Man, talk about Getting It™.
The Bruins hit a home run, scored a hat trick, bowled a turkey, [insert next cliché here] with their new uniforms, which were unveiled yesterday. In an era when I almost always have some quibble about a team’s new design, I have exactly zero bad things to say about this one.
Let’s start with the logo. As most of you know by now, they took their old spoke/hub logo and added some serifs to the B. Was this necessary? No. But is it problematic? Also no — it looks fine. Joe Hilseberg argued in yesterday’s comments section that the new logo would have looked better without the black outline around the B, but I disagree. In the end, is it good or is it stupid? I suppose you could argue that it’s stupid because it appears to be a minor change solely for change’s sake, but it’s not a bad change. More like a lateral move that’s no better but also no worse than the previous design.
Anyway, all those deliberations are pretty much blown away by what they’ve done with the logo: Behold, home and road. Do those look totally classic or what? The sleeve stripes, the hem stripes, the shoulder yokes, the lace-up collars — check, check, check, and quadruple fucking check! Even in a close-up view, Reebok’s fabric/mesh panel construction is hard to discern. In other words, it looks like an old-school sweater.
Even better: the totally boss shoulder patch, which harkens back to the team’s late-1920s logo. There’s also an alternate version of the new patch logo, with “Boston” and “Bruins” reversed — not sure what this will be used for, but apparently it won’t appear on any of the jerseys. Personally, I slightly prefer the alternate version, but that’s like saying I prefer a ribeye over a porterhouse — they’re both pretty damn tasty, and I sure wouldn’t kick either of them out of bed (and if you think I’m mixing metaphors there, well, you’ve clearly never seen me around a steak).
As for the rest of the uniform, all we have for now is this mock-up — not ideal, but enough to be able to tell that they’re not experimenting with any “creative” ideas for the socks. (The same illo appears as part of this visual timeline, plus there’s some additional info here and here, and a handy Bruins logo timeline here.)
When you think back to how stressed out we all were about what Reebok was gonna do to the NHL’s unis, it’s no small irony that the Bruins have just unveiled the league’s most traditional look in ages. So clearly, there’s nothing about the new uni “system” that precludes a classic look.
Which brings us, unfortunately, to the Capitals. Although their official unveiling isn’t until tonight, I now have persmission to run this photo (you can see larger versions of it here and here, and there’s additional info here), and I can’t say I’m thrilled. Yeah, it’s better than what they had before, but that’s not saying much. Here’s what I like:
• The three stars, which mimic the Washington flag.
• The way the word “Washington” nests between the stars and the larger part of the insignia.
• The way the hockey stick t projects at a 3-D angle. I kinda dig the simple, almost minimalist puck, too.
And here’s the bad news:
• The Rangers notwithstanding, wordmarks on hockey jerseys are never the best way to go.
• How can a team called the Capitals have its logo rendered exclusively in non-capital letters?
• Can’t stand how the letter i was reduced to match the x-height of the other letters. Classic “because we can” digital-typography maneuver. Why not have the O in “Washington” dotting the i, or something like that? A lowercase i is an opportunity for a clever graphic solution. Presented with that opportunity, these designers chose to punt.
• Sorry to go all typography geek here, but in a logo filled with curvilinear forms, why did they choose to impose a pointed corner on the p? Another pointless digital exercise. Makes no sense. In fact, if they’d let the bowl of the p be ovoid, they could have evoked the shape of a hockey rink, like the old Canucks logo used to do.
• I’ll reserve judgment until I see the full jersey, but all that piping on the sleeves does not bode well.
• It’s all very nice to have a shoulder patch that simultaneously looks like an eagle, the letter W, and the capital dome. But did it occur to anyone that it (a) looks a lot like the Pontiac Firebird logo, and (b) looks even more like a bird with an oil can shoved up its ass? Just askin’.
OK, that’s enough piling on for now. Let’s hope team spokesman Nate Ewell, who’s been a very good friend to Uni Watch, doesn’t revoke Mike Forgy‘s media credentials from tonight’s unveiling in retaliation.
Raffle Results: Our randomly chosen winner of the 2001 MLB Style Guide is Jesse Gavin, who just signed up for membership yesterday, entitling him to the three bonus raffle entries that helped pave his way to victory. Hang tight, Jesse — the guide is in the mail.
Meet Me in St. Louie: I’ll be St. Louis in a few weeks and would like to convene a Uni Watch party on the evening of July 10th. That happens to be the night of the MLB All-Star Game, which is always a snooze anyway. As for the venue, I’m open to suggestions. By now I think everyone knows the type of place I prefer — semi-divey, sports-friendly but not an actual sports bar, live polka band (or, failing that, a good jukebox). What say you, St. Louisans?
The occasion for my trip, incidentally, is pretty exciting: I’m going to spend a day at Liebe Athletic Lettering, which used to do the sewing and embroidery for most MLB teams. The Liebe archives are full of old sewing patterns, lettering templates, and related ephemera, and they’ve agreed to let me sift through some of it (eat your heart out, Joe Hilseberg!). Best of all, I’ll have a video crew with me, and when the dust settles we hope to have the first-ever Uni Watch video column, which will stream on ESPN.
As long we’re talking about travel: I’m also tentatively planning on a Uni Watch party in Toronto for July 24th. The venue has already been chosen, but I can’t seem to find the scrap of paper where I wrote it down. Further details to follow.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Check out questions 8 and 9 in this Q&A session with Orlando Hudson. … Yesterday I mentioned that I wasn’t sure which uniforms the Carolina and California Leagues wore in their interleague all-star game in 2006. Potomac Nationals spokesman Andrew Bashuk reports that the players wore their regular team unis, and adds the following: “We finished the first half of the season on the road, so our two all-star players were supposed to bring their white uniforms with them because they’d be going straight from Frederick, where we finished the first half, to Salem, where the all-star game was. But one of them forgot his white jersey. So while the rest of the Carolina League wore white, there we were, wearing our blue BP jerseys.” … The U.S. uniforms for the upcoming Women’s World Cup have been unveiled (home, road). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Add So Taguchi to the list of Japanese players wearing toe socks. … The Atlanta Hawks new uniforms will be revealed this Sunday. … John Cropp was poking through the University of Georgia archives (where he found an awesome shot of the school’s 1895 football squad) when he came across this shot, which dates back to 1910. According to the archive listing, the game being played is called pushball, which is beautifully, almost poetically, self-explanatory. If you do a Google image search on the game’s name, you come up with some amazing stuff (although not much uni-related action). There’s even this. Not bad for a game that, according to this Wikipedia entry, “never attained any considerable vogue.” … The Harrisburg Senators wore Parrothead-themed jerseys last night. … Alain Nana-Sinkam recently visited the Iowa Hall of Pride, where he photographed some cool uni-related stuff, including a very primitive football helmet and — the real prize — an incredibly basketball referee’s cardigan (which would be worth the price of admission even without the accompanying stirrups). … Bit of a cock-up on the shirt-tag front yesterday in Arlington, where Vicente Padilla’s tag was flapping in the breeze (further embarrassing views here, here, and here). “The Comcast broadcasters even drew attention to it,” writes the pseudonymous Texas Gal, “wondering if the Rangers had a fashion consultant, and saying the other team should complain and make him fix it.” … Also at Arlington yesterday: Apparently the scoreboard operator ran out of 7s.