Gear up for the 2020 MLB Season with new gear from Nike

How Do You Spell ‘Train Wreck’? Try A-T-L

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At about 7:30am yesterday, I posted yesterday’s blog post, which was about the Bucs’ Tuesday unveiling and the purported Falcons leaks that had been circulating. At 9am, the Falcons — who had been slated to unveil next week — shifted into “Ah, fuck it” mode and revealed their new set (lots of additional photos here).

So the bad news was that yesterday’s daily post was already up before the surprise unveiling. The good news is that I’ve had a full day to write the entry you’re about to read, so it’s a lot more complete that it would have been if I’d written something on the fly.

Before we get to assessing the uniforms’ pros and cons, here’s some basic factual info:

• As you can see above, there are lots of mix-and-match options, including a throwback (easy to spot at far-right because it’s the only one that looks like an NFL uniform). The team’s press release says there are eight different combos, including the throwback, but the photo shows only seven. I asked a team official what the eighth combo would be and was told, “Black top with red pants.” If you need help visualizing that, it would be something like this:

• The various combos notwithstanding, the press release says this: “The new official Falcons home look will feature black jerseys and black pants with the away look going white on white.” So those are presumably the two looks we’ll see most often.

• As the leaked photos indicated, the new helmet has a satin matte shell and a chrome mask. What wasn’t so apparent from the leaks, however, is that the side logo is now larger — “nearly 30 percent larger,” according to the press release. It also has a chrome outline. Here’s a side-by-side comparison — old helmet on the left, new on the right — followed by a closer look at the new design (click to enlarge):

• As you can see, they didn’t even go through the pretense of having socks for the non-throwback uniforms. That’s disappointing, but it’s also an accurate reflection of where the league is at these days in terms of hosiery, as most players just wear tights anyway, regardless of the official sock specs.

• They are referring to the gradient uni simply as a “gradient alternate,” not as a Color Rush design, although I assume it will essentially function like a CR uni. In other words, I don’t think they’re going to add a mono CR uni on top of what they’ve already unveiled.

• A team official says that if the one-shell rule is lifted in 2021, they’ll add a red throwback to the mix.

Okay, those are the basics. Now then: How bad is this uniform set? Let us count the ways:

1. The Jersey Side Panels
Here it is, the year 2020, nearly a quarter-century after Nike brought its wretched side panels to the NFL via the Broncos’ 1997 uniforms. That look was never good and is now horribly dated to boot — that’s why we all cringe when we see the Patriots’ side panels, or the Bengals’ side panels, or any fucking team with side panels. It’s a miserable look. True, the Falcons’ new panels are thinner, but it still looks like dreck, and it’ll look even worse on the field because we all know that players in a game don’t keep their jersey stripes and pants stripes perfectly aligned like they do during a photo shoot:

In addition, it appears that the side panels on the white jersey won’t match the color of the piping on the red pants, which defeats the whole point:

The same problem will occur with the black-over-red combo.

2. The Number Font
Cartoonishly bold and filled with needless little beaks and talons (oooh, very falcon-like!), this is classic Nike typography — long on style but not built to last. It’s nowhere near as bad as Tampa Bay’s alarm clock font, of course, but that’s about the best thing I can say about it. And as I mentioned yesterday, I really dislike it when drop or block shadows go directly to the right, instead of down and to the right, because you only get the three-dimensional effect along one axis instead of two. (I feel the same way about the Lakers’ current block shadows, which go straight down instead of the original down and to the right.)

3. The Chest Mark
Oooh, they’re repping the ATL — edgy! It makes the whole package look XFL/arena/high school (take your pick). As reader Brad Susany put it in an email to me yesterday, why not just put “Hotlanta” on there and get it over with?

4. The Gradient Alternate
Look, I get it: They’ve gone full-on superhero video game with this set. That’s the whole point — it’s why they’re wearing mono-black at home and mono-white on the road, to create that bodysuit/costume effect. But even by those standards, the gradient thing is laughably bad, an instant classic destined to be included on lots of “Worst Uniforms Ever” lists (maybe before it even takes the field!). Thankfully, it’ll be worn only once or twice per season, which seems like exactly once or twice too many. I mean, look at this shit (click to enlarge):

I guess you could say this uniform neatly symbolizes the Falcons’ longstanding flip-flopping between black and red (maybe the Texas Rangers should do something similar!), but that’s about the best I can say for it.

Also, as lots of folks have pointed out, this design resembles, well, several other designs that you wouldn’t really want your new uni to resemble:

Obviously, the whole point of this design is to be polarizing. Classicists like me are supposed to hate it (and I’m dutifully doing my part); kids who’ve never heard of Steve Bartkowski are supposed to think it’s dope, or fire, or whatever. And that divide is supposed to weed out all the squares or some such. That’s not a bad approach for certain things (art, for example), but polarization is a really unfortunate route to take in sports, because the whole point is to unite, to bring fans together across generations. But that’s never been Nike’s approach to anything.

Do I have any good things to say about this set? Yes:

• They got rid of the clown sleeves. That’s a big plus. (Now we just need to get the Cardinals to do likewise.)

• Chrome facemasks are a newfangled trend that I kinda like, depending on the team. I think they look fine here. (I thought the same about the Bucs’ outgoing masks, for what that’s worth. In fact, the chrome masks were about the only thing I liked about that Bucs uni set, and I wish they’d kept them instead of going back to black.)

• The throwback is very nice.

• We can already start marking our calendars for the Falcons’ next uniform unveiling, which should be coming in the spring of 2025 or ’26.

Think I’m being hard on the Falcons? That’s nothing compared to what another NFL team had to say yesterday:

Finally, there’s this: With the Hawks having the worst uniforms in the NBA, the Braves still mired in Native American iconography, and now this new Falcons set, Atlanta is a seriously bad-looking pro sports town right now. To all our friends and readers down there — Marty Buccafusco, Jason Von Stein, and many others — you have my deepest sympathies. At least there’s still Georgia Tech.

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And in still more NFL news…: Last November, Packers team prexy Mark Murphy said that Green Bay would have “a new historic third jersey” — i.e., a throwback — for 2020. There’s been zero news about it since then, and apparently for good reason: It’s not happening.

That news comes from reader Jimmy Johnson, who was curious about when the new throwback jerseys might be available, so he contacted the Packers Pro Shop. Yesterday morning he received this response: “[U]nfortunately, the organization will not have a classic or throwback jersey for the upcoming 2020 season but plan[s] to have one available for the 2021 season.”

Now, that could mean that the Packers just pushed back the 2020 throwback plan for some reason. Or it could be another hint that the one-shell rule will be lifted in 2021.

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EXCLUSIVE — even more NFL news: I now know what the Colts’ upcoming uni changes will be. I can’t tell you what they are, but I can assure you that they are teeny-tiny. Most fans won’t even notice (although seasoned uni-watchers will, of course).

I don’t know when they’ll officially announce these teeny-tiny changes, but I think we can safely assume that it’ll be before the start of the draft, which is slated to begin on April 23.

Looking ahead:

• The Browns are scheduled to unveil their new uniforms next Wednesday — April 15 (although, as we’ve just seen with the Falcons, leaks and other factors can sometimes affect unveiling dates).

• The Chargers are scheduled to unveil their next uniforms the Tuesday after that — April 21 (ditto).

