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How a Uni Watch Reader Was Almost in a Bill Lee Movie

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Michael Clary, who’s going to tell us about a near-brush with stardom involving former Bosox/Expos pitcher Bill Lee. ”” PL]

By Michael Clary

Back in November of 2013, a bunch of guys from my baseball league and I were tabbed to be extras in a movie about Bill Lee, called The Wrong Stuff, starring Timothy Hutton as the former Red Sox/Expos pitcher. Ballplayers in their 40s were needed to fill out the roster spots of the Longueuil Senators (the semi-pro French-Canadian team that Lee played with after being released by the Expos) and their opponents.

So on an unseasonably balmy, late-November day, we joined a slew of other guys who answered a cattle call, showed up at the Dan Duquette Sports Academy in Hinsdale, Mass., for an informal tryout and screen test. We had to fill out a long questionnaire about our acting experience, baseball experience, special abilities, languages spoken, height, weight, clothing sizes, body modifications, and so on. Head shots were taken, and then they filmed us taking batting practice, infield/outfield, and playing in an actual game.

The director, Brett Rapkin, told us Timothy Hutton was right-handed and not very athletic, so they were going to try to teach him to throw lefty like Bill Lee. He also said that if throwing left-handed didn’t work out for Hutton, they were considering using a lefty stunt pitcher, or filming Hutton throwing righty while wearing a uniform with backward lettering, and then flipping the footage during post-production. And if they did decide to flip the footage, they would need a left-handed catcher — right up my alley, because I’m a lefty and have spent many years both pitching and catching. So it looked like I might have an inside track at getting some screen time.

We were told that filming would begin sometime in 2014, and to let our beards and hair grow out because the movie timeline was the early ’80s. They would be in touch.

Throughout 2014, all we heard was that there were delays, possibly because of funding or Timothy Hutton’s inability to look even remotely coordinated. Then in mid-2015 we found out that Hutton had been replaced by Josh Duhamel (a very athletic guy who looks a lot like Bill Lee), that the movie title had been changed from The Wrong Stuff to Spaceman, and that filming was underway on the west coast instead of here in the east. So ended our shot at stardom.

So after the 18-month buildup and hopeful anticipation of my 15 minutes of fame, all I ended up with was the first beard (and second mullet) of my life, as you can see in this photo of me doing my best Bill Lee impersonation [click to enlarge]:

Meanwhile, here’s a pic of Josh Duhamel side-by-side with Lee [click to enlarge]:

As you can see, Duhamel is right-handed and the lettering on his jersey and cap are backwards, which presumably means they ended up flipping the footage of at least some of the baseball scenes. The movie should be out later this year.


Good stuff, Michael — thanks.

Some of you may be thinking, “Using backwards uniforms and then flipping the film — that’s what they did with Gary Cooper when they filmed Pride of the Yankees!” And yes, for a long time people thought that was the case. But it isn’t true, as Baseball Hall of Fame curator and longtime Uni Watch pal Tom Shieber proved a few years ago. Further info here.

•  •  •  •  •

Northpaw bias strikes again: Yesterday was primary day here in New York, which meant I got reacquainted with an annoyance at my polling place (and, I’m guessing, at others): The pens for marking the ballots are consistently anchored on the right side. So if you happen to be left-handed, as I am, the pen’s cable and the cable’s shadow end up obscuring part of the ballot. Bad design. Would it kill them to include an additional pen anchored to the left side?

(This is the part where a bunch of you are gonna say, “It’s illegal to photograph your ballot!,” blah-blah-blah. But it’s actually more complex than that. In New York, it’s illegal to photograph your completed ballot [I photographed mine before marking it], and even that restriction is coming under legal challenge as a free speech issue. Details here. Let’s please not get bogged down with this issue in today’s comments [although discussions of ballot design, like the left/right issue I raised, are welcome]. Thanks.)

