren’t wearing these shirts because of some special deal they have with Nike; they were apparently wearing them because Nike has the MLB undershirt license, and this is the company’s latest product they’re distributing in MLB clubhouses. For all we know, lots of players have been wearing these shirts, but we wouldn’t know it because you can’t see the sleeve logos unless the player is wearing a vest.

• As several readers pointed out, these shirts have one big advantage over Nike’s other MLB undershirts: no collar swoosh. That alone might make the whole thing worth it. More of these undershirts, please, to every clubhouse in the land!


(Special thanks to Nathan Long and Tim Oldham for the info they provided on this subject.)

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Collector’s Corner, by Brinke Guthrie

So you’re getting that nice tax refund but you can’t figure out what to spend it on. Try putting some of these possibilities into the mix:

• Here’s a really nice set of 1970s NHL player cloth stickers. (And if you don’t like those, maybe these 1960s NHL coins are more your speed?)

• Here’s one for Paul: a cool 49ers bobble. Or maybe you want the whole league?

• One more for Paul: a funeral home hockey jersey in Uni Watch colors. Bet they had lively crowds!

• I like this cool Eagles helmet radio from the early ’70s, but the logo is a little off.

• Terrific glass from the 1950s, straight from Stan Musial and Biggie’s restaurant. Biggie was Julius “Biggie” Garagnani, who partnered with Stan the Man on several business ventures.

• Anyone out there old enough to have hauled this 1968 MLB thermos to school? Here’s a different one — NFL, ’76.

• Here’s something I hadn’t heard of: NFL trading cards that came with popsicles in the mid-1970s.

Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Love this diagram of Willie Mays’s famous 1954 World Series catch (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Seattle Sounders goalie Kasey Keller wore a blank jersey the other day. “He normally wears a black jersey on the road, so I’m guessing the referee determined that it was too close to Philadelphia’s navy home kits and made him change,” says Ethan Allen. “No clue where they got the jersey, or why the equipment staff didn’t have one of his home white tops there, just in case.” ”¦ Aaron Bernstein notes that there were lots of small helmet decals on display in Boise State’s spring scrimmage. Anyone know what that was about? ”¦ Remember my killer Lane Tech sweater? Marc-Louis Paprzyca recently saw another one for sale, with one of the all-time greatest patches ever. ”¦ Central Michigan football note from Andrew Monson, who writes: “I attended the CMU spring game, and they announced that CMU would be honoring two Army battalions with helmet decals to be worn throughout the season. I didn’t see any of them during the spring game, but I did notice that several players had small ‘Flying C’ merit decals, which I’d assume is a new thing started by second-year coach Dan Enos. If this continues in the fall, it looks like the Chips will have quite a crowded helmet.” ”¦ We always hear about the laundering of the major team sports uniforms, but here’s a piece about cycling laundry (with thanks to Brendan Hunt). ”¦ Dane Drutis noticed some writing on Patrick Kaleta’s stick last night. Looks like “Ain’t no grave gonna hold me down.” According to Bryan Thielemier, that’s a line from Johnny Cash’s song “Ain’t No Grave” and has been used as part of this season’s Deadliest Catch promos on the History Channel.. ”¦ According to a small note on this page, Braves outfielder Jason Heyward “was sporting specially-made Nike royal blue and black high-topped spikes with [Jackie] Robinson’s 42 on the heel and a subtle outline of Robinson sliding into base in the black strip on the side” for the Braves’ Jackie Day game. “Considering how low Heyward usually wears his pants, I’m not sure how effective a tribute this really is,” says Mike Rich. ”¦ I have a vague memory of this coming up before, but once more can’t hurt: “I was watching Game 6 of the Mets/Astros 1986 NLCS the other day,” says Kyle Speicher. “At the end of the game, after Orosco strikes out the final hitter, there’s the usual mosh pit on the mound. One Mets player has his cap knocked off and it falls on the mound. An umpire (presumably second base) picks it up and continues on his walk off the field. What did the ump do with the hat? Did he collect them? Did he just return it to the Mets?” Hmmmmm. ”¦ No photos, but I was watching a 1991 Mets/Phils game last night (last game of the ’91 season, when David Cone struck out 19) and saw a few things I’d forgotten about: First, Mets outfielder Keith Miller was wearing glasses that looked like industrial safety specs. And the back of each batting helmet appeared to have little American and Canadian flag decals — was this MLB-wide that season, because of Desert Storm or some such? ”¦ New lacrosse helmets for Michigan (with thanks to Alex Carrick). ”¦ Reprinted from last night’s comments: Temple football is going back to the white “T” logo. ”¦ A member of the All Blacks was going to sell one of his game-used caps but then changed his mind. “When it comes to the All Blacks, the feeling is that it is totally inappropriate for test jerseys to be sold,” says Caleb Borchers. “Kind of weird to me, given how much game-used stuff is sold in the USA, but kind of cool that there is a respect for the jersey as an icon and not as a way to make a few extra bucks.” ”¦ “Last week, one of the players on the U.S. national volleyball team, Stacy Sykora, was seriously injured in a bus accident,” writes Jeremy Brahm. “So U.S. national player Lindsey Berg wore Sykora’s nickname, Syko, on her fingers before the final of the Italian Cup. Even the men’s team for Volei Futuro was wearing her uniform in warm-ups for their playoff games.” ”¦ Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested yesterday for stealing half a dozen shirts. And they weren’t even those new Nike undershirts! Maybe the store was out of those (thanks, Phil.) ”¦ Longtime reader Kenny Ocker has written a story about Oregon football’s equipment manager. Somewhat incredibly, the article does not include the word “Nike.” ”¦ Caleb Wood reports that there’s an unusual Tigers jersey at the Detroit Institute for the Arts.