• We still don’t have a date for whatever the Patriots are up to.

• The Rams will unveil their new uniforms sometime in May.

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CORRECTION: Depending on when you read yesterday’s entry, you may have seen me question the Buccaneers for apparently doing a photo shoot in either late March or early April that showed players Chris Godwin, Davonte David, and Devin White not observing proper social distancing practices. I based that on the sight of Godwin wearing No. 14 in the photos, a number that he took on March 31 after surrendering his old No. 12 to Tom Brady.

Yesterday afternoon I heard from a Bucs spokesman, who explained that the photo shoot took place in early March — before social distancing became a common thing across the country — and that Godwin’s number had been Photoshopped from 12 to 14 in all of the pics. I had actually considered that possibility, but I looked closely at a bunch of the photos and thought they looked real. In other words, the Bucs did such a good Photoshop job that they fooled me!

But that’s an explanation, not a justification. I should have contacted the Bucs to make sure. My apologies to them, and also my thanks for setting me straight.

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ITEM! New FOCO raffle: The folks at FOCO recently let me raffle off one of their oversized reversible NHL hoodies. Now they have the same product for six MLB teams and are once again allowing me to raffle off one of them to a lucky Uni Watch reader.

This will be a one-day raffle. To enter, send an email with your mailing address and team choice (Cards, Yanks, Nats, Cubs, Bosox, or Dodgers) to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Good luck, and thanks to FOCO for sponsoring this one.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Vintage Brand raffle is Adam Strohm. Congrats to him, and my continued thanks to VB for sponsoring these monthly raffles.

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Happy birthday to my biggest fan: My mom turns 96 today. Normally, our family would be taking her out for the occasion (the photo above is from her birthday in 2018), but obviously that won’t be happening this year.

Mom was born in 1924, so she’s lived through the Great Depression, the rise of fascism and World War II, McCarthyism, Jim Crow, Vietnam, Watergate, Sept. 11, and more. She says the pandemic feels worse than any of those things, which breaks my heart. I hate that she has to experience all of this during this phase of her life. One reason I want her to stay healthy and alive — aside from, you know, the obvious reasons — is so she can see better days than the ones we’re experiencing now.

Mom is in assisted living these days. They’ve been on lockdown since last month — no visitors. Mom has always been flummoxed by technology, so she doesn’t have a computer or even a cell phone, but I’ve arranged for the staff where she lives to provide her with an iPad today so she can do a video chat with my brother, the Tugboat Captain, and me. I think she’ll like that.

Happy birthday, Mom — looking forward to celebrating it in person again in the years ahead.

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Help wanted: Looking for some busywork to alleviate the boredom of sheltering in place? Tired of calculating your family’s toilet paper consumption rate against your available supply? Need a distraction to keep you from throttling your kids?

If so, I may have just the thing for you. I’m about to start a uni-related project that entails some fairly monotonous groundwork and could use some assistance. It would probably be more fun for someone who’s a baseball fan, but that’s certainly not a requirement.

If you’re interested, shoot me a note. Thanks in advance.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: The latest episode of the TV show Brockmire had a coalition of Native American tribes buy the Cleveland Indians and change the team’s name to the Cleveland Colonizers. “They added a new logo that they described as a ‘cartoon white man licking the blood off a bayonet,'” says Mike Hersh. “The uniforms have the same theme, although they were inconsistent about sleeve numbers.” You can see a video clip here.

Baseball News: Fun note from reader Ted Arnold: “For the past week or so The Globe and Mail has run a computer-simulated tournament between four of the greatest Canadian-based MLB teams using Strat-O-Matic software. In the first round, the 1993 Blue Jays defeated the 1985 Jays, while the 1994 Expos defeated their 1981 brethren. Game One of the championship was in Wednesday’s paper. It’s a fun read with lots of good quotes and Canadian anecdotal content added in.” … A Cubs fan is nearly halfway toward his goal of amassing a million Cubs trading cards (from Mike Chamernik). … A 1922 Lou Gehrig bat was auctioned off this week for more than $1 million. … A DC-area brewery has come out with a Nats-themed beer called Curly W (WaPo link) (from Tom Turner). … Here’s a video of former MLB greats Pete Rose and Nolan Ryan interviewing each other, in which Rose asks the audience about how Ryan looked “in that Houston outfit with that orange shit,” and then Ryan responds by saying that “that clown uniform” was his first thought when he signed with the ’Stros (from Scott Unes).

Football News: A Ravens blogger thinks the team’s shield logo should be used more. … High schools across the country are turning on their football stadium lights as a way to recognize their students who won’t be returning in person to finish out the school year (from Kary Klismet). … A Masters golf tourney-themed football helmet? Sure, why not (from Scott Cummings). … Here’s our best look yet at that new Sun Belt Conference logo (from Don Hammack).

Hockey News: Here’s an article on six weird hockey skate designs, including one that Wade Heidt himself had never seen before! … Also from Wade (and also from Ted Arnold): Hockey gear brand CCM is donating (not manufacturing) half a million surgical masks to healthcare workers. … Reader Kevin Vautour wrote a little book report on a three-volume set called The Trail of the Stanley Cup, which features lots of great old jersey mock-ups.

NBA News: The Mavs apparently have new uniforms in the works. … Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who famously wore goggles during most of his NBA career, is donating 900 pairs of safety goggles to UCLA Health to help fight the pandemic (from Mike Chamernik). … As you’ve probably seen, lots of sports teams are offering fans the chance to make custom jersey-based digital wallpapers. One such team is the Rockets, and one of their fans got the team’s social media people to tweet a Nazi-themed wallpaper design before it was quickly taken down.

Soccer News: Here’s what four of MLS’s newer teams might have looked like if they’d been part of the league when it debuted in 1996 (from Wade Heidt). … New kit for Scottish Championship side Dundee, which will have white sleeves for the first time in 20 years (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Also from Jamie: “The NWSL’s Sky Blue FC is holding a design-a-scarf contest. More importantly, they’re using it to hint at a new color scheme that primarily uses a paler blue and black. The shade of blue they used before was closer to azure, while this is closer to powder blue. SBFC, for having a color in their name, actually have an erratic color history — they surprisingly wore dark blue last season with no prior warning, and they wore at least three different orange or orange/white shirts from 2009 to 2013.” … Germany’s Bundesliga is preparing to resume games, without live crowds, in early May (NYT link).

Grab Bag: Temple, which has been outfitted by Under Armour in recent years, is switching to Nike (from many readers). … Really good article about how statues of competitive runners around the country have been adorned with symbolic masks (NYT link) during the pandemic. … New logo for the African Handball Confederation (from Chris Corbaz). … A Baltimore brewery has a 12-pack package deisgn based on the Maryland flag (from Andrew Cosentino). … A 17-year-old kid who created one of the first coronavirus tracking sites — who has excellent taste in sweater colors — was approached by companies who wanted to advertise on his site, including one that offered him $8 million. He turned them down (h/t Gil Neumann III). … Pro video game streamers may have the world’s most virus-proof job (NYT link). … Cross-listed from the football section: A Masters golf tourney-themed football helmet? Sure, why not (from Scott Cummings). … New logo for the UK civil liberties organization Liberty. … Soooo many great uniforms, from many sports, in this article about Montana’s early sports history (big thanks to Doug Brei — say hi to Maddie for me, Doug!).

