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How the Milwaukee Brewers Became ‘California Strong’

Graphic designer Bryan Molloy first got in touch with me toward the end of 2014, when he was working for Teespring. Since then we’ve partnered on a bunch of projects, including the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club campaigns in 2015 and ’16 and the last four years’ worth of Purple Amnesty Day designs. Bryan also created the “winged stirrup” logo that’s featured on our Uni Watch caps and elsewhere.

Bryan now works at another T-shirt company, Represent, and he’s been involved with an interesting project there that he’s going to share with us today. Take it away, Bry.

The Making of ‘California Strong’
By Bryan Molloy

At Represent, we’ve been working with Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers to fundraise for the California wildfire recovery efforts. The backstory goes back to when the wildfires had first hit last year. We worked with Yelich, who’s from California, on a shirt for him to promote himself. The shirt/logo I created for him wound up becoming the logo for his charity, California Strong:

They sold a good amount of shirts and raised a lot of money for the relief efforts. Along the way, the shirt was noticed by L.A. Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who asked to get involved, so we tweaked the original logo to give it more of a Rams” look. The horn sort of fit into the original logo like a puzzle piece:

Yelich liked this so much, he got the Brewers involved. They wanted something similar done for their logo — which proved a lot harder to fit into the heart shape. So I suggested fitting the California into their ball/glove logo, which they loved:

I’ve worked with enough teams to know that they rarely let you mess with their logo, so I thought it was refreshing that the Brewers were so gung-ho about it (alhough they did require a small, intact, logo at bottom-right to “cure” the design). They Brewers have all been wearing these shirts down in spring training, plus they’ll be stocking their stadium with them to further help Yelich’s fundraising, and they just launched a Represent campaign to boot.

Overall, a worthwhile project involving some fun logo manipulation.


Very cool story, Bry — thanks for sharing! (And now you know that the guy who designed the winged stirrup also does design work for the reigning National League MVP!)

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Play ball!: Today is Opening Day (or as Comrade Robert Marshall calls it, the Holiest of Holies). I guess you could argue that Opening Day was really last week, when the A’s and Mariners played two games in Japan, but today is the real Opening Day, with all 30 teams playing. Even better, all of today’s games are taking place in the afternoon local time, which is how it should be.

I’ll be sitting down with a hot dog and a beer to watch the Mets and Nats, who play at 1pm in DC, and I hope you’ll find time to watch your favorite team as well.

Ticket stub maven Russ Havens, who runs the fine site, has gone through his archives and selected what he feels are history’s 15 best Opening Day stub designs (including the Dodgers stub shown at right). To see them, check out his Twitter feed. Good stuff.

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ITEM! UW/SI partnership being extended: I’m happy to report that the folks at Sports Illustrated were so happy with how my MLB Season Preview turned out that they’ve engaged my services to cover the Jets’ uniform unveiling next Thursday night. So when the new uni set is revealed, my assessment will appear that night on (And no, I haven’t seen the design. I’ll see it at the unveiling, just like everyone else.)

In case you’re wondering: No, this doesn’t bring me any closer to a full-time gig with SI. They’re up for sale and can’t make any hiring commitments until they have a new owner, and there’s no timetable for when that might happen. So for now, I’m just doing an article here, an article there, and am also continuing discussions with a few other outlets. But I’m very happy to be representing SI for the Jets unveiling.

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Click to enlarge

LAST CALL for this week’s raffle: Today is the last day to enter the Vintage Brand raffle. The winner will get to choose any item from the Vintage Brand website (like the nifty coasters shown above, which are based on a ticket stub from the first game in Mariners history).

