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The Rays Relocation Redesign Contest

Ex-Rays 550

By Phil Hecken, with R. Scott Rogers

If you read the comments section yesterday, or happened to see this article, then you know there is a real possibility of the Tampa Bay Rays being ‘relocated.’ And, if you’re wondering about that supposed ‘iron-clad’ lease, well, here’s what that article says:

Even though their lease runs through 2027 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, the Rays, who struggle to put fans in the seats in their current ballpark, could be moving cities within the next year. In fact, owner Stuart Sternberg said last week that he would sell the team if this was the outcome and that new ownership would almost surely move the team.

No sooner had the news gotten out that my buddy, R. Scott Rogers, posted this in the comments: “How about a weekend contest series for Rays relo, with voting by the quality of concept design rather than the merits of the city? Phil?”

I love that idea. So, I asked Scott if he wouldn’t mind drafting up the particulars, which he’s graciously done, and they are below:

. . .

Rays, the Final Frontier … The Clothes Make the Franchise … Moving Rays Along
By R. Scott Rogers

“News” flash: The Tampa Bay Rays may be on the move, and soon, after an adverse vote from the St. Petersburg city council. Thankfully, we can all trust Commissioner Manfred to oversee relocation the the most deserving city — the city whose fans show the most devotion to the game, or whose fans have suffered the indignity of prior relocation trauma, or whose fans have been jilted before by teams threatening a move to extort taxpayer giveaways from their hometowns.

OK, OK, stop laughing. We can trust Commissioner Manfred to hand the keys to the Rays kingdom over to the owners who are willing to pass him (and MLB’s 29 other owners) the fattest envelopes of cash, and the city that’s willing to offer the juiciest package of public subsidies. So if deserve will have nothing to do with it, how about we judge potential new homes for the Rays on a better basis than filthy lucre? And so we have …

The Rays Relocation Redesign Contest

… in which we, the UW community, will help Commish Robby out by choosing new cities and nicknames and designing new uniforms for the relocated Rays franchise. Then we’ll help him out even more by voting for the best option based entirely on the quality of the uniform design, not how deserving of or ready for big-league baseball the city in question might be.

Ground Rules:

• Choose a city and a nickname, and design team uniforms (home and road, at least one cap, any alternates beyond that are optional).

• No use of current or past modern-era big-league city/nickname combos. Entries for the Montreal Voyageurs will be accepted; entries for the Montreal Expos will be disqualified.

• Cities must be at least plausible, geographically. The Honolulu Islanders or Havana Missiles, sure, why not. The Buenos Aires Horneros or Amsterdam Watergeuzen, not so much.

• Phil will collect entries into groups (depending upon the number of entries received), and we’ll vote, UWFFL-style, to advance the best concepts from group stage to head-to-head final rounds.

• All entries are due JUNE 28, 2015 (by Midnight).

. . .

Thanks Scotty!

As with all prior contests, please send me your submission(s) at

I think this can be a really fun contest, especially because there are probably at least a dozen viable cities to host an MLB team (including some not necessarily in the continental US), and the design possibilities are endless. You MAY submit more than one entry, but if you do, please send it as a separate e-mail. Mark all e-mails with the subject line: Rays Design Contest. The relocated team must have a new name. Please keep your writeup to 50 words or less.

OK? OK! Let’s get cracking on this Uni Watch designers!

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classic scoreboards splash

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

In this edition of Classic Scoreboards we’re off to Bayou City and the first home of the Houston Colt 45s, Colt Stadium.

Colt Stadium_UW_Rev1

Colt Stadium

Home of: Houston Colt 45s (1962-64)
First MLB Game Played: April 10, 1962
Last MLB Game Played: September 24, 1964
Disassembled and Relocated: 1970

Miserably hot and humid, mosquito infested, and thankfully temporary, is just about all you need to know about Colt Stadium. It was located a few hundred yards from the site of the (already under construction) Astrodome.

There wasn’t much time spent researching suitable playing facilities before Houston was awarded a MLB franchise. The old minor league ballpark, Buff Stadium, was limited both in capacity (14,000) and parking.

The new owner’s solution was a $2 million temporary ballpark. The new 32,000-seat Colt Stadium was erected in about four months. It was a single tier ballpark without overhead cover. All the seating was either bleachers or folding chairs.


