Way back on Sept. 3, one of my Twitter followers, Forest Lawrenceton, pointed me toward a YouTube video called “Milwaukee Bucks Uniforms — The Theory of Everything, Vol. 1.” The video is 15 minutes long, and I didn’t have time to watch the whole thing right away, so I kept the video in an open browser tab and figured I’d get to it later. Then I kept putting it off longer and longer, until I finally watched it in late October.
Whoa — it’s so good! For starters, it’s not just about the Bucks — it’s about sports uniforms in general and the Bucks’ uni history in particular. The analysis is smart, the production and editing are excellent, and even the voiceover narration sounds really, really good. Who the hell made this video?
A guy named Ben Rose, that’s who (that’s him at right, along with his son, Harrison). I tracked him down and recently did a phone interview with him, which I kept short because I want his video to speak for itself.
Before you read the interview transcript, go ahead and watch the video, which is embedded at the top of this post. It’s worth 15 minutes of your time — trust me. If you don’t have time to watch it now, bookmark it or put it in a new tab, and don’t wait as long as I did to circle back to it. (Just to be clear, I don’t agree with every single thing in the video, and you may not either, but I love the way it’s all presented, and I think you will too.)
Once you’ve done that, you can check out how our conversation went:
Uni Watch: First, please give me some basic information about yourself. How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?
Ben Rose: I just turned 41. I’m a Milwaukee native, but I’ve lived in Phoenix for the past 14 years or so. And I’m a rental truck driver and salesman. I’m just kind of a regular dude.
UW: Tell me about your YouTube channel and your approach to the content that you post there.
BR: I really just kind of stumbled into it. What happened was that my first video — kind of a Rocky IV parody, which I did about five years ago — kind of popped. All my videos are pretty dumb. But this one, because it had all this great footage of Mikhail Prokhorov working out in the gym, it got picked up by a lot of websites. So I was kind of off and running after that.
UW: Your YouTube channel is called “Teutonia World,” and your videos begin with a Teutonia World logo. What’s that about?
BR: Teutonia is a street that sort of cuts through the northwest side of Milwaukee, which is where I grew up. So it’s basically a shout-out to that.
UW: Do you have a background in video production or sports media?
BR: No, not at all.
UW: So you just like doing these mash-ups and throwing in pop culture references and all that?
BR: Right, exactly. When my kids were born, I was always taking videos of them, so at some point I learned how to make videos.
UW: I know you don’t actually talk or do narration in most of these videos. But in this latest one, the “Theory of Everything Vol. 1,” you narrate the whole thing, and you have a great voice! Have you ever worked in broadcasting?
BR: Thank you very much for saying that! Just like everyone else, I hate the sound of my own voice. Frankly, I was working out the kinks a bit with that one. I’m hoping the next one, Volume Two, will be better…
UW: Dude, this one is so good!
BR: I’m honored that you would say that. It took about 40 hours to put together.
UW: You obviously have some strong ideas about uniforms. How would you describe yourself, from a uniform standpoint, and what are some of your favorite and least-favorite uniforms?
BR: I guess you could say I’m pretty conservative. I like certain wacky uniforms, like the Astros’ tequila sunrise, and I liked the Tampa Bay Bucs’ first pewter uniforms. But I think there are a lot of disasters out there when teams try to reinvent the form on the fly.
I’ve come full-circle on this. I certainly didn’t feel this way when I was 18, or 25. But I’m from Wisconsin, where everyone is a Packers fan, and they haven’t changed their look. Even the Flywire collar — is that what it’s called? When other teams went to that, the Packers didn’t. And I think it gives them such credibility, because it maintains that connection to their legacy of winning.
UW: Unless I just missed it, I didn’t see any other uni-centric videos on your YouTube channel. Is “Theory of Everything” video the first time you’ve actually done a video about uniforms?
BR: Yes. The others are about the Bucks or Wisconsin sports, but this is the only one about uniforms. Basically, because I now live in Phoenix, I spend a lot of time at Diamondbacks games. And they’ve basically tried every color. And because they don’t really have an identity, they’ll just keep changing their look. And even if they hit on something that’s great, they’ll change it, because that’s the kind of team they are, they’re in the business of change. Whereas all of the really great brands in sports are in the business of selling you slightly different aspects of the same thing over and over again.
UW: When will Vol. 2 be posted?
BR: I was aiming for Thanksgiving. We’ll see. At some point you have to stop editing and say okay, that’s good enough.
UW: Do you think you’ll do more videos about uniforms, or is “Theory of Everything” a one-time digression?
BR: Well, I’m always trying to quit making videos! I’m sure my wife would like that. It becomes this thing — you have an idea, and it’s not in the front of your mind but it kind of rattles around in the back of your mind and you have to do something with it.
