By Phil Hecken
While a good percentage of the western world was sleeping (or watching the NCAA Tourney), the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles and Arizona Diamondbacks opened the 2014 Major League Baseball Season at the gorgeous Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia.
If you didn’t see the first pitch (or any pitch), I don’t blame you — the first game started at around 4:30 am (Eastern, USA time) and the second game began just after 10:00 pm (Eastern). And this is not the first time MLB has done this — they’ve opened the season in Mexico (1999), Japan (2000, ’04, ’08, ’12), and Puerto Rico (2001). Obviously, baseball is quite popular in those countries (and territory), but the decision to open in Australia was an interesting one.
Yesterday’s first game featured the Diamondbacks as the home team, with the Dodgers as the visitors. As such, it gave us our first look at the new Dodgers road uniform, which features “Dodgers” instead of the familiar “Los Angeles” in script across the chest. The “Dodgers” script is not new — it was worn in 1958, and then again from 1970 through 1998. So for many of us, this is like a throwback. And it looked good (click on these, and any inline images, to enlarge):
I’ve never liked the “Los Angeles” script on the uniform — not because I don’t like city names on road jerseys (I do) — but because it always looked too small, too inelegant, especially when compared to the much more regal Dodgers, which just works (I also probably like the script “Dodgers” on the roadie because it’s what I grew up with).
One of the nicer things about this opening series was the fact that, unlike in Japan, where there were ads on the helmets and the jersey sleeves, all the Diamondbacks and Dodgers had were the Opening Series patches on their caps, which was nice. They did stick the logo on the bases (which is fine).
While the first game looked fantastic, with the Dodgers in gray and the Diamondbacks in white, game two was…interesting. The Dodgers were still the road team, but they wore their HOME whites:
And the Diamondbacks, the home team, wore their black alternate tops (boooo) and caps, and also wore white pants — which made for a *never seen* matchup back in the States:
Also of “uni” note was the decals on the Dodgers bats. They had special Australia-themed stickers:
The game itself was played in the Sydney Cricket Ground, which is usually reserved for, well — cricket (and other Aussie-centric sports). It looks a bit different when it’s set up for that game:
Note the beautiful architecture of the original structure, which actually only comprises a small amount of the Ground’s capacity:
Imagine an American stadium doing that — preserving part of the original architecture while building a completely new stadium around the old part? Not likely. It did provide a beautiful backdrop for some of the long shots, and a nice frame too.
While I won’t get into all the work that went into transforming a cricket ground into a baseball stadium, it was clear much was done. I’m familiar with the game of cricket (having watched it often when I was abroad in 1987), and I know the playing surfaces differ greatly in size. (You can see in one of the photos above how there were temporary seats put in behind the outfield fences). It’s interesting how the placed the baseball field onto the cricket pitch:
Also of note was the fare. It being Australia, you might have thought the ballpark eats would consist of meat pies or kangaroo or even Witchetty grub (what?) — and they may indeed have had some of that throughout the Ground — but in an attempt to make the food more “American,” they offered nachos in helmets, and hot dogs:
They also had … um … not sure what this is that resembles something Americans would eat. And, oh yeah, that hot dog? That wasn’t just any frank — it was two feet long and cost $36. Hey, when in
I didn’t get to watch the first (4:00 am) game, but I did watch much of the late game, and while I enjoyed it — it just doesn’t feel at all like Opening Day. Especially when Opening Day in the States is still more than a week away. But I love the idea of international series (and obviously, logistically, they could only be done either pre- or post- season).
But I’m also a traditionalist at heart, and I think Opening Day should be a national holiday (and not one sponsored by Budweiser), and all games should be played on the first Monday in April, with the Reds opening at home and getting the first pitch. I know too that that horse left the barn a long time ago, but I can dream.
Baseball is back. It’s just not here. Yet.
[Special thanks to Harrison Tishler and Paul for some of the pictures used in this post.]
Lewis & Clark Uniform Design Contest
Every Sunday, we’ll have news and updates on the design contest being sponsored by Ross Clites. If you missed the introductory post on this, please click here. Last weekend, we introduced Part VI which is the second article here. You can also visit the Lewis & Clark homepage for more information and updates.
Yesterday we revealed the fourth set of concepts for the “Governors” (you can still submit for the Lookouts [deadline 3/26] and the Navigators [deadline 4/2]). And today, we’ll reveal the seventh team for concepting.
If you missed yesterday’s post, which revealed the readers submissions for the “Governors,” you can vote for your favorite concepts (you may vote for up to three). Link here.
