Sunday Morning Uni Watch

By Phil Hecken and the SMUW Crew

Sometimes — probably oftentimes — an idea (and even photoshoots) looks a lot better than its execution. Such was the case, as I’d feared, with the throwbacks worn yesterday by Nebraska. If you read yesterday’s post, I had a sub-lede on the Huskers uniforms (worn to mark the end of World War I, but actually closer to the 1923 unis the team wore). The unis attempted to replicate two of the classic features of the period: leather helmets and jerseys with friction strips. Up close (if you enlarge the splash photo), they kinda pulled it off. From any kind of distance, however, it simply looked like the team was wearing white helmets and red jerseys (and tan pants too — meant to emulate the wool pants of the day).

The further you got from the action, the more difficult it was to see the details. The friction strips actually showed up better than the faux leather hat. I’m pretty sure everyone in the stands — and probably most on the sidelines — couldn’t make out the clear plastic strips on the helmets, meant to look like stitching on the old leather lids.

There was one cool feature on the helmets though — faux giant earholes, which were indeed a feature of the old school toppers. A nice effort, but unfortunately, on tv or in the stands, all I’m sure people saw was a white/red/tan ensemble. That didn’t mean the unis themselves didn’t look good — on the contrary, I rather rather liked the look. It just didn’t give off a faux (or throw)back look at all.

Here’s TJ with the rest of your…

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Sunday Morning Uni Watch
By Terry Duroncelet, Jr.

From Thursday:

• The NC State Wolfpack became the Wolfblack on Thursday night and came out in BFBS uniforms against Wake Forest.

From Saturday:

• Wisconsin honored late volunteer firefighter Captain Cory Barr with a jersey that had his badge number and department patch. Here’s Wisconsin’s original tweet, which includes a video and some additional photos.

• It’s hard to see from this angle, but Eastern Michigan had their Senior Day against Akron, and wore the numbers of all of their seniors in their block ‘E’ logo. And again, I want to give a HUGE thank you to Blaise D’Sylva for the numerous helmet tips throughout the season.

• Iowa wore S&S decals, but also wore Nile Kinnick’s #24 on the side of their helmets (he fought in WWII).

• Mizzou’s military appreciation demonstration was a delightful change-up from the usual “flagify all the things” and “camouflage all the things” approach. They replaced their standard decals (but i today’s college football uniform landscape, is any decal standard at this point?) with medals rendered in decal form (closer look). This medal was rewarded to all Missourians who served in WWI. Additionally, players forwent their surnames in favor of the names of the 117 Missouri students who died in WWI. And as a reminder, today (Nov. 11th, 2018) marks 100 years since WWI ended.

• While not basketball, the Duke vs UNC game looked about as great as it should look.

• I dug the hell out of Notre Dame’s green jerseys in their game against Florida State. I wonder what they would’ve looked like if they used gold numbers edged in navy?

• Nebraska wore their outstanding Memorial tribute uniforms against Illinois. Read more about ’em here.

• Standard issue military appreciation demonstrations include (but obviously not limited to): Texas State, Northwestern, Minnesota, UAB, Northern Illinois (from Thursday), Utah State, and undoubtedly several others. Also, Iowa wore S&S decals, but also wore Kyle Kinney’s #24 on the side of their helmets.

• Touching on Minnesota again for a brief moment: cold weather and decals always make for some type of carnage. I can’t help but to think of the Snorks.

• Utah wore their beautiful Red Tail helmets against Oregon, who also wore Utah’s Lauren memorial decal. Class move. In that same pic, you can see the seal of the Marine Corps on the back of the Utah helmet. There were several Armed Forces seals on display, but I found the Marines especially fitting, as it was the Marine Corps’s birthday yesterday.

• Arizona State wore retro-inspired uniforms in their game against UCLA. The left side of the helmets featured the Pat Tillman “shield” (or is that a badge?).

• Pitt wore their JUST MAKE THESE THE FULL-TIME ALREADY retros against Virginia Tech, and you know the drill at this point.

• I loved Oklahoma State’s look from their in-State rivalry game against the Sooners. One of the best orange pant teams in the nation, IMO.

• Some D3 love, featuring USMMA’s throwback uniforms (courtesy of John Kimmerlein).

• Penn State has a student-run philanthropy called THON. Admittedly, I know nothing about it, apart from this FAQ that I found online. At any rate, the Nittany Lions wore THON decals on the back of the helmets in their game against Wisconsin (h/t/ Blake Fox).

Calvin Johnson is going into the College Football Hall of Fame this year, and Georgia Tech marked the occasion by adding a small, gold ’21’ (his number during his time as a Yellow Jacket) to the field in their game against Miami, who wore BFBS. Listen Canes, if you’re gonna do black, this is the only correct way to do it. P/C for the field photo goes to Sean Bedford.

• Boston College wore their throwbacks against Clemson, who wore orange pants. Gorgeous game, the photoset of which can be found here. Although, BC’s helmets looked to have glitched some in terms of color.

• Houston wore throwbacks against a rather grey-heavy Temple squad.

• Not enough can be said about Air Force’s uniforms from their matchup against New Mexico.

• Doesn’t LSU know that they’re supposed to toast marshmallows in this weather?

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Thanks, TJ! OK, now on to the rest of your SMUW…

Joe Ringham 5 & 1 Joe Ringham’s 5 & 1

Following in the footsteps of the original “5 & 1,” Jim Vilk, and Catherine Ryan after him, Joe Ringham returns for 2018 to make his “5 & 1” (five good looking and one stinker) uni-vs-uni matchups. Sometimes he’ll have some “honorable mentions” and sometimes there will be more than one “bad” game. You may agree and you may disagree — these are, after all, just opinions and everyone has one. Feel free to let him know what you think in the comments section.

Here’s Joe:

. . .

Happy Sunday everyone! No need to wait, let’s get right to the list for this second Saturday of November..

5) Purdue at Minnesota — I had a good feeling about this one, when looking through the week’s schedule. The Gophers looked great in maroon/maroon/gold at home. I didn’t think I’d like the Boilermakers in gold/white/grey. However, it actually worked quite well here.

