By Phil Hecken, with Jimmer Vilk
I have to admit, for some strange reason, I’ve become fascinated with the World Baseball Classic this past week — I watched at least parts of every game (some of them ending way past my bedtime, or beginning well before sunrise). Perhaps I missed baseball even more than normal, and Spring Training games just aren’t enough to feed my jones. I can’t explain it. But whatever it is, the WBC, even though nothing like a World Cup or Olympic Tourney in stature or quality, has been riveting. Every team has now played at least one game, and half the teams have already finished with their first round. Four teams (Israel, Netherlands, Japan and Cuba) have advanced to the semi-finals (those teams played in groups A & B — see my post from last weekend if you need a refersher); the remaining eight teams in Groups C & D have begun their round robins. The USA and Dominican Republic (who play each other today) are 1-0, while Canada and Colombia are both 0-1 in Group C. In Group D, Italy and Puerto Rico are also 1-0, while Mexico and Venezuela are 0-1. All eight teams are in action today with Canada playing Colombia, Italy playing Venezuela, and Puerto Rico squaring off vs. Venezuela as well.
After last weekend’s post, and mostly on Twitter (plus some e-mailing), several people mentioned how “bad” or “dated” the USA’s uniform is. It’s actually been almost unchanged for over 20 years (and the basic “USA” with ‘stripe S’ longer than that)…
and on Twitter throughout the week there were a few tweets like this:
@PhilHecken not into the faux vests the WBC teams are wearing. Go full vest or not at all. Btw USA needs to do something about the "S" pic.twitter.com/2n02zW3nqL
— Steven Carlson (@Nevets677) March 11, 2017
No amount of water or Gatorade can wash the 90s look from that uniform, Team USA. Time for a redesign pic.twitter.com/cVsLa3HAhT
— Jim Vilk (@JimVilk) March 11, 2017
During the week, I discussed how the USA jersey and cap really could use a facelift, and my buddy Jimmer Vilk suggested a re-design contest was in order. So that’s what we’re going to do today. But before we get into that…Jim wanted to start us off with a good-old-fashioned-five-and-one with the WBC unis of 2017. We’ll see how the USA stacks up, uni-wise, against the World. And then we’ll see how it’s time for a redesign contest. Details of that will follow, so make sure to scroll down. OK, here’s Jim.
A WBC 5 & 1
By Jimmer Vilk
When I first saw all the caps for the teams in the WBC, I thought it would be fun to do a 5&1 list for them. After talking with Phil I decided to include the unis as well. I’m sure you all know how the list is going to end, but for the two of you who might not, no spoilers. OK, let’s begin with the good stuff.
Honorable Mentions to:
Man, if it weren’t for the road jerseys, this could’ve been a contender. I absolutely love the home whites that are more red-blue confused than a Rangers uni. On the roads, though, I need more contrast.
The Swingin’ Aussies! I love the A’s look, and the yellow outlining on the roads is an improvement from the Cuban ones.
Again, if you’re going to wear such a dark gray, you need that yellow. I’ll tell you what…ketchup and mustard not only go together well on a hot dog, they do on a baseball uni, too. Attention, MLB teams. If you’re thinking of a rebrand/redesign, you would do well to consider these colors.
The Kansas City Isroyals. Just a great look. I only have two minor quibbles. Fix those and this could be a #1 uni. First, I’d make that fabulous cap logo a little bigger. Then I would tweak the lettering so the r isn’t split. Respect the placket!
Va Va Voom, Venezuela! That yellow LEAPS out at you! I’m not even going to take points off for the blue top/gray pants combo. I’ll just say the same thing I did for Israel: respect the placket!
Great logo. It reminds me a little bit of one of my Top Ten minor league baseball logos, the Fort Myers Miracle. Glad to see it on the jerseys too, and I kind of like the number font.
I’m not even going to complain about the black cap and helmet. I love the throwback logo, I love the fonts and I love the green, white and red.
