Next season’s NBA All-Star Game is being played in Toronto, and yesterday the league released the logo set for the game. The primary logo featuring Toronto’s CN Tower rendered in Raptors colors, is nice enough. And the secondary logo, showing a toque, is sensational — nicely done. The logo with the maple leaf will presumably be worn on the jerseys, above the NOB.
According to this press release, “NBA All-Star 2016 will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the birth of basketball. Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian, invented the game in 1891, beginning the nation’s rich history with the sport. Toronto also hosted the first game in NBA history on Nov. 1, 1946, at Maple Leaf Gardens.” So will the game feature Naismith-era throwback uniforms and peach baskets? Probably not, but we can hope.
One thing about the logos: The word “Game” never appears. Similarly, as you can see in that press release quote from the last paragraph, the league is officially referring to the event as “NBA All-Star 2016.” This is standard practice for the NBA, whose employees are in the habit of saying jargon-y things like, “Are you going to All-Star?” and “I can’t wait for All-Star!” Okay, so the game is really just an excuse for a three-day marketing extravaganza, I get it. But the game is the whole reason the extravaganza is happening in the first place — would it kill them to include the word “Game” in the logo, as MLB and the NHL do?
Speaking of the NBA: With the Warriors having beaten the Rockets for the Western Conference championship and advanced to the NBA Finals last night, we now have our title match-up: Golden State vs. Cleveland. That’s a particularly intriguing pair of teams, because over the years they’ve worn some of the best and worst uniforms in NBA history. I’ll be exploring the uni-related aspects of the Finals pairing in a new ESPN column
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today — link coming soon. tomorrow.
T-Shirt Club update: I recently indicated that the July design for the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club would have an Independence Day theme. That prompted a note from reader Mike O’Connor, who happens to be from Canada:
I was wondering if there had been any thoughts about also doing a shirt to celebrate Canada Day, which is on July 1. I suspect most of your readers are American, and I have no idea how many orders you’ve been getting from Canada (between the shipping rates to Canada and the exchange rate, it becomes almost a $50 T-shirt). But if the numbers warrant it, and if there is time to design it, I respectfully request a Canadian design option for July. This would allow for both our national holidays to be celebrated, and for the excellent work of Uni Watch to be spread.
This is an excellent idea (one that, I confess, hadn’t occurred to me), especially since the Blue Jays always do a Canada Day jersey. So I conferred with my Teespring designer, Bryan Molloy, who liked the idea as well. Here’s what we came up with (click to enlarge):
Nice, right? But before you get all excited, here are a few reality checks:
• We’ll add this shirt as a July option if there’s enough demand for it. As it stands now, we’ve only been getting about eight international orders per month (not so surprising, given the financial issues Mike mentioned in his note to me), which frankly isn’t enough to justify doing this design. But hey, maybe a bunch of you north-of-the-border readers would be willing to shell out for Canada Day.
• Even if, say, 25 or 30 of you want this shirt, it’s still likely to be pretty pricey. Part of that is due to the sleeve patch, which adds a ridiculous amount to the cost of each T-Shirt Club design because it’s in an atypical spot. I considered not including the patch on this design, but then it would be another case of you Canadians getting the short end of the stick, which I know is a cultural sore point for many of you. And besides, it’s not an official T-Shirt Club shirt unless it has the official T-Shirt Club sleeve patch! Gotta stay true to the program, I say.
• Okay, would you be interested in this shirt? If so, please tell me now. We’ll decide how to proceed based on the responses.
(If we do go ahead with this shirt, people on the “Collect ’Em All” program will be able to maintain their eligibility by purchasing either the Independence Day design or the Canada Day design. You will not have to purchase both.)
As for the Independence Day design, I’ll show that to you tomorrow.
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Phone case reminder: The official Uni Watch smart phone case, featuring a nifty stirrup-based design created by reader Matt Beahan, is available for six more days. You know what to do.
