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What Should We Do About Really Stupid Uni Rankings?

Remember when Bleacher Report was known primarily for really stupid rankings-based slideshows, usually posted by kids who didn’t even know what the hell they were talking about? I was reminded of that when looking at a new Comcast slideshow that ranks all of the MLB cap logos. The rankings are absurd and the writing is poor.

I’m not big on uni rankings myself, even if they’re intelligently structured and well-written. I’ll usually put them in the Ticker, though, because that’s the sort of thing that the Ticker is for. But when a really bad set of rankings shows up, like this Comcast slideshow of MLB cap logos, I usually feel conflicted. Here’s why:

• I could just say, “This isn’t worth anyone’s time” and leave it out of the Ticker. Nobody would ever know or care that it had even existed.

• But then I think, “Maybe I should put it in the Ticker but add a bit of commentary saying that I think it’s pretty awful.” That way only the real diehard rankings enthusiasts would bother to click on it — or at least that would be the idea. But maybe my plan would backfire and more people would click on it because I had singled it out for being so bad.

• So then I think, “Okay, I’ll just put it in the Ticker without any commentary.” But I know from past experience that some people will then post comments saying, “Those rankings were such a waste of time — can’t believe that even got published.”

• But I also know from past experience that many of you love to see things that you can disagree with, because it gives you an opportunity to post your own counter-opinions. In fact, the reader who sent me the link to the MLB cap logo rankings, Simon Harrow, said in his email, “Frankly, I think it’s garbage. Here’s mine…,” and then he proceeded to list his own MLB cap logo rankings, which I guess he found satisfying on some level.

Just to be clear: I’m not 100% opposed to rankings. I almost never dabble with rankings here on this site, but over at ESPN I’ve done the Uni Watch Power Rankings, and next week I’m going to be ranking the uniforms for the teams that reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tourney. When I was a music critic, I routinely created year-end “10 best” lists, and I continue to read such lists from music and film critics each December. A good set of rankings can help you learn something about the stuff being ranked, and/or about the person who compiled the rankings, and those two things both have value.

But “10 Best” lists have traditionally been written by cultural critics. Nowadays the internet has made it easy for any shmoe to post a ranking of the 10 best this or the 25 worst that. Many of these ranking lists seem to be some calculated combination of cheap clickbait and trolling. (I’d put the Comcast ranking of MLB cap logos in that category.) Meanwhile, my sense of it is that most people today don’t read rankings in order to learn anything — they read rankings in order to have their own pre-existing opinions reaffirmed, or as an excuse to express those opinions if the rankings don’t match up with them. (This is actually the mechanism that drives the consumption of most internet content, not just rankings.) Add all of this together and the whole exercise usually feels like empty calories. Think about it: When’s the last time you read a set of uni-centric rankings and actually felt good about it afterward?

All of which brings me to a question: Is there a way we can try to get to a place where rankings aren’t so stupid? And what’s the best response to rankings that are stupid? Should we just ignore them? Should we pillory them? Is it good for people to respond by posting their own counter-rankings, or does that just feed the cycle of empty calories?

As for the rankings of MLB cap logos, my strong recommendation is that you skip the whole thing. But if you insist, here you go. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

•  •  •  •  •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Here’s the Mets’ St. Paddy’s Day cap. … Here’s a look at the evolution of the Yankees’ jerseys. … Marty Hick, who works as a schoolteacher in St. Louis, always brings one of his collections to exhibit in his class each year. This time around it’s his hat collection, which includes a lot of baseball caps. … “Jason Finn is the drummer for The Presidents of the United States of America and a big Seattle Mariners fan,” writes Erick Yohe. “Occasionally he will display the Mariners’ old trident logo on his bass drum.” … Election-themed jerseys upcoming this summer for the Akron RubberDucks — completely with tails on the back (from Robert Hayes). … The Mariners’ visiting clubhouse includes a chair with the old 14-star American League logo. … Here’s a piece on the greatest Indians players to wear uni Nos. 11-15 (thanks, Phil). … I kinda dig these Mets hoodies styled like hockey jerseys. … New gold jerseys for Georgia Tech. … New softball unis — including white stirrups over grey sannies — for Troy (from Tripp Wilson). … Another team wearing the D-backs-style dark greys: USF (from @TampaBaySRH). … A scientist says there’s an evolutionary basis for the D-backs’ new uniform set. Uh, sure (from Brett Hansen). … “In this Saturday’s episode of Power Rangers Dino Super Charge, titled ‘Home Run Koda,’ Koda, the Blue Ranger (who’s also a caveman) will become the star player for the Amber Beach Earthquakes, which appears to be a minor league baseball team,” says Rickey Layman. “This will be the first time a professional sports team of any kind has been in Power Rangers, a franchise that is over 23 years old. We’ve seen high school teams and motocross, but never pro football, baseball, or basketball teams.” … With warm temperatures at O’s camp the other day, skipper Buck Showalter had his players work out in shorts.

