NFL’s Next Stop: Pad-dington Station

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Interesting news yesterday from the NFL, where knee and thigh pads will be mandatory starting in 2013. As most of you know, those pads are mandatory in college football but have long been optional in the NFL, and more and more players have been choosing to play without them for various reasons (speed, machismo, vanity, etc.).

A few thoughts:

• The best possible byproduct of this rule, as several readers immediately noted in e-mails to me yesterday, would be the end of the biker shorts plague. After all, you can’t have knee pads unless the pants are covering the knee, right? Then again, maybe you can — what if players keep wearing the biker shorts and just wear the knee pad above the knee? We’ll have to see how that plays out.

• By far the best article ever written about the modern era of NFL pads (and the players’ disdain for them) is this piece by Stefan Fatsis, which originally ran in the Wall Street Journal in 2004. Highly recommended. Two years after that piece ran, Stefan worked out with the Broncos as a placekicker, an experience that formed the basis of his book A Few Seconds of Panic. As longtime Uni Watch readers may recall, I interviewed Stefan before the book came out, and of course I asked him about pads. Here’s the relevant passage:

Uni Watch: Now, when you suited up for the preseason games, did you insert the thigh and knee pads into your pants?

Stefan Fatsis: Oh, no. I was like everybody else on the team.

UW: Meaning, no pads.

SF: No pads. We’ve talked about that before. And the reality was, I wasn’t going to get hit.

UW: Right. But I was wondering if you wanted, y’know, the sort of gladiator feel of putting on the armor.

SF: Kickers don’t want armor ”” they go padless. I understand it with kickers. I don’t really understand it with other players. Like, is this pad the size of a coaster really going to be an impediment to your 250-pound frame? But because I wasn’t a “real” player, the pockets were still in my pants ”” they hadn’t been removed.

UW: Your pants had pockets?

SF: To insert the pads.

UW: Oh, the inner pockets.

SF: Right. And most players will have those removed, if they’re not wearing the pads. I didn’t feel I was in a position to ask for the pockets to be removed from my pants ”” particularly given that the Broncos didn’t practice much in pads.

• A few conspiracy-minded readers sent me notes yesterday suggesting that the rule change was just a stunt to promote Nike’s newfangled pants with the pads built in. Just two problems with that: First, Nike’s new pants do not have the pads sewn in — or at least the ones at last month’s unveiling didn’t. They had traditional pockets for the pads. And besides, If Nike can come up with a pads-inclusive pant design, good for them. I have no problem with that (unless each pad has a visible swoosh or something like that — which, admittedly, is a concern, but we’ll worry about that if and when it happens).

The players’ union plans to contest the new rule, because it wasn’t collectively bargained, but that just seems petty. At a time when former players are suing the league over brain safety issues and the union is refusing to go along with the idea of an 18-game schedule due to player safety concerns, it doesn’t look too good to be challenging a rule that’s designed to enhance safety and cut down on injuries. Suggestion to the union: Wear the fucking pads already and shut up.

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Sign of the times: An interesting discussion broke out in the comments last night when reader Billy Duss noticed that Twins pitcher P.J. Walters had inscribed “AFW” on the U.S. Cellular Comiskey mound. Duss then did a bit of additional research and discovered that Walters had added the initials to the mound during his two previous starts. The initials are apparently a memorial for his daughter, Annabelle, who was born prematurely in February of 2010 and lived only 52 days.

Obviously, losing an infant is an unthinkably terrible experience that most of us can’t even imagine. But does that make it okay to put a public display on the mound more than two years after the child’s death — a display specifically positioned to be visible on television?

A few of us went back and forth on that question in the comments last night. Phil had a particularly sharp analysis (read: I’m gonna let him be the heavy here; the quote that follows is taken from two separate comments he posted):

You have to feel sorry for anyone who’s lost a child, but that is a “Look at me” move if there ever was one.

Wear a shirt under your jersey, write her initials on your cleat, shit, get a tattoo ”¦ but for the love of Christ, keep the mound clear of that.

And this seems like a total ratchet move too. If someone else loses a kid, or their wife, or their mom or their sister, or their childhood friend ”¦ what’s to stop them from expressing a similar sentiment? You’re gonna have all kinds of mound graffiti.

Nay, there are other and more appropriate ways to mourn someone than defacing the bump. …

First game back after her death, as a one-off? OK, I’m down with that. Three (at least) games approximately two years after her passing? No.

Reader Jim Hamerlinck took a different view:

I would cut the guy some slack. … Baseball is a funny game with a rich history full of ideosyncratic moments, events, and characters. That’s part of the reason why we love and follow the sport. A man carving the initials of his dead daughter into the mound doesn’t strike me as particularly egregious. What is his motive? What’s going on with him? Maybe he needs help.

I’m with Phil on this one. I’d be more okay with it if the initials were on the side of the mound, where the TV cameras couldn’t pick them up — then it wouldn’t have as much of a “Look at me” factor. As it is, it’s the mound equivalent of some guy who stands behind a TV correspondent and waves because hey, he’s on TV!

Frankly, I don’t want to see anything on the mound except the pitcher, the rosin bag, and that thingie that cleans the spikes. I’ve hated team logos on the back of the mound ever since they were introduced (and I hate them even more now that more of them are appearing in color), and Walters’s move seems like a fairly predictable outgrowth of that trend. If you start putting “official” things on the back of the mound, don’t be surprised if unofficial things end up there too.

But Jim raises a good point, namely that baseball is full of eccentric lore. If we were told that a pitcher had put his dead daughter’s initials on the mound back in the 1940s or ’50s, that might seem quaint, because we tend to react differently to things from the past than we do to things in the present. Similarly, I’ve always loved the story of Big Klu ripping the sleeves off his jersey — but if someone did that today, I’d be the first one to roll my eyes and call bullshit. Why the differing responses? Part of it is temporal context: Big Klu lived in an era when athletes didn’t “act out” as much as they do today, so it’s easier to view his sleeve stunt as a personal quirk instead of a calculated move to enhance his personal brand.

A more recent example: When MLB ran the TATC promotion with the futuristic uniforms in 1999, I pretty much viewed it as the end of the world. Whatever dignity the game had managed to retain over the years had now been flushed down the crapper, or at least that’s what I thought at the time. I suspect many people here felt similarly. Thirteen years later, I still think the TATC promotion was a terrible idea that never should have gotten off the drawing board. But it’s also an interesting chapter in a sport full of interesting chapters, and I wouldn’t want to live in a world where such chapters could never be added to MLB’s storyline. In years to come, maybe I’ll take a similar view of Walters adding his daughter’s initials to the mound. For now, though, I still think it’s inappropriate.

Finally, I seem to recall that there was a pitcher a few years ago (can’t remember who) who got in the habit of inscribing something on the back of he mound (can’t remember what, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a memorial), until another pitcher on an opposing team (can’t remember who) very pointedly used his foot to scratch out whatever had been on the mound, and that was the end of that. I know this happened — I just can’t recall any of the details. Little help..? (Update: Reader Dan Wohl thinks the incident I’m referring to may be when Jonathan Sanchez of the Giants scratched out the Padres logo on the Petco mound. That might be it — not sure. Either way, kudos to Sanchez. Too bad more pitchers haven’t followed his example.)

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Equal time: This is apparently a big week for vegetarians, which I discovered when the Mets sent out this tweet.

Some of you are probably expecting me to crack some sort of joke here. That’s understandable, since I’ve made it clear that I really like meat. I like to write about it, I like to talk about it, I like to think about it. But I realize some you people are vegetarians, and I figure it’s probably a bit of a drag for you when I write about my latest blow-torched steak or whatever. Yeah, you can just scroll down to the next section, no biggie, but I’m aware that there’s a certain air of glee in my tone when I write about meat, a sort of carnivorous evangelism that could easily be interpreted as a finger jab aimed at the vegetarian community’s collective eyeball. Still, not one of you — literally not a single one — has ever complained. Nobody has ever said, “Paul, could you dial down the meat angle just a smidge?” or anything along those lines.

I’ve known lots of vegetarians over the years (even dated a few, which was a bit of a trip). Many of them have told me, “Don’t worry, I’m not one of those preachy vegetarians,” which is funny, because I’ve never encountered a preachy vegetarian. Frankly, I’m way preachier about meat than any vegetarian I’ve known has ever been about salad.

Vegetarianism isn’t for me, but I can see plenty of good reasons for it. It’s definitely healthier, it’s better for the planet, and it’s better for animals. Some people like to play gotcha with vegetarians (“Sure, you don’t eat meat, but you’re wearing leather shoes, you hypocrite!”), but I don’t think a person’s eating choices need to be intellectually consistent or even rational; they just need to make sense to that person. As long as it works for you, that’s fine by me.

So today, in the midst of World Vegetarian Week, I’m offering a salute to all you herbivores out there. I know it can suck to be part of a marginalized class, and I respect the fact that you stick to your principles without getting all uptight about it. I won’t be running any meat recipes this week, I promise.

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Position wanted: The crummy economy delivered a body blow to the Uni Watch family last week, as Collector’s Corner columnist Brinke Guthrie was laid off from his job. He’s now seeking a new gig, so I’ll hand the mic to him:

I’m looking for a position in radio and/or internet news, sports, or tech media. I have extensive music, news, and tech radio experience, and I’m based in the SF East Bay area. You can check out my profiles on LinkedIn and for more details; I’m available by e-mail and Google Voice (925.405.6140). Many thanks!

On a personal note, Brinke has been a weekly Uni Watch columnist for about two years now (and he was a steady reader and Ticker contributor for a long time before that), and I can honestly say he’s a pleasure to work with. Very dependable, a self-starter, and full of ideas. No drama or ego trips, either — the guy’s a peach. If you can help him out, he can definitely help you out. Drop him a line.

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Cubee update: Another day, another nice round of Cubees. Here’s the latest batch:

• Jason Torban made himself a Randall Cunningham/Eagles Cubee.

• Gary Chanko is making Cubees of 2012 Heisman Trophy candidates. His latest rendition is of Clemson QB Tajh Boyd. (If you want to make this one yourself, here’s the template.)

• James Ferentz made himself a very nice Iowa Hawkeye Cubee.

• And my favorite Cubee of the day comes from Mike Hall, who depicted a Cubee-fied Jonathan Vilma offering a $100 bounty to anyone who’d take out the Peyton Manning Cubee from yesterday’s entry.

Cubee-fication — everybody’s doing it!