4) Washington State at Colorado — Ok, for those of you who got on me a few weeks ago for slamming Wazzu for not wearing school colors… THIS is a perfect example of them wearing their school colors (with the right shade of grey on the lids). It matched up quite well against the silver/black/silver home look of the Buffs.

3) Ohio State at Michigan State — Caught a little bit of this on the way out the door Saturday morning, and very much liked what I saw. The Buckeyes always seem to look great when wearing their usual road unis. But Sparty really came out looking great here, going white/green/white at home.

2) Oklahoma State at Oklahoma — Bedlam always seems to be one of the best looking match-ups annually, and this year’s edition is no exception. OSU looked fantastic on the road in black/white/orange. The contrast of that against the classic home look of the Sooners made this game look quite awesome.

1) Clemson at Boston College — This one surprised the hell out of me with how good it looked. Clemson came out with my favorite road look of theirs, going orange/white/orange. BC looked equally as awesome in gold/maroon/gold at home. Put that together and you have the best looking game of the weekend. Simply beautiful in Chestnut Hill.

And, finally…

+1) Tulsa at Memphis — Just something about this Memphis home uni that screams “we just threw this together at the last minute”. Just… not a good look.

Enjoy the rest of your football Sunday. I’ll see you around next week!

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Thanks Joe! You can follow Joe on the Twitter and let him know what you think of his choices or make a 5 & 1 suggestion of your own!

NCAA Uni Tracking

Uni Watch will again track the uniform combinations worn by the “Power 5” conferences. All of the 2017 trackers are back!

We’ve got Rex Henry (tracking the ACC), Dennis Bolt (tracking the PAC-12), Kyle Acker (tracking the Big XII), and Ethan Dimitroff (tracking the B1G AND the SEC). Rex, Dennis, and Kyle and are all returning from 2015, and Ethan is back after joining the NCAA Uni Tracking a couple seasons ago. Ethan continues his dual role of tracking both the B1G and the SEC.

Here are the Uni Trackers for the Power 5 Conferences:

+ + + + + + + + + +

Rex is up first today (ACC):

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ACC

More Here.
Follow Rex on Twitter here.

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And now, here’s Dennis with the PAC-12:

PAC-12

More here.
Follow Dennis on Twitter here.

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And here is Ethan, with the SEC:

SEC

And be sure to check out Ethan’s WVU Mountaineer Tracker.
Follow Ethan on Twitter here.

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And here is Kyle with the Big XII:

Big XII

Follow Kyle on Twitter here.

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And here’s Ethan with the B1G:

B1G

Duck Tracker

Welcome to the 2018 Oregon Ducks Uni Tracker. This little project was originally begun way back in 2008-09 by Michael Princip, who retired after several seasons, whereupon the project was continued by Tim E. O’Brien. He, too, retired from the tracking, but the project has been ably kept up by the man who also tracks the Pac12, Dennis Bolt.

Here’s this week’s Uniform Combo for the Ducks (you can click to enlarge):

You can read about this uniform, and MUCH MORE, by checking out the Duck Tracker here!

Thanks Dennis!

And now a few words from Paul: Hi there. In case you missed it on Friday, my take on the latest round of NBA alternate uniforms is availble here. If you want to see my thoughts on the previous two batches of uniforms that were part of this same rollout, those are avaialble here and here.

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Hmmm. Check out this photo. That little teaser comes from the Miami Marlins — in what I presume to be an aqua alternate jersey. Interestingly, the banner at the top of their twitter account makes reference to this as well (thanks to Mike Kampf). In fact, the team will announce a new logo & unis on Novemer 15th. … “A Flickr group I follow posted home movies with an unidentified baseball stadium in them,” says Charles Rogers. “I though Uni-Watch readers could surely identify the stadium and possibly more info.” Those images are here, here, here, and here. … Samurai Japan is wearing uniforms made by Asics, the previous unis were made by Mizuno (from Sons of Johnny LeMaster).

NFL/CFL News: “About a week ago (Paul) posted a photo of a little used logo at the middle of Cleveland stadium,” says Joseph Bailey. “I remember liking the logo and bought a hat that had it. I think I bought this in ‘94 or ‘95.” Gotta say, that’s a lot more pleasing to the eye than that more well-known “CB” logo we’ve all seen many times before. … Also from Joseph Bailey: “I’m officiating a high school state playoff game at Clarence High school near Buffalo. I saw this stuff in the display case. Mark Murphy (I think VP of the Packers) was a graduate of this place and it looks like the NFL sent this stuff to the school. Note the cutout of the helmet stripes due to the vents in the helmet.” … “Interesting (Colts/’skins) program I found inside a table top at a bar in Baltimore,” says Eric Arnold “Date says it’s from their game on September 25, 1960. Imagery is definitely questionable.” … The pre-game press conferences for the CFL Western and Eastern Semi-Finals took place on Saturday. Wade Heidt grabbed this photo of the 4 head coaches for the teams in the Semi-Finals. Wade adds, “A nod to Hamilton Tiger-Cats June Jones for the press conference attire. Looks ready to head out on holiday to the beach. Likely influenced by his days coaching in Hawaii. Will not be that warm in Hamilton. Sunday’s daytime high to be 4 degrees C (39 degrees F).”

Hockey News: Dear God, I hope this doesn’t become a thing: ECHL’s Reading Royals are ready to debut special 3D jerseys (via Paul). I have a feeling this is one of things that looked really clever on paper, but when it comes to the actual execution…well, let’s just see how they look on ice. … The WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes have new 3rd uniforms. They were worn for the first time on Friday (from Wade Heidt). … The Philadelphia Flyers wear black/orange gloves with their third jerseys, but Claude Giroux wears his standard black/white gloves (good spot from Kevin Kurz). … Last evening the Fargo Force wore Honor Flight jerseys (from Patrick Thomas). … In yesterday’s Flyers/Blackhawks tilt, both teams wore “29” stickers on their helmets (here’s how the Blackhawks’ looked), in tribute to Ray Emery, who played for both teams (from Stevie P.). … The Minnesota Wild will be wearing a memorial patch for the original owner Bob Naegele who passed away last week (from Mike Menner).

