As you may have seen in yesterday’s entry, Branch Rickety — the informal name for the wayward branch that was hanging from the tree across the street from Uni Watch HQ and had become a key part of our daily Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ ritual — finally crashed to the ground on Monday evening.
The virtual ink on yesterday’s post had barely dried when reader Ron Ruelle, who’s a professional illustrator and cartoonist (more on that later), sent me this jersey concept for a team called the Brooklyn Branches (click to enlarge):
The wooden buttons are a nice touch, right? Here’s a closer look at the sleeve patch (click to enlarge):
I love that — straight out of The Natural!
And here’s the cap, which has a wooden squatchee:
You might think this is something Ron dashed off as a lark, without much thought. Au contraire, mon frère! Here’s his detailed explanation of the design’s “storytelling” elements:
The wordmark “Branches” is a verbal cue signifying the team name and complements the nonverbal representation of the illustrated branch that underlines it. The road jersey, not pictured, substitutes the word “Brooklyn” with a similar purpose.
The illustrated branch on the front of the jersey depicts the actual Brooklyn Branch™ that gave its life so the new team could sprout like a sapling from the pavement where it landed. It also underlines the name, bringing a unity to the wordmark, symbolizing the solidarity required for teamwork. Also, it’s a bat, which represents one of the tools required to play the sport of baseball, similar to the way a branch is one of the important parts of a tree.
The numbers are rendered in a wooden font, honoring the dedication to craftsmanship a baseball player must have in order to succeed. The proximity of the digits to the branch illustration is a reminder that a good craftsman never blames his tools.
The collar is lumberjack plaid, to honor the blue collar nature of the team’s grit. The sleeve stripes are also plaid, to symbolize the unity between these various elements. The lack of any blue tones in these features shows respect to the blue collar workers who may be humbled or embarrassed by such fanfare.
The buttons are of course crafted from actual wood, representing actual wood.
The sleeve logo depicts WonderBoy™, the mascot of the team. Despite their male-seeming name, WonderBoy™ is a genderless, ageless, raceless humanoid who represents all of humankind. The name is symbolic of Roy Hobbs’s bat in the movie The Natural, which, in the film, was forged from the branches of a tree felled by lightning. The player is swinging a bat formed from a branch, which hearkens back to the days when the original Brooklyn Branch swung in the trees above a street. Neither the bat nor the character can succeed without the other, much in the way humans and trees form a symbiotic relationship to survive.
The cap represents the historical style of cap worn throughout the history of baseball, which also provides soothing, cooling shade to the player, much the same way that the leaves of a tree might do. The rings in the cross-section of the branch in the logo represent the number of years the team has existed, and will be updated with an additional ring for each season. The fact that the branch has been cut is a nod to the fleeting nature of life and to the sacrifice trees make to inspire us (as well as to provide the materials for bats).
The B represents Brooklyn as well as Branches, and is in fact a pair of interlocking and overlapping “B” characters that cling together in such precise unity that they become one single letter, thus symbolizing the solidarity of the people of Brooklyn with their tree branches, as immortalized in the famous novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
The squatchee is made of wood to match the buttons on the jersey, symbolizing further unity between the parts of the uniform.
The stirrups represent the roots of the tree, as well as the roots of the organization, and also the team being rooted in a solid foundation of hard work. Also, stirrups are a good look.
Each color tells a story:
Photosynthesis™ is a hue of green representing the life-creating force that sustains the existence of trees as well as humans, including the Brooklyn Branches’ players, staff, and fans.
Solar™ is a shade of yellow representing Sol (also known as the Sun), which is one of the key requirements for photosynthesis to occur.
Xylem™ is a tone of light brown representing the flow of nutrients from the roots of the tree to the branches, symbolizing the rise of our players to the very heights of success.
Phloem™ is a darker shade of brown representing the flow of the food produced by photosynthesis downward to the roots and all other parts of the tree, symbolizing how a team can be a source of sustenance and pride for a community.
