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Some Naming Wrongs Are Wronger Than Others

Word came down last week that the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena, set to open next month, will be named after an annoyingly spelled financial services company. That was disappointing, but now a new, more alarming wrinkle has emerged.

As The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported yesterday, the Wisconsin state legislature voted last year to give Fiserv — that’s the company that bought the naming rights — up to $12.5 million to keep its headquarters in the state. Or to put it another way, Wisconsin taxpayers, who already subsidized the arena’s construction via a quarter of a billion dollars in public financing, are now on the hook for subsidizing the naming rights to boot. That’s a pretty neat trick.

One might reasonably point out that if doing business in Wisconsin was so financially arduous for Fiserv that they essentially needed a bribe in order to stay there, it’s a bit surprising that they just happen to have enough spare change in their pockets to ink a 25-year naming rights deal, no? Hmmmm.

This is similar to the situation nearly a decade ago, when Citi bought the naming rights to the Mets’ new ballpark just as the company was being bailed out by the federal government as part of the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis. That led to people here in New York saying things like, “They should call the stadium Bailout Park!” and “They should call it Taxpayer Stadium!” and “They should call it Debits Field!” (that was always my favorite), which in turn led the Rev. Vince Anderson to say, “Eh, fuck it — I’m calling it Shea,” which in turn led to his catch-phrase being turned into a T-shirt, which in turn led to Naming Wrongs.

But I digress. Look, the corporate interests here are doing what corporate interests always do — privatizing the profits, socializing the expenses — but this is a particularly scummy example of it. With that in mind, we should come up with our own name for the Bucks’ arena, a name that isn’t tainted by this nonsense. If we come up with something good enough, maybe I’ll even do a new Naming Wrongs T-shirt for it. Feel free to post your suggestions in today’s comments.

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ITEM! Lakers update: Everyone, myself included, thought the Lakers were going to unveil their new uniforms yesterday. But as the day moved along, there was nary a uni-centric peep coming out of L.A., and then the team’s retail shop tweeted the news that the jerseys would be available today at 1pm Eastern, and then the team’s Facebook page announced that the new look will be introduced via a video today at noon Eastern.

But here’s the thing: When viewed on desktop, the Facebook announcement’s preview image just shows the Lakers’ logo. But when viewed on mobile, the preview image shows the team’s new yellow jersey, which confirms the retail leak we had previously seen last week:

So that pretty well eliminates whatever modicum of suspense was still remaining. Oh, and speaking of retail leaks, there was another one yesterday. So this is a lot of buildup for what is likely to be very little payoff. But whatever — I’ll have an assessment over at ESPN in the early afternoon.

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ITEM! Alternate cap now available: I’m happy to report that the Uni Watch alternate cap (shown at right; click to enlarge) is now available for ordering.

This cap was built for us from scratch by the good folks at Golden Sombrero (run by Bart Silberman, honcho of the fondly remembered nostalgia brand Moonlight Graham). Here are the details:

• The cap features Bryan Molloy’s awesome winged stirrup design on the front and the Uni Watch script on the back.

• No maker’s mark, of course.

• The cap has a flex-fit design and is available in two sizes: S/M (roughly equivalent to fitted sizes 6-5/8 through 7) and M/L (roughly equivalent to 7 through 7-1/2). Unfortunately, we do not have XXL at this time.

• The price is $29.99.

• Here’s a really cool detail that Golden Sombrero suggested: custom Uni Watch inner seam taping. Check this out (click to enlarge):

I think that covers it! Again, the cap is available for purchase here.

Meanwhile, a few sizes of our Uni Watch classic cap are still available at Ebbets Field Flannels (with a $10 price break currently in effect), plus we have plenty of inventory on the adjustable version. The sold-out sizes should be back in stock around the end of August.

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ITEM! Amazing Brannock find: People who know of my fondness for the Brannock Device often assume that I have a large collection of them. I always tell them, “Nah, I just have one — that’s enough for me.”

But I had to rethink that position two days ago, when longtime Uni Watch reader Ben Traxel emailed me to say that he was at an antiques mall in Illinois and had come across something he thought might interest me (click to enlarge):

How amazing is that?! Note the sock size gauge in the center with the distinct pointer design — I’ve never seen that before! The two Brannocks are both stamped “U.S.A.F.,” so this was apparently used by the Air Force.

Ben even shot a little video of the item:

I’m currently in “get rid of stuff” mode, not “accumulate more stuff” mode, but I had to make an exception for this spectacular find. Ben purchased the item for me, and he’ll send it to my new address after I move in a few weeks. It’ll make a nice housewarming present to myself. As longtime reader/pal Jeff Ash commented when I posted a few photos on Facebook yesterday, this is peak Brannock!

