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Which Teams Should Get to Wear Which Throwback Unis?

With the Colts unveiling a throwback from their Baltimore era this week — and with lots of Baltimore fans griping about it — I decided to explore a topic that I’ve often touched upon peripherally but never addressed head-on: Who does a team’s history, including its uniforms, really belong to, and which teams should or shouldn’t get to wear certain throwbacks? It’s an intriguing question, with lots of nuances. People who’ve subscribed to the email version of my Bulletin content should already be seeing this article in their in-boxes; everyone else can check it out on my Bulletin page.

(If you don’t know what Bulletin is and/or are wondering why there isn’t a full-length lede entry here on the blog today, look here.)

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Update, 9:45am: Cleveland MLB team’s new name: Nope, not Spiders, not Munis — Guardians. Silly blue-collar bullshit hype video is shown above, and here are the logos:

Phil will have more coverage of this tomorrow, and I’ll have some thoughts about it on Monday.

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Too good for the Ticker: In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that the Colts had posted a link to their 1956 media guide to help promote their new ’56 throwbacks, but I hadn’t yet scrolled through the entire publication. After I spent a bit more time with it yesterday, I discovered this spectacular ad showing the Natty Boh mascot, Mr. Boh, acting as a football ref. So good!

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Membership update: Membership orders have slowed to a trickle, but we did just add a couple of designs to the card gallery (including Fran Simmonds’s card, which is based on this Oxford Pennant banner that the Bills displayed after a victory last season).

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch, and fun to boot. And remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in the Uni Watch, Uni Rock, and Naming Wrongs shops. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me and I’ll hook you up.)

As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here (now more than 3,200 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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Cap update Thanks to everyone who expressed interest in this new Uni Watch cap concept. It looks like I’ll be going ahead and putting it into production with Ebbets Field Flannels for a full range of fitted sizes. Only a couple of people have expressed interest in an adjustable version, so I will probably not go ahead with that format unless we get a late-breaking flood of interest in the adjustables (sorry).

If you emailed me to say you’d be willing to purchase this cap, I will soon be getting in touch to ask you to pre-order and confirm your size.

If you missed my previous posts about this cap concept, here are the details:

• This will be an eight-panel cap (not the more common six-panel) with green piping as shown in the mock-up.

• Just like the Classic Cap, this one will be 100% wool and made in the USA by Ebbets.

• That green brim is a Kelly green. As I recently explained, Ebbets no longer has the shade of green we were using for the Classic Cap. I don’t want to do a solid-Kelly cap, but I think the combination of Kelly, grey, and piping works really well.

• Speaking of the brim: The photo that I used for the mock-up showed a cap with a short, soft visor. But the real-world cap will have a conventional-length stiff visor.

• No visible maker’s mark, of course.

• It should be available to ship around the end of September.

• Based on the quote Ebbets has given me, the price will be something like $43 plus $6 shipping.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering this cap based on the info I’ve just provided, please send me a note indicating that you’d be on board. If you want to list your preferred size (or if you’d prefer an adjustable instead of fitted), that would also be helpful.

Thanks in advance for your feedback — much appreciated.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: It appears a Giants clubbie was touching up a batting helmet with a marker in the dugout before last night’s game (from @RearFactory and Xian Choy). … During last night’s Indianapolis Indians game, Indy had one of their players coaching first. Later in the game, he was replaced by, as Mark Kunz describes it, a guy in a Pirates hoodie. … Wayne County, Mich., has approved an $850,000 grant to help with renovations to Hamtramck Stadium, one of the few Negro Leagues ballparks still standing (from Kary Klismet). … The Coastal Plains League’s Savannah Bananas are putting players’ faces on their jerseys (from Bryant Singleton).

Pro Football News: Here’s our first look at the Bucs’ Super Bowl rings. … In addition to a new name, the CFL’s Edmonton Elks got new unis as well (from Wade Heidt and Moe Khan). … Well, that was quick. After being called just “The Superdome” for a little under a week, the New Orleans facility has a new, stupid advertised name (from Timmy Donahue).

College/High School Football News: New Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel says he wants to put a “new age approach” on Tennessee’s iconic “T” logo (from Kary Klismet). … It appears that Illinois’s “I” logo has been added to the team’s pants (from Jake Parrillo).

Soccer News: Spurs have unveiled an, uh, interesting new second shirt. The back is mostly black due to legibility regulations for NOBs and numbers. The “reasoning” behind it from Nike’s Marketing BS Department is that it “puts future creators at the heart of [the] design, with an expressive print that represents collective creativity from local minds.” Through it all, I actually kind of dig it, but then again I’m a space nerd (thanks to all who shared). … Juventus has formally unveiled their new second shirt (thanks, Jamie). … CSKA Moscow revealed their new kits in a Twitter thread. Their away kit is a very nice fauxback (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: What’s the most patronizing way to promote a new kit? Saying it’s “inspired by the working class of [area]” and then charging 90 euros for it. Anyway, Union Berlin’s new away kit is here. … Couple more from Ed: New kits for Polish teams Raków Częstochowa and Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała. … Really gorgeous new kits for Brazilian side Palmeiras, celebrating the 60th anniversary of their Copa Rio title. The Copa Rio was the first club competition featuring teams from both the Americas and Europe (from Trevor Williams). … Also from Trevor, EFL League Two side Stevenage have a new shirt advertiser. … Do you want to see an original New York Cosmos belt buckle? Of course you do.

Olympics News: The IOC has ruled that the German field hockey captain Nike Lorenz can wear a rainbow captain’s sockband (article in German, with thanks to Jamie). … Norwegian beach handball players were fined for having shorts that were too long, a British Paralympic sprinter was told her shorts were too short, and Black swimmers can’t wear swim caps more comfortable for their hair. All in all, the IOC is coming under heavy scrutiny for its treatment of female and nonwhite athletes at this year’s games (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: On a lighter note, here’s how Team USA’s uniforms have evolved from 1896 to 2021, and here’s a more detailed look at the evolution of Team USA’s gymnastics unis specifically.