NBA News: “This was the Nets logo that was being used on YouTube TV (Friday) night,” notes Joshua Edney “It wasn’t a throwback night so is YouTube TV using a logo that hasn’t been in circulation since 2012?” … Year two for the ABA’s Akron Aviators. Jimmer Vilk notes “they’re wearing their road blues in South Bend. Still with the crotch lettering (🙄) but at least the numbers contrast, unlike the big A on the front of the jersey (look closely, it’s there).”

Soccer News: Reader Ryan Madden was watching Leicester City v Burnley yesterday morning, and noticed they had tributes for club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in a helicopter crash outside the team’s stadium a couple weekends ago. One of the more unique ones was the LED ad boards surrounding the pitch, “with only one exception I noticed (a DHL ad that featured, more prominently, a quote from someone about Vichai, still used their yellow and red logo), without exception featured messages of condolence from the advertisers, and were rendered entirely in black and white.” You can see Ryan’s screen grabs here, here, here and here. … Argentine club Estudiantes de la Plata is wearing all-white jerseys with grey shorts and socks (as opposed to vertical red and white stripes) last night in honor of their 1968 victory over Manchester United in the Intercontinental Cup (from Timoteo Cobertizo).

Grab Bag: Thanks to reader Will Scheibler, we have some news on the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling. “Have this taking place locally (to me) in Thunder Bay, ON Canada,” he writes. “click on the picture or text for teams to get a photo of the whole team (showing the jacket fronts). More pictures here (besides curlers includes a pic of the mascot and a pic of a fan with green beard that has Remembrance Day poppy coloured in).”

Ten Years Later...

By Phil Hecken

Wow. Ten years ago I began my tenure on Uni Watch as Bench Coach. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. What you see above is a screenshot of my first (solo) post on this here blog. Some of you may remember it. I wanted to start out with a bang (after the changing of the guard from former BC Bryan Redemske). It’s been all downhill been a great and fun ride ever since.

Paul mentioned my 10th Anny at the very end of yesterday’s post, and to those who commented yesterday, thanks! I never envisioned doing this gig (one of the greatest jobs in the world, btw) for this long. Over the years, I’ve made countless friends on UW (many of whom I’ve met in real life) and I feel like I know many of you — even if we’ve never met or even corresponded. UW’s like that. We’re a community of uniform aficionados first and foremost, but we’re also like a family.

Over the years, I have had tremendous help and assistance (in the form of articles, assistance with articles, advice, thoughts etc.) from too many to list here, but you know who you are. I thank you very very much for all your help (past, present and future) and love the bonds we’ve formed over the years. A couple names I have to mention who’ve provided incredible assistance to me over the years I do need to mention: Jim Vilk, Chance Michaels, Ronnie Bolton, Rick Pearson, Tim O’Brien, Graig Kriendler, Todd Radom, Robert Marshall, Catherine Ryan, Jerry Reuss, and Larry Torrez, to name a few; the entire SMUW Crew (Terry, Dennis, Joe, Rex, Ethan & Kyle); everyone who’s ever sent in a submission or design, and anyone who ever suggested an article. Thank you all! I’m sure I’m forgetting some folks, but thank you as well.

And of course, my biggest thanks of all goes to Paul, who plucked a (admittedly vociferous) reader out of the crowd of UW followers and asked me if I wanted to become the next Bench Coach. I’m sure neither of us realized that, 10 years later, I’d still be doing weekends (now as Deputy Editor) and Paul is not only a rock solid, outstanding human and great boss, he’s also one of my best friends. Suffice it to say I wouldn’t be near the person I am now had I not met Paul. There aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary for me to properly thank him for all he’s done for me.

Hey…maybe I need an anniversary logo?

You guys know a little about me: you know I love to curl, I have a love/hate relationship with the University of Oregon, my favorite baseball team is the Mets (who’ve given us all a lifetime worth of agita, but then again — whose team(s) haven’t?), I lost my pop a few years back (and Paul wrote one of the most wonderful pieces ever memorializing him) and pup (another great piece from Paul — scroll down) and probably many other things I wish you didn’t know. But after 10 years I wanted to tell you a bit more.

• • •

On a much sadder note, I have some bad personal news to impart to you all. Many of you know me and know what I do (when I’m not writing for UW), but I’m sure the vast majority do not. For the past 30+ years, I have worked for a New York State lawmaker. He is up for election in two-year cycles, so I’ve been with him for 16 re-elections. This past Tuesday I was expecting we’d win another (especially since our opponent ran a lackluster campaign, was not well funded, and basically didn’t expect to win). Despite the political headwinds, we all felt another two-year term would be in the cards. It was not to be. My boss was defeated in a close race (they’re actually still counting absentee votes and the like as I write this, but having been in this game long enough, I know we don’t have the numbers).

So, after 30+ years having one employer and job (yes, different titles and responsibilities over the years — I moved up with time, but with the same boss), I will find myself shockingly, and devastatingly, out of a job come January 1st. To say that I’m still in a state of denial, shock and anger — yep, I’m about 2/5ths of the way there) — would be an understatement. I’m still waking up every morning like this was all just a bad dream. But elections have consequences, as they say, and my boss — a moderate who has always been a great legislator (what they actually get elected to do) and whose constituent service (myself and my coworkers always prided ourself on this) was second to none — fell prey to the whims of the electorate. I don’t say that lightly or with any tinge of regret. My boss was not the greatest politician, but he was easily one of the best legislators there ever was.

So, in this highly-charged political climate world in which we now reside, he (and I, and my coworkers) become a casualty of that. Two of the people I have worked with for almost 30 years, another 25, and two more for 20-plus. One of those has a terminally ill husband; another a 10-year-old special needs child; we’ve all got some problems but we’ve also all stayed with this job and this employer because we believe in public service. We’re a close knit group and while not quite a family, we’ve all been through a lot together. And now we’re all about to become unemployed. We all knew going in the “risks” of working for someone whose employment was dependent upon the voter’s whims every two years, but we all worked hard (as did our boss) and every election cycle, we were “rewarded” with two more years of public service. Our luck ran out this past Tuesday. I don’t think any of us was prepared for it to end this way.