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What Paul did last night: Lovely time on the porch yesterday. We started a bit earlier than usual, because the Tugboat Captain had a class to attend (virtually, of course) at 5:30pm. Bud Copper for me, vodka soda for her. I mentioned how Passover would start at sundown, and how this will be the first Passover in my memory — and possibly in my life — that doesn’t feature Streit’s matzos in my home, because we haven’t been able to get to the supermarket and I pretty much forgot about matzos when we arranged some grocery deliveries a few weeks ago. Now I’m sure it’s too late.

And then I told her a matzo story from my youth that I’ve told many times before (including once here on this website), and she humored me by listening to it once more. Maybe you’ll humor me as well:

And then it was time for her class. We usually go back inside together, but this time I lingered on the porch for a bit and thought about stuff.

Stay safe, everyone. See you back here tomorrow. — Paul

NFL Uni Bonanza: Bucs Unveil, Falcons’ New Set Leaks

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The pandemic may have slowed down everything else, but the NFL uni-verse is as active as ever. Yesterday we have the Buccaneers’ long-awaited unveiling along with some Falcons leaks — a crazy day!

Let’s start with the Bucs. Their new uni set (shown above, with lots of additional photos here and here) is pretty much what we expected: a return to their 1997-2013 look, with a few tiny tweaks. Let’s handle this one FAQ-style:

You said there wouldn’t be orange, but these uniforms include the orange trim on the numbers and pants piping!

Actually, what I said — twice, in fact — was that there was no orange trim “at least that I could see.” I was specifically hedging on that point, because the visuals I was shown weren’t 100% conclusive. But I’m glad I was wrong — I much prefer the orange-inclusive design, plus orange is part of the team’s aesthetic heritage.

What about the rest of what you reported last month?

My source and I pretty much got it right: black wordmarks on the chests of both primary jerseys, the modern ship logo on the sleeves, oversized helmet logos, black facemasks, black-topped socks, and a mono-pewter alternate.

One thing we missed, because it wasn’t clear in the visuals: The two primary jerseys have black trim on the collars and sleeve cuffs.

Any subtle things that might not be immediately apparent?

According to this article:

While the Buccaneers are going back to the darker red of their previous [1997-2013] uniforms, they are retaining the shade of pewter used in the most recent [2014-2019] version. The team explored going back to the original pewter pants, but the fabrics used by Nike today are completely different than in the 1990s and therefore it was impossible to re-create the historic pewter color in today’s textiles.

That page also says that the size of the helmet logo “has been reduced to ensure the sword is visible on all helmet types used by players.” So while the helmet logo is still oversized, it’s apparently not quite as oversized as before. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference, but reader Kyle Brenzel says the logo is 13% smaller, based on his analysis of official NFL style guide sheets (which I don’t have access to, but Kyle apparently does). Here’s his comparison of the helmets, along with some color comparisons to boot — new version on top, old version on bottom:

Anything other notable details?

The NOB lettering on the white jersey is black. Back in the day, it was red. (My mock-ups from last month didn’t show the back of the white jersey, because the visuals I was shown didn’t include a rear view of that jersey.)

Can the primary jerseys and pants be mixed and matched?

The photo gallery that the team released yesterday includes a shot showing the white jersey with pewter pants, so that’s definitely an option:

There are no photos of the red jersey with the white pants, so it’s not clear if that’s an official team-sanctioned option. But they occasionally wore that combo back in the day, so I expect they’ll do it again this time around.

Isn’t it weird that they’re using two different sets of pewter pants?

The Color Rash era has resulted in several similar situations. The Browns, for example, have two different sets of brown pants; the Texans have two different sets of navy pants; and so on. I agree that it’s odd and feels like overkill.

No Bucco Bruce throwbacks?

They can’t wear the Bucco Bruce design — at least not with its original white helmet — because of the one-shell rule. If the league lifts the rule in 2021, as has been hinted at, I’m sure we’ll see Bucco Bruce back on the field sooner than you can say, “Creamsicle.”

The photo at the top of today’s page shows wide receiver Chris Godwin wearing No. 14 — the number he took after giving his No. 12 to Tom Brady. So the photo shoot must have been done very recently, right?

They apparently did multiple shoots. The first thing the Bucs released as part of yesterday’s unveiling was this video, which showed Godwin wearing No. 12. When people pointed out that 12 is no longer his number, the Bucs followed up with a disclaimer/explainer tweet:

But the photos shown here and here show Godwin wearing No. 14, so they were apparently taken at a later date. The Bucs announced Godwin’s number change on March 31, which means the pics were presumably taken within the last week or so. The disturbing thing about that is that several of the pics show Godwin and teammates Lavonte David and Devin White all horsing around in close proximity to each other — a bad violation of social distancing protocols. Update: The Bucs have just informed me that the video and the photos were all done at the same time, in early March, before social distancing practices became common. Godwin’s jersey number was Photoshopped in the photos (honestly, they did such a good job of it that I couldn’t tell), but they couldn’t change it in the video — that’s what accounts for the discrepancy.

So what do you think of this uni set?

I’m fine with the primary uniforms. I’ve never been in love with this design, but it’s obviously way better than what they’ve been wearing for the past six seasons. It looks like a football uniform, not a costume. I particularly like the white-over-pewter combo, so I hope they wear that a lot. Overall: This returns the Bucs to aesthetic respectability, but I wouldn’t rank them any higher than the middle of the NFL uni pack.

The mono-pewter alternate is pretty wretched, but whaddaya gonna do.

Any other thoughts?

With the Bucs basically hitting CTRL-Z on their Nikefied look, and with the Browns apparently poised to do the same, this all seems like an unmistakable repudiation of Nike’s approach to NFL design.

How long until we see the alarm clock design come back as a throwback?

Ha! Give it a decade or so. By that time they’ll have appeared on lots of “Worst Uniforms Ever” lists and we’ll all be able to have a nostalgic laugh about seeing them on the field again.

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Okay, now let’s turn our attention to Atlanta. A bunch of photos began circulating yesterday — an apparent leak. Ordinarily, I’d be at least somewhat skeptical, especially since I haven’t been able to pinpoint the source of the leak (everyone keeps saying, “My friend sent the pics to me” or “I saw it on a message board,” that kind of thing).

However…

In this case, it turns out that a source showed me a photo of what appeared to be one of the Falcons’ new uniforms a few weeks ago. I was not permitted to share the photo or even mention that I’d seen it. But I can now confirm that this photo I was previously shown matches what’s shown in the photos that began circulating yesterday. So either yesterday’s leak is legitimate, or else there’s a hell of a coincidence involving two illegitimate leaks that happen to match. I’m pretty sure it’s the former, not the latter.

Here are the photos that were making the rounds yesterday (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):

Okay, what can we glean from these photos? Here are a few thoughts:

1. Side panels? In 2020? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

2. A red-to-black gradient jersey with black pants? Ugh.

3. I hate uni numbers where the shadow just goes to the right, instead of down and to the right. In this case, it’s compounded by a brutal number font.

