By Phil Hecken
Ah. Back in the weekend saddle. Thanks to Paul for the Laborious Day Weekend off! Now then, this is going to be a BIG post, so we’ll get right to it. Just want to say a quick few things before we begin.
As in the past, today (first Saturday after Labor Day) will get us caught up on the past weekend of College Football — so three of the sections below will take care of that (and they will return to their regularly scheduled Sunday slots beginning tomorrow). There are also two new sections: A WONDERFUL new recurring section, by Gary Chanko (second section below) on Classic Stadium Scoreboards that you will not want to miss. Make sure to check it out. There is also Week 3 of the EPL Tracking (a new feature for 2014-15).
You’ll also be reintroduced to Terry Duroncelet, Catherine Ryan, and Tim E. O’Brien, who bring you the “Sunday Morning Uni Watch,” “5 & 1” and “Duck Tracker” (respectively). Each has a look back at what happened last weekend as the NCAA Football Season kicked off for 2014.
Here. We. Go.
Sunday Saturday Morning Uni Watch
By Terry Duroncelet
Hello one and all! It’s been close to 8 months, and needless to say, I’m super-glad to be back at it for a fourth season. A new season, a new playoff system, and a bunch of new uniforms. Over the break, I noticed that I tend to be a bit… brutally honest when it comes to my opinions on what these schools are wearing. And you know what? That’s gonna change this year. I promise you guys a more calm, cool and collected me. After all, it’s only a game, right? … Yeah, fuck that, I’ll stick to my old ways. As you would expect, the throwing arm is a bit rusty, so there will probably be some games that I missed, some facts that I might screw up, and potential spell checks that make me want to go back to 10th grade English class, so please bear with me as we progress through these first few weeks. Without further ado…
• Texas A&M wore all-white in their first ever match against South Carolina, although the Gamecocks looked to have been waving the white flag.
• As you saw just a moment ago, Louisiana-Monroe wore these swamp camo things in their game against Wake Forest. Well, at least this particular pattern makes sense for the area… I guess.
• Minnesota wore their gold tops for the first game of the season (have they worn them this early before?) against Eastern Illinois.
• Boise St. wore their new orange helmets against Mississippi. Given that this game (and its variants) have had a history of color-vs.-color games (I don’t even remember that NC State/Tenn. one. Apparently, it’s from 2012?), I’m a bit disappointed that the Broncos didn’t take this opportunity to wear orange/blue/orange. Also from that game, this player had a mismatched helmet and jersey with no player name. Probably a multi-position guy that switched into an eligible number or something.
• Vanderbilt wore new alternate uniforms (which look a lot like their regular all-black, with some slight differences) against Temple. Here’s a closer look at the details. I’m not gonna lie: I’m really digging this look, mainly because of the pattern on those sleeve caps. Also, Temple wore decals that said “LEW” in memory of Lewis Katz. Here’s a close-up. I’m sure somewhere in the background, Michael Jackson’s “Black Or White” is playing. How do they mess that up?
• Here’s how Arizona’s numbers look without last year’s gradient on the field. It reminded me of the new QB/no-contact tops that the Ravens wear, but the difference is that while the Ravens’ tops look better design-wise, the Arizona tops are *slightly* more sensible for gameplay, as you can make out the numbers easier.
• Yeesh, those ‘Cuse numerals are super-sketch. The top portion looks too squinty, and the bottom portion is begging for something to eat with how open it is. Some of the numbers near the bottom actually look like mouths! It begs the question of why didn’t they just keep their Ithaca font? That was unique to Syracuse and didn’t look as weird.
• Notre Dame played their first game in their new Under Armour uniforms. HUGE upgrade from their previous provider, although I’m not the biggest fan of the printed tackle twill numbers. What’s wrong with doing kiss-cut numbers like a lot of the other manufacturers are doing these days? The golds seem to be richer and more consistent as well. Definitely the sharpest ND’s looked in recent years.