I have had this job since I was in college. I’ve never had another full-time job. I had this job through a marriage and divorce, through resulting personal chaos, through sobriety (12+ years without touching a drop and I’m doing great there, although that was tested earlier this week), through relationships, through grad school, through family deaths, through 9/11 (where I lost a cousin and several neighbors in the terrorist attacks), through recessions, through…well, pretty damn much everything. It’s the one constant I’ve had in an ever-changing world. And now it’s gone.

Time to move on to the next chapter in life, whatever that may be. I’m the ultimate free agent now. And I hope there are still teams out there who can use my services. If you’re one of those, drop me a line.

Thanks for listening. Here’s to the next 10 years at Uni Watch.

Huskers Try The Leatherhead Look

Today, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will wear ‘Memorial Tribute’ alternate uniforms when they take on Illinois. They’re becoming (at least) the third college team to try to affect a throwback leather helmet look with their unis.

The uniforms “pay tribute” to the end of the Great War, the peace for which was signed 100 years ago, tomorrow. According to adidas, the “‘Memorial Tribute’ alternate uniform was specifically inspired by the first team to play in Memorial Stadium and continues the school’s age-old tradition of honoring Nebraska’s veterans. The field hosted its first football game on October 20, 1923 and this will be the Huskers’ 96th season at the stadium.”

Here’s a couple looks at the uni:

In those shots, you can see not only how the team has tried to mimic the look of the old leather helmet, but also the friction strips common to teams back in the day.

Allow me to indulge in the semantics of the corporate-speak to describe it further:

Similar to the 1923 Huskers’ jerseys, the 2018 Nebraska ‘Memorial Tribute’ uniform features a throwback tonal, paneled front. The buff-colored pant is designed to resemble the first façade of Memorial Stadium, which was also a characteristic of the 1923 uniform. Additionally, the new alternate uniform showcases key aspects of the 85,000-seat arena, including the numbers and fonts which were inspired by the original clock in Memorial Stadium.

Four quotes are inscribed on each corner of Nebraska’s stadium that communicate honor and glory of the state’s fallen heroes. University of Nebraska Athletics chose to showcase the quote in the Southwest corner, which is centered above each number on the back of the jerseys. It reads, “Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory.” The words have gone on to become famous among Husker Nation and are a motto for the team.

As with all unis, I’ll need to see how these look on the field to render a true judgment, but I’m especially interested in seeing how the hat looks. (At least) two other teams have tried to mimic the leather look in the past, with (IMO) somewhat mixed results: aTm and ND. Here’s how those looked on the field:

In the case with Texas A&M, those helmets looked OK to good, even from afar. Notre Dame’s were barely noticeable unless you were on the field. We’ll have to see how this one looks for Nebraska. I hope it’s not a dud:


Kreindler’s Korner

I had the distinct pleasure of featuring the wonderful artwork of artist Graig Kriendler on two occasions over the summer and fall of 2017, and more recently, in August of 2018.

For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.

Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.

Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):

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Title: “Birds Sweep Series”
Subject: Brooks Robinson, Dave McNally and Andy Etchebarren, 1966
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 32″ x 40″

From the outset of the 1966 World Series, it was fair to say that not too many people gave the Baltimore Orioles much of a fighting chance. Though they carried the American League MVP and Triple Crown winner Frank Robinson, they had a very young pitching staff inexperienced in October baseball. Additionally, facing the premiere National League dynasty of the 1960s in the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Baltimore underdogs had quite the mountain range to surmount – stalwart hurlers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax being the most daunting of those peaks. Having swept the Yankees in an improbable performance in 1963 and winning a hard-fought battle against the Twins in 1965, The Dodgers proved that their two great pitchers and stellar staff could silence any line-up, as both opposing American League teams were held to an anemic total of 14 runs in eleven World Series games.

For the first two games at Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles, the Orioles took this ideal to heart, winning both contests with spirited performances from 23-year old Dave McNally in the former and 20-year old Jim Palmer in the latter. After a day off, coming home to Baltimore for the third game provided the blueprint from which they would hope to emerge victorious in the series, with the young Wally Bunker shutting out the Dodgers on a six hit performance.

Returning to the mound in Game 4 was opening game winner McNally. With only one run scored by a solo home run from World Series MVP Frank Robinson, the contest was a pitcher’s duel from start to finish. In the hopes of redeeming himself for a poor Game 1 start, Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale gave up only one run; though unfortunately for Los Angeles fans, it was the only one that mattered in the 1-0 Oriole victory. Pitching brilliant ball, McNally allowed a measly four hits and no runs against the boys in blue. The lefty’s performance was indicative of that of the entire Baltimore pitching staff during the postseason, as the Dodgers were held without a run for the last 33 innings of the World Series.

Pictured is the precise moment after the last out of the series – a catch by Oriole centerfielder Paul Blair – which spread jubilation across the field in Memorial Stadium, as well as all of Baltimore. With the ecstatic crowd beginning to rush their heroes to join in the celebration, Brooks Robinson is shown emphatically jumping into the arms of winning pitcher McNally, and the Bird’s rookie catcher, Andy Etchebarren.

Baltimore would see their team reach the top of the American League standings every year from 1969 to 1971, capturing the title again in 1970. The Orioles talented pitching staff and smooth defense would come to define their era, the likes of which had not been seen in the American League since the New York Yankees. Certainly, this dynasty was a far cry from the woeful performances of the hapless St. Louis Browns, the team which in 1954, was embraced by Maryland when they became the Baltimore Orioles.

• • •

Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.

ND Going Green

This item was in yesterday’s ticker, but I wanted to elaborate slightly on the tweet. Much like the NFL (do we see a trend coming?), which permitted teams to pair parts of their Color Rash costumes with “regular” attire, this appears to be sort of what Notre Dame is doing here. If those jerseys look familiar, it’s because they wore something very similar back in 2015 as a part of their “Shamrock Series” costumes. If you don’t remember those (or you forced yourself to forget them), here’s how they looked back then:

These “new” green jerseys appear to be the same shade of green, but with some slight modifications — the blue and gold shoulder piping has been removed, the “Irish” script wordmark is now scrapped, and while the number fonts look identical, they also have removed the gold/green slash/striping from the lower right of the numbers. I’m not in love with the shade of green, but removing the extraneous striping from the shoulders and numbers is an improvement. I did kinda like the “Irish” script.