4. If you look closely at the first photo, there’s a helmet sitting on a desk. It appears to have a matte shell and a chrome mask:

5. If you take a closer look at the jerseys hanging on the rack, they appear to have some black throwback jerseys mixed in with the new black jerseys — note the differences in the sleeve logos and the TV numbers:

So apparently throwbacks will be part of the mix.

6. You may be thinking to yourself, “Hmmm, these newly leaked photos don’t provide a front view of any of the jerseys.” True enough. But another photo leak began circulating last night, and this one does show the front — or at least it purports to:

Once again: Under normal circumstances, I might be skeptical. But in this case, this front-view photo matches what I was shown a few weeks ago. Or to put it another way: Yes, it appears that the Falcons will become the first NFL team to have a giant three-letter airport-style city abbreviation plastered on their chest, just like NBA teams were doing eight years ago. Now there’s a distinction to be proud of!

7. On the plus side: No more clown sleeves, thankfully.

All in all: What a disaster. I didn’t think the Falcons had anywhere to go but up, but they proved me wrong.

Of course, there’s always the slight chance that these leaks do not show the real uniform. Shortly after today’s post went live, reader/commenter Patrick offered this analysis:

To me it looks like this could be from a [Nike] presentation to the Falcons with possibilities. First, “Falcons” on the nameplate, not current players. Second, clearly Nike models — NFL tends to use real players. Third, no team socks. I know the rule has changed, but it seems with all new reveals they at least have a sock option and then in games players go tights.

That is all very plausible. It’s not conclusive, of course, but it presents a reasonable alternate explanation for these photos’ existence. Let’s hope Patrick’s right. Otherwise, we’ll be hearing a lot of “They play in a dome, so it makes sense that they look like an arena league team” jokes. Either way, we’ll find out next Tuesday, April 14, when they’re due to unveil.

It’s interesting that the Bucs (and, by all appearances, the Browns) are recovering from the Nike virus, while the Falcons may just now be getting infected. This curve isn’t steep, but it’s long. Teams do tend to recover from the infection, but it takes a while. Now if we just had a vaccine…

UPDATE: The leak was accurate, and the Falcons have gone ahead and released the full uni set:

Here’s some additional info and a big photo gallery. I’ll have more to say about these uniforms in tomorrow morning’s post.

(My thanks to Luke Easterling for pointing out the black NOB on the Bucs’ white jersey.)

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Pin Club update: Blake Pass is the latest Uni Watch reader to create a custom display this year’s Pin Club pins. Looks sharp, right? If you want to use the same design, you can download it here.

Meanwhile: The April pin sold out yesterday (in less than a week!), becoming the first of the Pin Club designs to do so. Todd Radom and I are super-happy about the response to this one — thanks so much.

If you want to get caught up, we do still have inventory for the the January, February, and March pins. Remember, you can save 15% by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

I’m expecting the May pins to arrive from the factory today or tomorrow, so that design will launch on schedule next month. And then we have something very special planned for June — stay tuned.

And remember, the following pandemic discounts remain in effect until further notice:

• The Uni Watch Classic Cap, usually priced at $39.99, is now $35.99.

• Uni Watch seam rippers, usually $6, are now $4.

• And custom-designed Uni Watch membership cards, usually $25, are now $20.

If you’d rather support Uni Watch via a donation, here’s now to do that.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support.

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Now we just need a big one for Flavor Flav: Longtime reader and all-around swell guy Tim Cox (who actually flew out from Colorado for last summer’s Uni Watch 20th-anniversary party in Brooklyn and then flew back that same night, like a rock star!) has just become one of the very few people on the planet to own a Uni Watch watch. I don’t even have one myself! I’ve had three different watches available on Zazzle for years (in addition to the design that Tim got, there’s also this one and this one), mainly because I think the term “Uni Watch watch” is inherently amusing. They’re listed on our merch page, but I think only one person has ever purchased one before now. “Study, and high-quality materials too!” says Tim. Well, he’d know better than I would — enjoy, Tim!

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LAST CALL for the Vintage Brand raffle: Our longtime advertiser Vintage Brand is back with this month’s raffle. The lucky winner will be able to choose any item from the Vintage Brand site (including this Bucks T-shirt with history’s greatest NBA logo).

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: Here’s a social distancing-themed Cubs logo that also takes a swipe at their archrivals, the Cardinals (from Kary Klismet). … The Brewers have also released a social distancing logo (from @mikeobs). … This Yankees 1B/OF Joe Pepitone jersey from the TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm has two different number fonts (from Deangelo Vickers). … The Chinese Professional Baseball League will start next week behind closed doors. The Rakuten Monkeys will have robot mannequins in the stands, dressed as fans (from Dan Ukrainetz).

Football News: The Browns’ new uniforms will be revealed on April 15 — one day after the Falcons’ unveiling (from multiple readers). … Here’s a jersey montage of every quarterback that Broncos OLB Von Miller sacked in his career (from Kary Klismet). … As expected, the Rams’ new gradient logo is difficult to reproduce in embroidery. … Someone mocked up every single uniform combination North Carolina can possibly use.

Hockey News: Reader Josh Tremblay found this video of a Bruins/Whalers game from March 1996. NHL teams still wore white at home in those days, but the Whalers were wearing blue at home for that game. Anyone know why? … Here is the Sabres’ social distancing logo (from Ryan Wetstein).

Basketball News: Xavier is letting fans design their shoes (from Jim, who didn’t give his last name). … A sportswriter ranked all the Sixers’ uniforms (from Jack Connell). … A grocery store is using the old Charlotte Bobcats logo (from Nick Doffing, who unfortunately didn’t indicate where the store is located). … Newly elected Basketball Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett doesn’t want the Timberwolves to retire his No. 21 because he’s angry with team owner Glen Taylor.

Soccer News: The Philadelphia Union have released a fauxback logo (from John Flory). … Looks like South Korea and Nike are ripping off the 2018 Adidas World Cup Kit font (from Josh Hinton). … For the latest in kit news around the world, follow Josh’s Twitter feed.

Grab Bag: Here’s a good gallery of all of this season’s Formula One helmets (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: Norman, Okla., is inviting the public to vote on the finalists for its new city flag. … One more from Kary: The Ohio State matching band released a video of its members practicing social distancing with a performance over video conferencing. … North Carolina men’s lacrosse is donating materials to help manufacturers make more masks. … The Chicago Sun Times changed its masthead to promote social distancing (from Mike Chamernik). … Nike will start making gear for front-line health care workers. … In a related item, here’s an article about the various sports companies that are now making medical supplies (NYT link) (from Tom Tuner). … The U.S. Coast Guard has released new guidelines on wearing face masks while in uniform (from @bs_brewer). … UFC is getting around the latest guidelines prohibiting large gatherings by holding an event on tribal lands.

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What Paul did last night: As the days get longer and our porch daily Pandemic Porch Cocktail™ sessions include increasing amounts of daylight, it becomes harder and harder to take a decent photo. Since the porch is enclosed but the house across the street is in daylight, it’s more or less like taking a photo out a window (which, as anyone who’s tried it knows, is tricky). So I’m faced with the choice of leaving the porch underexposed or having the background all blown out. It doesn’t help that I’m not a particularly good or sophisticated or patient photographer.

Anyway: Bud for me yesterday, and seltzer for the Tugboat Captain. As you can see in front of my beer, the tulips are coming in quite nicely.

