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Charlie Finley Would’ve Been Proud (if he’d been born yet)

Last summer I did a post on Craig Brown’s excellent Threads of Our Game site, which aims to be a Dressed to the Nines-style database for pre-1900 baseball uniforms.

Craig updates the site based on his own research and, especially, research submissions that are sent to him. He’s recently made some major finds regarding National League teams that used color-coded uniforms — a specific color for each position on the field. Here’s Craig with an explanation (for all the links, I recommend scrolling down past the mock-up to see the background research and documentation, much of which is fascinating):

The driver behind these color-coding experiments was the Chicago National League team and Albert Spalding, who was launching his sporting goods business and securing manufacturing contracts with the league. The concept of players wearing numbers was decades away, so the idea was to identify the players on the field by individual colors, and then have those same colors next to the players’ names in the scorecards. Many if not all of these color-coding experiments were abandoned during their respective seasons, though exact documentation of when is yet to be pinpointed.

In 1876, Chicago became the first team to wear color-coded their caps. They did it again in 1877, and then they took it to the next level in 1879, adding color-coded ties, belts, and banded stockings to the mix:

Color-coded caps were also used by Minneapolis in 1877 and Worcester, Mass., in 1879. A newspaper report from the time said, “The Worcesters have decided that each man shall wear an inch band of a particular color about his hat during the season, the color to be printed against the player’s name on the scorecard.” So now we really need to find one of those scorecards!

Then in 1882, the National League dove head-first into the color pool. These uniforms were made of silk and the players reportedly hated the color schemes. Here is the Detroit N.L. team:

Other 1882 teams with color-coded uniforms included Buffalo, Chicago, and Troy.

And that same year, Cincinnati joined the new American Association but wanted to appear like they were in “the League.” So they too went with color-coded jerseys.

And at least two more 1882 teams may have experimented with color-coded caps: New York (which, as you can see, also wore little polka dots) and St. Louis.

I love this color-coding stuff, but Craig has recently come up with some other research finds:

• We all know the 1868 Cincinnati team was the first to wear knickers, but it turns out that another 1868 Ohio team, from Xenia, did the same.

• The 1870 Union team from the Bronx may have been the first to wear detachable sleeves.

• You know how soccer teams will have a separate uniform for the keeper? The 1878 Buffalo baseball team tried something similar: They had a different jersey and belt for pitchers and catchers.

• The 1858 team from Westfield, Mass., had a particularly dressy uniform that looked more like a marching band uni. Imagine someone wearing a throwback of that!

Great stuff from Craig and his research contributors. Explore more of his site here.

• • • • •

ESPN contest reminder: I’m currently accepting entries for an ESPN contest to name and design a team for a prospective NHL expansion franchise in Las Vegas. Details here.

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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

I’ve had a few extra bucks in my pocket recently, and I’ve chosen to dispose of that income by buying trading cards. I’m not going to be a serious collector; I’m just trying to get as many cards from the 2014-15 Panini NBA Hoops set as I can.

What will I do with these cards? I don’t know. I’ll look at them. I’ll use them as bookmarks. I’ll put them on the reverse side of my work ID. Whatever. I just want to amass as much of the set as possible.

I collected cards as a kid as well. Did you collect trading cards as a kid or adult? Did you keep them in a binder, or display them? What was your favorite card? What lengths did you go to collect cards? What was your favorite card or favorite set? Did anyone actually trade cards with their friends, or was the term “trading cards” just a nicety? Did you ever find any valuable cards (or, conversely, did you ever load up on rookie cards of someone who was a bust)?

This 1999-2000 Richard Hamilton Topps Clear Shot card is the best card I have. It’s not worth much monetarily, but I just think it’s neat — it’s clear, and it has the matched-up front and back view of Rip.

As always, post yours responses in today’s comments.