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By Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: The Dodgers traded Juan Uribe to the Braves, and he made his debut with them last night. Unfortunately, the “I” on his BP jersey’s NOB fell off, and here’s how it was remedied. … In a related item, the Dodgers announced that they’ll go ahead with their scheduled Uribe bobblehead giveaway, even though he’s no longer with the team. … Also: Looks like Uribe is still using bats with the Dodgers knob decal (from Robert Montenegro). … The Gary SouthShore RailCats will wear Back to the Future jerseys on June 13 (from Phil). … Douglas Ford found Braves-branded lotion and lip balm at a gas station in Atlanta. … Jeffrey Sak found a good shot of Al Kaline wearing a script Tigers jersey (which Detroit wore in 1960) with a flocked logoless helmet. And while not uni-related, I liked this story about how Tigers OF Willie Horton saved Kaline’s life in 1970. … The Clearwater Threshers are wearing centennial patches in honor of the city. The Phillies wore the same patches in spring training (from Steve in Florida). … The Bridgeport Bluefish have a sharp yet unconventional stirrups and sannies color combo (from Mark Wolven). … The Lakewood BlueClaws will wear Boy Scout jerseys and Christmas sweater tops next month. … Speaking of the minors, the Kalamazoo Growlers have a few themed nights planned for the next two months, including “Release the Kraken” jerseys on June 20 (from Brian Beebe). … A few readers sent in this shot of the 1908 St. Louis Cardinals in very nice buttoned warm-up sweater. … Here’s a compilation of the best baseball throwbacks from Mitchell & Ness. Also, Nike is selling vintage-styled jackets (both from Phil). … Indians players shaved their heads to support Mike Aviles’s daughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia. … Reading Phillies P Zach Eflin writes messages on the inside of his cap (from Pat Costello). … Even the umps wear period-appropriate garb at the Rickwood Classic, which this year celebrates the 1948 season. Paul will have more Rickwood photos tomorrow. … The Bowling Green Hot Rods will wear throwbacks on Friday (from Eric Leach). … The Kearney (Nebraska) Runza Legion team uses Rice’s Olde English “R” logo (from Jason Johnson). … Check out Nats OF Bryce Harper’s old-school wristband (from Brad May). … Braves P Jason Grilli was wearing the Mother’s Day ribbon and a very beat-up belt last night.
NFL News: A few people sent this in: Grantland explored the NFL’s relationship with the military. … Calvin Johnson’s new training shoes have a peach on the back of them in honor of his home state (from Phil). … “Former football teammate Mike England received this ‘small’ 3×5 postcard sent to our track coach Dick Small at Defiance College in Ohio (a NAIA Division III program) inviting the Yellow Jacket stand-out to a tryout with the then Houston Oilers way back on March 4, 1974,” says Gary Brackle. “The invitation was for March 23, and reminded Mike to ‘report to Memphis Memorial Stadium on March 23rd at 8 a.m. with your own shoes, workout togs (sweat cloths, shorts, etc.).’ My how we have come such a long way since then.” … Ravens safety Will Hill is adding a suffix to his NOB (from Stephen Murphy). … New Jets coach Todd Bowles has been wearing some retro Jets logos on his caps at recent press conferences. I’ve always liked the 1980s-90s Jets wordmark (from Jay Braiman).
College Football News: Colorado State will do an orange-out on Sept. 5. … Here’s an NFL.com writer’s picks for the top 15 college football mascots (from Andrew Cosentino).
Soccer News: New home shirts for Wolfsburg (from Ed Żelaski). … I’m not a soccer guy, nor do I watch ESPN all day, so I’m out of the loop on whatever is going on with FIFA right now. Apparently, though, Nike is involved in this FIFA mess. Further info here (from DC Reiser and George Chilvers). … Amber Brooks, who plays for the Seattle Reign, has a new set of shinguards featuring photos of her loved ones (from James Gilbert).
