By Bryan Redemske
As expected, the Tour of California unleashed a new wave of champions kits from various countries. Rather than detail every one, because even I don’t have the patience for that, I pulled a few of interest.
First there’s the unfortunate fall from grace of the last two U.S. road champions, George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer. Both members of Discovery Channel last year, they looked like this and this. Since Hincapie is on High Road now (formerly T-Mobile) and Leipheimer is on Astana, they wear this and this now. Ouch.
David Zabriskie wore this last year with CSC as the U.S. time trial champion. Now he’s in this as a member of Slipstream-Chipotle. I can’t decide if it’s good or bad, or if he’s trying to look like Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday.
And here’s Paolo Bettini, proving again that if you’re Italian, you can wear anything.
Black Plague: If you’re not a weekend comments reader — and I gotta say you’re missing a huge party — Oregon’s black System of Dress uniform was the hot topic. I’ve had my say (baaaaad), but I’m sure Paul will have something for us tomorrow. Of course, there’s always the possibility he’ll refuse to say anything at all, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing, either. Actually, that might be better.
Travel and Membership News: Paul here. I’m on the road today (so be nice to Bryan) but wanted to check in on a few things. First, as you can see at right, we’ve done our first vertical membership card design, based on the scarf worn by the Penn State mascot. I frankly didn’t know Penn State even had a mascot, or that he wears a scarf, or that the scarf is adorned with buttons, or that the messages on the buttons are always changing (here’s a larger view of the card, so you can see the specific buttons we were asked to reproduce). The buttons even have their own web site! This was all news to me — if anyone knows more about this phenomenon, feel free to share.
The vertical design, incidentally, was a source of intense deliberation and negotiation between Scott and myself. In the end, I decided going with the portrait orientation was the best way to do justice to the scarf concept (if we’d stuck with horizontal, the buttons would’ve been either too small to read or not as spread out as they are in real life). For now, we’re treating this as a one-time exception to our usual rule — a special design challege that required a special solution. So don’t all start asking for regular jersey-based designs to be vertically oriented.
Meanwhile: Looks like I’m gonna be in Seattle next month, and I’ll definitely convene a Uni Watch party while I’m there. Not sure of the exact dates yet, but it’ll probably be on the 12th, 13th, 17th, or 18th. (Actually, when it comes to Really Bad Ideas, holding a party in a bar on St. Paddy’s Day is probably right up there with shoving a lit M-80 up your ass, so strike the 17th from that list.) I’ll keep you posted as my plans firm up.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Today’s Ticker is a joint effort between Paul and Bryan. … Tremendous little video clip here about the Cardinals’ spring training laundry staff (with thanks to Elena Elms). … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: Add Chris Brown to the list of MLBers who’ve worn mask attachments on their helmets. … In a vaguely related item, Brian Giles was running around in a Chargers helmet the other day — and look, it turns out that Giles is still mourning Sean Taylor. No word on whether he had an American flag decal. … Oregon’s continued use of green NOB on a green jersey is baffling. … Mets by the Numbers editor Jon Springer has conducted a great numbers-centric interview with longtime Mets beat reporter Marty Noble. Check it out here. … Mike Monaghan was recently checking out some old Sabres footage and came across a fight between Shjon Podein and Dane Jackson from March 29, 1996. “Podein actually ripped the nameplate off Jacksons jersey and ended up holding it in his hand,” he writes. … I don’t mind purple so much when it represents grape junk food (with thanks to Robert Purvis). … Broncos founder and former Reds exec Bob Howsam died last Tuesday. The last four paragraphs of this obit are of uni interest. … Scroll down to the “Blue Jersey?” section of this page for some Braves rumor-mongering. … UMich swimming caps: blue with gold wings or gold with blue wings (good find by Daniel Weimann). … Here’s a drop-shadow configuration you don’t often see: ten o’clock (with thanks to Marc Rabinowitz). … “I was in New Orleans for the NBA All-Star weekend,” writes Ben Kramer. “They had a little exhibit from the Hall of Fame. I paticularly loved the 1967 East All-Star jersey, based on ‘The City.’ I also think you’d like the old Celtics championship sweater.” … On the logo front — this one corporate — a good, quick read here on how Google got its iconic wordmark. … Here’s ManRam reporting for duty, still wearing his snood thinger from the World Series. Thanks to Mark Mihalik. … Luke Pellegra has checked in with a look at Tennessee’s new hats and batting helmets, the latter changing from black to orange. “If that isn’t just atrocious, I don’t know what is,” Luke writes. Also, the Vols will go from black hats to white. Kentrail Davis needs a tutor to get that bill rounded into shape. … David Arnott took in Friday’s Winthrop-Davidson basketball game, complete with refs in mismatched tops. … Pro wrestling alert: San Diego native Rey Mysterio Jr. had Chargers-style lightning bolts on his pants on Friday in his hometown. Good spot by Cory Lewis. … Tricia Polley notes the Cardinals will be wearing the letter “K” on their lids during Wednesday’s exhibition against St. Louis University in honor of the victims of the city council shooting in Kirkwood, Mo. … Tom Glavine and John Smoltz were spotted wearing throwbacks for some promo shots last week. Hope those shots are only waist-up — they’re both wearing the regular road pants. Good find by Mike Rich. … Pretty cool program from the 1940 College All-Americans vs. Green Bay Packers matchup up for auction here. And here’s a closer look, with thanks to Richard Canulli. … Numerous mentions about the Canadiens retiring Bob Gainey’s No. 23 on Saturday night. Gainey suited up — in the period-correct CCM jersey — and took a few turns around the ice during the ceremony. … Notre Dame honored its 1978 Final Four team on Sunday. Digger Phelps probably should have left the jersey wearing to the players, though. Speaking of the players, the members of the 1978 team wore their old jerseys, while team managers and support staff wore the No. 78 like Digger. That’d be Michael Alper on that find. … Les Holmlund found a couple of cool eBay auctions. The first is a team photo of the 1936-37 Philadelphia Ramblers hockey team, though a color version would be cooler. The second, however, is awesome.