New ESPN column
today — link coming soon. tomorrow.
Meanwhile: Several uni-related discussions during yesterday’s ballgames. Let’s start in Milwaukee, where the combination of a blowout game and one of those stupid text-vote promotions gave Brewers broadcasters Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder the opportunity to have the following uni dialogue:
Brian Anderson: Our U.S. Cellular Text to Vote: your favorite logo. The ball-in-glove is W, the X logo is, uh, I don’t know what you call that one, a crest? And then the current Brewers logo is Y.
Bill Schroeder: A crest?
Anderson: I don’t know what’d you guys call that one?
Schroeder: It was a Notre Dame logo.
Anderson: Notre Dame?
Schroeder: Kind of reminder me of the ND.
Anderson: Is that something you’re comin’ up with, or is that what they called it?
Schroeder: Just looked like it to me.
Anderson: Kind of blew my crest out of the water there, and then you came back with a Notre Dame logo!
Schroeder: I’m tryin’ to help.
Anderson: Sitting here in Marquette country and you’re gonna drop a Notre Dame on us.
Schroeder: That logo didn’t last long. It really didn’t.
Anderson: That wasn’t, it wasn’t, that wasn’t a high point. And it was associated with some pretty bad ballclubs as well.
Schroeder: Yeah. The dark days in Brewer history.
Anderson: You were in the ball-in-glove era…
Schroeder: Yes sir.
Anderson: …and you were in the California Angels era, right?
Schroeder: Right. The Brewer era with the baby-blue road uniforms, pool-over jerseys [I swear that’s how he pronounced it — PL], the no-belt look
Anderson: A nice tight fit.
Schroeder: The Mod Squad era.
Anderson: I think more teams should bring back the baby blues. I know the Royals have done it. … Had a question about the ball-in-glove uniforms earlier in the homestand. I was walking through the stands on the way out, and it used to be every Friday they’d have Retro Friday. Now it’s once a month. [Cameraman obligingly shows this fan.] The ball-in-glove with the cheese hat — that’s about as Milwaukee as you can get right there. … Your Notre Dame logo was used from ’94 to ’99.
Schroeder: Longer than I thought.
Anderson: Yeah. Some decent years in there. Phil Garner…
Schroeder [interrupting]: I associate that with the John Jaha era of Brewer baseball. He could hit.
Anderson: What about Barrel Man? Barrel Man was a popular logo in the ’70s. That didn’t make our U.S. Cellular list today.
Schroeder: That was, uh, the first one, right?
Anderson: Yup. That was the very first logo coming from Seattle, when they were the Pilots. [They had] Barrel Man for about eight years. Most of the ’70s it was Barrel Man, until the late ’70s, when the ball-in-glove made it. Tommy Meindel designed that ball-in-glove logo. He was an art history student at UW-Eau Claire, and he won the contest. It’s one of the greatest logos in the history of the game.
Schroeder: What do you think he got for it?
Anderson: I heard he got…
Schroeder: Coupla tickets?
Anderson: A couple of grand. [That is correct, at least according to this article. — PL]
Schroeder: Tickets, maybe a bat.
Anderson: He got a big “Attaboy.”
Geoff Poole, who tipped me off to this discussion, adds the following: “By the way, the ball-in-glove logo won the poll question with nearly 75% of the vote. I’d say the Brewers’ fans have good taste.”
Meanwhile, over in Pittsburgh, Pirates broadcasters Tim Neverett and Bob Walk engaged in a bit of helmet banter when Royals catcher Brayan Peña was batting:
Tim Neverett: Peña, a switch-hitter. See, he doesn’t have to have two helmets because he uses one with the double flap. Sometimes a switch-hitter likes having only one helmet. Other times they’ll get one with the ear cut off on either side. You don’t see the double-flaps a ton at the big league level. Most of the time it’s cut off on one side or the other.
Bob Walk: Somewhere we saw someone wearing a double-flap who was not even a switch-hitter, which you really don’t see very often. Was it with the Indians? The left fielder, I think..?
Neverett: It was, uh, Shin-Soo Choo.
Neverett: He’s a left-handed hitter, but he has the double-flap. That’s something you rarely see.
Walk: I knew who it was, but I was gonna wait for you to pronounce the name.
Would’ve been nice if they’d mentioned that double-flaps are mandatory in the minors, but this was generally a much higher level of uni observation than we see from most broadcast teams. Slowly but surely, the rest of the world is catching up to us.
Finally, there was also some uni-related discussion during yesterday’s blue vs. blue game in Arlington, where Rangers broadcasters Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve were getting a lot of e-mail from their viewers:
Josh Lewin: Bo,y one e-mail theme we’re definitely getting tonight is everybody is HATING this look of both teams being in blue.
Tom Grieve: Boy, I can’t agree more.
Lewin: It’s a different shade of blue…
Grieve: There should be a rule against it.
