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Reality Bites (Or: “Gudbranson, you taste so good”)

It is a strange and wondrous world we live in, my friends. A world where you can think to yourself, “You know what I’d really like to see right now? I’d like to see an NHL player bite an opposing player’s jersey for no particular reason. In fact, I’d like to see it over and over again on an endless loop.” Even better, it’s a world where you can think such a thing and then it actually happens! Is that a great fucking world or what?

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an athlete bite a jersey. It also isn’t the first time we’ve seen an athlete bite an opponent. But it might be the first time we’ve seen an athlete bite an opponent’s jersey. Or hey, maybe it’s not. Anyone..?

For all of these athletes inclined toward uniforma dentata, I have a suggestion: There’s a baseball team in Australia that’s right up your alley. Maybe you should sign on with them.

(Big thanks to Phil for bringing last night’s jersey bite to my attention.)

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column is about the growing trend of basketball players rolling up the waistbands of their shorts. Check it out here.

The column has prompted a lot of emails, many of them from high school coaches who say their kids are band-rolling too, which suggests that this trend may get a lot bigger as those kids enter the college ranks. Duke Barrier, who coaches at a high school in Houston, said, “I haven’t thought to ask them why [they do it], but I have noticed it. I just assumed swag or length, and knew I wouldn’t understand their explanation anyway.”

But reader Ryan Timmerman mentioned something I should have remembered, which is that band-rolling briefly became popular in the NBA about nine years ago, when the league decreed that shorts had to be at least one inch above the knee. Many players’ shorts were too long to meet that standard, so they began band-rolling to make them shorter. This article from December of 2005 includes the following quote from Pistons then-president Joe Dumars: “That’s why I’ve got some players rolling up their waistbands, to make themselves legal. We were just warned about it. But I don’t think it looks very good when guys are playing with their waistbands turned inside-out.” Today’s young players apparently feel differently.

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“You’re humble and loveable”: Big ups to Uni Watch intern Garrett McGrath, who’s written an excellent article about New York City’s shoe-shine workforce. Check it out here.

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Raffle reminder: The annual Uni Watch year-end raffle is now underway. Get the full scoop here.

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’Skins Watch: Native American groups are planning a protest at FedEx Field prior to the season-ending ’Skins/Cowboys game (thanks, Phil). ”¦ The BBC has done 27-minute podcast on the ’Skins name controversy. To access it, go here and scroll down to the Dec. 11 entry (from Brick Barrientos). ”¦ An Oklahoma City school board member has provided more details about why the board recently chose to ban “Redskins” as a team name (from Yusuke Toyoda). … The FCC has rejected a motion to ban the use of the ’Skins name on the public broadcast airwaves (thanks, Phil).

Baseball News: Here’s a good piece about how the number on the jersey that you pose with at your introductory presser isn’t necessarily the number you actually end up wearing (thanks, Phil). … I mentioned in Monday’s Ticker that Sy Berger, the father of the modern baseball card, had passed away. Now longtime Uni Watch pal Tyler Kepner has written a really nice salute to Berger — recommended reading. ”¦ Check it out: AT&T Park made out of gingerbread (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ With the USA-Cuba news this week, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle ran this story about how the Rochester Red Wings used to play in Cuba, before the embargo. One year they were playing late on the night of July 25. As the clock passed midnight, the date became July 26 — the anniversary of the start of the Cuban revolution. There were celebratory rockets and gunfire and, according to the article, “One stray bullet struck Red Wing infielder Frank Verdi in the head while he was warming up between innings. Fortunately for him, he was wearing a plastic helmet liner inside of his cap, otherwise he might have been killed” (big thanks to Tyler Maun).

NFL News: The Jags helmet is so awful that WR Allen Hurns’s logo decal was trying to escape last night (screen shot by Matthew Solly). … By now you probably know that Microsoft Surface Pro tablets are used on NFL sidelines. But did you know that Microsoft actually redesigned the product for NFL use? It’s true (thanks, Brinke). … The Nationwide commercial where Peyton Manning eats the chicken parmigiana hero has spawned a T-shirt and slider giveaway. … Speaking of Manning, I was listening to a sports call-in show the other day and someone had the following query: “How come Manning does all these ads but you never see Tom Brady in a commercial?” It’s a good question — any takers? Sorry, answers that include the word “Gisele” are not eligible.