Dihydrogen Monoxide™ is a proprietary shade of blue that represents water, the other key ingredient in photosynthesis. This color does not appear in this current uniform set but will appear in future uniform designs.
Oxide™ is a variant of white that represents the very oxygen the players breathe in to sustain their success. It serves as the basis for the home uniforms as well for all life on Earth.
Hydrogen™ is a light shade of black, similar to grey. It represents the material that fills zeppelins and blimps, which can carry people great distances, hence its use as the base color for the road uniforms (not shown in this presentation).
Carbon for Carbon’s Sake™ is a very dark shade of black that is reserved for potential alternate uniforms. It represents the material from which all life is formed and also serves as a cautionary tale about the effects of pollution.
That’s some good stuff there from Ron. I liked it so much that I showed it to DIY genius Wafflebored, who readily agreed to make a prototype jersey based on Ron’s design. I’ll even send Wafflebored pieces of the actual branch (which I harvested off the street after it came down) so he can use them to create the jersey’s buttons. Then we’ll auction off the jersey and donate the proceeds to some sort of arboreal/environmental group that plants trees or something like that. (If anyone can recommend such a group, I’m all ears.)
How else should we pay tribute to the branch — Brooklyn Branches T-shirts? Caps? Something else? And what should I do with the rest of the branch — should it have its own trading card, with pieces of its bark and wood serving as relics? Should we have Wafflebored turn it into some sort of creative project, like his awesome puck bags and squatchee lapel pins?
You know, when the Tugboat Captain started our Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ ritual back in March, I mentioned it here on the site but didn’t expect to keep posting photos every day. But a bunch of readers liked it and encouraged me to keep sharing the daily pics, so I did. Similarly, when I first mentioned the branch two months ago, I didn’t expect that to become a daily thing either, but a bunch of you folks immediately embraced it. Who’da thunk?
Too good for the Ticker: Check this out — a family in Illinois created a Wrigley-themed Wiffle ball field in their backyard, complete with a scoreboard and faux-ivy walls! It’s pretty awesome — definitely worth the two minutes it takes to watch the video embedded above.
(Big thanks to Steve Holley for pointing me toward this one.)
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Cat on hats: Longtime Uni Watch reader/pal Marty Hick has his caps arranged in two rows: Ebbets Field Flannels caps on the left, New Era and other brands on the right.
That’s Gloria, Marty’s kitty, perched atop the headwear. “She always chooses the Ebbets collection over the New Era/etc. caps,” he says. “That tells you all you need to know about comfort.” Indeed.
By Lloyd Alaban
Baseball News: MLB umpires might have to work entire homestands, instead of rotating after each series, to cut down on travel when MLB’s season finally starts. There’s also discussion about how umps will wear face coverings. … The A’s are the latest team to let fans pay to have a cardboard cutout of themselves installed in the stands. But there’s an added wrinkle: If a fan’s cutout is hit by a foul ball, the A’s will mail the ball to them (from multiple readers). … Several former MLB league MVPs are calling for former commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis’s name to be removed from the MVP awards. Landis has been criticized by baseball historians for supporting policies that delayed baseball’s racial integration. … Dr. Anthony Fauci once again wore a Nationals-themed face covering while testifying before Congress yesterday. … Here’s a look at the new bullpens at the Giants’ ballpark. The bullpens were previously in foul territory along the first- and third-base lines (from Andrew Cosentino). … Speaking of the Giants’ stadium, a fan made a a Lego model of it (from our own Brinke Guthrie). … Reader Evan Livingston found an MLB enamel pin set, circa 1989. … In the wake of actor/comedian Carl Reiner’s death yesterday, BSmile found this great photo of Reiner and his son, actor/director Rob Reiner, wearing baseball uniforms for a 1972 celebrity softball game at Dodger Stadium. … No surprise here, but the minor league season has now been officially cancelled.
