By Phil Hecken
Yesterday afternoon, at their 2016 FanFest, the Houston Astros unveiled a new
batting practice jersey and cap, which will be worn for Sunday home games (or at least that’s the plan). It’s navy blue, with “ASTROS” in orange arched lettering across the chest, with a side stripe containing the “tequila sunrise” pattern made famous by the team in the 1970s. The new cap is orange with a blue bill.
If your first reaction is, “hey, that looks a little like their batting practice jersey,” you wouldn’t be wrong. In fact, it looks a LOT like their current BP jersey:
That’s not to say it’s a bad thing. One can never have too much tequila sunrise on ones uniform. And the arched “ASTROS” looks a lot better than having just the H-Star logo on the chest (don’t get me wrong, that logo is great, it just makes the jersey look a little too casual). The new cap, which has an orange crown and blue brim looks pretty good too. The Astros need more orange in their look.
I’m under the impression the Astros will still wear their current BP jersey, but according to this article, the new alternate jersey “will be worn for regular season games and Spring Training games.” Now, it’s not unusual for teams to wear their regular (primary) jerseys for a few ST games, but I’m wondering if this one will simply replace the BP jersey, and also be worn on home Sundays. It seems kind of pointless to have two very similar tops. And while they wore them very sparingly, the Astros have worn their previous BP jerseys on the field during games:
Here’s how the team promoted the new jersey/cap:
One thing you’ll notice from that shot is that the rainbow (tequila sunrise) pattern starts at the belt and then ends about mid-chest. After the final “gold” stripe, the rest of the strip continues up the arm to the end of the sleeve as solid orange. If you look at the BP jerseys (above), you’ll notice that final sleeve portion was gold. Also note on the new jersey there is a much smaller striping gradient, with several sets of tiled stripes (whereas the old BP jersey merely went orange/red/orange-red/orange/gold). I like the more accurate representation of the striping on the original.
UPDATE #1: The BP jersey is apparently gone:
— Mike Acosta (@AstrosTalk) January 24, 2016
UPDATE #2: The striping pattern exactly mimics the originals:
@PhilHecken The rainbow stripes are an exact pattern from the original rainbow uniform.
— Mike Acosta (@AstrosTalk) January 24, 2016
Overall verdict? Meh. If they ditch the BP jersey, then I’m more accepting of the introduction of this new Sunday alt. But even so, it’s still probably the weakest of their jersey sets. That’s the thing with Tequila Sunrise. You can’t half-ass it. If you’re going to use it as a uniform element, then you really need to go full rainbow.
But hey, at least they introduced a very nice cap. That’s probably the best part of the whole combo:
Readers? What say you?
Sparty Goes Neon Lime
Well, yesterday Paul warned us about it — in fact, he said,
If someone wants to dress like a fucking clown ”” I mean, really, really wants to dress like a total fucking clown ”” then by God they should go ahead and do it. That’s what America’s all about, the freedom to make an utter fool of yourself and surrender whatever slim sense of dignity you might once have had.
The Michigan State basketball team apparently really wants to dress like fucking clowns.
The Spartans did not disappoint. Not only did the team dress up in these shockingly garish uniforms, the entire student section in the lower bowl wore lime green shirts as well. So it was a group effort. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they looked like fucking clowns, but the result was less than aesthetically pleasing. You see, if you’re going to wear a bright neon green, you should not dress head to toe in it. It’s kind of hard for a hoops team NOT to do that, but at least (for the most part) when wearing this particular shade has been worn in other sports, the teams haven’t gone full neon. You never go full neon (unless you’re the Ducks, but that’s a whole different ballgame — and they’ve done it on the field and on the court — but that’s highlighter yellow, not neon lime). Still, would you really want to be compared to Oregon (and not in a good way)?
First, some game shots (for each of these, you can click to enlarge, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it). I’m not responsible for your ophthalmology bills.
You get the idea. They were so bright, even Tom Izzo had a hard time … looking
Twitter’s reaction was swift and severe:
— Heavens! (@HeavensHawkeye) January 24, 2016
— jawn (@jawnes12) January 24, 2016
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 24, 2016
— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) January 23, 2016
What the hell are you doing, Michigan State? pic.twitter.com/dbjEoJaMMt
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) January 23, 2016
— Johnny O (@JohnnyOeleven) January 24, 2016
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) January 23, 2016
OK…enough beating a dead horse. The unis were decidedly not universally loved by the Twittersphere. Lost in the hubbub about the unis (but seen in a couple of those tweets) was the fact that the warmup tops (shooting shirts) were accompained by vests. Apparently, according to my sources, Nike has been providing all teams with vests to go along with their shooting shirts for the entire season, but most (all?) teams have chosen NOT to wear them. Until yesterday. Wonder if it had anything to do with the hue?
