Gregory Kohn Reimagines MLB During Quarantine

By Phil Hecken

Greetings and good Saturday morning, Uni Watch readers. I hope everyone has had a good week and you’re all staying safe and sound.

As you may be aware, during the early stages of the pandemic, when there was almost no uniform news to report, I had many readers send me uniform concepts. I believe I ran all that were sent to me directly, but a few weeks ago, Gregory Kohn contacted me with this message: “Hi Phil, I had sent this in over the summer when I was first quarantining and had a lot of free time…” and attached was an e-mail he’d sent to the Uniwatching e-mail last year, which read:

Dear Paul, Phil, or to whom it may concern:

I’ve been a reader for probably 10 years now. Because of quarantine, I had some free time to work on a uniform project I had in mind for a while. I grew up in South Florida, and when the Heat came out with their Miami Vice jerseys, I always wanted to see them on a baseball uniform. Then, I thought, what if the entire MLB was named after TV shows that had cities or states in their names?

So, that’s what’s attached to this email: home and away uniforms for an entire bizarro MLB. Hope you enjoy and thanks for keeping this blog going!

-Greg

Now, most things that get sent to that address which are of the uni tweak/concept variety get forwarded to me, but in this instance, this must have slipped through the cracks. So, what I have for today’s main post will be a look at his “bizarro” concepts (some of which I think are really quite good looking uniforms) — I like a bunch of the designs, with many of them evoking an ‘old school’ or what is now “retro” feel and in some cases, I really love the color combinations.

After Paul spent an incredible week doing some deep diving, I had actually hoped to run a potential “uni mystery solved” piece today, but it didn’t quite come to fruition in time — and if all works out, I think you’ll really enjoy it — but that will have to wait for next week. So, without further ado, I now present to you Greg’s pandemic uni creations. Delayed, but not forgotten. Enjoy!

• • • • •

Bizarro Baseball Concepts
by Gregory Kohn

Atlanta Peaches


Atlanta Peaches
The Peaches nickname is pretty self-explanatory for a fake Atlanta team. I went all cream for the designs because, well… peaches and cream.

_____

Austin Citizens


Austin Citizens
The show’s logo, color, and title font are all incredible. It matched up perfectly with the Blue Jays’ numbering.

_____

Beverly Hills Zips


Beverly Hills Zips
The show’s visual theme is very 90s but also surprisingly bland. That kinda matched perfectly with a Rockies feel.

_____

Boston Schoolers


Boston Schoolers
A Boston baseball team has to look old-school. They also aren’t a Boston team without that number font.

_____

Brooklyn Niners


Brooklyn Niners
There was something faux-back 1970s to me about the show’s title, so I leaned into that a la the Rays.

_____

California Patrol


California Patrol
Probably the most obvious design I made. I kept the colors and tried to make the hat look like the old California Highway Patrol helmet.

_____

Chicago Fire


Chicago Fire
I went crazy with a Cubs, White Sox, Flames mash up here.

_____

Chicago Hope


Chicago Hope
Another mash-up; I mixed the show’s UNC blue and the old Angels halo cap.

_____

Cincinnati Waves


Cincinnati Waves
The show’s logo and font matched perfectly with the vibe of the Big Red Machine era.

_____

Cleveland Heaters


Cleveland Heaters
As a native South Floridian and soccer fan, more pink in sports uniforms please! This look worked really well with the “Major League”-era uni for the Cleveland Baseball Team. Also, the Heaters is another movie shout-out to “The Sandlot.”

_____

Dallas Oilers


Dallas Oilers
I love the concept of an outline-only wordmark.

_____

Denver Dinos


Denver Dinos
This had to be the Denver team for alliterative purposes. But then it all worked so well as an homage to the Nuggets’ rainbow unis with a bit of tequila sunrise mixed in.

_____

Detroit 187s


Detroit 187s
This was such a short-lived show that I pretty much just made this one up entirely. I do love the USC colors.

_____

Hawaii Five-Os


Hawaii Five-Os
A simple copy of the show’s title screen to a baseball uniform.

_____

LA Lawyers


LA Lawyers
I love this show’s logo! I just went with the 1980s California license plate theme and it worked great.

_____

Memphis Beat


Memphis Beat
I didn’t even know this show existed, so I just used the color scheme on the poster and went from there. There’s definitely a Minnesota Wild thing happening here.

_____

Miami Vices


Miami Vices
Do I even need to explain this one?

_____

Nashville Opries


Nashville Opries
Simplicity was the thing here. Why don’t more sports teams use silver and black?

_____

New York Blues


New York Blues
A fake New York team has to at least kind of look like the Yankees. I can’t bear the show’s title font, so I just went with a 19th-century vibe.

_____

OC Tycoons


OC Tycoons
Green like money and gold like gold. These are the rich villains of my fake TV-show-baseball league.

_____

Philadelphia Sunnies


Philadelphia Sunnies
I liked giving the Philly team the color scheme of Pittsburgh. A yellow primary seemed obvious given the team nickname.

_____

Portland Birds


Portland Birds
Probably my favorite design of the bunch. In this case, I put two birds on it to mimic the Cardinals’ iconic chest logo. More importantly, can we bring back elastic waist bands? What about powder blue away unis? Pant numbering? What is happening to society?

_____

Providence Blue Sox


Providence Blue Sox
Another show without an identifying visual theme, so I invented one. I went very New England, mixing the Red Sox and the Whalers. An amazing color combo that is sadly missing from pro sports.

