Heya — Paul here, taking a break from my summer break, in part to give Phil a breather and in part because I want to announce a big ESPN project that will be running later this month.
Here’s the deal: You’ve probably noticed that I tend not to engage much in lists or rankings — the 10 best this, or the 50 worst that, or whatever. I don’t do them because (a) rankings seem like the laziest, most boring, least challenging, least creative way to write about uniforms, and (b) that’s what Bleacher Report is for.
Recently, however, one of my ESPN editors proposed something so audacious, I couldn’t say no. He said, “What if you ranked all 122 of the Big Four teams by uniform? Every MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL team, all in one big ranking!” It’s a ridiculous idea, of course — which is precisely why it’s so much fun. You say it’s silly to compare a hockey uniform to a basketball uniform? You’re right! But we’re doing it anyway.
And we have the perfect name for it, too: the Uni Watch Power Rankings.
The project will unfold like so:
• I will rank all 122 teams based on their home and road uniforms (and alts, if applicable, but I’m not including one-off throwbacks or other special-occasion uniforms).
• The full chart of 122 teams will be divided down into five sub-groupings: 1-25, 26-50, 51-75, 76-100, and 101-122.
• The five sub-groupings will be unveiled in reverse order (i.e., worst to first) over the course of five days during the week of Aug. 20. So I’ll have five columns that week. I’ve been promised that the series will get play on Page 1.
• Each of the five columns will be accompanied by a short video piece.
• Just to give some other people a voice, the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL editors at ESPN.com will each contribute a sidebar explaining what they like and don’t like in a uniform.
• There will be some kind of poll, allowing readers to weigh in with their own choices.
• I believe the final chart will be sortable by sport, so you’ll be able to see the rankings for just the MLB teams, or just the NBA teams, or whatever.
• The idea is to make the Uni Watch Power Rankings an annual or semi-annual franchise. So the next edition, whenever it comes out, will include a plus/minus column to show how the team was ranked the last time around.
Or at least that’s how it’s all shaping up now. I suspect there may be some adjustments as we put everything together. Sounds fun, right? Wish I’d thought of it years ago. If I’m gonna do a rankings-based piece, I figure I may as well go all the way.
Incidentally, I wouldn’t mind having a photo assistant/intern/etc. for this project — someone with sharp Google, web, and Photoshop skills. What I’m looking for is a series of composite images showing each team’s home, road, and (if applicable) alternate uniforms ganged into one shot, like this. Maybe we could split it up and assign one person to each of the four leagues. If you’d like to help, drop me a line. You’ll be credited by name, and I’ll be happy to give you a reference down the road. Thanks. I now have all the assistance I need. Thanks to everyone who offered to help!
So that’s my big news. I have a few other tidbits to share (see below), and then I’ll go back down into my hole for another two weeks. I’ll come back for real on Aug. 23 — right in the middle of the Power Rankings week. See you then.
Membership update: We had a big flood of membership orders in advance of the recent price hike (including Spencer Seaner’s card, shown at right, which is based on the Kingston Frontenacs’ Don Cherry jersey), but we’re almost fully caught up now, at least in terms of the digital designs. I expect to get 15 new cards out in the mail by the end of this week, so if you haven’t received your card yet, watch your mailbox. My thanks, as always, for your patience.
I spent most of last week in Michigan, where my friend Matt and I attended the Traverse City Film Festival. Although I didn’t have time for a full-blown Uni Watch party, I managed to meet up with two readers who live in Traverse City: Jared Patz and his lovely wife, Krista, met us for drinks, and Jordan Owen was nice enough to take us out for a late-afternoon sail on Grand Traverse Bay on his excellent boat, Olin (which was well-stocked with food and drink, I might add). Thanks, guys — you made a swell week even sweller.
As for the film festival, it was great. I saw six movies, all but one of them documentaries (I didn’t plan it that way, but that’s how it worked out). One of the docs, called Big Boys Gone Bananas, is an extremely entertaining tale of corporate douchebaggery. You can see the trailer and learn more about the film here. If it plays in your area, see it — it’s really good.