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Quick, what sport did these guys play? Answer at the bottom of the Ticker. … The White Sox, who had already added a memorial patch for Moose Skowron, have added another one for BP pitcher Kevin Hickey. …Several uni-notable items in this gallery of 1982 Reds highlights. Slide 3 shows the sour grapes banner that flew atop Riverfront Stadium that year; slide 4 shows the team’s unusual dugout jacket design from that season; and check out the caption on slide 6 — fascinating! (All this from Mark Fightmaster.) … The Denver Post has been offering something similar to Cubees for a while now. Not quite as charming as Cubees, I’d say, but still fun (from Michael Lukac). … Since some new outlets have had a hard time distinguishing the L.A. Kings from the Sacramento Kings, the hockey team created this fun infographic (from John Muir). … A little over a year ago, I wrote an entry about a 1969 ballgame in which plate umpire Ed Sudol worked the game in a T-shirt. I also that instead of having a ballboy bring the baseballs to Sudol, the Cubs apparently used an usher. Now I’ve heard from reader Dan Ronan, who writes: “Andy Frain was a company that provided event security and assistance at the ballparks, Soldier Field, the Chicago Stadium, etc. They provided the usher. He would sit on a small stool near the Cubs’ on deck circle with a canvas bag of baseballs bring them to the umpire as needed. It was the same guy for years, and I recall he kept putting on weight, so eventually he was well over 250 pounds and was having trouble making it to the umpire in between innings. Also, I recall the game you are talking about, because I was actually attending and wondering what the umpire was doing wearing just a T-shirt. I was about 10 at the time and I remember it was oppressively hot and humid and the ballpark was nearly full, so add 38,000 of your closest friends to a small, cramped ballpark and many were drinking beer, etc. Kind of like a typical day at Wrigley Field today.” … This is pretty cool: wallets made from baseball gloves (big thanks to Steve King). … Just What the World Needed Dept.: Sweatbacks have come to the baseball diamond. Sigh (from Josh Kelman). … Here’s a very nice set of National League team patches (from Jameson Adams). … Some good photos and details regarding the Jackie Robinson movie that’s currently being filmed in Chattanooga (from Matthew Robins). … You’ve Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me Dept.: Thanks to some anonymous one percenter, the position of offensive coodinator at Stanford will now officially be known as the Andrew Luck Director of Offense (from Jarrod Leder). … MLB already knows what next year’s All-Star Game logo will look like (not that they’re ready to share it with us, mind you). But that didn’t stop Bryan Molloy from coming up with some concepts of his own. … Coupla problems with the Rusty Staub bobbles that the Mets are giving away this weekend: (1) The Mets never wore a headspooned home jersey during Rusty’s two stints with the team, and (2) they got the stirrups style all wrong (bobble photo from Nicholas Schiavo). … Packers rookie Nick Perry was wearing a Reebok jersey with a cover-up patch on the marker’s mark the other day (from David Trett). ”¦ Two Indian tribes in Oregon are disappointed by the state board of education’s move to ban the use of Indian mascots, because they favored a more nuanced approach. Before anyone on either side of the issue jumps to any conclusions, I suggest that you read the whole article (from Peter Dalgaard). ”¦ Max Reinhart noticed something in the Wikipedia entry for David Humm, who was a backup QB in the ’70s. According to the entry, Humm was “an effective holder for a field goal or an extra point, with the unusual habit of arriving on the field with no shoulder pads, which tipped the opposing team that a fake field goal was unlikely.” Now, I actually remember David Humm, but I don’t remember him not wearing pads. Of course, maybe I just didn’t notice. Anyone know more? ”¦ Novak Djokovic has signed a new endorsement deal with Uniqlo (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Also from Brinke: With the Warriors planning to move from Oakland to San Francisco in 2017, team and city officials did a photo-op with some specially modified jerseys. ”¦ Really interesting article on the making of F1 tires (from Jeremy Brahm). ”¦ Outmania! Even with that farking jersey, it looks pretty sweet. ”¦ Did you know that Ford had put its logo up for collateral on a loan deal back in 2006? They finally got the logo back yesterday. ”¦ Answer to quiz: These guys were the tug of war team from the Milwaukee Athletic Club (hence the chest logo). They represented America at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis and won the gold medal. I love the shoulder coverings, which I assume were to protect against rope burn (awesome find by Garrett Van Auken).

260 comments to NFL’s Next Stop: Pad-dington Station

  • DenverGregg | May 23, 2012 at 7:38 am |

    COTD link is wonky.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 7:45 am |

      Thanks. Now fixed.

  • BurghFan | May 23, 2012 at 7:58 am |

    The players’ union plans to contest the new rule, because it wasn’t collectively bargained, but that just seems petty….Suggestion to the union: Wear the fucking pads already and shut up.

    The only way the union is going to get the league to include it in the decision-making process is to object when it’s ignored. Maybe if the NFL had come to them with the new rule, the Players’ Association would have agreed immediately. Maybe the union would have had asked for a concession on something else in return. Or maybe the membership really doesn’t want to wear those pads, in which case their union should represent that sentiment. But rolling over for any league proposal makes it that much more likely that the union will be ignored the next time the league wants to impose something on the players, whether or not what they’re imposing seems reasonable.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 8:13 am |

      From a strict labor standpoint, of course, you’re right. But the idea that accepting something that will enhance player safety qualifies as “rolling over” is kinda sad….

      • Arr Scott | May 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |

        But we live in a world where this sad situation exists not because labor unions are hypocrites, but because industrial and commercial management generally treats employees like serfs. You can be sure that the NFL, which has perhaps the most sophisticated in-house legal counsel in the nation, made a conscious decision not to take this to the union specifically because that move would force the union to choose between these options:

        1. Accept the rules change because, hey, it’s a perfectly sensible change they’d have agreed to anyway, possibly without demanding anything in return, but by doing so significantly weaken the union’s ability to protect its members in the future; or

        2. Object to protect the general principle but look like hypocritical mooks in the specific example.

        Also, by skipping collective bargaining on this change, the NFL took off the table a potential leverage point that the players could have had in negotiating more significant issues such as the 18-game season.

        This is not the union being short-sighted jerks. This is NFL management screwing union labor.

        • Le Cracquere | May 23, 2012 at 11:50 am |

          If it’s as you describe, then the NFL was being extremely smart. They had nothing to gain from giving the union any bargaining chips, and much to gain from either of the two possible outcomes. Kudos to them.

        • Jim Vilk | May 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm |

          But we live in a world where this sad situation exists not because labor unions are hypocrites, but because and industrial and commercial management generally treats employees like serfs

      • Ry Co 40 | May 23, 2012 at 8:53 am |

        i’m in the “Wear the fucking pads already and shut up” camp.

        i see a lot of guys in hockey skating without shoulder pads. i used to go shoulder pads-less for just over a year, until i sat down for no more than 2 minutes and thought about it. the pads aren’t so much for me… hell i RARELY take a puck off the chest, or upper body for that matter (knock on wood…), and i screen the goalie… A LOT! but something that does occur during the games… A LOT… is incidental contact. shoulder to shoulder, shoulder to head, shoulder to chest, etc. i got rocked full speed by my own teammate last month shoulder to face. had he not been wearing shoulder pads, i would have been out cold.

        these NFLers going sans knee pad are just plain stupid. a bare knee to the helmet might hurt the knee for a down or 3, but sure as shit will rattle that brain around in the other guys helmet. in fact there’s probably not a better body part in football that will do a better job of delivering a concussion.

        really… “Wear the fucking pads already and shut up”

        • Pat C | May 23, 2012 at 10:08 am |

          A padded knee to the helmet does just as much damage as a non padded knee. I know from experience.

        • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 10:15 am |

          Not to the knee.

        • Ry Co 40 | May 23, 2012 at 10:54 am |

          if i gave you the choice to hit you in the helmet with a hammer, or with a hammer wrapped in a piece of styrofoam? would you feel the same way pat C, or would you go with the styrofoam just in case?

        • Pat C | May 23, 2012 at 11:46 am |

          Of course I’d take the styrafoam, but I’d be hurting the same amount from both. A knee to the head with a pad on it is just as painful as a helmet to helmet hit is. I’ve experienced both. I can honestly say I’ve never had a helmet on and taken a un padded knee to the head. It may be a bit better but the impact of the knee itself isn’t doing the damage as much as the whiplash is doing. And the whiplash is going to be just as bad either way.

          When you get hit in the head with a helmet on that point of impact is never what hurts. You won’t have a bump on your head where the knee hit you. Your neck is going to hurt, you’ll have a concussion from your brain rattling around in your head. 1/2″ of dense foam isn’t doing anything to prevent that. The only thing its going to do is prevent bruises and abrasions on your knee.

          I’m on the fence with requiring it in the NFL. For college down it should be required. But for the pros I don’t know. I usually come down on the side of adults making their own decisions, no matter how bad they could be.

    • Fred | May 23, 2012 at 9:40 am |

      The more pads the players wear, the more dangerous the game is. Learn from rugby and don’t wear helmets or pads. People won’t hit as hard as they do without any pads. They give you a false sense of invincibility.

      • diz | May 23, 2012 at 10:20 am |

        this exactly. More pads just mean players can hit each other harder, which, for a league that is concerned with serious, long term injury, seems like a silly thing to mandate

        • Jim Vilk | May 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

          Wear a cup, though.

      • walter | May 23, 2012 at 10:59 am |

        Everybody laughs at my idea of a No-helmet Football League. I think its an idea whose time has come.

      • Ry Co 40 | May 23, 2012 at 11:02 am |

        “Learn from rugby and don’t wear helmets or pads. People won’t hit as hard as they do without any pads. They give you a false sense of invincibility”

        VERY true!!!

        i’d actually love to see pro football played with rugby level padding.

        • The Jeff | May 23, 2012 at 11:29 am |

          Wait, didn’t the game basically start that way and the pads came along because of the huge amount of injuries? I don’t think sending the sport back 90 years is going to fix anything.

        • Fred | May 23, 2012 at 11:53 am |

          Still had pads back in the day on their chest and legs. There were guys wearing leather helmets and guys wearing no helmets so you have a difference in mentality. Guys wearing helmets were more likely to hurt guys not wearing helmets.

          Nobody knows how to tackle properly anymore so of course you’re going to see concussions, with or without helmets. I just think if a movement was made to reduce paddings and eliminate the helmet on both side of the ball, there are going to be less bone-crunching blows.

        • Chance Michaels | May 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

          I’d agree – I’ve been saying for the past couple years that the best thing the NFL could do is get rid of helmets.

          Design a new rugby-style scrum cap, slap a logo on it, and good to go. Branding issues solved, and players will no longer be able to (as Scott Simon once said) “weaponize their heads.”

