By Phil Hecken
I’m back again today with Kyle Evans and CJ Fleck, who are here today to bring you a look at the Western Conference (and the 10th team — Toronto FC — from the Eastern Conference who didn’t reveal their new kit until this week) of Major League Soccer’s new
uniforms kits for the 2016 season. Last week, Kyle & CJ reviewed the East, and if you missed that (or would just like another look), please click here. The intro there should tell you all you need to know. OK? OK. So, now, without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Kyle & CJ (click any photos below to enlarge):
New 2016 MLS Jerseys, Eastern Conference
By Kyle Evans and CJ Fleck
Kyle and CJ back here again, and thanks to a leak leading to an earlier-than-expected jersey release, we now have the whole league covered between our two entries. So here’s the rest of the new MLS jerseys along with our ratings, starting with Toronto FC to round out the Eastern Conference and then all 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Toronto FC (Away)
Kyle: For the first time, Toronto FC include blue in their jerseys, taken from the city’s flag as well as historical soccer teams in Toronto. The blue stripe is subtle on the jersey that features a much wider red stripe, but it can be paired with blue or red shorts. The jersey itself is solid, and the shorts color always makes a big difference to me: love the red shorts here, not as sold on the blues. Rating: 4 stars (and stick with the red shorts)
CJ: Personally, I love the subtle reference to previous teams. It shows a dedication to the city as well as the sport. Plus, red/white/blue is a great color selection in general. I have to disagree with Kyle on the shorts, though. Blue gives them a nice change of pace for a team that has been solely red and white. I’ll take that baby step towards adventurous as good.
Colorado Rapids (Home)
Kyle: The Rapids released their jersey earlier due to a leak and other than the new Adidas template, it’s the exact same design they’ve used for their previous 2 home jerseys as well. They’re the only team in the league that has burgundy in their color scheme and the burgundy with white sleeves and a splash of sky blue is clearly their look. It’s solid and it works, so why change? Rating: 4 stars
CJ: I’ll echo what Kyle said, but the state flag positioning (and appearance in general) leaves a sour taste in my mouth. The flag colors are incredibly jarring against the burgundy background, and with Colorado already owning a unique look in the league, why the additional flair. Overall grade remains good, however.
FC Dallas (Home)
Kyle: FC Dallas is known for the use of hoops in their jersey designs, and their newest jersey is a fresh take on that design element as their alternating shades of red horizontal stripes are thinner than previous editions and contain a thin white stripe between them as well. The team also decided to move away from the all-red look and introduced white shorts to be paired with the jersey instead, which is a move I fully endorse – it ties together the uniform nicely and the white stripes are a nice addition on the jersey. Rating: 4 stars
CJ: Not a fan. Dallas had a look, and owned it. Now, in a bid to put a twist on a classic design, they’ve overdone it. It reminds me of Arsenal’s changed jersey in 2008. Red jersey with white sleeves was iconic, but it was morphed into sleeves that were half red and half white. Why ruin a good thing? Dallas trying to bury its hoops is definitely a stupid move.
Houston Dynamo (Away)
Kyle: The Dynamo have decided to “Paint It Black” by introducing the team’s first ever primarily black jersey which also includes three shades of orange that make up a chevron across the front of the jersey. I’m a fan of the gradient chevron design, but let’s call this jersey what it is: BFBS, although I don’t think I’d mind this jersey as much if it’s paired with the orange shorts rather than going for the all-black look. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: Minus points for the atrocious hashtag advertising gambit. I love the chevron, but I’ll slightly disagree with the dismissal of BFBS. Orange and black is a common color combination that works well and is seen in other sports. I’d consider this along the lines of Toronto’s introduction of blue; it may seem gratuitous, but it works out in the end, so I’m okay with it. All black might be a bit much, though. Good.
