By Phil Hecken
That’s right. Nobody beats Army 15 times in a row.
Army broke it’s fourteen year losing streak to Navy yesterday (dating back to 2002 and stretching through last year) in magnificent fashion, and for the most part, the fashion show that constituted the uniforms was very solid too. This may have been the best looking game in years (at least in my opinion), especially given some of the ridiculous costumes both sides have trotted out over the past several years.
Army was clad in a dark gray, which actually appeared lighter than in “press” photos, and it was a fine looking uniform (except for one pretty glaring exception, which we’ll get to shortly). Navy countered with athletic gold (which some of you call yellow — but never call a Navy man yellow) hats and britches, and white shirts. If you’re curious as to all the symbolism in these uniforms, I simply refer you to yesterday’s lede. If you haven’t had a chance to read that, you might want to give it a quick once-over before proceeding.
Now then, let’s look at some shots from yesterday (you can click on the photos below to enlarge slightly).
Nice right? But that last photo above leads me to my one (and only) real complaint, which I knew would likely be a problem going in: Army’s number fonts. I appreciate what the team was going for with their look, but it just didn’t look good on a number of players.
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) December 10, 2016
Some of the fonts looked OK — particularly any numbers that contained a “1” in the tens digit:
— Funhouse (@RNs_Funhouse) December 10, 2016
But most of the numbers looked awful — and they were very difficult to read on the field (I watched this game on TV, and even in close ups it was tough to make many numbers out. Long shots and with players in motion made it almost impossible). The worst numbers were those ending in “0” since the particular font family used made all those zeroes look like the letter “D”:
If a player was lucky enough to have a single digit, or a number like “17” or “11”, then they looked ok.
Aside from that, it really was a good looking affair. Army’s helmets, which were designed to mimic the netting on a WWII paratrooper helmet, did so to good effect — although you needed to be fairly close to see it:
Both teams added the usual unit patches, and Army went with “ARMY” in a military font on the back of their uniform, and again using the ‘nameplate’ on the front of the uniform for a player ID.
Incidentally, and I didn’t know this yesterday, Navy’s helmets contained 14 stars (to signify their 14 game winning streak). Let that be a lesson. You don’t want to do anything to your uniform that might jeopardize said streak. Will next year’s hats just have a single stripe? I also liked the effect (borrowed from the 1963 uniforms) of the N surrounded by 4 stars on the shoulders (in that shot you can also see the ball Navy used had gold laces):
My pop was an Army man, so in my heart I’ve always rooted for them. He *just* missed WWII (he was 17 in 1945), went ROTC in college and was commissioned in time for Korea. He actually served over there, but he never saw any action (fortunately). His brother, my Uncle, was a Navy man — so I can imagine their rooting tendencies if they ever went to (or watched on tv) a game together. 14 years is a long time to go without a win. But Army finally pulled one out (the first one since my pop passed away). So, for the first time since then, I can say “GO ARMY BEAT NAVY” with authority.
Uni Tracking ARMY/NAVY
Just because it was the last game of the regular season, and neither team plays in a “Power 5” conference, you didn’t think one of my trackers wouldn’t create an A/N uni tracker, did you? Of course not. Totally unsolicited, but greatly appreciated, Ethan Dimitroff created the following. His note to me included the following:
“I have a copy of the Army Navy uniforms attached. Tried a new template I’ve been working that includes updated socks, jersey sleeves and undershirts.”
Awesome…thanks Ethan! Below is the graphic, which you can click to enlarge!
BACK IN BLACK
Yesterday morning the Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their Stadium Series unis, which they will wear in their outdoor matchup at Heinz Field on Saturday, February 25, 2017. They will also wear these again at home against the Penguins on Wednesday, March 25.
First, the video reveal:
The moment you've all been waiting for…
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) December 10, 2016
They’re fairly straightforward in design: black jerseys with orange stripes on the arms and hem. Their breezers and socks are also black, with a repeated orange stripe on the sock.
Like their current uniforms, the NOB will be a contrasting color plate (orange with black letters).
The TV numbers on the sleeve will be oversized (as are almost all Stadium Series/Winter Classic/outdoor games), but unfortunately, the uniform numbers on the back will be black with white outlines, which on a black sweater may be difficult to see in a game that needs to have clearly visible numbers from the cheap(er) seats.
Those black outlined numbers will look fine on the sleeve, where they’re against the orange stripe. On a black background? Might be tough to read from a distance.
There are also two patches: the obligatory Stadium Series patch on the right shoulder, and a patch honoring Ed Snider, the Flyers founder who recently passed away on the left.
The classic Flyers “Flying P” logo will be the jersey crest, and Captain/Assistant patches will be in black, outlined in white, consistent with the pattern on the numbers.
