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Third Time’s the Charm

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[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from “Collector’s Corner” columnist Brinke Guthrie ”” that’s him above ”” who stopped looking for vintage gear on eBay long enough to engage in one of his favorite rituals involving his favorite team, the San Francisco Giants. ”” PL]

By Brinke Guthrie

Here’s a tradition that doesn’t get old — for the third time in four years (early 2011, 2013, and now 2015), I’ve had the pleasure of viewing the Giants’ World Series trophy up close and personal,

Here’s how it works: In mid-December or so, the Giants unveil the schedule for where and when they’ll be taking the trophy “on tour.” Back in early 2011, after the first of the Bruce Bochy-era titles, they held a trophy tour in nearby Walnut Creek at a civic auditorium kinda place, and the line wrapped around the block. I figured, “Okay, this is nice, probably the only time this will ever happen. I’ll stick it out.” After all, they moved to San Francisco in ’58, and this was the first title since then. But then they won again in 2012, this time the trophy made an appearance at the Giants Dugout Store. That was a last-minute addition to the trophy tour, and virtually no one knew about it. No long lines — I was in and out in five minutes.

And now, following the Bumgarner takedown of the Royals in October, we get Chapter Three. This year’s tour kicked off on Jan. 7 in Sacramento (where I heard they had 7,000 people and turned away another 1,500) and hit a few additional locations, including Santa Rosa, before arriving Monday for the trophy’s first-ever visit to Concord. That’s where I went on Tuesday to check it out.

I didn’t know what to expect, so I got there at 1pm just to scope out the area to see what kind of crowd was already there. It was held at a place called Todo Santos Plaza, which is basically a mini town square park in what passes for downtown Concord. That area is fairly sleepy during the middle of the day. I thought I’d case the joint and then zip back home, as I live just five minutes away. But there were already about 50 people there, so I got a good spot in line and stayed. And stayed. And stayed. The Giants helpfully brought their Mobile Dugout Store to the site, in case people wanted to spend some money there (before they spent more money on a photo of themselves with the trophy).

They had this huge video screen that played an endless (and I mean endless) loop touting the Junior Giants, which is a youth baseball program the Giants support — donations were encouraged. But the video was made following the 2012 title, so it was a bit out of date: “And the Giants have defeated the Tigers!” I was tempted to pull the plug on that PA.

So the routine is that you wait in the line (unless you wanted to pay $100 for the private VIP session across the street) until it’s your turn to hop up onstage, where a pro shooter takes your photo with “The Triplets” (their term, not mine.) A staffer will take one photo with your own camera if you want. It’s all very rapid-fire — you can’t touch the trophies, so all you can do is smile and wave, smile and wave. My total time onstage was about 15 seconds.

By the time I was out of there, it was 5pm on the dot and the line was wrapped almost totally around the square. Hope to be back at the same place next year to hold up four fingers!

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•  •  •  •  •

T-Shirt Club update: Yesterday I showed you the February design for the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club, which will go on sale next week and will be based on a batting practice jersey (in honor of spring training, which kicks off in February). As I mentioned, “Batting Practice” has a lot of letters and makes for a lengthy NOB, so I asked for your feedback on whether we should put the NOB on one line, which would be a little cramped, or split it up into a stacked double-decker design.

Naturally, lots of you proposed additional options besides those two. Many people suggested just going with “B.P.,” but a two-letter NOB feels too spare, too empty — I don’t like it. Others suggested “B. Practice,” playing off the FIOB concept, but I don’t want to go that route either.

More intriguingly, longtime reader Mark in Shiga suggested something I hadn’t thought of: putting “Batting” above the uni number and “Practice” below. My initial thought was, “That’s gonna look like shite,” but we gave it a try and I have to admit it looks a lot better than I’d expected. In fact, it has a certain goofy, “Don’t take this too seriously” that seems well-suited to a batting practice jersey. Here it is, along with the other two options (click to enlarge):

As you can see, we made the uni number a bit smaller for the top/bottom treatment, to give everything enough room to breathe.

I think each of these has its pros and cons, so I’m asking for your feedback one more time. Which one do you like best? Please vote here (sorry, no write-in votes!):

Which NOB format should we go with?

 
pollcode.com free polls

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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

What’s your favorite venue where you’ve played in a sporting event, and what is it about the place that makes it special? This could be as formal or informal as you want.

For me, I’ve played pickup hoops and took high school P.E. classes at the Dawg Pound at Waukegan High School. The gym has been around forever, has hosted a many big postseason preps games, and is one of the most intimate basketball venues in Illinois.

As always, leave your responses in today’s comments.

• • • • •

PermaRec update: The student shown at right lived in a home that was described by a Manhattan Trade School employee as “very poor and cheerless.” Get the full story on Permanent Record.

ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column is about the NHL all-star unis and the larger trend of neon/highlighter colors.

• • • • •

’Skins Watch: The U.S. Justice Department is getting involved with the trademark dispute over the ’Skins name (thanks, Phil). … The North Dakota Fighting Sioux situation still isn’t fully resolved. Further info here and here (from Matt Larsen, John Thompsen, and Pete Woychick, respectively). … Ralph Lauren is the latest fashion designer to draw criticism for running an ad campaign that includes tasteless depictions of Native Americans. ”¦ You know who gets to be called the “Fighting Indians” and wear a logo showing an Indian chief? A team at a Native American college, that’s who. That article is super-duper outstanding — one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever seen on SB Nation. Highly, highly recommended (thanks, Phil). … Political hack Lanny Davis, who shilled for Dan Snyder and the ’Skins name last year, lied about that yesterday.

•  •  •  •  •

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Padres’ CMO discussed the team’s brown uniforms (from Phil). … The White Sox will retire Paul Konerko’s number. … The Brooklyn Cyclones released their 15th anniversary logo (from Phil). … Reds manager Dave Bristol was victimized by an NOB typo way back in 1967, when NOBs were still relatively new (from Bob Gassel). ”¦ New “120 Years of Baseball” logo for Saint Joseph’s College (from Eric Bunnell). ”¦ The 2016 All-Star Game will be in San Diego. Hence, it’s only the second time since 1963 when a league hosted consecutive games. Can you name the other time? Answer at the end of the Grab Bag (from Patrick O’Neill).