Comments (202)

    I definately had those popsicle trading cards…they were hard plastic if I remember right. I know I have them around somewhere….will get looking for them.

    This link is broken:

    “So U.S. national player Lindsey Berg wore Sykora’s nickname, Skyo, on her fingers before the final of the Italian Cup.”

    Or if you don’t feel like searching for yellow capped Coke, just buy Pepsi Throwback. It’s also made with sugar instead of corn syrup and tastes better.

    1. I’m Jewish (very reform) and that idea is great to me!
    2. Regular Coke is much better than Diet.
    3. Canr Sugar tastes so much better than Corn Syrup,
    4. I like Pepsi more because there is less sodium and it makes you burp less. And it tastes better.

    The Coke/Pepsi dichotomy actually plays into the generational marketing divide we frequently discuss here on the site.

    Coke’s marketing thrust has always been about tradition (“The Real Thing,” “Coke Is It,” etc.). And Pepsi’s marketing thrust, from the very inception of the product, has always been about offering a youth-oriented alternative to stodgy old Coke (“Generation Next,” “The Choice of a New Generation,” etc.)

    So Coke is kinda like the Yankees or Packers, and Pepsi is more like Oregon football.

    The whole Coke/Pepsi thing, as a Coke loyalist, has always amused me. Pepsi’s attempts to topple Coke almost always seem to backfire – let us count the ways:

    Pepsi using ‘hip’ celebs to push Pepsi to the kids. This almost ALWAYS has backfired, as Pepsi seems not to understand that young, hip celebrities tend to run into publicity problems of various kinds – see Michael Jackson…Madonna…you name it.

    Pepsi spent BILLIONS buying up fast food companies, almost solely to have guaranteed outlets for their products (i.e. KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell). The result almost OTHER fast food chain signed up with Coke, as they were sold on the idea that by buying Pepsi, they were only subsidizing the competition. Not to mention that some franchisees STILL are upset, as a lot of their customers in their area prefer Coke. Pepsi simply does NOT go as well with food as Coke – especially burgers. Can anyone name ONE major burger chain that sells Pepsi? Didn’t think so.

    The Pepsi Challenge. Ah yes, supposedly they ‘won’ those, but most intelligent people KNEW that Pepsi rigged that, and in a way it backfired on Pepsi, as it was the impetus for the whole New Coke ‘fiasco’ – which in a way reminded people how much they actually DID like their old friend, and has now led to Pepsi STILL trailing Coke after all these years – in fact, DIET Coke now outsells REGULAR Pepsi.

    In fact, one thing Coke has recently done design wise has spiked Coke sales – they found a way to male the big 2 liter bottles look (and feel) like…well…COKE bottles, and wherever they have done that has spiked sales a few important percentage points!

    Paul, please never compare Coca-Cola to the Yankees, I died a little inside when you did that.

    Or perhaps, some of us like the flavor of Pepsi better?

    I can’t drink Coke straight without feeling like my teeth are actively rotting. Even though it’s sweeter, I don’t have that issue with Pepsi. Nor Diet Coke for that matter, but I don’t particularly want carcinogens replacing my sugar.

    Mainly though, I stay away from cola altogether. About the only consistent use I find for it is in making the occasional rum and coke.

    Pepsi sucks.


    So Coke is kinda like the Yankees or Packers, and Pepsi is more like Oregon football.


    but you hate the yankees

    Yeah, but he said he drinks *Diet* Coke… the Mets are like Diet Yankess, right?

    /sorry, that was a bit low wasn’t it?

    There are times when it’s very, very tempting to like the Yankees. From their uniforms to their stadium name and a whole lot in between, they do many things Just Right.

    But hating them is in my blood, and thus shall it ever be.

    From their uniforms to their stadium name and a whole lot in between, they do many things Just Right.

    It’s OK to respect the Yankees even as one hates them. Unless a person has at one time lived in New York City, cheering for the Yankees is the moral equivalent of going to the airport and rooting for gravity. I respect gravity; I’m glad it exists. But I’m still rooting for the airplane every time.

    What I don’t get is the universal love for the Yankees uniforms. Sure, they’re mostly unchanged for longer than most of us have been alive, though the evolving road jersey actually makes that claim vastly overstated. But basically every individual feature of the Yankees uniforms, other than the home pinstripes themselves, would be regarded as a design failure if introduced by any other team today. It’s simply a poorly executed bit of design work whose iconic status results from factors external to the design rather than the inherent qualities of the design itself. I respect and admire the Yankees even as I cheer against them every chance I get, but their uniforms Just Aren’t That Good.

    Also, since the BFBS era, the Mets aren’t Diet Coke. They’re Diet Pepsi.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree, I guess. I think the Yankees uniforms are a splendid bit of design (home, as you note, the roads could do with a touch less white).

    I’ll grant that winning can elevate a decent design into a sublime one, or even a bad design into “barely passable”. But the near-universal approval isn’t tied solely to winning – I suspect most people who respect the Yankees’ uniforms have similar feeling about the less-successful Detroit Tigers (as I do).

    The uniforms are clean, distinctive, and iconic in the best sense of the word. Were they introduced today, I’m convinced that the only complaints you’d hear would be about the subtly-different cap and chest logos. As with the Tigers.

    I used to hate them too, and the Cowboys. But after the Sox won in 2004 and again in 2007, all the hate melted away and now I hold them in the highest regard; I just don’t root for them. I was disapointed when they moved into that new stadium, though. I LOVED the old stadium, second only to Fenway (and just ahead of Dodger).