Dishonorable Mention to:
Some might think I should make them the &1 with the stealth cap and road uni, but I can’t penalize the very nice home pinstripes. So, as much as I hate to admit it…
&1 – The United States of America
They look great from the back, so they have that going for them. For starters, that cap logo…talk about American carnage. The outline around the letters makes it even more cluttered. Also, I’m just not a fan of that striped S. It’s so 90s, and as we all know the only good design that came from the 90s was the teal Marlins.
How could this happen? This is our game, America, and we should look better playing it! We used to look good when baseball was just an exhibition in the Olympics. The zipper helps, I suppose. Maybe we should go back to that, or maybe, just maybe…we could have a Redesign USA Baseball contest! What do you think, Phil? It’s time to make America’s unis great again.
AND NOW FOR THE DESIGN CONTEST
We’ve done many uni redesign contests before, so I’ll keep it simple:
Design a new jersey for Team USA (you can also include a new cap). Here are the rules:
Submissions will be accepted from today through March 17 (by midnight E.D.T.)
Depending on how many submissions I receive, I hope to reveal them March 19th.
• Create a brand new design for USA jersey. You may also design a cap.
• DO NOT USE previous USA logos or designs. Your work must be original — but you may certainly use past designs for inspiration.
• You may submit more than one jersey or cap design.
• Your designs can be created in any digital or analog medium (Illustrator, Photoshop, crayon, whatever) and can be submitted in any standard digital format (JPG, PDF, TIFF, etc.).
• E-mail your entry to me (Phil Hecken) as an attachment to: Phil.Hecken@gmail.com; please label your submission “FirstName-LastName-USA Baseball Redesign Contest”
• It is strongly encouraged that you place your name or some sort of ID on your entry.
That’s it! You have one week from today to send in your submissions. I’m hoping to see designs that fall into two separate but distinct categories: classic USA designs (something that will stand the test of time for years to come) but also some “‘MURICA” unis, featuring all kinds of camopander and flag desecration. Because, why not? America, F*** YEAH. Let’s see if you guys can’t come up with something that just SCREAMS U!S!A!.
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: Small item but worth noting — many folks don’t realize that the “olde English D” on Tigers home whites is different than the “D” on their hats, always has been, mentions Patrick Hutting. “This year the away spring training jerseys are sporting the style of ‘D’ that’s always been on the hats.” They use it for the “home” jerseys too. … If you collected Donruss baseball cards, you might be pronouncing your childhood wrong (from John Muir). For the record, I’ve always put the emphasis on the first syllable (DONruss). Also, it’s “jiff” like the peanut butter. And a hot dog is not a sammich. … This 1982 Chicago Cubs program gives us a fantastic image of the Cubs’ embroidered patch logo affixed to a batting helmet. They still do this, which can of course lead to some hilarious malfunctions. … This season marks the 25th anniversary of the MLB logo being added to the back of all teams’ caps, which took place in 1992 (from Paul). … For some reason that probably should be obvious but isn’t, the Canadian Baseball team at the WBC all were holding two caps during Thursday night’s opening game. Originally (based on early tweets and Facebook postings, it was thought the team had caps with the New Era stickers still on the brim (from Joel Horn). … This is just a Terrific photo (from Bruce Menard). That’s from Mets Spring Training in 1969. … With an announcement earlier this year that American Seating sold off its stadium seating division to Irwin Seating, the Chicago Cubs and many other stadiums will have a new seating vendor for the first time in decades (from James Gilbert). … The folks who make the uniforms your favorite baseball player are organized and held a rally in Philly: “After we learned that Majestic lost the contract to manufacture and distribute the on-field and replica uniforms, many of my co-workers and myself were concerned about our future,” said Sam Patti, a 15-year VF Majestic employee and union member. “Our Union immediately sprang into action to preserve and protect our jobs. We had a membership meeting and formed a committee to begin addressing how to deal with our new employers.” … The Salt Lake Bees will host a neat throwback night on August 10 from Landry Heaton. … According to ESPN’s Pedro Gomez, “3B coach Willie Randolph received special permission to wear 42 for USA in @WBCBaseball. Told me he asked Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter” (from Matt Harris). … New Balance didn’t make Colombia’s WBC jerseys, and if they did, it wouldn’t be this frankenjersey — but just imagine that in either solid white or solid blue with that sleeve pattern (from Dusty Rhodes). Better than Majestic’s template or no? … Robert Hayes thinks Venezuela’s colored top and dark gray pants are “not a good look”. Those jerseys sure are bright (and check out Miggy’s cleats) — from Funhouse. … Nice USA shinguard for Brandon Crawford. … Interesting USA cleats for Adam Jones (from Megan Brown). … Giancarlo Stanton wore a stars and stripes sleeve during last night’s WBC game (from Zach Loesl).
