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A Tic and a Tug

I was watching a bit of yesterday’s Mets/Phillies game and saw something about Phils starter Cole Hamels that I’ve noticed before but had never thought to write about until now.

Here’s the deal: After almost every pitch, Hamels reaches down with his left hand and gives a slight tug to left hip area of his pants, just below the belt. It’s almost as if he’s integrated this tic into his follow-through. You can see what I mean in this sequence from a game about two weeks ago (if you can’t see the video clip below, click here):

Hamels has been doing this for years. And that got me thinking: Are there other players who have odd uni-related behavioral tics? One who immediately came to mind is Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, who frequently reaches across his body with his left hand and tugs on the right shoulder of his jersey after each pitch, as you can see here (if you can’t see the embedded video clip, click here):

Later in yesterday’s Mets/Phils game, I noticed that Mets reliever Josh Edgin, who was recently called up from the minors, does the exact same thing as Sabathia: He’s a left-handed pitcher who reaches across with his pitching hand to tug at the right shoulder of his jersey after throwing a pitch. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any video to show this.

Another example is Mets third baseman David Wright. Every time he steps up to the plate — either when approaching from the on deck circle or after stepping out of the box during a plate appearance — he goes through a series of gyrations, one of which is to momentarily pull his jersey over his face:

Going back a few decades to when I was growing up, I remember that pitcher Dick Tidrow would habitually tug on the brim of his cap as part of his follow-through after each pitch. I specifically recall a play toward the end of career, when he was pitching for the Mets, when a comebacker struck him in the shin and he was in no position to field it because he was busy tugging on his cap. Can’t find any video of him, unfortunately.

Of course, these types of tics aren’t limited to baseball. Michael Jordan famously like to pull down on his shorts, and I’m sure there are other examples out there. Can you think of any? Share them in today’s comments. But let’s please stick to two ground rules: (1) Let’s focus to behavioral tics. In other words, we’re talking about something the player actively does, not just the way he wears his socks or the angle at which he wears his cap or whatever. (2) Let’s also stick to uni-related tics. So if a guy always draws his initials in the batter’s box with his bat when he steps up to the plate, that doesn’t count. Thanks.

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Party reminder: We will be celebrating Uni Watch’s 15th anniversary with a party next Tuesday, June 10, 7:30pm, in the back room at Sheep Station. Phil and I look forward to seeing you there.

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PermaRec update: The guy shown at right used to be Defensive Player of the Year. Which league? That question — and the larger question of who the guy is — is explored in the latest entry on Permanent Record.

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’Skins Watch: Ex-’Skins on the team’s name: Mark Schlereth wants to change it and Clint Didier wants to keep it. … Another pair of divergent views: The head of the players’ union says the ’Skins name may be a slur but an NFL official says it isn’t. … The ’Skins thought it would be good PR to have a Native American on hand for a media event — you know, as a prop, or a human shield — so they invited a tribal leader from Nevada. But he turned them down.

Baseball News: Holy moly, look at all the different ways the Pirates styled Larry McWilliams’s McNOB over the years (awesome stuff from Mark Rosa). ”¦ Tottenville High School in Staten Island is using a purple version of the Texas Rangers’ cap logo (from Alan Borock). ”¦ If you love the Montgomery Biscuits’ logo as much as I do, you’ll want to read this history of the team’s branding. ”¦ Yesterday’s Ticker had a question about this old Royals logo. Turns out it appeared on this lunch box and this pocket sked (from Mark Shipman and Phil respectively). ”¦ Wow, check out Sandy Koufax at a 1984 old-timers game (Phil again). ”¦ Texas Tech vs. Miami: Which team is which? (Phil yet again.) ”¦ Bizarre scene in yesterday’s Mets/Phils game, as Phillies OF Marlon Byrd broke his bat on a swing and a miss. Never seen that before.

College Football News: The blog Auburn Uniforms has launched a new “What If..?” series, the first installment of which is “What if Auburn had won while wearing the infamous orange jerseys?”

Hockey News: The Central Manitoba Railway — a small, independent railway company in Winnipeg — uses the Sabres’ old bison head logo. “On the left side of their engines, the logo is turned the other way, so the logo on both sides faces the front of the train,” says Brad Larocque. ”¦ Thanks to a lost bet, the Canadiens’ mascot, Youppi, had to wear a Rangers jersey (from Alan Kreit). ”¦ Hmmm, what’s with the “Tuna” jersey from last night’s Kings/Blackhawks game? (From Kevin Tiessen.)

