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Question Time, Vol. 4

Time for another round of “Question Time,” where I get to talk about myself even more than usual you folks get to ask me anything about anything, uni-related or otherwise. Here we go:

Are there any famous “uni failures” that you thought actually worked (e.g., LA Kings Burger King, Islanders fisherman, Phillies solid burgundy, etc.)?
I’ll always have a soft spot for the Mighty Ducks’ “Wild Wing” design.

Any plans on visiting Seattle again?
Funny you should ask — I’m going to be in Seattle in a few weeks, and I’m happy to announce that we’ll have a Uni Watch party on the evening of Monday, April 8. Not sure yet about the venue, but those wheels are already turning (please don’t send suggestions, as I already have too many promising-sounding places to choose from, thanks). And this party will feature a unique attraction that’s never taken place before. Further details on that in another day or two.

It’s been several years since you visited Boston. Any plans to come back?
Not at the moment, but I wouldn’t mind coming out for another visit. We’ll see.

Do you see an end to trend in which sports teams continue to adopt a wide variety of uniforms? It’s getting to be pretty ridiculous.
As long as people keep buying this crap, the teams and leagues will keep putting it out there. Want to encourage uni sanity? Don’t buy jerseys or caps. Simple as that.

Here’s something I’ve always wondered: The blog’s perspective seems to have a backward-looking bent — i.e., older/simpler/less corporate is better. Why is that? Is it because you are partial to the uniforms of your youth? I tend to think that we shouldn’t like things just because they are old, but this blog, generally, looks down on uni innovation. Why, for instance, does the UW community hate what Nike and Oregon (or UA and UMD) are doing? They are absolute game-changers in uniform design, fabric technology, and have actually made uniform innovation part of the schools . It seems like we should love these things.
It’s true that I’m a classicist — I think the classics are classic for a reason, whether you’re talking about the Cardinals’ uniform, the Rolling Stones, or the missionary position. More to the point, though, I think you’re defining several terms differently than I’d define them, or at least ascribing different cultural values to those definitions than I would. Simply because something is different, for example, does not mean it’s “innovative.” And simply because something is a “game-changer” does not mean it has changed the game for the better. And why do you equate “simpler” with “backward-looking”? And why is “less corporate” something you apparently dislike? (You’d prefer more corporate?)

What I’m really saying here is that yes, I may have some cultural or generational biases, but you appear to have quite a few of them as well. That’s fine, of course. It would be nice if our respective biases matched up, but it appears that they don’t. That’s life.

My standard is simple: If I think something is good, I say I think it’s good (and usually try to explain why); if I think it’s not good, I say I think it’s not good (ditto). There’s no agenda beyond that.

With such NHL teams as the Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and New York Islanders experimenting with different design concepts and then reverting back to their original jerseys, do you believe that speaks more to a classic design that never should have been tampered with, or more to jersey designers these days not being able to get it right when redesigning a team that has been around 30-40 years?
Little bit of both, I’d say. See above regarding classics being classic for a reason.

Would a Melbourne Storm membership card request be rejected because of the color purple?
Yes, unless the request was submitted on May 17, which is Purple Amnesty Day.

What type of vehicle to you drive (other than your bike)?
I own a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant. It is a beautiful metallic hunter green, which is my favorite color. Completely unremarkable car in all other respects — it has four wheels, they’re round, and the radio works. That’s really all I need from a car.

Which U.S. location would you suggest to be a great, if not the best, New Year’s Eve destination?
The best New Year’s location is in your home, hosting a dinner party (or in someone else’s home, attending a dinner party).

You seem to wear the same type of cap in all photos of you. When did you start with that type? Do you have any ball caps with team logos or other types that you wear (e.g., Mets)?
I have three similarly-styled baseball-ish caps — fairly short brim, flat on top — that I’ve been rotating for many years now. I think I began wearing this style about 10 years ago, when I received a brown cap as a freebie at a chocolate promotional event (this was back when I did a lot of food writing). I also have a wool Irish skipper’s cap that I sometimes wear.

I used to have an old 1917 Brooklyn Dodgers throwback cap. I think that’s the only cap with a logo that I’ve owned in the past 25 years or so. I have no interest in wearing a Mets cap — not because I’m ashamed of being a Mets fan, but because I’m just not interested in wearing current MLB caps. Not my thing.

Why do you wear that stupid hat all the time?
I tend to wear hats when I go outside in cold weather. Makes a big difference in how warm I feel. And once I’m wearing a hat, I tend to keep it on, because I get serious hat head. Like, my hair gets totally molded and shaped. So once I’m wearing the hat, I’m stuck with the hat.

I don’t wear hats during the warm-weather months, however.

What sports stadium/arena would you reopen if you could? And what made that venue so memorable?
If we’re talking about places I’ve been to, I’d bring back Shea, although I wouldn’t argue the case on the merits. It wasn’t a remarkable venue — it was just special to me, because I grew up there.

I’m much more interested in seeing places that were already gone before I was born, though, especially Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds.

Cities like Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Barcelona use the same color schemes for their sports teams. Which city do you think would look the best doing this?
Eh, I dunno — while it’s cool that Pittsburgh does this, I don’t think I’d want other cities to start doing it. I like letting the teams have their own chromatic identity. And if other cities started doing the Pittsburgh thing, then it would be less special and more of a “Me too!” thing. Pass.

Back in the early ’80s when NFL facemasks started to have that second horizontal bar across the middle, some would have it cut off. Was that something the equipment manager would customize or were they made that way?
I’m assuming the equipment managers would do it, but I don’t know for sure. Anyone..?

Why don’t we hold an annual Uni Watch beefsteak for all the readers to attend? You know, sit around, check out everyone’s stirrups of choice, and gorge ourselves on beer and beef? I know I’d be up for something like that!
Not the worst idea in the world, although it’d take a fair amount of planning. For what it’s worth, the next installment of the Brooklyn Beefsteak at the Bell House is coming up next month, and I heartily encourage all NYC-area readers to attend that.

I roll my eyes when I read the same tired clichés in articles and blogs. “Iconic,” “having said that,” “at the end of the day,” and “moving forward” are just a few that I see used over and over by professional writers. As a writer, do you have any words or phrases that you try to avoid because they are so overused?
For some reason I have a visceral negative reaction to “reaching out.” Also “Shocked, shocked” and “threw/thrown under the bus.” I also hate the term “man cave.” And as many readers know by now, I hate the term “politically correct.” Also, I reallyreallyreally hate the overuse and misuse of the term “legendary.”

There are also some terms that are used a lot in the uni-verse (by commenters on this site, by people on Chris Creamer’s site, etc.) that I really hate. Among them: “My eyes!” (along with variants like “My eyes — the goggles do nothing!” and “My eyes — it burns!”); “monstrosity” (when referring to a bad uni design); “abomination” (when referring to a bad uni design); “craptacular”; “fail” (as a noun, as “jersey fail”); “fugly”; “Storm Trooper” (when referring to white uniforms); and “Vader” (when referring to black uniforms).

Not that you’re not busy enough or that Uni Watch/ESPN/Permanent Record aren’t time-consuming, but have you ever thought about adding another medium to Uni Watch like a podcast or videoblog of some sort?
I’m starting to do more video for ESPN — just little monologues to accompany my columns. Honestly, though, Uni Watch already takes up more of my time than I’m comfortable with. I’m not really looking to add more Uni Watch to my life.

Why do you think Reebok isn’t a bigger player in the college football uniform scene, and now that they don’t have NFL anymore do you think they will try to get into the NCAA?
Excellent question. If Under Armour can worm its way into the college football scene, you’d think Reebok could maintain a toehold there if they wanted to have one. So I’m assuming they don’t want to focus their efforts there, although I don’t know why. Anyone..?

If you could go back in time and watch one sporting event, which event would you watch?
Jackie Robinson’s first game.

Do you like ferrets and if so, what would you name your pet ferret if you had one?
I love ferrets! Not only are they adorable, but they prompted what is arguably Rudy Giuliani’s most entertaining and delicious public meltdown. But I can’t imagine naming a pet until I actually see/hold him/her.

Who owns the rights to the Cleveland Browns’ “elf” logo?
Um, I’m pretty sure the Browns do.

What is your opinion on the legalization of marijuana?
Not a drug user myself (aside from alcohol), but I’m generally pro-legalization.

I’m toying with the idea of starting a sports blog. What kind of hurdles did you encounter starting the Uni Watch blog (presumably in relation to selling ads/sponsors, trying to get interviews, etc.), and how did you overcome them?
I had a big head start when I started this blog in May of 2006. I was already established as an ESPN columnist (I had been writing for them since 2004), so that helped open some doors. And I already had a following of readers who contributed information and feedback. The blog was really just a spin-off of my ESPN column, which was already a fairly well-oiled machine at that point.

