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Up (with) the Establishment!

An interesting discussion broke out in the comments section last Thursday. I’d like to expand upon it a bit today.

It began when a few commenters were debating whether “Rebels” is an appropriate team name, due to its implicit connection to the Confederacy. There was some back-and-forth on that point, and then I chimed in with the following:

A better reason not to call yourself the Rebels is that it’s a tired, lame trope that pretends to glorify non-conformity and going against the grain when sports teams are actually about as mainstream as you can get. A team called the Establishment would be more honest (and would actually be kind of cool ”” like, don’t fuck with us, we’re the Establishment!).

I kind of meant that as a throwaway line, but several subsequent commenters said they really liked the idea of a team named the Establishment. The more I thought about it, the more I came to like it too.

First let’s talk about “Rebels,” which on one level fits into the same trend of “intimidating” team branding that’s given us mascots with gritted teeth and slogans like “Fear the [Whatever].” All of these are a depressing mix of macho posturing and douchebag bravado, and we’d all be better off they’d go away.

But “Rebels” also fits into two larger tropes in contemporary American life: the myth of the counter-cultural renegade and the fetishization of the primitive. As our lives become more suburbanized, more cubicle-ized, more civilized, people crave the notion of the unruly iconoclast who lives for the moment and ignores the rules. This notion is at least as old as the rise of the middle class. It’s why 1950s movie audiences loved Marlon Brando in The Wild One and James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, it’s why punk rock caused such a stir, and it’s why Mike Tyson (or at least the way he was packaged and presented) was so compelling, among scores of other examples. The media, entertainment, and advertising industries have been selling this type of mythical rebel to us for decades. (There’s an excellent in-depth analysis of this in Thomas Frank’s book The Conquest of Cool.)

Of course a true renegade, a true iconoclast — a true Rebel — would never bother with something as conformist as playing football or baseball. Team sports are about as mainstream as American culture gets. A true rebel would be more likely to set fire to the stadium than play in it. Naturally, nobody wants to think about that — people would rather embrace the mythical rebel than deal with a real one. That’s why Kelly Leak, the “bad” kid who smokes cigarettes and rides a Harley in The Bad News Bears, turns out to be a great teammate in the end. I knew kids like Kelly Leak when I was growing up, and you probably did too. In real life they didn’t eventually come to their senses and become great teammates. Instead, they came to the Little League field at midnight and took a dump on home plate. But people don’t want to think about that kind of rebel.

And that’s exactly why no team should be called the Rebels and why some team (or hell, maybe lots of teams!) should call itself the Establishment, because the sports world represents the Establishment; the sports world is the Establishment. And if you’re looking for an intimidating team name, the Establishment is perfect. It’s something that has virtually limitless power. It’s a faceless monolith, a creepy Borg-like composite. It’s massive, it’s pitiless, and it’s ruthlessly efficient — all perfect for striking fear into an opposing team. Hell, if there’s one thing history teaches us it’s that if you mess with the Establishment, you’re going down.

And here’s the beauty part: The Establishment would be perfect as “the team you love to hate,” because everyone hates the Establishment. Lefties, libertarians, Tea Partiers, peaceniks, the military — they all gripe about the Establishment keeping them down (and they’re all right!). Even mainstream moderate types find ways to complain about the Establishment, because they blame it for all the polarization and gridlock. That’s the great thing, or maybe just the ironic thing, about the Establishment: Everyone denounces it, even though almost everyone is part of it.

But if we’re going to have a team called the Establishment, what would its logo look like — a guy in a suit? A blue pill? A Nike swoosh? The Yankees’ interlocking “NY”? A mug shot of Roger Goodell?

I’ll give a free Uni Watch membership card (or, if you’re already a member, a freebie from my swag bag) to the person who submits the best Establishment logo. Come up with your best designs and send them to me here by the end of the month. Get crackin’!