• • • • •

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Fresno Grizzlies will not give away 2017 Houston Astros World Series rings during their “Back to the Future” promotion after all (from Phil). … The Onion poked fun at people who wear baseball caps in public (from Jeff Funke). … Coleman Mullins was reading the morning paper and spotted a high school player wearing excellent stirrups with gold sannies. … In last night’s episode of the 1980s-set ABC sitcom The Goldbergs, the title family visited Veterans’ Stadium for a Phillies game, and Jeff Garlin’s jersey was missing the ball inside the “P” [the Phils did wear a ball-less “P” from 1975 through 1986, but with a zippered jersey, not button-front — PL] (from Elan Tavor) … Also from last night’s Goldbergs episode, the son on the show sported some bedazzled Philadelphia sports jerseys (from Chris Flinn). … The Cardinals put Oscar Taveras memorial patches on their jerseys. … We mentioned here that Indiana wore cream throwbacks on Tuesday night. But Louisville, the Hoosiers’ opponent, wore fauxbacks (from Daniel Bruhn). … Todd Radom wrote about the flags that flew over Wrigley Field in 1946. … Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen cut his hair, which will render his T-shirt moot. … Married Red Sox players have had some minor issues with removing their wedding bands before going out on the field (from Keith Thibault). … In honor of new pitcher Jeff Samardzija, the White Sox will have two Shark Cage sections during his home starts this season. Fans get a hat and shark fin-shaped K card (from Ryan Lindemann). … In his book Imperfect, pitcher Jim Abbott wrote about his stirrup preferences (from Pat Costello). … The Salem Red Sox will wear Virginia Tech remembrance hats on April 16, the team’s opener and eighth year since the Virginia Tech shootings (from Phil). … Minor leaguers in Indians camp have vertically arched NOBs. “Pretty interesting, because vertically arched lettering is much more involved and painstaking — not the sort of thing you’d expect minor leaguers to have,” says Paul (photo from Jeff Moulden). … Tennessee’s catcher wears MLB logos on his helmet and mask. … According to a small note in this piece, Yankees minor leaguers are no longer required to go high-cuffed (from Matt Harris). … The Softbank Hawks will wear these alternates in June and July (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Padres OF Matt Kemp is apparently a very snappy dresser off the field (from Phil).

Football News: The NFL Draft caps will have depictions of the cities’ skylines on the underbill. Jacksonville’s apparently has issues. … From yesterday’s comments: The Lions might have alternate jerseys this season. … With the NFL adding gold accents to everything for Super Bowl 50, Paul Stave thinks that this character could be a good league spokesman. … South Carolina will have new uniforms next year (from Phil).

Hockey News: A fan attended Tuesday night’s Panthers/Lightning game in a full space suit. … The Canucks will wear Vancouver Millionaires throwbacks tonight (from Phil). … Before Tuesday night’s game against the Blues, the Penguins honored Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Mike Lange for 40 years of service. He was awarded a jersey, too. … The Villanova piccolo player who was shown crying on TV after the Wildcats’ NCAA basketball tournament exit appeared on The Tonight Show the other evening. “She wore her Villanova Band jersey for her performance. This year’s design is a hockey jersey, which is the same jersey that the Villanova Roller Hockey team has been wearing for years. That design however is just a variation of the University of Maine hockey jerseys.”

Soccer News: New away kit for the U.S. men’s team. … Does England have a new BFBS jersey? Unclear if that’s real or a fan concept (from Alex Buergey). … New jerseys for Canada’s men’s and women’s national teams (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Arsenal’s home and away kits have leaked. … Here’s a good, in-depth look at the process of rebranding MLS’s Minnesota United FC (from Andy Hart).

Basketball News: The Kings wore Rochester Royals throwbacks on Tuesday night. … Sports Illustrated created a list of the worst uniforms in NBA history (from Phil). … Oscar Robertson wore protective headgear in 1967. … Here’s the story behind the Hawks’ Pacman logo. … Heat G Goran Dragic suffered a small jersey tear last night (from Stephen Hayes). … The Blazers and Jazz went red vs. green last night (from Phil). … No photo, but Andrew Hoenig reports that with 8:30 left in last night’s Temple/Louisiana Tech game, the uni numbers for the players on the floor for both teams were 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Grab Bag: Here’s a quick story on the nickname origins of the Padres, Chargers and Akron Zips (from Phil). … Lots of great sports memorabilia will be available at this estate sale on Saturday morning in Indianapolis (from George Carpenter). … “Recently came across an old folder from my youth. Kept all my sports autographs, photos and clippings in it,” says Jimmy Lonetti. “Great job by the producer to carefully remove all team logos they didn’t have rights to use. I especially love the term ‘sport-folio’ too.”