Ben, I can’t thank you enough for thinking of me — greatly appreciated.

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Astros fans, jump all over this: How about a fantastic-looking retro (1975) tequila sunrise warmup jacket! The seller notes he/she is selling it for a friend: “Joe Niekro (Astros pitcher) gave warmup jackets to my friend’s family.” Here’s one more — Astros manager Bill Virdon (1975-1982) posed for this photo wearing the full tequila sunrise look, which also debuted in 1975. Wonder what he was thinking? “In my day, we used to wear white or grey.”

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Nice artwork on this classic 1981 Chuck Ren-created Cincinnati Bengals poster. That would be quarterback Ken Anderson, wide receiver Cris Collinsworth (yes kids, the announcer played some ball), and running back Archie Griffin.

• Check out this pair of 1970s Chicago Blackhawks bumper stickers. I particularly like that bottom one with the black-and-white player launching a slapshot. Here’s one more sticker for the Blackhawks — this one’s colors are a bit different, and the name is spelled “Black Hawks.”

• The Dallas Doomsday Defense led by Bob Lilly and Cliff Harris is closing in on the ball-carrier on the cover of this 1970s football board game from Sports Illustrated, titled “Paydirt!” Never seen this one before, but it looks quite similar to the other SI game I had back then.

• This bumper sticker reads, “If God’s Not A Broncos Fan, Why Are Sunsets Orange?”

• In the 1970s, Falcons player Don Hansen knew he had made it when his profile ended up on a Burger King ice milk cup. Ice milk? At a BK? “A Whopper and … an ice milk, please.”

• Ever seen this logo before? This one is for the 1970s World Football League team, the Chicago Fire. Very unique, I’d say.

• Here’s a 1970s L.A. Lakers gear bag done up in grey, red, and white. Wait, what?

• This one takes me back. I’d order Tudor NFL Electric Football teams from their Brooklyn HQ (176 Johnson Street) and they’d ship team sets like this. You get the Chiefs, Raiders, and Seahawks in this set, along with dark and white numbers. (The dark numbers were always easy to apply, but the white numbers sometimes had a tendency to get kind of powdery and thus rub off easily. A 77 would end up as a 7_.)

• Look at this cover of SI from January of 1964. It features commish Pete Rozelle and a nice selection of period NFL helmets. The Bears helmet uses that white facemask that shows up in a lot of their photos of that era. That must be the Washington helmet top right, too.

• You tend to see a bit of facemask inconsistency in these 1970s NFL helmet plaques we feature here from time to time. In this case, notice the Cowboys facemask — the top bar is longer than the bottom, and they both appear to be angled upwards just a touch.

• One more for the Cowboys, this nice-looking 1970s serving tray.

• In this package of 1970s “Twinsignias,” you got an embroidered patch (in this case, the MLB Giants) along with the matching decal. “An emblem to wear and a decal to show.”

Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.

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Uni Watch Hit Parade: My friend Bela recently turned me on to the self-titled 2017 EP by the Australian indie band the Stroppies (that’s them at right; click to enlarge). It sounds a lot like the best stuff from Flying Nun, the great New Zealand indie label that I fell in love with back in the 1980s and ’90s. I hear echoes of the Clean, the Great Unwashed, Bailter Space, the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, and more. (Yes, I realize most of you have never heard of those old New Zealand bands, but they were all awesome and, for me, life-changing. I actually traveled to NZ twice in the 1990s, mainly to see bands that I would never have had a chance to see otherwise.)

Anyway: Even if you have no idea what I’m talking about, The Stroppies is an excellent little recording, full of shimmering pop hooks, infectious sing-along harmonies, and an understated intelligence. Only seven songs, but they’re all keepers. Don’t miss.

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Click to enlarge

Nice color scheme: On Sunday I went over to my friend Nicole’s house for dinner. I’ve known her for a million years and have been to her house countless times. But somehow I never noticed until now that the tiles in her front-door vestibule have a very attractive and familiar-looking color scheme.

For the record, Nicole is not a sports fan and does not read Uni Watch. But I’ve nonetheless decided that her vestibule will henceforth be known as the Official Uni Watch Vestibule.

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Even more cool stuff for sale: I’ve continued to add more photos of stuff that I’m trying to sell before I move in late August. You can see everything that’s currently available in this Flickr set, and I’ll continue to add a few more each day. I’m also removing items as they sell.

