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Back in the Saddle

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Hi there. Remember me?

As you can see above, I am now officially shacked up with the Tugboat Captain. I love that our landlord used an old-school Dymo label for our door buzzer — much like the Dymo nameplates that the Cowboys have been using on their helmets for the past half-century.

My annual August break from the blog is usually a chance to recharge my batteries and have some distraction-free time to focus on my annual college and pro football season preview columns. But this year the August break was also a chance for me to prepare for my move — or at least that was the plan. As it turned out, Real Life dumped a lot of additional things on my plate over the past six weeks or so: My mom had a stroke, I caught a stomach bug that landed me in the ER, and the pinheads at Verizon mistakenly turned off my phone, internet, and TV and couldn’t get them restored for a week (!).

It’s no exaggeration to say that I could not possibly have dealt with all of that — and moving to boot — while still doing the blog on a daily basis. So it was a godsend to know that the site was in deputy editor Phil Hecken’s very capable hands for the past month. Let’s please have a standing O for him, and also for the rest of the Uni Watch team (Alex Hider, Jamie Rathjen, Anthony Emerson, Kris Gross, Brinke Guthrie, John Ekdahl) and the many additional contributors who provided so much fascinating content in August. I’m grateful to all of you, and doubleplus-grateful to Phil.

Happily, all of the crisis situations I was dealing with are now much improved (including my mom’s health, which is still a little dicey but is nowhere near as dire as it initially appeared to be) and I’m settling in nicely at the new Uni Watch HQ. So is Uni Watch girl mascot Caitlin, who was a little freaked out for the first few days but now seems pretty happy. She doesn’t know it yet, but she may have a new boy mascot sidekick in the not-too-distant future.

Phil is off this weekend, and I still have a lot of unpacking and house-organizing stuff to do, so this little note will be our only content for the Laborious Day weekend. I’ll be back on Tuesday with my annual NFL season preview column, and then we should get back into the regular swing of things. Until then, the comments are open, and you can still buy a cap or a set of our new StripeRite socks. Have a great holiday weekend, and I’ll see you back here next week. — Paul

Dark Knight Rising: The Griffins Jersey Design Contest Winner Is...

Matt Harvey

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through today, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken

I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the Grand Rapids Griffins Jersey Design Contest for 2018 is (as you see above) Matthew Harvey. Congratulations to Matt on having his jersey submission selected. He’ll now work with the Griffins to have this come to fruition, and the team will wear a (hopefully exact replica) version of this on December 29, 2018. The team will not only wear jerseys based on Matt’s design, they’ll auction them off to fans for charity after the event. Matt will be invited to the game as a guest of the Griffins and (if they’ve do what they’ve done with other UW contest winners in the past) give him the VIP treatment at the game. So congratulations, Matthew!

My thanks again to everyone who participated, whether you made it to the final 12 or not, as well as to Allie Benner from the Griffins, who facilitated this year’s contest. My thanks also to everyone who voted in the contest. There were some, ahem, hiccups — but with the help to the great Larry Torrez (from whom you’ll hear more below), we ran a nice clean and fair contest. Any of the 12 finalists would have been a great choice, but there can be. only. one.

As a quick aside, probably half of the submitters (maybe more, I never really did the math) send me their design with some comment(s). Most of them are of the “here’s my submission” or “thanks for hosting this” variety, but some of the submitters went to great lengths to describe their submission or to impart some other information.

I loved what Matt sent in with his (now winning) submission:

Hello,

My name is Matt Harvey.
I’m a huge fan of the Uni-Watch Site and these design contests.
Attached is my entry for the Grand Rapids Griffins Jersey Contest.

If you have any questions, please let me know.
Thanks,

Matt Harvey

(Oh…i’m not the Matt Harvey for the Cincinnati Reds. haha.
Im the Utah Jazz fanatic Matt Harvey from Ogden, UT. haha)

Thank God you’re NOT that Frat Harvey, er, Matt Harvey! And thanks for the clarification.

Once again, here were your 12 Finalists, and here’s a look at the submissions from all 61 participants.

Thanks ladies and gents.



Timberwolves Introduce “New” Uni

Yesterday the Minnesota Timberwolves introduced a new/old/fauxback uniform which they will debut on October 31 (against the Jazz) and will wear an additional four times (for a total of five) this season. I’m not sure if this is another of the ridiculous “names” Nike gives to its uniforms, but this one is called “Classic.” May the UW Gods strike me down if this joins the other four verboten names.

First, the corporate speak:

The Classics Edition will celebrate the team’s heritage in honor of their 30th season and feature the same uniform design that the team wore from 1996-2008; all black with green tree lining. The uniform was unveiled through a video earlier today that can be viewed at www.timberwolves.com/30th. The team will be putting out content on that site all season long to celebrate 30 years of Timberwolves basketball.

Lets take a look at the uni:

The pants are asymmetrical with their placement of logos: the T-wolf and the “MT”. The “MT” is on the front left leg, while the wolf is on the side of the right leg.

Here’s an upclose look at the wolf logo:

There is also a 30th season logo that will “appear on creative elements and merchandise throughout the season”:

Oh yeah, almost forgot the hype video:

You can see more (and the entire T-wolves set of uniforms, plus a few photos of the original unis) by clicking here.

This is another uni that I never really liked when it came out, but it’s grown on me over the years. I can certainly tolerate its return for five games this year — and I’m sure the fans will love it (as will the retailers). It’s probably the most distinct set of unis for a pretty vanilla team that’s had a moribund playoff life for its existence. Maybe that changes now. Or maybe not. Either way, the originals are back for a few games this year.



UTenn Unveils “New” Unis

In quite possibly college football’s worst kept secret (at least for this month), the University of Tennessee Volunteers introduced new uniforms yesterday afternoon — actually, while they’re technically new, they are really more of a throwback to 1998.

What’s new and different? Well, for one thing, the white helmet returns to a completely solid orange stripe. Previously the back of the helmet had a checkerboard pattern at the base.