• Navy wore a new alternate uniform in their first game as an Under Armour school, called the “Summer White Uniform”, which is basically a football-appropriated version of the actual Summer Whites worn by servicemen in the Naval Academy. Each player had his own ranking on his uniform. Chalk these up as a win! The game didn’t go the same way, however. Also of note, Ohio State is wearing the new Nike Pro Combat v5.0 (a.k.a. “Mach Speed”) uniform after only one season in the NPC v4.0 (HyperCool) uniform last year.
• Another Mach Speed-wearing team from Saturday was Alabama, and I waited for them to work up a real sweat before making any observations. I’m not a fan of referencing old work, but when I talked about my Nike Football League project from almost two years ago, I mentioned if it was possible for Nike to create a mesh version of the moisture-repelling fabric for the abdomen, so we get less of the sweatbox effect. Although it doesn’t look to be mesh for the new gut panel, they looked to have been listening to us over the years, because I could hardly pick out a dark stomach in the bunch. Still not sure how I feel about that mesh line going down the front and back of the jersey. Overall, Nike’s first real departure from the original Pro Combat template dating back to 2009 seems to have been a positive one.
• So what shenanigans do the Bruins of UCLA have in store for us this year? Surprisingly, a positive development happened in the offseason, as UCLA went back to the Clarendon font for their uniforms. Bear in mind that they haven’t looked like themselves since switching to TechFit in 2010, so this is the first good thing that they’ve done to their primary uniforms in a long time.
• TCU wore white helmets against Samford.
• Indiana wore helmets with a simple block ‘I’.
• The QB for Georgia had some nameplate issues against Clemson. Mind the cancelled Idaho/Florida game displayed by my pause bar.
• Nothing too out of the ordinary from the Fresno State/USC game, but how long have they had “Fight On” on the field? Is that a new thing for this year?
• Florida State… don’t get me wrong, I really love the new uniforms, but I’m honestly curious as to what was their motivation to make the numbers on the white top gold with garnet trim? It’s not even a dark gold, like what the Saints used to wear in the 60s, and the garnet trim isn’t all that thick, so the numbers tend to blend with the top. Think Michigan’s bowl game uniforms from a couple of years back, but *maybe* not as bad (this was an indoor game, after all). We do have HD televisions and the like these days, but I would still think the crowd, spotters, and refs would have a hard time identifying who’s who, even with the world’s biggest boob-tube hovering over the field.
• This has probably been answered already, but what’s the significance of “TEAM 135”? Is this Michigan’s 135th team fielded, or…?
• I don’t have the best vision in the world (it’s actually quite poor), but I think this is a color-vs.-color game between North Carolina Central and East Carolina.
• LSU widened the numbers on their uniforms, which is an improvement from last year, but unless you get up close (such as that first pic of #95) the numerals on the field look more… boxy, I guess the word would be? The diagonal cutouts don’t seem to be as prominent, making them look more square-like/rectangular than they actually are.
• Louisville opened up their season in new all-black uniforms. Eh, they were so-so. But let me tell you something about Miami’s new uniforms; I have a thing for metallic-ish dark green helmets, and the Hurricanes’ new green lids are a huge hit with me (didn’t they say that the green helmet wasn’t going to make an appearance at all this season at the unveiling, or did I misread something?). The overall uniform is an upgrade from last year. The game ended in a palindrome favoring Louisville, 31-13.
And that puts a pen in it for Week 1 of the 2014 season. Tune in tomorrow as I bring you my findings from Week 2.
Thanks, TJ! Welcome back, and we look forward to your critique of the
costumes uniforms worn in today’s games tomorrow.
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to introduce a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are being created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and has now embarked upon a new project, which he’ll describe below.
Here’s Gary (click on images to enlarge):
This is the first of a series of graphic illustrations covering the unique scoreboards of classic ballparks. The illustrations are done in a minimalist style and depict the complete scoreboard, a notable design feature, or even a related ballpark structure.