NFL News: The NFL has awarded four new grants to support the development of safer helmet designs. … LB Patrick Onwuasor announced he was signing with the Jets by posting a photo of himself in his high school football uniform. Onwuasor went to Inglewood High School (Calif.), where the teams were called the Jets. Their helmet logo when he played there poached the Namath-era Jets logo with an “IW” in place of the “NY” (from Alexander Ganias). … Speaking of the Jets: In the 1986 Jets/Browns playoff game, Jets DL Derland Moore’s NOB appears to have been heat-pressed directly onto his jersey, instead of being on a nameplate (great spot by Matt Barnett).
Soccer News: A bunch of stuff from Josh Hinton: Another photo of Real Madrid’s new home kit has leaked. … Wolverhampton Wanderers’ new home shirt has leaked, and it appears to indicate the club will sign a new shirt advertiser. … Inter has officially released its new home kit, confirming previous leaks. … FC Barcelona has draped the seats of their stadium with shirts featuring fans’ NOBs. … Torpedo Moscow has “STOP COVID-19” across the front of their shirts (from Ed Zelaski). … Also from Ed: New home kit for Ipswich Town. The badge on the shirt celebrates the 40th anniversary of their UEFA Cup win. Here’s a better look. … One more from Ed: New home kit for Portuguese side Sporting Clube. … FC Buffalo has released an “Against Racism” kit (from Joseph Pitirri). … ESPN has ranked its 101 favorite kits (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer). … Here’s something you don’t often see a team doing: Manchester City retweeted a concept shirt made by a fan. The club has no plans for making the shirt, however (from @TexasTrevor). … Also from Trevor: German club Hamburg has lost its shirt advertiser.
Grab Bag: Under Armour, having already attempted to get out of its contracts with UCLA and Cal, is now trying the same thing with Boston College. In case you’re wondering who might be next, here’s a list of UA-outfitted schools (from our own Brinke Guthrie). … Formula One drivers are mulling over whether or not to take a knee at the opening race of the season on Sunday. … The ACC released a gif featuring facemasks with the logos of all the conference’s schools on them (from James Gilbert). … Peter Aksamit has compiled a (probably not exhaustive) list of mascots in team logos that wear uniforms that have never been worn by the actual players. … New athletics logo for D’Youville College in Buffalo (from @tyBuffalo). … A sportswriter has ranked the top 25 uniforms across the North American “Big Four” leagues (from Kary Klismet). … Former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden held a campaign rally this week inside a middle school gym that is poaching Mizzou’s logo (from Zach Barnett). … With Mississippi’s old state flag now retired, the state has unveiled its interim flag. A permanent replacement will be chosen later this year (from Anthony Emerson). … Here’s a look at some of the background and issues raised by right-wing extremist groups wearing Hawaiian shirts as a de facto uniform. … Patience and Fortitude — those are the two lion statues that stand vigil at the entrance to the New York Public Library’s main branch on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan — are now wearing masks. … PETA is calling on the Air Force Academy to stop using live falcon mascots. PETA calls it the “the ultimate irony … [that] USAF pilots get to fly, USAF Academy live-bird mascots are denied that same freedom.” (from Timmy Donahue). … It was so hot at a 1990 Darlington Raceway event that sweat-soaked drivers’ suits had to be hung out on a clothesline to dry (from Robert Erdtmann). … Now that the calendar has turned to July, Temple’s deal with Nike has officially kicked in. The school was previously outfitted by Under Armour.
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What Paul did last night: If you look in front of my cushion, you can see Tom, one of our neighborhood strays. He came peeking out of the flower bed just as I was snapping yesterday’s photo and then scampered into the next yard. We were worried about him and the other strays in the aftermath of Monday’s storm, but yesterday we saw two of the others besides Tom, so they appear to be okay.
It’s not quite the same without the branch.
As always, you can see the full set of Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos here.
Happy Canada Day to all our Canadian readers, especially prolific contributors Wade Heidt and Wafflebored. Stay safe, have some butter tarts, and enjoy the holiday!
The winner of yesterday’s Naming Wrongs raffle is Blake Pass, who’s chosen this “I Miss The Omni” shirt. Congrats to him, and thanks again to Jon Eidukas for sponsoring this one.
And if you’re wondering about the July pin, check back tomorrow. — Paul