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Aggies Use Their Heads for New Helmet Design

For all of today’s photos, you can click to enlarge

Interesting move yesterday by Texas A&M, which unveiled a new 1939 throwback that will be worn this Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe. The most interesting thing about it, as you can see above, is that they’ve come up with a strikingly realistic-looking throwback helmet treatment, complete with leatherhead-style detailing.

Or at least it’s realistic-looking if you don’t look too close. Upon close inspection, it becomes more apparent that the leatherhead details are essentially large decals or sheets of film:

As you can see in that last shot, they’ve also added faux rust and wear to the facemask and clips, which seems like a bit much, but let’s stick to the helmet shell for now. How will it look on the field? Pretty good, I suspect. Even in HD, most of the camera shots won’t be tight enough to show the decal edges but will probably be just tight enough to show the faux stitching — something like this:

The only problem is that things might not look so hot once the decals/film get nicked up and torn during the game, as they inevitably will. In any case, it’s an intriguing project that definitely breaks some new ground in throwback design. Here’s how it’s described in an Adidas press release:

Texas A&M’s helmet, produced in concert with Hydro Graphics Inc. and Riddell, is dark maroon with a hydro film leather-like texture featuring wing and cross graphics created using high-resolution photographs of an actual helmet worn by the 1939 team. The helmet also features simulated stitching, wear-and-tear, and raised ear protection painted by hand via HGI artists on each shell to further enhance the appearance of a vintage helmet.

Each helmet shell carries a stenciled “AMC” brand, referencing the “Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas” as Texas A&M was known in 1939, on the rear portion of the helmet, just as the original version did 75 years ago. This brand signifies that each helmet was custom-made for Texas A&M. More than six staff hours went in to create the unique appearance of each individual helmet.

The problem, of course, is the jersey, which features Adidas’s standard tire-tread pattern and looks like shite. But wait! There’s more to it than that. From the press release:

The maroon TechFit jersey features a commemorative patch and [a word appears to be missing here — PL] that were inspired by those on the original 1939 Aggies’ uniform and features individual rips and tears to signify wear and to enhance authenticity.

Yeah, nothing says “authenticity” like individual rips and tears, just like those “authentic” jeans you can buy with pre-torn rips in them. Maybe they can splatter the players with a bit of faux blood (or even faux guts!) for bonus authenticity.

I couldn’t detect any of these jersey rips or tears in the press photos. But it’s interesting that Adidas is equating — or conflating — “throwback” with “in poor condition.” After all, the 1939 team presumably received new uniforms at the start of the season, just like the 2014 team did, and the 1939 equipment staff no doubt repaired any rips or tears. The 1939 players wouldn’t have wanted to wear torn jerseys or rusty facemask clips any more than a modern player would. (Yes, I know, facemask clips didn’t even exist yet in 1939, but work with me here.) “Honoring” the past by treating it as a broken-down relic seems kinda patronizing, plus it’s bad history. There’s nothing “authentic” about that.

Such silliness notwithstanding, I’m still intrigued by the helmet and eager to see how it looks this weekend.

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NFL Superhero Project

By Thomas Correia

Tonight’s game is between the Saints and the Panthers . One team was an easy guess for comics fans, while the other was not as obvious. I think these two heroes would not only make for a great fight but could even be a great team-up (click to enlarge):

For New Orleans, lots of readers guessed that it would be the Saint or some obscure saint-type hero. There were also guesses of characters known to have a fleur de lis on their costume. But when it came time to actually do this logo, I saw the team colors and reimagined the shape of the fleur de lis into a version of the famous Batman symbol. Then I used the Saints’ 1967 shield logo and replaced the team name with “Knights.”

Just as I had used the Marvel hero Falcon for Atlanta back in Week 3, I knew that I had to use the Black Panther for Carolina this week. The colors worked out well, too, and the Black Panther’s necklace pops very nicely.

What are your thoughts on this latest duo?

Incidentally, we’re now at the halfway point of the NFL season, which means I’ve unveiled 16 NFL superhero logos so far. You can see all of them here (click to enlarge):

If you want more information on the thinking that went into these designs, all of the previous NFL Superhero Project installments can be found in these blog entries.

Next Week: Browns vs. Bengals. This could be a tough one for guesses, but take a shot anyway in today’s comments.

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Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off three very nice baseball stadium prints. Details here.

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Patch question: I have only two Uni Watch 15th-anniversary patches left (and if you want to buy one of them, here’s where to do it). The Uni Watch 15th-anniversary patches are once again sold out. I’ll order another batch if there’s enough demand. So if you’ve been meaning to order one at some point down the road, or think you might want one for the holidays, or whatever, please shoot me a note so I can gauge how much interest there is. Thanks.

