What was that on the Royals’ sleeves at a recent fanfest event? It’s their championship patch, which they’ll be wearing this season.
This type of patch is pretty standard now for reigning World Series champs. What do you think of it? Is it a reasonable expression of pride, an unseemly expression of hubris, or just a way to get fans to buy another jersey? If your favorite team won the Series, would you want them to wear such a patch? If your team did recently win the Series, how did you feel about them wearing (or, if we go a few years further back, not wearing) such a patch?
It’s worth noting that other sports take a more subdued approach:
• In the NFL, the Patriots have followed up their last three Super Bowl wins by wearing a championship patch for their opening game of the following season, and the Saints did likewise for Week 1 in the season following their Super Bowl win. All of these patches were worn for only one game. No other Super Bowl champions have worn such a patch.
• In the NHL, two teams — the Bruins and Kings — have worn Opening Night patches commemorating their championships. Again, these patches were worn for only one game.
I’m not necessarily opposed to an MLB team wearing a championship patch all season long, but I do think the differences between the leagues are interesting.
• • • • •
Friday Flashback: With the Super Bowl now upon us, my weekly Friday Flashback column on ESPN today takes a look at the history of patches worn in the big game (including the bicentennial patch worn by the Cowboys and Steelers in Super Bowl X, shown above). Check it out here.
College and High School Football News: Kentucky will be unveiling new football and basketball uniforms today at 10:30am Eastern, to go along with the new logo. You can watch a live stream here. … “On the TV show Lip Sync Battle, actress Nina Dobrev competed against Tim Tebow and came out in a Florida-style No. 15 jersey with her name on the back and a blank orange helmet,” says Chris Flinn.
Hockey News: NHL players being interviewed between periods for Hockey Night in Canada wear a HNiC towel, which has has become a highly coveted item. Key quote: “One year, Shannon recalls, the broadcast received pushback from the NHL, which wanted a Gatorade logo on the towel. The answer was a flat no.” Not only that, but the towels aren’t available for sale and aren’t used as giveaways. They bring two per game — one for each intermission — and that’s it. Good for them (from Rob Yasinsac). … American Cancer Society jerseys for the Ogden Mustangs (from Brice Wallace). … The Cancuks will wear their “flying skate” throwbacks next Saturday (thanks, Phil). … The Islanders had a container of Isles-branded baby powder on the bench for last night’s game in Washington (good spot by John Muir). … American Heart Association jerseys tonight for the Wichita Thunder.
[Editor’s Note: Today we’re fortunate enough to have a guest entry by the DIY genius known as Wafflebored. Enjoy. — PL]
I’ve always liked jerseys that incorporate padding or other functional details. Stuff like the built-in padding in soccer goalkeeper jerseys and the double-reinforced elbows on hockey jerseys appeals to me.
I decided to make a jersey based on the classic waffleboard goalie blocker. I made this jersey a while ago — before I adopted the Wafflebored moniker, in fact. But it goes to show how much the look of those old leather blockers appealed to me — a great design detail from hockey’s past.
The jersey’s main body is made from brown melton wool fabric with a white polyester felt backing. On the old blockers, the leather face had the holes punched out with a translucent white plastic backing. The two materials are only joined at the edges of the blocker, so I replicated this on the jersey by omitting any stitching around the holes.
Some of my favorite old blockers were the ones used in Detroit in the 1950s and ’60s, made by a local company that went by various trade names, including Lippman’s, Tool Shop, and Olympia. I really like how the manufacturer’s tag was sewn onto the face of the blocker, so I made a similar tag with the name Coopman’s — a blend of Lippman’s and Cooper (the most recognizable name in waffle board blockers):
I maintained the Detroit theme for the rest of the jersey, including using red cotton twill for the back and sleeves:
I like the idea of modular jerseys, especially since many of the old hockey sweaters didn’t hold up too well over time. In this case, I designed a heavy lace-in canvas fore-sleeve that could easily be replaced as it wore out. I used jute twine to tie it all together, plus I used it for the lace-up collar [with grommets! — PL].