Pro Football News: Along with new uniforms, it seems the Browns will also have a new logo and font (from Jon Dies). … Here’s a look at Super Bowl-edition Nike cleats. … On an episode of Hardcore Pawn, someone made a foam Megatron Lions costume and sold it to the Detroit-based pawn shop featured on the show (from Chris Flinn). … Former football players are finding work being body doubles for NFL stars in commercials (from Brinke). … The Seahawks are preparing their field for the NFC Championship Game on Sunday (from Markus Kamp). … The Toronto Argonauts wore a memorial patch for actor John Candy in 1994 (from Phil). … Check out this Seahawks-branded fishing boat. “I think a Seahawks theme is perfect for a fishing vessel since a Seahawk is an osprey,” says James Nagasawa. … “Now that Rex is with the Bills, what happens to the ink of his wife in the Sanchez jersey?” asks Robert Purvis. … Terry Duroncelet found this promotional Facebook photo of Drew Brees. The helmet maker’s mark, the NFL shield on the collar and the fleur-de-lis on the sleeve have all been photoshopped out, but the Nike swoosh remains. … Good moment from PTI yesterday, as they showed Bill Parcells wearing a Jets varsity jacket and they photoshopped a Jets cap onto new coach Todd Bowles (from Douglas Ford).

College Football News: A man selling LSU equipment online opted to go to jail instead of identifying the player who gave him cleats and gloves. Those items are leased to players on the team, and players are not allowed to sell them. … New Under Armour jerseys for South Carolina? The Gamecocks’ red jerseys were different this past year.

Hockey News: Friend of the site Rob Ullman made an awesome cover illustration about pro hockey in Las Vegas for the weekly paper Vegas Seven. … New Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk wore his old Coyotes pads and mask in last night’s game (from Phil). … The Bloomington Thunder are having a “Guns & Hoses” game on Saturday. ”¦ “I work on Jeju Island off the south coast of South Korea at an international school,” says August Soto. “My coworker Ryan Bedell had this DIY hockey sweater made for him for the holidays. It’s a really cool play on the NY Islanders logo and where we live!”

Soccer News: The growth of the replica kit industry has changed the design of football shirts (from Kenn Tomasch). … If Star Wars characters played soccer, here’s what uniforms they would wear (from Phil).

Basketball News: The Heat have new “Black Tie” jerseys, which are similar to what they wore a few years ago (from Phil). … Since Minnesota is on a five-game losing streak and 0-5 against the Big Ten, Scott Kneeskern came up with an idea for a shirt. … Jay Bilas sat next to Bill Walton on national TV last night and wore a Grateful Dead shirt (from Phil). … Kansas’ Sterling High School normally wears these home uniforms, but the Black Bears wore something different on Tuesday night. “The kids chose to wear some old two-tone junior high uniforms, where the team is called the Cubs,” says Brian Richter. “The white tops with the black bottoms and the long white socks topped the look off. People were in shock when the boys came out. Incidentally they did win the game.”

Grab Bag: Tennis player Andy Murray has a new personal logo. … Adidas will seek to sponsor more MLB and NFL players (from Tommy Turner). … A suicide bomber’s Reebok shoes are being analyzed in a trial (from Christopher Bisbee). … The answer to trivia question from the MLB section: The Pirates and Giants hosted the 2006 and 2007 All-Star Games. ”¦ Back in 1981, Aussie rules football player Steven Hoffman had his shorts ripped off by an opponent (from Graham Clayton).

•  •  •  • •

What Paul did last night: As many of you may be aware, New York Times baseball writer Tyler Kepner (shown above interviewing former Yanks third baseman Graig Nettles) is a longtime friend of Uni Watch. I ran a big interview with Tyler back in 2008, he’s contributed lots of Ticker items over the years, and the two of us trade uni-centric emails on a semi-regular basis. He works plenty of uniform references into his work, too. More than any other “mainstream” sportswriter I’m aware of, he Gets Itâ„¢.

Anyway: Ty is the outgoing chairman on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s New York chapter, so last night they threw him a roast, and I was privileged to be in attendance. The whole event was supposed to be under the cone of silence, but I don’t think anyone will mind if I share this particular tidbit. One of the other writers told a joke that went like so (I’m paraphrasing here):

“Tyler’s not very technologically savvy, so I thought I better show him how to clear the browser history on his iPad, just to be sure his wife didn’t find anything, you know, incriminating that Tyler might have looked at during one of those lonely nights on the road. But then I went and checked his history and it was nothing but Uni Watch!”

At least one person in the room laughed extra-hard at that one. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week.

90 comments to Third Time’s the Charm

  • Lose Rem | January 16, 2015 at 8:00 am |

    Ralph Lauren article isn’t coming up

  • Phil Hecken | January 16, 2015 at 8:05 am |

    The answer the the ASG question, as noted in the Grab Bag, was 2006-07, when the Bucs and G-men went back-to-back. The reason for this, of course, was because MLB wanted to give the 2008 game to the Yankees, for the final season of OYS, thus requiring them to jiggle he NL/AL split they’d had in place for decades.

    Not entirely sure why they’re “double-stacking” the game in 15/16, unless Angelos pissed off the owners/MLB so much that the tentative awarding of the ASG to Baltimore and Camden is on hold.

    ~~~

    On another note, I REALLY like the way the VAL “Batting” and “Practice” above/below the number looks. Hope that design wins.

    • pboss | January 16, 2015 at 8:30 am |

      “unless Angelos pissed off the owners/MLB so much”

      Well, Angelos is suing MLB to void the arbitration ruling in the MASN dispute.

    • Bud | January 16, 2015 at 8:44 am |

      What I don’t get is, if Angelos and the MASN deal is what took the O’s out of the running, why were they in the running in the first place? The TV issue has been a long-running feud for years. Had Selig just completely forgotten about it over the summer and then was reminded at some point in the fall? “Oh right yea that. Um, nevermind on them.”

      Dumb.

