Good morning! It was 24 years ago today — May 26, 1999 — that the very first Uni Watch column (shown above) was published in The Village Voice. It was what we now think of as the annual MLB season “preview” column, even though it appeared in late May. Hard to believe that this project has been around for two dozen years! That’s a great achievement for our entire comm-uni-ty, because I couldn’t have done this for all these years without you folks.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait a minute, didn’t we just celebrate a Uni Watch anniversary last week?,” you’re right. Nine days ago — May 17 — was the 17th anniversary of the very first post on this blog, which was conceived as a supplement to the Uni Watch column. Since the two dates are just nine days apart, there’s often a bit of confusion each year around this time. In retrospect, I should have launched the blog on May 26 so the two uni-versary dates would match up, but that didn’t occur to me at the time and it’s too late to change it now!
Since today marks 24 years, that means one year from today will be a major milestone — 25 years, a full quarter-century of Uni Watch! Who’da thunk?
And that leads me to an idea that I’d like to discuss with you: I think it’s a pretty safe bet that I will not still be writing about uniforms in 2029, when Uni Watch turns 30. (By that point I’ll be 65 and will hopefully have moved on to another chapter of my life.) So next year — the 25th uni-versary, the silver uni-versary — will likely be this project’s last “milestone” date for me.
I’m therefore thinking that we should probably have a real blowout of a party — not just a gathering at a bar, but something where I’d rent a space (I’m thinking the Bell House here in Brooklyn), have a live band (definitely the Zambonis), the whole nine yards. But in order to cover the costs of renting the space and hiring a band, we’d have to charge admission (probably about $10-$15) and have a fairly large crowd — more than just our local NYC readers. In other words, we’d need people to come in from out of town.
Just to be clear: I wouldn’t be looking to make money on this event. I just want to cover my costs, pay the band a fair fee, and not lose my shirt (or jersey, as the case might be).
As it happens, May 26 falls on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend next year. If you’ve always wanted to visit New York on a holiday weekend, this could be the perfect time for you to do that.
I’m not asking anyone to buy a plane ticket or book a hotel room today. But I would like to get a general sense of how many of you out-of-towners might be interested in making the trip for this event. If that sounds like you, please drop me a line. Thanks! (If the response is underwhelming, I’ll still have some sort of uni-versary event, but it’ll probably just be the usual bar gathering.)
Okay, thanks for listening, and thanks for making it possible for me to cover this unusual niche beat for so long. No matter what kind of party we end up having next year, I’m grateful to all of you!
To all the Uni Watchers out there, Happy Birthday!
Love the mobile! Hope you and mom had another great day.
Happy birthday to us all! Despite some of the usual crankiness in the comment section, I so appreciate this community’s attention to the minutia of sports–not just on field uniforms (which are becoming less and less exciting as they become more and more corporate), but logos, stadium design, vendor uniforms, etc…. in some ways, Uni-Watch feels like one of the last vestiges of a simpler, less complicated internet. Be well, all!
“in some ways, Uni-Watch feels like one of the last vestiges of a simpler, less complicated internet.”
Preach! The internet was a lot more fun when people had blogs instead of Facebook. I feel like blogging peaked in that brief period when twitter was new, Google Reader still worked and Facebook was barely around if it all.
I’m overdue for a trip to New York. I could see myself coming up for it from DC. Maybe the wife and kids could do something while I’m at the UW gathering.
You could make a “25 YEARS” patch this year for the collection of UW T-shirts and then make a “25TH ANNIVERSARY” patch for next year.
Happy 24th, and I know I am being selfish but I would hope that no matter where your next chapter takes you, writing about the minutiae of sports uniforms is a part of it on some level.
Don’t be so sure you won’t be doing this at 65. I just turned 65 and I have no intention of retiring as long as my health is good. I enjoy what I do, and even though I could retire financially, I enjoy the money. I’m like you, self-employed, and that helps since I don’t have to answer to “the man”. Thinking another 5 years for sure.
You could always celebrate the 25th anniversary and the 25th season a year apart!
Happy Anniversary again, Paul!
The ad from the Tea Council reminds me of the Coffee Achievers commercials from the 80s.
I still remember those ads because it was the first time I saw the Bengals new uniforms (modeled by Kenny Anderson)
“Because coffee lets you calm yourself down, and picks you up.”
Love that ELO song. Probably my favorite, and every time I hear it I think of Ken Anderson and crave a cup of coffee.
