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Four Minor League Teams to Get Hispanic Makeover

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Everyone always complains when sports teams half-ass their “Hispanic” uniforms by just adding “Los” or “El” to their team name. Some teams, to their credit, have been a bit more creative but have still worked within the frameworks of their existing team identities.

Minor League Baseball is trying something more expansive. MiLB yesterday announced a new program called “Es Divertido Ser un Fan” (Spanish for “It’s Fun to Be a Fan”). As part of the program, four MiLB teams — each located in a market with a large Hispanic population — will take on new identities, including new uniforms, for select games in August, with a national rollout planned for next year. As part of the initiative, stadiums will offer new concession items and have P.A. announcements in Spanish.

Here are the four teams participating next month:

• Las Vegas 51s: The 51s will become the Las Vegas Reyes de Plata (“Silver Kings,” a nod to Nevada’s silver mining heritage) for Tuesday home games on Aug. 1, 8, and 22.

One bit of irony here is that the 51s are the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, and now they’re going to be wearing Mets shortstop Jose Reyes’s surname on their chests — appropriate, perhaps, given that Reyes has performed like a Triple-A player, for much of this season (although he’s stepped it up lately, to be fair).

• Charlotte Knights: The Knights will become the Charlotte Caballeros (Spanish for “Knights”) for the weekend of Aug. 18-20.

• Visalia Rawhide: The Rawhide — a Single-A Diamondbacks affiliate, in case you’ve never heard of them (as I hadn’t) — will become the Visalia Toros (i.e., Bulls) for the four games covering Aug. 3-6.

• Kane County Cougars: The Cougars, alas, will just be Los Cougars on Aug. 10-13. Unless I missed it somewhere (and believe me, I looked), they have not provided a good photo or mock-up of the uniform they’ll be wearing for this promotion. You can see the cap at the top of this page, and part of their jersey is visible in this group shot (click to enlarge):


Some of these are clearly better than others. It’s also a little disappointing that three of the four jerseys — all but Kane County’s — have the city name nested into the team name, which feels too template-y for my tastes.

Still, this shows MiLB’s continuing ability to go beyond the boilerplate Star Wars and Ninja Turtle uniforms. Those costumes always feel like everyone’s just ordering out of the same catalogs, but these new designs, along with all the food-based makeovers we’ve been seeing, are more interesting and show more imagination (well, except for Kane County’s). Interesting!

Also: The Durham Bulls will become Los Toros de Durham on Aug. 10. This promotion is distinct from the program that the other four teams are participating in:

• • • • •

Those no-good sew-and-sews: Twitterer @keyvon212 mentioned something last night that caught me by surprise: “I believe the Rays [right] and Indians are the only two MLB teams that still use nameplates.”

My initial thought (which, thankfully, I didn’t tweet) was, “No way — there are several others.” But then I checked (it’s an easy thing to look up in Bill Henderson’s guide, which is yet another reason everyone should own it) and found that he was right! In fact, Tampa and Cleveland have been the last nameplated holdouts for several seasons now. Everyone else uses direct-sewn lettering. Well, except for the Yankees.

I count this as major progress. Nameplates are fine in football — the horizontal strip of fabric goes well with the broad expanse of the jersey as it’s stretched wider by the shoulder pads — but I dislike them for all other sports. I didn’t realize MLB was so close to achieving direct-sewn uniformity. Here’s hoping we can convert those last two holdouts next season.

• • • • •

That time of the year: We are fast approaching the month of August, which means it will soon be time for my annual August break from the blog. Beginning one week from today, deputy editor Phil Hecken will run the site on weekdays and webmaster John Ekdahl will handle weekends. Regular features like the Ticker and Collector’s Corner will continue as usual, but I won’t be the one coordinating them.

I’ll still be on the clock over at ESPN (indeed, one reason for my annual blogcation is so I can devote some time and energy to my annual college football and NFL preview columns), and I’ll likely make occasional cameos here to introduce new T-shirts or make other announcements. For the most part, though, the site will be Paul-free in August. That will no doubt be a disappointment for some of you and a big plus for others. Either way, I’ll be back before you know it.

Unfortunately, I have no major travels planned for August this year, although I hope to use the extra time to work on some long-delayed extracurricular projects. More on that soon-ish.

Anyway: I’m still here for another week, so don’t start mourning my absence (or celebrating it, as the case might be) just yet.

• • • • •

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Just win, baby. Here we have a 1980s Los Angeles Ray-duhz poster from Damac. Yes, kids, they’re now in Oakland and are headed for Vegas, but they also spent a stretch of time down the coast in L.A., as you can tell from the City of Angels skyline on the poster. Looks like perhaps Bo and Ray Guy on there? Printed in and sold from the UK. Perfect condition!

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• One more poster for ya: This 1983 49ers poster from Damac is still in excellent condition, and features The Catch combo of Joe Cool and Dwight Clark.

• Proudly proclaim “It’s Hockey Night in Hartford” with this vintage Whalers bumper sticker.

• How about a nice-looking Pittsburgh Steelers 100% Orlon® Acrylic zip-front cardigan from the Sears “Put-On Shop,” whatever that was. Comes with an embroidered patch and striping across the waist and sleeves and the trademark O-ring on the zipper.

• Luv Ya, Blue! Here’s a 1970s Oilers bike reflector. Packaging has some problems but the item itself has never been used.

• Here’s a dynamite-looking set of 16 Riddell pocket helmets commemorating the 1969 season, with those great division names — Capital, Century, Coastal and Central.

• Can’t say I’ve ever seen a helmet buggy T-shirt before. This Reebok one says “CB est. 68” on it, for Cincinnati Bengals and 1968. And here’s a Bengals sticker with a terrific logo from back in the day.

• This 1960s Toronto Maple Leafs bobble is in perfect shape.

• This 1970s NFL rug has a player on it that I know I’ve seen on other NFL items of the era.

• For some reason, this 1974 Baltimore Colts Frisbee has no team logo, but it has a $100 bill on it with a kicker or punter.