      • pboss | January 16, 2015 at 8:58 am |

        Well, the MASN deal didn’t get a decision until last season, so perhaps Bud thought everything would go peachy after a little closed door talk.

        Of course, MLB claims the O’s failed to submit the correct paperwork and the MASN deal isn’t the reason they didn’t pick the O’s.

  • Joey Guns | January 16, 2015 at 8:17 am |

    typo: “A staffer wioll take one photo”

    • Paul Lukas | January 16, 2015 at 8:26 am |

      Thanks. Now fixed.

  • marc | January 16, 2015 at 8:32 am |

    Browns’ “new unis” look Godawful. I’m calling bullshite on this one. Nameplate is a TERRIBLE Photoshop job. No way that’s an official “company-named-after-a-Greek-goddess” image.

    • Tony C. | January 16, 2015 at 10:49 am |

      link?

      • Tony C. | January 16, 2015 at 11:02 am |

        NM i found those.. those have been floated for months and were created based of a Reddit user who supposedly had inside information about the new unis

  • jwl3 | January 16, 2015 at 8:36 am |

    QOTW
    My high school baseball team plays at Rose Park. It’s also home to Belmont Univerity’s team. It is full synthetic turf (except for the mound; much like Vanderbilt’s), chair-back seats, and a good-sized press box. We occasionally have batting practice in the cages at historic Greer Stadium down the street, which doesn’t carrently have a tenant, so I’m hoping we could play some games there, too.

  • Fight | January 16, 2015 at 8:39 am |

    Favorite venue in which to play – Withrow High School in Cincinnati. The horseshoe stadium was but right up against the school, rough ground, poor lighting. This field has since changed, but the original setting was impressive and intimidating. The band and the team would walk down the steps from the top of the stadium – making all kinds of noise.

    I do have a question – why is Curt Schilling wearing Giants’ stuff in that picture?

  • Dumb Guy | January 16, 2015 at 8:47 am |

    RE: Drew Brees facebook thing…..

    The NFL logo on the ball has been “golded” out too.

    How can he still use the term “Super Bowl” when everything else related to the NFL has been eradicated? I thought the NFL guarded that term with its life.

    • Chance Michaels | January 16, 2015 at 4:55 pm |

      They do, but for some reason that one slips by from time to time. The Replacements, a very much not-the-NFL movie, springs to mind. They come up with new team names and uniforms so as not to infringe upon the NFL, but a player brags about having Super Bowl rings.

  • Connie DC | January 16, 2015 at 8:52 am |

    “… So the routine is that you wait in the line (unless you wanted to pay $100 for the private VIP session across the street) until it’s your turn …”

    Yep, it’s still a great country.

    • Phil Hecken | January 16, 2015 at 9:27 am |

      If only we could do that to vote…

      Wait, what?

  • Connie DC | January 16, 2015 at 8:56 am |

    Sorry, forgot to mention:

    “… Friend of the site Rob Ullman made an awesome cover illustration about pro hockey in Las Vegas for the weekly paper Vegas Seven. … ”

    Terrific.

    • arrScott | January 16, 2015 at 10:39 am |

      Great illustration. Something about the way he drew the hockey player’s chin, along with the typically excellent Ullman girls, makes me wish to see Rob turn George McDonald Fraser’s “Flashman” books into graphic novels.

      • Connie DC | January 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm |

        OMG, that is great idea!! Those Flashman novels are the fun-nest damn things ever.

        • arrScott | January 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm |

          If you like Flashman, give John Biggins’ “A Sailor of Austria” a read. It’s the fictional memoir of an Austrian U-Boat captain in WWI. And like Flashman, as absurd as it is, it’s based largely on actually true (yet absurd) events.

  • Adam | January 16, 2015 at 8:58 am |

    QOTW: For me, it was my high school football stadium, Blankenship Field, in Oak Ridge, TN. As far as high school stadiums go, it was state of the art. The team enters the field from the top of the hill, walking single file down a set of about 100 stairs, with kids lined up along the sides slapping players on the shoulder pads as they walk past.

    http://mediaassets.knoxnews.com/photo/2014/08/30/px_blackerby30_0870_AL_7624585_ver1.0_640_480.jpg

    For big games, a crowd of 10,000+ wasn’t unheard of.

    http://oakridgetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/jack-armstrong-crowd.jpg

    And in the playoffs, we get checkerboard endzones, just like the near-by Volunteers!

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B13tWJPCUAAKBnP.jpg

  • Pat C | January 16, 2015 at 9:08 am |

    I’ve got two, both from Central Illinois.

    I played more than a couple games at Danville Stadium in Danville, IL both High School and American Legion. The cool part of the stadium is that it was used to film some scenes from “The Babe” staring John Goodman.

    I also got to play at Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in High School. I was a freshman and they made sure everyone got on the field even for 1 play since it was a special game and a blowout. I was horribly out of position (I was d-line, they had me at middle linebacker) but it was still really cool to play on the same field as my favorite college team for a few plays.

  • Dumb Guy | January 16, 2015 at 9:09 am |

    My sporting career ended pretty much in middle school as everyone else got bigger/faster/stronger and I was still a puny wimp (my growth spurt came too late!). But as a Little Leaguer (baseball and football) I remember playing games in the High School stadium and thinking that was THE coolest thing in the world!!

    • Dumb Guy | January 16, 2015 at 9:10 am |

      I have played softball in the L.A. Coliseum though!!

  • FiteClub | January 16, 2015 at 9:30 am |

    QOTW: When I was 17 I was playing on a travelling baseball team. One weekend we played two games in the [then] California Angels spring training park in Palm Springs, CA. I had seen the Angels play there many times while I was growing up so, to me, it was a thrill to sit in an actual dugout where major league ballplayers had sat. It made an ordinary venue feel special.

  • Gusto4044 | January 16, 2015 at 9:39 am |

    Couldn’t agree more, it’s a great time to be a San Francisco Giants fan. Three world titles this decade without a Hall of Fame lock player is remarkable, especially when legends like Willie Mays and Juan Marichal couldn’t deliver the first world championship in SF Giants history.