Also “lost” in this was the fact that the pants had various lines (I wouldn’t call them stripes) of varying widths each getting closer and closer together (in Michigan State’s “normal” dark green shade) which gave the pants an appearance of having a gradient — unless you were up close, they appeared to be gradient — not a good look. Oh, and, they wore the Sparty logo on the back of the pants. So, bright green tops, bright green pants with an apparent gradient that really isn’t, a logo on the back of the pants, and bright green shoes and socks. It’s not the color that’s bad — it’s that there is far too much of it and way too many disparate elements.
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) January 23, 2016
Of course, the “revival” of lime green led many to remember those who’ve tried (with varying degrees of success) to wear the color before. Almost all teams (in various sports) have looked better doing so precisely because they didn’t go full highlighter apple. You never go full highlighter apple.
— RN's Funhouse (@RNs_Funhouse) January 24, 2016
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) January 24, 2016
— Nathan Reid (@nathanreid) January 24, 2016
— E P Conrad (@altimetr) January 24, 2016
— Tim Cross (@Timmy_Cross) January 24, 2016
— Jozef Colomy (@JozefColomy) January 24, 2016
— MauricioGÃ³mezMontoya (@MauroGM3) January 24, 2016
Notice that almost every one of those uniform combinations isn’t solid lime, and even those that are, they are broken up with different color cleats or socks or both.
The bad news is that the Spartans won the game wearing these outfits — after having lost three straight — so we are likely to see them again. The other bad news is this is apparently NOT just a costume for MSU. The uniforms are “from Nike’s Hyper Elite Disruption line” which means that more teams may wear something…similar.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, the unis were a hit with the kids and they will likely wear them again. Key quote:
Spartans coach Tom Izzo didn’t seem as enthusiastic about the color, but cut straight to the chase on why the jerseys are worn: to catch the eyes of recruits.
“I know they’re crazy, but 17-year-olds like them and right now I like 17-year-olds more than 80-year olds,” Izzo said.
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 Scoreboards travels to Bloomington, Minnesota for a retro look at a classic hockey arena, the Met Center.
Originally named: Metropolitan Sports Center
Former Home of: Minnesota North Stars (1967-1993); Minnesota Muskies (ABA) (1967”“1968); Minnesota Pipers (ABA) (1968”“1969); Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) (a few games 1989”“1990); Minnesota Fillies (WBL) (1978”“1980); Minnesota Kicks (NASL) (1979”“1981); Minnesota Strikers (MISL) (1984”“1988)
Opened: October 21, 1967
In 1965 the NHL announced a major, six team league expansion. The Twin Cities were awarded one of the new franchises. And in the Fall of 1966 construction began for a new arena – the Metropolitan Sports Center.
The 14,400 seat arena was completed in about a year (a notable achievement given construction took place during winter weather conditions). The NHL North Stars were the primary tenant for the new arena that was also designed as a multi-purpose facility. In addition to hockey the Met Center also played host to basketball, circuses, rodeos, conventions, and concerts. For a comprehensive history of the Met Center, you will want to visit this website.
As a hockey arena the Met Center was reportedly one of the best of the era. The ice, lighting, locker rooms, and spectator sight lines were highly rated. The arena’s mix of colored seats (kelly green, gold, black and white) was an oddity. There is no apparent pattern to the layout; perhaps the seating was simply randomly installed.
The original arena scoreboard was a basic design and, as best as I can determine, featured no advertising. Corporate advertising proliferated during 1980s and was prominent on the Met Center scoreboards in later years.
The scoreboard graphic depicts the North Stars first home game against the California Golden Seals. During the second period Bill Goldsworthy scored the Stars first goal in route to a 3-1 victory.
A Few Things to Know
• In 1978 the Met Center made NHL history when the 3M company purchased rink board advertising.
• In 1991 there were plans to remodel the Met Center to an arena-shopping center complex renamed the Arena of the Stars. It never happened and the Stars departed for Dallas for the 1993-94 season.
• In 1994 the Met Center was imploded – watch it here.
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.
A Very Merry Vilkmas…
As you guys will probably remember, a couple weeks ago, Jimmer Vilk did a very wonderful thing and donated a ton of stuff to the Uni Watch readership.
Shortly after that, Jimmer selected the lucky winners.
Jim wanted me to let all the winners know that after searching high and low for proper boxes in which to ship their prizes, he has now found everything he needs and the items will be shipped out this week. So everyone who was named a winner — keep your eyes on your mailboxes — your stuff will soon be delivered.