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Happy Passover to all who are celebrating tonight. I realize it doesn’t seem like the most celebratory time, but let’s be thankful for what we still have. Peace. — Paul

New Browns, Colts Uni Details Emerge; Bucs to Unveil Today

The Buccaneers will finally reveal their new uniforms today at 1pm Eastern (although Uni Watch readers already know what they’ll look like). While we wait for that, let’s go over the status of the other NFL unveilings that are expected to take place over the next month, especially because I have new info on two of them:

The Browns

Unveiling date: Not yet announced. Update: Beat writer Tom Withers is reporting that the Browns will unveil on April 15.

The latest news: I heard yesterday from a trusted source who said he was talking with a decal manufacturer. The manufacturer told him that he was working on “tweaks” to the decals they produce for the Browns. The manufacturer did not give any additional details, and my source declined to identify the manufacturer.

Paul’s take: Of course, Browns don’t have any helmet decals, at least not in the traditional sense of the term. The manufacturer could have been referring to the nose and neck bumpers, but I think the more likely scenario involves the team’s helmet striping, which since 2015 has featured a faux carbon fiber pattern:

Ownership has already given multiple signals that the team is going back to old-school basics, so eliminating the pattern from the stripes would seem to fit that agenda.

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The Colts

Unveiling date: Not yet announced.

The latest news: My source said the decal manufacturer also talked about making “tweaks” to the decals they produce for the Colts. Again, the manufacturer declined to specify what the tweaks will be, and my source declined to identify the manufacturer.

Paul’s take: A logo “tweak” would be consistent with what AP sportswriter Joe Reedy reported about two weeks ago. What would the tweak be? Reader Phil Rossi may have spotted it in a public service video that team owner Jim Irsay recently made. Compare the logo on the helmet on Irsay’s desk to a standard Colts helmet:

It looks like the Irsay helmet’s horseshoe is wider, rounder. Could that be the tweak? We’ll see.

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The Rams

Unveiling date: Sometime in May; exact date not yet announced.

The latest news: As noted in yesterday’s Ticker, the Rams are sticking with their new logos and colors, even though fan reaction to the logos has been decidedly negative.

Paul’s take: I know some fans were hoping the Rams would take after the 1991 49ers and walk back the new logo design, but that was never in the cards. The way sports branding and merchandising works these days, there’s no way to rescind a new design once it’s been announced, because too much has already been invested, too many products are already in the manufacturing pipeline, and so on.

I still think it was a mistake for them to unveil the logos and uniforms separately. The fans’ reaction would likely be a lot different if they could see how the new marks fit into the larger on-field scheme.

———

The Falcons

Unveiling date: Not yet announced. However…

Latest news: … a business associate of team owner Arthur Blank has said that the unveiling date will be April 14 — one week from today. Also, yesterday they changed their social media avatar to their throwback logo (although they’ve now changed it back). Hmmmm.

Paul’s take: The Falcons have done a good job of keeping everything under wraps. Whatever they’re working on, and whenever they plan to reveal it, it’ll be a surprise.

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The Chargers

Unveiling date: Not yet announced, but prior to April 25.

Latest news: The Chargers revealed their new logos nearly two weeks ago, with the promise of unveiling the uniforms in “less than a month.” There hasn’t been any news since then.

Paul’s take: Again, I wish they had unveiled the new uniforms along with the new logos. But whatever they end up doing, I’m sure everyone will love it — this is a franchise that would have to work really hard to mess up all the uni-related goodwill they’ve built up over the years.

———

The Patriots

Unveiling date: Not yet announced, although presumably prior to the draft.

Latest news: The Reedy tweet says they’re getting a uni change but not a logo change.

Paul’s take: I got nothin’. Wait and see.

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That’s it. I’ll have full coverage of the Bucs’ new uniforms tomorrow, of course.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Goin’ back 85 years for our first item today. Have you ever heard of a watch fob? I looked it up: “The purpose of a watch fob was to make the pocket watch more accessible, giving the user something to grab on to when pulling a pocket watch out of a vest or pants pocket.” I think it’s one of things I’ve heard of but never really given much thought — until I came across this 1935 Quaker Oats Babe Ruth Premium Watch Fob Scorer

The seller says:

Between 1934 to 1935, the Quaker Oats Company offered Babe Ruth-endorsed premiums that were available through mail order with redemption of box tops from its cereal. The offered item is one of those goodies, the watch fob scorer. Measuring 2” in height, this handheld scorer allowed the fan to keep score of a baseball game by turning the dials on the edge as shown.

Also of note: See the B on his cap? In 1935, the Bambino was wrapping up his legendary career by playing for the Boston Braves — but that isn’t their cap logo. Maybe it stood for Babe?

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Here’s another one for the Babe, and it’s even older! This is a Bambino Baseball Game made for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. That is one big slab of wood.

• With the Tampa Bay Bucs unveiling their new look today, let’s take a fond look back to their original Bucco Bruce days with this 1970s mini-calculator. Yes kids, people carried these around!

• I know we’ve featured 1970s NFL Goalpost Kits before, but I had to include this one for the amazing box art alone. (However: It’s missing the goalpost, which is a key component to any goalpost kit!)

• Now that is one good-looking 1970s Colorado Rockies (NHL) knit ski cap, made by CCM!

• This 1960s button says “I Belong to the Quarterback Club.”

• Will you look at this! Here’s a little 1970s mail order flyer from the Philadelphia Flyers (a flyer from the Flyers!), where you order all sorts of cool merch, including a “Flyers Digital Clock,” which is really a wristwatch with the little Flyers wings sticking out. Make sure to scroll through all the photos — good stuff!

• This is a 1970s Rally Bobby Orr MVP Sweatshirt. Now, I figured Rally had to be a sporting goods maker from that time frame, and sure enough, they were. More info on that from a blog called, er, Collector’s Corner.

• This 1970s NHL bedding set is adorned with some great-looking artwork.

• How about this 1970s New York Islanders hockey puck bank!

• If you ever wanted to see the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, wearing a Chunky Soup hockey jersey, now is your chance. There he is on the order form for an Easton Gretzky hockey stick — half-price! Just $45 and seven Chunky labels. The soup that eats like a meal!

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ITEM! Meet the Uni Watch Team — Brinke Guthrie: With most of us stuck at home and craving some sort of connection, I decided it would be fun to provide a behind-the-scenes look at various members of the Uni Watch. And since today is Tuesday — “Collector’s Corner” day — I thought we’d start with longtime CC contributor Brinke Guthrie, who lives in the Bay Area.

Brinke says:

Greetings from my Command Centre (I use the British spelling, thanks). Working from home these days for ABC7 in San Francisco, as opposed to my daily BART commute. Among the highlights in my work space here are my new Pixelbook Go (visible behind me in the photo shown above); Jack the bulldog from M’s desk, and Q’s mug (both from Skyfall — I’m a big 007 fan); and my favorite Giants bobbles, including the signed Kruk & Kuip gnome set, my signed Bochy gnome, and the ultimate Giants bobble — Jerry Garcia.

Here are the items Brinke referred to:

VID_20200404_113050856

And there’s more where that came from. Like, a lot more, because Brinke has oodles of pop culture collectibles. You can see lots of additional photos and videos here.

