It isn’t often that a labor impasse provides us with a uni-notable element, but it also isn’t often that you come across a fella with such impeccable taste in headwear as NFLPA exec director DeMaurice Smith, who’s been single-handedly spearheading a fedora revival. And I say good for him — as you can see in several of the photos in the slideshow above, he consistently looks sharper than the hat-free folks he’s pictured with.
So while we may lose the 2011 football season, we may gain a style revolution. Seems like a fair trade-off, no? — Paul
New ESPN column today — the long-awaited cricket edition. Look here.
Meanwhile, I’ll be guest-speaking this afternoon at the NYC11 convention, which is open to all Uni Watch readers. Details here.
’Tis the season: Everyone in the country will be filling out NCAA brackets over the next few days (except for me, cuz I don’t follow college hoops), which means it’s time for our annual March Madness pool. As usual, intern emeritus Vince Grzegorek has set up a group for us. To enter, go here, click on “Join a Group,” and enter our group I.D., which is 98702. If that group fills up — and it probably will, based on what’s happened in past years — then use our second group number, which is 99239. And if THAT one’s filled up, use 200063.
Scoring, which will be tracked by Vince, is as follows: 1 point for first round, 2 for second, 4 for third, 8, 16, then 32 for the championship game. The tiebreaker is total points scored in final game.
The top five winners will get to choose from the 17 prizes listed below (top winner gets first choice, second-place winner gets next choice, etc.). As you’ll see, exactly zero of these prizes have anything to do with college hoops, but whaddaya gonna do. The prizes not chosen will be offered again for the annual reader-appreciation raffle in December.
2. A free T-shirt based on a certain team and a certain foodstuff, in gray, winner’s choice of size.
3. A “How to grow a beard like Brian Wilson” poster, by McSweeney’s. 11″ x 17″.
4. An A’s nameplate for Eric Stuckenschneider, which would have been the longest NOB in MLB history if it ever been used. (Stucky got hurt, so that was the end of that.) Tucker not included.
5. A “Monsters of the Midway” deck of cards. Brand-new, never used, never shuffled.
8. A Winter Classic knit cap. Rendered in Penguins colors but does not have any Penguins graphics — just says, “Winter Classic.”
12. A Capitals Winter Classic scarf. Has “Pittsburgh” on side, which seems counterintuitive, even if that’s where the game was played.
13. A Penguins SpeedWick T-shirt. 100% polyester. Blank on back. Tagged as a large; measures 23″ pit to pit.
14. A Capitals SpeedWick T-shirt. 100% polyester. Blank on back. Tagged as a large; measures 23″ pit to pit.
15. A Penguins Winter Classic T-shirt. Sidney Crosby name and number on back. Heavily distressed graphics. Cotton/poly/rayon blend. Tagged as a large but measures 20.5″ pit to pit, which means it’s really more like a roomy medium.
16. A Capitals throwback T-shirt. Unlike the Pens tee shown above, this one does not have the Winter Classic logo on the sleeve. Alex Ovechkin name and number on back. Cotton/poly/rayon blend. Tagged as a large but measures 20.75″ pit to pit, which means it’s really more like a roomy medium.
17. A “Hockey Day Minnesota 2010″ patch. This was a giveaway at a Minnesota Wild game last winter.
Yes, that’s an awful lot of Winter Classic swag to be offered in a basketball pool, but I don’t choose which stuff shows up on my doorstep, people. Happy bracketing!
And hey, speaking of the NCAA tourney, reader Rick Freeman weighed in last night with the following observation:
Michigan is set to play Tennessee in the NCAA tournament. The Wolverines are the higher seed, which means they’ll probably wear their home uniform.
The issue: Michigan likes to wear its yellow (“maize”) uniforms in big games. And NCAA chalk after being picked to finish like, ninth in the Big Ten or something would certainly count as a big game. But Tennessee’s road uniforms are a rather pale shade of orange, which will probably be too close. Can Michigan make them wear white? Or will yellow be considered too close to that, too? What’s the rule in the NCAA?
Good question. I have no idea. Anyone..?
