Getting the Year Off to a Uni-Centric Start

Yesterday I showed a photo of Caps defenseman Karl Alzner practicing in sunglasses. He followed up on that in yesterday’s Winter Classic by becoming the first NHL player in memory — or maybe ever? — to wear shades in a game. Interesting that he went with the specs instead of a tinted visor (makes it easier to switch back and forth if the conditions change, I guess), and also interesting that the NHL allowed this. As you may recall from several years ago, the NBA has taken a different stance on tinted eyewear.

Other notes from the Winter Classic:

• While Alzner wore sunglasses, most folks on the ice opted for eye black. That included zebras and goalies.

• Sunglasses and eye black notwithstanding, at least one player — Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson — thought the sun-glare conditions were “dangerous.”

• Caps goaltender Braden Holtby went with the retro-style brown gear, albeit with some modern trim. His Chicago counterpart, Corey Crawford, didn’t even bother trying.

• Looks like Blackhawks backup goalie Antti Raanta had some bare skin just above his skates, sort of like a speed skater. Is that a standard thing with him? Love how his pads mimic the team’s sock striping.

• A Caps fan expanded the ugly sweater concept into an ugly suit.

• Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo works for a DC-based team but grew up rooting for the Blackhawks, so he risked the ire of local fans by showing up in a Blackhawks jersey.

• No. 42 can’t be worn at Nats Park under normal circumstances, because it’s been retired for Jackie Robinson. But it was worn yesterday, by Joel Ward of the Caps. No photo, sorry.

• There was a pee-wee game on one of the auxiliary rinks, featuring kids wearing Caps and ’Hawks jerseys.

(My thanks to all contributors, including John Childers, Mark Coale, David Epstein, and of course Phil.)

• • • • •

Crazy scene in Pasadena on Wednesday, as a dust devil (not a tornado, as the video’s title inaccurately states) popped up outside the Rose Bowl and wreaked havoc with the FanFest area. Four people were reportedly injured. Further details here.

As for on-field action, here’s a roundup of uni-related notes from yesterday’s bowl games:

• Starting with the Oregon/Florida State game, an Oregon player had some helmet decal problems. Ditto for an FSU player. And another FSU player!

• Interestingly, one Oregon player had a “Riddell” nose bumper, while the rest had the duck head. I’m told it has something to do with that one guy wearing a Revolution 360, which for some reason has a bumper that’s harder to modify.

• Florida State linebacker DeMarcus Walker, who normally wears No. 44, had his jersey badly torn in the first half, so he switched to an NNOB No. 46 jersey for the second half.

• Two Oregon fans got married while wearing Oregon jerseys prior to the game.

• At the Ohio State/Alabama game, Ohio State sideline personnel wore a “53” patch for Kosta Karageorge.

• Several readers asked me how OSU quarterback Cardale Jones could have so many merit decals after having had so little playing time this season. Anyone..?

• Two inconsistencies in how the four playoff teams wore the CFP logo decal: Only Alabama’s was off-center, and only FSU’s was white.

• The first down markers in the Minnesota/Missouri game carried the logo of the game’s corporate sponsor. Douchebags

• In the Auburn/Wisconsin game, Auburn’s Chad Slade a crazy-looking base layer. It’s apparently this.

Auburn also added a “31” memorial decal for fallen teammate Jakell Mitchell.

• At that same game, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s sweater vest had the bowl’s logo on the back but Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez’s vest did not.

• Also from that game: The alumni tailgating tents were numbered with famous alumni jersey signs — Madison native Pat Richter for Wisconsin and Chet Bulge for Auburn. A nice touch.

• And at the Baylor/Michigan State game, Baylor alum Robert Griffin III was on the Bears’ sideline yesterday, creating a corporate mismatch between the team’s Nike gear and Griffin’s Adidas gear.