Also changed are the pants. They’re completely white (both home and road — apparently there will be no orange pants and also the team is ditching the “smokey gray” alternate as well). Last year, the pants had orange stripes which also contained the unfortunate checkerboard pattern at the base.

The team will also reportedly wear black cleats again, as well. All this is a nod to the 1998 National Champs, who were quarterbacked by a guy not named Peyton.

Here’s the obligatory hype video:

Here’s a look at the home and road (graphically) by my buddy Chad Fields (who had actually tipped me wise to this on Wednesday)

The team didn’t release a ton of photos, but here’s what we did get:

Nice, right? Anything without that checkerboard stripe is an improvement, and it will be interesting to see the team going old school with the black shoes. Hopefully they’ll pair those with calf-high white sanis (think USC or ‘bama). That will be very sharp indeed.



About The Griffins Contest Polling

As mentioned in today’s lede, I asked Larry Torrez if he’d be kind enough to break down the new polling being used for the Griffins Jersey Design Contest. I wanted to see how much “cheating” or “vote stuffing” took place each day. Since Larry set the poll up, he obliged. Here’s Larry…

. . .

Results for GRG Jersey contest and some notes…
By Larry Torrez

First off, a tip o’ the Hat to those who took the time to participate in this years contest. Producing quality designs can be a challenging experience at any time. Presenting them to ones peers, especially those who are denizens of Uni Verse, a very uni savvy bunch indeed, is double tough and deserving of praise.

I had asked Phil to use the Typeform app for this years GRG Jersey contest for a couple of reasons. One. It’s easy to operate (it really is Phil!) and does a good job presenting and gathering voting data. Secondly, It allows for real time viewing of said voting data and when it happens, identify, and remove obvious vote stuffing (via IP Address). I had read the complaints in the comments section about vote rigging more often than I would have liked. We wanted a fair, honest accounting of the votes and I believe we got just that.

I wanted to share with you some of the more interesting numbers in the vote. Over a third of all the votes were cast by smartphone, and the contest averaged near 800 votes for each group. That may not sound like a big number until you look at this number 16704. That is the number of people who actually viewed Group A but did not bother to submit their vote. That my friends is a bigly huge number. Our goal was to have a clean and fair contest, and I believe we succeeded in that.

Here is a rundown of the numbers:

Just so you know, 3% to 5% of a large vote are duplicates and are very easy to track and remove.

Group A
1242
votes
280 or 22.54% of the submittals were duplicates submitted by 5 people.

Group B
547
votes
37 or 6.76% of the submittals were duplicates submitted by 3 people.

Group C
644
votes
34 or 5.27% of the submittals were duplicates submitted by 3 people.

Group D
625
votes
232 or 27.07% of the submittals were duplicates submitted almost exclusively by 2 people.

A dozen or so people, out of the thousands of people who voted, decided that voting often was the smart thing to do. It wasn’t. Would counting all the duplicate votes have changed who made the final round? In a word, yes. Did it happen? No.

When passing on voting data to Phil I noticed that some people were still stuffing the ballot box days after the contest ended.

. . .

Thanks, Larry!



Raffle reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, our friends at Vintage Brand are raffling off two free items from their extensive catalog for a pair of lucky Uni Watch readers.. Full details here.



The Ticker
By Kris Gross

Baseball News: I agree with this guy: Dear Padres, pick a uniform, stick with it (from John Mahaffey). … This article features a great look at old Pacific Coast League uniforms (from jmac6540). … Pop Chart has a cool print of baseball’s uniform history, which includes 121 different unis from baseball’s past (from Josh Pate). … Plaques that appear to have been stolen from Citizens Bank Park were found in a Philly scrapyard (from Michael).

NFL News: Two Holleys, no FINOBs (from Pro Football Journal). … TJ Watt wore cleats paying tribute to other other Pittsburgh teams last night (from Mike Slavonic). … The Panthers concluded their preseason with a third consecutive never-before-seen uni combo last night. … The Jags wore their new black jerseys for the first time last night (from Clint Richardson). … The Eagles had no midfield logo or painted endzones last night (from Blake Fox). … The initial reactions to the Bengals changing their helmet design in 1981, well, wasn’t great (from Damon Amendolara).

College Football News: Eastern Kentucky went all black last night. … Here are this weekend’s uni combos for TCU, Oregon, Virginia,
Kansas, Texas State, Kent State, Utah State and Stony Brook (from Casey Loerwald, Noah Kastroll, Patrick Homa, Ben Jamin). … Mississippi’s new white helmets have a state outline sticker on the back, featuring a shark fin (from our own Alex Hider). … Hardin-Simmons University has new helmets for the first time since 1990 (from Jordan Hofeditz). … Purdue has some pretty sweet train tracks painted on their field (from Adam). … The story behind South Carolina’s script helmets. … Kentucky will honor offensive line coach and linebacker, who are both battling cancer, with helmet sticker this season (from Travis Coffey). … New wordmark for NC State’s endzones (from ACC Tracker). … Florida State will use old school endzones (from Jim Weber). … Michigan State gave a preview of players’ warmup gear and coaches’ getup. We definitely need more of these (from Jeff. … Here’s a preview of new uniforms for Garden City Community College (from Scott Nuzum). … Josh Claywell sent in this sweet helmet, that his high school is currently wearing.

Hockey News: Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy wore a modified John Tavares jersey at last night’s concert at Nassau Coliseum (from Mike Chamernik). … This video shows the Penguins’ ice being laid down and painted (from Tommy).

College Hoops News: Villanova has new unis for the upcoming season (from Bill Russo).

Soccer News: Ever seen a player wear No. 306? Now you have, and here’s why. … Now for some notes from Josh Hinton: Footy Headlines put together an overview of all 2018-19 Bundesliga kits. … Atletico Madrid’s third kit has leaked.

Grab Bag: After some controversy earlier this week, the US Open is changing its policy on women changing their shirts. … Delcastle Technical High School in Delaware has new volleyball uniforms. … Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit is slowly falling apart.