To enter, send an email to the raffle address 7pm Eastern today. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow — and we will also have a new one-day raffle tomorrow, so don’t miss that.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: A Philly bakery is making Phillies cupcakes for Opening Day (from @VerbDC). … Negro League tribute unis upcoming for the York Revolution. … The Pirates are the latest MLB team to give us a preview of this season’s new food offerings (from Jim Vilk). … In a related item, here are the Today show’s picks for the six best ballpark foods of 2019. … Here’s a team-by-team look at some of this season’s best game-day giveaways. … The Brewers say they’re lowering prices for fan merch at their ballpark. … Lots of minor league teams have anniversary logos this season. … Whoa, look what the Kansas softball team wore in 1973 (from Keith Means). … The Akron Rubber Ducks have a new cap festooned with little rubber duckies. … The Rays, who as we reported yesterday have already added LED lighting to the ceiling at the Trop to help fielders track fly balls, may also use additional lighting to tint the ceiling blue. … U. of San Diego players wear merit decals on their batting helmets (from Hector Miramontes). … New county fair-themed uniforms for the Lexington County Blowfish. … The Reds Hall of Fame, which has been closed for renovations for several months, will reopen on Friday. … New centennial logo for the Single-A Florida State League. … Back in 1971, the White Sox gave Comiskey Park organist Nancy Faust her own logo! (From Lee Wilds.) … The Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos have replaced their stadium concession stands with restaurants. Key quote, from a team exec: “We want folks to think and feel that these are actual, full-blown restaurants that you’d find downtown.” Uh, right.

Pro Football News: Nothing set yet, but Bucs ownership appears to be open to the idea of new uniforms, and not a moment too soon. … WR DeAndre Hopkins is the latest Texans player to lobby for the team to wear Oilers throwbacks. Unfortunately, my understanding is that it can’t happen without the approval of the Titans, who own the rights to the Oilers’ visuals. … Here’s a good shot of Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds wearing shin pads under his socks. I’m always amazed that more players don’t do that — seems like a very vulnerable spot. … The AAF already on the verge of folding? Who could’ve seen that coming? Oh right, I did.

College Football News: Reader Clint Richardson’s decade-by-decade survey of Auburn uniforms has reached the 2010s. … UCF made custom game balls for the standout players in each of last year’s games (from Drake Wikstrom). … Looks like Utah State may be going BFBS this fall (from @akaggie).

Hockey News: The Syracuse Crunch will wear 1990s throwbacks on Saturday. … The Bruins wore their white Winter Classic throwbacks at home last night, with the Rangers wearing blue on the road (from Heath Carignan). … In that same game, Rangers D Brady Skjei took a puck to the noggin that sent pieces of his helmet flying (screen shot by Alan Kreit). … Someone at last night’s Leafs/Flyers game was wearing a jersey with the phantom Nordiques logo that never got used because the team moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche (from James Paterson).

Basketball News: The Heat retired Chris Bosh’s No. 1 on Tuesday night. … Former UNC player Jawad Williams, who now plays in a Japanese pro league, was recently injured and had surgery yesterday. UNC sent him a Tar Heels-themed scooter/cart thingie (from James Gilbert). … What if the schools facing each other in the Sweet 16 swapped colors? … High school teams playing in the Indiana state finals wore a “State Finals” logo (from Jay Wright).

Soccer News: Juventus’s home kit has leaked. … FC Tucson has been teasing its 2019 kit reveal, which will take place today (from Cole Eckel). … New practice jersey sponsor advertiser for the Seattle Sounders. … “France is reusing the tracksuits and jerseys formerly intended for the A team with only one star above the crest,” says @floriangilleron. “They are now being worn by the U21 team with a little French flag covering the star.”

Grab Bag: The Rolling Stones’ tongue logo debuted 48 years ago this week (thanks, Brinke). … A South African beer company has made a “national fan jersey” for the country biggest sports: soccer, rugby, and cricket (from Kutlwano Molete). … New police uniforms for Sindh, Pakistan. … A new lawsuit here in NYC seeks to ban floating LED billboards that have been appearing on barges in the city’s waterways. … Interesting article about how the Kansas City Police Dept. is trying to find out who designed their badges back in 1939 (from Adam Yarnevich). … And yet another police item: Scottish police officers are having to buy their own trousers due to the poor quality of the ones they’ve been issued. … Ohio is getting a new “I Voted” sticker design (from Patrick O’Neill). … The state senate in North Dakota has killed a bill that would have created a design contest for a new state logo. … There’s a new running sneaker whose design features Boston’s T system map (from Mike Slavonic). … A bride ejected a guest from her wedding because he wore his Marine Corps dress blues, which she felt was inappropriate. … New logo for Lake County, Fla. … New ball design for the FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour. And yes, snow volleyball is like beach volleyball, but played on a snow court. Additional info here (from Jeremy Brahm). … The “true origin” of Batman’s logo has finally been revealed.