Gold Diggers: NFL Marketing Scheme Officially Becomes Unbearable

Yesterday I wrote about how the NFL was going with gold 50-yard line markers, gold-trimmed Pro Bowl uniforms, and a gold NFL Draft logo, all to mark the season-culminating 50th Super Bowl. I also wrote that “if there’s anything we’ve learned about the NFL over the years, it’s that they think anything worth doing is worth overdoing, so I’m assuming we’ll be seeing a lot more facets of this ‘On the Fifty’ program.”

Sure enough, more details emerged yesterday, including the following:

• The league’s “Kickoff 2015″ and “NFL Playoffs” logos will be gold-themed.

• The NFL logo on the back of caps worn at the upcoming NFL Draft will be gold.

• In addition to the gold 50-yard markers, each field will also have a gold NFL logo for each game next season.

• Beginning with Week 7, sideline apparel will feature gold-outlined team logos. (It’s worth noting that most Week 7 games will be taking place on Oct. 25, which means the gold gear will be mixing with Pinktober gear.)

• The NFL will be giving a gold football to the high school of everyone who’s ever played or coached in a Super Bowl — an estimated 3050-ish people.

Further details here, and in this video:

In other words, the whole gold thing is already completely annoying, and the season hasn’t even started yet.

Yesterday also brought our first look at the NFL Draft caps, and I’m rather astonished to report that they don’t feature gold-trimmed logos (maybe the league ran out of gold dye or something):


Rumors that the Super Bowl is going to be moved from the 49ers’ new stadium to Fort Knox are almost completely untrue.

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New ESPN design contest: There’s an increasing amount of chatter about the NHL possibly adding an expansion team in Las Vegas, so my ESPN editors and I have decided to do one of our design contests, with the best submissions being featured in one of my upcoming columns. Here’s the skinny:

• Your entry must include a team name, a primary logo, and full home and road uniforms. If you like, you can also include secondary logos, one alternate uniform, and even goalie gear if you want, but those aren’t required.

• Your designs can be created in any digital or analog medium (Illustrator, Photoshop, crayon, whatever) and can be submitted in any standard digital format (JPG, PDF, tiff, etc.).

• The files you submit should be named after yourself (PaulLukas.jpg, for example). If you’re submitting multiple files, please either number them (PaulLukas1.jpg, PaulLukas2.jpg, etc.) or use some other designation (PaulLukas-homeuni.jpg, PaulLukas-logo.jpg, etc.). Files that don’t follow this format will not be considered.

• In keeping with longstanding Uni Watch chromatic policy, entries including even a hint of the color purple will not be accepted.

• Email your entry to Uni Watch HQ. If you have more than one concept, feel free to enter as many times as you like.

• Deadline: Thursday, April 2, 7pm Eastern.

This should be a fun one. Can’t wait to see how many people come up with the Las Vegas Craps as their team name.

And speaking of design contests, enough people expressed interest in a Uni Watch smart phone case yesterday that I think we’ll go ahead with that project, starting with a contest to create the design. But I’m currently swamped with ESPN work, some personal stuff, some work-related travel, etc., so this may have to wait a few weeks. Stay tuned (and feel free to remind me about it if I haven’t mentioned it again in, say, a month).

• • • • •

T-Shirt Club update: My share of the profits from the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s April design was $4,431.50. Once I receive my payment from Teespring, I’ll make a donation in that amount to the Jackie Robinson Foundation and begin the paperwork process for ESPN to match my donation. So when the dust settles, the JRF will wind up with $8,863. Not bad!

