Click to enlarge
[Editor’s Note: Paul is on vacation, but he left behind this interview with a designer who does cool sports illustrations. Enjoy.]
I recently received an email from a guy named Maeser Anderson (that’s him at right). He pointed me toward his website, which features all sorts of very cool, very stylized sports illustrations. A few of them, like the one shown above, were explicitly uni-oriented, and all of showed that the artist had taken a lot of care to get the uni details right.
I was intrigued, so I asked Maeser if he’d be willing to do an email interview. He readily agreed. Here’s how it went:
Uni Watch: How old are you, and where do you live?
Maeser Anderson: I’m 34 years old and live in Mesa, Arizona.
UW: Do you make a living as an illustrator? If not, what do you do for a living?
MA: I wish! No, I am an insurance representative working for Eagleston Financial Group.
UW: When did you start drawing/illustrating/etc.?
MA: As long as I can remember, I have always been drawing. As a kid, that is all I wanted to do, and nothing has changed as an adult.
UW: Do you have any formal art training?
MA: I did take art classes at Utah Valley State College and Mesa Community College, but most of what I know has come naturally or I’ve taught myself. There is only so much you can get out of a classroom.
UW: All the images on your website were created digitally. Do you also do analog drawings (with pen, paper, etc.)?
MA: I do. Painting has to be my favorite. I just don’t have the time for it right now. I love drawing any chance I get. Here’s a mural I completed last year for a local high school here in Mesa, along with some photos of a shark mural I did for a dentist’s office in Vancouver, Washington.
UW: Your artwork is very stylized. How would you describe that style, and are there other artists (or heroes, or whatever) who’ve influenced it?
MA: Retro art. My eye is drawn towards simplicity. I love Ernie Gilbert’s work. That guy is amazing!
All of the drawings on my blog are done with shapes. I don’t hand-draw them with a pencil — I modify shapes in Illustrator to form the image. It is a lot of fun, because it ends up being like a puzzle. You take a bunch of shapes, and you make a picture. I love that. I love hard edges and out-of-proportion things. And I love simplicity — maybe that’s why I love old uniforms. Simple always wins in the end, in my opinion.
UW: Your depictions of athletes all show them with broad shoulders, a smile, and little, spindly legs. When and how did you arrive at that template?
MA: I love clean lines and basic shapes. I love how you can tell a complete story in a simple drawing. I try to catch the essence of the player I am creating with as little detail as possible. I love shapes that are put together to create a picture.
UW: When/how/why did you get into uniforms?
MA: I’ve been a uniform fan ever since I can remember. I remember when the Utah Jazz changed their uniforms in the ’90s and everyone freaked out. Seeing mountains on uniforms was nuts. I remember when the Lakers modified their uniforms and thinking they were pretty cool. Now I look forward to those changes each year. I’m obsessed with the way the uniforms look, and the shoes the players wear. Some teams never seem to get their look right, like the Minnesota Timberwolves — they had the best uniforms in sports with their very first set, but all the changes they’ve made since have been tragic!
UW: Which are your favorite and least favorite uniforms in the real world? Are those also your favorite and least favorite ones to depict in your artwork?
MA: My favorite uniform has to be the old Seahawks uniforms. That light blue and grey helmet rocked. I haven’t had a chance to draw anyone in those uniforms, but it is on my list. My least favorite would have to be the current Houston Rockets set. Why did they get rid of the yellow? You win two championships and you change the look of your franchise? They haven’t had a whole lot of success since.
I love drawing uniforms that are old. There was something about uniforms back in the day that was pure. The old Miami Dolphins or Denver Broncos uniforms, or the old Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers uniforms. Back in the day, each uniform was unique. Now, they are all the same and boring. Don’t even get me started on sleeves in the NBA.
UW: I find it interesting that you show the NBA logo on your depictions of basketball players but only show the outline of the NFL shield (rather than the shield itself) on your NFL illos. Why the discrepancy?
MA: Great question. If I ever end up selling my prints, I don’t want want the big, bad NFL to sue me. If you notice, the NFL drawings don’t have logos anywhere. I will change the NBA one to just a shape as well if there is ever any interest in buying them. It may be silly, but I just want to be careful.
UW: Have you ever done any baseball or hockey illos? If not, why not?
MA: I have several started, just not completed. I have a list a mile long of people I want to get to. Just wish I had the time to do them all. I’m a perfectionist, so it is hard to do things quickly with no deadlines. My goal is to have all the major players in all sports drawn.
UW: Have you ever exhibited printouts of your artwork, or even just put a few of them on your office wall?
MA: Yes. My buddy has a Boston Celtics one hanging in his office, and I have another friend with the top five Portland Blazers hanging in his office. Also, my son’s name is Stockton, so we have a “Stockton Theme” going on in his room:
UW: Anything to add?