If you look at old photos from the 1930s and ’40s, you’ll see that a lot of goalies wore padding on the outside of their jerseys to protect their inner-elbow area. This exterior padding makes sense, because the sweaters of the time weren’t roomy enough to accommodate much padding underneath (and I can attest that this is a very painful part of the body to take a hard shot to, even with today’s modern padding). So, I designed a mini blocker exterior pad as an extra detail for the left sleeve:
I used a cotton batting material for the cresting, as it adds to the vintage look. The team name is the Cephalopods, with a “C” logo on the right sleeve, as a nod to Detroit’s octopus tradition. I picked the number 41 for the jersey simply because I always liked the look of this number when Eddie Mio wore it for the Wings. As an added bonus, 4 and 1 are two of the easier numbers to sew, due to their simplicity. I decided to make the numbers quite small, like on a vintage baseball jersey:
Due to the multiple layers of thick material used, sewing the front and back of the jerseys together would have been difficult, so instead I used twine loops and vintage-looking buttons to hold it all together:
Overall this was a fun project, although I wonder what the rest of the team would have worn?
• • • • •
Sure enough: On Tuesday I noted that the Mets were selling an ’86 throwback pullover jersey and mentioned that many fans were assuming that this meant they’d be wearing the throwback at some point this season to mark the ’86 team’s 30th anniversary.
Phil and I have known about this since last summer but weren’t allowed to talk about it until the Mets broke the news (I was being coy when I mentioned the jersey on Tuesday). That announcement was supposed to happen on Feb. 22, but they apparently decided to accelerate the timetable once fans spotted the retail jersey.
But here’s an exclusive detail not mentioned in the news story linked above: The mock-up of the throwback in the MLB Style Guide shows it being worn with high-cuffed pants and stirrups. (The stirrups are actually backwards, but I’m sure the intern in charge of the mock-up just doesn’t know proper stirrup protocol.) No other uniform in the style guide — throwback or otherwise — has been depicted this way in many years, so the Mets apparently plan to go all the way with the ’86 look.
Now, whether they can get all the players to go along with it — that’s another matter. I’m betting we see lots of pajama pants out there. But it’s nice to know the team is at least trying to do this the right way.
Meanwhile, as long as we’re talking about the Mets, newly re-signed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has had an accent added to his NOB:
As many observers quickly noted, that’s not one of the new Flex Base jerseys — woven MLB patch, no butt flap.
• • • • •
Click to enlarge
PermaRec update: The latest letters from the files of the Hoge Brush Company are from a manufacturer of curling brooms! Get the full story over on Permanent Record.
• • • • •
Gromm•It update: At first I didn’t think it would be possible to install grommets into M&M’s at all — too small, too hard, I figured. Then I tried heating the butt end of a drill bit over a flame and pressing the heated bit into the candies to create a cavity. That worked — twice. I went through two full bags of M&M’s and came away with only two successful installations (which, as you can see above, happened to be in Mets colors — nice). Most of the time the candy shell shattered, or the chocolate melted too much, or I pressed too hard and the heated bit went all the way through the far side of the candy. Tricky business. Eating the rejects was a pleasant task, though.
You can see this and all my other explorations of grommeted foods over at Gromm•It.
Meanwhile, if you think Gromm•It is weird, trust me, I’ve got nothing on the guy who recently started posting videos under the name the Food Surgeon. Wanna see him perform a “Reese’s Peanut-Butter-Ectomy with Oreo Cream Transplant”? Dig (further info here):
Hockey News: A Canadian TV channel used the Florida Panthers’ logo in a Super Bowl graphic. Wrong Panthers, guys (from several readers). … The AHL’s Binghamton Senators will wear purple jerseys on Saturday for mental health awareness. … The Reading Royals wore Penn State THON jerseys. … Club hockey players at Oregon like their new uniforms. They definitely have a California Golden Seals vibe (from Kenny Ocker). … The Wu-Tang Clan is selling a hockey sweater in its online shop (from Anthony Miranda). … University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point wore pink for a breast cancer awareness night against Lake Forest College on Saturday. The referees wore pink as well (from Michael Bialas). … A man in a Flyers winter cap robbed a bank in Hamilton, Ontario. … A pair of fans sat right next to the Sabres bench while dressed up in full Sabres uniforms — including pads, helmets, and Gatorade towels — and then proceeded to drink beers (from Aaron Husul):
NBA News: Even though it was a road game, the Heat debuted their new white 1990s throwbacks in Dallas last night, while the Mavs wore their standard road blues at home. Miami will wear the throwback set throughout February. … The Warriors and Wizards went blue-vs.-red last night as Washington wore its Chinese New Year jerseys. … JP Josetti was at last night’s Hornets game and noticed the font on the baseline is different for the letters O and E in “Charlotte” and “Hornets”. “What is interesting is the O in ‘Charlotte’ has similar font as the E in ‘Hornets,'” he said. “Also, the H and T’s are the same font in both words.” … Speaking of courts, Sports Illustrated ranked the 30 NBA court designs. The Nets were first, the Bucks’ two-court combo was second, the Celtics were third, and the Clippers were 30th. Consider this a mini-QOTW: What’s your favorite NBA court design, and least favorite court design? Historical examples are good too, and if you need a refresher on what every court has ever looked like, you can consult this extensive archive.