The site had no ads (except maybe some Google text ads — I don’t recall) for the first six months or so. I began getting inquiries from advertisers around Thanksgiving of 2006. These days the ads are a mix of small companies that seek me out and establish a relationship (No Mas, ShirtWhiz, etc.) and ad-serving companies that provide the rotating ads that you see on the site. It’s not big money, but it’s some nice extra pocket change.

Who would you rather go to the opera with – Barack Obama or Anna Nicole Smith’s dead body?
Trick question. Everyone knows I hatehatehate opera.

What is your shoe size?
I usually wear a 9.

I hope to be attending the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field in July. What’s the best buffalo wings place/bar/joint to try around the area? Any other cool sports bars to hit up?
The area around the Mets’ stadium is really great if you’re looking for a carburetor or a muffler, but not so good if you’re looking for food. But there’s plenty of decent food at the ballpark, so you should be fine there. And about a 10-minute drive from the stadium is the completely awesome Lemon Ice King of Corona, which is not to be missed. As for sports bars, I hate them, so I’m the wrong guy to ask.

What do you think of the new Sporting KC uniforms?
They’re not terrible. Or at least I don’t think they are — I’m an awful judge of soccer uniforms. I kinda like the two-tone thing, though.

What is your favorite recipe for eating lamb?
I like to get a rack of lamb — eight bones — and quickly sear all sides in a skillet. Then I take a tablespoon or two of fresh rosemary and thyme, a few cloves of garlic, and some salt and pepper, pulse it all in a food processor to make an herb paste, slather it all over the lamb, and then roast it at about 350 º for about 40 minutes (or, if it’s summer, put it in the smoker). Dee-lish.

With the infinite potential of uni info out there, and the nearly impossible task to review your all of digital archives (which may someday be considered an obsolete medium), have you ever considered writing a book — either fiction or non-fiction — to be a physical document of your career (whether it is uni-based or another esoteric subject that is sometimes lost in time)?
Some writers really obsess about writing books — it’s the ultimate feather in their cap, the big thing they’re always striving for, the totem that validates their writerly status. But I’ve never felt that way. Maybe it’s because I used to work in book publishing, so I have no romantic illusions about the industry. Also, I did publish a book back in 1997, which was fun, but it didn’t exactly change my life.

In general, I tend to think more like a journalist than like an author. I also prefer the immediacy of journalism (your work is published very soon after it’s written) to the long lag times that are inherent in book publishing. I have several book ideas in the hopper, but I’m in no hurry to pursue any of them, because I’m already overextended with journalism/media projects. My thinking has always been that if I find myself at loose ends, with no steady journalism work coming in, then I’ll know it’s time to shift gears and pursue one of the books. Until then, I’m happy with the way my work is currently documented.

If for some reason the Mets added purple to their color scheme, how would you react?
Very, very poorly.

We all know your low opinion of buying/wearing team jerseys (you jeeringly refer to them as “$200 polyester shirts”). My question is, is your stance against buying/wearing team jerseys more for the corporate reasons (too expensive, maker’s logo creep, etc.), or is it instead because you are of the “It’s silly to wear someone else’s name on my back” ilk?
You’ve actually hit upon two different issues here: (a) things that I’m opposed to and (b) things that just aren’t my bag.

Let’s start with why I’m opposed to jersey sales: First, yes, there’s the overpriced/corporate thing. I’m also uncomfortable with the extent to which being a fan is now equated with being a consumer. Most of all, though, I think jersey sales are bad for the uni-verse, because they become the tail that wags the on-field dog. If not for jerseys sale, we wouldn’t have BFBS, we wouldn’t have the flood of awful alternate jerseys, etc.

But even if we ignore all of that, wearing a Mets jersey (or whatever) just isn’t my bag. I have no interest in wearing a mass-produced item that a jillion other people are wearing, especially if we’re all gathering in the same place (a stadium, a bar, etc.). I mostly wear vintage clothing, including vintage jerseys, in large part because I like the idea that there’s a unique story behind each item. But that’s just my personal preference, not something I’d try to argue as a matter of policy.

Do you know why patches on baseball hats (World Series, All Star Game, etc.) are almost always worn on the wearer’s left of the hat?
I don’t know this for a fact, but I think it’s because there’s usually a TV camera in the first base dugout, so the pitcher’s cap logo is more visible if it’s on the left side of the cap.

You’re a big fan of meat. What do you think of vegetarians (or vegans) and the issue of factory farms and all the social and ethical issues that come along with them?
I love meat, but I have no illusions about the problems associated with it. Personally, I’m lucky enough to have access to really good meat — ethically raised, locally sourced, sustainably produced, blah-blah-blah. But most people don’t. There’s no question that our current meat production system (like the rest of our food production system) is unsustainable. At some point there’ll be a shakeout, which means people almost certainly won’t be eating as much meat 100 years from now, or maybe even 40 or 50 years from now. And that will largely be a good thing.

As an animal lover, I respect vegetarians (although I think vegans are a bit nuts). I also realize it’s no fun to be part of a marginalized group, and that definitely includes vegetarians. Whenever I write a “Culinary Corner” entry about meat, I always feel a little bad for the vegetarians in the readership. Not bad enough to keep me from writing the entry, mind you, but I do think about such things.

Recently I was having a friendly back-and-forth with a reader who said, “As a far-left punker who’s in the same demographic as you, I dig where you’re coming from 90% of the time. Now if i could only get you to go vegan, we’d be getting married!” As I explained to him, I think I could give up meat way more easily than I could give up butter.

I really hate the “shirt tail” bottom hem on the current NHL uniform. If it’s there to keep the sweater from tucking in to the pants, I don’t think it works. Will it ever go away?
I hate it too. I assume it’s here to stay — at least until the next “innovative” template comes around.

Who comes up with the short blurb at the end of your ESPN articles (“Paul Lukas, a lifelong 49ers fan and a passionate anti-purple partisan, views this year’s Super Bowl matchup as one of history’s purest expressions of good versus evil,” or whatever)?
I do. I just swap in a new one each time.

I’ve noticed that you define Uni Watch as a “media project.” That caught my eye because I’m a project manager by trade, and by definition a project has a start and end date. So, my question is this: Have you considered or even already determined an end date for Uni Watch?
I wasn’t aware that a project had to have a predetermined time frame. If that’s how projects are defined in the business world, well, okay, but I think that’s a very limiting definition, and I would argue that most people view the term very differently. Personally, I have lots of projects: Uni Watch, Permanent Record, One-Man Focus Group, Show & Tell, the Candela Structures, etc. None of them has a defined time frame. In each case, my goal is simply to explore the project until it feels like it’s run its course. That’s when it’s done. It’s not based on a schedule; it’s based on when the goals feel like they’ve been met.

In the case of Uni Watch, I’d say this project feels like it’s closer to its end than to its beginning. But I don’t have a firm end date etched in stone or anything like that.

How would you fix the Bengals’ uniforms?
I know lots of people love the Bengals’ helmet, but I’ve never cared for it. So I’d start there. You could still retain some bengal striping elsewhere on the uniform (maybe even as a center stripe on the helmet). But changing the helmet would be a good first step.

How come you don’t like “softball tops”? While I understand your thinking on the Yankees or other teams with such traditional uniforms having colored alternates, I don’t understand your discontent with an integral part of what makes baseball jerseys so interesting.
I guess I disagree about softball tops being “so interesting.” Maybe if they used completely different chest lettering, instead of just reiterating the team’s basic design in a different color — that might be interesting (or it might just be a disaster). As it stands now, though, colored baseball jerseys always feel like BP tops to me. I really don’t see why any MLB team needs more than a home uni and road uni. After that, it’s usually (although not always) diminishing returns.

Was the title of your New Republic column (“One-Man Focus Group”) deliberately chosen for the initials “OMFG”?
I wish I could say we were that clever, but it’s really more of a happy accident. Here’s the backstory: Back in the late 1990s, I was the marketing columnist for Fortune magazine, where my column was called “One-Man Focus Group.” We never thought about the name’s acronym, and I don’t know if the term “OMFG” even had any currency back then. Now fast-forward to two months ago: An editor from the New Republic called and asked if I’d like to do a column for them. We kicked around some ideas for the column name, and I said, “You know, if you don’t mind using something that I already used a long time ago, I think ‘One-Man Focus Group’ would work really well.” (I came up with the column name back when we used it at Fortune and it belongs to me, so I can re-use it.) The editor agreed, and then we both sort of realized all at once that it reduces to “OMFG.” That sealed the deal.