Big thanks to Ben for sharing his story and his considerable video talents. I’ll be sure to feature Vol. 2 once it’s available.
(Bonus thanks to Forest Lawrenceton for bringing Benjamin’s video to my attention.)
[Editor’s Note: If you watched last night’s Steelers/Browns game, you probably did so on a conventional TV. But Uni Watch webmaster John Ekdahl watched it on an enhanced platform, and he says it’s a serious game-changer for uni watching. Here’s his report. — PL]
I Have Seen the Future and It’s 4K
By John Ekdahl
The commercial television market tends to be inherently gimmick-based. The problem for manufacturers is that they need you to buy a new television about twice as often as you are willing to do so, so we sometimes have to endure a marketing cycle on some “hot” new technology that no one actually wants. A recent example of this was the 3DTV push, which was built into nearly every new TV sold for three years and never went anywhere. Before that was HDTV, which was a very noticeable upgrade. But content struggled to catch up in a timely fashion, as anyone who watched butterfly or frog documentaries on repeat can attest.
The latest new gimmick is 4K TV. Just like the jump from standard to high-def, it is a noticeable jump in quality. It is not a gimmick. Unlike with HDTV, content providers (mostly streaming services) are scrambling to meet demand, with Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, and now Disney+ (among others) offering 4K programming. What has lagged behind, unfortunately, is sports broadcasts.
Well, last night I watched my first football game in 4K, and let me tell you it is a uni watching game-changer. I had to watch it through a Fox Sports television app, but I almost instantly noticed the difference. The on-screen graphics were crisp with clean straight lines like you’re used to seeing on a computer monitor. And when the teams took the field, it was wild how many details you could make out.
For example: I noticed immediately that the stitching around the Steelers logo on one player’s jersey looked faded or worn, as if it had seen action before. You can make out the jersey material/hole pattern very clearly on close-ups. The difference between the Steelers’ glossy helmet and Browns’ matte was very obvious — not obvious like a reader of this site would notice, but obvious like if a matte-finished car parked next to your detail-oblivious friend in a grocery store parking lot obvious. You can instantly see the difference without even thinking about it.
In fact, speaking of the Steelers helmet, I was able to easily count the individual lights from the light tower reflected on the helmet. There was a play toward one of the sidelines where a player dragged his foot across a field line, and you could see the chalk dust puff up as if it were right in front of your face. Many times during the game, mostly with the Browns, I was able to see the reflection of the lights off the shoulder/back pads through the jersey. I’m sure I’ve seen this muted effect before, but it happened so often and was so clear, it caught me a bit by surprise.
I tried to get some screencaps, but the details don’t really translate. You need to see this for yourself — definitely try to catch a game this year in 4K if you get the chance.
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Orange you glad: Ever since an orange-themed Magic court design leaked back in August, it’s been pretty much an open secret that the team would have an orange-themed alternate uni this season. That assumption became a reality last night, as the Magic unveiled their latest City design. Additional info here.
Here’s the rear view:
— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) November 15, 2019
Like so many of the new NBA alternates, this isn’t an terrible design per se, but it feels completely unconnected to the team and its visual history. Definitely one of those uniforms where people will turn on the TV and have no idea who’s playing.
El futuro es femenino: Minor League Baseball unveiled a slew of new Copa de la Diversión team names and logos yesterday (the uniforms will apparently follow later). The most interesting one is for the rookie-level Idaho Falls Chukars, who will become the Madres de Idaho Falls. In other words, they will be the Mothers — complete with a female logo mascot, which the team is claiming to be the “first female logo in baseball history.”
I don’t know if that claim is accurate, but it’s certainly true that female-based team names for men’s teams are rare. In fact, most team names are non-gendered (Eagles, Astros, Chargers, Nets). But the gendered ones are unfailingly male (Padres, Cowboys, Kings, Gamecocks), and even the non-gendered ones often have logo mascots that are either explicitly male (Patriots, Celtics, Senators) or have a very masculine bearing (countless). So the Madres are definitely staking out some rare territory here.
Now, some of you may be thinking, “Of course the team names are male — because the players are male!” Fair enough. But pro team names are used by lots of youth league teams, and those youth sports are increasingly coed, so it’s good to have team names that girls can identify with too. Also, I think it’s good to challenge the longstanding cultural default that equates competition — including athletic competition — with masculinity. Hell, with the arguable exception of the New York Liberty, there isn’t even a female team name in the WNBA. That’s nuts!
So here’s to the Chukars for their Madres makeover — a good change of pace.
(My thanks to Andrew Wade Smith for bringing the Madres to my attention.)