And Finally…

Well boys and girls, my annual August run during Paul’s sabbatical is officially over today. Can’t believe tomorrow is September 1st!

There are so many folks I have to thank, this may appear like a credit scroll at the end of a movie. So if you’re one of *those* people who leaves at that point in the movie…well, sayonara. For everyone else…

First and foremost I want to thank the entire UW crew, all of whom stepped it up this past month to assist me in bringing you the (hopefully pretty great) content we had this past month:

Thanks to John Ekdahl, our webmaster, who also fills in for me during the weekends during August, for his stellar work behind the scenes; Brinke Guthrie, who contributes the “Collectors Corner” every Tuesday, and also contributed a great post on US Open fashion; and our ticker-dudes: Jamie Rathjen, who not only held down the ticker fort, he stepped up with not one but TWO ledes this month; Alex Hider, also solid and who contributed a lede of his own; Anthony Emerson, who also wrote a piece (and an off-uni one at that), looking at the political logos of 2018; and Kris Gross. (Heh, that sounds like a commercial.)

I also want to thank the “may as well be on the UW staff” guys who all stepped up and worked with me on articles this month: Jimmer Vilk, Graig Kreindler, Ronnie Bolton and UW Stalwart Chance Michaels (he loves it when I call him a stalwart). Also thanks to Wafflebored, Derek Smith, Chris Whitehouse (aka “ManCave” with more great colorizations), Don Stokes (another stellar colorizer), and Mark Anderson, all of whom were awesome and helped provide some pretty amazing content!

Finally, my biggest thanks go out to Larry Torrez for all his work on the Griffins Uni Contest polling. He is the reason the voting went as smoothly as it did, and believe me, that is no small task. He went above and beyond on this one!

And finally: thanks to all of you, the readers, for coming to Uni Watch every day (right?) and letting us do what we do. You’re what makes this little community great.

Gotta love when I get a tweet like this. It makes it all worth it to me:

I know college football season has already started — but I’m taking this weekend off. I’m pleased to announce the entire SMUW crew (Terry Duroncelet, Joe Ringham, Rex Henry, Dennis Bolt, Kyle Acker and Ethan Dimitroff) will all be back this year, and well restart the Sunday Morning Uni Watch with a week one wrap next Saturday, followed by a rundown of week 2 the next day (and we’ll be on every Sunday for the rest of the season). These guys are all also great and what makes UW the best place for all your college football uni needs!

Finally FINALLY: thanks to Paul for letting me steer the ship in his stead once a year during the weekdays. Hopefully I didn’t hit an iceberg along the way. I know this was a very stressful time for him so I’m glad I could help him lighten the load.

I’m giving you the keys back now, buddy. She’s all gassed up and I gave her a bath.



What Every MLB Team Is Wearing In Jim Vilk's Head, Everyday

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Jimmer Vilk

You don’t want to get on Jim Vilk’s lawn anytime soon, of that, I can assure you.

Ah. It wouldn’t be August unless I included one Jimmer (vs. Phil, sorta) think piece. This one is actually kinda cool: basically, Jim has, in his own inimitable way, chosen his favorite uniform for each MLB club that exists, and a few that don’t. That’s right, he went back through like 117 years of MLB fashion and come up with what is, in his humble estimation, the uni that each ballclub should be wearing today (because it’s the best they ever wore).

When Jim and I were planning this post, he asked me if I wanted to “play along” and also give you my favorite MLB uni for each team. I don’t have the time to go over 117 year of unis (even though I have a pretty good damn idea regardless), but I will play along to the extent that I’ll comment and correct every entry where I feel he’s off. Which if you know the differences between Jimmer’s tastes and mine, will likely include just about every team, every year. Let’s get this out of the way now, I argued four summers ago that 1969 was the greatest uni year in baseball, so many of my preferences will come from this year. There were several exceptions however. Not every team wore it’s finest duds in ’69.

Anyway, enough yakkin’ — let’s get to Jimmer’s intro and then his (and sometimes my) rundown of what every baseball team should be wearing, every day. I haven’t even looked at what Jimmer has chosen, but you can bet it’s going to be a lot of colored tops (and possibly bottoms), pinstriped roadies, zippers and pullovers. Of course that’s just a guess. Let’s find out.

• • •

What Every MLB Team Is Wearing In My Head Every Day
By Jim Vilk

Baseball has really gotten on my lawn lately. Between all the holiday alternate uniforms, the special occasion unis and whatnot, I’ve had enough. And don’t get me started on the minor leagues. I’ve been completely ignoring them for more than a year now with their nonsense. It’s gotten to the point that I want to stage a coup and install a commissioner who will say, “You get one home and one away uniform and one alt and that is it.” That got me thinking, what would I like to see each team wearing day in and day out? What (in my opinion) is each team’s Best Ever Uniform? So I went to the Dressed To The Nines website, entered 1900 to 2018 on the search and looked at all the unis for all the teams. What follows are my picks for each team’s everyday unis. We’ll deal with the alts some other time. Two things: If I picked a pre-1929 uni, of course it would now have numbers on the back, and if I picked a uni from before a team moved, of course the caps and/or jerseys would reflect the current location. With that being said, let’s begin in the NL East.

. . . . .

NL EAST

Right off the bat I’m waffling with Atlanta. It’s hard to decide between the stripey goodness of 1927 or the great pullovers from 1972. I’m leaning towards ’72 (two words: Hank Aaron), although those ’27 caps are simply fantastic.

Phil says: I think Jim got this right. Although I’d prefer the ’74-75 version of this which is slightly different and one could argue, is their signature uni.

+++

With Miami there’s no waffling. Some teams just get it right the first time! I’d prefer they stayed Florida, but if they insist on Miami you can tweak away at the cap and road jersey.

PH: Well done. No question here. And that’s definitely their signature uni.

+++

I tried to find middle ground with New York. Between the original button-ups and the racing stripe pullovers there was this very nice henley jersey from 1978. Also, as you’ll see, I’m a sucker for a good sleeve patch.

