By Phil Hecken
When else can a 10-inning, 5-5 tie feel so satisfying? When it’s the first game of spring training, that’s when. No, it doesn’t count, and it’s nowhere near as awesome as Opening Day (which, when I become President, will be declared a national holiday), but it’s still as welcome as the first crocus of late-winter. It means that spring is almost here, and the Boys of Summer have begun their preparation for another season.
If you haven’t already seen, this year both the senior circuit and the American League have all new batting practice jerseys this year. Why the Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox, Tigers and Blue Jays have two BP tops is beyond me. At least the O’s have an orange and black version (and the Sawks have red and blue), but the Tigers merely swap a white “D” home with an orange “D” road, and the Yankees have their interlocking-NY on their home and “NEW YORK” on their roadie. The Jays? They already have one of the worst uniforms in the game, and their BP jersey isn’t any better. Their home has white side panels and their road has gray. Ugh.
Speaking of BP jerseys, the Pirates have a rally awesome gold one. Also, notice that every BP jersey is now button down. I have an awful feeling that some teams will want to use their BP jerseys in real game play. In Pittsburgh’s case, that might not be the worst thing, especially if they ditched their black alternate. Still can’t wait to see these in action.
I love seeing the early spring training drills. Tell me, why is Nyjer Morgan carrying a football and wearing a glove? Good to see those socks, but where are the rups? The opposite end of the uni spectrum is of course new National Jayson Werth. And that’s our first real look at the Nationals new home uniform. I’m not sure it will grow on me. I love the script “W,” but the front number ruins the symmetry, and the piping looks more purple than a distinct red and blue.
I always get a kick out of the individual portraits. Some guys ham it up pretty good, others seem to think the backwards cap or the oversized, offcenter skew is a good look. They’re not. And I’ll never understand how some guys can show up with shit all over their caps. Aren’t these things supposed to be new? This is your official portrait, man. Treat your cap with some respect. Some teams go with a white background, which looks pretty cool when seen as a set.
BP jerseys seem to fall into three or four categories. The first is the solid color stripe down the side, extending from the armpit to the waist. The second is similar, but extends the solid stripe all the way out to the end of the sleeve. The third type, the best, has no solid color stripe on the jersey For some reason, only the Angels have this. Somehow, the Red Sox avoided a full stripe, instead opting for the pit stain look.
The worst is a new design. It’s being sported by, among a few, the Indians and the Orioles. The Tigers and the Rockies also have this “look.” I’m not sure who thought a mini “batman-esque” (reminds me of the Steelers) cape affection was a good idea. It’s really not.
One BP jersey I do like: the Reds (the BP is the script “Reds” on the left). That’s what a BP jersey should look like. Kinda whimsical. And never to be worn during a real game. Ever.
Two last bits of interest — the Tigers and Cardinals, who as part of their spring training rituals never wore their “orange D” and navy blue caps, respectively, in spring training games. At least until this year. We’ll have to see if this changes as the games go on, but yesterday the Tigers (who thankfully eschew the BP jerseys) wore their HOME BP caps with their road unis. I don’t recall them wearing their BP caps during spring games before (but of course, I could be wrong). But at least they didn’t wear their road BP cap either. Yes — they have a home and a road BP cap. And that’s necessary because they have a home and a road BP top. I’ll cut the Yankees and Tigers some slack with having two BP tops, because they ONLY have a home and a road uniform, with no alternate. The Orioles, Blue Jays & Red Sox? They all have alts (and the Sawks have both a red and a blue alternate), so do they really need an extra BP jersey?
But enough of my critiquing the uniforms of the greatest sport on the planet. Baseball is back. And you know what, they could
all dress in clown suits really wear pretty much anything this time of year and I’ll watch. Why, because it reminds of us of all that once was good and could be again.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
It’s been a couple weeks since we had a “Colorize This!” so it’s kind of a potpourri today.
We begin with Joe DeAngelis, with a Ranger from the past:
This week I submit a colorization of New York Rangers hall of fame defenseman Ivan “Ching” Johnson. I just love this pose, and the look on the subjects face, a true warrior of old-time hockey.
