As we all know, MLB teams aren’t very good when it comes to logo consistency. Among the problems: The Tigers use two very distinct “D” letterforms on their cap and their jersey; until recently the A’s used different logos on their caps and helmets (a practice that stopped as a direct result of Uni Watch!); the Yankees are a complete jumble; and just a few months ago we discussed how the “s” in the Indians script appears one way on the team’s official wordmark and scoreboard but a completely different way on the team’s jersey.
It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that Mets have a logo inconsistency of their own — one that I’ve long been aware of (and annoyed by) but have never bothered to write about, mainly because it’s always seemed like a puny problem compared to the team’s other aesthetic misseteps. But now, thanks to some outstanding work by reader Brian Erni, I can remain silent no longer. Because the Mets, true to form, have taken their inconsistency to a different level.
Bear with me here, because it takes a while to lay the groundwork for Brian’s observation. The key element here is the Mets’ script insignia, which made its debut as pat of the club’s skyline logo in 1961. Here’s how the logo, including the script, looked on the cover of the team’s first yearbook.
From the very beginning, the script shown in the logo did not match the script used on the team’s jerseys. That photo is from 1962. If we isolate the script and rotate it clockwise so it’s horizontal (to match the horizontal orientation of the skyline logo), you can see significant differences between the logo script and the jersey script. For starters, the logo version is much more compact, while the jersey version is more extended and open. There’s also a major distinction in the transition between the M and the e. All of which is fine — what works within the confines of a circular logo may not necessarily work on a jersey, so some adjustments were needed. No problem.
Both of the scripts morphed slightly over the next few decades, but not radically. If you look at these jerseys, which run from the 1960s through the ’80s, the chest logos look relatively consistent.
More recently, though — I haven’t been able to isolate exactly when, but I think it was in the late 1990s — the Mets created a wider, more extended version of the script. This has been the team’s official wordmark at least since 1999, and I believe for a few years before that. If you can’t see the difference between this mark and the one that originally appeared on the jersey, try this comparison. The angle of the M has been altered, and the connection from the M to the e has been adjusted and lengthened a bit. This is script is essentially what’s been used on the team’s uniform for the past decade or so, as you can see in the jerseys shown on the right. Look at that M — horrific. I hate this verion. Looks clown-ish, like a minor league knockoff. Let’s call this the Wilpon Script.
Meanwhile, the skyline logo script is mostly the same as it’s always been (there are some teeny-tiny differences, but I won’t get into those). Let’s call that the Classic Script.
These two scripts are used interchangeably, with no rhyme or reason, thoughout the team’s graphics program. One small example: The entrance to the new Mets Hall of Fame features the Classic Script, but the plaques for the Hall inductees use the Wilpon Script. Similarly, a sign above the scoreboard Jumbotron uses the Wilpon Script, but the Mets lineup on that very same scoreboard is topped by the Classic Script. Similar inexplicable anomalies occur throughout the club’s printed matter, web site, and so on.
Here, finally, is the kicker: As everyone knows, the Mets wear the skyline logo as a sleeve patch. And the skyline logo features the Classic Script — or does it?
Two patches, two logos, two different versions of the script. The one on the right is the first time I’ve noticed any version of the skyline logo — printed, embroidered, whatever — with the Wilpon Script, but Brian (remember Brian?) says that’s the version that’s been used on the team’s jerseys for several years now.
This year, however — and this is the beauty party — both versions of the patch are currently in use on the field. Here’s Rod Baraja wearing the Classic Script patch two nights ago, and Jason Bay wearing the Wilpon Script version, also from Tuesday night. Both players are new to the team this season, so it’s not like they’re wearing one of their old jerseys from last year. “The Mets are using these patches interchangeably on the new cream pins as well,” says Brian.
It’s not clear if we should blame this on Majestic, their patch supplier, or the team, but let’s just go ahead and blame the Wilpons (who in case you didn’t know are also responsible for the oil spill, the Nashville floods, the volcanic ash, etc.). While other teams use different logos on different uniform elements, it figures that only the Mets could find a way to use different logos on the same uniform element.
“I’ll give them this,” says Brian. “If the patch with the original script eventually phases out the other one, they’ll have stumbled into a very subtle upgrade.” Agreed.
Where curling is never out of season: Got an urgent note last night from Benjamin Bonnet, who works at McMurdo Station — that’s in Antarctica, kids. He has a rather specific request, which I’ll let him explain in his own voice:
We’re trying to build our own curling sheet down here, along with our own stones. I was wondering if you know of anyone who constructs outdoor sheets and might be able to give some advice on how to go about it. As you can imagine, we have really limited supplies down here, and no flights coming in until August, so we have to be really creative. But that we have in spades.
Now, working in Antarctica isn’t as bad as you might think. There are no bugs (too cold), no advertising (nowhere to shop), lots of no-strings casual sex (how else are you gonna pass the time?), and I know for a fact that there’s a bowling alley down there at McMurdo (or at least there was when my friend Nicholas worked there). If they also get themselves a curling sheet, we’re pretty much talking Paradise, which is probably more than Benjamin and the rest of the McMurdo chuckleheads deserve. I mean, really, what has Antarctica done for you lately?
