Gimme Fives

Picture 3.png

We all know about the Negro Leagues. But what you might not know about — or at least I didn’t until reader Jordan Woodson recently brought it to my attention, although it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that everyone else was already clued in — is the Black Fives, a term that loosely and collectively refers to early all-black basketball teams between 1900 and 1940.

We don’t think too much about how basketball was segregated in those days, in part because even white basketball leagues were pretty ragtag and small-time back then (and maybe in part, let’s be honest, because the game is so overwhelmingly black today), but now a company called Black Fives is documenting and celebrating — which means, of course, merchandising — the history of this overlooked chapter in sports history.

And man, they’ve got some awesome logos and uni designs to work with. It makes for some really nice merch, much of which the company has produced in partnership with Nike. I love the two-tone design here, the classicism here, and the simplicity here and here (“IPC” stood for — get this — Independent Pleasure Club, a team that wore some killer accessories). They’ve got some nice long-sleevers and jackets, too. They even appear to have made a T-shirt just for me.

The only thing I don’t get: the line of “retro” footwear that Nike created to go along with the apparel. I mean, what exactly is retro about this? Okay, I can see they tried a little harder here, but you don’t have to hate the swoosh as much as I do to say that it just doesn’t work for a collection that’s supposed to evoke the 1920s. Kinda feels like they were doing all the shirts and jackets and just said, “Let’s do a sneaker line too, because we can.” An unfortunate lurch onto the wrong side of the “Is it good or is it stupid?” divide.

While writing this entry yesterday, I sent a note to Uni Watch design director Scott M.X. Turner, who I figured would know a lot more about Black Fives than I did. And sure enough, just before I went to bed last night, he sent this:

Black Fives was formed by Claude Johnson, an African-American entrepreneur during the hip-hop-loves-throwbacks rage a few years ago. He researched a lot of predominantly black colleges and black semi-pro basketball teams, then put out jerseys, fashion coats, and caps. That’s the good part. The bad part is that the jerseys, although all based on teams from before World War II, were all made of modern synthetics and sized like all the other maternity-dress jerseys that rappers like to wear.

I always liked what he tried to do — expose people to the history of pre-WWII black basketball. But I thought his clothing sucked. It always pains me to see history highjacked for fashion profits. I know the argument — if we can interest kids in their history by spoon-feeding them clothing, that’s a positive step. The Negro League Museum in Kansas City is more than happy to license crud, and I mean CRUD, with all sorts of made-up logos, jerseys, jackets, and caps. It’s pretty Faustian, if you ask me.

Also, kind of condescending. It assumes that authentic, fairly priced, historical apparel is beyond the intellectual and cultural grasp of black consumers who might be interested in black sports history that goes back further than Michael Jordan.

Hence, on the one hand, Black Fives is an interesting and positive thing. On the other, it’s just the latest cynical manipulation of history for profit.

Now, keep in mind that Scott actually works in the throwback uniform industry. This means his opinions are pretty authoritative, but it also means his standards may be a bit tougher than everyone else’s. Personally, I’m really disappointed to hear that Black Fives uses synthetic fabric, and I did notice that the size availability runs heavily toward the XXXL end of the spectrum, but I almost never buy throwback apparel anyway, so none of that is a make-or-break issue for me. For now, I’m happy to have learned a bit more about a historical juncture that I hadn’t known much about.

Uni Watch News Ticker: An inside source reports that this will be the Bengals’ 40th-anniversary logo (which, among other things, indicates that teams still can’t grasp the difference between a 40th anniversary and 40th season — but then that’s nothing new for this particular team). … This book looks worthwhile (as spotted by Eric Stangel). … Third paragraph of this page confirms that the Washginton Capitals will definitely be switching to red, white, and blue next season. … Reprinted from Monday’s comments: The annual spring training story about the utility guy with a shitload of gloves. … P.J. Mallardi notes that Tennessee’s men and women are both wearing VOLScholar patches (awarded to players who achieved a 3.0 GPA the previous semester). … Jeremy Brahm appears to have found a photo of the world’s longest bat. … Also from Jeremy: Lots of interesting tidbits from the Japanese Invitational High School Tournament, including low-rider sock stripes, pink socks, a very messed-up uni number (Update: See today’s comment #21 for lots more info on this), a catcher who’s somehow keeping his mask in his back pocket, serious brim foldage, and a macron (that’s the overbar above the O). The trickiest one for me is this one — love the stripes, hate the color scheme. … Fascinating article here about Joe Rogers, a college hockey goalie who wears a special catching mitt because the fingers on his right hand didn’t grow properly. … And then there’s the other end of that spectrum. … Wise guy. … Ria Cortesio, a female ump who works in the minors, will work tomorrow’s Cubs/Dbacks game (making her the first woman to ump a spring training game since Pam Postema). According to this article, Cortesio originally wore No. 5, because she was professional baseball’s fifth female ump, but more recently she’s worn No. 15.

 

113 comments to Gimme Fives

  • Stuby | March 28, 2007 at 8:00 am |

    Paul (and P.J. Mallardi),

    Thanks for addressing the patch on the Tennessee hoops uni. That was going to be my first question this morning after seeing a pic of Candace Parker in the McPaper.

  • Jim | March 28, 2007 at 8:07 am |

    Continuing the Alaska discussion from friday, the midnight sun jerseys do indeed refer to the Midnight Sun Game, played in Fairbanks nearly every year since 1906. It starts at 10 pm and is played completely without artificial lights. This picture is from midnight.

    Also, LOADS of players have gone through the league, including Randy Johnson, Dave Winfield, Bret Boone, and you might recognize this guy (or maybe not, the steriods have changed him quite a bit.)

    Finally, Pauls new favorite player also came up to play under the midnight sun. Check out http://www.goldpanne... for a lot more cool pics and history.

  • Cornellian | March 28, 2007 at 8:16 am |

    While I appreciate schools paying attention to the student part of student-athlete, in today’s era of rampant grade inflation is a GPA of 3.0 really an accomplishment?

  • Clevo | March 28, 2007 at 8:26 am |

    I think the retro part applies to the shoe more than the design, as Vandals, Dunks and AF1’s are considered retro or classic shoes from Nike.

  • tessa | March 28, 2007 at 8:44 am |

    Logo creep on the set of the George Clooney/Renee Zellweger flick, Leatherheads. I sure hope they aren’t using that ball in shots for the movie. I do not think the swoosh had yet to grace our society in 1925.

  • Cork | March 28, 2007 at 8:52 am |

    [quote comment="63723"]Continuing the Alaska discussion from friday, the midnight sun jerseys do indeed refer to the Midnight Sun Game, played in Fairbanks nearly every year since 1906. It starts at 10 pm and is played completely without artificial lights. This picture is from midnight.

    Also, LOADS of players have gone through the league, including Randy Johnson, Dave Winfield, Bret Boone, and you might recognize this guy (or maybe not, the steriods have changed him quite a bit.)

    Finally, Pauls new favorite player also came up to play under the midnight sun. Check out http://www.goldpanne... for a lot more cool pics and history.[/quote]

    Not really uni-related but an aesthetic point is that Alaska baseball field. It looks like artificial turf and the infield looks to be colored as if it is made of clay?!?!? with real dirt around the bases. i know they were trying for a more realistic look to the field, but they ended up looking pretty awful.

  • Stuby | March 28, 2007 at 8:56 am |

    [quote comment="63727"]While I appreciate schools paying attention to the student part of student-athlete, in today’s era of rampant grade inflation is a GPA of 3.0 really an accomplishment?[/quote]
    Its been a while since I walked into a college classroom, but I thought that inflated grades and the possibility of having a GPA greater than 4.0 was limited to high schools.

  • JP | March 28, 2007 at 9:01 am |

    Ria Cortesio, a female ump who works in the minors, will work tomorrow’s Cubs/Dbacks game (making her the first woman to ump a Grapefruit League game since Pam Postema).

    The Cubs/Dbacks are in the Cactus League, not the Grapefruit league…

  • Billy B. | March 28, 2007 at 9:07 am |

    [quote comment="63736"][quote comment="63727"]While I appreciate schools paying attention to the student part of student-athlete, in today’s era of rampant grade inflation is a GPA of 3.0 really an accomplishment?[/quote]
    Its been a while since I walked into a college classroom, but I thought that inflated grades and the possibility of having a GPA greater than 4.0 was limited to high schools.[/quote]
    At my high school you can get a 6.0 GPA. A GPA of 3.0 is equal to a 4.0 at my school (Why you get a 1.0 if you fail, I don’t have a clue). So in order to get the patch you would need to be smarter than a little over half the class. Shouldn’t they make it a little tougher to get that patch on the jersey. For Tennessee’s mens team there wasn’t a time when less than three players had the patch.

  • Broker75 | March 28, 2007 at 9:09 am |

    just read Paul’s ESPN article, probably the best so far..

  • DenverGregg | March 28, 2007 at 9:14 am |

    “trickiest one for me is this one — love the stripes, hate the color scheme.”

