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The Uni-verse’s First Response to the Israel-Hamas War

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When Russia invaded Ukraine in February of last year, it sent shock waves throughout the uni-verse for months, with teams across the world wearing Ukrainian colors, Ukrainian flags, and so on. It remains to be seen whether last weekend’s attack by Hamas on Israel will lead to a similarly broad uni-driven display of solidarity, but there was at least an initial ripple yesterday, as Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who is Jewish, inscribed a Star of David on his cap for Game 3 of the ALDS. (The screen shot above shows him being interviewed in the dugout after he hit a home run to lead off the top of the 5th.)

As far as I can tell, the cap inscription was new for last night. Bregman doesn’t appear to have worn it for Game 2, which was on Sunday.

Orioles pitcher Dean Kremer is not only Jewish but has dual Israeli/American citizenship and has pitched for Israel in the World Baseball Classic. He wore a Star of David necklace for last night’s start in the other ALDS, but that’s nothing new — he always wears it:

As far as I can tell, Kremer did not add a symbol to his cap, or to any other part of his uniform or equipment.

According to (“News and Stats on Jews With Bats”), there are three other Jewish players on the active rosters of MLB teams that are still participating in the playoffs, all in the Atlanta/Philly series:

  • Atlanta pitcher Max Fried: He started Monday night’s game. As far as I can tell, he did not have any Israel-supportive symbol on his uniform.
  • Atlanta outfielder Kevin Pillar: He entered Monday’s game as a pinch-hitter in the 7th inning and remained in the game. As far as I can tell, he did not have any Israel-supportive symbol on his uniform.
  • Phillies backup catcher Garrett Stubbs: He has not yet appeared in the postseason.

Obviously, non-Jewish MLB players might also choose to express solidarity with Israel on their uniforms, but it seems like the Jewish players I just mentioned would likely be the ones taking the lead, so I’ll be keeping an eye on them.

If you’re wondering about other sports:

  • In the NBA, Washington Wizards small forward Deni Avdija is Israeli. The team opened its preseason schedule last night with a game against the Cairns Taipans of Australia’s National Basketball League, but Avdija did not appear in the game.
  • Here’s a list of Jewish players in the NFL. I’m wondering if they might add Israeli flag decals to their helmets this weekend.
  • I couldn’t find a current list of Jewish NHL players, but here’s one from a year ago. In light of the league’s new policies that restrict cause-based expression, however, it seems likely that any uni-based commentary on the war would have to be sotto voce.
  • Soccer, because of its international nature, tends to take the lead in these types of uniform displays, so that’s something to keep an eye on.

It sucks that I have to say this, but here goes: If you want to post a comment, please keep in mind that it’s absolutely okay to voice an opinion on the topic of players modifying their uniforms to show support for a particular country in a war (that’s what we’re here for!), but it is not okay to start a debate about the war itself, or about the larger political climate surrounding it (that’s not what we’re here for), nor is it okay to insult other commenters. Thanks in advance for observing these guidelines!



IMPORTANT: Input Needed for Silver Uni-versary Party

In case you missed it on Monday, I need your input and feedback regarding our plans for Uni Watch’s upcoming 25th uni-versary. If you haven’t already seen that post, please check it out here. Thanks!



What Paul Did Last Night

The cartoonist Bill Griffith, creator of the comic strip Zippy the Pinhead (and the man who coined the phrase “Are we having fun yet?”), has just published a biography of Ernie Bushmiller, the cartoonist who created the comic strip Nancy, and last night two friends and I attended a presentation he gave about the Bushmiller and the book.

When it comes to Zippy and Nancy, it would be fair to say that I’m a fan of both but not a full-fledged acolyte of either. Still, hearing Griffith riff on Bushmiller and Nancy — for more than two hours! — was a hoot. Zippy has always had a loopy, surrealist vibe, but Griffith himself (now 79) is soft-spoken and very reserved. It’s always interesting to see how creative people do and don’t resemble their creations, right?

Afterward, my friends and I went out for a nightcap and talked about comics, art, the creative urge, and so on. Are we having fun yet? Yes! A very good night — this is why I live in NYC.


Can of the Day

I’m not sure which is more amusing — the phrase “granulated gravy improver” or the oddly unfinished-seeming meat illustrations.

Comments (47)

    *instead of using “still alive” (which if its just me reading it awkwardly, I apologize), could “still in the playoffs” be swapped in?

    Hey, if DL got changed to IL, why not this?

    In what can only be described as a tremendous act of bravery, Iranian soccer fans rejected regime-mandated allegiance to the Hamas death cult and chanted :”Take that Palestinian flag and shove it up your a**!”

    Am Yisrael Chai.

    I imagine we’re going to see more uniform-based messages of support, including among non-Jewish players who want to show support for Israel and Israelis. I think the NFL allowing players to add Israeli flags to helmets near the American flag is almost a given.

    I have no problem with those. City of Chicago flag is fine for a team based in Chicago and I assume the second one is Roger Staubach’s navy helmet. A/N have been modifying their uniforms for their matchups long before Nike (and later UA with Navy) started creating special unis for their EOS matchup.