LA Galaxy (Home)
Kyle: The 5-time MLS Cup champion Galaxy are one of only 3 teams in MLS whose home jerseys are white (the Red Bulls and the Whitecaps are the others) and their latest is the team’s third consecutive home jersey featuring a sash design and the first of those to include yellow in the sash. The two-tone sash is a classy look with colors that go well together, and I think it’s safe to say the Galaxy now own this look in the league. Rating: Gold star
CJ: Big fan of the sash, a well done take on a classic kit design. Again, the added cleanliness of the lack of Adidas shoulder stripes plays a part. All white, beautiful sash, call it solid good.
Portland Timbers (Away)
Kyle: The defending MLS Cup champions have been consistent in using “Rose City red” as the basis for their away jerseys, and this year’s also includes a healthy dose of black along with a unique horizontal striping pattern that includes a gradient in color from red to black. I don’t think I’ll ever associate the Timbers with red and black as opposed to shades of green and gold, but the jersey, particularly when paired with black shorts and red socks, is an excellent look and one befitting of champions. Rating: Gold star
CJ: Hoops! I’m all for it. Gradient? Well, it’s certainly different. I like to see teams branch out a bit with their secondary efforts, and this is a good step. I’m not 100% sold on red socks with the shirt and shorts, admittedly, but an okay effort all around. Soft good.
Real Salt Lake (Home)
Kyle: The Claret and Cobalt move away from the larger inclusion of navy and yellow on their home jersey as their newest jersey is primarily red with the other two colors serving as accent colors. That being said, I’ve always liked how their three colors work together, so while simple doesn’t mean bad, this jersey leaves me wanting more of their unique color combination and even just pairing it with navy shorts might not be a bad idea. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: I have to second Kyle’s comment about the accent colors. The RSL color combo is distinctive; I may not be the biggest fan, but they have established it. The removal of them, and movement toward mono-red is a negative. Stupid.
San Jose Earthquakes (Away)
Kyle: The Quakes update their previous all white away jersey by adding red sleeves and a vertical red stripe that goes down the left of the jersey. Similar to Portland, I have trouble associating the Quakes with anything but blue and black, but the larger problem is that San Jose is consistently one of the blandest teams in the league in terms of their jersey design. (Seriously, has anything ever been distinctive about their jerseys?) They’re trying to make the chevron design theirs, but if they really want it, they should make it more distinctive and claim it. Rating: 2 stars
CJ: I love, love the single vertical stripe. A vintage yet distinctive look. The Quakes pay homage to their older iterations while creating a great looking design. I agree that San Jose have been bland, but isn’t this a step in the right direction? Good.
Seattle Sounders FC (Home)
Kyle: The Sounders bring back another iteration of their traditional “Rave Green” home jerseys which now also include blue sleeves for the first time. As long as Seattle stays away from the all-lime look, I think their home uniforms are one of the best in MLS – their green and blue is unique and the blue sleeves are a nice addition and help to complement the shorts. Rating: 4 stars
CJ: Seattle’s colors have scarred eyeballs for years, but by God do they have a lockdown on that look. I like the sleeves. Not overcomplicated, call it good.
Seattle Sounders FC (Alternate)
Kyle: The Sounders also introduced an alternate (third) jersey for this season (and are the only team that has so far, but others may still do so during the season as Kansas City did last year) in what they’re calling “Pacific Blue” with neon blue shorts and jersey accents that create a heathered t-shirt look. The heathered look won’t be too visible, but it’s unique and the colors are perfect. Rating: 4 stars
CJ: Not quite a fan of the heathered look, but the colors work well; they also serve as complements to the usual Seattle color scheme. Can’t ask for much more. Good.
