By Phil Hecken, with Jim Vilk
Yesterday we got our first look at this year’s Final Four floor, for the NCAA Tournament to be held in Indy next weekend. I like it. Notice anything different from past years?
That’s right, unlike in previous years, when the border was blue, this year it’s red. But it’s still one of those decidedly corporate things that really doesn’t fit the venue — you could pick this court up and plop it down in any arena or stadium in the nation and it would fit just as well. Still — the Final Four court is always better than the regional courts, which all look alike save for the location, which is stuck beneath the buckets. Always the same.
Now, I’m a big NCAA fan come tourney time, and I fondly remember many of the finals of my youth (I could still name the Fab 5 or the starting five for UNLV when they went for their undefeated season). But I’ve never really paid much attention to the courts. Fortunately, Jim Vilk is an aficionado when it comes to NCAA hoops — so I asked him if he’d like to pen a little diddy about NCAA courts. He gladly accepted.
So here’s Jumpin Jimmer Vilker with more on NCAA Courts of yore.
Yesterday’s unveiling of the Final Four court was a bit of a milestone, as this is now the 30th custom-made “final floor.” Unlike the awful corporately bland regional courts we’ve been subjected to for the past seven years, these courts have always had varying degrees of character and colors.
The first court, designed for the 1986 Final Four, was simple with an outline of Texas at midcourt and “NCAA” printed over top of it. The next two followed the same idea, with the same font on the baselines or sidelines and a unique midcourt logo.
It stayed that way until 1996, when they went with a little blockier font. Three years later, Tropicana Field hosted a colorful Final Four, with the area outside the key and inside the 3-point line painted for the first time.
2000 and 2001 were similar, but with basketball striping painted inside the 3-line.
After ten years of this template, will we see something new next year? Maybe they could go with a court like the one they used for the CBSSports Classic early-season tournament. I like the idea of putting the school logos on the floor, although they could be a little smaller.
Thanks, Jim! Appreciate the insight and your thoughts!
How about you readers? Do you guys like the look of the Final Four court (this year or any other)? How about the regional courts? Should the NCAA start thinking outside the corporate box and let the venues have some character? What would you like to see if you could change the courts? As always, post your answers in the comments below.
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a favorite weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.
Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series II
by Gary Chanko
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series II, restarts this week with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the original name of the Oakland A’s current home. The ballpark been in operation for nearly fifty years and is MLB’s fifth oldest active venue.
For the initial thirty plus years (1966”“1998) the stadium was known as Oakland”“Alameda County Coliseum. The last two decades have seen countless naming rights changes:
• Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (original-1998)
• UMAX Coliseum (1997, aborted)
• Network Associates Coliseum (1998-2004)
• McAfee Coliseum (2004-08)
• Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (2008-11)
• Overstock.com Coliseum (2011, briefly)
• O.co Coliseum (2011-current)
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Home of: Oakland Athletics (1968 to present), Oakland Raiders (1966”“1981, 1995-present); USFL Invaders, and other pro soccer clubs
Construction Started: May 1964; Opened: September 1966
Major Renovations: Mount Davis (1995-96)
Although originally designed as a multi-purpose stadium, with all the associated shortcomings, you’ll find many agree the Coliseum was once a great place for watching baseball. After the Mount Davis eruption in 1996, the now enclosed ballpark with an expanded (excess) seating capacity, fell into much disfavor and ridicule among the fans and ballpark critics alike.
This illustration reproduces the Coliseum’s right field scoreboard (the left field scoreboard was identical) as it appeared in the more appreciated initial years of operation. It was relatively free of commercial advertisements, complemented the ballpark architecture, and incorporated the latest display technology of the era.
A Few Things to Know
• The first game played in the new Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was not baseball. The AFL Raiders opened the Coliseum losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in September 1966. Baseball arrived two years later in 1968 when the Athletics relocated from Kansas City.
• “Even though the stadium opened in 1966 for the Raiders, there were not any large scoreboards in the outfield. It wasn’t until Finley (who was notoriously cheap) installed his $1 million exploding scoreboard in right field in June 1968 before the stadium had one.” Forum posting from Baseball Fever.
• The original scoreboard design echoes the Dodger Stadium design and operation. The right field side featured the game line score while messages and other game scores were displayed on the left field version. Check out this message.
• By the 80’s the original scoreboards were modified to provide more revenue producing ad space along with the addition of a new display in centerfield.
• The ballpark playing field is about 20-feet below grade. This architectural feature provides a visually impressive, low external profile with supposed easy fan access. Not so splendid is the calamity created when the below sea level sewage disposal system malfunctions.
• If you follow the never ending drama surrounding the replacement for the Coliseum, you know the A’s signed a ten year lease renewal last year. The lease expires after the 2024 season, but the A’s have escape clause after 2018. The city also has an escape clause if a new Raiders stadium necessitates demolition of the beloved Coliseum.