NBA News: WWE wrestler El Torito wore Chicago Bulls-inspired ring attire yesterday for the Payback PPV in Chicago. “The ‘2/3’ uni number is both a reference to his height (he’s a little person) and a nod to MJ (23),” explains intern Mike Chamernik.

Soccer News: British wrestler Wade Barrett wore trunks inspired by England’s national football kit last night. “It had the three lions crest and a gold star for England’s one World Cup win,” says Mark Coale. ”¦ “I was playing the Match of the Week feature on FIFA 2014, which includes updated rosters and uniforms, and noticed something off about the USA uniform,” says Yusuke Toyoda. “The Yanks are wearing blue shorts instead of red with their much-maligned ‘Rocket Pops’ away jerseys. Does EA Sports know something we don’t or did they simply make an error?” ”¦ Nike is selling a new line of soccer shoes. “Yes, that ankle ‘sock’ section is part of the shoe,” says Coleman Mullins.

Grab Bag: Here’s one of the many reasons why I love Wisconsin (big thanks to David Gratt). … “For their Round 12 match of the Australian National Rugby League season against the Canberra Raiders, the Eastern Suburbs Roosters v”>wore their alternate horizontal striped guernsey, instead of their traditional blue guernsey,” reports Graham Clayton. Man, that’s one nice uniform! … During the FedEx 400 at Dover, part of the track came loose and was repaired by a guy in an Earl weaver shirt (from David Firestone). ”¦ This is interesting: Famous websites reimagined as dresses. Worth the click (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Also from Brinke: a slideshow of French Open attire. ”¦ Expect to see California Chrome and all of his handlers plastered with the Skechers logo when he attempts to win the Triple Crown at this Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

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What Paul did last night three nights ago: On Friday evening my friend Jamie and I went to the old Domino sugar refinery in Brooklyn. The refinery has been shut down since 2004 and will soon be converted to luxury condos (grrrrr), but at the moment it’s the site of a really unusual art exhibition called “A Subtlety,” in which the artist Kara Walker has created a massive mammie-style sphinx out of sugar, along with lots of little “sugar babies” (life-size sculptures of children working the sugar cane fields), also made from sugar.

The sphinx and the sugar babies are all meant to make political points about race and labor (I won’t get into that here), but they’re also just amazing cool sculptures. The sugar babies are literally melting — each one has a little pool of molasses at its base — but are still very crisp and distinct, at least for now. I liked them better than the sphinx, maybe because they were small enough to take in all at once.

The whole place smells like sugar, and I’m not sure how they’ve kept out the ants. Here are some photos I took (if you can’t see the slideshow below, click here):

The show is free, and it’s open through July 6 — highly recommended. Further details here.

Comments (171)

    chris resop grabs his crotch after every pitch, as noted by cespedes family bbq: link

    Scrolling the page, watching the seemingly endless amount of crotch-grabbing pics, feeling as though I’ve gone through the looking glass…

    Mike Hargrove, the “human rain relay”, is the person perhaps that made tic/rituals in the batters box into an infamous thing.

    Nomar Garciaparra had probably one of the greatest examples of behavioral tics I’ve ever seen. The constant batting glove adjustments, touching of wristbands, and positioning of his helmet…..after every pitch.

    First thing I thought of too. Apparently he was doing it before he cracked the big leagues.


    Chuck Knoblach used to readjust his gloves between pitches. Whether he had swung at a pitch or not.

    Braves recent callup Tommy LaStella reminds me of nomar with all his batting glove adjustments.

    Was Gary Andersen the only kicker who pulled his single bar facemack down low so it wouldn’t be in the way when he kicked? That punter from Austrailia might’ve done the same thing. Back when I wore my single bar there were two screws boted to each side so it wouldn’t move.

    My first thought seeing those tics is they’re probably doctoring the ball in some way. After the Michael Pineda stuff earlier this year Dirk Hayhurst wrote about the fact that the easiest way to hide that stuff is to put it somewhere on your uniform and make going to that spot a regular part of your routine to the point no one questions it.

    “[…] a doctoring pitcher will likely place a foreign substance in a spot he’ll routinely touch during the course of game. Routine counts when it comes to getting scrutinized. If you go about your business a certain way for long enough, odds are that you’ll fly under the radar, because even if what you’re doing is ostensibly cheating, no one will call you on it. In baseball, “Oh, he’s always done that” is a powerful argument that justifies pretty much anything.