    I have a problem with EVERY TEAM slapping a US flag on the back of the hat.

    I kinda like having the flag on helmets. I like flags. I don’t know why that would ruffle feathers, but to each his own.

    Actually, the NFL has allowed foreign-born players to wear their flags of national origin for a few seasons now: link

    That’s not the same thing as expressing support for another country’s war effort, of course. And I’m not saying it’s a good thing (or a bad thing). I’m just pointing out that there’s precedent for non-USA flags on NFL helmets, even though “we are in the USA.”

    I hate having the US flag on helmets. Totally unnecessary. Feel free to impunity my patriotism.

    The US flag was added to the back of NFL helmets during the 1990 postseason to show support for the first Gulf War. More than 30 years later, it’s still there. I agree that it’s unnecessary and should have been removed ages ago.

    How bout we live in a Free society and let each player decide….
    If Ye wanna or need a flag on your helmet, slap that sucker on there and PLAY BALL…
    All this ” I like flags, I don’t like flags”… not our decision, eh?….
    let the guys who ACTUALLY wear the concussion-causing devices choose….

    Happy to see a “three rocks” panel in that Nancy comic on screen. I have never read Nancy the same since Griffith pointed that out years ago.

    I think I – and millions of kids- learned to read because of Nancy. Easy to read draftsman-like lettering, simple words and funny gags.

    Nancy….Highly Underrated Comic….Classic
    Along with Far Side and Ally Oop….

    I learned that it was not a new T-shirt — it had been available since at least last year. Definitely not a City leak. So I scrapped the post.

    I dont like it when players draw on their hats like this, unless its a uniform thing like what the A’s did a while back. The part about soccer being an international game is interesting though, because while this could make it more likely that a player could ask for the team to do something in support of Israel, it would also make it much more likely that there are players who would be unwilling to participate as well

    Also, a men’s international break just started Monday so there won’t be many men’s club games for two weeks, which I would imagine would be the most likely forum for anything uni-related.

    I’ve always thought that players drawing on their hats was kind of the purest form of memorial or observance since it’s clearly not something mandated or organized by the league or team.

    Doing so may not always look ‘good’ (design/aesthetics) but often looks ‘right’ (genuine/sincere).

    Agreed–I feel the same way about when the New York teams wore first responder caps after 9/11. Feels genuine, which is how a memorial should feel.

    Right On ….a true emotion….evoked from inside instead of planned ….
    Love the player tributes……

    I wonder if sports leagues would allow a Palestinian flag or symbol to be displayed on their uniforms. It would be very interesting to see.

    Celtic F.C have gotten in trouble with UEFA before for their fans displaying memorials for Palestinian people killed by Israeli military forces, so at least with regards to any competitions sanctioned by them, no

    Jew-hatred is rampant in European football leagues. Displays of that flag are just another expression of it, which every Jew knows.

    Ironically in Celtic’s case it’s more about Protestant hatred. In the 70s & 80s, the Provisional IRA and the PLO along with various other Palestinian terrorist orgs saw each other as kindred spirits. They supported each other and sold each other weapons and such.

    So it’s not so much that Celtic fans hate Jews, it’s just that the IRA lovers at Celtic will do anything to make normal British people uncomfortable.

    That said, broadly across Europe, you’re right, anti-Zionism is a thinly veiled means to openly express antisemitism and waiving the Palestinian flag at football matches is a ubiquitous practice among European antisemites.

    I have heard of them and know that they display the Palestinian flag at their games, similar to how celtic fans have the flag during their league games, but UEFA, the international European soccer organization (which Israel is a member of), has does not allow it during their matches

    re: the meat illustrations: perhaps those were from a time where the fat cap and/or skin was kept whole…

    “Granulated Gravy Improver” has the seeds of a great band name. And the ambiguity: Are we improving granulated gravy, or is the gravy improver granulated? And why illustrate the product with pictures neither of gravy nor of granules but rather of uncooked meat, a gravy precursor? The product name requires that some executive had in his mind the firm conviction that there were grocery shoppers who would see the can and say to themselves, “That last gravy I made _was_ disappointing. I could sure use a granular additive to improve my gravy.” Surely, there’s the equivalent of a whole season arc of “Mad Men” behind the design of this label.

    What about athletes who stand in solidarity with Palestine? Will they be coveted as well?

    I’m not sure what you mean by “coveted.” If you mean “covered,” then yes, of course Uni Watch will cover that as well.

    Looks like he ran afoul of the dreaded auto-correct , like the one that changed my “impugn ” to “impunity” :)

    For those on uniwatch that are effected by these and other international conflicts, I feel for you and hope for peace. would think that I would try to pay tribute if I was in situation.

    OK. I get it. You don’t like a US flag on the back of a helmet or on a uniform or on a cap of a US sports team. I do. Now let’s agree to disagree and go have a beer. Much like Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil used to.

    I support this most of all. We’ve lost this ability and we’re all worse as a result. And this goes beyond the Israel-Hamas conflict; it is endemic in our fragmented society. We’re all in this together. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me 100%, but we can hang out. Even Mets or Cowboys fans. ;)

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