Sporting Kansas City (Away)
Kyle: SKC replaces their (fantastic) navy and columbia hoops with a jersey that is primarily navy and has horizontal stripes in a slightly lighter shade of navy. Personally, I really like the way that their dark blue and light blue work together, so it’s a bit disappointing to see an essentially mono-navy kit. That being said, it’s a solid look and bonus points for the wonderfully striped socks. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: Striped socks? Great. Button collar? Good. Barely visible hoops? Well, they tried. Pretty solid for a secondary, but Kyle has it right on the color combination. KC have a good tradition of quietly great uniform choices, and this is no exception. A casual, acceptable good.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Away)
Kyle: The Caps enter the new season with a “Sea to Sky” away jersey containing a light blue to dark blue horizontal gradient supposedly inspired by elements of nature. My initial reactions were mixed, but the more I’ve looked at these jerseys, particularly with the navy shorts and socks, the more I’ve liked it and this is probably the jersey I’m most interested to see the way it looks on the field. Rating: 3 stars
CJ: Though it may not seem like it, I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to jersey design. This gradient idea seems like a marketing gimmick; I’m sure “Sea to Sky” was decided before the design and not the other way around. I feel as if this will look silly from a distance during a game. Plus, the solid color block on the shoulder ruins the effect. Stupid, with a potential revision based on game action.
Thanks again to Phil for the opportunity and we’re looking forward to hearing what everyone else thinks about all of the new jerseys and to the new season (all 20 teams kick off tomorrow) hopefully filled with plenty of visually appealing games. Until next time, Kyle and CJ signing off!
Thanks CJ & Kyle! Tremendous job again. I’m absolutely loving that Timbers jersey, and the Sounders alternate is pretty sweet. Good stuff…Readers, what say you?
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a favorite weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” — now in Series III — which are created by Gary Chanko. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.
Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series III
by Gary Chanko
MLB 2016 Spring Training games began this week so time to return to a new edition of Classic Ballpark Scoreboards. This series will feature some of the forgotten minor league parks along with a few more major league ballparks.
To begin we travel just across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan to a Jersey City landfill area and past airport known as Droyers’ Point. In the 1930s the site became one of the minor league ballpark gems of its era.
Baseball Home of: Jersey City Giants (IL) (1937”“1950); Brooklyn Dodgers (MLB) (1956”“1957, 15 games); Jersey City Jerseys (IL) (1960”“1961); Jersey City Indians (EL) (1977); Jersey City A’s (EL) (1978)
Opened: 1937 Closed; 1982
Demolished: 1985. Today the ballpark site is a Today, the site is known as “Society Hill”, a waterfront condominium community.
Roosevelt Stadium opened for business in 1937 – a successful Depression Era WPA recreational facility project. The stadium would go on to provide the community an important venue for baseball and football games, boxing matches, auto racing, classic rock concerts and even ice skating. The Art Deco style ballpark was among the best, if not the best, minor league facilities at the time. For a complete historical overview of Roosevelt Stadium, see this article.
It is rare to find scoreboard architectural design and construction plans, but Roosevelt Stadium is a surprise exception. The architectural plan for the stadium baseball scoreboard is digitally preserved and available at this Library of Congress site. The complete photo and plan archives (including the right field football scoreboard) can be viewed here.
The manual baseball scoreboard was located in left center positioned between the outfield fence and the stadium surrounding wall. The scoreboard design matched the stadium’s art deco architectural theme. The operating features included a rotating disk for the BALL, STRIKE, and OUT indicators (see the plan drawings for details) and a sliding, vertical “red arrow” to indicate the current batter.
This excerpt from this 1984 survey report further described the stadium scoreboards: (from Historic American Buildings Survey report.)
“Two scoreboards were constructed, one for football, the other for baseball, which collapsed in the 1970s. The remaining football scoreboard is 47’ 6″ wide, 45’ 9″ high,and 9’ 2”deep. (The walls are 1-1/2”thick)”
“It is 15 ft. above ground level and supported on two steel truss piers anchored to below grade concrete foundations. The scoreboard is constructed of wood covered with galvanized iron sheets which are then painted. Manually operated, the score windows were reached by a steel ladder, from the ground.”
The illustration depicts the scoreboard during a 1939 International League game between the Jersey City Giants and the Toronto Maple Leafs. A color video exists from the event and that confirmed the scoreboard colors actually matched the original architectural plans.
A Few Things to Know
• In April 1946 Jackie Robinson made his professional debut in Roosevelt Stadium. His home run and three singles helped the Montreal Royals crush the Jersey City Giants 14-1. Read more about Robinson’s “Great Day in Jersey City” (including a super illustration) over at the Infinite Card Set site.
