By Phil Hecken
One of the things I do is get google alerts for such things as “uniforms,” “jerseys,” and “helmets,” among other things, and earlier this past week, I actually got an alert for an item that ran on Chris Creamer’s board, titled “Gotham Baseball Unveils New Logo“, by “Guest Author” (meaning they basically just took a press release and reworked it). Literally just as I was about to tweet the story, Mark Healey (who I know from several Mets’ QBC events) DMed me and asked if I’d seen the story. Now, Mark runs Gotham Baseball (which piqued my interest to begin with) and I also noticed that their new logo was designed by none other than UW pal Todd Radom.
For those who are unfamiliar (which I assume is probably most of you), Gotham Baseball has been and is many things; a print magazine, a popular website and message board, a podcast, and a multi-platform product with a digital magazine and podcast component. But really, it’s a celebration of New York Baseball. The “past, present and future of the New York game,” according to the “About” section of their website. I’d checked out the online site a number of times, and there really is a lot of great stuff on there (the online archives go back to 2009). Yes, it’s primarily concerned with (as the name implies) New York baseball, but it is also a great resource for the baseball fan.
But back to the original press release. You’ll note it says “To celebrate a website redesign and other ongoing projects slated for 2018, Gotham Baseball is rolling out a new logo. Designed by award-winning designer Todd Radom, the new Gotham Baseball logo incorporates aspects of Gotham Baseball’s past, while incorporating a sleeker look that mirrors the brand’s push forward.” This would have made for a nice ticker item, or even a sub-lede, or I could have simply repurposed the release here. But as I know both Mark and Todd, I wanted to delve a little further — what did the old logo look like? was there more than one iteration? And how did Todd (and Mark) come up with the new logo, which looks like this:
I asked Mark if he could take me from the first logo up to the present, and he gladly obliged. The original concept artwork was very different from the sharp logo of today.
“The first images are the first-ever identity for Gotham Baseball,” Mark says. “They were conceptualized by myself and Mike McGann, with the actual design work being McGann’s. A year later, Mike and I parted ways; and I decided to completely rework the entire look and feel.”
From these humble beginnings, the visual identity for Gotham Baseball began:
After the original logo had outlived its purpose, Mark decided on a redesign. This time the focus would be more on the New York aspect.
“I wanted the new design to put more emphasis on “Gotham” and really wanted more of a baseball feel,” he says. “This time around, I wanted an element from every team in the design: the navy (Yankees), orange (Mets), Dodgers (the tail) and Giants (the G, from the 1951 Giants logo). Some of the elements were deliberately derivative, like the tail and the G, for obvious reasons, but also wanted something original.”
What came from that was the GB logo, Mark II (no pun intended):’
“Designer Karen Cousino did the actual design work, but I was more involved in the conceptual design this time around,” adds Mark. “My wife — after days of Karen and I going back and forth on the primary logo — suggested an oval to place the text inside of. The primary logo, the GB oval, was born.”
Here’s how a couple of those logos looked on the GB mag:
Never one to be satisfied, Mark decided that 2018 would bring the dawn of a new logo. And this time, he decided to use the immense talents of Todd Radom (who is not only a friend to UW, he’s designed the official logos for Super Bowl XXXVIII and the 2009 NBA All Star Game, as well as the graphic identity for Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels). I’m sure most of you are familiar with his work.
Below are the previous logo and the new logo, after Todd redesigned it:
I gave a quick shout out to Todd to ask him about the new logo (what follows is a VERY quick and dirty Q&A, as Todd and I were both pressed for time):
Uni Watch: This is a great looking design! I’m curious as to how much of this is original and how much was Mark’s (and Gotham Baseball’s) contribution. Did he provide you with sketches for this first, or did you look at the previous logo history and kind of update/reimagine the new logo After Mark first approached you about the new logo, how long did it take (roughly) from start to finish to create it?
Todd Radom: The logo spun off of some additional components within the overall project. I’d say that the core part of the work took part over the course of a week and a half or so.
UW: As far as logo redesigns go, was this one “easier” than the average one?
TR: None are EVER easy, but knowing the subject matter as I do and knowing Mark made for a streamlined process.
UW: Looking at the 2006 logos, before you came on board, I think these were pretty solid. Did having a strong identity like this make it easier or harder or come up with a reimagining?
