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Tennessee’s athletics department unveiled new uniforms yesterday. Although the new designs are department-wide (see above), the only ones most of you care about are for the football and basketball teams, so we’ll take a look at those today, beginning with the basic home and road football unis:
Nothing wrong with that (although the checkerboard looks better on the pants than on the helmet, and checkerboard patterns always makes me think of pet food anyway). The tops and bottoms can be mixed and matched to create mono-orange and mono-white — we’ll probably see lots of those, although I prefer the non-mono configurations.
There’s also a GFGS alternate, which looks pretty awful, although the mountain ridges on the helmets, meant to evoke the Great Smoky Mountains, are a nice touch (but it remains to be seen how discernible the different shades of grey will be when watching a game on TV):
The primary basketball uniforms are a similar mix of white, orange, and checkerboard trim. They generally look fine from the front but are saddled with some unfortunate sweatback designs on the rear (for these three-across groupings, you can click to enlarge):
Once again, the GFGS alternate is the dog of the group — yeesh:
There’s more, of course, much of couched in that annoying Nike-speak that we’ve learned to expect by now. Further info here, and there’s a very good photo gallery, showing many of the school’s other teams, here.
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Taking pandering to new heights — or depths: The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have decided that July 4 and 5 will be Military Appreciation Weekend (even though Independence Day has nothing to do with the military and is actually when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence’s ratification). The good news is that they’re not wearing camouflage; the bad new is that they’re wearing the most over-the-top pandering design I’ve ever seen. It’s basically a self-caricature of everything wrong with this type of promotion, like something they’d show on The Simpsons (click to enlarge):
Wow. Gotta give them credit for coming up with so many different NOBs and managing not to reference the Declaration of Independence even once. Good work! I was wondering who got to wear the “United States” NOB, so I checked the team’s roster and found that No. 14 is worn by Natanael Mejia, who’s from the Dominican Republic. Nice.
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LAST CALL — design contest reminder: Today is the last day for submissions in my “Redesign the Clippers” contest. Details here.
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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik
I work in the sports department of a newspaper, and this scene unfolds seemingly every night: A Cubs game is silently on in the background and all of us are at our computers working away. Some commotion flashes on the TV and someone says “Rizzo homered again???” Nope. It was a replay of a home run from earlier in the game. But because the TVs are on mute and no one is really paying attention, it looks like the first basemen went deep a second time.
My proposal is that TV replays should be shown with soft-focus clouds in the corners of the screen, like flashbacks in soap operas. It would save a lot of undue excitement and stress for those who keep games on in the background or on mute at home, work, the gym, a restaurant, a bar, or wherever.
All of which leads to my question this week: What innovations do you wish existed for television broadcasts of sporting events? Also, what are some of your favorite telecast displays and devices? I always liked the first down line for football games, and miking up refs and players is a good time. What are your least favorite innovations? I know that ESPN’s K-Zone has annoyed a lot of people.
Post your responses in today’s comments.
