New ESPN column today — here’s the link.
Meanwhile: Combine a boring blowout of a game, a high-def TV set, and the eagle eye of Joe Hilseberg, and what do you get? A serious uni-related revelation, as follows:
I’ve been thinking that the Ravens had changed the way their game jersey have been lettered by Reebok, but it wasn’t until I saw them play on Monday Night Football in HD that I could confirm it.
They’ve changed the order of the tackle twill layers. Normally, white or purple would be the top layer [depending on whether the number is for a home or road jersey], then the gold, and finally the black. This means the seamstress can sew the white/purple ahead of time (not attached to the jersey), then the entire number is placed on the jersey where the gold and the black are sewn.
But with this new technique, a gold outline is placed on top of the white/purple layer, which is then on top of the black. This means no sewing is done ahead of time. The entire number is put on the jersey, then both the inside and outside edges of the gold are sewn, and then the black. The white/purple layer is never sewn.
I have seen this technique before. I have a team-issued Maryland basketball jersey, made by Nike, that does the same thing with the lettering, but I don’t see the benefit in it. The only reason I can think of is that a seamstress is no longer necessary and they can go fully automated on an assembly line. The numbers could be computer-cut, applied to the jersey, and then sewn on by an embroidery machine that uses laser guides to make sure everything’s is lined up correctly. Eliminating the white/purple sewing process could speed up mass production, but it would be very troublesome for a small shop that customizes jerseys to replicate. I doubt any shop regularly uses this technique — not even NFLshop.com.
As many of you know, Joe used to work in the shop that does all the lettering for the Ravens and Orioles, so he knows what he’s talking about (plus you’ve gotta hand it to him for whipping up that little diagram). And as it happens, the folks at Liebe demonstrated this very technique for me when I visited them back in July. They were all proud of it and didn’t want me to talk about it, because they said it was a proprietary technique. Guess they’re not the only ones who’ve figured out how to do it.
Uni Watch News Ticker: High school sock-o-rama!: First, check out these, which are worn by El Modena High School in Orange, California (as spotted by Bryce Ashland). But that’s nothing compared to Laconia High in New Hampshire (great find by Erik Little). … Good primer on the role of red jerseys in Giants history here. As noted in the text, the Giants have previously paired the red jersey with both their home and away pants. They’ll be going with the aways this Sunday. And see that historical inset photo of Mel Hein, circa 1945? Here’s a larger version (dig that helmet!), plus a 1952 shot of Rosie Brown. … A huge variety of Pistons uniforms can be seen in this very short video clip (with thanks to Doug Mooney). … Here’s the latest on the Jaison Williams glove expletive story (with thanks to new Uni Watch bench coach Bryan Redemske). … Good spot by Jon Eisen, who notes that the cover photos for the Game of My Life book series all feature regular, non-Cool Flow helmets — except for the Dodgers entry. … Nice little gallery of old MLS logos here (with thanks to Mitchell Pinta).