Big thanks (again) to Jim not only for donating all of his pretty cool possessions, but for covering all the shipping costs as well.
for the Ticker
Got a note yesterday from Leo Strawn, Jr., who always has some great tidbits and stories. This one is a bit too long for the ticker…
Just ran across something I wasn’t aware of, probably because of limited press on the WHA’s early seasons. The New York Golden Blades replaced the NY Raiders in the WHA’s second season, 1973-74. In November of that season they were operated by the league and played the remainder as the Jersey Knights before packing up and moving to San Diego the following season. That much I knew.
But what was news to me was that for the short time the Golden Blades existed, they literally wore gold plated blades on their skates which started out as white, an idea that surely made Charlie O. Finley proud. (His NHL California Golden Seals wore white skates for a time in 1970, then later wore yellow and green.) You can see in the first linked photo that it appears Harry Howell’s Golden Blades skates had been painted black over top of the white and over time the black started to wear off, revealing the white underneath.
— Leo Strawn Jr
Thanks, Leo! Great stuff.
OK. Now, onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: There apostrophe catastrophes, and then there is this brutalization of punctuation. Good lord (thanks to 213 Miles from Shea). … Yesterday, in 1968, Joe “Ducky” Medwick was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame (nice Wheaties box find from Bruce Menard). … “The new commemorative patch for the Blue Jays made me think about my Little League team and our rip off of the Joe Carter era logo,” says Johnny Cloud. “We replaced the maple leaf with the state of Oklahoma. (PS- Joe Carter is an Okie.)” … Yesterday’s East Coast blizzard made Bruce Menard think of this April 16, 1911 game between the White Sox and the Tigers. … Reader Douglas Ford was watching The Fisher King and said, “Check out the cool asian baseball player tshirt Jeff Bridges is sporting!” Here’s some more information on that shirt. And still more (Douglas was very thorough in his research with this). … Tod Meisner saw this photo of Willie McGee with some under brim writing and white top/powder pants and asks, “notice the mis-matched uniform and script on the under bill. Anybody know meaning of either?” Keith Olbermann had a couple different thoughts on that. … “When you’ve played for 8 minor league teams over the past 4 years you have lots of these! Favorite one?” tweets Brett Phillips (nice spot by The Prophet). … Here’s something new: Next year MLB jerseys have mesh gussets extending all the way down side. Seen on new Astros alternate too (great spot by F.K. Yaaj). … Here’s a look at the 2016 MSU Denver Roadrunners baseball unis for the upcoming season (h/t MSU Denver Athletics).
NFL News: You know a guy has been in the league a long time when he’s won Super Bowls wearing three different uni manufacturers (as pointed out by Zach Guarino). Witness Tom Brady wearing adidas, Reebok and Nike. … Here’s a look at the old Steelers script before it was refined to what we know it as today (from Interst8fort4). … Here’s a pretty nice article about the Arizona Cardinals seamstress. … Check out this Patriots/Broncos Pepsi display at the Pavilions in Burbank (from Joe Nocella). … Some interesting cross-sport promotion going on with “#OneCarolina hashtagging (thanks to James Gilbert). … Oooohhhh — check out the awesome Pittsburgh Steeler jerseys serving as seat covers in the Uber car of Alburrito. … Von Miller has a pair of “Custon Owl adidas Crazyquick 2.0 High Cleats” that he will be wearing during warmups of today’s AFC Championship Game for Denver (thanks to Paul Murphy). … Here’s a GREAT shot of a color vs. color game at Forbes Field (from Stirrups Now). Obviously one team is the Steelers — NYG the other team? … Our pal Jimmer Vilk created this awesome Rams/Chargers shared field. He says, “Needed something mindless to do the other day, so I reverted to my childhood habit of designing football fields. Since it appears the Rams and Chargers are going to share a stadium, they ought to share the graphics, no?”
College Football News: “I like it when a player’s normal helmet matches his All-Star jersey,” writes RN’s Funhouse. “I can’t find a match for the West.” Those are from the East/West Shrine Game, which was played yesterday. … Also played yesterday was the NFLPA Bowl, and apparently Nike still had some old Miami U numbers they hadn’t used up (from ChrispySmalls). Looks like Miami fonts too. Or, you could say they’re Fresno State number/fonts as well (via TheOneSportsGuy). … And it looked like Trevone Boykin may have been wearing every logo but TCU, although his neck bumper does say “Horned Frogs” (via Bob Dickson). … This is interesting — a 2016 commit to Mizzou was pictured with a gold helmet (nice spot by Jacob Schmied). … Looks like the Gamecocks may be moving a bit more towards Oregon (ok, not really) with their mix and match options. Notice what appears to be a new matte black helmet too (h/t Andy Shain).