    Letting all your hate go away leaves room for more constructive purposes in your life. Still can’t stand Jerry Jones, but I do really like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith et. al.

    I agree that Coke is far superior than Pepsi. I’ll take it even one step farther and say that Mello Yello is better than Mountain Dew (and yes, I realize that not all parts of the country have MY). That being said, I tried both the Pepsi and Mountain Dew throwbacks, and to me, they were pretty bad. I honestly think the corn-syrup versions are slightly better. Now, is that my anti-Pepsi bias, or would I feel that way about Coke products? Who knows. Maybe I’ve just drank the corn syrup long enough to be numb to it.

    This sounds strange, considering both beverages are nothing more than caramel-colored sugar water, but Pepsi is too sweet. Coca-Cola has that ‘bite’ that makes it so great. My favorite cola, though, is Red Bull. It’s made from natural ingredients (including cane sugar), and it has a much more interesting flavor than any other cola I’ve ever tasted. It tastes like a home-made cola, truth be told.

    Agree about Pepsi being too sweet. I think the cane sugar in the Throwback version only emphasizes that more. To me, it almost left a “diet-like” aftertaste.

    If you don’t have Throwback Pepsi/Mt. Dew, and it’s not passover. Check the Ethnic Aisle of your Grocery store/Walmart. Coke/Pepsi/Fanta, etc. Made in Mexico or for Mexico is also made w/Pure Cane Sugar vs HFCS. Added bonus, they usually come in the glass bottles of years past.

    Don’t flame me. Didn’t read 2 sentences below to realize RS Rogers already commented.If I could remove it I would

    Or you can go to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania (Allentown/Bethleham/Easton. The CC bottler there is not only one of the last independent Coke bottlers, but also is THE last bottler (AFAIK) to make Coke the old fashioned way -with real sugar. Makes for a nice road trip – stop at the Wally World on PA 33 for a case or two of real Coke -plus a few 2 liter bottles, then Charlie’s Pool Room in Alpha NJ for three or four mealies – only the best hot dogs on the planet, right Paul?

    Back in the day, Coke made in Mexico used to be made with cane sugar, too, presumably on account of Mexico not subsidizing corn production to the extent it is here. A bunch of us in my college dorm once bought Mexican Coke at an off-campus bodega (in glass bottles, no less) and did a blind taste test. You could totally taste the difference. Preferences kind of broke down by length of brand loyalty. Those of us from Coke-drinking families or who preferred Coke to Pepsi before New Coke and then Coke Classic came out preferred the Mexican, real-sugar Coke. Tasted more like actual original Coke, or anyway our memories of it, than Coke Classic. Less syrupy. Pepsi drinkers or those who didn’t care about Coke prior to the whole New Coke thing generally preferred the corn-sugar Coke.

    I don’t drink soft drinks any more, but I used to stock up each Passover on the yellow-cap Coke.

    Last time I was my neighborhood Hispanic supermarket, the made-in-Mexico Coke had corn syrup instead of cane. I guess NAFTA must have opened Mexico to subsidized American corn byproducts.

    Mexican Coke is available at Costco. It’s pricey – $19 for a case of 24 12-oz. glass bottles, but worth. The second ingredient does say “sugar”.


    There’s a 7-Eleven gas station next to my office that has glass bottles of Mexican Coca-Cola, made with cane sugar, in the cooler with everything else. I don’t work in the boonies or a particularly Hispanic area of town, either. Always seemed strange to me.

    The Sam’s Club by my house also sells Mexican Pepsi for around $18/case but I can get a case of Pepsi Throwback for less than half the price.

    Last year, I stocked up on Passover Coke from my local supermarket, but this year, I discovered Mexican Coke at a liquor store in my northern NJ town, so I bought a case. Now, the hard part is trying to ration them out.


    The cookie part was crisp, never soggy, and the filling SO superior to the vulgar schmutz put inside the sadly ubiquitous Oreo.

    Excellent piece for Money, Paul. Did you ever run across an article in a long-ago (1970s?) Esquire, in which the reporter is sent out to research the Oreo — which he does — but discovers that the Oreo is a distant second to the under-recognized Hydrox?

    Never saw that one.

    My Hydrox piece actually ran in Fortune (when I had a marketing column called “One-Man Focus Group”), not Money, but it has somehow gotten archived on the site.

    Funny that you mentioned Hydrox in the main piece today, because as someone who grew up in a kosher household on Long Island at the same you did (I am three weeks older than you), we only had Hydrox, not Oreos. Oreos were not certified kosher a the time. Of course, since forbidden fruit is always sweeter, we used to trash the taste of Hydrox and pine for the forbidden Oreos.

    IIRC, Oreos are made with animal fat, so a friend with an ice cream store sells Hydrox instead of Oreo to make his Kosher-keeping customers happy.

    I gotta get me one of them 60’s Redskins bobbles….just so I can repaint the helmet feather to go the right way!

    (not to mention the Cowboys blue helmet and the Steelers gold–not yellow–outfit)

    As far as umpires stealing caps, I remember a picture of the 1967 World Series after the final out, an umpire plainly stealing hats right off the heads of Cardinals players. Can’t find a good shot of it right now, though.

    That used to be a fairly regular tradition in the old days, when umps were sadly underpaid, and relatively abused.

    That was longtime NL arbiter Augie Donatelli–who is also remembered for a profanity-laden exchange with Yogi Berra during game 2 of the 1973 World Series.

