Backfield in Motion

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I was blown away by the number of people who sent me birthday notes yesterday — thanks, gang. It was a really good day, which I’ll describe in more detail either tomorrow or Monday.

Now then: As you’re probably aware, Hines Ward announced his retirement on Tuesday, and at least a dozen readers got in touch to point out that the Steelers logos on the backdrop behind him had capital letters (instead of the team’s usual initial cap), plus the thickness of the gray circles was inconsistent. The most common assessment from these readers: “This must be a sneak peek at the team’s new Nike-fied logo, which they’ll unveil for real in April.”

That’s a good theory, but it’s not correct. If you do a Google image search on “Steelers press conference,” you’ll find that the Steelers were using this same backdrop, with these same logo variations, as recently as last month and as long ago as 2007, plus a whole lot of times in between. It’s just their standard press conference backdrop.

This raises a few questions:

• Why did nobody notice the backdrop logos for the past five years but then suddenly lots of people noticed them two days ago?

• Why would the Steelers be foolish enough to use a bastardized version of their logo on their press conference backdrop? And assuming someone in the organization has noticed it by now, why do they keep using it?

• Why do we need press conference backdrops, which almost always look annoying, to begin with? (The answer, as you probably know, is that it’s another way to sell sponsorship rights. In other words, douchebaggery.)

All this distracts from the real uni-notable element of Ward’s retirement announcement, which is that he wore a niecktie with a Steelers colorway Steelers colors. Nice! The formality of the occasion was apparently lost, however, on head coach Mike Tomlin, who wore a Steelers T-shirt over an oversized long-sleeved tee. Classy.

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A well-established (and really annoying) tradition: Paragraph 1.11(h) of the MLB rulebook states, “No part of the uniform shall include patches or designs relating to commercial advertisements.” But that inconvenient clause has been suspended, or maybe just ignored, whenever MLB has opened its season with a pair of games in Japan. In each of those instances (Mets/Cubs 2000; Yanks/Rays 2004; A’s/Bosox 2008), the teams have worn advertising patches and helmet decals.

I’ve been assuming that the same thing would happen with next week’s season-opening series between the Mariners and A’s, and now it’s been confirmed: Both teams will wear helmet decals featuring the logo of a Japanese gaming software company called Gloops; the Gloops logo will also be worn by the A’s as a sleeve patch; and the Mariners will wear a Boeing sleeve patch. Further info here and here. (I love how the MLB story says Gloops “will sponsor Oakland’s jersey patch.” Sure, because they couldn’t afford a patch without an underwriting sponsor, right?)

I’ve never once heard a good explanation as to why these regular-season games, which are not exhibitions, are festooned with uniform advertising. Some of you are probably saying, “Because the games are in Japan, and Japanese baseball has uniform ads.” Come on, I said a good explanation. It’s not like they’re using a Japanese ball (which, as you probably know, is subtly different from an MLB ball), so why should any of the other rules, including rules regarding uniforms, be different?

Oh wait — let me guess.

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Live chat reminder: I’ll be doing an live chat tomorrow, 3pm Eastern. Details here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: As you probably know by now, Peyton Manning’s press conference jersey turned out to be an orange Reebok. As for his uni number, I suppose I generally feel retired numbers should stay retired, but it’s not something I feel that strongly about. If Frank Tripucka is okay with it, that so am I. At least one person disagrees, however. ”¦ Here’s one of the best auction items I’ve seen in a long time: a set of game-worn WFL ref uniforms (big thanks to Bruce Menard). … Oh wow, check out what the inside of an adding machine looks like (thanks, RyCo). … Graham Bakay found an old 1953 film about the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. “Some great comments from their 28-year-old (!) head coach, who says it’s not fair to make the players practice in pads since they play two games a week,” says Graham. “Also, they use a night ball, which I didn’t realize had been used in the CFL.” … “The Australian F1 GP took place on Sunday,” writes Omar Jalife, “and the kerbs were changed from red and white in 2011 to green and gold this year.” ”¦ A little tough to see, but March Madness zebras are apparently using NCAA-branded whistles. Sigh. ”¦ Yankees fans apparently don’t drink enough. “I really love that sign,” says Kirsten. ”¦ There are torn jerseys and then there are torn jerseys. That’s a player from Mingo Valley Christian in Tulsa (from Paul Watson). ”¦ Guess we’re gonna start seeing a lot of bootleg Adidas merch in my neighborhood. … New throwbacks apparently on tap for Illinois football. Luis Aranda made those screen shots from this video. … NASCAR is going to be making some outreach to the Hispanic community. No word on whether this means drivers will wear “El NASCARO” race suits, but anything’s possible. … New mascot for Houston. “To the best of my knowledge, this will be the first instance of a school having a mascot that will never ever see a sporting event, or even the campus for that matter,” says Andy McNeel. … New uniforms for the Phoenix Monsoon (from Kenn Tomasch). … Lots of buzz regarding what some folks are calling the baseball glove of the future. … Here’s a really great idea: selling off the names of your roads and bridges to any clown with a PayPal account. Simpler than actually legislating, right? … Holy freakin’ bejeesus, check out the stirrups Notre Dame was wearing a few weeks ago (from William Streit). … Further evidence that corporate douchebaggery is out of hand: A sponsorship conflict almost led to the cancellation of a soccer match in Zimbabwe. … Hey, Deadspin, celebrating old media guides with gorgeous illustrations is usually our job, not yours. But there’s enough good stuff to go around, so why not. ”¦ New 100th-anniversary logo for Grand Central Terminal. ”¦ The Arizona Rattlers are holding a “Name the Mascot” contest (from HHH). ”¦ Latest of the many reasons to love Joe Maddon: When he recently got to meet Joe Namath, he paid subtle tribute by getting shit-faced and kissing him by wearing white sneakers (from Dan Cichalski). ”¦ Here’s a site devoted to North Dakota hockey jerseys (from Seth Scheving). ”¦ Here’s the story of how the visual identity for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos — a new minor league baseball team — was developed. ”¦ The Suns and Heat went color en color the other night. ”¦ A new logo for the Triple-A championship, and it’s a huge mess. ”¦ New logos for the Rockford Riverhawks (from Jim Stone). ”¦ Nice slideshow of St. Louis Cardinals jerseys here (from Marcus Clowers). ”¦ Bizarre situation in Tuesday night’s Mets/Nats Grapefruit League game: The Nats’ two middle infielders in the bottom of the 7th were Andres Blanco (a non-roster invitee) and Josh Johnson (a minor leaguer who’d been taken along to Port St. Lucie for the game), and both of them were wearing No. 13. With one out, the Mets had a runner on first — Ronny Cedeño, who also wears No. 13. At that point, Rob Johnson hit into a 4-6-3 double play — in other words, a ground ball to No. 13, who flipped to No. 13, thereby forcing out No. 13. Unfortunately, no single camera angle captured all three uni numbers, but you can see two of the numbers and all three players in this shot (big thanks to Dan Cichalski). ”¦ This year’s Cubs season tickets look really nice (from Ryan Bohannon).

206 comments to Backfield in Motion

  • Keith | March 22, 2012 at 8:03 am |

    Paul, I think you meant Mike “Tomlin.” Unless this guy got hired by the Steelers, and nobody told me:

    • Shane | March 22, 2012 at 8:09 am |

      Tims would have worn a camo t-shirt, anyway.

    • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 8:13 am |

      Right. Now fixed.

  • Ben | March 22, 2012 at 8:04 am |

    Adidas and Stella McCartney have revealed the Team GB kit for the Olympics.
    Expect a shit storm over the lack of red in the deconstruced Union Flag…

    • George Chilvers | March 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm |

      No – not gone down well at all. And quite rightly so. Imagine Team America having “Old Glory” on their uniforms – but with the red replaced by cyan!! Hideous.

      • Connie | March 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm |

        First, there was that hideous 2012 logo. Then the Olympic “art” exhibit. Now this uni fiasco… Especially bad in light of Team GB’s tradition of cool understated outfits… It’s as if Brit designers were determined to look hip and then hipper than hip and then pre-post-hip, and it’s all rawthuh a mess, ekchully.

  • Kyle Allebach | March 22, 2012 at 8:10 am |

    I understand people’s personal feelings towards retired numbers, but if the person whom the number is retired for is okay with a player wearing the number, why should it matter?