Big thanks to all you shirt-buyers for making this possible.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Garrett McGrath

Baseball News: Here is an article about Michael Panuccio, the 57-year-old manager of patterns and marketing at Majestic, which supplies the uniforms for all thirty MLB teams. Key quote: “Actually, I’m not a baseball fan” (thanks, Phil). … The Rays will retire uniform No. 66 Don Zimmer on Monday, April 6, when they open the season against the Orioles (thanks, Phil). … The Cleveland baseball team will honor Al Rosen this season by wearing his number 7 on the right sleeve of all their jerseys (thanks, Phil). … The Nationals are going to have a model railroad scoreboard in a premium seating area at their stadium this season (from William F. Yurasko). … As part of an August Back to the Future promotion, the Fresno Grizzlies will wear special jerseys, give away the 2017 Houston Astros World Series rings, and there will be an appearance by the DeLorean (from David Taub). … Mississippi State wore some beautiful throwbacks yesterday. … Here are some shots of the Mets’ Citi Field apples being constructed. … The Marlins have posted the uniform protocol for the upcoming season (from Jake Watterson).

Football News: The Browns’ new uniforms, due to be unveiled on April 14, will reportedly have nine different color combos. … The AFL Jacksonville Sharks will have new uniforms next season (thanks, Phil). … Syracuse will be wearing a mono-orange uniform this fall (thanks, Phil). … The uniform for the 1949 Conrad High School team in Delaware featured some serious striping on the sleeves and shoulders (from Graham Clayton).

Basketball News: “I came across an old episode of Cheers the other day with Kevin McHale,” says Stephen Hayes. “He was in two episodes, and in the first one he wore his actual warm-up jacket. For some reason, in the next episode he’s wearing a logo-less green jacket while presenting Norm with a Celtics jacket for his birthday. You can that he has the same jacket as Norm, only for some reason there’s no logo on the front or team name on the back. Lastly, also for reasons that I don’t understand, the leprechaun logo on Norm’s jacket has his face blurred out. Thought you’d find the inconsistencies interesting.” …. The Clippers will be giving away these argyle Chris Paul jerseys on March 31 to honor his alter ego Cliff Paul (from Brian Love). … Can’t make it up: The Medicine Hat Rattlers in Canada have a Brazilian-born forward named Guy Carbagiale Fuck — pronounced “foo-key” — who is now allowed to use his last name as an NOB (from Mike Styczen). … Here is a ranking of the University of Illinois basketball uniforms over the past 30 years (thanks, Phil).

Grab Bag: “The annual Canadian Police Curling Championships are being held this week here in Sudbury (ON), and I thought some of the pictures might interest you,” Sean Kautzman says. “This one of Chief Pedersen is definitely interesting from a uniperspective.” … Mitchell and Ness posted a map of which retro jerseys were most popular in each state in 2014. Interestingly, the top seller in seven different states was a 1996-97 Kobe Bryant jersey. … You don’t often see a uni number on the thumb of a lacrosse glove. That’s a Vermont player wearing the thumb number (from Tris Wykes).

NFL Goes for the Gold

The next NFL season will culminate with Super Bowl 50 (remember they’re using Arabic numerals for that one, not Roman numerals), and the league is apparently planning to mark that occasion with a season-long initiative called “On the Fifty.”

That news emerged from the NFL owners’ meetings yesterday, where NFL.com writer/podcaster Marc Sessler provided some sneak tweets of what’s in store. First, the 50-yard line markers for every game next season will be gold (click to enlarge):

Also, the uniforms for next year’s Pro Bowl will be trimmed in gold (click to enlarge):

A few thoughts about those Pro Bowl unis: (1) That appears to be a new Nike tailoring template. (2) Best Least-awful Pro Bowl uniforms in recent memory. (3) Looks like the NFL logo on the pants (and maybe the jerseys?) is gold.

And hey, speaking of gold logos:

Why all the gold? Because the 50th anniversary is the golden anniversary, I’m assuming. But if that’s truly the reason, they’re doing it wrong: Super Bowl I was in 1967, so the 50th anniversary of that will be Super Bowl 51 (or, rather, LI), which takes place in 2017. The upcoming Supe is the 50th installment of the game but not the 50th anniversary of the game.

But whatever — the NFL’s gonna do what the NFL’s gonna do. And if there’s anything we’ve learned about the NFL over the years, it’s that they think anything worth doing is worth overdoing, so I’m assuming we’ll be seeing a lot more facets of this “On the Fifty” program. A gold version of the Lombardi Trophy seems almost like a foregone conclusion.

As for the gold yard markers, I’m agnostic. Obviously, it’ll look better in stadiums that are home to teams that already have gold in their color schemes, but overall it seems pretty harmless. What do you folks think?