NFL News: While Rep. Jan Schakowsky was grilling NFL officials about CTE the other day, she had a Coke Zero can on her desk with a football jersey on it (good spot by Chris Perrenot). … With the Lions looking at a new uni design for 2017, TE Eric Ebron says he knows what the new colors will be but he isn’t telling (from Chris McFarlane). … In a related item, the results of my Lions-redesign contest should be posted on ESPN at some point next week, probably Thursday-ish. … With Pats DE Chandler Jones being traded to Arizona yesterday, the Cardinals posted an odd image showing his uniform morphing from Pats to Cards (from Shane Bua).

College Football News: South Carolina’s Twitter feed featured a photo of a new helmet design yesterday, although it’s unclear whether it’ll ever be used in a game (from Daren Stoltzfus).

Hockey News: Mountain Dew jerseys for the Columbus Cottonmouths. … The Stars will go G.I. Joke for pregame warm-ups this Saturday (thanks, Phil). … The NHL has announced plans to reduce the size of goalie equipment (thanks, Mike). … By far the best St. Paddy’s Day jersey I’ve seen so far this week is this O’Vechkin jersey (from Andrew Hoenig).

NBA News: No visuals yet, but 10 WNBA teams are adding Verizon ads to their jerseys. … Really nice St. Paddy’s Day socks for the Celtics and Bulls. … The Pacers wore their Hickory throwbacks last night, forcing the Celtics to wear white on the road. Prior to the start of the game, Marcus Smart of the Celtics wore his old shooting shirt from Boston’s preseason game against Real Madrid (both of those from @zj100). … Also from @zj100: Coty Clarke, a recent D-League call-up for the Celtics, is wearing No. 63. According to Basketball-Reference.com, he is the only NBA player ever to have worn that number. … A citizen wearing a SuperSonics Russell Westbrook jersey addressed the Seattle City Council yesterday (from Brad Iverson-Long).

College and Amateur Hoops News: Here’s an analysis of how Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are represented in the NCAA tourney. … Here’s the best overview I’ve seen of the March Madness court designs (from @rdubs007). … The National World War I Museum has this spectacular old basketball uniform as part of its collection, although I’m not sure of its backstory (from Kate Sutter).

Soccer News: New centennial jerseys for the Bulgarian club Beroe. … Portugal’s Euro 2016 kit has leaked, and possibly the same for Poland (from Mike D and Phil, respectively). … Croatia, too (Phil again). … Man City and Dynamo Kiev went blue vs. blue yesterday (from Casey G.).

Grab Bag: “Disneyland and Walt Disney World have ‘March Magic’ brackets for their attractions,” writes Jon Solomonson. “Logos have been created for the attractions, as if they were teams.” … A new invention would allow bicyclers to listen to music pumped in through their helmets. … New logo for the British children’s TV network CBBC. … No visuals, but the St. John’s and Hofstra lacrosse teams will go G.I. Joke later this month (thanks, Phil). … Very interesting article about design plagiarism involving two similar-looking children’s toys. … This might be the coolest military patch design ever! (Nice one from Chris Weber.) … New logo for Michigan Tech athletics (from David Raglin).

78 comments to What Should We Do About Really Stupid Uni Rankings?

  • Christian b | March 16, 2016 at 7:45 am |

    Now I know why in basketball they wear mono colored unis because the pacers hickory high unis remind me of middle school basketball unis

  • Shane | March 16, 2016 at 7:50 am |

    Doubled up on the Croatia kits in the soccer ticker.

    I still want to see a 64-entry bracket of the best 64-item brackets that get made every March.

    • hugh.c.mcbride | March 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm |

      still want to see a 64-entry bracket of the best 64-item brackets that get made every March.

      This right here is what genius looks like. Or at least a QOTD. Potato, potahto …

  • BurghFan | March 16, 2016 at 8:10 am |

    It’s been a long time since I looked at anyone’s uni rankings. While the people making the lists are as entitled to their opinions as I am to mine, I don’t especially care about theirs, and I’m unlikely to learn anything.

    If you want to put them in the ticker, Paul, that’s fine – I’ll just continue to skip over them. Adding a note when you think a set is particularly good or bad is useful, too.

  • Todd | March 16, 2016 at 8:39 am |

    unless there is something that stands out (best uniform changes in 2013!) or fun comments, I don’t usually care about uniform rankings. It has been posted a million times on the internet and it isn’t really a fresh idea anymore.

    I know what I like; they are welcome to their opinion. Let’s move on.

    • Todd | March 16, 2016 at 9:56 am |

      on the other hand, do uni rankings come in that often that this is a real issue? I don’t think some random blog posting should get posted, but if it is some real website throwing it out there, I see no problem with putting it into the ticker.

  • Oakville Endive | March 16, 2016 at 8:41 am |

    It does not take too much imagination on Indiana’s Hickory throwbacks to see the “athletic gold” as closer to the orange color the Tampa Bay Bucs use.

