By Phil Hecken
As I wind down a week filling in for Paul, I wanted to take a moment to express my thanks to all the great Uni Watch readers out there for making this a really great week. Despite being up until about 2:00 or 3:00 every morning putting on the finishing touches on the next days’ post, I really enjoyed the honor and privilege bestowed upon me by Paul and the fantastic readership for your support. From the bottom of my heart, I say “Thank You.”
Uni Watch celebrated a couple of milestones this month — on May 17th, the Uni Watch Blog celebrated its Fourth Anniversary (here’s Paul’s First Pitch) — and just two days ago, May 26, 2010, “Uni Watch” itself celebrated its Eleventh Anniversary (and here’s that first salvo). As Paul said Wednesday, “the column’s decade-plus run is a testament to all the help and support I’ve gotten from you folks — cheers, mates.” Indeed, Paul steers the ship, but it’s the crazy uniform-loving folks who visit every day that make Uni Watch what it is. Since Paul’s anniversary was kind of buried after the main article, I wanted to reiterate it. Eleven years of Uni Watch genius. Congrats Paul. Here’s to eleventeen more.
I wasn’t “here” (the blog) at the beginning, but I remember reading Paul’s work almost from the beginning. A shared love of uniforms, stirrups and the Mets made it a perfect fit. Paul’s talents are myriad (for example, aside from the book he’s currently researching, did you know he’s been published in the New York Times and other major media, appeared on Conan O’Brien and penned a book?) I read the Voice and Paul’s ESPN columns with fervor, but it took me a while to make it over to the blog.
Like many of you, I started out just reading the columns. Then, I gradually got up the courage to click on the green “Post A Comment” link at the bottom of each article. For months, I just read, becoming mesmerized by the depth and breadth of the knowledge of the readership. Finally, I got up the courage to actually leave a comment myself, fearing I might be ridiculed for asking a “stupid” question (fortunately I never asked “what’s the green dot for?” or the results may have been different). But I wasn’t. Any questions I had were handled with aplomb and not only was I amazed at the group’s ability to so honestly and thoroughly assist, but with the genuine professionalism and civility exhibited on these boards. More than three years later, that kindness and true shared knowledge still exists, stronger than ever (and so sorely lacking on so many other boards). When Paul tapped me for “Bench Coach” in November of 2008, I never dreamed I would get as much enjoyment and satisfaction out of the “job” that I have, and for that, I’m eternally grateful (again) to Paul and to all you guys. You’ve really made it my great pleasure to try and bring the best I can to the weekends and the occasional fill-in spots.
To those of you who may still be “readers” and not commenters, or who may not be familiar with what we’re all about, I direct your attention to the upper right-hand corner. Click on the About link…the Archives contain every article ever hosted on Uni Watch. The FAQ will (hopefully) answer some of the most frequently asked questions on UW (such as “What’s with the green dot on the back of NFL quarterbacks’ helmets?”). If you’re a frequent reader, there’s the Membership section — if you haven’t signed up, consider it. This blog will always be free and the membership program is one of the ways to help Paul keep it that way. No obligation, of course, but membership has it’s benefits. Paul’s “Mothership Columns” (ESPN) can also be searched in the upper right corner.
Just below those links (and a couple ads) is the “search” feature. If you remember a conversation (or a column) on UW, but you can’t for the life of you remember when it was, like any google search, type in a few key words and make sure you check the “Uni Watch” button — to this day I still do that at least once a day. Beneath that are the Paul’s most recent ESPN columns and Research Projects. Those are followed by “subject” links — if you look at the top of any column, there are several subjects (usually) listed (our version of “tags”) — anytime one of those is used, the column in which it was used will appear in it’s subject. Want to know how many times a post has been filed under “Cricket”? Just click that link. Finally, and very importantly, beneath the subject tags are the “Links.” Take some time to explore those — many of them belong to frequent posters who’d love your traffic, others are just absolutely essential for any good Uni Watcher.
