Blueshirts Faux It WAY Back For Winter Classic

By Phil Hecken

While many of us are focused on the big NCAA Football rivalry games today (and yesterday as well), the New York Rangers officially unveiled their 2018 Winter Classic uniform on Friday, just in time for our holiday shopping. Let’s take a look-see:

OK, it’s blue (“Blueshirts” — check), it’s got RANGERS written in diagonal across the front (check), it’s got red and white striping and piping (check and check). But what’s with the solid white, block lettering? That’s not quite the Rangers sweater we know and love, is it? No.

At first glance, I thought this was some kind of a joke — that jersey looks like one you’d find in the Sears catalog in the 1970s or something. But I knew it was real and, not being the hockey historian many of you are, I figured there was another reason. Turns out, this sweater is actually a fauxback to the 1926-27 season. Our pal Chris Creamer already whipped out the comparison:

As you can see from Chris’ dating, the photo on the left is from 1926, and the uniform pictured on the right will be worn in 2018. I’m not real good with math, but that’s like a 92-year gap. Not an anniversary or anything. Hmmm. Well, it just so happens the Rangers first season in the NHL was 1926-27, so this is the look they’re seeking to replicate. Of course, back then, the sweaters were actual sweaters, and they wore tan breezers with that getup. So, the uniform they’ll be sporting for the Winter Classic (taking place on January 1, 2018, in Citi Field I’m Calling It Shea, Queens), is fauxing back to their original season in the National Hockey League.

If we compare the original to the WC jersey, you can see it’s not a bad approximation:

The blue appears to be quite a bit lighter in the ’26 version, and there is an extra layer of blue beneath the white/red/white stripe on the hem. The new version also has a white/red/white thin stripe across the collar/shoulders, which wasn’t on the 1926 version. Obviously, the pants on the modern look are red, not tan, and there are some additional accoutrements (patches, logos, etc.) on the WC jersey. It looks like they pretty well approximated the white collar. Not bad!

The front of the jersey contains a patch with the letters “NY” as well as an NHL logo just below the collar. The NY appears to be chain-stitched:


For captains and assistant captains, the “NY” switches to a “C” or “A” respectively. The right shoulder also contains the Winter Classic logo patch:

Of course, the cynic in me couldn’t help but notice that the non fauxback white/red/white stripe on the shoulders also appears on the back of the uniform. It makes a very convenient place to house the adidas logo. I’m sure this was completely unintentional:

The NY patch on the jersey also appears on the lower right side of the shorts:

Gotta say, after initially not liking this uni, it’s already beginning to grow on me. Interestingly enough, the Rangers, despite wearing blue, are the designated away team (odd with the game being played in Queens, too). That means the Buffalo Sabres, the Rangers’ opponent, will be wearing white at home, as God intended.

The Sabres actually unveiled their uniforms a couple days ago (and they’re drop dead gorgeous) — but since we were in the middle of Thanksgiving week, you may not have seen them. Feast your eyes:

Here are some stills. This one is a home run — they really knocked it out of the park. Hey, it’s an outdoor game in a baseball stadium, I need some diamond metaphors.

It’s hard to believe this is actually the 10th Anniversary of the Winter Classic Game — the 2008 game also featured the Sabres, playing in outdoors in Buffalo against the powder blue clad Penguins, in the snow. That was a huge success (and the teams, conditions and uniforms certainly helped) they’ve kept it up for 10 seasons. I’m not a huge fan of the extra “Stadium Series” outdoor games the NHL has added (though I like the “Heritage Classic” played between Canadian teams in Canada), but the Winter Classic has always been a nice addition to a New Year’s Day dominated by football.

I’m looking forward to this one. Readers, what say you?

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And the XFL Contest Winner Is…

Ben Polizzi

The voting ended earlier in the week and Ben’s design won by a pretty good margin:

Ben described his submission like so:

These Chicago Enforcer threads pay homage to Chi-town Police and Swat. A bulletproof vest with updated Chicago Police Department badge and modified name/number, Sillitoe Tartan on the front/left shoulder [gold/black pattern for team captains (sheriffs) and white/black for all other players]. The sleeves mimic the actual CPD uniform with the Chicago flag on the right and Enforcer-style patch on the left. The inside of the collar reads “We Serve and Protect”. Why Urlacher? Because no one else looks more like a cop. Just because: Riot helmet + light blue combat pants [with holster and baton stripes]. Hope you dig!

