Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to announce that the Uni Watch membership program is officially open for business.
Thanks for your patience, your suggestions, and your enthusiasm for the membership project. And please join me in thanking Uni Watch design director Scott M.X. Turner, who’s been incredibly patient with the many, many requests I’ve made of him over the past month. None of this would be happening if not for him.
Now then: The heart of the program is the official (and laminated!) Uni Watch membership card, which you can customize with your own name and number on the back, just like a uniform. You can either choose to go with Uni Watch colors (in which case you can opt to have your name lettering be vertically arched, radially arched, straight, below the number, or no name at all), or you can choose to go with the design style of your favorite team (and contrary to what I announced a week or so ago, we will retain the Uni Watch-colored border and bunting on these team-based designs after all). Most MLB, NFL, and NHL teams are available; sorry, no NBA for now, no NCAA, no minor leagues, and no teams with any purple in their uniform. Keep in mind that if you opt for a team-based design, your name must appear in the style used by that team — in other words, you can’t ask for a Phillies treatment with vertically arched lettering, or a Yankees treatment with any name at all. Teams that use nameplates (as opposed to direct-sewn lettering) will have a little nameplate border visible on their cards.
So how do you get one of these cards, and what else does membership entitle you to? Here’s the rundown of annual membership levels, prices, and benefits:
Level One — Wool Flannel ($25): Benefits are as follows:
- Official Uni Watch membership card
- Uni Watch fridge magnet
- Three bonus entries in all Uni Watch raffles
- Your name featured on the Uni Watch “Active Roster” membership listing (see below)
Level Two — Vertically Arched ($60): All of the benefits listed above, plus a special members-only Uni Watch T-shirt (which, like the membership card, was designed by Scott), this year’s version of which is available in your choice of a blue ringer, red ringer, black ringer, orange on navy, or blue on gray. A new T-shirt design will be made available to new or renewing members each year on May 17th, the anniversary of this blog.
Level Three — Chain-Stitched ($100): All the benefits listed above, plus a CD containing the digital art files for three rare, hard-to-find uniform style guides: NFL 1972, XFL 2001, and MLB’s 1999 “Turn Ahead the Clock” series.
Level Four — Leather Helmet ($250): All the benefits listed above, plus Uni Watch design director Scott M.X. Turner will create a logo for your team, fantasy league, company, civic association, church group, or just for you.
Level Five — Satin Piping ($500): All the benefits listed above, plus I will conduct a “Uni Watch Profiles” interview with you, a transcript of which will be posted on the blog. During the interview we will discuss your favorite uniforms, your uni-related pet peeves, your cap collection, or anything else uni-related that you want to talk about. You will be uni-king for a day!
Level Six — Striped Stirrups ($1000): All of the benefits listed above, plus I will fly to your town (or to the nearest city with an airport) and host a Uni Watch party at the local venue of your choosing. Probably your best chance at attending a Uni Watch party if you live in, say, Wichita. Continental U.S. only. If you live within a 100-mile radius of New York City, I will take you and a guest out to dinner either before or after the party. If you and some friends pool your resources to come up with the fee, you will all receive membership cards.
Level Seven — Silver Medal: Available only to Uni Watch staff.
All members will be listed on the official Uni Watch Active Roster, which for now looks like this (click on any member’s uniform number to see the name/number style on the back of his or her membership card; if the person’s name is clickable, you’ll see a photo of that person as well):
As you can see, John, Scott, Vince, and I are enrolled at the “Silver Medal” membership level (because gold medals are for suckers — silver’s way cooler), which is available only to site staffers. If you want to keep track of people who enroll in the membership program, bookmark this page (which is also accessible via a new “Uni Watch Membership Program” page, which basically repeats a lot of the info from today’s blog entry — as you can see, there’s now a link to that page up at the top of the site).
You probably have some questions. Let’s see if I can anticipate some of them:
Is the membership program voluntary?
Completely. If membership isn’t your bag, no problem. Access to the site will always be free to everyone, members and non-members alike.
How long is membership good for?
One year. I’ll bug everyone to renew at the appropriate time.
Wasn’t the Level Two fee originally slated to be $50, not $60?
Yes. But the T-shirts turned out to be a bit pricier than I’d expected. Sorry about that.
Can I put any name I want on the front of the card?
Personally, I like seeing my real name on a card. But if you’d rather go with a nickname, or just your first name, or John Doe, or whatever, that’s fine with me. But whatever name you have on the front of the card, that’s the name you’ll be listed under on the membership roster.
What about the back of the card?
Again, I like seeing my last name there, but I realize I’m more of a literalist than some other folks might be. So if you want a nickname on the back of your card, or your first name, or whatever, that’s okay too, although I reserve the right to reject anything that’s falls too far on wrong side of the “Is it good or is it stupid?” divide. (Hint: “He Hate Me” is firmly in stupid territory.)
Can I use the name of my business, or the URL of my web site, on the front or the back of the card?
Yes, but you will not be listed on the membership roster. I don’t want the membership program to become a vehicle for stealth marketing — I want it to be a fun way for people to feel like part of a community.
I want to be the only person who enrolls under a certain uniform number. Is there some way I can have an “exclusive” on that number?
No. All numbers are non-exclusive.
Can I have a number greater than 99?
No. But zero and double-zero are fine, and so is any single digit number preceded by a zero (like Benito Santiago’s 09). Requests for “special” numbers or characters, like fractions or pi, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
My favorite teams are the Vikings, Ravens, Rockies, and Kings. Can’t you please let me have my name and number in a design treatment that includes purple?
Sorry, the “no purple” policy is non-negotiable.
What if I want to join but I don’t want to be listed on the membership roster?
I respect your privacy. If you’d rather not be listed on the roster, that’s fine.
Can you offer a full-text RSS feed as a membership benefit?