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Uni Watch on the radio: I’m a big fan of Roman Mars’s design-centric radio show/podcast 99% Invisible, and I’m also a fan of Jesse Thorn’s pop culture-centric radio show/podcast Bullseye. So I was really excited when Jesse guest-interviewed me for Roman’s radio show back in December. We talked a lot about baseball uniforms — caps, underbrims, pants, stirrups, etc.

The interview was really fun, but I had actually forgotten all about it until a few days ago, when Roman told me he was finally editing the segment and preparing to run it on his show. It went live yesterday — I’m really happy with the way it came out, and I’m pretty sure you folks will enjoy it too. You can access the audio and read some good supporting text here, or you can just listen to the embedded audio below — it runs about 18 minutes:

It’s no exaggeration to say I’m thrilled to have been interviewed by Jesse and to be on Roman’s show — a great twofer. My thanks to both of them.

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Yo, Red Sox fans: In case you missed it last week, Uni Watch readers are being offered a special deal on 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox: Every Picture Tells a Story, a gorgeously produced coffee table-style book (not an e-book) that chronicles the 2013 Bosox season. It features over 200 photos (some of which you can see here), along with essays by team owner John Henry, outfielder Jonny Gomes, manager John Farrell, Boston broadcaster Joe Castiglione, former mayor Thomas Menino, journalists Gordon Edes and Leigh Montville, and more.

The book lists for $40, and Amazon has it for $27.33. But if you go here and use the checkout code RSX131, you can get it for $24.95 — definitely the lowest price you’re gonna find. You know what to do.

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Tick-Tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Mike Chamernik.

Baseball News: Tennessee wore tequila sunrise unis with stirrups on Sunday (from Derek Brownlee). ”¦ The Diamondbacks will wear Kansas City Packers throwbacks today. In case you were wondering, here’s a good article about that team (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Also for today’s Cubs game, the grounds crew will wear throwbacks as well (from Phil, again). ”¦ Unclear if Lids is selling outdated Rangers caps (with the red squatchee) or if they haven’t updated their listing photo yet (from Micah Hudgens). ”¦ If you like Chicago baseball and you like meat, check out these T-shirts! (from Steve Shanabruch). ”¦ The Angels tweeted a photo of Albert Pujols in the clubhouse in Washington after last night’s game, and Elliott Pollack noticed the National League logo on the wall only has 14 stars on it. “The Nationals did not ever exist in a 14-team National League,” he says. “I’m fascinated behind the backstory of this emblem! Did someone in Montreal order an appropriately-starred seal between 1993 and 1998, and nobody from the organization has bothered since?” ”¦ Korean baseball teams are wearing yellow ribbons — actual ribbons, not just a representation of a ribbon — to support those missing in the South Korea ferry disaster last week (from Dennis C. Abrams). … Boston College will wear and auction off these flag-desecration jerseys later this week (from Phil). ”¦ I covered high school softball yesterday and I noticed that one of the teams was wearing helmets that had a ridge in the back that allowed space for girls’ ponytails. I never noticed this before and I have no idea if this is commonplace, but it’s an innovation that makes a lot of sense. ”¦ The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are going Tohoku Green for five games in the summer. “The uniform will include this ‘Six Leaves, One Dream’ patch, which refers to the six prefectures that make up Northeastern (Tohoku) Japan, which is the Eagles’ fan base,” explains Jeremy Brahm. … Yesterday Phil pointed out that the Mets had worn seven different jerseys in their previous seven games (at least if you count the NNOB/42 jersey for Jackie Day as a separate design). That tweet quickly became the basis for this Wall Street Journal article.

College Football News: Got a set of golf clubs? Turn your driver into a Notre Dame helmet! Or, stylize your iPhone with an ND helmet case (from Warren Junium).

Hockey News: Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf wore a half-mask during Games 2 and 3 against the Stars to protect the stitches on his face (from Chris Cruz). ”¦ “Is there enough product placement in this pic?” asks Phil.

