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Reading the Tea Leaves: Angels Planning Throwbacks?

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MLB uni news has mostly been on pause due to the lockout, but GQ magazine may have given us a hint with its current cover photo of Angels pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani posing with his 2021 American League MVP trophy.

As you can see above, Ohtani’s wearing an Angels throwback cap that matches what the team wore from 1972 through 1992. He’s also wearing what appears to be navy-pinstriped pants, which the team wore from 1997 through 2001. (And yes, he’s also wearing a sweater vest, but whatever.)

Does this mean the Angels will be rolling out a series of throwbacks this season? Not necessarily — but it’s something to keep an eye on. And at the very least, it’s an interesting bit of mix-and-match photo styling.

(My thanks to Twitter-er @duckisgod for bringing this photo to my attention.)

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Today’s real lede: With the Washington Football Team scheduled to announce its new name in a few weeks, I decided to grade the previous pro sports team renamings. It was a fun exercise, and you can check it out now on Bulletin.

As always, you can also subscribe to receive my Bulletin articles via email.

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Rubber pellets not included (hopefully): Just in time for the NFL postseason, Frito-Lay is producing a limited-edition line of potato chips made from spuds “grown in fields mixed with soil from NFL home grounds,” whatever that means (especially for teams that play on artificial turf). If nothing else, this means the longstanding joke about how the ’Skins should have renamed themselves after redskin potatoes has finally sorta-kinda come to fruition. Full details on the chips here.

All 32 teams are represented except the Bengals, Browns, and Broncos. Oddly, all three of those teams have orange as their main team color — is that just a coincidence, or did Frito-Lay have trouble producing orange chip bags? Hmmmm.

(My thanks to William Yurasko for this one.)

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Showtime: Elston Howard became the first Black player in Yankees history on April 14, 1955. But four days prior to that, he had arguably an even bigger platform, as he was one of eight big leaguers who appeared — in uniform! — on The Ed Sullivan Show. The others were Vic Wertz (Cleveland); Dusty Rhodes and Willie Mays (Giants); Warren Spahn (Milwaukee); Robin Roberts (Phillies); Pee Wee Reese (Dodgers); and Jerry Coleman (Yankees).

(Big thanks to Dan Cichalski for this one.)

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Facebook Live TONIGHT: Okay, so we all know that tonight’s real can’t-miss event is the Station Eleven finale. But while you’re waiting for that, why not stop in for my first-ever Facebook Live event at 7pm Eastern? I’ll respond to questions that people post in the comments and will also show-and-tell a few items from my vintage jersey collection. I’ve never done one of these before, so we’ll see how it goes, but I’m hoping it will be a nice little comm-uni-ty event.

The event will livestream on my Facebook page (assuming I don’t screw up and click the wrong button or something like that). Anyone can view it, even if you don’t have a Facebook account, but you do need an account if you want to post a comment or question.

See you tonight!

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Uni Watch Hit Parade: Sometimes I hear a piece of music and it hits my brain so squarely, so perfectly, that all other music melts away. There is no other music, there has never been any other music, because how could any other music exist besides this music that’s playing right now?

That’s how I felt when I recently heard “Uptight Tonight,” a 1966 single by an obscure Memphis garage band called Flash and the Memphis Casuals. The sound is totally copped from the mid-’60s Stones, right down to the Mick-alike vocals, but the execution is so good that it makes the Stones sound like the imitators instead of the other way around. Two minutes and 12 seconds of house-rocking perfection — enjoy.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Indigenous Appropriation News: Ohio’s seventh-largest city, Parma, has decided to keep its school’s “Redmen” team name and associated Native imagery (from Mary Lynn Delfino). … Longtime Native American activist Clyde Bellecourt, who was leading anti-“Redskins” protests back in the early 1990s, has died (from Barry Brite). … The school board in Rutland, Vt., voted in 2020 to change the local high school’s team name from Raiders to Ravens and to retire the school’s red arrowhead logo. Now the board has reversed that decision, with the board chairman saying he prefers a city referendum to address the issue instead (from Chris Costello and Keith Carlton). … These last three items are from Kary Klismet: The Savannah (Mo.) school district is asking students and parents to vote on a new team name to replace “Savages” and its accompanying Native American imagery. … Morris High School in Illinois will no longer call its teams the Redskins. … A rural Colorado elementary school is in danger of being fined despite having dropped its “Apaches” team name, highlighting the bureaucratic complexities of implementing the state’s new law banning Native American team names and imagery.