    I’d bet some serious dough that most of us UW goyim are pretty hip to most things Hebrew. We don’t know from Sephardic?

    Or am I deluding myself because of New York provincialism? Grew up in a town 40% Jewish, 40% Catholic, 20% Other. And when television was a much more local phenom, there were always lots of ads for Mogen David and Manischevitz and Levi’s Rye. Jewish guys were the only ones who could keep up with the Catholic guys in the Church/Temple basketball league. Married a Jewish girl (hence Brooklyn Jewish kids about as observant as Paul), with in-laws who always pronounced my name “Kahn.”

    But I digress…

    It’s been a rough life, Phil. Can you imagine the playground taunts I had to endure on account of my first name?

    Conn-Fusion and Conn-Stipation were the best straight-ahead insults, I think. But Conn-Artist, Conn-Man, Conn-Edison, and Conn-Ecticut were always well used.

    You will understand, I’m sure, why I named my boys Ben, Danny and Jack.

    And my best dog was Phil.

    Yeah, thanks for the Shat. But I always have another image in my head when I hear “Conn” – link. I had one all through high school – if it was good enough for link, it was good enough for me.

    Yeah, man. Conn saxophones and organs. [Both Prez Bill and Perez Prado.] Billy Conn, swell fighter. Conn Smythe, Maple Leaf paragon. Pre-ZIP abbreviation of Connecticut. That’s it, I think.

    Since they decided that corn syrup is okay for Ashkenazic Jews now, does that mean Coke is going to stop making cane syrup sodas for Passover in the future?

    Nah, like I said, I really do want to focus on sports law. I’m in BFE right now anyway, so they don’t even carry it in the stores here. They don’t have Mexi-Coke either, so I just drink Diet Coke and Fresca. I did look and saw that Monster is made on cane syrup, so I can still use that during exams this week.

    From The Cubs this year have had records of 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, and 8-8. Talk about a balanced attack!

    Streit’s, my friends. For the unleavened experience of a lifetime!
    But remember, Paulie, the beverages should be from Hoffman, nu, not this Coca-Cola mishegoss! A shanda!

    The best part about that Leake story? ESPN reported his salary. I wish they would do that every time a pro athlete gets arrested for stealing something he could have bought with his pocket change.

    It was reported on Cincinnati radio that he had $250 in cash and 2 credit cards on him.

    I know futbol (soccer) is not one of the more popular sports around in the USA, but the Kasey Keller blurb got me thinking.

    I have played, coached, or refereed the beautiful game for more than 35 years. The whole white goalkeeper kit really offends my aesthetic sense of the game. I’m sorry, but only field players should be wearing white.

    Worse, referees are now wearing white too. It just doesn’t look right to me. Referees should wear black as much as possible (this one is personal; I referee HS in GA and the guys I work with prefer to wear the yellow kit, which is ugly IMO).

    I would compare my attitude to the visiting baseball team in gray.

    I know futbol (soccer) is not one of the more popular sports around in the USA …

    Actually, it is by far the most popular sport in the USA. Just not at the professional level. But participation-wise, soccer is far and away the top sport in America.

    But I completely agree about the white. Keepers and refs should never wear white.

    I know in some states that the yellow has become the primary for high school and lower if not college. Mostly b/c so many schools wear black. But at least its not that pinkish monstrosity anymore.

    Yup, my brother used to ref (no time anymore), and yellow was by far the one he wore the most.

    When he started, they told him to get yellow, red, and black, in that order.

    So I was at the mall this weekend and I dropped in my local Lids. All of the Nationals caps, including not only the red home fitteds, which could just be pre-2011 leftovers, but also all of the blue crown/red brim 2011 road caps, used the link. With the squared-off top of the left loop and the mis-aligned strokes across the bottom center. Not one cap in the store used the link the team introduced after the 2010 season.

    I get that the revision to the curly W logo is relatively minor, such that most observers will never notice either way. But given that the main thrust of the team’s 2011 makeover is to position the new curly W mark as the team’s primary identifier across all media, I’d have thought it might be someone’s job on South Capitol Street to, you know, send New Era the style sheet for the new cap logo and maybe ask the company to use the club’s actual cap logo on the caps it manufactures. This almost bothers me more than the rinky-dink Natinals misspellings. A primary merchandising license holder is making and selling products with the wrong logo and the Nats either haven’t noticed or don’t care.

    Well like you said, the change is so subtle most people aren’t going to notice. They had to do something with all of the old W patches they already had, didn’t they?

    Not so subtle that the team itself shouldn’t notice, and we’re not talking patches here. We’re talking cap embroidery. Total cost to New Era to prepare the new embroidery patterns and foam-core stamping-dies is probably less than a thousand dollars. Certainly low four-figures maximum. Not one contractor I work with would even consider using obsolete files to produce the signs or documents I sometimes order; it speaks volumes that New Era feels it’s appropriate to deliver wrong-logo merchandise for a major national client.

    (Though you seem to be right about the patches: Far as I can tell from Yahoo and AP photo archives, the Nats’ home white and alt red jerseys are also using the old Curly W logo, not the new one.)

    It’s probably back stock. Like you said, the change is pretty subtle, so some high schooler just working the job for extra cash probably isn’t going to pay that much attention to what he’s shelving.

    There is no backstock of the new road caps. The road cap didn’t exist prior to the introduction of the new logo. Which is how we know that New Era is producing new merchandise, in 2011, using the obsolete, retired-in-2010 logo. Also, all the Yahoo and AP closeups I can find seem to indicate that the caps issued to the players, home/alt and road, have the old logo on them.