  • Danya | May 23, 2012 at 8:02 am |

    Paul, I’m not sure if this is what you were thinking of since I know it’s not quite what you said, but I definitely remember Jonathan Sanchez of the Giants intentionally destroying the Padres logo on the mound at Petco with his cleat. Here’s a photo

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 8:05 am |

      Hmmm. Maybe that’s what I was thinking of. Indeed, the Padres were among the first (maybe THE first) to put the team logo on the mound, weren’t they? So I think it was a new thing at the time, and Sanchez didn’t sharing the mound with the opposing team’s logo, so…..

      If only more pitchers had followed his example.

      • The Jeff | May 23, 2012 at 9:48 am |

        Wow, that seems rather close to being a baseball version of the infamous Terrel Owens/Cowboys Star incident. Did anyone get hit by any pitches that day?

        • TA | May 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |

          If by “rather close” you mean “not close at all,” I agree.

    • Stirrup Jake | May 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm |

      I love everything about this. What if, and only what if a certain team decided to do this during the last game of every road series they were in. What if this hypothetical team didn’t do it when they were at home.

      You thoughts? Everyone.

      Shall I mention this incident either via the inter-webs or behind a TeeVee camera?


    • Ken | May 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm |

      I don’t have video, but I specifically remember Chad Billingsley doing the same thing at Petco Park around 5 years back. It wasn’t the Padres logo he kicked off, though. I believe the Padre pitcher inscribed his number into the mound, and Billingsley got rid of it as a “this isn’t just your mound” type of thing. I’ll see if I can find it

      • Ken | May 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

        Ugh I cannot find video of it, but I think it was a July 5, 2009 game when Billingsley took the hill for LA and erased Josh Banks #38 off of the mound. Completely odd question, but does anybody know where I can find video of that specific game?

        I’m 99.9% sure it was Chad Billingsley, and I’m 99.9% sure it was him doing erasing the other starter’s number off of the mound at Petco Park. Are there any Padre fans who know of a pitcher who inscribed their number into the dirt?

  • Baseball Backs | May 23, 2012 at 8:19 am |

    Turk Wendell used to draw 3 crosses in the dirt on the mound before each inning.

    Of course, he did a lot of other stuff too.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 8:22 am |

      And there have been batters who draw things in the batter’s box when they step in to hit. (In fact, membership card designer Scott M.X. Turner does this when he plays softball.)

      But those are private gestures, pretty much between the player and the dirt. In my book, there’s a big difference between that and putting giant letters where you know they’ll be visible to the camera.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 8:27 am |

      I also think there’s something about the death of a child that magnifies and distorts everything it touches. It makes some of us uncomfortable; it makes others super-empathetic; etc. So I think that will play a role in how people respond to Walters’s mound modification.

      • Arr Scott | May 23, 2012 at 8:56 am |

        I feel the same way about roadside death markers. On the one hand, I totally get the impulse to commemorate the place where a loved one died. On the other hand, this amounts to private takeover of public property, and furthermore as a culture we already have appropriate places to memorialize the beloved dead: At their graves.

        In the end, I sort of come down on the roadside flowers-and-cross thing somewhere along the lines of it’s OK for a little while, but after a few months, they’ve gotta come down. Same probably in this case: The display is understandable, but we’ve passed the “decent interval” mark and it really should be stopped. Gently, but firmly.

        • Shaftman | May 23, 2012 at 9:25 am |

          As someone who had premature twins (30 weeks, 2lbs 1 oz and 2 lbs 5 oz) I still find myself in the “this doesn’t belong on the mound” group.

          When my kids were in the NICU for 5 weeks I didn’t bring my issues into work with me. I told my boss, a few friends and went about my day the best I could. I didn’t post a sign on the door letting everyone know what happened.

          Yes, my kids turned out fine but I am now friends with plenty of parents (through the NICU) who were not as fortunate. I know they feel pain every day but they don’t make scenes at work because of it.

          All of that being said, if I was someone close to P.J. Walters I would certainly ask if everything was ok. Maybe this is a sign that he needs to talk about it and he’s hoping someone picks up the SOS.

        • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 10:00 am |

          Regarding roadside flowers/markers, scroll down to see my comment on Ghost Bikes in NYC.

        • Chris Holder | May 23, 2012 at 10:05 am |

          At the risk of sounding like a jerk, I agree, and will point out something else that I don’t get – memorials on cars (“In memory of ____, 19xx – 20xx”, etc.). This especially seems strange if the person memorialized died in a way that was not connected to a vehicular accident or whatever. I’ve seen these displays, recently, for people that died as much as eight years ago or more. I’ve even seen them on cars that were obviously newer than the date the person died.

          Obviously, I respect the right for a person to do it, and if it helps them grieve and feel a little better, then that’s fine. I just can’t say I understand it.

        • Tom V. | May 23, 2012 at 10:46 am |

          I get the roadside markers and on the surface they serve a purpose. Drive carefully, someone died here.

          But do you honestly drive down every road being overly cautious because someone died on a road 20 miles away, and you’re heeding the “drive carefully” mantra? Or do you see the roadside marker and say “yeah I should drive more carefully” and not 0 seconds later it’s out of your memory as you do something stupid in your car.

          Same thing with the “check twice for bikes” stickers, do you actually check twice every time you do something on the road in case there is a motorcycle there? Or do you see the stickers and think “yeah I’ll check twice” and again ten seconds later you’re not.

          So, I’m not against the message being conveyed by the roadside markers, they matter to the families and friends but ultimately I don’t think they’ve made any difference in getting folks to drive more carefully.

        • DarkAudit | May 23, 2012 at 11:35 am |

          Reply to Chris as there’s no reply link on his comment…

          What gets me is the “in memory of..” sticker sets that takes up the entire back window of some vehicles. How do they even make it out of their driveway without getting cited for an obscured window?

        • Pat C | May 23, 2012 at 11:54 am |

          To each his own on the roadside markers. My dad died in a car accident and we visited the site and put flowers there right after it happened but haven’t really done anything since at the site. I don’t really get honoring the dead at the location of their death. I’d rather honor them at a place of resting, or where you spent time with them. Remember their life, not their death.

          I still have to drive by that spot when I visit my mom and having a cross or some flowers there wouldn’t make me feel any better or help the healing. Spending time with my mom and remembering the good times helps me.

          But then again I’m also planning on a tattoo with his initials so I’m kind of all kinds of backwards on “getting” tributes!

        • Larry | May 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm |

          In Montana, the American Legion puts up roadside white crosses to mark accident fatalities as part of a state-wide program. You can be driving along a state highway and come to a bend in the road where there might be 20 of them. It is sobering.

    • phillipwilson | May 23, 2012 at 10:51 am |

      I’m sure the league would ban it once someone had a kid die named

      Wally Thomas Frazier
      Andrew Samson Smith
      Franz Ulysses Kaiser

      I have no problem with the general idea of it, only the tv positioning. If the intent was to be in a place where he could see it, cool. But it isn’t there for him.

  • FatMagz | May 23, 2012 at 8:20 am |

    James Ferentz? As in the former starting center for the Iowa Hawkeyes? Son of Coach Kirk Ferentz?

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 8:38 am |

      I just printed the name he gave me. Didn’t give him a blood test.

      • Rob S | May 23, 2012 at 9:05 am |


    • Junior Spivey | May 23, 2012 at 9:35 am |

      As opposed to the Council Bluffs’ Ferentz’s?

  • scott | May 23, 2012 at 8:27 am |

    I thought it might have been Alex Rodriguez crossing Dallas Braden’s mound that you were referencing.

  • Duncan | May 23, 2012 at 8:27 am |

    where does one go to make college cubees? I’d love to make a USC Gamecock one.

    • Gary | May 23, 2012 at 8:39 am |

      See yesterday’s Cubee Update for a Gamecocks Cubee.

  • Davis J | May 23, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    I love that term that you coined, Paul: “Carnivorous Evangelism.” That sounds delicious.

  • JS | May 23, 2012 at 8:29 am |

    Kind of a similar vein of the mound art in baseball, I recall a game where a couple of first basemen were playing tic-tac-toe in the dirt near the outfield grass. Quick internet search says Lance Berkman has done it, and Steve Lyons used to do it all the time.

    And, of course, we can’t forget Pudge Fisk tearing Neon Deion a new one for his habit of drawing a dollar sign in the batter’s box dirt before each at bat. Some “tributes” just don’t belong.

    When all is said in done, I guess I’m okay with the mound tributes.

  • Keith | May 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |

    The Kings infographic is nice but maybe they could put something together letting NBC know they don’t have the color purple in their scheme any more. NBC is constantly using the purple highlights for all things Kings (the power play bar, various shading, etc.).
    There is no longer any purple in the uniform and I’m pretty sure it’s been removed from all aspects of the organization…

    • DJ | May 23, 2012 at 9:50 am |

      It’s still in the Kings’ third uniform. And I’m pretty sure it’s part of the color set, although severely minimized.

  • JS | May 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |

    Paul, no comments on the hosiery that Sun Devils player is wearing?? Looks like he’s sporting faux stirrups that have both a logo on the side AND uni number on the toe.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 8:37 am |

      Actually, there’s a lot going on in that photo. What’s the logo at the top of the rear collar, e.g.? Also: Wilson pants!

      • JS | May 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |

        This article says the unis are made by Wilson DeMarini. Wonder why they have the DeMarini logo on the shirt and Wilson on the pants?

      • John Zajac | May 23, 2012 at 9:03 am |

        Paul, that’s the logo for Demarini, a bat manufacturer for baseball and softball. That jersey does remind me of the type you would see playing in some slow pitch softball tournaments with the sublimation print behind the number.

  • BSmile | May 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |

    “Thanks to some anonymous one percenter, the position of offensive coodinator at Stanford will now officially be known as the Andrew Luck Director of Offense”

    That’s just unbelievably stupid. That better not become a trend…

    • Frankie | May 23, 2012 at 11:56 am |

      For what it’s worth, this isn’t new to Stanford. The head coach’s official title is, “Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football”.

    • Chris K | May 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |

      In my opinion the memorials on the side of the road and the window stickers, are slightly creepy. Creepy in the sense that I then go in to semi-deep thought about the car wreck. Inevitably the stickers reveal the deceased died at a very young age, sending me in to a deeper state of melancholy. I too have empathy for those that are grieving. I personally choose to grieve in ways other than that. And I also believe that playing fields shouldn’t be platforms for grieving either. And I love this blog by the way. The topics bounce around like super balls sometimes. Great insights, and both sides of the argument, are thoughtfully (usually) revealed. Thank you Reverend Ribeye.

  • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |

    Reader Frank Bitzer just sent me this photo of Dick Allen:

    I hadn’t seen that before. He was years ahead of Johnny LeMaster!

  • Morgan | May 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |

    I totally guessed tug of war!

    • Jim Vilk | May 23, 2012 at 11:55 am |

      Actually, I did as well…but that was only because I just read an article about former Olympic sports. Tug of war was the last one and it must have been stuck in my head.