Baseball News: The Twins announced that they will retire Jim Kaat’s No. 36 this summer (from R. Scott Rogers). … Former MLBer Eddie Basinski has died at the age of 99. A classically trained violinist, he played for the Dodgers, Pirates, and the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra. Here’s a shot of him playing the fiddle while in uniform (from Trevor Williams). … Pirates 2B Bill Mazeroski wore No. 9 throughout his career, but here’s a 1970 photo showing him wearing No. 6. Maybe they accidentally sewed his regular number upside-down..? … Longtime New York Post columnist Joel Sherman says it’s time for the Yankees to scrap their beard and hair-length policies. … The Double-A Tennessee Smokies will become the Knoxville Smokies. The change in geographic descriptors comes as the team prepares to move into a new stadium (from David Clemons). … Reprinted from last night’s comments: A game-used Angels spring training jersey from 2019 has an upside-down 8 (from Mark in Shiga). … New uniforms for the Japanese national team (from Jeremy Brahm). … I had a dream last night about stirrups — really!

NFL News: Here’s a look at this season’s records, as broken down by uni combo, for the Titans and Jags (thanks, Phil). … Here’s Jason Von Stein’s uni/mascot-themed illustration for the Wild Card Weekend matchups.

Hockey News: The Canucks have a really cool Lunar New Year jersey, which they’ll wear for pregame activities in a few weeks (from @daveyboy604). … Here are the goalie pads for Team Canada women’s Olympic goalie Kristen Campbell (from Wade Heidt). … The PHF has moved its all-star game from Toronto to Buffalo due to Covid, so the game now has a new logo. But the jersey designs, which are based on street maps of Toronto, are remaining the same (thanks, Jamie). … The Lightning will wear pregame jerseys celebrating the Gasparilla Pirate Festival — an annual event in Tampa — on Jan. 29 (from Mike Chamernik).

Basketball News: Suns G Devin Booker is pissed off at the Raptors’ costumed mascot, which tried to distract him during a recent game (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … The Grizzlies have a new promotion that will allow kids to swap an opposing player’s jersey for a Griz jersey and a pair of tickets (from @danstarceski). … New yellow uniforms for Wichita State men’s (from Cameron Schneider). … I’ve long known that UNC once used uni-numbered socks, but I didn’t know until now that they had “C”-logo socks back in the 1940s.

Soccer News: No photo, but @aracauna_man reports that the goalkeeper for Odisha FC in the Indian Super League had black tape on his chest and across his nameplate yesterday. … New stadium in the works for men’s third-tier English side Oxford United (from Kary Klismet).

Olympics News: A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has asked the IOC to confirm that the uniforms for the upcoming Beijing games are not linked to slave labor. … Cross-listed from the hockey section: Here are the goalie pads for Team Canada women’s hockey goalie Kristen Campbell (from Wade Heidt).

Grab Bag: New 75th-anniversary logo for the CIA (from Shaun McNamara). … New municipal logo for Amesbury, Mass. … If you live in the DC area and are interested in trying your hand at curling, you can do that here. Click on the “Details” link for the full list of dates and times (from Max Weintraub). … Good story on how color-vs.-color matchups can be hard on colorblind fans (from @shwrth). … Gotta love some of these Michigan Dept. of Transportation snow plow names (from Timmy Donahue).

Comments (73)

    I wouldn’t read anything into the photo about the team’s 2022 uniform plans. 1) The league and teams are very publicly not taking part in player activities as part of their labor negotiating strategy of locking players out; 2) GQ is more of a fashion than a news or sports publication, so I would tend to assume that the magazine’s art direction has more to do with prop/clothes selection than team intentions, even if the team were cooperating with the shoot, which it pretty clearly is not; 3) The visual message of the mixed-era outfit says more to me about presenting Ohtani as the consummate all-time Angel, not anticipating a hypothetical 2022 promotional schedule.

    Ticker item: Savannah is actually keeping the Savages name. They are just voting on a new logo. I’m partial to the claw-themed ones myself.

    For the GQ cover, I wonder if that trophy is a prop for the photo shoot and not the real thing. Like the Cy Young Award, the MVP Awards used to be a plaque. The MVP award was shaped like an octagon. I know Landis’ name was removed and that might have sparked a new design for the whole thing. I noticed Othani is covering much of the wording with his hand.