NBA News: The carpet pattern at the Portland International Airport is pretty popular. It has its own Facebook page, Twitter handle and online shop. Blazers PG Damian Lillard’s new shoes have the pattern on them, too. To promote the sneakers, Lillard tweeted a rough photoshop of a PDX carpet-patterned Blazers jersey. Graphic designer Conrad Burry went one better and mocked up a full PDX Blazers jersey (thanks, Kristina Cruz). … While I was aware that NBA players like Stephon Marbury and Al Harrington marketed affordable basketball shoes to kids in the 2000s, I didn’t know Hakeem Olajuwon did the same thing in the mid-1990s. … With the Finals match-up now set, Conrad Burry has updated his beautiful circular NBA playoff bracket.
Grab Bag: Logo creep has expanded to the 3D-printed titanium jaw on an injured turtle. “I’m on the fence about this one but am leaning toward being okay with it,” says David Greengard. “The turtle gets a second chance and the company get a bit of advertising, albeit on his jaw.” … A Houston radio duo counted down the worst unis in sports (from Phil). … Not sure if we’ve had this already, but new camo pattern for the Army in July (from Emily Bennett). … Check out the style guides for Nike, Apple, Bing, Four Square and others (from Brinke). … As Phil points out, these New Era blank caps ain’t exactly blank. … Here’s how the Indy 500 logo for the 100th race, being run next May, was developed (from Tim Dunn). … Stanford’s women’s golf team wears numbers on their shirts. Neither Drew Mastin nor I have seen that before.
Back in 2012, I posted a series of entries in which I tried to nail down the specifics on the nickNOBs worn by the 1976 Braves, which had been the subject of a lot of misinformation and poor documentation over the years. You can see those three entries here, here, and here.
Now I have some new info on the Braves’ nickNOBs, beginning with this photo of catcher Vic Correll, which was recently sent my way by reader Tony Cocchi:
Correll’s “Bird Dog” nickNOB had already been mentioned in several articles and confirmed to me by former Braves PR man Bob Hope, but this is the first photographic confirmation of it that we’ve seen. It’s only the sixth Braves nickNOB that we’ve documented with a photo — still a pathetically low total given that the entire team supposedly wore the nickNOBs.
Tony Cocchi, who sent me this newly discovered “Bird Dog” photo, is a serious uniform collector and historian. (You may remember his name from this 2013 post about MLB prototypes.) He’s also based in Atlanta and says he remembers several other Braves nickNOBs from 1976 that hadn’t been listed or mentioned in my previous entries on this topic, and that he double-checked his recollections with a Braves beat writer. I ran his recollections past Hope, who wasn’t sure about most of them but confirmed one of them — Dick Ruthven wearing “Rufus.” As it happens, I recently met Ruthven’s niece, so I asked her to put me in touch with Ruthven, which she did. His response: “I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t remember. But if I had something weird on my back, that would have been it.” So I think we can call that one confirmed.
Cocchi is a generally reliable source who cares about historical accuracy, so I’ve updated my master list of Braves nickNOBs with the new info he’s sent my way, with the proviso that his non-Ruthven recollections are, for now, unconfirmed:
|Buzz Capra||Buzz||Historian Tony Cocchi||Unconfirmed
|Darrel Chaney||Nort||Memories and Dreams article; Sporting News clipping from 5/29/76||Confirmed
|Vic Correll||Bird Dog||Mentioned in several articles and shown in this photo||Confirmed
|Bruce Dal Canton||Prof||NickNOB is mentioned in SI article, but corresponding player is not; Dal Canton is linked to this nickNOB in the Memories and Dreams article; several other internet lists and articles mention this one, although it's not clear how many of them are simply cribbing from each other.||Confirmed by Braves former PR man Bob Hope.
|Terry Crowley||Crow||Historian Tony Cocchi||Unconfirmed
|Adrian Devine||Bing||Uni Watch reader Mark Haarmann's recollection, as posted in this comment||Confirmed by former Braves PR man Bob Hope.
|Darrell Evans||Howdy||This photo||Confirmed
|Ralph Garr||Roadrunner||My 2004 ESPN column; Rob Neyer's 2003 book Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baesball Lineups, page 253.||Completely bogus -- Garr didn't even play for the Braves in 1976. Embarrassing that I ever wrote that.