    Question: is the Altanta Hawks lime green shade, meant to be the same as the Seahwawks, to me it always looks a lot more towards yellow.

    • Rubens Borges | March 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm |

      Doesn’t Nike have its lime green and adidas have another lime green because trademarking colors is something real in this world?

  • ZL_84 | March 16, 2016 at 8:50 am |

    You mention that his rankings are absurd. Is that because they differ from yours, conventional wisdom, or something else? Would it be fair for him to say your Sweet 16 ranking is 1) the pot calling the kettle black and 2) equally absurd?

    • Paul Lukas | March 16, 2016 at 8:54 am |

      I think the absurdity of the Comcast rankings piece speaks for itself.

      You can assess whether my Sweet 16 rankings are absurd once they’re published. If you’ve already decided that they’re absurd, before you’ve even seen them, that’s, um, absurd.

      If you’re trying to say you think the very *notion* of rankings is absurd, I wouldn’t argue with you.

    • SWC Susan | March 16, 2016 at 11:21 am |

      Well, damn it… I had to go look at it to weigh in. It is comical (in fact, it is a bit satirical) in places. Had I not felt satire so often, I would think an intern who knew nothing about logos wrote it. But he did use the word “swag”… must be an intern. He ranks with no historical knowledge like the teams just know designed all these logos. I would say whoever he is must be a big fan of the minor leagues. ;)

      Absolutely absurd ranking Astros 24th… (even though I prefer the old school H and star to the new).

      I am curious if ZL_24 read it (maybe didn’t even look at it) and just wanted to pick a fight.

      • SWC Susan | March 16, 2016 at 11:22 am |

        *just now*

      • ZL_84 | March 16, 2016 at 4:49 pm |

        I did read it, and while I don’t agree with it, I think absurd is strong… I wasn’t trying to pick a fight, but more point out that the rankings are his opinion, the guy posted it because he either A) wanted to or B) was told to by his employer because people want them. Calling them click bait is right… but it’s also something that people are wanting because they keep getting published over and over again, meaning they are getting looked at by people. We can’t just call it absurd because somebody is voicing their opinion on a topic. Misguided? Inconsistent? Sure, but absurd was just too strong.

    • Johnny | March 16, 2016 at 3:10 pm |

      I think the absurdity is the inconsistent reasoning. How can you write that much and not realize there’s no consistency? How do you just start throwing opinions around without setting goals? It’s insane that person “writes” and gets to share their opinions for money.

  • Dano | March 16, 2016 at 8:53 am |

    I typically get some enjoyment out of scrolling through rankings to see how they compare to my preferences, but there is no question that the Comcast rankings are a joke. The caption for Pittsburgh really bugged me:

    “It’s no Times New Roman, but that “P” is about as snooze-worthy as it gets for a logo. The absence of a swashbuckling pirate on Pittsburgh’s hat is inexcusable, really.”

    Pittsburgh’s image is one of the most constant and iconic in baseball (in my opinion). Hard to believe someone with any respect for the game wrote that.

    • Kirby | March 16, 2016 at 11:32 am |

      Agreed. I look at ’em for my amusement and then forget ’em. I don’t see why they cannot be shared here. They amuse me and are nothing to get worked up about. Like this one…it was pretty obvious that the two logo hats would be top-2 after reading a few pleas for cartoons on caps. . This person would like to see everyone’s MLB hat look like Arizona State’s “Sparky” helmet. I can live in a world where he/she feels this way.

      I like the lists and will continue to peruse them…

  • Ryan | March 16, 2016 at 8:58 am |

    New NCAA courts… sure,they are better than the old generic courts they’ve used the last several years. But, what in the hell is wrong with the standard court each venue? “Accents let the people know which venue they’re watching” or whatever nonsense they said. I can’t think of any better way to tell which venue then seeing the standard hardwood for the site. New courts are better but still this is dumb.

    • Rick M | March 16, 2016 at 2:07 pm |

      There’s actually one overriding reason for not using the courts from the venue itself, especially for games held at NBA sites: The NCAA’s ban on advertising. If you’ve been to a tournament game at an NBA arena, you’ll notice that in the days before digital sign boards and signage around the bowl of the arena, a lot of time was spent using good ol’ black cloth to cover ads around the arena. Any on-court ads that exist would have to be covered up, as well as laying down new 3-point lines and covering the NBA distance. I do recall that in the last year of using whatever court was there, the Denver court had issues with the tape coming up off the floor and potentially creating a tripping hazard for the players. I’m wondering if someone didn’t raise a liability issue there, or if a player actually DID end up tripping on something and injuring themselves? The other option would be to have the arena have plain, logoless center circle floorboards and end floorboards for their regular home court (for example, a plain green circle instead of the Celtics logo), and floorboards for a different three-point line, but the time required to partially disassemble the court and insert the new pieces of flooring is close to what it would be to simply remove and replace with a different floor, so they might as well do that. I like the idea of some uniformity for the tournament as a whole, and these new designs are definitely better than what they were using the last few years.