• In an August 1956 game, Willie Mays smacked the only fair ball ever hit completely out of Roosevelt Stadium. Although I couldn’t find a record of the home run distance, scaling from drawings shows the ball would have traveled roughly 550 ft to clear the a 15.5 ft perimeter wall.
• In July 1960 the Cuban revolution caused the Havana Sugar Kings to relocate to Roosevelt Stadium. The team, renamed the Jersey City Jerseys, continued to play in Roosevelt Stadium during the 1961 season before folding (and subsequently sold and reborn in 1962 as the Jacksonville Suns.
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.
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN took a look at the oft-forgotten MLB-Season-Opening games played in Japan in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012, all of which featured advertising on the uniforms of the participants, in what counted as regular season games. So — we’ve had ads on unis for major sports leagues before…just not for a full season (or even a partial season) and never on North American soil. Interestingly, this was confined to Japan, as MLB has played games (both exhibition and regular season), in other countries, plus Puerto Rico; (there have also been exhibition games in Canada) and none of those unis for those series had advertising for the regular season games.
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you missed it!
And now a quick word from Paul
Hi there. In case you missed it this past week, I’m running an ESPN contest to redesign the Detroit Lions. Full details here.
Entries on this one have been trickling in at a pretty slow pace, so you have a good chance to stand out as a big fish in what is, for now, a pretty small pond. Let’s see whatcha got!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: This is pretty cool: Virginia Tech baseball wore their “Cardinals” jerseys yesterday. Submitter Andrew Cosentino says, “Not surprisingly, I love how Hokierific they are!” … If you’re a Mets fan (or even if you’re not), you may enjoy this post showing former Mets now with other teams wearing new unis for their photoshoots. As a Mets fan, I pretty much say “door/ass” to them all. … Nothing quite says baseball season like Michael Bolton in full uniform (via SI Vault). … Illinois baseball debuted new white uniforms (via Illini Baseball). … Just “wow” — there’s an Under Armour logo on the sink in the men’s room at the Cubs’ spring training facility (pic by Jesse Spector via J. Daniel). … Crossover Alert! The Texas Rangers have been playing basketball during their down time in spring training (from Michael Greenwald). … “That time Lucy sported her @Indians spirit with partial owner Bob Hope. @PhilHecken with the classic Wahoo” tweets Jenna PK. … “Every season the Padres pick up the costs for jerseys and caps for SD Little League teams, says Russ Havens. “Of course they’re not going to pay for area kids to wear Dodgers uniforms, so every game appears to be Padres vs. Padres. (Teams use nicknames, ie.Friar Power, Pads, PL Pads). My son just got his jersey for this spring, so I went back and assembled the jerseys over the years)” — I think there has never been a more apt set of visuals to let the Padres know we want to #BringBackTheBrown. … The Orioles and Blue Jays went color vs color Friday (which is a very common thing for Spring Training games). Submitter Andrew Cosentino says, “I actually love the orange vs royal blue look, especially for Spring Training.” Also from Andrew: Mariners v Brewers. … “Little league advertising gone wrong!” says John Chapman. “I’m not sure what the back story is here, but I don’t think they are competing businesses. That’d be awkward!” … Here were the Florida Gator uniforms for March 4 vs. Dartmouth (from Dave Doop). … Indiana’s softball team wears helmets that are reminiscent of the football team‘s candystriped helmets (good spot by Clint Richardson). … Tweeter Juice 2 Deuce asks why the Cubs wore two different caps in their spring training game. … “Just wanted to send you these 3 pix of Orioles in vests,” writes Chris Rocco. “I know you have written in the past about them, but not sure if you had that many in-game photos. I really thought these were great pics and thought you might want to see them too. And btw, gotta love those A’s uni’s–one of my all-time fave’s!” … Have you ever wanted to see a color wheel of all 160 MiLB teams? Chris Creamer has you covered. … I think I’m in love! Check out San Jose State’s GORGEOUS powder-blue button front unis (yuuuuuuge thanks to Isaac Hoppe). … There’s a new helmet for Bradshaw Mountain High School (Prescott Valley, AZ). Submitter Matt Williams asks, “Look familiar?”