But what the hell, let’s help them out anyway. If anyone has any tips to offer regarding curling sheet construction, contact Benjamin here.
Too Good for the Ticker: Reader Scott Gleeson Blue sent me a note yesterday that deserves its own little call-out. To wit:
Have you ever discussed or featured Foto-Electric Football? This version, the outside of which I reflected upon for long hours as a lad, was handed down to me by my brother Tim, who is 15 years older. The offense and defense held playbook cards that you would fit into a slot that was on the field, and then you’d flip a light switch and wherever a run or pass intersected with a defender determined the outcome of the play. There was also a chance factor through a spinner. A small football and down and distance marker in respective slots would be moved back and forth on the gridiron as plays were executed.
On a completely separate note, I was wondering if you ever covered juvenile sports literature cover art. Of particular note, I’ve always loved the original Chip Hilton Sports Series for its richness of color and attention to detail (I think you’ll enjoy the stirrups showcased on the title ‘Strike Three.’)
The back cover of these classics included the line that Clair Bee, the famed LIU basketball coach, “knew what made boys tick.” My bro and I always chuckle that Chip was All-America at every sport, had friends with names like Speed, Soapy and Biggie, usually had no interest in romantic relationships, and seemed unaffected or simply disaffected by the effects of puberty.
I confess that I’m unfamiliar with Foto-Electric Football and the Chip Hilton books, but they both look intriguing. Thanks for the tips, Scott!
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Tigers have added a memorial patch for Ernie Harwell. … A long-lost Syracuse football helmet has been returned to its rightful owner (with thanks to Nate Neumann). … Are you under 18 years old? Do you want to design an NHL goalie’s mask? Here’s your chance (with thanks to Eric Baukol). … Not sure if we’ve seen this Tom Dempsey photo before (thanks, Phil). … If you scroll about three-quarters of the down this page, you’ll see an awesome DIY flannel Orioles jersey, along with some comments from the guy who made it (with thanks to Paul Wiederecht). … I’ve long known that Rams offensive lineman John Williams had a double-decker facemask, but I didn’t know that he also had a double-decker FNOB until Bill Kellick sent me that screen shot. … As you know, one of the rules about logo design these days is that any Minnesota-related design must include a tree line (with thanks to John Muir). … Sooooo much to like this photo of the 1903 York College baseball team. Undersleeve stripes! (Big thanks to Tim Sargent.) … Most N.L. teams wore the league’s Golden Jubilee patch in 1925 on their sleeves. Back in December, I noted that the Giants wore it on their chests, based on this photo of the team’s home uni. But now Matthew Glidden has found a photo showing Billy Southworth of the Giants wearing the patch on the sleeve of his road uni. Interestingly, Dressed to the Nines shows it on the chest at home and not at all on the road. It also shows two other teams — the Pirates and Dodgers — with inconsistent placement of the patch. Wanna put the patch on your own chest, sleeve, or elsewhere? You can get a decent-looking reproduction here. … Good article about UNC football equipment needs here (with thanks to Jason Wysong). … Check out the groovy merch you could order from an early-1970s Illinois football program (great stuff from Neil Berger). … Some cake decorator in DC is a real dick — so to speak. … Brandon Marshall is in uni number limbo (with thanks to Brinke Guthrie). … Brandon Higgins has picked up on a new accessory trope in MLB: “I’ve noticed a lot of players/coaches wearing super-thin time band watches this year,” he says. “They look almost like team-color bracelets, but if you look closely you will see it’s got a tiny watch face on it.” I hadn’t noticed this and know nothing about it. I also have a hard time believing a player would wear a watch on the field. Can anyone fill us in on this? (Update: Very first comment of the day has identified the “watches” as Power Balance bands. In other words, the latest Tooth Fairy silliness, just like the Phiten necklaces.) … Well, that didn’t take long (with thanks to Neil Vendetti). … Whoa, never seen a goalie mask like this one. Anyone know more? (Good find by Jake Elwell.) … If there’s one thing you can count on in this world, it’s Orlando Cabrera gunking up his helmet with pine tar. Or at least that was the case until this season. Is that some sort of Reds rule, like their old ban on facial hair? … Speaking of Cabrera, while looking for photos of him I came across this shot providing a particularly good view of his bell bottoms impaled on his spikes. … Here’s something I can’t believe we haven’t noticed before. Well, I can believe I haven’t noticed it, cuz I watch about, oh, zero NBA games per year, but I’m surprised one of you folks hadn’t noticed it. To wit: Vince Carter changes his jersey at halftime of each home game. And it’s really easy to tell, because — get this — the NOBs don’t match! “He has consistently worn these two home jerseys since the home opener,” says Mark Malazarte, who really should have told me about this ages ago, am I right? … Unfortunate moment on The Daily Show last night, as Jon Stewart