Well done, and congratulations to Ben. I’ve already informed Steve Rosenbeck of Garb Athletics that Ben’s design has won the contest — so Ben, if you haven’t already heard from Steve, please let me know and I’ll be sure you two touch base to design the custom jersey based on your design!

Thanks to all who participated, congrats (again) to Ben, and thanks again to Steve for providing a neat prize for the winner.

If anyone has thoughts or suggestions for the next jersey design contest, please post them in the comments below! We’re always up for new and innovative design contests.

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And now a few words from Paul: Hi there. In case you missed it on Friday, we have a new limited-edition shirt, designed by Bryan Molloy, available only through next Monday. It’s a doozy of a package, with front and back designs, a custom hangtag, a sticker, a custom mailer, and, for the first 40 orders, a magnet. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.

Also: In case you missed it during the Thanksgiving shuffle, my latest ESPN column tells the lost story of how the Vikings’ original uniforms were created. Check it out here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: You guys are (no doubt) aware the great Todd Radom is a logo designer, but he’s also quite the talented graphic artist as well. … When you think of Ron Santo, you undoubtedly think “Chicago,” but you don’t usually picture him as a member of the White Sox (from @OldTimeHardball). … Talk about throwbacks: here’s a Christmas ornament from the 1993 World Series featuring the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies (from James Gilbert). … Here’s an absolutely gorgeous photo of the 1964 New York Yankees Joe Pepitone and Kansas City Athletics Jim Gentile (from @OldTimeHardball). Wowsa!

NFL/CFL News: Paul had highlights of the Thanksgiving color on color matchup between the Chargers and Cowboys yesterday. Our pal Bill Schaefer from the Gridiron Uniform Database notes the last time 2 teams wore blue jerseys in the same NFL game was 12/16/56 Detroit at Chicago. … During the Thanksgiving game, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott sported some fancy custom cleats. … Tweeter Funhouse observes, “You guys had a column in January about holders without facemasks. Here’s a good screenshot I took of Wayne Rasmussen, from a 1969 game vs. the Rams. Everyone else had a facemask.” … The Chicago Bears will wear white jerseys and navy pants this week. … Jets guard Brian Winters was missing his nameplate at a Thanksgiving charity event (from Kenny Saidah). … The Cleveland Browns will be wearing orange/white/white/orange Sunday versus the Bengals (from Robert Hayes). … “Interesting fashion choice for an athlete while accepting a sports award. Very much a Calgary-style fashion statement representative of the Stampede City,” says Wade Heidt. “Stampeders’ linebacker Alex Singleton accepts the CFL’s 2017 Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award while wearing a cowboy hat on Thursday night.” … CROSSOVER ALERT (Also posted in Hockey): Also from Wade, the Calgary Stampeders logo replaces the Hitmen logo on the helmet to help support the Stampeders in their attempt to hoist the Grey Cup this Sunday. … Nice article here from the New York Times on how the CFL has taken a number of steps to reduce hits and concussions, in contrast to the NFL (from Tommy Turner). … The Cincy Bengals will wear orange jerseys and black pants Sunday against Cleveland (interesting way to announce the uni combo).

