By Phil Hecken
If you have been watching baseball (and the Yankees) lately, you may have heard the team has been doing quite well of late. In fact, going into last evening’s game against the Orioles, the Yanks had gone 15-5 since losing on Jackie Robinson Day. After last night’s win, they improved to 16-5 over that time. What could possibly be fueling this run of good play?
It’s gotta be the mustaches.
Several weeks ago, Brett Gardner, their left-fielder and wearer of high-cuffs, began growing a mustache (it’s since begun to fill in nicely) to break out of a slump. It worked, and the Yanks started winning too. Perhaps as a “team bonding exercise” or perhaps because the play was improving, a number of Yankees also began growing mustaches, and the winning ways have continued.
So the team is keeping the mustaches.
Now, teams doing something with facial hair and streaks is nothing new — in the NHL, the “Playoff Beard” is basically required. You also had the Red Sox doing that whole long shaggy beard thing a couple years ago. So, the Yanks aren’t exactly breaking new ground here. But they are kind of being rebellious.
The Yankees, as you’re probably all aware (or should be), have continued a Steinbrenner-era dictate that no player can have facial hair other than a mustache. No beards, no goatees, not even well-groomed ones. So, while what the Yankees themselves are doing isn’t unique, that the prim-and-proper Yankees are going a team-wide mustache bonding thing is unique, and newsworthy.
The Yankees themselves, normally reserved (OK, maybe their social media department isn’t as reserved) have been promoting the whole thing:
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 8, 2015
Is this really something all that newsworthy? Apparently so — but the bigger question is: if the Yankees weren’t winning (but were, for some other reason, group-mustaching), would anyone care? Is the streak simply coincidental or do the media (and fans), and more-importantly, the players, think the streak is a by-product of the mustaches?
You know the dialog from Bull Durham:
Crash Davis: I never told him to stay out of your bed.
Annie Savoy: Yes you did.
Crash Davis: I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak.
Annie Savoy: Oh fine.
Crash Davis: You know why? Because they don’t – -they don’t happen very often.
Annie Savoy: Right.
Crash Davis: If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you *are*! And you should know that!
So if the Yankees are on a winning streak, and it’s because of the mustaches, they have to respect the streak, right? And Yankee management, so long as the mustaches are kosher, has to go along with it, right?
What do you guys think? Is there anything at all to the mustaches and the streak (or playoff beards, or wearing women’s underwear) … or is it all just purely psychological? Or is it more — do things like growing facial hair, or all wearing stirrups, or whatever actually cause a team to play better? Could the ‘group-think’ employed in these cases actually help gel a team? Have any of you ever played a sport (or been in any situation, office, school — whatever) where you and your teammates/co-workers/classmates all acted in a similar manner and it caused a win, or other positive result?
I’m not buying that the Yanks (or any team) is winning because (or even in spite) of the facial hair, but it sure seems to be working. What do you guys think?
Let’s hear it!
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
This week we visit a mid-twentieth century Midwest ballpark with a unique history and a mammoth scoreboard.
Home of: Minneapolis Millers (AA) (1956”“1960), Minnesota Twins (1961-1981), Minnesota Vikings (1961-1981), Minnesota Kicks (NASL) (1976”“1981)
Opened: April 1956. Last baseball game: September 30, 1981.
Demolished: January 1985
Raised up from farmland south of downtown Minneapolis, Metropolitan Stadium was the home for the Minnesota Twins (and Vikings) for twenty-one seasons. More commonly known as the Met, or the Old Met, it retains a special place in the memories of Twins’ fans. The interesting and complete history of Metropolitan Stadium is covered in this SABR article.
Met Stadium closed after 1981 pro football season and sat vacant for several years before demolition in 1985. The site is now occupied by the well known Mall of America. Inside the Mall you will find commemoratives of the Met, including a plaque marking the location of home plate. For a comprehensive historical retrospective of the Met, including a great collection of images, you may want to visit this tribute to Metropolitan Stadium.
The scoreboard was a prominent part of Met Stadium from the initial years when it served as the home field for the Minneapolis Millers. This photo shows the initial configuration with large advertisement panels (Grain Belt and Gluek beer ads?) flanking the center section. And, of course, that ubiquitous Longines clock.
When the Twins arrived in 1961 the scoreboard layout was reconfigured to include AL and NL games scores. Advertising panels were placed along the top. Photos show the center section was initially painted black. At some point in the 70s the center section color became blue.
Although I found no information concerning the scoreboard manufacturer, many of the design details (such as the matrix display panels) and layout are similar to those found in Connie Mack Stadium and Yankee Stadium during this time period.
The illustration depicts the scoreboard during the last home game of the 1978 season. It was, unfortunately, HOF member Rod Carew’s last home appearance for the Minnesota Twins.