Soccer News: “A Scottish soccer team is wearing a centennial uniform of sorts and to mark the occasion they are doing so without a sponsor,” says Matt Busch. “Sounds like a great idea. But oh wait, look there are still Adidas stripes and logos on the jersey! Has our culture become so used to the marks of Nike/Adidas/et al that we don’t see them as sponsor logos anymore? Oh wait, don’t answer that.” ”¦ “I’m a Green Bay Packers fan, so which La Liga team should I root for?” Here’s a piece that addresses that question (from Alex Melendez).

Grab Bag: Toronto mayor Rob Ford was in the building for last night’s Nets/Raptors game wearing a Raptors warm-up top (from Phil). … The new Arkansas secondary logo looks like Pumbaa from The Lion King (from Chris Mahr). ”¦ A New Jersey man has an extensive World’s Fair memorabilia collection (from Dave Rakowski). ”¦ Here’s a map that shows which college in each state has the highest graduation rate (from Mike Simmons). ”¦ Major League Lacrosse unveiled new uniforms for the Florida Launch and Chesapeake Bayhawks (from Jared Buccola). ”¦ A Hawaiian woman has a last name so long it nearly didn’t fit on her driver’s license (from Andrew Seagraves). ”¦ “This is a photo from Tuesday’s boys lacrosse game involving Rutland High in Vermont,” says Tris Wykes. “The KP stands for Keith Page, a referee and coach in the Rutland area who died in March. Rutland’s logo traditionally has interlocked Rs for Rutland Raiders. However, the lax team has gone with KP to honor Page. I thought this was much more striking than a simple memorial decal. What if the Minnesota Twins did that with their TC logo? Or the Yankees with they NY? A nice touch by this high school team.” ”¦ “The National Basketball League of Canada had their All-Star Classic over the weekend, and it was a color-on-color game,” says Chuck Miller. “Or since it was in Canada, maybe that should be a colour-on-colour.”

Comments (104)

    Re: the college map – it is not which school a person in a given state is most likely to graduate from. It is the school in each state with the highest graduation rate. Far more NJ kids graduate from Rutgers than Princeton, far more NC kids from UNC or NC State than Duke, etc. Your explanation is a bit misleading.

    The Brooklyn Cyclones should rebrand themselves as the Brooklyn Hipsters. The logo could be a cartoon Paul Lukas head on the front panel of the cap, no?

    My high school opened in 1954 and the mascot was a Rebel, and even though the mascot was a UNLV type guy, the inaugural class picked Rebels because of James Dean and Rebel Without a Cause. So recently with all the p.c. stuff, the school has been pushing the James Dean aspect vs. the confederate aspect.

    If you like Chicago baseball and you like meat, check out these T-shirts!

    Gee, kinda reminds me of a couple of New York baseball/meat-inspired T-shirts… but those were just hypothetical, right?

    FYI My high school alma mater in Jacksonville, FL, which will be re-named “Westside” high (formerly N.B. Forrest), is changing the nickname from “Rebels” to “Wolverines”. I initially wanted them to keep the “Rebels” nickname in a different context (Think Public Enemy’s “Rebel without a pause”) but I only half-heartedly wanted that. Your reasoning makes sense.

    Paul, we could run with the “Establishment” as the starting point and come up with all sorts of team names like the ‘Suits’, the “Briefcases’, the ‘Meetings’, the ‘Clockwatchers’ and the list could go on and on. I think you are on to something here. Use team names to poke some fun at ourselves. The “Suburbanites”, the “Minivans”, etc, would be making fun of ourselves and isn’t that what sports is supposed to be about, fun?

    The Minivans would be required to have a horrible/awesome bullpen car, complete with sliding side doors, excessive plastic bumpers and some type of “___ on board” decal.

    Damn that is funny right there just joe! The possibilities are endless with this sort of stuff!