PH: No. The 1969 unis are the best. I’m surprised you didn’t pick the racing stripes.

+++

Yes, this is twice in one division, but don’t worry; I’m only going to waffle four times in this whole piece. Philadelphia has two standouts for me: 1923 (stop cringing, Phil, you enemy of road pins) or 1979. If I go with ’79 I guess I’ve dealt with one alt today.

PH: I swear I didn’t read this far ahead when I mentioned he loved the road pins. I liked the one worn by the Whiz Kids.

+++

If Washington could take the curly W from the team now known as the Rangers, they could just as easily have taken the 1954 block W from the team now known as the Twins. And they should.

PH: Too bad it’s not the same franchise. I mean these are the best uni that team ever wore. But if you want a current Nats uni? They’re all kinda meh.

. . . . .

NL Central

I tried to go easy on the road pins and the pullovers. When it comes to Chicago, however, there’s no going easy. You go 1978.

PH: I’m not sure what the Northsiders best uni year was, but this ain’t it.

+++

For contrast, I went with 1968 for Cincinnati. It looks like the Big Red Machine era but with buttons. No sleeve patch or stripes here. I wanted the oldest team to have a simpler classic look.

PH: ’68 & ’69 are basically the same, so, ok. No argument here.

+++

Let’s get two things straight, Milwaukee: you’re not a National League team and you moved here in the 70s. Own it with the 1978 ball-in-glove and powder blue and go back to the AL!

PH: I could argue with this. But I won’t.

+++

You might think it’s the pullovers that got me picking 1971 for Pittsburgh. Wrong, it’s the cap. The pullovers are just a nice added benefit. Now if they wore that cap in the 50s or 60s I’d be waffling for sure.

PH: It’s a good one for sure. I think I gotta go bumblebee here in one of my few nods to 1970s design.

+++

No pullovers for St. Louis. And while I love the current classics I am, as you’ll see, a sucker for sleeve numbers. I could honestly see the Cardinals in these 1923 beauties (the second and fourth ones) every day. I suppose I could deal with one more alt today…the yellow bat unis would be it, even though I like that third uni…

PH: Not bad, but I prefer this 1940’s uni (yeah, it’s a zipper front), but I can over look that for the greatness that is the rest of that uni.

. . . . .

NL West

If you know me, you know I don’t care how a team played in their unis. How they looked is what matters, so Arizona‘s 2001 title is just icing on the cake. Enough with the “D-Backs,” just go back to this!

PH: Agreed.

+++

Both teams who started in 1993 got it right the first time. Remember when you used to Respect The Placket on your road unis, Colorado? Get rid of the COL()RADO jerseys and go back to these.

PH: The team is best when their roads are just gray, not pinstriped. So any of the early years (or current) would be A-OK with me. Nothing special really in their history.

+++

Los Angeles have worn a variety of sleeve patches over the years and I always liked it when they did. I chose 1969, with a tweak: instead of the MLB centennial patch, just make it the regular MLB one.

PH: I prefer my Dodgers roadie to read “Dodgers” as “Los Angeles” is always a bit off, to my eye.

+++

My pick for San Diego surprised me a bit. I was ready to go with 1985 until I saw 1974. I like when teams go with a pullover and a button-up, especially when the button-up Respects The Placket. Bring Back The Brown (and these), Padres!

PH: There is no arguing here. 1978 it is.

+++

I’m waffling again with San Francisco. I could totally see the Giants in a modified version of these 1916 beauties (first and fourth ones). Yes, Phil, I love those so much I’d keep the pillbox caps! If today’s manufacturers couldn’t pull that off with today’s fabrics I’d be just as happy with 1983.

PH: Waffle, schmaffle. The best Giants uni was worn in New York by the Say Hey kid in the 1950s.

. . .

Bonus NL pick: Montreal. Phil’s signature look for the Expos is my Best Ever Look. 1980 was great not only for the racing stripes but for the contrasting red numbers on the powder blues. If/when you come back, please do so in these.

While I loved those 1969 beauties, the 1980-91 racing stripes were their signature. I won’t argue this too strongly.

. . . . . . . . . .
AL East

I actually tame it down a bit here in the Junior Circuit, for the most part. We start off, though, with a 70s classic (and a pullover alt) for Baltimore. The only thing from that era I wasn’t fond of was the ribbon stirrups but with or without them the rest of the uni is superb.

PH: I’m genuinely surprised you didn’t pick the traffic cones, but the orange alt top doesn’t surprise me in the least.

+++

One could make a case for Boston‘s current look, given that they actually wear red socks. You know what…between that and the sleeve patch on the road jerseys, I am making a case. You’ve never looked better than now, at least when it comes to the whites and grays.

PH: I’m genuinely surprised you didn’t pick the red helmets and pullovers. Shocked, in fact.

+++

For New York I’m going back to 1936. Same as with the Reds, the Yankees don’t need sleeve stripes or sleeve patches. This was the beginning of their classic look and it never needs to change.

PH: Basically they’ve been wearing that home uni since 1936, so yeah. Again, kinda surprised you didn’t go with the pins & interlocking NY, but OK.

+++

Man, both Florida teams got it right the first…oh yeah, that was revisionist history. Still, Tampa Bay‘s “1979” look is unequalled. And as long as they’re playing in the Trop it’s such a suitable look for the Rays.

PH: I honestly can’t argue with you, although those dark green numbers the team sported for a while were nice…ish.

+++

You thought I was going with 1977 for Toronto. The more I looked at the 1989 button-ups, the more I realized I had to go with them instead. Sometimes I like symmetry and this time I like an off-centered bird. Again, the fact that they won a few years later in these is coincidence.

PH: They’re button-fronts, not button ups. Pullover-schmoolover. This is tough for me because I loved the original powder roads. I’ll let this one slide.

. . . . .