Lewin: Padres are the only team on the field with the sand-colored pants, however. That’s one way you can discern between the two tonight.
Grieve: I mean, at the very least, the home team should declare their uniform, and the visitor should NOT be able to wear a dark-colored jersey. They should have to wear a light-colored road jersey.
Lewin: I agree with you, and in the NBA when the Mavs choose to wear their home greens and they happen to be playing Boston, the Celtics, I guarantee you, would not also be wearing green.
[Unfortunately the conversation ends abruptly when Scott Hairston hits one out of the park. Later in the game, however, the discussion resumes.]
Lewin: What do you think of the blue and sand uniforms for San Diego?
Grieve: I’m not a big fan.
Lewin: Better though than the old, brown orange and yellow?
Grieve: Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of those either.
Lewin: What about the original mustard-color, all-yellow, Nate Colbert/Mike Ivie style?
Grieve: Ha, no… Served its purpose, but not a fan.
Lewin: Rangers are classic baseball Americana. They feature the red, white, and blue of that Texas state flag…
Grieve: Yeah I’m still a traditionalist. For a home game I like the all-white uniform. I love the red for a weekend game like the Rangers have been using it… The uniforms in this game make it look like a Spring Training game.
Lewin: Agreed. But, just back to the old brown, orange, and yellow… that’s the one that Steve Garvey said made him look like a taco.
Grieve: There’ve been some doozies of uniforms over the years. Cleveland’s all-red one comes to mind…
Lewin: Ugh. Nolan was the only guy I thought that made the Astros’ paint sampler uniform look good.
Grieve: Yeah, that was obviously a different-looking uniform. Of all the ones we’re talking about though, I would prefer that one over the other ones.
Lewin: They never made you wear the 1977 White Sox short shorts?
Grieve: Ha, no. Played against the White Sox when they wore ’em though.
Lewin: Putting Wilbur Wood in that uniform was just not, not fair.
Grieve: The jerseys that they wore were made to hang out of their uniform, and even when they weren’t wearing shorts they wore that year, they wore them with a collar on them. Kind of a little V-neck, with a collar. Tapered and tailored to hang out of their pants. To not be tucked in.
Lewin: To maximize dorkiness.
Grieve: They were probably very comfortable. If you weren’t self-conscious about what you looked like.
Lewin: Was that considered stylish at that time? I mean I was like 9…
Grieve: Well, it was stylish in that they were the only ones wearing it. It wasn’t stylish enough to catch on anywhere else as far as I know.
Special thanks to pseudonymous reader u2-horn for providing the transcript of that last one.
Research Request: If anyone out there watched a lot of MTV in the 1980s and would like to assist me with a research project, please give me a shout. Don’t worry, I promise it has nothing to do with Michael Jackson and plenty to do with uniforms. Thanks.
Raffle Reminder: Thanks to everyone who donated to Bryan’s relief fund. That project is now closed, and today’s the last day to enter the raffle for the Wilco tickets. If you haven’t already entered, submit your entry (one per person, except for Membership Program enrollees, who can submit four entries) by sending a blank e-mail to the raffle address. The subject line should have your name and which of these four shows you wish to attend. If you can attend more than one, please list them in order of preference. I’ll announce the winners tomorrow.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Ebbets Field Flannels prexy Jerry Cohen has started a new historical blog, Flannel of the Month. … Nice feature on awful soccer kits here (with thanks to T. Faust). … Bruins blogger Greg Ezell has begun a historical survey of the team’s uniforms, beginning with the 1920s. … Good soccer patch contribution from James Robertson, who writes: “FIFA came up with unique tournament patches for each team in the Confederations Cup, featuring a silhouette of the trophy that the team won to get to the tournament. Spain has the European Champions trophy on their sleeve patch, for example, and the U.S. has the Gold Cup theirs.” … Interesting to see that Rodrigue Beaubois had a little French flag on his French cuffs at the NBA Draft (with thanks to Mike Verna). … The Edmonton Eskimos will wear 1960s throwbacks for three games this season. Further details here. … NHL draft prospects discuss their favorite and least-favorite jerseys here (with thanks to Thomas Leibowitz). … If you click here, you’ll see the lead singer from a Boston band called the Fools giving a tour of Fenway Park. It’s only a so-so clip, but the interesting thing is that he’s wearing a Red Sox cap I’ve never seen before, featuring the standard B combined with the hanging socks. Just a fashion cap, natch, but it’s a new one to me. … Good article here about the development of the Philadelphia Union brand. If you want more, this article suggests that the team’s logo was ripped off from Nike. … Interesting merchandising legal case at issue here. … Last section of this article mention’s David Eckstein’s penchant for wearing NFL receiver’s gloves instead of batting gloves (with thanks to Dusty McGowan) … “Marathon Gas Stations sold these Kentucky Colonels tumblers in like ’70 or ’71,” writes Brinke Guthrie. “They are called Pro Star Portraits, by