  • Rick Ho | May 23, 2012 at 8:48 am |

    The Angel’s Jered Weaver and The Ranger’s Mike Napoli still pay tribute to their fallen teammate Nick Adehart since his death in 2009.

    From Wikipedia.
    In an ongoing memorial, Angels pitcher Jered Weaver writes the initials “NA” in the dirt on the back of the pitcher’s mound before each start in honor of Adenhart. Mike Napoli, who caught Adenhart’s final game, and is now a member of the Texas Rangers, goes out to center field before every game, and writes Adenhart’s name in the warning track dirt.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |

      That’s nice. But nobody can see the warning track dirt. And I’m assuming Weaver’s mound inscription is either small or discreetly positioned, since it isn’t visible during his games (or at least I don’t think it is — gonna check some video right now).

      • Rick Ho | May 23, 2012 at 8:56 am |

        During the Angel’s home broadcast, they will usually show him writing the initials on the mound.

        In 2009, when they had a photo of Adenhart on the outfield wall, during pregame, Weaver would go over to the photo and tap it and either say a pray or have a moment of silent for his friend.

      • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 8:59 am |

        I stand corrected. Turns out you *can* see Nick Adenhart’s initials on the mound when Weaver pitches (although you kinda have to know what you’re looking for). Here’s a screen shot from the 2nd inning of his last start:

        I’m not in love with that move either. But at least Adenhart was a pitcher who actually pitched on that mound — he has (or had) a connection to it. So putting his initials there seems more appropriate (or less inappropriate) than putting the initials of a child.

        • B-Duss | May 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm |

          If we’re splitting hairs, with this (which we kind of are), the “NA” is minimal and you can’t really notice it. The inscription that Walters put on the mound is much bigger. The AFW was so large that some other family members who were watching the Twins game with me last night noticed it without me mentioning it.

  • Pierre | May 23, 2012 at 8:51 am |

    Call me when a pitcher draws a naked picture of Charlize Theron in the dirt on the mound…

    • Le Cracquere | May 23, 2012 at 11:54 am |

      I believe there’s a minor-leaguer who does that; unfortunately, it depicts her in “Monster.” The parent club is hoping his rotator cuff gives.

      • Besty | May 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

        Rita before the plastic surgery. When is Arrested coming back?

  • Dane | May 23, 2012 at 8:56 am |

    I know that the argument is made above that Nike may not have been behind the new NFL pads rule. However, I offer this excerpt from an article on

    “Goodell pointed out something a Nike executive told him recently: NBA players are wearing more pads from the hips down than NFL players.”

    I will put that on the side of tail-wagging-dog.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 9:02 am |

      I disagree. That quote doesn’t mean this move is intended to push Nike product; it means someone pointed out to Goodell that the situation with pads (or lack thereof) has gotten ridiculous. And yes, it makes sense that the people who’d tell him that are the league’s official outfitter. That doesn’t mean there’s anything nefarious about it.

      I think my general position on Nike and tail/dog situations is pretty well established. But I don’t see anything evil going on here. Pads are good!

  • Arr Scott | May 23, 2012 at 9:03 am |

    Something just seemed Uni Watch-y about this ode to plywood:

    So I’m sharing it.

  • Hank-SJ | May 23, 2012 at 9:05 am |

    Re: Rusty Bobblehead. Just like with throwback unis, is it so difficult to do a little research, look at couple of photos or videos of the era/player and then produce the item accordingly? Just plain lazy if you ask me.

    • Jet | May 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |

      My thoughts exactly.


  • Chris Holder | May 23, 2012 at 9:13 am |

    Hey look, my hometown of Chattanooga made the ticker, and I didn’t even send in that submission. I think most of us here are excited about this “42” movie, and for me, I’m elated that historic Engel Stadium has essentially been saved from the scrap heap. We’ve lost too many classic minor league stadiums to let another one go. Although it’s being significantly altered for the movie, the supposed plan is to restore it to something close to its original look once filming is complete. As I have never been able to go to a game there, I’m looking forward to seeing it.

    Unfortunately, I will not be appearing in the movie. Didn’t even try to be an extra. I know – shame on me.

    • Turtle12 | May 23, 2012 at 9:30 am |

      Engel is by far my favorite ballpark of all time.

      • scott | May 23, 2012 at 9:36 am |

        Great stadium and really lovingly preserved. The new minor league park in Chattanooga just can’t compare. The Lookouts should play at least one game at Engel every year, much like the Birmingham Barons return to Rickwood Field annually.

        • Chris Holder | May 23, 2012 at 9:53 am |

          I’ve thought so too. Birmingham does a great job with Rickwood. Actually, I thought I heard for a while the Lookouts were planning to do something of that nature, but I guess it never materialized. Perhaps the work done for this movie will prompt them to look into it again.

          Too bad the local college (UT-Chattanooga) doesn’t have a baseball program that could use Engel.

  • Natron | May 23, 2012 at 9:14 am |

    Until MLB gets the Astroturf logos off the plastic in Toronto and Tampa, and they stop allowing teams to shill for All-Star votes, I’ll find it incredibly hard to come down on a player who wants to show respect to somebody close to them that’s passed… The “selfishness” that’s being agured about Walters’ pales in comparison to MLB.

    • Jason M (DC) | May 23, 2012 at 10:27 am |

      Excellent points!

  • ClubMedSux | May 23, 2012 at 9:29 am |

    Big Klu lived in an era when athletes didn’t “act out” as much as they do today.

    A minor point, but I suspect that athletes probably acted out as much 25 years ago, 50 years ago, or even 100 years ago as they do today. It’s just that when they act out today, it’s broadcast worldwide via satellite, streamed live on the internet, posted on captured with smart phones, uploaded to YouTube, tweeted by a fan in the front row (or sitting next to the player at the bar), splashed across Deadspin and discussed on blogs.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 9:34 am |

      Which in turn encourages them to act out even more. So it’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

  • PJM | May 23, 2012 at 9:31 am |

    I feel your pettiness towards such trivial things in life really demonstrates how shallow your are Paul. I have no problem with the man showing a tribute that hopefully helps him and makes him feel like his child is still with him. not everything in life should cater whether or not you care to see it…just let it go man, you fight too many battles…

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 9:38 am |

      Well. Did I mention that the death of a child tends to distort everything it touches?

      “Trivial” is a relative term. In any case, paying attention to “trivial things” is pretty much the basis of my work.

      We can disagree on the appropriateness of the initials on the mound (indeed, that’s why I presented both sides of last night’s comment debate), but I’m hardly “fighting a battle” here. Just opining on a situation that I agree is complicated.

      • matt | May 23, 2012 at 9:50 am |

        how is it complicated? its dirt. you are being overly petty if you have a problem with it. have fun being on deadspin and getting a call from the wwl. maybe that will help you realize how unthinkably stupid your viewpoint is on this.

        • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 9:55 am |

          Have I mentioned that the death of a child tends to distort everything it touches?

      • Le Cracquere | May 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

        Indeed. The death of a child is also a shattering experience that moves outsiders to extend the bereaved a considerable amount of slack in dealing with their loss. No decent man wants to tell a mourning father how he should or shouldn’t mourn.

        But by the same token, that social leniency gives the bereaved a responsibility not to abuse the slack they’re cut, and not to claim perpetual license for public gestures we wouldn’t have patience for in other situations. If writing camera-friendly messages on the pitcher’s mound is distracting and undesirable in any other context, then doing it forevermore in memory of a lost loved one is borderline presuming on our sympathies.

  • Bernard | May 23, 2012 at 9:34 am |

    You guys take baseball way too seriously. It’s fucking dirt.

    • concealed78 | May 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

      I get you’re not a baseball traditionalist or purist. But I couldn’t imagine not being one. Baseball isn’t like other sports.

      • Fred | May 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm |

        You’re right it isn’t any other sport, because it’s excellent at inducing me to sleep!

        • concealed78 | May 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm |

          Riiiiight. Go play a video game.

    • Christopher F. | May 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm |

      Considering you post on this site… you take uniforms way too seriously. Its just fabric!

  • Jake H | May 23, 2012 at 9:36 am |

    An ancient civilization predicted that the world would end this year. This remains to be seen.

    – Jake

    • walter | May 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm |

      Yeah, where’s the goddam asteroid? Isn’t the E! Channel evidence enough the human race is on borrowed time?

  • Defo Maitland | May 23, 2012 at 9:36 am |

    Re: Incident involving mound scratchings …

    I wish I could remember the details but it was a game a Petco Park during the time the grounds crew would put the Padres starting pitcher’s number on the back of the mound. In the bottom of the first, the visiting starter put HIS number on the mound but by the top of the second inning, they had been scratched out.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 9:44 am |

      Ah, maybe *that’s* the incident I was struggling to recall the details of.

      • Defo Maitland | May 23, 2012 at 10:53 am |

        Here we go … from Uni Watch Aug. 3, 2006

        As many of you are aware, the Padres routinely write the starting pitcher’s uni number in the dirt at the back of the mound. This led to an odd situation last night, as described here by Jean Lefebvre: “When Brandon Backe came out for the bottom of the 1st, he inscribed his No. 41 to the right of Woody Williams’ No. 17. Top of the second, Backe’s number was rubbed out by Williams. At this point Backe gave up.”

  • Rob H. | May 23, 2012 at 9:37 am |

    So the Warriors announce in May 2012 that they are going to move across the bay in 2017? Has there ever been a longer franchise-relocation lame-duck period?

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 9:39 am |


    • Cort | May 23, 2012 at 10:06 am |

      The Buffalo Bills have been carrying on an affair with Toronto for at least 5 years, and have promised to extend it for five more. They’re doing a version of “We’re staying together until the kids are grown”: Ralph Wilson is about as old as Montgomery Burns, and for some reason, refuses to die. His heirs, who are itching to sell the team, can’t do anything until he’s buried or cremated or cryogenically frozen. Until then, they steal away to Toronto for the occasional weekend fling. Toronto’s level of interest amounts to “We can do this so long as you leave the TV on and I can read a magazine,” but the prospect of NFL money coming to Rogers Centre is appealing, I guess.

  • matt | May 23, 2012 at 9:37 am |

    i dont read this blog and i never will, i also never comment on stupid internet columns, because they are usually just that, stupid. but i can’t hold back: if you are the type of person who has a problem with how another man mourns the death of his daughter, you’re a special kind of asshole and you need to take a good hard look at yourself. in the end, what difference does it really make if he puts her initials in the mound. none. this reflects really really poorly on you.

    • Jet | May 23, 2012 at 11:46 am |

      “i dont read this blog and i never will”…

      so how did you happen to wind up here commenting about it??


