A few years ago I went to a ballgame at Shea Stadium and, by fairly amazing coincidence, ended up sitting next to the guy who does all of the Mets’ stitching and embroidery (you should’ve seen my face when he told me what he did for a living). He turned out to be a swell guy, but on some level I was just a teeny bit disappointed, because I had hoped that the team’s stitching was done by some ancient little-old-lady seamstress who’d been on the job for decades. Every team should have one of those, right?
The Iowa Hawkeyes have one, and she’s straight out of central casting. Her name is Betty Madden (perfect, right?), she’s 82 years old, and she’s been sewing repairs on Iowa’s unis for 46 years.
I learned about Betty when reader Matt Nelson pointed me toward a short video about her. It shows her stitching here, snipping there, and pinning all over the place. Smart lady, too, at least judging by this quote: “The uniforms aren’t made of the same material as they was when I started 46 years ago. The material then was fabulous, but now it’s cheap.”
You can check out Betty for yourself here (the audio will start before the video starts streaming, but don’t worry about that — just give it a few seconds). And as long as we’re talking about behind-the-scenes videos, Jose Frontanes has discovered a decent five-minute clip featuring Maryland’s equipment manager, who’s got a serious collection of game-used helmets and jerseys (the latter of which show off today’s ridiculously truncated “sleeves”). The clip has lots of really stupid editing effects — must’ve been produced by a sophomore film student — but it’s still worth checking out. Look here.
So much for the soft sell: Due to overwhelmingly underwhelming demand for the Uni Watch temporary tattoos, I’ve changed the pricing structure. Instead of $5 for the first tat and $1 for each additional one, it’s now a buck apiece for the first five, and 50 cents for each one thereafter, with a five-tat minimum.
The basic point is the same: Gimme five bucks. Not into temporary tats? Gimme five bucks anyway. Why? Because webmaster Johnny Ek and I work really, really hard on this site. It’s usually the first thing we deal with when we wake up, the last thing we deal with before going to bed, and a whole lot of what we deal with in between, often at the expense of our “real” jobs (the ones that pay us, y’know, “real” money). We’re not complaining, mind you — nobody put a gun to our heads and told us to create this site, and we love doing it — but we don’t think we’re out of line asking for a measly $5 contribution to help keep the furnace lit. And if you don’t think our tireless efforts are worth five bucks, well, we respectfully suggest that you think a bit harder.
Am I trying to guilt-trip you? Definitely. But unlike all those family-, girlfriend-, and boss-induced guilt trips, this one can be cured quickly and painlessly: Just PayPal five whole dollars — or more, if you’re feeling particularly holiday-spirited — to paul_lukas at earthlink dot net (or if you don’t do PayPal, mail the dough to Paul Lukas, 671 DeGraw St., Brooklyn, NY 11217). We’ll both feel better afterward.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Several readers report that the scuttlebutt in Ohio is that the Buckeyes will wear white in the BCS Championship Game, just like they did last time around in the Fiesta Bowl. … Latest chapter in the ongoing soap opera of Wisconsin’s “motion W” logo, courtesy of Matt Brukman: “Under Armour is running an ad with a pee-wee football team sporting Wisconsin’s ‘Motion W’ helmets. Of course Wiconsin has a deal with Adidas, so I doubt UA got clearance to use the logo. There’s a quick video here — it’s very compressed and blurry, but I captured one frame that clearly shows the W. … Mark Bolding, whose excellent site is a Uni Watch favorite, is campaigning for Rice’s Todd Graham to be named Collegiate Coach of the Year. The uni-related connection? Rice has been wearing a “39” helmet decal this season, in memory of freshman Dale Lloyd, who died earlier this year. … In case you missed it in yesterday’s Comments section: Chris Cooley had some XYZ issues on Sunday (and unlike Marcus McNeill, Cooley doesn’t have the excuse of having two broken hands). … Logo Creep Alert from Andy Ingram, who notes that Fabio Cannavaro was wearing a swooshstika lapel pin while accepting the Golden Ball award. … Good info in the “New Threads” section of this article regarding the Redskins’ return to burgundy pants (with thanks to Mark Fightmaster). … Some Rockies uniform chatter — including a horrifying suggestion that they use more purple — can be found in the middle of this Q&A article. … Wanna see some serious hockey stripes? Look here. (Full details here, courtesy of Adam Strohm.) … Sleeve-centric note from Ryan Barto: “In Jason Campbell’s first start against Tampa Bay last weekend, his sleeves were the classic cut. It seemed like everytime the TV camera zoomed in on him after a throw, he was either rolling them up or just messing with them. This past weekend against Carolina, he came out of the tunnel with the cropped sleeves.” … Speaking of QB sleeves, Matt Hasselbeck went bare-armed in last night’s snow bowl. According to a quote buried in this article (but alertly spotted by reader Nick Collecchi), “If it hadn’t been the Packers, I would have worn [long] sleeves” (as his former teammate did). … Amateurs.