Okay, so the Pittsburgh party report will have to wait, because something really interesting happened late on Monday night (too late for me to write about it in time for yesterday). I promise we’ll get to all the Pittsburgh stuff tomorrow, but today I want to deal with this scene that went down in Texas two nights ago.
Here’s the deal: We all know college and high school coaches, across all sports, sometimes like to “punish” their players and/or emphasize team unity by going NNOB (Illinois hoops coach Bruce Weber has already announced his intention to keep the team NNOB next season). Back in 2000, Colorado football coach Gary Barnett went further, removing the team logo from the players’ helmets after an 0-4 start.
All of which is easy enough when it’s just a matter of peeling off a helmet decal or tearing off a nameplate. But what do you do if you want to go NNOB in the middle of the season and your NOB lettering is direct-sewn?
The answer was on display in Monday night’s Baylor/Texas basketball game, as the Bears — who normally have gold NOBs — wore blank green nameplate strips that covered up their NOBs (you can see several additional photos here).
The move was initiated by coach Scott Drew after the team lost eight out of nine during a one-month stretch that ended last Tuesday. Their first NNOB game was apparently a home game on Saturday against Colorado, although I can’t tell if they used blank white nameplates or had new NNOB jerseys produced for the occasion (here’s another inconclusive view). In any case, they won that game, but they lost the game against the Longhorns, so they’re now 1-1 in their NNOB phase. Their next game is Saturday afternoon, at home, so let’s see if we can get a better view of those white jerseys.
Personally, I think the cover-up nameplates look like shit. But it’s worth noting that eight of the team’s 14 players have surnames of five letters or fewer, so at least most of the green strips are mercifully small.
(Big thanks to Glenn Stern, Glenn Chavez, and Peter Mastrella for tipping me wise to this one.)
On a serious note…: As you may be aware, the newspaper industry is in even worse condition than the rest of the economy. That situation dealt a body blow to the Uni Watch family yesterday, as bench coach emeritus Bryan Redemske was a casualty of the latest staff reduction at the Omaha World-Herald.
Bryan’s a talented writer and editor, plus he has a teaching degree (along with an 18-month-old son and a mortgage, if you get my drift). He’s also a totally stand-up guy, a kick-ass cyclist, and my friend. I’m pretty sure he’ll land on his feet, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t welcome a helping hand along the way. If you have any work opportunities for him or want to see his résumé, please give him a holler. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The glossary of uni-centric terms that first appeared in my most recent ESPN column now has its own page here on this site (go ahead and bookmark it, because at the moment there’s nothing else linking to it). I’ve added a few additional terms to it and will continue to add to it as new terms present themselves. … I’ve also recently updated the FAQ page, which was badly out of date. … Here’s the awesome 1974 NHL bedsheet I recently won on eBay. Nice of them to render the Kings’ logo in blue instead of purple, just for me. … Small gallery of soccer NOB typos, several of which we’ve covered before, here (with thanks to Denis Hurley). … In honor of the Steelers’ sixth Super Bowl championship, Heinz has come out with a commemorative ketchup six-pack. Interesting that they designated each championship by its regular-season calendar year, rather than by its Super Bowl number, which I’m guessing is because they didn’t want to pay the added licensing fee. If you’re dying to spend $35 plus shipping on six bottles of ketchup, you can do so here until the beginning of the next NFL season (big thanks to Pittsburgh’s own Jennifer Baron). … Also from Jennifer: The economic stimulus package apparently includes funds targeted to help preserve Tiger Stadium. … In a related item, did you know that the economic recovery effort now has its own logo? The stars on the white field symbolize, of course, the NFL, while the green sprout represents legalized marijuana and the gears stand for the triumph of mechanized socialism, wheee! I’m not quite sure how anyone could design a logo for a $787 billion program and neglect to include a dollar sign, but maybe that symbolizes the fact that we’re all broke. Say what you want, but it’s a shitload better than this. … There’s someone on Flickr who reeaallly likes Umbro. He’s got an excellent logo gallery and a ton of jersey photos (with thanks to Jeremy Gooch). … And the same guy has an Umbro blog (with thanks to Timothy O’Malley). … Interesting article here about the merchandising of basketball jerseys in general, and Purdue’s in particular (with thanks to Tyson Vaughn). … Yesterday I linked to two photos of Mike Williams and his unusual NOB. Here’s the other Williams from that squad, Clarence. So now we have three examples of the late-’70s Chargers using the “Name, Initial” format: the two Williamses and Gary “Big Hands” Johnson. I’ve gotta say, I had no idea they were doing this until these images recently surfaced (with thanks to Eric Stangel for the Clarence Williams shot). … Here’s something I hadn’t seen before: a prep school hockey player with a Windows logo jersey. “I’m guessing this is for a traveling team,” says Nick Houser, “because his high school colors are blue and silver and their mascot is the Patriots.” … Also from Nick: According to this page, the Blue Jackets have been wearing green St. Patty’s Day practice jerseys with “shamrock patches and Irish-themed nameplates.” I don’t even want to ask what that last part means. … Jon McCue notes that Seton Hall’s baseball team uses white type on a grey jersey — unusual. … Yesterday I linked to some pics from the Gaelic Athletic Association’s museum in Ireland, which prompted John Moist to remember that he’d taken a bunch of his own photos while visiting there last year. He got some really good jersey photos, which I’ve grouped into this short slideshow. … Great stirrups, even if they’re backwards. That’s Dodgers prospect Ivan DeJesus, who, unfortunately, is done for the year (with thanks to Dylan Horowitz). … Really nice old Montana stadium blanket here. … What’s that on the left sleeve of the Canadian WBC team? It’s an ad patch for Canadian hardware chain — and it’s bigger than their WBC logo patch. … Lots of great old Hershey Bears photos available if you click through the pages of this book (with thanks to Jerry Wolper). … You probably know that the Indians wore these jerseys in 1921. Interestingly, most of the Tribe players in this team portrait had their arms folded, obscuring the word “Champions” (good find by Kenny Crookston). … After Johnny “Red” Kerr and Norm Van Lier both died last Thursday, the Bulls added a black shoulder band. But now they’ve ditched the black band and replaced it with a patch, which I think we can all agree looks pretty nice. … Cliff Rancho pointed me toward this baseball card. Note the stats on the back — “B.H.” presumably stands for base hits, but what does “P.C.” stand for? Oh, and that same blog has some great old Kingdome program scans. … Jesse Gavin checked in with some observations from the Iowa High School Girls’ State Basketball Tourney, including one team wearing white-on-white type, a game featuring two teams with black sneakers and black socks (boy does that look like crap), a girls’ team called the Norsemen, and a pep band with killer socks. … Remember the Party Posse episode of The Simpsons? That’s the first thing I thought of when Dan Baer showed me this. … The Lakers did the Los Lakers thing last night against Memphis. … The Sixers are returning to the Spectrum for one last game, complete with a throwback court design (with thanks to Michael Lipinski).