Comments (71)

    Congrats on the next SI article. Gotta say it was pretty cool seeing Uni-Watch in print form when I got the magazine in the mail last week.

    DeAndre Hopkins wants an Oilers throwback uniform. Alshon Jeffrey and Jeff Lurie (once again) wants an Eagles Kelly Green throwback. Don’t they understand it ain’t happening until the NFL does away with its helmet rule? Which they will never do. And a big goose-egg for whoever wrote the article for not pointing that out.

    Eagles are currently lobbying the league (again) to change the one shell rule.

    Don’t they understand it ain’t happening until the NFL does away with its helmet rule?

    It also ain’t happening because the Titans own the Oilers legacy, not the Texans. What Mr. Hopkins proposed is like Baker Mayfield wanting the Browns to wear Cleveland Rams throwbacks. Not gonna happen.

    Now the Texans could very easily slap a Houston Gamblers logo and stripes on their very dark blue helmets instead…

    slapping the word STRONG on the end of any cause is worse than some high school nicking a logo from an established pro or college team


    But is “Place Name Strong” lazier or not as lazy as “Noun-gate?”

    “Strong” is lazier, or at least *worse.*

    “-gate” is just a label (yes, a lazy one) to communicate a sense of scandal. It may be lazy, but at least it achieves its goal of conveying information.

    “Strong” is meant to be a rallying cry, a slogan to be repeated, etc. As such, it should feel original, inspiring, organic, legitimate — not lazy, forced, lame-o.

    “(Noun)-gate” is the worst because it’s both lazy and inaccurate. Watergate was the name of an apartment complex, not a scandal about water. It’s even more annoying than the tiny numbers Michigan basketball is wearing on their backs as I type this.


    As I read many years ago, “Unless you have a flag at the United Nations, you are not a nation.”

    If you have a flag at UN Plaza, you are a country. Many nations do not have their own countries. We use the terms “country” or “state” and “nation” interchangeably, but to the extent that the words have specific meanings, then the word “nation” is not limited to the concept of governments with distinct territories. There’s nothing wrong with one team’s fans calling themselves “[Team Name] Nation.” The problem is when any other team or group of fans apes the term. Think of your own nickname!

    David, the Iroquois, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Seneca, and many other Nations might not like that idea.

    (I’m totally against “-gate”, though!)

    Content overload today! So much to unpack here, I’ll try to do this ticker-style.
    California Strong is a nice story… Opening Day and the playoffs seem to be the only special tickets anymore; my late father’s birthday always fell around Opening Day, and while we did not have a particularly close relationship, going to Opening Day together was an annual tradition, and somewhere in an album, I have all of my stubs… Termini Brothers in Philadelphia is a great bakery (but Sarcone’s, OMG…)… never been to Pensacola, but it doesn’t say much for their restaurants if they can be replicated at a ballpark; similarly, it doesn’t say much for the team if people would rather have sit-down dining than watch them play… why not just paint the roof of the Trop any color but off-white?… yes to new Bucs uniforms, yes to Oilers throwbacks, NO to the abomination Juventus will be wearing… was Chris Bosh “jersey retirement” worthy?… and lastly, congrats on another job for SI, and hoping it works out for you.

    Why does minor league Baseball work but minor league Football doesn’t? (I for one couldn’t care less about minor league baseball but I recognize it works.)

    I say minor league football fails because it’s often tried in the spring instead of the fall. It needs to be in the fall and in conjunction with (but not in competition with) the NFL’s season.

    I proposed the idea that the AAF would work a lot better if they played their games on Tuesday nights in the fall, during the NFL season. The NFL gives you Monday games – people watch. They give you Thursday games – people watch. Friday is for High School, Saturday for College, Sunday, Monday and Thursday is for the NFL, that leaves Tuesday and Wednesday. I say Tuesday is stronger of the two, especially if you get a major pizza chain to sponsor the league. (Tuesday is generally a poor eat out day for businesses)

    I realize this site would cringe at the idea of a corporate sponsored league, but I’m trying to keep an open mind about how it COULD (possibly) work.