    After more than a half century, including tough times, San Francisco finally broke through. As their own team broadcasters stated last season, the ultimate success beginning in 2010 were so important because they are OUR championships(not New York’s).

    • Phil Hecken | January 16, 2015 at 9:52 am |

      While it’s true the SFG didn’t win any titles (well, a couple WS appearances) until 2010, the same franchise, in New York, won 14 pennants and 5 World Series championships behind managers such as John McGraw and Bill Terry and players like Christy Mathewson, Carl Hubbell, Mel Ott, Bobby Thomson, and Willie Mays.

      Yes, that same Willie Mays who “couldn’t deliver the first world championship in SF Giants history” still delivered for the Giants.

      We needn’t rehash this whole “cities” thing, but to act like the Giants didn’t exist before 1958, or that the players who won a world series 4 years earlier didn’t play there, is laughable. Willie Mays won a world series for the Giants. Period.

      OTOH, glad this team is enjoying its run, and I’m happy for the denizens of SF. It’s a remarkable achievement, especially in this day and age.

      • BurghFan | January 16, 2015 at 10:28 am |

        While the Giants certainly recognize their New York past, those championships would have been meaningful to very few San Franciscans when the team won them. Whatever history is transferred, it can’t include the emotional history.

        • Phil Hecken | January 16, 2015 at 10:41 am |

          Jerry, I don’t disagree, and I’m very happy for all San Franciscans and the three WC’s this team has brought them. It’s truly a remarkable feat, and I’m certainly not trying to minimize it (or the fact that very few SFers would have had any emotional ties to the NY championships).

          I just have a problem with anyone who seeks to discount a teams achievements, even if accomplished elsewhere, by seemingly ignoring them. Statements akin to “Willie Mays couldn’t bring the Giants a WC in SF” is like saying Willie Mays didn’t bring the Giants (franchise) any WC’s at all, and that’s simply NOT true.

          Future HOFer (yes, I’ll say it) Barry Bonds couldn’t bring the Giants any WC’s, that’s true. But don’t be putting Barry’s Godfather into a category that implies the Say Hey kid failed the Giants.

          On another note (and you didn’t bring this up, but it’s a good discussion for another day) — just who should celebrate all those (five) WC’s the Giants won in New York? NYers don’t care about them any more, so shouldn’t the franchise celebrate its own history, even if done so in a new locale? Wouldn’t you love to see the team throwback to some of the awesome uniforms the team once wore? I sure would.

        • Lee | January 16, 2015 at 12:03 pm |

          As a Giants fan, while I love the history of the New York years, for me, its the SF years that truly matter. I (probably) wouldn’t be a Giants fan if they weren’t in SF, so again, while NY is interesting and cool, for all intents and purposes, their San Francisco history is what counts.

          Lee

  • Jamie | January 16, 2015 at 9:52 am |

    You get stuck in some weird places when you play DIII tennis. The coolest place we played was probably Wash U in St. Louis. The tennis complex is in the middle of campus right next to the Greek houses and a short walk from the site of the 1904 Olympics. http://bearsports.wustl.edu/facilities/tao-tennis

    • Perry | January 16, 2015 at 10:45 am |

      I attended Wash U. in the ’70s, and at the time they were still using the “stadium” (in quotes because it was just bleachers and was the size of a high school facility) from those Olympics for football and track. It was open for anyone to use when there was no official event happening. The track, oddly, was 1/3 mile around, not the long-standard 1/4 mile.

  • Bando | January 16, 2015 at 10:01 am |

    I played on a vintage base ball team for eight seasons, and we played in a number of pretty cool places all around the country. My favorites were probably the Silver Ball Park in Rochester, NY, a delightfully scenic field in the middle of a historic village, and Labatt Field in London Ontario, a longtime minor league park.

    For nostalgia’s sake, though, nothing could beat playing under the lights at the best of my childhood little league’s fields. It was a subterranean park you had to go down a million steps to get to, with a river at the back of the outfield, and for a long time, a trucking yard on the other side of the fence behind the first base line. I can’t explain it, but I always felt like I played better when we played there on a Friday night. It was magical.

  • Paul Lukas | January 16, 2015 at 10:09 am |

    When I was 12, I made my Little League’s all-star team. At one point we traveled to another town to play that town’s all-star squad. It was a night game — their field had lights. That was a revelation to me, because our field (yes, we only had one field — very small town) had no lights. I’d never played a night game before! It felt very “official.”

    We won the game, and I was awarded a game ball for defense, which I still have somewhere. I think.

    • Mike Chamernik | January 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm |

      Yes! Similar story: I was on a travel baseball team when I was 10, and we went to a field in sort-of-far town that had a grass infield, fences, a scoreboard, roofed dugouts and lights for night baseball – to that point I had only played on multi-purpose softball fields at local parks. It did feel very official, like we were in the pros or something.

  • Mark in Shiga | January 16, 2015 at 10:26 am |

    Here in Japan some of the professional teams rent out their stadiums to amateurs when the team is out of town, and for about $20 per person (multiplied by two teams of about 15 people each) my team rented out Chiba Marine Stadium for two hours. It was a cold, drizzly, windy day but we got our game in. We were trailing by two runs in the final inning, with men on base and one of our best hitters at the plate (an Aussie making great use of his cricket skills), and suddenly we were out of time and *poof* the lights went off.

    Still a lot of fun. I myself walked, stole a base, and scored a run — what a thrill to touch home plate in a professional park! — and made a nice catch in front of first base of a pop-up that was being blown in three directions at once.

    It was surprising how small the field felt when we were on it. It made professional baseball players seem somehow more human.

  • arrScott | January 16, 2015 at 10:28 am |

    QotW: Two venues stand out. First, the softball fields on the National Mall in Washington, DC. I’ve played vintage base ball near the Tidal Basin, with the Washington Monument rising behind home plate and the Jefferson Memorial in the distance beyond third base. And I got to play a softball game this year on a diamond in front of the U.S. Institute of Peace, with the Lincoln Memorial towering over left field and the Washington Monument spiking over the tree line in foul territory, turning orange and pink as the sun set in the last inning. Just magnificent to play a ballgame in such a setting.