• No bells or whistles, just classic styling on these 1970s Lou Brock Converse sneakers.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Indians and White Sox will wear 1917 throwbacks in Chicago on Saturday. Cleveland will wear this jersey and cap, and the Sox will have this hat. No pic of the jersey, but it will presumably resemble the promotional jerseys that fans will receive at the gate (from @ajenkinsCLE). … For Military Appreciation Day on Sunday, the Twins adjusted their alternate logo, with the Paul character in fatigues saluting his twin, Minnie (from Justin Barrientos). … The Greensboro Grasshoppers wore hot dogs on their nameplates and sleeves last night (from Scott Trembly). … A rare game-worn Philadelphia Blue Jays jersey, complete with a blue jay patch, is up for auction. The Phillies were known as the Blue Jays for a few years in the 1940s (from Samuel Heller). … The Cardinals have had a partnership with the R.J. Liebe Athletic Lettering Company since 1922. The suburban St. Louis shop used to embroider the Birds on a Bat logo onto the jerseys (from @2xAught7). … As we know, baseball jerseys are buttoned up, meaning that wordmarks across the chest have to be split up at some point. Ray Hund says his wife, a seamstress, is bugged by “broken” letters, listing the Diamondbacks, Padres, Blue Jays, and Rays as examples. … Here’s the story behind Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard, an iconic Cleveland condiment available at Indians games (from Eric Bunnell). … Mets SS Jose Reyes stole is 500th career base last night. After the game, he helped himself to the base. … Fans continue to remove the New Era logo from their caps. … The logo for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game will be revealed tomorrow afternoon at Nats Park (from Tim Haller).

Pro Football News: The Steelers unveiled a memorial patch for team chairman Dan Rooney, who died in April. The patch has his DMR initials in a shamrock, because he also served as a U.S. ambassador to Ireland. The Steelers already wear a team logo patch on the upper-left chest, so the Rooney patch will go on the other side. Fortunately, the Steelers do not wear captaincy patches, so there won’t be too much clutter. … The Packers and Bears will wear Color Rush uniforms for their Thursday-night game in Week 4 at Lambeau Field. They went mono-navy vs. mono-white last year, and we’ll likely see the same color pairing this year (from Phil). … Here’s a video feature on the woman who has sewn, cleaned, and repaired Colts uniforms for 33 years (from Dave Ciskowski). … The NFL released this year’s sideline caps (from Ben Matukewicz). … In 1992, Hamilton Tiger-Cats QB Don McPherson changed his number to 99 to honor Jerome Brown, a former teammate with the Eagles who died in a car accident that summer. McPherson normally wore 16, and switched back the next season (from Johnny Garfield). … New look last night for the Ottawa Redblacks. “They didn’t bring their usual road white helmets and white pants on the road,” says Wade Heidt. “Instead, they wore their home and primary black helmets and home black pants with their white jerseys.”

College Football News: Nebraska teased new uniforms, which will be unveiled on Thursday. It looks like the Cornhuskers will wear mesh jerseys as a throwback to the 1997 team that split that National Championship with Michigan (from Drew Doyle). … Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said that the Hawkeyes will wear alternate uniforms once this season, for the first time since 2015 (from Phil). … New unis for James Madison. Here’s a few more pics (from several readers). … Maryland coach DJ Durkin said that the vast majority of his players want a single-digit number (from Cody Joakes). … Here’s how UCLA’s shoulder stripe has evolved since it was introduced in 1949 (from Marc Altieri).

Hockey News: New uniforms for the Macon Mayhem of the SPHL (from Mike Campos). … New Devil Marcus Johansson received a bag full of apparel from the team, which includes mostly Reebok gear, including an old Reebok jersey (from Zach Spencer).

Basketball News: The 76ers will have a new court this season (from John Kelemen). … Screenshots from NBA 2K18 show that the new Nike uniforms don’t have full armhole piping, and that the Thunder’s home uniforms are virtually unchanged (from @CylkDiamond and @OklasotaGal). … New court for Penn, who play at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia (from Jeremy Fallis). … James Harden, playing in the Drew League, covered up his Nike logo creep (from @ezbutton11).

Soccer News: Sporting Kansas City will wear camo warm-ups against Atlanta next Sunday (from Joe Ryan). … New third kit for Celtic. “All three of their shirts this year are a shade of green,” notes Ed Żelaski. “Not sure how that’ll work.”

Grab Bag: The Wisconsin State Journal named the winner of the Madison flag redesign contest. The city of Madison will consider officially adopting the concept, a blue, green, and white flag with a sideways M in the negative space of the stripes (from JohnMark Fisher). … New York Times readers chimed in on the topic of “appropriate” work attire (from Tom Turner). … Also from Tom: Auto racing has become an unlikely influence on contemporary men’s fashion. … IndyCar will have a new car design next year (from Tim Dunn).

• • • • •

I have to go to Manhattan for an ESPN meeting this morning, so I’ll be off the grid for a few hours. Play nice while I’m away, yes? Thanks. — Paul

Sleeping Through Uni Watch 101: The Browns’ Orange Shoes

There are lots of stories out there that have essentially become Uni Watch 101. The Nats’ “Natinals” typo in 2009, the Vikings wearing mono-purple due to a jersey mix-up with the Lions in 1964, Lou Whitaker wearing a replica jersey with a Magic Markered number at the 1985 MLB All-Star Game — we all know these stories inside and out by now. And even if you don’t, I do. Hell, it’s my job to know them.

Every now and then, however, there’s a story that everyone else seems to know about, but for whatever reason it has somehow not been on my radar. It’s like I was sleeping through my own class! That’s the case with the story I’m going to write about today. There’s a good chance you already know about it, but I only learned about it last month. The topic: Webster Slaughter and orange shoes of 1989.

The book Tales from the Cleveland Browns Sideline has a good rundown:

No receiver in Browns history had quite the colorful year that Webster Slaughter enjoyed in 1989.