    Personally, I’m starting to like the Oakland Raiders policy of never retiring a number ever.

    • scott | March 22, 2012 at 8:21 am |

      Because it undermines the whole concept of retiring numbers. The honor, as it is, becomes a lot less special as more and more “retired” numbers go back into circulation, as we’ve seen in baseball recently with Luis Aparacio allowing Omar Vizquel to use his number and the Marlins deciding that Carl Barger doesn’t need a number retired. It’s a slippery slope that is taking the meaning away from the recognition.

      • Kyle Allebach | March 22, 2012 at 8:32 am |

        So even if the person that they retired the number for is okay with it, they shouldn’t un-retire the number because it would undermine retired numbers in general? The only people is should matter to about retired numbers is the organization who retired the number and the player who the number is retired for. If the player is okay with it, and the organization is willing to take a number out of retirement, then that’s it.

      • The Jeff | March 22, 2012 at 9:15 am |

        The problem with retiring numbers is that eventually people forget who they’re retired for. If the number stays in circulation, then there’s the “oh, he’s wearing the same number as Player X… I hope he’s as good…”

        I honestly wonder how many people, Broncos fans included, are going “Frank Who?” in response to Manning getting the blessing to wear 18 in Denver.

        • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 9:36 am |

          So a little research into the history of the team they supposedly love is out of the question?

          Y’know, actually frickin’ LEARN something? Discover that things that happened before they were born might actually be interesting, or maybe even important?

          That’s just never on the table?

        • Ry Co 40 | March 22, 2012 at 9:40 am |

          i like how the Penguins go about it. 66 & 21 are retired, but they have an interactive ring of honor in the concourse of the new barn. so you’ll see numbers pop back up on the ice, like #10, #25, #35 & #7. (#10, #25, #35 & #7 being numbers that, IMO, could be retired with a second-rate hockey club, in a “look at us” move).

    • BrianC | March 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |

      I think I’m the only person on the planet who prefers the Maple Leafs system of “honouring” numbers rather than retiring them. That way you don’t have a bunch of guys out there wearing traing camp numbers but the players still get honored with a banner (sometimes two guys with the same number, like Sittler and Mahovlich). The Bruins, for example have only one single digit number left, 6, if you don’t include the goalie’s number 1. The Leafs have two retired numbers, 5 and 6, both of which have tragedies associated with them (Ace Bailey and Bill Barilko). When Ron Ellis came up Bailey liked him, so he asked that his number 6 be “unretired” for him. After Ellis left the number went back to being retired.

      How many people remember the uproar when Guy LaPointe played briefly for the Bruins in 1983-84 and was given Dit Clapper’s 5? That lasted about two games before he switched to 27.

      • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

        BrianC, I’m almost in agreement with you. I’m OK with retiring numbers, but only if teams can show restraint. And I’m talking a level of restraint in which the Yankees only have 3,4,5 and maybe 15 retired. That’s my platonic ideal. If that’s not possible, and I’m becoming increasingly convinced it’s not and that retired-number-inflation is inherent in the practice of having retired numbers, then the Leafs approach is my favorite second-choice.

        • Phil Hecken | March 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

          not #7?

        • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm |

          Once you’ve set the standard for retirement at Babe Ruth, then no, Mickey Mantle doesn’t make the cut. Numbers retirement should be graded on a very hard curve. For a team like the Yanks, that means Mantle doesn’t cut it, whereas for most teams, Mantle would easily be your first retired number.

        • Phil Hecken | March 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm |

          so, no mantle but yes munson?

          i’ll buy your argument if you want to kick the mick in the nads, but then thurman shouldn’t even sniff your # ret. equation

        • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm |

          Phil, note the “maybe” before the 15. The rule set I have in mind boils down to “(1) The best and most beloved player in franchise history, plus (2) anyone who’s arguably his peer, plus (3) beloved franchise players who are felled by sickness or death while still a player.” So for the Yankees, it’s Ruth on 1, Joe D for sure and Gehrig maybe on 2, and Gehrig for sure and Munson maybe on 3. On that scale, Mantle is at best a maybe on 2.

          Retired numbers aren’t a prize for being good. They’re an honor for being uniquely beloved. Which tends to correlate with being exceptionally good, staying with one team for a decade or more, and/or suffering terrible sickness or death.

          For most teams, this rule set makes it easy to get down to 2-4 retired numbers.

  • Phil Hecken | March 22, 2012 at 8:13 am |

    apparently ricko’s nom de plume is Mike Florio

    • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 9:14 am |

      At this point, almost 80% of those who’ve replied to the poll at the end of Florio’s article have agreed that the Broncos #18 should have stayed retired.

      We may not agree with awarding Oscars.
      But it would pretty shabby to suggest taking one back because we prefer the performance of an actor who has re-created the role in a current remake of the original film.

      Also, for those who didn’t read the entire article, Tripucka is suffering from Alzheimer’s. It would have been nice to leave the guy alone and not put him in the position of giving up something that might be quite precious to him just to not look like a bad guy.

      • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 9:22 am |

        Who, I might also ask, is more self-absorbed…
        The former player who says, “I’m honored and would like to keep the honor”?
        Or the organization that says, “We’d like to un-honor you because it suits our current situation”?

      • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 9:38 am |

        This should be part of the due diligence on the part of the free agent: If the team you intend to sign with has retired the number you want, then you darn well think of a new number you’d like to wear. Or you sign somewhere else if the number is that precious to you.

        My problem in this scenario isn’t about the retiring or unretiring of numbers. It’s e assumption that the player is owed the number of his choice, or even has a say in his number at all. Numbers should be a team assignment, period. If players wish to swap assigned numbers, or if a player wants to ask for an unassigned number, great. If a player needs to engage in a greater degree of “personal expression” or whatever, go play an individual sport like tennis and wear whatever you want.

        • Scott Davis | March 22, 2012 at 9:55 am |

          @Arr Scott
          Amen, brother! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • KT | March 22, 2012 at 11:14 am |

        “At this point, almost 80% of those who’ve replied to the poll at the end of Florio’s article have agreed that the Broncos #18 should have stayed retired.”

        Seriously, though…80% of the people who comment on would lose a chess match to a shiny object.

        • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 11:57 am |

          Probably could say the same for Presidential elections.

        • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm |

          And I didn’t mean to suggest was a “ringing endorsement” or some kind of “mandate”…just that evidently there are some who think retracting an honor is bush.

          Even if some would also think retiring it in the first place was bush, the idea taking it back is even “bushier”.

        • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm |

          “Do you take this man…?”

          “Sure, until someone better comes along.”

  • Scott Davis | March 22, 2012 at 8:20 am |

    I didn’t like Peyton taking a retired number, but I was okay with it if Tripucka was okay with it. Then I read this on an NFL article: “These days, Tripucka is suffering from Alzheimer’s.”


    • Ry Co 40 | March 22, 2012 at 9:13 am |

      “but I was okay with it if Tripucka was okay with it”

      well, thank goodness for that…

    • pushbutton | March 22, 2012 at 11:19 am |

      Manning should take another number. This whole attitude of “my number” is one of the more childish aspects of sport.

      How about instead, “Now I’ll have a chance to get two numbers retired in my name”. That would be a more sporting attitude for a Peyton Manning, if you ask me.

      • The Jeff | March 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

        How about instead, “Now I’ll have a chance to get two numbers retired in my name”.

        Pfft, yeah, if it was 4-5 years ago and he wasn’t recovering from an injury and a year of not playing. He’s only got maybe 2-3 seasons left, and he’s not gonna be at the level he was before. He’s at Unitas in San Diego or Montana in KC territory now.

        The Broncos are paying far more than he’s worth at this point.

        • pushbutton | March 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm |

          No argument. But his attitude needs an upgrade to match his current worth.

  • Craig | March 22, 2012 at 8:24 am |

    Sick Paul…telling people to go grab vaseline to view high school athletes…

    • Phil Hecken | March 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

      i know, right?

      he should at least have said astroglide

  • Natron | March 22, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    Mike Tomlin’s shirt is actually one piece shirt with the sewn in long sleeves. I know this because my wife bought herself the same thing in a Vikings version at Kohl’s…

    High quality merchandise.

