Yesterday’s entry about inconsistent number typography prompted good assortment of follow-up contributions, most of them involving the numeral 2. Check it out:
• The Florida Gators’ 2 has a bottom serif when appearing on the shoulder (home, road), but the serif vanishes when the numeral is used on the chest (home, road). They used to have a similar problem with their 5s — compare the top of the numerals here to the one here — but that’s now been remedied.
• The 1982-83 Sixers were notoriously inconsistent with their 2. Compare Moses Malone and Bobby Jones in this shot, and compare Earl Cureton (front row, third from left) to all the other 2-inclusive uni numbers in this team portrait.
• There’s also some indication that the Namath-era Jets used different 2s on their home and road jerseys, although I’m not yet convinced that this ever happened in the same season. But there definitely appears to have been some 2-related confusion on the white jersey in 1968, as seen in this team photo — check out 42 and 23 in the front row, for example.
Interesting to see that all of yesterday’s and today’s examples have involved 2 and/or 5. Those numbers are obviously typographically related, but why the inconsistencies? Why use one 2 on the chest and a different one on the sleeve? All you type-inclined folks out there (Todd, Scott, Eriq, Original Jim, Steve, Steve’s nephew, etc.), please fill us in.
(Thanks to all contributors, especially Todd Krevanchi, Michael Lewis, Jeff Sandman, and Mike Engle.)
NHL Update: As promised, I called the NHL yesterday to inquire about whether the refs’ armbands would be changing to silver, as the league had announced back in January, or if they’d be staying orange, as suggested by first few preseason games. Here’s the response I got from Dave Baker, the league’s Officiating Manager: “It is my understanding that [Officiating Director] Stephen Walkom is working with CCM/Reebok to re-design the officials’ uniform for the 2008-2009 season. What that will look like, I cannot say, as Stephen is involved in this and not me.” Okay, but what about this season? “Well, all the jerseys were distributed at camp for this season,” wrote Baker, “so I believe any changes were put off for this season until the 2008-2009 season to allow CCM/Reebok to design something that is acceptable by Stephen and the League.” In other words, he had no idea what the hell I was talking about (neither did the publicist who forwarded my query to him), which shows once again how the NHL is really on top of things.
I also posted a query to the message board at nhlofficials.com, where linesman Jean Morin posted a reply late last night: “The referees will wear the orange armbands for the regular season. There were a lot of rumors about this change last year, but that’s all they were, rumors.” That’s untrue — the league office specifically told me back in January that they’d be making the switch to silver this season. Looks like we’ve got serious case of confusion with a side order of revisionist history.
Meanwhile, Dave Delisle has provided the closest thing to a rational explanation for the new rounded hemlines:
I work at EA Canada, where NHL 08 is produced. After implementing the new jerseys into the game, I noticed the hemline’s intended effect: They raised the sides to accommodate the skating stride. The old jerseys would ride upwards when the stride was extended. Some players tucked their jerseys in to accommodate a better stride. Remember, the new jerseys were originally intended to be entirely tucked in, until the players cried foul.
Incidentally, when I saw all the jerseys, I cringed at two-thirds of them. Everyone here groaned at the Canucks jerseys — the fallout was what we predicted.
Uni Watch Bonus Material: As most of you know, I occasionally contribute non-uni material to ESPN.com. Every now and then, however, they somehow fail to recognize the genius in the nuggets I send their way. One such item was a little missive about Barry Bonds, which I rather liked but they chose not to publish. Rather than let it die a quiet death, I’m gonna publish it here:
Call it the Prodigal Slugger Syndrome: If you’re a serious home run hitter, you end up back where you started. Take Babe Ruth — he began his career with the Boston Red Sox and ended it with the Boston Braves. Jimmy Foxx was a two-time MVP with the Philadelphia A’s but didn’t call it quits until he’d played one last season with the Phillies. Willie Mays first patrolled center field for the New York Giants, and then limped into retirement after a year and a half with the Mets. And Hank Aaron broke in with the Milwaukee Braves, so where did he play his final two seasons? With the Brewers, of course.
So it seems inevitable that Barry Bonds will be heading back to Pittsburgh, where his tumultuous career began. Only problem is, the Prodigal Slugger Syndrome dictates that you must return to your original city but to not to your original team. Since there’s only one baseball team in Pittsburgh, here are some other Steel City teams Bonds could play for:
Pros: Everyone’s head looks big in a football helmet. … Compared to most NFL players, Bonds is a model citizen. … A 16-game season is about all he’s capable of handling these days anyway. … New sensation at halftime: home run derby!
Cons: New teammates might not be too understanding about some of Barry’s, um, proclivities. … “So what are these ‘two-a-days’ I keep hearing about?”
Pros: Pens desperately in need of good attendance draw. … Hot new broadcast slogan: “He shoots up, he scores!” … Admit it, you’ve always wanted to see Bonds get punched in the face.
Cons: Major potential for controversy if Bonds tries to drink steroids straight from the Stanley Cup. … “Wait a minute, you mean this game is actually played on ice?”
Pitt Panthers Basketball Team
Pros: All the coeds, keggers, and “Girls Gone Wild” DVDs one aging athlete can handle.
Cons: All the coeds, keggers, and “Girls Gone Wild” DVDs one aging athlete can handle. … Frat-house hazing could take further toll on already declining skills. … Slight NCAA eligibility problem.
Uni Watch News Ticker: On-site report from Bob Weston, who sent me the following text message from Monday night’s Reds/Cubs game: “I swear it looks like there’s’ a space between the E and the R on Ryan Theriot’s jersey. No camera.” … Rumor-mongering note from a reader who didn’t give his full name, as follows: “I’ve heard from a few friends that, at one point, the Bengals were thinking of switching from the striped helmets to ones with two airbrushed tiger eyes (one on each side).” I’ve never heard about this. Anyone else? … This is just too funny. … Those new NHL practice socks are, um, not a good idea (as spotted by Chris O’Connor). … Our recent mentions of college/pro all-star games led to this note from Jay Danbom: “My grandfather played in the 1937 game against the Green Bay Packers. I have his all-star game uni. I’m on the road right now for my job, but I did happen to scan pictures from the program about a year ago and meant to email them to you, so here they are.” … A reader who prefers to remain anonymous recently visited the Hockey Hall of Fame and forwarded two photos of interest: this gorgeous 1923-24 Ottawa Senators jersey, and Wayne Gretzky’s Team Canada jersey, adornd with a little Canadian flag pin. … Shane Pappas notes that Arizona State’s Troy Nolan has been doing the striped belt routine. … Can’t keep the old-school facemask brigade down. Yesterday it was Morten Andersen; today it’s Scott Player, the man whose facemask can double as a chinstrap. … Good catch by Bryan Redemske, who notes that Carlos Silva has been wearing vertically ribbed socks. … Nice rundown of World Series rings here. … Derek Hinson notes that the Crimson Tide, who wore white shoelaces last year, have switched to black this season. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Here’s the red “no contact” jersey that Derek Lowe recently wore in pregame warmups. … Richard Craig has found the perfect Uni Watch stocking stuffer: uniform history fridge magnets (additional examples here and here).