Grab Bag: Jaguar’s Formula E team gave its drivers, Mitch Evans and Sam Bird, custom firesuits for the London races this weekend. The team considers this their home race and it would be the first time they’ve raced in the U.K. since their last season in Formula One in 2004 (thanks, Jamie). … The following are all from Kary Klismet: Marion (Iowa) High School has unveiled its new athletics logo. … Jacksonville’s Riverside High School has also unveiled a new athletics logo. … City leaders in Christchurch, New Zealand, have instructed designers to lower the capacity on the city’s planned new stadium from 30,000 to as few as 25,000 to bring the project back within budget over the objections of New Zealand Rugby, which says the reduction will make the stadium too small for major international competitions.

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That’s a wrap for this week. Thanks for all the feedback on Bulletin, enjoy Phil’s weekend content, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. — Paul

Comments (153)

    “Membership orders have slowed to a trickle”

    I’m sure they’ll really ramp up once people realize the blog is losing content to an entity owned by Facebook. Having to go to a different site to read the morning lede is sure to drive memberships to this site.

    Actually, going to a different site to read the lede is exactly what happened for over a decade while I was at ESPN, and also exactly what has happened for the past few years that I’ve been writing for InsideHook.

    Try again.

    It also has the reverse effect. I originally learned about UniWatch on ESPN and then found the blog.

    Genuinely can’t believe that was 14 years ago.

    I joined when this site was linked with ESPN and I saw your column. I was amazed that other people did think like me. I am fairly confident that this down swing is temporary and more people will find Uniwatch like I did way back in the Dark Ages.

    Besides larger changes like the helmet and team name, the changes to the Edmonton Elks uniforms are minor. The small lettering about the number changed to “Edmonton” instead of the old team name that used to be there.

    The numbers are the other major change. The Elks have changed the number font which I like. The team also dropped the minimal black trim in the uniforms which did the numbers and helmet centre stripe since 1996. Glad the black is gone.

    However, we have a major problem. The Edmonton football team has worn a gold or yellow-based number on their green jerseys dating way back to at least 1960s if not beyond. Why are the numbers white? They should have stayed with a yellow number which is part of their team tradition. Horrible decision by the organization.

    I also don’t understand the white numbers. Now they actually do look like the Packers.

    I dislike any element in Edmonton’s uniforms that makes them resemble the Packers. They are a different green and gold team and should look the part.

    I think Paul hit the nail on the head today regarding who “owns” throwbacks — “the more the merrier,” so, for example, let both the Brewers and Mariners throw back to the great Seattle Pilots unis. And what a shame if uniforms like the Hartford Whalers’ disappeared forever because someone decided Carolina shouldn’t be allowed to wear them as throwbacks. Exactly. Coming up with logical reasons to NOT do throwbacks is just finding a reason to do harm instead of good as far as I’m concerned.

    Meh, I don’t wanna see Expos jerseys again unless they’re in Montreal. Also when Washington wore them they disgraced poutine, so I’m hoping they don’t do it again.

    This isn’t an airport. You don’t have to announce your departure.

    As Paul previously reported it was a national handball team that was fined for a uniform violation, not volleyball.

    I firmly believe that everything to do with a team’s identity belongs to the city (or more appropriately, the fans and people of that city.) The fans’ love and passion are why sports franchises even exist at all. So much of that emotion is tied up in the identity of the team (see Paul’s common talking about about ‘rooting for laundry’.) Yes, legally all of that IP belongs to the franchise, but leaving it behind if you leave a city is the right thing to do.

    I’ve always felt that it should be a stipulation of receiving any money from the state/city to build a new stadium. A simple clause “If you ever leave the area, you forfeit all rights to the name, colors, uniform, statistics, records, and championships”

    I’m not so sure I agree. Should the Braves and Athletics have ceased to exist altogether in the 1950s? Boston and Philadelphia was never going to get another NL or AL franchise, respectively, which means their identities wouldn’t have kept belonging to their cities–they’d have belonged to NOBODY. Strikes me as a bit like smothering the baby to save its life. And though New York would eventually get another NL franchise, it’d certainly never get two. So either the Giants or Dodgers would become casualties of history, their unis barely remembered and never worn. And a situation where those great Hartford Whalers unis can never again be worn seems incredibly wrongheaded.

    The situation about which team/city should wear throwbacks to me is not a generic answer. Each situation is unique depending on how long ago a team moved and does the jilted city now have another team. Can depend on if the team has retained the same name and identity in the new city or not. There is a feel developed for these things about if it is right for a certain team to wear the throwback or not.

    100% agree. you made concise the idea i was mulling over.

    there are numerous variations on this situation. seattle and cleveland come to mind as fanbases who held strong and retained the rights to the old identity even as hypotheticals (in seattle’s case). charlotte and new orleans being a situation that was rushed into and ultimately all parties agreed to clean up the mess, nevertheless the hornets were new orleans’s basketball team for a while, what to make of that? the dodgers and giants ported the entire brand across the country and for the most part have left the visual identity intact, and neither new york or california seem eager to change the arrangement. the utah jazz and los angeles lakers are teams that brought the brand with them regardless of how nonsensical they may seem in their new locations, but the LA lakers are an iconic brand recognizable beyond the NBA, and the utah jazz have incorporated their local culture into the mismatched name brand for decades and i couldn’t imagine a different NBA identity in utah.

    i believe that a brand like the houston oilers (a situation where the former identity no longer exists, but the franchise lineage continues, AND the former location has a new team) should be handled more diplomatically than the houston/tennessee situation. if the franchise will no longer use the oilers identity, then houston should be allowed to use it in SOME capacity, even for a one off or throwback or as inspiration for a fauxback (give the tennessee franchise royalties on merchandise for all i care). if the franchise claims they will use it in the future there should be a statute of limitations on how long they can make that claim without actually using it. essentially, the old brand should always be AVAILABLE for SOMEBODY to use who INTENDS to use it so long as they have some meaningful history with the brand (it doesn’t have to be used at all times, but why keep it under lock and key just so “no one else can have it”?)

    as for the whalers and the nordiques, using the brand for something as big as a RR (essentially a third or alternate uni) seems a bit disjointed, as it represents a different location, brand, color set, etc. but it shouldn’t be off limits completely.

    once again, each situation is unique. the only rule should be that all involved parties should be open to finding the best result in a given situation (but i know that is too much to ask)

    My favorite line from the Colts’ 1956 Media Guide was in Don Shula’s bio: “Smart student of the game and someday should make a successful coach.”