    • Jennifer Hayden | May 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

      Did you actually read anything that Paul wrote, Matt or are you just having a bad day?

      Lighten up, Francis.

    • George N. | May 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

      What”reflects really really poorly” is resorting to name-calling. Hooray for you.

      If this was his father, or his brother, or his wife, that he was memorializing by initialing the mound, would you/others be so quick to jump on Paul and those who don’t agree with his actions? I can’t answer that, but I *do* agree with Paul that it seems the fundamental issue here is that “the death of a child tends to distort everything it touches”.

      The issue is a broad one: “Should personal tributes be allowed on pitching mounds”? As it is, a certain faction has instead decided to turn it into a totally separate issue: “How dare you attack a grieving father?”.

      Me personally, I couldn’t care less what P.J. Walters etches onto the mound. It doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the game. Others, not so much. And that’s fine. That’s their prerogative. I have too much going on in my life to worry about whether someone is being mean, or being an asshole, because they have a differing opinion over such a trivial issue.

      IMHO, it feels like a “look-at-me” gesture. although I’m loathe to say “obviously he makes them huge so that they can be seen on TV”, because I don’t know WHY he makes them so huge. And I doubt anyone would have the balls to ask him if he’s doing it for the attention.

    • concealed78 | May 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm |

      I have no problem with being an asshole. But P.J. Walters needs to realize the mound is not his personal canvas & that it belongs to everyone/pitcher. That’s not his space. Incidentally I’m starting to think civilians shouldn’t throw the ceremonial 1st pitch off the mound/rubber because that belongs to the pitchers. I also think it doesn’t need to be done EVERY single game, either.

  • Neil | May 23, 2012 at 9:39 am |

    Perhaps this wasn’t the best test case for the get-off-my-mound argument. I have 2 kids. If I lost one… I don’t know what I would do. Maybe I’d scrawl some letters in the dirt. And maybe some of you would see it. I find it hard to criticize this guy for this.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 9:49 am |

      I’ve never had (and will never have) a child, so I can only imagine what Walters and other parents of deceased children are going through.

      But my imaginings are rooted in some tough experience. In 1988, my brother died after a long illness. My parents were never the same. My father almost seemed to be *physically smaller* afterward — like, he seemed shorter, reduced — and his energy level became much lower. My mother still talks about my brother all the time, and the pain in her voice is still evident.

      So while it’s true that I’ve never quite been there, I’m not a complete stranger to that territory. I don’t mean to be insensitive to you, to Walters, or to anyone else.

      But our culture has places for expressions of grief and sorrow. I don’t think a large televised display on the mound more than two years after someone’s death is one of them. You may disagree. And that’s fine.

      • Neil | May 23, 2012 at 10:10 am |

        Oh wow, Paul – I said “if I lost one.” I am blessed with two very healthy kids.

        I, however, am sorry for your and your parents’ loss. I cannot (or do not want to) imagine. My grandparents lost a child when he was 3 and it still brought tears 80+ years later.

        I respect your point of view on this (which I think is more nuanced than some are indicating). I think you are right that the fact that it is a child really overwhelms the whole issue, which is why maybe this isn’t the case to plant the flag on.

        Now if someone writes out titantiumnecklacesdotcom…

      • Ed Hughes | May 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

        I’ve never lost a child although we came within a day or two (aggressive cancer, in remission now for 10+ years) back in 2000. We got close enough for me to think about it at length. My father passed away in 2007. His sport was lacrosse and his number was 21. I made a little red-and-white sticker with “21” on it and put it near the back edge of my goalie’s mask. It’s there, it’ll stay there, and if anyone asks (they never have) I’ll tell them what it means. My sister got a small “21” charm made for a bracelet–completely independent of what I did.

        My issue with the initials on the mound is one of scale. What I do is appropriate because the “21” is small and unobtrusive and it’s where I see it every time I put on or take off the mask. The mound initials are much too large in my opinion, and go beyond a simple memorial to a plea for attention. Realistically a memorial is for the loved ones of the person who’s gone and (if, as I do, you believe in an afterlife) for the person who’s gone.

        Anyway, that’s my opinion.

  • Dan K | May 23, 2012 at 9:43 am |

    Whoa! Not so fast! Vegetarianism is not necessarily healthier!

    • walter | May 23, 2012 at 11:02 am |

      Certainly not the vegetables *I* eat, yum, yum.

    • Arr Scott | May 23, 2012 at 11:58 am |

      Bread is dead! Wheat is murder!

    • Andy | May 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |

      If you’re eating french fries and jalapeno poppers, no, but if you’re eating whole plants, fruits and unprocessed grains and legumes, all the while avoiding bad sugars and fats, then there’s plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that avoiding the animal proteins in meat, poultry, fish, cheese, other dairy products, etc. is better for nearly all your bodily systems.

      • Jeff P | May 24, 2012 at 3:39 am |


        Meat is healthy. A healthy vegetarian diet will be better than an unhealthy meat inclusive one. That has nothing to do with the meat, and everything to do with, ya know, the “healthy”.

        There are amino acids found in meats that you cannot get in vegetables. Your body can get along without them, but your muscle development will never be as fast or robust, your blood will always lack the oxygen capacity of somebody who does eat meat. Surgeons can tell when they cut into you, just by how you bleed, if you’re a vegetarian.

        It’s not a diet we’ve evolved to eat, and it’s not healthier for you. It’s a shortcut to a healthier diet for some, because by cutting out all the bad meats (plenty out there, largely thanks to corn fed beef) they have to think about constructing a new balanced diet for themselves. But there’s nothing inherently healthier about not eating an important food group.

  • Kevin B | May 23, 2012 at 9:45 am |

    Is James Ferentz, who made the Iowa Hawkeyes Cubee, any relation to Kirk Ferentz?

  • Tom V. | May 23, 2012 at 9:47 am |

    So what happens when someone writes his deceased childs initials on the mound, and then the opposing pitcher decides to scribble them out?

    Actually though I’m ok with writing initials in the dirt and other team logos etc that are written in the dirt. But once you start adding color thats over the line.

    • walter | May 23, 2012 at 11:05 am |

      Reminds me of when Jimmy Johnson had his players jump up and down on a box of Flutie Flakes. Yeah, it was a classless move, but when you put the product out there, you give it to the world to use as it will. You surrender control of it, so you have to accept what becomes of it.

      • Tom V. | May 23, 2012 at 11:48 am |

        Exactly, I mentioned the same thing last week about the Barclays Center subway station, it has every chance to work against them as well.

    • concealed78 | May 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm |

      I think the issue is writing anything on the mound, and what’s to stop other players for doing tributes to other things and people? MLB had a silver-ink cap tribute problem that kept cultivating for years until MLB finally said to stop it. I know some players really like each other, but the uniform & cap is not the place to do it, and I’m starting to see why all these elaborately designed tribute sleeve patches are becoming indulgent & tacky when a black armband is much more tasteful & restrained. “Would have never seen this 20 years ago”.

      You push the issue far enough, somebody will rebel & make a mockery of it (and it’s been done, too).

  • Brian | May 23, 2012 at 9:53 am |

    re: Andrew Luck endowment

    I think this actually a great way to solve a huge problem in college sports. So many people complain that universities that are “supposed” to be primarily educating students are spending millions on their sports programs while academics goes without. So let private endowments pay for things like coach’s salaries so that money has a chance to be shifted back into other programs that need funds. (Most likely the football program will now just move that budget line to buy newer weights or different colored artificial turfs, but at least now there is some room for those who want top shift money to academics to make an argument).

    This is actually fairly common in universities anyway. When I worked for an competitive academic program that was always starving for funds we dreamed of having an endowed staff position like many other departments and programs already do. And no one even knows. The students don’t refer to that staff person as “Wealthy McMoneybags Coach Smith”. Who even knew that the Stanford head coach was already endowed?

  • Cort | May 23, 2012 at 9:55 am |

    The thing about mound tributes, glove tributes, headband tributes, shoe tributes is that they quickly become ritualized. Something done in the emotion of a painful moment can be very meaningful — the notion of a grieving dad scratching his dead daughter’s initials into the mound is quite poignant — but at some point, that intensity is softened by time. Performing the memorial act over and over again becomes just a habit, emotional OCD.

    On a related note, is Texas the only place where people dedicate their cars to dead loved ones? You see these huge rear windshield decals, usually in some fancy type: “In Memoriam, Grandpa Smith: 1935 – 2010. We love ya, PeePaw!” Often there are flowers or an image of the deceased worked into the design. It’s creepy, and I’m thinking it means either that the driver bought the vehicle with his cut of the insurance money, or that he ended up with PeePaw’s car when the old guy passed. Weird.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 9:59 am |

      Never heard of the Texas car ritual.

      Here in NYC, we have Ghost Bikes, which are bikes that are painted white, decorated, and chained to a spot near where a bicyclist has been killed in an accident:

      As a cyclist, I like them. But as a citizen, I’m with Arr Scott’s position as expressed in an earlier comment about roadside memorial displays, namely that it’s inappropriate to hijack public space for a private memorial. There are 60some of these ghost bikes scattered around the city, including a few in my neighborhood. To my surprise, the cops don’t remove them.

      • Brian | May 23, 2012 at 10:06 am |

        The car ritual is not just a Texas thing. People do that everywhere. Paul, you’re just not spending enough time stuck in traffic with nothing to do but stare at someone’s rear window!

      • walter | May 23, 2012 at 11:08 am |

        Grief is all-powerful. When you look at the world through a lens of grief, you are not capable of deciding what is best for others and the world in general.

        • Arr Scott | May 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

          Exactly. And grief should be respected. That’s why I don’t fault the guy who toes his dead child’s initials in the mound, or the mother who freshens up the flowers at the roadside cross every week for years, or the widow who puts out a ghost bike. It falls to the rest of us, the outsiders to any particular grief (but, as humans, fellow participants in the universal experience of grief) to gently but firmly set limits.

          The cops or the DMV or whoever is in authority should note when a new ghost bike or roadside cross pops up and, after a respectful interval of perhaps a few months, remove it, and keep removing any successor at the same site. Someone close to the pitcher should take him aside and both probe to see if there are any deeper problems that need to be dealt with or help that he needs and insist that the time for making that giant mark on the TV side of the mound is over.

          The memorial decals on cars are present here in Virginia, too, and while they seriously weird me out, the fact that it’s a private display on private property puts it well outside the bounds of the discussion of the mound-memorial or roadside crosses or ghost bikes for me.

        • Chance Michaels | May 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

          As a NYC cyclist, I have come to hate the ghost bicycles. I understand the mourning process, and I also understand that they can raise awareness.

          And that’s good for a few weeks. But after any length of time the ghost cycles collect trash under them and begin to corrode. Not to mention that I’ve seen them block part of a path on more than one occassion.