AL Central

My final waffle. Chicago‘s 1942 uni Respects The Placket thanks to the zipper. No placket to worry about with the 1976 pullovers. Both, of course, respect the name of the team. Decisions, decisions…

PH: As long as you didn’t pick the Beach Blanket Bingo we can stay friends.

+++

Surprise, Phil! I hope you didn’t have money on which uni I’d pick for Cleveland. I was ready to pick the caveman set until I saw 1916. I’ll take a sleeve number over a sleeve Wahoo any day. A great look for the Wahoo-less future that awaits the Tribe and a great complement to the team in the southern part of the state.

PH: You know those were the first sleeve (or uni) numbers ever, right? Screw the Yankees. And again with the road pins? But no, the Caveman unis were both signature AND best. I’ll show myself out.

+++

For Detroit I picked another button-up/pullover combo with 1972. the home uni is up there with the Yankees. Never change it.

PH: Easy there Magnum. 1968 (or 1969 — same uni) was their perfection. Nirvana. Those flannel roadies where the bee’s knees!

+++

One more team got it right the first time, and that’s Kansas City. As with the Dodgers, tweak the MLB sleeve patch and you’re good to go.

PH: Nope. 1983-91 was their best look. It was also their signature.

+++

Given my love of road pins you’d think I’d pick 1987 for Minnesota. Nope, it’s 1976 all the way. That home cap is up there with the ’71 Bucs on the awesomeness scale and the twins-shaking-hands-across-the-Mississippi sleeve patch is wonderful.

PH: I’m surprised you didn’t go with the WS winning duds, but I know you love that polyester pullover with the red cap so much. Their original unis were their best tho.

. . . . .

AL West

I’m still calling them the California Angels. 1970 was the only year they had the combination of the blue/red halo caps, “ANGELS” on the jersey and the California sleeve patch, so that’s my choice.

PH: As long as you picked one with a halo cap, we’re good.

+++

I’m almost getting used to Houston in the American League. I’d feel even better about it if they could go back to these 1972 zipperiffic orange-capped unis! I suppose you could replace the Astrodome patch with an MLB one.

PH: No surprise here. You’re wrong though, the original Astros unis were their best.

+++

Sleeve numbers strike again, this time for Oakland. Even though it was from the Kansas City days this 1964 set (first and third ones) with a tweaked cap would be great for the A’s.

PH: Not bad, but my ONE polyester pullover love is the 1973-80 sets. If any team deserves to wear a colored, softball pullover in multiple colors, it’s the A’s.

+++

I like teal, but I like Seattle‘s trident M even better. I’d love to see the Mariners win a title in the 1981 uni so people will stop calling the trident cursed already.

PH: I’m gonna give you this. There are few teams who made racing stripes look good but the M’s did. It’s not *quite* their full signature look, but it’s close.

+++

There are those who think Texas should stop straddling the fence and be either a red team or a blue team. I’m not one of those people. Keep straddling and do it in this fantastic 1984 combination. So I guess I’ve dealt with another alt, then.

PH: I never get tired of telling you you’re wrong, Jim, but you ain’t even close. Yeah, it may have been a henley, but the 76-80 with “Rangers” in that font, that was the best.

. . .

Bonus AL pick: St. Louis. No, I don’t think it’ll ever become a two-team town again, but just in case, we could Bring Back The Browns in these splendid 1937 unis. And if some other team *cough*Cleveland*cough* wants to rebrand as them, just swap out the St. Louis patch for an MLB or Brownie the Elf patch.

PH: Not gonna argue. Too tired.

So now you know what I picture in my head when I listen to baseball on the radio, or if you see me with my eyes closed while baseball is on TV. What do you picture?

. . . . . . . . . .

It’s tough to fathom what is in your head whether you’re watching baseball or any other time, really. But, even though we disagreed on most of your choices, I enjoyed playing along.

Readers? How’d we do?

Raffle reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, our friends at Vintage Brand are raffling off two free items from their extensive catalog for a pair of lucky Uni Watch readers.. Full details here.

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: MLB released the 2019 Spring Training logo yesterday afternoon (from Chris Cruz). … Paywalled, but The Athletic has a great piece on why Jeff Bannister had “BK” written on his cap (from Sam McKinley). … Frank McGuigan noticed that José Bautista played his first Phillies game on Tuesday evening wearing No. 12, but changed his number to 19 — which he wore for most of his tenure in Toronto — for last night’s game. … The popular app-based live trivia game HQ had a White Sox shorts question yesterday (from Geoffrey Harm). … The Mets started a game in their grey unis, had it suspended, and then finished the suspended game in their blue softball tops as the first part of a doubleheader, and then brought back the greys for the second half of the doubleheader (thanks to @metspolice@Clark_X_AddisonDon Sanchez, and everyone else who sent this in). … The Dayton Dragons, Class A affiliates of the Reds, have unveiled their 20th Season logo (from Mike Sellers). … Rudy Giuliani wore a big ol’ Yankees ring during an appearance on Meet the Press (from J. Max Weintraub).

College/High School Football News: This is so cool: all Huskers now have their home area codes as 3D nose-bumpers (from Brett Baker, Jamie Rohrig, Mike Vamosi and everyone else who sent this in). … Maryland’s new helmets inexplicably feature an American flag decal with only 48 stars (great spot by Clint Glaze). … Rice has added a logo above the nameplate (from @SWCfootballNow). … Minnesota will wear white at home against New Mexico State in Week 1, because the Aggies’ white road unis have yet to arrive (thanks to Brandon Baumgartner, Mike WiceLance Johnson, and everyone else who sent this in). … Florida State will *sigh* go BFBS in Week 1 (from Chris White, Alex Breitmaier and @brock1984). … Duke is going white-blue-blue in Week 1 (from @ACC_Tracker). … Arkansas is going all white against Eastern Illinois (from Sean Patton). … Washington State will go red-white-white against Wyoming (from @BallardCoug206). …  Syracuse is going orange-white-orange against Western Michigan (thanks, Phil). …  Lindenwood will go black-black-gold in Week 1 against Washburn.