(My thanks to all contributors, including Luke Beauchaine, Chris Brueckner, Douglas Ford, Mark Heggen, Jerry Kulig, Chad Lehman, Gene Sanny, Dustin Semore, and of course Phil.)

• • • • •

peach

Membership update: We often see a bump in membership enrollments in early January, because people make New Year’s resolutions to finally sign up already. Come on, you know you’ve been meaning to do it — just sign up so you can get your own custom-designed membership card (like Jeremy Peach’s Nashville Predators-themed card, shown at right).

As always, you can sign up here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

• • • • •

’Skins Watch: A bill that’s been introduced in the California State Assembly would force the state’s four remaining high schools that call their teams the Redskins to phase out that name by 2017 (from Matt Larsen). … According to dictionary.com, “redskin” was one of the “trending words” of the past year (thanks, Phil).

Baseball News: An early concept rendering of Dodger Stadium showed the exterior covered in confetti, much like what was eventually used for Shea Stadium (from Shannon Shark). ”¦ The “s” in the Mets’ script has varied a lot over the years. ”¦ Oooh, look at the extreme vertical arching on this old jersey — sweet. ”¦ Oh baby, dig this sensational label design! It’s from this vintage jersey.

College and High School Football News: MLB OF Shane Victorino is an Oregon Ducks fan (from Jonathan Daniel). ”¦ Tennessee will be wearing a new decal today commemorating the Vols’ 50th bowl appearance. Given that practically any non-awful team can qualify for a bowl game these days, that not much of an accomplishment. ”¦ Some T-shirts for Florida’s bowl game showed the Gators facing the wrong opponent (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Colorado high schools are upgrading their football helmets. … TCU is outfitted by Nike, so people freaked out on Twitter during the school’s bowl game when someone on the Horned Frogs’ sideline was spotted wearing an Adidas cap. … Tuesday night’s Stanford/Maryland bowl game had an NFL-branded first down marker (from Raymie Humbert). ”¦ Pitt is going with a paw print-plastered helmet for today’s bowl game. ”¦ Phantom Jersey: If Alabama had won yesterday, Oregon would have been the road team for the CFB title game and would supposedly have worn this jersey.

Hockey News: Reprinted from Wednesday’s comments: Here’s a jersey paying tribute to great No. 7s in Blues history — Berenson, Unger, Mullen, and Tkachuk. … The Stars have new green-accented boards. I like! (From Steve Wojtowicz.) … Star Wars jerseys on tap tomorrow for the Topeka RoadRunners and Wenatchee Wildcats (from @hachmeister137). ”¦ Autism-awareness jerseys tomorrow night for RPI (from Adam Northernscold). ”¦ UM-Dearborn will have new retro uniforms for tomorrow’s outdoor game against Oakland (thanks, Phil).

College Hoops News: A couple in the front row at Wednesday’s Temple/UConn game had some seriously loud sweaters (from Brian Jud). ”¦ Creighton debuted a new set of blue uniforms two nights ago (thanks, Phil). … Memphis F Calvin Godfrey, who’s from Milwaukee, has a Brewers ball-in-glove logo tattoo (big thanks to @ptakers). … Penn’s jerseys don’t have Nike logo creep. But during Tuesday night’s game against LaSalle, the LaSalle equipment manager noticed that one Penn player did have the logo creep. Can’t sneak anything past an equipment guy!

Soccer News: Adidas people and Puma people are trying to get along and focus on their common enemy, Nike (from Kyle Hanks). ”¦ New 20th-anniversary patch for the Japanese team Vissel Kobe. “It’s not clear where it will be worn, since big embroidered patches are rarely used on soccer shirts,” says Thomas Fiers. “But since the owner, the Crimson Group, also owns the baseball team Rakuten Eagles, maybe they’ll go the baseball route and put the patch on the shirts.” … New score bug for NBCSN’s EPL coverage(from Tanner Welch).