College/High School Football News: In their rivalry game with NC State today, North Carolina will go blue/white/blue. … Further south, SCar will be going black/garnet/garnet. … The Washington Huskies will wear helmet stickers during Apple Cup to promote safety in football campaign. Here’s what their opponents, Washington State, will wear. … Here’s the West Virginia combo for today at Oklahoma. … Wisconsin will wear lumberjack plaid-themed accoutrements for their game against Minnesota. … Notre Dame’s storied football program announced this week that the Fighting Irish would be the first team to outfit the majority of its roster with the new VICIS Zero1 helmet. … Here’s a look at Vanderbilt’s uniforms versus Tennessee. … Here’s Colorado’s uniforms vs. Utah. … UCF wore helmets that featured personalized UCF logo decals that were unique on each player’s helmet. A photo of each of the players was featured on their respective helmets, shimmering within UCF’s main logo. … It appears Navy will be wearing Blue Angels-themed uniforms when they play Army on December 9 (from Jake Russell). … Here are two interesting high school uniform notes from two different states: (1) Blue Valley North (Overland Park, KS) places its “TV numbers” directly onto the Northwestern stripe on the sleeves instead of the shoulder pads; (2) In a November 10 playoff game in Louisiana, Catholic (Baton Rouge) wore white at home vs. Archbishop Shaw (Marrero), a violation of National Federation of State High School Associations rules, which require the home team to wear dark jerseys. According to submitter David Steinle, “Massachusetts and Texas play under NCAA rules, so the jersey choice rules apply there, and the home team can wear white. Until 1980, the home team in Louisiana usually wore white due to the intense heat; the home team could wear its dark jersey if it so desired.” … At one time the Iron Bowl was color vs. color. That was 1961. According to Thom Abraham, “Was a bitch on TV!” — Check that, “Auburn and Alabama have swapped home and away designations for decades in the Iron Bowl. Each team has worn their corresponding home color and road white uniforms in every game since 1964,” says Clint Richardson. He adds, “The last time Auburn and Alabama was a color-on-color game? November 30, 1963. Auburn won 10-8.” He continues, “The Iron Bowl was a navy vs crimson affair 8 times over a 13 year span from 1950 to 1963. Auburn and Alabama split the games, each team winning 4 of those. Auburn won the final color-on-color Iron Bowl in 1963, 10-8.” … Here’s the outfit Maryland will wear today against Penn State.

Hockey News: Tweeter Dennis W. Alpert‏ has some strong opinions on the Bruins change from gold to black socks. I have to say I agree with that sentiment. … CROSSOVER ALERT (Also posted in NFL/CFL): From Wade Heidt, the Calgary Stampeders logo replaces the Hitmen logo on the helmet to help support the Stampeders in their attempt to hoist the Grey Cup this Sunday. Here is a photo of the Hitmen in action on Wednesday against Portland with the logo on the helmet. … Pretty cool looking goalie masks for the Alaska Nanooks here, here and here (from Joshua Dryer). … The Dallas Stars all wore Jere Lehtinen jerseys in warm-ups. Here’s another look. … A pair of Columbus Blue Jackets took NCAA Football rivalries up a notch: Michigan (Werenski) and Ohio State (Anderson) represented in post-game fashion (from Kevin Pedigo).

NBA News: Today the Golden State Warriors will break out their alternate uniform that is a tribute to Oakland (the Town). … Nearly a quarter of the way into the season, the Lakers have worn their gold uniforms 11 times in their first 19 games, including in five of their eight road games. Fear not purple-uni lovers, they’ll be breaking out the purple Monday against the Clippers (and will wear it a bunch of times this season). … The Utah Jazz will wear their gold alternate uniforms today (from Landry Heaton). … The Cleveland Cavaliers broke out their black alternate jerseys last evening (from @willchitty4), and LeBron James said black uniforms will be staple of Cavs ‘forever’ (which will make Jimmer Vilk very happy). Here’s another look at the new alternate. … Also breaking out new black uniforms last evening were the Boston Celtics (from Ryan Mahan). Yeah, these are not good. … These were just several Statement alternate jerseys to make their debuts last night. This reply kinda sums up a lot of our feelings about the OKC alternates. … The Pacers broke out their gold uniforms last night. … Speaking of black alternates, the Lakers will debut these “Black Mamba” uniforms in early January (credit to Conrad Burry). … Here’s more on those teams who broke out their alternates last night.

Soccer News: PUMA have unveiled a range of new international kits, including Uruguay and African giants Ghana and Ivory Coast, among others. … Players in the Premier League will wear the rainbow laces for matches over the next 10 days as part of the now annual Stonewall-backed Rainbow Laces campaign (from George Chilvers). … Nike And Adidas will make 22 World Cup uniforms — but can you guess the other seven companies?