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By Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: The Blue Jays wore their Canada Day alternates yesterday. The big surprise was that the Red Sox got into the act by wearing Canadian flag sleeve patches — apparently the first time a Jays opponent has honored the holiday. … Also for Canada Day, here’s what the Thunder Bay Border Cats of the Northwoods League wore. Players who weren’t in the game sported comical hats on the bench (from Will Scheibler)…. Sun Sports broadcast a portion of last night’s Indians/Rays game with the images mirrored (thanks, Matt Larsen). … Rapper/producer Lil Jon threw out the first pitch at the Padres game yesterday and wore the team’s jersey. Because we’re talking about Lil Jon, here’s a bunch of photos of him in hockey jerseys and with the Stanley Cup. … Also with the Padres, the team wore throwbacks yesterday and two coaches wore hats with different shades of brown (from Kyle Rancourt). … And related to that, White Sox C Tyler Flowers’ jersey didn’t match the same shade of gray as his pants the other night (from Chalk LaRak). … The Chattanooga Lookouts have a stars-and-stripes version of their logo painted on the field (from @bearlydoug). … Fox Sports Ohio showed Marlins headshots during a Brewers/Reds probable pitchers graphic on Tuesday night (from Mike Griak). … Jerry Grefenstette was watching a Willie Mays documentary and noticed that the 1966 Giants had some numeral inconsistencies on their road jerseys. … Astros OF George Springer has a stuffed Astros cow named Earl that he brings to the clubhouse. … Adrian Beltre’s 2011 AL championship ring was stolen in a burglary. … For a game each April, the Albuquerque Isotopes and their opponents not only wear Negro League throwbacks, but players on the same team will wear throwbacks for different Negro League teams. It sounds like a really cool concept, though I haven’t been able to find pics of multiple unis in one shot. Here’s a look at how the throwbacks look on their own (thanks, Frank Mercogliano). … Joe Kuras found a 1970 photo of two Pawtucket Red Sox players, Juan Beniquez and John Clifton, wearing different uniforms. Beniquez was in a set that the Red Sox wore through 1967 and Clifton was in the uni the Sox wore starting in 1968. “It has been written that at that time the Paw Sox wore hand-me-down uniforms from the parent Boston team and it did not appear that the owners had much if any money to spend on uniforms,” Joe says. … New maroon-and-gold cleats for Arizona State.
NFL News: Here’s a Steelers logo I’ve never seen before. It is on an official NFL hat that belongs to Mark Hirschfeld. … Douglas Ford found perhaps the most useless game-used item for sale on the internet: a Dolphins’ lineman’s clear visor. … These Titans 1999 prototype jerseys don’t include the shoulder yoke the team later adopted.
College Football News: The Rolling Stones didn’t get N.C. State’s permission before producing T-shirts with a modified version of the school’s logo for the group’s Raleigh concert (from Phil). … The Bearcats have nameplates in their locker room that feature the Cincinnati Stripe (from Sean Hare). … More than just logos and unis go into college football branding (from Phil). … Daniel Barrera spotted some pants logo inconsistencies in this Texas A&M shot. The two logos on the left players are not centered on the stripe, but the one on the right is.
Hockey News: A youth hockey team decked out in 1911-12 Canadiens throwbacks posed with Montreal C Tomas Plekanec (from Mike Engle). … New Oilers-esque uniforms for the Bakersfield Condors (from Phil).
Soccer News: New Le Coq Sportif kits for Fiorentina (from Phil). … New home jersey for Athletic Club de Bilbao (from Anne Celestino). … New jerseys for the Polish club Lechia Gdańsk SA (from Ed Żelaski). … Rayo Vallecano of La Liga have new rainbow-striped uniforms to help promote tolerance (from Phil). … Looks like USWNT goalie Hope Solo had her sleeves cut off the other day.
Grab Bag: Here’s a look at Tennessee’s switch to Nike (from Phil). … All Indiana student-athletes receive a blue blazer (from Andrew Bradley). … Here’s an interesting look at how the American flag has become a popular “bro-ified” clothing style and accessory for young adults (thanks, reader who didn’t give his/her name). … “German-based shampoo-maker Alpecin, a sponsor of pro cycling team Giant-Alpecin, is dropping its ‘Doping for the hair’ campaign during the Tour de France,” says Sean Clancy. … Delaware became an Adidas school in late March. “Talking to someone at school, this is new in the sense that all sports will be outfitted by one company,” says Erik Autenrieth. “Before, even though the school had a deal with Under Armour, basketball had Nike and baseball had their own deals with Wilson and New Balance.” … Here are the Rugby World Cup jerseys for the United States (home and away) and other countries (from Tim Dunn). … New logo for Arkansas-Little Rock (from Phil). … New logo for ESPN College Football. … Subtle tweak for Facebook’s logo (from Brinke). … Michael Perozich found a great 1975 John Facenda-narrated video on professional lacrosse. In addition to shots of mouth guards, mask-less players and goalies wearing old catchers masks, you can see a player with a CCM hockey helmet that had the old two bar face mask from a football helmet. … Jason Cimon notes that Carroll Academy, a Mississippi private prep school, has appropriated Ole Miss’s brand as its own, including Colonel Reb. “It’s interesting because we’ve discussed the presence of Confederate imagery, but this institution is actually implementing not only the ‘rebel past’ to their namesake but also to the cultural identity,” he says. “The school is funded by a white supremacist organization called the Council of Conservative Citizens. I am wondering why the university hasn’t sent a C&D. Possibly because Colonel Reb is public domain since being retired?”