Besides his record 1,236 receiving yards, Slaughter took on the rule of team stylist. He wore specialized orange wristbands and then spiced up his game-day outfit by spray-painting his football shoes orange [instead of the team’s usual white].

Teammate Eric Metcalf asked him to paint his shoes for a nationally televised Monday night game against the Chicago bears.

The orange shoes worked like magic.

Slaughter hooked up with [quarterback] Bernie Kosar for a Monday Night Football-record 97-yard touchdown play and 186 receiving yards. [I have tried to find video of the touchdown play but have been unsuccessful. — PL] And Metcalf ran for a touchdown and caught one. The 27-7 Browns win broke a two-game losing streak.

“Then everybody on offense wanted their shoes painted orange,” Slaughter said.

As the playoffs approached, the NFL office notified the Browns that either everybody wore orange shoes or nobody wore them. So the team voted to wear orange shoes for the AFC championship game in Denver.

Slaughter was elected to paint them all. After practice the day before the game, Slaughter spent hours spray-painting his teammates’ shoes in the visitor’s locker room of Mile High Stadium.

“That gave me a big headache,” Slaughter said 14 years later. “The fumes really bothered me. In fact, I have a big picture at my mom’s house with me with a towel over my face, painting the shoes.”

The photo Slaughter’s referring to is presumably this one:

The AP’s caption for the photo matches the story from the book.

The Browns lost that AFC championship game against Denver. The funny thing is, if you look at the photos from that game, you don’t actually see much orange, because the Browns were all wearing white spatting tape, so it’s almost like Slaughter huffed all those fumes for nothing (as an aside, this photo also shows Browns cornerback Frank Minnifield wearing his sock stripes down around his ankles, a style that was unheard of at the time, although it’s fairly common nowadays):

In fact, it’s difficult to find pics of any Browns players, including Slaughter, wearing full-orange shoes from that season. Here’s a rare exception:

That tweet and some of the responses to it are what sent me down this rabbit hole. I don’t know how I missed the boat on this story (or on that photo of Slaughter with the spray paint, which I gather has become somewhat legendary), but this chapter in Browns history is apparently a big deal in Cleveland, where it has even given rise to this T-shirt.

So tell me: Did everyone know about this story except me?

Update: You can see video of the long Slaughter touchdown play here. The image quality isn’t great, but he appears to have been wearing a lot of spatting tape, so the orange paint job is barely visible.

(My thanks to Craig Ackers and Nick Shook for their research contributions.)

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Matt Grace of the Nationals had some trouble with his 3D helmet logo last night. We’ve seen chips and cracks, but I think this is our first hanger. … New Yankee P Dave Robertson still had a White Sox logo on his glove when he took the mound yesterday. He also appeared to be wearing an old jersey, with a wide gap between “New” and “York.” This is what the typical Yankee road jersey has looked like since last season (from Blake Rios). … Indians P Trevor Bauer dressed a baseball up like teammate Jason Kipnis, and even took note to give it a jersey number (from Robert Hayes). … WWE wrestler AJ Styles was at the Phillies game yesterday, and wore a jersey with the number “P1” — a reference to one of his nicknames, The Phenomenal One (from Tommy Colosi). … The New York Post Photoshopped Mets 1B Lucas Duda into Yankees pinstripes for in a recent article (from Eric). … In the movie Mr. 3000, during a scene set in 1995, one Brewers bat boy is shown wearing the team’s current uniform set (from Jonny). … It looks like a barber shop in Chicago poached the Sox classic “batterman” logo (from Pure West). … New unis in the works for Winthrop? (From Matt Levenson.) … Fuzzy the Bear — a character in a series of kids’ books — gets it (from Chris Flinn).

NFL News: Check out this Carolina Panthers/Superman hybrid helmet, signed by former Panther Rod “He Hate Me” Smart, found at a flea market (from James Gilbert). … Looks like there’s some NOB font inconsistencies in this shot of a 1989 49ers game. Could be that Bill Romanowski’s last name was too long to fit on the nameplate (from Johnny Garfield). … Take a load off in this awesome 1970s Miami Dolphins helmet chair (from J. Williams). … We may have seen this before, but just in case: For the final game of the 1972 season, the Rams previewed their upcoming change in their color scheme by putting a yellow-horned helmet logo at midfield, even though the team was still wearing white horns at the time (from Bob Gassel). … A Raiders player showed up for training camp wearing a T-shirt showing a mash-up of Pittsburgh sports logos — including the Steelers! (From @NY_Raider.)

College Football News: UCLA went to the trouble of Photoshopping out the Adidas logo on every player’s jersey in this photo (from Jonathon Craig Hays). … Reader Glenn Riley sent along a photo of a custom 1968-1970 fauxback Ohio State varsity jacket he put together. “Jacket made in Oregon, varsity patches in New Jersey, stitching and application Ohio, and custom buttons by yours truly,” Glenn said. … Did you know Auburn almost changed logos in 1995? It’s true. … BYU has released a chart showing fans which color to wear for each game this season. Weird that they’re even giving color guidance — or maybe T-shirt buying guidance — for road games. … Georgia and Florida went color vs. color in 1966.

Hockey News: It’s amazing that there was a time when it was a debate as to whether goalies should wear masks (from Jerry Wolper). … Has anyone noticed that Queen bassist John Deacon’s Blackhawks jacket in the “We Will Rock You” video? (From Austin Gillis.)

NBA News: Warriors rookie and former Oregon Duck Jordan Bell caught Fanatics selling a fake version of one his college “game-worn” jerseys — with the wrong number (from Michael McLaughlin). … UFC fighter Conor McGregor trolled his next opponent, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., by wearing a C.J. Watson Warriors jersey. Watson allegedly had an affair with Mayweather’s wife (from Football Guy).