    Unfortunately, to earn that benefit of the doubt, you have to stick around for a while, at least long enough for everyone to get used to your routine. This makes a pine tar smudge damning to a younger pitcher. An established reliever like Grant Balfour, on the other hand, can–and does–get away with it.”

    The 1984 World Series video has a segment in which narrator Mel Allen goes over several players’ habits, from the motions of Steve Garvey in the field to Jack Morris on the mound to Kurt Bevacqua at the plate. There are probably a half dozen or more players featured during this humorous montage.

    El Torito picture link has a few extra characters at the end.

    I’m ashamed to say I clicked on it. Crappy job of making it look like a Bulls logo

    Jonny Gomes is insane with his walk up, and it’s almost all uni-related… Adjusting the wristbands, and major adjusting of the batting helmet. When he was a Red, his bobble head was his batting helmet, not his head.

    Sabathia does it virtually every pitch, almost certainly without even realizing it.

    Betances does it only after a strikeout. That’s not a tic — that’s “Oh, this is the part where I do [x].”

    Apples and oranges.

    Re Rafa, it’s not just the crack-pull each time. He also touches his nose and works his hair around both ears; I believe he also pulls his sleeve up, but can’t recall if that’s every time. The shorts-pull to face touches are consistent each time and in the same order.

    He also used to adjust his socks. I don’t know why he couldn’t eliminate the crack-pull and keep the sock adjustment, but the crack-pull is one of the reasons why I just can’t root for him. Get some tighty whiteys that fit, for heaven’s sake.

    Drew Hutchison of the Blue Jays always “hunches” his jersey forward before he pitches, to the point where his NOB is usually all wrinkled.

    Doesn’t Ichiro pull on his right sleeve just before he sets up to swing?

    Yeah, many will get “ritual” and “tic” misconstrued. I thought of this difference.

    Nomar had a ritual, not a tic. Much like Landon Donovan has a ritual when he takes penalty kicks. Now, Tim Howard has tics, due to his Turret’s…but none is uni-related.

    Plenty of relief pitchers tug at the bill of their cap before they step on the pitching rubber. They leave a distinct mark on the bill of their cap from where their fingers touch.
    Here Craig Kimbrel:

    Also, I remember Derrick Turnbow (former Brewers closer) would always adjust his hat like so:

    Thanks to a lost betfranchise, the Canadiens’Expos’ mascot, Youppi, had to wear a RangersCanadiens jersey….

    Brendan Ryan puts his face in his left shoulder area before he hits. He used to bite the jersey when he played in St Louis. I haven’t followed him since then.


    More of a lick than a bite. He still does it. I think it as Matt Morris, who from a female point of view, looked like he was adjusting a falling bra-strap, grabbing at his left shoulder area after pitches.

    I remember back when Kevin Seitzer (current Blue Jays hitting coach) played for the KC Royals, when hitting he would grab the shoulders of his jersey and pull them towards his neck, bunching up the fabric. He would do this after every pitch. Seems like if it was comfort issue, he could have just had the team give him a larger jersey with more shoulder room.


    Johnny Gomes tugs on the bill of his helmet after each pitch. Derek Jeter does a similar thing. And Jose Altuve will take both hands and adjust his batting helmet. David Ortiz spits in his hands and slaps them together before stepping into the box

    Noticed this last night during the Pitt / LA game, Don Mattingly was sporting high cuff / bloused pants, no stir-ups. How long has he been doing that?

    Phil, Todd Radom, and I noticed the same thing when attending a Mets/Dodgers game two weeks ago. Was news to me.

    Wonder if that was a passing fancy or will be his new thing.

    I’m intrigued when players abandon their pajamas for a classic style – Alex Rodriguez used to wear his pants long in link and link, and even his first season link, but at some point he switched to the link. A-Rod might be a scumbag, a cheater, an insufferable narcissist, but at least he knows how to dress link.

    Can’t link a video right now, but Brett Favre was always quick to un-snap his chin strap after throwing or handing off the ball. Almost no sooner was the ball out of his hands, he was reaching up to undo the strap like it was the biggest inconvenience in the world.

    And before they outlawed it, he used to pop his helmet off between plays like it hurt him to wear.

    I rememer one of Favre’s receivers used to joke that before the pass even got to him, Brett had already unsnapped his chinstrap.