NFL/CFL/College/Football News: CROSSOVER ALERT (also posted in basketball): The Calgary Stampeders have an off-season basketball team that visit local schools. This allows young basketball teams a chance to compete against pro athletes, even if those athletes are football players. Submitter Wade Heidt says, “I did notice a peculiar element to the Stamps’ basketball uniform. The number font is different from their football uniform. It borrows from the style that is signature to their Grey Cup rival from this past year, the Ottawa Redblacks.” … As you’ve probably already heard, at FSU, if you’re a player not giving enough effort or consistently messing up, Jimbo Fisher is making you wear an orange jersey. … Yesterday Brigham Young went navy blue against royal blue in scrimmage. Submitter Jeff Bethers thinks “that’s got to be tough.” … WalterMcKinleyBetts” asks, “Syracuse question: Is this Ernie Davis or Floyd Little at Boston College Alumni Stadium?” … Hmmm. Brad Ballard feels “something…is off with this cap.
Hockey News: Interesting sweater worn last weekend by the Huntsville Havoc to promote the St. Jude Children’s Pediatric Hospital (from OT Sports). Speaking of jerseys worn a while ago, check out these “Zombie Night” numbers worn by the Rapid City Rush. … Stripes galore in the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament A Semis. Game 1, featuring Northfield (White) vs Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake (from Patrick Thomas). … A question certainly burning to all Uni Watchers is this one, posed by Puck Daddy: What are the top 5 NHL jerseys of all-time? … “Talk about ad placement” says Matt Brown, who adds, “that’s the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL with an advertisement on their net.” That reminds me, I need to shop for car insurance. … The LouiseBrooksFanClub asks, “Does Arizona’s hockey team have a different nickname than the rest of the school’s sports teams? Icecats are the new Wildcats.” LBFC adds, “I found info on the nickname difference on the Wikipedia page for Arizona Wildcats hockey.”
NBA/Basketball News: CROSSOVER ALERT (also posted in football): The Calgary Stampeders have an off-season basketball team that visit local schools. This allows young basketball teams a chance to compete against pro athletes, even if those athletes are football players. Submitter Wade Heidt says, “I did notice a peculiar element to the Stamps’ basketball uniform. The number font is different from their football uniform. It borrows from the style that is signature to their Grey Cup rival from this past year, the Ottawa Redblacks.” … These old NBA logo pillows are tremendous. Nate Schimelpfenig” notes they appear to be from the 1973-74 NBA season (“Capital Bullets gave it away”). Nate also notes the Phoenix Suns ambigram is on full display. Also, related to that, “Fun detail on the @chicagobulls logo, the horns weren’t always as we now know them. Pretty inconsistent in their early history.” … Phoenix Suns Guard Tyler Ulis has quite a throwback jersey collection. And if you have such a thing, you like to show it off. … The Sioux Falls Skyforce are selling “corn” jerseys for “corn week.” … The Nuggets and Celtics, both wearing alternates, played a color vs. color game last night (from cole p). … This is, um, interesting: Mashups of every jersey from teams in each division. “Wild to see them all together” says submitter Chad Fields. … Whoops — the “42” was missing from Draymond Green’s memorial band last evening (from FK Yaaj). … The Kings and Wizards treated us to a color vs. color game last evening (from Brandon Eiges). … Our Friday/Saturday NBA update from Zach Loesl: The Hornets have ads for CPI Security and Gatorade along the edge of their scorer’s table and The Warriors wore white on the road against the Timberwolves.
