[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]
By Phil Hecken
As you’re probably all aware (or should be), tonight the Olympics (technically the Games of the XXXIst Olympiad) begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the spectacle that is the Opening Ceremony. (Yes, technically the Games have already begun with some of the sports requiring games to be played before the official start of the Games, so their tournaments can be completed by the end of the Games.)
Last weekend, on Saturday to be precise, Paul subbed for me and had a sub-lede entitled Skippy, Muffy ready for Rio — scroll down — (and also had an ESPN piece) which kinda-sorta poked fun at the USA’s Opening Ceremonies garb, with an allusion to it’s apparent preppy-ness. Now, Paul and I don’t often disagree when it comes to uniforms (fashion is another story), but I’m here to say that I think the USA’s opening night costumes are spectacular — well, from the exposed ankles up. Those shoes gotta go.
Take away the shoes and that’s a mighty fine getup. Is it preppy? Sure, it’s designed by Ralph Friggin’ Lauren (in case you weren’t aware of that with the Giant Pony on the blazer), who’s like the KING of the preps. But this is the Olympics, where the costumes of the Opening Ceremonies are meant to be loud, gaudy, and nationalistic, and often they are stereotypically comical as well. But the blue blazer and white slacks are something I wear to the office about once a week or so during the summer, and while I’m not a huge fan of the shirt (which Paul very observantly equated to the Russian flag), it pretty much screams AMERICA. As it should.
The uniforms (can we call the Opening Ceremonies outfits uniforms? Sure, why not) have been mercilessly derided on social media (and the retail prices for those, if you want to buy them, are ridiculous). Personally, I would have put our athletes in either this or this from my buddies at OppoSuits (and yes, I own, and proudly wore the first suit, over the 4th of July Weekend). But it is what it is. And compared to what some of the other countries are wearing, I think our..ahem…uniforms stack up quite well.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending upon your perspective), other nations tend to outfit their athletes in Opening Ceremony costumes that are designed to evoke the spirit of that nation. Whether it’s stereotypical or classy (and that also depends upon your perspective), here’s what some of the other nations will be sporting tonight.
Poor Georgia. Their outfits have been ruthlessly and unjustifiably mocked, and not in a good way.
Another disaster. These outfits have been likened to erasers. Now that’s a low blow.
But the USA’s “competition” in the Opening Ceremony game isn’t all bad. Let’s take a look at some of the other Opening Ceremony outfits you’ll see tonight:
The host country has a nice set of costumes. Men and ladies both in blue blazers, with the men in tan slacks and the ladies in colorful, floral print dresses. In the words of Jimmer Vilk, I’d wear that.
EH? Yes, this is really Canada’s Opening Ceremony outfit. Oh, Canada.
I know it’s supposed to be warm (but not unbearably hot, or so the weather reports go), but Cuba is going with really sharp red blazers for the men…with black shorts. Also, high top sneakers and no socks. Not my cuppa, but whatever fashion floats your boat. I do like the ladies’ outfits with their tan jackets and black capris.
France has suffered a lot lately, so I’m going to cut them some slack here. Actually I kinda like the more casual look they’ve adopted (and the white shirt/pants is pretty spiffy). And no berets!
Wait, that can’t be right, can it? Full suits, and heels for the ladies? Well, that’s what I’m being told is their opening night kit. And Andy Murray is their flag-bearer, so. If indeed that’s what they’re wearing, they’ll look a lot better during the Opening Ceremony than during the Games.
I don’t know *what’s* going on with these. I’m not sure why they have a “seven” or why they’re wearing black and white.
These aren’t too bad. Are fedoras (or trilbys) big in Seoul? I’m digging the white piping on the blue blazers too.
So, you can see — the USA will be at the top of the class when it comes to the Opening Ceremony outfits. But they are by no means the most awesomest of them all. That honor falls to Australia. Feast your eyes on these:
Yeah, I know I said I’m not a huge fan of blazers with shorts, but I take that back here — these unis are gorgeous. The blazer alone is incredible, and the white skirts & shorts are great. And most times, if you see a bunch of folks taking a selfie dressed like that at the beach…you probably want to punch them in the face. But these are the Aussies, man. That would not be a smart move. The unis are 1/2 IDGAF and the other half party-central. An “oz”some combo.
And for those of you who still think the USA’s Opening Ceremony outfits are bad, just remember the past stuff they’ve trotted out. Remember the puffy coats in the winter olympics, and cowboy hats? Pfft. We’ve had worse. A lot worse. Here’s a slideshow to remind you of just that:
If you can’t view the slideshow click here to view the set.
So what say you readers? For those of you who will even be watching, how’d the USA do? Do you even care about the outfits/costumes/uniforms of the Opening Ceremony? What say you?
Hey Uni Watchers…
I got an e-mail from reader Elan Rodman that was directed to Paul, but since he’s on his actual vacation portion of his blog-cation right now, I thought perhaps as a group we could help Elan out.