Another highlight of the week was an impromptu stop at Seitz’s Tavern in Chelsea, Mich., which turned out to be an absolute gem. It’s also the only bar I’ve ever encountered where the featured food item is a limburger cheese sandwich. No way was I gonna order that (p-u!), but I can report that they serve a perfectly fine Coney dog. The proprietor, Randy Seitz, is a major sweetheart — go visit his bar before he finds someone smart enough to buy it.
But my favorite thing about the whole week was a visit with Matt’s friend Betty Brownlee, who has an unusual pair of pets: a big dog and a little chinchilla. And they’re pals — at one point the pooch gave the chinch a big lick, and the chinch seemed to enjoy it! Total cutegasm.
Other miscellaneous stuff: This is the part where I remind you that I do all this other shit besides Uni Watch, even though most of you don’t really care, so you can just skip to the next section like everyone else if you want:
• My Show-and-Tell live storytelling series now has a logo. In fact, it has two logos. As you know, international merchandising law requires that every logo in existence must be available on a T-shirt, so I’ve done my part, as you can see here and here. If you want to attend Show-and-Tell, the next installment will be on Aug. 22, 8pm, at Freddy’s Bar in the South Slope. If you want to be added to the Show-and-Tell mailing list, just ask.
• No new Permanent Record content since about two weeks ago, but I expect to have more in the works later this week. As always, you can join the PermaRec mailing list by asking.
Okay, that’s it for me for today. Brinke’s up next with Collector’s Corner, followed by “Benchies” and today’s Ticker (which was compiled by Phil). Good to see you all again — thanks for listening.
By Brinke Guthrie
Our lead item this week is one that bears scrutiny. Look at the condition of this 1970 Chiefs/Vikings Tudor Super Bowl game. The playing field, stands, teams, goalposts, everything looks in pristine order. Not bad for a 42-year-old toy. Looks like they used a photo from the Super Bowl on the box cover — I’m gonna say that’s Bill Brown of the Vikes in that shot.
As for the rest of this week’s finds:
• I was a die-hard Bengals fan for the longest time, and I’ve never seen this 1968 poster before. Gonna send it to a friend who works for the team.
• Been looking for a set of early-1970s MLB mini-helmets? Swell — found ’em for ya!
• Look at this 1969 NFL Chiquita pocket radio!
• These 1970s NBA running shoes look to be in perfect condition.
• Here’s a terrific 1970s Philadephia Eagles Damac poster.
• Staying with the Iggles, how about this 1960s game helmet?
• KC Chiefs fans will flip over this Jan Stenerud game jacket.
• Got some Chicago Bears-related stuff here. Wanted to include this Dick Butkus photo for two reasons: One, he’s smiling. Two, look at the facemask setup. Next, here’s an early-1970s helmet buggy, and
a thermal mug from the same period.
• Here’s an item that combines two brands that no longer exist: an Enron-sponsored Pacific Bell Park snowglobe!
• Finally, had to include this shot of Johnny Bench’s Cincinnati Mt. Adams bachelor pad. Got the requisite acoustic guitar for strumming those sensitive James Taylor ballads, the modular sofa, and the best part, the chess board rug. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say JB didn’t play a lot of chess.