Here’s how the Flyers described the sweaters:
The new jersey stands as a contemporary homage to the unique characteristics of 50 years of the Flyers uniform ”“ a bold design for a passionate city. The primary color of the uniform is black, fiercely showcasing the traditional winged-P on the chest. The single dominant orange bands are a reinterpretation of the singular bands of color on the team’s current home and away uniforms. In addition, these bands of color are complemented by a contrast color name-plate, which is a signature design feature of the Flyers’ NHL uniform.
The full uniform carries the theme of orange accents over solid black ”“ black socks showcase a single orange stripe across black, gloves include orange highlights, and the black helmet includes numbers mirroring those on the jersey.
I actually like these (despite the immediate criticism I saw once these were released), although I’m not sure the black outlined numbers will work particularly well in a game to be played outdoors, where seats will be much further from the ice. Guess we’ll need to wait for game day for that. Also, since the Penguins will be wearing gold jerseys for this game, it will be color vs. color. One may question the wisdom of wearing a black uniform (thus making the game in Heinz Field a black vs gold affair — the colors of Pittsburgh), but the Flyers do historically have a black uniform. At the very least, it should be a good looking game.
Yesterday morning, at their Fanfest, the Washington Nationals introduced their new white jersey and a new cap. As you can see below, the curly W has got the blue stars and red/white strip pattern the team currently uses on its blue alternate. It’s my understanding these new unis will be worn on special occasions/select home games. I’m wondering how difficult the portion of the W that is red/white will be to see on a red-crowned cap. Check out the new cap (with the same striping pattern) too (click to enlarge):
And here’s a shot of Dusty Baker and Wilmer Defo modeling the new jersey:
There is also apparently a second new cap the Nats will sport this year, but it wasn’t revealed at the Fanfest. However, it’s probably the lower cap here. You can see a few more shots of the new jersey here.
Not bad, if completely unnecessary. The Nats will wear the white “Patriotic” jersey for day games and the blue one for night games. More ‘murica!
Remembering the ’60 Berlin Braves
A very cool story of which I’d not been aware was recently brought to my attention. The story of the 1960 Berlin Braves. Who were the Berlin Braves?
On July 2nd 1945, the Tempelhof-Berlin Central Airport was given over to the United States Army 2nd Armored Division. Though the United States Air Force base in Tempelhof may have never had an airplane assigned to it, it became rich with American culture and quickly gave rise to intramural sports programs. This cornerstone project kicked off in 1954 and lead to varsity teams on the Air Force base participating in many sports to include marathon running, baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and softball. Many of them playing competitively and representing the Air Force under the name Berlin Braves.
In 1960 a group of little league baseball players ages 11 and 12 were selected to the All-Star team to represent the Braves outside of their home base. This 1960 All-Star team traveled by train to multiple other countries throughout Europe with only their coaches and the camaraderie of their teammates (no parents) to compete in the European Championship. After winning and being crowned European Champions they traveled to Williamsport, PA to compete in the Little League World Series.
This in and of itself is very cool. But when I looked into this a bit more, I noticed something different — the caps the team wore (for all photos including the heder, you can click to enlarge):
The uniforms seem pretty standard for 1960, but those caps are definitely not the *normal* little league caps. Instead, they look more like military-style caps, which makes sense, given the team played on an air force base. But it’s odd to see a little league team wearing it. Here’s another photo:
Of course, if you read the history (above) of this team, they went on to win game after game, eventually making the Little League World Series, and representing all of EUROPE at that tournament. Of course, even back then, teams were given geographical identifiers on their uniforms, so the Berlin Braves wore “EUROPE” on the front of their uniforms. But (and I wish I had a better or larger photo) it looks like the team (or at least some of them) kept their military-style caps for this photo:
I love that.
But there’s more to the story:
In 2012 Joey Elgersma founded a new Berlin Braves project to keep the same spirit alive and offer the local youth in Berlin the same opportunities to enjoy recreational sports and overall fitness.
Here are some recollections of the players on that team (and additional pics).
Even cooler is a few members of that team were brought to Fenway Park to honor their achievements.
Check out the Berlin Braves today:
To commemorate the original Berlin Braves, they teamed up with brand ’47 to help bring the spirit of the 1960 team to life with updated All Stars jerseys, caps and pennants (seen below). I love these.
What a cool story. (Special thanks to Megan Brown for bringing this to my attention.)
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it on Friday, this year’s NFL throwbacks — like all throwbacks that have been worn since 2013 — have had one thing in common: The teams used their existing helmet shells and either swapped out or removed their usual helmet logos, striping tape and face masks. That’s due to the NFL’s “one-shell rule,” which aims to decrease the risk of concussions by preventing teams from switching to new sets of helmets in the middle of the season. So teams can still wear throwbacks if they use their existing shells, but throwbacks that would require a different-colored helmet — like New England’s “Pat Patriot” design or Tampa Bay’s “Creamsicle” set — are now off-limits. Paul’s latest Friday Flashback column on ESPN takes a look back at NFL throwbacks that have been worn in the past but are currently off-limit.