  • Seth | March 22, 2012 at 8:33 am |

    Those aren’t new throwbacks for Illinois. The video those pictures came from were of the throwbacks they wore a few years ago and the regular uniforms they’ve been wearing for past five years. I thing they put it together as some sort of “test” video. I have no idea why they posted it on their website. It just confuses people.

    • Steve | March 22, 2012 at 11:07 am |

      I also figured the throwbacks were from a few years ago. The helmet had the old Big Ten logo on the bumper. I like them so I’m glad they’re thinking about wearing them again. The Illini should be getting new helmets this year and new uniforms next year (2013).

      • Douglas King | March 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm |

        It was my understanding that they are getting those this coming year (hence all the pictures of helmet prototypes etc. floating around for the past few months).

        My guess is that is a video made last year (or possibly further back) that has just recently been uploaded to youtube.

  • Kyle Lamers | March 22, 2012 at 8:41 am |

    Man I love the Cardinals slideshow! Best uniforms in baseball and the only reason I didn’t kill myself after they beat my beloved Rangers (who have subpar uniforms at best).

  • Mike V. | March 22, 2012 at 8:42 am |

    Looks like Tomlin is taking fashion tips from Belichick.

    • Gusto44 | March 22, 2012 at 8:54 am |

      The Hines Ward press conference wasn’t something the organization planned for well in advance, which helps to explain Tomlin’s attire. Ward had recently said he wanted to continue his Hall of Fame career, so the change of heart was a very new development.

      • Dumb Guy | March 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

        What, he can’t keep a shirt and/or tie and/or jacket on a hanger in his office in case just such an impromptu event arises??

        • The Jeff | March 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

          Formal attire is highly overrated.

  • Deion S. | March 22, 2012 at 8:48 am |

    Paul, that vasoline joke is offensive. Come on man!

  • Skott S. | March 22, 2012 at 8:53 am |

    Colorway. Ha! I love it.

  • Mike Hersh | March 22, 2012 at 8:55 am |

    Love those Cubs tickets! Wonder if they had o get permission from Topps?

  • Hank-SJ | March 22, 2012 at 9:02 am |

    MLB is just going by the long standing rule of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ Now eat your veggies and clean your room.

    • Mike D | March 22, 2012 at 9:54 am |

      Yup, just like Selig forcing the Astros to move to the AL, creating everyday interleague, which is absurd, but that’s a whole different topic.

      I really like those ND vests (really sleeveless I guess). At one point in the mid-2000s, every other MLB team seemed to have a sleeveless jersey, and it got overdone. Now, almost no team has that look (except the Angels and Rockies I think). I think a team like the Pirates should bring back the vests as their primary jersey. Maybe the Reds too, although I like their current uniform.

      • jcn7vc | March 22, 2012 at 10:35 am |

        Twins also have a vest. Looks like only 3 teams currently, and the Rockies have two versions.

      • pushbutton | March 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

        No team ever looked better in vests than the Pirates. They should own it.

  • jcn7vc | March 22, 2012 at 9:13 am |

    I was under the impression that the Broncos didn’t retire numbers. They have a Ring of Fame in the stadium, but it contains two players with 7 and 87.

    Also, recently players have worn 15, 20, 53, 84, and 87, and I’ve never heard any backlash from fans in those instances.

    • Perry | March 22, 2012 at 10:44 am |

      I don’t have a specific citation, but I’ve read in the local (Denver) press a couple of times recently that the only retired Bronco numbers are 7 (Elway), 44 (Floyd Little), and 18. Apparently the Ring of Honor is a separate thing from having a number retired.

    • Brinke | March 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |

      Sharpe isn’t in their ROF? or 57 for Jackson?

      • jcn7vc | March 22, 2012 at 11:23 am |

        Both Jackson 57 and Sharpe 84 are on the Ring of Fame.

        If the Broncos have retired jerseys, there is nothing in the stadium that shows which are retired and which are only on the Ring of Fame. A little Googling shows some sites that say they have retired numbers, but of all the times I have been in the stadium, I have never seen retired numbers.

  • Nathan | March 22, 2012 at 9:20 am |

    Tim Tebow in New York means they will be changing their name to Jetsus.

    • Brinke | March 22, 2012 at 11:01 am |

      Somewhere, deep in the bowels of…somewhere….#15 TEBOW jerseys are feverishly being created in NJJ colors.

      While on a steamer to Kenya…tons of orange and blue jerseys with the same name and number head to waiting children.

    • JTH | March 22, 2012 at 11:05 am |

      Man, that’s the best they could come up with? JETSUS?

      No. Keep it JETS but change the oval to an ichthys and make the T look like this and that would be a shirt worth buying (if it was about $20 cheaper).

  • PaleVermilion81 | March 22, 2012 at 9:22 am |

    My favorite part about these articles is the constant ripping on corporate douchebaggery for selling advertisements on jerseys and such, while being bombarded with constant advertisements on this site.

    • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 9:23 am |

      Better stop reading magazine and watching TV, then.

    • The Jeff | March 22, 2012 at 9:24 am |

      Because professional sports teams make HOW MUCH money compared to a blog?

    • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 9:32 am |

      It’s fun to play gotcha, but it’s better when you actually know what you’re talking about.

      I have never once said that advertising is a bad thing; I have always said that advertising where it doesn’t belong is a bad thing.

      Teams already have jillions of revenue streams. They really need to sell space on batting helmets and press conference backdrops?

      Media enterprises, on the other hand, have very limited revenue streams (especially on the web, where most content, including the content you’re reading on this site, is given away for free), which is why media enterprises have always been underwritten by ad sales.

      If you prefer, I can work up an ad-free version of the site for you, and charge you to read it each day. If you’d like that, please get in touch.

      • Russ | March 22, 2012 at 9:44 am |

        Even with the “jillions of revenue streams,” though, sports organizations often lose money.

        Either teams advertise wherever they can, including batting helmets, they raise tickets prices, or they don’t get big name free agents.

        I’d rather deal with the advertising and get to see a better product for less money. (That’s why I am happy to keep reading this free site. Thanks, Paul!)

        • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 9:48 am |

          If you really think all revenue funds are fungible, and that selling helmet ads leads to “a better product,” P.T. Barnum would like to have a word with you.

          As for teams “often” losing money, just how “often” does that happen? And why do most teams/leagues refuse to open their books, even when crying poverty?

        • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 9:51 am |

          I think I, personally, would mostly be able to ignore most corporate-sponsoring transgressions as long as the major leagues wrote it into their bylaws that sponsors (other than the uniform manufacturers) will never be allowed advertising space on the uniforms. That has to be what we all fear the most. Press conference backdrops? I can’t remember the last time I watched more than two minutes of one, let alone noticed sponsor names. Does that mean it’s ok when they do it? Of course not. But I look at it as choosing my battles. We know the swoosh/adidas stripes/whatever are not going away from the uniforms anytime soon, but if they made sure nothing else ever gets added… it would be a small step in the right direction.

        • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |

          As a matter of basic economics, this argument is simply not true. As long as all teams operate under the same restrictions on revenue – you may sell tickets or broadcast rights at whatever price you want, you may not sell advertising on your jersey – then there’s no issue of unfairness or loss of potential revenue. Yeah, the Pirates have a tough time competing for talent with the Yankees. But imagine for a moment if MLB permitted helmet ads. Whose helmet would command higher advertising prices, and thus bring the team more revenue, the Pirates or the Yankees? The Yankees, obviously. So opening up this new revenue stream would magnify revenue disparities and reduce the quality of the product most teams could offer. Unless the league controlled the ads, and shared revenue equally, in which case the relative position of each team with regard to ability to pay players would be unchanged.

        • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 10:01 am |

          Exactly, Scott.

          The earnings almost certainly would be proportional to the economic status the teams already hold.

          And all we’d end up with is junked up unis.

          Sorry price to pay for what would be a financial “push”.

    • Rob H. | March 22, 2012 at 11:43 am |

      For some reason I have a hard time of finding any outrage in the sponsorship of a press conference backdrop. If PNC wants to pay the Steelers money to put their logo there, where people will see it during a press conference, what’s the problem. Just like Paul selling advertising on his website. If I want to watch the Steelers press confernence, I have to see PNC’s logo, if I want to come to Uni Watch, I have to see his sponsors’ logos.

