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Another Day, Another League Apparel Deal

Big news out of the MLB offices yesterday, as word broke that Majestic and MLB have extended their partnership through 2019.

Whether you consider this good news or bad news, it’s fascinating to me that MLB continues to do business with Majestic, which, as we’ve discussed before, is not a lifestyle brand like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. Majestic doesn’t make sneakers, doesn’t have a snappy slogan, doesn’t plaster its logo over everything that moves, doesn’t make uniforms for any sport other than baseball, etc. While New Era has fully transitioned into a lifestyle brand that happens to make on-field caps, Majestic still feels more like an MLB subsidiary than anything else. Maybe that’s what MLB likes about it. In any case, given what I’ve heard through the grapevine regarding MLB’s concerns about the game’s loosening grip on today’s youth, I’m surprised they don’t want to do business with one of the “cool” brands.

This contract extension makes MLB the third of the Big Four pro leagues to have a major apparel-partnership announcement this week. On Monday we learned that Adidas and the NBA will be severing their ties after the 2016-17 season (the league’s new outfitter is expected to be announced next month), and also that Nike and the NFL have extended their contract through 2019.

That leaves only one league with no major news this week: the NHL. Most published reports indicate that the league’s deal with Reebok expires in 2016, although one report says the deal runs through the end of the 2016-17 season. Either way, that’s pretty soon — we should expect to hear some news on that front shortly.

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Uni Watch Book Club: There’s a new children’s book called The Baseball Player and the Walrus, which is about, you know, a baseball player and a walrus. It’s a bit absurdist, and in a very endearing way.

But what about the uniforms? As you can see from the cover design at right (which you can click to enlarge), the ballplayer wears red/white cap, a blue-trimmed pullover jersey, and a yellow undershirt — an unlikely combination, to say the least.

Even weirder, the ballplayer’s pants appear to be blue jeans, as you can see here (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):


As an aside, I really like the fan wearing what appears to be a tequila sunrise jersey with a Charlie Brown zigzag pattern.

Getting back to the ballplayer, he apparently never removes his uniform. He’s shown wearing it while sitting around his house, while visiting the zoo, while resigning from the baseball team, and during his post-baseball life:


IMG_1383 IMG_1385 IMG_1386

Uni anomalies notwithstanding, it’s a very sweet book. You can order it here.

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T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club design for April, inspired by Jackie Robinson Day, is now available in home white and road grey versions, with all of my profits being donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which builds on Jackie’s legacy by providing college scholarships to disadvantaged students of color. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.

This design in on pace to be our biggest seller so far — very cool. Thanks, people!

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Uni Watch Hit Parade: Tobias Jesso Jr.’s first album, called Goon, just came out this month, but he’s apparently a big deal already, with recent appearances on The Tonight Show and Conan, sold-out club shows here in NYC next week, blah-blah-blah. Whatever — I hadn’t heard of him until yesterday, but I made up for lost time by playing Goon on Spotify auto-repeat for pretty much the entire day. Love at first byte.

Jesso is a 1970s-style piano-based singer-songwriter who plays slow-ish ballad-ish tunes with rock-solid rhythmic foundations, mostly about sad love. The party line, at least based on what I read about him yesterday, is to compare him to Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman, but Goon reminds me much more of the self-titled 1999 album by Michael Krassner, an underappreciated indie gem that I’m pretty sure nobody but me has (or ever had) on heavy rotation.

Anyway, here are three of Goon’s best tracks (and if anyone has spare tix to next week’s shows at the Merc or Baby’s All Right, feel free to slide them in my general direction):

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PermaRec update: My latest Permanent Record entry is about a Manhattan Trade School student who went back to night school to learn millinery 10 years after having learned dressmaking (and who, as you can see at right, had a great haircut). Get the full scoop here.