    The Spring is not for Football. It’s for March Madness, MLB and the NBA Playoffs.

    Also epending on where one lives – Thursday, Friday and Saturday (mostly) from June to November also for CFL football games nationally televised in Canada.

    And spring also for NHL playoffs.

    There’s also the relative strength of college football vs. college baseball, and the overall size of the player pools. If all the prime baseball prospects went to college instead of to the minors (as they do in football), what would it look like?

    I’m looking forward to your report on the Jets’ unveiling. I assume they issue press passes for these events. Do you keep them?

    Press passes are not the norm for this type of event. More often it’s just a gatekeeper with names on a list. But if I do get a pass, I’ll save it and then give it away in the year-end raffle.

    -A thumbs down to the Boston Bruins again for wearing black gloves and pants instead of the brown ones with the Winter Classic uniform.

    -Interesting coincidence for the Syracuse Crunch throwbacks. The throwbacks are uniforms worn during a time when they were a farm team of the Vancouver Canucks. Will be playing the current Canucks’ farm team while wearing the throwbacks.

    The football shin pad thing is a good observation. I wore one for my last game one season in high school AFTER I got kicked in practice, resulting in a bone bruise that sent me to the ER to make sure it didn’t cause a blood clot. Of course, the next two seasons, no shin pads. I wasn’t always the sharpest tool in the shed.


    Awesome to read that you’re covering the Jets unveiling for SI. Since you noted that you haven’t seen the Jets unis yet, I have a question:

    In a discussion on the Creamer boards, a person in the know said that the Jets have been incredibly guarded about leaks, and the circle of people who have seen the uniforms has been kept incredibly small. Have you noticed/sensed that, too? Have the Jets been better/worse/otherwise in preventing leaks? Seems impressive that we’re a week away and know virtually nothing with certainty about the new sets.

    As I recall, there were no leaks of the new (now-current) Titans uniforms. Ditto for the Browns, Lions, Bucs, etc. So the Jets don’t seem particularly remarkable in this regard, at least by NFL standards.

    NBA stuff seems to leak more readily.

    The Norfolk Tides, AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, have installed new LED lighting in their ballpark that will allow them to change colors and create strobe effects.


    Red Sox going with gold trimmed unis today


    An organist with a logo in 1971 was ahead of its time. On a side note related to that. The Dodgers organist for my childhood was named Nancy Bea Hefley. She played at Dodger Stadium from 1988-2015. Are there any other Nancys out there who played the organ for MLB teams? Makes me wonder.

    I could look at that Bruins WC uni for three hours straight, and I would still see black, not brown. If the dark panels on that jersey are really brown (which I’m starting to doubt), it’s such a dark shade of brown as to be pointless. Might as well just make it black since that’s what it looks like.

    On top of that, they appear to be both brown AND black; maybe it’s just the lighting, or a different material, but there was a clear difference between the shoulder yoke and the top of the sleeves, where the TV numbers are attached. Everything else was dark brown, why does this stretch of sleeve have to be black?

    Red Sox online shop is selling home uniforms and caps trimmed in gold. Looks like they are going gold for the home opener which comes after their absurd 11-games-in-11-days road trip.

    The Cubs opened with a road trip like that in 1997, with all the games against two division-winner powerhouses (the Marlins and Rockies). They lost every one of the games and never recovered that year.

    At least the World Champion Red Sox should be able to handle those games.

    The AAF is not in danger of folding. It’s just leveraging for NFLPA cooperation in securing players (as quoted by many when this tidbit came out).

    2 things (reading between the lines):

    1 – Jerry Jones clearly is a fan. Orchestrated the AAF championship game being moved to the Dallas Cowboys practice facility in Frisco Texas.
    Jerry Jones has lots of power in the NFL. I think he will twist arms to keep the AAF going and work with the NFLPA to figure out an arrangement.

    2 – The NFL coaches, GMs and scouts are watching the AAF. They like the additional opportunities for players/development. I believe if the USFL had stayed small in the Spring the WLAF would never have existed. The USFL would have been the NFLs minor league

    The AAF is not in danger of folding. It’s just leveraging for NFLPA cooperation in securing players.