Also: If you’ve already purchased a patch, I’m still eager to see what you’ve done with it. Send photos of your patch projects this-a-way. Photos of where you’ve slapped your 15th-anniversary stickers are also welcome.

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A creepy thing that happened at my house yesterday: If you hear that I’ve died under suspicious circumstances, here’s the likely reason (if you can’t see the embedded post below, click here):

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Mike’s Question of the Week

By Mike Chamernik

Paul wrote yesterday that he missed Game 7 of the 1997 World Series due to an poorly timed airline flight and that he missed last night’s Game 7 because he had tickets for a live event. In both instances, he gambled ahead of time that that the Series wouldn’t go seven games.

That got me thinking. Which major sporting events have you missed, and why? Did you try to keep tabs on the game while you were dealing with your other commitment, or did you try to avoid the game so you could watch it later? Conversely, were there any sporting events you were upset to be missing, only to have the game be a dud and/or you enjoyed what you did instead more?

Two come to mind for me. I missed the first-round Suns/Spurs Game 1 thriller in 2008 because I was on a date with a girl. Though the game was an instant classic, I was ultimately fine with that decision. Also, I missed the first eight and a half innings of Game 6 of the 2003 World Series (another classic, and I liked the Marlins a lot) because of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Again, I’m fine with that.

On a rougher note, I’ve missed many NBA and MLB playoff games from 2008 to 2012 because I had college classes to attend. I’ve missed Games 2 though 6 of this year’s World Series because I was working. (Okay, I missed Game 5 because I was watching WWE Hell In A Cell.)

How about you? Post your responses in today’s comments.

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Uni Watch News Ticker

By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Giants memorabilia is selling well (from Phil). … Here’s a brief bit of footage from when Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and the Japanese American Baseball all-stars played together in Fresno in October 1927. The game had a great poster, too (from BSmile). … Ah, generations of sadness (from Phil). … Groupon jumped the gun with Royals championship merchandise (from Patrick Lahaie).

NFL News: Woot has produced multiple editions of “fantasy” football hoodies (from Gordon Blau). … Brice Wallace found a Steelers bomber hat that, in the spirit of the team’s helmet, only had the logo on one earflap. Nice touch! … The Steelers will retire Mean Joe Greene’s number on Sunday (from Phil).

College Football News: Here’s a look at Florida State’s new away jerseys. … Flag-themed helmets for South Florida and Minnesota this weekend. … Black jerseys and pants for South Carolina on Saturday. … New helmets for Louisville. … Troy will wear red helmets, white jerseys and black pants tonight (from Phil).

Hockey News: The Predators took 1,800 pounds of gear with them on their recent 13-day road trip (from Wade Harder). … White-on-white AHL alert (from Phil). … Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen has a Reservoir Dogs-themed mask.

NBA News: Home opener uni moves: The Celtics wore their new green “Boston” road unis at home, the Wiz wore their alternate blues, and the Hornets and Bucks both wore their alternate unis — teal for Charlotte, red for Milwaukee, creating a color vs. color game (all this from Phil). … Kawhi Leonard, who is known for having really big hands, has a pretty cool personal logo on the back of his Jordans. … The old Cavs court from when they played at the Richfield Coliseum is now being used by a small school in Virginia (from Vince Grzegorek). … Tom Brady posted a Photoshop image of himself as a child in a Celtics jersey on his Facebook page. “The Photoshopping is amusingly bad, and the drawn-in jersey stripes remind me of the airbrushing on old baseball cards,” says Charles Noerenberg. “Good stuff.” … The Hornets gave away tuxedo T-shirts and commemorative tickets for their home opener last night. … The DirecTV NBA app uses outdated logos for the Nets and Bobcats (from David Smolowitz). … The Blazers’ new court features the names of season ticket holders (from Phil). … The Sixers have added a memorial patch for Caldwell Jones.

College Hoops News: Buffalo’s Big 4 basketball teams will wear Buffalo Braves-themed throwbacks in a doubleheader on November 29 (from Phil).

Grab Bag: The Football League will put a mustache on its game balls during the month of November (from George Chilvers). … I like the Adidas brand, but not as much as Katy Perry, apparently. … Excellent spot by Peter Wunsch: He was watching one of the often-aired AT&T Lily commercials and noticed that the store’s exterior glass doors have the logos facing the wrong direction. “No store would have the ads facing in,” he says. “They would be facing out to get the attention of people passing the store.” I’ve seen that commercial hundreds of times and never noticed that! … The 1941 Harvard lacrosse team was well-dressed (from Phil). … Check out these old and creepy Halloween cards (from Jon Solomonson). … “Rugby fans in New Zealand are freaking out because the new All Blacks jersey may not have a white collar,” says Caleb Borchers. “This is stupid because (a) the promo photo is clearly heavily Photoshopped, so we don’t really know what the real thing will look like, and (b) as much as we love unis, the whole ‘magical good luck charm’ thing is way overplayed.”