Today we know ballpark scoreboards as massive, high definition video displays. A half century or more ago scoreboards were very much different. Most were still manually operated with electronics technology just beginning to find a place in the design and operation. This series strives to recreate the sensation of these virtually forgotten structures through imagery and a few historical facts.
Over coming weekends one or more of these historic ballpark scoreboards will be spotlighted. Baseball fans, particularly of historic ballparks, will easily recall many of these classic scoreboards. Some (like me) may have actually seen them in person. Others will hopefully enjoy a nostalgic look at the past.
This week we start with two great ballparks, the Polo Grounds and Griffith Stadium.
Home of: New York Giants, New York Mets
Last baseball game:October 12, 1963 (a Latin American All-Star Game); Demolished:1964
The towering club house located in center field was built after the 1922 season as part of an extensive renovation. The club house facade was used for advertising beginning in 1948 when the Chesterfield cigarette company acquired broadcast rights to Giants games. By the late fifties Knickerbocker Beer became the Giants sponsor and replaced the Chesterfield ad in center field. It wasn’t until the Mets rejuvenation in 1962 that the club house wall was transformed into a dedicated scoreboard.
This graphic illustration depicts the Polo Grounds 1963 scoreboard on the day of the last Mets game in New York.
A Few Things to Know
• Who was responsible for the design of the Mets’ Polo Ground scoreboard? I wasn’t able to find the answer. It might have been a small firm in Wisconsin (M.H.Spicer’s company later incorporated as All American Scoreboards) that provided Yankee Stadium’s new scoreboard in the late Fifties.
• Rheingold Beer was the official beer of the New York Mets from 1962-1973. The letters “h” and “e” in the huge Rheingold scoreboard advertisement would light up to indicate a hit or error. The Schafer Beer sign at Ebbets Field had a similar feature.
• The flag pole with mast was reportedly used to raise a (colored?) flag to indicate a victory or loss as noted in Ed Burns’ 1937 series on major league parks.
• The Wrecking Corporation of America used a two-ton steel wrecking ball for the Polo Grounds demolition ”” ironically the same one used to bring down Ebbets Field.
Home of: Washington Senators
Last baseball game: September 21, 1961; Demolished: 1965
The graphic depicts the advertisement “scoreboard” located among the left field stands. It featured the notable National Bohemian (Natty Boh) beer advertising mascot “Mr. Boh.” A dedicated game scoreboard, located in the right field section, also utilized a smaller version of Mr. Boh.
I wasn’t able to determine when the Natty Boh “scoreboard” was added to the bleacher section. However this graphic (one of a late forties series sketches by Gene Mack) indicates it must have been constructed sometime in the early fifties.
An extraordinary April 1953 home run by a baseball legend was the motive for me to recreate the Mr. Boh scoreboard.
A Few Things to Know
• Mantle’s legendary “565 ft” home run reportedly grazed the Mr. Boh advertisement near the word “beer.” There still remains controversy about actual distance the ball traveled, but it was the only one to ever clear the left field bleachers.
• After the Mantle home run a baseball was incorporated into the scoreboard layout to commemorate the feat. You’ll also see that on the graphic.
• The mustached Mr. Boh debuted as the brand’s advertising logo in 1936. So why does Mr. Boh have only one eye? In the post-prohibition era, Natty Boh’s primary competitor was Gunther Beer which featured the advertising slogan “Gunther’s Got It” When the question was asked “where’s Mr. Boh’s other eye?” The humorous response was “Gunther’s Got It.”
Next week we’ll revisit two more classic scoreboards: Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium and Connie Mack Stadium during the Phillies era.
Catherine Ryan’s 5 & 1
Every Sunday, Catherine will give us the rundown of her best five and one worst uniform matchups from the College Football games played this week. Since it’s practically impossible to watch every game, you guys can help by sending your thoughts on “good” and “bad” matchups (and hopefully with photos from that game) by e-mailing her at UW5and1@gmail.com.