Grab Bag: World Rugby team Wales Sevens have launched a new kit.
… In College Hoops, Oregon and DePaul played a game where team name, player names and numbers were all virtually illegible (from Rex Henry).

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Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Blue vs. blue yesterday in Dallas, as the Cowboys wore their navy jerseys at home (!) and the Chargers wore their powder blue alternates (don’t call them throwbacks, they’re not). I was busy eating and socializing, so I didn’t see any of the game. Was the blue-fest annoying? Was there enough contrast between the two teams? Lots of additional photos here.

In other NFL action from yesterday, the Lions wore their throwbacks against the Vikings (additional photos here):

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In the night game, the Giants added retro visor tabs for their game in Washington (click to enlarge):

Sorry, I couldn’t find a game photo showing the visor tabs.

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it during the Thanksgiving shuffle, my latest ESPN column tells the lost story of how the Vikings’ original uniforms were created. Check it out here.

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The spirit of the holiday: Today is Black Friday, when the entire world is trying to sell you a bunch of crap that you don’t really need. But here at Uni Watch, we have a different approach: We’re trying to sell you something really cool that you don’t really need.

Here’s the deal: Remember the shirt we did for this year’s Purp Walk? We had a lot of requests to do a similar design in Uni Watch colors. So Bryan Molloy, who designed the purple shirt, has come up with a green-based version — but with a few twists.

As you may recall, the crest on the Purp Walk shirt was based on the logo of the New York Athletic Club:

Bryan has now taken that concept a step further. He’s envisioned a Uni Watch Aesthetic Club (UWAC), whose members will get to wear this shirt (click to enlarge):

That’s the front of the shirt, with small-ish logo on the upper-left chest. The back has the full UWAC crest:

The Purp Walk shirt had lots of bells and whistles, and this one does as well, starting with a hangtag that will be affixed to your shirt with green-and-white striped string (click to enlarge):

And just like the Purp Walk shirt, this one comes with a sticker:

In addition, the first 40 people to order will get this UWAC magnet:

And the whole shebang will be shipped in a custom-printed UWAC mailer (click to enlarge):

The Purp Walk shirt was available for only 24 hours. There’s a slightly larger window for this one: It’s available here from now through the end of next Monday, Nov. 27. (Because this shirt is being sold through Bryan’s website instead of through Teespring, and because of all the extra design features, we can’t offer the 15% discount to Uni Watch membership cardholders. Sorry about that, and thanks for understanding.)

Major props to Bryan for going the extra mile on this one. Once again, the shirt is available here. (Maybe next year we’ll do BFBS Friday!)

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Sorry, no Ticker today. Have a great weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving

Greetings from Ithaca, N.Y., where the Tugboat Captain and I are spending the Thanksgiving weekend at the home of her brother Peter. That’s the Captain and Peter shown above, a few minutes after we arrived yesterday. Gee, you’d never guess that they’re siblings, eh?

We have a lot of cooking and even more eating to do today, and you probably do as well, so I’ll keep this short.

First, in case you missed it yesterday, I have a new ESPN piece that tells the lost story behind the origins of the Vikings’ uniforms. Check it out here.

Second, I’d like to take a minute to give thanks to all the people who continue to make Uni Watch possible, including Ticker assistant Alex Hider; our three new Ticker interns, Anthony Emerson, Kris Gross, and Jamie Rathjen, who’ve all been excellent additions to the Uni Watch team; “Collector’s Corner” columnist Brinke Guthrie; NBA uni tracker Collin Wright; membership card and Naming Wrongs designer Scott M.X. Turner; all of this year’s Uni Watch Artist’s Series T-shirt designers, including Todd Radom, Larry Torrez, Brian Malloy, Rob Ullman, and Sean Kane; weekend contributors Kyle Acker, Dennis Bolt, Ethan Dimitroff, Terry Duroncelet, Rex Henry, Joe Ringham, and Jim Vilk; webmaster John Ekdahl; and, especially, deputy editor Phil Hecken, the most devoted bench coach and curling skip a guy could ever hope to have.