Fans have always wanted the team to break out a green top (as they have periodically over the years — here’s an old article from 2010 which gives a history of the green jersey wearings), so they’re getting their wish.

UPDATE: After I had written this, I received an update from ND about the unis. Here’s what they’ll wear today:

..and their official statement:

The players and fans asked, and Notre Dame answered. This Saturday, at the request of its seniors, the Fighting Irish will wear green UA jerseys when they take on FSU, as they compete towards a berth in the College Football Playoffs.

You can read more about the Senior Day unis here.

And now a few words from Paul: Hi there. In case you missed it on Friday, my take on the latest round of NBA alternate uniforms is availble here. If you want to see my thoughts on the previous two batches of uniforms that were part of this same rollout, those are avaialble here and here.

Last year, reader Ed Kendrick provided uniform tracking for us for four teams: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. This year, he’s added a fifth team, the San Francisco Giants.

While this was also a ticker item this week, I had been running Ed’s updates periodically throughout this season as a sub-lede, so I’ll conclude that here.

Now that the season has ended, Ed has updated all the combos for all the squads.

You can check them all out via this link.

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: This tweet from the Cardinals’ official Twitter account seems to tease a potential baby blue alternate uni (from Ted Frank and Kenneth Traisman). … Unfortunately, this excellent Athletic article on the minutiae of the Reds’ 15 throwbacks for 2019 is paywalled, but it might be worth signing up for the free trial just to check it out (many thanks to Jason Merkel our own Alex Hider for sending this our way). … In the official team photo for the 2019 Japan Series, Tigers P Daniel Norris was clearly wearing an old cap with the smaller “D” logo. Wonder where he got that? (from Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli). …The 2019 Little League World Series logo has been released (from Nicholas Schiavo). … A Massachusetts man has won the lottery by picking the uniform numbers of five Red Sox players: Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rick Porcello and World Series MVP Steve Pearce (from Mike Chamernik).

NFL News: The Cardinals are going with white jerseys and red pants against the Chiefs on Sunday (from Ed Kendrick). … Bear with me on this one: the online third-person-shooter video game Fortnite has partnered with the NFL to create “skins” — that is, outfits that your in-game character wears — that are the 32 teams’ unis. 31 are accurate, but the Chargers skin has the bolt logo outlined in black and backwards. … A recent episode of the TV series Fresh Off the Boat featured characters watching an NFL game in 1999, wearing extremely anachronistic jerseys.

College/High School Football News: Another paywalled Athletic article, but this one has insight into Washington’s conversion from Nike to Adidas (from Vinnie Donati). … Here’s a rundown of Nebraska alternate unis through the years (thanks, Phil). … Mizzou is honoring the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with special helmets featuring the medal given to Missourians who fought in that conflict (from Brendan Shaughnessy). … UConn has new helmets for their matchup against SMU (from Blaise d’Sylva). … Youngstown State is going with stars-and-stripes helmets (from Robert Hayes). … Also from Blaise: for the second year in a row, Eastern Michigan is honoring seniors by putting their uni numbers in the “E” helmet decal. … The following are all from Phil: ASU is honoring alum Pat Tillman with their Salute to Service unis. … Lehigh is going white-brown-brown today.

Hockey News: The Rochester Americans of the AHL went with military appreciation sweaters last night (from @jeffreybigmoney). … The AHL’s San Diego Gulls also went with stars and stripes sweaters last night, and they’ll wear them again tonight (thanks, Phil). … Michigan Tech has nameplates beneath uni numbers, a rare sight for hockey even in the more uni-adventurous NCAAH ranks (from Chris Vallette).

NBA & College Hoop News: So we all agree the City unis for the Pacers and Grizzlies look a little bit too similar, but apparently they’re even too similar for the folks at the NBA’s official online retailer to tell apart! (from Timothy Medeiros and @cu11enM). … GFGS unis for Georgia State (from @KingCTaylor).

Soccer News: CNN’s Montez Bishara has a great piece on “Bands FC,” an art project combining famous bands with famous soccer crests (from Marc Viquez). … The colors for next season’s Manchester City away kit have already been leaked (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: The 2018-19 FA Cup ball has been released.

Grab Bag: Mexico City is getting a new logo, and here are the finalists (from James Gilbert). … The US Army has a new camouflage pattern (from John Chapman).

And Then There Were Two

When the 2017-18 NBA season tipped off a little more than a year ago, 17 of the league’s 30 teams had sold space on their jerseys to corporate advertisers. Another four teams joined the ad patch bandwagon during the 2017-18 season, plus three more during the offseason, one more during the 2018-19 preseason, and three more during first few weeks of the new season that’s now underway, bringing the total number of ad-clad teams to 28.

That leaves us with two remaining ad-free teams — the Pacers and Thunder. I was wondering how those two teams felt about being the final holdouts. Was it a conscious choice on their parts, or was it just how things have worked out? Did they have plans to eventually go ad-clad, or did they plan to remain ad-free?

So I got in touch with both teams. The Thunder replied very quickly, with corporate communications VP Dan Mahoney telling me, “Currently we have no plans for a patch.” I asked if he’d be willing to elaborate on that point or answer some additional questions, and he declined.

Then I heard from Todd Taylor, the Pacers’ senior VP for sales and marketing. Smart guy, interesting guy. A good talker, but also a good listener. It had been a few years since the last time we’d spoken, and it was good to reconnect.

Taylor and I had a wide-ranging discussion about the ad patches. Here are the major points he told me:

• When the ad patch program was introduced, the Pacers were initially unsure if they wanted to participate in it. They ultimately decided that they were okay with it, but they’ve been very picky about finding just the right advertiser. It’s not a matter of holding out for a certain price, Taylor said. It’s more about finding an advertiser that feels like a good fit for the team and for Indiana.

• That said, Taylor hopes and expects the Pacers will have an ad patch at some point this season. After telling me that, he joked, “And with you writing stories like this, pointing out that we’re one of the last two teams, that probably makes my owner call me and tell me to get it done.”