Hockey News: Everyone loves color vs. color games, right? Well, they’re not so great in black & white photos — witness this EHL game, circa 1970s — hard to tell the teams apart (thanks to Greg Inkpen). … Speaking of black & white photos of teams, here’s Lou Gehrig presenting rings to the NY Rangers for their 400th game (from Bruce Menard). Remember — those Rangers shirts & socks are blue. … Have we seen these logos for the NHL All Star Game yet? (from Jimmy). … On Friday night, my alma mater (Hamilton College) went pink in the rink (h/t Hockey in the ‘CAC). … Hartford Whalers banners still hang from the ceiling of the XL Center (from Andrew), where UConn plays. … “This maybe of interest to you, it is a link to a trademark filed by the Leafs for their 100th anniversary,” says Arthur Pajda. Here’s more on that. … The Toledo Walleye wore their Don Cherry tribute sweaters last night, and it was magnificent.
NBA News: The Iowa Energy (an NBA D-League team and “proud affiliate” of the Memphis Grizzlies) wearing & auctioning pink jerseys for @MercyDesMoines Hoops For A Cure. Proceeds go to local cancer orgs (h/t Marcus Poe). … Good news for all three of us who still have black and white tv sets, as the Bulls & Cavs went gray vs. white last night (from Believeland1994).
College Hoops News: The Vanderbilt Commodore hoops teams has some new “R15E & SHINE” unis. Tweeter TrÃ©s Lawless points out that the number fonts are the same style as the those found on the football unis (which were also introduced this past season). … Ooooohhhh, check out the
clown pants red & white candy-striped shorts for Illinois State University (via Nicholas Bob Pullano). … Remember those BFBS UNC black unis that were wore a couple weeks ago? You could own one of those jerseys (from James Gilbert). … In what was not the ugliest color vs. color game yesterday, Oregon and UCLA went neon yellow vs. blue (via coop510). … In what may have been the best color vs. color game, Arizona and Cal hooked up in a nice red vs. gold game (via Anton Bossio).
Soccer News: Real Salt Lake have released new looks for 2016-17. Here’s the home kit and goalkeeper kit for the upcoming season (thanks to Conrad Burry). … To celebrate the formation of the Premier League in 1992, a player was gathered from each of the 22 founding teams (nice spot by Tim Cross). … Everyone’s favorite Olympian Alex Morgan was honored with a #100 jersey for her 100th cap (via Tim Cross).
Grab Bag: During yesterday’s East Coast blizzard, GOP hopeful and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wore a University of Delaware branded jacket (also note the prominent Under Armour logo). He’s a Blue Hen, so it’s cool. Thanks to Mike MashburnM for the screengrab. … You probably never thought you’d see a photo of former First Lady Barbara Bush wearing eye black and shoulder pads. Well, you’d be wrong. If you’re wondering about the context of that photo, here you go. … “I wouldn’t normally watch women’s T-20 cricket at 2am (or even men’s T-20 cricket for that matter because, seriously, fuck cricket) but something caught my eye: both teams – the Sydney Sixers and the Hobart Hurricanes — are kitted out by Majestic!” writes Doug Mulliken. “Did you know Majestic did this? I thought they were the most domestic of the brands that sponsor a big-4 sport, compared to adidas and nike. Guess not. Talk about niche. Majestic is obviously on point when it comes to stick and ball sports.”
And that’s all for this fine Sunday — and I didn’t even say boo about the two Conference Championship games today — first up are the Pats & Broncos (3:05 PM Eastern) followed by the Cards & Panthers (6:40 PM Eastern). I’m hoping I don’t get to see the second game — because that would mean that curling is on for tonight. As most of you are probably aware, the East Coast (I’m in Nassau County — about 25 miles east of NYC) got socked with snow — we got about 24″ here (maybe more, I didn’t bother to measure it…it’s a LOT). Spent most of yesterday cooped up inside of chez Phil, and it was literally a blizzard ALL DAY. Didn’t stop until late last night (or should I say, early this morning). So, I’m hoping the roads get cleared and Prospect Park (where the curling takes place) is open for business tomorrow. Paul plans to go sledding there, so hopefully he’ll let me know what sort of shape the roads in Brooklyn are in and whether the section of the park where the curling takes place is up and running.
Everyone have a great Sunday, and enjoy the games (or, if you’re one of the 57 million or so who got hit with a big snow yesterday — enjoy that…or shovel it or cuss at it or whatever you do). Everyone have a better week and I will catch you next weekend.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Tom Izzo must be rolling over in his grave.”
— Marty Hick