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So here’s a question: Would you be interested in purchasing a Uni Watch smartphone case? If so, what might such a case look like?

The reason I ask is that I was recently contacted by a company called CustomBee, which makes custom-designed phone cases. They operate just like TeeSpring (the company that’s been making the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club tees): The product is available for ordering for a limited time window — three weeks, say — and then arrives 10 to 14 days later. The price would be about $20, plus $5 for shipping.

I have no idea how many people would be interested in this, and I don’t want to put merch out there just for the sake of doing it. But if people are into it, I’d even consider holding a design contest, with a cash prize (and a free phone case, of course) for the winner.

But first things first — let’s see how many people like this idea. Please use this poll to let me know. Thanks!

Would you be interested in a Uni Watch phone case?

 
pollcode.com free polls

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Love love love this fall 1971 IHOP NFL helmet placemat, featuring your “Super Bowl Stars” and … the “the rest of the NFL.” This is the kinda stuff that got me into the NFL. I had just moved to Dallas and discovered the allure of America’s Team. They were opening Texas Stadium, I was chowing down at IHOP at a furious rate, and getting to meet players at department store appearances and youth football league banquets — magic. Like the song says, “Old days, good times I remember.”

Here are the rest of this week’s eBay picks:

• Never seen these before: a 1969 Chiffon Margarine rub-off decal, featuring the St. Louis (football) Cardinals. That same seller also offers several other teams.

• Nice-looking set of 1970s “Aren’t You Hungry?” Detroit Tigers/Burger King promo glasses, with the tiger gobbling up the rest of the AL competition.

• Interesting 1980s bumper sticker here. It just says “Play With The Best: The NFL.” No team — just the league.

• Nice assortment here of 1970s NHL fridge magnets.

• Here’s a 1970s Tony Esposito mini goal stick and puck set.

• Great-looking 1971 Reds poster featuring the then-new Riverfront Stadium and Fountain Square.

• Staying with the Reds, here’s a 1970-2002 commemorative Riverfront Stadium ball.

• Collect (and wear!) Official NHL Crests, like this late-1960s one for the Montreal Canadiens. Heck, it could be from any era — that’s a timeless logo.

• These Vikings sports socks are an Official Licensed Product. Boy, any product with that logo on it had me cold. The seller also has a pair for the Cowboys, but $50 each? Pretty steep for a pair of socks.

• I remember this Eagles poster! The ad says 1974, and I recall being struck by how “in your face” this poster was.

Follow Brinke on Twitter: @brinkeguthrie

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T-Shirt Club report: I’m reallyreallyreally pleased with the sales results on the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s April design. When the dust settled last night, we have sold 324 shirts — by far the Club’s largest total so far. (Our previous high was 207, in January.)

Teespring will let me know my share of the profits either later this week or early next. Once I find out the amount, I’ll let you folks know and then donate the whole shebang to the Jackie Robinson Foundation (and ESPN will match my contribution, so the amount will be doubled). I’m really happy to be doing this — thanks to all you shirt buyers for making it possible.

Meanwhile: I had previously mentioned that the May shirt would be one of our “core” designs (road, alternate, BFBS), but I’m having second thoughts about that. More details next week.

• • • • •

Redskins on field

Help wanted — ’Skins trademark case: Phil is looking to speak to any readers who are lawyers (or knowledgeable on the subject of trademark law) regarding the pending Redskins trademark case. It makes no difference how you feel about the name or issue in general — this is simply about the status of the case and possible future actions. Should only take a few minutes of your time — if you’re interested, please shoot Phil an email. Thanks.