_____

Queens Kings


Queens Kings
My favorite nickname by far! I don’t even care about this jersey design, I just want the Mets to rebrand.

_____

Reno Deputies


Reno Deputies
Man, I miss the old Houston Oilers colors. It’d look great on a baseball field too.

_____

San Francisco Streets


San Francisco Streets
Another fave. It’s basically a bizarro Giants uniform, but I gotta say, I think brown and orange beats black and orange. I also love the NY Rangers block-shadow number font on a baseball jersey.

_____

Silicon Valley Devs


Silicon Valley Devs
I tried to make this feel late-70s/early-80s modern, because to Silicon Valley, the world didn’t exist before then.

_____

Tacoma Bravest


Tacoma Bravest
The Braves meet the Bucs’ creamsicles. I’m not sure it works though.

_____

Texas Wheelers


Texas Wheelers
I kept this similar to the current Rangers set cause that just feels so Texas

• • • • •

Thanks, Greg! Fun stuff (and great TV Show names!). OK, readers — what did you think? Any designs/color schemes/names stand out to you? Do the names “work” with the teams? Love to hear your thoughts.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Satacoy Steele.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.

The “BEST OF” Kreindler’s Korner

Hey guys & gals. You’ve enjoyed Kreindler’s Korner for several years now, mostly on the weekends, on Uni Watch, but with the recent coronavirus outbreak, Graig’s time is just too precious and he needs to tend to other things besides coming up with a new writeup each weekend.

So, going forward, for as long as the COVID-19 situation is bad in New York, I’m going to run a few “Best of’s” until Graig returns.

Here’s today’s offering:

• • •

Title: “Larry Doby, 1946” (color study)
Subject: Larry Doby, 1946
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”

Larry Doby was born to a prosperous family in Camden, SC in 1923. He and his mother moved up to Paterson, NJ four years after his dad drowned in a fishing accident when the boy was eight. Considered rather quiet and introspective as a result of a lack of a father and his mother’s devotion to church, Doby would letter in baseball at Paterson Eastside High School, along with three other sports. Though he had thoughts of becoming a coach or a physical education teacher, by the time he was on the tail-end of his high school tenure, he was already playing second base under an assumed name for the Newark Eagles. Between being a senior and starting college, the club offered him $300 for his services.

World War II interrupted his stint in the Negro Leagues, as Doby spent the mid-1940s at Various naval bases on the west coast, keeping fit at each one by playing both baseball and basketball, as well as being a physical education instructor. Larry was stationed on the atoll of Ulithi when he heard about the signing of Jackie Robinson (with the Montreal Royals) over the Armed Forces Radio – he would later note that that was the first time he had truly felt there was a future to be had as an African-American in baseball.

Discharged in 1946, Doby returned to the Eagles to bat .360, lead the NNL in triples, and make the All-Star team. More importantly, he joined a club featuring Biz Mackey, Monte Irvin and Johnny Davis that would go on to win the Negro World Series against Satchel Paige and the Monarchs. During the series, he hit .272, with one homer, five RBIs and three stolen bases.

Having his eyes on integration ever since 1942, Cleveland Indians owner and team president Bill Veeck took an interest in Doby. He ended up formulating a plan, adding him to the Indians’ roster after the All-Star break in ‘47. Larry, who would play with Newark for the first half of the campaign, was bought for $15,000 – $10,000 for the rights from the club, and the other amount after Doby had spent 30 days with the Indians. Eagles owner Effa Manley is reported to have told Veeck: “If Larry Doby were white and a free agent, you’d give him $100,000 to sign as a bonus.”

Here’s Larry with the Newark Eagles in 1946. This is one of 200+ such paintings of mine that were on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.

• • •

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

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Kurt Rozek noticed that a backstop advertisement at New Tigers Stadium uses the British spelling of “judgment”, spelling it as “judgement“. … The Durham Bulls, Triple-A affiliates of the Rays, will celebrate Bull Durham Night later this month, wearing jerseys designed to look like the satin jackets worn in the film. … The Arkansas Travelers, Double-A affiliates of the Mariners, wore tequila sunrise unis that included the number “501” on the front, a nod to the 501 area code that covers central Arkansas. … The Pioneer League has unveiled new logos (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary, the American Association’s Winnipeg Goldeyes will play in Jackson, Tenn., for the foreseeable future due to the ongoing closure of the US/Canada border during the pandemic. … NIU have gone and done their own version of the tequila sunrise unis (from Chuck O’Connor). … The wind was so bad in South Bend during the Notre Dame/Florida State game that FSU pitcher Parker Messick had his cap blown clear off his head (from James Gilbert). … University of Hartford softball players have blacked out the school’s name on their uniforms in protest of the school’s decision to move from Division I athletics to Division III athletics by 2025. And yes, they played the game that way (from @willchitty4 and Ben Whitehead).

Pro Football News: The Packers have revealed their rookie uniform numbers (from Andrew W. Greenwood). … The Dolphins have also revealed a whole bunch of new uniform numbers, for rookies and free agent signings (from Preston Feiler). … The Browns have little two-bar helmet logos of some of their 2021 opponents on their website, matching their 75th anniversary patch. Unfortunately the helmets have modern logos instead of throwbacks (from Joseph A. Bailey). … The Berlin Thunder of the soon-to-launch European League of Football have unveiled their logo (from Wade Heidt). … Absolutely BRUTAL striping/nameplate combo for the Sea Lions of The Spring league. “Reminds me more of a runners bib than a nameplate,” says Rocky De La Rosa.