A Few Things to Know
• Several years prior to becoming the Twins, the Washington Senators played the Phillies at the Met in an exhibition game during the 1958 All-Star break.
• The Chicago Cardinals played two home games in Met during the 1959 NFL season.
• Met Stadium was the first baseball stadium (or one of the first) to utilize cantilever construction design. This approach avoided the use of support columns that obstruct views of the playing field.
• The Twins O Gram message board section of the scoreboard was a mainstay from the beginning. The operation is described here. Twins-O-Gram! Scoreboard messages live on in the current Target Field. You can purchase your own personal message for a mere $77.
• The Twins were reportedly the first ballpark to display home run distance. Distances were estimated using a table covering the location of outfield seats.
• In the late 60s and early 70s, Midwest Federal was a scoreboard advertiser. Players hitting the adverting sign atop the scoreboard would have won $50,000! I guess no one ever collected, but on July 5, 1969, Reggie Jackson did hit the scoreboard with a 500-ft plus bomb.
Some Unresolved Questions
When the American League expanded to fourteen teams in 1977, the Met scoreboard seemingly did not follow suit. Photos of the scoreboard just prior to demolition appear to show the AL scores configuration unchanged from twelve teams. The bottom portion was normally used for listing the game umpire crew.
It would be interesting to know how the “missing” AL game score was handled.
Classic Scoreboards next stop is a visit to a ballpark celebrating a centennial anniversary.
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 Larry Piklor who created some fantasy team concepts:
I’ve been a Uni-Watch reader / fan for a while now and I’m always fascinated by the tweaks and concepts that people submit. I’ve also been running a fantasy baseball team ”“ the Piklor Dills – in the Greater O’Hare Baseball League (GOBL) since 1984 (one of only three remaining original members!).
To commemorate a (rare) championship season a couple of years ago I whipped up a concept of what our uniforms would look like. I’d love to know what you think! (The lettering in the league logo changes every year to match the champion’s colors from the previous season).
I’ve also attached my team logo / sleeve patch from that year and 2015 as well as a 2013 concept for my brother’s team, the London Werewolves.
King of the Dills
Next up is Derick Lazaro, who submitted this Milwaukee Bucks logo redesign before the new one was released:
Hey Paul & Phil,
I’ve always loved the site, thanks for all of the great content!
I was at the Warriors/Bucks game with a buddy last night and we started talking about the Bucks logo and how it could really use a refresh. I drew this up today during my lunch break, thought I’d pass it along!
The color scheme remains the same, but we lose the actual “buck” in exchange the more modern antlers interpretation. Stronger type treatment, complete with a reference to the long history of the franchise. Simple, clean update. I’m not even a Bucks fan, just love this type of stuff. What do you think?
Keep up the great work,
And we close today with JarretÃ© Barnett who submitted a bunch of UConn football concepts:
These are concept uniforms and helmets I created on my own accord as a UConn football fan. Their present uniforms are too generic and uninspired. I’m obviously submitting these with the hope of seeing
these posted on Uni Watch. If you have any more questions, you can reach me at this email address.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Each Saturday or Sunday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend and the current weekend.
Here is the EPL tracker for Weeks 34 & 35 (click to enlarge):
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Here’s a pretty solid look for Maryland baseball, unfortunately there is the awful logo placement on the stirrups (nice spot by 213 Miles From Shea). … After a couple decades of fakes and ripoff *authentic* home runs balls and other MLB items sold to collectors, the MLB now has an “authenticity police” force stationed in MLB parks throughout the leagues (from Tommy Turner). … Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnell had a League of Their Own reunion Thursday — here’s a bit more on that. … Great article from Jesse Spector on there not being enough Twins players on the field during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. … Star Wars night for the Iron Pigs last night, and this was one of the more clever jerseys. … Here’s a sneak peek of the Braves’ Cameron Maybin’s pink Mothers Day cleats (h/t Mike Nessen). … “The Kansas City Royals posted the attached photo of Dennis Leonard from the 70s in honor of his birthday this afternoon,” writes Adam Franz. “I’m assuming he is wearing a BP jersey because the photo looks to be taken at Royals Stadium. Is there any precedent for the Royals wearing solid tops for home games before 1994? I thought the numbers on the sleeve were unique for any Royals jersey.” … Nice follow-up e-mail to Paul’s lede yesterday notes, “I got an email from the Angels today (while I’m a Dodgers fan I live in Orange County and go to Angels games on occasion) that says, ‘This Is The Cap of 30 Teams, 27 Cities, And 1 Nation,’ writes Chris Cruz. “Cap design aside (which you’ve already covered), someone forgot to tell Canada that the US has annexed it. Someone also forgot to tell MLB that even though the Angels’ formal name is the ‘Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim,’ there are indeed 28 cities hosting MLB teams as Anaheim is it’s own distinct political entity (it’s even in another county). Shameful stuff all around.” … Well, it had to happen sooner or later: Last evening in Philly, the Mets wore their alternate road blue unis (which have a special cap with a silver interlocking NY), and sure enough, injured pitcher Dillon Gee had on the wrong one (thanks, Paul). … The El Paso Chihuahuas wore pink camo jerseys last evening (via Aaron Rich). … Looks like Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz wears a helmet with a different number than his uni number (h/t Matt Connelly). … Last night, both the Isotopes and River Cats wore black softball tops (via Kenton Bevacqua).