    This ain’t about backstock. It’s about New Era (and, apparently, Majestic) continuing to use the old logo, and the Nationals not noticing or not caring.

    “The road cap didn’t exist prior to the introduction of the new logo.”

    Although I hate to defend New Era, providers of the most poorly-made on-field gear worn on an American pro field, it might be possible that the new “W” came late to the design process, after the caps had been put into production.

    I’d love to think that the old Walgreens-W problems have been bothering the team for years and they lept on an opportunity to finally fix them, but the whole thing just feels to me like a designer, while Photoshopping one on a jersey, took a good look and said “that’s just not right.”

    From the hints I’ve gleaned about how the Nats redesign decisionmaking process went down, I don’t buy the late-in-the-process thing. I mean, from what I’ve heard, the final decisions were made very late in the process, but those last-minute decisions included the introduction of a red-brimmed road cap. My secondhand source on that claimed that the red-brim caps were originally part of an alt uni that didn’t survive, and was only late in the day chosen as the full-time road cap. And since we didn’t see New Era still selling black-and-green caps as “authentic” Rays caps five months after Tampa Bay switched to blue, I’m not buying the premise of inability-to-adjust-the-production-line.

    But perhaps I should have been clearer in the first place: My complaint isn’t with New Era. It’s almost incomprehensibly sub-professional for the Nats marketing staff to have launched a new team identity with the goal of putting the new Curly W front and center and than fail to direct the makers of the team’s most important identity-establishing merchandise to use the new logo. I don’t even want to call it “amateurish” because my experience with actual amateur marketing efforts is that they’re typically better executed than this. Teenagers seem to understand the practical how-and-whys of branding better than the Washington Nationals’ front office. If you design a new logo, then you contact the people who make your stuff and give them the new logo specs and instruct them to start using the new logo. Your local family-run used car dealership, where “marketing” is typically the part-time chore of some sales guy who only has the job because he married the boss’s daughter or something, gets this stuff right. How on earth do the Nationals not?

    The Dodgers will be wearing their throwbacks for the first time this season on Thursday afternoon against the Braves. The link is reporting that the Braves will be sporting throwbacks as well. Do any of you insiders know what they’ll be wearing?

    The Dodgers website states that all teams involved in those Thursday turn-back-the-clock games will be wearing vintage uniforms. But it doesn’t get any more specific than that.

    I’d guess that if the Dodgers are wearing 40’s-era throwbacks, then so will the Braves. Which would mean we’ll see the Boston Braves unis they wore a couple of years ago against the Cubs for a throwback game at Wrigley:



    Yeah, I was thinking it would probably be link or even link from the game last year in San Diego.

    I hope you are right on the 1940s style. Them bad boys are sweet. In the immortal words of The Mothervilker……..”I’d wear that!”

    Yeah, I was thinking it would probably be those or even the powder blues from the game last year in San Diego.

    pretty sure with the dodgers wearing these, the bravos won’t be wearing their powders

    very, very safe bet IF they do throwback, it’ll be the 40’s boston braves

    That is pretty cool, here’s one like that (with the game)on eBay.


    Good luck getting one with the spinner and magnets… my magnets would have probably been lost by Christmas, the spinner shortly after…

    Hey, Brinke
    Yes, I AM old enough to have carried the MLB thermos to school. First grade, but still.
    Even better? It came in an MLB lunch box that had a baseball game on it.
    The backside had a diamond and a spinner. It came with magnetic dots that represented the base runners. Spin, move dots, score runs. What better way to spend recess.


    I sent you guys a few pictures of Camden Yards with the out of date Orioles logo. Do you think you’re going to put them up? Sorry for being such a pain, but I got really excited when I caught that error. They haven’t used the standing bird logo since 2008, so you think they would have got around to it.

    As you can tell, I get a little but impatient when I find something. I think I have a problem with uniforms/logos. At least I found the perfect group to confide in. Thanks!

    P.S. – One thing I really don’t like about the undershirts is that it’s an unnecessary Nike-rific font. It’d be much better with either a more standard font or, even better, a team specific font. But hey, it IS Nike after all, so I shouldn’t expect much.

    I was never enough of a Hydrox enthusiast to say how the taste compares, but if you’re looking for a great chocolate cookie alternative to Oreos, try the Trader Joes brand. They’re FANTASTIC!

    Thanks for the Matzo story, Paul…that’s great stuff!

    Richard- I did not…as a matter of fact, my three-year-old is on spring break all this week, so most of my time is concentrated on simply surviving!

    I always hated when my mother went cheap with the Hydrox instead of Oreos. When dunked into a tall glass of milk, Hydrox did not soften anywhere near as well as Oreos did.

    That’s why I liked Hydrox. In milk-dunking scenarios, I want the cookie to hold up while still picking up the milk. Not soak through and soften.

    For all other sandwich-cookie scenarios, though, Oreos reign supreme.

    Hydrox a little moist were really good.

    Rob – understandable that survival mode kicked in. I’ll just wait til the new illustrations come up.

    With it being Passover, it’s also the only time they super-size the Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda from cans in to a bottle size. Between that and the yellow capped Coke, it’s gonna be a great 8 days…

    I live in Atlanta, home of Coke, I haven’t seen the yellow caps, but that is also probably because I don’t live in a neighborhood with a sizable Jewish population. But what I reall wanted to post about was that I just came back from a study abroad program in New Zealand and Australia, and they only sold cane sugar Coke products. All of us on the program were just so excited to see that when we first got to NZ. I’m no “Soda Savant,” but the cane sugar sodas were delicious- especially the Vanilla Coke. it tasted much less “chemical” than it does here in the States.