The Fine Line Between Public and Private

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was friends with Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, so Ventura was understandably devastated when he heard about Taveras’s death in a car accident on Sunday. I’m sorry for his loss (and for everyone else who knew Tavares), but I still wish he hadn’t written a big “RIP O.T #18″ memorial on his cap last night. I thought it looked unseemly, especially during the World Series.

On Twitter last night, I didn’t say I thought the cap memorial looked unseemly. Instead, I asked what everyone else thought of it, and the response was overwhelming: Not only did almost everyone love Ventura’s gesture, but many thought I was a heartless prick for even raising the question. I eventually deleted the tweet because it was provoking some seriously nasty feedback (I wasn’t looking for a fight), but the basic thrust was, “People can mourn however they want, so shut the fuck up.”

As I’ve noted many times, Twitter isn’t a particularly good gauge of, well, anything, but I was still taken aback by the vehemence of the response. Like most people my age, I’ve had my share of personal experience with mourning and grief, and I agree that it’s is a very personal matter (duh). But Ventura’s cap gesture, no matter how heartfelt or sincere, struck me as a “Look at me!” move — not as over-the-top as, say, Tim Hudson’s “JH” chest initials for Josh Hancock in 2007, but still a bit much, especially for the Series. He had already written memorials on his glove and cleats — couldn’t he have stopped there? If he had to have something on his cap, couldn’t he have just used Tavares’s number or initials and made them fairly small? Couldn’t he have skipped all of this and just asked the equipment manager to sew a black armband onto his jersey sleeve? Don’t the Royals have one of those old black caps lying around that he could’ve worn? (Actually, I would’ve liked that quite a bit — much better than defacing a uni element.)

If you’re okay with the cap inscription, that’s fine — we can agree to disagree (although I would prefer if you didn’t call me a heartless prick). But where would you draw the line? What if Ventura had worn big letters on his jersey, like Hudson did for Hancock back in ’07? What if he’d done something even more demonsrative? Is there any point at which you’d say, “Okay, enough,” or would you give any player carte blanche in this type of situation?

I think the context of our times also plays into this. If Ventura had worn a cap memorial during the World Series back in, say, the mid-1970s, it would have been unique and might have gone down as a special chapter in baseball (or at least uniform) history that I’d probably remember fondly. But we live in an era when athletes express themselves in so many ways — ways that include modifying their uniforms — that it long ago began to feel rote and tedious. You could say I’m just jaded, and maybe you’d be right, but I could say Ventura’s cap inscription felt primarily like a predictable, almost scripted reflection of our times, and maybe I’d be right too. Probably a bit of both.

I also think a lot of this has to do with where we each draw the line between public and private expression, or what our idea of decorum is. I wish Ventura had chosen a less public expression of mourning; by the same token, some people probably wish I had chosen a less public means of addressing it. For those people, I’m the one whose behavior is unseemly here, not Ventura. I don’t agree with them, but I relate to the impulse they’re feeling.

Finally, I also realize that there’s a Missouri connection here, because Tavares played for the Cardinals, many of whose fans are presumably also Royals fans, so Ventura’s gesture probably resonated strongly throughout the state, even if that wasn’t his intention.

To be clear: I don’t think Ventura should be fined, I don’t think Ned Yost or the umpires or Bud Selig should have told him to change caps, I have nothing but sympathy regarding the loss of his friend, and I admire how well he pitched last night with what must have been a heavy heart. Personally, though, I just wish he’d done something more subtle.

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column takes a uni-centric look at this year’s World Series.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

New raffle! Jeff Suntala is the guy who makes those renderings of old ballparks, which he sells as prints. He’s recently added many new ballparks to his inventory and is celebrating by offering a free print to three lucky Uni Watch readers. The winners will each get to pick a print of their choice from this list.

To enter, send an email with your preferred ballpark print and your shipping address to the raffle address by this Sunday night, 8pm Eastern. One entry per reader. I’ll announce the winners next week.

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Sponsor shout-out: As most of you know, I really like sports socks. I’m also very particular about my own socks. So I’ve been very happy to have American Trench as a Uni Watch advertiser in recent months. Their made-in-USA socks — a pair of which I’m wearing right now as I type this — are first-rate. I’m not saying this because I promised them extra publicity; I’m saying it because I genuinely believe in the product. Also, I’m aware that their socks are a little on the spendy side, so some of you might have clicked on their ad and then thought to yourselves, “Hmmmm, is it worth spending that much money on a pair of socks?” Trust me: It is.