Everyone have a great holiday. Peace. — Paul

How the Vikings Got Their Horns

Click to enlarge

In January of 1962, cartoonist extraordinaire Karl Hubenthal drew a cartoon about how he had designed the Minnesota Vikings’ uniforms. If you’ve never heard of Hubenthal, and/or if you had no idea that he’d created the Vikes’ inaugural look, I have a treat for you today over on ESPN — the lost story of how a guy from Los Angeles created the design that’s now synonymous with Minnesota. It’s a lot like my recent piece on the untold story behind the Astros’ rainbow design. Check it out here.

This ESPN piece, incidentally, would not have happened if not for reader Lukas Hoffland, who tipped me off to a key clue that helped me piece the story together. Big thanks to him, from one Lukas to another.

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Click to enlarge

Winter Classic teasers: The Rangers and Sabres are set to unveil their Winter Classic jerseys this afternoon, and the Sabres gave some hints by releasing some teaser images yesterday afternoon. Looks very promising, no? Looking forward to seeing the whole thing.

Also, kudos to the Sabres for including an image of the pants, and thereby acknowledging that there’s more to uniforms than just jerseys.

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Terry Glenn follow-up: In yesterday’s post I mentioned that former Cowboys WR Terry Glenn, who was an Ohio State alum (and who died in a car crash earlier this week), managed to sneak a buckeye decal onto the back of his helmet for a game in 2006.

After yesterday’s post went live, I shared that photo with Jason Priestas, founder of the OSU-centric Eleven Warriors site, because I thought he’d get a kick out of it. He did, and then he showed the photo to another OSU grad who played with the Cowboys at the time, linebacker Bobby Carpenter. According to Priestas, “Bobby said [coach Bill] Parcells brought out a sheet of [the buckeye decals] prior to the game and said, ‘Go earn one of these today, Terry.’”

So wearing the decal wasn’t actually Glenn’s idea, as I had long assumed. It was actually a motivational tool by Parcells. All very interesting, especially since Glenn is the player Parcells once referred to as “she” when they were both with the Patriots.

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Looking ahead to Friday: In keeping with the spirit of the season, we’re going to have a new Uni Watch shirt that will only be available from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Much like this year’s Purp Walk shirt, it will have lots of extra bells and whistles (including a magnet!). Trust me, it’s really good. Details coming on Friday.

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New advertiser shout-out: Despite the spread of Google Calendar and other online datebooks, printed calendars are still a big industry. If you still use them, I suggest that you do your calendar shopping with Asgard Press, which offers a slew of very cool-looking college football-themed calendars, like the Auburn design shown at right. (They also have some cool pop culture-themed calendars, if you’re more into that.) And as you can see from their new ad in our right-hand sidebar, you can use the checkout code “UNI25” to get 25% off your order.

And as long as we’re talking about our advertisers:

• In case you missed it last week, you can get a free two-week subscription to Rep the Squad, the company that lets you rent jerseys instead of buying them, here.

• You can get 3-D uniform templates for your uni concepts sportstemplates.net”>from SportsTemplates.net.

• And you can get all sorts of cool sports-related gift items (wallets with linings made from game-used jerseys, cufflinks made from baseball leather, etc.) from our friends at Tokens & Icons.

My thanks, as always, for considering our advertisers.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: The Tigers will reportedly honor the 50th anniversary of their 1968 World Series championship with this logo next season [but to my knowledge, there are no plans to wear it as a patch on either the cap or the jersey — PL] (from Dave Raglin). … Dave also toured Nationals Park recently and found this poster in the locker that describes the rules and regulations for MLB bats. … Phillies SS Dickie Thon appears to have been wearing a yellow undershirt in this 1989 shot. … Remember Jeff Callahan, the guy who created a baseball version of the old paper football game? He’s added a new ballpark to his stock of game surfaces: Sportsman’s Park.