Grab Bag: IndyCar’s Scott Dixon has brought back the lightning bolt livery (from Tim Dunn). … A book on renowned graphic designer Aaron James Draplin, who designed lots of well-known logos, is coming out in the spring (from Coleman Mullins). … NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John Hunter Nemechek has a helmet with WWE legend Ric Flair painted on it (from David Firestone). … Also from David: “This might be the first picture of Robert Hight’s all Camaro funny car body. The one raced in 2015 was a Ford Mustang body with a Chevy Camaro nose. It takes a full year for a manufacturer to design and build a funny car body. Since John Force lost Ford as a manufacturer in the middle of 2014, and the deal with Chevy was not announced until late in the 2014 season, there was no time for Chevy to make their own body. As such, John Force went to Ford, and asked if they could amalgamate the body, and Ford agreed.” … IndyCar racer Tony Kanaan teamed with a Japanese tech company to design a shirt that monitors heart rate and muscle performance during athletic activity (from Brinke). … New logo for the City of San Diego. … I believe we’ve seen this before, but a wool products company makes some pretty neat logo history banners for teams in the four major sports and the NCAA. I have a Brewers one and a Heat one (from Dean D.). … A shin-high Nike shoe from Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons has not been well-received. … New uniforms for USA Rugby.
The Maple Leafs unveiled their 2016-17 logo last night (you can click on the image at right to see a larger version). The bad news is that the unveiling itself was a botch — they waited until the completion of their game against the Bruins, which went into overtime, and then there was a televised unveiling with lots of preliminaries, and the net result was the design wasn’t officially revealed until about 10:20pm Eastern — way too late for this type of thing.
The good news is that the design is a beauty. It’s basically an updated version of what the team wore from the from the late 1930s through the early ’60s. As soon as it was unveiled, I dashed off this quick ESPN piece (short version: The design is overfreighted with some very dubious “storylines” but I really like it anyway), but the best coverage came from SportsLogos.net prexy Chris Creamer, a lifelong Leafs fan who lives outside of Toronto and was given early access to the design. He had a very thorough assessment ready to go as soon as the design dropped, and I definitely recommend reading it. If you go to the 18:10 mark of this video, you can even see Chris dropping hints about the logo on a local TV news show yesterday morning, before the design was unveiled.
All in all: a good night for Toronto hockey aesthetics. Now we just need to see the Leafs’ new uniforms, but we’ll have to wait a bit — they’re not slated to be revealed until the NHL Draft in late June.
• • • • •
More MLB news: I had a few lingering questions about the new Flex Base uniforms, so I tossed a few questions at Majestic yesterday. Here’s the latest:
• Majestic has been saying that the Flex Base jerseys use a new lightweight twill (the fabric used for letters, numbers, and chest scripts) that’s significantly lighter than the old twill. But the Cardinals and Phillies don’t use twill for their chest scripts — they use beautiful chain-stitching. Are they switching to the new twill? I asked Majestic and was told that the Cards and Phils will be sticking with the chain-stitching. Phew.
• Ever since we’ve learned that the MLB logo will be appearing on the rear belt tunnel, I’ve been wondering what this would mean for the Tigers, since they use thin belt loops instead of thick belt tunnels (a style they’ve had dating back to the flannel era). So I asked Majestic if the Tigers would be switching to standard belt tunnels, or maybe to a custom treatment (they could have a wide tunnel in the back and maintain the loops for the rest of the waistband, for example). The answer: The Tigers’ pants will now have standard belt tunnels. Too bad — a sad example of completely unnecessary logo creep chipping away at a team’s visual identity.