Please click on the thumbnails to see larger versions and, more importantly, to read the descriptions of the items, which among other things indicate whether the item is something I’m willing to ship or if I’m only offering in-person pickup. (You can see even larger versions of each photo by clicking the download icon and choosing “View all sizes” from the resulting popup menu.)

If you’re interested in any of this stuff, please get in touch and make me an offer. I’ll continue to add more items to this photo set each day, so stay tuned. Thanks for listening.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Phillies CF Odubel Herrera hit a foul ball so hard yesterday that he broke a seat at Fenway Park (from Blake Fox). … The Astros and Mariners will wear 1979 throwbacks on Aug. 10 (from Ignacio Salazar). … Winners of the Iowa high school baseball tournament get championship caps. Any other states give out caps for high school championships? (From Kary Klismet.) … I’m sure this has been ticked before, but Hard Rock Casino has Elton John’s sequined Dodgers jersey on display (from Andy Rivkin).

Pro Football News: The Rams have changed their practice jerseys from the royal they wore last year to navy. Weird, since their game jerseys are going in the opposite direction (from Chris Cruz). … With the Jets set to change their uniforms in 2019, here’s a review of Gang Green’s looks over the years (from Phil). … Speaking of the Jets, David Peltz found this Jets-inspired New York City Carpenters Union No. 157 sticker. …  One of the Bengals’ practice fields isn’t quite big enough to be a full field, so they skip the 20-yard line. They skip the 20 instead of the 50 to allow at least one side of the field to have complete yard markers. … The friends and family of Bengals DE (and native Cincinnatian) Sam Hubbard have set a team pro shop record for the largest custom jersey order. … Last week, Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill had “Tannehill 2.0” on his knee brace. Just to make sure people didn’t read too much into it, he changed the label to read “Tannehill 27.3” (from Preston Feiler). … Johnny Garfield found this photo of a bunch of old Dungard facemasks before they were dipped in vinyl paint. … Looks like the Montreal Alouettes will begin using their third logo of the year, their ’70s throwback logo, starting this Friday (from Moe Khan).

College Football News: Just like the jersey sleeves, Indiana’s football pants will also have a sublimated candy stripe pattern (from Ryan Cotter). … An Ohio State QB had an unusual biker-shorts-over-tights look at Buckeye training camp (from Mike Raymer). … Per this Reddit thread, the 1962 Mizzou football team played all 10 of its games in stadiums called “Memorial Stadium.” … Has anyone seen this Vanderbilt logo before? It’s painted on a chair given to Benji King’s father when he completed a medical internship in 1972. … A Dallas-area auction house recently came into possession of a game-worn Billy Cannon LSU jersey that was used as a “dust rag to a pajama top” for years (from Richard Green).

Hockey News: The Hurricanes have released their third jersey schedule for the upcoming season (from William Wells). … Listicle: The worst alternate jerseys in NHL history (from Phil). … The 1984-85 Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Ooks took their team photo in a gymnasium, but they still wore their full uniform — including skates and Cooperalls (from Wade Heidt). … Ohio University hockey has another uniform concept based on the school’s baseball uniforms.

Basketball News: Puma has signed a league-wide footwear deal with the WNBA (from Phil). … The Pacers Photoshopped some of their former players into the team’s new uniforms. … Kentucky will wear three new uniforms during their preseason trip to the Bahamas (from Josh Hinton and Martin Ballou).

Soccer News: Lots of stuff from soccer fanatic Josh Hinton: Barcelona is on the verge of selling the naming rights to its stadium, Camp Nou. The 2018-19 official game ball for the Champions League has leaked. Finally, new home jerseys for Greek club Olympiacos. … Forest Green Rovers of England’s League 2 is the first carbon-neutral soccer team, according to the UN. … New uniforms for the Auburn women (from Clint Richardson). … All uni ads are bad, but this piece explains why the rising number of teams with ads for gambling services is particularly disturbing (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Swedish women’s team Linköping FC has maybe a few too many jersey ads.

Grab BagAnyone remember the 1980s animated series Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling? Here’s a gallery of some of the original development sketches from the series (from Jeff Stark). … The subway station near the stadiums in Philadelphia is going from one corporate-advertised name to another (from Bernie). … Mozilla is redesigning the Firefox logo and wants users to pick between two design systems (from Brinke). … Volleyball captains usually wear a line under the uni number. But in the 1984 LA Olympics, Japan’s Yumi Egami had her captaincy line off to the side (from Jeremy Brahm). … Clint Richardson has some wild concepts for all Auburn sports over on the Auburn Uniform Database. … The Powerhouse Museum in Australia has the largest collection of Speedos in the world. But in 2012, some of the swimsuits started oozing. Yes, oozing (from Anthony Nuccio). … A Japanese company is selling ad space on the armpits of models.

