By Morris Levin
Phil Hecken reviewed new identities for Cleveland’s Major League Baseball franchise in March 2012. At a reader’s suggestion, Phil initiated a contest to rename the club and solicited reader submissions. This is the full gallery in LI Phil’s collection. Cleveland Frowns picked up this site’s discussion and explored the sambo caricature in twentieth century American popular culture.
Kirk Lammers responded at Cleveland’s Waiting for Next Year, and articulated a fair and empathetic fan anxiety in this discussion. Lammers wrote, “more than anything, I would have to be convinced of a new name and identity with a Cleveland history and identity, one that I wouldn’t feel is being shoved down our throats as Cleveland fans.” Lammers liked Douglas King’s idea to rename the club, Tribe, and retain the current navy and scarlet colors by way of team continuity.
This is my proposal to re-present the Cleveland franchise.
I agree with Lammers and King, but I want to be even stricter and stay closer to current team identity elements and baseball history, precisely because taking on a new team name is momentous.
I start with the premise that we as fans attach ourselves in deep and emotional ways to our team’s names and colors. Of course we do, or this site and blog would not exist. This is a real issue at play in Cleveland.
The city of Cleveland itself negotiated to protect and retain the Cleveland Browns team identity and history when Art Modell removed the franchise to Baltimore in 1995. The current Browns claim Jim Brown as one of their own; the Baltimore Ravens effectively began with a clean slate in 1996.
This set a precedent of sorts. The next NBA franchise placed in Seattle will be the Sonics; they will wear green and gold. This is in the spirit of American pro soccer franchises identifying with historic clubs, and retaining their brand identity when they jump to MLS. This is a common practice for vintage base ball teams.
As Lammers cautions, the design problem in adjusting Cleveland’s Major League Baseball brand identity and uniform is to retain the team history dating to 1901, and city baseball history to the 1800s.
The place to start is with the name. But first, some history.
Major League Baseball expanded by four in 1969, to 24 total clubs, placing new teams in cities with rich AAA histories. Had Commissioner Kuhn phoned me to name the four clubs, we would have the San Diego Padres, Seattle Pilots (really just for the uniforms), Montreal Royals (who happen to have a nice history), and the Kansas City Blues.
The new Kansas City franchise inspired itself with the American Royal, and created a classic and lasting baseball identity. Paul calls it “underrated” in the current MLB power rankings. (Now let us never speak about the black era again.) Expo 67 was a point of great pride in Montreal and the city captured this energy in its new team’s name. Because Kansas City passed on the name, Cleveland is free to dig into its rich baseball roots.
Let the Cleveland franchise return to a historic city name, and its first American League name, and call itself the Cleveland Blues.
The Cleveland Blues played in the National League from 1879 to 1884; the American Association from 1887 to 1889; and the 1901 American League club started with this name.
Even the local Vintage Base Ball Association club calls itself the Cleveland Blues (and play their home games at League Park, natch). Cleveland Blues meets the Cleveland baseball history smell test. It could even nod in the same direction as the capital city NHL Blue Jackets, and pride in the role played by Ohio in the Civil War.
Renaming the team the Cleveland Blues presents the opportunity to adopt a new uniform set that is immediately classic baseball, and simultaneously unique.
At home, I dress the team in the 1902 all navy uniforms with a white letter C matching the current cap and helmet. They look good at Jacobs Field. I would be happy to see the team wear this cap at home. This uniform would immediately place Cleveland as the only club wearing monochromatic uniforms with a half-button collar jersey. It’s classic and fresh at once.
The road uniform is an opportunity to continue one of the best elements of the club’s current uniform set.
The Cleveland Blues road uniform would be the same as that worn since 2011 with clean sleeves or memorial patches. This is the new Cleveland Blue road uniform with navy socks. This is the back of the jersey; NOB on the road. This is the batting helmet. This is what the batting practice cap and jersey could look like. You see where I am going with this.