Trivia Time: Colt Stadium fans were escorted to their seats by these ushers.

What was their unique name? Answer is below.


The scoreboards, spread across center field in two parts, were similarly minimal. The left side displayed Al and NL games while the right side featured the game line score and line ups. Scoreboard operation was all manual except for electronic Ball-Strike-Out, Batter and Batting Average indicators Oddly, the Hit or Error indicators were located on the left hand scoreboard.

This scoreboard graphic recreates the first game of the new NL expansion team, the Houston Colt 45s played on April 10, 1962. As the game begins, Bobby Shantz is on the mound to face future Hall of Famer, Lou Brock.

A Few Things to Know

• Colt Stadium may have been the only ballpark in MLB history purposely built as a temporary facility. As a temporary facility it was easily dismantled and sold to the Torrean Cotton Pickers of the Mexico League. It was moved again to Tampico, as the home to the Tampico Stevedores. Today portions of the remaining seats survive in a public Tampico playground.

• MLB’s first Sunday night baseball game took place on June 9, 1963 in Colt Stadium – a concession to Houston’s brutal daytime heat.

• Did Colt Stadium have the essential LONGINES Official Time clock? Yes, in fact, it did. It was located down the right field line, but might not have been installed for the inaugural season. (Visible in this video clip at the 7:10 mark)


Trivia Answer: Colt Stadium ushers were called, I’m not making this up, “Triggerettes.”


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

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all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

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 Mike Justman with some soccer concepts:

Torrent 1 - Mike Justman

Torrent 2 - Mike Justman

Hey Phil & Paul,

My name is Mike and I’m a graphic designer/freelance artist/photographer/full time Dad. I have loved art for as long as I could draw, and I graduated in 2006 with a degree in Graphic Design. Post-college, I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects from band press kits to traditional dog portraits and everything in between.

Milwaukee Wisconsin will be getting their first pro soccer team since the Milwaukee Rampage ended in 2002. So naturally, the soccer community is stoked. A few samples circulated and the first thing I thought about was “hey, I could do better!” I’ve had quite an interest in kits and the design process for quite a while now so this was right up my alley. So I put together some home kit designs using a template another Photoshop aficionado set up for free usage.

I submitted my first home kit and the Torrent fans loved it. A few edits here and there and it was the favorite among the other concepts. Recently, I completed an away kit that also received some love. I never thought the kit concepts would get such positive feedback. I can only hope they decide to pick them and the team comes out in 2016 wearing my kit design :)

Mike Justman

. . .

And we close today with James Gilbert with some new Carolina jerseys:

alt_UNC_bball_jerseys - James Gilbert


First of all, I love, love, love what UNC has done with the refresh/update of its uniforms and logos for the most part, however I could do without the black. Yes, black is the color of tar, but Florida doesn’t have green uniforms just because an alligator is green.

Just for fun I wanted to see what the jerseys might look like if they used the ‘script’ logos set aside for baseball and softball (nickname on home jersey, location name on away jersey). Please excuse the inelegance of these renderings.



. . .

And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.

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colorize this

Colorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Last week, Paul ran this photo gallery of Steelers football in the ticker. Intrepid reader Brian Forosisky colorized one last time, and is back again today with a second colorization from that set:

nfl_mezz_1280_1024_COLORIZED-2 - Brian Forosisky

Hey Paul & Phil,

Not to over-colorize my welcome, but I had such a good time editing that last Steelers photo that I thought I’d do another from that set. I think this one turned out pretty nice.

Brian Forosisky

. . .

Up next is a man named Chris Whitehouse, who has a shit-ton of colorizations (I’m just including two below as examples, but you can check out the links in the writeup for many more):

mancave1 - Chris Whitehouse

mancave2 - Chris Whitehouse

Hi Paul & Phil,

I just came upon your site while researching warm up sweaters, and I thought that you might like some of the work that I’ve done.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting deep into your archives from now on. Thanks!