• Nobody from the league has put any pressure on the Pacers to “get with the program” or anything like that. They’ve been free to set their own timetable.

• The Pacers have not done any outreach to find out how their fans feel about ad patches, and Taylor isn’t aware of any fans who’ve voiced their opinions, either positively or negatively, about the team being one of the last ad-free holdouts.

• Taylor hasn’t heard anything about whether the three-year pilot program for the ad patches will be renewed, expanded, or dialed back. “I assume it’s going well, and I don’t know why they wouldn’t continue it, but I don’t know that for a fact,” he said.

———

Obviously, I was hoping the Pacers and/or Thunder would say, “We’ve decided this ad patch thing is not a good fit for us,” but I realized that was unlikely. In any case, enjoy these last two ad-free teams while you can, because it appears that at least one of them will be joining the ad-clad ranks sooner than later.

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Click to enlarge

NBA stuff, continued: Lots of teams released their City alternates yesterday. By the time you read this, I think all of them will have been unveiled. You can see my assessments of this latest round in this ESPN piece.

The most interesting design was the Cavs’ (shown above) — in part because it’s based on one of the worst uniforms in NBA history, but also because of the chest script. At first I thought the script was a nod to the team’s original chest script from the early 1970s. But it turns out that it’s actually the same script used by Destination Cleveland — the city’s tourism bureau.

I find that particularly interesting in light of something I wrote when the Pacers unveiled their then-new logo and uni set in the summer of 2017. Here’s the relevant passage:


As I looked through [the Pacers’] marketing materials, which talked a lot about Indiana’s “work ethic” and “pride” and “early morning sunrise” (the sun apparently rises in the afternoon in the other 49 states), I suddenly realized why I dislike Nike’s uni-marketing style so much: They sound exactly like a tourism bureau. The boilerplate clichés and bromides, the inevitable references to “hard-working people,” the mentions of local landmarks and history and heritage, the reduction of a complex place into a caricatured confection — it’s all tourism marketing 101, like they want you to book your flight right now and come visit Indiana (or Cleveland, or wherever the latest uniform is being unveiled). …

And just to be clear, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with visiting Indiana. I’ve visited there several times myself! I’m just saying that the way Nike markets local culture has a lot in common with tourism marketing (which is something that really should have occurred to me a long time ago).

I’ve thought about that a lot over the past year and change, as uniform unveilings have sounded more and more like tourism pitches. And now we have the Cavs literally wearing the logo of the local tourism marketing group. It wouldn’t surprise me if this turns out to be where uniform design is heading, at least for alternate unis.

The team’s press kit for this uniform uses the word “pride” five times, which is pretty much the definition of trying too hard. On the plus side, there are no references to the “hard-working” people of Cleveland, so at least there’s that.

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For all photos in this section, click to enlarge

Winter Classic jerseys: The Bruins and Blackhawks yesterday unveiled their uniforms for the Winter Classic, which will be played on New Year’s Day.

I got to see these jerseys at an Adidas event last month, so I was able to take some photos showcasing a few details that aren’t evident in the official press pics. Let’s start with a rear view of the Bruins jersey:

All of the numbers and NOB lettering are rendered in felt, and the crest is rendered in chenille:

I don’t know how the players can possibly function on the ice without the performance-enhancing qualities of more lightweight numbers, letters, and crests, but I guess they’ll manage.

For some reason I didn’t get a rear-view photo of the Blackhawks jersey — sorry about that — although you can get a hint of it in this shot I took of the Winter Classic patch, which features a shamrock because the game is taking place at Notre Dame Stadium:

The Blackhawks’ numbers and letters are likewise rendered in felt, and the crest features chain-stitched detailing:

You can see the full Blackhawks uni in this video clip.

At that same Adidas event, I got to see the jerseys for the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, but I’m not allowed to show those to you yet. Soon!

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• • • • •

The Ticker
By Yianni Varonis

Baseball News: This writer believes that it’s time for baseball uniforms to evolve in order for them to better help players perform. … The Rangers will wear a home-uniform patch next year commemorating their final season at the Ballpark (from multiple readers). … Here’s a weird one: The press pass design for the 1974 World Series (Dodgers/A’s) featured Mr. Met at the top of the pass. They apparently used the same template from 1973 (great find by Russ Havens). … Earlier this week we mentioned some uniform irregularities at the Japan All-Star Series. Here are a couple more as the Yankees uniform features a maker’s mark (from Dan Friedman) and the Nationals uniform was worn with a red cap and road greys (from Bill Durdach). … It could happen to you. A man won a $100,000 lottery by playing the jersey numbers of his favorite Red Sox players (from James Shannahan). … The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Class A affiliate of the Brewers, have new logos and caps (from local reporter Brian Kerhin). … The Jackie Robinson Foundation will have a commemorative logo in 2019 marking what would have been Jackie’s 100th birthday (from Ignacio Salazar).

NFL News: The Steelers wore their mono-black alternates last night, and QB Ben Roethlisberger once again wore cleats honoring the Tree of Life synagogue victims, but this time with a blue Star of David instead of the yellow star he’d worn in the Steelers’ previous game. Panthers QB Cam Newton also wore cleats honoring the synagogue victims, but only during pregame warm-ups. … The Eagles will wear black jerseys and pants this Sunday. … The Bengals will wear orange jerseys and black pants, which they are 6-0 all-time when wearing.

College Football News: Wake up the echoes: Notre Dame will wear green vs. Florida State this week (from Jeff Cox). … In that same game, FSU will wear white pants for the first time since 2014 (from Rex Henry). … Clemson HC Dabo Swinney was inspired by Alabama when he simplified his team’s uniform combinations to eliminate “wasted energy every single week.” … This is one opinion on the best alternate uniforms in college football this season. … Northern Illinois wore American flag-themed helmet logos on Wednesday. … Miami (OH) also made a helmet edit Wednesday. … Utah will wear beautiful, hawk-winged helmets this week (from @Howlr and Benson Hatfield). … South Carolina will bring back script-“Carolina” helmets for its next game. … Here are the other uniform combinations this week for Syracuse (from Dark Wahlberg), North Carolina (from James Gilbert), Texas State (from John Beck), and Virginia Tech, which will have the No. 25 worn by DB Divine Diablo (from Andrew Cosentino). … Faux-leatherhead helmet this week for Nebraska.