Hockey News: The Blackhawks have revealed some pretty nice warmup sweaters for this Sunday’s One Community Night (from Seth Hagen). … The QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts have introduced a 25th anniversary logo (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade, the OJHL’s Whitby Fury are relocating to Minden, On., this summer, and will be called the Haliburton County Huskies.

Soccer News: At the 1982 World Cup, Argentina assigned their kit numbers alphabetically by last name, so midfielder Osvaldo Ardiles got No. 1, instead of a keeper. The only exception was Diego Maradona, who asked for and received No. 10 (from Ursus Maije). … The USL Championship’s New Mexico United has a new shirt ad, for New Mexico’s tourism advertising campaign (from Ty Ortega). … USL League One side FC Tucson have unveiled some pretty sharp new home kits (thanks, Phil). … Forest Green Rovers of England’s League Two have drawn headlines for being among the UK’s most environmentally and politically conscious clubs. Their latest effort is a public call for the ban of gambling ads, something which the British government is currently reviewing (from Shawn Hairston). … Ahead of the recent special election for the UK Parliament constituency of Hartlepool, Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid a visit in support of the Conservative Party’s candidate Jill Mortimer. They, along with mayor Ben Houchen, visited the local football club, Hartlepool United, and each received a jersey. Mortimer and Houchen got their last names, but Johnson’s was first name on back (from Mark Britten). … Serie A team Spezia Calcio wore a special badge on the right side of their jersey to commemorate their victory in the unofficial 1943-44 Upper Italian championship. The badge is different from the “scudetto” badge worn by the winner of the Serie A title (from Graham Clayton).

Grab Bag: Antarctica didn’t have a flag until a journalist created one, hoping to bring attention to the impact of climate change on the continent (from Wolfie Browender). … South High School in Bakersfield, Ca., has changed their mascot from Rebels to Spartans. They had previously used a “Johnny Reb” mascot (from Derek May). … Windows 10 still has some Windows 95-era icons deep in there, but those will be gone come the latest update (thanks, Brinke). … The UMaine College Republicans have a new logo that’s so bad one local reporter wondered if the College Democrats had designed it for them.

Uni Tweet of the Day

THE FISHERMAN!

Uni reveals sure have come a long way since the 1990s, eh?

And finally… that will do it for today — big thanks to Greg for sharing his “Bizarro” uniform concepts. Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.

You guys have a great Saturday and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow for Mother’s Day.

Peace,

PH

The Hidden Uni Connection Between Willie Mays and Tom Seaver

Willie Mays turned 90 yesterday, so there have been lots of Mays tributes floating around this week. One of them, improbably, taught me about a fascinating uni-related connection between Mays and another all-time great, Tom Seaver.

The tribute in question is this New York Times article about Mays that was published on Wednesday. It was written by James S. Hirsch, who authored a Mays biography 10 years ago. While I was reading the article, this passage jumped out at me:

[Mays] was particularly close to Seaver, who as a college player noticed that Mays didn’t button the top of his jersey, so Seaver never buttoned the top of his.

As a lifelong Mets fan who grew up watching Seaver and caught the tail end of Mays’s career — and who has seen, heard, and read an incalculable amount of information about both players over the years — I was unfamiliar with this storyline. Since Hirsch had written a Mays biography, I figured this tidbit about the buttons was probably mentioned in the book, so I found a searchable version of the bio online, searched on “Seaver,” and sure enough, there it was on page 512 (click to enlarge):

How’s that for a fascinating uniform detail? My next step was to look at photos of Mays. Did he really leave his top button unbuttoned all the time? Yup (click to enlarge):

I had no idea. Of course, leaving the top button unfastened looks completely unremarkable from our modern vantage point, when so many players leave multiple buttons open. But in the 1950s and ’60s, it may have seemed more adventurous, even radical. Was it considered part of the “flashy” style often attributed to Black ballplayers? Did some old-schoolers think Mays was “disrespecting” the uniform and the game, like Buck Showalter thought about Junior Griffey’s backwards BP cap?

Meanwhile, what about Seaver — did he really go unbuttoned as well? I watched him pitch countless times during his career and have viewed a gazillion photos of him over the years, but I never thought anything about his top jersey button. So yesterday I looked at some photos (click to enlarge):

So yeah, Seaver did indeed go top-unbuttoned. I did find a few shots of him with the top button fastened, but those were mostly posed shots, not game photos.

Even better, I found two group shots of the Mets’ 1969 starting pitchers — Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, Nolan Ryan, and (in one of the photos) Jim McAndrew. In both photos, Seaver is top-unbuttoned while everyone else — except possibly Koosman — is fully buttoned:

Again, Seaver’s jersey style looks completely ordinary by today’s standards, but maybe that’s not how people viewed it back in the day.

Either way, it’s fascinating to hear that Seaver took his cue from Mays in this regard. What a subtle uni-related tribute! It occurs to me that from 1977 through 1986, Seaver was stuck wearing pullover jerseys with the Reds, Mets, and White Sox. I wonder if it bugged him that he had no top button to leave open.

I don’t mind saying that this feels like the perfect capper to what has been a really great minutiae-obsessive week here on Uni Watch. The ump patches, the Dodger Stadium batter’s boxes, the NOBs with diacritical marks, and now the Mays/Seaver button connection. Peak Uni Watch!