I’m a gun owner. I use them for to keep nuisance animals like snakes, opossum, squirrels, and beavers away from my cabin, for the occasional clay pigeon outing, and for deer, duck, rabbit, and quail hunting. Though I know many people who use handguns for protection, I don’t feel that need. Keeping the cottonmouth population down is my biggest reason for owning a shotgun. With your anti-gun logo on the site, do you see any situation where owning a gun is acceptable?
Before I answer your question, I should point out that the “anti-gun” logo you’re referring to is an ad, from an advertiser who prefers to remain anonymous. It doesn’t link to anything (at least for now); it just communicates a simple message, although that message is in the eye on the beholder. I really like it, because it has kinda functioned as a Rorschach test. Based on e-mails I’ve received (some angry, some appreciative, some puzzled), people variously interpret it as a Newtown memorial, a call to end gun violence, a call to ban handguns, a call to have Federal agents take everyone’s guns away, a call to repeal the Second Amendment, and more. Anyway, if you’d like to run a “pro-gun” ad, or an anti-cottonmouth ad, or whatever, I’m always happy to talk with potential advertisers.

Now then, as to your question: I can think of many acceptable situations for gun ownership, including the ones you cite for yourself.

This past NFL season, many players were wearing totally blank gloves. Brandon Marshall was one example. Was this solely due to the new Nike Contract? And what company makes said gloves? I can’t decide if it’s refreshing or cheap looking.
For gloves — like for everything else worn on the field — there are league-approved manufacturers (i.e., those that have promotional deals with the league) and non-approved manufacturers. If a player feels strongly about a particular non-approved brand of gloves, or footwear, or whatever, he can wear that brand, but he can’t show its logo. That’s presumably the case with the blank gloves you’re seeing.

Do you read much and have you read any good books lately?
I don’t read nearly enough books, and I especially don’t read enough fiction. The last book I read, which I finished maybe a month ago, was the biography of Yo La Tengo. Weak writing, but very solid reporting, and I know about half the people mentioned in the book, so that was fun.

I have decided to pursue a masters in journalism. My BA is in anthropology (I know, really applicable in today’s job market…), but I always thoroughly enjoyed writing all through my undergraduate degree and I am really set on making this into a career, even after considering the amount of long nights and debt I’m going to get myself into. So my question is: Where did you get your degree? Any programs that stand out in your eyes? Any advice for an aspiring journalist/writer?
I went to college at SUNY-Binghamton, where I got a four-year BA in political science. I also took a lot of philosophy, a bit of English, and a bunch of other stuff I don’t remember. I took exactly zero visual arts courses, which was a huge mistake and is the one thing I most regret about college. I do not have a journalism degree, and I’ve never had any interest in going back to school for that (or for anything else).

My degree and coursework have had little to do with my career. But college was still instrumental to my eventual career path in at least three ways:

1) College is where I learned critical thinking.

2) I wrote and edited a lot for my school paper, which taught me a lot about everything from reporting to print production.

3) I got heavily into music and records, and I began writing music criticism, which was my introduction to the larger world of cultural criticism.

My advice: Don’t go heavily into debt just to get a journalism degree. Debt is a sucker’s game. If you’re a good writer, you don’t need j-school; if you’re a bad writer, j-school won’t be enough to save you. Instead, write for your local alt-weekly, start a blog, start a zine, etc. In other words, do things to develop your voice. Figure out what you want to say and keep working on the best ways to say it. If you have some favorite writers, it’s fine to emulate them at first, as long as your goal is to eventually become better than they are.

Read lots of newspapers and magazines (good magazines, not schlock). As you read an article, imagine how the writer made the choices he or she made. Why start with this paragraph? Why take the story in this or that direction? Would you have made the same choices? How would you have approached these stories? (I still do this all the time when I’m reading.)

Don’t just think of yourself as a writer or journalist. Think of yourself as a creative agent who happens to be using writing as his medium. Good luck.

Uniforms using unique color shades appear to be more the exception than the rule. In the NFL, for example, almost every team that uses orange uses the same orange. Should teams be more creative in this regard? If so is there a color that should be more exploited?
I agree that color palettes have become too standardized. It’s mainly about production costs: If everyone uses the same shade of orange (or navy, or whatever), then you can use the same dye lots for all your production runs, which is more efficient and less expensive.

Naturally, I’d love to see more shades of green, since that’s my favorite color. But a wider, more nuanced color palette would be good for everyone. I don’t expect we’ll be seeing that anytime soon, though.

When it comes to wallets, are you a bi-fold or a tri-fold kind of guy?
Neither. This is my wallet. I’m told that it’s a motorcyclist’s wallet, but I don’t know or care about that — I just like it. I bought it in 1989 or ’90. It originally had a chain, but that broke in ’96. I don’t miss it.

I realize you like to cook. Do you like to watch cooking shows? If so, which one(s)?
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I loved watching Sara Moulton’s show on Food Network, and also the original (Japanese) Iron Chef. I don’t care as much for the current crop of cooking shows (plus I just don’t watch as much TV as I used to), although I occasionally find myself watching a bit of Chopped.

This is the part where I’m obligated to mention that Guy Fieri is more or less everything that’s wrong with America. So there, that’s out of the way.

Are you familiar with Zack Hample, the famed ballhawk with over 6000 baseballs in his collection? Have you had the chance to meet him or maybe do an interview with him? I’m asking this because he has put some uni-watch centric stuff in his blog posts and book, usually regarding the jerseys/shirts he wears to his games.
Heard of him but never met or communicated with him. Seems like he has enough exposure/coverage/etc., so I don’t feel a strong urge to seek him out.

Now that you’ve had a few months’ experience, what’s it like living down the street from the Barclays Center?
Definitely not as bad as I’d feared. As I’ve mentioned before, the main damage can’t be undone (businesses that were forced to close or relocate, buildings that were torn down, etc.), but I’m happy to say that the side-effects of the arena being in operation have been minor.

Do you know any history on how San Diego chose PADRES as their nickname? It is a rather unusual name for a sports team.
“Padres” is Spanish for “fathers,” and refers to the Spanish Franciscan Friars who founded San Diego in 1769.

Regarding your recent trip to the Daytona 500, what did you think of the paint schemes, and the look of the cars in general?
Honestly, the car liveries didn’t make a big impression on me. Maybe it was the distance from our seats to the track, or maybe I was too focused on all the other aspects of my first NASCAR experience. Sorry.

I was thinking a lot about the subjectivity of uniforms and how we tend to admire the looks of our heroes from when we were young. With you being a Niners fan, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say you admire the aesthetic of Joe Montana and that era of players. But as the generations shift, so do the overall aesthetics. So, looking forward, what do you think will be the next generational changes to the aesthetics of sports?
Hey, if I could predict that, I’d be a wealthy man, right? In general, though, I think we’ll keep seeing a move toward what I refer to as the superhero aesthetic. It’s just a question of how that aesthetic is going to be expressed. (As for the Niners, I always thought the pants piping was too wide in the Montana era, and I’m really pleased that they fixed that when creating the team’s current Montana-esque set.)

I admire your ability to use inanimate objects as the source material for interesting story ideas. Has generating ideas for articles always come naturally to you, or is it a skill you had to develop?
For the most part, I’ve generally been able to come up with lots of story ideas without too much difficulty. I used to worry about running out of ideas, or hitting a wall. But then it occurred to me that I’ve always found the world to be an interesting place, and that’s pretty much what drives my work. As long as the world remains interesting to me, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble coming up with things to say about it. (Finding editors who’ll let me say those things is a different challenge, but that has usually worked out for me as well. It just takes a bit more effort.)

Do you know what happens to sideline gear once a season is over? I’ve often wondered what an NFL team does with all the rain gear, cold weather gear, hats, gloves, etc. The apparel is new every year, and it seems to me that it could be put to good use specifically in urban areas through homeless shelters and the like.
Good question. We’ve all heard about what happens to phantom championship gear, but I’ve never heard about obsolete sideline gear. Anyone know?

Is it still possible to obtain or purchase a copy of your Beer Frame zine?
The only issues I still have copies of are Nos. 8 and 9. If you’d like to purchase those, they’re $4 apiece. Send a check or well-concealed cash to me at 671 DeGraw St., Brooklyn, NY 11217. Much of the material from the first six issues is available in my 1997 book, Inconspicuous Consumption: An Obsessive Look at the Stuff We Take for Granted, from the Everyday to the Obscure, used copies of which can be had for a penny — literally! Beer Frame T-shirts, complete with a Brannock Device on the back (the same image as the one tattooed onto my right arm), are available here. And I still have a few copies of the Beer Frame CD, Object Lessons: Songs About Products, featuring written-to-order songs by the Mountain Goats, The Scene Is Now, Nothing Painted Blue, Men & Volts, and Vehicle Flips. That’s available from me for $20.


That’s it for this time, gang. My thanks to everyone who submitted questions. We’ll do this again soon.