    Yeah, that yellow just doesn’t work with the rest of it ;-)

  • Jeff B | March 28, 2007 at 9:15 am |

    [quote comment="63736"][quote comment="63727"]While I appreciate schools paying attention to the student part of student-athlete, in today’s era of rampant grade inflation is a GPA of 3.0 really an accomplishment?[/quote]
    Its been a while since I walked into a college classroom, but I thought that inflated grades and the possibility of having a GPA greater than 4.0 was limited to high schools.[/quote]

    This is true, and it is nice to see a school place some emphasis on athletes and their grades. There is always the question of whether athletes are graded properly, though.

  • Jim | March 28, 2007 at 9:15 am |

    [quote comment="63734"][quote comment="63723"]Continuing the Alaska discussion from friday, the midnight sun jerseys do indeed refer to the Midnight Sun Game, played in Fairbanks nearly every year since 1906. It starts at 10 pm and is played completely without artificial lights. This picture is from midnight.

    Also, LOADS of players have gone through the league, including Randy Johnson, Dave Winfield, Bret Boone, and you might recognize this guy (or maybe not, the steriods have changed him quite a bit.)

    Finally, Pauls new favorite player also came up to play under the midnight sun. Check out http://www.goldpanne... for a lot more cool pics and history.[/quote]

    Not really uni-related but an aesthetic point is that Alaska baseball field. It looks like artificial turf and the infield looks to be colored as if it is made of clay?!?!? with real dirt around the bases. i know they were trying for a more realistic look to the field, but they ended up looking pretty awful.[/quote]
    haha yeah, everyone hates it up here. theres been lots of talk about putting real grass in, but its not like the team is loaded with cash

  • Ryan B. | March 28, 2007 at 9:31 am |

    I like the Bengals’ anniversary patch (even though it should say 40th season), but I have only one little problem.

    The stripes inside the logo are not long enough and, somehow, didn’t end up as straight vertical lines. :P

  • bj in gainesville | March 28, 2007 at 9:35 am |

    A 3.0 gpa is a “B” average. Considering the schedule of a college athlete, that’s not that bad. Sure, it doesn’t sound as impressive as a 4.0, but be realistic. There aren’t many students who could put up a 4.0 while also going to 2 practices a day plus weight training. And travel.

    As far as the HS kid goes, most high schools use the same scoring system as colleges: A=4,B=3..F=0…
    BUT, they add some bonus points for Honors or, at my HS, Advanced Placement classes. An A in AP is worth the 6.0, a B is 5.0. Honors only gets one bonus point. So my inflated GPA of 5.2 in High School was the result of a B+ average in the hardest classes. AFAIK, it is intended to separate the GPA’s of an entire class of students. And to reward taking harder courses.

  • Peter Wunsch | March 28, 2007 at 9:35 am |

    Sort of related. The Montreal Canadiens change the advertising on the boards between periods. They have someone come out and apply decals over the ads. He also razor cuts the ad at the opening for the doors. I know that they do this on the player bench side, the side that faces the cameras but do not know if they do this on the penalty box side because this view is only seen by 1/2 the arena crowd. The other night the ad changed from McDonald’s to Viagra. Is there a correlation between a Big Mac and a….?

  • Stuby | March 28, 2007 at 9:36 am |

    [quote comment="63754"]I like the Bengals’ anniversary patch (even though it should say 40th season), but I have only one little problem.

    The stripes inside the logo are not long enough and, somehow, didn’t end up as straight vertical lines. :P[/quote]
    The patch pretty much matches the Bengal’s helmet design.

  • David | March 28, 2007 at 9:38 am |

    [quote comment="63757"][quote comment="63754"]I like the Bengals’ anniversary patch (even though it should say 40th season), but I have only one little problem.

    The stripes inside the logo are not long enough and, somehow, didn’t end up as straight vertical lines. :P[/quote]
    The patch pretty much matches the Bengal’s helmet design.[/quote]

    I think someone forgot their sarcasm pill this morning.

  • Billy B. | March 28, 2007 at 9:40 am |

    [quote comment="63754"]I like the Bengals’ anniversary patch (even though it should say 40th season), but I have only one little problem.

    The stripes inside the logo are not long enough and, somehow, didn’t end up as straight vertical lines. :P[/quote]
    You beat me to it. I thought that they should have something to better represent the players, too.

  • Anthony Verna | March 28, 2007 at 9:56 am |

    [quote comment="63736"][quote comment="63727"]While I appreciate schools paying attention to the student part of student-athlete, in today’s era of rampant grade inflation is a GPA of 3.0 really an accomplishment?[/quote]
    Its been a while since I walked into a college classroom, but I thought that inflated grades and the possibility of having a GPA greater than 4.0 was limited to high schools.[/quote]

    So it’s not uni-related. . .

    Gregg Easterbrook on grade inflation:
    http://www.tnr.com/d...

    and somewhere in here:
    http://www.nfl.com/n...

  • Mark in Shiga | March 28, 2007 at 9:56 am |

    Paul, what’s messed up about this guy’s uni number? If it’s because the #15 on the helmet doesn’t match the #3 on his back, he’s probably just borrowing another helmet.

    If it’s because the number is sewn on to a white rectangle and then the whole thing is sewn to the jersey, that’s normal. All Japanese high school teams do this, and I’m pretty sure that national regulations insist that the squares be white even if the jerseys are another color. Shiga prefecture’s leading team, Ohmi High School, has the same situation with their (great-looking) pale blue uniforms, which have never changed ever since baby blue’s heyday in the 1970s. (It’s the color of Lake Biwa, the prefectural symbol.)

    These white rectangles are called ‘zekken’ — no one seems to known the etymology of the word — and they’re heavily regulated. Always black printing on a white background, always the same font, and only numbers 1 through 16 for the national tournament. Most importantly, the numbers themselves are basically set in stone. The starting nine wear their positions on their backs (see Matsuzaka’s 1 here in the 17th inning of his legendary 250-pitch CG), the first two backup pitchers are 10 and 11, the backup catcher is 12, and then the other reserves fill out the rest of the numbers.

    Players don’t have numbers sewn to their jerseys normally; only the people selected for a given tournament will get the ‘zekken’ on their backs. This means that the typical high school freshman will never get the chance to have a number despite having a uniform, and will dream of someday being issued a single digit, meaning that he’s a starter.

    Keep your eye on those high school games if you like stirrup socks as every team wears them. Plenty of good-looking uniform designs too.

  • ncsu1stbaseman | March 28, 2007 at 10:00 am |

    Good for Ria!!! She is a big time fan/player favorite umpire with the AA Southern League. She is one of the best umpires out here in minor league baseball.

  • jesse | March 28, 2007 at 10:09 am |

    [quote comment="63746"][quote comment="63736"][quote comment="63727"]While I appreciate schools paying attention to the student part of student-athlete, in today’s era of rampant grade inflation is a GPA of 3.0 really an accomplishment?[/quote]
    Its been a while since I walked into a college classroom, but I thought that inflated grades and the possibility of having a GPA greater than 4.0 was limited to high schools.[/quote]

    This is true, and it is nice to see a school place some emphasis on athletes and their grades. There is always the question of whether athletes are graded properly, though.[/quote]

    I applied to the University of Tennessee in 1995 (my god that long ago?) and the application was literally multiple choice. I swear to god one of the questions was;

    “How well do you thing you will do at UT?”
    a. Mostly A’s and B’s
    b. Mostly B’s and some C’s
    c. Mostly C’s and some D’s
    d. More D’s than C’s

    And yes smart ass I got in, although I did not attend.

  • Burrill | March 28, 2007 at 10:16 am |

    Hey, Mark, in that Ohmi picture, I see one of the advertisements is for YKK. Is that the zipper company?

  • todd krevanchi | March 28, 2007 at 10:23 am |

    i totally disagree with having the “academic award” patch on the uniform.

    first, i totally agree with completing your academic requirements, maintaining the necessary GPA, etc, etc.

    and yeah, it is neat to say, wow, its nice to see that “xx” gets good grades!

    but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me.

    i graduated college with over a 3.0. but for the better part of my college career, i was below that. i considered myself a good student, and so did my family, parents, friends, etc.
    but i wouldnt have been able to wear that patch for almost all my career. then by playing athletics at tennessee, and my football/M&W basketball teams get national exposure and are on tv all the time, the nation can look at me and judge me because i dont have a patch.

    i think its a nice gesture to recognize academic achievement, but not when its at the expense of others.

  • Neil | March 28, 2007 at 10:23 am |

    Does today’s main article remind anyone else of Michael Jordan on Saturday Night Live in ’91 playing the first black Harlem Globetrotter?

  • Metsfan AZ | March 28, 2007 at 10:27 am |

    I was looking for some photos of the Japanese HS BB tournament. I was hoping to find more pics of the pink socks school. (I actually think it might be his own knee brace or something). Anyway, found this gallery with lots of good pics. Japanese HS ballplyers have a different idea of how to wear a baseball cap.