    The hard part would be figuring out how to simulate wood paneling on a uniform, but you could probably just put a brown stripe somewhere and issue a press release with some “history” to justify it…it’s the modern way.

    I don’t think it’d be that hard to do today. If they can put Maryland’s flag patterns on a jersey, why couldn’t they do faux wood paneling?

    That’s way too logical, The Jeff. The more I think about it, an 80’s White Sox-style jersey with two shades of brown for the stripes and Carolina blue lettering would be a perfect look. My next fantasy team will definitely be the Metropolis Minivans. Thanks for the catalyst, Jim Gregg.

    I like the “Suits,” Mr. Gregg.

    The “Bosses” could work in either a big city or a blue-collar town.

    The “BigWigs” might make for a good WNBA name.

    Could wear the old 70s style polyester jersey that is printed to look like a suit and a tie. Sort of like those tuxedo t-shirts. Can vary the tie stripe color and design too over the course of the season to give Paul Lukas something to talk about too!!

    ‘The Suits’ for some reason brought back to mind a music video with the members of the band wearing red plaid shirts (or possibly it was instead or additionally jean jackets?) and jeans playing hockey on an indoor rink against another team in 3 piece suits and ‘The Suits’ kicking their ass.

    Can’t remember the band or song. Not sure if it was Canadian.

    “It’s The Suits versus the Dugarees…” – Les Nesman, 5-time winner of the Buckeye Newshawk Award, at some time in the late 70’s

    I think a team named the “Corporation” would be just as intimidating and just as hated. They would get every break and every single call would go their way. They would pay the highest salaries and the lowest taxes.They would also win every single time.

    The “Corporation” to my mind is more timeless name or at least contemporary sounding than “The Establishment”.

    When I hear “The Establishment” it evokes images of a cartoon 60s/70s stereotypical burned out hippie railing against “The Establishment” or sometimes depending upon it’s context to the earlier 50s James Dean style rebel.

    It just comes off as weird that a high school team named “Raiders” would be using an arrowhead logo reminiscent of the Chiefs.

    Their memorial is a nice, and definitely unusual, gesture. I think the closest we’ve gotten to a pro team modifying a logo for memorial purposes is the 1989 Eagles’ black tape across the helmet wings for Doug Scovil – at least, that’s the only thing I can think of right now.

    Batting helmets that allow for pony tails have been around for many years. A girls on a little league team I coached wore one with a hole that she threaded her pony tail through: link

    Yes they have. I was coaching high school baseball about 20 years ago and an assistant and I were talking one day (while watching the softball team practice) that someone should invent a helmet with a hole in the back. We weren’t smart enough to do it and sure enough about a year later we saw our first helmet like that. My daughter plays high school softball now and most of the helmets don’t have holes or ridges but I’m guessing the back is a little bigger for the ponytails.

    I think “The Establishment” would work better as a name for a professional wrestling stable rather than a sports team.

    Three other team names that could go in with the Establishment: The Family, The Firm, and The Law.

    Y’see, “The Law” would just make me think of how those words were exaggerated in Judge Dredd, and I’d have to refer to how link.

    That canadian hoops league got press a few weeks ago when a beat reporter was thrown out of a playoff game for his negative coverage of the team.

    In the Kelly Leak section, there’s 2 consecutive “and”s

    – signed,
    your friendly neighborhood copy editor

    When I see the new Arkansas alternate logo, what comes to mind to me more than Pumba is the Red Dog beer logo … until I searched for the beer logo … and the two look nothing alike, other than being red animals looking straight on. I mention this because every time that Arkansas logo shows up, my brain is CONVINCED that it looks like the red dog.


    Pardon my being late on this, but to answer last week’s weekly question, my all-time favorite color scheme is that of Tulane University. I don’t know why, but for some reason, dark green and light blue together really speak to me more than any other color scheme.