Grab Bag: Here’s an artist who documents past corporate logos and even takes a stab at what they might look like in the future (from Jeremy Baker). ”¦ Oh baby, look at this awesome speed skating outfit from the early 1900s (big thanks to Will Scheibler). ”¦ If you’ve been dying to vote on which school in the D3 Central Connecticut Conference has the coolest logo, here’s your chance. ”¦ Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who passed away yesterday, played baseball in high school, college, and the Pirates’ minor league system. A very decent man — RIP.

43 comments to Getting the Year Off to a Uni-Centric Start

  • JD Hunter | January 2, 2015 at 8:11 am |

    Auburn’s coach is Gus Mahlzan.

    • Paul Lukas | January 2, 2015 at 8:26 am |

      Fixed.

  • Gordon | January 2, 2015 at 8:13 am |

    Mario Cuomo high school photo link FORBIDDEN!

  • David A. | January 2, 2015 at 8:51 am |

    Buckeye leaf rules (Not sure this is legit, but why not…) http://buckeyefansonly.com/buckeyeleafcriteria.html Basically, Jones would get merit decals for the offensive unit’s performance.

    • The Jeff | January 2, 2015 at 9:09 am |

      When a player can sit on the bench for an entire season and still “earn” half a helmet full of merit stickers, the stickers are effectively meaningless. The team might as well just pass out a sticker sheet to each player and let them customize their helmets at the beginning of the season. At least then we’d get to see if any players do anything creative with them.

      • Paul Lukas | January 2, 2015 at 9:17 am |

        There seems to be this misconception that Jones “sat on the bench” all season, or that he only played in one game, or in only two games.

        In fact, he played in quite a few games this year:
        http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/534294/cardale-jones

        Now, it’s true that he didn’t play *extensively* in most of those games. And I agree that OSU’s merit decal system appears to be pretty silly. But if you’re going to critique something, at least base your critique on an accurate premise.

        • The Jeff | January 2, 2015 at 9:29 am |

          I really don’t see much of a difference. Prior to him taking over in the BigTen championship game, he had attempted a total of 17 passes across 7 games. He was in 3 games where he didn’t even attempt a pass, and was only used as running back (qb option, wildcat, call it what you want). There’s no way that should translate into an entire helmet full of merit decals.

        • Paul Lukas | January 2, 2015 at 9:32 am |

          Why does being a running back not count? Maybe he earned a decal for a good run.

          Again, not quibbling with the larger point you’re making. But your point would be stronger if you based it on an accurate premise instead of the overreaching hyperbole of “sat on the bench all season.”

    • Komet17 | January 2, 2015 at 10:02 am |

      Wow, I had not idea the rules for awarding Buckeye leaves (http://buckeyefansonly.com/buckeyeleafcriteria.html) were so extensive and intricate.

      Almost seems like they’d need a full-time staff person just to calculate and keep track of the awards.

      I wonder if the players get some kind of certificate (or something) at the end of the season that commemorates the total number of stickers they’ve been awarded…they don’t get to keep their helmets, do they?

      • scottrj | January 2, 2015 at 10:21 am |

        If that chart’s correct, talk about your grade inflation: going into yesterday’s game even a player who never set foot on the field would’ve “earned” 25 helmet decals based on just the first 3 criteria alone (for 12 wins, 8 conference wins, and 5 turnover battle wins – which itself is kinda remarkable, that there were only 5 games where OSU turned the ball over fewer times than its opponent).

        Quite a change from the day when, you know, merit was involved.
        http://buckeyextra.dispatch.com/content/graphics/2013/11/1130-michigan/history-mich-700.jpg

    • Bud | January 2, 2015 at 10:21 am |

      I was under the impression that the rules for which you can earn Buckeye leaves is different from head coach to head coach. Urban has been pretty secretive about his rules vs previous coaches, but under Tressel you could earn a sticker with good grades, doing certain things well in practice, being first in your position group to team meetings, things like that.