College Football News: Virginia Tech is adding captaincy designations for its bowl game (from Andrew Cosentino). … Here are the bowl game jerseys, complete with patches, for Nebraska, Florida State, Mississippi State, Rice, and Cincinnati, the latter of which will also be wearing lots of military helmet decals (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: Orange uniforms in the works for Syracuse. ”¦ When Baylor and Michigan State face off for their New Year’s Day bowl game, it will mark only the second time the two teams have ever met. The sole previous time was in 1968, and I think it’s a safe bet that the program cover for their upcoming game won’t be anywhere near as good as the one from that 1968 tilt (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: The ECHL’s Quad City Mallards recently conducted a fan jersey design contest, and have now announced the winner — who, it turns out, is from Australia (thanks, Phil). … The Penguins wore their throwbacks last night. … The Canadiens honored Saku Koivu prior to last night’s game and presented him with a painting of career highlights>

NBA News: At least one observer thinks the NBA needs to stop already with the Xmas Day jerseys. … The D-League’s Austin Spurs are adding the Central Texas Pain Center’s logo to their jerseys. … Man, sure didn’t take long for Rajon Rondo jerseys to show up for sale in Dallas (although Darren Rovell says something is fishy there). ”¦ Harrison Barnes of the Warriors has updated his mask.

College and High School Hoops News: New shoes for Maryland. … Glennbrook North High School in Illinois is retiring two basketball players’ numbers. … Throwbacks last night for Duke.

Soccer News: “Kolo Toure, who is sponsored by Warrior (also the kit manufacture for Liverpool), wore New Balance boots/cleats during Wednesday’s match vs. Bournemouth,” says Nile Smith. “New Balance, the parent company of Warrior, is stopping all soccer-related activity for Warrior. So it looks like Kolo is making the switch to New Balance early. Liverpool’s new kits will be New Balance next year.” ”¦ Chelsea’s new uni set has leaked. … These last three are all from Yusuke Toyoda: The Guardian has launched a cool new feature that shows then-and-now photos of soccer stadiums. First up: Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. ”¦ Germany and Britain’s army played a soccer match to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce. Germany played in the traditional white and black, but there’s no British national team so they wore red and white. ”¦ You know those kids at soccer matches who walk out with players wearing the team’s uniform? That experience can cost almost $1000 at Premier League matches.

Grab Bag: New uniforms for the Seattle police. … New logo for Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Michigan. ”¦ Some high-end fashion designers have re-imagined Santa’s wardrobe (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ NASA has a style guide — and it allows Comic Sans! (From Jeremy Baker.) ”¦ In a vaguely related item, check out these fascinating patch designs from U.S. spy satellite launches (from Tom Shieber). ”¦ Aussie football item: The goal squares at Football Park for the 1980 SANFL Grand Final between Norwood and PortAdelaide were painted in a Union Jack pattern (from Graham Clayton).

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What Paul did last night: Back on Labor Day, I held a party in my backyard. As often happens at such affairs, there was too much food, and one of the “too much” items this time around was a two-pound top sirloin steak that never made it onto the grill. So I wrapped it up and put it in the freezer.

Over the ensuing three months, I’d see the steak every time I poked around in the freezer, and each time I’d think, “Mmmm, that’s gonna be really good whenever I get around to making it.” I didn’t give much thought as to when that would be — there was no rush. But it was nice to know that I had a really nice hunk of beef tucked away in the deep freeze.

Two nights ago, flush with the spirit of the holiday season (read: feeling a serious meat craving), I decided that the time had come, so I took the steak out of the freezer and began thawing it. Last night I seasoned it with a lot of salt and pepper, cooked it with some salted butter in a cast iron skillet (first over moderate heat on the stove and then in a 350 º oven to finish it off), and sliced it up. As you can see here, it came out Just Right (click to enlarge):

photo 3

I’m happy to report that it tasted as good as it looked. Plenty left over for tonight, too.

