Twelve years ago today, the very first Uni Watch column was published in the Village Voice. Almost immediately, there was confusion about the column’s name. It seemed easy enough to me: “Uni Watch,” two words, both capitalized, with a space in between, simple. But some people apparently found it challenging — Uniwatch, UniWatch, Uni-watch, Uni-Watch. Sigh. Even worse, many of the people invoking these bastardized terms were Uni Watch readers, who were supposedly detail-oriented. Not.
Things got a bit more confusing in 2006, when John Ekdahl approached me with the idea of launching this site. Ideally, of course, we would have used uniwatch.com as our domain name, but that had already been taken by some guy in Panama. So after debating other options, we settled on uniwatchblog.com — which, as it turns out, I immediately regretted and have hated ever since. It’s too long, it’s unwieldy, it doesn’t match the name of the site, plus I hate the word “blog” and the notion of being “blogger.” It also created a slew of new mistaken names — Uniwatchblog, UniWatchBlog, Uni-Watchblog, and on and on.
John and I have wanted to make some big changes to the site for a while now, and number one on my list has been that domain name. Unfortunately, uniwatch.com is still owned by the guy in Panama. He isn’t doing anything with it, so I recently called his office and asked if we could buy the name from him. The good news was that he speaks fluent English (handy, since I don’t speak Spanish); the bad news was that he refused to sell the domain name to us, for any price. Did I mention that he isn’t even doing anything with it?! Grrrrr.
So we considered a bunch of other options: uniformwatch.com (too lame), paullukas.com (too personal, plus I hate the double-l), athleticsaesthetics.com (the short version is that we didn’t trust anyone to spell it properly; the long version is, well, too long to explain here). After we dismissed all of those ideas, John noticed another option that was available.
And if you look at your browser’s address line, you’ll see what that option was.
Ha! Didn’t notice that until just now, didja? Yes, that’s our new address. It’s the exact same site (for now) — if you go to the old URL, or to any page located within the old site, you’ll be auto-redirected to the new one. (Or at least that’s the idea. There will no doubt be a hiccup or two, so please bear with us today.)
Using a hyphen isn’t ideal, of course, but at least it’s much clearer now that “Uni” and “Watch” are two separate words. And I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am about “blog” having been excised from the site’s name. All in all, I’m very pleased.
So welcome to our new site, which is exactly the same as our old site, only with a much better domain name. Give us another dozen years and maybe we’ll finally train everyone to get “Uni Watch” right.
The thing I’m usually doing when I’m not doing this here thing: Remember my “Permanent Record” project, about those Depression-era report cards that I found in a discarded file cabinet? Although I haven’t talked about it much, I’ve been working on it for over a year now (and some of you have been helping me with the research — thank you!).
My plan for most of that time was to write a book. More recently, however, the project has gravitated toward the internet, and today I’m happy to report that “Permanent Record” will appear as a four- or five-part series on Slate (which was briefly the home of Uni Watch, in between the column’s Village Voice and ESPN days). The series will run during the week of Sept. 12 — a perfect back-to-school time frame for a story about report cards.
I’m super-excited about this. I also have a lot of work ahead of me — interviews to transcribe, writing to do, notes and photos to sift through, more writing, and still more writing. It’s probably gonna occupy every spare moment I have between now and September. One result of all this is that I may need to take a day off from Uni Watch a bit more often, or I may start getting more selective with Ticker contributions. I hope none of that happens — I never want to ease off the Uni Watch throttle — but, realistically, it may be necessary over the next few months. My thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.
Actual uni-related news, imagine that: Former Royals pitcher Paul Splittorff died yesterday, and KC will be memorializing him with a sleeve patch. ”¦ Regarding teams changing uniforms and logo in mid-steam, a source at Arizona State tells me this: “We debuted our new logo on April 12, but sports like baseball and softball are still playing, using fonts and logos that are being discontinued. We have to use the new logo for all NCAA tournament stuff and TV graphics, but that logo does not appear anywhere on the uniforms. It has been a nightmare.” ”¦ Michael Kinney notes that Kentucky hoops recruit Marcus Teague’s AAU uniform appears to have after-market swooshes. Looks like they just stuck them on there. ”¦ Gazoo alert! That’s Jordan Schafer, recently called up by the Braves (as noted by Jonathon Binet). ”¦ Mike Raymer reports that Loganville High in Georgia is wearing a baseball jersey that looks like a cross between a T-shirt and a practice shirt. ”¦ Colby Lewis pitched for the Rangers from 2002-04 and then pitched for several other teams — including one in Japan — before returning to Texas in 2010. According to a Twitter chat Lewis engaged in on Tuesday, he’s wearing the same cap this season as he wore during his first stint with the team years ago (with thanks to Greg Stamps). ”¦ Several sensational pics of the 1918 Cubs on this page (big thanks to Matthew Robins). ”¦ There’s a petition drive underway to get the Postal Service to issue a Wilt Chamberlain stamp (with thanks to Morris Levin). ”¦ A Rays fan got tossed from the Trop for wearing a “Yankees Suck” T-shirt. Given how miserable the Trop is, this punishment seems like a kindness, kinda like that old joke about the contest where first prize is a all-expenses trip to Philly for a week, and second prize is two weeks. ”¦ Here’s the logo for the Japanese baseball all-star game (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). ”¦ Latest MLBer to double up on the lifestyle collars: Jason Pridie (screen shot by Jared Blank). ”¦ Yankees reliever David Robertson is from Tuscaloosa, which as you know was recently devastated by twisters, so he recently started a charity fund to help the tornado victims. Robertson is also a high-cuffer, so check out the name of his charity. High cuffs would’ve been a more accurate name, of course, but we’ll cut Robertson some slack on this one (with thanks to Dan Frydryk). ”¦ I know the Cubs routinely wear blue with red trim, but Mike Quade’s windbreaker pullover sure has a lot red. That’s more than just a trim color. ”¦ All sorts of Gold Cup info and graphics — and sorta-kinda infographics — here (with thanks to Matt Carlson). ”¦ Perfectly reasonable question from Coachie Ballgames, who asks why former Bulls player and St. John’s grad Bill Wennington would wear a USC-colored Dodgers cap to throw out the first ball at a Cubs game. ”¦ Here’s an interesting piece on cycling attire (with thanks to Scott Allen). ”¦ As the Reds and Phils reached the 19th inning last night, it looks like someone at ESPN was getting a little punchy (as noted by Scott Gladin).