    Possible slogans:

    You mess with the Establishment, you get the due process of the law

    You don’t want none of us. We have dad’s money and connections

    The Establishment: So much white privilege, we don’t even know it exists

    Also, it’s worth noting that the two most common uses of “Rebels” with a capital “R” in our culture aren’t all that rebellious. The South may have been rebelling against the Union, but they were really rebelling at the behest of major landowners, basically the aristocracy. And in Star Wars, the Rebels were fighting to reinstall the rightful royalty and displace the upstart Empire.

    Everyone wants and is entitled to “due process of the law”, even Rebels, Indians, Redskins, Fighting Irish, Establishment, et al. so I don’t see that as a threat or coercion. Besides such protection guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments.

    But I’m with you on the Star Wars analogy.

    I don’t see that as a threat or coercion

    Well, that’s the joke.

    Though I suppose a more accurate slogan would be You mess with the Establishment, you get the due process of the law, but you’re likely to be judged by the court of public opinion and be branded a heretic, fool or troublemaker for daring to go against the grain and be ostracized by society, or worse, but that feels a little wordy.

    That podcast was hilarious. The host really capped it off with the Jim Thome comment.

    Did Cubs ground keepers really have the name of a seed/fertilizer company on their caps back in the day? Blatant douchbaggery and far too Establishment.

    I dislike Establishment as a team name because all (and I mean all) team names should end in the “s” sounds. Anything else sounds bush league. Now Establishmentarians . . . I could get behind that.

    If Sports Entertainment counts (and why wouldn’t it, they are often ahead of the curve), WWE has been pushing “The Owner” for quite some time (first with Mr. McMahon, now with Stephanie and HHH), and Corporate Kane as their henchman.

    Maybe it would matter if someone was a college or pro golfer.

    I would imagine the coolness facotor of the paint job would outweigh the few mph loss on the swing speed for most weekend warriors.

    In response to the idea of an ‘establishment’ team, I wonder how well received a team named ‘The Man’ would be…

    (As in: “Fighting ‘The Man'” and “The Man just wants to keep me down”, et al…)

    Perhaps too androcentric. Mayhaps a generation or two late. Ah well.

    And lastly, not to be too catty, but upon first read, I thought I had saw that Rob Ford was wearing a warm-up *tarp*…

    It would be great for a college like Tennessee or UNLV that calls their female sports teams “Lady Vols”, “Lady Rebels”, etc. Go Lady The Man!

    It’s great to see discussion about a team name that doesn’t have racist connotations. Southern connotations, yes, but not racist.

    Many of the comments so far have equated the Establishment with some powerful Other – corporate overlords, some external authority figure, or some social class perceived to be in control. But I think that’s missing the point a bit – almost everyone is part of the Establishment, whether we like/realize it or not. A sports fan who buys a ticket or watches the game (and commercials) on TV is as much a part of the Establishment as the athletes; neither one could exist without the other. The team by itself isn’t the establishment. Similarly, corporate overlords aren’t by themselves the Establishment; those of us who wake up, go to work, and pay our taxes are just as much part of the Establishment as the overlords. There’s a pecking order in the Establishment in terms of who gets what rewards, but most of us are part of it.

    If a corporation were to have an accurate logo depicting themselves as the Establishment, it wouldn’t just be the men in suits with briefcases that are the higher-ups. It would have to also depict everyone else in the company, from middle managers to IT guys to customer service to janitors. Similarly, a logo for a baseball team called the Establishment would need to depict the owner, the front office staff, the groundscrew, the vendors, the fans, the coaches, the corporate sponsors (sponsors’ logos within the logo….meta!), and oh yeah, the players.

    Don’t think I can agree with you.

    The janitor at XYC Corp. isn’t a part of the Establishment. He works for the Establishment. No matter how much power XYC Corp. has, he doesn’t get any.

    Similarly, unless the fans are setting policy and reaping the rewards, they’re not part of the Establishment either. Mere pawns with delusions of influence.