It was tempting to spend the rest of the night sitting there on the sofa with one hand down my pants like Al Bundy, content in my own full-bellied steakification. But instead I went out and saw this really great film about the 1992 Ruby Ridge siege by journalist/filmmaker Jon Ronson, who was on hand for a post-screening Q&A session. I’ve been a big fan of Ronson’s work for some time (he wrote The Men Who Stare at Goats, which was the basis for the Geoge Clooney film of the same name, and has done lots of really good stories for This American Life) but had never met him before, so it was a privilege to say hi and shake his hand. Really nice, humble fellow, as it turns out. It’s so nice when your heroes live up to your hopes of what they’ll be like.

Comments (76)

    but there’s no British national team

    Not entirely true. Britain had a soccer team at the last Olympics which wore these rather nifty numbers: link

    Certainly would have been preferable to what that British army team wore anyway.

    True, though if you really want to be pedantic about it, that was an England/Wales team, since Scottish players were kept out of consideration.

    Ah, Wales. One of the best national federation crests in FIFA:


    Which we will likely never, ever see in the World Cup, alas.

    Poor Northern Ireland once again getting forgotten about, which is a shame seeing as they’re probably the form team out of the home nations right now. And while we’re being pedantic, Scottish players featured on the women’s team.

    It’s all rather beside the point though anyway. All I was saying was that such a thing as a British soccer jersey does exist.

    Well, Northern Ireland isn’t part of Britain.

    But yes, your point is well taken. And the red top/white shorts is England’s away kit, almost iconic because of England’s 1966 World Cup Final win vs Germany.

    Actually, Northern Ireland is British. The people are British, as they are part of the United Kingdom, and the island itself is one of the British Isles.

    Northern Ireland just isn’t part of Great Britain. But “Britain” itself refers as much to the UK as to the island.

    Well yes, geographically it isn’t part of Great Britain but try telling that to the great branding minds behind Team GBâ„¢

    Mashing up two of your items, the Gerald R. Ford Airport slogan “Getting there is better here” could also be set to the Nationwide jingle”s tune. Paging Peyton Manning…

    When will NBA and NCAA, if it happens at NCAA level, officials ban the wait and rolling? When will the uni manufacturers figure out they can logo the bands brighter, bigger and upside down to make them more readable to get more free ad space on a uni? My thought is league management will lay the law down first. Tell players if you want shorter shorts have them hemmed properly or request them from uni provider. In college, if waistband rolling happens, you know the heavy handed NCAA will smackdown the players with a rule.

    I’m interested in how it will affect NCAA teams in the postseason. NCAA has pretty strict uniform guidelines on the amount/size of “logo” can be shown from uniform providers. This typically goes into play during postseason play (especially national tournaments).

    Brady does quite a bit, actually.

    He does link and link and link and link.

    The categories he promotes are different from the ones Manning does, and that could be why the the radio call-in guy never sees him in ads?

    Brady does a lot of print ads, which is perhaps influenced by those product categories. I don’t know if he does any television.

    Whereas Manning chooses the higher-profile national television campaigns.

    On A Football Life last night they showed a TV Guide cover of Smith and McCardell wearing what appears to be a prototype Jags jersey with a number style that was never worn. This photo was taken right before they switched to the curved number font, so it makes sense that they would have prototypes around. Have you seen it before?


    My guess? Readability issues. Jags expansion-year uniforms were the bomb, they should have kept them. I can’t believe how many teams that axiom applies to.

    What are you people suggesting — that it was too rare? Not even close. If anything, it was a smidge more done than I would have liked.

    Hey, if you don’t actually like the taste of meat, that’s your business. But don’t knock those of us who enjoy it.

    I am disdainful to the point of contempt of those who prefer overcooked steak. Largely because I have grown tired of how often they loudly gasp and wail at the sight of the rare steak I have ordered or cooked for myself. It’s one thing to subject yourself to your own lousy tastes. It’s something else entirely when you force me to deal with your boorishness.

    Is it my monitor, or is that steak red and green for Christmas?

    I like my steak and burgers rare, too. Too bad you can’t get a rare burger in a restaurant anymore.

    I was thinking this was heading toward frozen blow torch steak which I only made once for myself but was pretty good. Never tried it again because my wife likes hers more done than I do and I’m afraid, even though I’d start hers earlier, I’d be eating mine and hers would still be cooking.