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
“Funny, he doesn’t look Druish”—Barf in SPACEBALLS (sorta)…
Click to enlarge
Uni Watch News Ticker: We’ll have more on this (below) and in the coming days, but Paul has whipped up a quick ESPN post on the Maryland and Nebraska uni hijinx for this fall. … “ND Coach Kelly Gear Trunk for Ireland” (h/t to Warren Junium). … Timothy Raines (no relation to the former ballplayer) has a really interesting sports art style and is currently running a Kickstarter project to fund a series of his prints for MLB. … Here’s a good reason to get married — a wedding cake with a headspoon! (thanks to Thomas Qualls). … Jeremy Posner and his wife took their kids to Coney Island Sunday for a day capped off by Johan Santana’s rehab start against the Auburn Doubledays (Nationals A-ball affiliate). “From our seats behind the visitors’ dugout, I noticed that there was some inconsistency among the uniforms. About half the players had the MiLB logo on the back of the jerseys, just under the neck. The rest had no logo.” … Depends…do you like colored sanis?: “This is a picture of me in warm-ups at my slow pitch softball game Sunday,” writes Ryan Deitchler. “My wife thinks I look ridiculous. I think I am the best dressed player in the league.” … Matt Savoie answers a question from yesterday’s ticker: “Saw this posted in uni watch Monday morning, ‘Dustin Kane writes, “Here is something I haven’t seen before on Alabama’s Freshman Cyrus Jones. On Photo’s 23 and 30 you can get a glimpse of this helmet which is something that just looks outrageous. It has a DNA Facemask but the Shell appears to be a Revospeed Rawlings sort of crossbreed and I can’t make heads or tails of it, any info on this?’. I wanted to give you some quick feedback. This is the Schutt Vengeance DCT. A new helmet for the 2013 season. If you get a minute check out www.schuttsports.com and you can check out the helmet.” … Awful — just awful: Maryland has more new uniforms. Too many readers to count pointed this out. … George Chilvers says, “‘Minnie Mouse’ jerseys don’t go down well in Huelva.” … “Zebra News” says Paul. This means a woman will work the preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET). … “Custom Reds sneaker from Nike,” says Brice Wallace (Down a little ways on this blog). … Michael Ehrlich notes, “adidas and the University of Wisconsin yesterday unveiled new TECHFIT football uniforms that the Badgers will wear on Sept. 29 when they visit the Nebraska Cornhuskers for the first “Unrivaled Game,” an annual matchup of top adidas programs. Check out a close look at the new uniform here.” I don’t know about you, but those are growing on me — in a good way. Here’s another video on that (with thanks to Geoff Poole). And a few more pics. … “Looks like a team made up of Russian all-stars to benefit the Locomotiv plane crash squad took the Dallas Stars logo outright — you’ve probably seen this already” (good spot by Alexis Melendez). NYTimes Logo-creeping Jesse Owens: “This is a cool graphic, but why does the accompanying video have to slap a swoosh on US sprinters going back to 1896?” asks Andrew Gramm. Ethan Hall also sent that in and asked, “The first time I watched it, I was questioning what I saw: ‘Is that a Swoosh on Jesse Owens?’ The second time I watched it, I noticed Bolt wears Puma. And his animated runner seemed to have a Puma logo. I can’t watch it a third time. What do you guys think?” … Stephen Walker has an awesome submission: “I’m fortunate enough to live near Durham NC and I love going to see the Durham Bulls play. Sunday was their negro league throwback night which consisted of: 1) a pregame ceremony to honor former players from the local negro league teams, and 2) Throwback uniforms for both teams!” … UGH: Chris Mahr notes UTEP Gets All-Orange Uniforms for Oklahoma Game. … There’s a story in yesterday’s Houston Chronicle about the new helmets the Houston Cougars will be sporting in 2012 (credit Paul B. Kennedy). … Western Illinois University Joe Ringham notes, “WIU changed up the football uni’s some for this season. This was the old uni, this is the new look, unveiled on their Media Day. And, to go along with the new uni’s, a new helmet design as well.” … “I found this image of a Phillies jersey that was used in Spring Training but not in the regular season. I’m quite certain I’ve seen this jersey before, but I can’t recall the source” (James Ashby). … Interesting — for the team that “never” wears the same uniform twice, The 2012 green Oregon football jersey is the same as the 2012 Oregon Rose Bowl jersey (thanks to Walter Ford). … Terry Duroncelet says, “Hard to see, but my local news station (WVUE-TV DT, Ch. 8 New Orleans) used the Cardinals’ old logo/ helmet when they were covering the Saints’ HoF game win over AZ Sunday night. Easy mistake, as the logos are very similar, but still, Just passing this along.” … Welcome Neil Farmer and his first ticker submission: “My Alma Mater, James Madison University, seems to be joining in on the matte helmet fad. I think they look pretty good.” … Nice summer catch by Frank Bellavia, who writes, “Like you, I enjoy the throwback uniforms and miss the days when players wore stirrups. I just got back from vacationing on Cape Cod and took in a bunch of Cape Cod Baseball League games. For the most part, uniforms are your everyday run of the mill unis. Except for the defending champs, the Harwich Mariners. There home uni is a thing of beauty, and everyone on the team wears stirrups.”