    I agree with Wade Heidt. I think each situation is unique and you can’t have a boilerplate answer across the board. I do think there are some rules that should be in place.

    If a team moves and changes the name, that team should renounce all ties to the old city/name. It makes zero sense for the Hurricanes to wear the Whalers uniforms. I do not want to see the Nationals wear Expos uniforms or the Thunder to wear Sonics uniforms. This makes no sense to me. It’s not a teaching moment.

    If a team changes its city, but not the name, I think it depends on the team. A team like the Dodgers, which has such a rich history, should celebrate its Brooklyn history. It’s the only connection to Jackie Robinson (the Mets are NOT the appropriate franchise to celebrate Jackie). As for the Colts, given the touchy history with the move, they probably should tread gently with the Baltimore Colts history. But a team like the Milwaukee Brewers? There’s no reason to mention the Seattle Pilots history, which lasted for all of one season. If the Mariners want to wear Seattle Pilots uniforms to honor their civic predecessors, fine with me. To me, it’s like the KC Royals wearing KC Monarchs uniforms since they’re also honoring civic predecessors, a team that used to exist there.

    For the Hurricanes to wear the Hartford throwbacks, it will always be like Carolina ownership ripping the scab off the wound of Whalers fans, forever pained at losing the team they supported and loved. Not cool. -C.

    I’d submit there’s no way in Hell that Hartford is ever getting another NHL team. That being so, it makes no sense to bury the team’s identity and unis like a corpse, hiding them away from the public forevermore. It’s a rather perverse way of “respecting” the locals’ sensibilities.

    I’m originally from Atlanta, and suffered the loss of two NHL teams in my lifetime. I have no expectation that Atlanta will ever again have an NHL franchise. Does the idea of Calgary and Winnipeg occasionally wearing ATL Flames and Thrashers throwbacks leave a funny taste in my mouth? It does. Would I find it preferable that those unis should never grace a rink again? I would not.

    I have little sympathy for Baltimore football fans over this. Yes, the Colts left, and it was done in a really shitty way, but it was 37 years ago, and Baltimore football fans have a had a successful team that’s been around for 25 years and won two championships. It would be silly to expect Indy to ignore their full history because it might upset Baltimore fans.

    On another note, I really like the Tottenham second kits. They’re certainly different, but I like it when a soccer team takes some design risks on their second and third kits. It doesn’t always look good (Manchester United’s zebra kits spring to mind), but it does allow for some creativity—especially where Tottenham is going super traditional with it’s home white kit this season. The tradition in soccer of having second and third kits that don’t match the club’s colors is something I’ve always enjoyed, and to me this design is an extension of that.

    Totally agree re: Baltimore. The pettiness is astounding considering all you mentioned and also the fact that they did the exact same thing to Cleveland! I don’t know if they still do this, but I remember a few times before when the Colts were playing against the Ravens in Baltimore, the PA refused to even refer to them as the Colts, which is insane to me

    Yeah. If your city connives with Art Modell, then you forever lose the standing to complain about underhanded owner behavior and the shafting of local fandoms.

    It’s like Baltimore fans are hung up on an ex when they are remarried. It’s just kind of weird.

    It’s the old guard fans who still hold a torch for the horseshoe. Once they drift off to the great beyond this will be a non-issue. I was 12 when the Colts left, all I remember is they sucked and after they left we got better games on TV. My Dad and Grandfather on the other hand held a grudge that went to their graves.

    Baltimore football fans don’t ever have to worry about the Montreal Alouettes wearing Baltimore Stallions throwbacks. Technically, they are the same franchise after the 1996 relocation to Montreal and rebirth of the Alouettes. Old U.S. CFL teams nicely hidden away in the depths of a CFL fan’s mind with no one wanting it to emerge.

    It’s never been the fact that the Colts left Baltimore rather the way it was done. Packing up the moving vans in the middle of the night is pretty sleazy and the Irsay family is going to own that. What the league should have done is to strip the name, colors, and history like they did with the Browns for the classless way they took off in the middle of the night.

    Except nobody was thinking in 1984 the way they did with the Browns 11 years later.

    A Colts executive once told me they unofficially said if Baltimore had gotten an expansion team by like 1989, they would have considered relinquishing it. Probably wouldn’t have, though.

    The NFL (which was wary to prevent a move due to the fallout of the Raiders’ LA relocation) and Baltimore/Maryland politicians knew full well for some time prior that the Colts were at the least scouting out new cities to move to, if not fully aware that a move was going to happen. In fact, it was the possibility that the Governor was willing to sign a Senate-approved eminent domain bill (which dashed all hopes of reaching a mutually-beneficial agreement to remain in Baltimore) that expedited the timing of the logistics.

    That wasn’t the league. The city sued Art Modell to prevent him from taking the Browns even if he was taking the team, and now the city holds the team’s trademark rights in trust.

    The State of Ohio passed a law afterward that makes it more or less impossible for a team to move out of the state without its home city’s consent.