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As noted in yesterday’s Ticker, Civic Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, former home of the Eugene Emeralds, burned to the ground on Monday. The Emeralds — a short-season Class A team, currently affiliated with the Cubs — had called Civic Stadium home from 1969 through 2009, and they chose an interesting way to salute their old ballpark: They mixed and matched six different throwback jerseys from the Civic Stadium era for last night’s home game against the Tri-City Dust Devils. Four of those jerseys are shown above.
It made for an odd scene, as you can see from this video clip shot during the playing of the national anthem (if the video doesn’t embed properly for you, click here):
We’ve all seen players wearing non-matching attire in various all-star games and promotional exhibitions, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team decked out in non-uniform uniforms for a regular season game. Can anyone come up with other examples?
And there were other oddities. The Emeralds wore their regular white pinstriped pants, for example, which looked okay (if not great) with most of the throwback jerseys but looks pretty weird with this white one:
Even weirder, outfielder Ian Happ ended up wearing a jersey with a poorly executed “Jackson” NOB:
It’s not clear how the Emeralds managed to get so many throwback jerseys together for their players on such short notice. My hunch is that most of these were available for retail sale and that the team just scooped them up from their on-site pro shop. I’ll try to confirm that today.
I imagine some of you think that non-matching outfits make a mockery of the term “uniform,” but I love how the Emeralds handled this. A very nice nod to their history, and visually interesting to boot. Kudos to all involved.
(Big thanks to Angelo Di Liberto, who was at last night’s game and provided several of the photos used in this entry.)
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Attention Boston readers: I’m looking for good butcher shops run by cool people in the Boston region. If you know of any, please get in touch. Thanks.
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Baseball News: The Blue Jays will be wearing their annual Canada Day uniforms for this afternoon’s game against the Red Sox. … Some folks on Twitter, including the people running the Astros’ social media feed, have been tracking high-cuffed players with the hashtag #HighSocksNews. That’s a misnomer, of course, since it’s really the pants that are high, but whatever — good to have this phenomenon being tracked. … This might be the best rip-off of Jerry Dior’s MLB logo ever. … The Brewers and Pirates will both wear Negro League throwbacks on July 18 (thanks, Phil). … Angels P Hector Santiago has a massive jersey collection (from Jon Silber). … “Hump Day” uniforms today, with a camel on the jersey, for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (from David Thomas). … My bad for not noting this earlier, but Mets OF Darrell Ceciliani, who was called up about a month ago, bats bare-handed. … @floatypunk was watching Game Five of the 1976 ALCS and noticed Yankees 3B Graig Nettles wearing an improvised shin guard. … Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh threw out the first pitch at last night’s Tigers game. He wore a Mark Fidrych jersey and tucked it into his signature khakis (from Kyle Kruger and Jordan Mayblum, respectively). … The excellent photographer Brad Mangin has put together an excellent post on the Athletics’ excellent throwback game from last weekend. … Pirates 2B Sean Rodriguez wore a team-logo headband last night. … The Nationals are adding Calvin Coolidge as their latest racing president (from Tommy Turner).
NFL News: Looks like a retailer has leaked the Dolphins’ new throwbacks, which were scheduled to be unveiled later this month. Looks pretty good, right? (From Preston Feiler.) … Here’s a guide to which Eagles jerseys you should buy, but I’ll give you a much simpler guide: Just don’t waste your money on overpriced polyester shirts. … Here’s something I don’t recall seeing before: a Dick Butkus candy bar (from Jon Solomonson). … From a 1972 issue of Pro! magazine, here’s a good shot of kids wearing NFL uniforms. “They even nailed the mismatched purples of the Vikings’ helmet and jersey,” says Ronnie Poore. “Aside from the lame execution of the Eagles helmet wings and every outfit having white pants, it’s pretty cool.” Agreed. … The cover photo of the new issue of SI has Brett Favre in a Reebok-made Packers jersey. … “My wife and I found this great edition of Packers checkers at a thrift store,” says Luke McCarnan. “Got it home and found the Bears helmets as the opponents. Excellent find!”