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Baseball News: Here’s the second part of our own Phil Hecken’s interview on the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast. … Game of Thrones unis for the Durham Bulls. … End of an era, as Wilson Sporting Goods has acquired Louisville Slugger. … Someone down at spring training has a Yankees-themed car, complete with all the retired numbers along the rear bumper. Might have to get a wider car (from Andrew Cosentino). … Wanna buy a piece of the Mariners’ old dugout from the Kingdome? You can! (From Kev McCarthy.) … Several specialty jerseys on tap this season for the Salt Lake Bees. … Gorgeous striped stirrups for Syracuse softball. … New bat knob decals for the Padres. … Throwbacks on tap today for Indiana. … Back in 1961 and ’62, the Cubs didn’t have a manager. Instead, they had an eight-man committee called the College of Coaches. If you look at this photo of them, it appears that two guys in the front row were wearing golf shoes, and one guy in the back row may have had dress shoes (nice one from Michael Clary). … The rest of these items, all concerning Japanese baseball, are from Jeremy Brahm: All the current managers of the Japanese Central League teams are shown in uniform here. … Here are the uniforms for the beer/concession staff at QVC Marine Stadium, home of the Chiba Lottes Marines. … The Orix Buffaloes will wear Tuffy Rhodes-era Kintetsu Buffaloes throwbacks in May. And Yusuke Toyoda adds that the Buffaloes’ opponents, the Softbank Hawks, will wear early-’80s throwbacks.

NFL News: Interesting helmet logo on this Patriots championship T-shirt (from Michael Enriquez). … We’ve heard about helmets with impact-monitoring technology, but here’s something new: an impact-monitoring chinstrap. … Next year’s Pro Bowl will be in Hawaii, as usual, but after that the NFL is considering some foreign locales for the game (thanks, Phil). … The NFL is selling these dresses that look sorta like striped socks or stirrups (from Jon Solomonson).

College Football News: Looks like Syracuse will be going orange over blue this fall. … It was initially reported yesterday that Jim Harbaugh is bringing back Michigan’s merit decals and scrapping the “Legends” jerseys, but then the school clarified that those decisions are not yet official.

Hockey News: Drew Miller of the Red Wings literally punched the Blues logo off of Petteri Lindbohm’s helmet the other night. … Hoo-eee, look at this gorgeous old Hershey Bears program cover. A beauty! … The Islanders will wear throwbacks for their final regular season game at Nassau Coliseum. As Brian Erni points out on that page, they really should have gone NNOB, but whaddaya gonna do. … This apparently went viral late last week, but I didn’t see it until now: an amazing photo of a Canadian Mountie playing hockey, in his Mountie uniform, with a jaw-dropping mountain vista in the background (big thanks to Alan Kreit). … And in a vaguely related item, check out this shot of an FBI Agents hockey team.

NBA News: You’ll probably never see so many stars on so many uniforms, not even in an all-star game, as you can see here (from @flyersfansindc). … The Warriors used to wear “The City,” and the Blazers currently wear “Rip City.” Put those two together when the two teams face each other tonight in Portland and you get this very amusing T-shirt (from Manzell Blakeley). … The Bulls wore black at home last night, setting up a brutal-looking black vs. teal game against the Hornets. … Check out this 1974-75 shot showing Golden State players Butch Beard and Clifford Ray wearing mismatched jerseys. “The only other example I could find of someone wearing the versio with ‘Warriors’ along the bottom of the circle was Rick Barry, from the same game,” says Daniel B. Listoe.

College Hoops News: White lettering on a white jersey isn’t a new thing, as you can see in this photo of the 1933-34 Kentucky team (nice find by Chris LaHaye). … Wichita State is apparently celebrating their win over in-state rival Kansas with this T-shirt (from Andrew Costentino). … Speaking of Wichita State, here’s a good story from last year on their weird mascot (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: Here’s a breakdown of Kansas’s record by uniform. … This is so fucking great: The Dalton State Roadrunners have “Beep! Beep!” instead of NOBs. And in script, too!

Soccer News: Here are all the uniforms for the Nadeshiko League, a Japanese women’s league (from Jeremy Brahm). … Barcelona supporters displayed a gigantic 12th man jersey before Sunday’s match against Real Madrid (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Also from Yusuke: “Here’s an infographic showing the 15 soccer-specific stadiums in MLS. The league started in 1996 with 10 teams and zero soccer-specific stadiums.” … And one more from Yusuke: “Sheffield United played in next season’s unis last weekend to mixed reviews.” … Mismatched sponsors on the French national team’s training tops.