      The fact that teams have “jillions of revenue streams” is irrelevant. McDonald’s has sold “jillions” of Big Macs, why do they need to sell more? If it makes good business sense to sell that space, and someone wants to buy that space, why shouldn’t they. If they were a publicly held corporation, it’d be their fiduciary duty to their shareholders to operate as profitably as possible. Why should it be any differently for a privately-owned entity to not be as profitable as possible?

      If you have problems with that, then you have problems with the capitalist free enterprise system as a whole, and perhaps a more socialist economic system would be to your liking.

      If there truly is moral outrage over various corporate sponsorships that teams undertake, perhaps they should poll their season ticket holders to see if they would prefer an additional ticket price to offset the lost revenue that the removal of those sponsorships would cause.

      Do the Green Bay Packers have similar corporate sponsorship arrangements, or are they less objectionable because it is a community that owns them and not a “fat cat owner” from the upper 1%?

      • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm |

        For some reason I have a hard time of finding any outrage in the sponsorship of a press conference backdrop.

        I didn’t say I was outraged. But I think it’s part of a larger pattern of douchebaggery. A small part, yes — which is exactly why it’s worth pointing it out now and again, because otherwise it’s easily overlooked.

        If you have problems with that, then you have problems with the capitalist free enterprise system as a whole, and perhaps a more socialist economic system would be to your liking.

        Oh, please. Simply labeling any critique of business practices as “socialist” is lazy and reductive. Nobody’s saying they don’t have the right to sell the space. Part of cultural critique is saying, “This business practice is a bit less savory than that business practice” and thereby creating discussion.

        Some people today didn’t like something I wrote in the Ticker and suggested that I should change it. Does that mean they were “opposed to free expresion, and perhaps totalitarian dictatorship might be more to their liking”? Of course not. They were trafficking in the marketplace of ideas.

        • Rob H. | March 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

          Fair enough, there’s a large range between capitalism and socialism, that was poor wording and unnecessary.

          But why is the selling of that advertising space “less savory” than other advertising? What is sacred about a press conference backdrop? I can understand the opposition to putting ads on uniforms, (and the accompanying discussion of the Tokyo series MLB ads) we as a Uni Watch community (and sports fans in general) could bristle at that, while European football (soccer) fans see no problem with ads on their jerseys.

          I just don’t see anything special about the backdrop that makes selling ad space there “douchebaggish” like putting them on a player’s uni would be. Is it more a part of a larger pattern of douchebaggery than any advertising would be?

          I guess my question is where is the line crossed that advertising goes from being a morally-neutral revenue generator to douchbaggery? Or is it just douchbaggery because they are a billion-dollar sports franchise they shouldn’t need to sell ads like that?

          I’m not trying to pick a fight or argue, I just honestly don’t see a problem with an ad there. Better there than on a helmet.

        • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm |

          Yes, better there than a helmet — agreed.

          But plastering every non-uni element of the game with an ad is part of the larger incursion of advertising and corporate culture into American life. It’s also part of larger system that says every single part of the sports experience (except uniforms, so far) is for sale. Don’t you roll your eyes when they announce “the Verizon starting lineup” or whatever? Even if you don’t, lots of fans do. It contributes to a sense of jaded cynicism about the game, and about American life in general.

          Just because you can sell something doesn’t mean you should. And there’s a big difference between profit and greed. Of course, you may draw the line between can/should and between profit/greed in different places than I would, but I think the lines are real and worth discussing.

          On a simpler level: It’s a Steelers press conference — why should any logo other than the Steelers logo be there?

        • Rob H. | March 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

          Don’t you roll your eyes when they announce “the Verizon starting lineup” or whatever?

          No, I definitely do. And I hate the Citrus Bowl becoming the Capital One Bowl & the FedEx Orange Bowl. And I especially hate the fact that, like Bowl Games, the PGA Tour Event in Miami has changed many different names throughout the years and it should forever be known as the Doral Ryder Open. (Even though that is a little contradictory, with Ryder being a corporate name itself.)

          And in fact I would also be opposed to if they introduced the presser yesterday as “The March 21st Hines Ward Retirement Announcement, brought to you by PNC.” or “The PNC Hines Ward Retirement Announcement”.

          But them just sponsoring it isn’t the same as them naming the press conference for them.

          They could even sell individual facets of it. “We’re here at the PNC Hines Ward Retirement Announcement, and in a few moments, Hines Ward, who for the last fourteen years has been a wide receiver for the Steelers, the last five of which he has been the ‘Motorola Go-To-In A Pinch Slot Receiver and the 2011 winner of the Gilette Hardest Hitting Wide Receiver in the AFC North. He’s now making his way to the Heinz Microphone at the HSBC Podium and now, after this message from a sponsor, we’ll bring you his statement.”

          I guess that identifies where I draw the line: the difference between sponsorship and naming rights.

          What was the first naming rights deal, anyway? (“Tell you what, Mr. Skilling, we are thrilled with Enron’s sponsorship of the Astros, how about for another $50 Million, we actually name the stadium after your company?”)

        • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm |

          Interesting essay on the philosophical implications of putting everything up for sale in the current Atlantic:

        • Rob H. | March 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

          ..of course my example was absurd. No way would PNC let HSBC sponsor the podium.

        • Mike V. | March 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

          I hate sponsorships douchbaggery as much as the next uni-watcher, but I have no problem with the press conference backdrop. It actually makes sense to me as a good place to put a sponsor logo. On of the better ones in sports probably. These interview clips and photos get seen by millions and millions of people on TV, online and in print. Seems logical. It is not intruding on any tradition.

          I understand people’s dislike for it and can’t fault them for it not sitting easy with them. It gets messy to look at. It just doesn’t bother me as much as other major sponsorship douchbaggery examples.

          Maybe because of the level that sponsorship douchbaggery has reached, this doesn’t feel that wrong because it doesn’t register as high on the douchbag scale as naming rights or logos on jerseys. It is without a doubt a part of the bigger problem, but it also just makes more sense as an advertising venue than other past examples.

        • Joseph Gerard | March 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm |

          HSBC is all but withdrawing from the U.S. They just sold their New York State branches to First Niagara. The only connection to PNC is that First Niagara entered Pittsburgh about three years ago when they bought 50 Pittsburgh-area National City branches from PNC (as well as a handful up in Erie) due to antitrust reasons. Had PNC not been required to divest NatCity branches by the Justice Department, they would’ve ended up with over 52% market share in Pittsburgh. They STILL ended up with a 46% market share in Pittsburgh. (Citizens Bank, the one owned by RBS that owns the naming rights to the Phillies ballpark, is in a distant second at 13%.) I have to admit, I’m part of that 46% myself, with some money also tied in with Huntington Bank and Wells Fargo, the latter being through my 401(k) at work. Somehow, Pittsburgh doesn’t have any retail branches of the “Big Four”. Chase, which has a sizeable presence in Ohio and a couple of branches in Wheeling, WV, is the closest. Interestingly enough, Chase and Wells Fargo were in talks to buy some of those NatCity branches from PNC before they were flipped to First Niagara. Coincidence? I think not…

  • CrewFan | March 22, 2012 at 9:26 am |

    Bad form on the vasoline comment – especially when referencing a high school player. I expect better of this blog and feel it should be removed.

    • Ry Co 40 | March 22, 2012 at 9:31 am |

      pretty sure a jersey was being referenced… you know… on Uni Watch…

    • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 9:47 am |

      Good joke, bad context. Shoulda saved the line for a link to photos of adults. But safe to assume the contextual creepiness was unintentional.

    • Joe | March 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |

      Grow up. It’s a running joke about guys who get worked up over torn jerseys. Doesn’t matter who’s wearing it. Stop trying to create an issue where there is none.

      • jcn7vc | March 22, 2012 at 10:38 am |

        I agree with Joe.

    • CrewFan | March 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

      Hey, look at earlier comments. I’m not the only one who called this out. Bad context is bad context. And like Arr said, best saved for a photo of an adult, not a kid. That’s my whole point – it’s a photo of a kid.

      • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |

        What I was trying to say is that it’s a good joke, but the context ruins it for me. My issue isn’t that Paul is like encouraging pedophilia or something ridiculous, it’s that he spoiled a perfectly good one-liner!

  • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 9:47 am |

    As far as folks with a PayPal account purchasing naming rights to roads/bridges… is it really any worse than driving on a road named after some sleazy politician? I totally agree with Paul on subjects concerning corporations buying naming rights (I’m anxiously awaiting the “Hershey Highway”… ok, nevermind, let’s hope they never get that idea). But Joe Blow wanting to name a highway or bridge after Mama Blow? Whatever. I see that as being pretty harmless.

    As for retired numbers, I just think they are mostly unneeded. Fans will remember special players, regardless of what number they wear or what current player wears said number. I would rather see a team who doesn’t retire numbers, but instead allows many great players to wear a number (hence making it even more special, in my eyes). But that’s just me. I don’t have a problem with teams that do it, I just don’t think *I* would if I ran a team.

    • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 9:56 am |

      “Mama Blow Bridge” – now that’s something I’d pay money to see!

    • Chance Michaels | March 22, 2012 at 10:04 am |

      is it really any worse than driving on a road named after some sleazy politician?
      Yes, it is.

      Even though, yes, some politicians are corrupt and some in no way deserve the honor of having public infrastructure named after them, they aren’t directly paying for it.

      The distinction is crucial. The message in re-naming the 59th Street Bridge after former Mayor Ed Koch is “We honor you for serving the public trust for so many years.” The message in re-naming it say, Bank of America Bridge would be “Thanks for the check.”

      • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 10:24 am |

        Fair argument, even though odds are, you’ll often have a good chunk of the populace that doesn’t feel the politician “deserves” anything for his or her service. They were elected to do the will of the people. I don’t personally believe ANYBODY should have their name on a publically used right-of-way. To me, you could argue that some random person’s name on a sign will prompt less of an emotional response than a more well-known politician. And in this world, where we are always trying to keep the offensiveness to a minimum, seems *to me* that would be the lesser of two evils. But to each his own.

        • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 10:54 am |

          I hear you, because it irks me that the main road I live near is called Jefferson Davis Highway. But it’s about accountability. If you object to the name of Diamond Joe Quimby Bridge, then you can lobby your representatives to change the name, or vote against the ones who made the name, or run for a seat yourself on the platform of changing the name. If we just sell the naming rights to the highest bidder, then the decision is no longer accountable to you, the citizen. And if we accept that loss of public accountability as OK, then we have just surrendered the fundamental moral justification for representative democracy as a preferable system to simple dictatorship.

        • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 11:17 am |

          Good points. When it comes down to it, as I said… no public ROW, one used by all taxpaying citizens, should be named after a person/persons. But alas, that’s not the world we live in.

      • Tom V. | March 22, 2012 at 10:40 am |

        I don’t have a problem honoring poeple who’ve done volunteer work. If you are honoring Ed Koch for his volunteer work thats one thing. If you’re honoring him because he did a job well he was paid to do well, the money is the compensation. I generally don’t believe most folks who get awards should get them, and the lavish productions put on to award them is just absurd. Add on the fact that most times to even be considered for an award you have to pay a fee to be considered…oh I digress.

        • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 11:19 am |

          Agreed. As I said, politicians are paid to do the will of the people. If a politician gets a new bridge for his constituents, well… he’s doing his job. I’m not sure why we feel the need to reward them for that (Well, it’s other politicians usually doing the rewarding, but I digress as well).

        • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 11:32 am |

          Minor quibble: An elected offical’s job is not to do the will of the people, it is to do the business of the people with their consent. Very often, it is the duty of an elected official to act contrary to the current will of the people, and then to persuade them to consent to the act at the next election. We don’t need representatives to do the will of the people; for that, we could just hold weekly plebiscites on all public questions.

          And if you’ve ever seen the results of fan voting on team names or logos, you understand why such pure democracy would be a very, very bad idea!

        • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

          Yeah, I get what you’re saying. I should have maybe picked my words more carefully. Pure democracy? Yes, bad. I don’t trust 95% of the people around me already. The cynicism is strong with me.

        • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm |

          Sorry, Chris, that wasn’t meant as real criticism. I spoiled that with too much setup to get to the point about fan-voting uni contests!

        • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |

          No, it’s fine. Totally understood you.

    • Phil Hecken | March 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

      “I’m anxiously awaiting the ‘Hershey Highway'”



    • DenverGregg | March 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

      It’s a bad idea to name things after living people. In Southern Colorado recently Patrick J. Sullivan had a spell in the Patrick J. Sullivan Detention Center (county jail they’d named after the retired long-time sheriff turned inmate) for some pretty serious crimes.

      Barely better than a headline “John X. Doe arrested for DUI on John X. Doe Bridge”.

      Wait until the person is not only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead, regardless of the size of the check.

  • JTH | March 22, 2012 at 9:50 am |

    I can give Tomlin a pass for the outfit he was wearing. Maybe he just didn’t have time to get gussied up for the occasion.

    However, there is one thing that is unforgivable. He tucked his shirt into his sweatpants.

    • Lee | March 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm |

      I’m confused… was the Ward presser called like THAT day?


      • BurghFan | March 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm |


  • shipwreck | March 22, 2012 at 9:58 am |

    as if everyone didn’t know, ryco is one righteous mothervilker. that is all.

    • Ry Co 40 | March 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

      thanks moose!

  • scottj | March 22, 2012 at 10:07 am |

    Rob Johnson had no choice BUT to hit into a 4-6-3 double play in that situation.

    4 + 6 + 3 = 13, after all.

    • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 10:10 am |

      Ha — hadn’t thought of that. Excellent!

  • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 10:09 am |

    Gotta love those “Esks” shirts.
    And in Paul’s favorite color combo, too.

    • Phil Hecken | March 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm |

      that’s awesome! you should get a membership card based on that design

  • Winter | March 22, 2012 at 10:09 am |

    My first thought on seeing the Mike Tomlin picture is how much he resembles Jaleel White.

    • donnieknutts | March 22, 2012 at 11:26 am |

      If by “Jaleel White” you mean Omar Epps…then yeah.

  • Robert Eden | March 22, 2012 at 10:22 am |

    Holy mackerel, those adding machines blew me away. The good folks who invented those things, and even those who can understand and fix them, are truly amazing. It makes me ashamed that I make a living by generally writing and talking, which ain’t all that tough.

  • Paul M. | March 22, 2012 at 10:28 am |

    Redskins, Indians & Braves pisses off Paul “because it offends him”, but making sexual inuendo jokes @ the expense of a high school student, that’s ok…can someone contact the school directly and inform them of this?

    • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 10:37 am |

      Honestly: Hadn’t thought about the inappropriateness of the high school aspect of it. I’ll change the wording.

      • Perry | March 22, 2012 at 10:49 am |

        Good call, Paul.

        • CrewFan | March 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

          Thanks Paul. I didn’t think it was intentional, but glad you made the update once it was pointed out how it could be taken.

    • JTH | March 22, 2012 at 10:44 am |

      Hey, Paul M (and others): did you ever think to contact Paul L directly instead of scolding him in the comments/threatening to go over his head?

      He’s a fairly reasonable chap despite how some of you may feel. I think his willingness to make the change demonstrates this.

      • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 10:50 am |

        It’s OK, Jim. The comments section is for, you know, comments — including “I think what you just wrote is offensive.”

        Obviously, personal e-mails to me are also fine, but posting a comment allows the whole community to see and respond. I’m fine with that, even when the comments are belligerent.

        • JTH | March 22, 2012 at 10:59 am |

          I dunno. the whole thing about contacting the school directly just rubbed me the wrong way.

          It’s like calling the cops on you neighbors without first asking them to turn down their music.

  • Dumb Guy | March 22, 2012 at 10:33 am |

    I think has the entire list of retired numbers for each team.

    Oakland supposedly has no numbers retired.

    Washington only has 33 (Baugh), but there hasn’t been a #9 since Jurgensen retired or a #28 since Darrell Green retired. I hope it stays that way.

    • Kyle Allebach | March 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |

      The ‘Skins don’t officially retire numbers after Sammy Baugh, but #7, 9, 28, 42, 43, 44, 49, 65, 70, and 81 are out of circulation. So is 21, because of Sean Taylor’s death.