College/High School Hoops News: Whoa! “A great high school basketball uniform,” says Paul Hill “Check the socks. The school is in Hobart Indiana, from 1969. The team nickname is the ‘Brickies’, hence the brick pattern on the socks.” … Here is a picture of the Whiteland (IN) HS basketball team for the 1945-46 season. “I really like the Northwestern Stripes on the sides and the fact that the stripes end diagonally instead of at a right angle,” says submitter Derek Linn. “I also noticed that the uni numbers in the front row are all double numbers 99, 33, 66, 77, 22 and it looks like there might be a 00 in the back row. I wonder why those numbers were used instead of 9, 3, 6, 7, 2, and 0.” … It was fun while it lasted. Michigan is back to wearing it’s actual uniforms again. If this is news to you, please take a look at yesterday’s Uni Watch, where this is all explained. … Michigan State and Minnesota played a very nice color vs. color matchup yesterday (from Erickson). … The Arizona Coyotes had a bit of fun with Catch Sports, after they misidentified UCLA’s opponent in the March Madness countdown. They meant the Arizona Wildcats, not Coyotes. … Apparently Purdue is bringing back a 90s vibe with its uniforms (from Teddy). … Pretty decent Rock Chalk soda display in Lawrence, Kansas (from Cody Bryant). … Tweeter Max Herz has “never really been impressed by the identical March Madness shooting shirts that teams wear, but these under armour shirts are pretty sick.” I’d call them South Carolina shirts, myself. … And here’s a look at the Wisconsin version (from Daron Jones). … Here’s a closer look at the West Virginia team shoes worn Thursday night Nike ID’d by Jevon Carter and Nathan Adrian — the Kobe AD “Press Virginia” edition (from Coleman Mullins). … Notre Dame and Florida State went color vs. color last night (from Mark Cross). … It’s tough to tell from this image, but Ole Miss player Terence Davis has his pants on backwards (from Jamie Lightsey).
Grab Bag: So what if it’s “old news,” we can never have enough hosiery on UW: “Old news and I don’t remember whether you ever covered this in the Grab Bag,” writes Ilana Hardesty about this Walter McCarty line of stylish socks. She adds, “Gotta admit I LOVE the colors!” … Here’s what the helmets, gloves and jerseys look like for Towson’s Breast Cancer Awareness Game today (from MarÃa Canales”). … Whoa, check out this 1951 New Westminster Commando lacrosse jersey (from Kirk Sorensen).
And that’s it for today. Thanks to Jimmer Vilk for his WBC 5 & 1, and I’m looking forward to receiving some outstanding USA jersey (and cap) redesigns. I’ll be back tomorrow, but until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Despite the atrocity of upcoming unis ads there is one thing the NBA has right. And that is preventing rolled shorts. They have become such an eyesore in College basketball I wish the NCAA would wise up and outlaw them as well.”
— Matt Mayer
It has to be the hard “G”. The same hard G you find in the word graphics. GIF as in graphics interchange format
The inventor says soft g, which doesn’t seem to have changed many minds.
Hard G all the way. “Jif” is for sandwiches (not hot dog sandwiches, though).
Still think jif sounds right, but agree to disagree and live and let live. You say tomato, I say tomahto.
Mmmm… hot dog and peanut butter sandwiches…
I shall gently stir my gin cocktail and ponder if those who mispronounce gif should be put in gaol.
That’s not a teal Marlins cap; you posted a Ft. Myers Miracle cap…who were once the Miami Marlins.