OK, here’s Catherine with this week’s 5 & 1.
Sunday Saturday, Uni Watchers! Another season is finally here and Phil asked me to start you guys off with my rankings from last week. As always, feel free to shoot me your tips and recommendations at UW5and1@gmail.com. I love feedback and hope to hear from some of you!
I actually surprised myself when I realized I was enjoying what you could have convinced me was an intersquad scrimmage.
I am usually vehemently opposed to white jersey/white pants combos but I think these uniforms are gorgeous.
This is an example of a game that looked 10 times worse if you were watching it live. The overcast Irish weather made the teams practically indistinguishable from certain angles. It was all around just a visually ugly game.
Thanks, Catherine! Well readers, now it’s your turn. How’d she do?
Eskimos & Stamps unveil Signature Unis
The Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders are the final two teams from the CFL to reveal their third, or “signature,” uniforms. Our CFL guru, Mike Styczen, is back to review them. Here’s Mike (click on images to enlarge):
Over the last few weeks I’ve been reviewing the CFL’s new “signature” jerseys as they’ve been revealed. The last two teams have how revealed: the Calgary Stampeders (who wore them on Monday) and the Edmonton Eskimos (who will wear them Saturday).
The Calgary uniform set is a well-documented mess of red and black (not to be confused with the actual REDBLACKS). Their signature helmet is not bad looking: black matte in the front, metallic red in the back, and the usual logo in mirror finish. The uniforms themselves are primarily black, with “Calgary” down the pants and a crossed-pistols logo on the shoulder (similar to their secondary logo). Overall its a messy enough look as it is, made worse by the fact that its so similar to the teams that have already revealed dark monochrome looks (BC, Montreal, Hamilton).
This uniform might be the highlight of the CFL’s signature series. As with Ottawa and Toronto, the team’s double-E logo is on the front of the jersey and looks great. The whole set is rendered in the team’s traditional colours of green and gold and is a bold new look without being too much of a departure. The helmet looks great in green with an enlarged logo. Like Ottawa and Toronto, this is a uniform that I could see entering the regular rotation.
Each week, as we have done on Uni Watch for the past five seasons, we’ll be tracking the uniform combinations of the Oregon Ducks. Back for his third season is Tim E. O’Brien, who’ll show you what the Ducks wore in their last game, and add a few words of wisdom (click image to enlarge)…
Last Saturday Oregon kicked off it’s season just as they did last season: Wearing white at home while blowing out an FBS team in red jerseys in a game that no one saw.
But if you’re one of the dozen of people who get the PAC 12 Network, Oregon looked great. The crisp white helmet and jersey paired nicely with the beautiful shade of green pants (This should be the only shade of green UO wears. #DropOlive). And given South Dakota’s cherry red uniform elements, this was a pretty solid color match-up. The Vilker musta loved it.
It also should be noted that unlike the bowl game uniforms from last year, Oregon’s jerseys had TV numbers on the outside of their shoulders where wings once were. The only other difference from the Alamo Bowl unis was that the pants no longer feature the subtle ‘Oregon’ or ‘Ducks’ that were on them. Addition by subtraction.
As always, it looks to be a long, visually stimulating season in Eugene and I’m happy to say Phil invited me back to help track the Ducks. As always, I’ll be keeping track of Oregon over at the Duck Tracker and on twitter (@DuckTracker). You can also follow my Northwestern (@NUniTracker) and Indiana (@Hoosier_Tracker) trackers as you so choose. Should be a fun season and I’m excited to see it’s underway.
Each Saturday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend.
Here’s Week 3 (click to enlarge):
Reader Oliver Kodner (who you may recall was instrumental in bringing us a great bit of Cardinals uni history), wrote in with a request. Hopefully the Uni Watch faithful can assist (click photo to enlarge):
As apart of our research project I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to trace all leads and cover all tracks, and I’m stumped on a photo allegedly from 1923, and the reason I believe it is indeed from 23 is the number on sleeve.