|Cito Gaston||Cito||Historian Tony Cocchi||Unconfirmed
|Lee Lacy||Lace||St. Petersburg Times article||The St. Pete Times piece was published while the Braves were still wearing the nickNOBs (not after the fact), so I'm inclined to view it as accurate. Historian Tony Cocchi also remembers this one. Probably legit.
|Dave May ||Chopper||Sporting News item from 5/29/76; also mentioned in the book A Stitch in Time: A Baseball Chronology, by Gene Elston, page 63||Confirmed
|Andy Messersmith||Channel||This photo||Confirmed
|Andy Messersmith||Bluto||Mentioned in SI article||Confirmed
|Willie Montañez||Hot Dog||Historian Tony Cocchi||Unconfirmed
|Roger Moret||Gallo||NickNOB is mentioned in SI article, but corresponding player is not; Gallo is linked to this nickNOB in the Memories and Dreams article and also in the Sporting News item from 5/29/76.||Confirmed by former Braves PR man Bob Hope.
|Carl Morton||Mo||"Mo" nickNOB is mentioned in SI article but corresponding player is not.||Former Braves PR director Bob Hope and historian Tony Cocchi both indicate that Morton was the player who wore "Mo." Probably legit.
|Phil Niekro||Knucksie||Memories and Dreams article; this Mitchell & Ness reproduction; Ted Turner's autobiography||Confirmed by former Braves PR man Bob Hope.
|Rowland Office||Row||This photo||Confirmed
|Tom Paciorek||Wimpy||NickNOB is mentioned in SI article, but corresponding player is not; Paciorek is linked to this nickNOB in the Memories and Dreams article and the St. Petersburg Times article.||SI is reputable, so this nickNOB was clearly worn by someone, and multiple sources indicate that Paciorek's nickname was Wimpy. Confirmed.
|Marty Perez||Taco||St. Petersburg Times article||Confirmed by former Braves PR man Bob Hope.
|Biff Pocoroba||Poco||St. Petersburg Times article||The St. Pete Times piece was published while the Braves were still wearing the nickNOBs (not after the fact), so I'm inclined to view it as accurate. Historian Tony Cocchi also remembers this one. Probably legit.
|Jerry Royster||J.Bird||This photo and this photo||Confirmed
|Jerry Royster||Rooster||Memories and Dreams article||Bogus. Refuted by Jerry Royster himself, and also by former Braves PR man Bob Hope.
|Dick Ruthven||Rufus||Historian Tony Cocchi||Confirmed by former Braves PR man Bob Hope. Ruthven himself told me, "I don’t remember. But if I had something weird on my back, that would have been it."
|Elias Sosa||Sos||Historian Tony Cocchi||Unconfirmed
|Earl Williams||Heavy||NickNOB is mentioned in SI article, but corresponding player is not; Williams is linked to this nickNOB in the Memories and Dreams article; several other internet lists and articles mention this one, although it's not clear how many of them are simply cribbing from each other. ||Confirmed by former Braves PR man Bob Hope.
|Jimmy Wynn||Cannon||This photo||Confirmed
I can’t believe there aren’t more photos of this phenomenon, but I’ve checked through the online archives of all the major wire services — no dice. No video of the ’76 Braves on YouTube, either. Dang.
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Phone case reminder: The official Uni Watch smart phone case, featuring a nifty stirrup-based design created by reader Matt Beahan, is available for one more week.
Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who bought the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s June/BFBS design, orders for which are now closed. I’ll have news on the following month’s design soon — possibly tomorrow.
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NYT reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, I wrote a piece for The New York Times about a bunch of fourth graders who’ve been finding a bunch of really interesting artifacts under the floorboards of their classroom’s closet. This story has been a crowd-pleaser — lots of very positive response. I think you’ll like.