Grab Bag: Interesting piece about how sneakers age. … Nike is currently engaged in copyright and intellectual property legal battles on three different fronts. … There’s a new “postmodern” skateboard design that has no board! … Adidas is looking to recapture its cool factor via the sneaker market. … Here’s how Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman have changed their looks over the years (thanks, Brinke). … Rugby news from Eric Bangeman, who reports that the wrap on the goalpost padding came off during a recent match in Durban between the Sharks and the Chiefs. “The Chiefs’ players helped to replace it — and they were the road team,” says Eric. … A Russian-affairs website has provided a good critique of the country’s WWII military uniforms. … New athletics logo for Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. … Newly announced presidential candidate Ted Cruz is already taking some heat for his campaign logo. … I’m still calling it the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. … A teen-ager who stole a New Zealand All Blacks player’s jerseys says he’s sick of prison, although I suspect he may not be unique in that regard. … Here’s an article outlining four ways that Adidas blew it (thanks, Brinke).

Right or Left? Right or Wrong?

We all know by now that if an American flag patch or decal applied to the right sleeve or the right side of an object should always have the blue field facing forward, even if it makes the flag look “backwards,” because that’s how the flag would look from that side when advancing forward. This applies to sleeve patches, helmet decals, military uniforms, buses, the space shuttle, Air Force One, and so on.

But as you can see above, the Duke lacrosse team is taking this idea a step further. They’re wearing the “backwards”-oriented flag on the upper-right chest area of their jerseys. They didn’t have that there last season; it’s something new they’ve added this year. I get the idea, but I don’t really agree with it. To me, those flag patches aren’t on the right side; they’re on the front.

How have other teams handled flag patches in this same region of the jersey? Lots of college basketball teams have worn a flag patch there, and I’m pretty sure they’ve all been oriented the “normal” way, like so:

Also, the Reds wore a flag patch on the upper-right chest during the 1990 World Series (this was for the first Gulf War), and it too was oriented the “normal” way (click to enlarge):

It’s also worth noting that the back of each NFL helmet has a flag decal on the right side. If they went with the Duke approach, that flag would have the “backwards” orientation, but that’s not how they do it:

Obviously, the NFL doesn’t view that decal as being on the left or right side; it simply views it as being on the back. I think that’s the correct interpretation, and I think Duke’s is wrong.

Incidentally, I’ve been putting “backwards” and “normal” in quotes because those are completely subjective assessments. Every single real flag on a real pole appears in both configurations, and we never say that one of them is backwards, do we? Or at least I don’t. (It’s important to remember that things like patches and decals are not flags; rather, they are representations of flags.)

Of course, there’s a simple way to resolve all these issues: Teams could stop pandering to cheap “U! S! A!” jingoism and just skip all the flag patches and decals. But I’m not holding my breath on that one.

(Thanks to Mike Alper for bringing the Duke situation to my attention.)

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T-Shirt Club LAST CALL: Today is the last day to order the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club design for April, which was inspired by Jackie Robinson Day and is available in home white and road grey versions. 100% of my profits from this design will be donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which builds on Jackie’s legacy by providing college scholarships to disadvantaged students of color. ESPN will match my donation (that’s their policy for charitable contributions), and Teespring may donate something as well. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.

As of this morning, we’ve sold 264 of these, making it our biggest seller so far. Can we hit 300? I’d love to see that — let’s make it happen.

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PermaRec update: Two new entries on Permanent Record: One is about a bunch of old library cards (like the one shown at right), and the other is about a long-lost letter from John Lennon that has inspired a new Hollywood movie.

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Baseball News: Whoa, look at the jacket worn back in the day by Senators manager Clark Griffith! … Interesting new look for Oklahoma. … I like the contrasting sleeves and dislike the side panels, but what’s with the positioning on that script? It’s sitting way too low. … Who’s the kid in the Expos cap? “It’s from a comic about a transgender male-to-female child,” says Sara Schieve. “As you can guess, the artist is from Montreal.” … Cool story about three brothers who snuck into the abandoned Astrodome in 2012 (from Chris Flinn). … I’m on record as a big Joe Maddon fan, but this is not a good look, for multiple reasons (from @1010XLBeef). … Jason Heyward, now with the Cardinals, has been sticking with his plastic faceguard attachment this spring. … Adam LaRoche, now with the White Sox wore a G.I. Joe compression sleeve the other day. … Really nice road greys for Tulane. Pelicans on the bat! … “The Yomiuri Giants and Tokyo Yakult Swallows will play in the ‘Tokyo Series,’ which consists of six games in April — three in the Tokyo Dome (Giants home) and three in Meiji Jingu (Swallows home),” reports Jeremy Brahm. “The Swallows will wear this uniform for four of those games. It is called the Tokyo Enpower uniform (Chinese reading of Swallows in Japanese is En, and combining empower from English).” … Keith Friedman spotted this 1972 Tigers schedule/calendar. Note the odd colors on the sleeves and waistband, plus the Tigers have never worn stirrups like those, plus-plus the orange headwear logo and the old English “D” were never worn together in the same uni.