    I do like the cap.

    Judging by what I can read, I think that’s an Angels-specific award he’s holding. Says “Angels player” and “sportsmanship.”

    One of the Ohtani GQ pics shows him wearing a Rawlings glove that appears to have the logo scribbled over with a ballpoint pen. Ohtani I believe, is still sponsored by Asics, which is interesting in its own right due to that company’s distinct lack of penetration in the American baseball market.


    Also, the pinstripe pants are identified as being sourced from “ABC Signature Costume” so they may very well represent a fashion editorial decision vs. a peek at future Angels on-field wear.

    Oddly, while GQ is known for fashionable covers, at least in the last few years they have been anything but. More than anything they seem to prefer mismatched nonsense outfits where everything the model is wearing is a “feature” piece. So yeah, I wouldn’t read anything into this other than some doofus at GQ went for some kind of “classy retro sports person” look. That or the angels city connect jersey will feature a cable-knit sweater vest. Wouldn’t put it past them.

    Since when has anyone called an NFL team’s stadium their “home grounds”? Maybe back in like 1935, when the Bears played in Wrigley Field, the Giants played at the Polo Grounds, and the league still had teams called the Brooklyn dodgers and the Pittsburgh pirates?

    Additionally, “Grown in Glory” and “Golden Grounds” immediately lead me to coffee, not potato chips.

    Incredible that Washington’s NBA squad changed their name in 1997 because Bullets promoted violence, but it took 25 MORE YEARS for Washington’s NFL squad and Cleveland’s MLB team to realize their monikers were, uh, a little problematic.

    As for Station Eleven – haven’t been able to dive into it yet, but my expectations are high. The novel was terrific. For the literature fans in the Comm-Uni-ty, Emily St. John Mandel’s most recent novel, “The Glass Hotel”, is also well worth the read. Highly recommend.

    I’d also add when it comes to the Wizards, that name also falls flat because it seems derivative of the Orlando Magic, not to mention the original colors of the Wizards were basically the same as the Magic. Was surprised Paul didn’t mention that in his write up.
    Obviously there is room for similar teams (Raiders & Buccaneers, Colts & Broncos), but in modern times teams seem to want to stay clear of conflicting branding, let alone using the same team colors.

    Interesting – I never thought of the Magic connection.

    I thought they used the Capitals colour scheme of the time of blue-black-bronze. Which they’ve obviously both abandoned.

    Good Article on team name changes…!..The Oakland Seals actually had two name changes… they initially started the 1967 season as the California Seals but changed to Oakland mid season…the initial jersey crest had a C with the seal in it then changed to the O…

    they initially started the 1967 season as the California Seals but changed to Oakland mid season…

    Yes, but the ground rules at the beginning of the article made it clear that simply changing a geographical descriptor (Florida Marlins to Miami Marlins, e.g.) would not qualify for the list.

    A little nitpicky, but the Angels stopped wearing that cap logo in 1988 in favor of a similar but bulkier ‘A’ that lasted until 1992. I always preferred the proportions of the latter one.

    My fingers are crossed for the much-maligned pinstripe/wing era. I had a real affinity for those back in the day.

    Of all the comments sections on the internet, this is one where I don’t think it’s necessary to start a comment by saying “a little nitpicky”. That’s exactly what we’re here for!

    The most brilliant use of “Pat” and “Bill” for 2022 so far. Another great entry Von Stein.

    Just a little nitpicking, Morris High school is in Morris, IL, Not Chicago. Morris is about 60 miles SW of the city.

    Re: Jim Katt number retirement. He last suited up for the Twins in 1973, and since then 18 players have worn his number. EIGHTEEN!! Come on, man…

    I’m just morally opposed to retiring a number for a player, after other players have worn it. The whole point is that “no one will ever wear this number again because this guy was so great” (except the other 18 guys that wore it after him). It’s just so dumb.

    Well, then there’s the Yankees, who retired #8 for both Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra.

    First off that recording of Uptight Tonight by Flash and the Memphis Casuals is freaking great. Sure, you could insert that on the Stones/ 12×5 album and nobody would probably even realize it, but WOW. I’ve always been partial to early Stones vs anything from Tattoo You on anyway.