Question regarding obscure Orioles Warm Up Jersey/Pants never seen before.
Hey Paul! I am a long time reader of your work. I found an obscure, possibly rare sand knit orioles warm up from the 70s, would like some more info on it. My name is Elan Rodman.
Elan included the following photos in his original e-mail (click to enlarge):
He then followed up shortly thereafter with some additional identifying information:
Here are some more photos, tags.
There you have it.
Do any of you readers have any information that can help identify this garment? Please post any thoughts in the comments below.
Grand Rapids Griffins Contest Design Reminder
I’m currently hosting a contest to redesign an alternate jersey for the Grand Rapids Griffins. All the details are here.
The deadline for all submissions is Thursday, August 11th (Midnight Eastern Time).
Remember to send all your entries to Phil.Hecken@gmail.com in the format described in the article.
for the Ticker
Got an e-mail yesterday from reader Ed Kalas, who has some photos and a great story to share, especially with the Olympics Opening Ceremonies beginning this evening.
I’ll let Ed explain (and you can click on the photos below to enlarge)…
1992 USA Basketball Kellogg’s Commemorative Jacket
Hey Uni-Watch Crew,
Big fan here who reads the posts daily, especially the soccer posts.
In honor of the upcoming Olympics, I wanted to share with you guys a pretty unique jacket that my brother got way back around 1992 out of a Kellogg’s box. I figured right before the Olympics would be a cool time to share.
Here’s the back, I love Larry Bird’s all black shoes. It’s a very very flimsy material, not sure how long it would have lasted had anyone wore it on a regular basis, almost paper like.
Kellogg’s was an official sponsor, and from this shot, each jacket might have had their own serial number (no pun intended), under this logo on the jacket.
Not sure too much of the background of this jacket my brother never wore it, and always kept it hanging in his closet. I took an recent trip back to our mom’s house to snap some photos. He also saved two Kellogg’s boxes that promoted the jacket, a Raisin Bran and Corn Flakes.
I wonder why these 5 particular players were chosen of the 12. I wonder if they each had a specific deal with Kellogg’s, or they were just the 5 guys willing to do it. I know Wheaties is General Mills, so maybe that was conflict of interest for some of the guys like MJ?
As you can see, on the back of the Corn Flakes box, The Admiral is showing off one of the jackets, wearing the same uniform from the jacket photo shoot.
You could also submit for an Olympic coin, but here is an example of one of the proofs of purchase that can be found on the side of the box.
I took a couple of closeups as well of the action shots on the jacket, but I didn’t want to flood you guys with too many photos, I know you guys probably get a lot of submissions.
I certainly appreciate the work, and if you guys have a chance to check this out, and are able to share it on the site. Keep up the good work!
Thanks, Ed. Great stuff!!!
OK. Now, onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Looks like Cameron Maybin wears striped socks, sheer hosiery, and Hunter Pence-style baseball “biking shorts,” (from Steve Vibert). … Great find from Tristan Ridgeway, who notes “Years ahead of the likes of Tiger Woods, check out Joe Foy’s own personal, hand-drawn logo on his batting glove while with the 1970 Mets.” Here’s another one of a different glove. … Here’s a teaser preview of Monday’s Charleston rainbows uniforms (frpm Nate Kurant). … The web site of ORIX Buffaloes throwback games “The ORIGIN of Bs” can be found here (from BigDaddy45). … When the “Great Clips” Twins play the Cedar Rapids Kernels next Tuesday, the Twins will wear these jerseys (from OT Sports). … Just what the die-hard Chicago Cubs fan needs: Benjamin Moore has released Cubs-themed paint (from Eric Lovejoy). … Everyone in baseball seems to have “lucky” superstitions (from PulpEphemera). … Whoa: Check out this Clemson pitcher wearing a batting helmet on the mound, in the mid/late 1960s (from BassProShop Jones). … The Brooklyn Cyclones will be doing a 90s Nickelodeon Night on August 10th (from Minor League Promos). And speaking of Nickelodeon Night — it was just that at the Visalia Rawhide last evening, and they played the part by becoming the Red Jaguars (MiLB again). … On Wednesday, the Petco scoreboard was using 90’s era Brewers logo (good spot by Rabid Mongoose). … Reader Rand Martin asks, “so, you think Paul would wear this (purple Ebbets Field Flannels t-shirt)?” … Check out these Potomac Nationals presidential nominee bobbleheads (from John Muir). That Trump one is gonna be yuuuuuge. … Here’s a look at the 2017 World Baseball Classic logo, with the event taking place in Seoul, Korea. … Here’s some new custom cleats for Marcus Stroman (from Megan Brown). … Last night the Lehigh Valley IronPigs were the ‘Festers as Allentown’s MusikFest came to town again (from Thompucks).