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Baseball News: Opera singer and KC native Joyce DiDonato will be singing the national anthem prior to Game 7 tonight. One of her friends, a writer named William V. Madison, whipped up his concept of a uni-themed opera gown for her to wear. Fun, although I don’t really understand the cricket bat (from Bradley Blunt). … At least one U.S. military veteran says enough already with all the G.I. Joe tributes in MLB and throughout the sports world (thanks, Brinke). … Also from Brinke: Dick’s Sporting Goods mistakenly ran an ad for Royals championship gear yesterday. … “I was watching Little Big League last night and then looked up trivia about the movie on imdb,” says Kurt Esposito. “The trivia included this: ‘In a movie in which the plot revolves around the owner of a baseball team passing away, in this case Jason Robards as Minnesota Twins owner Thomas Heywood, it’s ironic that the film unintentionally features a reference to a real owner who had passed away. During the Twins games against the Texas Rangers (when Billy argues with the umpire), if you look on the sleeve of the Rangers’ gray jerseys, there is a black “HEC” stenciled into the uniform. It’s a reference to H. Eddie Chiles, who passed away shortly after selling the Texas Rangers franchise to an investment group led by Dallas businessman Rusty Rose and future President of the United States, George W. Bush.'”

NFL News: Interesting article on the NFL’s motion-tracking technology (thanks, Phil). … Nike wishes NFL players would stop beating up their wives and girlfriends because it’s bad for the company’s outreach to female customers (Phil again). … Here’s a video report on the Chicago-based company that provides the leather for NFL footballs (from Jamie Uthe). … Oh baby, how awesome is this 1960s Campbell Soup NFL/AFL poster? (Tremendous stuff from Jeff Flynn.) … Also from Jeff: Look at the apparently homemade AFL logo on this old Steelers pennant. “Probably added by kid from 1970 who confused moving to the AFC with joining the AFL,” says Jeff. … Weirdest Pinktober gesture of the month: Paul McCartney wore a pink NFL wristband for his show in Louisville last night (from Brian Davis).

College and High School Football News: Interesting article on the return of the Pitt script helmet logo (thanks, Phil). … Fresno State is doing the flag-desecration thing this weekend (from Jared Buccola). … is conducting a reader poll on the best high school helmets in northeast Ohio (from K.C. Kless). … Louisiana Tech may wear their white helmets again (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: Interesting article about the motivational wristbands some Oregon players are wearing. … Throwback in the works for Texas A&M? Maybe. … Black uniforms this weekend for South Carolina? Probably.

Hockey News: The usual G.I. Joevember warm-up silliness upcoming for the Blue Jackets (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: In what appears to be a first, the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) will be wearing flag-desecration helmets on Nov. 1. Flag-themed jerseys, too. … Cross-dressing alert! Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth wanted an extra layer of protection for his catching hand, so equipment manager David Williams went to the Bills and got him an NFL wide receiver glove (from Steven Laga). … Batman- and Riddler-themed uniforms on tap next month for the Toledo Walleye and Evansville IceMen (thanks, Phil). … Before NHL refs and linesmen wore zerbra stripes, they wore off-white V-neck sweaters. I’ve never seen one of those for sale — until now (from David Firestone). … Also from David: an old dasher board ad from Joe Louis Arena. … Marty Hick recently took his very young daughter, Clara, to Blues training camp, where she had a very sweet encounter with the team’s mascot, Louie. “I’m especially proud of her genuine adoration, and the fact that she wasn’t afraid,” he says. “That and the fact that the mascot’s current sweater completely trumps last year’s model.”

NBA News: Yesterday was Opening Night in the NBA, so the Spurs marked their championship by wearing an O’Brien Trophy patch. That’s just a one-game thing for the first game of the season. … The Pelicans opened the season in their new red alternates. … An article about the Knicks’ switch to Phil Jackson’s triangle offense was accompanied by a photo of this cool-looking triangular-patterned basketball. … NBA replay screens appear to have been dressed up with a new logo (from Chris Perrenot). … “I think someone submitted the NCAA logo Mission Belts to the Ticker while you were away, but apparently they now have NBA designs, too,” says Michael Rich. “I found it interesting that the only NCAA school to have more than one color offering was Oregon. Seemed very appropriate.”

Soccer News: Here’s the logo for the 2018 World Cup (thanks, Brinke). … The Jacksonville Armada FC, which will begin NASL play next year, have unveiled their inaugural uniforms (thanks, Phil).

