By Phil Hecken
I have a very special guest post today from Mr. Collector’s Corner — Brinke Guthrie — who received a very special tour while attending the official “Grand Opening” celebration of the new stadium for the 49ers, Levi’s Stadium. There’s a lot to get to, and Brinke has covered it all with a unique (and “uni-centric”) view, so let’s get started.
Field of Jeans ®
By Brinke Guthrie
At the end of last season, California’s three NFL teams occupied three of the older and outdated stadiums in the league. San Diego Chargers/Qualcomm (1967,) the Oakland Raiders (Your Name Here Coliseum, 1966) and the San Francisco 49ers/Candlestick Park, 1960 (1971 for football.) Between the three, a total of 12 names — four for each. (Little known fact: Qualcomm was called “Snapdragon Stadium” for 10 days in 2011.)
As far as Bay Area sports go, the Raiders (and A’s) are mired deep in divisive Oakland political turmoil. If you can believe it, the Rayduhz want to tear down the Coliseum and build on the same site, at the same time the A’s are trying to redo their Coliseum lease.) Honest.
No such inertia exists in the South Bay. Twenty-seven months after its April 2012 groundbreaking, the 49ers gleaming new Levi’s Stadium ® is now online, following its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday morning. I’ve watched the stadium webcam ever since they started digging — here’s a time-lapse movie — showing about half the build. It’s about as far away from the rusty old ‘Stick that $1.2 billion dollars can take you, right in the heart of Silicon Valley. (The 49ers HQ and practice field is literally steps from the stadium and has been here for several years.The locker room will move from the practice facility to the stadium.)
Initially, I couldn’t decide if the impressive 68,500 seat stadium is sleek, or plush. After taking a lengthy tour, the answer is “both.” (The Bay Area is now blessed with two outstanding stadiums. I deem AT&T Park “cool” because of the retro themed location by the Bay, and Levi’s Stadium ® is “neat” due to the tech influence. I.E., the geek in me approves.) The stadium itself is very much a product of its location — the physical facility reflects the high tech innovation (and key corporate partnerships) that surrounds it in the Silicon Valley area. There’s a lot of cash in the Valley.
“Sustainability” (or, “It can run itself”) was a key word mentioned over and over. To partially expand on that:
• Recycled water will account for around 85 percent of all water used at the stadium.
• The turf is a variety that will require up to 50 percent less water than the average turf variety in the Bay Area. If you’ve followed the news, lack of water is a big deal here. (Note in that photo: the three stripes were prominent on the side boards, and in the stadium “Inaugural Season” logo. A tie to the jersey sleeve stripes, perhaps?)
• The first stadium in North America designed to be net neutral to the grid- the ten Niners home games will be powered by the sun, from the stadium’s year-round collection of solar power. The three bridges to the stadium are solar panel covered, for example.
• The “green roof” saves energy and the need to heat/cool the tower- the “NRG Solar Terrace” is 18,000 square feet featuring 16 native plants. And one devious small utility box in the corner I tripped on and crashed. The first face plant at Levi’s Stadium belongs to me.
• It’s one giant Hot Spot. Plug into internet bandwidth 40x greater than any U.S. stadium. More than 12,00 WiFi access points dot the stadium, so if you want to order food from your seat and have it delivered, no problem. (Flat $5 dollar delivery charge for that, BTW.)
• The stadium is book-ended by two massive 200×48 HD video boards…which can allegedly been seen at night from 100 miles away. (Conversation on the 101 up in SF: “Look, honey- Gore scored again!”)
• Levi’s Stadium ® also features things such as an art collection, education center, team store (which wasn’t open- and I had money to spend) and team museum. (Didn’t get to see that. Maybe on the next trip.) There was a reception following the ribbon cutting ceremony- let’s just say the food is pretty good. (Another gourmet ice cream sundae? Well, if you insist.)
• The lower bowl’s 45,000 seats (two-thirds of capacity) is one of the league’s largest, and the suite tower is supposed to reflect sound back at the field- to make for a noisy atmosphere for all your rowdy friends.
Among Thursday’s speakers were 49ers CEO Jed York and The Commish, Roger Goodell, and Levi’s ® CEO Chip Bergh, a genial fellow who was nattily attired, and doesn’t wash his jeans. (Jacket available for purchase soon! NFL licensed!)
And yes, Coach Harbaugh was wearing the black sweatshirt in the hot sunshine. I was -this- close to The Sweatshirt! This was the Nike model as opposed to the Reebok model or the Stanford DIY model.
My pal Todd L. in Denver wrote me to say, “It’s not really named Levi’s Stadium ®, is it?” This coming from someone whose team plays at “Sports Authority Field at Mile High,” its second name. You’ll notice the the ® symbol throughout this story. Believe me, that little ® is EVERYWHERE at the stadium.
