Several readers alerted me to an interesting bit of logo-related chatter between Fox broadcasters Tom McCarthy (that’s him on the right, pantomiming “I’m with Stupid”) and Eric Karros (on the left) during Saturday’s Brewers/Phillies game. Here’s a transcript:
Tom McCarthy: The Milwaukee Brewers are trying to end the longest playoff drought in Major League Baseball. In fact, if you look longest droughts in sports, the Brewers, 26 years since their last postseason appearance. That’s when they went to the World Series in 1982. … And y’know, [current Brewers skipper] Ned Yost and [current bench coach] Ted Simmons were part of that team, wearing that logo right there, which is, to me, the best logo in baseball. That logo was designed by Tom Meindel, who was an art history major at the University of Wisconsin back in the day, just on a whim. He submitted it, they decided to keep it, and now they’ve reintroduced it to the Milwaukee community this year.
[McCarthy then narrates a bit of flashback footage from the 1982 World Series. Then they return to the game at hand.]
Eric Karros: I’m still marveling that you knew the history of the hat. I mean, what the heck were you doing? Were you just studying…
McCarthy: It’s my favorite logo in Major League Baseball.
Karros: Alright. Okay. I’ll go with that. So you don’t know the origin of all the other logos? I mean, I’m not gonna get a dissertation on…
McCarthy: I can give you the fact that, y’know, the Mets logo is blue because of the Dodgers and orange because of the Giants. That’s all I really know about that.
Karros: Awright, we gotta get off the hats, because this — I, I don’t know anything about the hats, and you’re just making me look bad.
McCarthy: Well, let me ask you, which logo do you like better?
Karros: I like that, the one on the right is good. I like the Brewer hat. [Of course, they’re BOTH Brewer hats, but clarity doesn’t appear to be Karros’s strongest suit. — PL]
McCarthy: It’s sharp!
Karros: Yeah, it is sharp. I don’t know if I’d necessarily wear it to the mall or anything, but…
McCarthy: Well, I have worn that logo to the mall.
[At this point McCarthy tells a story about a big hit that Ned Yost hit back in that 1982 season and explains how the Brewers pulled out the division title on the last day of the ’82 season]
Karros: Okay, I’m gonna ask this question: Did you research that, or…?
McCarthy: I did.
Karros: Okay, okay. ’Cause if you’da known that too, I’da gotten up right now, I’da taken off this headset and walked out. I was done.
McCarthy [chuckling]: I did not wake up this morning and it came to me. I did research it.
A few thoughts here:
• The Brewers do not have the longest current MLB postseason drought. The Nationals/Expos do. They last made the playoffs in 1981. I suspect the Fox producers are more to blame for this than the broadcasters.
• McCarthy got a lot of things right in his storytelling, but he got one thing seriously wrong: The Brewers didn’t reintroduce the ball-in-glove logo this year — they’ve been wearing those Sunday throwbacks since 2006, and the throwbacks were officially announced and unveiled in December of 2005.
• There’s something really sad about the way Karros essentially ridiculed McCarthy for, essentially, having some knowledge and supplementing that knowledge with a bit of research. In other words, McCarthy was behaving like a professional who takes his job seriously, plus he’s a fan of the game and has a favorite logo, and for some reason this meant Karros felt obliged to make fun of him (yo, Eric, maybe if you’d done a little homework before a game, you might be able to participate in these sorts of discussions). I find this depressingly emblematic of a disturbing tendancy in American life. Again and again in our civic discourse, our political discourse, our professional discourse, etc., expertise and knowledge and preparation are increasingly poo-pooed and derided.
I realize nobody likes a know-it-all, but McCarthy wasn’t coming off that way — he was just making conversation (if you could hear the audio, you’d see what I mean). I also realize America has a proud middlebrow/anti-intellectual tradition — a tradition I generally like, respect, and identify with on many levels — but it’s getting way out of hand these days, and Karros’s commentary captures it in a nutshell. If he can’t take his job seriously (and is going to razz someone who does), why is he even in the booth to begin with? Yeah, he was kinda-sorta kidding when he said he’d take off his headset and walk out of the booth, but he was also kinda-sorta indicating his inability — indeed, his refusal — to engage with a situation that would require him to flex his brain. It’s not just that he Doesn’t Get It™; it’s that he behaved like a lunkhead who’d rather bring the world down to his level than try to raise up his own level. That needs to stop. And not just in the broadcast booth.
Signal Flare: Yo, Chris Gale, if you’re out there, please get in touch. Thanks.
Membership Drive/Raffle Update: I’m happy to report that we’ve racked up well over 20 new membership orders since last Thursday (including one from Nate Kettlewell, who’s our 600th member), which means I’ll be putting those three College Vault books up for a raffle. Thanks for the great response, and I hope people will continue to enroll.
I’ll conduct that raffle next week, but this week I want to raffle off a copy of Remember the AFL, a gorgeous new volume that’s one of the best-looking football books I’ve ever seen. It runs nearly 450 pages and is loaded with great photos, well-researched text, and lots of trivia tidbits. Great production values, great material. A slideshow of some sample content from the book (including a new-to-me shot of the Broncos’ vertically striped socks) is available here.