    You know what else the Irsay’s own? The Colts ;)
    It was no secret to the NFL, Baltimore city and Maryland state officials, and the general public that the Colts were exploring, if not committed to, relocation.
    The NFL knew all about the intention to relocate but were reluctant to stop it after the Raiders successfully beat back the league’s effort to halt their move out of Oakland.
    The expedited move timeline (poor optics? Yes) was the result of the Maryland Senate’s passage of an eminent domain bill which, if signed by the Governor, would have allowed the City of Baltimore to immediately seize the team lock stock and barrel…thus ending any chance of a negotiated resolution. Because of this development, Irsay had to move, and move out quickly, to avoid losing his team entirely.

    It still irks me when that team from LA wears anything that says “Brooklyn” on it. Grew up a Brooklyn Dodger fan. Sorry-that’s just how I feel.

    When I try to read anything on Bulletin, the corporate web filter blocks it, saying “The website “” is categorized as “Placeholders” and is denied per the [company name] Internet Acceptable Usage Policy.”

    Is there anyone at Bulletin/Facebook that has the ability to deal with this? We use Symantec Blue Coat for what that’s worth, and I’ll contact them, but sometimes it’s better that the affected site contact the filter company, especially since the web site is no longer a placeholder.

    The entire site is blocked — I can’t even get to the site to sign up. When I get home I can sign up, of course. I just filled out the request for Symantec to change the category so we’ll see what happens, but all the other website blockers might be blocking it for the same reason.

    Thanks for the offer, but Symantec actually responded to me right away (!) and unblocked the site.

    Am I the only person unable to see Bulletin in Firefox? I just see a blank white page. It works in Chrome, but Firefox is my primary browser.

    (That said, I did read the post in Chrome and enjoyed it!)

    Hi, I went up to little fence icon in top right corner of browser and clicked to allow site in Facebook container, which seemed to work.

    It’s not about who “owns” or “deserves” to wear anything. It’s a matter of relevance.

    Gino Marchetti and Lenny Moore are not relevant to Indianapolis fans, nor should we expect them to be. Just like Marshall Goldberg means nothing to people in Arizona (nor should he) and they have only heard of him because his name and number are in the stadium and because of the JJ Watt thing.

    The Colts seem to have FOMO, and because (give them some credit for this) their uniforms are not hugely different today than in 1984 (pants, UCLA stripes, I get it, move along), they don’t really have anything to throw back to that is relevant to the people of Central Indiana. To them, it’s just a slightly different uniform, and to the team/league, it is a chance to sell more merch to people who want to put their fan bona fides in a microwave. (You weren’t around in 1956, stop pretending.) But they don’t want to miss out on the craze.

    Passing some unofficial UW legislation that it can or should never ever be done is silly and provincial and small. It just makes no sense from a relocated team’s perspective EXCEPT for the fact it’s a way to generate revenue.

    Mariners/Pilots? Makes sense. (Though we romanticize the Pilots because of Ball Four – the truth is they were poorly supported for a variety of reasons.) Brewers/Pilots? Okay, but it makes no sense. Royals/Monarchs? Absolutely. Pirates/Crawfords? You bet.

    But Twins/Senators makes no sense. Walter Johnson has no relevance to Minnesota. Dodgers/Brooklyn doesn’t really make any sense either.

    But we do not live in a rational world. Will it sell? is the only question asked in staff meetings.

    So I’d imagine the Cleveland Guardians will be almost exclusively referred to as the Guards, right?

    Hate the name Guardians, makes absolutely no sense.
    just does fit Cleveland. Spiders, Muni’s, Rockers, or even the Dogs would have been far better names. Logo sucks as well.

    Side note, the L A Clippers were Buffalo Braves uni’s as part
    of throwback look.

    I wonder if having similar second syllables had anything to do with name selection

    Forget the Cleveland content. I grew up listening to voice-overs by Bob Costas, James Earl Jones, and others. I have to admit the old tom hanks voice resonates well. It feels classic, American, nostalgic.

    Bulletin won’t load on Firefox, so I’ll add my comment here.

    If I ever see the Washington Nationals wearing Expos uniforms again, it’ll be too soon. That heritage belongs to the people Montréal, a lovely that I hope gets MLB again.

    The 70+ years of major league in the District is the heritage that should be celebrated. The Nats apparently reacquired the Senators name and logos from the Rangers. I’m not sure if that includes the Griffith franchise.

    What Irsay is doing is spiteful, so very on brand for that family.

    I guess my guiding philosophy is that throwback uniforms are inherently good, and the feelings of abandoned fan communities are secondary to putting them on the field from time to time.

    The consensus seems to be that Montréal has a non-trivial chance of one day hosting major-league baseball again … and that fact seems crucial to me, at least. If I were the Nats, I’d eschew Expos throwbacks for now because that identity ISN’T dead & gone, beyond hope of recovery. But if everyone agreed baseball was never coming back to Montréal, I think Washington shouldn’t have any compunction about honoring that history. Permanently mothballing a uniform isn’t honoring it, or its city.

    The Senators seem like a more complicated case. I’m not sure, but I get the impression that the Nationals, Twins, & Rangers have NEVER been very nostalgic about any edition of the Senators, and have seldom (if ever) worn throwback Senators uniforms. In which case, the whole argument seems moot. But if any one of those teams should decide to wear Senators throwbacks, the others (and their fan bases) have no right to carp if they’re not going to celebrate the teams themselves.

    I can only recall the Nats dressing as the Senators 2.0 once (on the road vs. the Orioles, who furnished the uniforms(?) for a 1970 WS anniversary celebration.).
    Maybe the Texas Rangers gave them the OK, or just didn’t care.
    Prior to finally and spectacularly honoring their franchise history, The Nats had been helping themselv…err, celebrating all things defunct DC baseball heritage for years and years, even (in)famously claiming to have been founded in 1905.
    Dressing as the Expos that one time, and going the extra mile with all the in-game extras, was, to me, well worth the wait and worth repeating occasionally in the future.

    thought about Cleveland name change, does anyone else refer to other teams by their city/state/region and not necessarily the team moniker? for some reason some teams I just don’t refer to the team name, and Cleveland has always been one of them. especially because they are the only baseball team in their city. so I would always say something like Yankees are playing Cleveland tonight. i don’t expect that to change with the new team name. but its pretty arbitrary for me. Most cities with two teams i go by their team names. but then i never call the Pirates by Pittsburgh. the Nationals aren’t Washington, or DC. but i always say Seattle, and not The Mariners. applies to other sports as well, i usually call the Cowboys by Dallas, and the Bears are “Chicago”. but in the NBA, i say Mavs and Bulls. weird, right?