  • David | March 28, 2007 at 10:28 am |

    [quote comment="63778"]i totally disagree with having the “academic award” patch on the uniform.

    first, i totally agree with completing your academic requirements, maintaining the necessary GPA, etc, etc.

    and yeah, it is neat to say, wow, its nice to see that “xx” gets good grades!

    but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me.

    i graduated college with over a 3.0. but for the better part of my college career, i was below that. i considered myself a good student, and so did my family, parents, friends, etc.
    but i wouldnt have been able to wear that patch for almost all my career. then by playing athletics at tennessee, and my football/M&W basketball teams get national exposure and are on tv all the time, the nation can look at me and judge me because i dont have a patch.

    i think its a nice gesture to recognize academic achievement, but not when its at the expense of others.[/quote]

    Good logic here. Along the same lines, I suggest that we stop announcing who has won games, since it would probably make the team that didn’t win feel bad.

    I mean, every time I say that Florida won the BCS championship, just think about how many teams I am saying didn’t win…

  • Alex | March 28, 2007 at 10:28 am |

    [quote comment="63768"]Paul, what’s messed up about this guy’s uni number? If it’s because the #15 on the helmet doesn’t match the #3 on his back, he’s probably just borrowing another helmet.

    If it’s because the number is sewn on to a white rectangle and then the whole thing is sewn to the jersey, that’s normal. All Japanese high school teams do this, and I’m pretty sure that national regulations insist that the squares be white even if the jerseys are another color. Shiga prefecture’s leading team, Ohmi High School, has the same situation with their (great-looking) pale blue uniforms, which have never changed ever since baby blue’s heyday in the 1970s. (It’s the color of Lake Biwa, the prefectural symbol.)

    These white rectangles are called ‘zekken’ — no one seems to known the etymology of the word — and they’re heavily regulated. Always black printing on a white background, always the same font, and only numbers 1 through 16 for the national tournament. Most importantly, the numbers themselves are basically set in stone. The starting nine wear their positions on their backs (see Matsuzaka’s 1 here in the 17th inning of his legendary 250-pitch CG), the first two backup pitchers are 10 and 11, the backup catcher is 12, and then the other reserves fill out the rest of the numbers.

    Players don’t have numbers sewn to their jerseys normally; only the people selected for a given tournament will get the ‘zekken’ on their backs. This means that the typical high school freshman will never get the chance to have a number despite having a uniform, and will dream of someday being issued a single digit, meaning that he’s a starter.

    Keep your eye on those high school games if you like stirrup socks as every team wears them. Plenty of good-looking uniform designs too.[/quote]

    Is is common for Japanese baseball to be played on all dirt infields? Or in the case of some of those pics, all mud infields? Looks like true hops would be few and far between on those fields

  • Derek G. | March 28, 2007 at 10:43 am |

    [quote comment="63778"]i totally disagree with having the “academic award” patch on the uniform.

    first, i totally agree with completing your academic requirements, maintaining the necessary GPA, etc, etc.

    and yeah, it is neat to say, wow, its nice to see that “xx” gets good grades!

    but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me.

    i graduated college with over a 3.0. but for the better part of my college career, i was below that. i considered myself a good student, and so did my family, parents, friends, etc.
    but i wouldnt have been able to wear that patch for almost all my career. then by playing athletics at tennessee, and my football/M&W basketball teams get national exposure and are on tv all the time, the nation can look at me and judge me because i dont have a patch.

    i think its a nice gesture to recognize academic achievement, but not when its at the expense of others.[/quote]

    wow….that sounds like one of those common sense things that we’ve lost lately…let’s not reward student-athletes for doing well in school, because the ones that skip out in classes and are just plain stupid would feel bad. wtf??? it is extremely hard to play a college sport and balance your academics as well. Playing a college sport, especially at a high level like that, is like having a full-time job. I think it’s a great thing that Tennessee is doing and it might actually get those other student-athletes to try a little harder in classes.

  • Teebz | March 28, 2007 at 10:48 am |

    Alongside the Joe Rogers article should be Dan Blackburn. I know Paul has mentioned him before due to nerve damage that caused him to wear two blockers instead of a glove.

    His comeback attempts were short-lived, though. He last played in 2004-05 for the Victoria Salmon Kings in the ECHL for 12 games.

  • Scott | March 28, 2007 at 10:55 am |

    Alex –

    Koshien, which is where the two high school tournaments are played, is indeed a dirt infield. When the country stops for two weeks twice a year to watch the games, that’s all you see. Makes for great muddy unis and it’s become a tradition to scoop some souvenir dirt into a baggie after you lose.

    Off topic, but the two tournaments really do stop time in Japan – one is an invitational, with traditionally and/or recently powerful teams only, and the other is a true nationwide no-division free for all, with every high school in the country participating in local tourneys, on up to the prefectural level (when I lived there, Tokyo was allotted two slots, every other prefecture just their champion). Six rounds, the last three within four or five days, generally riding one pitcher. You knew if you saw #11 starting a game that team was desperate – generally speaking a high school pitcher would prefer his arm fell off at Koshien to a pro career.

    My info is dated at least 10 years but I can’t imagine it’s changed much; I’m sure Jeremy or others over there will fix any errors I may be promulgating.

  • Jason | March 28, 2007 at 10:56 am |

    [quote comment="63778"]i totally disagree with having the “academic award” patch on the uniform.

    first, i totally agree with completing your academic requirements, maintaining the necessary GPA, etc, etc.

    and yeah, it is neat to say, wow, its nice to see that “xx” gets good grades!

    but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me.

    i graduated college with over a 3.0. but for the better part of my college career, i was below that. i considered myself a good student, and so did my family, parents, friends, etc.
    but i wouldnt have been able to wear that patch for almost all my career. then by playing athletics at tennessee, and my football/M&W basketball teams get national exposure and are on tv all the time, the nation can look at me and judge me because i dont have a patch.

    i think its a nice gesture to recognize academic achievement, but not when its at the expense of others.[/quote]

    We have a related debate at the school where I teach. Many people want to do away with the “honor roll” (which requires a 3.0 or better, and often includes 60-70% of students) because publishing the names of the people who do well in school is embarrassing to the students who do not do as well and don’t appear in the paper. I guess I just can’t see these patches as “embarrassing” to the people who don’t get to wear them. Embarrassing would be forcing all players to wear a patch with their GPA on it or, instead of an honor roll, publishing all students grades for everyone to see. In my opinion, a 2.75 is nothing to be embarrassed about.

  • David | March 28, 2007 at 10:57 am |

    On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?

  • todd krevanchi | March 28, 2007 at 11:01 am |

    [quote comment="63781"][quote comment="63778"]i totally disagree with having the “academic award” patch on the uniform.

    first, i totally agree with completing your academic requirements, maintaining the necessary GPA, etc, etc.

    and yeah, it is neat to say, wow, its nice to see that “xx” gets good grades!

    but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me.

    i graduated college with over a 3.0. but for the better part of my college career, i was below that. i considered myself a good student, and so did my family, parents, friends, etc.
    but i wouldnt have been able to wear that patch for almost all my career. then by playing athletics at tennessee, and my football/M&W basketball teams get national exposure and are on tv all the time, the nation can look at me and judge me because i dont have a patch.

    i think its a nice gesture to recognize academic achievement, but not when its at the expense of others.[/quote]

    Good logic here. Along the same lines, I suggest that we stop announcing who has won games, since it would probably make the team that didn’t win feel bad.

    I mean, every time I say that Florida won the BCS championship, just think about how many teams I am saying didn’t win…[/quote]

    your sarcasm compares apples and oranges dude. you dont get it.
    im not talking about any of the other teams that compete against them or in the ncaa. im talking about within a team. it shows no solidarity within the team.

    using your sarcastic remark, a comparison here would be to say, all players who have a 3.0 or higher get a national title ring, the rest of you get to remain on the team, bust your ass and not get recognized.

  • Dan | March 28, 2007 at 11:03 am |

    [quote comment="63787"][quote comment="63778"]i totally disagree with having the “academic award” patch on the uniform.

    first, i totally agree with completing your academic requirements, maintaining the necessary GPA, etc, etc.

    and yeah, it is neat to say, wow, its nice to see that “xx” gets good grades!

    but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me.

    i graduated college with over a 3.0. but for the better part of my college career, i was below that. i considered myself a good student, and so did my family, parents, friends, etc.
    but i wouldnt have been able to wear that patch for almost all my career. then by playing athletics at tennessee, and my football/M&W basketball teams get national exposure and are on tv all the time, the nation can look at me and judge me because i dont have a patch.

    i think its a nice gesture to recognize academic achievement, but not when its at the expense of others.[/quote]

    wow….that sounds like one of those common sense things that we’ve lost lately…let’s not reward student-athletes for doing well in school, because the ones that skip out in classes and are just plain stupid would feel bad. wtf??? it is extremely hard to play a college sport and balance your academics as well. Playing a college sport, especially at a high level like that, is like having a full-time job. I think it’s a great thing that Tennessee is doing and it might actually get those other student-athletes to try a little harder in classes.[/quote]

    and this is why we have leagues that don’t keep score anymore.

    but, i wouldn’t instantly think that someone is dumb b/c they don’t have a patch on their jersey. a 3.0 gpa isn’t easy, whether you play sports or not. i see myself as pretty smart, but i have almost no way to graduate from college with a 3.0 gpa.(then again its no easy feat here at Case Western, Paul should know where it is) Speaking of which, our wrestling team won the academic national title. do this make every other team in D3 feel dumb? i doubt it. i think the patch is a much better reward than the helmet stickers of football.