Grab Bag: The vintage snapback craze has made it to Iceland. Mike Wissman found these caps on sale for $50 bucks a pop. … Spanish soccer club Real Bettis is in the process of renovating its stadium. Included in the renovation is this mural, only visible when the stands are empty (from James Gilbert). … Hmmm, why would the final lap bell at this year’s Tour de France have “2016” printed on it? The answer comes from Twitterer @redsoxfan426, who writes, “It’s tradition to use the previous year’s bell until the race is over. Then, a new bell is made to honor the competitive spirit.”

• • • • •

What Paul did last night over the weekend: I had a really fun weekend upstate and would love to tell you all the details. But I got home late-ish, watched Twin Peaks (yet another fairly unsatisfying episode), and then it was time for bed, and I have a busy morning planned to boot, so I’m gonna cheat and just show you some Facebook embeds. Facebook photo/video quality isn’t as good as Flickr and YouTube, but it’ll have to do — sorry about that.

A Very Merry Vilkmas (in July)

vilkmas splash

By Phil Hecken, with Santa Claus Vilk

Readers of Uni Watch know that our own Jimmer Vilk is a very generous hombre — so generous, in fact, that whenever he feels the need to throw out his excess trash is in a particularly giving mood, he gifts some of his most prized possessions to our readership (including shipping!). We thusly had Vilkmas in December in 2015 and again last December. Rather than having a LOT of items to ship during the holiday season, this time Jim has decided to breakup his generosity into two Vilkmases — one now, and then another one at holiday time. Hence, today’s Very Merry Vilkmas (in July).

I’ll let Jimmer take it from here:

• • •

Vilkmas in July
By Jimmer Vilk

In three months I don’t want to see holiday decorations in the stores. In November I do NOT want to hear Christmas songs on the radio. And don’t get me started on Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow and It’s A Marshmallow World…you play those through half of Autumn, then just three days into Winter you stop playing them? Pffffft. “Christmas in July” is another story. I can have some cocoa and listen to some holiday/snow tunes for just a couple of days and thoroughly enjoy it. I can also give away stuff now! In fact, for as long as I’m able to do Vilkmas, I’d like to give away five items in July and five more in December. It helps break up the postage, if nothing else.

. . .

So, to kick off our first Vilkmas in July, we have a Yinzer-ish crocheted football stocking.

Athletic Christmas stocking

This way, the lucky winner can use it in five months instead of waiting until December 2018. My aunt made this for me forty-some years ago when I gave up the Oilers for the Steelers. Now that I’ve given up the Steelers for volleyball and cricket, I’m giving up the stocking, which is still in great shape.

. . .

Another football item is this Tampa Bay Bandits long sleeved t-shirt, size Large.

Bandits long sleeve T

Thirty years ago I went to Disney World with my brother’s family and found this in an Orlando sporting goods shop. It is starting to show its age, as it’s a *teeny* bit on the sheer side. So if you have a hairy chest and/or back, you may want to frame it instead of wear it. It’s only a suggestion, though. I won’t stand between anyone and their love of BanditBall.

. . .

Next we have a Golden State Warriors “Authentic Fan” giveaway shirt, size XL.

Warriors "Authentic Fan" t-shirt

Two questions: first, is there such a thing as an “authentic” Warriors fan? I kid…a little… Second, how did this end up in a Northeast Ohio Goodwill store? Anyway, with this item you can proclaim your “undying loyalty” to the defending NBA champs. I’m going to make you earn this one, though. In your entry, write down your guess for my all-time favorite Warrior. If no one gets it, that’s OK…it’s just for fun. Also, you must promise, if you’re ever in a pickup hoops game, that you’ll never flop or punch someone below the belt like my least-favorite Warrior.

. . .

Now we move on to baseball with a 2016 American League Home Run Derby replica jersey, size 44.

2016 HR Derby replica jersey

Bring back those colors full-time, San Diego!!!! I would recommend wearing an undershirt with this, because of the stitched letters. Really tempting to hang on to this, but even though I like more AL teams than NL, I consider myself a National League guy. Just take it from me before I change my mind.

. . .

Our final giveaway is a 1987 Pirates yearbook, with early 70s photos of Willie Stargell and Manny Sanguillen.

1987 Pirates yearbook w/ 2 photos

This is the 130th anniversary of Pirates baseball. To celebrate you can have this centennial yearbook I got 30 years ago. The book has a nice fold-out cover…
Bucs yearbook (foldout cover)

…and inside there’s a great piece on the uniform history of the Bucs, with a couple of Marc Okkonen drawings that you won’t find in his Dressed To The Nines website!
Bucs yearbook (inside w/ uni history)

A real uni-watcher’s delight, eh?

. . .

That’s it until late December. Here comes Phil with the details, which are the same as previous Vilkmases. Season’s Greetings!

• • •

Thanks, Jimmer! Your generosity never ceases to amaze.

OK, this is very similar to Paul’s once-yearly raffle so here is how you enter:

1) Send an email to and put in the SUBJECT “Vilkmas in July”

2) In the BODY of the email, please indicate (a) your name and shipping address and (b) your top 3 prize choices, in order of preference, by number. If you’re only interested in, say, one or two items, then just list your top one or two choices; if you want all 5, you can do that too, but I don’t really expect anyone to go that far. Jim will do his best to accommodate all the winners’ choices.

3) One email per person. Entry deadline is next Sunday, July 30, 8:00 pm Eastern. The winners will be announced in August.


And please, everyone — give Jimmer a nice round of thanks in the comments below. Thanks, Jimmer — you’re still the best.

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classic scoreboards splashClassic Ballpark Scoreboards

After an almost year-long hiatus, I’m pleased to announce that the “Classic Stadium Scoreboards” series is making a return to Uni Watch — this is a project conceived and created by the great Gary Chanko. This is now “Series IV” in the set.

Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):

. . . . . . . . . .

Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series IV
by Gary Chanko

This time Classic Scoreboards visits San Diego for a look at one rookie’s first step toward Cooperstown.