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: What’s even better than Lou Brock in a 1976 pillbox cap? Lou Brock in a ’76 pillbox cap while posing with a fan who’s wearing a “Mad Hungarian” T-shirt (from BSmile). ”¦ Great story about how the cold-weather games early this season have featured a lot of bundling up (from Tommy Turner). ”¦ Speaking of cold weather, check out White Sox 2B Brett Lawrie last night. And what happened to his cap logo? ”¦ These laser-engraved bats are pretty cool (from Beau Cribbs). ”¦ “In my New Jersey town (Scotch Plains/Fanwood), they’ve named all of the T-ball teams after superheroes and villains — Team Ironman, Team Superman, Team Riddler, etc.,” says Michael Galante. “I wasn’t sold on it when I originally heard they were doing it, but it’s actually pretty awesome. The younger kids were super-excited about it, and all the older kids that have team names based on minor and major league teams (Bulls, Mud Hens, Yankees, Angels, etc.) were jealous at the parade when they saw the little kids rockin’ some pretty cool, unique unis.” ”¦ Clemson went G.I. Joke last night. ”¦ Amidst all the military appreciation promotion, here’s a refreshing concept: The Tacoma Rainiers are having a Tacoma Public Schools Night, with a uniform designed by a local student. ”¦ Lots of specialty jerseys for the Indianapolis Indians (from Chris Hagan). ”¦ See these padded-looking batting gloves that Melky Cabrera’s wearing? Turns out they’re weighted (grom Chris Rhode.) ”¦ Good piece on the stories behind MLBers with unusual uni numbers (from Brian Lauvray). ”¦ I’d forgotten all about this old Pirates BP jersey design until Hugh McBride asked about it. Further info here. ”¦ Good catch by eagle-eyed Jerry Kulig, who spotted an upside-down “8” on the Fenway scoreboard last night. ”¦ Crisis of sorts at Camden Yards, where Natty Boh is nowhere to be found (from Jack Krabbe). ”¦ Not sure if this happened earlier in the season or just yesterday, but Braves skipper Fredi González now has an accent on his NOB. He definitely didn’t have it last year (from Glen Macklin and Sean McGarity). ”¦ The Fresno Grizzlies did the Fresno Tacos thing yesterday (from Daniel Evans). ”¦ Looks like New Mexico has been taking cues from the D-backs. ”¦ A brewery has found an unlikely place to sneak in a “Go Mets!” message on its packaging. ”¦ I was reading a recap of last night’s Yanks/A’s game and was struck by all the empty seats in the Bronx. ”¦ Stars/stripes jersey last night — and some brutal side panels — for Louisville. Also: Front-brimmed catcher! ”¦ Cal infielder Robbie Tenerowicz takes his high-cuffery to Hunter Pence-like extremes (from John Furstenthal). ”¦ Here’s some rare color footage from Jim Maloney’s 10-inning no-hitter in 1965. Note that his pitch count was 187! (From Alan Tompas.) … How hard does Mets P Noah Syndergaard throw? This hard.

NFL News: There’s a bit of Color Rash info about Washington toward the middle of this Q&A page. ”¦ Nicely researched piece about how the Bears wore tank tops in 1922! ”¦ Orlando is preparing a bid to host the Pro Bowl. ”¦ Nike has cut ties with Johnny Football.

College Football News: Here’s a piece on how Rutgers freshmen are “knighted” by having the black stripe removed from their practice helmets. ”¦ One observer things LSU should retire two players’ numbers. ”¦ Colorado sure has a lot of gear (from Gilbert Lee).

Hockey News: The Red Wings provided a history lesson on their rally towel (from David Raglin). ”¦ Have the Penguins always had white top-stitching on their black sleeves and I just hadn’t noticed, or is that something new?

NBA News: Here’s a great slideshow on how the Trail Blazers and Clippers have changed their looks over the years. ”¦ ESPN got a comic book artist to illustrate the NBA playoff match-ups, and the results are pretty good (from Jorge Cruz). ”¦ The “Crying Jordan” meme has found its way onto a customized pair of Air Jordans (from @ZJL00).

Soccer News: Chelsea’s new home kit has leaked (thanks, Phil). ”¦ New centennial patch for Espanyol. ”¦ DIY genius Wafflebored has made himself a Wafflebored FC jersey.

Grab Bag: There’s a new 30 for 30 short about what it might have been like if Elvis had been really, really into racquetball. ”¦ Fun little collection of photos of people who dress like their surroundings (thanks, Mike). ”¦ The slogan on DC license plates could be changing. ”¦All Day I Dream About Socialism: Former Cuban president Fidel Castro, now 89 years old, made a rare public appearance yesterday at a Communist party meeting and was wearing an Adidas track jacket. ”¦ A cricket player says a new helmet design saved him from a broken nose. ”¦ Minnesota’s state university system has a new name, with a new logo on the way.

Comments (69)

    I wonder if notoriously litigious Disney will go after the little league using copyrighted Marvel names.

    You mean “appropriately litigious” don’t you.
    What’s a copyright if you fail to protect it?