I’ll continue to run “Meet the Uni Watch Team” as an occasional feature in the days and weeks to come. I hope it helps put a bit more of a human face on the site during this time when we could all use a bit more humanity.

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GOING FAST: In case you missed it last week, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s April design is now available. As you can see, it’s based on an official Rawlings/MLB baseball, complete with my signature as the “Commissioner.”

This is a numbered edition of 250 pins. As of this morning, there were only 11 remaining. This one will definitely sell out today, so if you want one, I suggest that you move quickly. (Also: Congrats to Mike Franzosa, who got pin No. 1!) Now sold out!

If you need to get caught up, here are the January, February, and March designs, all of which will remain available until they sell out (no reprints!). You can get a 15% on all of these pins, and on everything in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

And while we’re at it, several other discounts are in effect until further notice:

• The Uni Watch Classic Cap, usually priced at $39.99, is now $35.99.

• Uni Watch seam rippers, usually $6, are now $4.

• And custom-designed Uni Watch membership cards, usually $25, are now $20.

If you’d rather support Uni Watch via a donation, here’s now to do that.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support.

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More mask musings: All this talk about masks has reminded me of when I watched the TV show M*A*SH while growing up. I always noticed how most of the characters tied their masks with the top strap on top, bottom on bottom — but Maj. Houlihan (and maybe the other nurses..?) did it with an an “X” pattern. Even back then, I was uni-watching!

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Raffle reminder: Our longtime advertiser Vintage Brand is back with this month’s raffle. The lucky winner will be able to choose any item from the Vintage Brand site (including this Bucks T-shirt with history’s greatest NBA logo).

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm tomorrow, April 8. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday.

And speaking of T-shirts, Vintage Brand is currently running a sale — for today only, all tees are 20 bucks!

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Membership update: Eight new designs have been added to the membership card gallery. That includes Marcus Hall’s card — the rare (but not unprecedented) Baltimore Stallions-based card.

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, as a gesture of comm-uni-ty solidarity, the price of a membership has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.

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 2,500 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: MLB and the players’ union are considering an ambitious and improbable-seeming plan that would have the season start as early as May, with all games taking place at empty fields in the greater Phoenix area, primarily at spring training facilities. Social distancing measures could possibly include using a digital strike zone so the plate ump wouldn’t have to crouch close to the catcher and having players sit six feet apart in the empty stands instead of in the dugout. … Tigers great Al Kaline died yesterday, so Will Shoken sent along this photo of “Mr. Tiger” from 1951 in his Baltimore-area youth baseball uniform. … Reader Ben Zoss’s mother, Julie, is a talented seamstress (she’s even made The Ticker before!). She sewed Ben this Cubs-themed face mask to help protect against COVID-19. … Speaking of baseball and coronavirus: The Brewers shared a graphic of a separated version of the ball-and-glove logo to encourage social distancing (from Chris Rucinski and Ray Barrington). … We have a single-digit pitcher sighting — from the ’70s! In 1970, P George Brunet made his debut for the Pirates wearing No. 4 after he was acquired from Montreal. Gary Olson says that an Expos announcer said he thought the Pirates would “change that number when they get back to Pittsburgh.” He was right! Brunet switched to No. 20 upon their return. … MiLB has a nice piece on the nickname history of the Rochester Red Wings — one of the longest-running nicknames in the minors. It even features some quotes from reader Paul Bielewicz, vice president and co-founder of the Rochester Baseball Historical Society. … Here’s a piece of good merch: The Baseball Hall of Fame gifts this beautiful cardigan — based on the old baseball sweaters of the 1900s — to benefactors who donate $200 for a membership to the museum (from Doug Brei). … Someone made an illustration based on the infamous Billy Ripken “Fuck Face” card to encourage social distancing (from Andrew Cosentino). … Over on the SportsLogos.net message boards, there’s a great concept for a potential Marlins rebrand as the South Florida Flamingos (from Chris). … The rest of these are from Kary Klismet: The Rangers released drone footage showing some never-before seen angles of their new ballpark. … An MLB: The Show player is using the game’s custom uniform feature to recreate defunct major- and minor-league teams. … A youth baseball organization in Missouri called American Made Baseball is recognizing their players whose seasons have been canceled due to the coronavirus by posting their photos in uniform on their Facebook page.

NFL NewsWe’ve got some new uni number assignments for the Giants (from Neil Vendetti). … The Ravens published a video about the franchise’s first-ever game that includes a great look at the team’s old uniforms and their old home, Memorial Stadium (from Andrew Cosentino). … Someone put a mask (with a buffalo wing pattern!) on the statue of former Bills owner Ralph Wilson outside of the team’s stadium. … Former Pats QB Tom Brady once dissed his own Pro Bowl uni on the field (from Ray Ellingsen). … Dan B. was going through his grandfather’s stuff and found this amazing set of 1970s NFL matchbooks.

Hockey NewsFormer Flyers LW Scott Hartnell tweeted a photo of himself wearing an awesome Gritty mask (from Jeff Czuba). … We all miss hockey — but at least one person went through the trouble to let everyone know via a nameplate ransom note with his jersey collection (from Brandon Weir). … Lots of good bits from this late-’90s clip from ESPN’s Pro Beach Hockey — asphalt surface, rollerblades, sloped end-lines, and bright colored unis (from Johnny). … The rest of these are from Canada’s finest, Wade Heidt: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau placed a hockey stick outside of the door of his house during a daily Covid-19 briefing to honor the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash on the two-year anniversary of the tragedy … Mark Donnelly, the Canucks’ anthem singer, dressed in his gameday tuxedo and sang “O Canada” in support of healthcare workers at a local Vancouver apartment complex. … An article on BarDown takes a look back at hockey skates that changed the game. … Local chain Panago Pizza is still celebrating the Canucks’ 50th anniversary with green and blue boxes with the team’s logo.

NBA NewsThe Wizards edited their “DC” logo to encourage proper hand washing amid the coronavirus pandemic (from Robert Kahn). … During Magic Johnson’s first game with the Lakers in 1979, Jim Chones’s jersey had gold numbers while his teammates had white (from Jamie Hall). … Pistons PG Vinnie Johnson, who normally wore No. 15, wore a No. 52 NNOB jersey for a 1985 game after his jersey was misplaced in transit.

Soccer NewsYesterday marked the 24th anniversary of the first MLS game, so the league changed its website layout to include its old logos and color schemes. They’ve also launched an Instagram account dedicated to their inaugural season (from John Flory). … Staying on the MLS website, they’re running a fan vote to determine the best uniform from that inaugural season (from Phil). … Speaking of 1996, Timmy the Cop was watching a replay of a game from 1996 that featured giant NOBs and way too many uni ads. … If you’re a soccer fan looking for something to watch during quarantine, Callum Newton has a suggestion: The English Game on Netflix, which tells the story of the professionalization of soccer in England. It has plenty of good shots of old soccer kits, including the light blue of Old Etonians. … Speaking of early English soccer, Kary Klismet suggests following Historic Football Grounds on Instagram.