    • Dan Pfeifer | March 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm |

      Good points all-around.

      I, for one, am glad they’re using different-colored courts, but wish they had given the courts a little “local flair,” i.e. at least made the accent colors make sense for the arena (match the team that is the primary tenant in the building). Maybe they’ll still do so in Boston, where they’ve made a point to use a parquet court in the past. But either way, at least now you’ll be able to more-easily distinguish between which games you’re watching on TV.

      Yes, the court lines, the issues with tape/decals and the fact that “regular” courts are becoming more and more littered with both straightforward advertising and what I’ll call “non-advertising advertising” (team Twitter handles, websites, arena names that are basically ads, etc.) all make using the existing courts less viable now than they used to be. And yes, there is the bigger question of whether or not the NCAA is more concerned about advertising revenue than practicality (be sure to pour your beverage into an NCAA-approved cup before you answer that question). This isn’t the best solution, but I don’t know if you can get back to what was the best solution, because courts aren’t as unique-yet-ad-free as they used to be.

      This is at least a step further in the right direction from what was a poor solution with the same court at every venue.

  • Brian | March 16, 2016 at 8:59 am |

    Those Mets hockey jersey hoodies are pretty cool in concept, but why yellow for the stripes and shoulder yolk/hood?

  • Chris | March 16, 2016 at 9:00 am |

    I read Uni Watch because I am interested in uniforms and I respect you as an authority in the field. Along with that respect comes an expectation that you will curate all that is out there and weed out the things that aren’t worth the time. So, I say if they are bad, skip it. But if you do decide to post links to them, a heads up that they are bad, particularly if they are of the clickbait variety, would be appreciated.

  • Kevin | March 16, 2016 at 9:03 am |

    The Disney link in the Grab Bag is from last year, fyi. Looks like they are doing it again this year, though: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2016/03/vote-for-your-favorite-disney-attraction-as-march-magic-returns-for-2016/

  • Jim Howicz | March 16, 2016 at 9:14 am |

    My take is you should post the stupid rankings if you think they are worthy of discussion, just like you do with other uni news. Personally, I enjoy seeing other people’s perspective on this topic even if they make me mad or stem from outright stupidity. I don’t shoot the messenger.

    • walter | March 16, 2016 at 9:58 am |

      A hilariously stupid list is just as capable of making my day as a well-done one.

  • Gregg G. | March 16, 2016 at 9:32 am |

    Good read today, Paul.

    Of course, you’re right about the essence of the internet in general (i.e., people want to confirm their existing opinions, or express their own contrary views), but I think there are more open-minded people out here than you think. Once in a while, an opinion is bound to be changed. Funnily enough, I don’t think it’s going to be yours when it comes to the Comcast blurb on the Rockies: “Plus, they’re wasting purple, which is a terrific color that should never be wasted.”

  • Adam fritzen | March 16, 2016 at 9:34 am |

    Brian. Because those mets hoodies are terrible Chinese knockoffs.

  • Rob S | March 16, 2016 at 9:35 am |

    Had to backtrack on that CSN Mid-Atlantic site in order to find out that, yes, there is an actual person taking credit for that list.

    • SWC Susan | March 16, 2016 at 11:27 am |

      He has 269 followers on twitter… nuf said!

      • SWC Susan | March 16, 2016 at 11:29 am |

        And first two comments (only two at this point) to his tweet about the story are awesome!)

  • Alex | March 16, 2016 at 9:36 am |

    Why not put them in a new ticker category that comes/goes with entries called “ranking stupidity”? It’s not only because rankings are stupid but the users of uni-watch can rank how stupid that days entries are on a 1 to 10 scale! Increase user interaction?

  • Marko | March 16, 2016 at 9:55 am |

    Paul, regarding the cap listicle, u just mad cuz the Mets are #23.

  • Lance Smith | March 16, 2016 at 10:01 am |

    Never underestimate the need to respond when someone is wrong on the internet. (Thanks, xkcd.)

  • Mainspark | March 16, 2016 at 10:02 am |

    Conceptually I understand an original court for the Final Four, maybe even the Regionals but the First Four and First and Second Round games should always be played on the existing hardwood of those venues. The different courts were one of the great visual aspects of the Tournament.

  • B | March 16, 2016 at 10:05 am |

    I thought the comcast MLB hat rankings were better than the crap Paul puts up lately. It had a new perspective, and didnt just lazily introduce a topic and say “discuss:”

    • Paul Lukas | March 16, 2016 at 10:10 am |

      So when I ask your opinion, that’s “lazy”?

      Wait, don’t answer that — I don’t care what you think.

      Better?

  • Jon Bravard | March 16, 2016 at 10:13 am |

    Don’t remember if or when it was discussed, but when did we go from home white/ road dark to home dark/ road white?

    • Perry | March 16, 2016 at 10:33 am |

      Are you talking about the NHL? Because that’s the only major American sports league I know of that’s made that transition anytime recently. Wikipedia says it was changed for the 2003-04 season, after being home white/road dark since 1970-71.