Cleveland has worn a clean and classic on-field cap since 2008. Let them keep wearing it. Jacobs Field is a really fantastic place to watch a game aesthetically; the team did it right with the dark green seats as backdrop. All navy looks good at home for the team. The road uniform is clean and professional. Let them keep wearing it. If the team wants a white home alternate, I like this.
We can make this change, and do it in such a way as to do honor by Cleveland baseball history and Cleveland civic history, and present a new uniform and name worthy of timelessly representing the Cleveland ball club and city.
Morris Levin began work at Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. in 1993. He left the company for business school in 2006 and is now the proprietor of Elysian Fields Baseball, LLC, a small business consulting practice in Philadelphia. He thinks the Phillies Timelessly Represented the Ballclub best from 1950 to 1969 at home and on the road, and on June 16, 1991 at home, and April 10, 2010, in Houston.
Power Rankings Update
The Uni Watch Power Rankings conclude today with our master chart of all 122 “Big Four” teams — here you go.
Meanwhile, I’ll be discussing the Power Rankings this morning, 11am Eastern, on the Toronto radio station TSN 1050. You can hear the live audio here.
Also: I’ll be doing a live web chat on ESPN today, 2pm Eastern. Here’s the chat page. I’ll stay on for at least an hour, and maybe a little longer.
NCAAFB Uniform News & Updates
This will be a semi-recurring column on Uni Watch and will appear whenever there is any news or updates on the College Football uniform front.
If you have ANY new NCAAFB news, follow and tweet me at @PhilHecken (and you’ll get your tweet in lights on here). You can also e-mail me (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) Gmail (dot) com) or send/cc: Paul to the following address: NewCollegeUni (at) Gmail (dot) com. OK? OK! (for any image, click to enlarge):
• Mississippi State University (Egg Bowl):
Hype video for the new Egg Bowl costumes (h/t Howland (Gen.Ink)). More on the Egg Bowl here.
• Northwestern Wildcats:
Another hype video — looks like a new uniform with white helmets. “Coming 8/31” (h/t Howland (Gen.Ink)). You can see some more shots of the helmet here.
• Wisconsin Badgers:
New red helmet for the Badgers (h/t Nate Neumann), which they’ll wear for their September 7th game. At the end of that video, Gary Anderson displays the helmet. More on the red Wisconsin helmet here (and a good photo), with thanks to Zach Nichols.
• Western Michigan Broncos:
Pretty basic, which is a nice change for adidas. Two tops, two bottoms, two helmets (matte brown and gloss white). What can brown do for them?
• UT San Antonio Roadrunners (new helmet/gloves):
The Roadrunners got new helmets and gloves. You can read more about it here (h/t Chris Mahr).
That’s it for the college uni news for today. Keep the tips coming folks!
A Look at the Season’s Final Major…
I’m back again with my doubles partner, Brinke Guthrie, for a quick look at the fashion trends for the United States Tennis Open, the final major of the 2013 season, which kicks off next week.
Here’s a rundown on who’s wearing what, and using what gear, at the US Open which starts Monday.
• Defending men’s champ Andy Murray’s gonna have a red kit to match his red hair. (They always say “kit” in the UK.)
• Caroline Wozniacki has dropped like a stone in the rankings (just like her BF Rory McIlroy – hmmm.) But she still looks great, and maybe she’ll make it past the first round, so we can see more of this adidas look. (More on Woz, plus Ana and Kirilenko, here.) Wozzy is currently using a blacked out Babolat frame, her previous sponsor before switching to Yonex. Whoops, Yonex caught her going back to using a blacked out Babolat earlier this summer, (see the “dropping like a stone” reference” so she was dumped pronto).
• Roger Federer’s been in the news for testing a new prototype Wilson, but he won’t be using that at the USO, you can be sure. Fiddle around with a new stick in Hamburg maybe – but not at the USO. Speaking of The Fed, here’s what he’ll wear in NYC, along with Nadal, Na, Del Potro, and Serena.