    Depends on how fun it is to say, and if there’s an easily confusable moniker elsewhere in the league. I’ll not be saying Guards though, because it’ll sound like Cards. I’ll not be saying Guardians because it doesn’t save me syllables from Cleveland.

    I liked the old-fashioned sportswriters who’d occasionally refer to a team as, for example, “the Baltimores.”

    Does it seem a little strange (intended?) to end the new name with “dians”?

    I don’t remember if it was mentioned here or not, but the Browns are revealing the 75th anniversary throwback unis tomorrow. It’s kinda gross, but if you get the app and register, you’ll have early access to them at 12:01AM.

    Starting on Saturday, July 24 at 12:01 AM, the special-edition uniform included as part of a limited-edition merchandise collection called “1946” will first be revealed and sold to registered Browns Mobile App users exclusively for the first 24 hours. Besides being first to purchase the limited-edition uniform, these users will also be able to view the team’s official release video and get the first of many Throwback Digital Football Cards featuring some of the Browns’ top players sporting the anniversary uniform, before it’s available to the general public on July 27.

    Anyone else currently wondering if Cleveland picking a team name that also ends in “dians” will make for some quick and sloppy cover-up edits around the stadium and franchise? I can’t wait to find out.

    Lots of people are making that joke about the Dolans being cheap, but the fonts are too different for it to work.

    Have to agree with jdreyfuss; the wordmarks are too different. I kind of like the similarity to the outgoing name.

    Maybe Washington will go from RedSKINS to PigSKINS. They’re already kniwn as tge Hogs anyway…

    Nice to see the Indians are so proud of their name change, they announced it in the Friday news dump, the typical ploy for unpopular news.

    Your Bulletin article raises the question of whether a fan in Indy can have a meaningful connection to the team’s time in Baltimore and my response is simply – heck yeah!

    To me, fandom is so much about appreciating history. Can a Mets fan appreciate the history their team had before they were born or were a fan? Absolutely. I was 8 when the Avs moved to Denver from Quebec and Avs fans have always appreciated the history of the Nordiques. My friends and I did whatever research we could to learn about the team we were inheriting. Without the Nordiques, there would be no Avalanche. I can understand the resentment that Quebec probably feels about not winning that first Cup, but that should be resentment between fans and owners, not fans and fans.

    Typo on Bulletin, extra “fans” in this sentence:

    Jilted Colts fans in Baltimore fans probably take the prize for nursing the biggest and longest-running grudge about a departed team, but hockey fans in Hartford, Conn., are close behind.

    re: Guardians

    I don’t love it, I don’t hate it. I really like the new C logo, really hate the winged G.

    I’m just very happy that the old name and logos are gone.

    Outside of Clayton Moore, the Texas Rangers didn’t have the greatest record on law enforcement equality of all time, I believe it is said.

    The new font is great. The logo sucks. They should have just gone with Mercury’s head like everyone wanted them to.

    The logo and name reference this:


    Anyone who lives in Cleveland connects intensely with these statues. It’s a smart move, despite the usual whining from the burbs.

    Okay, I feel better about this now. I was thinking a few minutes ago that they could at least have a name that refers to a physical feature of the city, like rivers. Monuments on a bridge definitely fills the bill.

    i quite like the name. has that classic baseball “it IS something, but WHAT specifically is that thing?” kind of feel like the giants, dodgers, mets, yankees, royals, astros, expos. and yet it is in reference to a particular thing (a pair of statues in mercury helmets) so it can be translated to a visual identity with local connections quite easily.

    however, while the guardians word mark doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t wow me either, it’s mostly the underline that seems out of place. the shape, angles and line curvature ALMOST match the font, and that’s what bugs me. almost isn’t good enough, its just distracting. the C cap logo on the other hand does bother me, particularly in that it is an uglier variation on the uniform C in the cleveland word mark. why not use the cleaner less clunky C from the word mark instead of creating a less attractive one specifically for the hat?

    the mercury head logo is a brilliant idea slapped together out of clip art. it attempts to have that classic “its a baseball in a baseball logo” look but the baseball is so generic and the style mismatches the style of the wings and G’s. the G’s also slightly mismatch the G’s on the guardians word mark (they are more cartoony and the angles are less sharp and intentional), and the feathers don’t quite flow off the G’s. basically there are 3 elements to that logo and none of them match each other. why not just make it a stylized art deco carved mercury head (smaller wings, laurel wreath) to avoid making it look potentially like a baseball in a native american headdress, or an homage to the mohawked logo from the Major League movies?

    the cleveland word mark is another thing that doesn’t bother me but really doesn’t impress me either. although the E in the middle of the word is noticeably smaller than the rest of the letters. which is totally baffling.

    all in all, simplicity would have been a wonderful thing here. this is either too complicated by about 25% or they’ve fallen short on quality of execution by about 50%.

    good name though.

    I think it is fine for the Colts to wear a Colts uniform from their days in Baltimore, they are still the Colts. But it is weird for say the Titans to wear Oilers throwbacks, Canes to Whalers, Avs to Nordiques, etc because they abandoned that identity when they moved.
    However, I also think it makes sense for teams like the Texans or Ravens to wear fauxbacks that use the design of the former teams in their town, but slightly modified for the new team. For instance the Ravens to take the Colts all white look, shoulder stripes and all, and swap out the blue numbers and trim for black, and put their shield logo on the helmet. Or for the Texans to go with the baby blue from the Oilers AFL championship 1960 season, and just replace the oil derrick on the helmet with the state of Texas.