  • todd krevanchi | March 28, 2007 at 11:07 am |

    guys, im not saying, “dont acknowledge or recognize those who attain outstanding academic achievement”. i totally think more of an emphasis needs to be placed on the STUDENT part of student-athlete.
    all i’m saying is to do it on the uniform of the sports team is the wrong place for this recognition.

  • Ryan B. | March 28, 2007 at 11:12 am |

    [quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    I think the basis of the commercial is that Kruk looks sometimes undistinguishably like rock star(?) Meat Loaf, so the tattooes were probably added to aid the idea of the commercial.

  • Marc | March 28, 2007 at 11:16 am |

    I agree with most of you guys that while it’s great that UT is doing that, an average 3.0 student at UT would not be considered a “scholar” by any means. Slightly above average would be generous. Why a 3.0 athlete is by any means more of an accomplishment is just giving the athletes more of an excuse than they already have.

    Not to mention, with the increase of online classes available in colleges across the country, it’s not unrealistic for these guys to not have any actual classes to attend. At my school, the Dean’s List doesn’t start until 3.5. But the athletic teams like to brag about how many 3.0 students they each have. Half the school has a 3.0!

    Rant over…

  • Erik | March 28, 2007 at 11:18 am |

    Just thought you might like to know, I played a soccer game against a team whose uni numbers were roman numerals. Anyone heard of this?

  • Phil Pereira | March 28, 2007 at 11:27 am |

    [quote comment="63805"]I agree with most of you guys that while it’s great that UT is doing that, an average 3.0 student at UT would not be considered a “scholar” by any means. Slightly above average would be generous. Why a 3.0 athlete is by any means more of an accomplishment is just giving the athletes more of an excuse than they already have.

    Not to mention, with the increase of online classes available in colleges across the country, it’s not unrealistic for these guys to not have any actual classes to attend. At my school, the Dean’s List doesn’t start until 3.5. But the athletic teams like to brag about how many 3.0 students they each have. Half the school has a 3.0!

    Rant over…[/quote]

    I see what you mean. In reality, shouldn’t other students have stuff going on that could interfere with their studies? In college, I was a volunteer EMT, a newspaper photog, and a radio DJ, and I was expected to perform at a high level (I didn’t, but that’s another story lol). While 3.0 is good, it does lower the bar a bit. If they want to have the bar lowered a little, they should at least do the equivalent of an A- (3.33 or something, it’s been a while) to qualify for a patch. Seems like a fair compromise.

  • Phil Pereira | March 28, 2007 at 11:31 am |

    Ok, I goofed, 3.3 is still only a B+, let’s go with 3.5 as the standard

  • Andy from KC | March 28, 2007 at 11:43 am |

    [quote comment="63801"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    I think the basis of the commercial is that Kruk looks sometimes undistinguishably like rock star(?) Meat Loaf, so the tattooes were probably added to aid the idea of the commercial.[/quote]

    I’m like 97% sure the tats are fake, but then again, it’s John Kruk, so I guess you never know. I love that commercial, though, with Arroyo on guitar, Sheffield on drums, and some Cleveland Indian I didn’t recognize on keytar.

  • Dan | March 28, 2007 at 11:44 am |

    [quote comment="63800"]guys, im not saying, “dont acknowledge or recognize those who attain outstanding academic achievement”. i totally think more of an emphasis needs to be placed on the STUDENT part of student-athlete.
    all i’m saying is to do it on the uniform of the sports team is the wrong place for this recognition.[/quote]

    ok, now that your point is clarified i kind of agree with you(sorry for attacking you). i think that UT is trying to put the student part in there by having the patch. with all thats going on in the NCAA about athletes underperforming in the classroom UT is kind of showing off that some are doing well. whether they go to class or if their grades are inflated is debatable.

  • scott d | March 28, 2007 at 11:53 am |

    [quote comment="63754"]I like the Bengals’ anniversary patch (even though it should say 40th season), but I have only one little problem.

    The stripes inside the logo are not long enough and, somehow, didn’t end up as straight vertical lines. :P[/quote]

    Hater! :-( I love my Bengals, but it’s really out of hand…

  • RC | March 28, 2007 at 11:55 am |

    [quote comment="63768"]Paul, what’s messed up about this guy’s uni number? If it’s because the #15 on the helmet doesn’t match the #3 on his back, he’s probably just borrowing another helmet.

    If it’s because the number is sewn on to a white rectangle and then the whole thing is sewn to the jersey, that’s normal. All Japanese high school teams do this, and I’m pretty sure that national regulations insist that the squares be white even if the jerseys are another color. Shiga prefecture’s leading team, Ohmi High School, has the same situation with their (great-looking) pale blue uniforms, which have never changed ever since baby blue’s heyday in the 1970s. (It’s the color of Lake Biwa, the prefectural symbol.)

    These white rectangles are called ‘zekken’ — no one seems to known the etymology of the word — and they’re heavily regulated. Always black printing on a white background, always the same font, and only numbers 1 through 16 for the national tournament. Most importantly, the numbers themselves are basically set in stone. The starting nine wear their positions on their backs (see Matsuzaka’s 1 here in the 17th inning of his legendary 250-pitch CG), the first two backup pitchers are 10 and 11, the backup catcher is 12, and then the other reserves fill out the rest of the numbers.

    Players don’t have numbers sewn to their jerseys normally; only the people selected for a given tournament will get the ‘zekken’ on their backs. This means that the typical high school freshman will never get the chance to have a number despite having a uniform, and will dream of someday being issued a single digit, meaning that he’s a starter.

    Keep your eye on those high school games if you like stirrup socks as every team wears them. Plenty of good-looking uniform designs too.[/quote]

    I have seen this number style more often in Rugby and Soccer (vintage Blackburn Rovers come to mind, can’t find an example). I can’t seem to find too many examples, but most of them had to do with a team uni having varying colors or stripes from what I remember, and the number not standing out enough without the solid white background.

  • My Name is not Earl | March 28, 2007 at 12:11 pm |

    On last night’s “To Catch a Predator” (or, “To Catch an Identity Thief), Chris Hansen was wearing a home Detroit Tigers cap.

  • Brad B. | March 28, 2007 at 12:13 pm |

    I wonder if the Bengals will wear the 40th season logo as a jersey patch this year and finally become the last current NFL team to wear its own celebration patch (they wore the NFL’s 75th anniversary patch in 1994). The 30th year patch in 1997 would have looked nice on their jerseys as well.

  • Greg | March 28, 2007 at 12:16 pm |

    [quote comment="63816"][quote comment="63801"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    I think the basis of the commercial is that Kruk looks sometimes undistinguishably like rock star(?) Meat Loaf, so the tattooes were probably added to aid the idea of the commercial.[/quote]

    I’m like 97% sure the tats are fake, but then again, it’s John Kruk, so I guess you never know. I love that commercial, though, with Arroyo on guitar, Sheffield on drums, and some Cleveland Indian I didn’t recognize on keytar.[/quote]
    And the commercial finishes with Rush lead singer/bass player Geddy Lee, who is a HUGE baseball fan…nice touch.

  • Ian K | March 28, 2007 at 12:19 pm |

    This is from today’s LA Times about Andy LaRoche’s uniform nameplate.

    Space case

    Upon further contemplation, Andy LaRoche wants to close the gap between the lower case ‘a’ and upper case ‘R’ in his surname. In other words, the clubhouse manager can discard the jersey that reads La Roche.

    LaRoche requested that his name be spelled with the space about a month ago, a departure from the way his brother — Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Adam — and father — former big league pitcher Dave — spelled it.

    “I ought to go with it the way everybody else does,” Andy said. “I’m not sure what I was thinking.”

    —-
    I couldn’t find a photo of Andy with his “MC GWIRE” style nameplate, but here is one of his brother Adam, so I assume this is what Andy is going for.

  • Steve Flack | March 28, 2007 at 12:20 pm |

    [quote comment="63778"]i totally disagree with having the “academic award” patch on the uniform.

    first, i totally agree with completing your academic requirements, maintaining the necessary GPA, etc, etc.

    and yeah, it is neat to say, wow, its nice to see that “xx” gets good grades!

    but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me.

    i graduated college with over a 3.0. but for the better part of my college career, i was below that. i considered myself a good student, and so did my family, parents, friends, etc.
    but i wouldnt have been able to wear that patch for almost all my career. then by playing athletics at tennessee, and my football/M&W basketball teams get national exposure and are on tv all the time, the nation can look at me and judge me because i dont have a patch.

    i think its a nice gesture to recognize academic achievement, but not when its at the expense of others.[/quote]

    Then how do you feel about the helmet stickers that reward on the field achievements? Don’t they ruin solidarity of the team?

    -Steve!