    What always further intrigued me about Favre unfastening his chinstrap was that he did it with his left hand.
    When I played football, I always did mine with my right hand (I am also right-handed like Favre), seemed much more natural.

    I think Aaron Rodgers does the same thing, unsnap his chin strap with his left hand despite being right-handed.


    Brilliant. Did he ever even bother to pursue the ballcarrier whenever he threw a pick?

    Admittedly I never followed his teams, so I never paid much attention to the details of Favre’s playing style.

    Did he ever even bother to pursue the ballcarrier whenever he threw a pick?

    He did, actually. Doggedly Favre would pursue the runner and throw himself at him to make a tackle. Much to the eternal consteration of his fans.

    So, either he had to re-snap his strap on the run, or else go in with an unbuckled helmet?

    I know you have to be a bit crazy to play football, but…

    Richie Hebner always did a tug on his jersey between most pitches.

    Frank Robinson, before each at bat, would scoop up dirt, rub his hands, spit in his hands and rubs his hands some more before digging with his right leg into the batter’s box.

    Not really a uni thing, but Joe Morgan used to pump his elbow after making his practice swing before a pitch.

    Didn’t Matt Williams used to bat with the left shoulder of his jersey in his mouth?

    I don’t think it was literally in his mouth. But as he took his practice swings in the box, it looked like he was biting his shoulder.

    Kobe’s jersey-biting is apparently at least partially an link (i.e., he sucks the sweat out of it when his mouth gets dry.) Eww! It’s probably just as much of an unconscious habit now, considering how often he does it.

    Tiger Woods’ pre-shot routine. Practice swing, line up shot, then as he stepped to the ball would reach across with right hand and pull left sleeve/shoulder of shirt up. Don’t know if he still does it, but he did for years.

    A someone said above, Ichiro tugged his right sleeve before each at bat. I assume that h still does with the Yankees. The whole motion was maybe too involved to truly be a tic–but it mad for a good ‘Mariners Baseball” ad a few years ago:

    John K

    In 2004, someone told me there was a chance Auburn was going to break out the Orange uniforms against Georgia. It was a top 5 game that year (UGA was 5, Aub was 3). We were sitting in the stands waiting for Auburn to come out of the Tunnel in Orange unis after wearing the Blue in Warm Ups

    UT- Martin has the SAME exact uniform as Auburn. Instead of Blue Home unifroms, they have orange.

    UT- Martin

    White- link

    Blue- link

    Orange- link

    Skip Schumaker has a routine after every pitch in his at-bat: He rests the bat between his legs, smacks his hands together and then will re-adjust the straps on his batting gloves or will glance at both of them before picking up the bat and preparing for the next pitch.

    The truly impressive thing about the map on the Wisconsin link in the Grab Bag is that it doesn’t just chart which states permit liquor sales in grocery stores, which is basically what you’d expect from the data set if the United States had a national drinking culture. Turns out there’s an overwhelming regional cultural difference, and yes, Wisconsin appears to be pretty much the pinnacle of American civilization in this regard. Great bit of data visualization! And it makes me look even more forward to being in Wisconsin for the Fourth next month.

    I was in Madison in April on business and go back today. I liked the “Drink Wisconsibly” schwag. Some great local brews and watering holes. The Old Fashioned, The Tipsy Cow and Tornado Room were the highlights IMO. It’s irritating that New Glarus brewing is so reluctant to allow out-of-state sale of its products.

    I don’t think New Glarus is reluctant, but rather not licensed to sell outside of America’s Dairyland. I don’t know why that is, though I suspect local legislators are simply unwilling to share their Spotted Cow with out-of-staters.

    There was a link on Third Avenue where the owners would truck it in. They got link by the state liquor authority and almost lost their license over it.

    According to link, it sounds like their Wisconsin-only distribution range is a business strategy rather than a matter of state law.

    “Sorry about the limited distribution, non-Wisconsinites. There are only so many hours in the day to make beer and we can only keep up with the local demand. If you’re ever in town stop by our little gift shop and pick some up.”

    Also note the “Only in Wisconsin!TM” tagline. I don’t think the state legislator made them adopt that (especially when you consider that other Wisconsin breweries such as Stevens Point Brewery distribute out-of-state).

    New Glarus just built a new brewing facility about a year ago, so obviously they’re doing plenty well with their business model. Spotted Cow is great, but their best beer is Raspberry Tart. Outstanding.