Chris Whitehouse
ManCave Pictures

That’s it for today — but hey colorizers — there are some great shots in that gallery, if anyone wants to take a stab at some of the others.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: The Reds dusted off their St. Paddy’s Day jerseys last night for Irish Heritage Night. Additional photos here ”¦ The Phillies and Cardinals wore 1960s throwbacks last night. Oddly, the Cards design was from 1961 and Phils uni was from ’69. Unusual to see the clock turned back to two different years in the same game. Additional photos here. ”¦ Syracuse Chiefs fans can now put their loved ones’ names on a Chiefs jersey as part of an anti-cancer initiative (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Man, the Single-A Tampa Yankees’ jerseys sure look rinky-dink. Also, note the helmet logo — perfect if your name is Ty. … Pretty hideous reflective cap for the San Jose Giants. … Whoa, check out this artist who does great baseball-themed paintings on bats and balls (big thanks to Erik Spoonmore). … Superhero jerseys last night for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. … The Rockies have two bobblehead giveaways coming up this summer (from Mark Johnson). … This is weird: the Yankees’ 40-man roster has two guys listed as No. 31 (Ramon Flores and Gregorio Petit) and two more listed as No. 65 (Bryan Mitchell and Jose Ramirez). True, there are no same-numbered players on the 25-man, but it’s still odd (from Dave Feigenbaum). … The Fresno Grizzlies wore Fresno Tigers throwbacks last night. Here’s a slightly better look at the awesome sleeve patch. One problem, though: They wore the cream-colored jerseys with white pants (from @Nathan_3535 and Andrew Haynes). ”¦ It sounds like an Onion story, but it’s for real: The Orem Owlz — that’s a Class-A Angels affiliate — have scheduled a “Causcasian Heritage Night” for later this summer. Hey, what could go wrong? “I wish I was making this shit up,” says Rusty Morgan. “I also sometimes wish I wasn’t a Utah native.” ”¦ Wait, check that: The Orem Owlz won’t be doing Caucasian Heritage Night after all, imagine that. ”¦ Yoda-themed jerseys last night for the Tennessee Smokies (from Chris Hawkins). ”¦ Ugly Xmas sweater jerseys last night for the Lakewood BlueClaws (from Steve Feitl). ”¦ A Reds batboy — or ballboy? — was wearing a St. Paddy’s Day jersey yesterday (from Mike Cole). ”¦ Alzheimer’s awareness jerseys last night for the Rochester Red Wings (from Andy Rauh).

NFL News: If NFL team logos were Canadian, they might look like this (from @dbloomy). … And by the same token, here’s a set of Americanized CFL team logos (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Players at various OTA camps have been spotted wearing team-logo visors. Yeah, it’s cool, but remember, those can’t be worn in a game — only for practice sessions (from Josh Cashman).

NBA News: Here’s one writer’s pick for the three worst uniforms in NBA history (thanks, Phil). … This is pretty brazen: The Bucks’ new logo hasn’t even appeared in a game yet but it’s already been appropriated by a Wisconsin high school.

Grab Bag: Looks like Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner got himself a Blackhawks practice jersey and had a captain’s “C” sewn onto it (from @MBDChicago). … New retro soccer kit for West Ham United, to mark their final season at Upton Park. … Here’s a look at the best airline uniforms of 2015 (thanks, Brinke). … Tennessee athletics isn’t supposed to unveil its new look until July 1, but merch is already showing up in stores. … Chambers Bay has the longest par-4 holes in U.S. Open History. Here’s an infographic on how they played on the first day of the tourney. ”¦ Good story about how four flag designs have been in the news this week.

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And that’s going to do it for today — big thanks to Scotty for his idea for the lede, Gary, the colorizers and concepters, and Paul for the ticker. Everyone have a great day and I’ll be back tomorrow with a wonderful Father’s Day tribute to our dads. You don’t want to miss that one.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“Arsenal ‘road kit’??? Oh dear :(“

–George Chilvers

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Comments (42)

    Those are very natural looking colourizations…love the Steelers photo as a fan of that team.

    Doesn’t the first baseball item about the Reds wearing the St. Patrick’s Days uniforms (which look bad with all the red accessories) supersede the one about the batboy/ballboy that’s next to last?

    Shouldn’t the Phillies’ throwback numbers be much bigger? And, IIRC, sans-serif?

