New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: Last week, in the middle of our server changeover, I got an e-mail from Chris Hill, with a subject line that read, “Homemade uniform traditions from Rochester.” For some reason it came through in teeny-tiny type that was nearly illegible, and there were 20 attached photos, all of which was more than I wanted to deal with in the midst of the site’s technical woes. I nearly deleted the e-mail altogether.
I’m glad I didn’t. What Chris had sent me was a document of a pretty amusing little project. I’ll let him describe it:
In 2006 a group of my friends and myself started playing baseball in a kid’s back yard. Within a week or so we decided to mow the grass to create an infield, and used his fence as a home run marker.
We played pickup games throughout the summer, but for the 4th of July we decided to have an All-Star Game. In order to make it official and over the top, we made up two teams: the Maplewood Steamboats and the Jambo City Harbors of Wellington. We also built a scoreboard and brought out a P.A. system and announcers for the game. We had yet to discover how to fully use the screen-printing uniform shop in town, so most of our uniforms were homemade. The Harbors even had separate batting practice uniforms, but no picture exists of us in those.
This past summer we all had some money and ideas, so baseball was much more enjoyable. We started off the year making spring training jerseys to wear randomly throughout the season. At some point we realized we were doing the All-Star Game wrong — it should be a game between two leagues, not two teams. So the Steamboats and harbors turned into the League of Steamboats and the Harbor Leagues. From there we created about 16 different teams, all based on inside jokes and cities someone had been to: the Douglas Gorns [that’s Chris wearing No. 44; note the all-star game sleeve patch! — PL], Joe Montana 3-D Graphichs Manipulators, Toronto Tippy Ducks, Gnomes, Tuscon Tra La Las, Mt. Rushmore Compatriots, Boise Canistorshots, Brockport USB-ports and the Ocean City Monsoons. The guy in that last photo got so into it that he had home and away jerseys made, but the shop mistakenly put the team name on the road jersey, instead of the city name, so he bought the botched jerseys at a discount and went back to have it done right, giving him a total of FOUR jerseys, when he just needed one — dedication.
Indeed. And that dedication is what I love about this project. Okay, so the uniforms kinda suck, and many of you probably think the whole thing has “Get a life” written all over it, but so what? The day you’re too cool to embrace your own little field of dreams fantasy is the day you may as well pack it in. Instead of sitting on their sofas watching the ballgame or playing with the latest EA video game, these guys built something real. I say good for them.
Raffle Results: The three winners of last night’s raffle are, in order, J. Yung (who gets his choice of an L.A. Kings jersey, a Washington Capitals T-shirt or an assortment of MLB sleeve patches), Mike Carpenter (who gets to choose from the remaining two items), and Rick White (who’ll get whatever item is left). The three winners should get in touch with me asap.
Thanks to all who entered — more raffles coming soon.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday’s comments included excerpts from this article, which suggests that the new NHL jerseys are (a) possibly causing injuries during fights and (b) tearing at the seams. I don’t have much sympathy for fight-related concerns (simple solution: ban fighting), but there’s a lot of very interesting info here — start with the sixth paragraph. … Also from yesterday: The UK has produced a really nice series of stamps documenting the history of British military uniforms. You can click through the gallery here. … We’ve all seen photos of Rich Karlis kicking barefoot. But Brendon Yarian found a photo of him doing, well, a little more than kicking. … Dynamite Hanshin Tigers uniform history site here. Even if you don’t care about Japanese baseball, this is worth checking out, because the site is nicely interactive (start clicking and you’ll see what I mean) and many of the designs are wicked cool (nice find by Scott Curl). … Yet another case of a 2 rendered in two different ways on the same jersey: the Rangers. … Still more typography news: Kansas’s university-wide move to the Trajan typeface has resulted in a backlash movement (with thanks to longtime Uni Watch pal Rob Walker, who first brought the anti-Trajan site to my attention on his own excellent blog, Murketing). … Best argument yet for a barter economy: Purple is being added to the $5 bill. Alarming details here. … The Washington Huskies will wear 1960 throwbacks on Sept. 29th. According to this page, the team wore navy back then, but it was called “Northwestern Purple.” Odd (with thanks to Rob Weber). … Who needs a game-worn jersey when you can have Sandy Koufax’s synagogue-worn yarmulke? … Good info here about the Redskins’ throwbacks, which they’ll be wearing this weekend while
pounding the living shit out of playing the Giants. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Texas A&M tight end Martellus Bennett changed his uni number from 13 to 85 to honor injured Bills player Kevin Everett, but his helmet still has his old uni number. … Arguably the weirdest reason ever for choosing a particular uni number: According to this article (forwarded by Jeff Barak), Wild rookie James Sheppard likes No. 15 because he “began wearing it as a 15-year-old midget player because he already had size 15 feet.” … If your coach can grab you like this, then your jersey’s definitely a few sizes too big. … My friend Liz Danzico, who’s more or less a genius, recently started a really good site called A Brief Message, which features a series of 200-word essays about design. I wrote a little something about uniforms for today’s installment, which longtime readers will recognize as a re-hash of the very first post that ran on this here blog. My own redundant content notwithstanding, A Brief Message is well worth checking out for anyone who cares even a little bit about design, sports-related or otherwise.