Got a note the other day from reader Matt Fedorka, who raised some interesting points. I’ll let him tell the story himself:
Last year my girlfriend bought me an authentic customized Boston Bruins jersey (pre-Reebok Edge format), with my name and No. 87 on the back. I got it and I was really excited, but I noticed that the “7” was not the same kind they used on the ice last year. The “7” on the ice had a serif on the bottom, while mine did not.
Since I’m a nitpicky jersey guy (and because my girlfriend dropped $300 on the jersey), I decided to investigate. I went onto the NHL store’s website and used the preview function to see if the 7 would look the same as the one on my jersey, and it did. So they’re basically selling something that’s different from what the players wear, even though they’re calling it authentic. I then called the NHL store’s customer service line, where a representative said he would try to give my number to the right person, but he said it might have to do with what the Bruins wanted to allow for numbers.
So THEN I went onto my NHL 2K5 hockey game, and all the teams had the correct font for there numbers — except for the Bruins, who still had no serif at the bottom of the 7.
Here’s another point: If you look at that photo I showed you before, which is from January of 2007, you can see that the Bruins were using a serifed 7 on the back but a sans serif 7 on the sleeve. They seemed to change the sleeve 7 that pic was taken, which is apparent in this pic taken in December of 2006. I dug back a little further in the history book and noticed that at one point in the late ’90s they were wearing a sans serif 7 on the back, just like the one on my personalized jersey.
This made me feel a little better (at least they wore the sans serif 7 at one time). And I’ve noticed that with the new jerseys this season, the Bruins are now using the correct numbers on their customized jerseys. But the fact remains that my girlfriend and I have been shafted by the NHL. She ordered me an “authentic on-ice jersey with authentic numbering,” yet it wasn’t authentic. What’s the deal?
Seems to me there are two issues here: First, there are the inconsistencies in the Bruins’ on-ice 7s, and then there’s the question of “authentic” product. (Some folks — including me — might also say there’s the question of why anyone would spend $300 on a polyester shirt, but I’ll leave that issue for another day.) I can pretty well guarantee that the NHL and the Bruins will not be thrilled about explaining any of this to me, so before I pester them, does anyone know more about any this?
Research Project: Last year, and maybe the year before, I was surprised to see a few MLB umpires wearing goatees. Unfortunately, I don’t recall who those umpires were, and I haven’t been able to figure it out on my own. Several umps have facial hair in their official head shots for MLB.com, but all of those umps appear to have gone clean-shaven on the field, at least based on the photo research I’ve done so far. Does anyone know which umps have worn beards on the job? Do we know who was the first ump to do this, and when?
While we’re at it: To my knowledge, the first bearded manager and GM of the modern era were, respectively, Davey Lopes (in 2000) and Steve Phillips (ditto). But that’s just based on my sometimes-faulty memory — can anyone confirm or revise?
Friendly Reminder: Live web chat, today, 1pm eastern, here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: On the subject of airbrushed baseball cards, check out the size of the jersey button here (good spot by Mike Miller). … The AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms will induct Bobby Clarke into their Hall of Fame on Sunday, and will wear 1968-69 Flin Flon Bombers throwbacks (Clarke’s boyhood junior team). Details here and here (with thanks to Matthew Algeo). … Wednesday marked David Beckham’s 100th appeaerance for the English national team, and his jersey had “100th Cap” in gold letters” for the occasion. Yes, it’s hard to see, but note that the gold lettering is missing from Peter Crouch’s jersey (good spot by Jonathon Binet). … Also from Jonathon: According to a small item in the middle of this Q&A page (search on “Rob from Deltona”), the Jaguars will be making “a minor change to the stripes on [their] white pants, to match up better with the black letters on the jerseys.” … Although the NFL season is over, new installments of “Equipped with Joe Skiba” are still being produced. The latest episode, featuring punter Jeff Feagles, is really good, and it’s available here. In addition, Skiba says he just filmed an episode of the History’s Channel’s Modern Marvels, about helmet technology. It’s slated to air on June 6th. … Are you kidding me? That screen grab, I’m told, with a number on the front of Chien-ming Wang’s jersey, is from MLB 08 The Show (good spot by James Yeh, who adds, “Doesn’t give me much confidence in the rest of the game”). … While researching something else, I came across this photo of former Orioles catcher and all-time MLB unibrow king Andy Etchebarren (sorry about the crop job). Check out that double-striped undershirt collar — man, that looks so fucking hot! … Yankees roster news from Tyler Kepner: “When [Morgan] Ensberg learned he would make the team last week, he decided he could not continue wearing No. 21, which was last worn by Paul O’Neill. But reliever LaTroy Hawkins has snapped up 21, and he said he would wear it to honor Roberto Clemente, who died 10 days after Hawkins was born in 1972.” … Peter Snow has scanned some images from The Leafs: The First 50 Years, which chronicles the Maple Leafs from 1926-76. Some great stuff here, including a hockey version of the Greaet Gazoo helmet, a rare sighting of eye-black on the ice, and some seriously freaky all-star uniforms (or at least that’s what I assume they are). You can view the full set of scans here. … Personally, I don’t give a shit what people are buying at the NBA Store (in fact, I wish there was no such thing as the NBA Store), but if you do, you’ll want to see this. … Got a spare $8000 laying around? If so, you can own one of the ugliest jerseys of all time (as forwarded by Damon Hirschensohn). … Speaking of auctions, look at this lot and check out the sleeve numbers on the guy at bottom center. … New football uniforms for Utah — details here (with thanks to Ryan Purdie). … The recent LeBron James Vogue cover has inspired a very smart response from Claude Johnson. … “It finally stopped snowing here in Chicago long enough to get some high school baseball in,” writes Steve Johnston. “I was at a game on Wednesday and took these photos. That’s the head coach for St Francis High School in Wheaton, Illinois. I commented on the stirrups and he said he’s trying to bring some tradition back. About a third of the team is wearing the pants high enough so you can see the stripes.”