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Baseball News: A century-old former synagogue in Indiana has been repurposed as the souvenir shop for the South Bend Cubs. … Here’s a chronology of the Giants’ Memorial Day uniforms over the years (blame Phil). … Dodgers backstop A.J. Ellis talks about his catcher’s gear, among other things, in this interview (from Tommy Turner). … Oh great, now even baseball gloves — like, fielder’s gloves — are going G.I. Joke (from Dustin Semore). … Spider-Man jerseys this Saturday for the Gwinnett Braves (from Joel Mendelson). … The Orioles will be giving away this Buck Showalter gnome on June 27 (from Andrew Cosentino). … Someone at last night’s Mets/Phils game had a Mets Phanatic doll. “There is so much wrong and so much blasphemism in this, I cannot even start,” says Max, who didn’t give his last name. … Sean Marenkovic was at last night’s Indians/Rangers game and spotted three guys wearing Expos jerseys. … You’ve heard of the Toledo Mud Hens? There’s now a team called the Oregon City Mud Turtles, and I kinda like their new logo (from Jared Gillingham).
Pro Football News: The Browns’ visor tabs have featured Brownie the Elf in recent years, but the tabs in rookie camp have been blank. I asked a team spokesman if that’s a permanent change or just a rookie camp thing, and he said a final decision on this year’s visor tab styles hasn’t yet been made (good spot by Justin Pietrasz). … I say over and over again that I think overpriced polyester shirts are a waste of time and that the uni-verse would be better off if they weren’t available for sale. So then what happens? The Steelers use my recent Uni Watch Power Rankings to sell overpriced polyester shirts. Sigh (from Terry Haines). … Nice action shot of 49ers QB Y.A. Tittle with a Lucite facemask (from Ronnie Poore). … Gene Sanny has spent the past 10 months creating what he believes to be the most detailed set of WFL electric football teams in existence. You can click on the thumbnails on that page to see full-size versions. Impressive stuff! … Speaking of electric football, there’s a CFL version.
College Football News: The College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta has an exhibit on alternate helmets (from James Gilbert). … A little odd that a piece on 15 classic college football uniform elements would run on NFL.com, but hey, ya take it where ya can find it, right? (Thanks, Phil.) … New matte helmet for UND. … New 125th-anniversary patch for Colgate (from Ryan Dowgin).
NBA News: Here’s a quiz where you have to identify the faceless NBA player by his uniform and number (thanks, Mike). … As several readers pointed out, the Hawks wore four different uniforms while getting swept by the Cavs.
Soccer News: Here’s an oral history of MLS’s first season. “It includes a great photo of the all team unis at an introductory event, as well as info on the development of the uniforms and logos,” says Brian Mazmanian. … Here’s a gallery of unusual soccer uniforms (from DTE). … New kit for Watford (from John Muir). … Here’s our first look at the NOB/number typeface for the new Barcelona kit. … Here’s the L.A. Galaxy’s latest scarf of the match (thanks, Phil).
Grab Bag: Big congrats to longtime Uni Watch reader/pal Joe Hilseberg, who recently became the proud papa of twin girls — Grace and Oliva HIlseberg. My best wishes to the entire clan. … An Ohio high school is spending $25,000 to have its inconsistent logos standardized (from Kevin Mueller). … Emirates Airlines is launching a line of cabin crew and pilot uniforms for kids. … New indigenous-round guernseys for all 18 Aussie football teams. … “Sunday’s NCAA D-III men’s lacrosse final between Tufts and Lynchburg was a bit odd,” says Scott Jamison. “Not sure whether it was due to Lynchburg being from a hot-weather climate, or them having an old-school coach who eschews glitz, or some of both, but their game jerseys were mesh and adorned only with the letter L. Not even a manufacturer’s mark. Looked kinda scrimmage-y.” … David Firestone has noticed a quirk regarding funny car design. … A street vendor in India is selling Adolph Hitler-branded ice cream cones (thanks, Mike). … Really good article on Waffle House architecture (thanks, Brinke). … Lindsay Resnick was at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham and spotted a car that looks like it would be perfect as the official Uni Watch car. … Love these shots of a young David Letterman in a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey (from James Gilbert).