the artist Jim Volpe. You got them with a fill-up. They came in 8×10 format, or in a poster I believe with all the photos on it, and these tumblers. We used to trade these in school like crazy. Just got ’em on eBay for like 14.95 or so — the seller forgot to use the word ‘Volpe’ in the title or they would’ve sold for a lot more.” … Knicks draft picks Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas donned Mets gear prior to Friday night’s game at Shea. … Adam Elkana-Hale was Kilkenny vs. Galway in the Leinster provincial hurling semifinals when he saw the Kilkenny goalie wearing a Chicago Bears cap. “It’s not even a color match, because Kilkenny is black/gold,” notes Adam. Bizarre. …. Chris Mayberry snapped this shot at a recent Royals game. … Cerveceros vs. Gigantes in Milwaukee on Saturday night. … The Royals and Pirates did the Negro Leagues thing on Friday and Saturday nights. First time I can recall back-to-back throwback games. As you can see, KC had some color-coordination issues. … Reprinted from Saturday’s comments: Josh Hamilton, who’s on the DL, wore some sort of bizarro half-and-half jersey while stretching before Saturday’s Rangers/Padres game. The NOB is his nickname (also found on his batting gloves), but what’s the deal with the Lokai and Bele jersey treatment? Do the Rangers routinely do this for players who are rehabbing while on the DL? I’ll try to find out. … I love the jackets in this photo. … Denis Repp reports that the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh has a new exhibit on Forbes Field. “It includes a nice uni find: a Homestead Grays uniform, circa 1947,” he writes. “It was worn by Euthumn Napier, who became the Grays’ starting catcher in 1947 after Josh Gibson died the previous winter.” There’s also a Pennsylvania Turnpike exhibit with a toll clerk’s uniform. You can see both uniforms here. … Latest CFL team to unveil a throwback element: the Calgary Stampeders (with thanks to DeForest Maitland). … Yet another Nats problem, as explained by Dave Raglin: “The Nats have had a problem with the out-of-town scoreboard ever since moving into Nats Park. This picture is from Tuesday 6/23, and it shows #63 as the winning pitcher for the Tigers and #37 the loser for the Cubs. Those uni numbers are switched — 37 is Brandon Lyon, the winner for the Tigers, and 63 is Kevin Gregg, the loser for the Cubs. The funny thing is that it only affects finals, not games in progress (note in the Reds/Jays game on the board, for example that #51 for the Reds is Jared Burton and #54 for the Jays is Jason Frasor, and those are correct).” … You have got to be kidding me (blame Hugh McBride). … A museum in Germany has been exhibiting someone’s collection of over 2000 sports trophies (with thanks to Rob Walker). … Somewhat bizarre uni note from Matthew Hiett, who writes: “The Coca-Cola bottle at Turner Field is covered in authentic MLB equipment, including red alternate jerseys. They used Cool Base jerseys, and now the ventilated pits have faded more than the rest of the jerseys.” … Tim Wood has singled out an interesting little sub-niche of sports design: private yacht signal flags, many of which are gorgeous. “For years, I’ve had this flag, which belonged to my wife’s mother’s boat, hanging in my office,” he writes. He’s scanned a bunch of pages from the 1948 Lloyd’s Register of American Yachts and put them here. “The signals in the book are arranged based on the dominant color(s) in the design,” he explains. “At first I thought that this had something to do with making it simpler to print. But a better explanation might be that it made the book more useful as an identification guide. If you see a yacht signal and want to know who it belongs to, you can start by looking in the section with the signal’s main color and work from there –much easier than if they were arranged alphabetically or chronologically or some other way that would require looking through all the designs until you found the right one.” … Alain Nana-Sinkam was driving through Media, Pennsylvania the other day when he spotted two Eagles helmet carts — one featuring the team’s current helmt design, one from the Jaworski era — parked in back of a gas station. “They were in a body shop/junkyard type of lot that was fenced off, so I asked a guy that worked there if I could take some pictures,” he writes. “He checked with the owner and then came back and said the owner refused to let me take any pictures since ‘he makes them for the Eagles.’ So I left but did my best James Bond and snapped a couple of pics with my phone as I drove away. Unfortunately, I was too far away to get much detail, but the modern one is unlike any helmet cart I’ve ever seen. It looked like it was bolted on an actual vehicle, as opposed to the golf cart kind I’ve normally seen.” … Last week Mariano Rivera wore Alfredo Aceves’s batting helmet. Last night he wore Cody Ransom’s (screen shot courtesy of Terence O’Donohue). … In other Yankees headwear news, still no Yankee Stadium patch or MLB logo on Brian Bruney’s cap (with thanks to Chris Gordon for the screen shot). … Chad Todd just got back from Baltimore, where he wore these stirrups for a visit to Camden Yards. “Got lots of compliments,” he says. “Can’t thank Robert Marshall enough for pulling some strings to get this all done in time for the game.” … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Lengthy article about stirrups here. Recommended reading.