The Murph (aka Jack Murphy Stadium, Qualcomm Stadium)

The Murph_UW

Baseball Home of: San Diego Padres (MLB) 1969 to 2003; San Diego Padres (PCL) 1968
Football Home of: San Diego Chargers (AFL, NFL) 1967 – 2016
Opened: 1967

In late summer 1967 the relocated San Diego Chargers opened the newly completed San Diego Stadium. The multi-purpose sports facility would experience three more name changes beginning in 1981. One of the name changes lasted a brief ten days, but more about that later.

Jack Murphy was a local sports columnist who championed bringing professional sports to San Diego. After his death, in 1981 the San Diego stadium was renamed in his honor.

In 1997 Qualcomm Corporation acquired 20-year naming rights to the stadium and a deserved place in the Naming Wrongs Hall-of-Fame. In 2011 a Qualcomm marketing effort to rename the facility Snapdragon Stadium lasted only 10 days. As it turned out the renaming was illegal; read about it here.

Locals never warmed to the misappropriated name Qualcomm Stadium. Most still hold fast to the old moniker, Jack Murphy Stadium or simply The Murph. In fact you can even buy a tee shirt to express that sentiment.

The Scoreboards

The original scoreboard located in right field was a basic matrix display manufactured by All American Scoreboards. The company’s resume also includes Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium.

In 1978 the scoreboard was upgraded by American Sign and Indicator. The $1.4 million (about $5.25 million in today’s dollars) cost was completely covered by stadium advertising sponsors. The right side of the display featured full animation graphics.

The next upgrade in 1987 added three message boards to surround the display board. New outfield seating was added, but The Murph retained the open right field architecture and its ballpark feel.

All of this changed in 1996 with the full stadium enclosure. The new Jumbotron scoreboard addition retained its original location in right field. But The Murph was now a football stadium.

Tony Gwynn’s First Base Hit, July 19, 1982

As depicted in the illustration, the time is 9:20 p.m. and the bottom of the 8th inning. Tony Gwynn has just connected for the first of his 3141 hits. You can listen to his post-game comments here.

A Few Things to Know

• The 1978 scoreboard renovation by American Sign & Indicator Corp. was the sports world’s first color animated scoreboard.

• In 1998 The Murph was the first ballpark/stadium to host both a World Series and Super Bowl in the same calendar year.

• Although the Chargers are now playing in Los Angeles (their original home) and the Qualcomm naming rights deal expired this past June, the facility lives on as Qualcomm Stadium. The stadium will host the San Diego State Aztecs and the Holiday Bowl for the next couple of seasons (at least) while the City Council plans the next evolution of the facility. Meanwhile, you too can host your own event at The Murph. Rental details for your event (up to 70,000 friends and neighbors) can be found here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at

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To the Victor…

…Belong the Spoils

Once again, I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our Fauxback Jersey Contest winner Brent Hatfield, who you will recall submitted a nifty “1975 Marlins” jersey (click to enlarge any image below)…

Hatfield, Brent - 1975 Marlins

Our partner, Steve Rosenbeck from Garb Athletics, has now finished creating Brent’s jersey, a picture of which you can see below.

Garb Athletics Contest Winner

Fantastic, right? I know from speaking with Brent via e-mail that there were several others who wanted to order that jersey. If you’d like to order one, let me know and I’ll pass along your information to Steve.

Here’s a look at the jersey being created:

Big thanks to Steve for offering the Uni Watch contest winners a custom jersey! You can follow Garb on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The next contest will be announced shortly. I think you’re really going to like it…

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Too Good For the Ticker
Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail yesterday from Domenico Delgado on a subject that should be near and dear to every Uni Watcher’s heart. I almost titled this the “Rajai Davis Sock Tracker,” but it’s just too good for the ticker.

Here’s Domenico with more:

• • •

Haven’t been following the site super closely so I’m not sure if this has been discussed already but Rajai Davis has been wearing a lot of different sock styles with the A’s this year. Including some pretty weird ones like the white sanis under stirrups and even solid gold. I included the best pictures I could find.

. . .






. . .

Also worth noting that he hasn’t worn Stance at all this year besides special events.

Domenico Delgado

Thanks! It should be noted that last pic, with white sanis, is a crime against A’s hosiery. But hey, any visible hosiery is better than none.

OK. Now, on to the ticker…

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Though sadly he is no longer a member of the Mets organization, it’s good to know this specialty Bartolo Colon shirsey exists (from David Smolowitz). … Interesting look for the Cleveland baseball team, who paired the solid red Block C cap with the navy blue jersey yesterday (from Ben Teaford). … Here’s a gorgeous photo of the great Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs, from 1945. A year later, he would be playing in Montréal – on his way to making history, from Alex Cheremeteff‏. … Also from Alex, guess which professional baseball league was the first to install lights? That’s awesome. … On a related note, a Minor League club would also install lights in 1930 (from Chris Williams). Not sure who flipped the switch first. … According to Graveyard Baseball, this was an awkward matchup of black vs blue for the Rakuten Eagles choosing the black tops vs Orix Buffaloes. … Here’s the perfect gift to get someone who will never have enough caps in his/her collection. Otherwise, who buys that shit? (from Brad Serton). … Host of the HOVG Podcast and very cynical Shawn Anderson notes that you can now buy dirt touched by Tim Tebow. More specifically, “That’s right, for a mere $50, fans of the Atlanta Braves Class-A Florida Fire Frogs can secure themselves a great seat and, wait for it, a ‘commemorative bottle of dirt’ from the batter’s box at Osceola County Stadium.” … Here’s a look at the Mighty Ducks tribute jerseys which were to be worn last evening by the Potomac Nationals (from Gregory Koch). And here they are in action. … A Phenix City, Alabama, little league team wore some very patriotic socks yesterday (from Scott Rogers). … For their ’87 “reunion” weekend, the Minnesota Twins wore ‘throwback’ “M” caps with their home unis (from Chad Jorgenson). … You know those “Mr. I” patches the Tigers wear (for Mike Ilitch)? Well, apparently they’re system-wide (those are the Connecticut Tigers — Class A affiliate of the Tigers). From Ryan Bugaj. … The Thunder Bay Border Cats of the Northwoods League threw back to the Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks (1990’s team in the Northern League) for the second straight year – different jerseys than last year. Will Scheibler notes it as a purple vs orange game as the Border Cats wore purple and the Mankato Moon Dogs wore orange. The right fielder of the Moon Dogs was numbered ’00’. One of the Border Cats pitchers of the night had a single digit ‘8’. The jerseys were auctioned off for charity PRO Kids Thunder Bay. … Last night, the Mariners invited Mike Cameron back to throw out the first pitch. Tim Dunn says, “Note the differencebetween Mike Cameron’s 2001 era Mariners Jersey and today’s Mariners Jersey worn by Guillermo Heredia.”