    If not that, then my grandma’s back yard in Iowa, with its apple and pear trees, where that whole side of the family would gather for softball and touch football before Thanksgiving dinner when I was a wee one. I suspect that most of the pleasure I take in watching sports is based on the joy of those family games in that yard.

    • Phil Hecken | January 16, 2015 at 10:43 am |

      “my grandma’s back yard in Iowa”

      ~~~

      Was that heaven?

      • BvK1126 | January 16, 2015 at 11:13 am |

        “Was that heaven?”

        Still is!

      • arrScott | January 16, 2015 at 11:33 am |

        Oh, man, my dad hated that movie because of that line. Somehow he always heard it as a backhanded insult to Iowa. I used to try to argue the point that it was 100% a compliment – besides which, W.P. Kinsella’s love for Iowa seems to shine earnestly through his several novels set there.

    • BvK1126 | January 16, 2015 at 12:25 pm |

      I’ll go ahead and answer the QOTW here in this space since there’s a substantial amount of overlap between my answer and Scott’s.

      Like Scott, my first thought was of all the softball games I played on the National Mall in DC. In all the times I played there, I never ceased to marvel at the idea of having the Capitol as a de facto backstop!

      Another D.C. venue where I played countless softball games also deserves a nod. Fort Reno Park, in the Tenleytown neighborhood near the Maryland border, sits on the site of an old Civl War-era fort built as part of the city’s defenses against Confederate attack. It’s more out-of-the-way and quieter than the Mall, and taking a few swings of the bat at sunset among the old earthwork ramparts and remnants of the fort makes for a surprisingly serene experience.

      Not far behind these is, yes, playing a game of pickup baseball on the Field of Dreams outside of Dyersville, Iowa. Is it contrived and a little cheesy? Maybe. But there is something undeniably magical about having a glove on one hand, a ball in the other, and standing on that field with tall stalks of corn one side of you and an impeccably maintained, Grant Wood-esque farmhouse on the other.

      • Connie DC | January 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm |

        Fort Reno Park is a terrific place, with the highest elevation in the District of Columbia (409 feet above sea level). Oxygen deprivation is rarely an issue, I’ll admit, but the view is fine and, as BvK says, it’s a fun place to play ball. When the family moved to DC, we rented a house that abutted Fort Reno and found ourselves living in the highest domicile in the District.

        • BvK1126 | January 16, 2015 at 2:21 pm |

          Sorry about that foul ball through your window, Connie!

  • Jamie | January 16, 2015 at 10:31 am |

    One more, we played Carleton College in a facility in Owatonna, MN for some reason and on site is the former Owatonna State Orphanage. Between matches we got into the museum and toured the grounds which included a really sad/creepy children’s cemetery.

  • Mountain Ways | January 16, 2015 at 10:33 am |

    QOTW: Two cool places I’ve “played” sports. When younger, Oak Hill Academy (yes, that Oak Hill) would have a time each summer for ministers and their families to come and spend the week. We rode horses, canoed, fished, hiked, and of course played basketball in their gym. It was a tiny, cramped, old place but my, the players that had come through there. The other place that I always thought was great was the football stadium at Western Carolina University. No, I wasn’t on the team, but that is where the intramural Ultimate games were held. The games were even under the lights.

  • Adam | January 16, 2015 at 10:37 am |

    Does anyone have any experience getting their photo taken with SF’s trophy in New York? Wait times, etc. Thanks.

  • Mainspark | January 16, 2015 at 10:45 am |

    Has Brinke had surgery? He looks like he’s wearing a colostomy bag in the second photo.

    • The Jeff | January 16, 2015 at 11:21 am |

      I think that’s just a fanny pack.

  • Brinke | January 16, 2015 at 11:28 am |

    @Mainspark: It’s called an LL Bean “fanny pack” to carry my camera and second pair of glasses.

    • Mainspark | January 16, 2015 at 11:44 am |

      I’m just bustin’ your chops because I thought you were all ‘Nati and a fan of the Big Red Machine. I didn’t realize you became a Giants fan. The folks in Mariemont and Terrace Park are sorely disappointed!

  • Pete Puma | January 16, 2015 at 11:33 am |

    I’m pretty sure John Candy was a part-owner of the Argos, hence the memorial patch.

    • Phil Hecken | January 16, 2015 at 11:44 am |

      Yes. I didn’t remember that at the time, but I was reminded quickly of that. As our friend Chris Creamer explained, it was similar to Tom Clancy’s patch with the Orioles this past season.

  • Vee63 | January 16, 2015 at 11:35 am |

    QOTW: my town doesn’t get very cold in the winter, so there is rarely any natural ice to skate. Our house was at a higher elevation, and did get somewhat colder than the city. But for two or three winters we did get a cold enough stretch of weather that a small pond in the forest near our house froze and we were able to skate and play hockey outdoors.

  • Kek | January 16, 2015 at 11:58 am |

    QOTW: My home field for high school football was Johnstown’s Point Stadium, the one featured in the movie All the Right Moves.

    It’s still around today, but looks totally different….and has FIELD TURF… boooooo.

    I played on it for the many years it had a dirt cutout like the Raiders (and many other NFL franchises of the past) used to!

  • Dan Pfeifer | January 16, 2015 at 12:02 pm |

    QOTW: While I’ve covered teams at, announced at, seen games at, etc., a lot of places way cooler, my favorite place to have actually played has to be Henry Aaron Field in Milwaukee.

    The Hank is the worst diamond for Division 1 NCAA baseball in the country, hands down. It’s the home of the UW-Milwaukee Panthers, the only D1 baseball team in Wisconsin, but it’s essentially a city park diamond with chain-link fences and bench seating for about 100 behind home plate. The press box is a small wooden shed, capacity three, on what look like 15-foot tall wood stilts down the first base line. When UWM hosted the Horizon League Baseball Championships recently, they did so at the on-campus diamond of a nearby D3 school because The Hank is that embarrassing for college baseball.