Hockey News: The Wild have added the outline of the state of Minnesota to their center line (from Braden Claassen). … The Golden Knights have started painting their center ice logo, and it has some slight alterations (from Bryan Harper).

NBA & College Hoops News: I’m (still) calling it the Omni (from Mike Chamernik). … Mizzou’s new hoops uniforms have been released with a Twitter video (thanks to Drew Lincoln, Jacob Bischoff, Steve Johnston, and everyone else who sent this in). … Wake Forest is getting a new court (from Thomas Hill).

Soccer News: Manchester United have finally formally unveiled their long-rumored (and long-confirmed) pale pink away kit. According to Adidas, the pink is inspired by the Manchester Evening News‘s defunct soccer publication The Football Pink. … Bayern Munich have released their third kit. Footy Headlines notes that the template is identical to Manchester United’s and Real Madrid’s third kit templates. … Clapton CFC, a twelfth-tier English side, is finding that its kit is popular among Spain’s leftist communities, as it’s based on the flag of the anti-fascist Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … In 1983, Michael Jackson always looked fly, but he looked especially fly in a 1979-80 OGC Nice jersey (from @profjimmyc). … Adidas has an astonishing 49 teams wearing its Condivo template. … FootyHeadlines has published its 10 worst kits of 2018-19 gallery.

Grab Bag: French rugby team ASM Clermont actual jersey has tons of ad patches, but they sell an ad-free version — along with ad-full version, natch — at the club shop (from Ragnar Danneskjöld).

If They Build It, I Will Go

[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site. Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month, although Paul is still on the clock over at ESPN and may be popping up here occasionally.]

By Phil Hecken, with Mark Anderson

If the name “Mark Anderson” sounds vaguely familiar to you, it’s because I’ve featured him on Uni Watch a couple times before, but not for several years — admittedly, we both lost touch — but over the summer, Mark began tweeting some graphics of a ballpark he was hoping the Oakland Athletics might someday build (if they ever leave the Coliseum). At first I thought it was just for fun, but after speaking with Mark, I realized the proposal was more than just some pipe dream (though it may ultimately end up being just that). But he went from dream to almost-reality with this, and I asked him if he’d share a pretty incredible story about his vision for the new home of the A’s.

It’s a bit long (but in a good way) and it’s a GREAT read, complete with amazing graphics, all below. Enjoy!

• • •

A Vision for a New Oakland A’s Ballpark
By Mark Anderson

The Building Boom

When Oriole Park at Camden Yards (OPACY) opened in 1992, it blew everyone away. It instantly rendered Comiskey Park II (now Guaranteed Rate Field), completed just the year before, obsolete. The design, largely credited to Janet Marie Smith (then vice president of planning and development with the Baltimore Orioles) brought back a lot of the classic elements, the brick façade and backstop, wrought iron details, the scoreboard clock, green seats and more.

The design also updated a new revenue stream, the luxury suite, which for a time gave the Orioles a competitive advantage. Soon, every team in baseball wanted their version of Camden Yards and the building boom began. The problem, the firm (HOK, now Populous) that built OPACY also did the vast majority of all the new ballparks, offering little innovation or variation to the Camden Yards design. OPACY essentially ended the era of the cookie cutter multipurpose stadium and started a new cookie cutter era of it’s own image. Even the Mariners, who went with NBBJ, one of the few teams that used a different firm than Populous, didn’t change the mold. Mariners executives, when planning for Safeco Field visited three of the newer ballparks and it is easy to tell which one was their favorite, because if you follow the grandstand from foul pole to foul pole, Safeco Field is almost identical to Coors Field. It’s like the Mariners executives said, give me Coors Field, switch up the outfield stands and bullpen a bit and add a retractable roof.

The flaw in the Camden Yards Design and the Best Seat in Baseball

Every ballpark built since OPACY is better than the one it replaced with exception of maybe Comerica Park, which replaced Tiger Stadium. The OPACY design put as many seats in the lower bowl as possible, with little shade and added the mid-level suite and club level deck. By doing this, it pushed the upper deck further back and higher up. Fans that claim that their home ballpark does not have a bad seat in the house never made it to Comiskey Park or Tiger Stadium. Had they, they would know that even the “Uecker seats” were better in comparison to today’s upper deck limits.

The last row of the upper deck at Comiskey Park was closer to field than the first row of the upper deck at Guaranteed Rate Field. Cleveland Municipal Stadium, which sat upwards of 80k, last row of seats were closer to the field than the last row at Progressive Field, which currently seats just over 35K.

Athletics Ballpark, Support poles, and Design.

In middle school and high school when my friends were doodling Metallica and other band’s logos on notebook paper, I was doodling ballpark designs (badly). Ever since then I wanted to see my vision for a ballpark come to life, The problem is that I’m not an architect or engineer and I’m not very good at drawing and have zero graphic design skills. This summer, when I was sharing my ideas on Twitter someone mentioned I should talk with Oakland Athletics president David Kaval about their new ballpark design. I replied back saying that I would love to have lunch with him. To my surprise, Kaval entered the conversation and we exchanged email to set up a time to meet. While I lived in northern California for close to a decade, I now reside near Savannah, GA so; I had to arrange a time to get out to Oakland. In the meantime, I wanted more than just some bad sketches to show my ideas.

In the late 1980s when the White Sox were looking to replace Comiskey Park, a group put together a ballpark plan called Armour Field, which would have been the first retro ballpark. Jerry Reinsdorf, the White Sox owner, ignored it. A couple years ago, an engineer in Chicago by the name of Matt Bond sent me an image of Armour Field that he constructed using Google SketchUp. I reached out to Bond and asked him kindly if he could help me come up with a couple images I could use in my discussion with Kaval. After sending Bond some badly drawn images, I hoped to get a cross-section out of it. I was shocked to see most of the grandstand built. The more we worked on it the further I wanted to take it. I was lucky to have Bond volunteer his time and continue to work on it.