TR: The original art needed some finessing — it really needed to be made less dimensional for versatile usage more than anything else, but yes, it represented a solid foundation to move forth from. There was existing brand equity here, so the new work really was an evolution off of what already existed.
UW: The colors are (obviously) navy, white and orange (taken from area baseball teams) and the “G” derives from the New York Giants — a pretty great template to begin with. Did you (even if you could) ever have thoughts about tweaking those colors or did you find them an excellent palette to begin with?
TR: A great palette with deep resonance and great contrast.
UW: Was it your idea to change the logo from an oval to basically a roundel? Any reason for this (without giving any industry trade secrets)?
TR: Sometimes the best solutions are ones that don’t overthink the problem. Round logos allow for an expansive and intelligent use of real estate, and that was the case here.
UW: Did you add the bats and stitching into the logo? Since the logo already reads “Gotham Baseball” do you think those added elements provide for a stronger ‘brand’? I think this would allow the logo to be used without the words — the “G” and baseball elements provide a strong visual cue that, ‘hey, this is a baseball team/logo’. Will that be an option (for say, a secondary logo)?
TR: I did add those elements. They provide context to the “G,” but they also serve as visual ballast and help lasso it in, a structural thing.
At this point, you’re probably saying (if you’ve gotten this far) “OK, so what’s the deal with the splash photo? That looks like a baseball cap with the logo. But they don’t have a team or uniforms or anything.” Well, while discussing this with Mark, he let me in on a little secret — there WILL be uniforms.
“YES there are unis involved in this current project,” says Mark, “but it’s very hush, hush at the moment…Todd designed THREE different sets (home and away for both).” Unfortunately, while the unis are designed, they’re not ready for prime time yet. But when they are, you can be sure we’ll show them here. Are they great?
“They are really awesome,” Mark says “It’s tied to the book I am currently working on, Gotham Baseball: Legends of the New York Game.”
Mark actually showed me some of his uniform sketches (unfortunately I can’t share those with you). But he did allow me to tease a pic of the forthcoming cap:
I haven’t seen how Todd worked these into uniforms (yet), but I did follow up with him on them a bit:
Uni Watch: OK — now on to the REALLY good stuff — I know Gotham isn’t ready to reveal the uniforms (yet). But I understand you also designed them from sketches provided to you by Mark. Can you talk about the design process without really giving anything away?
Todd Radom: That was really fun—imagining how this “team” would have evolved over the course of time, looking at historic reference and executing the art with all of that in mind. This is right in my wheelhouse, a combination of knowledge, research, and execution. I think that everyone will really enjoy the results.
UW: How close will the uni designs be to what is actually produced?
TR: We will see — as always, the manufacturing process often drives the process forward in pragmatic fashion.
UW: Was this a fun redesign for you to be a part of?
TR: Absolutely! I am a native New Yorker with a love and appreciation for baseball and history and design and have been since I was a kid. Pure serendipity.
So how great is that? I don’t have an ETA on when we’ll get to see the unis, but as soon as they’re ready, I’ll happily share them with you guys.
Before I close, I wanted to point out that Gotham Baseball also had an anniversary logo:
That was “designed by myself and Gene Berardelli,” says Mark. “Gene’s one of my partners in Gotham Baseball, and is an attorney who does graphics on the side. He has worked on so many projects over the years.”
Finally — and anyone who has ever attended a Mets QBC (“Queens Baseball Convention”) will know, Mark’s dad bears an uncanny resemblance to (now former) Mets skipper Terry Collins. He even dresses in Mets gear when he attends the event, fooling a bunch of folks along the way.
The QBC is next weekend at Katch Astoria. Sadly, Paul, Todd and myself, who have formed a portion of the “Uniform Panel” (chaired by Paul) and been at every QBC since its inception, all have separate plans and won’t be there this year. But Mark will be back this year, hosting his “State of the Mets” panel. Hopefully a few readers will be in attendance and can check it out — if you see him, make sure to pepper him with a few questions about the new logo and unis!
Big thanks to Mark and Todd for all their insights into the new logo here.