NFL News: The Los Angeles Rams (almost typed St. Looey there) may or may not be returning to royal and athletic gold for the 2016 season, but they sure are playing up those colors in their merch (thanks to Robert Hayes).
College Football News: The first Auburn Tigers to wear the new Riddell Sports “SpeedFlex” helmets include Jalen Harris and Xavier Dampeer (thanks to Clint Richardson). … According to tweeter David Borghard, prior to the last Michigan/OSU game, the University of Michigan gave some students khaki keychains to rival OSU’s ‘gold pants.’
Hockey News: Here’s a vintage postcard of cats playing hockey. That is all (from Lipschitz). … At a recent Pittsburgh Penguins game, a fan was wearing ex-Pitt WR Tyler Boyd’s HS (Clairton) jersey (from Josh SÃ¡nchez). … The Pensacola Ice Flyers will wear these Top Gun-inspired jerseys next Saturday vs. the Mississippi River Kings (h/t OT Sports Hockey). Also from OT, here are some Harley-Davidson themed jerseys that will be worn by the Corpus Christi Icerays on April 1. … Oh my! The Kamloops Blazers of the CHL wore Cooperalls last night (from Michael Bochum). Here’s a look at them on the ice (from ACME Sales Manager).
NBA News: It’s gotta be the shoes? Steph Curry could add as much as $14 billion to Under Armour’s value (thanks to Tommy The CPA). … Check out the Milwaukee Bucks 90’s Nickelodeon Night Collection (h/t JohnMark Fisher). … Last evening in the Hive, the Hornets and Pacers went color vs. color (via Clif Dixon). … Last night the Heat starting five were all wearing single digit numbers. Submitter Tim Golden adds, “Thought this was unique, for all I know it’s common.” … Because this was a list that just had to be made, here is the definite ranking of Shaq’s All-Time Best (And Worst) Jerseys.
College Hoops News: Before Thursday’s game with Memphis, Temple wore shirts to honor freshman guard Trey Lowe, who was injured in a car accident earlier in the week and who will miss the rest of the season (from Andrew Hoenig). … Looks like Kansas’ ‘postseason’ jerseys are available at their bookstore (via J). … Sigh. Corporate douchebaggery strikes yet again (from Paul “Too Tall Paul” Deaver).
Soccer News: New home kit for Ireland for 2016-17 from Umbro (from Daniel Smith). … It’s possible that there aren’t quite enough logos on this Mexican soccer jersey (pic via Jorge Maat DÃ¡vila). … Here’s a look at what Premier League teams will be wearing during #BPL Matchweek 29 (h/t Sulla). … Real Betis added pink to their jersey for Internationl Women’s Day (from Tim Cross). … The indispensable Conrad Burry has mocked up what he thinks the new USMNT kit will look like. … Manchester United will give away free jerseys to fans, in a bid to turn Anfield into a “White Wall.” … Here’s a look at the MLS Uniform Code, which is posted outside the Whitecaps FC locker room at BC Place in Vancouver (thanks to Ryan Houdayer).
Grab Bag: Astronaut Scott Kelly recently returned from several hundred days in space — check out all the interesting patches on his “uniform” (from Matthew). … Apostrophe Catastrophies are everywhere these days. Susan Freeman noticed this particular one “at lunch” (looks to be some kind of chain restaurant, though not one with which I’m familiar). … Because it had to be done: someone has taken the time to rank every New Zealand Warriors jersey in the history of ever.
And that will do it for today, kids. Big thanks (again) to Kyle & CJ, and also to Gary for the new series of scoreboards! Everyone have a great day and I will be back again tomorrow. But until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I am so happy the White Sox will revive the collared uniform for a game this Summer. I love those unis but I am glad they’re skipping the shorts.”
— Robert A. McIntyre