Membership update: A new batch of designs has been added to the membership card gallery, including Mike Engle’s card, shown at right. Do you recognize the design it’s based on? Answer: It’s the 2009 NHL Eastern Conference all-star jersey. Good one, right? You can get in on the membership scene yourself by signing up here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: My pal and fellow Foreword Liz Clayton just gave me two really super presents: these wonderful hot dog wrappers and, even better, these absolutely beautiful potato chip bags. And where did she find these treasures? In Milwaukee, of course. … Hello Kitty’s looking pretty sporty now that she’s working with the Japan Handball League (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Justin Lafferty was at a track meet and saw someone wearing Golden State Warriors argyle socks. … Odd uni choice at Dayton, where the baseball team is looking like the beach blanket-era Chisox (as noted by Tim Bennett). … Cycling note from Sean Clancy, who writes: “Tim Krabbe is a Dutch writer whose semi-autobiographical novel The Rider has developed a cult following, as evidenced by these fans with their super-cool “De Renner” jerseys, paying homage to the original Dutch version of the book.” … New logo set for the Joliet Slammers. “The secondary jailbird logo is kinda fun,” says Jeff Ash. … Good to see that Steve Vucinich has gotten some proper stirrups for Josh Outman (photo by Russ Chibe). … Hmmm, have the Indians worked out the problems with the Bob Feller patch image? Does this mean they’ll be wearing the silhouette-image patch once the regular season starts? I put those questions to their PR director, Bart Swain, who would only say, “It’s close to happening.” Stay tuned. … Kyle Wooser DIY’d himself a bunch of T-shirts — most of them with an alarming amount of purple content. “I used the technique from this blog entry,” he says. “First, I print out the logo and then tape the sized logo onto the non-glossy side of the freezer paper. Then I stencil out the shape and iron it onto the shirt. Then I brush the fabric paint on and it works just like the blog said.” … Amusing observation from Matt Harris, who writes: “Apparently the MLB The Show developers think the Yankees rotation is in such shambles that Brett Gardner (#11) not only will pitch this year but will also change throwing arms.” … The Richmond Flying Squirrels have unveiled what must surely qualify as one of history’s worst mascots (with thanks to David Ryan). … The Penguins wore their Winter Classic throwbacks on Saturday. But as many readers noted, James Neal wore the wrong pants. … Dylan Buell reports that Ball State and Kent State went mustard-vs.-ketchup the other day. … MLB is now selling T-shirts with cap-history chronologies (as noted by Christopher Leopardi). … Justin Lane Chambers points out that the little medallion thingie at the base of the Duke collar appears to have morphed from a circle to a triangle. … For reasons that I suspect I don’t want to know, two contestants on The Biggest Loser have been wearing captaincy patches (screen shot courtesy of Evan Schreiber). … “One of the great crimes of the atrocious Reebok Edge jerseys will be rectified next season, as the Ottawa 67′s will be wearing their barber pole jerseys again,” reports a gleeful Steve King. “I love this quote from the team’s official site: ‘The team was forced to temporarily switch from the barber pole to a solid colour prior to the start of the 2009-10 season when the OHL adopted the new Reebok EDGE jersey.’ No sugarcoating here. Rarely will a team’s official release so blatantly fault the uniform manufacturer for a uniform decision.” Indeed. … Scroll down to see photos of the very interesting pant-cuff buckles on this old baseball uni. … Attention DIYers: Here’s a rare find — a blank wool flannel uniform that’s just begging to serve as the blank canvas for your next project. … Attention bakers: Here’s a jersey-shaped cake pan. … Highly disappointing to see that Miguel Cotto was not wearing socks — or at least wore no visible socks — during Saturday’s dismantling of Ricardo Mayorga. … Gabe Butler scored a nice electric football game, circa 1970, for only five bucks! … Omaha Vipers goalie Sanaldo wore a Superman chest logo on Sunday. “I don’t know why,” says Kenn Tomasch, “but the Milwaukee Wave were kryptonite, beating Sanaldo and the Vipers 15-6.” … The latest chapter in the ongoing investigation of former Mets equipment manager Charlie Samuels is that cops have found a bunch of autographed 1986 Mets uniforms — assumed to have been stolen by Samuels — in a Florida storage locker. … In a vaguely related item, a New York mini-storage company has been taking pot-shots at the Mets in its current ad campaign. No word on whether Samuels was one of their customers. … Kudos to the Sabres, who managed to produce a really nice Rick Martin memorial decal mere hours after the French Connection player passed away yesterday. … Remember how the NBA recently nixed Dwyane Wade’s tinted glasses? The NCAA apparently has no such issues with Melissa Jones of Baylor. She’s wearing the shades as a result of a recent head injury (good find by Matt Mitchell). … Last week I noted that Mariano Rivera was going high-cuffed while working out, but it was too soon to get overly excited because he hadn’t yet appeared in a Grapefruit League game. That changed yesterday, when he made his first spring training appearance, and now we can officially get excited. The issue is addressed down toward the end of this page. Key passage: “Closer Mariano Rivera was sporting high socks when he took the mound for his first Grapefruit League appearance Sunday. ‘You might see that [this year],’ he said. ‘[It makes me] feel lighter’” (big thanks to Grant Goldman and Ed Lafayette). … Whoa, what’s with all the neon green on the lacrosse nets and zebra jerseys? “I’m guessing it’s for the ‘Headstrong’ cancer charity that started in the lacrosse community in 2008 and had players wearing neon green shoelaces,” says Garrett Schabb. … Dig what Dante Bichette was wearing at the MLBPAA Legends game in Clearwater: a TATC jersey! Kudos to him for the inspired uni choice (and to Bill Kirby for the photo). … New third kit for Peru (with thanks to Kenny Loo). … RIP, Danny. Saturday nights won’t be the same without my Vicar.
On a serious note: I know from our site analytics that we have several dozen readers in Japan, although I only know one of them by name: Mark in Shiga, who’s a mainstay of the comments section. I was worried about him on Friday and was relieved when he posted a comment on Saturday. Had a quick e-mail back-and-forth with him yesterday and am happy to report that he’s fine. Keeping my fingers crossed for our other readers in Japan — and, really, for everyone over there.