    … but, my playing career never got close to the college game. As an eighth grader, my spring team was playing at The Hank on a weeknight because our other diamond wasn’t available. I was pitching and headed out to the mound to start warmups when I started to see my shadow around me in four different places. I looked up and they had turned on the lights. I had never played a night game before and something about the fact that I was going to get the chance to pitch under the lights was just so freakin’ cool.

    So yeah, that’s my favorite place that I’ve played.

  • J Williams | January 16, 2015 at 12:04 pm |

    QOTW-

    I went to high school at Eastside High School in Butler, IN. We had what we affectionately called the “Old Gym”. It was like something straight out of the movie Hoosiers. It had the high walls/raised seating for spectators and the balcony seating behind the backboards. The locker rooms were under the stands, but were sunk half into the ground like a split level home would be. I loved its old feel.

    It was the gymnasium from Eastside’s predecessor, when it was called Butler High School. It still stands today although, I am not sure if the school still uses it for athletics or not.

    Fun Fact: This “Old Gym” was considered for the movie Blue Chips with Nolte, Shaq, and Hardaway. The school district had just done some renovations to it and because filming would require changes to those renovations, the school board ultimately declined their request.

  • Josh | January 16, 2015 at 12:04 pm |

    I was living in Miami about 7 years ago. One evening, walking through Coconut Grove, right at the curb, there were three good-looking, scantily-clad Marlins girls with their two World Series Trophies (trying to sell season tickets). No line for the trophies. No security. In fact, no one cared. We walked right up and took as many pictures as we wanted (though as a Yankee fan, I was a bit salty about the 2003 trophy). Different world down there.

  • L.N. Smithee | January 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm |

    It’s annoying how people who advocate the total banishment of Native American mascots continue to speak as if there is no other argument to be made, and that the only holdouts are a small core of inconsiderate non-natives. Throughout the Redskins controversy under the Holder DOJ, the fact that a previous survey designed to prove American Indians were offended by the nickname backfired (90% not offended) was only mumbled about in “news” coverage. Ditto the significant support among Sioux/Lakota of the UND mascot and logo.

    • The Jeff | January 16, 2015 at 12:43 pm |

      There’s also the annoying insistence that “redskin” can’t possibly be anything other than a racial slur, despite decades of non-negative usage. Nevermind the evidence that word’s origin is from the Native Americans self-identifying as being red-skinned over 200 years ago.

  • Matt Malinoski | January 16, 2015 at 12:14 pm |

    Is Dave Bristol wearing a white cap in that photo?

  • Matt Beahan | January 16, 2015 at 12:27 pm |

    Re. the QOTD – my all-time favourite place I’ve played in is the Glades Arena in my adopted hometown of Kidderminster. Aside from the numerous basketball tournaments I played there, when I was in high school my friends & I would often club together to hire it out to play pickup games. For a few pounds each we could rent it for half a day, play on pro-quality equiptment (instead of the outdated gear in our school sports hall), even lower the rims for dunk contests.

    Some of the best times of my youth were spent in that arena…

  • RobYaz | January 16, 2015 at 12:47 pm |

    Tate Rink at West Point USMA. I played a lot of youth hockey there (as a visitor), and hands (gloves?) down it was the best sheet of ice I ever skated on. The lighting was perfect too and the interior air temperature was also perfect. This was leaps and bounds above MSG (where I played one game) and Nassau Coliseum 9where I played twice). The locker rooms were great too – we used half of the visiting locker room and that was still twice the size of locker rooms we were used to. (the home team used the other half of the collegiate visiting locker room.)

    I have fond memories of playing some upstate NY prep school rinks that still had wooden boards and wire mesh fencing instead of plexiglass. Some of them had roofs but no walls so it was outside air temperature. Games were usually on weekend mornings at 8am, which is the coldest time of day of course.

  • Mike Chamernik | January 16, 2015 at 1:03 pm |

    Great stories, everyone! Another place I love: the backyard of my mom’s house. Great set-up for Wiffle Ball.

    • arrScott | January 16, 2015 at 1:27 pm |

      Oh, man, great point re Wiffle Ball. I’d forgotten the cul-de-sac in Wayne, PA, down the street from where we lived in the early 1980s, where my best friend’s dad, himself an internationally renowned philosopher, would with great ceremony each spring bring cardboard stencils and a can of spraypaint out and lay down a fresh Wiffle Ball diamond for us kids to use all summer. I’d pay money to play a Wiffle Ball game on that cul-de-sac today!

  • Jake | January 16, 2015 at 1:04 pm |

    As an American Legion baseball player, my team played on Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY. The field formerly hosted the annual “Hall of Fame Game” and I am pretty sure they filmed some of “A League of Their Own” there; maybe the last scene when the women are older. We were up there for a weekend and played 2 or 3 games on the field.

    I have also had the opportunity to take batting practice at the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia and at Fenway Park. Both those instances were pretty neat, especially Fenway. I received a tour of the stadium, went inside the scoreboard in the Green Monster, saw the locker room, etc.

  • Vee63 | January 16, 2015 at 1:07 pm |

    I know there’s no write-in votes for the shirt design, but did anyone propose a long radially-arched name like the soccer ones where the player has a really long name? Winds up kind of looking like a horseshoe.

    • Paul Lukas | January 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm |

      The Uni Watch “team” does not do radially arched lettering.

  • Turtle12 | January 16, 2015 at 1:20 pm |

    As an American Legion baseball player, I got to play in the Greenville Braves stadium and the Albany Polecats stadium. Then, in college, both of my home stadiums were former minor league stadiums: one in Thomasville, GA and one in LaGrange, GA. They were all super-cool to play in.

  • ChrisH | January 16, 2015 at 1:24 pm |

    QoTW:

    Belmont Plateau (Fairmount Park, Phila., PA)

    I ran in exactly 1 XC race there my freshman year of HS. Being row-home raised from the other side of Philly, I’d never seen such a beautiful view of Center City.

  • ChrisH | January 16, 2015 at 1:33 pm |

    “Good moment from PTI yesterday, as they showed Bill Parcells wearing a Jets varsity jacket…”

    I own (and still wear) that same jacket.
    Holy crap…I’m old!