  • Guy Serumgard | March 16, 2016 at 10:30 am |

    I can’t help but read this:

    “Think about it: When’s the last time you read a set of uni-centric rankings and actually felt good about it afterward?”

    …and wonder why he does his Uni Watch Power Rankings or why he’s going to rank the Sweet 16 uniforms. This whole post reeks of a guy screaming, “Wah, why do people think their opinions are important just because they have the internet?”

    • Paul Lukas | March 16, 2016 at 10:35 am |

      wonder why he does his Uni Watch Power Rankings or why he’s going to rank the Sweet 16 uniforms.

      On this site I have complete autonomy to do whatever I want; on ESPN I work with editors and sometimes have to do what they want.

      That said, when I do rankings, I try to make them as intelligent, sensible, and entertaining as I can.

      • Rob S | March 16, 2016 at 10:58 am |

        Another thing is that when Paul does rankings, he’s up front about it being his opinion, with his biases in play, and points out that “… the whole point of a project like this one is that it’s fun to argue and disagree.”

        So many of these other lists come off as “This is what we think you should be thinking” or “This is what we think, we don’t really care about what you think”.

      • Guy Serumgard | March 16, 2016 at 11:52 am |

        I find the fact that you acknowledge that you’re essentially forced into doing your uni rankings on ESPN somewhat refreshing. At the same time I can’t help but notice that this week you’re bashing uni-centric rankings as a whole, and next week you’ll be posting something that says, “Read my uni-centric rankings!”, whether you’re required to do those rankings or not.

        And you bash rankings as a whole, while justifying the rankings you do or have done. I’m just not sure how you can have it both ways. I realize that the guys from Comcast with the cap rankings aren’t necessarily your competitors, and thus it doesn’t quite come off as, “Their rankings suck and mine are good,” but it doesn’t come off well either.

        The internet has given pretty much everyone a voice, but that doesn’t mean they’re experts. You are the foremost expert in sports uniform design, so when you attack the rankings of someone who doesn’t necessarily know what they’re talking about, it comes off as petty. It strikes me as being similar to Lester Holt or Scott Pelley talking about how awful Gawker is.

        • Paul Lukas | March 16, 2016 at 11:58 am |

          You’ve mischaracterized my position on several levels.

          1) I am not “forced” to do anything. My work at ESPN is a blend/collaboration/etc., a result of several voices and impulses, including but not limited to mine.

          2) I did not “bash” rankings today. I critiqued a certain aspect of what rankings have become, but I also explained that I’m not 100% against rankings. And as others have already pointed out in today’s comments, I usually qualify my own rankings by saying saying they’re fun to debate and argue over.

          I think your comparison of typical uni rankers to Gawker is way off-base. Gawker, whatever you think of its tone, is a professional media operation that has really smart people working for it (including one of my favorite writers currently working today, Hamilton Nolan), has broken major stories, and has affected national discussions on important topics. The same cannot be said for the types of uni rankings we typically see out there.

          If you think today’s post makes me seem “petty,” I’m sorry you feel that way. I’ll try harder to be the kind of writer you can feel good about.

        • Guy Serumgard | March 16, 2016 at 1:33 pm |

          1) You’ll forgive me if I’m confused. I made the following statement:

          “I wonder why he does his Uni Watch Power Rankings or why he’s going to rank the Sweet 16 uniforms.”

          To which you replied:

          “On this site I have complete autonomy to do whatever I want; on ESPN I work with editors and sometimes have to do what they want.”

          Now, reading that response, I hope you can at least see why someone would think that you at least implied that you were forced into doing these rankings, especially since you stated, “I’m not big on uni rankings myself”. So hopefully you’ll forgive my confusion.

          2) I’m not sure I agree with your assessment that you didn’t “bash” rankings. That might not have been your intention, but you did say several things that would lead to the assumption that you were indeed bashing rankings. I mean, when you write, “When’s the last time you read a set of uni-centric rankings and actually felt good about it afterward?”, it’s not unreasonable to think you’re bashing rankings, or at least uni-centric rankings.

          And my comparison of uni rankers to Gawker was not exactly the comparison I was making. Rather it was more along the lines of “Uni-Watch is to the Comcast rankings as NBC Nightly News is to Gawker” (or perhaps I should use the CBS Evening News to avoid any unfortunate Brian Williams discussions). Gawker certainly does some good things, but they’re also an entity that’s on trial for publishing a Hulk Hogan sex tape (while admonishing the perpetrators of the celebrity nude hack of a few years back), has basically extorted an executive into admitting he’s gay, and repeatedly bashes the Humans of New York guy, so they’re not above reproach. You’d be taken aback if you turned on the news and Scott Pelley said, “Tonight, Gawker posted a truly awful story about Goose Gossage. Go take a look, but I don’t like that type of journalism.”

          I know it wasn’t your intention, but I just couldn’t help but read your post and see it as, “Well, here’s why I do my rankings, but other rankings are stupid.”