Grab Bag: “I use dental picks nightly,” says Ed Hughes. “On the left is a normal pack of picks, and on the right is what they look like this month. Come on, November (even though I’ll be sick of camo soon enough).”

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Seventeen years and I still haven’t learned: So here’s a little story: In 1997, my then-girlfriend and I planned an October vacation. Due to my work schedule and hers, it worked out that we’d have to be flying home on the day of Game 7 of the World Series, if the Series went that far. So we had a choice: Fly home in the afternoon and get home in time to watch the game, or enjoy one last full day of vacation and fly home at night, which carried the risk of missing the deciding game. After talking it over, we decided to give ourselves that last full day of vacation. “After all,” we figured, “the Series probably won’t go the full seven games.”

And that’s how I ended up stuck on an airplane during one of the most dramatic Game 7s in history. We didn’t find out who’d won until we landed, got in a cab, and asked the cabbie to turn on the all-news radio station. (This was before smartphones and wifi, obviously.)

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, when I had the chance to buy tickets for what seemed like a very interesting creative project taking place tonight. I was aware that a Game 7 could be taking place, but I really wanted to check out this project. “Besides,” I thought, “the Series probably won’t go the full seven games.”

And that’s how I’ll be missing tonight’s deciding game. Me = dumb-ass. I hope to be home in time to catch the last couple of innings. Sigh.

A Book Worth Getting Excited About


Click to enlarge

I’ve written many times about the seminal graphic designer and illustrator Otis Shepard, who did great artwork for the Cubs, plus he designed several of the Cubbies’ uniforms. He also did lots of non-sports work, most notably for Wrigley. His creative partner for most of this work was his wife, Dorothy Shepard.

I was stoked to learn yesterday that a new coffee table book about the Shepards, called Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream, will be published next week. According to this review, it’s loaded with gorgeous Cubs-related imagery, along with other work from their advertising career. Sounds like a potentially excellent holiday gift. I’ve asked the publisher for a review copy and will give a full report as soon as I’m able.

Meanwhile: New ESPN column today — a belated look at the World Series (which I would have written earlier if not for last week’s vacation). Enjoy.

(Big thanks to former Uni Watch bench coach Bryan Redemske for tipping me wise to the Shepard book.)

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

Leading off once again with a couple of Giants/Royals items ’cause, well, you know. Game Six tonight and all. First up, this swell Pacific Bell Park phone from, I’m gonna guess, 2000 — the year the park opened for biz. I don’t really care either way about most corporate branding, but PacBell Park just sounded good to me — it flowed. Then came SBC Park (ack) and finally AT&T Park. Willie Mays Field would have been the best, but it don’t pay the bills. If you’re a Royals fan, you might be interested in this vintage George Brett table lamp. Wonder if that bat has any you-know-what about the trademark?

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

• Cool-looking 1971 Pat Patriot poster. (Say that five times fast!)

• Here’s a nice-looking framed MLB pin collection from the 1970s-1980s.

• Vikes fans, you’ll love this lot of items from the 1970s — a bank, belt buckle, wallet and more. The same seller also has some Vikes headwear.

• Look at this vintage Twins pin! Simple but awesome.

• Cliff Engle sweater alert! This time the team in question is the Red Wings.

• Here’s something I like a lot: a baseball sitting in a little stadium seat, which is mounted on home plate. This one’s for the Yanks.

• One of the best MLB team logos ever was the Brewers’ ball-in-glove design, and here it is on a gold-trimmed beer stein. Wish they’d go back to this logo full-time.

• Reader Michael Clary submitted a bunch of items this week, including a Pittsburgh Pirates beanie, a 1970s Swingin’ A’s alarm clock, a 1970s Phil Esposito gym bag (no logos on this one), and a Boston Red Sox pencil case. Thank you, Clarybird!

• A collection of 1970s NFL matchbook boxes? Well, they put their logos on everything, so why not. Here’s another matchbook, this one for the Steelers. Always liked helmet depictions without the facemask, which obviously would not have fit here.

• Did I mention that they’ll put a logo on anything? Like, say, a Chargers clothes organizer. (Speaking of the Chargers, you think Ryan Leaf has one of these Beanie baby-type bears in his latest jail cell?)

• NFL mini-helmet buggy alert! Got your Bills, 49ers, and Chargers designs right here. Just bid, baby.

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Click photos to enlarge

Anniversary merch update: The top photos show two Uni Watch 15th-anniversary stickers that reader Alex Allen has slapped on some file cabinets at his job. The lower photo shows a Uni Watch 15th-anniversary patch that a reader who prefers to remain anonymous has hand-sewn onto a green-pinstriped baseball jersey. Nice!