Hockey News: New commemorative uniforms for the Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League. … The Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League will wear military-themed sweaters (from local reporter Brian Kerhin). … Penn State G Oskar Autio has a new mask, the back of which features the distance between his hometown in Finland, his junior hockey team in Illinois, and the campus in State College (from Maria Canales). … Wisconsin will retire No. 10 in honor of Mark Johnson, who is the men’s program’s all-time leading scorer, a former member of the U.S. “Miracle on Ice” team, and the all-time winningest coach in NCAA DI women’s hockey. … Here’s a rarity: The San Diego Gulls’ new military appreciation jersey doesn’t have camouflage or a flag pattern (from Drew McClintock).

Pro Basketball News: A military veteran who was being honored at a Trail Blazers game wore a shirt protesting the team’s affiliation with a company that makes military sniper scopes. … The newly-formed Wichita Wizards of the Minor League Basketball Association unveiled their inaugural uniform set (from Blake Cripps).

College Hoops News: Chicago State still hasn’t received its road uniforms from Nike, forcing the team to wear grey again last night, while host Notre Dame wore navy at home (from Jeff Cox). … This article debates which mid-major programs made the best visual changes this year. … New alternate uniform for Arizona. … New Mexico State debuted new throwbacks last night.

Soccer News: Earlier this year, Paul offered a behind-the-scenes look at the design process of Inter Miami CF’s new crest and color palette. This team-produced video featuring owner David Beckham discussing that process is also worth checking out. … Here is what we know so far about the kits that will be worn at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (from Josh Hinton). … A British clothing brand is selling a Christmas sweater that mimics the personal style of England Manager Gareth Southgate (from Ted Arnold).

Grab Bag: This should make you smile: NASCAR’s Team Penske and Brad Keselowski got in the seasonal spirit by designing their No. 2 Ford to look like an ugly holiday sweater. … Architectural Digest takes an interesting look at “the growing Nexus of politics and design.” … This op-ed opines that with the U.S. Congress becoming more diverse and changing leadership, “the Congressional uniform is about to change” (NYT link). … A charter school in North Carolina is being sued because it doesn’t allow female students to wear pants or shorts. … Russian soldiers wore World War II-era uniforms in a parade reenactment celebrating the nation’s historic victory in the Battle of Moscow. … This is how you can discern between Special Forces operators in the U.S. Military. … The woman who illustrated Harry Potter and the famous lightning-bolt logo never spoke to the series’ author, J.K. Rowling, until after the completion of all seven books.

• • • • •

On a personal note, earlier this week was the 10th anniversary of when Phil Hecken became my right-hand man on this site. In that time, he’s staked out his own uni-centric turf, turned the Uni Watch weekends into their own sub-community, and become a good and valued friend. Happy uni-versary, Phil!!

Crazy Day Features a Flood of NBA Leaks and Unveilings

The NBA’s drip-drip-drip of alternate uniform leaks became a tsunami yesterday, as a large number of jersey designs began circulating in advance of their official unveilings — with many of the new leaks coming from, of all places, Nike.

This all developed in a bit of a flurry yesterday afternoon and evening, so I’m not positive of the exact chronology, but here’s the sequence of how various things came across my radar yesterday:

1. A Kings blogger Kevin Fippin somehow found Sacramento’s new City alternate on a Nike mobile app and promptly tweeted several photos. The design is similar to last year’s City alternate, as you can see in this side-by-side comparison — last season’s on the left, the new leaked design on the right:

2. Just as I was becoming aware of that Kings design, a source provided me with a shot of what he said was the Mavericks’ new alternate:

3. Just as I was trying to assess that leak’s legitimacy, someone on Twitter leaked different views of the same design, pretty much confirming my source’s veracity:

4. While all of this was unfolding, I was having an email conversation with SportsLogos.net poobah Chris Creamer, who told me he was about to publish a piece about four leaks — the just-leaked Mavs and Kings designs (which I knew about, obviously), the Clippers design that had leaked the night before (which I also knew about, and had covered in yesterday’s blog post), and this Trail Blazers design, which I hadn’t yet seen:

5. Just as I was processing that, two Twitter-ers — Niku Mistry (@MistryNBA) and Ivan W. (@idubb23) — informed me that a slew of City jerseys, including several that had not yet been released, were shown on Nike’s Canadian website. That link still worked as of this morning — but just in case it stops working, I took the liberty of downloading the jersey images for the designs that hadn’t yet been officially unveiled as of yesterday afternoon (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):

We had previously seen assorted leaks, many of them unconfirmed, for the first seven of those designs. (In case you’ve forgotten, here are those leaks for the Knicks, Pelicans, Rockets, Spurs, Celtics, Warriors, and Lakers.) And the last two, of course, are the Mavs and Blazers designs that were already covered earlier in this entry. So we now have confirmation on all of these.

6. While I was working on this entry, the Spurs officially announced their disappointing camouflage design, so we can move that one out of the “leaked” column and into the “unveiled” column.

7. Shortly after that, the Trail Blazers also made their leaked design official (click to enlarge; additional photos and info here):

8. Shortly after that, the Grizzlies unveiled their City alternate (click to enlarge):

According to this page (which also has a bunch more photos), the uniform is a salute to Memphis’s old pro wrestling days. As it happens, my buddy Sherman loves Memphis wrasslin’ so much that he made a documentary about it, so I asked him what he thought of this uniform. Here’s his response:

They’ve been playing up the wrasslin’ stuff — doing some cool once-a-year promos. Brought in Ric Flair two years ago and that was pretty cool. [Jerry] Lawler is there a bit, doing some goofy routines too. I think it’s mainly that the promo team is big wrasslin’ fans and one of the in-house interview guys is an actual wrestler part-time. So, in a word, Memphis def knows about the wrasslin’ because of the history and seems to love it [when the team refers to it].

As for the actual uniform, it’s hard to tell what the tribute is in the video except the elbow pads, which are a great homage. I wouldn’t have known it was a wrasslin’ tribute if you hadn’t told me, though, so I guess that says it all.