          Put them up for a week. A month, tops. Any longer and they move beyond showy statements of grief or political statements into being nuisances, possibly dangerous ones.

      • Chris K | May 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm |

        Wow. I wonder if other cities have these Ghost Bikes? It’s sort of eerie in the sense that it makes urban cycling sound like Russian roulette.

    • Chris Holder | May 23, 2012 at 10:07 am |

      I missed your comment, Cort, but replied about this same thing further up the page. I agree with you. It’s something I don’t understand. I see them a lot here in Tennessee.

    • Robert Eden | May 23, 2012 at 10:22 am |

      From what I have observed, the Texas car memorials are part of the Hispanic culture.

      • Ry Co 40 | May 23, 2012 at 10:41 am |

        no, it’s the “hey! i’m sad, and i need a trophy… i mean… i need pity too!” culture

        i see it here in PA too. to each his own, i guess

        • concealed78 | May 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

          By your comment RyCo, it sounds like you’re sad! You need a trophy!


  • Kyle B | May 23, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    Nike actually has a separate base layer girdle-type padded compression shorts that they sell that are desgined to be worn under football pants. There was a commercial with Adrian Peterson advertising the product a year or two ago. These go for about $60-$75 and I could definitely see Nike wanting players to have to wear them.

    • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 10:04 am |

      Yeah, but lots of companies make that kind of product, not just Nike. And even if Nike was the only one, that doesn’t make it evil — it sounds like a sensible product!

      It’s amazing that I’m the one defending Nike here….

      • Brinke | May 23, 2012 at 11:03 am |

        PL..defending….Nike. defending……NIKE. The world suddenly makes very little sense.

  • Tom | May 23, 2012 at 10:03 am |

    I seriously doubt he placed the initials on the mound so as to gain publicity for his loss. He likely put them there because thats where all of the other mound art ends up, and also because he’d be less likely to step on it throughout the game.

    For a league to memorialize owners, announcers, players, fans, and more in various ways, a few initials in dirt shouldn’t really be the cause of discussion. Making the claim that he placed the initials where he did so they would be seen by everyone watching the game seems to add fake drama to an incredibly sad situation.

    • George N. | May 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm |

      If he’s *not* looking for the attention, then why make the initials so huge? If he wants to memorialize his child, why can’t he make them small? Or put them on the brim of his cap?

      I’m loathe to say “obviously he makes them huge so that they can be seen on TV”, because I don’t know WY he makes them so huge. And I doubt anyone would have the balls to ask him if he’s doing it for the attention.

      • Tom | May 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

        I dislike making assumptions as well, but I’m of the belief that he just made letters. He probably didn’t pre-plan size and placement. He simply planned to put her initials there.

  • Pedro | May 23, 2012 at 10:10 am |

    There’s a perfect spot for pitchers (any any other ballplayers) to honor/memorialize someone and several are using it: the embroidery on their glove. And it often gets on camera.

    • Ry Co 40 | May 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |

      IMO, memoriam is cool on field gloves, batting gloves, bats, under brims of hats, maybe shoes. nothing major though, just little tick marks for the player to see

  • DJ | May 23, 2012 at 10:15 am |

    Slide 3 shows the sour grapes banner that flew atop Riverfront Stadium that year;

    Incorrect use of the cliché. In the fable, the fox cried “sour grapes” to console himself over spending so much time and energy on trying to get the out-of-reach grapes.

    Simple rationalization, as George Carlin said:

  • Chris Murphy | May 23, 2012 at 10:18 am |

    From the Cincinnati Reds Wikipedia page:

    “… through the mid-1980s, the Reds had a strict rule that players were to wear only plain black shoes with no prominent logo. Reds players decried what they considered to be the boring color choice as well as the denial of the opportunity to earn more money through shoe contracts. A compromise was struck in which players were allowed to wear red shoes.”

    They also had very strict grooming rules demanding that the players keep their hair short with no facial hair (done away with in 1999).

    • Ricko | May 23, 2012 at 10:44 am |

      Actually, the first year (maybe more) after that agreement it was black shoes with red maker marks.
      They’re a little faded to pink in this shot, however…

      • Ricko | May 23, 2012 at 10:46 am |

        Eventually the team did switch to red shoes.

        • Ricko | May 23, 2012 at 11:10 am |

          Can’t speak to the Reds, but I know the Giants (during mid-80s Will Clark/Jeffrey Leonard era) said the back stirrup could be no higher than 5″ above the top of the shoe.

          The Reds and those Giants are the only teams I can recall that in recent years had a stirrup policy.

          Charlie Finley tried to impose one on the green-gold vested-uni A’s. Was one of the sore spots (a minor one, granted) that led to his “firing” Hawk Harrelson in mid-season.

        • Josh | May 23, 2012 at 11:21 am |

          The D-Backs had a stirrup policy when they first started. Buck Showalter mandated that every player show enough stirrup to reveal the “A” logo that was on the stirrup. I believe the policy only lasted a year or two

      • ChrisH | May 23, 2012 at 10:58 am |

        I miss the Reds in those plain black shoes; they looked great with stirrups (did they have a maximum height requirement for the ‘show’ of the sanitaries as well?) but overall they never went all that well with the double-knit pullover/elastic belt uniform IMO.

        The red stripes were permitted and first were allowed to appear sometime in August of ’83.

        From articles I’ve read, Reds management originally wanted all players to wear black shoes with red stripes(originally dyed-over white stripes) from one manufacturer, but the players balked at that proposal.

    • pushbutton | May 23, 2012 at 10:47 am |

      I still cannot stand the look of red spikes with red socks. The “Ronald McDonald” look.

      The Reds lost their visual identity when they dropped those rules. “Let’s look like other teams” is never a good idea.

      • walter | May 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |

        There were guys who wouldn’t play for the Reds for that very reason.

        • ChrisH | May 23, 2012 at 11:54 am |

          Makes me wonder if that was another reason Pete Rose left the Reds:

          What brand were the Reds all-black shoes anyway?

        • Brinke | May 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

          they were all brands, you just had to black out the trim. This was a big deal to the team back then, believe me. The Reds had a great GM, Bob Howsam, then they turned it over to Evil Dick Wagner and he enforced that rule like crazy. I think I recall the all-black thing had something to do with seeing ground balls better, maybe not. But yeah, I remember Concepcion wearing white Converse cleats with red trim. here in this shot, JB and Joe clearly have adidas on from the tongue–for some reason JB’s dreaded white stripes are showing.

          And that M on Rose’s shoes is the first-gen Mizuno logo–they switched to the current one, which is called “Running Bird,” sometime after that.

        • Chris K | May 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

          “What brand were the Reds all-black shoes anyway?” A wild guess is that they were SpotBilt or Riddell. But I thought Riddell was just football. I’m getting too old to remember, dammit. I think I bought a pair when some teammates wanted to get the whole team to buy a pair. They had a little leather thingy near the ankle that we could dye our team color if we chose to, if I recall. Came in white, but the classic black reminded me of what Cincy wore back then.

      • Ricko | May 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |

        Feel the same about royal with royal, as wore by the Royals, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Expos, Blue Jays, Brewers, Mariners. Rangers, Braves (I probably missed some) of that era? Or is it just the red you don’t like?

        Not being contentious. Sometimes certain colors just don’t work for people.

        (You can’t be here regularly and not know that).

        • pushbutton | May 23, 2012 at 11:35 am |

          I do feel the same way about blue shoes. But somebody here linked to a photo of a high-cuffed Cardinal with, of course, red shoes….and with the red socks, he looked like a goddam clown.

          I love the look of colored stirrup over white sani over black shoes. Best look in baseball.

          Re: the Cubs: One look I particularly hate is Alphonso Soriano wearing solik blue socks over blue shoes with so many makers marks, lines, stripes or whatever, they appear white. Looks jiveassed; like he’s wearing an old pair of sneakers he got from Goodwill.

        • Ricko | May 23, 2012 at 11:51 am |

          “like he’s wearing an old pair of sneakers he got from Goodwill.”

          Yup. Or like a Little Leaguer of the ’50s playing in his Keds or P.F. Flyers.

          Such a great look…(eyeroll)

      • pushbutton | May 23, 2012 at 11:16 am |

        I remember being bummed when they added two red stripes down the pant leg in 1988. “Let’s look like other teams”……*gag*. Goes against all I believe.

    • Brinke | May 23, 2012 at 11:02 am |

      and once a season, @ the ASG, all the Rds players would wear white or red.

      • ChrisH | May 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

        Not a great look, but hey…free shoes(?)!.

        Best of luck with the job search.

        Like my hockey coach always said…”Keep your head up and your eyes open!”

        • Brinke | May 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm |

          thank u!

          and I did get free shoes from the Reds. got to raid Deion Sander’s locker after he got traded. Got me a perfect pair of red/silver/white Air Zoom Trainers. Most comfortable shoe I’ve ever worn.

    • walter | May 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |

      Holy Cow, how I hated the Reds, then. Butt ugly shoes, cheap plain uniforms, coming to your town to knock the snot out of your home team. And your square dad would say, “that’s the way a team’s *supposed* to look.” Give me the Tequila-clad Astros, any day. But that said, I must admit Cincinnati had snazzy jackets.

    • Juan Grande | May 23, 2012 at 11:33 am |

      Montgomery Burns fired Don Mattingly from the Sprinfield Nuclear Power Plant baseball team because Mattingly refused to trim his sideburns to Mr. Burns’ satisfaction

      • Chance Michaels | May 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm |

        And Mattingly still liked Burns better than Steinbrenner.

        • Ben Fortney | May 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm |

          In an odd coincidence, that was written into the script BEFORE Steinbrenner actually disciplined Donny Baseball for grooming.

  • Robert Eden | May 23, 2012 at 10:26 am |

    I remember the Reds’ sour grapes banner very well. I was fully on board with it. The Reds being denied the opportunity to appear in the playoffs that season drove me nuts, as did media darling Fernando Valenzuela winning the Cy Young over Tom Seaver.

  • TOMtiger | May 23, 2012 at 10:29 am |


    haha that’s ridiculous. what ever happened to retiring the jersey. guess they have high hopes of him in Indy

    • The Jeff | May 23, 2012 at 10:49 am |

      In light of how blindingly stupid that is, I almost hope Luck ends up being the next Jamarcus Russell.

    • Juan Grande | May 23, 2012 at 11:36 am |

      I hope Andrew Luck donates even more money back to the school and asks them to rename it back to the original name.

    • Bob W | May 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm |

      So let me get this straight…A wealthy anonymous donor approaches a university and offers to pay the salary of a staffer — money that the school, having already committed to paying said staffer — may then use for other purposes (read ‘scholarships’).