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Today is the last day of July, which means tomorrow I begin my annual August break from this website. But the site will continue operating without me — Phil will be running the show on weekdays, webmaster John Ekdahl will be handling the weekends, and the Ticker Brigade will be doing their thing as per usual.

As for me, I’ll still be on the clock over at ESPN (among other things, I’ll be working on my annual college football and NFL season preview columns), plus I’ll be packing for my late-August move and helping to coordinate my mom’s care as she recovers from her recent hospitalization. In short, it’ll be a busy month for me, even though I won’t be here on the blog every day.

I’ll make cameo appearances now and then to let you know when I have a new ESPN piece, or to announce this or that, or to cover for one of the Ticker-ers (case in point: I’ll be doing tomorrow’s Ticker, because I gave Alex the day off for his birthday). For the most part, though, I plan to minimize my presence on the site and get out of Phil’s way so he can run the show however he wants.

I’ll be back in September. By that time, Uni Watch HQ will have a new address! Have a great August, and I’ll see you in a month. — Paul

Did the Astros Really Have Someone Wearing No. 153?

It’s a long-running joke that the most marginal players in spring training — the ones least likely to make the final roster cut — end up with the highest numbers. Until now, though, I’d never seen a spring training player with a three-digit number.

That screen shot is taken from the Astros’ TV broadcast of yesterday’s game against the Rangers. They were showing lots of historical footage interspersed throughout the game, including a short segment showing players doing sliding drills during spring training. One such player did his slide, then got up and walked away with his back to the camera, revealing that he was wearing No. 153.

There are lots of possible explanations for this. Maybe the three-digit numbers were routinely given to non-roster invitees, for example, or to minor league players who were invited to the big league camp. Still, I’ve never seen anything like this before.

It’s not clear who the player was, or when the footage was shot. The uniforms match what the ’Stros wore from 1965 through 1970, so that narrows it down. If anyone knows more, you know what to do.

(Big thanks to Houston-obsessive reader Ignacio Salazar for letting me know about this one.)

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Ouch: Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar got spiked in the face by Astros second baseman Yuli Gurriel while sliding into second during yesterday’s game. After briefly leaving the field to receive medical attention, he emerged with a bandage on his cheek.

You can see video of the play here:

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ITEM! Mini-helmet news: As you may recall, last winter we partnered with the good folks at Rocker T Collectibles to offer a Uni Watch mini-helmet (shown at right, now sold out). Now we’re thinking of doing a second design, but we’d like to have your input and feedback.

Here’s the deal: I want this new mini-helmet to feature Bryan Molloy’s excellent winged stirrup logo. But stirrups aren’t a football thing — they’re a baseball thing. (Yes, I realize NFL players did wear white crew socks over stirrups once upon a time, and stirrups were even shown in the NFL Style Guide at one point, but that was many decades ago, plus most people aren’t aware that it ever happened.)

So here are our options:

1. We could stick with the basic winged stirrup. After all, stirrups aren’t just a baseball thing or a football thing — they’re a Uni Watch thing, and the winged stirrup is the symbol of Uni Watch, even if it’s appearing on a football helmet.

2. We could modify the winged stirrup to look like a winged football sock (similar to what bobblehead restorer Chris Callan did when he made a Uni Watch bobble for me). Bryan has made two versions of this modification — one with the basic striping and one with more involved, old-style striping:

3. We could add a cleat to the sock. We chose to depict an old-school Riddell model (like this):

That one might need to be tweaked to make the white part of the shin a bit longer, but you get the idea.

Remember, our goal here is not just to create a good logo but to create a logo that looks good on a Uni Watch mini-helmet. Also, keep in mind that we haven’t yet decided about any of the other design details (shell color, facemask color, center striping, etc.). For now, we’re just trying to get the best logo for the sides of the helmet.

With that in mind, please let us know which option you think is best:

[totalpoll id=”99151″]

Thanks for your feedback — much appreciated.

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Even more cool stuff for sale: I’ve continued to add more photos of stuff that I’m trying to sell before I move in late August. You can see everything that’s currently available in this Flickr set, and I’ll continue to add a few more each day. I’m also removing items as they sell.

Please click on the thumbnails to see larger versions and, more importantly, to read the descriptions of the items, which among other things indicate whether the item is something I’m willing to ship or if I’m only offering in-person pickup. (You can see even larger versions of each photo by clicking the download icon and choosing “View all sizes” from the resulting popup menu.)