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Squatchee Watch: Twitter-er @PierogiPacMan noticed that Royals starter Danny Duffy’s cap was missing its white squatchee yesterday. I did some quick photo research and discovered that Duffy was also squatchee-free during his two previous starts, on May 1 and April 25, although he was properly squatchee-clad for the start before that, on April 19.

Intriguing! So I asked Royals PR rep Mike Cummings about it. He spoke to Duffy after the game and got back to me with this:

Danny just said that it popped off a couple starts ago because his head is too big, and apparently he’s kept the same cap for those [last few] starts. We’ll see if he changes it up after taking a loss today.

Not sure I’ve ever heard of a squatchee coming off due to an oversized melon, but that’s the official story!

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Who wears short shorts (continued): Twins infielder Nick Gordon made his MLB debut yesterday. As you can see above, he’s the latest MLBer to take high-cuffing to extreme lengths (or maybe lack of length). Here’s how it looked in action:

Gordon has gone up and down, literally, with his pants. He had the super-high-cuffed style in spring training of 2019 but was a full-on pajamist just two months ago, so he’s clearly not wedded to one specific style. Let’s get him in some stirrups!

(My thanks to Ben Hagen for bringing Gordon’s big league debut to my attention.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

New Uni-Centric Museum Exhibit
By Kary Klismet

If you’re anywhere near Leadville, Colo., this year, you won’t want to miss “Miner Leaguers: Mining and the Great American Pastime,” a new exhibit at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum. The exhibit, which runs through December, explores the important recreational and cultural role that baseball played in mining towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Longtime Uni Watch reader Myles Gallagher, who was the museum’s curator until recently leaving for another position, organized the exhibit. Among its artifacts are painstaking recreations of uniforms worn by legendary mining town baseball teams; playing equipment, including bats, balls, and gloves; and historical photos. Here are some highlights of what you’ll see.

Full disclosure: I contributed a couple of items to the cause and finally got to see them on display, along with the rest of the exhibit, last Saturday. It was well worth the drive from Denver and a fun way to support the work of a fellow uni-watcher. Check it out if you can!

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Mets OF Kevin Pillar apparently broke or damaged his belt during a head-first slide yesterday, so he took off his belt and finished his tour of the bases belt-less (from @bivlo). … We’ve seen this before, but it’s always fun to see the Sacramento Solons’ 1970s uniforms with shorts (from @dfoliver68). … The Hillsboro Hops, High-A affiliates of the Diamondbacks, have added a memorial patch for Mike Bell, the D-backs’ former farm director who passed away recently (from @therealejgold). … The Lexington County Blowfish, of the collegiate wood bat Coastal Plain League, unveiled new uniforms for the 2021 season (from Kary Klismet). … Kentucky wore flag desecration caps last night against Florida. … The home plate umpire at last night’s LSU/Auburn game was wearing an MLB-branded jersey (from Branden Duerfeldt).

Pro Football News: Patriots RB Brandon Bolden is switching from No. 38 to No. 25. … The Colts have revealed the numbers for their recent draft picks (from Alex Wiggs). … We have our first look at Trevor Lawrence in a full Jaguars uniform, minus the helmet. … The Alphas, a team in the new Spring League, have a player wearing No. 100, and at least one player on each team went NNOB (from Marcus Hall).

College/High School Football News: Georgia Tech’s helmets got the three-stripe treatment for practices (from Mike Raymer). … Virginia Tech will have a new way to dole out uni numbers. Players will get to pick their numbers based on strength and conditioning rankings (from Andrew Cosentino).

Hockey News: Back on Cinco de Mayo, the Sharks wore some amazing warm-up sweaters (from Wade Heidt).
 
 

Soccer News: Manchester United’s 2021-22 home kits have leaked, and unlike other major soccer leaks, we actually got some good images (from multiple readers). … Spurs FW Harry Kane has once again purchased Leyton Orient’s kit ad space, and will donate the space to charities (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Also from Jamie, with musician Ed Sheeran now advertising on Ipswich Town’s kits, here’s a list of other musicians who’ve served as kit advertisers.

Grab Bag: Carnival Cruise Lines is updating its livery (from Kenneth Traisman). … The following are all from Kary Klismet: Here’s a piece on how flight attendant uniforms have evolved over the years. … Fast Company has an article about the color-selection process for logos. … A student at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Massachusetts has created the school’s first-ever athletics logo. … Atlanta’s Midtown High School, which recently changed its name to drop its association with the racist newsman Henry W. Grady, has unveiled new logos.

• • • • •

• • • • •

• • • • •

That’s a wrap for this week. And what a great Uni Watch week it’s been! Hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Stay well, enjoy Phil’s weekend content, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. — Paul

Rangers Rookie Leads the League in Diacritical Marks

For all photos, click to enlarge

Rangers infielder Andy Ibáñez made his big league debut on Tuesday night. He’s a bit of an MLB uni-corn, because his NOB has two diacritical marks — an accent over the A and a tilde over the N.