    I believe “Spaceman” was screened in Montreal a few weeks ago to coincide with 2 exhibition games played there between the Red Sox & Blue Jays and Expos Fest.

    My polling place in Buffalo just leaves the pens loose. Sometimes I have to hunt to find a seat with a pen after three or four get hoarded at one spot. I wonder if I could bring my own pen or marker and use a different color?

    Here in Upstate NY, we have a very high tech solution to the pen-anchored-on-the-right problem: Our pens aren’t anchored! So we have ambidextrous voting facilities!

    As for ballot design, in MI we fill in a “bubble”, and it looks like NY fills in a “star”. I noticed you have a DNC ballot (it’s NY so odds are you are Dem anyway based on results last night…and the last 20 years) but wonder how it would be set up on the RNC side because the ballots were probably printed before most of those candidates dropped, but the primary fields were probably even smaller for the other races.

    In Wisconsin, we have an open primary, so the election official hands us one ballot with both parties’ candidates on it, each party in its own little box. And in both parties, many of the withdrawn candidates were still on the ballot. I gave some thought to voting for Jim Webb!

    MI’s open primary they make you choose your ballot (Dem or Rep) before you walk to the booth. You sign in, swipe your ID (or have “proof otherwise” like mail and a soc card, it’s happened to me), and they ask Red or Blue. They look like this (although this is an 08 ballot, they haven’t changed)

    Indiana’s polling is all over the place. I’ve had punch cards, I’ve had paper ballots, I’ve had electronic voting. I can also confirm (because I stumbled upon it looking for information on early voting) that all withdrawn candidates will still appear on the Indiana GOP ballot.

    Nassau County (Lawn Guyland) doesn’t chain their pens to the table. Which is actually surprising, since pens everywhere else (banks, etc.) engage in this practice.

    I was thinking of photographing my ballot…but since I was the only one voting in my polling place, and the (very bored) election workers were eyeing me, I simply filled mine out, stuck it in the machine, and left.

    /I miss (very much) the old closed booth with levers.

    Suffolk County at least in my district had the pens on the right hand side. I too miss the old voting machines, they were much easier to navigate.

    I don’t know about other areas of Nassau but my town definitely had those pens attached at the top right side.

    No pic but remember thinking it was a good idea because the desk had a serious slope being attached would stop the pen from falling.

    Chained pens in Merrick, right side, but the real reason I replied was to lament, along with Phil and Chris, the passing of the old lever machines. That felt like voting. This feels like a pop quiz.

    I hate voting in NY since I moved from NJ.

    I much preferred NJ’s curtained booths – now modernized with LEDs next to candidates names, so you can double-check before you submit your vote.

    (The only drawback is that NJ’s machines don’t give a print-out of your vote, which I’d require to be placed in a box and used as a backup of the computer vote.)

    Here in suburban Cook County (Chicago, Illinois), the election judge hands you a pen along with your ballot. So when you return your ballot, you return the pen.

    JERRY: What kind of pen is that?
    JACK: This pen?
    JERRY: Yeah.
    JACK: This is an Voting pen. It writes upside down and with either hand. They use this in Chicago.
    JERRY: Wow! That’s the voting pen. I heard about that. Where did you get it?
    JACK: Oh it was a gift from an election judge.
    JERRY: Cause sometimes I vote in NY and I have to turn and lean on my elbow to make the pen works.
    JACK: Take the pen.
    JERRY: Oh no.
    JACK: Go ahead.
    JERRY: I couldn’t
    JACK: Come on, take the pen!
    JERRY: I can’t take it.
    JACK: Do me a personal favor!
    JERRY: No, I’m not…
    JACK: Take the pen!
    JERRY: I cannot take it!
    JACK: Take the pen!
    JERRY: Are you sure?
    JACK: Positive! Take the pen!
    JERRY: O.K. Thank you very much. Thank you. Gee, boy!

    I’ve been looking up Penguins jersey entries on Game Worn Auctions, and it would seem that the white stitching on the black portions of the white Vegas gold jerseys dates back to the original, pre-Edge version, as shown on link; link clearly showing the white stitching as well.

    Was about to note that too. I wonder if that’s unique to the Pens, or are there other jerseys where colours intersect the stitching like that?

    It gets weirder. The Pens black Edge jersey has white stitching with the white fabric, and black stitching with the black fabric, from what I can tell. (link)

    There’s a little Vegas Gold stitching in there too in various places, at least on the few jerseys I own. It’s always been there, but it tends to blend pretty well…as RyCo astutely noted in his comment, I think the use of some photo filter or another in that graphic is making the contrast seem more drastic than it actually is.