    Re your name rankings, I generally agreed with them, with two exceptions. NO going from Hornets (get your own name already) to Pelicans would get a higher grade from me, and I really like the branding. Second, Indians to Guardians isn’t remotely an A- in my book. It’s certainly better, but Guardians is just plain silly. I lived in OH for a long time and know lots of folks from Cleveland, none of whom think that name is at all meaningful. Several even said, “what guardian statues on what bridge?” Again, better, but not deserving of that grade IMHO.

    I’m not entirely convinced the NOLA cagers switched from “Hornets” to “Pelicans” out of the blue. Rather, I get the impression Charlotte was tired of the “Bobcats” name and was reaching out to New Orleans and the NBA to show their interest in reacquiring their old imagery. Add the fact when you say “New Orleans Hornets” it’s impossible not to sound like David Brenner.

    As for the Guardians, Cleveland Baseball was looking for the path to create the least indigestion among the faithful. Hell, you can use “Guardians” lettering to spell “Indians”! Would they have been better off calling themselves “Centurions” or “Skylarks”? There’s no way of telling, but expending all that effort would have been risky if it fell flat.

    Aside: Most of Tattoo You was derived from outtakes and unused demo stuff from earlier albums, some dating back to Goats Head Soup in 1972. So Tattoo You kind of was “early Stones” in a roundabout way.

    Starting the delineation at Undercover might be a better call. I’d even accept Emotional Rescue, which was the album before but was all-new and did have a kind of disco-y feel.

    “I had a dream last night about stirrups — really!” <– was there supposed to be a link on this item at the end of the baseball ticker?

    That song was great. I’m not the world’s biggest 60s garage rock fan by any means, but it blows my mind that there are people who don’t like that genre of music. It’s so perfect.

    Also, those were the Angels’ best caps, and it’s a good thing if they go back to them.

    When garage rock comes up, I always love referencing The Mynah Birds. The fact that Neil Young and Rick James were in a band together forever blows my mind.

    Unless they are doing something special to the bags, they shouldn’t have an issue with the orange since Lays uses it for the Cheddar and Sour Cream flavor.


    The orange in the Bears logo looks fine, so at the very least they could have gone navy with an some logo orange for the Broncos and Brown with an orange logo for the Browns without an issue.

    I think the sweater vest is just Ohtani telling us he’s taking the Cricket world by storm this offseason.

    I’m not familiar with Parma’s imagery, but I have heard that, in parts of Ohio, ‘redmen’ can mean a version of what others might call a ‘redneck.’ Don’t get me wrong; usage in either way is not ok, but I just wanted to put that out there.

    Re: Reds to Redlegs:

    “Still, many fans and sportswriters refused to play along and kept calling the team the Reds…”

    My Mom lived in Cincinnati between 1953 and 1959, and to this day still calls them the “Redlegs”.

    Copy-pasta’ing a comment I made on Facebook:

    I still like referring to the Reds as the Redlegs every once in a while. It’s unique, different and, I think, kinda goofy. The alliteration is fun; it bounces off the tongue as a compound word, especially after saying “Cincinnati,” which also has some alliteration. In my weird brain, it conjures up an image of nine skinny guys wearing high-cuffed pants and long red socks taking the field before a game: “Look at all the red legs on those Redlegs, and look at those Redlegs go!”

    Kinda wish they had stuck with that.

    In re: “The alliteration is fun;” “Redlegs” is an example of assonance, is it not?

    The reason I am sure of this comes from a sophomore high school English class when the teacher asked for examples of assonance, and the young smart alecky me raised my hand, got called on and proudly stated “Expert, textpert, chocking smokers don’t you think the joker laughs at you.” My contribution was greeted with a stern, disquieted silence from said teacher.

    7th Inning Stretch at GABP still says “And we’ll root, root, root for the Redlegs…” link (You can read the words on the left field wall)
    I’m certain it has more to do with it being two syllables than anything, but even their old-timey mascot is named Mr Redlegs so they haven’t completely abandoned the moniker yet.

    I’m also very much looking forward to watching the finale of Station 11 tonight. A thought I had while watching is related to the post pandemic traveling symphony that puts on Shakespearean plays for the remaining population. Just one example in the show of efforts by the survivors to keep a part of the culture of the past alive for the survivors and the new generation. My idea for a book/screenplay/movie would be for a rag tag group of post pandemic survivors to travel around playing baseball against any new communities that want to field a team. Pretty much would start the concept of uniforms from scratch and I invision some cool scenes of pickup baseball games in overgrown, abandoned ballparks. I’d read or watch this story.
    Enjoy Station 11 tonight Paul.