• In the meantime new LED scoreboards are planned for 2015 opening day! The last upgrade was way back in 1996 (I think!)
Next week Classic Ballpark Scoreboards journeys back across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for an opening day look at Candlestick Park.
If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at Classicscoreboards@gmail.com.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
First up today is Jim Vilk with a pair of concepts for the Buccos:
The Bucs should bring back their wonderful 1941 zippered uniforms, only in black and gold instead of blue and red. Made the home cap like the road cap and added more gold to the stirrups.
Then I thought of using the early 70s cap and logo.
Big block numbers on the back, and NNOB.
And we close today with TrÃ©s Lawless who has some concepts for the Miami Hurricanes, now that they’re with adidas:
Hi Uni-Watch & Phil,
Here is my concept for the Adidas outfitted Miami Hurricanes. The set includes green, orange, white, and smoke grÃ¦y outfits. Taking inspiration from the logo, elements such as shoulder/pant stripes, sleeve cuffs, cleat laces, sock details, and helmet stripes are orange on the left and green on the right when viewed from the front. The pant stripes match the shoulder stripes of its color-corresponding jersey, but the helmets, jerseys, pants, etc. can be mixed and matched. Hope you enjoy!
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
ESPN contest reminder: Remember, Paul is currently accepting entries for an ESPN contest to name and design a team for a prospective NHL expansion franchise in Las Vegas. Details here.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: There is some AWESOME vintage Phillies stuff, including Harry Kalas’ World Series Ring, and a Saturday Night Special uniform, up for auction (great find by Jonathan Daniel). … Wonderful photo (from Bruce Menard) of the World Champion New York Giants (taken in March 1922). Bruce notes that “Bancroft & Kelly are wearing the 1921 stirrups while Groh & Frisch have the newer 1922 striped versions on.” Also from Bruce, check out this 1930 poster of Babe Ruth’s “How To Play Baseball” in Japanese! … In the latest sign of Albany ethics madness, lawmakers on Thursday were forced to turn over Lou Gehrig bobblehead dolls given to them by the ALS Association this week because they’re deemed a violation of the Legislature’s gift ban. … Victoria’s Secret has a new “Pink” clothing line of MLB apparel for women. Best part? Most of the stuff isn’t pink. … New batting practice caps coming this season for the Visalia Rawhide (h/t MiLBPromos). … The Warshington Natinals are giving away a 10th Anniversary Livan Hernandez bobblehead. … Great find from Todd Radom: The 1903
Yankees Highlanders uniforms were described as “the swellest in the business”. Here are those same 1903 Highlanders animated (via Bruce Menard). …”Tony Taylor was one of the last big-leaguers not required to wear a batting helmet,” writes Chris Hickey. “I’m not sure if this has been featured before on UW, but I came across this photo of him. It shows Taylor wearing Philadelphia’s ‘Vet Stadium-era’ uniform (which debuted in 1970) in a game being played on what appears to be Batting Helmet Giveaway Day at Connie Mack.” … Three men who worked on the Safeco Field cleaning crew are charged with stealing more than 80 jerseys from a stadium retail kiosk at the end of last season. … “The demo to buy MLB.tv — a pretty high-profile service — has a member of the Royals mysteriously reversed (Check at 0:17 seconds),” writes Stephen Johnson. “Stays up for a good 3-4 seconds so it’s not like a quick shot that could have been easily missed. Since they’re all MLB-approved and official this seems like a very strange oversight.” … New murals went up at Wrigley Field yesterday (via MLB Cathedrals). … From Todd Radom again: “the many faces of Cleveland Indians Chief Wahoo, 1948.” … Check out this great photo from a 1911 baseball game at Georgetown (h/t Ghosts of DC). … Tucson High wore its camo jerseys with these hats to honor Chris Moon. “CMðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸11” (h/t The Cactus Pricks). … UNC honored the late Dean Smith by wearing cap patches (thanks to James Gilbert). … Beautiful Dutch Leonard colorization (from Old Baseball Photos. … Tweeter Adam Vitcavage asks, “Did we see this? Derek Jeter hat with all of his accomplishments and signature in gold?” … Pretty good matchup Thursday night in Chicago high school baseball. Both St. Rita and Simeon wear stirrups! Full gallery here (thanks to Mike Chamernik). … We’ve seen this before, but here’s a pic of Joe Sewell after Cleveland won the World Series (from Douglas Ford).