      Based on my initial introduction to the existence of Cardale Jones (his now-famous tweet about not going to OSU to play SCHOOL), it seems unlikely that he’s getting good enough grades to earn stickers, but maybe he’s earned a few in the other situations above.

      • Tony C. | January 2, 2015 at 10:58 am |

        just because a kid bitches about taking test doesn’t mean he doesn’t do well on said test

      • Jim Y. | January 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm |

        but under Tressel you could earn a sticker with good grades, doing certain things well in practice, being first in your position group to team meetings, things like that.

        I vaguely seem to remember something to do with wearing a sweater vest to team meetings or something similar.

    • Chris Cruz | January 2, 2015 at 2:59 pm |

      I would guess that a lot of teams have offer stickers for team success, unit success, etc. Even lowly folks like me who played special teams and occasional snaps on defense received stickers for wins and the like. I thought the whole idea of merit decals was ridiculous but a team like THE Ohio State is never going to give those up.

  • DJ | January 2, 2015 at 9:00 am |

    NBC is using that style of bug for hockey, as well.

  • Seth H | January 2, 2015 at 9:21 am |

    Re: Raanta showing skin: Wearing no socks is becoming more common for goalies. Paul Stewart mentioned it in the article you linked to earlier this week. He said that goalies were putting themselves in danger of more serious cuts by doing this.

    And if you have been watching “Road to the Winter Classic” on Epix, there was a very clear shot of goalie Scott Darling putting on his skates barefoot in week 2.

  • Bruce Menard | January 2, 2015 at 9:28 am |

    Whoa, look at that speed skating outfit! Love that Stone Creek Brick jersey too…

  • Toddro | January 2, 2015 at 9:29 am |

    The Chick-fil-A cow running around during that dust devil made my morning

    • Andrew B. | January 4, 2015 at 11:50 am |

      Agreed. Too early to tell, but it may have made my year.

  • Gusto4044 | January 2, 2015 at 9:40 am |

    I don’t know if Pitt is going with a paw plastered helmet for today’s game, that helmet belongs to James Connor, one of the nations best RBs. One would figure his helmet would have plenty of those merit stickers.

  • Vee63 | January 2, 2015 at 10:16 am |

    Is there a term for when numbers like those on the UM-Dearborn retro uni are sewn on with all of the extra zig zag stitching in the middle? If not, can someone invent one?

    • Paul Lukas | January 2, 2015 at 11:04 am |

      I think of them as quilted, although I don’t think they meet the strict definition of that term.

      • Vee63 | January 2, 2015 at 9:25 pm |

        As a side note I once handled an authentic Mighty Ducks jersey (the original purple and teal with the duck mask logo) and was pleased to notice the mask part of the logo was quilted with a batting material inside to give it a slightly 3D effect. It was puffy to the touch.

  • Thomas J | January 2, 2015 at 10:35 am |

    Did anyone else notice that the Alabama/Ohio State had multiple players wearing their jerseys rolled up to bare their midrif?

    http://espn.go.com/ncf/photos?gameId=400610178&photoId=4407507

    http://espn.go.com/ncf/photos?gameId=400610178&photoId=4407477

    I remember this from the tear-away era but this is the first time I’ve seen it recently.
    http://media.247sports.com/Uploads/Gallery/117615/7_117621.jpg

    • Tony C. | January 2, 2015 at 11:00 am |

      Elliot (OSU #15) has been doing that all year long. he said he’s been doing as a throw back to the 90s and players like Eddie George

    • Seth | January 2, 2015 at 7:29 pm |

      That was driving me nuts the entire game. Not a good look.

  • Rob S | January 2, 2015 at 10:51 am |

    The top of the dasher boards at AAC have been green going back to at least post-2005 (I haven’t been able to confirm anything earlier); they were just the darker green the Stars used from 1994 to 2013. It seems they recently made the update to the modern “victory green”.

    The brighter green, of course, reminds me of the days of the Met Center, which retained the bright green tops even after the team’s transition to black-based jerseys prior to their move.