To be eligible to win a copy of this excellent tome, send a blank e-mail with your name in the subject line to the raffle address (not to the usual Uni Watch address, please) by 10pm eastern this Friday. If you’ve enrolled in the membership program, you can send up to four separate e-mail entries; non-members are limited to one entry. I’ll announce the winner next week.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Two Fridays ago I went into the offices of MLB Video to be interviewed about all sorts of uni-related stuff. The first part of that interview (the rest, I’m told, is still being edited and produced) is available here. … The NFL wised up and removed those huge-ass Gene Upshaw memorial patches for yesterday’s games. Instead, everyone’s now wearing rear-helmet decals, which is how it should’ve been handled in the first place. The lone exception: The Raiders are still wearing the patch (plus they’re also wearing the decal), but the patch they’re now wearing is clearly smaller than the one everyone was wearing last week. … Following up on an earlier discussion, here’s a game-used jersey showing that Cesar Cedeno did not wear a tilde back in the 1970s after all (with thanks to Jared Wheeler). … Another follow-up: On Friday I asked about this sleeve logo, which I’d never seen before. Several readers (led by Trevor Botting and James Huening) identified it as the Wilson Staff golf logo (which has evolved a bit and now looks like this. Jimmy Wright even provided a photo of his Neil Smith jersey with the logo. The question now is why the hell would an NFL team have a golf logo on its jerseys? … Yet another follow-up from Friday: I mentioned that the Shea Stadium outfield wall was light-colored with black distance numbers (instead of dark with white numbers) for the first seven home games of 1967 and asked if anyone had a photo. Nicholas Schiavo came up with this shot from the 1968 Mets yearbook. It’s blurry, but those are definitely black numerals on the outfield fence. Nicely done, Nicholas! … That same yearbook also feaured this page. Note that the big photo in the center is flopped — the scoreboard should be in right-center, not left-center. … Check out this amazing old helmet/mask setup (with thanks to Brendon Yarian). … I think we’ve run this photo before, but you’ve gotta love the multiple double-decker FNOB action (with thanks to Zane Tuck). … Another double-decker FNOB: Marques Johnson. … Awesome photo find here by Matt Beahan: “There’s a jersey with NNOB, one with standard NOB, Rudy Tomjanovich (#45) with his first name, not to mention at least 4 different styles of sock striping on the Sixers players alone! Never seen anything like that before.” … The problem with having a shirt sponsor is that it can go belly-up. As a result, West Ham had to cover up their sponsor logo for Saturday’s match against Albion. And since Albion is still in the process of negotiating a sponsorship deal, making this a sponsorship logo-free match — the first in over two decades for top-division EPL teams, says Les Motherby. … More EPL oddities from Les: “On Saturday, the referee decided that Hull City’s all-slate grey away kit was not dissimilar enough to Newcastle United’s black and white uniforms, so the Tiger’s wore Newcastle’s white adidas road shorts and socks.” … David Gardner says this new book is really good. … Maryland has new endzone art, based on the state flag. And although I can’t go into specifics, I can tell you that a similar motif will be appearing on a Maryland team’s uniform next year. … If you really love a brand, bleed for it (with thanks to Greg Riffenburgh). … Here’s a shot of John and Yoko I’d never seen before, getting all Habsed out. … “We went over the typical NBA rookie photo shoot stuff a few weeks back, but I don’t think this came up,” says Clark Farrand. “What the hell is that?” Good question. Anyone..? … Check this out (courtesy of Brinke Guthrie): Tim Lincecum shines his own cleats! … Great mural here celebrating 150 years of Aussie-rules football. Click on various sections for more info (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy, several Japanese baseball notes: Yomiuri reliever Mark Croon has been testing a pink glove in practice; Alex Ramirez has been wearing striped wristbands; this page features a pictorial history of the Softbank/Nankai/Daiei Hawks uniforms; and the Rakuten Golden Eagles wore a special uniform, with a very odd vertical insignia, for their Fan Club days back in July. … Here’s something you don’t see every day: a football coach in a cast and on crutches. Details here. … Last week I mentioned that my Page 2 colleague Kurt Snibbe had created some logo tweaks for NFL helmets. Gumball helmet king Bill Jones liked these so much that he went ahead and created gumball decals based on Kurt’s designs. … Dig the tremendous sleeve patch on this old American Legion jersey (with thanks to Alan Hoffman). … Some really nice old CFL video footage here (with thanks to Richard Musterer). … If this fit me, I’d totally bid on it. Same goes for this. And this is fun (note how the text begins, “No time to lose, Mr. Manager of American Legion Post Teams…”). … Frank Klemm notes that Brett Favre’s captaincy patch was coming loose yesterday. … LSU running back Charles Scott wore his gloves in his belt loops on Saturday. Don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do that while carrying the ball (good spot by Greg Riffenburgh, who also sent along this article about OSU merit decals). … Frank Gore had some very odd sock action going on yesterday. Also, compare his gloves and cleats in that photo, which was taken in the second half, to the gloves and cleats he was wearing in the first half. It’s not often that you’ll see a player pull off that kind of switcheroo. … By now you probably know that Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs tossed a no-hitter last night against the Astros. You might also know that the game was originally slated to be played in Houston but was relocated to Miller Park in Milwaukee due to Hurricane Ike. What you might not know is both teams wore gray pants, even though Houston was the designated home team (presumably because they’re heading off on a road trip afterward and probably didn’t want to pack an extra set of pants). Let that be a lesson to you, kids: If you wear gray for a home game, even at a neutral site, you’re asking for it. There’s another Cubs/’Stros game at Miller Park this afternoon. Ya think the ’Stros are having their white pants shipped up for that one? … Phil Hecken got a screen grab of Willie Parker’s ripped pants from last night. … RIP, DFW.