  • Winter | March 16, 2016 at 10:51 am |

    I agree that the Comcast ratings left a lot to be desired. They seem to desire flash and busyness. Their comments on the Mets were just bizarre.

  • mike 2 | March 16, 2016 at 11:15 am |

    I don’t think I ever click on the lists unless it offers something that we don’t often see. As has been noted before, this is primarily a visual blog, so a chance to see uniforms and logos that don’t pop up very often is more interesting that (say) a ranking of this years MLB caps, which we see every day.

    As well, the lists that (if I were you) I wouldn’t ever include in the ticker are the amateur shit. Clearly put together by a child, or full of typos, or (worst of all) the lists that are clearly wrong. There’s nothing more frustrating than a list in which the author misidentifies jerseys and logos.

  • arrScott | March 16, 2016 at 11:20 am |

    Is there a way we can try to get a place where rankings aren’t so stupid?

    No. I mean, obviously no. This was a rhetorical question, right? Rankings or best-of lists can sometimes be interesting when created by people who bring some level of deep expertise or thoughtful, original analysis to the subject matter. Even then, most such work even by good professional critics usually isn’t better than mediocre. The year-end “best of” list usually amounts to a critic’s equivalent of a sitcom clip show. But to the extent that we’re talking about the same format, but produced by average joes using the unmediated publishing format that is the internet, such lists will necessarily be stupid. It’s just randos expressing uninformed opinions; that, by definition, will never be better than mostly stupid.

    I mean, look, I enjoy poetry, but I don’t actually read much of it or spend much time thinking about it, so if I were to rank the great poets or make a 10-best list of English poems, it would be a crappy list. Banal at best. Maybe, just maybe, the exercise of compiling such a list and writing up my argument for each entry would teach me something about my own relationship with the work. But you’d be a damn fool to bother reading what I produced, and an even greater fool to respond to my insipid poetry ranking.

    And what’s the best response to rankings that are stupid? Should we just ignore them? Should we pillory them? Is it good for people to respond by posting their own counter-rankings, or does that just feed the cycle of empty calories?

    Doesn’t Uni Watch already have a precisely apt editorial policy in place? The interwebs are chock full of crappy uniform concepts, readily propagated at non-Uni Watch corners of the Uni-verse. Yet only very rarely does Uni Watch feature uni concepts, and then essentially never to pillory them or to provoke popular reactions against them. Rather, Uni Watch for the most part features concept work only when a particular concept is in some way interesting or thought-provoking. Seems the perfect approach to the increasingly ubiquitous uni-rankings as well. Ignore unless a particular list actually has something interesting to say.

    As a sort of basic critical paradigm, I divide criticism into two spheres. Restaurant critics, for example, work in a cultural milieu where offerings are relatively few, and so it’just as useful to the public to know if the Thai joint down the street is terrible as it is to know if the new speakeasy-style steakhouse across town is excellent. So negative reviews are valuable. But for cultural spheres, such as music or stuff published by random amateurs online or even novels, there’s very little value to the public in being told when any particular offering is bad. Anything produced in such great numbers will mostly be bad; where a critic has real value is in finding, exposing, and explaining the good stuff. A critic who spends much time holding up bad examples of, say, internet uniform rankings, is doing exactly as useful a job as a meteorologist who starts each day’s forecast with a list of the elements that make up the atmosphere. Yeah, I get it, it’s mostly nitrogen today. Just like it was yesterday, and will be tomorrow, because that’s what the atmosphere is. Or yeah, I get it, this new online uni ranking is crap. Just like the last one was yesterday, and the next one will be tomorrow, because that’s what online uni rankings are.

  • SWC Susan | March 16, 2016 at 11:34 am |

    As for whether or not to post rankings in ticker: I would prefer you do and state your opinion. If you don’t, someone will post it in the comments and not save some of us from the grief.

  • Tim H | March 16, 2016 at 11:45 am |

    I was warned and did not heed. Rankings are fun for discussion and I can appreciate when someone takes time and thought to put them together. Comcast did neither.

  • Name redacted | March 16, 2016 at 12:12 pm |

    I used to love lists and making them.

    Now, especially online or in places like EW, they feel like empty calories and click bait.

    I tend to ignore them unless its something well established and/or comes with good content, like Film Comment or Sight & Sound year end lists.

    But thats me.

  • mild bill | March 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm |

    Regarding Mr. Hick’s hat collection. If allowed to take one it would have to be the Stetson in the middle of the top shelf.

  • Graf Zeppelin | March 16, 2016 at 12:19 pm |

    I got through about 8 or 9 of them and said, “OK, yeah, this is stupid.”

  • John S. | March 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm |

    Thanks for posting the MLB Logo rankings, I haven’t laughed so hard in a while. Nothing says Red White and Blue like Canada. Just… hilarious, in the “not laughing with them, but at them” variety. Thanks again. Needed this after a day of grieving.