MA: I love creating historical figures as well. Here’s a “Presidents of The United States” project I’m working on [click to enlarge]:
I do these kind of drawings because I have four small children, and I want them to have fun while learning.
The MLB Protective Cap Debuts…
Saturday evening, Padres pitcher Alex Torres (pictured above) became the first major league pitcher to don the new “protective cap” (an IsoBlox protective pitching hat, to be technical) which was just this year approved for use. If you’re not familiar with the device, well here’s what it looks like:
As for why he’s wearing it? Last year Torres was teammates with Alex Cobb (on the Tampa Bay Rays), and here’s what happened to Cobb:
“I came in after Alex Cobb was hit in the head,” Torres told CNN on Sunday. “That’s really an impression to me, how his head sounded from the bullpen. That was really bad. I was shaking. ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ I’m glad he’s alive.”
Torres himself had never been hit in the head by a batted ball, but he is taking the “better safe than sorry” approach. Also, he had a close call:
Alex Torres said a close call in spring training scared him a bit. Ordered the protective cap about a month ago. Arrived a week ago.
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) June 22, 2014
He told MLB.com: “It could save our lives, if someone hits a ball to your head. I get it for free, so I’m just gonna use it to see how it feels.”
Torres almost didn’t make MLB history — Todd Redmond of the Blue Jays was wearing it earlier this year — but he never appeared in a game actually wearing the cap (supposedly claiming he’s “not a fan” of it).
So — how was it? According to MLB.com, “The difference between how this hat and the regular hat feels isn’t much,” Torres said. “I tried it before using it in the game, playing catch. It doesn’t feel really bad. It doesn’t feel like how it looks on my head.”
Just like the original batting helmets, then helmets with ear flaps, I’m sure this piece of safety equipment will, with time, catch on, and we won’t think of it so much as a novelty but as a regular piece of equipment.
Readers, what say you? — Phil
By Brinke Guthrie
Some terrific NFL posters this week, starting with one for that Washington team. Who’d object to George Washington? We’ve also got one for the TB Buc’s first season (how’d that work out btw?) and Cleveland Browns.
Other items this week include:
• Cool 1970’s #44 Chuck Foreman Vikings shirt.
• This 1970s Colts sticker would work for ya if you’re in Baltimore or Indy…no city listed.
• Great graphics on this 1970s Buffalo Sabres button.
• Nice looking 1970s 49ers helmet wall plaque.
• A Heath Shuler Draft party T-shirt? Really?
• For about $2500, you can have every St. Louis Cardinals bobble issued in the last 13 years- 32 in total. (Heck, the Giants do about 15-20 per season.)
• Vikings fans, the quality of this vintage Russell Athletic sweatshirt beats Nike by a mile. (IMO.)
• A variety of Miami Dolphins items from Sears to be found in this “Fan Pack” including the classic poncho and zip front sweater.
• This Philadelphia Eagles glass goes way back. Why can’t they go back to the kelly green and white? And while we’re talkin’ retro, wouldn’t the Ray-duhz look great going back to the silver numbers? Nah, they’ll never change.
• This “All-Pro” NFL wristwatch features the signatures of Jim Brown, Mike Ditka, and Jim Taylor.
• Since The Grand Poobah is off this week, thought we’d slip in this ugly PURPLE Mets cap, Mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
for the Ticker
By Garrett McGrath
Reader Cameron Reed was at his local Goodwill in Nashville and spotted a uniform and was wondering what logo this is.
I didn’t immediately recognize it and, after exploring the wonders of the internet, found that it was the logo for the short-lived Single-A Mudville Nine. The Stockton Ports changed their name to the Mudville Nine for the 2000 and 2001 seasons in homage to the team in the poem “Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888” by Ernest Thayer. The poem was about the local team in Stockton, California in the last 1880s. Here it is in full:
The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
We’d put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”
“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.
The poem has gone on to not only be considered the most famous about baseball, but one of the most well known in American literature. It was staged regularly on Vaudeville and was referenced and performed by people like Jackie Gleason in his “Reginald Van Gleason III” persona.
The most interesting details are from the backstory of the poem and its publication in the San Francisco Examiner. Baseball Almanac noted that:
It all started in 1885 when George Hearst decided to run for state senator in California. To self-promote his brand of politics, Hearst purchased the San Francisco Examiner. At the completion of the election, Hearst gave the newspaper to his son, William Randolph Hearst.
William, who had experience editing the Harvard Lampoon while at Harvard College, took to California three Lampoon staff members. One of those three was Ernest L. Thayer who signed his humorous Lampoon articles with the pen name Phin.
In the June 3, 1888 issue of The Examiner, Phin appeared as the author of the poem we all know as Casey at the Bat. The poem received very little attention and a few weeks later it was partially republished in the New York Sun, though the author was now known as Anon.