College Football News: Here’s a look at the artwork that’s being installed at Virginia Tech’s new indoor practice facility (from Andrew Cosentino). … I think we may have already seen this, but here’s what appears to be a sneak peek at Miami’s new uniforms. … New uniforms for Dayton. Kind of amazing to see unveiling photos that don’t show the player howling at the moon like some sort of rabid beast, no? (From Tom Hirt.) … New gloves for Notre Dame.
NBA News: A lot of Warriors championship merch was counterfeit (thanks, Brinke). … Speaking of the Warriors, Stephen Curry now has the best-selling NBA jersey (thanks, Phil). … Stance Socks category director Tzvi Twersky (now there’s a name!) mentions me in this interview with my ESPN.com colleague Scoop Jackson. He was apparently referring to this piece that I wrote two months ago (thanks to Leon Frager for letting me know).
Soccer News: Good article on how MLS teams choose their names. … Here are the 2015 MLS All-Star jerseys (from Conrad Burry). … Beautiful new away kit for AS Roma (from Rick Olivieri). … If you buy a season ticket for Kentucky’s soccer team, you’ll get a scarf that will serve as your ticket (from Michael Owens). … When Stoke City goes on tour in Asia next month, they’ll advertise a charity rather than their usual online bookie sponsor, because gambling is banned in Singapore (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Also from Yusuke: Ajax’s new shirts have the Amsterdam city flag on the left sleeve. … Vice President Joe Biden saluted the USWNT by posing with a jersey featuring his Twitter handle (from Brian McL). … Bit of a typo at last night’s Orlando City game. … New home kit for Norwich City. Gee, ya think that ad panel is big enough? (From Richard Nethercott.)
Grab Bag: Someone out there just bought my favorite-named piece of merch, the Uni Watch Watch. That makes three whole people who’ve ordered it, wheeee! … Kudos to Nike chairman Phil Knight, who’s stepping down before he can do even more damage than he’s already done. … Absurd situation yesterday at Wimbledon, as Eugenie Bouchard was scrutinized by tournament officials for wearing a barely-visible black bra (from Bernie Langer). … Scotland has new uniforms for the Rugby World Cup (thanks, Phil). … And so does for New Zealand (from Shaun Sullivan). … NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, who’s retiring at the end of this season, is bringing back his old rainbow paint scheme for his last race at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 22. “Gordon captured three of his four Winston Cup titles and 52 of his 92 career victories running in that paint scheme,” notes Kary Klismet. … I love cycling and I love toast, so of course I’m intrigued by this story about a pedal-powered toaster. … The next Star Trek movie will have a new Starfleet logo. … Here are some comments from players who played against high school teams that used Confederate imagery. … UFC’s long-promised (or long-threatened) Reebok outfits made their debut yesterday, and were roundly ridiculed.
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Happy Canada Day to all of our Canadian readers. My friend Liz, who lives in Brooklyn but used to live in Toronto and has dual American/Canadian citizenship, will be throwing a party this evening, and I’ll be attending. If I have time, I might even make and bring a batch of butter tarts — huzzah!
Potentially entertaining development yesterday in the world of minor league baseball, as Marlins farmhand Austin Nola (above left) was promoted from the Double-A Jacksonville Suns to the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, whose wardrobe includes a navy jersey with a “NOLA” chest mark (above right).
That got a lot of folks very excited, including the people who issued this tweet:
That tweet got picked up by lots of other outlets, including SportsCenter, and soon everyone was talking about how Nola would be wearing his surname on both sides of his jersey.