Grab BagNew athletic logos for Montclair State (from Kary Klismet). … Following yesterday’s discussion about “maskots,” David Robins found someone who made a maskot out of the Natty Boh logo. … Munster — an Irish Pro14 rugby team — published a uniform evolution piece on their website (from Michael Vasinko). … Speaking of rugby, a Twitter-er has redesigned some top teams’ crests to encourage social distancing (from Andrew M. and Tony Aggie). … The BBC accidentally used a U.S. Open tennis logo in connection with a story about golf yesterday (from Kevin O’Connor). … You’ll be seeing a lot more military personnel wearing masks in the coming days, as Sec. of Defense Mark Esper has issued new guidelines about masks among military members (from Timmy Donahue).

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What Paul did last night: Our neighbors Greg and Val strolled by while we were cocktailing yesterday. Val was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, which paradoxically has made her rather chipper about the pandemic. “This is basically just a continuation of the past two years,” she said. “By this point, I’ve got the survival thing down pat.” Greg, an audiologist who’s been furloughed, has his own survival strategy: “Lots and lots of video games.”

And now, by popular demand, the return of Uni Watch girl mascot President Caitlin, whose birthday is fast approaching:

Stay safe, people. We’re all in this together, and together we will all get through this. — Paul

Masked Mascots Lead the Way in Pandemic Messaging

Good morning! Greetings from Uni Watch HQ, where I’m happy to report that all three inhabitants continue to be healthy, safe, and mostly sane. I hope the same is true at your home.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing more and more of our fellow citizens wearing masks over their faces. Now that the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks while out in public (a move that several mayors had already made), we’ll likely see more and more cloth masks out there.

But it’s worth noting that one corner of the uni-verse has been featuring cloth masks for decades. That would be teams whose logos feature a mascot character wearing a mask — let’s call them maskots. While other teams have been modifying their logos to promote social distancing in recent weeks, no modifications have been necessary for teams with maskots, who now find themselves in the unusual position of having been ahead of the public health curve.

In general, teams with maskots fall into one of four categories, as follows (for all images, you can click to enlarge):

1. Teams called the Bandits

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2. Teams called the Outlaws

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3. Teams called the Renegades

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4. Teams with miscellaneous other names

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Obviously, those logo collections are not complete or exhaustive — they just show a representative sampling of examples for each category.

It’s interesting to see how some of the same graphics show up again and again. Maskots have clearly become stock images.

It’s even more interesting to consider how certain team names are acceptable for disreputable characters. Consider all the potential synonyms for “Bandits,” for example: Thieves, Robbers, Burglars, Larcenists, and so on. None of those would ever be used as a team name, obviously, but for some reason Bandits is okay, apparently because it promotes the romantic myth of the endearingly irrepressible rebel (a topic I’ve written about before). Ditto for Outlaws, which could just as easily be Criminals, Convicts, Culprits, or Felons.

When you stop and think about it, it’s strange that we choose to glorify these types of characters by naming teams after them. And now, in an ironic twist, these criminal characters are leading the way, even if only inadvertently, in terms of responsible public health messaging.

It’s too bad there are no Big Four pro teams or major colleges with a maskot — it would be interesting to see how such a team or school might use its logo character to further promote the use of cloth masks. (Texas Tech does have a maskot — it’s the Red Raider on horseback at the bottom of the last grouping of logos — but it’s not their primary mark. I didn’t even know that logo existed until I started working on this piece.)

Finally: I know there are people out there who, for various reasons, don’t believe in wearing cloth masks, or don’t think they’re effective, or think they’re just a placebo, blah-blah-blah. If you’re one of those people, I respectfully ask that you please avoid posting those sentiments in the comments. Thanks.

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IMPORTANT: Signal Flare: If your name is Douglas Benson (not the famous one) and you sent me money last night for a seam ripper, please get in touch — there’s an issue with your order that I need to discuss with you. Thanks!

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One of a kind: Former NFL placekicker Tom Dempsey, who wore a series of custom-made shoes on the stump of a right foot that he was born with, and whose 63-yard field goal in 1970 set a record that lasted for over four decades, died on Saturday from Covid-19. He was 73.

Dempsey kicked the 63-yarder while playing for the Saints, but his 11-year career also included stints with the Eagles, Rams, Oilers (I couldn’t find a photo of him in that uniform), and Bills. Here’s a closer look at some of the shoes he wore (click to enlarge):

Dempsey’s metal-plated shoes would not be legal today. In 1977, the league passed a new rule — informally known as the Tom Dempsey Rule — requiring that “a shoe on an artificial limb must have a kicking surface that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe.” Of course, Dempsey’s limb was not artificial — it was just different. In any case, he was grandfathered, so he was exempt from rule in the final years of his career.

When Dempsey kicked the 63-yarder in 1970, it completely obliterated the previous record of 56 yards, which had been set by Bert Rechichar of the Colts in 1953. Dempsey had the NFL record to himself until 1998, when it was matched by Broncos kicker Jason Elam. It was subsequently matched by Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders, 2011) and David Akers (49ers, 2012) before finally being broken by another Broncos kicker, Matt Prater, in 2013. (It’s worth noting that Elam, Janikowski, and Prater all made their kicks in the thin mile-high air of Denver, while Dempsey made his in New Orleans and Akers made his in Green Bay.) R.I.P.

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And you thought the Green Monster was weird: One of baseball’s many charms is the fact that while the infield dimensions are standardized, the outfield configuration can be, well, almost anything, as exemplified by the bizarro field shown above.

That image is from a Twitter thread that began circulating yesterday (inspired by a bunch of Reddit posts), featuring lots of baseball fields — mostly from high schools — with unusual outfield parameters. Check out this one:

It’s fascinating stuff. You can see the entire thread here.

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Click to enlarge

Merch that doesn’t suck: For more than a half-century now, the Dallas Cowboys’ equipment managers have been putting little Dymo label nameplates on the back of the team’s helmets. There have been some stylistic changes of the years — sometimes the lettering has run downward and sometimes upward; uni numbers were initially not included but were then added — but the basic format of an old-school blue Dymo label has remained constant. It’s one of my favorite details in the entire uni-verse (and I say that as a lifelong Cowboys hater!). We’ve even featured it on Uni Watch membership cards.

Now someone has finally gotten the bright idea to feature the Dymo motif on a series of Cowboys T-shirts. Brilliant! In an era when so much merch is just templated copy/paste slop that tries to shoehorn every team into the same design format, here’s something that’s completely team-specific — and based on a fairly obscure uni detail to boot! Nicely done.

(Big thanks to Twitter-er Patrick O. for lettering me know about this one.)

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Iowa hoops follow-up: Remember last Thursday’s post about the late-1960s Iowa girls’ basketball uniform scene, which I explored as the result of a New York Times article? The author of that article, Jeré Longman, saw my blog post, liked it, and pointed me toward some color photos, like ones shown above of Union-Whitten High School. I had no idea that their main school color was green! Also, if you look closely, it appears that their shorts may have had elasticized cuffs — interesting!

Here’s another color shot, this time of Everly High School’s skirts:

One thing I find interesting about all of these uniforms is the use of untucked jerseys with ribbed trim at the bottom. From an aesthetic standpoint, I love that look — but as you can see in these color pics, the jerseys tended to ride up quite a bit, exposing the players’ midriffs. That seems surprising for a midwestern state in the 1960s, no? Why not go with a traditional tucked-in jersey to expose less of the girls’ skin?