Then Kolin Schmidt, an architect from Cedar City and another one of my Twitter followers entered the fray. He volunteered to render what Bond had done in vRay this time.

What I wanted to show Kaval was a forward thinking ballpark in which there was no middle deck, like at PNC Park, but with the upper deck brought closer to the field. Every time I tweet out a picture of Tiger Stadium, I get inundated with replies from fans that miss that place and the feeling of being right on top of field. The idea was to come up with a grandstand similar to that of League Park, Tiger Stadium and Comiskey Park without the view obstructing support poles, a 360-degree open concourse, and with the suites on the roof.

The best seat in baseball was the first row of the upper deck at Tiger Stadium, but the support poles and overhang got in the way of the fans below. Luckily, it’s not 1912. There’s a way, with today’s technology, to cantilever the upper deck over the lower bowl without the support poles. To solve the problem of having some of the seats in the lower deck obstructed from seeing pop-ups, was to eliminate the last few rows of the lower deck and replace them with bar rails to stop by on your way around the 360-degree open concourse (not yet visible in the renderings as it’s still a work in progress).

By eliminating the middle deck and bringing the upper deck forward I was able to place the suites on the roof. They would be much closer, provide shade for the upper deck and only be slightly higher than where they are in most ballparks. Another benefit of having the suites on top is you could add a patio behind them. Today’s typical suite you walk down a hallway like in a hotel. Inside the door, there’s usually a buffet table on one side, a table or island in the middle with six chairs or stools and a peninsula with four stools that overlook the field separated by a bi-fold window you can open all the way or completely shut out the elements. In front of the suite are usually three rows of 5-7 seats. Now imagine that suite with a pass through on the back with another bi-fold window, a bar height countertop and a patio with a gas fire pit Adirondack chairs and a cabana with more seating behind it.

It’s no secret that the A’s covet the Howard Terminal site in Oakland, which would put them right on the Estuary, while keeping the option on Coliseum site open. In this design, I tried to be realistic as possible. Ideally, you would want the ballpark to face the water, but ballparks must face east (with some give to the north and south) as you don’t want the sun to interfere with the batter. By placing the ballpark on the edge it would still capture a potion of the Estuary and have a great view of downtown Oakland, Jack London Square and the Oakland hills. The patios behind suites on the first base side would have fantastic water views.

From the field level, I wanted to bring back the view outside the stadium underneath the grandstand like was at Comiskey Park. I loved the look of those arches. Shibe Park, the Athletics home in Philadelphia from 1909-1954, also had them. To open up the view outside the field as much as possible I built two circular ramp rotundas, similar to the ones at PNC Park and dressed them up similar to the rotunda at Shibe Park, only with a glass dome.

In rethinking the lower level open concourse, one of the flaws I see in today’s design, is the line from concession stands often extend out to the walkway and you ideally don’t want a cavernous concourse either (see new Yankee Stadium). The way to fix this is have a split-level open lower concourse. After 12-15 feet you can’t see the field anyway. By dropping the concession part of the concourse a bit (not fully completed in renderings as the lower level will be raised) you eliminate this problem. Fans can walk the “HOV” concourse around the park without interference from concession lines while being able to view the whole field and all of the concession stands. This also allows for concession stands to not block the view out of the arches.

The current signature at Howard Terminal are the huge white shipping cranes, in which I hope they keep at least one of them at the location. By far the most popular feedback on this design, was using the shipping cranes as inspiration for the light standards.

The scoreboards or ballpark village isn’t in the renderings yet, but whether the A’s get the Howard Terminal or Coliseum location they will have control of the immediate land around the stadium. Since Kaval has already stated he wants a Wrigley or Fenway like feel to the area around the ballpark, I thought of building a four or five story building across the street from the ballpark in left field. The lower street level would have restaurants with sidewalk seating, the middle floors would be mixed use, and the top level would be a rooftop bar or two. You could even add Wrigley style rooftop seating. And since the A’s will control that building, they won’t have to fight with the rooftop owners. Instead of putting a large scoreboard to block the view from the rooftops at Wrigley, imagine the scoreboard on top of the rooftops at Wrigley. Even with the board on top of the building across the street from this concept, it would still be closer to home plate than the boards at the Coliseum now.

Scoreboard graphic by @THIRTY81Project Lou Spirito

I recently made my first trip to latest ballpark built, the Braves’ SunTrust Park. I was certainly more impressed with it live in person than from images I had seen, but they still put zero thought into the bullpen design. Ballparks today need to cater to all types of fans, baseball nerds like you and I, all the way down to the person that is just there to hang out with friends, have a drink or two, and socialize. It’s crucial you have enough hangout areas and standing areas, as today’s fan is less likely to sit in their assigned seat the entire game. Bullpen design should be included, in my opinion, in this function. I’ve put seats in front of the bullpen like at Progressive Field (immediately adding value) and a two-level viewing area behind the bullpen where all fans, if they choose, can be close with the pitchers warming up.

Mark Anderson, Kolin Schmidt and Matt Bond will continue to update this ballpark concept. You can follow this project on their Twitter accounts: @MLBcathedrals, @ccfirman, and @Bonderman92, respectively.

The Meeting

Schmidt and I flew out to meet with Kaval. The meeting was originally scheduled at their office, but the day we could be out there was a day game, so we all decided to meet in Kaval’s suite during the game. Kaval was a gracious host, is obviously a people person, and listened and liked what we had to say. This isn’t a surprise since he actually listens and responds to fans input on Twitter. We were already on the same page about a lot of things (closer upper deck in particular). Don’t be surprised to see a ballpark that seats as few as 28,000 fans and is more intimate than any ballpark today (including Fenway park and Wrigley Field).

Aftermath

It was recently revealed (post meeting) that the A’s hired BIG to oversee the ballpark village, Gensler to do the ballpark, and James Corner to do the landscape. Clearly, don’t expect anything retro like my design as far as aesthetics.