Fun, fun, fun! Just one problem: Nobody bothered to see if the Zephyrs’ navy jerseys actually have NOBs. Well, nobody except me. Unfortunately, as you can see in the following photos, they don’t:
Bummer. Interestingly, though, the Zephyrs’ white jerseys do have NOBs, so Nola will get to wear his name on the front and back of his jersey while with the Zephyrs — just not at the same time.
Or at least that’s the case for now. Given the way minor league teams tend to engage in wacky promotional stunts, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Zephyrs added NOBs to the navy jerseys, maybe just as a one-game thing, to capitalize on the Nola/NOLA factor.
So are there any athletes who have worn their surnames on the front and back of their jerseys simultaneously? I’m aware of two examples:
1. Journeyman outfielder Curtis Pride played 14 games for the Nashua Pride in 1999 and 16 more games for them in 2003. I can’t find any photos at the moment, but I specifically remember that he was wearing his surname fore and aft during these stints. (As an aside: Pride, who is deaf, is the only MLB player I’m aware of to have worn a hearing aid on the field.)
2. Basketball great Jerry West represented the Western Conference in several NBA All-Star Games, and on those occasions he got to wear his surname fore and aft. Here he is in the 1972 ASG:
I’m not aware of any additional examples. Anyone else..?
Finally, two obligatory box-checks:
• Whenever this topic comes up, someone always mentions Johnny Podres, who pitched for the Padres in 1969 and coached for them in 1973. Unfortunately, “Podres” and “Padres” are not the same word/name/etc. and, more importantly, the Padres didn’t start wearing NOBs until 1974. So Podres never even wore his name and its homophone on the same jersey.
• This is the part where I have to mention that Carlos May of the White Sox wore his birthday on the back of his jersey. That has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but some chucklehead always feels compelled to mention it during discussions like this one, so I’d rather just get it out of the way here.
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Collector’s Corner: Just Keep Truckin’
By Brinke Guthrie
The Grateful Dead were in the Bay Area this past weekend, playing the West Coast part of their farewell tour down the road in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium, which is located just a few miles from the Dead’s first-ever gig in 1965. This version of the Jerry bobblehead — a Giants giveaway from 2010 — is very well made. The Giants released another Jerry bobble in 2012 for his 70th birthday, and it was a knock-off of the earlier one — same pose and everything. Not as good quality there. The Giants also released this Dancing Bears figurine in 2011, and this Uncle Sam in 2013. I passed on that one.
Okay, getting back to more traditional sports-oriented Collector’s Corner fare, here are the rest of this week’s picks:
• These caught my eye: a vintage pair of 1970s Adidas baseball spikes. I always loved the tongue flap thing that folded over the laces- whatever happened to those?
• Dave Boss this week! Can’t say I’ve seen that Colts design before. Given the time frame for this 1960s poster, this is probably supposed to be Raymond Berry.
• Also from the same period and in the same blue/white scheme, this Los Angeles Rams bobblehead.
• Got some items from the 1969 50th NFL season. First, this Vikings button that says “Think Super Bowl.” That part worked, but maybe the button should’ve read, “Win Super Bowl.”
• Take a look at this Pocket Pro 1969 Saints preseason black helmet. Wouldn’t they look great wearing these now? Staying with the Saints, here’s a poster from the same year — no black helmet, though.
• Here’s a 1969 Chiffon Margarine NY Giants rub-off decal.
• Do those wings on this 1980s Eagles helmet decal look a little different to you? Maybe it’s the shade of silver.
• When I saw the “Bank The Bombers” part of this auction’s headline, I first thought this bank had to do with the Yanks, but it was apparently a minor league promo item. And your money is Saaaaaffffee!
• As we know, the Philadelphia 76ers rolled out their new look this week—and these 1970s game worn short-shorts were definitely not part of the redesign. Think of the social media reaction if they’d re-introduced these.
• Wake up to the ’Boys with this 1971 Cowboys alarm clock!
Follow Brinke on Twitter: @brinkeguthrie
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PermaRec update: A guy in DC recently saw something floating in the water (see above). He fished it out and discovered that it was a photo album documenting the first week of a baby’s life. Now he’s trying to find the family and return the album to them. Get the full scoop over on Permanent Record.