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’Skins Watch: There’s a high school basketball team called the Winnebago Indians that uses all sorts of a Native American imagery, and I’m totally cool with that. Why? Because they’re from a Native American school on a reservation in Nebraska. That’s who gets to use these types of names and images, kids — not some MLB team in Cleveland or an NFL team in Washington. ”¦ After lots of debate, public meetings, and boycotts by neighboring schools, the Buffalo-area Lancaster school district will no longer call its teams the Redskins. That decision prompted a protest yesterday. ”¦ Meanwhile, after a similar debate in West Hartford, Conn., the school board has voted to keep the team names Chieftains and Warriors but will rebrand those names to eliminate any Native American imagery (from John Dankosky). ”¦ A high school in Delaware will stop calling its teams the Redskins next season.

Baseball News: Here’s something from last year that I don’t recall coming across: Indians prospect Francisco Lindor suffered a non-displaced nasal fracture and ended up wearing an NBA-style mask, including at the Futures Game. Not sure I’ve ever seen a baseball player wearing that kind of mask. … Here’s another case of umps whose luggage had been lost. That’s Gary Cederstrom and Marvin Hudson working a Pirates/Expos game in Montreal on 6/19/2000 (nice find by Jerry Wolper). ”¦ Here’s a look at why ballplayers like to wear their caps backwards (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Here’s something I didn’t know until yesterday: Before the Expos had Youppi, they had a rather frightening baseball-headed mascot named Souki (from Joel Kirstein). ”¦ UVA will debut new uniforms tomorrow nite with reflective white trim throughout. I asked Rawlings, the manufacturer, if the reflective trim had any functionality aside from looking cool, and also asked if they had considered the potential problem of the reflections distracting the batter — no response. ”¦ You know the bat knob decal thing has hit the big time when the Yankees start doing it. ”¦ John Overton High in Nashville went a little overboard with the St. Paddy’s Day thing. ”¦ MLB commish Rob Manfred says there’s likely to be an exhibition game in Cuba next year. ”¦ This is pretty great: a uniform for a softball team sponsored by Thomas’ English Muffins.

Hockey News: The Utah Grizzlies, a team in the ECHL, have come up with a pro-military uniform without resorting to camouflage, although I’m not sure their approach to this topic really counts as an improvement.

NBA News: The Pelicans and Suns both wore their colored alts last night, creating a red vs. grey game in New Orleans. ”¦ Meanwhile, the Rockets wore their red alts at home, setting up a red vs. blue game against the Nuggets.

College Hoops News: As most of you probably know by now, Dayton F Dyshawn Pierre dropped trou on the court two nights ago. ”¦ I received dozens of emails and tweets yesterday asking why UAB players wear mismatched sneaker colors. Here’s the story behind that. ”¦ Ohio State was assessed a technical foul yesterday because of a mis-transcribed uniform number in the scorebook. ”¦ Notre Dame G Pat Connaughton likes to wear Batman socks (from Michael Kavanagh).

Soccer News: New kit for Portugal. ”¦ Reading will wear a uniform designed by a 14-year-old fan with muscular dystrophy (from Yusuke Toyoda). ”¦ Also from Yusuke: a time-lapse video of Yankee Stadium being prepared for NYCFC’s home opener. ”¦ Here’s a treat: video of a Colorado Caribous game from 1978. “There are even a couple of corner kicks where they go in tight enough on the Caribou to give us a good look at the fringe,” says Jerry Wolper. … Key quote from this story about a California girls’ youth league team called Ambush: “As for the team name, Ambush, [coach Jared] Jones said, ‘We were trying to find a name and someone said, “Ambush.” I thought that sounded pretty good.’ The trouble was, he said, ‘is that we wear neon yellow jerseys. It’s hard to ambush someone when you’re wearing something like that.'”

Grab Bag: Police in NYC are seeking three men who got into a St. Paddy’s Day bar fight while wearing Jets jerseys. … Disturbing news here in NYC, where pastrami prices are are so out of control that some deli owners are thinking of taking it off the menu.

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What Paul did last night will be doing tomorrow: Saturday is my birthday. I’ll be turning 51 (yes, I’m a fossil), although I don’t feel that old, for reasons I explained last year at this time, all of which still apply.