    Concerning your Bulletin article on renamings, I’m curious why some also changed their colors? Not saying keeping the colors would have been better, but just curious? Charlotte and New Orleans makes sense, but some of the others are curious? The Titans black and gold would have been an appropriate color for “Jets”, but maybe they didn’t want to look like the Steelers? Denver Rockets colors at least had gold, which would have made sense with the “Nuggets”. Anaheim must have had a reason, but I like the green better. Maybe they thought the colors were too close to the Oregon Ducks?

    Legend has it Sonny Werblin made the Jets green + white because his birthday was March 17; St. Patrick’s Day.

    Perhaps the Ducks had a “Diamondbacks’ moment”; concern their aubergine (fuschia?) and teal colors would age poorly after the 1990’s.

    Great article on the team renaming’s, you’ve answered a few of my lifelong questions on the who what when why how of team names and uniforms. Great work.
    Thanks Paul!

    As for color on color games, the guiding principal should be: If it was shown in black & white, would I be able to tell the teams apart? Last night I caught a game between the Grizzlies (pastel blue) and the Warriors (black). Pleasing to the eye.
    Red and orange are too close in value, as are royal blue and kelly green, or for that matter, yellow and white.

    I was surprised to see the Yankee uniforms on the Ed Sullivan video. The NY looked a bit primitive for 1955. Pictures I googled and Dressed to the Nines indicate the Yankee NY by that time was the modernized version still used today. Any thoughts?


    Paul, a heads-up if you’re using your phone’s “selfie” camera on Facebook live, it will probably display a mirrored image so be aware if you’re showing a lot of text

    I liked the Bulletin piece. I think a fun exercise would be doing this with NCAA nick-re-names.

    I finally got around to listening to Flash and the Memphis Casuals. Everything said is true. One could remove “the Stones” and insert “The Kinks” and it would all still be true.

    Hey Paul, (Sorry… my email is jacked so I’m asking in the comments) Did you ever get into The Bloody Hollies when they were out of Brooklyn?

    Oh. My. Goodness.
    I just went to their Facebook page to see where they are now located. You have to check out their most recent post. It’s informing fans about the number of tracks on the next album. Their method is very Uni Watchy.

    Enjoyed the renaming article. I remember a commercial right after the Houston move to Tennessee – believe it was on one of the sports channels – where a character comments of being unaware of the oil-producing capabilities of the state of Tennessee….marvelous tongue-in-cheek.

    And always good to see a mention of the The Titans of New York….encourage any fan unfamiliar with their short history to seek out any of the many accounts of this ultimate slapdash operation that played at the Polo Grounds and literally ran their “ticket office” out of the owner’s apartment!

    “Longtime New York Post columnist Joel Sherman says it’s time for the Yankees to scrap their beard and hair-length policies.”

    – Or maybe it’s time for the New York Post to institute beard and hair-length policies.

    For the GQ, I think it’s basically a blue cap that won’t clash with the red background and pinstriped pants look better than plain white pants for the cover. May just be only that.

    Thank you for sharing Paul. Best of luck tonight with Facebook. I am looking forward to watching.

    Hope everyone has a great Wild Card Weekend.

    I love that Ed Sullivan clip. Those guys seemed so shy, didn’t hardly smile, not even sure they wanted to be there. I’m not old fashioned but today some athletes would be chest bumping Ed Sullivan to make sure everybody saw them.

    Heard Uptight Tonight a bunch of times on WFMU. I would love for the Stones to do a cover album of Stones-influenced songs by “lesser” bands. The Soft Boys’ Rock-n- Roll Toilet, Primal Streams’ Rocks, So What by the Lyrics, anything off the Chesterfield Kings’ Let’s Get Stoned album, early Deadstring Brothers, the Flamin Groovies’ City Lights and maybe Jagger covering the Dolls’ cover of Pills. Uptight Tonight would definitely make my list. Could be the makings of the first kick ass Stones album in a long time.

    I’m (one of) the biggest critic(s) of the sleeveless NFL jersey evolution. Having said that, Jim Burt’s jersey reminded me of how much inconsistency there was, and how much individual tailoring (e.g., shoelaces in linemen’s jerseys to make them tighter) there was “back in the day.” I still hate the no sleeves trend, but it is a cleaner (more uniform) look. Sometimes our memory is a little rosy.

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