  • Le Cracquere | March 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm |

    I have a problem with uni rankings because all of them seem to come packaged with a subtle category error. To me, liking a uniform for traditional/associative reasons and liking one for aesthetic reasons are close to being two fundamentally different kinds of judgment.

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that most people who’d rank the Yankees near the top of their list are putting them there on *fundamentally different grounds* than the ones on which they’re putting the Diamondbacks near the bottom. Now, I’m not saying that either of those grounds is necessarily invalid, or even that the respective teams shouldn’t belong there: it’s just that weighing them against one another, in a single #1-#30 ranked list, seems less than rigorous, maybe even basically misguided.

  • Jon | March 16, 2016 at 12:43 pm |

    I think the rankings show a very interesting shift in generational thinking. I read the comcast rankings and I can only assume that a person assigned to write that piece is a junior employee.

    I (mostly) agree with Paul’s rankings and sentiment on uniforms and we’re not that far apart in age. Someone in their early 20s might totally disagree. I think that is shown in a lot of the “radical” designs sports teams are coming out with that get a lot of negative reviews from traditionalists, and are obviously an attempt to engage a younger crowd.

    That said, all rankings are an opinion and it’s all for fun. I like to read what others think about uniforms.

  • James Steever | March 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm |

    Uniform Rankings are typically brutal. The Uniwatch NHL Rankings leaving the Blackhawks out of the Top Ten is a day that will live in infamy in the annals of colossal… “are you friggin’ kidding us?”. But I digress.

    The disconnect for me is having blog writers (who have little in the way of graphic design or sports branding experience) providing the rankings.

    Practicing professionals like Todd Radom or Bill Frederick or League Creatives like Anne Occi at MLB would bring business perspectives to the ranking process.

    Maybe Uniwatch could solicit HELP from such individuals and let them provide “verified” rankings based on real world criteria vs “I don’t like purple” comments?

    • Paul Lukas | March 16, 2016 at 1:45 pm |

      Practicing professionals like Todd Radom or Bill Frederick or League Creatives like Anne Occi at MLB would bring business perspectives to the ranking process.

      That’s assuming you think “business perspectives” are valuable. I for one do not. I’m interested in aesthetic perspectives.

      If you meant to say “professional,” then I agree with you. (But I don’t think “business” and “professional” are synonymous.)

  • Jerry | March 16, 2016 at 1:34 pm |

    Happy St. Urho’s Day.

  • Adam Vitcavage | March 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm |

    I say pick a day of the week, doesn’t matter, and have a ticker section after Grab Bag called “Arbitrary – and probably awful – Rankings”

    Then you can just run a list on links from that week. Wednesday to Tuesday for instance and post on Wednesday morning. No commentary needed, just links and credits.

  • Bryan Moore | March 16, 2016 at 2:20 pm |

    I’m glad you publish some of the “bad” Uni-related articles along with the good, Paul. As a kid, I grew up loving lists. As an adult, I still do, even though I fully appreciate the absurdity in web culture that can arbitrarily turn anything into a list. Sometimes reading an awful list (such as this one) is every bit as entertaining and thought provoking as a good one. I’ve been such a long-time Uni-Watch reader that I’ll admit your particular viewpoints have skewed me a bit as far as certain aesthetic appreciations, but good lord, not only is that painful to read, but all over the place as far as logic goes.

  • Brent | March 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm |

    I usually enjoy rankings. The bottom 5 and top 5 of anything are usually easy for those of us that get it.The debate is ranking the middle. The fun begins when some idiot millennial puts the Jags helmet on the wrong end of the list.

  • Another Josh | March 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm |

    I don’t mind rankings and will generally breeze through them. They bug me most when the are just plain inconsistent in the reasons for rankings. The Comcast list was full of inconsistent thinking. Example: Pittsburgh is “boring” but “Boston” is classic? There really isn’t a lot of difference between the hat logos. Complain about the Cincinnati “c” but not Minnesota’s? Act like you actually put some thought into it.

  • Robert Jenkins | March 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm |

    South Carolina actually wore a helmet almost exact to their spring helmets against Clemson last year. The only difference between them is the white background to the logo on the ones against Clemson.

  • Ryan Madden | March 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm |

    Not really a ranking thing, but the notion of lists reminds me of an excellent Wikipedia entry I stumbled upon the other day:
    List of lists of lists, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lists_of_lists

    • Michelson | March 16, 2016 at 3:37 pm |

      This is very useful to me as a Wikipedia editor because I frequently work on list articles.

