I know almost nothing about cycling, but I know a good jersey when I see one, and there are tons of them showcased in this 2006 book, Cycling’s Golden Age, which I discovered while birthday-shopping for a cycling-obsessed friend. Here are some highlights:
• This was the only brown jersey shown in the book. Nicely earthy, but it seems more like hiking gear than a cycling jersey, no?
• It must be a drag to be from Switzerland, because you’re constantly being mistaken for a medic.
• I love back collar buttons, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with a pointed back collar.
• Not sure what I like best here — the two-tone torso, the striping on the collar and sleeves, or the patch.
• Love the chest insignia here.
• This dude‘s just training, not racing. But holy shit do I love his outfit.
And so on. Great text, too, and the whole package feels well-conceived and lovingly designed. Highly recommended.
Memphis Update: Yesterday’s post about the Memphis/FedEx situation prompted a really thoughtful note from reader Caleb Borchers. It’s lengthy, but I think you’ll find it’s worth the time it takes to read it:
Let me say first, that I am with you on the issue of logo creep and public space. Before today, I’ve never disagreed when you have gone after teams or companies that clutter public entities with private capitalism. That said, I think some context would help with this Memphis situation.
I am not a [native] Memphian, but I have lived here for two years now, working on a Master’s degree. In my time in Memphis, I’ve learned a lot of things about the city. I’ve learned that the crime rate is horrific. I’ve seen the urban decay that is slowly crumbling society. I’ve also learned that the infant mortality rate is similar to that in many parts of the undeveloped world. Frankly, this city is in constant crisis mode. The result is a sort of shame or apathy about the city. People are not proud to live here, and many try to get out as quickly as possible. That lack of morale and the collapse of the city are reciprocal. The more people are ashamed of the city, the more they don’t help make it better, the more they are ashamed, the worse it gets, etc.
There are two bright points, two institutions that bring pride and dignity to the city. One is the Memphis Tigers. I’ve never lived somewhere that cares so much about college basketball. Watching them play in the Tournament is the one thing that makes Memphians proud to declare where they are from. The other institution is FedEx. This city needs FedEx as badly as Detroit needs the big three. And frankly, FedEx is more often than not a good company. They provide health benefits for part-time workers. Everyone starts at the same job and pay, and can work their way up the ladder in the company. Theoretically, even the CEO started with the company unloading packages at midnight. In a city that historically gave opportunity based on the color of your skin, that is a significant thing. Many people in Memphis eat, live, and provide for their families because of FedEx, and FedEx does not rape and pillage the community as some companies (cough, cough, Wal-Mart) are known to do. When someone criticizes the team or the company, in a real way they criticize the whole city. The connection is that tight.
All of this to say, when someone in the city had the idea to honor the company that keeps the city alive (“Memphis brought to you by FedEx” is not far from the truth), by doing something via the organization that brings this city the most pride, I think that calling them whores is not quite fair. I understand your ideological stance, and agree with it, but living here and seeing the context every day made it not sit well with me. The metaphor suggests that Memphis will do anything for money, and that FedEx is some pimp that abuses the city to make a profit. This is not the truth. I generally take every chance I can to take a shot at corporate America, but there are a few companies I respect for their genuine concern for the people that work for them, and FedEx is one of them.
Most of all, I hate to see a little more shame tossed on a city that already has plenty to go around. (Mitch Album had an excellent article on similar in issues in my home town of Detroit, “The Spirit of Detroit,” which I think describes a similar phenomenon there.) The jersey idea was poorly executed — I would have preferred something like a “Thank you FedEx, signed, Memphis” patch or something like that — but I don’t think the good people of this city deserve to be publicly shamed for a mistaken gesture of gratitude. A symbol of city pride and solidarity is now a reason to mock Memphis once again. The people here struggle enough day to day to keep their dignity without potshots from the media.
I really respect your work and what you do with the site. I don’t mean for this to sound as preachy as it may have come across. I just thought that a little context was important for the discussion.
That’s a really great piece of feedback. Thanks, man.
As I explained to Caleb when I wrote back to him, to me the question is not whether FedEx is a good company, or even whether they’re good for Memphis. My point is that the distinction between our civic institutions and our corporate entities should be akin to a church/state relationship. If you start honoring the company on things like basketball uniforms, you essentially start ceding your identity to theirs, which is a toxic road to go down, at least from my perspective.
Look, the relationship between a company and its home city is supposed to be a good one, it’s supposed to be a win-win. If the company goes above and beyond (and I don’t know enough about Memphis or FedEx to say whether that’s the case here, but let’s say it is), then give the CEO the key to the city or issue a mayoral proclamation or something. But once you start merging your civic identity with the company’s brand, you’ve taken the first step toward declaring your own civic subservience to the company, which is very, very bad news. If the company is secure in its own business model and is really a good corporate citizen, it shouldn’t have any problem with staying on its side of the civic/corporate line. And it shouldn’t need special recognition — like, say, FedEx Appreciation Night — as a reward for doing the right thing.
Steeltown Hoedown: I’m gonna be in Pittsburgh at the end of next week and would like to convene a Uni Watch party on either Friday the 27th or Saturday the 28th. Further details to follow in a few days, but you can definitely pencil it in for one of those two dates.
February Raffles, Round 3: I haven’t yet had a chance to see the new book Colors: Pro Football Uniforms of the Past and Present (my copy is in transit as we speak), but several people have told me that it’s very, very good. Now our friends at Helmet Hut, who consulted with author Jim Finks Jr. on the book’s content, have invited me to raffle off a copy to the Uni Watch readership.