[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Curtis Black, who’s going to be volunteering at the U.S. Open golf tournament next month at Chambers Bay in Tacoma, Washington. Enjoy. — PL]
By Curtis Black
I took my first swing at helping out for community events when I volunteered for the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay. They made me a Marshall — whenever a golfer was approaching the ball, it was my job to raise my arms and signal the crowd to be quiet. Then I volunteered for a Seahawks championship parade through downtown Seattle in February of 2014. My job was to create space for vehicles to drive through. My reward was a poorly produced neon green hat that said, “Seahawks Super Bowl Parade.”
Now I have been assigned to the Caddy Shack at the 2015 U.S. Open. We’re expected to work for four shifts but I plan to do five. My uniform set, which cost about $150, includes two polo shirts, one hat (I chose a bucket hat over the visor or baseball cap options), one jacket, and one water bottle, plus I’ll also get free parking and access to the tournament. The apparel quality is much better than what I wore for the 2010 U.S. Amateur, which may simply be a reflection of this being a major PGA tournament.
Here’s a look at the gear [for all of these images, you can click to enlarge]:
Some of you are probably wondering why volunteers have to pay for their clothing when the tournament’s prize pool is over $9 million. It’s a fair question. The NFL, FIFA, and the Olympics all have this same policy for their marquee events. When I looked at the cost of parking and the cost of tickets, I decided that the $150 and my time as a volunteer was a fair trade for the access I’d be getting. For me, this is a rare opportunity to be a very small part of U.S. Open. I take pride in my community and am looking forward to being an ambassador for the region.
Paul here. Thanks for the photos and commentary, Curtis.
I think it’s worth noting that while Curtis has provided a good explanation for why he thinks paying the $150 is worth it to him, that’s not the same as saying it’s right or proper for the USGA to be levying a fee on volunteers. Seems to me that they’re leveraging and exploiting Curtis’s civic pride, betting (correctly) that he’ll be willing to pay for the “privilege” of volunteering. I bet they’d charge even more if they thought they could get away with it. Tom Sawyer would be proud.
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Research query: The Golden State Warriors of the NBA use a state nickname as their geographic locator (California’s official nickname is the Golden State). Has any other pro team ever used a state nickname as part of its name? I can’t think of any, but I’m worried that I might be missing one. Am I?
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Uni Watch turns sweet 16: It was 16 years ago today — May 26, 1999 — that the following column appeared in the sports section of The Village Voice (click to enlarge):
That was Uni Watch’s very first appearance. At the time, I thought of it as just another media project and certainly couldn’t imagine that it would still be going strong 16 years later. (This website, which was designed to supplement my ESPN work, didn’t debut until 2006.)
With the project now turning 16, Uni Watch’s 15th-anniversary season has come to a close. My thanks to everyone who’s helped us get this far.
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Click to enlarge
By Brinke Guthrie
This early-1970s Miami Dolphins bulletin board from Sears was a basic template for teaching me how to draw NFL players back in the day. The repeating wordmark was a trademark of 1970s NFL graphics, and I definitely took notice. Now, let’s see what else we have this week….
• I seriously recommend that you take a look at this 1976 NFL Media Information Book. I got one of these every year back then — totally cool.
• Kind of a different look to the Chicago Blackhawks logo on this 1969 pin.
• Showcased in this promo booklet: the favorite products of your 1967 Minnesota Vikings. Why, they won the Golden Helmet Award!
• Look at the artwork on the cover of this 1976 Bills/Steelers PRO!gram. Boy, I could not WAIT to get my copy of PRO! when I went through the gates at Riverfront to see the Bengals.
• If you were the MLB Player of the Week in the 1970s, you got this watch. Oh boy!
• Only one word can describe this cardboard poster for the NFL pro championship game: quaint. Hear it over NBC!
