Good morning! The MLB season opens in two days, and you know what that means: It’s time for the 24th annual Uni Watch MLB Season Preview. It’s available to my Premium Subscribers here.
The first-ever Uni Watch column was the 1999 MLB “Preview” (scare quotes because it wasn’t published until late May), and the annual baseball rundown has remained my most popular column of the year ever since. But I can say with some assurance that this year’s edition is the the biggest, most thorough, and most obsessively info-packed edition yet, and one of the best Uni Watch articles ever, period. Clocking in at at nearly 8,000 words and featuring dozens of photos, it has all the news on this season’s new uniforms, logos, and patches, along with tons of deep-cut info on uni numbers, individual player quirks, new stadium details, new equipment, and other stuff I’m fairly certain you won’t find anywhere else. There’s even a uni-related tattoo update! Some of the individual team entries could qualify as stand-alone articles by themselves. Even better, all this news you can use is presented in Bulletin’s clean, ad-free setting, so there’s nothing to distract you from all the uni-info goodness.
I’ve been working almost non-stop on this one for the past several weeks (I even added two late-breaking items this morning before clicking the “Publish” button), and I think you’ll really like the results. So if you’ve been waiting for the “right time” to subscribe to my Bulletin content, believe me when I say that time is now (you’ll need a Facebook account in order to pay). Don’t have or want a Facebook account? Email me for workaround info. Thanks, and enjoy the MLB Preview!
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Speaking of MLB: Remember yesterday’s blog post about video game screen shots showing blue 42s on this year’s Jackie Day jerseys? A few hours after that piece was published, MLB went ahead and released some photos of the real jerseys. That’s part of a larger set of initiatives to celebrate and perpetuate Jackie’s legacy — more info here.
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By Brinke Guthrie
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don’t care if I ever get back…
With Opening Day just a couple of days away, let’s start things off with this 1990 Cracker Jack baseball tin. That song has got to be the best product placement ever, right? And incidentally did you know it has more lyrics? Now, cue Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly:
Cubs announcer Harry Caray was known to rev up the Friendly Confines:
And the Chicago Symphony Orchestra definitely hit a classical homer with their version:
Since this is a special Opening Week edition of Collector’s Corner, we’re also leading off with this book, Play Ball, Son! Its mission statement: “To help American boys become better players of our great American Sport, Baseball.” And dig this cover design:
While looking through the photos in the eBay listing, I noticed a mention of a film by the same name. Sure enough! Here’s Red Sox manager Joe Cronin (“There’s a fine youngstah; a real American boy”) coaching some “normal 14-year-old boys” (I guess girls were relegated to cheering in the stands or selling popcorn):
Now for the rest of this week’s picks: Batter Up!
• Here’s a MasterCard Ted Williams 3D card from 1999. Tag line: “Batting .400: Priceless.”
• One more from Teddy Ballgame: I guess this was some sort of hang tag. Noted outdoorsman Ted says “I wear Sta-Warm sportswear for fishing, hunting, or any outdoor activity.” And there’s a spot there at the bottom for you to fill out, mail it off, and get a gen-u-ine signed photo of the Splendid Splinter himself.
• Fine hosiery worn by the batter on this 1950s crate label for Safe Hit Texas vegetables.
• You too can be a “Big League Baseball Booster” if you wear this 1940s-50s pin bearing that very slogan.
• All I can say about this 2001 “Disco Era Dandies” Reggie Jackson card from Upper Deck is that that artwork should’ve never seen the light of day. (And I loved the disco era!)
• I love me some bullpen buggies, like this San Francisco Giants model.
• How about this Philly Phanatic Action Figure! Good grief, Paul — you can still find Mr. Met, too!
• This 1970s Montreal Expos “Colouring” Book is so cool, je ne peux pas le supporter! (I cannot stand it.)
• One more for the Expos: This bobblehead is in pretty good shape given its age!
• Check out this 1930s photo of Lou Gehrig. When was the last time you saw a ballplayer smoking your dad’s pipe in the clubhouse?
• Never seen this before — a 1940s decal for the Fightin’ Phillies!
• “Go Go Red Sox,” says this 1970s ceramic plaque.
• And we’ll wrap things up for this week with this 1962 bobblehead of the greatest ballplayer of them all — Willie Mays. Say Hey!
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And then there was one: I’m down the very last set of these great Uni Watch coasters. Who wants ’em?
By Alex Hider
Baseball and Softball News: The A’s announced yesterday that they’ll wear a memorial patch honoring C Ray Fosse this season (from Hal the Hot Dog Guy and Richard Paloma). … Speaking of the A’s, P Sean Manaea was traded between Cactus League foes Oakland and San Diego on Sunday. As fate had it, the teams squared off later that day. Manaea appeared in the game, wearing his green A’s glove with his new brown Padres uniform (from Mike Chamernik). … The Dodgers will give away Jackie Robinson replica jerseys on April 15 (from Dave Sikula). … More giveaways: The Phillies will give away a Bryce Harper bobblehead on June 10. Interestingly, it shows him in the team’s weekday-afternoon alternate uniform, even though the bobble giveaway is for a night game (from @PhillyPartTwo). … Steve Sher sends along a side-by-side comparison of how Cleveland’s Spring Training complex looks this year compared to last year. … The Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs will apparently be wearing pullover jerseys with faux plackets this season (from @FSBabyHuey). … It was a wild color-on-color D2 college baseball game on Sunday with Florida Southern College in powder blue and Rollins College in pink — or what Wayne Koehler compared to a gender reveal party. … This podcast explores the history of the Negro Leagues in Baltimore (from Andrew Cosentino). … Florida State softball will wear black-and-gray jerseys with inspirational NOBs for “Player’s Weekend,” which will start Friday (from @VictoryCB).