To my knowledge, Ibáñez’s is only the second MLB player ever to have two diacriticals as part of his NOB. We’ll get to the other player in a few minutes, for now let’s stick with Ibáñez, because his NOB has undergone an interesting evolution over the years. Let’s look at the progression:

1 When Ibáñez played for Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, he had the tilde but not the accent:

2. Ibáñez defected from Cuba in 2014, signed a minor league contract with the Rangers in 2015, and began playing in their system in 2016. Here’s how he looked at the team’s minor league spring camp in March of that year — no accent, no tilde:

3. Ibáñez’s first minor league assignment in 2016 was with the Hickory Crawdads, who went NNOB.

4. Ibáñez spent the rest of 2016 and all of 2017 with the Frisco RoughRiders, where he had no accent and no tilde:

5. In 2018, Ibáñez was promoted to the Triple-A Round Rock Express. He once again had no accent and no tilde:

6. In 2019, Ibáñez was a non-roster invitee to the Rangers’ big league spring training camp. Again, no accent and no tilde:

7. After failing to make the big league roster, Ibáñez spent the 2019 season with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, who went NNOB.

8. In 2020, Ibáñez was a non-roster invitee to the Rangers summer training camp ahead of the pandemic-delayed season. For the first time in the Rangers’ system, he had both an accent and a tilde:

9. Earlier this year, Ibáñez was once again a non-roster spring training invitee. And he once again had both the accent and the tilde:

And then he kept both diacritical marks, as seen at the top of this page, when the Rangers promoted him to the bigs earlier on Tuesday.

———

So that’s Ibáñez. Interesting, right? How weird it must be for a player to see his name rendered in so many different styles.

The only other two-diacritical MLBer I’m aware of is infielder Renato Núñez, who’s currently in the Tigers’ system. His NOB has also undergone a bit of an evolution, so let’s take a look at that:

1. I won’t go through Núñez’s entire minor league career, but as far as I can tell, his minor league NOBs all had no diacriticals:

2. Núñez had cups of coffee with the A’s in 2016 and ’17. Oakland gave him a tilde but no accent:

3. In 2018, Núñez was claimed off waivers by the Rangers. They gave him both the accent and the tilde, just as they would later do for Ibáñez:

4. In mid-May of 2018, Núñez was released by the Rangers and claimed by the Orioles, who outrighted him to the minors. The O’s called him up in July and gave him the full accent/tilde treatment:

5. Núñez was released last winter and signed a minor league contract with the Tigers, who called him up to the bigs on April 11 and gave him both the accent and the tilde:

Núñez has since been outrighted to Detroit’s alternate training site.

———

Tildes have been part of MLB NOBs since at least the 1980s, but accents are a more recent phenomenon. As I wrote in an ESPN column five years ago, in 2016 MLB issued a memo that began, “With the goal of recognizing and celebrating the diverse culture of Major League Baseball, we respectfully request that all 30 clubs have a formalized process in place to ask every MLB player on their roster if he would like any diacritics (e.g., accent, tilde, etc.) added to his name on his jersey.” Accents have proliferated since then, but Ibáñez and Núñez are the only players — at least that I know of — to have both marks. (Is there someone I’m forgetting? Let me know.)

I don’t think we’ve yet seen an umlaut, cedilla, grave, or circumflex on a big league diamond, but I assume they’ll all make their MLB debuts at some point. For now, though, Ibáñez leads the league in diacriticals.

(Major thanks to Cliff Corcoran for bringing Ibáñez’s big league debut, and his NOB, to my attention.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

C’mon, blue (continued): Welcome back to Ump Patch Watch, where we obsessively cover the adornments on MLB umpires’ sleeves — or elsewhere. That was the situation on Tuesday night in Boston, where Ryan Blakney was working the plate for the Tigers/Bosox game and appeared to have four memorial patches on his chest protector.

Reader Kevin McLaughlin, who noticed the patches, did a bit of digging and discovered that they were originally worn as sleeve memorials in 2017:

The four umpires represented on the patches are Russ Goetz (RG), Mark Johnson (MJ), Steve Palermo (SP), and Ken Kaiser (KK). Blakney apparently felt so strongly about those four patches that he transferred them from his jersey to his chest protector. Of course, his chest gear might also have other patches that we can’t see because they’re covered up by his jacket. (That would actually be pretty cool — imagine if he’s been saving all the memorial patches from his umpiring career and transferring them to his chest protector when their sleeve terms are up. Something to investigate further!)

That wraps up this edition of Ump Patch Watch, as we continue to document the apparently bottomless subject of umpire flair.

(Big thanks to Kevin McLaughlin, who deserves all the credit for this one.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Oh, for fuck’s sake: You could be forgiven for thinking that the Cardinals inducted someone named Ed Jones into their team hall of fame yesterday. Actually, it was Keith Hernandez, but the massive ad for a St. Louis-based investment firm made a mockery of the “honor.”

The Cards generally Get It™, but this is an embarrassment.

(Thanks to all who shared.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

Indigenous Appropriation News: Roseburg High School in Oregon will keep calling its teams the Indians (from Ted Taylor). … Shawnee Mission North High School in Kansas is changing its team name from “Indians” to “Bison” (from Matt Staus). … Algonquin Regional High School in Massachusetts will no longer call its teams the Tomahawks (from Paul Friedmann). … The school board in Susquehanna Township, Pa., has voted to retire the local high school’s “Indians” team name. … The rest of these are from Kary Klismet: Wasilla High School in Alaska has worked with the Knik Tribe to update but not eliminate the Native-themed imagery used in conjunction with its “Warriors” team name. … Here’s an interesting article about how a New Mexico school dropped its “Redskins” team name while another school in the same district has held onto “Indians.” … The San Diego State University Senate has passed a resolution calling on the school’s administration to drop the university’s “Aztecs” team name.