NFL/CFL/College/High School Football News: “Found this [Bears Throwback Poster] for my apartment,” says Adam Foxman. “Thought you may enjoy.” … Blake Rios thinks the Jacksonville Jaguars should return to these classic unis. Not sure many would disagree. … Former Cyclone Darius Reynolds is shown here rocking the AFL Philly Soul’s new white helmets on grey jerseys/pants (from Connor Ferguson). … Tweeter Steve Sher spotted this Ari{?}ona Cardinals tee shirt at Walmart yesterday. He asks. “Is that a ‘z’? a ‘s’ turned around? a ‘2’? a backwards ‘5’? YIKES!!!” … Check out these custom “Flash” cleats for Chicago Bears Cam Meredith (from Xcessive Celebration). … Unsurprisingly, given the number of teams who’ve switched, but Michigan will be wearing the new Nike jersey template (with the name we hate to even speak) this season (from Andrew Lind and Broc). … Oscar’s restaurant in Myrtle Beach features some throwback NFL helmets (some of which may not have been throwbacks when they were put up on the wall). From =[⁴][⁴]=====[⁴][⁴]=. … We’ve seen *some* of these before (but not all … wait for it … NINE combos): Marshall football has made some adjustments to its uniform combinations, and has some new looks set for the 2017 season. … A squirrel got loose at the Stamps/Riders game (from Liᵱschitɀ®).

Hockey News: Back in the day, if you rocked a Hockey sweater, it fit you: “It’s rare to find anyone in the seventies posing in yearbooks wearing sports jerseys of any kind,” says Ray Hund. “When it happens it’s usually a guy in a nondescript Sears-like fake football jersey. Hockey was a little different. We wore them small, like shirts (Check the first row, far right, for an example). Even Phil Collins was styling this look. It reminds me of the no-tuck dress shirts on the market these days.”

NBA/Summer League/G-League/College Basketball News: Yesterday’s ticker contained a link from our pal Conrad Burry showing some new jersey number fonts for the Cavs, Wolves, Sixers and Blazers; Here’s another look at the Philadelphia 76ers new blockshadow font (from Robert Hayes). … Is this Phoenix Suns jersey leak legit? It does match the font on this Suns Fanatics-branded tee that Conrad found a couple days ago. … Reader Jonté Robertson noticed the basketball court next to the LA Clippers facility has the old logo. Never has such a dated logo looked better than the current one.

Soccer News: “I was watching a video on English World Cup moments and came across this clip where England player Gary Lineker was revealed to be wearing what appears to be a wedding ring in the 1990 semi-final match against Cameroon,” says Jameson C). “Here’s the youtube link (ring moment at 2:25) and I included a screen capture.” … Reader Bryan Justman writes, “I was not aware that the English Premier League was to begin allowing advertising on the sleeves next season, but here it is in this story about Chelsea’s new sleeve ‘sponsor’.” … Real Madrid have unveiled their new fan-designed third kit for the new season. … Yesterday, Stoke CIty were wearing their sleeve sponsor @topeleven on the front of their kits. Normally that sponsor is Bet365 (from Ron Duany Derksen).

Grab Bag: Kyle Busch famously drives the candy car in NASCAR. Sometimes the No. 18 Toyota looks like a Snickers bar, sometimes he’s driving with giant M&M’s on the hood and sometimes — like with the car he’ll pilot Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — it looks like he’s driving around a bag of Skittles. Now, he has a helmet that is literally dispensing candy. I shit you not. … Our own Brinke really got a kick out of this vintage Burger King commercial, saying “This is just the best ever. Look at ’em all excited. Honey, tonight, we’re eating OUT!” Why, you may ask? Well, that’s because he also sent along this article on Fast Food Uniforms from the 1970s. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. was given the No. 8 from the old IMS pylon. But he’s holding it upside down (good spot by James Gilbert).

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And that’s it for today. Thanks to Jimmer Vilk for (again) donating a tad of his collection to the Uni Watch readership. Hope you see something you like and shoot me an e-mail.

As we’re almost to August (and Paul’s well earned sabbatical/sanity break), this will be my last weekend post until after Labor Day. I’ll be taking over the weekdays beginning August 1st — and I have a LOT of good stuff ahead, including the honor of hosting the Grand Rapids Griffins alternate sweater design again this year — and we’ll be kicking that off ON August 1st, so make sure to check the blog out that day; there will also be some special guests, new designers, interviews — probably an appearance or two from the one and only Bill Henderson — so we should be set for some good content whilst Paul’s away. If anyone has an idea for a column, or would like to collaborate on one — shoot me an e-mail. I’m always hoping to involve UW readers and their various uni-obsessions and confessions. So, that’s all for me for about 10 days — until the First of August…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


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“I remember when we got our first PC (ah, those were the days…for the simple graphics, mind you, not for the dial-up access). When I realized I could look up and read about Japanese baseball it hit me that it truly *was* a word wide web.”