Next up is Nick Maples who has a colorization suggestion & request:
I was wondering if you could help me with colorizing this photo from my grandfather’s semipro baseball team. Nobody from the family seems to know the team colors. I was very interested in finding out so I could have Ebbetts Field Flannels replicate the jersey for me. Thanks so much.
Nick didn’t provide me with any more information on the team, but the jersey appears to read “WATSONS.” If anyone knows more or has a color scheme (or a guess at what the colorscheme might be), please speak up.
You guys will recall when we last had a “Colorize This!” Ryan VanBuskirk submitted a photo of the Hebron Academy, where his grandfather played hockey. After ascertaining the colors, which were green and white, I asked you colorizers to take a stab at it. Ian Carr did just that:
Been gone for a while, but looking forward to doing more. ENJOY!
Ian S Carr
Next up is the one and only George Chilvers, who provided me with the first of several colorizations, beginning with this one:
Here’s my version of the Wales rugby pic. In case anyone missed my comment this is actually the Pontypool front-row from December 1976.
I then went on to say “A word of advice too for you on the opposite side of the pond. Rugby players are VERY BIG and tend to have broken noses (like the guy to the right). Don’t mention to them that shoving their heads between other players legs seems a bit odd, don’t comment on where they grab them to hold on tight, and don’t even say that you know that the guy in the middle (who is Bobby Windsor) is called a “hooker”. Just accept it – it’s safer that way.”
I’ll see if I have time to have a go at any others (there’s lots to choose from isn’t there?), but if not it’ll keep me off the streets for the next few weeks.
Of course, George wasn’t done. Next he took on another reader submission, Byron “Whizzer” White:
Byron “Whizzer” White – resized and colourised.
George still wasn’t done. And perhaps you can guess his final submission. But first…
Next up is Gary Chanko, who took on the Charlotte Hall Military Academy baseball team (from Shorpy):
Some educated guessing on school colors after online research became futile … seems like black and orange. a first effort anyway.
Gary P. Chanko
Not quite satisfied with that effort, Gary sent in another version:
Attached is a corrected version of the image sent to you yesterday.
And finally, in what Paul called “The single most amazingly awesome photo in the history of ever, submitted to UW by Comrade Robert “Moose” Marshall, we have George again.
George sent along two versions of the Atlanta Lorelei…and they’re both amazing:
As we head into baseball season, I’d love to see you colorizers try your hands at some old tyme baseball pictures. If you don’t have any handy, I have a whole lot of black and white photos, so if you’re interested, feel free to locate one of your own choosing, or post something in the comments below and I’ll send you (or post) a shot for you to try. I’ll give you one great one to start: Casey Stengel, ca. 1915, with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
by Rick Pearson
Always to be innovative. Or Something.
And…here’s the full size.
Lots and lots of tweaks keep pouring in, so obviously this is a popular feature. A bunch new to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
Got a nice of tweaks today…so lets get right into it:
Starting off the show is Nic Schultz, who decided to go the Pro Combat look with Michigan football:
For the away look, I would add the wings and stripes from the helmet to the sleeves, moving the TV numbers to compression undershirts. Also I would paint the tops of the facemasks maize to match the rest of the helmet. The block M and brand logo on the pants would move up onto the belt loop area. I would never suggest changing the home look in real life, but for U.W.’s sake, I tried the helmet treatment on the navy jerseys. Looks alright I suppose. The alternate jersey, I turned into a giant block M. The treatment would be symmetrical on the back side. Blue pants and socks provide enough color to be worn at home, but light colored top could still be worn as away uniform, possibly against whatever monstrosity Nike cooks up for the Buckeyes next November…
All tweaks done by Nic Schultz
Next up is Ronnie Poore, who has a couple better ideas for the new Bills white helmet:
Lots of interest and speculation about the Bills new unis for next season. My personal preference is for them to simple go with the throwbacks full time, but it seems they have other ideas. The details that have come forth mention they are keeping the charging Buffalo (American Bison) logo. I’m sorta ok with that, except that I hate that red slash. I worked up a couple of samples without the slash, one with a blue buffalo. And just for fun, one with a red one.