That was supposed to go in the part about Chinese Taipei. Sorry ’bout that.
That wasn’t Jimmer’s fault — ’twas mine.
I never worried about pronouncing DONROSS one way or the other because #TOPPS!
PS that is really cool that jimbo fisher makes his players wear an orange jersey if they dont hustle but if you are a good QB you can rape and steal all you want and keep your starting job. Who are these enabling yoyos kidding? Higher education my ass.
I love the USA logo on the jersey. It’s simple but it screams “Merica!” How can you like that Olympic jersey better than the current ones? It looks like a 60s little league uniform. I am not a fan of the cap logo though, it’s too cluttered and is in need of an update.
If the U and the A were in a different font, maybe I could handle the S better. I’ll give you that it looks better than the cap logo, though.
It also wouldn’t be as bad if they did like Chinese Taipei and just put the whole thing off to the side.
Just want to point out that the ECHL is violating their own rulebook with those blue goalposts. Rule 2.1 says the goalposts and crossbar are to be painted red.
Designers just couldn’t resist turning that S into a flag. USA hockey did the same thing for years, and I was never really a fan of that, either.
The “stripe S”–in fact, the entire USA–as it appears on the Team USA uniforms, is part of the logo for the national governing body, so if you don’t like the way it looks, you should take it up with USA Baseball. link
USA hockey’s wavy-S logo, still in use, looks better than the baseball version since it is solid, not stripey. I think the wavy-S USA hockey logo looks so much better than the other odd designs they’ve come up with from time to time, especially the abominable WCOH jerseys.
Cool find of the 1951 New Westminster Commandos jersey for lacrosse fans. Cool find because 1951 was the only season this team was called the Commandos.
They are part of the interesting lineage of the New Westminster Salmonbellies. They play senior lacrosse in the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA). The WLA is a summer league with teams in Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. It is high quality for a good price as many of the same players play in the winter professional league, the NLL. WLA league champ plays the Ontario summer league champ (Major Series League) every year for the Mann Cup.
The New Westminster Salmonbellies started in 1888, making them part of a group of the oldest sports teams in North America. They started as an outdoor team before becoming a box team. They merged with the New Westminster Adanacs in 1951. Team name Commandos was used only in 1951 after the merger before another name change. After some time of various names, they have permanently been known as the Bellies again since 1967.
Design a new jersey for Team USA (you can also include a new cap).
By all means, please, include a new cap!
I’m with you! We have the worst uni set in the WBC, cap included.
The Team USA cap is horribly cluttered and that logo especially needs work. The S on the jersey looks like peppermint ribbon candy to me. The colored sleeves that most of the teams have look so chintzy and bush league.
Interesting that people are always complaining that USA soccer needs to settle on a consistent visual identity for their uniforms instead of constantly changing their look, but USA baseball keeps the same look for 20 years and it’s considered badly dated and in need of an update.
“Brickies” seems like a bad nickname for a basketball team…
I don’t think “[laying] bricks” had a bad connotation back then, so there was no problem with that nickname for basketball, less so for other sports.
Count me among those who like the USA uniforms and think the logo on the jersey is perfectly fine.
Me too. The jersey logo is terrific. Maybe the best horizontally flat logo ever on a baseball jersey. Horizontally flat jersey logos rarely look good at all (looking at you, Rays), but everything about the USA script works. The U and A look like they’re drawn from an official state document or a bit of currency, which is appropriate. But the bizarrely maligned S is what makes the whole thing work. Red and white stripes in a logo symbolizing the USA? Perfect. It references the flag without repeating it. And the contrast in letter shape, with the jaunty S breaking the strong horizontal lines of the U and A, is what saves the whole logo from being just another blah, Rays-type horizontal logo.
The cap logo, I like that too, but we’ve had so many better US cap logos over the years that I wouldn’t mind an update on the cap. But leave the jersey logo alone and design a cleaner uniform around it.