NFL News: You know all those veterans we see being honored on the big screen at NFL games? Well, the National Guard has paid NFL teams millions to honor veterans on the Jumbotron. And here we thought the NFL was
pandering saluting them out of the goodness of their hearts. Here’s a bit more on that (from Tommy Turner). … Do we have a ‘leak’ letting us know the Dolphins new alternate jersey will be orange? (h/t Tom Ferrer). And this tweet is cryptic, but is it possible the Dolphins will reveal the alt jersey today (h/t Preston Feiler)? … I’m pretty sure we covered this last year, but apparently Dockers sells Game Day rooting pants for the Giants. … Here’s a look at Jameis Winston in Bucs’ gear (from Matt Fedorka). … “I guess Lids hasn’t gotten word that the Browns #1 pick had a number assigned to him already,” writes Tony Crespo. “So they photoshopped ‘TBD’ on a blank jersey.” … A few veteran Seahawks have changed their jersey numbers, and the new crop of draft picks and UDFAs have been issued their digits as well (from Kyle Hanks). … I’m not 100% certain when or why Gronk was given a cake, but the sleeve of the cake has a Reebok logo (via Brenton Giordano).
Basketball News: Here’s a team with a a very interesting name (via Paul). Check out the awesome stirrups that go with it!
Hockey News: Here’s a pretty good piece from the NYT entitled, “Slushy Ice Is Springtime Hazard, Even as Arena Crews Sweat to Keep Cool Air In,” which as the title implies, details the pitfalls of playing hockey inside during warmer weather (thanks, Paul). … Friendly rivalry? D’baggery? Freedom of Speech issues? It seems the Tampa Bay Lightning have been banning Montreal Canadiens jerseys from their home playoff games. A closer examination, however, reveals that it’s not throughout the entire arena (only the first few rows and certain sections). Still — reminds me a little of the Diamondbacks policies in this regard. They’re also only selling tickets to Florida residents. … “Came across this pic of the Isles’ John Tonelli wearing a blue helmet with the team’s home white uni,” writes Eric. “Caption indicates this was a home game on October 16, 1979 at Nassau Coliseum. I’ve never seen this blue helmet-white uni combo. Any idea of the backstory?”
Soccer News: Great article by Travis Waldron on how the DC United soccer team will be working with DC Vote, an organization that advocates for full Congressional representation and budget autonomy for the District, to discuss a collaboration on a design for the team’s 2016 primary jersey. … Split scarves, or scarves that have the names and crests of both teams competing in a given soccer match, are raising the hackles of many fans (thanks to Tommy Turner).
Grab Bag: Here’s a nice little piece on the evolution of women’s athletic uniforms. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Bit of a mascot drama at Rutgers, as reader DenverGregg points out “The university will add add homosexual, female, transgender and multiple racial incarnations of the Scarlet Knight to more accurately represent the student body.” … We don’t usually link to Politico articles, but this one that notes President Obama’s choice of Nike for pro-trade speech stirs controversy is uni-notable. …”When I saw the Farm Safety announcment on Donegal’s jerseys I noticed that the shirt has the three stripes but no Adidas logo,” says Stefan Schubert. “I first thought that was due to the special jersey so I went to their website, only to find out that the outfitter indeed is not Adidas but O’Neills Irish International Sports Company. Their stuff looks like it came direktly from Herzogenaurach WOW. Never thought a sporting goods giant such as Adidas would let that happen. I googled the issue but could not come up with much. Here is something I found in a forum.” … Is this the best license plate ever? I vote yes (h/t Brandon Moore).
Thanks going to do it for today. Thanks to Gary, Alex and of course, the concepters, and anyone who tweeted or e-mailed in. I will catch you guys tomorrow. Have a great Saturday.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken..
“Like a politician wants votes, a company wants you to feel good about them and their products. You see, both Democrats and Republicans understand that it’s not enough to just shake hands and kiss babies. You have to be SEEN shaking hands and kissing babies.”
— Uni Troll