Pro Football News: The Chargers will wear powder blue when they take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving this Thursday (from Phil). … Great spot by Matt DeMazza: Check out the pair of legs behind the ball carrier in this photo. Judging by the square-toed kicking boot, those legs likely belong to Hall-of-Famer Jerry Kramer. He’s best known for playing guard for the great Packers teams of the ’50s and ’60s, but he also often handled kicking duties. So, when Kramer was kicking, did he play the entire game at guard with one kicking shoe? Or is the photo an exception to the rule? … The Titans have worn seven different uni combinations this year, tying a team record (from Titans Uni Tracker). … Apple Maps gets it, still calls the Dolphins’ stadium Joe Robbie Stadium (from @swizzcheeze). … A man wearing a Browns Tim Couch jersey can be spotted in the background of this report from Zimbabwe (from @TravisJames4U2C). … ESPN has some logo inconsistencies with the Dolphins in their “Playoff Machine” feature (from @light_beans). … Miles Filbert found some old CFL ads in 1970s Sears catalogues. … Several sources told The Washington Post that if the NFL anthem protests continue, the owners will likely decide to have the anthem played while the teams are still in their locker rooms. That was the standard procedure until 2009, when players were first required to be on the sidelines for the anthem.

College/High School Football News: Nice Iron Bowl soda display spotted at an Alabama Winn-Dixie (from Roger Kirk). … Oregon will wear mono-green against Oregon State this weekend. … Notre Dame will equip the majority of its players with the Vicis Zero1 helmet next season. More on that here. … Juan F. found some marker’s mark inconsistencies with UCLA’s 1998 jerseys. The logo is centered on some jerseys and applied to the shoulders on others. …  San Angelo Central and El Paso Pebblo Hills went color-on-color in a Texas high school playoff game last Friday (from Dennis Jones). … The officials in last night’s Akron/Kent State game were wearing jerseys from two different manufacturers.

Hockey News: Here’s an interview with a man who was tasked with painting portraits for the top 100 players of all time in conjunction with the NHL’s 100th anniversary (from Phil). … The Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL will wear ugly sweater uniforms on Dec. 16 (from Mike Iles). … The Cincinnati Cyclones and the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL wore Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles uniforms last Friday (from Brian Henke).

Basketball NewsWhoops: Kyrie Irving, now with the Celtics, is the November photo for the Cavaliers official 2017 calendar (from Jim Vilk). … Fanatics is now selling its own, cheaper line of NBA replica jerseys (from Phil). … New BFBS unis for Marshall (from Phil). … The San Antonio Stars of the WNBA will still be called the Stars when they relocate to Las Vegas next season (from Nick Yelverton‏). … “Shannon Brown of the Wisconsin Herd no longer has ‘Sh. Brown’ on the back of his jersey, since Sterling Brown is back with the Bucks,” reports Zachary Loesl. “Instead, it’s now ‘S. Brown,’ since Vitto Brown is still on the roster.”

Soccer NewsNissan will advertise on USL side Nashville SC’s kits for the next few seasons (from Rhys McManus). … A man wearing a Manchester United jersey can be spotted in the background of this report from Zimbabwe (from @TravisJames4U2C). … Wigan Athletic striker Ryan Colclough scored two goals last night and then left the game so he could rush to the hospital in time to see his son being born. He made it — while still in uniform (from Thom Gibbs).

Grab BagNo. 34 is big in Houston — the Oilers’ Earl Campbell, the Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon and the Astros’ Nolan Ryan all wore it. That’s why the Houston Sports Authority will honor the number and the players that wore it in February (from Ignacio). … The New York Times has a feature piece on how Fanatics has dominated the online athletic apparel market. … A limited sneaker release caused an uproar in Richmond, Virginia yesterday as dozens of people “bum rushed” the store (from Tommy Turner).

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Gobble-gobble: Later this morning the Tugboat Captain and I will be hopping in the buggy and driving up to Ithaca, where we’ll be spending the Thanksgiving weekend with her brother and sister-in-law. Here’s hoping the traffic isn’t too brutal, and same goes for you if you’re driving today. Everyone travel safe and have a great pre-Thanksgiving. — Paul