    Tony’s Market in central Denver as beer and wine you can drink by the glass while shopping, but sadly no hard liquor.

    Arrgh. that was supposed to go after the later post about bars in grocery stors.

    That being said, Moon Man is the best beer from New Glarus. Looking forward to some in about nine hours.

    I was actually kidding about the state legislatures. But you’re right – it’s their business model not to sell out-of-state. Interesting.

    I can think of 3 off the top of my head:

    1) Tony Romo pulls down his jersey after just about every pass play. He’s got elastic or possibly a drawstring at the hemline to keep it covering his rib pads, and the whole thing usually rides up on passes. I’ve noticed over the years that almost without fail, Romo tugs his jersey down.

    2) Mike Adams, RP for the Phillies (formerly of the Rangers and Padres) places his cap on top of his head after every batter, circles the mound, ascends the mound again, then resets his cap before the next batter. This is likely more of a ritual than a true tic.

    No video links for these two, but there is for my third (and best) example…

    3) Joe Nathan, who a friend of mine and I lovingly called “Twitch” while he was with the Rangers. Nathan adjusts his cap with his right hand after almost every pitch. Check it out here: link

    A couple of days late but hopefully not two dollars short: A blurb in the Saturday hockey ticker suggested the ostensible Seattle team would feature green+blue uniforms. I would hope a Jet City team bucks the Seattle/Sea colors trope. Firstly, the NBA SuperSonics were green+yellow; I’d like to see that color scheme back in the NHL. Next, blue+green treads on the toes of the Canucks, their neighbor to the north and likely rival.

    I always loved the Atlanta Hawks’ blue/green unis. But they were royal/lime.

    Just now reading through the comments and I was just thinking of that right before scrolling down here!

    Chuck Knoblauch used to go through a maddening set of sub-conscious ritualistic tics between EVERY pitch. He would start with the opening and closing and readjusting of the Velcro on each batter’s glove. Then he would tap his bat on first his left and then his right cleat. Next he would hold his bat up in front of him and look over the barrel, as if looking for the magic spot. All of this felt like it took 5 minutes every time, slowing the pace of the game to a crawl…

    UVA Baseball wore gray uniforms that I haven’t seen before. I can’t remember them ever having gray uniforms – save for the “graphite” jerseys that they wore with white pants last year. I haven’t followed the team closely this year, so it’s possible they wore them previously. Could be new for the CWS.

    New Gray:



    I like them, but think they would look even better with the Red Sox font script they use on the white jerseys.

    Back in the 70s when Mike Tyson played 2B for the Cardinals, he would grab his crotch (I assume to adjust his cup) just before getting into his fielding stance and then again just after the pitch. Every single pitch. It was hilarious, and I’m not sure he even knew he did it.

    I can’t find a video of this, (and honestly I’m not even sure if he’s still playing? sorry not a baseball guy) but Sean Casey adjusts both batting gloves after every pitch. I am trying to remember from the games I went to, but I’m pretty sure he had this crazy routine of adjusting both gloves, then touching his belt, hitting his cleats/shoes, and getting back in the box. every. time.

    As a (semi-)regular commenter, would this be the right place to let people know I’m raising money to buy a baseball team? Well, I’m raising money to try to buy a baseball team. Find out more at link

    As a more uni-related rider to that, I tried hard to pick out a unique color combination that would still look sharp. Hopefully the uni-verse will look kindly on my choices.

    The Brewers’ Ryan Braun opens and closes the Velcro strap on his batting gloves after seemingly every pitch.

    Couldn’t find video, but DJ Gallo (@DJGalloEtc) of SportsPickle tweeted this 3 years ago: “Ryan Braun should consider getting higher-quality velcro on his batting gloves so he doesn’t have to adjust them after every pitch.”

    Braun also tugs at his jersey every time he hits a home run. As he starts jogging out of the box, he pulls on his jersey near his chest a little bit. It’s very subtle, but he always does it.

    Joe Nathan goes to the bill of his cap before every pitch. It clearly looks like pine tar or something else that is sticky. Sometimes he touch near the MLB logo on the back if his cap instead of the bill. He is a very fidgety man. A google search results in several links referencing the tar.

    I vaguely recall Steve Carlton touching (not adjusting) his cap after pitch delivery; bill-back-bill was the sequence?