Several people have asked about this. Naturally, I’m too tech-clueless to know how to do it, but webmaster John Ekdahl is looking into it. More details soon.
Will there be other membership benefits?
I hope so — hang in there while we get this up and running. Once we get the program moving smoothly, I’ll try to add some additional benefits.
How long will it take to get my card and other stuff?
Please give us about three weeks, especially at the start, when I expect we’ll be flooded with memberships (plus Scott Turner is going on vacation next week, so that’ll slow us down). Because each membership card is custom-designed, there’s a decent amount of work involved — designing the card, running to the print shop to pick up the printed card sheets, cutting out the cards, firing up the laminator, blah-blah-blah — so please be patient. If you’re joining at Level Two or above, your T-shirt will come directly from Zazzle, so that may be the first thing that shows up. And if you’re joining at Level Four or above, don’t expect Scott to design that logo for you overnight (four weeks is probably more like it).
I’ll try to add people’s names and numbers to the membership roster listing as soon as possible, but again, please be patient — I have a lot of non-Uni Watch work to deal with today and tomorrow, plus an out-of-town houseguest for the weekend, so it may take a day or three for the wheels to turn.
Isn’t this really just a glorified fund-raiser for you?
To a certain extent. But it’s also a fun way to embrace our shared love of all things uni-related, and to celebrate the larger sense of community that’s sprung up around this site. Like I said before, it’s completely voluntary — if the fund-raising aspect (or any other aspect) offends you, then don’t sign up. But I hope you’ll still check out the site every day.
Who won the membership raffle?
Kenny Keil. He’s now a Level Two member.
Damn, I really wanted to win that raffle. Guess I’ll have to join up the normal way. How do I do it?
First, decide upon the membership level you want and PayPal the appropriate membership fee to paul_lukas at earthlink dot net (plus, if you’re feeling extra-generous, toss in a few extra bucks to cover PayPal’s transaction fee). If you’re not PayPal-ish, send a check, money order, or well-concealed cash to Paul Lukas, 671 DeGraw St., Brooklyn, NY 11217.
Please be sure to include all of the following information:
• Your shipping address.
• The name that you want to appear on the front of the card. This will also be the name you’ll be listed under on the membership roster.
• The uniform number that you want on the back of the card. If possible, please provide a quick explanation for why you chose that number, so we can include that info on the membership roster.
• The name, if any, that you want to appear on the back of the card.
• The design treatment you want for your name and number. If you’re choosing Uni Watch colors, indicate if you want the name to be vertically arched, radially arched, straight, subscript, or no name at all; if choosing a team-based design treatment, indicate home or road (or dark jersey or light), and also give a second design option, just in case we don’t have the typeface for your first team choice.
• If you’d like your name on the membership roster to link to a photo of yourself, so other members can see what you look like, please e-mail me a photo separately.
• If for any reason you want to become a member but prefer not to be listed on the membership roster, that’s fine — just say so.
• If joining at Level Two or above, indicate which T-shirt style you want, and your size.
• If joining at Level Four or above, explain what sort of organization or group you want Scott Turner to design a logo for, and provide a phone number so he can contact you to discuss the project.
• If joining at Levels Five or Six, provide a phone number so I can discuss interview and/or travel logistics with you.
That should be enough to keep everyone busy. If I’ve overlooked anything, I trust you’ll let me know. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out just how flat a cockroach has to be squashed before it can be run through the laminator.
Uni Watch News Ticker: For years I thought the White Sox wore their shorts only once — on August 6th, 1976, against the Royals, as seen here. But a few days ago I linked to that great White Sox video, which included a brief Sox-in-shorts shot, and Mark Galus noticed something that I missed: The opposing catcher appears to be wearing Orioles garb. After checking with Hall of Fame historian and longtime Uni Watch pal Tom Shieber, I learned that the Sox actually wore the shorts a second time — on August 21st, against the Orioles. Mea culpa for mistakenly perpetuating the notion that they were only worn once. … Bizarre combo being worn by the Clear Lake (Iowa) high school baseball team: pinstripes below the belt but not above (with thanks to Jesse Gavin). … Nice work by Jim Freeman, who notes that the name on the back of Mark DeRosa’s jersey has changed from this (that photo is from April 9th) to this (May 20th). … Jalen Rose was wearing a seriously weird-ass blazer on ESPN2’s First Take the other day — not to be confused with another blazer he recently wore on TV (great work by Kenny Tobler). … Speaking of blazers, there are some amazing Hockey Night in Canada sportsjackets on display in this video (nice find by Stephen Tod). … Jeff Barak, who attended the Uni Watch party in Minneapolis earlier this month, has catalogued his hockey jersey collection. … Stephen Pindar notes that the Giants’ left-sleeve patch was missing from Dan Ortmeier’s jersey last night. … Similarly, the Devil Rays’ right-sleeve anniversary patch was absent from James Shields’s jersey last night. … A few days ago I ran this photo of a jersey once worn by Casey Stengel. Now Brian Nelson has provided some shots of the jersey being worn by Casey himself in 1972, during Old-Timers’ Day festivities at Dodger Stadium. … Kevin Gee reports that Craig Biggio — the all-time HBP leader — batted without his customary elbow armor last night. … Excellent catch by Bryan Redemske, who spotted Henry Blanco wearing the Cubs’ road helmet at home last night. “Michael Barrett has been wearing the home helmet on the road,” Bryan adds. “Neither seems to work.” … Crosby Kisler reports that Inter Milan will have a new road jersey for the 2007-08 season, to mark their centennary year. … You’ve heard of players having to pay other players in order to get a coveted uni number. But check this out: Jerry Porter will have to pay the Raiders — to the tune of over 200 large — if he wants to change his number. Details here (with thanks to Chris Flinn).