  • Banker Bill | March 28, 2007 at 12:27 pm |

    [quote comment="63816"][quote comment="63801"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    I think the basis of the commercial is that Kruk looks sometimes undistinguishably like rock star(?) Meat Loaf, so the tattooes were probably added to aid the idea of the commercial.[/quote]

    I’m like 97% sure the tats are fake, but then again, it’s John Kruk, so I guess you never know. I love that commercial, though, with Arroyo on guitar, Sheffield on drums, and some Cleveland Indian I didn’t recognize on keytar.[/quote]

    Come on – the best part is at the end – Geddy Lee of Rush!

  • Anthony Verna | March 28, 2007 at 12:54 pm |

    [quote comment="63799"]but, i wouldn’t instantly think that someone is dumb b/c they don’t have a patch on their jersey. a 3.0 gpa isn’t easy, whether you play sports or not. i see myself as pretty smart, but i have almost no way to graduate from college with a 3.0 gpa.(then again its no easy feat here at Case Western, Paul should know where it is) Speaking of which, our wrestling team won the academic national title. do this make every other team in D3 feel dumb? i doubt it. i think the patch is a much better reward than the helmet stickers of football.[/quote]

    We have a THIRD Case-affilliated person here!?

    Wow. (Class of ’99)

  • Allison | March 28, 2007 at 12:55 pm |

    Way out of left field on this post, but if these guys had their shirts tucked in, their unis would be amazing.

  • Anthony Verna | March 28, 2007 at 1:15 pm |

    [quote comment="63843"]Way out of left field on this post, but if these guys had their shirts tucked in, their unis would be amazing.[/quote]

    We like them way out of left field around here!

  • billy | March 28, 2007 at 1:17 pm |

    BLACK SABBATH

    April 3

    Black Sabbath “The Dio Years” being released. 3 BRAND NEW TRACKS with the classic lineup of Iommi, Butler, Appice, & DIO!

  • todd krevanchi (krvanch) | March 28, 2007 at 1:19 pm |

    [quote comment="63834"][quote comment="63778"]i totally disagree with having the “academic award” patch on the uniform.

    first, i totally agree with completing your academic requirements, maintaining the necessary GPA, etc, etc.

    and yeah, it is neat to say, wow, its nice to see that “xx” gets good grades!

    but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me.

    i graduated college with over a 3.0. but for the better part of my college career, i was below that. i considered myself a good student, and so did my family, parents, friends, etc.
    but i wouldnt have been able to wear that patch for almost all my career. then by playing athletics at tennessee, and my football/M&W basketball teams get national exposure and are on tv all the time, the nation can look at me and judge me because i dont have a patch.

    i think its a nice gesture to recognize academic achievement, but not when its at the expense of others.[/quote]

    Then how do you feel about the helmet stickers that reward on the field achievements? Don’t they ruin solidarity of the team?

    -Steve![/quote]

    the helmet stickers are given with a specific criteria in place designed by the coaching staff of the team. it recognizes individual on field achievement while wearing the uniform… it does not recognize an out of uniform accomplishment.

  • Jamie | March 28, 2007 at 1:30 pm |

    [quote comment="63836"][quote comment="63816"][quote comment="63801"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    I think the basis of the commercial is that Kruk looks sometimes undistinguishably like rock star(?) Meat Loaf, so the tattooes were probably added to aid the idea of the commercial.[/quote]

    I’m like 97% sure the tats are fake, but then again, it’s John Kruk, so I guess you never know. I love that commercial, though, with Arroyo on guitar, Sheffield on drums, and some Cleveland Indian I didn’t recognize on keytar.[/quote]

    Come on – the best part is at the end – Geddy Lee of Rush![/quote]

    You beat me to it. Geddy Lee is greatness!!

  • David | March 28, 2007 at 1:32 pm |

    [quote comment="63849"][quote comment="63834"][quote comment="63778"]i totally disagree with having the “academic award” patch on the uniform.

    first, i totally agree with completing your academic requirements, maintaining the necessary GPA, etc, etc.

    and yeah, it is neat to say, wow, its nice to see that “xx” gets good grades!

    but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me.

    i graduated college with over a 3.0. but for the better part of my college career, i was below that. i considered myself a good student, and so did my family, parents, friends, etc.
    but i wouldnt have been able to wear that patch for almost all my career. then by playing athletics at tennessee, and my football/M&W basketball teams get national exposure and are on tv all the time, the nation can look at me and judge me because i dont have a patch.

    i think its a nice gesture to recognize academic achievement, but not when its at the expense of others.[/quote]

    Then how do you feel about the helmet stickers that reward on the field achievements? Don’t they ruin solidarity of the team?

    -Steve![/quote]

    the helmet stickers are given with a specific criteria in place designed by the coaching staff of the team. it recognizes individual on field achievement while wearing the uniform… it does not recognize an out of uniform accomplishment.[/quote]

    You have changed your logic here. First you claimed that you don’t like the patch because of how it would negatively affect those not good enough to get one.

    Now it seems to be about something else. According to your original logic, helmet stickers should be eliminated because it might make the lesser players feel bad.

  • Lake | March 28, 2007 at 1:47 pm |

    [quote comment="63836"][quote comment="63816"][quote comment="63801"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    I think the basis of the commercial is that Kruk looks sometimes undistinguishably like rock star(?) Meat Loaf, so the tattooes were probably added to aid the idea of the commercial.[/quote]

    I’m like 97% sure the tats are fake, but then again, it’s John Kruk, so I guess you never know. I love that commercial, though, with Arroyo on guitar, Sheffield on drums, and some Cleveland Indian I didn’t recognize on keytar.[/quote]

    Come on – the best part is at the end – Geddy Lee of Rush![/quote]
    Honest to God, I thought that was Eric Karabell dressed up as Geddy Lee.

  • todd krevanchi | March 28, 2007 at 2:23 pm |

    if i play football, i wear a football uniform for my team. if i play basketball, i wear a basketball uniform for my team, etc.

    it is for the purpose of identifying me as a member of a team while playing a sport.

    i have no problem with accomplishment rewards (ie helmet stickers) when they recognize me for performance in the area for which i am wearing the uniform in the first place!

    how i do in my classes has everything to with being a college student and whether i am eligible to even wear a football uniform. but it has nothing to do with what my football uniform looks like.

  • DA STUBZ | March 28, 2007 at 2:26 pm |

    The hand and fingers on Joe Rogers look more like a foot and toes.

  • Joe | March 28, 2007 at 2:31 pm |

    [quote comment="63859"]

    Come on – the best part is at the end – Geddy Lee of Rush![/quote]
    Honest to God, I thought that was Eric Karabell dressed up as Geddy Lee.[/quote]

    Rush tickets go on sale saturday for Nissan Pavilion!!!

  • Dan | March 28, 2007 at 2:35 pm |

    [quote comment="63799"]

    We have a THIRD Case-affilliated person here!?

    Wow. (Class of ’99)[/quote]

    Class of ’09

  • Matthew S. | March 28, 2007 at 2:37 pm |

    [quote comment="63864"]if i play football, i wear a football uniform for my team. if i play basketball, i wear a basketball uniform for my team, etc.

    it is for the purpose of identifying me as a member of a team while playing a sport.

    i have no problem with accomplishment rewards (ie helmet stickers) when they recognize me for performance in the area for which i am wearing the uniform in the first place!

    how i do in my classes has everything to with being a college student and whether i am eligible to even wear a football uniform. but it has nothing to do with what my football uniform looks like.[/quote]

    I’ve been following this all day to this point, and Todd, while I understand your argument, I just can’t agree with it. These players are student-athletes and I see no problem with recognizing their academic achievements in the athletic venue. If the others on the team feel disheartened because they don’t get to wear an academic sticker/patch that others on the team do, it seems to me that they should be that much more inspired to focus on their studies as they do on their basketball/football/baseball careers. I think that recognizing an athlete’s achievements off the field, especially today when so many high school athletes are more inclined to do a ‘one and done’ (i.e. pull an Oden/Durant and attend one year of school before jumping to the big league), is especially important. I wish more teams would do something like this. Perhaps Ohio State would graduate more than 10% of it’s basketball players if their grades were little more transparent.

  • Minna H. | March 28, 2007 at 2:54 pm |

    [quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    David, can you link to this ad or tell me how to find it (or anybody else who has seen it)? I am sure it’s totally obvious, but I am brain-fried today.

    Teebz, I have no female friends who have the slightest interest in sports, let alone unis. That’s why I post here!

  • Paul Lukas | March 28, 2007 at 3:02 pm |

    For those who like to keep up with this stuff: I have a small, non-uni-related piece currently running on the right side of today’s Page 2 splash page.

  • Teebz | March 28, 2007 at 3:02 pm |

    [quote comment="63875"]
    Teebz, I have no female friends who have the slightest interest in sports, let alone unis. That’s why I post here![/quote]

    Minna, I may have to take the Land of 10,000 Lake by storm. I am already thinking long and hard about going to catch Games 3 and 4 of the opening round of the playoffs in St. Paul.