It’s been a long haul. We’ve got our new toy, and now it’s time to play with it. Sunday night, September 14th is Game On.
(Extra special thanks to Roger Hacker at the 49ers. PS: he Gets Itâ„¢.)
Thanks, Brinke! Nice job — and I’m sure that stadium tour/grand opening (and everything in between) was awesome.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Just one today — and it’s from (drumroll) George Chilvers, but brace yourselves — it’s NOT soccer (football) related!
Click either image to enlarge:
After saying you would be getting football pictures from me, the first one I send is not football. I trust I don’t need to say who it is to you experts :)
The big relevance to me is that over last weekend someone (Steve D, I think) asked if there had been breakthroughs or was I just refining. My answer was that I am constantly refining, and one area I have been concentrating on over the last month or so is trying to get skin tones more natural looking – the most difficult part of colourising, particularly in portraits.
I’d be interested to know if readers think I’m getting there.
Clearly, the famous large choo-choo is the inspiration for a certain fireballing righthander from the Rays. Don’t hate.
Thanks George. Tremendous stuff, as always. Please keep them coming!
U.W.F.F.L. Spring League
UWFFL Developmental League – Week 18
by Rob Holecko
We have finally made it to the eighteenth and final week of the 2014 UWFFL Spring Developmental League. The six group winners and two wild cards will qualify for the D-League postseason, while the top three teams in each group will advance to Division II in the Fall, and the fourth through sixth place finishing teams in each group will go into Division III.
Most of the spots for promotion and playoff spots have been decided, although there are still a few things left to decide. All of these crucial games will be decided with your votes today.
The Providence Steamroller (4-2-1) needs a win against Buffalo to get into a tie for third with the Rhode Island Hot Rods (5-2-1) in Group A:
The Jacksonville Rhinos (4-3) host the Delaware Union (5-2), a Jacksonville win will mean these two teams will face each other again next week in a tiebreaker game to decide who goes into Division II:
It’s a big game for the Angle North Stars (5-1-1), they are in third place, only a half-game ahead of the Pontiac Prowlers (5-1-2). If they can beat the (7-0) Cheyenne Shock who have already clinched first place in the group, they will make it into Division II, but a tie will set up a tiebreaker game with Pontiac next week, while a loss will send Pontiac to Division II, and the North Stars will have to settle for Division III. BOth Angle and Cheyenne are wearing alts for this season finale, Angle their white and blue road alts, while Cheyenne is debuting a dynamic all-black set:
Finally the Missouri Magnetic (6-1) play their season finale at the Houston Energy (1-6). It’s been a disappointing season for the Energy, but they can play spoiler today as the Magnetic needs a win to try to grab one of the Wild Card spots and get into the D-League playoffs:
There are still a few Division III promotion spots yet to be decided among the teams playing in the eight other games this weekend, so head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com to vote on those games as well. We will see you next week with any tiebreaker games that may be necessary, and possibly a contest for you to vote on as well.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Check out this beautiful 1889 baseball medal issued by Jos. Schoeneman, Philadelphia, found by MLB Historian John Thorn (thanks to Jonathan Daniel). … Also from Jonathan, look at this Phillies licensed cigarette pack holder from the 50’s, which features the Whiz Kids cigarettes (via the twitter account @19802008CHAMPS). … Still more from Jonathan: Interesting information on the 1914 Boston Braves and “I love that Braves photo.” … The University of Northwestern Ohio has “denigrated the beautiful green span of the baseball field and turned its infield into cardinal astroturf with a vegas gold astroturf basepath,” says Dustin Semore. … Should softball players wear masks on the field? At least one state says “Yes” (from Tommy Turner). … Even though Fox didn’t pay tribute to Tony Gwynn or any other baseball great who passed away recently, this video pays respect to the Hall of Famers, All Stars and other baseball stars who have died since the last All Star Game (nice find from Richard Paloma). … “The nameplates on the Charlotte Knights jerseys look like just a piece of white tape,” says David Berger. “Looks especially awful in the pinstripes.” … “The A’s (obviously Steve Vucinich) getting things right with the jerseys worn by the WS Champs for the 89 reunion,” notes Rich Paloma, who’s behind the scenes at last evening’s 1989 reunion.”Note there’s no serif (tail) on the A of the script “Athletics” as they have now. The A’s made that change in 1993 when they also added gold outline to the green NOB. (In this flickr album) is folded jersey, Dennis Eckersley, Dave Stewart, and pics from this year jersey front.”
NFL News & College Football News: WMU students are working on new helmet technology to increase concussion awareness (thanks, Paul). … The NFL Players Association has now been sued over handling of concussions. … The Southern University Jaguars will wear this “spotted” jersey in their season opener against the Ragin’ Cajuns (thanks, I think, to Gil Neumann). … A local work crew found this 1909 football jersey at Temple HS library (great find by Beau Stahnke). … “Has FSU made a change to number color since the reveal?” asks Preston Coyle. “Or is this a misprint?” Good question, since the jerseys being sold have gold numbers (h/t Jeff aka @saintwarrick).