As I have now babbled far too long, I wanted to hear from you guys. How did you find Uni Watch? What brought you here? What makes you a Uni Watcher? I’d been reading and posting for a while before I clicked the “Membership” link, but when I did, I was immediately struck by Paul’s words:
I hear it again and again. “Thank god I found Uni Watch,” people tell me. “Until now, I thought I was the only one who looked at sports this way.”
As you’ve no doubt discovered by now, you’re not the only one. But if your friends still look at you a bit funny when you point out a player’s sleeve length, or the wife rolls her eyes when you wax rhapsodic about the pleasures of a well-tailored set of stirrups, salvation is finally at hand. Now you can show your solidarity with other uniform obsessives and proclaim your citizenship in the larger uni-related community.
I could not have ever imagined there were others out there like me, but obviously our numbers are in the thousands. We may not always agree (and frequently don’t), but we share a common bond. One which I am glad exists. If you’ve read any of my weekend columns, I’ve probably mentioned a half-dozen times how I got this way. From my first set of stirrups before I was even in little league I discovered my love of all things uniform. What made you this way?
Even if you’ve never posted a comment before, today’s a great day to start. And if you comment a little, a lot or every day, tell us what brings you to UW. When did you first find that you Get ItTM?
Thanks again, all, for making this community the great place it is.
Brinke’s Corner: (That’s Brinke with “Red Racer” which ended up plowing thru some freshly poured blacktop. Ahem. Notice the hand-lettered name on the side. Louisville, approximately 1963.) And now for the e-Bay finds:
• A “Booster Pack” bobblehead set? From the “Merger Series?” Outstanding.
• NY Football Giants book covers from the 60’s.
• An AJD Astros cap, woo hoo.
• A Coca-Cola mini-helmet promo set.
• Check out these Expos patches.
• Like MLB would let a current player put his name on a gin ad. Bench got away with it.
• Staying with the school theme, here’s an early 60’s NFL schoolbook cover.
• Here’s another great bobble. The Rams didn’t use blue and yellow in the early 60’s, did they?
• We’ve all seen NFL helmet plaques. But a skate plaque?
• Nothing says “Tennessee Titans” like a plain navy cap with plain white letters.
• One of my favorite logos; the old Cincinnati Royals.
• Feel the Power of the NFL.
• I always thought that they could do a better job with the touch-up work, even back then. Clyde Wright deserved better.
• Pro Keds with the NFL logo.
• Ever woke up one morning and thought, “I want my own baseball button vending machine.” You’re in luck.
• Maybe someone could’ve suggested contact lenses for Steve Blass.
• What’s this little NFL shield patch for?
• There are two things I am looking for. Just want a photo. An NFL poncho from the late 60’s — this was white on the outside with full color logos that weren’t terribly detailed. The inside lining was aluminum type material, the idea being it reflected your body heat in the cold weather. (I think I have mentioned this before.) The other thing is an early 70’s NFL chest. Made of durable double-walled fiberboard, it had all the period teams in either red or blue. A big storage chest thing, flip top lid, that you kept toys or athletic gear in. Anyone seen either of these?
As we end the work week here at UW, we’re treated to the fourth installment of Benchies. Could Mick’s rups be any longer? Here’s Rick:
Ready for all the new adventures to begin? Great, grab your gear and reach back for a bit of your youth. Yeah, that’s exactly what’ll it’ll feel like, alright.
Here’s your very special Friday Benchies.
[Benchies appears every Saturday and Sunday on Uni Watch.]