It’s supposed to snow here in NYC this afternoon into this evening, and then the snow will turn to rain overnight and into the early morning hours. That will keep a long-running streak intact, because it always — always — rains on my birthday. It started when I turned eight years old. We had some sort of outdoor activity planned, but it got rained out and I was inconsolable. So my father, thinking quickly, said, “Don’t you know? Rain on your birthday is a sign of good luck in the year to come!” — a very sweet lie that he made up on the spot. Ever since then, wherever I’ve been on March 21 (my hometown, up at college, or here in Brooklyn), it has rained. Well, a few times it snowed, and in 2003 it hailed, but I say those still count. It’s something I now look forward to, and I’d be disappointed if it didn’t happen.

I share my birthday with two great bluesmen — Otis Spann and Son House — so I’ll be playing their records tomorrow. Then I’ll be meeting up with a few friends for eats and drinks. One thing I won’t be doing is checking email or Twitter, so apologies in advance for not responding. Everyone have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week.

Comments (86)

    Uhh…probably a quick typo…but did your dad really say “Don’t know you”?
    Enjoy your snowy/rainy Bday.

    Happy b-day whippersnapper.

    Music recommendation: New Jersey band Streetlight Manifesto and the associated solo act Toh Kay. I’ve been obsessed with this stuff for nearly a year now.

    Oh man, the military dress hockey kits are the first time I have ever laughed out loud at a uniform. That is just fantastic in a completely unique and hideous way – like if John Waters directed a movie about an Army intramural club’s rise to fame. Priceless.

    Apparently the Utah jerseys made me laugh hard enough to skip the remainder of the post… so on that note, happy birthday, Paul. I’ve been a reader for much of the blog’s existence, and while I’ve infrequently commented under various aliases over the years, I can say with the utmost honesty that your site has given me more pleasure than any other sports site I have ever frequented. Cheers!

    Happy Birthday, Paul! And what a small world that the day I show up in New York for spring break is your special day! Should the roads be safe? If not, we are going to flip the trip and go to Ontario first and then New York at the end of the trip. Any suggestions on how to give a Yankees fan (not me) the best New York experience?

    Souki is definitely one creepy-looking mascot. I’m not surprised he ended up retired after just one season. Apparently, there’s even a bit of lore (not sure of its validity) that he once frightened one kid bad enough to provoke the kid’s father into attacking him.

    Souki also a seems a bit… bitter

    check out his “official” facebook page: link

    November 3, 2012 ·
    Was saddened to see the Washington Nationals make the MLB post season. Screech got too much attention. Go to hell Screech.

    January 26, 2012 ·
    As the new 2012 season approaches I’m considering a trip to Washington to beat the shit out of Screech the mascot. I’m a better looking mascot then she is!

    And is this evidence of that incident you described? Is this evidence of that fight? link

    Looks like a re-creation, maybe, considering the actual incident would’ve taken place in 1978, and that picture looks like it was taken much closer to its Facebook posting date of 2011, especially considering the guy with the “O’s” hat.

    Funny how it took a special occasion for you to take a break from email and twitter. Something we ALL should do WAY MORE OFTEN!!!
    Happy Birthday Paul from Stoney Creek, ON. Tip of the cap and cheers to you.

    That’s some nice wrist-slittin’ music.

    OK, bad taste perhaps.

    Jesso’s voice is effected and affected in overly Lennonesque way. Not my cup of tea.

    The link for the Reading soccer jersey designed by the kid with muscular dystrophy managed to get a html tag caught on the end of it and isn’t working. Should be this: link

    I think it’s a really nice design actually. Almost looks like something from the nineties with the subtle, watercolour-like gradients (there’s a more technical term for it I’m pretty sure but it’s eluding me right now).

    P.S. Happy birthday Paul. It almost always rains on my birthday too, but that’s just November in Ireland for you.

    As we know, MLB and baseball is generally slow when it comes to change. I imagine that MLB might just stick with Majestic just because they’ve been working together so long. That’s neither good nor bad to me because I don’t have any problems with Majestic doing MLB’s uniforms.

    Majestic pays MLB, not the other way around. (They get the exclusive right to sell jerseys.)

    Why again are we cool with Native Americans using the wrongly applied name Indians to themselves? Shouldn’t we stop perpetuating that major screw-up Europeans made? Now Native Americans misrepresent people from India. Seems if we’re going to be sensitive to others, that name should really get the kibosh.