I could live with the jersey logo off to the side (respect the placket!). The cap offends me more than anything.
There were two pictures here a couple of weeks ago showing all the caps from the tourney. From a distance, you instantly knew all but five of them (the two C caps, Japan’s stealth cap, Canada’s almost as messy as our cap, and the US). The cap logo should be easily recognizable, especially in a tournament that isn’t played often.
This has always been my rule of thumb with caps. If I can’t tell what the logo is from 30 feet away, then it’s a failure.
I love the China unis, but, dude, ketchup does NOT go well on a hot dog, with mustard or anything else. ;)
Is the borrowed redblacks number don’t not also MSU football and basketball font?
The blurb about the Calgary Stampeders is awesome. My father, who grew up in Wisconsin, once told me a story about how the Packers used to have a travelling basketball team in the off season. This was during the Lombardi era and it always drew a crowd. He stated that he saw his favorite player, Ray Nitschke play against his local high school and it was a thrill. I like that this old school tradition is being carried on by a team… even if it is in the CFL.
Not just the CFL. From last night:
Double numbers for basketball teams was one of many numbering schemes in use back then, such as even/odd-home/away (or whatever), before “no digits above 5” became standard in high school and college. With teams carrying no more than ten players on their rosters, double numbers were a natural choice. The most famous double number of those days was #99, George Mikan.
Made the mistake of checking out the top 5 NHL jerseys of all-time per Puck Daddy. Exited immediately when they had an old Vancouver jersey listed at number five.
Initially I wasn’t so anti fake vest look for the WBC, but really why couldn’t they just make a real vest jersey. These fake vests look really bad when a player wears a different colored long sleeve shirt with these, like the Mexico pictures here.
U of A’s lacrosse team is also known as the LAXCats
The away Tigers jersey is actually the jersey version of the logo, but rendered in orange.
The strange thing is that the home jerseys use the hat version of the logo, so the jerseys aren’t consistent.
They are consistent. That’s an old photo from a prior year. Here is this year’s: link
Never liked the MLB Logo on the back of the caps, nor the NFL shield on the front collar of jerseys, instituted at roughly the same time period. So much cleaner looking without them. The Jerry West-NBA logo always looked good on the front of those jerseys for some reason though.
The ECHL has an advertising agreement with Geico. Every team in the league has those blue goal posts, not just Colorado
Regarding the top 5 NHL jerseys of all time… how did it become such a cliche that the Blackhawks have the best uniforms in the history of hockey?, I’m not saying they’re bad (they’re not), but it’s almost accepted as gospel truth among NHL fans that no team could ever have better uniforms than the Hawks. I’m not sure if I have a point here. It’s just weird to me.
Unpopular opinion time: I still like the USA Baseball logo.
So it’s very 90’s. Big whoop. I think the Brewers ball & glove is very 80’s and everyone loves that.
It’s a strong brand. I like the serifed ‘U’ and ‘A’. Looks dignified. I like the stripe ‘S’. Gives it a splash of color & style, plus it nicely references the flag. It like the width and height. It looks good and is well proportioned on a jersey. The hats aren’t incredible, but they could be worse.
I think it’s a good mix. I fail to see the problem.
So, as with the aforementioned Brewers logo, might as well ditch it so people can get nostalgic about it and bring it back in 20 years.
Thanks Paul and Phil for sharing my thoughts on the rolled shorts epidemic in College hoops. I doubt I am the only fan that can’t stand it. Thanks for the opportunity to vent. Uni Watch rocks!
The University of Arizona hockey team was called the Icecats when they were an independent club team (and when I was a season ticket holder). When the University took over operation, the team started using the Wildcat nickname and logos.
My alma mater is the same way… club hockey, known as the Ice Bears while all the NCAA/varsity sports are the Bears/Lady Bears.
What’s with all the dark grey Diamondback-style away uniforms in the WBC? They just look soaking wet.