  • omar jalife | March 16, 2016 at 3:26 pm |

    As long as the rankings are in 1 page, I don’t care if they are stupid. If they are in those “lists” where you have to click everytime you change number (and thus give them 10 or more clicks for an article) I say ignore them completly, they did it for the clicks

  • omar jalife | March 16, 2016 at 3:28 pm |

    Renault F1 launched they’re livery for 2016. Instead of the black they were using for testing, they went with the company’s yellow

    https://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/latest/headlines/2016/3/renault-reveal-yellow-race-livery-for-2016/jcr:content/articleContent/manual_gallery/image1.img.2048.medium.jpg

  • Ted Mark | March 16, 2016 at 3:30 pm |

    I like to look at baseball uniform-related rankings, if only to get pissed off when the Dodgers are not in the top two. The Comcast list is one of the most laughable I’ve seen. The inconsistency is hilarious–the Pittsburgh “P” and the Cincinnati “C” are bad, but the Boston “B” is great? Also, I think the author(s) have been raised on “Brandiose” type cartoon logos and that’s what they think is cool. Lastly, I was amused because the Mets logo didn’t have enough “flare”. Not enough flames, I guess.

  • Tape | March 16, 2016 at 4:32 pm |

    That new Michigan Tech logo is a significant, significant upgrade.

    Here’s the old one for comparison. Woof. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/e/e4/Michigan_Tech_ath.svg/1280px-Michigan_Tech_ath.svg.png

    • walter | March 16, 2016 at 5:47 pm |

      Yes, I like the new one, too. This is the type of peripheral item that is too often overlooked, but they did a nice job; a definite improvement.

  • Tape | March 16, 2016 at 4:35 pm |

    Also, I went to that Comcast cap rankings and it’s in slideshow format. Slideshows for list are so incredibly user-hostile, and I don’t even look at anything that’s in that format.

    I’ll agree with them that the Diamondbacks’ logo is bad.

  • walter | March 16, 2016 at 5:08 pm |

    “Jason Finn is the drummer for The Presidents of the United States of America and a big Seattle Mariners fan,” writes Erick Yohe. “Occasionally he will display the Mariners’ old trident logo on his bass drum.”

    I rue the day they decided to monkey with this chic, elegant symbol. Perhaps it’s unlucky for the trident to point down, but then it wouldn’t be an “M”, would it?? “Whalers” was already taken.

  • Dan Pfeifer | March 16, 2016 at 5:14 pm |

    The ranking question, to me, speaks to two of Uni-Watch’s purposes:

    1. To act as a record of all uniform “news” for a given day.
    2. To be a forum for thinking critically about what makes a “good” uniform, led by Paul, who gets to shape the discussion and get the first say as the site’s primary curator.

    For #1, I think rankings, even when stupid, have to be posted. For #2, I think you have every right, Paul, to call rankings stupid with justification.

    As for the “empty calories” piece, part of the problem with the Internet is that it’s removed the gatekeeper. Anyone can very easily post a set of rankings, no matter how great or horrible.

    While yes, Paul (and others, like Le Phil and whomever) is a gatekeeper for this site, inevitably, the person whose submission doesn’t get accepted is the reader who then might feel slighted and won’t be a reader anymore. So in that sense, posting lists that are submitted probably is the best thing.

    But I think anyone who submits anything here has to know it might not show up, or if it does, it might not be agreed with and is subject to ridicule from Paul and anyone else here. That’s part of the open discussion this site encourages. We do have the right to express intelligent opinions here, and said opinion might be, ultimately, “That list stinks.”

    So yeah. My two cents.

  • ThresherK | March 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm |

    Very good read.

    But “10 Best” lists have traditionally been written by cultural critics.

    Segue time: I have always enjoyed a good piece of criticism, especially about movies and books. If someone’s gonna say “X’s 10 Best uniform list is gobbidge”, it might as well be you and your chosen curators.

  • Tom Gronek | March 16, 2016 at 9:22 pm |

    Re: cap logo rankings.
    Why did I think that the word ‘history’ will be used to justify ranking one logo higher than others. This should be one day used on UW as topic of discussion/research: the correlation between a team’s history/# of championships and how well its image (logo/uniforms) is regarded. I mean, you will never see the Yankees rank low on any list but, IMO, the NY logo is dated and, in the least, not even symmetrical (neither N or Y) which, in these eyes, would put it near the bottom of the list. Same goes for a team like the LA Lakers. Their logo is one of the worst in the league, but because of the team’s success, has so far avoided any major overhaul.

  • Jay | March 16, 2016 at 10:48 pm |

    You were right, Paul, on the Comcast ranking. I could only get through No. 26. The whole thing has the feel that it was written in 20 minutes. Painful.

    I’m always disappointed by those “Greatest Records of All Time” rankings because I know a few albums are missed. At least a music critic has to justify a ranking beyond plain subjectivity seen in the Comcast ranking. I mean, really, this person thinks the Reds’ “C” cap logo needs updating?

  • Bryan Stroud | March 16, 2016 at 11:15 pm |

    New alternates for the Durham Bulls, complete with bullshit backstory about what the colors represent. I live in Durham. I won’t be wearing a navy blue cap or jersey to a game because it’s already hot enough here in the summer. The release says all players will wear “knicker-style pants” with this uni, meaning high cuffs to show off the striped socks.

    https://slate.adobe.com/cp/U9skn/

  • Great list | March 16, 2016 at 11:18 pm |

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about. That was a great list.