— Jimmer Vilk

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Talkin' (Japanese) Baseball

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Click to enlarge

Over the course of the years, I’ve followed a twitter account that goes by Sons of Johnnie LeMaster (they have a blog, although it doesn’t appear as though it’s been updated recently. But in any event, I’ve corresponded with them (him), and occasionally they (he) have contributed a ticker item or three. I barely remember Johnnie LeMaster as a player (though he was certainly in my “wheelhouse” years for following baseball), but he of course lives on in Uni Watch (and other) lore for having one of the greatest NickNOB’s in history:


Anyway (and it seems as though the Sons of Johnnie LeMaster are not his actual kids), about a month ago the proprietor of the account and I corresponded and he said he was going to Tokyo and would be checking out a couple games in the Tokyo Dome at the beginning of July (with a goal of securing some Yomiuri Giants authentic merchandise).

As a quick aside, my best friend from High School went on to teach English in Japan, and while there, he took in a fair number of Japanese baseball games, regaling me with stories of the eccentricities of that league and its players. Back then he made particular note of the relative dearth of American players, but also noted that each team seemed to always have one (almost always black) American player — no more, no less — he believed there was literally quota system; I’m not sure that’s still the case. But he’d always talk about the fields, slightly different rules, crazy cheering sections, etc. I said if I ever visited him in Japan I’d want him to take me to a game. Alas, as the years passed we grew apart and that never happened. But I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese baseball.

After chatting with SoJL, I asked if he’d like to document his experience (with an emphasis on unis) and he obliged. The account is run by a gentleman named Henry Yu, and here’s his piece. Enjoy! (For any photos below, you can click to enlarge.)

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Baseball in Japan
By Henry Yu

Recently, we took a trip to Tokyo for a culinary and baseball adventure. A few months ago, we secured game tickets to see the Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama Bay Stars at the Tokyo Dome. One of our goals for attending the games was to purchase some Yomiuri Giants gear, since it’s next to impossible finding any of their stuff here in the States. Here’s a recap of our experience.

Around Tokyo

One of the first things we noticed when we were in Tokyo is that no one wears any team related items around town. We didn’t see one person wearing a Tokyo Giants hat, jersey, or shirt around the city. In addition, none of the stores had any Giants gear to purchase – not even the airport. The team has a small shop at the Sky Tower, but after viewing pictures of the place online, we figured it wasn’t worth the trip to check it out.

Fitted Caps

One of the things we really wanted was an authentic field fitted cap that the players wear. Unfortunately, fitted caps are not available anywhere. Even at the Tokyo Dome, the only hats that were available were adjustable. We saw several of the Under Armour adjustable caps at the Under Armour store located on the exterior of the stadium and at the lower level inside the Dome, but none of them appealed to us.

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Another thing that caught our attention was the fact that only replica jerseys are available for purchase. Again, none of the on-field apparel worn by the players was available for purchase. All of this seemed odd to us since we saw plenty of fans wearing jerseys and caps. If the team sold authentic on-field merchandise, fans would definitely purchase them, even at a higher price point.

Souvenir Stand

The Tokyo Dome has numerous souvenir stands located inside the ballpark and outside as well. However, most of the items were limited to player shirts, various rally towels, a few flags, and various knick knacks (keychains, dolls, stickers, etc.). Again, nothing at the souvenir stand caught our attention to the point where we wanted to purchase anything.

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Under Armour

UA occupies two locations at the Dome, the UA store on the exterior of the Dome, and a concession stand located in the lower level inside the Dome.

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Items consist of replica jerseys, adjustable caps, t-shirts, and polos. Of the items available, we purchased a road “Tokyo” replica jersey, and a home “Giants” jersey.

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The replicas are on par with the replicas you see in the States, but the UA jerseys did incorporate a mesh fabric on the back of the jerseys.

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[Note that gaudy UA makers mark — we’ll be seeing that on MLB jerseys soon enough — PH]

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Also, it was interesting to note that when we purchased our road jersey (blank) inside the Dome it cost 8,600 yen, but when we purchased the home jersey (blank) at the UA store outside of the Dome it cost 8,000 yen. Apparently, the outside UA store is able to tender duty free pricing (purchases over 5,000 yen) for individuals that have a valid passport. So, if you plan on visiting the Dome and want to purchase UA gear, we would suggest purchasing the items before entering the stadium.

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Final Thoughts

We were shocked that a famous team like the Tokyo Giants didn’t offer the plethora of gear that teams in Major League Baseball have. It would be a major cash cow and revenue stream if they offered more authentic gear, and fans from around the world would be more than happy to open their wallets purchasing the merchandise. Hopefully, with the help of UA, they will help turn things around. At the very least, it seems they’ve made an effort to produce some gear, but the club still has a long way to go to match the offerings available by their Major League Baseball brethren.

If you have any questions on our experience at Japanese baseball game, send us a tweet @SonsofJohnnieLe

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Thanks, Henry! In addition to this writeup, Henry also sent along a video, which gives a bit of a feel for watching a game inside the Tokyo dome:

I know there are a few readers who are very familiar with Japanese baseball — if you’d like to collaborate on a post (with an emphasis on unis, stadia, fans, etc.) please let me know!

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Vilk Baseball Card front
In Search of…
…the “Perfect” Baseball Card

Earlier this year, I ran a post in which reader Ray Hund described his quest — and “rules” — for a “Perfect” baseball card. I had asked readers to submit their own submissions for what they considered to be their own version of the perfect card. I’ll run these periodically. If you have a submission for your own “Perfect” baseball card, shoot me an email with a short(ish) writeup and of course, an image (or images) of your own perfect card.

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We begin today with Adam Leitel:


This was always one of my favorites growing up. I always loved the Expos unit and there was something about Perez’s jheri curl that was intriguing to a young man in North Dakota. Pascual may not be the prettiest man, but I’ll never forget this card!


Adam Leitel

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And we conclude today with Dave Robb, with an oldie and a goodie:

Hi Phil:

As a card collector I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a lousy Warren Spahn card. His cards are all angles..his nose, crooked grin, off kilter cap, etc. And then you factor in the beautiful Braves gear he’s wearing and you have cardboard art. Probably his best, and certainly my favorite, is the 1953 Spahn. From one of the only ‘pure’ sets ever produced. Nothing adorns the front except the player. And in this case it’s a great photo of Spahn!