Do you have photos showing showing what you’ve done with the anniversary merch? Send ’em this-a-way. And if you haven’t already ordered your own merch, here’s where you can score a patch or some stickers.

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Outtakes reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I’ve written an interesting and entertaining article (or so I’d like to think) about things that have been removed from other things. Check it out here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker

By Garrett McGrath

Baseball News: The Astros might get rid of that berm in center field for 2016. … The San Diego State baseball team held its annual Halloween costume game on Sunday. … “I’m getting into arguments with people about the way Hunter Pence wears his pants,” says Scott Unes. “A lot of people out there seem to believe his above-the-knee style somehow harkens back to the way players wore their pants in the old days. I believe that nobody ever wore their pants that high, except maybe Elizabethans (imagine Shakespeare, with a neck ruff, wearing those poofy pants that sit above the knees, over tights, and you get the image that pops into my head every time I see Pence step up to bat). Am I correct? I’ve viewed a lot of old baseball pictures, but never remember any era where the pants were pulled up to expose the entire, sock-covered knee.” … “I was looking at the new CFL caps from New Era cap company, and on their site is a section in the sidebar entitled, Heritage,” says Leo Strawn, Jr. “After clicking that tab, you ‘click to begin’ and the site brings up a page with a timeline. If you move the slider bar over to 1930, there are three items, one of which is an old Tribe cap. The company states: ‘The first New Era® professional baseball cap was produced in 1934 for the Cleveland Indians® home and away uniforms.’ By clicking on that 1934 (home) cap (which looks like this), the following can be read: ‘There was no such thing as exclusive licensing back then, so each year various companies would compete for the teams’ business, as well as for minor leagues and local league teams – which made up the bulk of the industry back in the pre-souvenir cap days.’ I thought that was a pretty interesting look at how teams got their uniforms prior to the big contract and merchandising days.” … When Bill Clinton threw out the first pitch at Jacobs Field on Opening Day in 1994, he was wearing a cap with a “C,” not a Wahoo cap. It wasn’t the Indians’ current block-C, either. Anyone know more? (From Jameson Stonington.)

NFL News: According to someone on Reddit who may or may not be a reliable source, the Broncos have asked Nike for orange pants for next season (from Jason Greening). … From yesterday’s comments: Paul pointed out how William Gay wore purple cleats. According to teammate Ike Taylor, it was to raise awareness for domestic violence (from Sam Jasinski). … A dedicated New York Giants fan built an awesome replica of the team’s old stadium — and it only cost $20,000 (thanks Brinke). … CBS ran a Thursday Night Football advertisement during Sunday’s games that used the old Carolina Panthers wordmark (from Tom Konecny). … In more Panthers news, they celebrated their 21st birthday on Twitter with a photograph of Jerry Richardson and Paul Tagliabue posing with a prototype jersey (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Yesterday, we shared that with the Lions/Falcons game taking place in London, Fox’s graphics team took the unusual step of creating soccer-style logos for each team. Turns out Fox they licensed the logos from Football as Football (from Jeffrey Sak). … Here’s another look at that weird Patriots prototype helmet that’s on display at Arrowhead Stadium (from Kevin Ackley).

College Football News: Georgia and Florida will be going color vs. color on Saturday. The last time both teams wore home uniforms against each other was in 1968 (thanks, Phil). … Arizona State fans decided on black/maroon/black for Saturday’s game versus Utah — the first time the team has worn that combo. … Here’s an article about a collection of historical items from Jack Trice’s teammate Ira Young (from Joshua Kagavi). … Cool history story: Fritz Crisler might have gotten the idea for using distinct offensive and defensive units — instead of using the same 11 guys on both sides of the ball for 60 minutes — from F. Scott Fitzgerald. A great colorized photo accompanies that article (from Bobby Pinkham). … “During the South Carolina/Auburn game this past weekend, some blue yard line and yard marker graphics appeared on the field and then disappeared,” says Gary Brackle. Anyone know what that would be for?

Hockey News: Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins is happy with their new third jersey because it replaces the blue jerseys that were bad luck for him. While wearing them he had a concussion and broke his jaw (thanks, Phil). … Junior hockey team the Plymouth Whalers dyed their ice pink (from J. Cristiano). … Yesterday, Paul posted about Scott Darling’s striped pads. Reader Kasey Ignarski points out that Darling’s mask includes logos for the Cubs, Bulls, and Bears.

Soccer News: All from Yusuke Toyoda: Chelsea’s Oscar is wearing pink shoes with his wife’s nickname stitched on the side. … “A couple of half/half jerseys on display in England this weekend, at Liverpool vs Hull and Manchester United vs Chelsea. Both were as popular with the Twitterati as you’d expect.” … An English man named Chris Smith makes Lego models of soccer stadiums.

