It's a Not-So-Wonderful Life(style)

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Two days ago I had a few things to say — most of them negative — about the new Arizona State uniforms, which were produced by Nike. This produced a bit of a shitstorm in the comments section, including the usual complaints that I always come down hard on Nike but give Adidas and Reebok “a free pass.”

This is, of course, nonsense. As longtime readers know, I can be plenty hard on Adidas and Reebok (and Under Armour, too) when they push the stupid, and I have no problem praising Nike when they come up with something good. But whatever — some folks out there prefer to cling to certain narratives. So if you think I give certain companies “a free pass” (whatever that means), so be it.

But here’s something interesting: I have never — not one single time — heard anyone accusing me of giving Majestic a free pass.

Now why is that?

The main reason, I submit, is that Majestic generally doesn’t need a free pass. They don’t come up with ridiculous uniform designs, they don’t plaster their logo all over everything that moves, they don’t promote their own brand in a way that eclipses the brands of the teams they outfit, they don’t pander to 19-year-olds in a way that embarrasses all of us. In short, they don’t engage in much corporate douchebaggery.

And why is that?

Simple: Majestic is not a lifestyle company. They don’t make sneakers, they don’t make track suits, they don’t have giant flagship retail stores, they don’t engage in flashy ad campaigns, they don’t sign athletes to expensive endorsement deals. They do sell plenty of jerseys at retail, of course, but they’re in the uniform business, not the lifestyle business. Those other companies — Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Under Armour — are in the lifestyle business. They just happen to use uniforms as a vehicle for their lifestyle brands.

There’s no question that Majestic has less name recognition, less star power, than those other companies. And yet the Majestic folks have done just fine for themselves, enjoying the exclusive uni-outfitting contract for our national pastime for seven years now (and sharing the contract with Russell Athletic for many years prior to that).

Now, whenever we get into one of these branding arguments, people tell me things like, “Of course Nike has to promote their brand — they’re in business to make a profit, after all” and “Look, marketing is marketing, get used to it” and “Duh, this is what corporations do — they market their brands.”

Yeah, okay. Except Majestic — which, last I checked, was a company in business to make a profit — doesn’t engage in any of that douchebaggery, and yet they’ve managed to be immensely successful, locking down the exclusive MLB uni license. All of which shows that you don’t have to pander with all sorts of stunts and shenanigans to be successful in the uniform biz. You just have to be a good uniform company.

This is also why the older sporting goods brands — Rawlings, Wilson, Spalding — never developed their own traditions of douchebaggery. They couldn’t have engaged lifestyle marketing even if they’d wanted to, because in those days sporting goods were just, y’know, sporting goods. The fact that Majestic has managed to avoid the lifestyle trap in our current era is much more noteworthy.

I don’t mean to imply that Majestic is perfect. They’ve streamlined certain aspects of MLB uniforms in ways I’m not particularly fond of, they make way too many jersey typos, and I hate their Cool Base fabric, which has spread like a virus throughout the game. But for all their faults, they’ve decided to remain a uniform company, not a lifestyle company (I’ve been told that this is a big part of why MLB prefers to work with them). And that’s why they’ll likely never need “a free pass.”

Back in the early and mid-’90s, I read (and occasionally wrote for) a journal out of Chicago called The Baffler. It eventually became a bit of a thumb-suck, but for a while there they were producing some absolutely spectacular writing. One piece I particularly liked ended with the following:

There are now two worlds, that of those who live life and that of those who purchase lifestyle. … To those artists we despise, we will not say, “Your painting is bad; your music is boring; your writing is trite.” We will say instead, “Your lifestyle sucks.”

I think I’ll start saying that about those other companies. Meanwhile, let’s hope none of those companies ever get their hands on the MLB uniform license.

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Get bows for next to diddly: Bow ties are just for nerds, right? Well, maybe — or maybe not. Either way, as you may have noticed at the top of the right sidebar, our friends at Dealometry (the same folks who brought us those discounted Chucks last month) are now offering a deal on bow ties. And hey, if you don’t want one for yourself, Father’s Day is just around the corner, right?