Football News: Ravens WR Rashod Bateman is changing from No. 12 to No. 7 (from Andrew Cosentino). … New uni number assignments for four Jags players (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer). … Here’s more on those USC “gold plate” decals (thanks, Phil). … The NFL wants flag football to be an Olympic sport by 2028.
Hockey News: The Caps will give away jersey-shaped rally towels on Sunday (from our own James Rathjen). … The Iowa Heartlanders of the ECHL unveiled new alternate uniforms inspired by Iowa’s state flower, the wild prairie rose (from Nick Pfeiffer).
Basketball News: This blog explores the history of the Jazz’s “Statement” uniforms (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: The Sporting News ran a piece on UNC’s nickname and mascot history yesterday. … San Jose State is running a poll to help choose a new court design (from proud SJSU alum Lloyd Alaban).
Soccer News: The first three items are from Kary Klismet: Ajaccio of France’s Ligue 2 will wear uniforms later this season that will commemorate the 20th anniversary of a league championship. … New kits for Banfield of Argentina’s Primera División. … Chad’s national team has new uniforms. … Here’s a graph that tracks the uniforms worn by South American national teams during World Cup qualifying (from Everard Santamarina). … FIFA says SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s L.A. Rams and L.A. Chargers, is too narrow to host a soccer game.
Grab Bag: Every NASCAR auto has an arrow to indicate where the pit crew should place the jack. For Sunday’s race in Richmond, Alex Bowman’s No. 48 car had the Rolling Stones logo placed on top of that arrow (good spot by Chris Hickey). … Here’s an infographic and article that explores the evolution of several automakers’ logos over the years (from Jason Hillyer). … The next three items are from Kary Klismet: New military uniforms for Belgium. … Australia is currently in the process of picking the mascot for the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane. … Hartford Public Schools in Michigan have chosen Huskies as a new team name after ditching their Native imagery. … Ever wonder where the peace sign comes from? Wonder no longer (from Amy Shira Teitel).
Great MLB Preview, Paul! I’m a Reds fan and certain teams piqued my interest more than others but I quickly found myself interested in all of it, probably because I don’t see a lot of these other teams very often. For me, this is about the only time of year where I really get into what the Mariners or Rangers are doing. Great mix of League-wide stuff all the way down to individual stuff. And of course all of the stuff that no one else would care about except for all of us on here!
If you are in the Cumberland County )PA) area, be sure to check out this new “Heart of a Champion: Sports in Cumberland County” to see some vintage sports gear and uniforms. Scroll down for pics.
Great news re: the Mets’ road attire in the MLB Preview. In fact it’s the best news out of Mets camp this year….
I didn’t mind the blue road alternate…it reminded me of their road alternate from 1983-84. But for the love of God please don’t do a black road alternate again.
Agreed wholeheartedly as to the latter, with the further addendum that they never wear the black home alternate on the road.
As to the former, it’s not a bad uniform per se, but the primary road greys are the best-looking uniform in all of MLB and the alternate prevented it from being seen as often as possible, as it should be.
“…the teams squared off later that day. Manaea appeared in the game, wearing his green A’s glove with his new brown Padres uniform”
Would be perfectly acceptable to regularly wear if playing for the Brooklyn Branches!
After hearing the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I just realized “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is a waltz!
Surprised you didn’t mention in the Guardians bit that they’re now one of the only teams to have a regular, every day patch on their RIGHT sleeve instead of their left. The only other examples I can give are the Angels (who have patches on both sleeves and should just get rid of the one on the right sleeve anyway) and the Cubs’ blue alternate, which has the NL logo on the right and nothing on the left. I believe this makes Cleveland the only team to have a patch on ONLY the right sleeve on all of their jersey options.
Interesting point — hadn’t thought of that!
Regarding the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, weren’t they often used by Majestic as the experimental group on new templates and innovations? Also, were they the team that had a new template last year (along with some Royals players) that was floated as this year’s new template?
Close, but no. The MiLB team that was test-driving the new template last season was the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
Or at least that’s the team I wrote about. Maybe there were others.
Ah! Yep, that’s right. I remember they made Lehigh Valley uniforms once upon a time.
Did they use Tommy Smothers as the model for the Expos “Colouring” Book?
Interesting that SoFi Stadium is too narrow to host World Cup games. I thought every NFL stadium built since 2000 or so was required to be “FIFA compliant” as far as dimensions, capacity, scoreboards, amenities, and real seats (as opposed to bleachers) and such. Maybe they dropped that requirement.
Made my day to discover that Amy Shira Teitel submitted to the ticker!
Wow, I never realized the Guardians sleeve logo is on the right! WaHoo was on the left sleeve.
It appears the last two teams to break camp are Colorado and Cleveland. My glee over the vertical arching on the Guardians’ jersey is tempered by noticing the maker is Rawlings. I guess these uniforms were made for non-roster invitees and projected minor leaguers. Players expected to make the trip north got regular Nike shirts, with radial arching.
Those Iowa Heartlanders sweaters are really sharp.
The Hartford School District that changed its name to Huskies, is Hartford, Michigan, not Connecticut.
I guess the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance was from 2016, seeing Muti’s jersey with the number 16 and all the Cubs shirts in the orchestra. Not a White Sox fan to be seen on stage, by the way. Or did they silently protest by wearing regular clothing?