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A's poster.jpg

Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

Nothing says the mid-1970s Swingin’ A’s quite like this poster, sent in by Richard Paloma. And speaking of posters, this 1971 ad says, “Official NFL posters $1 each.” Of the ones on that ad, I had the Vikes and the Chiefs. Boy, if they would just repro those!

In non-poster finds:

• I had these! A complete set of 1971 Kentucky Colonel “Pro Star Portraits” by the Great Volpe, of course. Got ’em at the Marathon gas station.

• Here’s a great-looking 1960s bobblehead for Les Habitants.

• Here’s a place to keep all your uni items: a 1971 NFLPA Foot Locker. Had one similiar to this, but it was white fiberboard with the team logos — looked something like this.

• MLB Opening Day is still a couple weeks off, but if your team is already doomed to the cellar, get this vintage 1960s “Baseball Crying Towel” ready.

• Nice set of 20 MLB pins from the early 1960s.

• Hey brewers fans, do you love Barrel Man? Then you’ll love this 1950s scorecard, submitted by Lou Sherwood. (That’s from when the Brewers were a minor league team, natch.)

• You should be able to complete your 1970s NFL helmet goalpost kit collection with this large set, which features four goalposts and 41 helmets!

Here’s a terrific-looking 1970s Tudor NFL game — with the Bengals! Never seen them in a Tudor game before, and I sure had the Bengals among my 15 or so teams I kept organized in a tackle box. Of all those little players, I have one left. And get this Tudor NFL Playbook to go along with it! (That play looks like a Z Post Slant, no?)

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

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March Madness Pool: My thanks to everyone who responded yesterday to my call for someone to run this year’s NCAA bracket pool. I ended up giving the job to Will Rausch (he was the first person to respond), who has now set everything up. I now surrender the floor to him:

“Hello, Uni Watch readers. Over the next three weeks, the NCAA will hold a tournament to determine the D-I men’s basketball champion. Perhaps you have heard of it? In honor of this, the annual Uni Watch March Madness bracket is back. You can join tournament here (password: stirrups). If that group fills up, as has been the case in previous years, you can join the second group here (same password). Scoring and rules are the same as the past: one point for correct picks in the first round, two points in the second, four in the Sweet 16, eight in the Elite Eight, 16 in the semis, and 32 for picking the champion. One entry per person, please.”

Thanks, Will. The winner will receive a freebie prize from my swag bag. Get crackin’!

+ + + + +

OMFG: My latest “One-Man Focus Group” column has a Uni Watch spin, as I’ve taken a look at sleeved basketball jerseys.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: More teams wearing green from last weekend: the Dallas Stars; lots of college baseball squads, including Mississippi State, Southern Cal, Arizona State, Villanova, and Northern Illinois (eww, I hate that mesh); the Halifax Mooseheads; the Idaho Stampede; the Chicago Slaughter; and the Peoria Rivermen, among several other AHL teams. Also, in one of the MLB games for which I didn’t have photos yesterday, the Tigers wore green jerseys. Also-also, the D-backs didn’t just have green caps — they had green base coach helmets (from Dennis Anderson, Stan Capp, Josh Claywell, Bryan Farris, Michael Hersch, Rob Holecko, Ed Kozak, Anthony Nuccio, Chris Ruebel, Brad Smith, and Mark Snider). ”¦ The Dolphins will unveil their new logo and uni set on April 18. … Shame on New York State officials, who are reportedly considering corporate sponsorship for the Tappan Zee Bridge (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Great story about the Nats’ equipment habits. Key quote: “Nationals reliever Drew Storen, who studied product design at Stanford and designs his own shoe patterns for fun, used 37 baseball caps last season, according to his former roommate Tyler Clippard, who only used one” (from David Goodfriend). ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s another example of an NBA team that wore sleeves: the St. Louis Bombers. Scroll down to see two photos of them. … Miami hoops player Rion Brown wore striped socks for the ACC championship game (from Benjamin Page). … I can’t decide if this is really awesome or really sad: A youth league baseball team in Florida couldn’t find a local sponsor, so the league ordered up some jerseys with “No Sponsor” printed on them (from Mike Edgerley). … Here’s a slideshow of bad restaurant uniforms (from Bryan Martin Firvida). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Stephen Curry of the Warriors blamed last Friday night’s loss on the sleeves (from Matt Beahan). … A hockey goalie at the U. of Vermont has put Taylor Swift on his mask (from Joe Giza). … Arsenal’s new home kit may have been leaked (from Patrick Runge). … “I watched the Japan/Puerto Rico WBC game on Sunday night,” says Jake Kessler. “The announcers were commenting on how Japanese ace pitchers are ofen assigned uni No. 18. The Japanese WBC pitching staff has four guys who usually wear No. 18. The senior 18 got to wear it, and the rest picked new numbers.” … Excellent article about how Nike and other outfitters are having an impact on European soccer roster makeup (from Eric Schmid). … This is pretty cool: A Louisville newspaper has combined two of the city’s greatest passions — college hoops and the Kentucky Derby — by creating horse racing jockey silks for each school in the NCAA tourney. You can click on each one to see a larger version (big thanks to Brian Davis). … Speaking of cross-sport concepts, Danny Garrison’s latest set of NFL teams recast as soccer teams is for the AFC South. … John Lesnik was watching some old MLB footage from the late ’60s and spotted this interesting Twins bat boy. … “In Sunday night’s 30 For 30 installment about the NC State tournament run in 1983, they showed clips of the postgame press conference, and Wolfpack players Dereck Whittenburg, Lorenzo Charles, and Thurl Bailey were clearly wearing New Mexico Football jackets, as you can see here and here,” says Patrick Woody. “Not sure what the circumstances were, but it’s really kind of charming that things were still loose enough back then that you could throw on some random jacket you (presumably) found in a locker room. Can you imagine that happening at a Final Four press conference now, in the age of making sure the Gatorade label faces the camera?” … “Sunday’s Milan-San Remo bike race (the longest one-day race of the year) was held in snow and rain,” writes Bernie Langer. “The race had to be stopped halfway through because conditions were too dangerous, and cyclists were bused down the course to where it was only raining. So lots of pictures of cyclists in full-body outfits in bad conditions. Also, here’s American Taylor Phinney after boarding the team bus mid-race, with ice frozen to his helmet.” Further info on bad-weather cycling here, courtesy of Sean Clancy. … New retro Sunday alts for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (from Ryan Boyle). … Those rumors about the Bobcats making a big announcement were apparently just that — rumors. … Ever see one of those old-school walking sticks with those little medallions? Perhaps unsurprisingly, those medallions are widely available on eBay. Some of them are really nice. Kinda remind me of bicycle head badges (from Markus Kamp). … And speaking of head badges, check out this one — with Ted Williams’s signature! That’s from an old Sears bike (from Phillip Garza). ”¦ A collector has found a copy of the phantom program from the 1958 match between Manchester United and Ipswich that was canceled after the Munich air disaster that claimed the lives of 23 people associated with the team (from Tom Moore). … Remember, Passover starts next Monday evening, which means you can now get Coke, Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup, and other products made with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. … Here’s a slideshow of the NCAA floor being laid down at Rupp Arena (from Josh Claywell). … The news of my faux-Twitter work on the next edition of Madden was featured yesterday on Kotaku. So not only am I working for a video game that I’ve never played, but I’ve been featured on a top video gaming site even though I have approximately zero interest in video games. At this rate I should have my own video game (which I’ll have no idea how to play) by next week. … Steve Eminger, who wears No. 44, lost one of his helmet numerals last night (from Bill Stewart). … The Brewers have posted a photo of the bobblehead that’ll be given away for Polish Heritage Day, or whatever that promotion’s gonna be called. “I’m guessing this will be a pretty good approximation of what the on-field jersey will look like,” says Geoff Poole, and I’m inclined to agree. ”¦ Longtime reader and hockey-blogging stalwart Teebz has a new project of interest, which I’ll let him describe: “I’m looking to build a visual catalog of musicians in hockey jerseys. I’m not interested in T-shirts or sweatshirts or jackets, because anyone can wear those. I want to create a vast pictorial collection of musicians wearing genuine hockey jerseys. It may also be interesting to see which musicians are wearing jerseys because they’re true fans, or if they accept jerseys based on their tour stops (*cough*TaylorSwift*cough*). Please read over the list found on this page and send any images you find to this e-mail address. Thanks!” ”¦ “I am a faculty member at the University of Phoenix out of Chicago, and the school has recently started an ad campaign about ‘lucky socks,'” writes Mike Konkoleski. “Because of this, all teachers received a pair of their own socks, emblazoned with the school’s phoenix logo.” ”¦ Aussie football news from Leo Strawn Jr., who reports that the Melbourne Demons will wear a members’ jumper on Aug. 18.