    When I click on the link to your article on the Bulletin Page, I get the following:

    This Page Isn’t Available Right Now
    This may be because of a technical error that we’re working to get fixed. Try reloading this page.

    Do I have to be a Facebook member to read the article? That would be unfortunate.

    There’s a strong local connection driving the choice. There’s a series of Art Deco statues on the bridge that runs next to Jacobs Field called the Guardians of Traffic. Inside Northeast Ohio they’re used as a visual shorthand for the city and region, much more than the Rock Hall ever will.

    I lived in the Cleveland area for the first 24 years of my life. Up until this morning? I’d never heard of the “Guardians of Traffic.” Even so? It’s an asinine reference point. I’d honestly rather have seen them use “Municipals,” which also sucks as a nickname.

    I’ll still call ’em the Spiders.

    I’ve got some thoughts on that, which I should mostly hold off on until Phil & Paul have said their piece. But long story short: a call-out to something of aesthetic worth doesn’t necessarily BESTOW aesthetic worth. Cleveland’s aesthetic choices need to be judged in themselves, not by what they’re referring to.

    I liked the Guardians name a lot more when I found out it was inspired by the Art Deco guardian statues on the bridge in Cleveland. Maybe we can finally have a nice Art Deco inspired uniform (that awful Bulls one doesn’t count).

    Fair enough! I forgot those statues existed but they are nice and notable when you’re in the city. Spiders was *right there* though.

    I think Spiders was doomed from the start because of this. Lots of people hate spiders or have a phobia. The point of a team name, and marketing in general, is to make people like your product and feel some kind of connection to it. For many people, Spiders are gross. I think I read somewhere the Spider name performed very poorly in focus groups.

    There is a small but very vocal minority of fans who have intense arachnophobia, to the point they wouldn’t consider buying anything with even a cartoon representation of a spider on it.

    in general I’m in favor of teams leaving their name with the city they are leaving, like what the Browns did when they moved to Baltimore, or the Oilers when they moved from Houston. I’m especially in favor of teams leaving their names when it is closely related to the area they are leaving, like the Jazz and Lakers. I hated that the Rams, the team I grew up with, moved to St. Louis and kept the name. However I’m OK with the Raiders keeping their name, though I’m sure I’d feel different if I was from the Bay area.

    Actually, the Oilers didn’t leave their name behind in Houston. They were the Tennessee Oilers for several seasons before changing to the Titans.

    I find it hilarious that the Jazz kept their name when they moved to SLC. I would be *very* disappointed if they ever relinquished it (they won’t) so it’s a hill I’ll die on whenever conversation turns to location-inappropriate names.

    I just meant at the time of the move. The Lakers in LA makes no sense, but obviously WAY past the time to change it. I do remember reading that when the Vancouver Grizzlies were considering moving to New Orleans there were discussions with the Jazz to trade names.

    I gotta say, the whole of the Guardians rebrand feels pretty neutral. I understand the name and can get behind it. The branding is already dated. The “C” for the ballcap is a downgrade from the stock block C they are currently sporting. Additionally, a team with a 100+ year history shouldn’t have such a garish script across the chest. I get the Art Deco tie in. It’s just a horrible application. There are other ways to flesh that out; like a sleeve patch…
    Maybe if I hadn’t fell in love with the Municipals concept I’d be less critical? I don’t know. Tough to say.

    There’s a lot of great expressions of “who owns the legacy” today. Hard to argue with any of them as there is so much emotion involved. I tend to lean toward the idea that it is case by case. The Raiders, well, they’re a ship without a port; which is so very Raiders-esque. The Titans wearing Oilers throwbacks? Asinine. That’s akin to celebrating your wedding anniversary to your ex-wife with your current wife. Try that out and see how it goes. I would imagine the Ravens being a constant contender with two SB trophies (2 more than the Colts have) would ease that pain. But I’m not from Baltimore and can’t speak to that. On the flip side of that, the Dodgers have been in Los Angeles for the entirety of my 45 years and spent almost 20 in LA prior to that. They certainly look and feel LA to me. However it feels foreign to me when they wear Brooklyn throwbacks.
    I am at that age where I do get cranky when teams leave but I’m rarely surprised.

    My problem with the Munis idea — which I know Paul has been advocating — is that the main current connection people have to it here is the tailgating wonderland of the Muni Lot, which is a giant concrete parking lot filled with barf and bad fashion choices on Sundays in the fall before Browns games. Most people simply don’t remember Municipal Stadium.

    So basically you’re promoting alcoholism and Kid Rock.

    Fair. I disagree respectfully with Phil, then. There’s just currently nothing about the word “Muni” that a Clevelander would find inspirational, as it mainly serves to remind us of a stadium everyone hated that was blasted into the lake when the Browns escaped to Baltimore and a parking lot filled with gross people.

    Not sure Phil was in favor of Municipals. He just had guest writers on who were promoting it.

    As a native Clevelander, Guardians fan, and Uni-Watch member, I think calling the announcement a “silly blue-collar bullshit hype video” is a little unfair. I agree that sports figures or franchises’ use of the term “blue collar” can be trite and disrespectful toward working people. However, for many Clevelanders embrace and/or respect the “blue collar” characterization of their city, often because of their current professions or those of friends and family members. The video features Tom Hanks, who got his start at the Great Lakes Theatre Festival and has often spoke of his affection for the Indians, and The Black Keys from Akron. Also, it shows many shots of a beautiful city that has been ridiculed as dirty and ugly for decades. Finally, the video contains many clips that can excite the casual fan (Francona and Lofton) and those fans with a deeper knowledge (Ray Narleski and Gene Bearden being carried off the field after clinching the 1948 pennant).

    Agreed. We get off on people reminding us how hard we have it and how everything is earned and don’t take anything for granted and hard times make stronger people etc etc etc. It’s kind of our porn.