Here’s Ross with this week’s updates/information:
Find Your Way
It is the very motto of the entire league: Find Your Way. We do not pontificate or pigeon hole when it comes to players in the Lewis & Clark a Baseball League. It has a versatile use for every person that comes to experience it. Think you are going pro? Find Your Way to get drafted. Overlooked by your college coach? Find Your Way to the starting varsity lineup. A JuCo auditioning for a spot with a four-year program? Find Your Way to your new school. And (most importantly), interested in summer employment/job shadowing/coursework in your academic area of focus? Find Your Way to a work/play balance in our Lewis (weekend only) Conference.
That is where you will find today’s team, the Pathfinders. They are the second to be showcased from the “Founding Four” — the LCBL’s version of the Original Six. The reigning champion Explorers, which winning submission is below, was the first.
The Pathfinders embody our motto to the fullest. The orange tones are vibrant and the nickname allows various conceptual avenues to be taken. My initial thought was a swift fox. It is orange, it was first discovered by William Clark, and the den leader blazes the trail for others to follow for food. But this is one man’s opinion — likely Ryan Foose’s too. He has an animal theme going and is always one step ahead of me.
Wow me (like you have so far) in an unexpected way. Same rules as always. Take care, good luck, and thanks again.
To all that entered the contest for the Explorers of the LCBL, thank you for your thoughtful presentations. Big thanks to all the readers that cast votes. It made it easier for us (the league execs) to choose what we want; choosing the best out of two is more our speed. Ryan Foose and Bert Ayers squared off in the finals yet again. There must be something to their rivalry, because one never finishes in the top two without the other.
The league decided to go with Bert’s non-bird proposal:
The board loved the angle at which the explorer is standing — really making the telescoping action a focal point. Ryan did not walk away from this one with a loss, however. His secondary logo, a sleeve patch commemorating the 2013 LCBL Championship, will be used for this season only. In this, both men notch a victory in the contest. A permanent secondary logo will be worked on in the future.
The uniform will remain a mystery until a final reveal of all twelve at the end. But we wanted to give Uni Watch Nation a taste of the winning identity.
And finally, Bill Smith and I revised the secondary logo for Bill’s winning “Diplomats” design, and the final iteration looks like this:
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
We begin today with Travis Cuomo, with some remakes for the NFL Cardinals:
I took the Skillshare class on uniform design, and this is the Arizona Cardinals design I did for my class project. My design takes a little inspiration from Maryland’s pride uniforms, but it’s not as loud. I think the Arizona flag lends itself nicely to the design, and gives the team a local identity. I also took the blue from the flag and used it to replace the black that the Cardinals currently use. I only made sets with white pants, just because it’s the look that I prefer.
Next up is Andrew Hess who has a “new and improved” pink jersey for Marquette:
Marquette unveiled a pink jersey for their coaches vs. cancer game Saturday against Villanova.
The yellow numbering and panel at the bottom of the shorts should be navy. I have tweaked the pink jersey.
Also I know how much you love gray (in addition to pink) so I’ve created a gray concept as well.
Gold N. Eagle (Ret.)
And we close today with Matt Thomas who as a “combo” logo for the Brooklyn Nets:
Here is a poorly created mash-up of the Nets and Dodgers logo that I feel would be more inspired than that of the blah uniforms that have been announced. First, I have not seen someone suggest this type of a logo and apologize if this has been a previous submission that I missed. Second, I do not have a graphics program, nor any idea how to create something of quality if it is not in a spreadsheet.
I hope this inspires someone with some talent to take this idea and run. Cheers!
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
for the Ticker
Got an e-mail from Bruce Menard, who wrote to both Paul and me, and this stuff is just too good to put down below (and since they’re auction items, some of you might even want to bid). Click on any image to enlarge:
Paul & Phil,
I was just flipping through the latest Mears Auction, here’s some cool finds:
1940’s “TURKS” Motorcycle Jersey (Thought Paul would really like this one)
1970’s Providence Reds AHL Jersey (Great logo)
1961-62 Dallas Texans AFL Helmet (Don’t see these too often)
1958 NY Yankees vs. KC A’s Program (Killer elephant on a rocket graphics)
1970’s Milwaukee Brewers Penannt (Great graphics, three beer guys on a barrel)
c.1900 Yale Pillbox Baseball Cap (What a beauty, great shape too)
I don’t know if Paul wanted to use these, or perhaps for Phil this weekend?