Jersey Number What If’s
Got an e-mail from Joseph Gerard that I was originally just going to ignore, but it’s kind of an interesting little think-piece. It’s way too long to be a ticker item, so I’ll just post it below:
Earlier this week I was on NFLShop.com seeing if I could order an Antonio Brown jersey with his college number (27) instead of his normal 84. I mainly wanted to see a mock-up, which I guess NFLShop.com no longer has for customized jerseys.
That led to me thinking: what if NFL players coming out of college were allowed to wear their college numbers in the pros and weren’t forced to go by the NFL’s rigid numbering system? Even though the NFL has loosened up the rules quite a bit since the current system went into effect in 1973, they’re still more rigid than any other sport and certainly more rigid than all other levels of football.
Here I wanted to see a what-if, if certain past and present NFL players got to wear their college number if their college number wasn’t in the “correct” numbering scheme. A few rules I have:
• Only players that have played in the league since 1973. Players before that obviously had more leniency on numbers and were grandfathered well into the 1980s, so they’re excluded.
• Offensive lineman are still stuck with numbers 50-79–consistent with all levels of football for ineligible receiver-based reasons. Honestly, lineman should be the only ones IMO consigned to certain jersey numbers due to that requirement: skill position offensive players and all defensive players should be allowed to wear whatever jersey number they want as long as it is available.
• No retired numbers or “unofficially retired” numbers, as well as numbers already taken by an active player on the roster that would otherwise fit within the number grid.
OK, here we go…
Antonio Brown, 27
Start with AB. Business would be boomin’ with 27. At the time he was drafted, 27 was being worn by cornerback Joe Burnett, so let’s say Brown goes with 84 for training camp. Burnett ends up being cut during the final cutdowns to 53 players, so Brown picks up 27 at that point. The rest, they say, is history.
Hines Ward, 19
Hines actually wore 15 during his rookie training camp and preseason before switching to his more familiar 86 at the start of the season, with Andre Coleman having had 19 the year before. (Note: this was six years before the NFL allowed wide receivers to wear numbers 10-19, Keyshawn Johnson aside.) Coleman by this point had switched to 83 (his number with the Chargers), so I’m not sure why Ward wore 15 instead of 19. I can guarantee you that if he would have been able to wear it, the current holder of 19 (rookie sensation JuJu Smith-Schuster) would be wearing a different number, seeing that 86 is now among the many numbers now out of circulation for Steelers greats.
Doug Flutie, 22
Dave Dureson had 22 locked up when Flutie went to the NFL with the Bears, but wouldn’t it have been fun to see him wear it in New England or Buffalo? 22 was available when Flutie was traded to the Patriots, as well as when he returned to the NFL with the Bills. Even today, it’s rare to find quarterbacks in college that wear a number higher than 19.
Larry Fitzgerald, 1
Fitzgerald adding another 1 to his jersey with the Cardinals was an easy fix, but seeing that he is one of the all-time great receivers (and a class act at that off the field), wouldn’t 1 be fitting for him?
Charles Woodson, 2
I’d say Woodson would look pretty sweet wearing number 2 in the NFL. Even though he was with the Packers by the time the team drafted JaMarcus Russell, I’m sure Mark Davis would have no qualms with him wearing the number in his 2nd stint in Oakland, unlike, say…Terelle Pryor.
Lawrence Taylor, 98
OK, this number would be allowed today. But not only was it not allowed when Taylor entered the NFL in 1981, numbers 90-99 weren’t even allowed by the league AT ALL. Nonetheless, he DID wear it during his rookie preseason before being forced to switch to 56 at the start of the season. The NFL started allowing defensive lineman and linebackers to wear 90s numbers in 1984, but by this point LT was too well-known to be making a mid-career number change. If we could only see him ending Joe Theismann’s career in number 98 instead of 56.
Reggie Bush, 5
OK, so the recently-retired Bush did try to petition the NFL to allow him to wear number 5, but failed and had to settle for 25. Ironic since he ended up wearing multiple jersey numbers afterwards–many without a 5 being a digit–and at least in Buffalo would have been wearing a different number anyways due to Tyrod Taylor already wearing number 5.