    Nomar Garciaparra had his quirks at bat, like his little windmill swing while kicking the ground waiting for the pitch. But uni-related would be his yanking of his batting gloves before stepping into the box before each pitch. link

    Tiger Woods (and Fred Couples as well) adjusting the left sleeve. Apparently Nike even designed a shorter left sleeve: link

    Martin Brodeur would always shrug/roll his shoulders forward to readjust his shoulder pads when he stood up after making a sprawling save. He has also began kissing the initials of his kids on the backplate of just before putting his mask on after the national anthems.

    Skip Schumaker after every pitch steps out of the box, puts the bat knob between his legs in his crotch area, and tightens the gloves.

    In regards to Hamels, I think I know what it is… He’s wearing garters, and the straps ride up in his follow through.

    It’s an old Mayan… or maybe an Aztec thing.

    Jay Bruce always throws his left arm in the air a couple of times before stepping in. Looks like he’s trying loosen the arm before batting.

    Hank Aaron would walk up to the plate to bat, carrying his unflapped batting helmet, lean the bat against his crotch, then put the helmet on over his cap. He always took his time.

    “Bizarre scene in yesterday’s Mets/Phils game, as Phillies OF Marlon Byrd broke his bat on a swing and a miss. Never seen that before.”

    I think Jim Rice did it once, but I’d need confirmation.

    Re: Miami/Tx Tech – who’s who?
    Miami is wearing green jerseys and hats/helmets. You can see a couple Hurricanes at the back left of the scrum. It seems to me that all the Texas Tech players are in the foreground of the shot. All you can see of the UM players is their heads.

    Never mind, I see the UM players in orange jerseys. Took a second look. I am a dumdum. Carry on…

    Nick Swisher looks up to the heavens before each pitch. He does it to remember is Grandmother.

    Craig Robinson with a nice chart of World Cup soccer teams with manufacturers’ logos on their kits/uniforms. Logo-less uniforms died out after the 2002 WC. link

    Unbranded kits really died in 1974, but Italy held out for a few more World Cups. And in 2002, they managed to link.

    Pretty awesome, though.

    Hockey goaltenders in general have a lot of these ticks since there’s a lot of routine needed to keep your self-awareness relative to the net. The classic move being clanking the goalposts with the stick.

    Patrick Roy used to do always cock his head forward after getting up, which i assume had to do with him adjusting his mask. My brother used to refer to him as the chicken for that move.

    Goalies always have a lot of equipment quirks when it comes to using their water bottle. Some take their mask off, some pull it on their head, some put it on top of the net. Some set their trapper on the top of their pad.

    My daughter is ice hockey goalie, while she isn’t as bad as Hextall’s post taps or Braden Holtby start of game ritual she does tap her glove with her stick when the opponent comes into her zone.

    So I’m wondering this about that bars vs. grocery stores thing. What about grocery stores that have bars in them?

    I don’t know of any grocery stores with full bars in my area but there are quite a few with beer and/or wine bars in them.

    As I posted in the wrong spot above: Tony’s Market (only the one in Denver, not either of their suburban sites) – a fine butcher with good deli and bakery and some serviceable other product – sells beer and wine by the glass to drink while shopping, but no hard liquor.

    It would be a hoot to have a butcher shop drinking game. “I bet a shot that sirloin weighs more than 1.6 pounds” and so on. Of course the butchers themselves should refrain until after the shift . . .

    The closest I’ve seen is having a bar in the same shopping center, but never actually inside a grocery store.

    Unfortunately, Corporate Overpriced Coffee is all too happy to take up the inside-the-grocery-store niche these days.

    There’s a Grocery/Gas Station/TCBY/Subway in Clinton, WI. i’m sure they squeeze in some drinking somewhere in there.

    Maybe I’m losing my mind, but I’m having major deja vu reading that article about the Montgomery Biscuits. Has it run before? I see the publication date is Saturday, but I swear I read the opening bit about the author’s wife having him on a grain-free diet before, exactly like that.

    All I know is I’m not as fond of the logo as Paul is. It looks like a really creepy Muppet!

    I challenge anyone to find video of Steve Finley NOT grabbing his crotch after each pitch.