      Personally, I’m starting to like the “unofficial” retirement better. You can keep numbers out of circulation and only give them to players the organization feels worthy. I feel like that bolsters up the history of a franchise and it’s number better than just pulling it out.

      • scott | March 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm |

        I prefer what the Yankees do… they list all the retired numbers and players on their roster sheets inside the program, so Ruth, Berra, Mantle, Jackson, etc. are listed alongside the current ballplayers. Nice touch that I’ve seen no other team do.

  • Jeremiah | March 22, 2012 at 10:39 am |

    When I was in high school I thought we were the only monsoons anywhere in organized sports.

  • Chance Michaels | March 22, 2012 at 10:39 am |

    Sorry if this has already been discussed, but I just found this yesterday – anybody seen this before?

    • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 10:42 am |

      It was the Catch of the Day about a week ago.

    • Tom V. | March 22, 2012 at 10:42 am |

      COTD a few days ago.

    • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 11:22 am |

      As a map geek, even though I’m nowhere near the three cities, that’s pretty darn cool. Thanks for linking it. I missed it on the COTD.

      • Rob H. | March 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

        Yeah, it looks awesome if you live in New York, San Francisco or Austin, TX. Anywhere else, not so much.

    • Chance Michaels | March 22, 2012 at 11:33 am |

      Ah, that’s why it didn’t show up on the search.

  • EddieAtari | March 22, 2012 at 10:41 am |

    Why didn’t Peyton just take his Dad’s numero ocho? Would that have made the most sense?

  • EddieAtari | March 22, 2012 at 10:42 am |

    Why didn’t Peyton just take his Dad’s numero ocho? Would that have made the most sense?

    • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 10:55 am |

      Y’know what I’m thinking (on a related note)?

      I’m thinking Broncos didn’t like the idea of Manning wearing his Tennessee #16 cuz a lot of people would find a way to re-purpose old Jake Plummer jerseys.

      Would have put a dent in jersey sales.

      • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 11:25 am |

        Maybe, but there probably weren’t many orange #16 jerseys made.

        God forbid Peyton gets to pick out whatever number he wants. I really, really hope there wasn’t anything nefarious going on behind the scenes (though sadly I know better than that…).

        • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 11:45 am |

          Oh, I thought about that.
          But for a lot of folks (and lord knows the NFL sells a TOM of replica, non-game-authentic gear) the navy one might have been enough. For now. For the moment.

          And that’s “sales bulge” I’m talking about it impacting.

          This way, if you want to wear Manning’s number immediately, you HAVE to buy new. No choice.

        • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 11:46 am |

          a TON, that is. :)

        • Chris Holder | March 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

          And likewise, I thought about the blue jersey being “fine” with most people. Then again, aren’t the people that buy $200 polyester shirts the times that would just HAVE to have a new orange one?

          On a semi-related note, even as a Broncos fan, I hate the way “8” looks in the current font. Well, actually I hate the current font period, but for some reason I think a “6” looks slightly less dorky. I was hoping for #16. Oh well.

        • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

          I’m just saying that, overall, the way to maximize sales is to create demand, to make certain there is only one way possible to get the hot commodity.

          Both immediately AND when you get the replica stuff out there.

          “Immediately” just happens to be the issue right now

          By going with 18, no old Jake Plummer jersey or replica or teeshirt can under any circumstances be used to represent Manning.

          Even it if the NFL and Broncos thought it would cost them only 2% of potential sales, in a market of such volume 2% is a helluva lot of money.

        • Andy | March 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

          Two of the biggest names in football changing team in the span of a week. I wonder if the NFL is servicing those orders with Pro Line jerseys, or if Nike is filling them and just waiting until their contract begins on 4/1 to sell them.

  • concealed78 | March 22, 2012 at 10:52 am |

    I remember watching the Mets/Cubs Japan Opening Series in 2000 with the local 4am start time. I remember staying up all night & thinking this would be cool to watch baseball so early in the morning. After about the 3rd inning, it felt beyond boring & tired and decided that Bud Selig was an idiot & that list has been growing rapidly ever since. The advertising is the cherry on top of the turd sundae.

    And Paul shares a bday with Taco Bell. Yo no quiero Taco Bell.

  • k-mart | March 22, 2012 at 11:01 am |

    heres what the bills would look like in blue and red pants



    • The Jeff | March 22, 2012 at 11:13 am |

      You can’t link to files on your desktop, you have to upload them someplace.

  • Ray Barrington | March 22, 2012 at 11:19 am |

    White shoes? Why didn’t Joe Maddon meet Joe Namath in pantyhose?

  • Jerry | March 22, 2012 at 11:21 am |

    Mike Tomlin looks like a slob in the press conference photo. The guy is the head coach of one of the leagues premier teams. Did anyone say “hey coach, we are going to meet the media for wards retirement press conference, maybe you should at least dress in business casual”.

  • TOMtiger | March 22, 2012 at 11:24 am |

    Illinois should keep those throwbacks. those looks legit. no-one in the B1G has numbered helmets. you’d think in the most “traditional” conference it’d be the other way around.

    • The Jeff | March 22, 2012 at 11:28 am |

      Who says the Big 10 is the most traditional? They can’t even count…

  • BrianC | March 22, 2012 at 11:27 am |

    Re: the River Hawks and Blue Wahoos (and any number of minor league baseball and hockey teams). A minor league logo with an angry cartoon character holding a bat! You don’t see THAT every day! At least the Blue Whaoos cap logo shows some degree of creativity.

    • Arr Scott | March 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm |

      Why, yes, that hook-as-letter cap logo is creative and not at all derivative of any existing team.

      Points for execution, though: The Blue Wahoos hook-as-letter cap logo is much more attractive to me than either of the Corpus Christi Hooks versions.

  • jcn7vc | March 22, 2012 at 11:29 am |

    Apparently the signing of Manning wasn’t liked by all of Broncos Nation, and some have decided to punch their card to other side early to avoid seeing him in an orange jersey.;_ylt=Ase5Yf3knM.4A_ImhmVB3aHxxLsF

  • Mike M | March 22, 2012 at 11:36 am |

    Just to help with the point.. Ads on jerseys it’s really just this:

  • Dante | March 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

    Interesting that the M’s are wearing a non-Nintendo sponsor for the series.

  • Rob H. | March 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm |

    Maybe the problem is you shouldn’t retire any numbers but the best of the best. If you start retiring numbers like ’18’ because he was your first QB, or ‘5’ because your owner/founders favorite player was DiMaggio, then sooner or later a ‘bigger’ name is justified in wearing that number because either he wants to, or someone wants him to, or someone wants to ask if he could. If you only retire the best of the best, then no one is going to come along better who should get to wear the number. If Peyton’s number was ‘7’ he would have worn something else, and he wouldn’t have worn 16 in San Francisco (or 12 in Pittsburgh, etc.) If Frank Tripuka’s star isn’t bright enough that it can’t be eclipsed by Peyton Manning’s, then it shouldn’t have been retired in the first place.

    But since it was, it should stay retired. What if Peyton wins two Super Bowls with the Broncos, will they retire it again, like Bill Dickey & Yogi Berra? Then again why not just do that anyway? Do the Lions honor both Billy Sims & Barry Sanders with their #20?

    The Yankees are almost out of single digits, and if any of these sports/leagues last 500+ years, then eventually someday all teams would run out of all of the numbers anyway.

  • Ghost of Rod Kanehl | March 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

    That 13-13-13 thing with the Mets is ironic because they might actually win 39 games this year.

  • shipwreck | March 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm |

    rumor has it that paul has added shit to purple, and may i say it is about fucking time. for those who think it pc bullshit…

    send me your address so i can come to your house and put your balls in a vice. i will turn it slow, i promise. well that is until, *pop*, and i will leave you hanging from the cold steel. at that point, after i murder your wife and children that is, i will allow you and your leaking sack to live in my corn damn basement. you will absolutely love it, it is the best part of the house. but i may eventually ask you to move to another part of my basement that was not part of this original agreement where the rats come through the walls, but you can suck it up. it will be super awesome swell. you know what i am going to do then, after i remodel your bedroom that is, and i assure you might not dig the makeover, i am going to put your grinning face on t-shirts, tattoo it on my body, and say i am honouring you and your children. wooo wooo wooo, errrrrr tapa kega kansas. watch how i honour you, you put up a fight. wooooooooo. and, oh by the way, when your children’s children ask my grandchildren to stop wearing that dirty t-shirt, they are going to tell the how much i loved you, and how much i respected you as i pinched your balls in the vice. and they will never stop wearing that ragged ass shirt.

    how’s that?