• In an unfortunate development, crowd favorite Maria Sharapova had to withdraw due to injury.
• Say, in case you’re wondering- and even if you’re not- here’s what Rafa’s worn all year! Yay!
• Other Nike news: Expect this Nike Agassi look next year.
• Make sure you check out these amazing impressions of U.S. Open characters. A must see.
Thanks, Brinke. I’m taking Rafa over Andy in the Mens, and (though I haven’t seen the draw, so I’m not sure this would be the final), Kvitova over Serena (or Azarenka) in the Ladies. I’m sure I’ll be wrong.
Because we love the stirrup here at Uni Watch, this section is devoted to those of us who sport the beautiful hose on Fridays — a trend popularized many years ago by Robert P. Marshall, III. For many of us, it’s become a bit of an obsession, but a harmless one — a reflection of our times. Where we once had Friday ties, which has been replaced by Casual Friday — we now have Stirrup Fridays. It’s an endearingly simple concept — no matter where you work (or even if you don’t) — break out a fresh pair of rups to compliment (or clash with) your Friday attire.
Back today with another edition of Stirrup Fridays…on a Friday!. These usually run on the weekends (when I’m doing those), but they’re a special occasional weekday treat while Paul is on blog-cation. Been a couple weeks since we ran this and heard an update from Comrade Marshall, so let’s get right into the donning of the rups.:
A’s held a contest this week on Twitter and the prize was the 1969 stirrups they wore a couple weeks ago. I won the contest and here’s a photo of me wearing it that I tweeted.
If you’re curious, the company that made these are TCK.
James Poisso – I:
Decided to wear my Colt 45 stirrups today w/ navy blue sanis.
Attached is my vacation Stirrup Friday entry, taken in deep left field at Reunion Park (my brother’s Rhode Island back yard wiffle ball field). Purists may complain of the sandals and lack of sanis, but we were heading for the beach and only stopped to play a little home run derby over the living green monster that can be seen behind the score board.
James Poisso – II:
Today’s stirrups are the official UW stirrups.
Stirrup Friday – Pacific Northwest edition: Seattle Pilots stirrups & shirt, coupled with a Portland Beavers ballcap.
Just thought I’d pass along a shot of one set of stirrups I wear for softball (beer league, of course). I’m the only guy in the league that wears ’em, and do catch a fair amount of shit from other players (and my wife) – but I think they look sharp, so wear them anyway.
I have some others I rotate in too, just try to stay close to the team colors (navy, yellow, white).
Love the site …
Mike & Meredith Delia:
My wife Meredith (whose birthday was August 19th!) and I went to the Sox-Giants game fully decked out in stirrups provided by Robert Marshall III.
We both live in Boston (I’m the native born and raised) but we were visiting family and friends as my wife is a native of California.
As a Uniwatch member, I was hoping you could include this photo in the ticker. Here we are in the parking lot preparing to board the Larkspur Ferry for AT&T Park.
Bocce Ball Team:
Phil & Robert,
My bocce ball team, Texas Forever (named in honor of Tim Riggins’ favorite saying, despite the fact that no team members are actually Texan) had stirrups custom made with the help of Comrade Marshall. We wear them for league games at Union Hall in Brooklyn always make quite the statement.
The team keeps getting better and we’re on our way to the third round of the playoffs this weekend. Pictured left to right: Theresa, yours truly, Austin, Larissa, Jesse (creator of the patented Buccafusco Stirrup Tracking System) and Lindsey.
Thanks to fellow Uni Watcher Ross for the photo!
And that ends today’s look at Stirrup Friday — all of you who participate, send me your pics and a brief (~50 words) description of their relevance, and when I do weekends I’ll run ’em here on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday too!). Be sure to visit Robert’s House of Hose for news on rups.
And now…here’s …
Comrade Marshall’s Rupdate:
The Major League Baseball season is nearing it’s end, and while trades and the DL derailed some of my plans for mailing stirrups out to players throughout the league, I did manage to get a few out. So with any luck something will get noticed by one of us, and if not, it was worth a chance.