    If I had a thoroughly radioactive aversion to the term “Blue-Collar”, I think my favorite team would be the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are inextricably associated with show business and glamor. The other teams in L.A. might be able to sneak in a message about “hard work”, being less individual-oriented.

    I did not find that Guardians video to be “Silly blue-collar bullshit”. I guess the line that struck your nerve was “built through generations of blue collars, and the brightest scholars”. Seems fairly balanced to me.

    Part of the problem for me on the voice over was that you could use that voice over for any team in any city, just change the city name and you’re good.

    I’ll second Chad’s comments. What are they supposed to say? It’s not “wrong”. Lots of places are “blue collar”, but it certainly fits Cleveland.

    Ownership knows the name change is unpopular with enough fans to matter to their bottom line. For all of the effort you’ve made for driving needed change in sports, this should be a celebration that it happened at all rather than a time to be snarky.

    Long way of saying that you took a pot shot that was better left unsaid. You can do better.

    How exactly does it “fit” Cleveland? As I’ve already explained, the city’s economy is actually NOT blue collar.

    Times change, but romantic fantasies are eternal.

    Except that Tom Hanks has a strong connection to the Cleveland area and the audience for this video understands this. If anything can get through to the knuckledraggers who demand Wahoo remain, it’s Tom Hanks.

    I’m beginning to wonder, without the blue-collar element, what CAN a city be proud of?

    Here are Cleveland’s largest employers:

    In short, the city’s economy runs primarily on healthcare, banking, finance, education, and insurance. But it makes for better “storytelling” to talk about the city is “forged in fire” and all that bullshit.

    Why market reality when you can market a fantasy?

    While this is definitely true and there’s always an element of overselling the imagery, Cleveland also still has not one but two massive working steel mills right in the middle of town. The blue collar thing is not just a memory of days gone by thing like Pittsburgh (or beer in Milwaukee). It’s a life people here still live by the thousands.


    At any rate at least they didn’t pick “Rockers”.

    also still has not one but two massive working steel mills right in the middle of town.

    The city’s economy has lots of small sectors that are just that — small. You have just named one of them. Isn’t it interesting that the bullshit hype video chose to highlight that one and not mention any of the other small sectors (or, for that matter, the large sectors).

    If people choose to embrace a romantic fantasy for the sake of “storytelling,” that’s certainly their prerogative. But let’s not confuse that with reality.

    I don’t think it’s a “romantic fantasy” to give a nod to the past, even if that past is not necessarily the reality anymore. Sure, Cleveland has rapidly turned into a much more diverse economy focused on educated workforces (as more people/companies seek cheaper locations outside of New York, Chicago, etc). But it has a well earned reputation/identity as a working class town, and that was a reality until just the last couple decades. I think it’s perfectly legitimate to embrace that past.

    I live in Anchorage, which is a pretty normal mid-size American city these days. But you can bet the city identity is still significantly wrapped up in being “wild” and “on the edge of nowhere.” That may not really be the case, but we shouldn’t begrudge cities for wanting to hold onto an identity that has been somewhat lost due to a changing economy/world.

    As an Akron native and Union Electrician, I admit I was a little prickled when I first read your line about blue collar, but after reading this I really see your point with it. Paul, I appreciate your willingness to explain your positions instead of just shutting arguments down.

    At the very least, the team didn’t also use this as an immediate merch dump.

    Marion (Iowa) High School has unveiled its new athletics logo.

    Total whiff. What happened to the rest of the wolf’s head?

    Re: “Cleveland Guardians”

    Not a bad choice. Has a nice ring to it, a connection to the city, similarity to the outgoing name, and in the grand tradition of baseball name changes (e.g., Expos to Nationals, Pilots to Brewers, Senators to Rangers/Twins, Browns to Orioles), it’s nicely understated.

    I like the home wordmark but am not yet sold on the road wordmark and cap logo; feels like they should have stuck with basic block lettering, but maybe it’ll grow on me.

    Generally, I come down on the side that only the franchise of historical record should be able to wear their team’s throwbacks (and teams should care enough about the history they are honoring by making those uniforms look accurate).
    Celebrations of the Negro League are one of a few exceptions. Also, I turn a blind eye toward NASCAR’s fauxback weekend in Darlington each season, and the never-going-to-happen-NFL-USFL-Tribute-Weekend would also get a waiver.

    Happy with the Guardians name, largely because it is not Spiders. But disappointed in the very bush league logos and how they shoehorned the new name into what already existed. They needed a complete overhaul. Looks more like a AA Indians affiliate and not the big league club.

    So, you’re happy that they chose the one name they managed to avoid the complete overhaul you’d have liked to see, and that they didn’t choose the nickname that would’ve produced the best looking overhaul you could’ve imagined from among the five “finalists?”

    All righty then.

    I don’t think choosing a name to honor the worst team in baseball history is a good idea. Call me crazy.

    For people saying they can’t get through to Paul’s Bulletin site, try hitting the reload button. For some reason (DNS propagation?), it isn’t always catching on the first try, but the reload button seems to force it to load the site correctly.

    This was my ranking for the potential Indians replacement names:

    1) Municipals/Munis (would have had a nice mirroring effect to the Metropolitans/Mets)
    2) Commodores (nod to Perry and an often overlooked period of American history…plus it sounds cool)
    3) Guardians (Not a giant fan of this name sonically but I’m a fan of the Art Deco sculptures)

    Spiders and Rockers were, in my opinion, two of the worst names that could have been selected, so I’m very, very relieved.

    The Commodores came up in a friend discussion this morning. There was a concern brought up that kind of made sense.
    Was Commodore Perry a clean and straight-laced guy? Because if not, honoring him would certainly come under fire as well then they have to rebrand again.