Pro and College Basketball News: The Cleveland Cavaliers’ new video board at their arena is the largest HD scoreboard in any area in the country (thanks, Phil). … The 76ers will have 3D court-projection technology and they showed it last night in a demonstration (from Kurt Esposito). … Saint Joseph’s will honor Dr. Jack Ramsay this season with a memorial patch.

Grab Bag: New York’s tourism bureau has produced a series of retro-styled posters aimed at getting locals to explore different neighborhoods in their own city (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Good article from a breast cancer survivor who’s had enough of Pinktober (from Tom Currie). … “I saw this bedazzled Pittsburgh sports hybrid logo on a recent trip to the Burgh,” says Gordon Blau. Now I know what I’m getting my cousin for Christmas.

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What Paul did last night: Saw the new flick Birdman last night and really liked it. It’s not perfect by any means (biggest flaw: It’s a total testosterone-fest, with the male characters all pretty well fleshed out while the female ones are barely developed enough to qualify as two-dimensional), but it’s a hell of a ride with several terrific performances, along with a very enjoyable technical gimmick.

As you’ve probably heard, Birdman is about a washed-up Hollywood actor who’s trying to revive his career by directing and starring in a Broadway play, and it’s really interesting to see the levels of acting that take place within the film — the difference between movie acting and stage acting. That’s one of many good meta-layers within this film, which is definitely worth seeing.

Monday Morning Uni Watch

Heya — I’m back. Got home from Wisconsin on Saturday. It was a great, great trip (which I’ll have more to say about in a day or two), but it’s good to be home and I’m happy to be back in the saddle for Monday Morning Uni Watch. So without further ado:

• The Jets wore mono-green and, stealing a page from a recent TCU game, worked the uni into their game plan: While setting up for a kickoff return, the Jets “hid” an extra return man in the end zone by having him lie down in the grass, hoping the other team wouldn’t notice (green grass + green uni = invisibility, or at least that was the idea). But these are the Jets we’re talking about, so of course the trick play failed miserably.

• The Steelers wore their bumblebee throwbacks. I watched most of this game, and the Pittsburgh players looked great — except for cornerback William Gay, who for some reason wore purple shoes. Even if you don’t hate purple as much as I do, I hope we can all agree that that’s not a good look.

• Speaking of the Steelers: No photo, but Ben Roethlisberger tried a pooch punt yesterday (it was blocked) and I was surprised to see that he used his left leg. I went looking for additional examples and found that, sure enough, he punts left-footed — even though he passes right-handed. I wonder how rare that is.

• For the first time all season, the Titans wore a non-white jersey.

• Disturbing sight in Foxboro, as several Patriots players were wearing swoosh-emblazoned socks. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen that in an NFL game. Grrrrrrrr.

• The Seahawks wore mono-gray. Still looks like just a dirty version of the white uni to me. They’re 4-0 lifetime in that uni combo.

• With the Lions/Falcons game taking place in London, Fox’s graphics team took the unusual step of creating soccer-style logos for each team. (More puzzlingly, Fox also ran a graphic in the first quarter indicating that the Bears needed a touchdown to win.)

• Another soccer-related touch at the Lions/Falcons game: team scarves.

• The Saints wore mono-black.

• Only one team wore white at home yesterday: the Bucs.

• From what I saw, there was little if any Pinktober gear yesterday. With only two more games left this month (tonight and Thursday night), we’re almost done with this accursed annual ritual — and almost ready to start G.I. Joevember. Sigh.

(My thanks to Kyle Hanks, Mikhail Herrera, Yusuke Toyoda, and Scot Tsechrintzis for their contributions.)

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“Are you ready to get Duffed?” One of the oddities of this year’s World Series is that both teams have a Duffy on the roster — infielder Matt Duffy for the Giants and pitcher Danny Duffy for the Royals. Not surprisingly, both of them have been nicknamed Duffman, which has led to some fun moments.

Matt Duffy, despite having made his MLB debut less than three months ago, already has Duffman bat knob decals. And when the Royals were in the process of being blown out by the Giants in Game 4 of the Series, the call went out for KC’s version of Duffman.

And as long as we’re talking about the World Series, here’s an additional note: One of Fox’s cameramen last night was wearing 2007 World Series sweatshirt. (My thanks to Phil for that last tidbit.)

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New project! What you see above, clockwise from top left, is some lacquer chip from an audio mastering plant, a handful of sawdust, and a well-used sheet of Ko-Rec-Type. All of them are examples of what I’ve decided to call outtakes — things that are removed from other things, or that document the removal of something from something else, and provide some element of transformation and/or surprise along the way. I’ve written an initial outtakes manifesto for the design website re:Form, and I’m pretty happy with it — I’d be much obliged if you’d take a look.