NFL News: “I noticed that the new renderings for Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium do not contain any gold in the end zone paint,” says Sean Mitchell. “Could this indicate a Rams return to the Deacon Jones-era blue and white color scheme when they come back to Los Angeles?”

College Football News: New Penn State recruit Sterling Jenkins, who’s competing for a spot on the offensive line, has such a big head that they had to order him a special helmet “from some Russian company in the middle of nowhere.”

Hockey News: If you go to this page and click to the last four shots in the photo gallery, you’ll see pics of Bell Telephone hockey teams with really cool jerseys (nice find by Will Scheibler, who also sent along this old shot of an Ontario Wind Engine and Pump Company hockey team, with a windmill on the chest). … Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was wearing a Nike undershirt with the MLB-style logo creep on the collar. “Haven’t seen many NHL guys wearing that,” says Garrett Heller.

Basketball News: The Clippers and Pelicans went color vs. color last night. … Good article on the trend toward colored tights on the court. … Douglas Ford was watching the 30 for 30 movie about Christian Laettner and spotted Larry Johnson of UNLV wearing a University of Texas cap. Although Johnson played for UNLV, his hometown is Tyler, Texas, which is also Earl Campbell’s hometown. … Throwbacks last night for Oregon, with a fir tree sweatback pattern. Interesting shooting shirts, too. … Players sitting on Maryland’s bench last night wore black-shouldered shooting shirts — except for one guy, whose shoulders were red (from Gus Soteriades). … Speaking of Mayrland, F Jon Graham had a tear in his shorts last night (from Fergie, who didn’t give his full name). … This is sort of ironic: In the semifinals of the Red Sarachek tournament, which is the most prestigious tourney for Jewish high school basketball teams, two schools went color vs. color with Christmas hues — red vs. green (from Yosef Coleman).

Soccer News: Nike now has a coaching school that’s producing high-level soccer prospects. “This puts Nike in direct competition with their clients,” notes Yusuke Toydoa. … Also from Yusuke: “Each time Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho wins a trophy, he retires his watch and keeps it in a safe deposit box. He now has 21 watches.”

Grab Bag: When Tennessee decided to stop using the “Lady Vols” moniker for most of its women’s sports teams, a few readers suggested to me that Nike, which is about to take over as the school’s new outfitter, must have been involved in the decision somehow. I was skeptical of that, but it turns out they were right (from JD Hunter). … Doesn’t it seem like boxing promoters Bob Arum (who’s promoting the upcoming Mayweather/Pacquiao superfight on May 2) and Don King (whose role in the sport is diminished but not extinguished) have been around forever? I was curious to know how old they are, so I looked it up: They’re both 83! Interesting that they’re the same age, and that they’ve both stuck around in the fight game for so long. Wouldn’t you think they’d wanna kick back and enjoy their remaining years? … Hmmmm, is this a sweatshirt, or sweatpants, or both? (Bizarre find by David Firestone.) … Good overview of how the Walt Disney logo has looked in movies since 1985 (from Trevor Wilson Patton). … Speaking of Disney movies, Toy Story may have a 20th-anniversary logo. … “While competing in the 1988 British Touring Car Championship in his BMW 635,” says Graham Clayton, “Peter Buxtorf adopted different color schemes for each round by putting different decals on his black car: pink circles, yellow diamonds, and orange triangles.” Sounds like a Lucky Charms commercial, no? …The Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a case involving the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who were told by the state of Texas that they could not put their logo, which includes the Confederate flag, on a novelty license plate. The group has appealed that decision on First Amendment grounds.