Thanks, Bruce. TREMENDOUS finds, as always. OK, now onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Check out these neat ballpark blueprints (found by Coleman Mullins), who notes, “Pretty cool stuff.” … The Charlotte Knights unveiled new uniforms (they also have a new ballpark) — that comes from Minor League Promos. … The Indiana Hoosiers broke out another retro uni Saturday, their second in two days (via @Hoosier_Steve). … How to endear yourself to your host: “My high school (Riverton HS) has tequila sunrise warm ups in Paul’s favorite color!” (sent in by Justin McKenzie). … The Houston Astros have some new bat knob logos (thanks, Paul). … Also from Paul, just what the world has been waiting for, MLB-officially licensed guitars. … David Taub wants to let us know the Diamond Uniform Database info is back.
NFL News: Some nice historical items: an ashtray from Sneezer’s Snack Shop (nice spot by Brinke) — who also sent along this cocktail napkin. Sneezer’s (more info here) was a Green Bay landmark; Brinke also included this inside shot and this outside shot with his submission.
College Football News: Take a close look at the Ohio State University helmet (in the top of the picture). Does that stripe look metallic to you? @MassillonProud, who sent that in, thinks it might be new. … Following the announcement that the Arkansas Razorbacks will be wearing new Riddell Speedflex helmets, Nebraska Football also recognizes them as a potential asset. This might be a pretty big story for the upcoming fall season, so let’s keep an eye on this one!
Hockey News: Guess they didn’t have time to repaint the ice? Yesterday, the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings skated at the Xcel Center with the B1G logo at center ice (and doesn’t that symbol above look like a “$” from that angle?) — pic via CJ Fogler. … Matthew Algeo thought we might enjoy “this blog post of mine it’s about discovering the date of an old Flyers game that I announced when I was 10 years old.”
Soccer News: High School soccer news on Hijabs (from Joe Makowiec): Background: FIFA recently approved wearing of religious head coverings (hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes, etc); High School soccer is governed by different governing bodies – 50 state associations, which are members of NFHS (National Federation High School), although the state associations are not required to follow NFHS directives; High school referees banned a player from playing in a hijab; her teammates all wore hijabs to their next game, and it went viral on Twitter. … Three Observations from MLS Timbers-Rapids, from Alexander Prorok: Both teams wore dark jerseys with white sleeves, making telling the teams apart hard; They used the Orange Ball, in advance of a possible snowstorm; Also, it was the Adidas Cafusa, a different model. Timbers Captain Will Johnson had W. Johnson on the back of his jersey last year, because the team had (non related) Ryan Johnson. This year, he still has the first Initial.
College Hoops News: Creighton sported new unis for its opening game in the NCAA tourney on Friday. Says submitter Robert Zinkan, “The uniform font matches the font from the new athletics logo the school introduced earlier this academic year.” … Mike Vamosi also noticed the new unis, were the same shell as Wichita State, and adds, “Difference is they’ve got the new font on front and logo on the shorts. Here’s the photo gallery from the Bluejays FB page.”… Our friend Chris Creamer has put together a post of the best looking NCAA Title Games of the past 30ish years (thanks, Paul). … In the Louisville/Saint Louis game yesterday, it looks like we have a Surname-comma-junior (thanks Douggie Keklak). Doug asks, “A JR with a comma?” … Color vs. color in the NCAA isn’t anything new or special, but sometimes we get a real nice color-vs-color combo, as with Michigan vs. Texas. … Ethan Kassel noticed this Bay Area CBS affiliate on-screen typo during the Michigan-Texas game. … Did you know that coaches get lapel pins that vary by round that they wear during the tourney? Neither did I (h/t to Hunter Lee).
Grab Bag: In the “we must let no tragedy go unpatched” department, Flying With Fish (@flyingwithfish) tweeted: “Nice to see the search for #MH370 has already been branded and placed on the uniforms of search & rescue crews” (thanks to Gil Neumann). … I’m pretty positive we’ve seen Hargreaves and Levin’s Food Maps before, but submitter Cort McMurray feels it’s “Lovely, but they’ve mistakenly put Michigan’s UP in Wisconsin.” … Jared Buccola noticed UNC Lacrosse puts logo on crown of helmet, as he “spotted this while watching the UNC vs Maryland game, then saw a errrr pic from the official headwrapz Instagram.” Here’s a side view of the helmet.
And that’s going to do it for today. Everyone enjoy the Madness that is March (does anyone even have a halfway-decent looking bracket at this point?) and remember that spring is now here — and regular season American-soil baseball isn’t far away. Thanks to the concepters and don’t forget to give a look at yesterday’s Lewis & Clark submissions (and vote) if you haven’t already. Also — Rob Holecko’s UW Fantasy Football League is still going strong — it’s just taking a hiatus from UW for a few months — but be sure to check it out if you still are interested. OK? OK. Great.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“No offense to George Albert Smith, or Lenin, or my 11th grade History teacher Mister Oleske: but I got a thing about Dutch-inspired facial hair.”