Jeff Reed, 45
OK, this is more of a joke, and it does violate one of my rules since Reed was signed by the Steelers mid-season and 45 was already worn by fan favorite Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala at the time. But, kickers and punters do tend to wear the least desirable numbers in college and I’m pretty sure Sheetz employees don’t have to worry about Fu’ vandalizing a men’s room paper towel dispenser.
LaVar Ball…I mean, LaVar Arrington, 11
It’s too bad the NFL banned leaping over players at the line of scrimmage. Arrington’s specialty wouldn’t work today. But, wearing number 11 with the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons would look pretty sweet, with all due respects to Mark Rypien. Too bad he would’ve had to change his number in New York since an obnoxious NFL studio analyst for CBS has that number retired.
I’m sure there are more. Do you think we could have these numbers photoshopped onto these players?
Thanks Joseph, I think.
for the Ticker
Paul forwarded to me this awesome e-mail from UW pal Marty Hick, whose beautiful daughter just celebrated her 5th birthday.
Check this out…
Something old, something Uwe
Probably because of her room colors and the cheep hat we scored at Ross Dress for Less, the Dolphins are Clara’s favorite team.
She turned 5.
I give to you… Uwe Von Schamann.
Thanks for sharing Marty! (and yes, I did get your belated Happy B-Day wishes — thanks!!!)
OK. Now, on to the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: The Canton (OH) Repository ran an article on a local man creating wallets from old baseball gloves (from Tom Pachuta). … Check out this absolutely gorgeous photo of Lou Brock as a Cub (photo taken & sent in by Paul Plaine). … Here’s a good look at the Pirates new alternate jersey for 2018 & the matching hat (from Robert Hayes). … CROSSOVER ALERT: The Houston Astros’ Tony Kemp was rocking a Tennessee Titans beanie at Astros FanFest yesterday (from Ignacio — also posted in NFL). … Hah — check out this TV uniform action, courtesy of “The Greatest American Hero”. California Stars versus the Oakland Mets, in Dodger Stadium (from Shawn Hairston).
NFL News: Whoa! Check out this program from the original Buffalo Bills, the Bills of the AAFC from 1947 (from Dylan Nowak). … Ugh, the New Orleans Saints will wear their worst possible combo today versus the Vikings (from Russell Goutierez). … “Can somebody PLEASE tell (Houston Texans’ Head Coach Bill O’Brien) to wear a hat that matches the uniform?” asks Eric Olson. “Am I the only one who cringes when I see him wearing a black cap with the logo?” … “I am in process of moving, and had this jem of a poster packed away in my basement,” says Peter Fredrickson. “Packers in the 80’s were a deeply depressing team to follow. My Uncle in the Bay area would send over 49ers items whenever he could in the early to mid 80’s. I love the detail of “that Superbowl Season”! All games they won that year are represented, including playoffs and SB. Here are a few pics of what is featured on it. I hope to find a good place to display this in my new home.” … Of Super Bowl VIII, played on January 13, 1974, Jimmer Vilk notes this: “IIRC, only SB with stripes on footballs, last with goalposts on goal line & a nice uni matchup.” … CROSSOVER ALERT: The Houston Astros’ Tony Kemp was rocking a Tennessee Titans beanie at Astros FanFest yesterday (from Ignacio — also posted in baseball). … Another great program cover: From the 1st ever meeting of the Boston Patriots & Houston Oilers, November 25, 1960 (from Michael Malnicof). … The Philadelphia Eagles Lane Johnson wore some kind of dog mask yesterday. Submitter Blake Fox adds, “Awesome look for Lane Johnson! Ironically, they had a dog trick show at half-time!” … Yesterday, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was wearing an old Reebok hoodie under his Nike jacket (from Aaron Medina). It’s a good look. And it’s probably one of these (from Eric). Yeah, it definitely was. And in the second half, was he wearing a balaclava? (from Dan Kennedy). It appears so (from Brian). … Brandon Cooks is another player who has his TV numbers extending over his shoulder loops (from @Arlington10). Also sporting TVs with number overlaps is Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones (from Mike Karamas and
Justin Hicks. … After the Eagles defeated the Falcons yesterday, Tony Dungy visited the Eagles locker room and his son was wearing an inside out Colts champs beanie (from Kyle). … Tom Brady wore a turtleneck with an upside down NFL logo (from John Bedell). … Finally, we bid farewell to these Titans unis, as they’ll be getting a new set next season (from @AtoZSports). I was never a fan of these unis (combined to much modern — the helmet stripes, shoulder yokes, numbers — with old). But I did really like that combo. Hopefully whatever they get in their redesign will include the white tops over light blue pants.