College/Arena/HS/Pro Football News: Reader B. David Zarley wrote this story on the NCAA’s attempt to ban crop tops. His angle? “I kept it pretty tongue-in-cheek; I’m also pretty proud of the subtext; I’ve been trying to tweak the usual gender representations in sportswriting (women: talk bodies, maybe skill! men: DO NOT TALK BODY) and they really let me go for it on this one. As a matter of fact, our EIC called me their most homoerotic sportswriter on Twitter, which I’m taking as a point of pride.” … After weeks of speculation, it’s now confirmed: Legends jerseys are out, and pride sticker will return to the helmets at Michigan, under new coach Jim Harbaugh. … Fun Fact, From 1934-1947 MSC (Michigan State College, as it was then known) Football jerseys were Black & Gold (h/t Joey Zurek). … Couple items from Ian Borkowski: Portland Thunder endzone banner and players wearing captaincy patches. … “Lot of interceptions thrown that day,” writes Matt Steinmetz. “Confusing freshman football matchup. White-White-White vs. White-White-Light Gray.” … “I wanted to share this very unusual Cowboys helmet,” writes Aaron Roggensack, “with a pentagram made up of actual Cowboys logos, which I found at Goodwill.” OK then. Actually, that’s a pretty good price.
NBA/College/High School Hoops News: … Here’s how the Hawks floor looked for 2 Chainz night (via Andrew Schmitt). … Thursday night, Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers was spotted at the Tourney — Johnny Okray points out that Rodger’s cap was made by Von Zipper, and called “A-Aron Fitted”. … Officials at Wichita East High School in Kansas are under fire after a special needs student was told he could not wear a varsity letter jacket because he was not competing at a varsity level (thanks, Brinke). Here’s a bit more on that (thanks to WK). … Last night you may have noticed Louisville wearing yellow shoe laces — it was for pediatric cancer awareness). … In anticipation of next week’s High School All-American game, the Jordan statue got a new jersey (via 120Sports). … Speaking of the McDonalds HSAAG, check out the insoles in some of the shoes to be worn for that game. … With the NCAA tourney in LA, Staples Center got a makeover, creating “a blank slate for a new set of corporations to move in” (thanks to Russ Havens). … UCLA ditched their awful waist stripe unis vs. Gonzaga last night. … Unfortunately, Louisville & NC State stuck with theirs. … “RIP Hot Rod Hundley,” writes Douglas Ford (Jerry West on the right). … More on Fuck: “F__k allowed to use his name in Alberta basketball league” (from JHThompsen).
Hockey News: The Texas Stars, an AHL team, wore these camo jerseys for their game last evening (h/t to Zach Walther). … Here’s an article that argues the Avalanche should wear white at home (as God intended). … Here’s a look at the mask Henrik Lundqvist will wear when he returns to the ice today (via Matthew Malone).
Soccer News: The Airdrieonians (a Scottish
soccer football club), have been told to stop using their club badge as it breaks heraldic law (thanks to George Chilvers, who deems the move “madness”). … West Bromwich Albion have announced that for their Premier League match with Leicester City they will wear a special kit to pay tribute to their legendary striker Jeff Astle (h/t Wayne Muller). … The new Europa League ball features the new UEL logo (thanks to Conrad Burry). … Reading F.C., a 2nd level team in the English Football pyramid, will wear a shirt designed by a 14-year old special needs child, which is awesome (thanks to Zac Neubauer). … Apparently the Man City home jersey has leaked. … The goalposts at the Empire Stadium at Gzira, Malta not only were striped, but had an extra support in the middle for the net, instead of the usual two seen at other stadiums (from Graham Clayton).
Grab Bag: At O’Hare airport, the various levels are Chicago sports-themed. You can look here to see the Cubs on the lowest level jokes (thanks to J. Walker). … Here’s a fantastic photo of a young Bubba Watson (and two-time Masters Champion) wearing knickers and argyle socks on the course (great find by Seth Shaw). … Speaking of “golf” (baseball) shoes, reader Chris Lamping writes, “I forgot to send these pics. ‘My dog’s Christmas present to me.’ I can take better pics, they came with the original box, I’m afraid to wear them for anything but managerial duties” … “I am almost as interested in license plates, highway signs, and other government-produced ‘artwork’ as I am in uniforms,” writes Neil Vendetti. Here’s “an LA-based artist’s project to design and install a very functional piece of ‘art’. There is an embedded video which is well worth the 10 minute investment.” … If you want to watch the 2015 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship (especially the USA), you can — just go here for details. … The Maryland Terps’ ladies lax team has new uniforms. … Interesting Texans/Astros/Rockets mashup (from Eric Youngdahl). … Check out this shot of Gale Sayers on the cover of Dell Sports magazine, September 1967 (h/t The Press Room).
That’s it for today. Big thanks to Jim, Gary, the concepters and everyone who sent in for the ticker. Catch you tomorrow.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“After reading this story about the student with Down Syndrome being barred from wearing his letterman jacket and the story about the student newspaper editor who was suspended for refusing to print a team nickname she considered a racial slur, I am convinced that the only qualification necessary to be a high school principal nowadays is to be as big of a jackass as possible.”