By Phil Hecken, with Jimmer Vilk
Hey. How’s everyone doing? I hope and pray everyone is doing as well as can be expected as we continue to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Things are kinda rough here in New York these days, but we carry on as best we can. Hope all of you and yours are faring okay.
Now then, let’s turn our attention to better things, namely this year’s surprise “Coronavilkmas” in which UW stalwart, and my pal, Jimmer Vilk has again taken the time to very generously raffle off several of his prized possessions to five lucky Uni Watch readers. If you somehow missed the original post last weekend, you can click here.
Jimmer has been doing “Vilkmas” for the past several years, and occasionally does a summertime version, but in light of the current pandemic, he thought it would be nice to run a special edition this past weekend. I hope everyone joins me in thanking him for once again sharing his generosity (and generosity of spirit) with the readership. I’ll turn it over to Jim now:
Corona Vilkmas 2020
By Jimmer Vilk
Usually, I have an idea of what the “if I could pick just one” Vilkmas gift will be, and I make it the last one on the list. This time y’all surprised me. While the Roberto Clemente jersey was indeed popular, it came in second to another item. Almost half of you wanted one or the other, and nothing else. Eleven people listed just those two prizes, 12 of you just wanted the jersey, and 16 of you just wanted… the Astrodome shot glass. That surprised me, because it was a last-minute addition. When I first proposed the idea to Phil I had something else in its place. Anyway, enough number crunching. Let’s not keep our winners in suspense any longer!
John Chapman – John Wooden book and NBA cards
David Baughman – Pittsburgh Penguins yearbook
Scott Held – Astrodome shot glass
James Brewer – Expos card, Nats schedule and Rays patch
I’ll clean the items as best as I can and send them out as soon as I can. Thanks to everyone for playing and thanks for the nice messages some of you sent. May you all have a Merry (and safe!) early Vilkmas. And thanks to Phil, who will take it from here.
Thanks, Jimmer! Your generosity never ceases to amaze. But I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope we never have another “special” Vilkmas — or at least one brought upon us by pandemic, tragedy or other life-changing events! I’m sure we all look forward to the next regularly scheduled Vilkmas though!
Talkin’ … Browns
I was a guest on Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan Sports Radio yesterday morning, with host Ken Carman and his trusted sidekick Anthony Lima. It was about 14 minutes long, and we discussed, among other things, the Cleveland Browns and their uniforms. You can give it a listen here:
(If for some reason the embed doesn’t work, you can access it here.)
I’ve been on with Ken a few times over the years, and he’s a pretty passionate Clevelander. And he particularly enjoys discussing uniforms (at least with me), so we not only discussed the Browns (and Brownie the Elf), but there was a whole bunch of uni-related banter besides.
I hope you guys give it a listen (and please let me know your thoughts). We also touch on one of the great uni-debates of our time, mainly: if a good team has success in a bad looking uniform, do fans accord that (bad) uni a “higher” ranking in the uni-echelon because of the success a team has had in it (see: Mets racing stripes on top of pins); also, on the other side of the coin, does a good-looking uni often get derided or relegated to the “bad” uni bin, simply because a team has no success in it (see: Pat Patriot).
On that note, what good looking unis would you guys say aren’t as highly regarded as they should be due to a team’s lack of success in them or conversely, what bad looking unis are accorded a “better rating” than they deserve, in light of a team’s outstanding success in them (I’d argue the Patriots current uniforms, with six Supe victories, will forever be beloved, despite the fact that, at least in my opinion, they aren’t particularly good looking; similarly the Cleveland Cavs’ black, sleeved unis in which they won the NBA title a few years back, are examples of bad unis seen as good, due to the success a team had while wearing them).
What are some others?
Time for more Uni Tweaks from the UW readership.
I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).
I received an e-mail from Jim Nedelka a short while back, who thinks he has just the uniform for the Houston baseball squad:
Glad you’ve revived the “Concept Department!”
This idea – built around the team’s Tequila Sunrise jersey and the refreshing taste of a black-and-white sundae – has been kicking around in my brain for a few days.
The Novel Covid-19 suspension has provided, theoretically, time for Nike and New Era to get ’em ready to roll off the looms.
Nike and New Era cold then dedicate at least the Astros’ “cut” – if not the entire cut – of the profits to repairing or building baseball facilities in Houston and every city of every other team Houston faced in 2017 and any other year they are suspected of banging their garbage cans to shame and misfortune.
Thanks & Enjoy
And here’s the concept Jim sent along — click to enlarge:
OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.
Guess The Game…
from the scoreboard
Today’s scoreboard comes from
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
Signs of the (curling) times
The sign you see above is in front of the Norfolk Curling Club, located in Connecticut (I bonspieled there a little over a year ago). The sign, of course, refers to social distancing, and a the length of a curling broom, like a hockey stick, is considered an appropriate measure of distance to keep between yourself and another person.