• Wonder if Roger Goodell would sport one of these 1970s “Patriots Country” stickers on his bumper?
• Here is a set of Phil and Phillis pennants from the 1970s. Why do these characters remind me of “South Park?”
• Check out this early-1960s kids’ Cowboys helmet from MacGregor, still sporting a “Ford PPK Winner” sticker!
• Were the Pirates dressed in Christmas colors in the 1960s, as shown on this Bat Boy Bank?
Like the old-time vibe on this 1960s Chicago Bears water transfer decal.
Follow Brinke on Twitter: @brinkeguthrie
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Treasure hunting: What you see above is a piece of an old Gabby Street baseball card. It’s one of dozens of artifacts — old candy wrappers, buffalo nickels, ancient ticket stubs, Red Cross service pins, and more — that a bunch of Manhattan fourth graders have been finding under the floorboards of their classroom closet. It’s an amazing little project, and I’ve written an article about it for today’s New York Times. Check it out — I think you’ll like.
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LAST CALL for this month’s T-Shirt Club design: Today is the final day to order the June offering from the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club — the BFBS design. It’s available here until 11pm Eastern tonight. (Yesterday would normally have been the last day, but we extended the deadline by 24 hours because of the Memorial Day holiday.)
Here’s another look at the design, just in case anyone needs a reminder (click to enlarge):
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Baseball News: I see no reason to recap yesterady’s MLB G.I. Joke shenanigans. If you saw it, you know how bad it looked; if you didn’t see it, well, you still know how bad it looked. Either way, as I’m sure everyone knows by now, I’m opposed to this nonsense both aesthetically and socio-politically. And I’m not the only one (from Ragnar Danneskjöld). … My old pal Tim Adams spotted Cubs C David Ross consulting a quarterback-style wrist-mounted cheat sheet yesterday. Not sure I’ve ever seen that on a big league backstop before. … The A’s doubled down on the pandering quotient yesterday by giving away caps with American flag patches — which happened to be backwards, but hey, it’s the thought(lessness) that counts, right? … Some early dugout jackets on display in this 1930s Cubs photo (from @JCasper268). … Jose Canseco’s going to play a game with the independent Sanoma Stompers, and the team will being giving away foam hands with the tip of one finger missing, just like Canseco’s (from Christine Freeman).
NBA News: While looking for something else, I came across this 1970-71 Nets warm-up top with amazing lettering on the back, although the colors seem more Knicks-like. … Next season’s all-star game will be held in Toronto, and the logo for that event will be released tomorrow.
Soccer News: New kits for the Bulgarian team Levski (from Ed Żelaski). … A shoplifter in Belfast was easily caught because he was wearing a Man U jersey with his own name as the NOB (from Vernona Elms). … Sevilla has new kits for tomorrow’s Europa League final. … Many City’s new third kit is going the DayGlo route (from Cort McMurray). … Paris Saint-Germain went into their final match having already clinched the league title, so they mowed stars representing their five championships into the grass. They also wore next season’s kit (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Good article about Canada’s uniforms for the Women’s World Cup.
Grab Bag: Remember when Nike saluted Derek Jeter by working his uni number into the word “Re2pect”? That started a alpha-numeric trend in the sports world that has now gotten seriously out of hand (from George Chilvers). … In a development that I can only describe as tragically misguided, there’s an initiative afoot to make local police departments more friendly-seeming by giving them purple uniforms (from Alan Tompas). … A Swedish design student has created a flag for planet Earth (from Jimmy Lonetti). … Travelers Insurance Co., whose logo is an umbrella, aggressively
polices bullies small companies that use umbrellas in their logos. … Here’s a look at Andy Murray’s new Under Armour outfit and a look back at John McEnroe’s old Nike shoes (both from Brinke). … According to this story about the fried-chicken wars, “Over the next few years, KFC will redo its packaging, uniforms, and dining decor in red-and-white stripes, which executives call a throwback to the classic look of carnival tents.” … Interesting note on whether the gamecock in the South Carolina logo should include the spur.