To enter, send a blank e-mail with your name in the subject line to the raffle address (not to the usual Uni Watch e-mail address, please) by this Thursday, February 19th, at 10pm eastern. One entry per person, but anyone enrolled in the Uni Watch membership program at the time of the drawing can send four entries. I’ll announce the winner on Friday.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Anyone who loves striped socks as much as I do needs to know about this site. “They’re marketed as socks for the skateboard crowd, but they look like old-school striped basketball socks to me,” says Micah Roberts. “I’ve already picked up several pairs am currently pondering which ones to get next. My old solid-whites have been relegated to the drawer.” … Interesting story about the woman who designs the dresses for the ring-card girls at Madison Square Garden bouts here. … No mourning period for Omar Vizquel’s uni number (with thanks to Dan Cichalski). … Several readers have expressed surprise over this 1962 photo, which shows Duke wearing red trim. … Lebron James is considering a uni number change (with thanks to Brendon Yarian). … Buried deep in that same article, there’s this: “If James would switch [uni numbers], though, there’s a good chance it would happen in 2010. The NBA is likely to alter its uniforms in two years to make their construction more consistent for every team, making them easier to make and reproduce for fans who order them. That is already the case with warmups and practice attire now.” I’ve asked the NBA for more info on that and got this response: “Not for any of the reasons mentioned below, we are working with Adidas to combine their technologies with our uniforms for a more complete system. We have been researching for several years and continue to do so with no set timetable.” That’s some first-rate double-speak right there. … One good thing about economic downturn: Naming-rights deals are floundering. … Two great finds on Rob Walker‘s excellent Murketing blog. First, check out these great Mexican thumb-wrestling masks. And on a more esoteric note, a photographer named Ofer Wolberger has come up with something really wonderful called the Maggie Project, which involves having a female model pose in various situations while wearing a somewhat disturbing mask — a uniform of sorts. It’s a brilliant project, because most of the photos are really gorgeous, but the mask recontextualizes them. View the full project here. … Alexander Julian, the man who ruined uniforms for a decade by starting the purple/teal trend, is the subject of a new exhibit at the Chapel Hill Museum. I suggest we all start picketing tomorrow (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Interesting to see Albert Pujols posing with Rick Ankiel’s bat (good spot by Aaron Steele). … How much do I love stripes? So much that on Sunday I picked up a vintage white sweater — something I’d never consider wearing under normal circumstances — just because it has these groovy stripes on the sleeves and shoulders. … More basketball players with long sleeves. That’s Fairfax High in L.A. (with thanks to Erkki Corpuz). … New 50th-anniversary logo for Navy’s stadium. Details here (with thanks to Kevin Whisman). … Yesterday I asked why the Harlem Globetrotters are wearing a memorial patch. My thanks to everyone who provided the answer. … In another follow-up item, yesterday I asked about Cristobal Huet’s thick black sleeve stripes. Josh Becvar couldn’t answer that one, but he did point out that the Huet’s mask in that photo is a new design. Here’s the old one. … Several spring training observations from Brendon Yarian: First, Anthony Reyes usually goes flat-brimmed but he’s either moving away from that or else it’s just impossible to go flat-brimmed with those BP caps (anyone know?). Also, if you look again at that last photo, you’ll see that Victor Martinez appears to be wearing earplugs or earphones. Also-also, Kelly Shoppach has changed from Wilson gear to Reebok (again with the wordmark!). … Mark McGinnis reports that the DC United had a press conference yesterday to announce that they’ll be working with Maryland’s Prince George’s County to build a stadium. The press conference featured what may be the first instance of CoNOB — county name on back. … Awesome Keds sneakers display materials available here. … And a totally awesome 1936 Keds catalog here. … Here’s something I hadn’t seen before: an old basketball backboard catalog. … Rocco Baldelli is still wearing his blue/gold Rays batting gloves. … I love hats and tend to get attached to them,” writes Andy Chalifour. “I never want throw them away once they’re no longer wearable, but something has to be done. So I recently had the idea to turn into refrigerator magnets. The first step is to cut the logo out of the hat. Next, find the magnets. I am sure you can buy them at a craft store but I had some lying around from and old note pad that used to be on the fridge but tore off. The key is to make sure the magnet is strong enough to hold the weight (thin ones usually aren’t strong enough). Then the last step is to hot-glue them to back of the patches. In five minutes they’re ready to put on the fridge. … Here’s a major find: a vintage RCA Victor basball uni, complete with super-cool sleeve patch. … Best douchebaggery story ever. … Purdue will finally wear those long-rumored new uniforms tonight. Photo gallery here and further info here. Am I the only one who thinks it’s stupid to unveil a new design at this point in the season? … This is pretty great: video coverage of the Nats holding racing presidents tryouts (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil: A Seattle cycling team gives the sponsorship space on its uniforms to local nonprofits, and Tim Duncan liked those high-tech all-star uniforms. … “Uniform numbers in rugby correspond to specific positions (e.g., No. 1 is a prop, No. 9 is the halfback, etc.), so NOBs aren’t usually needed,” writes Hadyn Green. “In fact, I had never ever seen NOBs in rugby until this past weekend, when the Chiefs (based in Hamilton, New Zealand) played their opening match away in whites with NOBs. Interestingly, it seems only the starting 15 players got NOBs — the reserves just had numbers.” … In a related item, with more spring training games being televised, the Indians have added NOBs to their BP jerseys (with thanks to Tim Bennett).