    Can’t remember the last time I actually was asked to use a pen to vote. In my area (and I’m assuming the whole of Harris county i.e. the Houston area) we’ve been using e-slate machines. Took a bit of figuring out the first time but they are pretty simple after that).


    The E-Slate machines have been used here for several years. They are vastly superior to the old butterfly punch card, IMO.

    After making selections, but before accepting the votes, the E-Slate prints out the selections in a secure scroll. You have the opportunity to verify that what you voted for electronically is also there on paper.

    Anthony Michael Hall did the reverse uni thing in 61* as Whitey Ford. A mention at the end of the article from this obscure website explains:


    At my polling place in Chicago (yeah, OK, insert early and often, zombie voters, etc. joke here) we are also just given a felt-tip pen. It’s not chained down.

    Also, we don’t fill in a circle or box or whatever. link beside the candidate’s name. (No, that’s not my ballot. I just found it online.)

    Minnesota used to vote that way, the fill-in-the-arrow thing. Still my favorite ballot-marking design.

    When I lived in Chicago for an election – the one where some nobody with a funny name ran against Congressman Bobby Rush – they still had those terrible machines with clickety-clackety mechanical levers where you never actually saw your ballot. At this point, there’s really no excuse for any jurisdiction to employ any method other than marking paper ballots and counting with a scanner machine. Whether it’s bubbles, stars, or lines to fill in.

    Another thought on the NBA advertisement jerseys. Say for example, Russell Westbrook (who has a sponsorship deal with Mountain Dew) has to wear a Thunder jersey with an add for another soft drink on it, will he be covering up that add with a towel or whatever when doing interviews (much like that US Olympic roundball team outfitted by Reebok when many of the players had Nike sponsorships and were careful to cover up all things Reebok in pictures). And maybe somebody brought this up earlier (and sorry if I’m late with this). But just wondering.

    This is precisely the kind of incredibly tedious corporate theater that I fear we’ll be flooded with in the months and years to come as a result of the NBA’s move. It has nothing to do with sports and just speaks to relentless encroachment of corporate culture into every corner of our lives. Please. Make. It. Stop.

    Is the players’ union against uni ads? It could possibly limit player endorsements. Spitballing here, but if the Wizards are backed by American Airlines, then John Wall probably can’t appear in ads for United, Southwest, Delta, etc. Also, if the Bulls have Bank of America uni ads, then their role players can’t continue to appear in ads for local banks like BMO Harris.

    Union is in favor of it because the $$$ is being treated as “basketball-related revenue” and is therefore being split with them.

    Talking about the difference between sponsorships and advertisements just like yesterday…haha, I’m pretty sure Russell Westbrook would continue to thrive, let alone exist, without Mountain Dew.

    Nicely researched piece about how the Bears wore tank tops in 1922!

    And sure enough, the guys behind the GUD link!

    Do the Nike or UA players hide their Adidas striped warmups or cover up anything else the league might have provided with an Adidas logo?

    No, the warmups are as is, but while, for example, Kobe Bryant’s (remember, he was a Nike shill) arm sleeve had no logo on it, but Dwight Howard (who pimps Adidas) is very eager to wear two arm sleeves with the Adidas logo and the swoopy design so you damn well know it’s Adidas.
    And thinking of Nike and UA…this corporate crap is toothpaste out of the tube and it’s sickening at times, but I wish more arrangements could be like Steph Curry and UA. Curry is the biggest UA icon right now (sorry Bryce Harper and Cam Newton, but win a championship first), but he’s also a legit diehard Carolina Panthers fan, and his Panthers jersey is very openly a Nike, but he doesn’t cover up the swoosh. To contrast, Michael Jordan once attended a Blackhawks game with a Jordan 23 Blackhawks jersey made for him, but all the Reebok logos were covered with spare red fabric. So Curry comes across as a relatable person (wears UA, plays basketball, but loves his other team), and I think it’s refreshing…well, relatively speaking. It’s probably more like a “nice smelling” turd.

    I remember those Pirates batting jerseys. They still wore the smiling pirate ones in 87 after ditching that logo. But what were those patches on Tim Foli’s sleeves?

    In New Haven County, there are pencils (#2 I’m sure) at the voting booth, not tied down. You fill in the bubbles on the ballot and then hand it to someone who immediately runs it through those card reader machines. Similar to taking state exams in school back in the day.