Here’s the photo:
Would it be possible to get a shout out on uni-watch for anyone who might be able to point us to a different photo of this jersey? We think it’s the same bird used in 1922 which was worn as a patch. But we don’t want to think, we want to know. Thanks guys.
How about it Uni Watchers? Paging Todd Radom and Bruce Menard among others. Anyone?
Design Contest Reminder
In case you missed it, I’m hosting a WFL Design Contest. All the rules and instrux are in the link…
…but if you don’t want to click there it’s pretty basic: If the World Football League hadn’t folded in 1975, and the League were still active today, what would the teams’ uniforms look like in 2014? Click the link for more details.
As of today, we’ve received a good number of submissions from many of you, so this will be the last reminder. Hopefully we’ll start showing off your creations as early as next weekend.
The deadline was extended to September 8, and you can send all your submissions to me: Phil.Hecken@gmail.com.
Should be a fun contest, so if you are a concepter or designer, give it a whirl!
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Interesting NYT article, “The Man Who Spins Pinstripes Into Gold: Brandon Steiner, in Deal With Yankees, Is a Sports Memorabilia Maven” (from TommyTheCPA). Chris Flinn, who also sent that in, adds, “this was interesting: ‘Pre-Steiner, we had two sets of bases for the season, and we’d repaint them and put them back on the field,’ said Scott Krug, the Yankees’ chief financial officer. ‘Now we use at least three sets a game’.” … Check out this gorgeous program (from Todd Radom), who notes the Cubs ripping the Babe’s .000 lifetime series average. … The Reds wore green for Irish Heritage night (h/t Bill Fenbers). Here’s a game shot (h/t Joanna Zwiep). A few more photos here. … Double “P” for Vance Worley of the Pirates, who really unbuttoned his shirt yesterday (nice grab by Bob Gassel). … The Brewers are wearing a memorial patch for Bruce Seid (via Will Dowling).
NFL News: “As the parent of a 6-year-old, I’ve already run across the new NFL/Madden ’15-themed Happy Meal toys a couple of times,” writes Aaron Scher. “Yesterday’s included a Bucs player, but apparently even McD’s couldn’t bring themselves to use the new font.” … NFL face paint is now considered a uniform violation (here’s more) Thanks, Paul. … Barry Cofield and Silas Redd are “Honoring Families” with ‘Jr.’ suffixes on their jerseys. (“JrOB”) … Stuart Ciske noticed that on Thursday night against GB, Byron Maxwell of the Seahawks had loose sleeves, not the tight ones almost everyone else wears. … The Baltimore Ravens kicker, Justin Tucker, is featured on the cover of “Baltimore Style Magazine” (thanks to “murph1019”). … KC RB De’Anthony Thomas has announced he will wear No. 13 for the Chiefs this season (from Will Lombard).
College Football News: The Illinois Fighting Illini will be wearing white-orange-white (same combo as last week) in their game today vs. Western Kentucky. … Mizzou will be sporting black-white-
blackanthracite vs. Toledo today. … Ohio State football has sold goalpost net sponsorship to Safelite Auto Glass (thanks, Paul) Here’s more on that. … Check out these gorgeous striped sleeves for Slippery Rock University in Western PA to commemorate their 125th anniversary (thanks to Chad Fette). … Arkansas will be wearing “traditional” unis vs. Nicholls State. … The Washington Huskies will be going gold-purple-gold (and they have new unis this year, which you can read about here). H/T to Tyson Losness for that. … Georgia Southern will have a patriotic themed endzone for today’s home opener (thanks to Andrew Hartfield). … Texas State has a new look this year. … The striping of the UNC logos is complete (h/t James Gilbert). … Maryland has moved to the B1G and now they have a new turtle remade version of their mascot, Testudo. With a fucking UA logo. He’s also scary. … Cal Football is going blue-blue-gold.