If you’re interested in any of this stuff, please get in touch and make me an offer. I’ll continue to add more items to this photo set each day, so stay tuned. Thanks for listening.

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The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: In this quiz, guess the ballpark from the minimalist illustration of one of its distinctive features (from Larry Torrez and Matt Shevin). … “A New Hampshire American Legion junior state tournament game was delayed by lightning Saturday night in Portsmouth,” says Tris Wykes. “During the delay, one team drew a tic-tac-toe grid on a ball and chucked it across the diamond to their opponents. The ball wound up covered in Xs and Os and comments.” … There’s an upcoming vintage (as in 1864) base ball game Aug. 11 in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. (from David Peltz). … Rockies reliever Seunghwan Oh may have hidden a profane message in his uniform number (from Paul Dalton). … The Chicago Tribune printed a facsimile Hall of Fame plaque showing Jim Thome wearing a Chief Wahoo cap, even though Thome had made it clear that he wouldn’t have Wahoo on his plaque.

Football News: The Jets are getting new uniforms for 2019. That article also mentions that the Jets will wear their Color Rash uniforms on Oct. 21 against the Vikings (from multiple readers). … The CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats wore white at home against Ottawa (from Wade Heidt). … The officials at the Kansas Shrine Bowl, an annual state high school all-star game, wear red and green-striped uniforms to match the teams (from Matt Newbury). … We had William and Mary’s new logos, etc., earlier last week, but it’s perhaps logical that the football helmets were updated as well, including the nose bumper.

Hockey News: Also posted in Grab Bag: Part-time NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis is wearing a Capitals-themed helmet for the Xfinity Series race at Road America (in Elkhart Lake, Wis.) Aug. 25. Ellis, from Ashburn, Va., has previously worn other Capitals-related stickers on the back of his helmet (from Jeff Lagro).

Soccer News: New kits for the English Championship’s Reading (left to right: second, first, GK, women’s team) and Norwich City (third), German 2. Bundesliga team Hamburger SV (second), and the Republic of Ireland national team (second, the version on the field won’t have an ad). … The Vancouver Whitecaps and Minnesota United both wore rainbow numbers Saturday (from Wade Heidt). … When I said I wanted women’s teams to be subtly distinguished from affiliated men’s teams through their kits, I didn’t mean by a different advertiser. … That’s Liverpool Ladies, whose new defender Sophie Bradley-Auckland has already had both an abbreviated and non-abbreviated NOB. … Scottish Premiership team Hamilton Academical recently signed a stadium naming-rights deal with a manufacturer of products containing cannabidiol. After all that, I’m still calling it New Douglas Park. … The Egyptian top-tier team formerly known as Al-Assiouty was recently taken over by a Saudi businessman and renamed Pyramids FC (from @leaaves). … Also posted in Grab Bag: IndyCar driver Graham Rahal, who is from Columbus, added a “Save the Crew” sticker to his helmet for this weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio (from @nordeckian).

Grab Bag: In English rugby league’s second-tier Championship, which includes the Canadian team Toronto Wolfpack, there was a white-vs.-white matchup between Toronto and Featherstone Rovers (from @bumkz). … As Team Sky have now won the Tour de France in six out of the past seven years, they continued their now-annual tradition of yellow-accented special uniforms for the final stage, as well as a matching bike for winner Geraint Thomas. Closer pictures here. … IndyCar driver Graham Rahal, who is from Columbus, added a “Save the Crew” sticker to his helmet for this weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio (from @nordeckian). … Part-time NASCAR driver Ryan Ellis is wearing a Capitals-themed helmet for the Xfinity Series race at Road America (in Elkhart Lake, Wis.) Aug. 25 (from Jeff Lagro). … U.S. field hockey midfielder Erin Matson was wearing a watch during the Americans’ World Cup game against India.

Titans Add 20th-Season Helmet Decal

Photo by @MickeyRyan1045, click to enlarge

Paul here, pinch-hitting again for Phil, who has this weekend off. More NFL news yesterday, as the Titans added a helmet decal to commemorate the team’s 20th season under their current moniker.

You may have forgotten (in fact, I had forgotten) that this anniversary ordinal logo was originally released way back in February, prior to the unveiling of the team’s new uniforms. At the time, the team said the logo would be worn as a helmet decal, not as a jersey patch — somewhat surprising, given that they went with patches for their 10th and 15th ordinals.