    Also, what of Native American teams that use the Redskins name? I can’t remember what Paul has said about that. I don’t like it, but it’s not my place to dictate what they want to call their teams.

    “Why again are we cool with Native Americans using the wrongly applied name Indians to themselves?”

    I’ve never understood this. I like to reserve the word “Indian” for when I really mean *Indian*.

    American Indian is a perfectly acceptable term. And what’s particularly nice about it is American goes first…

    I know…a day late and a dollar short. I don’t usually check the comments. But I saw it at the end of today’s (tomorrow’s?) post. So I thought I would reply.

    When Columbus “discovered” America, India was not called India. It was called Hindustan. He didn’t think he was in India/Hindustan nor did he think these people were Indians (dot). Most likely, the word Indian comes from a letter that he wrote back in his poor Spanish in which he described the people that he found as “una gente in Dios.” A People in God.

    A couple of notes from the Arkansas/Wofford NCAA game. Arkansas posted a video on Facebook of them applying the NCAA patches to their uniforms. link

    The Hogs also had a player who lost a shoe when it flew off of his foot into the stands. A player from the bench threw a shoe to him during the next trip down the floor and Arkansas was assessed a Delay of Game Technical Foul. link

    I guess the disconnect comes in about the Native American imagery when at least one of the most vocal and publicized critics of the Washington Redskins name(Amanda Blackhorse), is a strong advocate of Red Mesa High School changing their Redskins nickname. Red Mesa HS will have none of it, but for some reason, we don’t see a Native American poll about local schools vs. pro teams using the Redskins nickname.

    Another disconnect is the idea Native American schools can use these names exclusively, because we don’t see this anywhere else among historically discriminated groups. I’ve never heard anyone of Irish descent complain about the ND Fighting Irish name or logo, and we just don’t see historic black colleges using controversial names and negative imagery from the past.

    Remember, though, that Notre Dame is an Irish Catholic University, so it is comparable to a Native American school using a Native American mascot.

    Notre Dame is a Roman Catholic university. The only thing Irish about it is the nickname.

    Red Mesa certainly complicates the issue, that’s for sure. The cultural misappropriation angle that Paul seems to go for really isn’t being used by the protesting Native Americans. Ms. Blackhorse and friends don’t seem to be making any claims that “this is OUR imagery and you shouldn’t use it”, they’re actively stating that it’s insulting/offensive/racist/etc. It’s really hard for me to take that claim seriously when you’ve got a Native American school proudly using the word for themselves.

    If you want to argue that only Native Americans should use Native American names/images, ok fine, but then we should apply that standard to every other culture too. Which means that we should just ban all cultural team names. So, you know… Goodbye Spartans, Trojans, Celtics, and Vikings, hello Wildcats, Tigers, Bears & Eagles.

    Thankfully, most Tiger-Americans outside of Detroit aren’t on the internet very often, so their protests are easily ignored.

    Amanda Blackhorse certainly has no authority to tell Red Mesa HS to change their nickname or mascot; against the NFL, she’s on more solid footing. When it comes to applying the standard to other cultural identities, wait until protesters with skin in the game raise their voice before entertaining the question. I hate “slippery slope” arguments.
    As for Red Mesa HS defending the NFL, I am eager to hear what other reservations think. I won’t give the Redskins a pass until some kind of consensus arises among Indian voices.

    Count me among the confused, too. The objection has now expanded beyond team names that are offensive/demeaning and the use of culturally-insensitive, cartoonish, & stereotype-perpetuating mascots, to any use whatsoever?

    I mean why were the Redskins and Indians singled out, but not the Braves or the Chiefs?

    OK, so re-reading Paul’s “open letter” about ‘skins Watch from a while back, I understand his position now – he objects to the use of Native American iconography by non-Native Americans (except, at the risk of putting words into his mouth, where the use is sanctioned, think Florida St. or Eastern Michigan). Period, end of story. Fair enough.