Baseball News: The Triple-A Buffalo Bisons are playing in Trenton, N.J., this year, and are wearing Trenton uniforms with Bisons batting helmets. … Starting on May 19, the Mets and Yankees will have separate seating sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans. Fans will also be able to get vaccinated at the ballpark and will be rewarded with a free ticket to a future game. … The St. Paul Saints’ latest live pig mascot is named Space Ham. … A Maryland brewery has released a very handsomely packaged Orioles-themed beer (from Andrew Cosentino). … Giants SS Brandon Crawford wore a Lou Seal headband yesterday. Lou Seal is the team’s costumed mascot (from Joe Farris). … The Rocket City Trash Pandas have been a big merch hit without ever having played a game (from John Cerone). … The Corpus Christi Hooks’ alternate identity, the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits, made its on-field debut yesterday (thanks to all who shared). … Former Pirates and Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller died on Tuesday. Key uni-related passage from this obituary: “One thing that stood out to [Pirates pitcher/broadcaster Bob] Walk was Mr. Miller’s many superstitions. He would always sit on a wooden stool and knock on it during various parts of the game. He also drew little symbols under the bill of his cap, which he occasionally used to try and put a hex on opposing players. For whoever was starting that day, he would always rub up a pair of baseballs and stick them in that pitcher’s glove” (from Jerry Wolper). … The Frisco RoughRiders’ look last night was really, uh, something. … Angels manager Joe Maddon wore Cardinals-style striped socks last night (from Jason Reyes).

Football News: The Giants are the first NFL team to have an official cryptocurrency partner (from Alan Kreit). … New uni number assignments for the Ravens’ 2021 draft class (from Andrew Cosentino). … New centennial logo for Texas A&M’s 12th man (from @spadilly).

Hockey News: The Canucks are moving their AHL affiliate from Utica, N.Y., to Abbotsford, British Columbia. No word yet on what the relocated team will be called (from Wade Heidt). … Recently acquired Maple Leafs G David Rittich’s new pads are a homage to former Leafs G Felix Potvin (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade: New mask for Blue Jackets G prospect Daniil Tarasov. … Whoa, check out this amazing old shot of entertainer Tiny Tim wearing a Maple Leafs jersey on the ice! (Nice one from Alan Kreit.) … Capitals RW TJ Oshie’s father died earlier this week. He was known as “Coach Osh,” so the team has added a memorial “Coach” helmet decal for him (from Brandon Weir). … NBC Sports has a new NHL scorebug design.

Basketball News: New court design for Transylvania University in Kentucky (from Kyle Sutton). … The Suns’ Gorilla has signed what appears to be the first apparel endorsement deal for a costumed mascot (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s a weird one: Check out this old shot of the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels and Pittsburgh Condors apparently going white vs. white. I’m thinking Pittsburgh was probably wearing gold, even though it doesn’t look that way in the photo (from Kenny Kaplan). … @SanBrunoJess spotted a Celtics-themed jet at SFO.

Soccer News: New stadium name for the USL Championship’s Sacramento Republic (from @Zimfroit). … For the first time since the 2007-08 season, Real Madrid paired black socks with a white kit yesterday (thanks to all who shared). … According to this page, the upcoming final between Chelsea and Manchester City will be the first European Cup/Champions League final between two clubs that wear blue as their home shirt color. … New home kit for Forward Madison (thanks to all who shared). … Musician Ed Sheeran is the new shirt advertiser for English club Ipswich Town (from Colm Heaney and our own Jamie Rathjen). … New stadium name for Coventry City (from James Gilbert).

Olympics News: At least one of the shirts for the Great Britain women’s soccer team has been released (thanks, Jamie).
 

Grab Bag: New uniforms for the Central Coast (Australia) Volunteer Rescue Association, whose white jumpsuits are being replaced by green jackets (from Kenneth Traisman). … Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert owns a restaurant called Shooters Grill. But she let the trademark on the restaurant’s logo lapse, so now a group opposing her re-election has acquired the rights to the logo and is auctioning off an NFT of it, with the proceeds going to anti-Boebert campaign efforts. … Officials at the G7 talks in London have been wearing G7-branded masks (from Ayden Maher). … Here’s a look at all the paint schemes for NASCAR’s upcoming Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway, plus an article explaining the significance of those schemes (both from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: Two high schools whose teams were previously called “Rebels” have chosen new team names: Walpole (Mass.) High School will be the Timberwolves, and the Turner County (Ga.) school district will be the Titans. … From our own Jamie Rathjen: “In Germany’s Handball-Bundesliga, SG Flensburg-Handewitt drew and lost first place on Wednesday because one of their players had his shirt ripped in the last minute. The referee restarted play while he was getting a new shirt, so he ran back on with his shirt partially on and in the confusion conceded the tying seven-meter throw (the equivalent of a penalty in soccer).” … A Naval Postgraduate School student has invented and patented a more durable uniform nametag for the Navy working uniform (from Timmy Donahue).

• • • • •

• • • • •

Chalk Talk: The Unique Batter’s Boxes of Dodger Stadium

Click to enlarge

The screen shot above was taken at the very beginning of a recent MLB game in Colorado. As you can see, the foul lines and the lines of the batter’s and catcher’s boxes are all the same width or thickness.

I think of that as the normal state of affairs at any ballpark. And indeed, it is the normal state of affairs at most ballparks! Here’s a similar shot from a recent game in Philadelphia, for example:

But having foul lines and box lines of equal thickness is not the normal state of affairs at Dodger Stadium. Here’s how things looked during the first inning of a recent game there:

Weird, right? The box lines are so much thinner than the foul lines! I hadn’t been aware of it until Twitter-er Chris Fairchild mentioned it to me a few weeks ago.