    • The Jeff | March 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

      …what the hell did I just read? I’m scared and confused. :(

    • shipwreck | March 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

      did paul not say no more “indian” shit on cards? was i misinformed? skip?! melon head?! goblin?! if i was not treated to bad info, it should be obvious what i was saying. if i got bad info, well then , i guess i have egg on my face.

      • Bernard | March 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm |

        I could be wrong, but I don’t believe the bit about the cards has been formally announced yet, wreck. As for the rest, Jeff, that should really be pretty obvious.

        • The Jeff | March 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm |

          Oh, I get it now. But I don’t think it’s a fair analogy.

          We seem to forget about a big war with massive casualties and a bunch of immigration to replace them – leading to a population that really doesn’t have a very solid connection to that past. I really have trouble blaming anyone that immigrated to the US after 1840 for events which occurred in the 1820s & 1830s.

          Yes, the government of this country did some really bad things, but the vast majority of us are completely unconnected, as our ancestors were still on the other side of the ocean at the time.

        • Bernard | March 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

          I really don’t even know how to begin to respond to this, Jeff. You’re basically saying, “Hey, it wasn’t me!”

          The fact that a lot (not all) of that happened 200 years ago does not make a Redskins shirt (or team, or anything) okay today. I have no connection to the south, or Germany. I’m sure (or, at least, I hope) you can see where I’m going with this.

        • The Jeff | March 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm |

          I’m saying that the average person didn’t have any sort of collective memory of the tragedy. Think about it. A person who immigrated here in, say, the 1870’s, and stayed on the eastern coast would have had pretty much no exposure to actual Native Americans. All they’d have had would be frontier/wild west stories, which would be about 30% fact and 70% myth. Redskin wasn’t racist to someone in Boston or DC, it was just a stereotyped character in a story. Sure, people that actually lived near the reservations might have had a bit more negative view, but they weren’t the ones naming the teams. The names weren’t chosen to disgrace anyone, they were chosen because of the image. They were the cool/fierce/scary villain in the legends, kinda like how people today like Darth Vader. By the time we, as a society, get to the point of realizing that this might be offensive, they’ve already been using the name for 30+ years. Flash forward to now, and the initial “fierce savage” image has been warped into “noble warrior” and the team can claim tradition.

        • Phil Hecken | March 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm |

          clearly melon…there is no comprehension

        • nap lajoie | March 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

          if that was true and lukas didn’t say that, why did skip goat me melon head? friggin skipper will never be a champion.

          that is fair jeff, i toooottally pick up what you are putting down, and even though this guy got here in 1850, yes that is the first marshall shit-bird in the states, top right looks so much like my brother it is scary. but if what you say is true, does that mean i get a pass and don’t even consider my great grand-pappy? i can do whatever i want and not consider anything because, well, i mean after all, i didn’t do it? why should i have any respect? oh, i don’t know, i guess i have a soul. according to your logic i can wear it and just say i didn’t do it, so this is cool, er i mean respectful? nertz to that. i personally think my analogy is not only apt, but perfectly graphic to articulate the point. how does it not work? you didn’t invite me, and i kill your family, from there i let you live in my basement, and eventually the worst part of it without asking you if you want to. then, after i do that i wear your cartooned mug as my mascot. those apples don’t do it as a descriptor?

        • Phil Hecken | March 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

          “if that was true and lukas didn’t say that, why did skip goat me melon head? friggin skipper will never be a champion.”


          the comprehension was in reference to cowlumbus’ favorite sun

    • Dumb Guy | March 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm |

      “corn damn basement”

      googled it.



      I was hoping to learn something today.

      • dumb guy's frat brah | March 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm |

        i guess that’s that, there is no corn or cob or husk.

        • robert marshall | March 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm |

          and googled it? that must be the last word on shit/stuff/ings. i googled it, pffft

    • Phil Hecken | March 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |

      i called fed ex…they had the wrong addy

      the replacement meds should be there shortly

      • nap lajoie | March 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm |


      • walter | March 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm |

        Now, y’see, this is why this whole Internet thingy is never gonna catch on..

    • Rob S | March 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm |

      Y’see, I see the username, I immediately start thinking of this guy… then I read the rant, and my mind just breaks.

  • Cort | March 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |

    I don’t know if he’d been mentioned earlier, but add Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben to the list of players wearing taped over wedding bands during games.

    Also, there were some comments a few weeks ago about Apple conspiring to block Siri from giving directions to birth control centers and clinics providing abortions. For the last three months, I have conducted an informal experiment with Siri. Among many other misadventures with Siri, I have been told “I can’t find a donut shop in your area” while I was standing directly in front of a Southern Maid Do-Nut shop (that had been there for at least 20 years). I have been told “There are no churches nearby,” when I was parked in the lot of a Mormon meetinghouse, with a Methodist church directly across the street, a Presbyterian church half a block down, a Catholic church less than a mile away, and the Seven Holy Martyrs of Sevastopol Orthodox church two blocks down. When I asked for directions to EPSCO products, a company selling industrial valves, Siri sent me to Bibi’s Kabob House.

    Siri isn’t anti-reproductive services. Siri is just a terrible program.

  • Joe Nguyen | March 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |

    Is there any explanation for two of these refs in the Chinese basketball league having no numbers and one having a number on his back?

  • snowdan | March 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

    North Dakota Women’s hockey wore de-sioux’ed jerseys in their NCAA games. The crest appears to be a blatent rip-off of the Wild’s home jerseys's-Home-Jersey/737771

  • James A | March 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm |

    I know that at the Class A level (at least) that players stay (or billet) with local families. What I’ve read and heard in the hockey and baseball world was that you would normally have one person that had conections around town to find willing families. I don’t recall ever seeing a team put it out there that they needed host families. Especially posting it on their Facebook page today (so close to the beginning of the season):

  • Glenn | March 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

    Ok, I’m going to throw in my .02 regarding this whole Peyton Manning #18 issue. It’s really easy for most people to spectulate on this stuff, but is there actually any proof that Peyton wouldn’t have been more than willing to wear a different number (say his Tennessee #16)? I know what Peyton said in the press conference, and what Tripucka also has said that he has no issue or qualms with Manning using the number, so really, shouldn’t that pretty much be the end of it? Mike Florio’s distaste for the situation is even worse with his condescending attitude about the whole thing, as though Manning and the Broncos have deliberately taken advantage of Tripucka’s age and health and manipulated the situation, and that kind of speculation is reckless and shameful, much more so than whatever number Peyton actually wears.

    • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm |

      If you an explain how that makes the Broncos look GOOD I’m sure we’d be happy to listen.

      • Glenn | March 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm |

        I don’t think there’s any way to make the Broncos look “GOOD”, per se in all of this. I’m a Denverite, a Broncos fan and former season-ticket holder. I fully expected Peyton to wear a different number, and my guess would have been #16 as that’s what he wore in college.

        The thing is though, we’re not privy to knowing exactly how the decision was made. There was talk in the Denver Post over the weekend, before Manning made his decision where he was going to play, to the number question, and even then, Tripucka had commented about his feelings on if he had issues of Manning wearing #18 if the opportunity presented itself.

        My irritation really is at Florio there, with the mention of Tripucka’s age and health status, hinting as though the Broncos and Manning purposefully took advantage of those situations to manipulate Tripucka’s decision. That in itself is really distasteful, moreso than whatever number Peyton wears.

        Since the media were talking to Tripucka last week about the possibility, who knows exactly how the conversation between the Broncos and he happened and when it happened? Like I said, I fully expected Peyton to wear a different number, but I also don’t buy into the theory that they didn’t want people to repurpose their old Jake Plummer jerseys and that was a factor behind it.

        • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

          “I also don’t buy into the theory that they didn’t want people to repurpose their old Jake Plummer jerseys and that was a factor behind it.”