• I figured the new non-embroidered MLB logo patches were Chromaflex (the same technology used for the Supe50 logo patches), but I wanted to double-check on that. Is it Chromaflex or some other technology? Answer: Yes, it’s Chromaflex.
Meanwhile, people continue to freak out about the diaper panel (or fart flap, or butt bib, or whatever we’re gonna call it) on the back of the pinstriped Flex Base authentics. To repeat: This panel will have zero effect on the game’s on-field look, because the players will tuck it in. It will only have an effect on people who can’t live without buying overpriced polyester shirts. Honestly, is it that hard to just keep wearing last year’s jersey? Jeez.
• • • • •
The Ticker By Paul
Baseball News: Lots of new updates to the great Threads of Our Game site, which is basically Dressed to the Nines for the pre-1900 era. Check them out here. … Here’s a new one, at least for me: The Binghamton Mets will be wearing cardiac-awareness jerseys on May 28. … Here’s a rare shot of Pete Rose wearing No. 27 during spring training of 1963 (from Joseph Gerard). … New road cap apparently in the works for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. … New retro-style jersey for Arizona State. … Michael Clary checked in with a bunch of cool stuff. First, check out these shots of Rusty Staub and Joe Morgan wearing prototype Astros caps (and the previous year’s road jerseys) in spring training of 1965. That cap design was covered in a Todd Radom blog post about Houston’s 1965 headgear, but I don’t thin I’ve ever seen it in color before. Second, here’s another shot of Morgan, this one from spring training of 1968, showing him wearing navy stirrups over navy sannies. And last but not least, dig this spring shot of Eddie Matthews and other Milwaukee Braves wearing special sliding pants — and sliding in their stirrup-clad stocking feet! Great stuff, Michael — thank you!
College and High School Football News: This is pretty awesome: The precise drop-by-drop color formulas to create team-colored cake frosting for a bunch of southern schools (big thanks to Teebz). … Oooh, check out this great shot from a 1940 Maryland/Penn game. “Penn wore white at home,” notes Matt Shevin. “Love the stripes framing Maryland’s numbers, and Penn’s matching sleeves/socks.” What he said. … If you like that Maryland jersey, you’ll want to see the team portrait from that season (thanks, Phil). … Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh apparently has a new sweatshirt. “Never seen that logo before,” says Robert Hayes. Me neither, but Matt Smale says it’s the “Signing of the Stars” logo. … Two-tone pants, candy-striped shoulder inserts, and a rocket ship logo on the helmet? Why, yes, don’t mind if I do. … UNC has its own logo for National Signing Day, which is today (from James Gilbert).
NBA News: And so it has come to this: A copyright-infringement lawsuit has been filed over the tattoos appearing in an NBA video game. … “Derrick Rose’s nephew, Dwayne Rose Jr., plays high school,” says our own Mike Chamernik. “On Tuesday night, an opposing team’s student section tried to psych him out by having everyone wear Bulls apparel or D-Rose jerseys. No photos, unfortunately.”
College and High School Hoops News: We’ve known since last fall that several Adidas-outfitted schools would be wearing throwbacks at some point this season. Turns out that they’re for Black History Month. Here are the ones for Nebraska and Louisville. … “Here’s a very cool blog about all things Indiana basketball,” says Derek Linn. “It has some great pictures of old Indiana gyms and the history behind them. Lots of photos of great basketball uniforms new and old, too.” … I put this in the college football section, but we may as well run it in college hoops as well: Here are the precise drop-by-drop color formulas to create team-colored cake frosting for a bunch of southern schools (big thanks to Teebz). … Syracuse debuted new sweatbacks last night, with an apostrophe catastrophe to boot. … Tennessee and Kentucky had a battle of the checkerboard shorts last night. … Not sure if this is new, but Alabama’s graduating seniors are wearing a mortarboard patch.
Happy Groundhog Day! The MLB news just keeps-a-comin’. Okay, one thing at a time:
1. I mentioned last week that Majestic appeared to be adding a mesh panel on the rear shirttail of the new Flex Base jerseys. I hadn’t thought about how this might look on a pinstriped jersey, but now we know: (Continue reading)