This is exactly the type of visual detail I tend to fixate on and obsess over. Since I hadn’t noticed it before, I figured it must be a new thing. But as I looked back at photos and videos from recent seasons, I discovered that the thin box lines had been the norm in L.A. for several years. Some Twitter-ers even joked about it during the 2016 playoffs:

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed this before. Granted, I don’t watch that many Dodgers games (even when the Mets are playing in L.A., the time difference means I often miss the games), but it still seems like something that would have caught my eye at some point. I’m a bit ashamed not to have spotted it until now!

I wanted to know more, so I contacted Dodgers senior design director Ross Yoshida (as you may recall, he was a recent guest on our Unified podcast). He in turn got me in touch with groundskeeper Jordan Lorenz, who was nice enough to talk with me about this rather esoteric topic. We spoke last Friday afternoon. Here’s an edited transcript:

Uni Watch: Let’s start with some basics about you. What’s your official title with the Dodgers, and how long have you been working for them?

Jordan Lorenz [shown at right]: My official title is director of turf and grounds. I’ve had that title since 2017, and I have been with the team overall since 2005.

UW: I looked up your LinkedIn page and saw that you have a degree in horticulture, which I assume is a handy background to have when you’re working with grass. Is that common for people in your profession?

JL: Yeah, it’s usually some sort of horticulture or agronomy. Most people who get similar kind of degrees are looking at being golf course superintendents, but then there’s also a segment that ends up working at stadiums.

UW: As I think you know, I was interested in talking with you about the thin lines of the batter’s and catcher’s boxes at Dodger Stadium. When did that start, and what is the thinking behind it?

JL: I believe it started in 2009, somewhere around in there. Batter’s boxes have all been the same size forever, but for a long time MLB didn’t really mandate that you needed to paint the whole box, including inside lines.

UW: Right, I remember that — the boxes wouldn’t be closed rectangles. They’d be more like brackets, sort of like the coaches’ boxes, because they wouldn’t include the inside lines closest to the plate, right? And then at some point everyone started adding that last line so you got the entire rectangle.

JL: Exactly. Most teams, including us, were doing it that way. I mean, it’s pretty infrequent that somebody is standing so close to the plate that the inner line would even come into play. But in whatever year it was — 2008 or ’09 — MLB informed all the groundskeepers, “Hey, you need to start painting the whole box.” So we did that. We were using a four-inch line for the boxes, just like the foul lines. And one of our players came to Eric Hansen, our former head groundskeeper, and said, “I just don’t like this big, bright white line. I just kind of see it out of the corner of my eye when I’m trying to concentrate on the pitcher. Can you do something to, like, make it smaller and make it less bright?”

UW: And he was talking about the new inner line of the box, the line that MLB had told you to start including?

JL: Right. So that was really the impetus for it. And there’s really no specific rule that states how wide the lines have to be or anything, so we made them thinner for him. And then we just kept doing it, and we still do it that way now.

UW: You mentioned a four-inch line. So that was the width of the white line?

JL: Yeah. And we still use that for the foul lines.

UW: Is that an MLB-mandated thing? Or could you make that thinner too if you wanted to?

JL: Honestly, I don’t know if it’s mandated, or if it’s in the rulebook or anything. I kind of don’t think so. I think it’s just kind of become industry standard. We use aerosol paint for our for our lines, and that’s how the painters are set up, for the foul line to be four inches wide.

UW: How thick are the lines of the boxes?



JL: About an inch.

UW: You mentioned that a particular player asked for the thinner box lines. Do you recall who that player was?

JL: I don’t, honestly. It’s been a while.

UW: Wow — but whoever he was, he’s left a lasting mark on Dodger Stadium!

JL: Yep. It’s just kind of become, you know, that’s just how we do it now. We think it looks a little bit cleaner. But if there was a current player who wanted us to go back to the thicker lines, or do it a different way, we would have no qualms about doing it. You know, the lines really only matter for the first inning anyway.

UW: I looked up some spring training photos, and I see that the Dodgers’ facility in Arizona has the standard thicker line. So the thin lines aren’t necessarily a Dodgers thing — they’re just the Dodger Stadium thing. Is that right?

JL: Yep, pretty much.

UW: Are you aware of any other ballparks — major league, minor league, college, or whatever — where they do the boxes like you guys do?

JL: Not really, not that I’ve noticed. We do get questions about it, though. Mostly from other groundskeepers who’ve asked us why or how we do it that way. And then I explain it, like I just explained it to you.

UW: When you’re watching a game on TV and the ballpark has the standard thicker lines, does it bug you? Does it look wrong to you?

JL: No, no, no, not at all. I know that we’re the outlier here. We’ve become used to it and we kind of like it. But we know that we’re the odd ones.

UW: Have any players or umpires ever said anything to you about it?

JL: I don’t believe so, no.

UW: I found a few tweets from people who noticed the thin lines and mentioned it on Twitter, and they made jokes about the Dodgers running low on chalk, or the Dodgers trying to save money on chalk, stuff like that. Does it bother you that people see your work and sort of make jokes about it like that?

JL: No, because like I said, we know that we’re the odd one here. And the fact that people are noticing it is kind of surprising, that fans even pay attention to it. But if those people have a little fun at our expense, we’re totally fine with that.