    Paul’s steak looks perfect to me. My in-laws routinely order steaks well-done in restaurants, and I cringe each time. One of these days, the waiter is going to ask them to leave. I’ve never understood those that order a steak, but prefer eating shoe leather. Also, “knock its horns off and wipe its ass” may be the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while. Classic.

    As much as I respect people who like their steaks medium-well (and it’s hard to beat visually) and would never, ever, ever ever order well done, I always ask for medium. I think seasoning works the meat responds to seasoning the best when it’s a little more cooked. But YMMV.

    Now, if I wanted my beef on the rare side, I go all out and go tartare.

    Long time ago, had a buddy who liked his steaks, shall we say…WELL done?

    He’d say to the waiter/waitress something along these lines…”Tell the chef I want it to look like a hockey puck. And then tell him to cook it another 10 minutes.”

    I don’t fancy my steaks quite as rare as Paul, but the hockey puck guy was ridiculous.

    In the early 1990s I went to the 1838 Rendezvous in Riverton, Wyoming (it has a website & everything!), and a muzzleloading buddy of his who was purchasing manager for the largest cattle ranch in Montana invited us for grilled steaks. When we arrived the guy said “perfect timing, I’m just about to flip the steaks!” Which induced a Pavlovian response in me.

    A good 20-25 minutes later he took them off the grill, and it took me damn near an hour to finish the damn thing (as I was being hospitable). My father-in-law hadn’t bothered to explain to me that a lot of folks who work their whole lives around beef wouldn’t dream of eating a steak that was anything less than medium-well done, and begrudgingly at that.

    To which all I could think was, why bother eating it at all?

    The Jacksonville Suns also once played in Cuba, sort of. The legendary Havana Sugar Kings moved to Jersey City after the revolution, folded after two years, and was purchased by the Indians and revived in Jacksonville.

    I know it will take a long time for normalization and Cuba’s economic development to lead to a big-league team in Havana, but I sure hope a minor-league team winds up in Cuba sooner than later.

    Of all the sport unis I would want to bite, while in play, a hockey sweater would be at the bottom of the list. Being around hockey as much as I have been, I know how saturated those things can get. Anyone who has ever been in a hockey locker room knows how bad the smell of hockey equipment/unis can get. I imagine basketball would be bad too. Football would be tough, seeing as you have the whole facemask situation to deal with. Now biting a baseball uni I can get behind. They have undershirts. They aren’t running around all that much, but on a humid summer’s night, i bet things can get pretty swampy. In conclusion, I don’t think I would ever condone biting the clothes of sweaty men.

    As an aside, the irony would be fantastic if it was a Sharks player that did the biting.

    Also, good for Giroux. He is getting better at violating people’s personal space. Going from ass grabbing to biting.

    Think the only time I rolled up a waistband was when I forgot my belt on a pair of pants that were a bit too big in the hope getting a bit snugger fit around the waist and elsewhere.

    Certainly wasn’t to sneak one by on the regulators (skirts – girls school uniforms) or adhere to regulations (NBA legalities mentioned today); definitely wasn’t to look “cool”.

    not sure if this had been posted here yet, but it is pretty friggin good. About a graphic designer. There are a couple and a TED talk.

    Rolling up the pants waste has been a girls sports thing for years, at least in my neck of the woods. The girls would get the unisex outfits complete with baggy long shorts. I’ve seen the girls soccer teams rolling up the waste for years. It started years ago in about 7th grade. The kids who played basketball did the same. Now they do the same on their high school teams.

    Maybe the pros are about four years late catching onto a middle school girls trend that started years ago.

    Is it just me that finds it weird that Saku Koivu didn’t have the “4” Jean Beliveau patch on his jersey? Any other instances where this has or hasn’t happened?

    Why is that weird? Koivu was wearing a sweater representative of his time as a player. The active players are the ones who are honoring Beliveau by wearing the patches on their current game-day uniforms. It would have seemed a little odd to me if Koivu had worn the patch, since he’s retired and all.

    “New uniforms for the Seattle police”

    Oh, great. Another police department moving to tactical navy. Just what our country needs.

    Although it’s interesting to see how much navy with green has become the city’s unofficial color scheme. And I like the design of the link.