    Which means today’s post singling out some such users to the exclusion of others was needlessly confusing, he’d have been better served by saying “not some professional sports team” in lieu of “not some MLB team in Cleveland or an NFL team in Washington.”

    Except that it isn’t.

    The trademark lawsuit claims that the name & imagery is disparaging. The idea is that “Redskins” combined with the logo is actually harmful to the Native people. It has nothing to do with whether or not it’s OK for white people to use Native American imagery. The activists aren’t saying that their image is being stolen, they’re saying that the imagery being used is actually insulting/offensive to them.

    Of course those suing the USPTO regarding the Redskins trademark are arguing on the basis of “offensive or disparaging” language, not cultural misappropriation. That’s the legal standard established by federal law! Your objection is analogous to arguing that the government doesn’t care about murder because it prosecuted Al Capone for tax fraud, not for the murders he committed. In any particular legal case, each party makes the best case it can based on the available evidence and the standards of the law. A legal filing reveals essentially nothing about the true principles or values of the person making it.

    Might have to order that book for my adorable nephew. Thanks for featuring it!

    Good on the Connecticut school district. It’s not even a matter of justice for Native Americans or anything; if your nickname is “Chieftains,” and your mascot isn’t something like link or link, then you’re doing it wrong.

    OKs Cereal was promoted as “the best in oats”. The cereal pieces came in the shapes of the letters “O” and “K” and were said to taste similar the Cheerios. In fact, most cereal-historians believe OKs Cereal was a failed attempt by Kellogg’s to nab some of the market from General Mill’s very popular Cheerios.

    When the cereal was first introduced in 1959, the cereal box featured a character named Big Otis, a muscular man dressed in traditional Scottish apparel. As the cereal moved into the 1960’s, Hanna-Barbera’s popular cartoon character Yogi Bear became the face of the cereal. Yogi was usually pictured flexing his biceps, appearing much more muscular than he did in cartoons.

    From link

    OKs Cereal was promoted as “the best in oats”. The cereal pieces came in the shapes of the letters “O” and “K” and were said to taste similar the Cheerios. In fact, most cereal-historians believe OKs Cereal was a failed attempt by Kellogg’s to nab some of the market from General Mill’s very popular Cheerios.

    When the cereal was first introduced in 1959, the cereal box featured a character named Big Otis, a muscular man dressed in traditional Scottish apparel. As the cereal moved into the 1960’s, Hanna-Barbera’s popular cartoon character Yogi Bear became the face of the cereal. Yogi was usually pictured flexing his biceps, appearing much more muscular than he did in cartoons.”

    Mid-century breakfast cereal history is oddly fascinating. Thanks for the background on the kilted Yogi box!

    My personal favorite of the genre: Puffa Puffa Rice, which debuted to maybe the best TV commercial not involving the Hamm’s bear:


    Paul, didn’t realize until today you were donating the profits to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. That’s awesome. Many respects to you for setting an example. I bought my road gray. I may be the home white too since it will be supporting a terrific cause.

    Thanks, James. As I’ve said all along, beginning when I previewed the design here on the site last week, I have no desire to profit on Jackie’s name or legacy, and I’m proud to be donating my cut to his foundation. ESPN will match my donation (that’s their policy for charitable contributions), and Teespring may donate something as well.

    Thanks to ESPN for matching it. Get out there and buy these shirts everyone. The Jackie Robinson Foundation is a worthy cause. Education improves the lives and those who need help to get their education is a very worthy cause. BUY TWO SHIRTS! I am.

    Regarding TJ Jr., in style comparisons, I’m hearing ’70s era Lennon/McCartney all the way. “Without You” – Lennon
    “Hollywood” – McCartney

    Or, at least that was my initial impression. Getting into it a bit more, you can appreciate the tempo, long pauses, and his more unique vocal inflections. Dude is 6′-7″ too.

    Happy Birthday, Paul. If only I’d known, I’d have sent cookies. Easy to remember you age now–you are 10 years and 31 days younger than I am.

    Happy birthday to the blogkeeper.

    And is WNPR’s own John Dankosky a UniWatcher? If so, cool Maybe an upcoming issue of link can tell us more about how the new Hartford baseball team was named.