Uni Watch News Ticker: Slightly old news comes from Kurt Esposito, who noticed some mask shenanigans from Phillies’ catcher Carlos Ruiz, who switched mid-game from a hockey-style mask to the traditional one. Click on “watch highlights.” In the first clip from the second inning Ruiz is clearly wearing the hockey style mask, but in the next clip from the fifth inning he’s wearing the regular style. … Jordan Wiley brings us some more time-killing Sporkle quizzes: These have been floating around the site for a while — NFL by number; NHL by number; and NBA by number (this is not for those with heart conditions or those who are pregnant). … Everyone’s favorite yinzer, Ryan Connelly thought we might like this non-uni related item (“just really clever” muses RyCo40) … JK Chaney brings us this look at the new Celtic FC kit … It’s a good thing Paul is still in Scotland, because the next item may not have made the ticker. Matthew Windsor writes, “I know it goes against every fabric of your being to give accolades to anything purple clad, but I can’t help but love my alma mater! Attached are some pictures of the ECU Softball team who are wearing two different sets of purple, but Mighty Fine striped stirrups. The pictures may not be the best, so here is a link to the gallery.” … John Muir retweets this asking fans to help Devils goalie Mike McKenna choose his 2010-11 gear. … Also from John: Joe Maddon might think the Rays could make a better hockey team than the Lightning? … Brian Schulz plays for a semi-pro football team in St. Paul; after winning the 2009 North American Football League National Championship, they brought on some new investors to sponsor their uniforms for 2010. Brian adds, “A big name sponsor who shall go nameless here, mainly because they asked not to be named (lets just say they are a pretty big music mogul here in the Twin Cities who happens to love football), stepped up and purchased our uniforms for 2010, with one condition. They wanted all black uniforms and requested that we put his nickname for us on the front of the jersey (P-UNIT)…and alas, the cardinal and black Pioneers became the all-black (BFBS) Pioneers…shameful, I know, but I thought you might be interested in our BFBS NNOF jerseys and uniforms…maybe a first to UniWatch?” Also, their past weekend’s opponents, the Twin Ports Stampede, had a SSOB (Sponsor slogan on back)…Miller Light sponsored their jerseys and they had the catch phrase “Good Call” with the Miller Light logo on the back of their jerseys. … Reader Phil Primato is looking for some help from the Uni Watch faithful: “I am planning on painting my wall in honor of Citi Field. I have the colors all set. The wall itself is Soot, the Orange which will run along one side and the top is PMD 1655 (RGB 249/86/2, I hope Home Depot can match…) I am planning on making my own stencils to add the outfield distance number 371, I also have a graphic design friend of mine creating the Tom Seaver #41 retired logo, which I will have printed on a Fathead type material to add. What I am hoping to get some help with is the actual font name that is used for the 371. Dont know if you or one of your readers could help.” Here is the wall awaiting paint. Anyone able to help? … Chad Todd sends this cool boating themed tshirt design. … Not sure if this was ever listed on UW, but just in case, Trevor Grigsby writes, on Opening Night, last month, the Lexington Legends, Houston’s single-A squad, wore tuxedo jerseys. “The might be the worst idea, in the long, sad history of bad jersey ideas. But, as far as uniqueness and originality go, they’re the first of their kind that I’ve seen.” … File this next one under “zee goggles, zhey do nossing:” Paul Stave sent along an E-mail with the subject: “WOW this hurts my eyes” so I was a bit trepedatious when I clicked on this link. He wasn’t kidding. Says Paul, “Glad they don’t play under a black light. Or do they? When did they change their team name from the Seattle XBox 360 Lives, to just the Seattle XBox 360s? God help us if MLB does this.” … Ryan Henke knows of Paul’s fondness for Milwaukee, bowling and photography, and thought this might interest us. Carl Corey currently is exhibiting part of a series called Wisconsin Tavern League at Ryan’s local museum in Madison, WI. Set #1 has a couple of fantastic shots of a bowling alley bar. … *Sigh* … The Padres partied like it was 1978 yesterday. Lots more photos here. Can’t teams, just for ONE DAY, go with a period appropriate look (read: visible brown stirrups with gold sanis) instead of pajamas? Don’t want to suck the fun out of the throwbacks, but really, is that too much to ask? … Steeltown Correspondent and everybody’s second favorite yinzer Douggie Keklak sends us an article about Babe Ruth’s final appearance at Forbes Field and his final three home runs, including a great shot of a beautiful Braves’ uni.
That’ll do it for today, Uni Watchers. Everyone have a safe Memorial Day Weekend. I’ll be back tomorrow, Sunday and Monday, and gladly turn this fine ship back over to Paul for Tuesday.
Get home safe, buddy! We all miss you. Looks like Jerry will still be here when you return. 27 goose eggs will do that.
Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. — Henry Louis Gehrig