      And this is considered “blindingly stupid”? “Ridiculous”?

      And someone now wishes that Andrew Luck — who has zero involvement in either the offer or the acceptance — FAILS in his career because of it??

      THAT REACTION is blindingly stupid.

  • Paul | May 23, 2012 at 10:29 am |

    I love that Tug of War team picture. Does anyone know if the well dressed gentleman on the right is the coach? If so, what does a Tug of War coach tell his charges? “Pull. Harder.” ?

  • TOMtiger | May 23, 2012 at 10:29 am |


    my spelling is why i didnt make it into stanford, lol

    • Phil Hecken | May 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm |

      i thought it was because you were canadian

  • Mike Engle | May 23, 2012 at 10:49 am |

    After the Virginia Tech mass-murder, VT alum Joe Saunders (of the Angels at that time) wore a VT cap AND drew the logo in the mound in his next start. I think it was only a one-off.

    • Arr Scott | May 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

      One-off is fine. Rest of season is fine. Possibly until the one-year anniversary of the death is fine. One-off on the anniversary or the birthday or whatever would also be fine.

      Every appearance for two years? As Ishmael says in Moby Dick, “then I think it high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him.”

      One of the tough issues of grief is that while the grieving person feels alone in a world that doesn’t much seem to care about his loss, no one is unique in his loss. So if Guy One gets to toe his dead child’s initials onto the TV side of the mound for the rest of his career, what about Guy Two, who’s also lost a child? Does Guy Two get to scrape off Guy One’s memorial and toe his own at the top of the next inning? Or add a second set of initials? What about when Guy Three, who just lost his mother, or his brother, or whose wife has been kidnapped back in Venezuela, comes in to relieve?

      And what about when Guy Four comes in to relieve Guy Two, doesn’t realize what the initials mean to Guy One, and scratches them out because he’s not letting some visiting schmuck mess with his mound, no disrespect to a dead child’s memory intended?

      That’s why while it’s appropriate to accommodate public displays of private grief like this for an interval and up to a point, we also need to set and uphold cultural and social limits. To not set limits invites a sort of social chaos that would ultimately in its effects be even more disrespectful and hurtful to the bereaved.

  • Matt Beahan | May 23, 2012 at 10:50 am |

    Great timing, considering it’s Vegetarian Week:

  • pushbutton | May 23, 2012 at 11:04 am |

    I really don’t like ostentatious grieving. Of any kind. A dose of stoicism would be novel these days.

    If you live long enough, you will lose everything that you love. It would be a good idea to teach this in school.

    • Ricko | May 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |

      If you live long enough, you also learn that everyone else suffers losses. too. A loss hurts, profoundly, but it doesn’t make anyone unique, and definitely it doesn’t mean their sorrow is deeper than anyone else’s or somehow worthy of public attention, that the world is thinking of them…or that it should be. It just…is.

      • pushbutton | May 23, 2012 at 11:48 am |

        Exactly. Very well put. I swear, it’s getting like a contest.

      • Cort | May 23, 2012 at 11:55 am |

        There’s a great story about Bobo Newsome, pitching and winning a World Series game a couple of days after his father died, and the way his teammates and fans showed their support for him. And the Brett Farve story — most of us have lost someone we love, and we tend to rally around others who are experiencing something similar.

        I don’t know if that shared sense of suffering resonates when there are premeditated public displays of mourning.

        • pushbutton | May 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |

          Why console someone who is obviously busy consoling himself?

      • JenInChicago | May 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

        Yes, Ricko….that’s the point I make as well. Some people call me petty, but the public memorials thing just….bugs me.

    • Cort | May 23, 2012 at 11:45 am |

      If they taught it in school, it would come in a Federally funded program mandating that each child receive a gender-neutral statuette, mounted on a pedestal made from recycled materials and bearing the inscription, “I Am Winning At Losing!”

      Kids learn this by being around grandparents, by living in communities untainted by homogenization, where there are rich people and poor people and people in the middle, and blue collar folks and white collar folks and people of all races, creed and colors. They learn it by being outside, digging around in the dirt and poking things with sticks.

      • pushbutton | May 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm |

        Wow did I enjoy that post.

        It dovetails nicely with my opinion that if kids could somehow play unorganized pickup games again, the benefits would reach far beyond baseball skills.

  • JerryB | May 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |

    The NFL should probably issue some blanket statement asserting that the knee/thigh pads can come from any manufacturer not just Nike. As long as they fall within NFL specs let them wear whatever feels most comfortable. This could stop all the NFL/Nike conspiracy talk.

    I,m a dad. Can’t imagine losing a child. Everyone grieves differently. Me, I tend to be more private so I,m with Paul. Seems a bit much putting large visible initials on the mound. It seems a bit strange that he is doing this 2 years after the child passed. Sad.

  • Jim BC | May 23, 2012 at 11:21 am |

    I can’t remember the date or who was involved but does anyone remember the two baseball players that played a game of tic-tac-toe? I believe it was a couple of first basemen – they would come out at the start of each inning and put their x or o on the game. I’ll have to do some digging on this unless anyone else recalls it.

    • Andrew | May 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |

      I remember a Mark Grace doing that during a game. I do not remember who he was playing against.

    • Cort | May 23, 2012 at 11:47 am |

      Berkman did it, when he was with the Astros. Don’t know who they were playing against.

    • Shaftman | May 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

      I used to do this in High School on a few of my desks against kids in different periods.

    • mjprigge | May 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |

      After a Paul McCartney concert at County Stadium in the early 90s, Robin Yount and Ken Griffey Jr played TTT in the part of centerfield that the concert’s stage had torn up. Yount claimed he won, but if I remember right, Jr accused him of cheating. Yet he still got into the Hall of Fame…

      • ChrisH | May 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

        Jose Canseco accused an unnamed HOFer of ‘cheating’ too…my guess is that player spent considerable time at County Stadium as well.

  • Matthew Robins | May 23, 2012 at 11:24 am |

    “Before the game, he scrawled “AFW” in the dirt on the back of the mound, as he does before every start to honor his daughter, Annabelle Faith Walters, who died in April 2010, two months after being born 14 weeks premature. He and his wife, Brittney, have a 7-month-old son, but Walters takes a moment to remember his daughter before every game.”

  • Connie | May 23, 2012 at 11:25 am |

    “… MLB already knows what next year’s All-Star Game logo will look like (not that they’re ready to share it with us, mind you). But that didn’t stop Bryan Molloy from coming up with some concepts of his own… ”

    Awright, Bryan! I like the one on the left a lot.

  • Coleman | May 23, 2012 at 11:33 am |

    Just wanted to let Paul and the rest of the UW crew know that I thoroughly enjoyed todays ticker. Amazing job today!

  • Andrew | May 23, 2012 at 11:37 am |

    Reference initials carved into the mound. This is not the first time it has happened. Brian Moehler, at least when he pitched for the Tigers until 2002, carved “FM” on the back of the mound. “FM” was his fathers initials.

  • Mike Engle | May 23, 2012 at 11:42 am |

    First time I’ve seen the old CCM logo in a long time, and boy do I miss it:

    • Jet | May 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

      You noticed THAT?


      • ChrisH | May 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |

        See? See ‘Em!

      • Tom V. | May 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |

        I’ve been looking for 20 minutes I still can’t find the CCM logo.

        • Phil Hecken | May 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm |

          HAH! it only took me five

  • Timmy D | May 23, 2012 at 11:43 am |

    As a vegetarian uniwatcher, I just have to say I have never read or heard a carnivore speak so respectfully about vegetarianism. Thank you.

    I enjoy when you write about meat, the pics looks great, and always tempts me. I still love meat, I just choose not to eat it. But man, do your meat endeavors look tasty.

    Just wanted to express my thanks.

  • Mike Engle | May 23, 2012 at 11:48 am |

    Has Paul ever done a column on unique personal tributes in team games? Plenty of material…
    The silver Sharpie messages on caps (super abundant, mostly used for the “departed” due to the trade deadline, and not by death)
    Mound inscriptions
    George Brett taking a memorial patch and squeezing his dad’s middle initial in there
    Tim Hudson’s ginormous JH for John Hancock

    • Mike Engle | May 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

      Um, *Josh* Hancock, not John.

  • Jet | May 23, 2012 at 11:51 am |

    That 1982 Reds slideshow was painful as I had to endure seeing TWO pics of Dave Kingman during his Mets tenure.


  • Rob C. | May 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm |

    Re: The Arizona State Sweatbacks in baseball…

    Did anyone else notice that the pants are Wilson while the jersey is DeMarini, all employing a Nike design concept? ASU is a pretty big Nike school, what with their Oregon-esque football uni variations.

    This struck me as extremely odd… Paul, any thoughts?

  • Paul Lukas | May 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm |

    OK, that’s it for me — gotta run to some meetings in Manhattan, won’t be back until tonight. Thanks for all the excellent discussion today. Good stuff!

  • Simply Moono | May 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm |


    Deadspin… I have no words. *SMH*

    Deadspin talks about the new knee and thigh pad rule.

  • Stirrup Jake | May 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

    “Outmania! Even with that farking jersey, it looks pretty sweet.” – Paul

    Farking, I enjoy this word very much. Paul, may I use it please?


  • Chance Michaels | May 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

    I know you’re gone for the day, Paul, but thanks for the tug-of-war photo.

    I recognized the logo instantly — Grandfather was a member for decades, and their dining halls are still the default location for weddings, funerals and other massive events among my extended family — but would never have gotten the sport.

  • Chance Michaels | May 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

    Re: the Nick Perry repurposed Reebok jersey, here’s another view of one at the Packers’ rookie camp.

    Good thing that’s “definitely not old inventory”, right?

  • Chance Michaels | May 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

    On that Rusty Staub bobble, is his uniform supposed to be the 74-75 roads? If not, that’s a pretty big error.

  • Tim E. O'B | May 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    There’s just something very wrong about the new Bears unis:

    It’s gunna take time to get used to shoulder numbers. A big ass ring on their fingers would help.

    • The Jeff | May 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

      Those look far better than this crap:

      Note how 54 only has 2 sleeve stripes and 92 only has part of 1.

    • Simply Moono | May 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm |

      Brandon Marshall’s cleats are awesome, though. Modern, yet classy. That’s what all the Bears should wear.

    • JTH | May 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

      Numbers should have been moved to the shoulders years ago. It’s the stupid collar that’s hard on the eyes.

      Terry’s right about Marshall’s shoes. I hope he sticks with those.

  • Jim Vilk | May 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm |

    Kickers don’t want armor – they go padless. I understand it with kickers.
    I don’t. Your own team doesn’t respect you,
    …because I wasn’t a “real” player…
    the other team would love nothing more than to beat the snot out of you…why go padless?