    I think the chemical taste people get from corn syrup is psychosomatic. The only difference in the taste I’ve ever experienced is that cane syrup has a slightly bitter aftertaste that gives it a more complex flavor than the flat sweetness of corn syrup. Definitely a case of the newer product being inferior.

    I think the chemical taste people get from corn syrup is psychosomatic

    i disagree… it’s all in your head

    Maybe… I never thought of that. Whatever, I guess it just seemed like it tasted better because I was excited to be in a new place overseas!

    As recently as last year I’ve seen Helton wear Mizuno cleats, Adidas and Nike. I can even remember him changing mid game.

    Big Ben isn’t co-habitating with his fiancé because of his faith.


    Makes sense. I guess he has faith that she wouldn’t approve of his having college girls over every night.

    Not living with someone before you marry them is really, really stupid. I don’t care what deity you believe in. How the hell do you know it’ll work if you don’t? It’s really easy to get along with someone for a couple hours or even a few days, living with them is often an entirely different story.

    I agree, but the link. Cohabitation before marriage is strongly correlated with lower marital satisfaction and higher incidence of divorce. Makes no sense to me, but there it is.

    I don’t know that 1050 couples married within the last 10 years is a very reliable sample.

    I think those results are explained easily enough though. Let’s say the hypothetical average couple is going to start having problems after 10 years of living together. If the first 5 of those years were pre-marriage, it means a shorter marriage than the couple who didn’t start until marriage. A certain percentage of people are going to eventually grow apart regardless, and because more people overall are living together first… there ya go.

    What if you moved in after you get engaged?

    That’s the statistical sweet-spot. Nearly as bad as cohabiting before engagement is not cohabiting until marriage. People who cohabit between engagement and marriage seem to be ridiculously happy and never get divorced. (Worked for me and my better half; other than a couple of summers in college, we didn’t shack up until the engagement, and we’re going on 15 years.) Though I haven’t seen anything that untangles cause and effect. Could be that the attitudes or mindsets or whatever that make for a happy, lasting marriage just make people more likely to move in together only after they’re engaged but before they tie the knot.

    OK, but what if you live together, then get separate places, then get engaged and then move back in together?


    RS, LifeSiteNews isn’t exactly an unbiased source – they’re an advocacy group, cherry-picking the data to support their advance conclusion.

    More comprehensive studies, without an agenda, have link.

    Johnny Broadbrush.

    I didn’t live with my wife before we got married. It’ll be 11 years in July….and I don’t think she’s moving out anytime soon.


    I should probably clarify. I am by NO means playing the moral high ground here! Those that know me would probably agree I’m the last person to do anything like that.

    Our situation had nothing to do with religious beliefs. It was all about our timing. I moved out of town while she stayed back in our hometown and worked through our engagement.

    My point was more that you can’t make a blanket statement. It wasn’t something we really talked about, it just sort of happened like that. That being said, we often joke that we were really the only one in our combined circle of friends that did not live together prior to our marriage, but like I said, it just sort of happened that way.

    This is true. And remember that time he said he was going to take us to that amazing night club, and it turned out to be a meat packing warehouse?!

    Not that this has *anything* to do with uniforms, but if you haven’t tried it, The, how do you know if it’s stupid? Not telling anyone what to do, but it works just fine.

    Not that this has anything to do with unis either, but Pepsi > Coke. Although the only time I drink the non-diet version is when I make my Toxic Sludge drink: equal parts Pepsi and Mt. Dew with a scoop of Cookies and Cream. Looks disgusting but tastes great.

    Finally, something uni-related: That Michigan lacrosse helmet is OK, but I’d rather they try to incorporate the winged design on there instead.

    RyCo and Bernard….wow. Really you two?!?!?!

    I know, I know, the longer you guys go without meeting her, the worse this is going to get!


    she isn’t named “vera” or “maris” by any chance, is she?

    I’m not Jewish but as a Scrabble player and cane-sugar soft drink fan, I appreciated your column. Thanks!

    How about a diagram of Barry Bonds’ throw that couldn’t beat Sid Bream to the plate?

    Do the DLF people realize that unless the logo (on the round posts … sorry, I don’t know my cricket terminology) is at just the right angle, it sure looks like its saying “DIE DIE DIE”?

    At what point does the number of logos begin to negate the purpose of the logo itself? I don’t know if anyone has done studies on this (wait…of course they have, they’ll study anything). When you clutter up a uniform, or car (NASCAR) with so many logos, can the average consumer even pick out a sponsor? At some point it becomes a blur right? I know Jimmy Johnson drives a Lowe’s car. That’s easy to see. But all those other sponsor logos are useless when the car is in motion. Besides, when I’m watching a race, or football game, I am not looking at the logos. Right now, the swoosh stands out like a sore thumb on those baseball undershirts because its all by itself. If it was surrounded by other logos, it would lose value. That cricket player is a jumbled mess. No way those logos help those companies’ bottom lines.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but it seems to me the most effective placement of ads is where it has always been. The facility where the action is happening. Along the walls, hanging from rafters, on the concourse surfaces and in the programs we buy. Those are places that are static and easy to see. That gets more eyes looking at them which = more value. Uniforms and cars move and any logos on them move. This problem affects manufacturer’s logos too. After all it is just another ad. It isn’t part of the uniform design.

    The shoe and the glove are the only real parts of any given uniform that are personal to the player. The rest of the uniform is team specific. Players should be able to endorse shoes and gloves, therefore those items should have logos. A good marketing campaign could do the same job as the logos on uniforms.