    “And I like the design of the new patch.”

    I hope the Seattle Police Department has a soccer team, because that crest would look great on their jerseys.

    Kolo Toure wore the New Balance boots on Sunday against Manchester United before this week’s match against Bournemouth.


    But he’s not the only one wearing New Balance. Aaron Ramsey, Samir Nasri and Fellini all wear NB


    Warrior is the uniform and cleat outfitter for MLL, Major League lacrosse which is run by Jake Steinfeld of Body by Jake fame.

    Blasphemy, I know…but Warrior/New Balance make the most comfortable cleats on the market…

    Their line of lacrosse equipment is top notch although I am an STX/Nike guy, go figure!

    Too bad their (Warrior/NB) design is trash. Glad to see Warrior out of the soccer biz. I will probably be looking forward to NB getting out in the near future too…

    The link is less than encouraging.

    Last year’s Liverpool and link kits were pretty good, I thought. I’m pretty meh about both this year.

    Any tablet that would be needed for the NFL would have to be reconfigured to deal with extreme temperatures, secret viewing, and the ability of any NFL player to crush the hell out of it accidentally.

    That said, I have a tablet PC (not a Surface – but the Surface Pro 3 is on my wish list for the next one I get) and I love it – use it for work all the time, love writing notes in meetings with clients in Word with the pen. (Samsung doesn’t even make the model I have anymore.)

    Raptors 2016 logo is out as part of the re-brand.

    I really hope they switch the colors from black and white to black and red because it’s way too similar to the Nets logo for my liking. Otherwise I like it.



    Apparently this is the version they are going with according to Marc Woiznski from TSN.

    Red, Black and Grey. This was originally up on the Raptors FB page and removed.

    The one in the link above is black and white to match the WE THE NORTH look apparently.

    Tonight on a local Toronto radio station (the Bob McCown show) they were joking about how the Raptors were painfully referring to it as a “shield”, as opposed to a logo. They also speculated the Raptors would have gone for a complete rebrand if not for their new found success, which has this city buzzing. (I agree with that)

    Drake last year was shown in a Raptors shirt that was black and vegas gold, as he is helping the team on this, I thought (and still think it’s possible) that forshadows that the color change will be. It would be a way to differentiate from Brooklyn.

    I attend a lot of junior college basketball games. This year I’ve seen at least a third of each team rolling the waistband. The most glaring thing that stands out is the tag on the back waving in the breeze. It looks like the shorts at this level are more baggier than in major college and the pros. I know these cash strapped schools go years without purchasing new uniforms so if the style is to not be as baggy as they were 6-8 years ago this may be the cause for the band rolling. Of course when one does it there is usually a few copycats out there that have to do it too causing a trend. Another possible cause for the epidemic.

    Another thing at the junior college level that is irksome is the lack of standard socks. Many players wear different colors that completely clash with the uniform colors. Shoes too are all different in brand and color. It is obvious that those items are not school issue and the players have to supply their own and make both socks and shoes a statement of individualism. I know it didn’t used to be that way as most teams all wore the same shoes. Kangaroos were one brand that was popular for many junior college basketball programs back in the 1980’s when all the players wore the same ones. But they are all over the place now.

    Low tops are way more popular now too. And with that I’ve seen more turned ankles this year than I’ve ever seen in one season.

    Great link to the spy satellite patches. Would love to know if they truly convey info about the mission or are just jerking us around. I figure the latter.

    Ugh, Mississippi State wearing white means Tech will be forced to wear a colored jersey. First time since 2012 Sun Bowl (which requires home team to wear dark), and only the 8th time under Paul Johnson.

    I think we all agree the Jags need to go with one helmet color, my question is what color should it be? The matte black looks great (and the decal really pops off it) but when I see pics of the players from behind the gold looks good too.

    I go back and forth on what color it should be. Anyone else have this internal debate?

    Mr. King:

    I also thought there should be some sort of vote for black or gold for the Jaguars’ helmets. Im partial to gold, but wouldnt mind if they went one solid color helmet on the road and the other for home games.

    With regard to the Seattle PD story, I wonder how long Columbus OH and Cincinnati P.D. can hold on to the “sailor” look – white tradtional hats and white shirts.

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