    I’ll keep you posted, and we can try and sway the female fans to join our ranks. :o)

  • Chili Mac | March 28, 2007 at 3:10 pm |

    What do you guys think about white people wearing Negro Leagues/Black Fives merchandise? I think some of it looks very cool, but I worry that it might look inappropriate somehow on a red-headed white girl. I’m pretty bleeding-heart, though, so I’m almost certainly overanalyzing it.

  • Minna H. | March 28, 2007 at 3:14 pm |

    [quote comment="63880"][quote comment="63875"]
    Teebz, I have no female friends who have the slightest interest in sports, let alone unis. That’s why I post here![/quote]

    Minna, I may have to take the Land of 10,000 Lake by storm. I am already thinking long and hard about going to catch Games 3 and 4 of the opening round of the playoffs in St. Paul.

    I’ll keep you posted, and we can try and sway the female fans to join our ranks. :o)[/quote]

    Most awesome. Let me know if you make it down this way. If you have any spare tickets….First round is on me!

  • Anthony Verna | March 28, 2007 at 3:22 pm |

    [quote comment="63869"][quote comment="63799"]

    We have a THIRD Case-affilliated person here!?

    Wow. (Class of ’99)[/quote]

    Class of ’09[/quote]

    How frightening! 0=)

    Check out my website and send an e-mail and let me know which profs you have. See if my profs are still there (I know some are).

  • Minna H. | March 28, 2007 at 3:24 pm |

    [quote comment="63885"]What do you guys think about white people wearing Negro Leagues/Black Fives merchandise? I think some of it looks very cool, but I worry that it might look inappropriate somehow on a red-headed white girl. I’m pretty bleeding-heart, though, so I’m almost certainly overanalyzing it.[/quote]

    Chili Mac, I don’t think most people would know what it was so probably wouldn’t give you much flak about it. I am way left of center as well (though not white), but I think you can feel ok on this one

  • Metsfan AZ | March 28, 2007 at 3:24 pm |

    [quote comment="63885"]What do you guys think about white people wearing Negro Leagues/Black Fives merchandise? I think some of it looks very cool, but I worry that it might look inappropriate somehow on a red-headed white girl. I’m pretty bleeding-heart, though, so I’m almost certainly overanalyzing it.[/quote]
    That’s a debate I wouldn’t mind hopping on. I think the only prerequisite for wearing that merch is that you have an idea about the league or team you’re wearing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “I think it looks cool, so I wore it” for a reason to wear it. But, I think you will undoubtedly get some questions from someone who recognizes what you’re wearing.

  • Andy (#11) | March 28, 2007 at 3:30 pm |

    [quote comment="63778"]
    …but if im someone who falls below that standard and i dont get to wear that patch, i feel like shit! because they have a different uniform than me…
    [/quote]
    [quote comment="63864"]…i have no problem with accomplishment rewards (ie helmet stickers) when they recognize me for performance in the area for which i am wearing the uniform in the first place!…[/quote]
    But you’ll still feel like shit because their uniform is different than yours (if they have stickers and you don’t)!
    I think it’d be a demeaning if everyone below a 3.0 had to wear some sort of “Below 3.0″ patch. I think most people recognize though, that you’re not an idiot just because you’re below a 3.0. Also, maybe it gives the guy who rides the bench something to feel good about?

  • Cornellian | March 28, 2007 at 3:38 pm |

    A few points on the UT patch discussion:

    – I tried to find their grade distributions online this morning but failed in the few minutes I poked around. I did learn that they don’t give minuses. Thus grades are: A(4) B+(3.5) B(3) C+(2.5), etc.

    – Secondly, while I respect that student-athletes put a ton of time into their sport I fail to see why we should shower them with accolades for essentially being average students. After all students-athletes ROUTINELY get private tutoring, special study spaces, help choosing classes and private study spaces. No such amenities are available for students involved in just as time consuming endeavors. In college I was in a marching band that rehearsed 8+ hours/wk and traveled with the team and a pep band that rehearsed less frequently but attended the games of 6-8 teams on campus and traveled to road hockey games.

    -I’d like to see a patch or other designation for legitimate scholarship, perhaps across the country. It would help the image that many athletes are dumb jocks who don’t belong at these schools… or maybe it would hurt it more! And I couldn’t care less about embarrassing those who don’t make the cut, especially if it is designed to recognize the truly deserving.

    – This whole discussion raises interesting questions about how the NCAA is now tying scholarships to academic performance (see OSU and Texas trying to keep Durant and Oden in class so they don’t get penalized for them dropping out mid-semester). These patches are almost like UT’s way of proving they have guys on the team keeping up the team GPA and not risking the future of the program.

    Finally, in unrelated but more uni-related news, the UND Fighting Sioux (banes of the NCAA’s existence) will be in St. Louis at the Frozen Four next week and likely showing off their Nike Swift sweaters on national tv.

  • Tom | March 28, 2007 at 3:39 pm |

    Jeremy Brahm appears to have found a photo of the world’s longest bat. …

    Almost Jeremy found the world’s longest bat…

    http://www.eyeconart...

  • Claude Johnson, President, Black Fives, Inc. | March 28, 2007 at 3:49 pm |

    [quote comment="63885"]What do you guys think about white people wearing Negro Leagues/Black Fives merchandise? I think some of it looks very cool, but I worry that it might look inappropriate somehow on a red-headed white girl. I’m pretty bleeding-heart, though, so I’m almost certainly overanalyzing it.[/quote]

    Its not a black or white thing. If I buy a book about Renaissance art does it mean I have to be Italian-American? Its just art, or in this case, culture.

  • Burrill | March 28, 2007 at 3:51 pm |

    [quote comment="63789"]Alongside the Joe Rogers article should be Dan Blackburn.[/quote]

    Teebz, my University of Michigan hockey knowledge is suspect at best, but I seem to remember a goalie named Dan Blackburn playing at Yost not too long ago. Is that the same one?

  • Claude Johnson, President, Black Fives, Inc. | March 28, 2007 at 3:53 pm |

    Dear Uni-Watch,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and well-researched blog entry about my business, Black Fives, Inc. (nicely entitled, “Gimme Fives”).

    When I started this business in the 1990s, it was purely for the pursuit of knowledge that I felt others would also enjoy as much as I did. I was living in Brooklyn at the time and I felt it would be very cool to walk around in a tee shirt that said Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn on the front.

    I have since learned that my passion and mission in life is to teach, train, and inspire others towards being, having, and doing all that they have ever dreamed.

    So I researched and wrote and spoke about the history. My research is impeccable, and I can say without hesitation that my website is the most informative in existence, of any company selling sports, fashion, footwear, or vintage merchandise. Students visit my site every day to study for research papers and essays.

    Eventually during the retro jersey craze I wondered if I could package this information (and accompanying logos and trademarks) into something of interest for a potential licensee. Mitchell & Ness considered it, but backed away citing that their plate was too full and that they didn’t know how to market such a new and unheard-of genre.

    So I did it on my own. I am proud of what I was able to accomplish on my own without a backer, without a rap artist partner, without an advertising and marketing campaign, with little money, with no prior experience in production or importing, with no previous trips to Asia, with unsecured receivables … it took a lot, but I was determined. I created a line of jerseys and related gear, which made it into over 250 stores nationwide. Each jersey had its own collectible trading card hangtag that included the history of that particular team. I got a significant amount of resistance to this hangtag. The owner of one retailer in particular, a Chicago-based hip-hop clothing chain called The Lark, insisted, “black kids don’t read.” The Lark went out of business. Black Fives is still here. In a similar stand, SLAM Magazine refused to write about the Black Fives Era, citing that its readers were not intelligent enough to understand this history.

    Nevertheless, I got massive media and editorial coverage, including articles in Sports Illustrated, The Source, ESPN the Magazi

  • Claude Johnson, President, Black Fives, Inc. | March 28, 2007 at 3:58 pm |

    … ESPN the Magazine, DNR, and The Wall Street Journal, appearances on television and radio, and placement exposure with BET, MTV, rap videos, pro athletes, celebrities, and even on The Today Show.

    (I am still on my own, but not for long.)

    Black Fives has been in front of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people, and I get letters and emails and voicemail comments from around the world from people sharing their positive reactions. They are always the same: amazement and fascination and heartfelt inspiration.

    Why? Because these jerseys are more than just jerseys; they are metaphors for the lessons and accomplishments of the pioneers of the Black Fives Era. The faces of the pioneers that appear in the photographs of African American basketball teams from the Black Fives Era are neither happy nor sad, nor content, nor angry, nor joyous, nor fearful. They are intent, purposeful, focused, clear, and present. They prove that black history is not only about drinking fountains, fire hoses, lunch counters, lynchings, bus seats, slavery, or Jim Crow. These men and women had no roadmap, instructions, or guidelines. And in addition to external obstacles including racism, these pioneers faced gigantic internal obstacles such as fear of success and doubt about self-worth. Most people, black and white, encounter these same fears and doubts today. They are seeking inspiration and personal growth. That is what makes Black Fives significant, not the jerseys.

    In addition, I set the price of these jerseys significantly below the astronomically arbitrary prices set by my competitors so that they would be relatively accessible for as many consumers as possible. I still have some of my original jerseys and gear remaining in inventory, although I sold out of the smaller sizes.