    If Nike promoted it’s Oregon uniforms exactly as they do now, only they remove the swoosh from the uniform, we’d all still know who makes them. Put them on the replicas the fans buy, if you must. But leave them off the team uniform.

    the swoosh stands out like a sore thumb on those baseball undershirts because its all by itself. If it was surrounded by other logos, it would lose value


    THAT’S IT!

    the solution to all our woes…just surround the swoosh with a ton of other logos on the uni and no one will recognize the swoosh!

    i’m sure paul will agree

    As for the American and Canadian flag decals on the backs of batting helmets in 1991, yes, that was because of the Gulf War, which began in January of that year. That may actually have been the start of this “new era” (not New Era) of outward displays of patriotism (even predating 9/11).

    Remember Andy Van Slyke took the Canadian flag decal off the back of his batting helmet because, he said, “Canada is a pacifist, socialist country?” And Lou Whitaker took both of his off because it ran contrary to his Jehovah’s Witness beliefs.


    As a young Braves fan, Van Slyke sure was a pest back in the early ’90s, but my fondest memory of him is when he almost hit a go ahead HR in the 9th and watching Otis Nixon climb the ladder and make one of my all time favorite HR saving grabs. Right up there with the Japanese dude who climbed and perched atop the fence to grab one.

    Best of my memory, that Otis Nixon catch was the same night as the Opening Ceremony for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. I can remember my mom and dad arguing about which channel to leave the TV on. Good childhood memories…

    Early ’90s, just before the 17(working on 18 now I think) straight losing seasons streak began huh? I have to say, being from West Virginia, the Pirates were the one team I got to go watch quite often and back then they were actually okay. I can’t even watch them on TV now. I could do better than the owners of the Pirates are doing with that franchise.

    That may actually have been the start of this “new era” (not New Era) of outward displays of patriotism (even predating 9/11).

    The Reds and A’s had already worn flag patches during the 1990 World Series.

    The most interesting thing to me about the 1991 helmet decals is the pairing of the American and Canadian flags. Holy fuck, can you imagine the Tea Party blowback if someone tried that today? “New world order, one-world government, loss of sovereignty, fraternizing with those Canuck wusses!!!” etc.

    So maybe “That may have been near the beginning of the outward displays of patriotism?” :)

    We were already over there for Desert Shield at the time of the ’90 World Series, right? That would make sense, and it’s all part of the same basic deal (with mere months separating the World Series from the invasion, and the invasion from Opening Day).

    Yeah, the Maple Leaf thing, I guess, had to be included because of the presence of the Expos and Blue Jays. Weren’t the Canadians part of the coalition, though? And by “part,” I mean, “they sent some guys?”

    Please don’t mention the Tea Party… I think we’d all rather not be reminded that those people are actually real.

    those people


    now now…if we’re going to get upset at the term “thug” (as we should) then we can’t be throwing around “those people” either ;)

    Well said! If people have opinions that differ from THE Jeff’s, they really need not exist!

    As one of the resident Tea Party “those people” around here, I think there is no problem with pairing the two flags in that context, or any other context that I can think of. I worked with the Canadian military on a couple of occasions during my own service in the Marine Corps, and they are well-trained and very professional. I’d be happy to serve alongside them any time.

    Besides, Canada makes a swell link. Just kidding.

    Shouldn’t we be more concerned if we start seeing the pairing of Old Glory and the Chinese flag? Or worse…JUST the Chinese flag. (Is that red and yellow? or red and gold?)

    Kek’s Kola thoughts….for no one’s amusement but my own:

    Coke > Pepsi, although I’ve long stopped drinking any non-diet pops on a regular basis.

    Of the three throwbacks, the Pepsi is by far the best. I never liked Mt. Dew one way or another and the Dr. Pepper had a very cough syrup-like feel to me.

    Some may say Mello Yellow > Mountain Dew and that’s fine, but Sun Drop beats them all. I’ve been enjoying the diet version of this stuff since I was turned on to the regular at Consol Energy Center (as their deal is with neither Pepsi or Coke but with 7up/Dr. Pepper)

    My preferred cola beverages are Coke Zero and Pepsi Max. But aside from my morning pick me up, I’ve been trying to stay away from the stuff, diet or regular.

    Drink water baby.

    Oh, man. I was three months clean after giving up soft drinks, and I had a cup of the chicory coffee at a little Cajun place in Fort Collins and that one delicious cup turned me into a coffee drinker. Stuff blew my mind; I’d never known it was possible to have hot coffee taste good.

    It’s ridiculously good isn’t it?! I had no idea what i was missing. Never was a coffee drinker before I moved to New Orleans and had that stuff at Cafe du Monde’. I’ll never go without it again.

    Sun Drop is the greatest beverage known to mankind. It’s extremely popular in NC and until recently, only available in a few other places. They launched nationally a few months ago. I am from NC and would constantly come back to Florida with my trunk loaded with it. The day I walked into an Orlando 7-11 and saw it on the shelf was one of the best days ever.

    Amen brother! I could only find in western NC and eastern TN forever. In fact, I had to bring cases of it back for my boss from my business trips.

    Now, even WalMart stocks it!

    You are right about that.

    Nine time NYC marathon champion.

    When I ran NYC in 2008, she was quite sick by then, they designed the medals that year to commemorate her. You don’t get much detail in a medal that’s maybe 1″ across but her they captured her trademark pigtails. And the inscription on the rear speaks for itself.



    I have friend who works for the Boise State student newspaper who says the decals are handed out to the players who use them decorate other player’s helmets as a way of hazing.