College Football News: College Football season may have “ended” last Monday with the National Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia, but yesterday the Akron Zips introduced a “Z-bar” facemask — I guess it’s legit (it comes from the Akron Zips Equipment twitter account). Any helmet/mask guys know if something like this is even legal? (Update: the mask is for display/recruiting purposes only, as I’d suspected. The Zips Equip then followed up with this humorous tweet.) … Tweeter @TheTDJ saw this black Wisconsin helmet in a restaurant yesterday. “Not a great look,” he notes.
Hockey News: The US Hockey NTDP (National Team Development Program) has revealed Star Wars Inspired Jerseys — Team USA unveils Darth Vader themed jerseys for a January 20th event (from @bturner12387). Here is some more on that, plus more photos. … CROSSOVER ALERT: Yesterday the San Jose Sharks wore Golden State Warriors-inspired sweaters during warmups (also posted in NBA). There were also some crossover logos (from Alex.
NBA News: The Charlotte Hornets turn 30 this year. Looks like they have a special new logo to commemorate the occasion. They’ve got a whole bunch of stuff planned, including news that “team will also reveal a ‘Classic Edition’ uniform before the 2018-19 season to wear for certain games,” (from Brad Solomon). … The Memphis Grizzlies will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (this Monday) when they break out their awesome
City alternate uniforms. Here’s an interesting article that details the Griz’ & Memphis connection. “The Memphis Grizzlies do not stick to sports. They have never stuck to sports. They were not brought here to stick to sports. They may be the only major league team whose very existence was inspired by the desire to deepen racial understanding in a community.” … CROSSOVER ALERT: Yesterday the San Jose Sharks wore Golden State Warriors-inspired sweaters during warmups (also posted in hockey). There were also some crossover logos (from Alex.
College Hoops News: According to the tweeter who goes by Fifty Shades of Gratuitous Class (aka @JMLedgewood), Xavier was not wearing the modern design throwbacks from their reveal. They were wearing the same outfits they brought out last year. Maybe they didn’t want them to rip. Nevertheless, Jimmer Vilk thinks the throwbacks they wore were “fire icon.” … Or maybe it wasn’t a mistake at all. … Youngstown State and UW Milwaukee played a color vs. color game yesterday (from Robert Hayes). … Also going color on color yesterday was Texas Tech and West Virginia (from Cameron Schneider). Here’s another look (from Josh Claywell). … An increasing number of Virginia Tech players have been rolling down the waistbands on their shorts, giving the appearance of a white stripe around their hips (from Andrew Cosentino). … Looks like Syracuse either had new unis or something else was “fresh” at FSU yesterday, from the looks of that tweet (via Paul). … The OSU Cowboys wore
these special shooting shirts in honor of Texas guard Andrew Jones. They added, “We’re behind you all the way, Andrew!” (from Rob Gimlin). … San Francisco State debuted new purple unis last evening.
Soccer News: Here’s a look at the kits to be worn in the Premier League for this weekend (from Josh Hinton). This includes some that were worn yesterday, as well as Sunday-Monday.
Grab Bag: The Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers teams in the BBL and WBBL T20 cricket competition wore indigenous-themed jerseys for their games at Tregear Park, Alice Springs (from Graham Clayton). … When good logos go bad: From Patrick Thomas, “alright this UVU logo has been bugging me for a bit. The first U is supposed to look the state in the negative space which is brilliant…but the other U is not even the same U….and it’s so annoying.” … Ollie Schniederjans is playing in his first 2018 PGA Tour Tournament, the Sony Open in Hawaii, and he still isn’t wearing a hat or visor, notes Zach Loesl. (This is odd for a couple reasons:  golfers almost always wear something to deflect the sun, even when it’s not sunny and  that is prime real estate for a sponsor logo). Also from Zach, John Peterson was wearing a camouflage hat in the Sony Open.
And A Quick Note From Jimmer Vilk: All gifts from the Vilkmas Raffle will be going out into the mail this week.