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Old man yells at cloud: Braves broadcaster Joe Simpson really stuck it to the Dodgers last night — for taking BP in T-shirts and no socks (as shown in the video above). “Very unprofessional,” he opined. ” “If I were a Dodger fan, I’d be embarrassed.”

Last I checked, BP has no bearing on the outcome of a game and is typically witnessed by more vendors than fans. MLB’s cynical attempts to market BP attire notwithstanding, who really gives a shit what the players wear during BP. Anyone who shows up early for BP is probably the type of fan who can tell the players just from their batting stances or hairstyles anyway.

Footnote: The very unprofessional Dodgers (who are the defending National League champs and are currently leading the N.L. West by a very unprofessional game and a half) beat the Braves, 5-1. After the game, Dodgers utility man Kiké Hernández had a good rejoinder for Simpson’s critique. There’s some additional background and fallout here.

(My thanks to Chuck Kelly, Mark Coale, and MIke Chamernik for letting me know about this one.)

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Base ball game: We’ve all seen photos of players engaging in those old-timey “base ball” games played with 19th-century rules, but I haven’t seen much video from those games. The report shown above is pretty good, and provides great views of the uniforms. The only thing I’m confused about is the ball, which seems like a contemporary baseball, not an old-school lemon peel ball or other “dead” ball. Pretty sure the bats aren’t era-appropriate either. But whatever — this isn’t a Civil War reenactment, it’s just a ballgame. Good stuff.

(Big thanks to Nick Jones for this one.)

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The saddest thing ever: Russ Scibetti is the president of Kore Planning & Insights, which according to LinkedIn is “a new business intelligence consulting division focused on the sports and entertainment industry.” He’s also the founding editor of TheBusinessOfSports.com and previously worked in marketing for the New York Jets.

Yesterday he tweeted this:

Scibetti’s bread is buttered by the corporate sports industrial complex, so of course he couldn’t tell his six-year-old daughter that the logos on his VIP pass are advertisements. Instead he had to say that they were from “sponsors” who “help the Jets.” Aw, isn’t that nice of them? They’re so helpful!

As we’ve discussed before, this is basically Orwellian newspeak. It’s remarkable how so many people who are connected or adjacent to the advertising industry are afraid to invoke the word “advertising.” They go out of their way to create squishy-sounding substitutes for it, hide behind verbal fig leaves, construct an entire alternate syntax designed to evoke feelings of fellowship and goodwill instead of transactional commerce (“sponsor,” “partnership,” “helping,” “presented by”) — all to avoid acknowledging that advertising is, you know, advertising.

Gee, I wonder why.

I had a good back-and-forth with Scibetti about this. He said he thought it was “funny” that his young daughter asked about the ads on his VIP pass. As I explained to him, I don’t think it’s funny at all. On the contrary, I think it’s really sad that this is the kind of world she’s growing up in, a world where every square centimeter — even on NFL summer training camp VIP passes — is just a surface or vehicle for advertising.

At the end of our back-and-forth, I asked Scibetti if he’d be willing to let me interview him so we could explore these issues in a setting unconstrained by 240-character limits. He said that sounded like fun and that he’d get back to me in a few days.

Meanwhile, as for Scibetti’s original query (i.e., how do you explain all of this to a six-year-old), I suggested that he and his daughter sit down and watch Idiocracy. That should put everything in perspective quite nicely.

(My thanks to @bryanwdc for bringing Scibetti’s tweet to my attention.)

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Even more cool stuff for sale: I’ve continued to add more photos of stuff that I’m trying to sell before I move in late August. You can see everything that’s currently available in this Flickr set, and I’ll continue to add a few more each day. I’m also removing items as they sell.

Please click on the thumbnails to see larger versions and, more importantly, to read the descriptions of the items, which among other things indicate whether the item is something I’m willing to ship or if I’m only offering in-person pickup. (You can see even larger versions of each photo by clicking the download icon and choosing “View all sizes” from the resulting popup menu.)

If you’re interested in any of this stuff, please get in touch and make me an offer. I’ll continue to add more items to this photo set each day, so stay tuned. Thanks for listening.

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Sorry, no Ticker today, as I’ve been busy dealing with a family-related matter. We’ll be back with a full slate of content tomorrow. Until then, enjoy your Sunday. — Paul

Rams to Wear Throwbacks Five Times in 2018

Click to enlarge

Paul here, pinch-hitting for Phil, who has this weekend off. Big news yesterday out of L.A., as the Rams announced that they’ll be wearing their royal/yellow throwbacks for an unprecedented five games this season. As you can see in the home jersey schedule outlined above, they’ll wear white for their first two home games (and also for their two preseason home games, but who really cares), and then the throwbacks for the remaining five home dates after that.