    The Majestic news reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to ask…the Yankees are the only MLB team that doesn’t wear the Majestic logo on the on-field tops and pants. Are their uni’s still made by Majestic, and if so are they exempt just because they’re the Yankees? Has this always been the case?

    Full disclosure, I am a Yankees fan and love how we are the one exception to this rule (as well as never wearing NOBs) but I’m surprised, as NYY are the only team in the 4 major sports whose uni’s don’t follow league protocol for logo placement etc.

    Pretty sure that yes Majestic makes the uniforms still, but in order to avoid clashing with the Yankees’ own official on-field apparel contract (used to be Adidas for the longest time, but that might have switched to Nike), Majestic holds the logos off the game-worn jerseys. But they still brand the hoodies, jackets, replica jerseys, and the all-stars’ game-worn jerseys in the ASG.

    That Colorado Caribou video … my goodness. Seems as though the uniforms were maybe one of the least of the problems with that team.

    1. Just the sound of the play-by-play man as he says, “And here come the Caribou.” Something about that just doesn’t scream “great soccer club.” I mean, yes, the Sting isn’t a great name, either, but the Caribou?

    2. So they’re playing at Mile High Stadium, which features dirt patches for, I presume, the Denver Zephyrs (that poor team, too). Tiny, tiny dirt patches including in front of the goal, that they don’t bother to cover, so you have balls that go from grass to dirt, except for the pitcher’s mound, which is covered with who knows what. Yup, that makes for great and fair soccer.

    3. There are so few fans, and they have the crowd mic turned up so high, that when the PA announcer says something, he sounds like he’s in your living room.

    That was … interesting. Glad soccer’s come a long way in this country.

    Wow… I’ll take “Hideous 70s Soccer Kits” for $200, Alex!

    Also, it’s downright eerie to see so much vacant turf behind the defined pitch, with the bench seemingly just floating in a sea of green.

    A small quibble: the Denver Bears were the American Association team contemporary with the Caribou. The Zephyr name came about around 1983.

    just want to correct all these people describing the UA shoes as ECO-COOLER……they mean ECTO-COOLER the hi-c flavor inspired by THE GHOSTBUSTERS and featuring SLIMER on the package. ECTO cooler not ECO cooler. hi-c wasn’t environmentally friendly it was named after the slime from the movies……

    I don’t see where you get “all these people” from one lone tweet linked in the Pat Connaughton Batman sock article. The only other tweet that comes up is one copy-paste RT of that same post, and nobody else here even brought it up.

    Just sayin’.

    Always appreciate your music recs. I have also been spinning that Tobias kid’s record. I actually have been enjoying this guys new record more. He was on Letterman last week.
    Andy Kim with Kevin Drew: “Sister OK” – David Letterman: link
    I guess he has been around for awhile and even wrote the Archies song “Sugar, Sugar”.
    Working now with Kevin Drew from Broken Social Scene. Good stuff.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY from a fellow dinosaur and uni-eccentric who happens to have been born 3.20.60! Keep up the great work and have another wonder filled year…

    Happy birthday, Paul! Hope you have a great day today, & that your next lap around the sun is a most excellent one. And, as always, thanks so much for all you do to keep Uni Watch such a fantastic place!

    Happy birthday, Paul! Here’s hoping you go through the day without seeing a single bit of purple.

    You and I share the 21st of March as our date of birth (I’ll be 63), so Happy Birthday to both of us.

    Thanks for continuing ‘Skins Watch. Little by little, some progress is being made.

    Oklahoma State versus Oregon. Neon v. neon. Who knew you could watch basketball and huff a buzz by just watching TV?

    “Tobias Jesso” happened to me about three weeks ago. Was watching late night TV (which I never do) and happened upon him playing “How Could You Babe”. I was pretty quickly hooked and have played a bunch of his stuff over and over like you have, literally dozens and dozens of times. I rarely pick up new music so my DJ friend was very impressed (70’s is my thing and he noted the classic sound of Tobias). Hope you found the live-ish bar version of Without You which is really good too. The album version was only released about a week ago and that really solidified the Lennon comparisons.

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