    Never understood the “kickers aren’t real players” mentality. In baseball, pitchers are not everyday players. Shoot, in one league they don’t even have to bat (how crazy is that?)…and yet no one says they’re not real baseball players. I respect the guys who put the foot in football a lot more than the guys who want to end someone else’s football career.

    • JTH | May 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

      I don’t think he’s saying kickers aren’t real players. I think he’s saying HE wasn’t a real player since he was just working out with the team.

      • Phil Hecken | May 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm |

        no no…

        despite having a pivotal role on the team, up until recently, kickers were these scrawny little shits (talking ONLY about when kicking became a specific position — not guys who used to kick as well as actually play — the 60 minute men) but who could boot the pigskin thru the endzone on kickoffs and thru the uprights from 60 yards away

        there was a time when the nfl kicker had become this…and did stuff like this

        now, they are bigger, faster, stronger and work out with the rest of the team, so i don’t think the garo stereotype works anymore…but during my salad years…they were all european soccer guys (or most of them) who were skinny and who probably didn’t even know the rules of the game…but they could sure kick

      • Jim Vilk | May 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm |

        Enough players and announcers have said they’re not real players. Yeah, there may not be as much disdain as, say, Alex Karras toward Garo Yepremian, but it hasn’t gone away completely.

        Even when they were skinny European soccer guys (well…) they were still part of the team, so they were real players in my book.

        • Phil Hecken | May 24, 2012 at 12:14 am |

          hey…anyone who puts on a helmet and pads

          ok, sometimes they don’t actually put on pads…

          but anyone who takes the field is a “player”

          it’s just a relative term, especially when dealing with 300 lb guys who can run 40 yards in 4.5 seconds

          i used to drink at a bar across the street from hofstra university (where the jets held summer camp) and there were many a night when marty lyons (among other huge monsters) would take up prime bar space holding court, and getting ridiculously sloppy drunk…even had him once spill a beer on me (for which i apologized, even though it wasn’t my fault)…

          buddy at the time reminded me…he may be huge and drunk…but he’s still faster than you

          usually i kept far far distant, and for the most part, the guys (klecko, i think even gastineau showed up once, few others)…were very cool

          but it was frightening how much they could drink and how absolutely HUGE they were

  • FatMagz | May 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

    What about players pointing to the sky after a big play, or a basketball player rubbing his cheek before a free throw, or a baseball player kissing his chain before hitting? These are all private symbols to the players that end up on national television. I do not see anyone complaining about those. There does not seem to be an appropriate time frame for those to stop. How does Walters putting the initials in the mound change the game about to be played? As far as not taking grieving to work I am sure that all of us would have a photo on our desk of a child that we had lost or some type of memorial item, this mans desk is the mound. I see nothing wrong with what he does.

    • Mike Engle | May 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

      I would guess that Paul is drawing the line at modifying the field with, basically, a decal that one individual placed on the ground.

    • Phil Hecken | May 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm |

      What about players pointing to the sky after a big play, or a basketball player rubbing his cheek before a free throw, or a baseball player kissing his chain before hitting?”


      all “look at me” gestures, although one might attribute them to other motives

      what ever happened to “play the game”?

      you wanna cross yourself in the batters box before you hit, knock yourself out…whatever…

      but that’s a totally different analogy than graffiting the pitchers mound

  • rpm | May 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

    when were we talking about nobles bat tech? well i found a pretty decent pixture of felix’s nob. and speaking of bats, what is gene locklear doing with an aluminum easton?

  • Tim E. O'B | May 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |

    Most of the vegetarians I know just hate the taste of meat (my sister is this kind of vegetarian. My male cousin is not this kind of vegetarian).

    A lot of them still eat fish but I’ve never understood why those vegetarians eat tofu dogs or vegeburgers. You hate how a hotdog and a burger tastes, why bother with it’s vege-red-headed cousin? I don’t know, I just think it’s proof that those things don’t taste a thing like meat. Bloody, delicious meat.

    You don’t make friends with salad.

  • Kyle S | May 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm |

    Didn’t Pete Rose Jr. scratch “HK” for hit king and 4,256 for his dad’s amount of hits into the dirt around 3rd base? That was ridiculous, that is just an attempt to get some attention. Of course it didn’t last long on the big league level.

  • Bowlerchef | May 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    I don’t find the mound tribute to his daughter to be any worse than teams wearing memorial initials on uniforms.

  • Chris | May 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

    Jered Weaver has been writing innitials on the mound before he pitches for as long as I can remember. They’re not as big as the ones pictured though. I believe they were his Grandparents innitials but after the tragic death of Nick Adenhart in 2009 he now writes an NA. You might see him do it today. He’s scheduled to pitch today at 12:37 pst in Oakland. I dont have a problem with it.

  • Keith S. | May 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

    Nike and others (Allison, Football America’s in-house brand, etc.) have had integrated football pants (with the pads sewn in) for years.

    They started with practice pants (white/black only), then moved to uniform pants.

    Very common at the youth and high school level of play. So, I doubt there is some conspiracy by Nike to do something they’ve been doing for years.

    • Tony C. | May 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

      shhh don’t let others hear you speak like this. any pro corporate speak will have you shunned..

  • Winter | May 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  • Gary | May 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |

    I’ve had a lot of loss in my life, but other than a one-off kind of tribute on the mound I can’t say as I would do that every time out. It’s not like I’m the only one using that bump or field. But we’re all wired differently. If you’re really into honoring a loved one visually on the mound why not have the glove company you’re endorsing embroider his/her name with/instead of yours? They also have these things called tatts…

  • HHH | May 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

    I don’t understand why writing some letters in the pitcher’s mound dirt is such a big deal. A pitcher’s mound isn’t a sacred religious artifact or a priceless one-of-a-kind work of art. If there’s no current rules against “defacing” the mound, you can’t stop people from doing stuff like this. If MLB officials feel it shouldn’t continue, can they add a rule against it mid-season? If not, those opposed to this activity will have to wait until next year, or even longer.

    If I had a chance to send a message to millions of people for free I would totally take advantage of it, especially if I wanted to honor a deceased loved one. Just be glad it’s not an ad for a “douchebag” corporation.

    What if a stirrups-wearing pitcher wrote “” in the dirt of an MLB mound where it’s visible on TV? Would you guys be upset then?

    • ABoxOfBroken8Tracks | May 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm |

      It’s not a sacred religious place….but you’re cool with it becoming one?

      • HHH | May 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm |

        I think you misunderstood my comment. I am NOT opposed to pitchers writing stuff in the mound dirt. I do NOT want any rules against pitchers being able to write stuff in the dirt, especially a tribute to a deceased relative. I was just saying that those who ARE opposed to this will have to wait a while for a new rule against it if that rule can’t be imposed immediately this season.

  • Robert Eden | May 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

    Regarding the Reds’ unusual sliding jacket with the “C-Reds” logo at the bottom, I own one of those. I bought it when I was in high school, since it was the Reds new big thing. I thought that it was ugly as sin, however, and rarely wore it. It is still hanging in my closet, in all of its shiny glory.

  • Rob S | May 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm |

    Saw a picture of newly-signed Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth in an column, and I was pretty disgusted by what I saw on his uniform – specifically, the black uniform of AIK, his Swedish Elitserien club. This article has a better view, though.

    Look at that – The same set of ads running up and down the left and right side of the front of the jersey! (Except for some anomaly I can’t make out at the bottom of one side.) Even a NASCAR fire suit doesn’t have that kind of repetition on the front!


  • Paul Stave | May 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

    Andrew Luck Director of Offense. Wait till Swooshtika, Saddidas, and UnderPants get a hold of that. Nike Director of Head Coaching, sponsored by Converse. The writing is on the wall.

  • JTH | May 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

    Well, Paul probably won’t read this, but…

    I’ve known lots of vegetarians over the years (even dated a few, which was a bit of a trip). Many of them have told me, “Don’t worry, I’m not one of those preachy vegetarians,” which is funny, because I’ve never encountered a preachy vegetarian. Frankly, I’m way preachier about meat than any vegetarian I’ve known has ever been about salad.

    Funny. I’ve never come across any of the “preachy” types, either. In fact, I’ve been dating/married to a vegetarian for more than 20 years now and she’s been “preached to” by a good number of carnivores.

    The “gotcha” game with the leather shoes seems to be a recurring thing.

  • bowlerchef | May 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm |

    Here in Arizona the car tributes are everywhere -the police even run them honoring fallen officers.

  • bowlerchef | May 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm |

    JTH my daughters are veg heads and they are OK with leather shoes, they just aren’t vegans.

  • Forbes | May 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

    Bolton Wanderers have changed their kit manufacturer from Reebok to Adidas

  • Forbes | May 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Ben Fortney | May 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm |

      Has there ever been a uniform gradient that hasn’t looked like shite? The Barca kits are terrible.

  • [name redacted] | May 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

    The memorial discussion in the comments thread must have happened after I read it yesterday, so I don’t know if this story came up:

    In English soccer this year, Billy Sharp had a newborn son pass away. He played either the next day or soon after and after he scored a goal in that game (which many people advised him not to play), he revealed a shirt underneath his kit dedicated to his son. Normally, that’s a bookable offense, but the referee showed some discretion in that instance and didn’t book him.

  • Wheels | May 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  • Tim E. O'B | May 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm |

    Black on black (blue, but…) crime on the South Side tonight.

    Never go dark alt vs. dark alt.

  • David Murphy | May 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Didn’t see any David Humm responses. There weren’t many of his games televised in my market, but as an overall uni-watcher during his career I never remember seeing him on the field without shoulder pads. In pre game warmups, perhaps. Perhaps he had shaved down / high school shoulder pads like Fred Belitnikoff or the Broncos WR Bill McCafferty.

  • [name redacted] | May 23, 2012 at 11:32 pm |

    Did the spider logo Salomon Kalou had shaved into his head during the Champions League ever make it to the ticker this week?

    Reminds of the summer of 89 with all the Batman logos being carved into people’s hair

  • Ace Face | May 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm |

    RE: Ushers bringing balls to the ump: This was standard practice in Detroit in the 70s and early 80s. In their bright orange Tiger Stadium blazers, no less.

  • Jim Vilk | May 24, 2012 at 12:14 am |

    Allen Iverson showed up for Game 6 of the Celtics/Sixers series wearing a Lou Williams jersey.
    Wish he had that uni when he played for them…

    And thanks to the Sixers, the stage is set for the first Boston/Philly Game 7 since 1982.

    • Boston Garden Crowd | May 24, 2012 at 5:16 am |

      BEAT L.A.!

  • dutchterp7 | May 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm |

    Everyone grieves differently and anyone who criticizes or questions it is incredibly arrogant.