    But here’s a question – if you’re not an active rebel against the Establishment, doesn’t that make you part of it? Admittedly that sounds like two extreme positions that ignores all the area in between, but I would argue that if you’re a janitor, even if you’re not endorsing the Establishment, you’re still perpetuating it, even if it’s in a small, replaceable way. And if you’re an indifferent outsider, you’re still perpetuating the Establishment by not fighting against it….you can’t say your anti-something if you don’t actually do something about it, or else that something will continue on unimpeded. I may be mentally against some established injustice, but unless I do something about it, aren’t I part of the Establishment that depends on my inaction?

    Now if the janitor quits and becomes an activist for change, then you can say he’s outside the Establishment. But if he’s in any way complicit with the Establishment, including drawing a paycheck no matter how small it may be, he is part of the Establishment. In fact, I’d go far as to say that if you’re working for the Establishment against your will, you’re still part of the Establishment, even if unwillingly.

    Similarly, you may disagree with everything your favorite team does, but if you still watch, you’re part of the Establishment. Stop watching entirely, then you’re truly a rebel.

    Also, another parallel in the sports world…. The people in Establishment that can decide such things may decide to fund a new stadium with taxpayer dollars. You may be opposed to it, and you may even have the opportunity to vote against it and do so, but if it goes forward, like it or not you’re part of the establishment if you’re earning wages and paying taxes. You’re an unwilling participant, but a participant nonetheless.

    No, I think “establishment” refers more to the powered elite than it does any large corporation or bureaucracy.

    Yes, there have always been those out of power who deliberately support and perpetuate the Establishment, but that’s usually an aspirational thing like people making $20K supporting capital gains tax cuts.

    Always thought the Washington Justices would make a great baseball team, since there’s nine guys on the field at a time.

    It could work in basketball, too, since you need at least five justices to agree on a ruling. Plus, the hoopsters could play on the Supreme Court at Verizon Center. Sure beats “Wizards”…

    Since the All-Star Game was in Canada, it was colour-on-colour/couleur-contre-couleur.

    got the following email from MLB “Major League Baseball is looking for unpaid volunteers to help with the MLB All-Star festivities”

    Seems an odd way to phrase your search for free labor…


    Tuesday was a great day in the sports-verse. Paul on 99% Invisible and Jonah Keri talking Expos on Seth Myers show.


    No mention of the Expos uniforms, but a great discussion of all things Expos including inventing French words for baseball terms and Tim Raines for the Hall of Fame.

    Recently started reading his book, “Up, Up and Away” that came out a couple of weeks ago. Great memories about the team I grew up watching.

    “Of course a true renegade, a true iconoclast – a true Rebel – would never bother with something as conformist as playing football or baseball.”

    Is Renegade as bad a team nickname as Rebel? I know its not as common a nickname as Rebel but it has the same baggage.


    The one that gets me is “maverick,” at least in the common political context. If you go off in your own direction and people follow you, you’re a leader. You’re only a maverick if you do your own thing and nobody follows you. So for a politician – and pols from both parties do this regularly – to brag about being a “maverick” is really just saying, “I’m terrible at my job.”

    Well, loath as I am to defend the most maverick-y of our current political crop, I don’t think you’re right.

    “Maverick” could refer to someone who bucks his or her own party leadership for the good of the country. Reaching across the aisle and following the will of the people is a good thing for politicians to do.

    All this talk about Rebels made me curious about UNLV. Having no knowledge of their history, I started digging and found this little snippet:

    “Although UNLV dropped its Confederate mascot, the school’s colors and the Rebel nickname endured,” wrote UNLV history professor Eugene Moehring in “The University of Nevada, Las Vegas: A History.” “After all, ‘rebel’ stood for much more than a supporter of the Civil War against the Union … Most of all, in Southern Nevada it stood for those who had opposed northern domination in the state Legislature and unwanted dependency upon Reno.”

    I’m sure it’s old news to anyone that follows UNLV, but seems relevant considering today’s conversation.