Comments (157)

    I totally dislike the NCAA floors being all uniform in color. When a game is played at Boston Garden, I want to see the green on the floor. This black & blue nonsense for all floors has to go.

    Last time they were in Boston, the floor wasn’t even parquet.

    To take this a step further, while I’m not much of a college basketball fan, I used to enjoy the first weekend of the tournament. Between the odd floors (and the changes to NBA courts), the chance to see teams I don’t ordinarily see, and especially the TV coverage whipping around to the most interesting game at the moment, it was a lot of fun.

    Now, with the generic floors, teams wearing special tournament unis, and showing each game on its own channel, I’m much less likely to watch. Some of this may be better for hardcore college fans, but it’s worse for me.

    The generic courts are definitely a downgrade for the college basketball tournament. But college basketball remains infinitely more interesting than the NBA. There is a charm in having cheerleaders and mascots at the edge of the court and none of that canned music that blares from the NBA sound systems.

    Here’s a little something that appeared on the NYT website today about stained courts: link.

    There is a mention of the NCAA’s rationale for its minimalistic approach to court design during the tournament.

    That’s neat that the Mountain West Conference tournament court was re-purposed from last year’s Women’s Final Four when Baylor declined to buy it.

    NFL soccer uniforms… Jacksonville with the Jaguar car company for a sponsor… I’m pretty sure that’s a big giant NO, seeing how the Jags were sued over their original logo because of it’s similarity to the car company’s. Not a good choice there.

    (Nevermind that ads on jerseys SUCK, and it’s just sickening that it’s become the standard for soccer uniforms. We need to be fighting it, not encouraging more of it.)

    I’m not digging the NFL/soccer mashups either. For one thing, the third jersey options (or are they GK shirts?) are functionally useless since they’re often in the same color schemes as the home and the away.

    I dunno… the issue of sponsor ads aside, I think it’s a nice little meta-joke. I’m not sure whether to add bonus points, though, for making it a Puma jersey as well.

    So the Lehigh Valley IronPigs unveil a powder blue mesh pullover jersey, and presumably won’t be matching it with powder blue pants, and will be wearing this jersey at home. Seems other than the color of the jersey, there’s nothing remotely similar to the Phillies uniform style from the ’70s and ’80s. The Reading Phillies a few years ago did a much better retro job, wearing real powder blue jerseys and pants, and sporting them for road games (and probably the occasional home game).

    Remarked IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes:
    “We think our fans are going to squeal over this fresh new look!”
    Hogwash I say!

    Would not a “retro” IronPigs jersey pay homage to the SWB Red Barons, a Phillies’ affiliate from 1989-2006?

    the Halifax Mooseheads green St Patty’s Day jerseys… my brain just melted.

    i need that in the form of a blank jersey and socks right now


    In case you come back:

    “During Fan Appreciation Day the Mooseheads will be wearing St.Patrick’s Day jerseys which will be given away to 20 lucky fans in attendance.”

    From link.

    I don’t think the two-shade jerseys are appropriate for every team, but I think it could really work for some NHL teams, or NFL for that matter.

    For example, I like the Mn Wild’s Green jersey, but it feels a little plain to me. Contrasting green stripes could make it a lot more interesting; add dimension.


    Remember that guy who put “NO PLATE” on his car license plate and got dozens of tickets intended for people who genuinely didn’t have plates?

    Question regarding the gun logo. You mention it as an advertisement but would you include an advertisment with something you disagree with. (think same add but with meat instead of a gun). Just curious. Obviously this can go very extreme if someone wanted to advertise something you are completely against (think a red circle with an interacial couple). My question is would you allow them to run it? And if you wouldn’t, aren’t you then implicitly endorsing, at least pasively, the view of the ad?

    The ad isn’t anti-gun; it’s anti-handgun. Lots of reasonable people – police officers, politicians of all stripes, Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Mr. Saturday Night Special”) have spoken out against handguns, while at the same time supporting gun ownership right (see Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Give Me Back My Bullets”). You can oppose some types of gun ownership, without being against all forms of gun ownership.

    Your example was better suited to a discussion set in 1936. You’d be hard-pressed to find any miscegenation advocates these days. There are more contemporary examples, which we can all think of, which I won’t mention because it will result in 257 very long comments, and that’s exhausting for everybody.

    It’s common practice for media outlets to reject ads that do not fit their editorial standards. Ashley Madison, the cheaters’ site, had a hard time buying ad space on TV. I’m pretty sure the Deseret News still does not accept ads for R-rated movies.

    “It’s common practice for media outlets to reject ads that do not fit their editorial standards. Ashley Madison, the cheaters’ site, had a hard time buying ad space on TV.

    But does that mean that it has to be assumed that ads that aren’t rejected are necessarily endorsed? Can’t there be a middle ground — “we took their money, we sold them ad space, they say what they want, we don’t necessarily agree or disagree with them, but we choose to let them say what they want.” Apparently this sort of staying ‘above the fray’ isn’t permitted anymore. You have to either be for something or against it.

    Does CBS choosing to take Ashley Madison’s ad money for a Super Bowl ad have to mean they support cheating on your spouse, or couldn’t it just mean that they made a business decision and sold them ad space without judging the content of its’ advertisers? Or are they just afraid of the backlash from Murder She Wrote and 60 Minutes viewers who might not like it?

    It’s threats by a boycott-happy society like this that get a Hank Williams Jr. fired from singing a Monday Football theme song, when his views and opinions (or how they were interpreted) in actuality have no bearing on his ability to perform his duties as MNF song intro singer. Instead of an ESPN being able to take the courageous stance of saying we disagree with comments Mr. Williams made but we are retaining him because we don’t feel his political statements should have any bearing on our theme song, they instead are spinelessly forced to decide to distance themselves from him because of how it “might make them look.”

    So if someone doesn’t reject an advertisement, and they admit they do “turn down proposed ads all the time, for a variety of reasons”, then them not turning down a particular ad must mean, by definition, that they are tacitly endorsing it, right?

    So if someone doesn’t reject an advertisement, and they admit they do “turn down proposed ads all the time, for a variety of reasons”, then them not turning down a particular ad must mean, by definition, that they are tacitly endorsing it, right?

    Flawed logic. The absence of a thumbs-down does not, “by definition,” constitute a thumbs-up. It simply constitutes the lack of a thumbs-down. Now, you may interpret it a certain way, and your interpretation may even be reasonable or even accurate (or not), but any logician would tell you that you’re making a leap and that there’s no ipso-facto at work here.

    I don’t have time to get into this discussion right now (about to do a video shoot), but I just wanted to point out that intellectual flaw in your reasoning.

    That’s my exact point — that people aren’t permitted to take the middle ground anymore. ESPN had to fire Hank Williams Jr. else be accused of endorsing his views. CBS couldn’t take Ashley Madison’s money, else be accused of endorsing cheating spouses.

    You may like to be able to reserve the right to accept an advertisement without tacitly endorsing it, but given that you’ve already said that you do from time to time not approve some ads, then if you ran an ad for something totally distastful – Nazi stuff, a red circle with an interacial couple, etc. you would be accused of endorsing it, even if you haven’t.

    Aside to Cort: Your example was better suited to a discussion set in 1936. You’d be hard-pressed to find any miscegenation advocates these days.

    Try looking down here in the south.

    No offense, Rob, but you’re all over the map here. First you presented a (flawed) logical paradigm, and now you’re talking about the real-world marketplace of ideas. Two very different things.

    ESPN did not “have” to fire Hank Williams Jr.; they chose to. CBS can take money from whomever they choose; in Ashley Madison’s case, they choose not to. Were those choices influenced by public response and perception? Probably (although it’s also possible that ESPN was sincerely offended by Williams and didn’t want to work with him any longer, and/or that CBS is sincerely offended by Ashley Madison and wants nothing to do with the site). But it’s still a choice. There are no imperatives at work here. Just actions and consequences.

    In any case, these examples have very little relevance to Uni Watch. ESPN and CBS are running businesses, while I’m running a personal creative project (which I happen to have monetized slightly, but that’s not the point of the project — it’s just a side aspect). The motivations are different, the end goals are different, etc.

    Actually I never said anti gun. And I specifically choose an outdated example because I didnt want it to turn into a discussion on whatever example I choose.

    Another good Question Time. With regards to an eventual shakeout on the meat industry, I already see some of it happening. National chains like Walmart and Aldi already have their meat processed at factories and pre-packaged before it goes to stores, instead of having butchers working on-site. Of-course, both do it for different reasons. (Walmart did it because the butchers at their Supercenters wanted to unionize, while Aldi does it to simply cut costs since its a “no-frills” supermarket.) But it does make you wonder if more traditional supermarket chains with unions such as Kroger, Safeway, Giant Eagle, etc… eventually go down that path as well. Being in Giant Eagle’s home market, I don’t see them doing it at their upscale Market District stores (which you should check out the next time you’re in Pittsburgh–they sell exotic meats like snake, rabbit, and bison, as well as more traditional fare), but I know some of their newer standard stores aren’t unionized, so that’s a possibility down the road.