Some interesting MLB patches yesterday, beginning in Kansas City, where the Royals celebrated the 30th anniversary of their 1985 championship team by wearing patches on their caps and sleeves for their game against the Cardianls (click first two photos to enlarge):
But there were some exceptions. Pitchers Yordano Ventura and Joe Blanton didn’t wear the sleeve patch:
But the best move was by left fielder Alex Gordon. His cap didn’t have the patch, so he made his own (click to enlarge):
I’m told that this may have been due to Gordon’s superstitious nature. In any case, his patch is certainly no worse than all the others, because cap patches always suck — they make the cap look unbalanced and cluttered. At least Gordon’s version had a bit of homespun charm. I hereby nominate him for Uni Watch Player of the Day (a new title that I just made up).
It’s no accident that the Royals chose to wear these patches for a game against the Cardinals, incidentally — that’s the team they defeated in the ’85 series. But instead of the patches, why not have both teams wear throwbacks? Hell, you could even get Don Denkinger to throw out the first pitch. Seems like a missed opportunity.
Meanwhile, up in the Bronx, the Yankees retired Bernie Williams’s number and wore cap and sleeve patches for the occasion:
Can’t say I’m nuts about this one either. For starters, what’s with all the yellow? Not a very Yankees-like color. And since when does a player get a patch for having his number retired? The number retirement is the honor — you don’t need to augment it.
Actually, wearing a patch to go along with a number retirement is common in the NHL, but not in MLB. In fact, as Todd Radom points out, wearing a patch for a living MLB player, in any capacity — number-retirement-related or otherwise — is extremely rare.
(My thanks to Mike Koehler and @cDubya242 for their contributions to this section.)
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T-Shirt Club reminder: The June offering from the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club — the BFBS design — is available here for two more days. (Today would normally have been the last day, but we’re extending the deadline by 24 hours because of the Memorial Day holiday.)
Here’s another look at the design, just in case anyone needs a reminder (click to enlarge):
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Baseball News: According to some research by reader Nolan Brett, 21 of 60 MLB catchers — just over a third — wear the hockey-style mask. The others wear the conventional style. … Yet another new uniform for Maryland. … G.I. Joke run amok: The umps for the ACC baseball championship wore camouflage caps (from James Gilbert). … Shriners-based jerseys in the works for the Brevard County Manatees. But come on, forget the jerseys and let’s see a team wearing Shriner’s hats. … Latest minor league team to go G.I. Joke: the Toledo Mud Hens (from @netillaman). … Love the color scheme being used by Taylorsville High in Mississippi (from John Benal). … Still more G.I. Joke-o-rama, this time for Florida. … Comically bad stars/stripes jerseys yesterday for the Lexington Legends (from Josh Claywell). … Batman jerseys the other night for the Louisville Bats (from Josh Claywell). … Very nice striped stirrups for Columbia, which just won its third straight Ivy League title. … Douglas Ford’s local grocery is selling a case of beer emblazoned with the Braves’ “A” logo.
Everything Else: Houston Texans RB Arian Foster apparently doesn’t like the way his name is being used by Nike — look here and then here (from Matt Hammond). … Here’s a new sneaker based on the teal carpet at Portland’s airport (from @holycalamity). … Here’s a slideshow of the top Premier League soccer jerseys for the upcoming season (from Tim Cross). … The Coke 600 is the latest corner of the sports world that doesn’t understand the meaning of Memorial Day (from Matthew Moss). … Flag-desecration helmet this weekend for Tufts lacrosse. … Super-bantamweight boxer Rafael Vazquez has an autistic daughter, so he wears “I Love a Child With Autism” on his trunks and also wears autism-awareness socks. … Someone at the Indy 500 was wearing crocheted checkerboard-patterned shorts (from Jason Mott).
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Today is Memorial Day. If you’re mourning the loss of a fallen service member, please accept my condolences. If you have to work today, thanks for keeping the world spinning while the rest of us get to enjoy a day off. Peace. — Paul