A New Yorker named Archibald Gunter clipped out the poem and saved it as a reference item for a future novel. Weeks later Gunter found another interesting article describing an upcoming performance at the Wallack Theatre by comedian De Wolf Hopper – who was also his personal friend. The August 1888 show (exact date is unknown) had members from the New York and Chicago ball clubs in the audience and the clipping now had a clear and obvious use.
Gunter shared Casey at the Bat with Hopper and the performance was nothing short of legendary. Baseball Almanac is pleased to present the single most famous baseball poem ever written.
Thanks Cameron for the great history lesson.
Thanks! — Great stuff. OK, now onto the ticker…
‘skins Watch: Here’s a good article on the Chicago Blackhawks’ logo amidst all the Redskins dilemma (thanks to Yancy Yeater. … With the Washington Redskins’ name under attack, three Northern Virginia legislators are announcing the formation of the “Redskins Pride Caucus” (from Tommy Turner). … Also from Tommy, the Redskins have launched an official Military Appreciation Club, which provides “a platform for fans to serve, support, thank and connect with military service members and their families.” … Here’s an article that lays out how stubbornness will cost Dan Snyder more than the trademark, arguing he’d make a shit-ton of money by rebranding and come out ahead. … And it seems that even fake sports have a real problem with the “Redskins” name.
Uni Watch Ticker
Today’s ticker was complied by Garrett McGrath.
Baseball News: MLB released the All-Star Game Home Run Derby hats on their site, red for the American league and blue for the National League. … During the College World Series last night, Vanderbilt wore red, white, and blue uniforms with patriotic hats and batting helmets (from CJ Fogler). … Yesterday, reader Bruce Menard sent in this picture of great Yankee skippers in 1951. Coincidentally, yesterday, the current and five previous skippers posed together for another great picture. … Re-writing history: The Tampa Tribune declared the one-hitter pitched on Saturday a no-hitter in their Sunday print edition (from Jerry Kulig). … Pajama Pants: Honorary Nova Scotian Paul is all over this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article on long and short baseball uniform pants (thanks, Phil). … Here’s an article on the disturbing history of baseball’s mascots (from Adam Brodsky). … The Double-A Binghamton Mets wore these “Magic Paintbrush” jerseys last night for charity. These look like they were designed in Microsoft Paint and a mash up of the 80s/motorcycle bro culture/and Los Mets. … The Double-A Birmingham Barons will wear these Stars and Stripes hats on July 4th. … The Triple-a affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, the Omaha Storm Chasers, are celebrating 4th of July with this crazy uniform (from Jeff Funke).
NFL News: The Starter Clubhouse, a pop-up clothing shop that was in Times Square as a part of the Super Bowl XLVIII festivities from January 17th until February 9th earlier this year, featured the old Miami Dolphins logo on a helmet on a wall in the shop (from Steven Salayda). … The NFL could start using the Schutt Vision camera system for TV broadcasts (thanks, Phil).
College Football News: The University of Akron Zips coach Terry Bowden revealed their new black uniforms with metallic gold helmets on Twitter last week (thanks, Phil). … New footballs for the Notre Dame team (from Warren Junium).
Soccer News: The New Yorker on United States coach JÃ¼rgen Klinsmann’s polo and khaki dressed down sideline outfits (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Good eye: Brandon Seale spotted an Auburn flag being waved after Mexico’s 3-1 victory over Croatia yesterday. … Everton F.C. sent a 2014-2015 Home kit release teaser email (from Casey Hart). …
Hmm. ESPN might want to reverse those teams in the graphic Nevermind, it’s a fake.
NBA News: Bullets Fever! John Wall of the Washington Wizards has been seen this offseason in jerseys of other NBA teams including the Hawks, the Pacers, and the Suns (from Tommy Turner). … The Celtics, Warriors, 76ers, and Kings have released new secondary logos and partial logos for the 2014-2015 season. The 76ers secondary logo is a revamp of a previous logo from 2002. … The number one pick in the draft on Thursday will be wearing this special hat. The other draft caps will look like this.
College Hoops News: A timelapse video of the new court floor design at North Carolina State’s practice facility, the Curtis & Jacqueline Dail Basketball Complex, and the finished illustrations of finished designs from the practice facility and the PNC Arena (thanks, Phil).
Grab Bag: A Washington Post story about the man behind University of Maryland’s branding transition into the Big Ten (from Yusuke Toyoda). … This weekend’s US Open Women’s Champion Michelle Wie wore camo kinesio tape on her left leg (from Patrick O’Neill). … Canadian military forces returned to old-style uniforms at a cost of $4.5 million, CANADIAN! (from Casey Levene) … Style editors at Esquire debate if grown men can wear sports uniforms off the field (from Tommy Turner).