          And I can’t believe they DIDN’T consider it.
          The NFL is FAR too experienced and sophisticated about such things NOT to have pondered that aspect of the deal.

  • SWC Susan | March 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    Whatever happened to “Number 18 stays in Indy”…? Just one more reason to like Peyton Manning less and less.

  • John | March 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm |

    Did anyone else notice Darrell Royal drawing up a play with only 11 men in the CFL clip? I’ll email Paul with the capture.

  • ScottyM | March 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |

    Hey Paul — some logical answers to the Qs you posed about the Steelers’ backdrop —

    1.) Why would the Steelers be foolish enough to use a bastardized version of their logo on their press conference backdrop? And assuming someone in the organization has noticed it by now, why do they keep using it?

    –I cannot begin to fathom why they’ve used it all these years (other than being a notoriously cost-conscious organization).

    –I can fathom how it happened: it’s pretty commonplace for “vendors” … like sign-makers or printers or especially promotional companies to alter a logo to fit their needs. If someone is not a passionate steward of the logo and brand identity … folks will muck it up due to time and budget constraints, or just plain laziness. (Imagine, for example, putting that logo on a pen … an infinite number of promotional companies would botch it, or change it, because it’s too hard to “fit” in the space allotted.)

    So, it’s possible the banner printing vendor altered the design (for what reason, who knows? other than perhaps they were using an incompatible file format or something) … and nobody at the Steelers was savvy enough to maintain brand standards.

    2.) Why do we need press conference backdrops, which almost always look annoying, to begin with?

    –Actually, the answer here is really easy … because behind that backdrop is likely a pale white brick wall (or something equally unattractive).

    Think of where many of these events take place (in the bowels of an arena).

    Backdrops, be they at concert events or sports press conferences, are typically used to cover up what’s behind them. Seems like only in the past decade or so has it become a promo space (for a sponsor other than the team, organization or league). It helps that backdrops provide a consistent background visual for TV cameras (as opposed to, say, empty arena seats, or a white concrete wall, or the lady sweeping the floors … that kind of thing).

  • Joseph Gerard | March 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

    The different Steelers logo for press conferences has been used at least since the Bill Cowher days. I think they started using it around the time Heinz Field opened, but I’m not 100% sure. And the PNC sponsorship shouldn’t be a surprise: the nation’s fifth-largest bank (based in Pittsburgh) has a 46% market share, which can be attributed to being based here and when it bought National City in 2008. (NatCity was number 2 in deposits but tops in total number of branches in Pittsburgh at the time.) The people who REALLY need to get used to it are in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama where PNC just completed the purchase of RBC Bank. (This also included branches in Virginia and Florida, but PNC already had branches there, and Georgia it just entered in December.) And yes, this included the home of the Carolina Hurricanes.

    As for Virginia selling the naming rights to roads? As I mentioned in the comments section last Friday night, they aren’t the only ones.

    • Brinke | March 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm |

      That’s surprising about the Steelers font- so obvious, I thought, ‘aha, Nike has arrived.’

      • Joseph Gerard | March 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

        Nah, it’s nothing new. I noticed it a long time ago, but I figured it wasn’t a big deal. The last time the Steelers would’ve had to’ve changed their press conference backdrop was 2005–and that was due to sponsorship-based reasons. PNC was the sponsor before, but changed the colors of their logo from this to their current logo. The current logo was adopted in early 2005, around the time PNC was finishing up its well-publicized acquisition of Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C. My guess is, PNC (which had been using blue in its logo since 1982, when the current PNC was formed by the merger of Pittsburgh National Corporation with Philadelphia-based Provident National Corporation, with the initials “PNC” being common for both and hence an obvious choice for the name PNC) added orange to its own logo because of Riggs, which had a rust-orange eagle in its logo. I find it interesting that PNC would adopt something in its corporate logo from Riggs–by far its biggest acquisition before National City–but nothing from National City, although NatCity’s logo was rather generic. Meh, PNC adopted other things from NatCity, like a mortgage business and PNC Points.

  • Nathan R | March 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm |

    I don’t if anyone posted this but the Altoona Curve has created a built in Rally Cap into their home hats.

  • ryan4fregosi | March 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm |

    Ah, Wayne Hagin could have come up with that…and then taken 13 minutes to explain.

  • Pat | March 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm |

    Great Britain has released their uniforms for the Olympics. It’s the first soccer team that Great Britain has fielded since 1971!

    • Pat | March 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm |

      Sorry, didn’t see the earlier comment posted.

  • Ricko | March 22, 2012 at 4:11 pm |

    “My irritation really is at Florio there, with the mention of Tripucka’s age and health status, hinting as though the Broncos and Manning purposefully took advantage of those situations”

    I took it to mean he thought that, given those issues, maybe the Broncos ought to have reasoned, “Nope, under the circumstances let’s not even ask.”

    Not that they had manipulated Tripucka.

    And I’d buy that. Money-conscious enough to worry about old #16s, and dense enough to not understand the human element.

    Most people and organizations, if we shake them down to the basic concerns, seem fall into one of two categories…
    If their bottom line is people, money doesn’t matter.
    If their bottom line is money, people don’t matter.

  • Jennifer Hayden | March 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

    OK – I visit this site on a daily basis. I clicked the last link to see the image of the Cubs’ season tickets. I start reading the comments about how everyone loves the Ron Santo ticket and it’s for April 10th. I realize that I’m going to be going on that day. I look a little harder, and I’m on my friend’s facebook page. Those are my tickets. My ACTUAL tickets that I will have in my hot little hands very shortly. Very weird…..small world.

    • JTH | March 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm |

      If someone posted a photo of my tickets on the facebook without letting me know it first, I’d be pretty damned unhappy about that situation.

      • Christopher F. | March 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm |

        I think she’s saying he posted his own tickets, and he’s giving/selling her the April 10th one.

      • Jennifer Hayden | March 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |

        Uh, no….but really, what would the big deal have been? If you look more closely at the pic, you’ll see the bar coding has been smudged so, no big deal there…….

    • Paul Lukas | March 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

      That is one crazy coincidence!

      • Jennifer Hayden | March 23, 2012 at 11:40 am |

        Yes, I’m friends with the season ticket holder – Brad Zibung i.e. “The Heckler”, who posted the original picture on The Heckler’s FB page. Another fan of The Heckler just reposted here. I split season tickets with a few folks and Brad. It’s a crazy coincidence.

  • Mark Doescher | March 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm | – Cardinals home opener uniforms.

  • James N | March 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

    Did anyone else notice on the description of the Rattlers new mascot that under birthplace is says “Under a bolder in the Superstition Mountains” You’d think that someone along the way while creating that would notice such an error.

    • HHH | March 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm |

      What’s the error?

      • Jim Vilk | March 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm |

        Should be boulder, not bolder.

  • Mark H. | March 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm |

    Cardinals’ gold trimmed uniforms for Opening Day will include gold jersey numbers!

  • JTH | March 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm |

    Robert, I see where you’re going with your corn damn basement scenario up above, but as an analogy, that’s about as on the mark as this type of shit.

    Murdering someone for sport and wearing a caricature of the victim on your person is not the same thing as naming your hockey team after your army division which was, in turn, named after a Sauk Chief.

  • Bob | March 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm |

    I generally don’t like the generic NCAA basketball courts they use for the tournament, but hot damn does it look good in Boston. Great touch.

    • Wheels | March 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm |

      It’s like night and day.

  • Al | March 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

    Have to agree that the parquet, in Boston specifically, is a nice touch.

    • Jim Vilk | March 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm |

      When they hosted the regionals in ’09, the floor wasn’t parquet.
      Surprised the NCAA let them get away with such un-same-ness this time.

      • JTH | March 23, 2012 at 1:13 am |

        It is somewhat puzzling. Kinda contradicts the whole “level playing field” approach they’re supposedly going for.

        Maybe this will open the door for more uniqueness in the future. “Hey, you let Boston have a parquet floor, why can’t we have our ‘deep in the woods’ motif here in Eugene?”

        (Not that tournament games are likely to be played in Eugene, but you get my point.)

  • Michael Emody | March 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm |

    Check out the quote at the end of he Atlantic story about the synthetic microfiber baseball gloves:
    “It takes forever for any change to occur. But when change happens, it happens really fast.”
    That’s really profound. I think.