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By Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: Dodgers C Yasmani Grandal, who’s a switch-hitter, wore a lefty batting helmet while batting right-handed during the fifth inning of last night’s game against the Diamondbacks. It didn’t impede his hitting, though — he singled (Chad Moriyama was the first of many readers to send this one in). … Here’s a cool piece on Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron and his use of calligraphy to fill out lineup cards. … Hartfordites (Hartfordians? People from Hartford) don’t much care for their recently relocated minor league team’s new name, the Yard Goats. … A 1916 Ty Cobb pennant is for sale on eBay (from Jonathan Daniel). … Iowa City High and Cedar Falls played a black-vs.-black game the other day (from Jake Binggeli). … @callmew1lly spotted a 2007 Padres World Series ticket at a coffee shop in Newark, of all places. He thinks it may be bootleg, but it could be real: The Padres nearly clinched a Wild Card spot that year and lost in a one-game playoff to the Rockies. … On Sunday the Orioles gave out Buck Showalter gnomes to fans, and the manager had a few thoughts about it. … Civic Stadium, former home of the Eugene Emeralds and one of the last 12 wooden ballparks in America, burned to the ground yesterday. The Emeralds responded by saying they’d wear throwbacks for today’s game.
Pro, College, and High School Football News: Hyundai will pay the NFL $50 million annually for its sponsorship deal with the league (from Brinke). … Kansas football coach David Beaty worked with some kids in the Kansas Mentors program recently. He tweeted some photos of the event, and that may have revealed some new helmets for Kansas. … A high school uses a modified version of the rap group Wu Tang Clan’s logo on its helmets (from David Petroff).
Hockey News: We already got a peek at the Sharks’ 25th-anniversary patch during last weekend’s draft, but yesterday they officially released the patch design and other anniversary logos (from Phil). … The Blackhawks played a bit of an exhibition game against Muppets on Ice skaters in the 1970s. … The Mississippi RiverKings of the SPHL will unveil a new logo and uniforms on July 7. Here’s what the team’s current logo looks like. … “With the drafting of Connor McDavid, for the first time in my life I was compelled to take a closer look at the Edmonton Oilers’ logo,” says Matt Knapp. “The trails beneath the letters in ‘Oilers’ look like (and I assume are meant to represent) dripping oil. If so, shouldn’t they all drip to the middle rather than to the player’s right side? Wouldn’t it look better if the drips from the ‘I’, the ‘L’, and the left side of the ‘E’ were reoriented toward the middle?”
Soccer News: All of these soccer items come from Yusuke Toyoda: USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo has at least two pairs of gloves. She wore a pair that had “Solo” on them against Australia, Sweden and China, and a pair that said “Stevens,” her married name, against Nigeria and Colombia. … New unis for Coventry City, along with a photo gallery of the club’s past jerseys. … The Portland Timbers really orchestrated a fan display against the rival Seattle Sounders.
NBA News: NBA commissioner Adam Silver has once again hinted at the inevitability of ads on NBA uniforms. In this piece he is quoted as saying (emphasis mine): “We, of course, allow beer advertising in our league right now. It’s on the courtside signage. We haven’t gotten to the point yet where we’ve looked at what the guidelines will be for when we do have logos on jerseys. So the answer is I don’t know. That’s something that requires further discussions with the teams and with our sponsors” (thanks, Andrew Edwards). … Nets rookies received their uniform numbers (from Brian Erni). … Dirk Nowitzki took a goofy picture while wearing a literal baseball helmet. … After the draft last Thursday, a tall Brooklyn-based writer wore a suit and a Jazz hat and wandered around Manhattan prentending to be an NBA Draft pick. More insight on his shenanigans here. [In case anyone is wondering: I am not tall. — PL]
College Hoops News: Former Indiana player Jordan Hulls got married this past weekend, so he and his groomsmen all wore the Hoosiers’ trademark red-and-white striped pants during the reception. … Boeheim’s Army, a team in the TBT, an upcoming national 5-on-5 hoops tournament with a $1 million prize, unsurprisingly has Syracuse-inspired unis (from Sam Haymon).