UW: Do you guys have any other little visual details or nuances that you incorporate into the field? Anything else that’s sort of a “Dodger Stadium thing” like the thin lines?

JL: Not really, no. It’s all pretty standard stuff.

UW: You mentioned that you paint the lines, instead of using chalk. What’s the ratio of teams that use paint versus chalk?

JL: I think it’s probably about half and half. Maybe there’s a little bit more that use chalk. I’m not quite sure, honestly. There’s a lot of stuff we take for granted, and we don’t always realize there are people out there who would find some of it interesting. So it’s good to talk to somebody who is, to get the word out there.

———

And there you have it. Much like Monday’s and Tuesday’s episodes about the umpire sleeve patches, geeking out over the width of foul lines and batter’s box lines strikes me as peak Uni Watch. Or to put it another way: I love this topic! Hope you’ve enjoyed it too.

(Big thanks to Jordan for sharing his expertise with us, and to Chris Fairchild and Ross Yoshida for making this entry possible.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

Ballin’: With the Knicks and Nets both playing well and headed for the NBA playoffs — something that hasn’t happened since the 2012-13 season — the cover art for this week’s issue of The New Yorker is a spectacular illustration by Mark Ulriksen, depicting a color-vs.-color game between the two NYC teams. The Instagram embed shown above includes some of Ulriksen’s preliminary sketches and some views of the illo in progress.

One of Ulriksen’s Instagram commenters noted the lack of logo creep on the uniforms and asked if this was due to some sort of trademark issue, to which Ulriksen responded:

I don’t know of any prohibition on using the swoosh but when I have worked for Nike in the past they were very stringent on not allowing the art to be sold or used anywhere else so I don’t paint the swoosh too often.

Interesting! Makes for a much nicer-looking image, too.

(My thanks to Paul Ryan for letting me know about that Instagram exchange.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

Podcast reminder: As I mentioned a few days ago, Chris Creamer and I won’t have a podcast episode this week due to a scheduling conflict. But we have something very cool planned for next week — it’ll be our first “Ask Us Anything” edition, where we’ll spend the entire episode answering listener-submitted questions. It should be a lot like our regular “Question of the Week” segment, but stretched out over the entire episode.

If you’d like to submit a question for us, you can do so here. A few things to keep in mind:

• Most of the questions we get are directed to both of us. But if you have a question specifically for me or for Chris, that’s fine too.

• You can ask us about uniforms and logos, of course, but you can also ask the podcast itself, or about Uni Watch and/or SportsLogos.net, or about our careers, or anything like that.

• Questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no response aren’t all that interesting (for us or for the audience), so try to avoid those.

Thanks in advance for your submissions — we look forward to responding to your queries!

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

May pin reminder: In case you missed it earlier, our the Uni Watch Pin Club’s design for May is a baseball cap design. The little white “21” stands for the year, obviously, and is meant to mimic the little cap inscriptions that MLB players sometimes use as a shout-out to injured or fallen teammates.

This pin was produced in a numbered edition of 200. As of this morning, there are fewer than 70 remaining. You can order yours here. Enjoy!

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: Cubs SS Javier Baez wore his team’s BP cap for the first inning of the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader. He switched to the proper cap after that (from multiple readers). … The Rocket City Trash Pandas, affiliate of the Angels, use their parent club’s font for helmet number decals but don’t use the font anywhere else (from multiple readers). … New rainbow-themed unis for the Saitama Seibu Lions (from Jeremy Brahm).

Football News: 49ers CB Jason Verrett is switching his jersey number from No. 22 to No. 2 (from our own Brinke Guthrie). … The NFL is offering vaccines at 21 stadiums, and people who get vaccines will receive a 25% discount on NFLShop.com and be entered into a drawing for Super Bowl tickets (from James Gilbert).

Hockey News: An Edmonton man has built a table hockey game surrounded by an amazing replica of the Boston Garden (from Ted Arnold). … A website has rendered the Ottawa Senators’ logo with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s face (from Phillip Tutor).

Basketball News: For a recent team portrait, Wizards players opted to wear T-shirts with social justice messages instead of their uniforms (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Etienne Catalan has the latest NBA uni number assignments.

Soccer News: PSG’s new home shirt has leaked (from Michael Zerbib). … Starting in June, MLS clubs will be offering a 30% discount for vaccinated fans for in-stadium merchandise purchases (from James Gilbert). … European football clubs are grappling with selling naming rights to their historic stadiums (from Timmy Donahue).

Grab Bag: Here’s why the U.S. has two different highway sign fonts (from Jon Vieira). … Stroudsburg, Pa., firefighters are getting new uniforms (from Timmy Donahue). … Also from Timmy: New badges for the Surrey Police Service in Surrey, British Columbia. … BYU men’s volleyball coach Shawn Olmstead has a hoodie that has the flags of the home nations and territories of the teams’ players. From top to bottom: U.S., Brazil, Finland, Italy, and Puerto Rico (from Steven Freeman).

• • • • •

• • • • •

• • • • •

The four winners of the “start ’em young” membership raffle are Mike O’Connor (who’ll be getting a membership card for his seven-year-old daughter, Amaleigh), Scott Rothbart (for his daughter, Emily), Scott Durham (for his 12-year-old son, Avery), and Jacob Olson (who’s a fourth grade teacher and says, “I definitely know a couple uni-savvy kids who would love this!”). Big congrats to them, and mega-thanks to Kevin Cearfoss for generously sponsoring this one. — Paul