    Full article here:

    “it stood for those who had opposed northern domination”

    Not, perhaps, the best choice of words if they wanted to back away from the Confederate symbolism.

    The first copy had ‘stood for those who had opposed northern aggression’…

    On the “how to pick a soccer team”, it said 9 strategies, but I’m only seeing one page, anyone else having that problem?

    It also asks, “Who’s My La Liga Team?” yet responds with a Greek Superleague team and a couple Premier League teams (in addition to Barca and Real Madrid.

    So I started thinking about what nicknames come close to “The Establishment”. Initially, I thought the various nobility-based names like “Kings” and “Monarchs” and “Dukes” might work, but that wasn’t quite right – those people stand above the establishment.

    Then I found the stunningly obvious – Yankees. The term originated as a pejorative term for the Dutch, but who’s more establishment in New York than people whose last names start with “Van”? And when it’s used by outsiders, be it in the South or in countries with US military presence, the term carries an implicit disapproval of the Northern/American influence.

    My family used to have a “van” before our last name, and supposedly we took it off in 1664 when the British took over. Wouldn’t the “van”-sticklers be as anti-establishment as they could possibly be? It takes guts to stick with Dutch when the British Empire has integrated you into their Establishment.

    Aside: About a decade ago I had the pleasure of playing tour guide to a couple of Dutch twins visiting NY – they were shocked by the amount of Dutch names around.

    I was shocked that a couple of well-to-do, highly educated Dutchwomen had no idea of Holland’s lasting influence on New Amsterdam.

    Nitpicky to point out the manufacturer’s logos/stripes on the soccer jersey. Those are not “sponsor logos,” they are maker’s marks. A sponsor logo would be someone like Budweiser putting an ad on the jersey – Bud doesn’t make clothes, they sell beer. I think that is generally understood when the team says there are no sponsors on there.

    Paul is correct. In today’s context, “rebel” is a synonym for “conformist.” You can tell the rebels by their uniform — lots of black.

    A true Establishment team would have no marketable logo, only a set of secret signs, handshakes and other stealth devices that allow members to identify one another while denying to outsiders that the Establishment even exists as a group. And the Establishment would have no home field or gymnasium. Because the Establishment owns everything, YOUR home court is THEIR home court. And when they are scheduled to be the home team, you get to be the visitors in your own house. And pay for the privilege. Because that’s how the Establishment works.

    Naturally, the unis for The Establishment would have to be ultraconservative and unremarkable yet projecting dominance and power — something on the order of the current Yankees ensembles — Pinstripes, number at home; Number only on the road grays (and they would be gray). Or something like the Chicago Cubs wore in the early 20th century — No logo, no piping, no number, no nothing. Just a plain white uniform at home and a plain gray one for road games.

    The football team would have plain black jerseys (no TV numbers), pants in white or gray and plain black helmets (no logo or striping, but perhaps a number.

    All of this would symbolize the facelessness of The Establishment — people without names, only numbers and as interchangeable as spark plugs. A machine intent on NOT attracting attention as it makes its influence pervasive, its dominance irresistible. Cold and without emotion. Victories are not celebrated, nor losses lamented. A team that routinely does exactly what it takes to win again and again and again.

    Because to the Establishment (motto: “Victoire éternelle”) it’s not a matter of right and wrong, of ethical and unethical. Only of what’s legal and illegal. And the Establishment has lawyers to take care of those issue, so that what appears to be a rules infraction during a game might ultimately not be judged an infraction at all. Even if it means months of litigation over a late-game traveling call in a non-conference game.

    Of course, recruiting might be a problem…..

    Recruiting is never a problem for the Establishment. Diversity of recruits, on the other hand …

    Anyway, any team named The Establishment worth its name will play in a domed facility that features a glass ceiling.

    A glass ceiling…..perfect.

    All races, creeds and nationalities are welcome. We thrive on diversity — as long as everyone conforms to the accepted rules, regulations, policies and ethos..