As for the Stirrup Friday shots, this was a pretty good batch, and I feel like I should have a winner, but it was a tough choice. But I have to give the nod to Marty B because of the design process we went through, not to mention getting his bocce team to wear them. Marty, you get a buy one get one free pair for your efforts. but I don’t want to leave John K, Mike D, or Claybird out, So you guys can have a pair at the “new” price instead of “a la carte”. Or if there is something else I can do you you instead, let me know.
As for the revolution, nothing new on the order front, and I will more then likely not be re-stocking anything this baseball season. So the leg-aments currently in the revolutionary arsenal are all there will be for those of you in need of lucky hosiery for play-off runs.
Hopefully the revolution helped a few of you out this summer with a special little twist to wear to the ball park, or helped make a anything from rec softball and backyard wiffle, to whatever you used them for, a little more fun.
from each according their strype,
to each according their stirrvp.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Chevy’s ”˜The Uniform’ Video Tells The Story Behind Creating An MLB Uniform … After returning from a concussion David Ross has switched from a hockey style to a traditional mask. “The play by play team thinks it might have been Salty’s suggestion,” says Andy Chalifour. Here’s what he wore on June 8, and on August 20. “Also – the Giants had a Boston Strong patch on in game one of the three game set with the Red Sox. They showed the Boston Strong video and had a pre-game ceremony too.” … Another nice anecdote from Leo Strawn: “I’ve never seen any logos from the old ABL of the early ’60s. George Steinbrenner owned the Cleveland franchise, named the Pipers, and signed the great Jerry Lucas, something the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals hadn’t been able to accomplish. The team had an opportunity to jump to the NBA, but things fell apart and this resulted in Lucas beginning his NBA career with the Royals after taking a year off from basketball. I was checking out Gray Flannel’s e-catalog for an upcoming auction, and in it was a warm-up jacket with the Pipers logo!” … Not necessarily uni-related, but certainly a clever marketing campaign between the Sox and New England sandwich shop chain, D’Angelo’s. The new cups have numbered fingerprints on them to show you how to hold the cup as if you were throwing a certain pitch (great find by Scott Davis), who says, “I found the marketing team who designed them while searching around a bit. Very cool campaign.” … New graphics for the Detroit PD. Submitter Matthew Hanson says, “Just because it’s free don’t mean it’s gotta be ugly.” … “Check out the helmets in the office of Ken Demoff, VP of the Rams,” says Tom Juettner “The one on the top right has a white facemask which matches the white horns. They originally wore grey with that set but I kinda like the white mask better, wouldn’t mind seeing that on the field.” … “I’m gonna be blunt,” intones Ryan Connelly, “Is there a dick on the side of Giguere’s mask?!?!” … Here’s an article from the National Trust for Historic Preservation blog on preserving Wrigley Field (thanks to Adam Herbst). … The Knicks would prefer you not turn their logo into a racial slur (thanks Brinke). … T.G.I. Friday’s has a new logo (Brinke again). … Pretty awesome piece on “glove talking” (thanks, Paul!). … Wow — this awesome photo of a Canadiens cardigan came from this website link. “Who wouldn’t kill to have that sweater the coach is wearing?” asks submitter Chris Bisbee. … New blue turf for UMass-Lowell field hockey (h/t Sully @pal3327). … Hmmm. Check out the design on top of these helmets for the Carleton Ravens (thanks to Nathan Haas). … Apparently hell has frozen over (and right after Paul’s Uni Rankings) — the Lakers will have a black alternate uni next year, which they are dubbing “Hollywood Nights.” No word on whether Bob Seger will get royalties. … This screenshot comes from SportsIllustrated.com’s photo section. In the Preseason Big-10 team they call Braxton Miller “Broxton Miller” which, “I cannot imagine is simply a typo with a and o so far apart,” says Kevin Wappler. … On Wednesday night Syracuse had their first