Hockey News: The Florida Panthers (yep, hockey is just around the corner, now) have put out a list of new uni numbers (thanks to Ryan Connelly). … We may have seen these already, but they’re nice. Check out what Maryland hockey is wearing: white jerseys and black jerseys (thanks to Bronson Wagner). … After losing 4 straight to the Kings (and holding a 3-0 lead), the Sharks are dumping the black unis (and switching to teal) for the playoffs.
Soccer News: Soccer club Villareal has an “interesting font,” with a “Crazy 4 and two different 7s for single and double digit numbers.” (from Scott Parsell). … “After a pretty heartbreaking story where the LA Galaxy’s AJ De La Garza had his young baby pass away,” writes Phillip Foose, “the team wore black arm bands with the name Luca on them.” Here’s a vine with the band.
Grab Bag: OK, then. A Notre Dame fan’s yard has been “Transformed into (a) Fighting Irish Football Field,” (submitted by Andrew Rader). … On the high school football level, Albuquerque High is using the Alabama “A” on one side of their helmets (nice spot by Jason Johnson). … Notre Dame has new track & cross-country unis (via Kevin Byrne). … Long Beach Poly High School (and Snoop Dogg’s alma mater) have new unis and helmets (thanks to Cameron Mellor). According to adidas, “Snoop Dogg, the most famous Long Beach Poly High School alum ”“ unveiled custom adidas TECHFIT uniforms and adizero cleats that he has donated to his alma mater. … The head to toe black uniform is a first in Poly’s storied football history and incorporates adidas’ TECHFIT Shockweb technology. Shockweb fits tighter to the body, making players more difficult to tackle. TECHFIT Shockweb is lighter, helping to make the player fast and increasing his range of motion, to support the athlete’s performance at the highest levels,” (via Michael Ehrlich). … Check out this Wisconsin mash up, spotted in Pella, Iowa. Submitter Steve (no last name given) asks, “Where are the Bucks?” … adidas has now fallen behind Under Armour “among sportswear brands in the U.S.” … Brian Jud writes, “I’ve had this Carolina Panthers* novelty jersey for around 20 years or so; it used to be my brother’s, then he handed it down to me. … It’s pretty clearly from when the team was announced, hence the #95 on the front and the back. However, I’ve searched online several times to find where it came from, and I could never find anything. Does anybody know anything about it?” *[I’m pretty sure that’s a Jags jersey, not a Panthers jersey, and that was the prototype logo. THE? You know more? Anyone? — PH] … “I just started an internship with UCLA and this poster was hanging up at the Rose Bowl; love the mascots in vintage sweaters,” writes Jared Buccola. “Also notice the Stanford mascot is still an Indian.” … Centreville High School is using the K-State logo (good spot by Coleman Mullins). … Here’s a good feature on the rackets of various U.S. Open champions since 1968 (thanks, Paul).
Whew! Well, if you made it this far, you’ve done yeoman’s reading/clicking. I promised you on my last weekday post this weekend would be a big one, and it certainly didn’t disappoint in that aspect. Hope it wasn’t too much (tomorrow will be smaller, I promise).
Everyone have a great Saturday and enjoy the college football, golf, tennis, soccer and whatever else is out there where uniforms are worn. Back with the first installment of Sunday Morning Uni Watch tomorrow. Big thanks to EVERYONE (TJ, Gary, Tim, Catherine, Mike, Oliver, Alex, etc.) for today’s post. And of course, the ticker submitters, the guys and gals who tweet at me, and all you fine readers — couldn’t do it without ya! Catch you all tomorrow.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“It’s probably a fair assumption that speaking to your partner at exhaustive length and with a zealot’s conviction about baseball stirrups, minor league hockey logos, or the probable placement of ads on NBA uniforms pretty much eliminates any opportunity you might have to try out sex techniques, great or otherwise.”
— Cort McMurray