Even more surprising, reader Jay Wright sent me some 1940s and ’50s photos showing Iowa girls’ uniforms that intentionally bared the players’ midriffs:

I’ve never seen anything like that before. Mid-century Iowa girls’ hoops scene was clearly a uni-watcher’s paradise!

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Too good for the Ticker: There’s a fair number of high schools scattered around the country whose sports teams are called the Cavemen, but I bet none of them can top the logos used by Carlsbad High in New Mexico. The girls’ teams are called the Cavegirls. Not sure why the female mascot is wearing socks, but that’s a minor quibble. Very cool!

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More mask musings: Industrial designer/engineer Michael Princip is probably a familiar name to many of you. Back in 2011 he came up with a football helmet prototype that eventually became the basis for Schutt’s F7 helmet, which has caught on in pro and college football. (He also had a key role in an April Fool’s Day prank that we played a long time back, but that’s another story for another day.)

Anyway: Michael’s been making masks for his family and a few lucky friends. He knows I love anything green plaid, so he very generously cut up one of his own shirts and turned it into this mask, which he then sent to me. It even has an interior pocket for a filter, and sent along some filters as well — so nice of him! I wore it for my daily bike rides on Saturday and Sunday (which were my only times leaving the house this weekend).

Thanks, Michael — you’re the best.

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Pin Club reminder: In case you missed it last week, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s April design is now available. As you can see, it’s based on an official Rawlings/MLB baseball, complete with my signature as the “Commissioner.”

This is a numbered edition of 250 pins. Todd Radom and I each took five pins for ourselves, leaving 240 to sell. As of this morning, we had already sold more than 200 of them, so there are fewer than 40 remaining. This looks like it will be the first Pin Club entry to sell out, so if you want one, I suggest that you move fast.

If you need to get caught up, here are the January, February, and March designs, all of which will remain available until they sell out (no reprints!). You can get a 15% on all of these pins, and on everything in the Uni Watch Shop and the Naming Wrongs Shop, by using the checkout code COMMUNITY.

And while we’re at it, several other discounts are in effect until further notice:

• The Uni Watch Classic Cap, usually priced at $39.99, is now $35.99.

• Uni Watch seam rippers, usually $6, are now $4.

• And custom-designed Uni Watch membership cards, usually $25, are now $20.

If you’d rather support Uni Watch via a donation, here’s now to do that.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support.

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ITEM! Vintage Brand raffle: Our longtime advertiser Vintage Brand is back with this month’s raffle. The lucky winner will be able to choose any item from the Vintage Brand site (including this Bucks T-shirt with history’s greatest NBA logo).

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm this Wednesday, April 8. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday.

And speaking of T-shirts, Vintage Brand is currently running a sale — today and tomorrow, all tees are 20 bucks!

Meanwhile, speaking of raffles, our latest raffle winner is Brian Waltz, who’s won himself a Uni Watch membership card. Congrats to him, and thanks to the anonymous reader who sponsored this one.

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Membership update: A bunch of new designs were added to the membership card gallery over the weekend. That includes Daniel Pecoraro’s card, which is patterned after the New York Titans lacrosse team’s skyline jersey design. Great job by card design Scott M.X. Turner to capture the skyline pattern.

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, as a gesture of comm-uni-ty solidarity, the price of a membership has been reduced from $25 to $20 until further notice.

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 2,500 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: A Chicago architect acquired all the blueprints of the first Comiskey Park and is making a digital model of it (from Kary Klismet). … Reader Timmy Donahue tells us that Hofstra’s baseball stadium still features both their old and new nicknames — they changed from the Flying Dutchmen/Dutchwomen to the Pride in 2000. … The KBO League — that’s the top pro league in Korea is modifying its logo to include a surgical mask (from Jeremy Brahm).

Football News: Despite fan outcry and pleas from Eric Dickerson, the Rams are sticking with their new logos and colors. … NBC Sports Washington interviewed the 17-year-old designer of a Photoshopped jersey-swap graphic of Ohio State DL Chase Young wearing a Washington NFL uniform that made the rounds yesterday (from @SE_0ne). … You probably knew that Deion Sanders played both offense and defense for the Cowboys in the 1990s. But did you know he used two different facemasks, depending on which side of the ball he was on?

Hockey News: A Reddit user made a combined Vancouver Canucks/Grizzlies jersey for Canucks D Quinn Hughes (from Wade Heidt). … Former NHL C Dan Quinn has been sharing items from his collection, including one of his Flames jerseys from the 1986 Stanley Cup Final(s), which looks like it has an off-center NOB (from Pádraig Watson). … Reader Brandon Weir sent in two uni-notable Gordie Howe pictures: The first one features him wearing shoulder pads with No. 22 crossed out and replaced with No. 9 while with the WHA’s New England Whalers, and the second one features a variation of the Red Wings logo with the team name included — along with a puppy! … Christopher Hickey tells us that a Philadelphia high school team once had a uniform design very similar to the Canucks’ flying V, but in a different color scheme.

Soccer News: German team Werder Bremen released modified versions of their shirts with the ad changed to tell people to stay at home. … Swedish team Djurgårdens IF released a new second shirt on Saturday, the day the Allsvenskan was supposed to start. … A March 1997 English second-tier game featured Birmingham City wearing the second kit of their opponents, Crystal Palace, because both of theirs were unsuitable against Palace’s red and blue. … This article about Scottish women’s team Glasgow City mentions how they added “You can’t be what you can’t see” to the back of their shirts in 2017 to protest the lack of media coverage of women’s sports. … UEFA temporarily lifted the Saturday afternoon TV blackout in England and Scotland for the rest of this season, implying that when soccer resumes there, it might be behind closed doors.

Grab Bag: Reader David Murphy, who contributed to Friday’s entry about readers first Getting It™, also wrote his own blog post in which he commented on each of the other readers’ stories. … NASCAR’s been holding weekly races on iRacing while its series are postponed, and the logo for its iRacing competition is supposed to look like a sim-racing setup with three monitors and a steering wheel below (from Geoff Magliocchetti). … A Pennsylvania field hockey club, Mystx, recently donated kits to a club in Uganda. … Scottish soccer team Aberdeen’s Atlanta-based chairman, Dave Cormack, told BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday that he’s spoken with “a number of owners of major sports franchises” in the U.S. who he says are privately expecting their sports to be played behind closed doors until the end of the year — in other words, with no live crowds — when sports eventually resume. … Here’s an article on the history of flight attendant uniforms (from Kary Klismet).

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What Paul did last night: I’ve been growing a beard (or maybe just been too lazy to shave — hard to be sure), so we spent a lot of yesterday’s porch time talking about beards, shaving, body hair and the like. This is a topic we’re pretty well acquainted with, because one of us has a certain predilection in that area (sorry, no details), but we still learned some new things from yesterday’s discussion. Thing I learned: Back in fourth or fifth grade, the Tugboat Captain had a somewhat swarthy classmate who shaved her arms. Never heard of that one before. Thing she learned: In the early 2000s, I dated a chick who was having electrolysis sessions on her crotch. Yes, this is all rather tedious, but it was better than talking about, well, you know.

Things were a bit more interesting on Friday evening, when we were joined by our friend Carrie, who we miss more than I can possibly express (and who would’ve been seriously grossed out by the body hair discussion, so it’s good that we saved it for yesterday):

Hope your weekend was good, or at least healthy and safe. Stay well. — Paul