Grab Bag: As a follow-up to yesterday’s entry about schools that use Confederate imagery, a Little Rock graphic designer has offered to redesign schools’ Confederate flag logos and mascots for free (from Stephen Boyd). … Tennessee athletics’ new uniforms will be revealed tomorrow afternoon. … One writer’s opinion: Adidas has become a joke. … New Tour de France kit for the American team Cannondale-Garmin (from Sean Clancy). … Bernie Langer also sent in the Cannondale-Garmin item, and had this to add: “I’m still waiting to see their treatment of the US national time trial championship jersey, to be worn by Andrew Talansky,” he says. “Stars, stripes, and argyle? It’s happened before.” … Baltimore’s new police SUV sure isn’t subtle (from Andrew Cosentino). … New logo for Fort Bragg (from James Gilbert). … New uniforms and an awkwardly posed photo for the Japanese track team (from Jeremy Brahm). … Ghostbusters director Paul Feig is very excited about the movie’s new uniforms (from Emily Gordon).
As I’m sure you’re all aware, the nation is currently in the midst of a robust discussion about the Confederate battle flag. That discussion has spilled over into the sports world, as NASCAR chairman Brian France has said that he wants the flag eliminated at races. I wrote about the intersection of the flag and uniforms myself in 2011, when I wrote an ESPN piece about a Yankees minor league affiliate that wore the flag as a sleeve patch.
I realize that many high schools and colleges in the South have worn the Confederate flag in various capacities over the years. Maybe some of them still do — I’m not sure. But over the past few days I’ve learned of a new wrinkle: A surprising number of northern high schools — schools located in states that fought for the Union during the Civil War — have worn the flag. Here are three examples:
1. Great Neck South High School on Long Island, whose teams are called the Rebels, used the Confederate flag as its logo until 1981. (That’s one of their players shown at the top of this entry.) According to that article, the mother of a black student even sewed Confederate flag patches onto the football team’s uniforms.
2. From a reader who prefers to remain anonymous: “Walpole High in Massachusetts had the flag until the mid-1990s. A guy who graduated from the school in the 1960s and now lives next to the football field still flies it, even though town asked him to take it down.”
3. Twitter user @holycalamity pointed me to this story about Willoughby South High School in Ohio, whose teams are called the Rebels. Key passage: “In the mid-’90s, the school board voted to ban the flag, removing the symbol some find offensive from school grounds and from all athletic apparel. However, fast forward more than 20 years, and you will still find some students with the controversial flag embroidered on their letterman jackets, despite the fact they’re not able to wear them while at school.”
Now, I’m aware that the Confederate battle flag is flown by people all over the country, not just in the South. I’ve traveled in 49 states and have probably seen the flag in about 35 of them, almost always in rural areas, where it serves as an all-purpose “Don’t fuck with me, I’m living life by my own rules” symbol. (I’m also aware that “Rebels” is an appealing team name for some folks, although, as we’ve discussed before, that appeal is mostly predicated on bullshit.)
Still, there’s a big difference between a person choosing to display a symbol and a school (which, as a civic institution and an agent of the state, is supposed to represent everyone) adopting that symbol as a logo, especially in a state whose citizens died while fighting against that symbol. Whether you think the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of Southern heritage or a symbol of racial oppression, it’s pretty remarkable that it was adopted as a symbol for northern high schools. While all three of the above-listed schools have stopped using it, it’s amazing to me that they ever used it at all. How about you?
Update: Some commenters are using this topic as an excuse to debate whether the Confederate battle flag is “offensive,” whether it should be removed from the South Carolina statehouse grounds, and other tangential issues that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. I ask that you all respect these ground rules: We are not going to relitigate whether the flag is a symbol of Southern heritage or of racial oppression, nor are we going to debate the appropriateness of its place in South Carolina (or on license plates, etc.). The topic up for discussion is the surprising sight of a Southern symbol being used by schools and teams in the north. Please stick to that. Thanks.