  • Charles | January 16, 2015 at 1:37 pm |

    @ Mike Chamernik

    The Potomac Nationals (Class A – Washington NL) and Pfitzner Stadium have an agreement with the Blue Gray League (adult wood bat) that allows adult teams to play there when the Nationals aren’t using it. I played in that league in 08 09 10 and thought that playing in a minor league park was pretty fantastic.

    Amenities were pretty spartan, but batting cages on the home team side, legitimate bullpens down the line, and stadium seating made it feel more ‘big league’ than using the local parks or HS facilities.

    What made it one of my favorites was the whole “who else has been in this batters box?”

    Per Wikipedia:
    The team has been affiliated with the Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and now the Washington Nationals. Since moving to Woodbridge, the franchise has played all its home games at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, with an announced seating capacity of 6,000 people.[1]

    Dukes/Mariners/Pirates/Yankees/Cannons/Nationals include:

    Rick Ankiel
    Magglio Ordóñez
    Barry Bonds
    Bobby Bonilla
    Bernie Williams
    Andy Pettitte
    Albert Pujols
    Coco Crisp
    Braden Looper
    Brad Ausmus
    Jorge Posada
    Kevin Maas
    Hensley Meulens
    Gerald Williams
    Alan Mills
    Edwin Encarnacion
    Jack Wilson
    Dmitri Young
    Dan Haren
    Carmen Cali
    John Smiley
    Scott Kamieniecki
    José Lind
    Jeff King
    Félix Fermín
    Mike Cameron
    Sterling Hitchcock
    Joey Votto
    John Lannan
    Justin Maxwell
    Josh Whitesell
    Ian Desmond
    Danny Espinosa
    Ross Detwiler

    Some heavy hitters IMO, and whomever else has come thru the Carolina League over the last 30 years…

    Cheers

    • Dumb Guy | January 16, 2015 at 3:31 pm |

      I remember going to Alexandria Dukes games (and then Alexandria Mariners) as a tween/teen. I think they held their first couple of seasons at a high school field. I remember buying hotdogs thru a window of the cafeteria or something.

      Am I thinking correctly, Charles???

      • arrScott | January 16, 2015 at 5:25 pm |

        That sounds right – the Alexandria Dukes did play at least for a time on a scholastic field before they moved south to Pfitzner. Which today is among the most antiquated ballparks in the minor leagues – the P-Nats have to get a special exemption from MiLB every year to permit them to keep playing at a ballpark that is below the standards of parks used by high schools with serious baseball programs. Fortunately, the team’s ownership is finally making progress on assembling the financing it needs to build its new stadium across the street from my house.

        Though I got to play a vintage base ball game at the Pfitz a couple of summers ago, and the field itself is fantastic.

  • Rich Paloma | January 16, 2015 at 1:41 pm |

    BEST VENUE PLAYED AT
    In 1972, at age 12, a friend and I played 2-on-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers Barry Clemons on the floor of the Golden State Warriors floor at the Oakland Coliseum Arena (we had snuck into a practice and Clemons had held over to shoot extra baskets and invited us on the floor)

    • Jakob Wolf | January 16, 2015 at 7:42 pm |

      That is very cool, Rich.

      Didn’t get to play with any Cavs, but I did play on their floor. One time my boss at the Coliseum let us play on the arena court. Years before that, I took part in a free-throw shooting contest between quarters of a game.

      My all-time favorite place to play, though, was in the same location, but twelve flights of stairs higher. My brother and I took part in many an epic vendors vs. ushers game on the Cavs’ practice court.
      http://cdn-2-service.phanfare.com/images/5406850_2414484_152513442_WebSmall_4_91_0/Image-5406850-152513442-2-WebSmall_0_51c5ae16b2de4a7cca5e038ddc0dc66e_1
      Plain, yes, but I LOVED that court. I’m making a DIY version of it for my Lego NBA figures.

      I also loved playing at Lions Park in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Back in the 70s it got a brief mention in The In Your Face Basketball Book: “For the hearty souls, the city shovels the courts in the winter.” They don’t do that anymore, but then again people don’t play there as much as they used to do.

  • DenverGregg | January 16, 2015 at 1:44 pm |

    Two odd responses to QoTW:

    1. When I was 8 years old, we took a road trip from Denver to Alaska to see my dad’s older sister’s family. There was a road closure in the middle of nowhere way east of Fairbanks. The various kids from random stopped cars played a pickup game of baseball in a scene of striking natural beauty where it’s unlikely anyone else had ever played or would again.

    2. My dad got to play football at the Rose Bowl in late 1943. He was in SoCal for military training. Too bad he didn’t get any pictures.

  • Chris Cruz | January 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm |

    QOTW
    As a student at UCLA, we’d play intramural basketball at the Wooden Center gym. I was pretty crappy, but when our C-league team made the finals we got to play in Pauley Pavilion. It was pretty awesome to play on what I consider hallowed ground with all the national championship banners overhead and filled with the spirit of Wooden and Walton.

    • YoungestUniWatcher | January 17, 2015 at 3:24 am |

      Go Bruins!!

  • Phil P | January 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm |

    Here’s a video by youtube cycling channel GCN with a runthrough of the 2015 team kits

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N1-ndTulHA

  • PaulS | January 16, 2015 at 3:18 pm |

    QOTW
    Got to play a number of times in the old Barn, a/k/a Windsor Arena. Locker rooms were really crappy, nothing more than a broom closet with a (yes, ONE) shower stall, but the rink itself makes up for it. It’s still open as a recreational rink, but it’s the best ice for skating you’ve ever seen, even better than Joe Louis Arena (where I have played as well). Standing at the goal line, I flipped a puck about 25 feet, and it slid all the way to the other end, with nary a bump or groove to be found. The history of the place is huge; this is where the Cougars (predecessors to the Red Wings) played BEFORE Olympia was built.

    Haven’t done it, but I imagine playing at the Ryerson rink in the old Maple Leaf Gardens would be awesome as well, just below the domed roof of the place.