    Oddly enough, though, the dasher tops at Reunion Arena appear to have been white, even after shifting to the big-star jerseys.

  • Mike | January 2, 2015 at 11:35 am |

    FSU alum and current Carolina Panther Kelvin Benjamin lost a bet with a teammate, and so was forced to wear a Ducks jersey, but if you look closer at the photo you’ll notice that fellow receiver Corey Brown’s locker nameplate uses his nickname (Philly) rather than his given name, and he’s also listed as such on the team’s website. There isn’t another Corey Brown on their roster, so this is kind of interesting to see.

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24931089/look-kelvin-benjamin-wears-oregon-jersey-after-losing-cfb-playoff-bet

  • Connie DC | January 2, 2015 at 11:59 am |

    “… A Caps fan expanded the ugly sweater concept into an ugly suit… ”

    Wonderful. Ditto Strong Creek baseball jersey.

  • Thomas J | January 2, 2015 at 12:20 pm |

    Is there any reason the National Championship game should not be color vs color?

    • Paul Lukas | January 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm |

      No more (or less) reason than for any other game.

    • The Jeff | January 2, 2015 at 12:40 pm |

      It absolutely should be color vs color (but, sadly it probably won’t be). Oregon in yellow/green/yellow vs the Buckeyes in silver/red/silver would be glorious. Nike gave the Bucks special red jerseys despite them being the 4th seed… so… yeah, they really should wear them.

    • Jim Y. | January 2, 2015 at 3:16 pm |

      It’s so all those still with B&W sets can tell who’s who… Although all those still watching in SD instead of HD are kinda getting hosed by ESPN’s new score box.

    • John Spunkington | January 2, 2015 at 7:16 pm |

      I hope it is because it!!!

  • Martin Colloby | January 2, 2015 at 1:16 pm |

    Came across this photo on the BBC Sport website – the player handshake before the start of the 1927 FA Cup Final – http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/50288000/jpg/_50288046_keenor_handshake_1927_fa_final_hulton_archive_getty.jpg

    I’ve seen boxing referees wearing bow ties before, but I can’t remember ever seeing a football referee wearing this combination of shorts, jacket and bow tie. It looks like the referees in all of the other finals in the 1920s wore open collars without ties

    • Lance Smith | January 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm |

      The 1927 FA Cup was also uni-notable because the Arsenal goalkeeper blamed his new jersey for the shot he failed to stop.

  • Newton | January 2, 2015 at 2:38 pm |

    Intersting note:

    I watched FS1 yesterday and their bottom line score scroll said “Citrus Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, ect…”

    ESPN’s scroll said Buffalo Wild Wings Citus Bowl, Sugar Bowl Pres by______, ect….

    So FS1 didnt use the sponsors namd and ESPN did

    • Jim Y. | January 2, 2015 at 3:19 pm |

      ESPN is these bowls’ broadcast partner so of course they’re going to play ball.

      What did FS1 use for bowls that only have sponsor names and no tradtional name? (Quick Lane Bowl, etc.)

      • Jim Y. | January 2, 2015 at 3:28 pm |

        .. I guess that’s why the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl is now just the TaxSlayer Bowl.. so non-sponsoring netwroks can’t simply call them the Gator Bowl anymore… I’m glad the National Championship people (Larry Culpepper & Co.) made Chik-Fil-A put the Peach back in the Peach Bowl if they wanted to be part of the semifinal rotation.

  • hmich176 | January 3, 2015 at 4:42 am |

    Headline: “Niklas Hjalmarsson: It was ‘dangerous’ to play Winter Classic in sun”

    That’s a misleading headline. He said it was “kind of dangerous,” not ‘dangerous.’ There’s a big difference there.

  • zep | January 3, 2015 at 7:31 am |

    Doesn’t it kind of feel like the ducks aren’t gonna wear those white uni’s especially since they are the home team now. And they want everyone to wear yellow to the game.