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Baseball News: “I had lunch in Columbia, Maryland on Sunday,” says Andrew Hoenig. “In the hall outside the restrooms, they had this hooked rug. That’s Ty Cobb, and the uni is correct, but I have no idea who the other guy is, or what team he plays for.” … Brewers OF Carlos Gomez has such a violent swing that his helmet pops off,” says Mike. “It happened yesterday against the Twins, so C Martin Maldonado hooked Gomez up with a makeshift ‘chinstrap’ for his helmet.” … Also from Mike: “Robinson Cano was hit in the face by an errant warm-up throw while sitting in the dugout the other day. While in the dugout on Sunday, he put on a catcher’s mask to prevent further injury.” … I’ve mentioned many times that Tigers P David Price usually doesn’t have a squatchee, going back to his days with the Rays. Apparently this was discussed on the air during yesterday Tigers game, with the announcers saying Price doesn’t like the feel of the squatchee, which he refers to as “the ouch button.” How great is that?! (From @drmain5.) … Lots of striped socks in Pittsburgh yesterday, although Andrew McCutchen went with two-in-ones). … Mariners P Felix Hernandez, usually a dedicated pajamist, went high-cuffed yesterday. That’s nice to see, but what’s with the solid navy socks? Didn’t the M’s officially switch to striped hose this year? Reliever Mike Lowe also sported the navy socks. Further depressing confirmation that hosiery in today’s MLB is just another player-customizable accessory, not a uniform element. Sigh. … Speaking of socks, check out what the Salt Lake Bees wore yesterday. Yowza! (From Jason Stapley.) … Last September Todd Radom created some updated versions of the Mets’ logo. One of them replaced the bridge in the foreground with the High Line. That logo somehow made it onto a local TV news broadcast here in NYC yesterday (good catch by Matthew P. Hanes IV). … Here’s a look at the history of the All-Star Game MVP trophy (from Brian Lorello).
Hockey News: Looks like the Coyotes’ new uniforms (which Phil covered in depth on Saturday) will have captaincy letters on the right side of the jersey. …”Here’s an observation from the NHL draft,” says M.Q. Grimes. “All drafted players had the draft year — 15 — on their jerseys, except for Connor McDavid — the Oilers presented him with a No. 97 jersey, which is his number.” … Some beer league hockey team wears Astros tequila sunrise jerseys! (From Alvin Burk.)
Soccer News: New kit for Kawasaki Frontale (from @holycalamity). … “I visited and toured Tottenham’s White Hart Lane last week,” says Morris Levin. “On the bulletin board in the home locker room (which did not actually have lockers) was this sheet of UEFA uni rules.” … Last week was MLS’s Rivalry Week, and the league commissioned Futbol Artists Group to create cinematic posters for the five rivalry games (from Yusuke Toyoda). … The Red Bulls and NYCFC went blue vs. blue. … Someone gave rapper Pharrell Williams a Monaco jersey with a double-decker FNOB.
Grab Bag: New marching band uniforms for UT-Arlington. … Many members of the Auburn Giants — that’s a women’s Australian rules football team — are Muslim, so they play while wearing a headscarf, long sleeves, and long pants (from Graham Clayton). … Good story about how UNC started using argyle on its teams’ uniforms (thanks, Phil). … Here’s a good look at how the Star Wars stormtrooper uniform has evolved (from Bob Kile). … Some idiot in Arkansas went on a rant about his local NBC TV affiliate changing its logo to “gay colors,” apparently not realizing that NBC’s logo has had rainbow-ish peacock colors for years. … In a related item, Yahoo really did change its logo to rainbow colors (as did many other sites on the web) after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling affirmed a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage. When a Yahoo user objected and said he wanted to delete his Yahoo account, the company’s tech support group sent him a link to help him delete the account as quickly as possible. … Convicted murderer and prison escapee David Sweat, who was shot and captured yesterday after several weeks on the run, was wearing some pretty nice striped socks when he was apprehended.