I have a few more I’ll send your way as time permits.

-Bob Andrews

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I may have one more of these to run — so if you guys would like to continue with the this little segment, please send me your “perfect” card, my e-mail address is above.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: It would appear as though Bryce Harper has another new set of cleats (from Megan Brown). … You know that yellow Gold cap featured on UW yesterday, which the Pirates will supposedly wear on August 20 (while playing at the Little League World Series)? It seems as though every team is getting one (although I’m not sure if they’ll merely be for sale, or actually worn on the field by the respective teams). H/T to a reader who prefers to remain anonymous. — It appears as though this may be an older iteration, as noted here by J.A. Worobec). … Here’s (another) beautiful colorization from Chris Whitehouse, this one of Joe Tinker, in 1913. … If you think the *alternate* jerseys some MLB teams wear (or in the case of Mom/Pop/Mem Day/Indy Day, are forced to wear) are bad, check out the “fire red” jerseys being worn by the Seibu Lions (from Graveyard Baseball). … The Rochester Red Wings had “football” night last evening, featuring Thurman Thomas autographs + specialty jerseys (from Rochester Red Wings). Good article here on how “The DeChief movement has been going on for a few years now and I know that MLB has demoted Wahoo in favor of the block C. So it didn’t jump out at me to see that Topps was using the block C as the logo on its 2017 flagship set.” … The “Modest Proposals” (for unis) are back — here’s the NL East (h/t Kate Bowen). … “This fan miffed his shot to catch a foul ball at the Giants game [Friday] night and as they were going to commercial the broadcast crew noticed he was wearing a Kuiper jersey so Duane Kuiper himself popped out of the booth and gave the poor schmuck a signed ball to ease his pain,” says Ed Casey. “Also in gif form. At least SOMETHING good happened to someone wearing a Giants uniform.” … “[To]night the Jacksonville (FL) Jumbo Shrimp will honor the Negro Leagues by wearing Jax Red Cap unis,” says John Mac. “The Red Caps played just one season in Jacksonville, 1938. One note on the pic: the left sleeve appears to have a different logo patch than the “J” worn per Ebbets Field jersey replica. Ironically, the giveaway, which is a replica shirt, has the “J” on its left sleeve. Of course the giveaway has the sponsor printed on the sleeve.” … IS NOTHING SACRED??? The Washington Nationals have changed the name of Garage B to GEICO Garage. Submitter Dave Raglin coyly says, “I still call it Garage B.” .. The NOLA Baby Cakes threw back to the Pelicans last night, and looked good (from Wayne Muller). Here’s another look. … The Cincinnati Reds have a tarp with Bounty advertising on it (from Jimmer Vilk, Christy and a couple others). … The Daytona Tortugas did a Sager strong jersey last night (from the Fresh Prince of Daytona). … Here’s a great photo of the 1967 Angels wearing Halo’ed helmets (from Josh King). … I’d not only wear this, I’d buy it (apparently this item was found in Niagara Falls, no less — submitted by Rob S.). … The Salt Lake Bees wore Star Wars Night jerseys yesterday (from Salt Lake Bees). Took me a minute to figure out they were probably channeling Obi Wan with those tops.

NFL/College/High School/CFL Football News: Is there a new white uniform in the works for Mizzou? Here’s a slightly better look (from Matt Gurnow and Jim Grundy). … Apparently a sports bar in Wisconsin steals derives its inspiration from Sparty (from TheBrokenTendy). … Speaking of unauthorized logos, Viking Pizza is most likely not paying for this one (from Dan). … Here’s a good look at the new Nike’s template for Clemson, particularly on Ray-Ray McCloud (34) — from Ben Whitehead. … When it comes to the periodic issue of players committing uniform violations, the NFL previously has punished only the players. Starting this year, that could change. Teams can now be disciplined for uniform violations (thanks Brinke). … Tweeter Ben Taylor says, “Good read on #Illini equipment guy who’s worked for 8 football coaches. 1 key skill: sewing.” … Clearly it was more of a Love than a Love/Hate relationship: Adrian Peterson (now a member of the New Orleans Saints) leads all NFL jersey sales — in Minnesota(!) … An anonymous donor has bought data-tracking helmets for every Omaha Public School high school football player (from Greg Mays). … Whoa — this is apparently an original prototype helmet for the Dallas Cowboys (from Jim Bob).

NBA/G-League/Summer League/College Basketball News: Via the NBA Store, here’s our first look at the new jersey number fonts for the Cavs, Wolves, Sixers and Blazers (h/t to Conrad Burry). Also from Conrad, “Here’s an interesting find…a black tee for the Warriors with a new number font. Looks like it will be the basis for one of their alt unis.” … This was sent in with no context, but here’s a photo of Bill Russell and Michael Jackson (from Phil Lawson). Looks like some kind of athletes vs. celebs thingy. Is that Rosey Grier in the background?

Soccer News: Stoke City FC have revealed their third kit for the 2017-18 season, and it’s nice. You can read more about that here (from Ron Duany Derksen). … Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Bayern Munich reveal fan-designed third kits (via Paul). … The Mirror has ranked the 25 worst ever Premier League kits — including Man United’s infamous grey shirt and other such monstrosities (from Josh Hinton).

Grab Bag: The Men’s Italian volleyball team will wear the Taiwan emblem on their jerseys. Why you may ask? Here ya go. … Did you ever wonder why Starbucks baristas wear green aprons? Wonder no more. … Tiger Woods has an Oakland Raiders cloth on his pool table (from Jennifer Schrum).

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And that’s it for today. Thanks to Henry for the interesting look at Japanese baseball and his quest to find an authentic Giants uni. I’ll be back with one last weekend piece until after Labor Day tomorrow (I’ll be taking over weekdays beginning August 1st while takes his much deserved sabbatical sanity break) and you won’t want to miss that one. Free stuff will be given away. So everyone have a great Saturday and until the morrow…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


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“I’m still calling it the British Open”

— Adam N.

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