    I mean, by the standards of early 19th century America, I’m fairly certain he was understood to be “clean and straight-laced”—probably above whatever standard of the day there was for gentlemen considering he was a naval officer. But if you mean, was he an unacceptable moral figure by modern day standards? Probably not, but that would extend to every person from the era. As far as I know, the Perry family weren’t slaveowners (they were from New England). He was probably as bigoted as the era he lived in, which is to say he wasn’t considered to be bigoted during his lifetime.

    Hardcore leftists would probably find some way to the spin it, though, i.e. because he was a military officer during the era of the Monroe Doctrine he was a necessarily an agent of a nascent American imperialism yada yada but those folks are really just a fraction of the critical mass of voices calling for the Indians to change their mascot/name.

    1. Guardians…meh. Better than Spiders and Rockers but something about Municipals struck a chord with me. Not sure why. It might have been the great sales pitch. I didn’t mind the video, though. Tom Hanks makes everything seem legit.

    2. For those having a problem accessing the Bulletin; get the email. Mine was waiting for me this morning.

    3. Agreeing with Wade Heidt that the Edmonton Elks blew it with the white numbers. Now they really do look like the Packers. Big mistake.

    I’m not a twitterer, so I’m sure someone has beat me to it, but does anyone else see flying toasters in the Guardians logo?

    Re: Guardians

    Pitcher Zac Plesac commented on MLB’s Instagram post announcing the Guardians with “This is one way to find out”. I had a chuckle at the fact that Tom Hanks (narrator of the Twitter video) knew what the new name was before the players.

    Please someone help me with this football question from the Bohemian Beer advertisement. I have always thought of myself knowing football rules. I can only assume the crawling penalty is no longer. Can an old time ref give the history when that rule was used if it is no longer. Thank you to Bohemian Beer to give me a history of old football rules.
    P.S. Grew up in Cleveland went to a few games in old Municipal Stadium (even though there is no new Municipal Stadium, I and many others always referred to it as old Municipal ….) with no fond memories of the place other than the poles in the way, the wind whipping off the lake freezing off my toes for football or having balls swirling in the outfield/endzone. Good idea for Municipals, but the ballpark reference was not good visual for those who attended games there.
    Spiders was ok because it harkened old team (ok maybe not successful team)
    Guardians at team name still not great. The Guardians are used as a symbol on TV but I never used the term “Guardians of Traffic” ever while crossing bridge to get across the river.
    I do not hate the new name, but I do wish the font would have been even less block like. I really disliked the block C being so boring. I really loved the faux retro script of the ’90’s uniforms and the script I especially. I kinda hoped it would be closer to that since the script has nothing to do with the name itself.
    But I do like the possibility that the short name being the Ian’s. I do like my middle name and think it should be promoted as a cool name.

    The name Guardians seems more appropriate for a football team than a baseball team.

    The Baseball Rockies went with it even after the Hockey Rockies packed up and moved to New Jersey. MLS’s Chicago Fire adopted a name used by a World Football League team. If a name works for a team, they can make it their own.

    I’m surprised no one brought up the Hornets / Pelicans debacle while talking about who “owns” a uniform.
    This is the most convoluted history in all of sports.
    The Pelicans, which were once the Charlotte Hornets, later the New Orleans (and temporarily Oklahoma City) Hornets, have no claim to either the history or uniforms of the Hornets.
    The Charlotte franchise, which was originally the Bobcats, lists all of the original Hornets history as its own and wears Hornets throwback uniforms.

    It’s a complete disaster.

    It is indeed convoluted but not sure why it’s a “disaster”. It makes sense that a modern-day Pelicans fan wouldn’t feel any connection to the Hornets of the Muggsy Bogues era, and it makes sense that a Charlotte fan would not really consider the original and current Hornets franchises to be totally separate entities.

    What should have happened is that the Hornets should have changed their nickname upon moving to New Orleans and since Charlotte was already promised an expansion franchise had the Hornets identity waiting for them.

    And it really wouldn’t make sense for the Pelicans to wear Hornets throwbacks from the Charlotte era. The real question will be if the Hornets ever break out Bobcats throwbacks, or if the franchise would just as soon forget that era ever happened?

    The Guardians? Not really liking it but I’m not rooting for Cleveland anyway. I’m hoping that font is just a placeholder though because it looks awful. And the winged G logo looks like a minor league team circa 1982 after they purchased a copy of Broderbund Printshop.

    Mr. Boh looks like a cross between Julius Pringle and Mr. Redlegs. I wonder what happened to his other eye. Strange things are afoot in Charm City!

    A cool thing about the Cleveland Tom Hanks video is that at about the 12-second mark, the baseball field in the foreground is the renovated / re-purposed League Park – where Spiders/Naps/Indians played before moving to Municipal Stadium in the 30s.

    At some point “The Guardians of the Galaxy” will come up and be used as a cross-promotion.

    When it comes to naming and renaming teams, I’m afraid I just have a big list of words that I like (anybody who reads these comments regularly knows how attached I am to the name “Thunderbolts”) and slap them on any unnamed team that happens to need them. Unfortunately, I’m fickle and change my mind every day; in so doing, I sacrifice any authority to dispute the choices with fans who have actual skin in the game.
    Even so, I was sort of pulling for the “Centurions”.

    I certainly lean more on the side of cities keeping their team names. The issue I think most Baltimore fans have is that the Colts refuse to acknowledge Baltimore as part of their roots. The Dodgers embrace Brooklyn but the Colts edit their video to make sure there is no reference to Baltimore.

    I think it’s also kinda disgusting to use a dead man like Johnny Unitas, who was a Baltimore legend, in promotions to just sell jerseys, despite the fact he despised the Colts after they moved and would obviously be against them using him like that.

    I have the opposite opinion on throwbacks. I think “the less the merrier”. I never understood the point of them and don’t like them at all. That goes double for when they throw back to a different city. Throwing back to a different franchise in the same city is no worse than a normal throwback – but bad because all throwbacks are bad. Everything should be centered around your current branding. You chose it to represent the team. Let it do its job.

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