In the three-spot today is Jon Ritchie, who has some Bengals Pro Combat concepts:
First time submitter here, but I love the site and read often. I thought I was alone in my Uni-junkydom. As a life long Bengals fan I’ve always been a little embarrarsed by the stripe motif they’ve had, and they made them even worse with new ones in ’04. What happened to clean lines? I sent you some mock ups with Pro Combat template. (Home, Road [white pants], Road [black pants] & Road [orange pants].) Nothing new here, maybe a little more than a nod to the past, but hose were great uniforms. I know not everyone likes the plain script helmet, but I love it. It’s the part I didn’t get right though but hey, this was my first shot at this. Also, I’m not a fan of endless uniform combination but for the hell did more than two. Hope you enjoy.
And last but not least, we have Jim Vilk, who has taken a decidedly un-Mothersunbowlker approach to this set of tweaks, eschewing the crayolas for the Russell uniform builder:
After playing around on the Russell Athletics uniform builder site, I decided to try my hand at some baseball tweaks.
Next, the Rangers. Red? Blue? Can’t decide? Why not make them tan and green like park rangers? I know, they’re not named for those, but the real Texas Rangers never had an official uni. You could also go with tan pants.
Home unis would be white, with tan piping on the jersey and green piping on the pants. Logo in tan outlined with green, numbers in green outlined in tan. To be worn with a tan hat with a green logo.
That’s it for today’s tweak show. Check back next weekend for more.
Color of the Beast
Got an E-mail yesterday from “Pretty Boy” Paulie Soto, who visited his local sporting goods store, and noticed the swoosh is now featuring their neon-snot green color on a LOT of their merch. I’ll let Paulie explain:
I stopped into a Sports Authority the other day here in Chicago and happened to notice a lot of Nike product featuring the infamous “dayglow” color. It’s called “Volt”, according to Nike, as well as various shades of the color. There were softball pants with volt colored drawstrings, interchangeable swooshes, watches, fixture graphics, lots of shoes accented in that color and even a pair of striped Adidas soccer socks in that color.
Um, thanks, Paulie. Well, I guess we know what the new “hot” color for spring will be. The Seahawks may have scrapped their neon snot alternate after one wearing, but we can only now wonder if Nike will want to parlay Oregon’s newfound football success onto the pro grid iron. We can also begin to wonder if this won’t make an appearance as the dominant color when swooshie (inevitably) introduces the next generation of Ducks unis.
Bellotti Bold be damned, Jim Vilk would wear that.
Fresh Frosty Treats
As many of you know, David “Frosty” Frost is one of Uni Watch’s greatest DIYers, and he’s made a number of custom jerseys for many of us. I’d never actually been able to vouch for his quality and craftsmanship, as I’d never actually had Frosty create anything for me. That is, until now.
About a week ago, I got the following E-mail: “Just wanted to give you a ‘heads’ up’ that a box is coming your way if not there already, with a ‘THANK YOU’ for all that you do for us jersey knuckleheads out here. Wear it to a Mets game and let me know if / what feedback you get! I made Paul one somewhat similar, so you kids can compare notes.” OK. Sure enough, that package came this week, and what was inside? Behold! Here is the back. No, those aren’t reversed or flipped or anything. Frosty actually sewed on the script and the numbers on backwards. It’s just his way of saying how bass-ackwards things are in Met land.
Here’s the one he sent Paul (with Caitlin) — interestingly, mine is mesh, and button down (with the buttons on the proper “male” side) while Paul’s is a zipper front, and the zipper is reversed as well…so everything is backwards on his. Frosty also included “a patch I experimented with…iron transfer paper on polyester.” He put the patch on my jersey, but not Paul’s.
All of this is in anticipation of gearing up his new website. Although I’m a little “skeptical” about the backwards Mets, I have to say the quality is top-notch. Me and the boss have already indicated we’ll wear the jerseys to one game together this year to see what kind of comments they generate.
So, THANK YOU Frosty! Everyone who is thinking of having a custom made jersey, give Frosty’s new site a look-see.
Phew. That’s gonna do it for this fine last Sunday in February. Spring is in the air. The Oscars are tonight (no predictions this year — the post is long enough). And baseball is back again. And all is right in the world.
“Real” ballplayers are not thugs. — Marty Hick