  • Gusto4044 | January 16, 2015 at 3:19 pm |

    There’s definitely been some confusion about my earlier post about the historical facts surrounding the San Francisco Giants. As others pointed out, it’s about identity and emotional history, hence, the difference between the New York Giants and San Francisco Giants. Almost no one

    Baseball history should always be respected and enjoyed, and I’ve never suggested any prior identity should be ignored, rather separated, and treated honestly. Sports franchises are unique in the fact the location plays a prominent role in identification and experience. The fact Willie Mays failed to deliver a world title during his dozen years as a San Francisco Giant doesn’t affect his New York Giant achievements, or his place as an inner circle hall of famer.

    The more accurate we are, the better. During the half century plus when San Francisco fans were thirsty for a world title, a tiny minority cared about what the New York Giants ever did, that was across the country decades ago. Almost no one is wrapped up in “the Giants”, it’s always connected with a city.

    So the occasional throwback uniform is fine, as long as there’s perspective and knowledge. No one’s discounting anything, but claiming something which was a different identity many decades ago by a fan of that current team is just delusional.

  • Trimalchio1922 | January 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm |

    I am a North Dakota alum, and I have accepted the demise of the Fighting Sioux monicker. I supported retaining the name based on attitudes of Lakota tribal members (I grew up near the Spirit Lake Reservation, which supported the nickname via referendum).

    I think a return to the “Flickertails” nickname would be ridiculous. For those who don’t know, this is a “flickertail”: http://bit.ly/14K8UI0. Most everyone nowadays calls them “prairie dogs”.

    For North Dakotans, prairie dogs have no significance, other than to destroy usable land. Even then, most people don’t care about them. I get why UND was given the Flickertails name–North Dakota was deemed the “Flickertail State” during its early years. That being said, most people refer to ND as the “Prairie Rose” state (after the state flower: http://bit.ly/1IJz9h3).

    Fun fact: UND”s official colors are Green and Pink, after the Prairie Rose. The only sports uniform to reflect that scheme (save the one-off Cancer Awareness uniforms donned each year) were the last iteration of the Fighting Sioux hockey jerseys.

    For me, there really are three decent options for the new nickname, in terms of reflecting ND roots in a new name: Green Wave, Roughriders, or Voyagers. The first one–Green Wave–is a lazy way to continue use of green as a primary color. The second–Roughriders–is an homage to Teddy Roosevelt, about whom North Dakotans have a romanticized affinity (he lived in present-day western ND for about two years, just prior to statehood). The problem with either of those nicknames is that they are also nicknames of local high school sports–the East Grand Forks (MN) Green Wave and Grand Forks Red River Roughriders. A lot of confusion would come of either choice.

    Voyagers–or some variation (Explorers, etc)–would fit with state history, given Lewis and Clark’s connection to it (see here: http://bit.ly/1wgU9Df). It certainly would eschew the fierce/angry ethos addressed in the ticker articles above. It also wouldn’t be the first time that ND has attempted to brand itself with Lewis and Clark: http://bit.ly/1BDZknp.

    In the end, it is difficult to choose a monicker that reflects ND state history and ethos without including Native American influences. Their histories, traditions, and contributions populate good portions of what ND was, is, and will become. Unfortunately, were a nickname proposed that retains Native American imagery in a way that all state tribes find positive and acceptable, I don’t believe it could find majority support. For some, it would be nothing more than Fighting Sioux-lite.

    • arrScott | January 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm |

      If “Crimson Tide” can be a respected, beloved college athletic nickname, why not North Dakota Prairie Rose? Embrace the green and pink!

      And if Flickertails or Prairie Dogs are so offensive, then why not the North Dakota Ferrets? Black-footed ferrets are one of the apex predators of the Great Plains, and in particular they prey on prairie dogs. And by “prey on” I don’t mean they hunt them out in the open like a lion stalks a zebra. I mean the literally move into prairie dog burrows, where they haunt entire prairie dog communities like the demonic ghost in a J-horror movie and crawl out at night every week or so when they get hungry, grab a prairie dog, and feast on it in its own burrow while the other prairie dogs cower in fear. And aside from being possibly the most bad-ass terrifying predator this side of Australia, black-footed ferrets are adorable, highly photogenic little critters.

    • BvK1126 | January 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm |

      I really enjoyed reading your perspective on the issue. Thanks for posting it.

      I think I’d be okay with “Flickertails.” Minnesota makes a similar small burrowing rodent-themed nickname work, after all. But “gopher” does have a bit more of a guttural sound to it, whereas as “flickertail” is lighter and more whimsical. I can see how some factions might not support it.

      I think “Voyagers” would be a solid choice given the state’s history and identity. However, I’m surprised that suggestion doesn’t carry some controversy of its own, considering there are some voices out there who consider Lewis & Clark to have been “harbingers of genocide” (and thus, presumably, not worthy of celebrating in the form of a sports team nickname).

      https://franceshunter.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/social-justic-challenge-lewis-clark-harbingers-of-genocide/

  • Nile | January 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm |

    QOTW: I would say running at a track meet at Disney World while in college. It was at their wide world of sports complex. It was crazy because it was a giant meet and there were people from the Olympic team and major colleges running too(I was with a DIII school from Ohio so it was pretty overwhelming to see these big names there) Was wild you’d be warming up and there is Mickey in a baseball costume or Goofy in a track singlet walking around.

    Other than that it wasn’t a game but I worked for the AAA minor league team of Pirates in Indianapolis as an Usher and after the year ended we got to go on the field and take BP and field some balls etc. It was a fun experience.

  • Willard | January 16, 2015 at 7:14 pm |

    How is that boat “Seahawks” themed?

  • YoungestUniWatcher | January 17, 2015 at 3:25 am |

    QOTW:

    This past year my high school team got to play in Staples Center and that was super cool, they had the scoreboard and the PA announcements and everything

  • chuck rios | January 17, 2015 at 5:16 pm |

    The best sports venue for me was at Father Sylvester field in Calumet park, il back in 1987, I played in a tournament there and pitched 16 inch softball like I never did before, and got myself an mvp of that tourney. What I didn’t know was that some of the best 16 inch players in the country at that time played in that tournament.