    Yes, the Phillies throwup numbers were seriously undersized, the batting helmet “P” was totally wrong, and the stirrups were simply the current ones with the Liberty Bell logo. Why and how Majestic gets this wrong every year is a mystery- beyond incompetence.

    the Phillies throwup numbers were seriously undersized

    Undersized numbers make me want to throw up.

    I’d love to see more accurate Phils throwbacks, but I’m also thankful for an occasional break from the current unattractive number font. I also prefer no blue on the standard home pinstripes. The Phillies still have my favorite uniform in MLB but I wish when they adopted the current set, they’d have just gone back to the 1950s-60s design.

    I hate soccer but mike justman’s concepts look great. What software or website was used to design those?

    Those NFL/CFL logos are clever

    The new Tennessee wordmark looks awful, what’s with the two different styles of the “N”. The second one, without the shaved corner, is distracting as hell.

    The article about the Rays is dated December 18, 2014. Why is this suddenly “news”? Has nothing happened on this story in the past 6 months?

    As a die hard Rays fan, this is rather insulting. The team will only be relocated to Tampa. The TV markets are too good for the bay area to move. Further more, their TV contract is up, I believe, next year and will certainly be lucrative. The attendance is down, yes, but this town and bay area does support the Rays. SO, why don’t you focus on a expansion teams seeing that the new commissioner said he would not be against expansion. Thank you for being a part of the heard.

    I’ll admit that I don’t really have a clue how likely the Rays are to relocate, but for the purpose of this contest what difference does it make? You’re designing a new team. If you want to pretend it’s an expansion team instead of the former-Rays, go for it. It really doesn’t matter.

    I thought the same thing about this contest. It is essentially a contest to design an expansion team, you didn’t need to even mention the Rays to hold it. Why not tweak it so that you have to somehow relate the new design to the Rays?

    Yes,it’s very relevant to mention the Rays because they are a strong contender to move in the next several years. The lease isn’t ironclad, and unlike other sports franchise moves, MLB and the other owners will be highly supportive.

    The club has won when no one thought they could after the 2007, and are even playing surprisingly well this year so far. It’s one thing for a team with tradition to have down years which impact attendance, but when the winning returns, those numbers surge.

    Prior to 2007 the attendance was terrible, but the conventional wisdom was how if the club simply became competitive, attendance would surge greatly. Few people were blaming the stadium, although it is a tomb, and even fewer were blaming the location. Fast forward to today, and the club has experienced a level of success for them no one could have predicted. A pennant, and a number of playoff teams. The fact those fans still aren’t responding is a gigantic red flag for the future of MLB in the TB area.

    Respect the few Rays fans, but there just aren’t nearly enough of them. Those folks are now bringing up the stadium and location as the main reasons for the lack of interest. It doesn’t work. Wearing Rays merchandise and driving around with a team license plate is meaningless if you don’t support the team by attending games.

    There’s been zero progress on the stadium front in the TB area, and that’s a major concern. Time is indeed running out, but there’s no sense of urgency by the public, and the numbers are still awful.

    I don’t see how a new owner makes them more likely to move. That doesn’t change the lease. The lease signed by Naimoli expires in 2027 wether the Rays owner at that time is Naimoli, Sternbeg, or Donald Trump. St. Pete Mayor/City Council/residents will be much less likely to allow an owner to break the lease o move them out of the region much less the city.

    As for “no sense of urgency,” St. Pete City Council keeps denying the Rays the opportunity to LOOK at new locations (not move, JUST look) for any moves before 2027. Tampa’s Mayor and City Council has been largely anxious to present their case for a move in Tampa but the lease (as well as recent negotiations to look and compensation for looking) won’t allow that.

    Four St. Pete City Council seats are up for election this November. If the residents want to start redeveloping the very large patch of downtown space sooner rather than later as well as getting proper compensation for early lease termination, they’ll know what to do.

    You could mod it to moving the As instead. Not like they haven’t been the object of move speculation.

    The Rays are not going ANYWHERE outside of the Tampa Bay region, ever. There is no shot of moving to Montreal, and there are no other cities capable of supporting a team.

    It’s a football league, so it’s the offseason so there’s that…. and people kinda stopped caring about it. The games that weren’t being specifically featured here were only getting like 20 votes. It’s probably dead, really.