    Off the field, we will have a regulation hairstyle (short). All Establishment players will wear dark blue suits, white shirts and a tie the color of their choosing — as long as it’s navy.

    Washington Establishment has a better ring to it than Nationals and probably more meaningful!

    The New York Suits would be good. “When a man puts on a necktie it cuts off the oxygen to his brain”.

    Paul has really started something here. Like if you called a team the Hipsters would they no longer be considered Hipsters?

    Given San Jose’s Silicon Valley, would be terrific to have the San Jose Geeks. The LA Plastic Surgeons. Oh the possibilities!! Get creative people!

    Question about the USA Today story on the Hawaiian woman with the ultra-long name: supposedly her name “consists of 35 letters plus an okina, a mark used in the Hawaiian alphabet”, but I don’t see an okina (it looks like an apostrophe and indicates a glottal stop)in Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele.

    Let me ask a Hawaiian (that is, Hawai’ian)-speaking friend who might be able to guess where the okina would go. It could fit anywhere where there are two vowels in a row.

    As I understand it, “Hawaiian” shouldn’t have an okina, because it’s an English word.

    Note that it’s correctly spelled ‘okina, with an ‘okina before the O. My very-non-fluent guess:


    I’m surprised to see so many vowels and not a single kohoka (a long vowel indicated with a line over it, as in ‘Ä€hiu, the word for “wild”).

    Thanks, ArrScott! And I had forgotten that ‘okina contained its own name (just like haček does, but ümläüt doesn’t).

    Can I offer a correction also? Isn’t the macron called kahakō in Hawaiian, not kohoka?

    American idealization of the individualist – so long as that individualist is at a safe distance or not that different – goes way back indeed. Erstwhile staple of school reading-lists Huckleberry Finn is about a guy who chooses things far afield from contemporary social norms and many blockbusters in the western, noir and sci-fi bins laughed all the way to the bank on that trope too.

    At the same time, no one wants Ted Kaczynski for a neighbor and so the mass-consumption society works to smother much of natural human variation into a Neilsen-rated torpor, swathed in a “custom” snuggie.

    I’m pretty happy with my Establishment logo concept. Getting the execution of the last few details may be tricky though.

    Oh wait, is it us who read this site and post about unis that are the Uni-bombers??

    Would the logo be one of those old-timey comic book bombs – you know the ball with a lit fuse? That could be nifty!

    I think this might be a solution for Washington’s NFL team: The Washington Establishment. Perfect.

    I would think “Patriots” is pretty darn close to “Establishment”.

    Team sports are about as mainstream as American culture gets.

    Yeah, nowadays. But prior to the 1930’s, we had baseball and whatever the stupid college nuts were doing; nobody gave a darn about football, basketball, or hockey as they were what college kids with nothing better to do involved themselves in. Boxing, track and field, and tennis were much more popular because they were individual sports. Even baseball can be seen in some regards as rather individual (to a point).

    What seems mainstream today might be quite shocking (sans technology) to someone just 100 years ago (or later).

    NY Daily News has a nice slideshow from Wrigley’s Party.

    Even if they are “plants” and not real fans, I love the idea of folks in the stands dressed in period clothes. I had talked to some minor league teams at one point about a “Turn Back the Clock” promotion in the stands. Reserve a section for people who will dress in period costume and offer them period appropriate prices. Wrigley didn’t follow up on that last part, according to the article.

    I’m not sure how else to submit this, but I was covering a junior-college baseball game last week. The visiting was wearing what I’ve been calling a “tequila sunset” jersey. It’s black with a gray-striped pattern. I didn’t post one in my newspaper since I didn’t get a shot with a good angle on the uniform, but I do have this posted on my personal social media: link

    The different grays are the Establishment’s color scheme, albeit without jaunty stripes.

    That’s an interesting uni, Scott. Thanks for posting it.

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