    I was disappointed when I read that Scott M.X. Turner thinks this clothing “sucked” and was a “cynical manipulation of history for profit.” It made me realize that Mr. Turner is probably broke. Most cynical people are. They are fearful of receiving anything of value because they doubt their own self-worth and wonder if they add value themselves, for whatever reason. I should know, because I work to overcome fear of success and doubt about my own self-worth every day. The difference is that I succeed, on most days. Mr. Turner, the key to turning this around is to focus on helping others. Your wallet will thank you.

    I believe that people who are given the opportunity to help others by providing something of value to society are obligated to do so, simply because the resulting wealth will enable more people to be served. Even the Bible says so.

    So, whether or not the jerseys are synthetic is irrelevant unless you are an archivist for the Basketball Hall of Fame (which, by the way, displays several of my, umm, synthetic jerseys). Actual vintage jerseys from the Black Fives Era were made of wool. They were skintight. They had a button crotch. I don’t know if Mr. Turner, or anyone, prefers to wear such a jersey. There is not enough demand to sustain a business, anyway.

    Speaking of that, I have since learned and realized that one solitary man on a mission with a passion could not sustain a wholesale apparel business, and I am grateful that my adventures did not end in bankruptcy.

    Instead, I began to think about licensing and this eventually resulted in a licensing partnership with Nike that went into affect in October 2006 with an array of Black Fives licensed products including its retro sneakers that you cited in your piece. (I guess its possible after all for someone who hasn’t been on a different planet or in solitary confinement since at least 1992 to not understand what Nike retro sneakers are!)

    Nike is not the end-all. Rather, Nike is the beginning of more key initiatives to come for Black Fives …

  • Teebz | March 28, 2007 at 4:03 pm |

    [quote comment="63902"][quote comment="63789"]Alongside the Joe Rogers article should be Dan Blackburn.[/quote]

    Teebz, my University of Michigan hockey knowledge is suspect at best, but I seem to remember a goalie named Dan Blackburn playing at Yost not too long ago. Is that the same one?[/quote]

    The goalie at Michigan was Josh Blackburn. Dan Blackburn played for the Kootenay Ice of the WHL in the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

    Josh is was a 5th-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1998 Entry Draft. He retired in 2005 from hockey at the age of 26 after spending the season with the Central Hckey League’s Corpus Christi Rayz. He retired when he and his wife welcomed their first child. He currently lives in Michigan where his wife works as an aeronautical engineer.

    In October of 2001, Blackburn appeared in an outdoor game at Michigan State in front of a world record crowd of 74,554, opposite current NHL star and Barney Rubble Hairpieces’ goalie Ryan Miller.

  • Cornellian | March 28, 2007 at 4:05 pm |

    [quote comment="63902"][quote comment="63789"]Alongside the Joe Rogers article should be Dan Blackburn.[/quote]

    Teebz, my University of Michigan hockey knowledge is suspect at best, but I seem to remember a goalie named Dan Blackburn playing at Yost not too long ago. Is that the same one?[/quote]

    Perhaps you are thinking of Al Montoya. Blackburn played major junior in the WHL. (http://www.hockeydb....)

  • Teebz | March 28, 2007 at 4:12 pm |

    [quote comment="63910"]
    Josh is was a 5th-round pick of the Phoenix[/quote]

    That is was should have had a / between them. Poor grammar… I am ashamed.

  • Eric | March 28, 2007 at 4:13 pm |
  • Burrill | March 28, 2007 at 4:16 pm |

    Thank you, Teebz. I knew I remembered a Blackburn, but I couldn’t remember his first name.

    I think after Michigan’s rollercoaster adventures with Billy Sauer this season, I’m trying to fondly remember Blackburn’s time in Ann Arbor.

  • Danny | March 28, 2007 at 4:19 pm |

    Interesting piece here about LaRoche deciding to change the spacing of his nameplate.

  • David | March 28, 2007 at 4:43 pm |

    [quote comment="63875"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    David, can you link to this ad or tell me how to find it (or anybody else who has seen it)? I am sure it’s totally obvious, but I am brain-fried today.

    Teebz, I have no female friends who have the slightest interest in sports, let alone unis. That’s why I post here![/quote]

    Here you go! Enjoy.

    http://youtube.com/w...

    I’m still confused if they are fake or real. If we could get a photo of Kruky with shortselves on we could figure it out.

  • Jason | March 28, 2007 at 4:56 pm |

    Any chance that this is the Pens jersey for next season being shown on a Sidney Crosby collectible? It looks similar to the All Star Game jersey.

    http://sports.upperd...

  • Andy from KC | March 28, 2007 at 4:59 pm |

    [quote comment="63836"][quote comment="63816"][quote comment="63801"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    I think the basis of the commercial is that Kruk looks sometimes undistinguishably like rock star(?) Meat Loaf, so the tattooes were probably added to aid the idea of the commercial.[/quote]

    I’m like 97% sure the tats are fake, but then again, it’s John Kruk, so I guess you never know. I love that commercial, though, with Arroyo on guitar, Sheffield on drums, and some Cleveland Indian I didn’t recognize on keytar.[/quote]

    Come on – the best part is at the end – Geddy Lee of Rush![/quote]

    My bad — I was so busy looking for a keytar pic that I forgot all about Geddy! A thousand apologies.

  • Clevo | March 28, 2007 at 5:44 pm |

    [quote comment="63928"][quote comment="63875"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    David, can you link to this ad or tell me how to find it (or anybody else who has seen it)? I am sure it’s totally obvious, but I am brain-fried today.

    Teebz, I have no female friends who have the slightest interest in sports, let alone unis. That’s why I post here![/quote]

    Here you go! Enjoy.

    http://youtube.com/w...

    I’m still confused if they are fake or real. If we could get a photo of Kruky with shortselves on we could figure it out.[/quote]
    [quote]I’m still confused if they are fake or real. If we could get a photo of Kruky with shortselves on we could figure it out.[/quote]

    I would almost 100 % say it’s one of those fake tattoo shirts. Personally, I can not imagine anything more lame than wearing one of these, but that’s just my opinion.

    http://www.wildroset...

    I remember Gammons was on Mike and Mike shortly after the ad was filmed, but I can’t remember if he mentioned Kruk’s “ink” from the shoot.

  • shaylen | March 28, 2007 at 5:53 pm |

    Is anyone going to watch the USMNT game tonight? they’re wearing the pinstriped third jerseys today if im not mistaken.

  • schuby | March 28, 2007 at 5:54 pm |

    [quote comment="63928"][quote comment="63875"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    David, can you link to this ad or tell me how to find it (or anybody else who has seen it)? I am sure it’s totally obvious, but I am brain-fried today.

    Teebz, I have no female friends who have the slightest interest in sports, let alone unis. That’s why I post here![/quote]

    Here you go! Enjoy.

    http://youtube.com/w...

    I’m still confused if they are fake or real. If we could get a photo of Kruky with shortselves on we could figure it out.[/quote]

    I’m thinking they’re just tatoo sleeves. Tragic to see usually.

  • schuby | March 28, 2007 at 5:57 pm |

    Damn!

  • Patrick | March 28, 2007 at 6:33 pm |

    This came from Tuesday’s games, and I meant to post it, but Miguel Tejada was wearing was wearing his 2006 batting practice jersey against the Cards.


    Miguel Tejada

  • Dave from Indy | March 28, 2007 at 7:20 pm |

    Did anyone notice the Cards wearing their red caps with the road unis today?
    I hope that is a sign of things to come.

  • Greg Riffenburgh | March 28, 2007 at 7:22 pm |

    Some great stirrups on Bobby Crosby.

  • Seattle Matt | March 28, 2007 at 7:33 pm |

    Gotta disagree a little bit on Paul’s baseball myths 1 and 4.

    Myth 1 – A long AB has all sorts of benefits. Here’s what Lou Pinella has to say about them:

    “We’ve talked to our catchers about getting them out on three or four pitches instead of working the count. Not too many good things can come from long counts. First of all, you’re letting the hitters see all your pitches. Second of all, your infielders aren’t going to be as attentive and they’re not going to make as many good plays. Third of all, you have pitch counts and these guys will be out of the game sooner than you’d like to see them […] the manager’s not going to be very pleased.”

    I’d rather have a 1st pitch double than a 10th pitch groundout, but I’d also rather have a 10th pitch groundout than a 1st pitch groundout.

    Myth 4 – Batting average is inadequate in capturing the affect a “smart hitting” pitcher can have. One thing that both Glavine and Maddux do well is bunt. Looking at a “sacrifice hit average” (let’s say its (SH+SF)/PA), Rey Ordoñez has a SHA of .027. Maddux’s is .100, and Glavine’s is .132. So if Maddux or Glavine are coming up in a situation where it makes sense to have a sacrifice hit, the entire defense needs to be more on alert. If you look at the top 10 sacrifice hit leaders since 1957, you see that Glavine and Maddux are in there.