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Cufflinks reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, Uni Watch cufflinks are now ready for ordering in our Teespring shop.
Incidentally, you may recall that yesterday I said a Uni Watch reader who works as Senior Litigation Counsel at the U.S. Justice Department plans to wear the cufflinks for his argument in federal court next month. Today’s update is that a self-described “Assistant Attorney General Who Gets It™” says the cufflinks will also be representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!
I wouldn’t have guessed that Uni Watch cufflinks would be so popular with the legal trade, but it’s a fun development. And you certainly don’t have to be a federal or state attorney to wear them — you can get yours here.
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FIVE DAYS LEFT for hoops gear pre-orders: We’re now taking pre-orders on Uni Watch basketball jerseys. You can choose your own number and NOB, and you don’t have to have the winged stirrup on the shoulder if you don’t want it there.
We also have matching shorts:
We’re taking pre-orders on these through next Wednesday, Nov. 20, for Christmas delivery. Full details here. (Also: The pre-order page doesn’t offer an option for international shipping. But if you want that, email Nathan Haas at Adelph Wear and he should be able to help you out.)
LAST CALL for the Bucs-redesign contest: Today is the last day to get your entries in for my Bucs-redesign contest. Full details here.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: The inaugural season logo for the Rangers’ new stadium gets some details wrong regarding the ballpark’s design (from Mike Duchock). … Fans really, really don’t like the name of Wichita’s new baseball team, the Wind Surge (from Mark Chiarucci). … Back in 1980, Ohio University had some awesome-looking tequila sunrise uniforms (from several readers). … Paul discussed the Padres’ new uniforms on this new podcast episode.
NFL News: Reader John Williams has finished designing a poster featuring almost every helmet every current NFL team wore during their time in the league. Well done, John! … Bucs HC Bruce Arians was the victim of one of the most half-assed Photoshop jobs I’ve ever seen. The Bucs logo doesn’t just go off the front of the cap and onto the bill, it goes off the cap completely! (From Jim Lighthall). … A retailer in the Kansas City area is selling Chiefs-branded hockey sweaters (from Chris Mattox).
College/High School Football News: Drake University’s new soccer stadium will be used by Des Moines Public Schools to host middle and high school soccer and football games (from Kary Kilsmet). … Oregon will go “nightmare”-yellow-“nightmare” tomorrow (thanks, Phil). … Louisville is going black-white-black tomorrow (from M. Brinston Berry). … UNLV is going mono-red tomorrow against Hawai’i. … Marshall is going mono-black tonight in honor of the 75 players killed in the 1970 plane crash (from Chris Mycoskie).
Hockey News: Blues G Jordan Binnington will have a throwback mask and throwback pads for the Blues’ throwback game on the 21st (from Jacob Bischoff and Mike Judy). … The Capitals’ thirds have 3D helmet logos (from @RivalsMD). … As a Bruins fan, I wish we had Sidney Crosby, like this screen-saver news report on Chromecast says (from @PhillyPartTwo).
Pro Hoops News: The Pacers’ new alternates will be unveiled next Thursday, and the team has posted a teaser video (from multiple readers). … Valencia of the the Spanish Liga ACB is getting a new arena (from Kary Klismet).
College Hoops News: Michigan State added “Smoothie” memorial patches in honor of Cassius Winston’s younger brother, Zachary “Smoothie” Winston, who passed away recently (from multiple readers). … Canisius men have unveiled their throwback unis for their Nov. 23 game against St. Bonaventure.
Soccer News: Looks like Nashville SC, the newest MLS team, may be unveiling their kits next week (from @TennTimber). … Here’s a great article about the England national team wearing a “winter” kit that weighed 11 pounds in the blistering Spanish heat in 1982 (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: Irish players seemed to have no undershirt color consistency during their win against New Zealand. … One final one from Josh: teams of Ligue 1 and the French national team wore the Bleuet de France on their sleeves, which is the French equivalent to the poppy in the Commonwealth nations.
Grab Bag: “Fan wishes team was sponsored by cooler corporation” writes America’s finest news source (from Hugh C. McBride). … USA Nordic — that’s the American ski jumping and Nordic combined teams — has released their 2020 uniforms (from Jim Vilk). … The Washington Post’s fashion columnist has an article critiquing Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan’s frequent decision not to wear a jacket or blazer in committee meetings (from John Chapman). … Some GWU teams wear three stars above or below the logo. The stars stand for “determination, commitment, and respect,” and are also a nod to the flag of Washington, D.C. (from Matt Eliot).
Happy almost-birthday to Collector’s Corner columnist Brinke Guthrie, whose special day is tomorrow. Enjoy, big guy! — Paul