scrimmage against McGill University. Here is the first look at this year’s jerseys with the ACC Patch (gracias, Derek Barocas). … “Steelers fans who don’t want to part with their purses get an unlikely assist.” (merci, TommyTheCPA). … Here is the SEC football patch that Auburn will wear this season (h/t The Emblem Source). … According to ESPN’s John Buccigross, “The Buffalo Sabres patches for its Captain and Alternate Captains are quite saucy” (danke, Jeff Wilcox). … Brian Wilson made his Dodgers debut today, wearing “00” (rav todot, Paul). … Here’s a little video piece on the design of the Packers’ G logo (spasibo, Jim Wagner). … The NFL has fined RG3 $10,000 for wearing an “unapproved” shirt (arigato, again, TommyTheCPA). … The Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) released their schedule today. About halfway through this article it lists seven “specialty” jerseys that the Monsters will wear this season (grazie, Tom Pachuta). … Eastern Washington (the school with the red turf) put the red jerseys out for picture day yesterday (dÃªkuji, Sully). … In yesterday’s comments, there was some discussion of the patch on the Rick Monday bobblehead — well, here it is (do jeh, Willard Kovacs). … Interesting look yesterday for the Eugene Emeralds (h/t Sully). Also from Sully, this is pretty cool: check out the grayhound patch! And check out Wayne Gretzky as #14 in the minors! (Sully again). … Jeremy Iwen writes, “I hope UW-Platteville, my alma mater, isn’t trying to go the University of Oregon route, but with the jersey by Nike, 3 different color jerseys and 2 different helmets, it’s getting close. Because it’s an engineering school, I can tell you that’s 18 different combinations that can be done, but please don’t leave the locker room with blue on blue or orange on orange.” … And Matthew Algeo says “I think this is cool: My immensely talented nephew Robert Algeo cooked up some awesome Olympic logos to show support for the LGBT athletes taking part in the Olympics in (anti-gay) Russia this winter.” Yes, Matthew, those are VERY cool!
…Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnndddddd…that’s all for this Friday, and also for my weekday run filling in for Paul while he enjoyed (I hope) his blogcation!
I want to thank each and every contributor who has made this past month MUCH easier for me — while it can sometimes take a couple of hours just to prep a lede, not having to come up with the content on a day-in, day-out basis (plus, you guys have some AWESOME ideas & articles!) made this possible (ya know, being that I have a full-time job besides Uni Watch, which in and of itself can be a full-time job — I seriously don’t know how Paul can do it, but he does!). There are too many of you to individually thank, but, as Paul is wont to say, “You’re all aces!”
Johnny Ek will take you through this weekend, and then Paul is back again (YES!) on Monday. I’m getting my own “mini-vacation” from UW over the Labor Day Holiday weekend, but I’ll be back in the weekend saddle after that — and with Football Season starting up, it will be time to welcome back my football contributors, including (but not limited to) Terry Duroncelet, who’ll resume the excellent “Sunday Morning Uni Watch” post, Catherine Ryan, who is back with her always entertaining “5 & 1” uniform reviews, and Tim O’Brien who will be bringing us another season of the “Duck Tracker” (and I can only imagine what the boys from Eugene will bust out this year). Plus more and more surprises.
I want to also apologize to the several readers who have provided me with content that I wasn’t able to get to while Paul was on blogcation — I promise your articles will run (most of them are football-related anyway, so they’ll be better fits during football season) when I’m back on the weekends — and maybe I can talk Paul into a weekday or two.
Thank you all, again, for a great month run at the helm. I now GLADLY turn the keys back over to the man who is synonymous with Uni Watch, our fearless leader, Paul
Lucas Lukas! Missed ya a lot buddy! Welcome back (a couple days early).
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Why do I have a feeling that introducing a cartoony pioneer woman mascot won’t solve the problem in the minds of whoever made the decision to keep Denver Boone retired?”