  • Mark in Cincy | March 28, 2007 at 8:11 pm |

    [quote comment="63950"]Is anyone going to watch the USMNT game tonight? they’re wearing the pinstriped third jerseys today if im not mistaken.[/quote]
    They are wearing the blue striped “kit” with the white shorts . . . looks rather nice imho

  • Dan | March 28, 2007 at 8:14 pm |

    us mens soccer team is wearing the blue pinstriped jersey with white shorts tonight against Guatemala. It goes better with the top than the blue shorts. I’m just still not sold on them. Looks sloppy when untucked.

  • Dan | March 28, 2007 at 8:17 pm |

    i also just realized that there is red trim on the bottom of the shorts and some on the socks. the outline of the numbers is also red.

  • David110 | March 28, 2007 at 8:17 pm |

    The white shorts is a huge improvement. I like it.

  • Mark in Shiga | March 28, 2007 at 8:35 pm |

    Burrill, that is indeed the famous zipper company; supposedly they make half of all the zippers in the world! The seats right in front of that ad are where the fans and students from the school in the first-base dugout sit. Band, cheerleaders, the works.

    Scott and Alex, they still scoop up that dirt and put it in bags to take home. Those TV cameras lve taking shots of crying kids on the losing team taking their souvenirs away.

    Tokyo still gets two teams (East Tokyo and West Tokyo) as it’s the most populous prefecture and 48 teams is a much easier number to work with than 47 (the actual number of prefectures in Japan). I think there have also been tournaments where Hokkaido, the largest area-wise, has had two teams.

    Seeing #11 on the mound may be scary, but how about seeing #7? In 2001, Ohmi alternated their left fielder (I think his name is Shimada) with another pitcher for a while after the main #1 guy got tired. Unfortunately, we ended up losing that game and haven’t been back to the finals since.

    Claude, great job on the Black Fives gear! I want to do something like that for old Japanese baseball jerseys — there are some real classics out there!

  • Miguel | March 28, 2007 at 9:27 pm |

    USA soccer uni’s look pretty dang sweet in this combo!

    Also, thanks for chiming in, Claude. I almost want to shell out for some Black Five Forces (love that liner).

  • Minna H. | March 28, 2007 at 10:35 pm |

    [quote comment="63928"][quote comment="63875"][quote comment="63796"]On a unrelated note, on ESPN I’ve noticed an ad for ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Featuring John Kruk and Peter Gammons singing in a rock band. But I noticed that John Kruk was covered in tattoos, I had no idea he had any. Unless he got them for the comericial. Anyone got any info on this one?[/quote]

    David, can you link to this ad or tell me how to find it (or anybody else who has seen it)? I am sure it’s totally obvious, but I am brain-fried today.

    Teebz, I have no female friends who have the slightest interest in sports, let alone unis. That’s why I post here![/quote]

    Here you go! Enjoy.

    http://youtube.com/w...

    I’m still confused if they are fake or real. If we could get a photo of Kruky with shortselves on we could figure it out.[/quote]

    David, thanks for the link. I am 99.9% sure the tats are part of a shirt. I couldn’t find a pic of Kruk with tats, and I think there would be at least one floating around the ‘net if he had them.

    MetsfanAZ, good point about knowing your history. I wanted to say something about getting attention from people who know what the shirt is about, but you phrased it much better than I could have.

    Re: stickers/academic patches, etc. I don’t like any of them, but I don’t find the academic ones any more bothersome than the helmet decals. I would say get rid of them all or let it ride as is.

  • Wes Covington | March 28, 2007 at 11:17 pm |

    Two teams in Japan use all dirt infields and both play in the Central League.

    One is the one mentioned before: Koshien Stadium, home to the big high school tournament as well as the home to the Hanshin Tigers.

    Hiroshima Municipal Stadium, home of the Carp, also has an all-dirt infield.

    Koshien keeps the field as all dirt mainly because of tradition. Since Japan gets a lot of rain, it was easier to get a field to drain if it didn’t have grass. And it was also cheaper to maintain. Nearly every Japanese stadium had all dirt fields until the 1970s when artificial turf hit the scene and most fields in Japan have it. At Koshien and Hiroshima, there is a fairly long break midway through the game when the grounds crew comes out and really reworks the field. The dirt at Koshien is a big deal and the high school players in the tournament will take home samples of the dirt.

    Only Koshien and Hiroshima Municipal have grass now.

    The Nippon Ham Fighters play in the Sapporo Dome, which has a retractable field. The baseball team plays on artifical turf, but when the local soccer team plays, a big field of grass is rolled in and the stadium is reconfigured.

    Until 2004, the home stadium for the Orix Blue Wave in Kobe had a grass field that resembled a North American field. But then Orix merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes and became the Orix Buffaloes and now play in the rather unattractive Kyocera Dome in Osaka.

  • elijah | March 29, 2007 at 12:33 am |

    I checked out the Cavaliers-Knicks game last night, since when has Cleveland gone mostly red.?

  • Mark in Shiga | March 29, 2007 at 1:20 am |

    One addition to Wes’s comment — nearly all amateur teams play on all-dirt infields. It’s a bit hard to get used to, since you can’t position yourself using the lip where the dirt would meet the grass, but I think the groundskeeping is indeed easier, especially since a lot of these fields are in use 8-10 hours a day.

    Amateur teams also sport some nice uniforms — they really go all out with the quality.

  • Phillip | March 29, 2007 at 4:34 am |

    Cardinals have been wearing red caps in spring gmaes for a while, I think. Easier than having to pack three sets of hats — BP, red, navy — for the spring.

  • Nick | March 30, 2007 at 2:53 am |

    REGARDING THE BLACK FIVES MERCHANDISE:

    First, it is a VERY GOOD THING that Claude Johnson and his company, THE BLACK FIVES, has made the effort at producing jerseys of older basketball teams that would not have been available to anyone without his efforts. The items offered by his company expand and make available jerseys, jackets, and other items that would not be available to anyone if not made by his company. Further, in making these items available he offers detailed histories of the teams, players and era that would not be readily available anywhere else but for his efforts.

    Second, while I too would like Throwback jerseys and other items made available in authentic, historically accurate materials, such as real durene jerseys, the fact is that it is too onerous to expect this from each company that makes these items. In fact, I am very willing to cut slack on a smaller company, like Black Fives -who in some cases makes a “run” of only 12 jerseys for a particular team – and are much more affordable, when their materials are no worse than the pathetic efforts of the much the larger Mitchell & Ness when it comes to football jersey materials, at $300.00 plus a jersey with hundreds manufactured !!! Just look at the pathetic AFL Chargers/Altworth jerseys put out by M&N in poly knit materials – they easily could have done it right and cheaply chose not to.

    Third and lastly, the founder of Black Fives found a passion, early African American basketball history, and stepped up to try to spread the word as well as the fashion. So its not perfect, What is. The guy is a real Mensch for making the effort. When one of US hits the Lottery and still sells cheap stuff, then you can complain.

    SPEAKING OF HISTORY, I’m in a sporting goods store in New Orleans looking at jerseys. a young rapper type is in the store with his posse and is buying jerseys, holding a wad of bills of at least $5,000.00. I am near him when he points up to a St. Louis Stars baseball jersey, and he asks out loud where it is from. I say to him that it was from the Negro Leagues, and I immediately offend the posse, who surround me while Mr. $5,000.00 gets in my face ready to throw down, all offended.

    It took my explaining for five minutes and three employees agreeing with me to convince them that there actually was a real baseball league referred to as the “Negro Leagues” and that I was not trying to make it up just to use the word “Negro” out loud to “dis” him.

  • Claude Johnson, President, Black Fives, Inc. | March 30, 2007 at 8:55 am |

    [quote comment="63999"]

    Claude, great job on the Black Fives gear! I want to do something like that for old Japanese baseball jerseys — there are some real classics out there![/quote]

    Thanks. You should definitely do the Japanese classic jerseys, if you can get the rights. Create a niche!

  • Claude Johnson, President, Black Fives, Inc. | March 30, 2007 at 8:56 am |

    [quote comment="64007"]USA soccer uni’s look pretty dang sweet in this combo!

    Also, thanks for chiming in, Claude. I almost want to shell out for some Black Five Forces (love that liner).[/quote]

    Thanks. The liner is inspired by old-school basketball knee pads.

  • Claude Johnson, President, Black Fives, Inc. | March 30, 2007 at 9:13 am |

    [quote comment="64393"]REGARDING THE BLACK FIVES MERCHANDISE:[/quote]

    Thanks, Nick!

    PS – The end of my original response was cut off and this system won’t allow me to post it for some reason …

  • Jason | March 30, 2007 at 12:20 pm |

    [quote comment="63782"]
    Is is common for Japanese baseball to be played on all dirt infields? Or in the case of some of those pics, all mud infields? Looks like true hops would be few and far between on those fields[/quote]

    Actually, when I was living there in 2003, all the baseball fields in my town had dirt infields and outfields. The public soccer fields were the same way. Japan is generally more resource-conscious than North Americans and that is reflected in choosing not to use a lot of water on grass sports fields. Even NPB (Japanese Major League) teams play on dirt infields. All the stadia in Japan except for Yokohama also use artificial turf outfields.