    To defend myself for not including anything about Nike in the article I wrote:

    I didn’t do that because the only quotes I would have gotten were PR-like, and I wasn’t going to give any more free advertising than the program already gives the corporation. Everybody already knows about the relationship Nike and Oregon have, so why belabor the point?

    Kenny, just to clarify: I wasn’t criticizing you. I was just surprised! I mean, seriously, how often do you see an article about Oregon athletics that doesn’t include the word “Nike”?

    Pleasantly surprised, I should say.

    Speaking of Nike, and their blatant disregard for taste in avertising…


    I couldn’t refrain, sorry everyone. I hate adding fuel to the fire, I really do.

    That is pretty funny. I wonder what other famous slogans you could insert there and get the same result?

    My suggestions:
    1. Good to the last drop
    2. Does she… or doesn’t she?
    3. When it rains it pours
    4. Where’s the beef?

    #1 was the best by far! Now I’m gonna be thinking about all the possibilities too. Thanks for that.

    I have a quick question, I was watching the NBA playoffs over the weekend (don’t remember which game) and they showed the refs shoes and he was wearing Nikes. Do refs have their own shoe contracts or do they buy their own shoes? I assumed he would be wearing Adidas.

    Sorry if this gets posted twice, I submitted about an hour ago and it didn’t show up yet.

    I know this blog doesn’t really care about the “sports” world (note the quotes) but it seems like Cash’s “Ain’t no Grave” is enjoying a noce little comeback. Not only is it being used on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, but WWE Legend Undertaker used it in his entrance theme leading up to, and in WrestleMania.. Can’t tell you if he will still use it cause he hasn’t wrestled since.

    FWIW: in Chicago at one time the soda bottles had a “CRC” logo on the top, which stood for “Chicago Rabbinical Council”: the logo denoted their approval as a Kosher product.

    Now I’m going to have to see if we have the yellow caps around here.

    I’ve griped a few times lately, so I’d like to be quick to say something positive as well.

    This is one of the most entertaining things I’ve read lately, and stories like this one are why I continue to read Uni Watch. The personal element of this story made it that much better. Thanks, Paul.

    Thanks for the kind words, Kevin (and to all who’ve had nice things to say about today’s entry) — much appreciated.

    Phil has a nice term for entries like today’s: He says I’m going off-uni. I try not to do it too often, but it’s nice when y’all dig it.

    Off-uni is always entertaining. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s great. Dos Equis voice… “I don’t always go off-uni. But when I do, I drink Yellow Cap Coke. Stay thirsty my friends.”

    Oh by the way, Coke > Pepsi. But A&W Cream Soda trumps it all.

    That Dos Equis ad is my favorite TV campaign of all time. The whole idea of the pitch being, “I don’t always use this kind of product, and even when I do, I don’t always choose this particular brand,” I always think to myself, “This is what TV ads would have been like if they’d had TV in the 1800s.” It’s the equivalent of, “Sometimes Coca-Cola,” or “Maybe Do It. Or Not. Either Way.”

    I’m with Kevin. I’m not Jewish and living in the Bible Belt I don’t even personally know any Jews. The story along with the banter back and forth in the comments has been enjoyable. I can only see so many pictures of Andray Blatche’s screwed up jersey or what the Natinals did this time. I love knowing the back story on you guys. It makes it more personal.

    Remember all the discussion about teams celebrating their championships with special uniforms? Found this today. A great picture for so many reasons.


    i live in south africa, where christians, muslims, and jews all interact on a daily basis without any real religious-based antagonism. the majority of food products here carry this logo – link, or this one – link, both of which certifies the food as halaal. even foods that, ostensibly, have nothing to do with islam, like christmas mince pies, will carry the logo. even things like chips, which would not a priori need to be halaal certified, are certified.

    obviously this doesn’t apply to pig products.

    just thought i would add my two cents, since we seem to be talking about food today.

    Amid all the good buzz today, I fear we overlooked the oddest, coolest thing in quite a while: that “Slide Rule Club” patch on the Lane HS cardigan Paul pictured in the ticker…

    Someone is investigating the specifics of that sweater for me as we speak. If it fits me, it will probably end up being added to my Lane Tech collection…. But really, I’d be happy just to have the patch.

    That’s an odd collection for a New Yorker to have… any specific reason why you collect Lane Tech gear.

    That patch is cool though! Good luck getting the sweater.

    Never planned on it, and it isn’t really a collection — I just like vintage gear and happen to have picked up a nice Lane varsity jacket a few years ago, and then a Lane sweater last month:

    Paul — You have forced me to say it. As an alum of Gordon Tech, a catholic high school approximately 3 blocks from Lane Tech, thus natural rival, I must say the LANE TECH SUCKS. So your big Lane vintage gears has been killing me.

    It’s all good. I have grown up enough to admit that the memorabilia does look good. But, Slide Rule Club??? Yuck!!

    Maybe an older GT alum has some vintage gear.


    There was interesting article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about rabbis who go around NY making sure restaurants who claim to make kosher foods, are indeed kosher. Here is the link…link. Check it out, they use blowtorches!

    The O’s are wearing their black jerseys tonight. Isn’t that a Friday night thing?

    Tonight it is probably a “do anything you can to break an eight game losing streak” thing.

    “There are times when it’s very, very tempting to like the Yankees. From their uniforms to their stadium name and a whole lot in between, they do many things Just Right.

    But hating them is in my blood, and thus shall it ever be”

    Sounds fine to me. Just insert “DODGERS” in there, and I’m good.

    I’m waiting for some baseball team to hold “Jewish Heritage” day during Passover and wear a patch that looks like matzah. It would probably taste like it too.

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