Even curling is affected by COVID-19. The sign also flashes the following message (which is a curling way of saying “STAY HOME”):
Curling clubs are, of course, all closed now due to the pandemic (mine officially closed four weeks ago), as most of the winter seasons were winding down. My Long Island Club had 3 weeks remaining in our season, and the Brooklyn Club (where I teach) only “lost” one week.
Well…not all clubs have shut down.
Here’s a great feel-good story I received yesterday from the GNCC (Greater National Curling Club) in their “Between The Sheets” newsletter of April 3. Dig:
The Plymouth Rocks Curling Club’s season is normally from April to October. This year their season and their popular Mudspiel have been postponed. As these before and after pictures show – the ice has been removed and the arena has been turned into a temporary field hospital. Hopefully the beds will not be needed and they’ll be able to put their ice back in later this spring or summer.
Check out the conversion:
It’s not all good news in the curling world however — I received the horrible news earlier this week that a member of my own Curling Club had passed away. Little was known of the causes other than he “contracted COVID-19 and the virus spread rapidly.” Of course due to current social distancing concerns, none of us could attend his funeral.
I hope none of you good folks out there have anyone (yourselves included) who have contracted the COVID-19, and I certainly hope and pray that if you or a friend/loved one does get the coronavirus, that you recover quickly and fully.
And now a few words from Paul
Hi there. In case you missed it last week, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s April design is now available. As you can see, it’s based on an official Rawlings/MLB baseball, complete with my signature as the “Commissioner.”
This is a numbered edition of 250 pins and there are now fewer than 65 remaining. So if you want one, I suggest that you move fast.
If you need to get caught up, here are the January, February, and March designs, all of which will remain available until they sell out (no reprints!). You can get a 15% on all of these pins, and on everything in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.
And while we’re at it, several other discounts are in effect until further notice:
• The Uni Watch Classic Cap, usually priced at $39.99, is now $35.99.
• Uni Watch seam rippers, usually $6, are now $4.
• And custom-designed Uni Watch membership cards, usually $25, are now $20.
If you’d rather support Uni Watch via a donation, here’s now to do that.
My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support. Stay healthy, safe, and sane. Now back to Phil.
Too Good For the Ticker!
What’s that image above? New York in 2020?
No of course not, but it is New York in 1918. And except for the style of uniform, it wouldn’t be that out of place today (unfortunately). What’s the old saying? The more things change…the more things stay the same. If only it weren’t in this regard.
That wonderful photo, from the National Archives, is captioned “Train conductors in New York, like many residents at the time, wore masks for protection against influenza.” You might not expect to see three female train conductors way back then, but yet, clearly there were. This is of course, just before woman’s suffrage became the law of the land in 1920.
That image, and many many more, are all part of a great New York Times piece, “What New York Looked Like During the 1918 Flu Pandemic,” which not only features great uniformed photos of masked-clad New Yorkers, also has some amazing charts (flatten the curve!) and bulletins from 100+ years ago.
It all comes from this great article. Highly recommended.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Many of us know the story of the time when the Royals had to wear the Brewers’ road uniforms, but it wouldn’t hurt to read it again (from Kary Klismet). … Paul, don’t read this: Mets players Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis have called for a return of the black jerseys. Fortunately, someone on SNY’s payroll is standing up for athletics aesthetics (from Marc A. Rivlin and Phil). … Steve Uhlmann unearthed some great photos of rarely-used ’70s Pirates uni combos in a book about Three Rivers Stadium.
College Football News: It appears Washington spray painted their helmets gold with the masks still attached. Here’s what it looked like with all the decals applied (from @NFL_Journal and @JaRomney). … The Citadel is installing new turf and raising their playing field by about a foot (from Kary Klismet).
Hockey News: Equipment manufacturer Kenesky is now manufacturing masks for healthcare workers to help fight the spread of coronavirus (from Dave Kuruc). … NHL.com has an interesting article on how the evolution of chest protectors changed the way goalies play (from Wade Heidt). … Construction of Colorado College’s new arena is continuing as scheduled (from Kary Klismet).
NBA News: At least one public basketball court in Chicago has enforced stay-at-home orders by zip-tying a wooden block across the rim (from Mike Chamernik).
College Hoops News: Check out the odd front number placement on the 1957-58 South Dakota jerseys. I wonder if that would even be allowed these days with NCAA number regulations (from Jacob Russo).
Grab Bag: Dr. Anthony Fauci will soon have his own bobblehead (from Marc A. Rivlin). … Kary Klismet sends along a couple of articles from The Athletic (paywalled) and USA Today about how stadium and arena construction is continuing despite the pandemic. … IdahoSports.com held a contest to determine which Idaho high school had the best logo, won by Shelley High (from Ryan Arave).
Everyone, please stay safe during this difficult time. Practice social distancing. Stay home if you can. Support all those who can’t — they’re our true heroes, and there are too many to thank. We’re all in this together, and together we’ll get through this.