Happy birthday, UW! I am sad to say that I will defintely not make it to Brooklyn from the Netherlands next year unless I win the lottery or rob a bank. I hope lots of North American UW followers can make it to Brooklyn next year, Paul deserves a good party after 25 years of bringing us all together.
That can is so good. Bears do enhance any packaging, including uniforms.
Barry B. Benson would disagree:
Seems like as good an idea as any to come to NYC. I haven’t been in like a decade (since the get-together at Sheep Station in the aftermath of Sandy)
Put me down for two. If I can’t make it I’ll still buy the tickets and donate them to a NYC’er who wouldn’t be able to go otherwise.
Even if it’s not the silver anniversary for the blog, can you do a special purple and silver 25th logo for the Purp Walk? Something tells me it would look fantastic.
Happy Birthday/Anniversary – Cheers to 24 years and thank you!
Happy Anniversaries! Truly have enjoyed your blog and content over the years. And thanks for the anxiety of what I will do after you retire!!!
Happy 24th Uni Watch!!!
I live Upstate but my parents live on Long Island. This is a perfect excuse to be downstate next year! Count on one ticket for me!
A couple of jobs ago, I had the National Potato Council as a client. They “stand up for potatoes on Capitol Hill.” Their twitter handle is @thisspudsforyou.
I’ll be living in NYC, so you can mark me as a “yes”.
Happy 24th Anniversary to Paul and all of my fellow Uni-Watchers. It’s been a great ride.
Uni-Watch will need a full merch program for the 25th with patches, pennants, pins, shirts.
Uni-Watch x Oxford Pennant seems like a no brainer.
I’ve long wanted to go to a Brooklyn Cyclones game. It would be great if they are playing at home next year during the Memorial Day weekend.
“I’m therefore thinking that we should probably have a real blowout of a party”
You mean more people than the East Carolina trip? ; )
Have you ever thought about a Uni Watch week? Granted the 9 day gap would be weird, but I could be our weird thing. Start the week with Purp walk and go until the anniversary day? Maybe have an annual redesign contest and every day during this time have special articles during this time. Maybe the history of key ring chronicles and culinary corner or best of? I’m just spit balling here. Or at least do it for the 25th anniversary? As always, thank you for the work you all do.
Beautiful pic of you mom and the mobile! Happy Anniversary and count me in for a big party. Memorial Day is a tough time for me work-wise but I would hope to make part of it. if I can’t rock and roll all night it would at least be for part of the day.
A “virtual” ticket – basically just a fundraiser for out of towners who can’t make it but want to support you and the community could help offset some of those costs early.
I second this idea. I know the goal is to have a lot of people in person, but I am sure many of us who may not be able to make it would like to be involved somehow.
Not that anyone’s looking to shove you out a window, Paul, but perhaps it’s time to start putting a succession plan in place.
I could definitely come out for a big Uni-Watch party in Brooklyn, my sister lives out there, and I’d drag her along with me!
The thought of not having Uni Watch (or having it without Paul) is a bit melancholy, but I would love to get out there for a celebration if it occurred. No guarantee since CA is pretty far, but it’s been a constant for many years :)
Reading that 1st newspaper clipping fom 2+ decades ago shows that nothing has changed, nor will it.
Pretty cool that your Mom can still rock the Denim (Jean Jacket is what we used to call it, not sure if that is still the lingo)
Paul, hope I look that good when I’m 24…
Hydrox invented “that” kind of cookie, not that other company (bet you both knew that)…
Blue Bell invented the Cookies N Cream Ice Cream, btw….
Maybe do a contest for some real silver 25th pins next year, contests are fun, you got great designers….eh?
Happy Birthday Uni Watch! and great to see Paul’s mother looking so well.
My idea for next year’s 25th anniversary would be for readers to send in a picture of their favorite jersey with number 25, it can be a game photo or a vintage jersey picture from an auction. Mine would probably be a 1971 Jerry LeVias Chargers jersey, powder blue. The jersey can be from any sport, throughout that week every day photos of the jerseys will be posted and then on the day of the anniversary readers will vote who the favorite jersey is, and that jersey will be featured, with an article about who wore it, what year it is from and that will be the Uni Watch 25th anniversary jersey.
Happy Anniversary Team. I can’t thank Uni Watch enough for all the years of inspiration. Thank you all so very much.
Congrats on the 24th universary and hope the 25th is a huge success. Alas, I plan to be in Indianapolis that day for what would be my 41st Indy 500 attended in person (this Sunday will be my 40th), so no New York trip for me. But I’ll be there in spirit.