    In Colorado we vote by mail. I never miss an election, but I haven’t actually been in a voting booth for quite a few years. I kind of miss the ceremony of it.

    Who is going to pay for the second pen in the ballot box Paul? Just add it to the deficit?

    I miss punch cards.

    Re: Bill Lee: don’t know if it’s been brought up here, but in 2008 Lee pitched in the annual Midnight Sun Game for the Alaska Goldpanners. He did so in 1967 wearing the number 50. In ’08 he wore number 337.



    I am normally a stalwart anti-NOB crusader, but I wish Bill Lee’s team had had them when he finally got to wear number 337. He could do a handstand, and both elements on the back of his jersey could be read just the same way!

    Great article about retiring the numbers for Dorsey and Faulk at LSU. I remember how big a deal it was to have Faulk come to LSU in 1995. Coincidentally, that is the year that Dinardo restored the tradition of LSU wearing white at home.

    WRT the world being backwards… the wrong-handed oppressors will be the first ones against the wall when the revolution comes….

    A few blips in that Oregonian slideshow (f’rinstance, the Buffalo Braves uniform with the diagonal stripe was when the team rocked an orange, black and white color scheme, not red/white/blue) but an entertaining journey through the past. Glorious penmanship on that expansion-year Braves’ road uniform. I vote for the 1985 Clippers’ uniform and the 1977 Trailblazers. The ’90s Clipper jerseys with the filled-in counters on the script looked hideous and slipshod, very upsetting for an onlooker with OCD.

    Referencing yesterday’s advertising/sponsoring debate, here’s a team from Charlottesville, Virginia playing the the longest running tournament in the US, the US Open Cup.

    Aromas Cafe FC — link

    The democrats should have been offended that the pens were anchored to the right (republican) side. I suspect there is a deeper meaning there that we’re missing.

    The pen issue reminds me of when I had to take my ACT test in a cramped parochial school that only had those tiny half desks, barely big enough room to fit the test booklet. They weren’t willing to provide me a Left handed version, so I had to contort my body awkwardly for hour with no support for my writing arm.
    That was the only time in my life I felt discrimination.

    Those desks, and spiral notebooks, are about the only things that make me feel disadvantaged.

    The rest of the time, especially in sports, it’s pretty useful.

    I know the proposal was from a reader and doesn’t in any way reflect any kind of actual scenario, but why on earth would the Skins wear all black for their Color Rash uni? Black isn’t one of their colors, and they already have the mono burgundy set. Having the team in all black would be about the worst example of BFBS ever.

    In 1991 and 1992, Bill Lee pitched in one game (each season) for my baseball team at Hampshire College. We were unaffiliated (the official team name was “Hampshire College Baseball Collective”), and played high schools and junior colleges. One of our players was from Bill’s hometown in VT.

    We gave Bill one of our jerseys with #37, which he wore with his Montreal Expos white pants. He hit the only over the fence homers in Hampshire College baseball history, and entertained us all with great baseball stories. Playing infield behind him (and using his bat when I came to the plate) was my career highlight.

    The Detroit Red Wings towel caused me to look up the coach who was responsible for breaking a run of 46 consecutive years in the playoffs for the Canadiens. Found out the string was broken because the Rangers, that season, had a better goal differential in the tiebreaker for the last playoff spot. How tenuous can a broken string be?

    I Just got a game worn Mets Viola flex base spring training top directly from the Mets and was shocked. Unlike all Mets jerseys I own or have seen (retail and game worn) the double twill and triple twill is layered. The inner twill is on top, outer twill on bottom.

    In the case of last year’s blue alt jersey, the orange inner twill was layered on-top of the outer/bottom/white twill. Both layers were stitched to the jersey.

    On the 2016 spring flexbase jersey- the outer white twill is stitched on top and outlines the orange. The white/outer/top layer is stitched on the inner edge to the bottom/orange layer. The outer edge of that top/outer white twill is then the only layer stitched to the jersey.

    1) I couldn’t find anything written on this. Was the previously covered?

    2) Looking at my 55″ TV closely- it kind of looks like the regular season jerseys have this same feature. Is this the case as well?

    Boy, what a surprise to find out that my note to Paul would end up being a guest entry this morning. I sent a few photos along, thinking the readers would be especially interested in the pic of Josh Duhamel wearing the mirror-image cap and jersey.

    Here’s a question – was it intentional that my Bill Lee story was used on 4/20, or was it just a happy coincidence? Either way, it made my day.

    Thanks a lot, Paul.

Comments are closed.