    For the most part, supermarkets like Krogers and such don’t have unionized butchers; they have unionized cutters. Big difference. Cutters don’t know how to break down a whole carcass, so the meat arrives at the supermarket already broken down into primal and sub-primal sections, which the cutters then cut into retail cuts.

    Unionization aside, this is one of the many, many reasons why it’s better to buy your meat from a real butcher shop, not from a supermarket. Real butchers understand their product much, much better.

    I have a great Butcher Shop, Mikes, in West Saint Paul, MN that I go to. I really enjoy being able to ask questions about the meats and cuts and get a straight answer from the guy who actually cut it.

    My local grocery store doesn’t even have a meat counter any longer. Everything is prepackaged and god knows where it came from.

    What local grocery store in your area does that? Like I said above, Walmart and Aldi already do that. Save-a-Lot does to a lesser extent, too, though that depends on which one you go to, since about 2/3rd of them are franchised-owned and depending on the franchise owner have meat departments. We have a chain that opened up in Pittsburgh last year called Bottom Dollar Food that does that. They’re very similar to Aldi except they have some name brands. The majority of these have done this to cut costs–Walmart is a notable exception, having done it because some of the meat departments at their Supercenters tried to unionize.

    At the other end you have specialty shops that are opening up that have meats that you’ll never find. Take Giant Eagle’s Market District, for instance. You can easily find there any kind of meat that is edible except for ones that aren’t eaten in this country (dog meat, horse meat, etc…), in addition to more readily-available meat such as beef, pork, poultry, fish, lamb, etc… That seems to be an expanding market.

    Long-term, what I see being squeezed out is the standard supermarket meat cutters (thanks for correcting me Paul) that you see at Kroger, Safeway, Giant Eagle, Albertsons, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Piggly Wiggly, any of the Supervalu stores, or any other supermarket chain. As Paul said, there will be a shakeout eventually, and already there is some consolidation going on.

    I always kick myself for forgetting to send in a question.

    Couldn’t agree more with you in regards to Guy Fieri.
    Chopped is really the only show I still watch on the Food network too. I do also enjoy the search for the next American iron chef. But yet I don’t enjoy watching the American version of iron chef.

    Most nights, Food Network runs about 47 episodes of “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”.

    Clearly, Food Network has just quit trying.

    While I don’t want to get into a discussion about the hosts…the shows are genius.

    I love the “diners, drive-ins, and dives” that Guy visits. I love the places that Adam Richman duels.

    In fact, I have been to over 30 places of those two shows combined. I try to go to them. Sure is better than chain restaurants.


    Thanks for taking the time to answer some of the questions. Did you ever have a chance to go to the NFL equipment managers conference? I know you mentioned you were going to see what you could do, but I can’t recall seeing any follow up from it.

    Just a guess regarding Reebok and college football, but since they’re owned by adidas, and adidas is already in that arena, perhaps they don’t want to compete with themselves. Again, just a guess.

    That might be the case. Contrast it with hockey, where Adidas schools such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Notre Dame wear Reebok hockey uniforms and equipment.

    By all appearances, it does seem that since Adidas purchased Reebok in 2006, Adidas has grouped its uniform lines by brand, putting its football and basketball programs under the Adidas name, while keeping hockey under Reebok.

    In fact, Reebok was the previous supplier for the NBA, from 2001-2006. Adidas moved quickly to become their new official brand. I would guess that the reason the change didn’t occur in the NFL was due to legal terms in their existing contract with Reebok, and that had Nike not gotten the current contract, we might have seen the NFL transition to Adidas.

    By the way, I’m not supporting the Cummingsization of the Adidas name. As far as I’m concerned, the lower-case a is part of the typography of their logo, and ought to remain as such, and I find their continued attempts to force the lower-case usage in all other applications unpalatable. (“Cummingsization” is the term I’m using to refer to this kind of thing, with E.E. Cummings being a solid example; in his case, it was publishers of his work that used the lower-case “e.e. cummings”, because they felt it went with his overall style, even though he generally preferred the normal rendition of his name.)

    Thank you for mentioning your dislike for the “Storm Trooper” and “Vader” terms.

    did anyone else catch the mention in the “nationals’ equipment” story about how tan gloves are no longer allowed on the infield due to their similarity in color to infield dirt?

    time for team-colored infield dirt to bring back tan mitts!

    Paul, I sent the thing about the New Mexico football jackets the night it aired. What an interesting touch, and I like the one-piece “NM” logo, too.

    In this day and age, you’d also probably get the “New Mexico has a different equipment company than NC State!” cry (Adidas for NC State, Nike for UNM).

    The Final Four was in Albuquerque that year, right? My guess is that the jackets were given to the players to cool down for the press conference.

    Not sure why they wouldn’t have used their own shooting shirts, but I imagine being on the UNM campus you just have to use whatever’s available.

    The journalism question stood out for me, not because I want to go into journalism, but I’ve always kind of wanted to write for an audience. Problem is, I don’t really know what I’d want to write about, since my interests vary. With uni-watch, you definitely hit on different things, but you’ve got the overall framework of uniforms. I imagine I’d have a bit of a hodgepodge of subjects. That said, I should probably worry more about my dissertation than recreational writing at this time! Having gotten advanced degrees, I can advise anyone to be sure you’re going into it with a clear goal in mind, not just education for the sake of being more educated. In some areas, yes, you do need an advanced degree to open up some career options, so definitely do your homework on that sort of thing.

    I wish you well with your dissertation. My advice, if interested…be mindful of prolix and invest in a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

    Lastly, keep in mind that your defense is nothing more than an exercise in academic hazing. You’ll be fine.

    Oh, no doubt about it. I’m actually wrapping up the proposal, and I would say that even failing the proposal would likely be a major black mark on the chair. At this stage of the game, a student should have enough collaboration with different faculty that the proposal and final defenses should be only formalities with no surprises.

    Gah, sorry.

    I think I submitted a question prior to your 2nd mailbag that went unanswered. I’m in the environmental engineering field so I tend to think of the environmental aspect of things. With all the alternate uniforms- I see it as simply a waste of resources. As always is the case with any product, water is necessary. So I tend to cringe when a team comes out with a dumb, unnecessary 3rd jersey for marketing purposes.

    I guess my question is this- do you know how often teams in any sports reuse their uniforms? Which sport is egregious in wasting uniforms (a new uniform per game)? Thanks.


    I am reaching out to you because in the past, some of posts have thrown you under the bus. As I write this from my man cave, I am shocked, shocked at some of the things I have sent in. I am going to try to be more politically correct going forward. This site is legendary.


    It’s really sad when Big Cock Johnson tries to troll without referring to (a) his cock, (b) fucking the woman he mistakenly thinks is still my girlfriend, or (c) spewing large loads of semen. The whole thing just falls flat.

    Stick to what you know, Joe.

    I was working as a high school football coach in Arlington, Tx in 2010 when our head coach grabbed me and said we need to go somewhere. After I took care of my classroom duties, with me driving, he directed me to the Dallas Cowboys warehouse. All of the other Arlington high schools were present as well. We were allowed to pick through unused equipment, mainly gloves and shoes, but also got to rummage through old sideline gear for the coaching staffs. For myself, I picked up a Cowboys parka and a players sideline jacket, which happens to have DeMarcus Ware’s uniform number on the inside tag in Sharpie. By the end of the day my truck was overloaded with a couple of seasons old used sideline gear and equipment.

    Hockey jerseys: she’s not a musician, but how ’bout Ashley Judd in a UKY hockey jersey?


    I appreciate the vast number of celebrities that wear uniforms, Joe, but I only want musicians. Again, it’s more of a visual database study in terms of which musicians actually support their hometown or local teams and which musicians just collect uniforms as a perk of them touring (Swift, Bieber, etc.).

    Outside of Nashville, rock stars and heavy metal bands seem to be leading the race in terms of having true fans on the stage when wearing jerseys.

    You could devote an entire wing to rappers from the mid-90’s, when hockey jerseys enjoyed a brief period in the hip hop fashion sun.

    True, which is why I want to see them in public spaces only. I’m not interested in seeing rappers sport colors or whatever in their videos.

    And to those who have sent in images already, excellent work! I also want to add one more condition: music videos have a number of rappers in hockey jerseys. I don’t want to see these.

    I want to see musicians in public – at a concert, at a game, wandering the streets, whatever. Wearing the jersey just can’t be staged. :o)

    When I saw Pearl Jam in concert in 2010, Eddie got a Royals jersey from WIlly Wilson and wore it. I’m sure the pic can be found on their website archives.