NFL/CFL News: It’s almost that time: A friend of Dan Kennedy went on a tour of Ford Field. Here’s a shot of the field with color, but no graphics yet. Yes, football season is just around the corner. …
According to reader Andrew Cosentino, “EA Sports still thinks that the Colts play in Baltimore!” … According to John Turney this is a prototype 1979 St. Louis Cardinals helmet. … The Montreal Alouettes wore their road jerseys at home Thursday night. “Went with the complete white combo (helmets, jerseys and pants),” he adds.
College Football News: The Florida Gators will have new, custom kicking nets this year (from Dave Doop). … Gotta say, those new, white Iowa State Cyclones helmets are pretty damn sweet (h/t Chris Palmquist). … Tulsa football showed off some of the new adidas unis at the team’s first practice (via Justin Mitchell). … Virginia Tech wore new shorts for practice: GFGS! (from Andrew Cosentino). … Also from Andrew, here’s a first look at Virginia Tech’s new wordmark on their helmet. … Looks like Colgate football will have a new helmet this fall (from G.A.T.A.). … Georgetown will be getting new football unis today. Here’s a sneak peek (from Georgetown Hoyas).
Olympics News: Reader Kristina Cruz, who is one of my “Olympic Correspondents” and will have a piece for us in a few days, wanted to point out that the USA Olympic leotards for gymnastics are a bit on the pricey side. … Tweeter Richard Rincon says “yuck” and adds, “why isn’t the federation logo on the jersey?” for this Olympic soccer match. … Steven Carlson says, “Germany usually has pretty good kits, but black w/olive green sleeves? Not a good look.” Yellow Away Kit notes it’s probably “an Olympified version of their current away kit.” … Apparently the Portugese unis weren’t holding up very well during their match with Argentina (great gifs from Brandon Edwards). … Legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser rates all of the Olympic logos since 1924 (thanks, Brinke). … Korean soccer players are all full NOB (thanks to Yellow Away Kit).
Hockey News: The NWHL (that’s the “National Women’s Hockey League, for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym) have retired all team jerseys, and will introduce new ones for 2016-17 (from John Muir). You can vote on new designs here (from Kyle Scott Clauss). If that link doesn’t work, here are the designs (h/t pach zearce). … Ohhh, this is nice: check out these vintage photos of UC Bearcats hockey, circa early-80s (from Doug Smith). … Looks like Vermont Hockey will be wearing 1996 throwbacks at some point this coming season. Those are nice! (from Matt Bain). … The South Carolina Stingrays have unveiled a special third jersey for the 2016-17 season that pays tribute to the club’s National Hockey League (NHL) affiliate, the Washington Capitals (from Zach Fisch).
Soccer News: Our soccer guy Yellow Away Kit is asking about enforcement of the ‘tuck rule’ in women’s college soccer. I’m not sure such a rule enforcement exists. If you read replies to that tweet, you’ll see a ref who pretty much doesn’t care. Also there’s this. … Tottenham Hotspur player Danny Rose was sporting a St. Louis Rams cap on the way to a friendly in Norway (good spot by Trayton Miller). … Trivia (from Yellow Away Kit): When FC Bayern play in the US, they advertise T-Mobile, not T-Com (Deutsche Telekom). … Here’s a look at the new Kansas State University Women’s Soccer Team for the upcoming season (from Randy Peterson). … The Dynamo Kiev 2016-17 Home Kit has been revealed (h/t Tim Cross). … New @equipedefrance gear just arrived and the @FFF tags are split with new/old logos (from Ft. Wayne Pistons).
Grab Bag: Here’s some news you don’t quite see every day: A High School (the Oregon High School Panthers) have announced an ‘exclusive apparel deal with adidas’. (from Mike Carr). The slogan? “Orange and The New Black.” Ugh. … Even though the coach in this photo is holding a baseball bat, Christopher Lahaye says, “I’d pay $5 to see Bill Belichick coaching these.” … The US military is ditching the dumbest uniform ever made. So long, aquaflage (from Clint Richardson), who adds, “Maybe the Padres will too.” (That was also tweeted by Wonderdog). … Here’s an, um, interesting St. Louis Blues/Arizona Cardinals frankenlogo (from Brett Knowles). … Here’s a look as some of the most outlandish throwback uniforms in sports history (from our own Alex Hider). … Patrick Thomas asks is “This the first time the new NoDak logo is seen with the green and black swapped?” … New court design for the Houston Rockets? Kenneth Turner says, “I just came across some photos from a Houston Rockets’ fan site that I also follow that suggests that the Rockets may have a new court design for the upcoming season.”
And that’s going to do it for today. And the week. Whew. First week without Paul running things, and I think so far things have gone smoothly. Thanks to everyone for your patience.
Johnny Ek will be filling in for my normal weekend duties tomorrow and Sunday, so he’ll keep things moving until Monday. Until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Which of Paul’s cats is the secretary?”
— Pittsburgh Contrarian