    Going into the way back machine for a few of these..Clemente used to always rotate his neck at an at bat. Reggie Jackson would do a big stretch between pitches..he’s lean back with his bat on his shoulder and set up to hit. Thurman Munson used to do a jersey tug and put his hand on the top of his helmet. They did not call Mike Hargrove “The Human Rain Delay” for nothing. He was the twitchiest motherfucker I ever saw at homeplate..gloves name it. He just looked uncomfortable. Gaylord Perry used to touch his cap multiple times either to load up..or just mind fuck guys. It worked out pretty good for him. My favorite was Mickey Rivers..if he missed a pitched he would do a perfect bat a baton. Catch the bat and then back in the box. Plus he walked like a 90 year old man.

    Several of these, like Clemente’s neck roll and Rivers’s gait, are not uni-related.

    Please, people — keep it uni-related.

    Not a specific player, but I see link on the sideline when they’re not holding a clipboard. Does this serve any practical purpose or is it something QBs just do?

    SKINS WATCH: “as a prop, or a human shield” – Because the WHITE liberals who lead the anti-Redskins BS haven’t been doing this since day 1!

    When you have to completely ignore every poll ever taken involving actual Native Americans because they don’t support your side of the argument, then you know you are just trying to push the WHITE agenda. Plus isn’t it equally as racist for the WHITES to tell Native Americans what they should be offended by instead of letting them decide themselves? What a joke.

    And by “every poll”, Jimmy means that 2004 National Annenberg Election Survey poll of questionable methodology that asked self-identified Native Americans if they found the term “offensive”.

    This isn’t uni-related, but an instance of advertising creep, which appears to interest some readers. I was watching the Germany/Cameroon friendly via Watch ESPN yesterday afternoon and noticed, about even with the top of the penalty area to the left on-screen, a section in the stands that appeared to have certain people attired in white shirts & hats, such that it produced the Deutsche Telekom logo against the backdrop of darker seats and attire other fans were wearing.

    I couldn’t find any wide-angle screenshots, but you can see part of it in the background here:
    and to the right, here:
    and the base of the T, here:

    Deutsche Telekom, I would presume (based on the ads rotating on the screens during the match), is an official sponsor of the German MNT, so it’s not exactly like they got some free publicity or anything, but I am curious how they pulled it off:
    – Did they have the shirts & hats waiting on those seats for when those fans arrived, with instructions to wear? And was there some threat involved for failure to comply?
    – Were these people somehow compensated by Deutsche Telekom for donning the shirts, whether as paid employees, or otherwise?
    – Did the company pay for the 40-50 seats necessary to create the logo, and give away the tickets with the one stipulation?

    Went back and spent about 30 seconds finding a place where the logo appears during the match & took a screen cap:


    Ugh … years from now I worry everyone will have to wear robes when entering games so the crowd can create corporate logos and slogan. How far until we reach the world of Jennifer Government? link

    The new soccer cleats from Nike look more like football cleats to me and not only because of the high top. Unless rules have changed, soccer cleats cannot have a toe cleat. They differ from football and baseball cleats in that way. Nike must consider it slightly off center enough to not be a toe cleat.

    Misspelled my own name. And the easier of them, too. Awesome. Wasn’t on a jersey at least.

    Does anyone know why there are six stars on this year’s Stanley Cup Final logo? Since 2009, the NHL has used this logo featuring six stars (three on either side of the Cup): link

    I had always assumed that the stars represented the six divisions. When the NHL realigned the league before the start of this season, they went from six divisions down to four. So I thought they would revise the logo accordingly. But it looks like they are still going with the six-star look: link

    Does anyone know what the stars may represent? Perhaps the Original 6? What am I missing?

    That’s… a really good question. Oddly enough, I’ve personally never given it any thought.

    Of course, I’ve always preferred the early 1990s Stanley Cup Championship insignia. Never cared much for their need to mess with it, particularly after the 2005 lockout.

    The stars probably don’t represent anything. They just look appropriate in the logo.

    Rays closer Grant Balfour is probably the most manic pitcher I’ve seen today—he has at least 3 tics he goes through before every single pitch, in order, and he sometimes goes through the cycle twice in a row:
    1. He wipes his left sleeve on his mouth
    2. He tugs his cap
    3. He quickly pats his right hip with his right hand
    He also usually tucks his titanium necklace-thingy into his jersey before most pitches. This is the only video I could find that sort of shows the tics:

    Will Clark used to tug on his right jersey sleeve with his left hand while settling into the batter’s box. The interesting thing about this tic is that, it seems to me, it developed during his MLB career. I don’t recall him having this tic when he first broke into the majors. Also, Clark and Williams hit 3-4 in the Giants for several years, making for entertaining back-to-back tics/habits. Can’t take time to find good video of Clark, but the Batting Stance Guy (remember him?) did a good job with both Clark and Williams’ tics, beginning at 0:58 of this video, link

    Jim Thome would adjust his crotch area, then push his helmet down on his head before he stuck the bat out towards the pitcher…don’t know if anyone else mentioned that yet.