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Yesterday, in 1969, “the Phillies unleashed their ‘modern’ look, which included these outfits that seem to come from a dystopian sci-fi future,” (from the always awesome Todd Radom). … CROSSOVER ALERT! Last evening the San Jose Sharks wore orange San Francisco Giants-esque sweaters for their pre-game warmup (thanks, Brinke). Also posted in Hockey News.
NFL News: You know all those post-game jersey swaps Paul is always reporting on MMUW? Well, if you didn’t already know it, the players pay for those jerseys out of pocket. This report on Antonio Brown notes, “Brown buys a stack of them before the season with the expectation that he’ll give many away. As one of the league’s most marketable stars, Brown said he gets asked by opposing players for his uniform top fairly often, but not every game.” … Browns WR Terrelle Pryor will wear cleats Sunday honoring his grandma, father, & ESPN’s Stuart Scott. .. Tweeter Paul Durkee “came across this gem (yester)day, pre existence days, the Jaguars should have kept this logo.” Alas, a certain car maker had put the kibosh on that. … That reminds us of what could have been (Paul again). … The market for gear based on that logo certainly existed (from Whisky4Trubisky). Imagine if (in the ‘butterfly flaps its wings’ kinda way) that logo was used — would the whole tragic trajectory of the Jaguars uniforms have been altered for the good? … The Washington Valor, an Arena League team, have released their new uniforms.
College/High School Football News: We’re not the *only* ones who track unis — this article on the South Carolina Gamecocks takes a look back at their season of uni comobs. Interesting to note they only repeated one combo, and they went 2-0 in it. … Yesterday, the Army prepared a locker and jersey for President-elect Trump. … Poor Army was really being reminded of their 14 game losing streak on Game Day prior to yesterday’s game. … Oh my — check out this Vanderbilt media guide from 1983 (pic via Sports Paper). … From James King: Cincy photoshopping the UA and Bearcat logo on to Coach Fickell. … Looks like this might be a copy of the Rose Bowl Program (h/t Thom Pucks). … OOPS! “As you can see on the chin strap, this Chevy ‘go navy’ ad on ESPN features an army helmet” (nice spot by Scare Pigs). … A Texas High School playoff game was color vs. color (from Chris Mycoskie).
Hockey News: Following up on yesterday’s announcement of the Flyers’ Stadium Series uniforms, J. Walker notes the Flyers now have 3 sets of black mitts. White logo standard, gold on 50th, and orange text on the stadiums. … The Williams College Ephs have an interesting “NOB” — The logo on the new men’s ice hockey jerseys dates back to the 1920s; hockey at Williams began in 1903 (h/t Paul Friedmann). … Tweeter Tony Tengwall spotted this tweet of “Dallas Stars Keith Ballard and notes, “so many things wrong here.” … Nice throwback uniforms for the Iowa State Cyclones (h/t Connor Ferguson). … Speaking of Cyclones, the Cincinnati Cyclones busted out Rogue One Star Wars uniforms last evening (from Jeff Tasca). … CROSSOVER ALERT! Last evening the San Jose Sharks wore orange San Francisco Giants-esque sweaters for their pre-game warmup (thanks, Brinke). Also posted in Baseball News.
NBA News: Sneakerheads will be crowding shopping centers hoping to snag a pair of the Air Jordan 11 “Space Jam” colorway, whose release is widely considered the biggest of the year, but Jordan Reed won’t have to worry. He’s already an “ambassador” (ugh) for the Jordan brand (from TommytheCPA). … Maybe they’re lucky? The Cleveland Cavaliers wore their orange throwback (hardwood classic) unis for a second night in a row yesterday (from Robert Hayes).
College Hoops News: Color on color can work well in blue vs. red — provided it’s powder blue, and the Wisconsin vs. Marquette tilt yesterday proved nicely (h/t Ryan Wozniak). … Pretty interesting detailed court featuring the frogskin design of the TCU Horned Frogs (from Jorge Cruz). … Nice uniforms for the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Men’s Basketball (from UMKC Basketball).
Soccer News: Crossover alert! Yesterday, the Seattle Mariners changed their avatar to Seattle Sounders colors and imagery, in support of the team’s MLS final last evening against Toronto (h/t Edward). … Speaking of that final, Jimmer Vilk got in the spirit with this tweet, “Before they became Team BMO, they were just Toronto FC. This is what I’m wearing for #MLSCup tonight. Beat Team XBox!”
And that’s it for today. Whew — lots of uni stuff yesterday!
Saw my first snowflakes yesterday, which definitely means winter’s a-comin’, and they’re predicting a snow/sleet/rain mashup for the evening’s curling session. After going 3-0 to start the season, Paul, Omoy, Doug and I have suffered one close loss and one beatdown, so we’re looking to get back in the saddle tonight. Wish us luck.
Enjoy the NFL games (and whatever other sports you may be watching) today, and I will catch you fine folks next weekend, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Congratulations to Army on their win today. Please never use that number font again.”
— Ted Mark