    Afrojack used to wear a Tampa Bay Rays powder blue jersey. I think they got the NOB font wrong, and it bothered me.

    “only looking for hockey shirts?”


    Unless it’s been changed to the “Major Sports Blog In Canada, Eh?”

    I can assure everyone, including Phil, that HBIC has not changed. I actually can’t believe I’ve been doing it for six years!

    That’s great Teebz! Glad you’re still focusing on the niche sport!

    Minor quibble about one of the questions:

    Barcelona is not a case of every team in the city wearing the same colors, like Pittsburgh. The soccer, basketball, volleyball and handball teams all operate under the FC Barcelona organization. It’s more like, say, all Harvard sports teams wearing crimson. Plus, Espanyol, the other soccer club in Barcelona, wears blue and white stripes.

    Also, I don’t think Montreal sports team wear the same colors – Montreal Alouettes make a heavy use of silver and the red is deeper, and Montreal Impact don’t use red.

    Proposed engraving above the Grand Portal of the Lukas Enterprises Building in downtown Brooklyn, NY:

    ” It would be nice if our respective biases matched up, but it appears that they don’t. That’s life. My standard is simple: If I think something is good, I say I think it’s good (and usually try to explain why); if I think it’s not good, I say I think it’s not good (ditto). There’s no agenda beyond that.”

    Beat that, Emerson.

    On the topic of Coke made with cane sugar, one thing I’ve been wondering lately:

    Now that Mexican Coke (a glass-bottled variety made with cane sugar, presumably intended for the Mexican market) has spread from small, hip coffee enclaves, urban hangouts and independent delis and grocers to major chain retailers all over the country, I’ve been wondering how this product is distributed.

    Is it sold through the same sales team that sells the regular Coke for the masses? Are there separate sales reps for Mexican Coke? Do they have rivalries with the regular Coke guys? To what degree is Mexican Coke cannibalizing the sales of regular Coke in the U.S. at this point, now that you can occasionally find Mexican Coke in places like Wal-Mart?

    “All about Mexican Coke” could be a fun OMFG piece.

    Good interview Paul. I agree with you on the baseball uniform thing, I think with a few exceptions, teams should have a home and away uni, and that’s it. The exceptions should be ones that have a tradition of it like the A’s and Orioles, and even then as ‘Sunday Uniforms”, or for special occasions. I do like the look of the new Mets alternate, and naturally my Jays traditional Red Canada Day shirt, but baseball is a sport that is meant for 19th century traditions. High socks, and a distinctive grey for the respected guests.

    Agreed for the most part, but there’s a special place in my heart for the powder blue road unis that several teams wore in the 80’s. George Brett jumping up and down in the pine tar dispute wouldn’t be the same without the blue shirt and pants.

    I think if they wear powder blue pants, it’s fine. But if they wear them with white home or road gray pants, then it becomes a softball top.

    “19th century traditions. High socks, and a distinctive grey for the respected guests.”

    As a fan of the dark blue 1880s Chicago uniforms, I must remind you that “distinctive grey” does not match up well at all with “19th century traditions”. Grey on the road is a post-1920s thing.


    Are we OK with black becoming their primary color? Teal was soooo trendy in the ’90s but no other team has a teal jersey.

    I’ll withold judgment until we see the whole thing. I just wish they’d stuck with their original design.

    Hey brewers fans, do you love Barrel Man? Then you’ll love link, submitted by Lou Sherwood. (That’s from when the Brewers were a minor league team, natch.)

    I’m always hesitant to plug my blog, but if anyone’s interested in that scorecard link. Kansas City Blues, not Saint Paul Saints, but still very cool.

    I love it! The best parts are the ad for Molitor’s club, “for after the game” — I like that Milwaukee baseball fans were enjoying a place called Molitor’s about two generations before Paul Molitor came along — and the rookie Beer Barrel Man cover.

    Regarding the Reebok hockey jersey tail thing, I thought I’d read somewhere that in developing the Edge uniform system, it had gotten into their heads that tucking the jerseys in – all the way around – would be the normal practice going forward. Obviously, nothing like that has actually happened – there are some players that like to tuck part of the back of their jerseys in, but that’s entirely up to the individual.

    Also, historically, hockey sweaters were generally never tucked in. It wasn’t until modern materials and construction made the term “sweater” a colloquialism in reference to modern jerseys that we saw them tucked with any regularity, and it probably wasn’t until Wayne Gretzky did it that tucking got any traction.

    It’s just too bad the Rangers gave in and stopped hemming up their jerseys after the 2007-08 season.

    Is this an example of a generation gap in design, or of the pitfalls of uniforms being designed by people who are unfamiliar with the sport?

    Rob is right — pre-Gretzky, no one tucked in their jersey. Post-Gretzky, EVERYBODY tucked, especially in junior leagues. So is Reebok’s expectation the result of the Edge being designed by people in their 30’s, who don’t know anything but tucking, or is it that a bunch of guys who’ve never come closer to hockey than multiple viewings of “Wayne’s World” did all the designing?

    And maybe it’s the image quality, but the stitching between the sleeves and the body looks too uneven. And I don’t think adidas would be making a prototype of a jersey that won’t be used until July 2014.

    If that Jags jersey is legit, looks like it at least has a normal collar, not the “Nikelace” or whatever it’s called.

    Not that they’ll be watchable this year anyway, but any chance the Jets might get their jersey colors fixed this year?

    Yeah — except it might just be a low-level retail/replica jersey. Those don’t have the Nikelace, I think. Or am I wrong about that?

    Don’t know; I’ve never considered buying one. The sleeve treatment on the Jets jersey, while it looks better on the field than the Reebok jerseys did, is seriously effed up on the Nike retail jerseys.

    Those Jags jerseys look pretty good. Much better than I was expecting. I was very disappointed when they went to black as the primary jersey last year. But this uniform looks solid, love the gold accent.

    Considering it’s a size “S” on a plastic hanger, I’d guess it’s a cheap-fan-friendly somethingorother.

    i do like it though.

    There are three levels of Nike NFL jerseys
    “Game” jersey – which is not by any means a game jersey. Screen printed replica.
    “Limited” jersey – mid level. Contains flywire collar and has one layer screen printed tackle twill numbers and letters (Similar to the “swingman” version of the NBA jerseys.
    “Elite” jersey – closest to the on the field models that the general public can buy. Not cut the same as team issued gear obviously.

    The one pictured is a “game” or replica jersey.

    This blog would have about a third of the content it has if Paul Lukas didn’t like talking about himself so much.

    True enough, although (a) I think the actual fraction is more like three-fifths, not a third, and (b) I wouldn’t have been able to talk about myself so much today if people hadn’t asked so many questions about me. Couldn’t do it withoutcha, Joe!

    I love the blog almost as much as I love giving you grief.

    You’re also always good sport about it which I have to respect.

    P.S. That new Dolphins logo looks like something atop the menu at a Florida hospice.

    Not sure if this addresses what happens to football sideline gear after the season, but I know for sure that the San Jose Sharks have a “used equipment” sale after the end of every season to blow out the old season gear. In addition to the game used gear, there are a lot of unused polo shirts, pants, jackets, training shirts, etc. that get sold. I believe profits go to the Sharks Foundation for community outreach purposes. The Chicago Cubs also do a similar type of garage sale every couple of seasons. The coolest thing I have seen for sale there are the team pennant flags that show the NL standings on top of the scoreboard that are too worn to continue to be used.

    The Bruins sell off used gear at local hockey equipment stores, as well.

    As for the Sharks, I’ve seen a few of the player issued laundry bags pop up on ebay, as well. If I ever need a new one, I know where I’m turning.

    No sponsor, eh? When I played youth baseball in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in the late ’60s, they didn’t have enough sponsors for all the teams. The solution then: Name the unsponsored teams after MLB teams. I played for the Cubs. We had bright yellow T-shirts with “CUBS” in white letters, which I found odd even then. Hey, those aren’t the Cubs’ colors.

    Our Little League had three divisions: Pee Wees, Minors, and Majors. The Majors were all names after MLB clubs. The Minors were old PCL teams: Solons, Mounties, Oaks, etc. This was the Seventies, so none of us had any idea where the names came from. The Pee Wees names appeared to have been generated at random: I spent two seasons on the Fins.

    The colors appeared to have been chosen at random, although the Reds did indeed wear red.

    Crap, I know I missed the boat on question day, but a while back, you were considering pitching a childrens’ book. Did anything ever come of that?

    Looks like the Jags uni has collar stripes, and some sublimated shoulder graphics or something of the sort. Depending on how crazy Nike got with the rest of the jersey, I’d welcome those if they’re unique to just the team.