9. Shortly after I went to bed last night, the Rockets’ design became official:

———

It was, in short, a dizzying stretch of hours. For all I know, more stuff may have been leaked and/or unveiled and I just missed it. By my count, 17 of this season’s 29 City alternates have now been officially unveiled (the Jazz are sticking with last season’s design), and another 10 have leaked, leaving the Cavs as the only team whose design has been kept completely under wraps. Or at least I think that’s the case — everything’s been in so much flux that it’s been hard to keep track. In any case, there’ll be a flurry of additional unveilings in the next 36 hours or so, because it’s my understanding that all of these will be officially released by the end of Friday.

There’s been so much quantity that I’ve barely had time to assess the quality, but it seems like a pretty mixed bag. There are definitely some winners (Warriors, Celtics, Pelicans), but they seem outweighed by the stinkers. The whole idea of having a new set of these every season is nuts.

Meanwhile, we’ll get to do this whole dance over again in a few weeks, when the “Earned” designs start circulating, wheeeee!

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Click to enlarge

He shoots, he scores (again): The same designer who recently reimagined MLB teams in hockey uniforms has now done the same for NFL teams. Honestly, this kind of concept-y stuff does very little for me, but I can appreciate the work that went into it, and know lots of you get a kick out of it, so enjoy.

(Kudos to @Ferry_Designs for the designs, and thanks to @lhcountryboy for letting me know about them.)

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Gift guide request: I’m currently working on my annual Uni Watch Holiday Gift Guide, which will run on ESPN.com in a few weeks. If you know if any cool uni-related items that might be good for me to include (aside from the usual mass-market retail slop, of course), please feel free to send tips my way. Self-promotion is fine, so if you have an awesome product or project that might make the grade, don’t be shy about telling me.

Also: Next month I’ll be doing my annual year-end raffle, where I give away the freebies I’ve accumulated during the year. If you have any goodies that you’d like to contribute to the raffle (one reader has already offered to donate what looks to be a stupendous item), get in touch and we’ll discuss. Thanks.

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: Not sure why they chose to publish this now (if there’s a news hook, I missed it), but here’s a slideshow of New Jersey high school teams from schools with Native American team names and/or mascots.

Baseball News: The Milwaukee County Transit System has renamed its No. 22 bus line in honor of Brewers OF Christian Yelich, who wears No. 22. The name will last through Nov. 15, when the National League’s 2018 MVP — widely expected to be Yelich — is named (from Mike Chamernik). … Major public service by Edward Kendrick, who has provided full 2018 uni-tracking data for the Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Nationals, Orioles, and Giants.

Pro Football News: The Steelers-themed “Stronger Than Hate” logo that’s been circulating since the domestic terrorist attack on the Tree of Life synagogue showed up on some “I Voted” stickers on Tuesday (from @walberglines). … The Bills will wear mono-white for this Sunday’s game on the road against the Jets (from @manecci). … Pats players apparently liked their team-issued grey shorts so much that they were taking them home and keeping them, so the team has switched to ugly orange shorts to discourage pilfering (from Jeff Ash). … The CFL’s Hamilton TigerCats are asking fans to wear black for Sunday’s playoff game (from Wade Heidt).

College and High School Football News: Flag-desecration helmets this weekend for Iowa (thanks, Jamie). … Georgia might wear black jerseys this weekend — or might not. … High school teams competing for the South Dakota state championship will wear helmet decals honoring the USS South Dakota battleship. … New embarrassingly named uni combo this week for North Texas. … Penn State’s annual THON game, which raises money to fight pediatric cancer, is this Saturday. This year, for the first time, the team will wear “THON” helmet decals for the occasion. … Here’s this week’s uni combo for Virginia Tech (from, of course, Andrew Cosentino).

Hockey News: Caps C Nicklas Backstrom will wear lavender skate blades for tomorrow night’s pregame skate as part of the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. … Remembrance Day jerseys this Sunday for the Brampton Beast (from Steve Johnston). … The Blackhawks and Bruins will unveil their Winter Classic uniforms today. … Hockey players don’t often engage in postgame jersey swaps, but here’s a great shot of Hockey Hall of Famers Yvan Cournoyer and Alexander Yakushev wearing each other’s jerseys following a Team Canada vs. Russia game (from Moe Khan).

NBA News: New logo for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. Further info here (from many readers). … The Jazz wore their purple throwbacks last night.

College Hoops News: New purple uniforms for Niagara (from Jack Goods). … Some Bucknell players last night were still wearing the NCAA patches from last season’s NCAA tourney (from Matthew Wilson and Greg Stevenson). … Syracuse players have received Carmelo Anthony sneakers marking the 15th anniversary of the school’s 2003 national championship (from Mike McLaughlin).

Soccer News: Stoke City winger James McLean’s refusal to wear the poppy has made him the most hated man in English soccer (from Griffin Smith). … No photos yet, but Leicester City will wear jerseys with the name of owner Khun Vichai, who was recently killed in a helicopter crash, for the first half of this weekend’s game against Burnley and then switch to poppy-clad jerseys for the second half (thanks, Jamie).

Grab Bag: The Girl Scouts are suing the Boy Scouts for trademark infringement after Boy Scouts said they plan to drop the word “Boy” from their name and welcome girls to their ranks. … Five team logos from the esports Overwatch League have leaked. … Bryan West-Whitman’s wife, Reagan, is a talented knitter and made him a pair of very handsome Pittsburgh-themed socks. “I love the choice of natural white,” says Bryan. “It looks so good with the black and gold.” … The New Zealand All Blacks rugby union team will wear poppies this weekend. … UCLA is involved in a trademark kerfuffle with a pro-Palestinian student group. … This is very cool: A bunch of old neon signs have been restored and installed in a park in downtown Boston (big thanks to Shane Losi). … New clash guernsey for the Aussie rules football team Carlton Blues. And speaking of Carlton Blues, one of their 100-year-old uniforms is currently up for auction (both from William Pike). … The fan with the best beard in curling is back after being sidelined with an illness (from Ted Arnold). … The World Wildlife Fund sometimes omits its logo from certain promotional campaigns to make them more inclusive.