    Alvaro Espinoza would pick his wedgie then smell his hand before each pitch…..


    Unless I missed it, the most famous of these (to me), and the most obvious visually, was Joe Morgan’s chicken wing.


    If I recall correctly, he had a habit of dropping his left arm to his side before swinging, so a hitting instructor told him to flap his arm before the pitch to remind himself and ensure he had his arm up, and not down by his side.

    Oh, sorry, I guess that’s not really uni-related. I just re-read the guidelines up top. My bad. Still a cool “tic” if there ever was one.

    Hamels isn’t really “tugging” on his hip, he’s wiping off his fingers. He started doing it early in his career and (like most/all of these kinds of things) it became habit.

    Re: Marlon Byrd’s broken bat

    Glenn Braggs did the same thing during the 1990 World Series


    I remember that, but it’s still not really the same thing that happened to Marlon Byrd. Braggs’ bat actually hit an object (his shoulder) before it broke.

    It always looks like Eli Manning’s pads don’t fit because he shrugs and rolls his shoulders after every pass. Fits in well with his little brother persona- like their a bit too big for him

    I work at Stanford and watched a few of the training session for the US National Team. Even during the closed-door scrimmages, such as vs. LA Galaxy II, I didn’t see players wearing the high-tops boots in-game, but there were several pairs on the ground around some of the guys’ bags. I would guess they’re more intended to give extra ankle support during training only.

    link in the Champions League final and link.

    My guess is that adoption rate isn’t high yet because they’re so new.

    Fun little thing — I was watching “Major League” on Netflix today and caught that, in the “we’re contenders now” montage, Rick Vaughn strikes out a Detroit Tigers’ player who appears to be wearing a road helmet at “home”.

    You can see the strikeout at 1:03 on this clip: link.

    That helmet appears to have an orange ‘D’, which would be their road style rather than their home style. A reflection of light makes it a little tough to see, but there’s an orange flash.

    This makes some sense since, earlier in the film, the Tigers are the “road” team in the game where Jake sees Lynn in the stands and trails her home in the bullpen car. They probably used the helmet in that scene, too, and just never changed the logo on the front.

    Note that all locations are in quotes since every baseball scene, regardless of the supposed location as it is in the script, was filmed at the erstwhile County Stadium in Milwaukee.

    Here is the working link for the Eastern Suburbs Roosters horizontal striped guernsey:


    Cricket batsmen are also known for the “tics” while batting. They, along with hockey goalies, wear probably the most protective equipment of any athletes in sport – batting helmet, batting gloves, leg pads, protective “box”, forearm guard, thigh guard, etc. They also have to wear this equipment for a long time, so they are constantly adjusting the equipment to make them feel comfortable.

    Not uni-related, but would it be considered a tic every time I yelled “SHIT!” while watching yet another hanging curve land in the cheap seats?

    Can’t find video, but when Norm Charlton was a Mariner he would hit himself in the cup before almost every pitch.

    Nolan Ryan tugged at the sleeve on his pitching arm with his glove hand after many pitches. Looks like he did this throughout most of his career. link

    I’m a little late to the party here but I see nobody mentioned Trevor Hoffman pulling on his jersey after every pitch. I’m pretty sure it was his right hand pulling on his right shoulder. For some reason it always drove me nuts watching him do it over and over.

    Nomar Garciaparra – along with many other baseball players used to go through batting ritual which included a series of crazy hand gestures that seem to serve the purpose of tightening his batting gloves: link

    Ichiro also does the sleeve tug during his batting ritual:

    Mike Sweeney of the Royals had a series of tics in and out of the batters box between each pitch. The thing I remember most was putting the bat between his legs, then unvelcroing and re-velcroing his batting gloves. Every. Time.

    I seem to remember Gary Carter frequently pulling his jersey sleeves up from the shoulder so they bunched up toward his neck and exposed his upper arms while he was preparing to hit.

    Anyone mention Richie Hebner? He used to pull up on the back of his shirt collar behind his neck before every pitch while at bat.

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