I feel like the concept of outtakes has lots of potential for additional exploration — maybe a follow-up article, maybe a blog, maybe a book. If you like the initial re:Form piece and have some thoughts or suggestions regarding outtakes, I’m all ears. Thanks.

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Sticker update: I came home from vacation on Saturday to find a bunch of Uni Watch 15th-anniversary sticker orders that had piled up while I was away. Those stickers will all mail out today. If you want to order your own stickers, look here. And remember, 15th-anniversary embroidered patches are available here.

Speaking of the stickers and patches, what are you folks doing with them? I’d love to see where you’re sticking/sewing them. Send photos!

PermaRec update: I recently conducted an interview with Nick Yablon, who’s an expert on the subject of time capsules. Really interesting stuff! Check it out here.

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Baseball News: Really good look at the history of catcher’s mask design (from Gordon Blau) … Three Mets players visited a Tottenham Hotspur soccer match and were given Hotspur jerseys. … When Nolan Ryan played for the Mets early in his career, he wore No. 30. But here’s a rare shot of him wearing No. 34 (and with a small tear in his undershirt, tsk-tsk).

NFL News: Whoa, check out this crazy Patriots helmet design! Greg Riffenbugh says it’s on display at Arrowhead Stadium in KC. Nobody has ever sent me a photo of that before. Anyone know more? … Here’s a weird one: Everything in this Houston Chronicle photo of Texans LB Brian Cushing is flopped (i.e., reversed, mirror image, etc.) except for his uni number. Wha..? (From Michael Stewart.) … While vacationing in Wisconsin last week, I stopped in a shop that had this Cardinals helmet whose logo was studded with little LED lights. Never seen that before. … Christopher LaHaye was at a friend’s house and saw a Superdome-shaped bottle of Jim Beam. … What’s worse than dressing up as Ray Rice for Halloween, as a “joke”? Doing the same in blackface.

College and High School Football News: Here’s the latest on the Arizona State face-painting controversy (from Patrick O’Neill). … The Nazareth Academy Roadrunners, a high school team from Illinois, use a “Family” NOB (from Sydney Stancik).

Hockey News: Awesome news out of Chicago, where the Blackhawks recently called up goalie Scott Darling, who made his NHL debut last night. Why is this notable? Because Darling is the guy who wears the team’s sock stripes on his leg pads. Would love to see more goalies do this (thanks, Phil).

NBA News: The Hornets will retire Bobby Phills’s number this Saturday. This will mark the second time Phills has had his number retired by the Hornets — first by the original Hornets, who later moved to New Orleans, and now by the newly renamed Bobcats-turned-Hornets (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s debut with the Bulls. If you choose to view Jordan’s legacy in terms of his impact on sneakers, merchandising, branding, and so on, there’s a new book on Jordan that includes a lot of quotes about that stuff.

College Hoops News: Who’s that in the 1979-80 Sinclair Tartans hoops uni? None other than future world heavyweight champ Buster Douglas! “My father, Kevin O’Neill, coached Sinclair from 1968-1980,” says Patrick O’Neill (aka Mainspark). “You can see him at far left in this 1968 team portrait, when the team was still called the Satans. As for Buster Douglas, I was the statistician for that 1979 team and became good friends with him. As this article indicates, he was a down-to-earth guy.” Here’s another photo of Douglas, this time with Patrick’s dad.

Soccer News: A Danish entrepreneur is hoping to reduce girls’ concussions with a smaller soccer ball. … Christie Rampone celebrated her 300th game with the U.S. national team with a No. 300 jersey (from Yusuke Toyoda).

Grab Bag: Lots of spectacular vintage cycling attire on display in this slideshow. Highly recommended (big thanks to August Ventura). … Worst Pinktober move yet: two Bentleys and a Lamborghini rendered in you-know-what. “They remind me of giant bottles of Pepto-Bismol,” says Andrew Hoenig. … In a related item, “I’m sick of the Pinktober bullshit but I do have to admit that Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s gloves look cool in pink,” says David Firestone. … Love these old 1911 lacrosse photos from Hanlan’s Point in Toronto. Check out the roller coaster in the background! (From Will Scheibler.) … Happy birthday to our own Scott M.X. Turner, who designed the Uni Watch logo, the 15th-anniversary logo and all of our membership cards. Have a good one, Scott!

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On a personal note: I am super-duper-fortunate to have such a great team working with me. Über-thanks to Garrett, Mike, John, and, especially, Phil for keeping the site running smoothly while I was sampling the pleasures of America’s Dairyland. You’re all aces.