But what about their road games, and their additional “home” game being played in Mexico City? The team’s full 2018 uni schedule is outlined below (click to enlarge):



So for those nine additional games — eight on the road and the “home” date in Mexico City — they’ll wear white an additional seven times and the Rash twice. Which means we won’t have to see the brutal spectacle of the gold-trimmed navy jerseys with the white-accented helmets at all this season.

The Rams had already stated a month or two ago that their goal was to minimize wearing the navy this season, and ideally to eliminate it altogether. It’s interesting that their solution is to wear their throwbacks five times — something that ordinarily wouldn’t be permitted under NFL uni rules. In a statement, Rams COO Kevin Demoff said, “We appreciate the NFL working with us” on the uniform situation, which I gather is code for “Thanks for letting us swap out the navy for the throwback so we can get out of this clusterfuck we created for ourselves.” In any case, everyone seems to like the throwbacks (myself included), so this qualifies as good news.

Here are the obligatory answers to the questions that some of you are getting ready to ask:

• No, the throwback helmets do not violate the NFL’s one-shell rule because they will be the same helmets that the Rams usually wear, but with yellow horn decals and blue facemasks. Same shells, different accessories, which is within the rule’s guidelines. (For more on the one-shell rule, look here.)

• Yes, the Rams’ white jerseys will still have the gold accents. Nothing about the design of the white jerseys is changing. In fact, nothing about the design of any of the Rams’ uniform elements is changing. The only thing that’s changing is how often they’ll be wearing the throwbacks.

• Yes, the Rams will eventually get a full new uniform set — in 2020, to coincide with the opening of their new stadium. That’s been the plan all along.

Finally, it’s interesting to see the Rams unveiling their full-season uni schedule in late July. That’s the earliest I can recall such info ever being provided by an NFL team. The teams are supposed to finalize their uni schedules by this time (home teams are required to indicate whether they’ll be wearing color or white, and road teams then have to choose the opposite), but most teams don’t make that information public, and the handful of teams that do routinely publish their uni schedules usually wait until late August or early September to do so. The Rams going public with their uni schedule tells us that the uniform matchups for the entire NFL season have now been mapped out — we just don’t know what they look like yet. Here’s hoping more teams follow the Rams’ example, because there’s really no reason not to share this info with fans.

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Mercury poisoning: Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of the Mets wearing their “Mercury Mets” uniforms as part of MLB’s 1999 futuristic-uni promotion. The video shown above, which originally ran during the pregame segment of that day’s broadcast, features short interviews with the Mets’ then-equipment manager Charlie Samuels, then-marketing director Kit Geis, and then-benchwarmer Matt Franco, all of whom discuss the uniforms. Priceless stuff.

(My thanks to @tubby34 and @BigAppleNYM for letting me know about this one.)

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Friday Flashback reminder: In case you missed it on Friday, my latest Friday Flashback piece for ESPN takes a look at some uni-notable moments in Lakers history (including Jerry West wearing his name on the front and back of his All-Star jersey, shown above). Check it out here.

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Even more cool stuff for sale: I’ve continued to add more photos of stuff that I’m trying to sell before I move in late August. You can see everything that’s currently available in this Flickr set, and I’ll continue to add a few more each day (and I’m also removing items as they sell).

Please click on the thumbnails to see larger versions and, more importantly, to read the descriptions of the items, which among other things indicate whether the item is something I’m willing to ship or if I’m only offering in-person pickup. (You can see even larger versions of each photo by clicking the download icon and choosing “View all sizes” from the resulting popup menu.)