    I have one of those 1971 Vikings posters (somewhere rolled up in my garage). I’m pretty sure I bought it through the Arrow Book club at school.

    Re San Diego Padres: When San Diego was primarily known for its mission and its zoo, the name Padres was used informally for semipro teams. When the city got a Pacific Coast League team in the late 1930s, a contest was held to name the team and Padres won. Ted Williams played for the Padres for a couple of years as a teenager. When the city got an NL expansion team for 1969, the name was already firmly entrenched.

    Re journalism school: If you decide to take Paul’s advice and skip J-school, that’s your choice, but if you really want to pursue it, you could consider the one where I teach, San Jose State University. Not only do we have a great track record (four Pulitzer Prize winners in the 2000s), but you could have a fellow Uni Watch reader as one of your professors.

    Ha! Sorry, Richard, didn’t mean to disparage J-school (or, by extension, you). Obviously, J-school has lots of things to recommend it, and there definitely some major deficits in my skill set due to not having gone to J-school. But given the expense of the degree and the shaky state of the media landscape at the moment, I think anyone considering J-school has to do some serious cost/benefit thinking.

    No problem, Paul — you’re not disparaging me. I should probably apologize for the shameless plug, but I figured if someone is interested in pursuing a J-school grad degree, I might as well say something on our program’s behalf.

    It’s different for you. I’m all in favor of your J-school studies, if only so this site can finally have one writer with a journalism degree.

    The thing about J-School is that you can’t go to J-School and exist in a vacuum. To be a good journalist you need to be a good writer and to do that, you need to write. A lot. Having a J-School degree is rarely, if ever, going to get you a job over someone with great clips and years of writing experience under their belt.

    If you think you can do both – great, go to J-School and learn AP Style, etc … But if you are going to go to J-School and not also spend that time writing for anyone, anywhere, as much as you can, it’s a waste of your time and money.

    I have an undergrad journo degree and I’m not certain that I learned anything in a class that I didn’t/couldn’t learn in a newsroom. That’s not to disparage the schooling, but to say that it’s a very hands-on sort of job and there’s very little sitting in a classroom can teach you about writing. If you are the type of person that can buckle down, buy yourself an AP Stylebook, a History of Journo book and a Comm Law book and read them yourself. Then write articles about them – it’ll be much cheaper.

    I don’t know and the above professor can likely answer better than I can, but I’d also worry that you’d be missing fundamentals heading into J-School that they’d already expect you to have from undergrad. Are they teaching Intro to AP for those who didn’t do Journo in undergrad?

    As Journo undergrads, we all joked that the only reason to go to J-School was if you planned to teach.

    Lastly, you joke that your undergrad degree is out of touch, but I’d think long and hard as to whether a Journo Masters isn’t also. It’s an ever-changing, somewhat dying medium. 3/4 of the journo grads I knew in the early 2000’s are not working as journos. Including me. I’m not trying to discourage you, but to get you to think clearly and in reality. It’s not easy. The pay is crap. You have to “pay your dues” and you’ll have to work for tiny papers/sites in tiny towns. Can you do all that while paying off J-School debt? Will you be happy? Can you transition to Marketing/PR/Social Media and still be happy?

    Hope I’m not a total buzz kill – just trying to help.

    Interesting to hear that you’ve never cared for the Bengals’ helmets Paul, I’ve always thought that design was a crucial step in the wrong direction for sports uniforms.

    Make that three of us.

    Though not technically garish I suppose, the stripes are simply too busy for their real estate. The nickname “Boomer” is also indelibly linked with this look. Need I say more?

    I suggest bringing back the wonderfully simplistic “BENGALS” accessorized with gray face bars.

    re: NFL players in blank gloves. I’m sure there are many examples, but I recognized several of the link design as Cutters brand, even without their logo (which is link on most models anyway). Awesome gloves. I had a football pair and a baseball pair for practices due to the durability. Totally understand why several players would be compelled to use this non-approved glove.

    From the World Baseball Classic: in the Japanese major leagues, the batting practice pitchers and staffers routinely get three-digit numbers, but the WBC roster is small enough that they could easily give those guys “regular” numbers if they wanted. However, I’ve seen both #101 and #109 wearing their “regular-season” numbers link

    If you don’t mind, I’m going to add an answer for anyone attending the MLB ASG at Shea. If this is your first trip to Flushing, Queens, may I suggest you gather your adventurous spirit and go to Main Street for some of the best Asian imports. Granted, it’s not wings and suds, but where else can you get spicy cumin lamb noodles, Korean BBQ cooked on a crystal plate, or Chinese hot pot. If you feel really brave, ask the fine folks at Happy Family Little Lamb to add some lamb penis to the hot pot.

    Just my opinion. Thanks for reading.

    Excellent point. Just go one extra subway stop past the stadium and you’ll be in the heart of one of NYC’s most vibrant Chinatowns.

    Seeing U. of Phoenix (albeit at their Chicago campus)socks makes me think the West Coast Conference could get a new member in a key untapped market. Personally, I thought Grand Canyon U. would have to move up from D-II or Thunderbird would have to add undergrads.

    GCU is actually moving to D-1 and will play in the WAC in basketball

    They also introduced Dan Majerle as their new coach.

    Hey, Paul, another purple D-1 team for you to hate!

    Paul might want to reconsider his visit to the Emerald City next month when he learns about this business link.

    OK suckers. I just filled out my bracket. It is the winner. No one else need apply now.

    Two weeks after announcing the new Sparky mascot to great fanfare and even greater vitriol, Arizona State University will apparently let students, alumni and fans vote on the features of Sparky.


    Is it me or is the horseracing version of New Mexico using the Albuquerque Isotopes logo?

    It looks to me as if the Nike innovations on the NFL jerseys will allow them to have the NFL by the balls when the 5 year deal is up.

    The more unique stuff they do to the jerseys, if those processes are patented, the more leverage they have.

    I’m sure another manufacturer can heat press shoulder graphics for the Seahawks and Jags, but is that particular vinyl patented? The number fabric?

    If I was an owner I would be leery…

    Oh, please. Reebok came up with innovative stuff, too (remember the super-stretchies?).

    Trust me on this: Nobody has the NFL by the balls.

    Agreed. Look at the Cardinals design. Clearly used a reebok template, and now Nike is manufacturing a predominantly reebok designed uni. I might say (with no solid evidence of course, only observation) that the NFL might be the ones doing the ball grasping.

    Eric B. – I see what you mean about the Cardinals, but that is just a basic 2 colour jersey. Slightly different fabric, tackle twill… that’s about it.

    I’m not saying Nike owns any rights; however, they may have some provisions in the deal that Reebok did not. Maybe they have none, as Paul suggests, and the NFL has full control.

    “Reebok came up with innovative stuff, too (remember the super-stretchies?).”


    Yes, but those weren’t innovative, they were just shit.

    Good points fellas, but I still wonder if Nike is being more protective of their innovations than Reebok was.

    The jersey fabric from Israel was successfully substituted for the Nike version without much of a visual difference, as opposed to what MIGHT happen if the Seahawks & Jags have to make adjustments due to a manufacturer change.

    I don’t see Nike saying, yeah, go ahead and let your new manufacturer make the Seahawks numbers.

    Having them by the balls might be excessive; what I should have said was renegotiation leverage?

    Sorry for the 3 replies, but I just found this from a memory jog:

    Nike owns a Mississippi State logo:


    It is worth wondering if Nike would TRY to pull this with the NFL,

    Every time I come across an article or link to Arsenal changing from Nike to Adidas, a little bit of me dies. If the money coming in results in silverware in the near future, well I guess it won’t be so bad. Those strips are so hideous though…ugh.

    Paul – I live in South Florida and the Dolphins twice a year (once before the season and once after) have a “garage sale” where you can pick up items for game/practice used shirts, jackets, shorts, workout gear, socks, jerseys, pants between $5-& $10 a piece. It’s to show appreciation to fans and the money raised goes to a Dolphins Foundation.

    Dan Merz

    Wow. I’m thoroughly impressed at the comments regarding NFL sideline/practice equipment use. The small details that appear on the site, took me from being a somewhat compulsive reader to having an absolute obsession with unis, equipment and everything else aesthetically related to sports (and some other genres).

    “With such NHL teams as the Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames experimenting with different design concepts and then reverting back to their original jerseys…”
    The Flames have gone no where near their original jerseys. Apparently in that province black is still “hip”. Occasionally on Saturday night rivalry games the Flames wear their originals

    Good Collector’s Corner. I had the Vikings NFL poster on my bedroom wall for years and also owned both the goalpost mini helmet set and the same Tudor electric football set, complete with the same stadium scoreboard. Mine came with the Raiders and Jets and I bought the Vikings team set in addition to the AFC teams that came with it. I wonder why I never bought the Bears or the Packers to go with the Vikes though?

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