made a big fuss over CNN commentator Roland Martin wearing an ascot on the air and acted like it was a new thing that he, Stewart, had personally discovered, when in fact Martin’s ascottery has been a public (and tiresome) phenomenon for at least half a year. Rare case of Stewart totally missing the boat. … I’ve run lots of Marty Hick‘s childhood uni drawings over the past few years, but it turns out there’s a lot more where that came from. In honor of the new bike I recently purchased, Marty dug up some old BMX bike and uni drawings he did back in the early 1980s. “The uniforms are hilarious,” says Marty with characteristic (im)modesty. “So are the bikes — the mag wheels, tuffs, pads, etc. My particular favorite is the frontal view of the different types of handlebars.” Mine, too. … Is there anything more depressing than learning that nearly every ballplayer in the league has the musical tastes of a total moron? Actually, the most interesting thing about that list is that J.D. Drew and Marco Scutaro have don’t have their own tunes — I didn’t think that was even allowed anymore (with thanks to Dan Cichalski). … Never could’ve imagined the Twins’ logo being appropriated by a Pennsylvania high school football team (thanks, Kek). … Slight logo tweaks for Google, of all companies (with thanks to High McBride). … We all know Topps used to airbrush NFL team logos off of football cards. But I never knew they also airbrushed the stars off of college all-star jerseys (interesting find by Michael Thomas). … Budget-minded Broncos fans can get their Tim Tebow jerseys on the cheap. For details, go here and choose “How to Get That Tebow Jersey” from the side menu (with thanks to Bryan Stelmack). … Very nice contribution from Stanislaw Olechowski, who writes: ” It was Aggie Day again in Delaware Valley College, so my girlfriend and I went to check it out. Last year they had a pretty cool baseball jersey displayed in the library; this time it was much cooler. Among the displays: a beanie that all freshmen had to wear in 1953, a chenille band patch, and a varsity football sweater.” … The flooding in Nashville reached the Predators’ locker room (with thanks to Paul Richard Cook). … Jeremy Brahm reports that USA Volleyball is sponsoring a logo contest. … Nice little article about Todd Radom and other special-event logo designers here (with thanks to Jason Davies). … Excellent cycling-related contribution from Sean Clancy, who writes: “The Giro D’ Italia begins this weekend, and the Cyclocosm blog has put together this creative graphic incorporating the winners of every edition of the race in the colors of the Italian flag and on a pink background, to honor the pink jersey worn by the race leader.” … Yesterday’s photos of high school ballplayers wearing mismatched socks prompted Jonathan Fearnley to send me a shot of the Spanish soccer team Racing Santander. “Halved shirts are not uncommon in soccer, but halved shorts and mismatched socks are new,” he writes. “Unlike some halved shirts, which have contrasting sleeves, the Racing Santander sleeves are the same color as the rest of that side of the shirt, so the kit looks completely green from one side and completely black from the other.” … In a related item, Ricko checks in with the following: “In 1976 I played on a softball team that they gave us each one forest stirrup and one athletic gold stirrup. No standard as to which leg was which. I wore the forest on my right, figuring it was ‘heavier,’ so better for staying back when swinging (hey, gotta have SOME kind of rationale).” … How do you ruin a perfectly good pair of stirrups? Dye them purple, wear them with swoosh-branded sannies, and add a pair of pinstriped shorts (with thanks to Tyler Haslam). … Florida State apparently won’t be wearing that white helmet after all (with thanks to Drew Dearman). … Last week James Laky said he’d seen the new Notre Dame football jersey and provided the following description: “The main difference is they have ND on the sleeves again instead of TV numbers. And the ND is different from the past — it has a white background and the font looks a little different. They also have an ND on the back now, near the collar.” He promised me a photo, which he’s now provided, although it isn’t exactly earthshaking. “I guess I was wrong about the white background,” he says. “It’s gold, with the white ND.” … Jeremy Brahm has been following the International Cricket Council Twenty20 event in the West Indies and has noticed a few things of interest. Among the highlights: a very colorful kit for the West Indies; an Aussie player with double-decker FNOB; India and Aghanistan playing blue vs. blue; and an Irish player wearing No. 01. … Ooh, not just a Brewers plane but a throwback Brewers plane (nice find by Aaron Clements). … Mmmmm, my-t-tasty. That’s UMass Lowell pitcher Jack Leathersich (as submitted by Sean Hladick). … I usually have a rule against posting watermarked Getty photos, but I’m gonna make an exception in this case. Anyone know the story behind that one? … Michigan tight end Martwell Webb caused a stir yesterday by saying the team would have new uniforms this fall, but then he clarified to explain that he just meant a new fabrication (with thanks to Tom Phillips). … Amidst all the chatter about the Suns making a statement, Jimmy Kimmel took the opportunity to suggest what the Clippers’ Noche Latina jersey might look like (with thanks to David Teigland).