    And just what “leverage” do they have over the NFLPA? I’ve yet to hear of any.

    What is truly amazing is Paul of all people smugly delighting in the potential downfall of a sports league – including the jobs and opportunities for all of the players and coaches.

    Not to mention the television broadcasters, team support staff, ticket agents, concessions vendors, etc.

    I take no delight in its downfall. And I happen to know someone who works for one of the teams, so I certainly don’t want him to lose his job. But it wasn’t too hard to see how this would shake out. When I said as much a few months ago, a bunch of readers on this site accused me of being “too negative.” In fact, I was just the right amount of negative. That’s all. If you want to believe in the Tooth Fairy, be my guest. Back here on planet Earth, non-NFL pro football leagues don’t work.

    But I’m intrigued by your apparent belief that non-viable businesses should nonetheless continue to exist simply to provide jobs for people. That’s an admirably expansive concept of the social safety net — and a much more generous concept of it, frankly, than we currently have in our society. Greetings, comrade — you are a socialist!

    Happy Opening Day! Can somebody refresh my memory, why do the players line up in between first and second and second and third (instead of along the foul lines) at Camden Yards? Any special reason, or “just because?”

    Just because. I believe they have the players coming in from the outfield, instead of from the dugout.

    In any case, they’re playing in the Bronx today, so we won’t get to see that until their home opener next week!

    “all of today’s games are taking place in the afternoon local time, which is how it should be.”

    Disagree… The A’s (at least) should play their first game at night.
    Games should go off at (Eastern time, altho I ma in the Pacific) noon (Reds only), 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, and 10pm (A’s for sure, one other Pacific team).

    I feel cheated today that there are no night games tonight.


    Glad SI is seeing your value, and hopefully they get sold to a solid company that will also see this and hire you permanently.

    Pretty sad I have to come here to find out my county (which I am involved with) changed their logo, and a downgrade at that. Not terrible, but the existing one seemed ok.

    Secondly…would adding sponsor patches to the AAF uniforms help save the league…?

    “We are always looking at everything and seeing where we can change things in our organization and make things better,” Glazer told”

    This clearly tells me Joel Glazer does not watch games. Otherwise, he’d see the helmet logo is too big, they don’t need a chrome face mask and the number font is probably the stupidest jersey font of all time.

    He watches, he just cares about revenue more than the way the uniforms look.
    I believe we are getting to the point that some teams are simply going to trot out new uniforms every 5 years (or less once the NFL no longer mandates 5 years).

    Look at European soccer. They used to change their uniforms every few years. Then it became every 2 years. Now its yearly. I believe thats what some teams (not just NFL) would like.

    The MLB 150 patches on the caps make the players look as if they have a pen or a cigarette behind the ear.

    Nike: “Hey, check out this hideous mash-up of recent Manchester City shirts we made!”

    Adidas: “That’s nothing! Watch us fuck up a simple and iconic shirt for Juve.”

    The 1973 Jayhawks softball picture is one of the best things I’ve seen in a while.

    The bracket showing logos in the colors of the teams’ opponents would have been visually jarring some time back but so many logos are poached (usually by high schools) and rendered in other colors today that it didn’t throw me for a loop at all.

    I hadn’t previously noticed just how similar Houston’s and Kentucky’s logos are.

    Paul, didn’t you used to have a reader that would send you cupcakes every year for Opening Day? Or am I mis-remembering?

    I love Opening Day, but this year there was a depressing moment as the out-of-town scoreboards seemed to show an alarmingly high number of pitchers wearing numbers in the 60s. On Opening Day rosters!? This isn’t Spring Training anymore!

    At least you have out of town scoreboards. The ones on the left field wall in Great American are all ads now!

    Totally unrelated to baseball, but I was reading an article about the Pittsburgh Pirates and how they held spring training in Cuba in the ’50s.

    In the background is a copy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with a story from that spring, and elsewhere on the page is a photo of that year’s NIT basketball tournament.


    We can see three Tulsa players wearing jerseys numbered 69, 73, and 75! Their Duquesne rivals are wearing a satiny-looking fabric but have ordinary numbers.

    I can’t remember if you have covered Marco Estrada’s “jersey robes” before, but passing along a few related Twitter links from yesterday:




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