If you’re interested in any of this stuff, please get in touch and make me an offer. I’ll continue to add more items to this photo set each day, so stay tuned. Thanks for listening.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: The Braves’ Hall of Fame display for Chipper Jones features a “1995 road jersey” that’s clearly a fake. It includes the 1995 World Series patch and the team’s 30th-anniversary patch, but the jersey has the Majestic logo — a dead giveaway, because the Braves’ 1995 road jerseys were made by Russell Athletic. Also, it’s nice that they included a vertically arched NOB, but they did it with direct-sewn lettering instead of an era-appropriate nameplate. … Speaking of Hall of Fame inconsistency, MLB.com is selling an inaccurate Trevor Hoffman jersey. That jersey is the Pads’ 2012 design, and Hoffman retired in 2010 (from Patrick McCullough). … Also posted in the hockey section: there have been a bunch of really, really great minor league one-off jerseys and caps this season, but I think the Hartford YardGoats’ Whalers-inspired pullovers (complete with collar laces) take the cake. Absolute amazing. They first wore them last night and will wear them tonight and tomorrow night as well (thanks to Alex Smolokoff). … The bat boy for the Phillies during their visit to Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati wore two-in-ones (from Patrick O’Neil). …  The American Association’s Gary SouthShore RailCats are donning throwbacks on Aug. 23 (from David M. Kerr and Steve Olson). … Another one also posted in the hockey section: Ohio University has publicized a concept image for hockey sweaters designed to look like the school’s baseball jerseys. … Artist Opie Otterstad unveiled his mural in honor of the Astros’ World Series championship (from Ignacio Salazar). … The next several items from the Iowa High Schol Baseball Tournament are from Kary Klismet: “Mason City Newman wears Northwestern stripes on the sleeves of their home jerseys. I’ve never seen that on a baseball jersey before.” …  “The Wilton Beavers wear an eclectic mishmash of logos, including the Brewers’ old ball-in-glove, the Nationals’ script “W,” and their own stylized “B” with a beaver tail.” … “The Estherville Lincoln Central Midgets have rather unique caps.” …  Centerville wears mismatched batting helmets, one of which sports an elaborate war bonnet design.”

Football News: The Jaguars have new uniforms this season, so it’s not surprising that they also have new practice gear (from Jackson Willis). … Here’s a nice side-by-side showing the slight changes to the Longhorns unis compared to last year’s (from @atxaggie07). … Also posted in the college basketball section: We’ve seen team logos stolen before, as well as the logos of professional sports leagues, but have we ever seen an NCAA athletic conference logo stolen before? Spotted in New England of all places, too (from Ciaran O’Donnell). … Justin C. Cliburn noticed a poached Georgia Tech logo on this sticker in Texas. He thinks it’s for a school, but doesn’t know for sure. Googling didn’t help. Anyone have any idea what the sticker is from? … Another one also posted in the college hoops section: Roger Williams University has unveiled a new athletics logo (from Joel Mathwig). … Tennessee is marking the 20th anniversary of their national championship with a new logo that incorporates the crystal egg trophy (from Lee Wilds).

Hockey News: Check out this old pic of Adam Oates wearing mismatched gloves during his tenure with the Capitals (from Michael Alper). …  Cross-posted from the baseball section: There have been a bunch of really, really great minor league baseball one-off jerseys and caps this season, but I think the Hartford YardGoats’ Whalers-inspired pullovers (complete with neck laces) take the cake. Absolute amazing. They first wore them last night and will wear them tonight and tomorrow night as well (thanks to Alex Smolokoff). … Also cross-posted from the baseball section: Ohio University’s publicized a concept image for hockey sweaters designed to look like the school’s baseball jerseys. … USF has unveiled their new sweaters (from Kody Allenson).

College Hoops News: Also posted in the college basketball section: we’ve seen team logos stolen before, as well as the logos of professional sports leagues, but have we ever seen an NCAA athletic conference logo stolen before? Spotted in New England of all places, too (from Ciaran O’Donnell). … Another one cross-posted from the college hoops section: Roger Williams University has unveiled a new athletics logo (from Joel Mathwig).

Soccer News: Arsenal have unveiled their new third kit with several players modeling it around London — including goalkeeper Petr Čech. As a keeper, Čech will never wear this kit in an actual match, so a somewhat strange choice for Puma and Arsenal (from Moe Khan). … The greatest kit of all time? Bedale AFC is no stranger to wurst-inspired kits, having worn an all-sausage kit in 2016, but this season they’re going full hot-dog, complete with the greatest uni number font I’ve ever seen. Definitely among the greatest kits of all time (thanks to Greg Niforos). … New kits for Croatian side Osijek (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: The kit of a player on Wisła Krakow had all the ads, but was somehow missing the team’s actual crest. Disappointing, to say the least. … Yahoo Sports has produced a slideshow of the what they consider to be the worst kits across the top four leagues of English soccer. I agree with most of the choices, except for the inclusion of Manchester United’s away kit, which I actually really dig, even if it is too similar to Juventus’s away kit (from Kary Klismet). … New third shirt for Southampton (from Chris Morris).

Grab Bag: Major League Lacrosse’s Atlanta Blaze wore all-orange unis on Thursday night (from @LaxSportsNet). … Pitt has an awesome site where you can check out all the uniforms for each one of its sports teams. Click on the menu icon at top right, then click on “Future,” then click on “Our Look,” and then scroll down (from Mike Dias).