• • •

Thanks, Mark! Fantastic job on those renderings (by all involved) — as I said yesterday, I love ballparks almost as much as I love uniforms, and this project … already well underway … really needs to have a serious look by the A’s brass. This is retro but modern all at the same time and — especially if the A’s can secure a location and surrounding areas like you’ve laid forth above, then every consideration should be given to constructing something along these lines! Well done, sir!

Readers? What say you?

Griffins Jersey Voting Results, Rounds C & D

The results of the first two days of voting on the Griffins Alternate Jersey Contest are now complete.

Congratulations to Group C Winners Garrett Pickard, Johnny Woods and Zack Rueger. You three will be moving on to the Group of 12, from which the Griffins will select one overall winner. The results of the Group C voting are below:

Thanks to everyone who submitted. You can see all of the Group C submissions here.

• • •

Congratulations to Group D Winners Clark Rasmussen, George Miller, and Zach Grantham. You three will be moving on to the Group of 12, from which the Griffins will select one overall winner. The results of the Group D voting are below:

Thanks to everyone who submitted. You can see all of the Group D submissions here.

Griffins Jersey Design Contest — The Final 12

And now, with the results tallied for Groups C & D (above), I’m pleased to announce our final 12 contestants. I’ve already sent all 12 of these off to the Griffins, whom I’m expecting to give me the name of the winner by Thursday, so I can announce it here on Friday. I’ll have a summary of the contest (along with some insight from my pollster, the Great Larry Torrez) at that time. But for now, here are the Final 12:

. . .

Matthew Harvey:

. . .

David DiFalco:

. . .

Joe Hilseberg:

. . .

Mason Fiske:

. . .

Adam Cain:

. . .

Turner Rintala:

. . .

Garrett Pickard:

. . .

Johnny Woods:

. . .

Zack Rueger:

. . .

Clark Rasmussen:

. . .

George Miller:

. . .

Zach Grantham:

. . .

You can see all 12 finalists entries here.

Good luck to all who advanced, and thanks to everyone for participated or voted!

Raffle reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, our friends at Vintage Brand are raffling off two free items from their extensive catalog for a pair of lucky Uni Watch readers.. Full details here.

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: White Sox P Carlos Rodon stopped wearing an undershirt nine starts ago. Since then, he’s 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA (from Mike Chamernik). … An Astros fan wore a custom-made championship ring hat to a recent game (from Ignacio). … MLB Network flashed the AL standings yesterday and forgot to include the Orioles. Probably for the best, since they’re nearly 60 games below .500 (from Billy King). … Almost all baseball bats used to be made of ash. That is, until the mid-’90s. Now maple bats are king (from Mike Chamernik). … For those into baseball art, check out the work of Margie Lawrence. She also has a website with more information. … Jose Bautista has been given a 3D helmet, despite the fact that the Phillies bailed on the raised logos months ago (from Tim Kelly). On another note, Joey Bats is now on the Phillies?!? … Awwww, this bat dog was just doing her job (from Mike Chamernik).

NFL NewsThe Bengals released their 2018 uniform schedule yesterday. They’ll wear their Color Rash jerseys during Week 1, a Sunday (from Jeff Gluck). … This Pizza Hut box appears to group teams by division — save for the Bengals and Bills (from Corey Buck). … Here’s a behind-the-scenes feature about Washington’s team cafeteria (WaPo link) (from Tom Turner). … Brian Spiess found a Rams display poster at Dick’s that featured the team in their least-favorite uniform combo. … The Tennessee Titans will debut their all blue combo Thursday night. Ugh.

College Football NewsPurdue will have a train track design running up and down their sidelines this season (from Griffin Smith). … Georgia has added 3D front bumpers to their helmets (from Joseph Culverhouse and Chance). … Indiana has added a memorial decal for former coach Bill Mallory to their helmets (from Chuck Weiss). … Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich asks fans on Twitter if the Warriors should continue to wear the island chain on their helmets. As of 1:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the 94 percent said the islands should stay (from Charles George). … Looks like there’s a new helmet for South Carolina (from Brad Darby). It’s got a script “Carolina” on the side (from Mike Uva). … Virginia Tech has new banners for their retired numbers (from Andrew Cosentino).

Hockey NewsThe Ducks announced yesterday that they’ll wear nine different classic jerseys during warmups before nine separate home games throughout the 2018-19 season (from @JBeck132). … The Blackhawks unveiled the logo they’ll be using for the upcoming Winter Classic game yesterday (from Eric Lovejoy). … The Jets will be unveiling a third jersey on Sept. 14 (from Michael Remis). … ESPN has a great feature on the equipment quirks of a number of NHL goalies, and how the new equipment rules will impact some goaltenders (from John Muir). … Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty hosts a charity golf tournament that includes a giant captain’s “C” — complete with stitching — for photo ops (from Moe Khan).

NBA News: Sneaker artist Dominic Chambrone gifted LeBron James a $100,000 pair of LeBron’s signature shoes. They’re made of crocodile skin coated in 24K gold (from Mike Chamernik). … Oh goody: The NBA is removing ALL footwear color restrictions for the upcoming 2018-19 season. Players can wear whatever colors they want, every night (from Mike Chamernik).

Soccer News: As you probably know, North America (the US of A, Canada and Mexico) will host the World Cup in 2026. I’m not exactly sure what this jersey is, but here’s a photo of Jared Kushner holding a white USA jersey with “26” (for 2026) on the back (from Chad Smith).

Grab Bag: French tennis player Alize Cornet was given a code violation during the US Open yesterday because she briefly took her shirt off during the match. … The Associated Press published an excellent report yesterday detailing just how litigious large universities are when it comes to protecting their trademarks (from Griffin Smith). … Here’s a review of friend of the site Todd Radom’s excellent book, “Winning Ugly: A Visual History of the Most Bizarre Baseball Uniforms Ever Worn” (from Dennis Anderson). … Top 14, a rugby league in France, has a nice little uni quirk built into its rules — the league’s reigning champions always have the right to wear whichever jersey they like in the event of a kit clash (from @Stumpy7780).