    Hi Phil,

    I have an idea for an MLB design contest for later this year. Contestants would be asked to create designs for a fictional “Back to the Future Part 2” 2015 Chicago Cubs uniform set, using the wacky design aesthetic established in that film. Heck, you could even have participants design a matching uniform set for the fictional Miami Gators team. I think it would be really fun to run this contest in October to coincide with the “anniversary” of the Cubs clinching the pennant in that film.

    You’re really setting up a contest based on an article from December, posted by Rant Sports? Rant makes Bleacher Report look like the New Yorker, but OK.

    Seriously considering giving up on this website, or at least the weekend entries.

    That’s my fault – when I saw that article originally, I really thought it showed up with a date earlier in the week, not last year.

    Anyway, it’s just an excuse for a mid-year concept contest to tide us over until the UWFFL. I’m not advocating that the Rays actually move – I hope they don’t. But the simple fact is that they Rays and A’s are likely to relocate, and sooner than later. (By likely, I mean, there’s a nonzero chance that they will move. Certainly not a better-than-even chance, but in MLB right now, there are about 27 teams with a zero chance of relocation in the next 10 years, so a team with any chance of relocation at all is, relatively, likely.) If/when the A’s move, they’ll likely wind up elsewhere in California. If the Rays move, they could very well open up a new MLB market outside of Florida.

    The ticker item near the end about the Reds ball boy wearing the St. Patrick’s Day jersey shouldn’t be there, the first item in the ticker already stated the team was wearing those jerseys for Irish Heritage Night.

    It’s a fictional contest, meant to engage the readership and be a fun exercise. Open your imagination!

    Also, the Vancouver Grizzlies uniforms are most certainly not in the bottom three worst NBA uniforms ever; while not the best, they were fun and indicative of the times.

    So totally disregard the part of the article that says it’s looking for different areas in Florida?

    According to Baseball Reference, last game at Colts Stadium occurred on Sunday, Sep. 27, 1964

    This is a great website that I read every day, but it’s making a mistake today. The Rays are not “contenders to move on the next few years”. What is making things difficult here is the team’s inability to get out of a lease and explore site options in Tampa and across the region. If they can’t get out of the lease to do that, then how do y’all figure they’re gonna get out of that same lease to move anywhere else? The lease runs through 2027, and this will be resolved well before then.

    Also poor work linking to a 6-month-old article from a rinky dink website with no credibility as the basis for this half baked idea.


    Apologies for your experience today at Uni-watch. I have accessed your account and a credit will be applied to your account for the entire year so you will not be charged for any portion of 2015.



    Customer Service,

    Can you do something about the long running script that has made it impossible to use Internet Explorer to view this site for months?

    It runs slow in Firefox too…and some people have to use IE at work. Since very few (only one) site I use has this problem, I assume it could be fixed with a minimum of effort.

    I strongly recommend Rays do some research about the lease, it’s not as ironclad as you think. The closer we get to 2027, the easier it will be broken. This roughly begins in 2017, and I wouldn’t bet the ranch on miracles.

    The Rays are competitive for now, and that will help ownership escape the lease and find a new home. Usually in these situations, the team in question is horrible, think the Houston Oilers before they moved relocated.

    Without a serious attendance increase and stadium progress, ownership will move forward. It’s very simple. The ownership has complained on a number of occasions about the lack of support, and if I were Rays fan, I would start attending games and trying to drum up support.

    FYI- Gov Rauner was wearing a Jonathan Toews practice jersey….since Toews is the captain, that is why the “C” was sewed onto it. Sorry, no picture, but I watched rally live and saw it when he turned around

    The Rays need to move to Tampa. St. Petersburg does not provide the corporate support, infrastructure, or year-round population to support MLB. Combine it with the dump that is Tropicana Field and you have a recipe for disaster.They simply would rather the Rays leave the state than let their “Big Brother” have the team.

    The Lightning finished in the top ten in NHL attendance and the Bucs, even with their awful season, pulled 60k per game.

    Move the Rays to Tampa in a retractable roof stadium.

    Could have used the “metrication” logo of Canada used in the 70’s and 80’s instead, but not sure if most Americans (or younger Canadians) could pick that one out of a line up.


Comments are closed.