NBA & College Hoops News: Following the Chicago Bulls presser, “Looks like the United Center had left over water from the Kane and Toews press conference,” writes Adam Grad (look closely at the label). … Looks like The Chosen One is still undecided on his uni number with the Cavs, so he’s asking fans which one they think he should wear. … Dayton has new hoops uniforms. Says submitter Andrew Consentino “Not too bad.” Here’s a look at the white and blue versions. … Dayton also has a new court design. … Ooooohhhh — check out his really neat ‘scooter’ that Hugo the Hornet will be using this year in Charlotte (nice pics by Duncan Wilson). … Loren Lirely saw this set of NBA jerseys and asks if the black Bucks jersey is legit. To which Conrad Burry replied, fashion jersey? don’t know why they’d feature that in the graphic though.. Hmmm. … Check out the new floor at the Gates Center for IPFW hoops (h/t Jared Law). … The Bulls introduced Mirotic and Gasol with now-outdated jerseys that have Bulls logo on back instead of NBA logo (thanks Paul). … Check out this beautiful 1972-1975 ABA Memphis Tams game used equipment bag (big thanks to Bruce Menard).
Soccer News: Here is the new 2014-15 Tottenham Hotspur home & away kits (h/t Mike Diodati). … New away kit for Huddersfield Town F.C. (via @TheLupineOne). … New Hull City home kit (thanks to Ben Karnish). … New Atletico Madrid away kits for the 2014-15 season. … “To go along with (yester)day’s Soccer link to portrait style illustrations is this interesting collection of soccer posters from Form and Glory Sport & Design out of the UK (www.formandglory.com),” writes Ted Arnold. “Here is a link to the Arsenal posters. Also some interesting posters of interpretations of baseball team logos/nicknames in their collection.” … From UW Stalwart Chance Michaels: Here’s a look at the tweaks West Ham made after fan feedback. … Chivas Guadalajara have unveiled new kits.
Grab Bag: Yesterday, at the British Open (or just “The Open”), John Daly was doing John Daly things (I do love those pants tho). … Here’s a really good U of Dayton interactive site, with tremendous logo information (thanks to Jeff Brandon). … Also, Dayton athletics has a new logo (thanks, Patrick O’Neill). … Russell Westbrook has released a clothing line with Barneys and it is just as garish as you’d imagine (thanks to Tommy Turner). … Wow — check out these Apollo 11-inspired sneakers from GE (thanks, Brinke). … The AFL has decided to remain on the side of tradition and NOT use NOBs as a permanent feature on jumpers after a one round experiment earlier this season (from Leo Strawn, Jr.). … This weekend, teams in the Geelong Football League and Bellarine Football League will wear heritage/throwbacks jumpers (thanks to Graham Clayton). … “This band called Philbilly played at the bar I work at in Jersey and used the Phillies style for their band name,” says Pat Costello. “Pretty cool.”
And that’s going to do it for today.
Small(ish) announcement: As you guys are probably aware, Paul takes a well-deserved sabbatical from UW in the summer, and this year we’re still working out the details — but it looks like you’ll be stuck with me doing the weekdays beginning in August. As such, I’m going (again) put out the call to all readers out there — if you have an idea (and/or would like to work with me) on/for a feature article, please shoot me an E-mail. If you don’t want to do any writing/researching, but there’s a topic or three you’d like to see covered, either shoot me an e-mail or list your suggestions down in the comments below. I don’t usually have problems covering Paul’s absence when you guys are always so generous in your offers to help or make suggestions. Anything uni-related will be considered (and possibly some things that aren’t uni-specific, but are germane to the board). OK? OK! I’d like to start lining up some columns ahead of time so there will always be new, fresh content during Paul’s uni-vaycay.
Thanks to Brinke for the look-back at the Levi’s Stadium opening, George for his colorization, and Rob for the UWFFL stuff. I’ll be back tomorrow with a very special “wrap” of something with which all weekend readers should be aware. So make sure to check back then.
Also…Jim Vilk wants everyone to know that it’s time for the semi-annual MLB Extra Innings free preview (check your local satellite/cable/whatever provider) — so if you want to watch a shit-ton of free baseball for the next several days (and see teams you might not ever get to see, because ESPN only ever shows the Yankees and Red Sox), well, you’re in heaven now. Thanks for the reminder, Jimmer.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“People in the southwest know the contextual difference between ‘coyote’ the trafficker and ‘coyote’ the yelping quadriped, just like people understand that the ‘bear’ in Chicago is ursine, not a ‘large, hairy man, projecting an image of rugged masculinity’.”