Even if you have no interest in bow ties, I encourage you to sign up for Dealometry mailing list, so you’ll be notified of further guy-oriented deals.

ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, my latest ESPN column is about all the uni typos and related problems emanating from Washington, DC. But reader Frank Mercogliano points out a Nats goof that I neglected to include: They gave Miss Iowa an upside-down zero.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Move over, Oscar Gamble, and make room for Coco Crisp! Those photos are from last night. I had no idea the Crisper was cultivating such a head of hair. Impressive! (Big thanks to Mike Rowinski.) … Remember the controversy a few months ago about Erin Andrews and her Reebok endorsement deal? She’ll have to give up that deal after the one-year term runs its course, due to ESPN’s new endorsement guidelines. These guidelines also mean that I can’t ink a Reebok endorsement deal, which of course comes as a huge blow. … Speaking of endorsement deals, this is pretty funny. … Yesterday I asked how you slide on these fake-dirt turf infields. Here’s how. Yeesh (big thanks to Andy McNeel). … New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is urging members of his administration to wear a lapel pin that he designed. … Jason Martynowski reports that Shin-Soo Choo’s helmet decal was off-center on Wednesday. … Here’s another case of the Lakers apparently wearing inconsistent warm-up tops (as spotted by Jim Walaitis). … Check out these overall with the best clothing tag ever (awesome find, Kirsten). … Was Greg Gross wearing earplugs in this shot? “He is wearing a home uniform and the Philly fans are ruthless, so it is plausible,” says Andy Chalifour. … Kevin Garnett has a new shoe for the playoffs (with thanks to Kenny Loo). … “Is this the next evolutionary step in helmet carts?” asks Kerry Petit. … Lots of throwbacks and other specialty designs on tap this season for the Syracuse Chiefs (with thanks to Franklin Freytag). … Small item on this page indicates that the Sharks “have announced they’re wearing their black jerseys throughout the 2011 playoff run” (as reported by Paul Hirsch). … Speaking of the NHL playoffs, Greg Broyles walking past the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago and noticed that their Chinese dog statues were decked out in Blackhawks jerseys. … Rockies pitcher Franklin Morales was covering first base yesterday when Willie Harris stepped on his foot, at which point Morales’s shoe came off. Morales turned his ankle on the play and had to leave the game. Also, Harris was mistakenly called safe, even though he never stepped on the base — only on Morales’s foot (screen shot by Matt Harris). … Word on the street is that the NHL’s worst third jersey is history (with thanks to Mike Rich). … Someone at Royal Palm Beach High in Florida apparently thought cursive NOBs were a good idea, but that someone was sadly mistaken (big thanks to Matt Porter). … Jersey typo at Michigan football’s spring practice, as Thomas Gordon’s NOB was misspelled (with thanks to Stephen D. Dafoe). … The Mets wore blue caps and sleeves for both ends of yesterday’s doubleheader — and, therefore, for every single game of a week-long homestand. This is apparently the team’s first black-free homestand since the late 1990s. … Still more DC follies, courtesy of Joe Hilseberg: “I called the Orioles ticket office last week and was on hold for about 20 mins. During that time there was a steady stream of MASN commercials for O’s and Nats broadcasts. The Nats commercial had audio about a hit or great play being made by Nyjer Morgan — who is now with the Brewers. I just laughed every time.” Of course, a team that keeps a customer on hold for 20 minutes isn’t exactly covered in glory either. … Rays skipper Joe Maddon is going MBNOB — that’s military base name on back. The merits of the specific gesture notwithstanding, this is a terrible precedent — uniformed personnel, whether managers or players, shouldn’t get to change their NOBs to promote pet causes or make personal statements. At the end of the day, this is no different than He Hate Me, and I’m surprised and disappointed that MLB is allowing it. … Great job by Samuel Lam, who took a Hideki Matsui Yankees bobblehead and repainted it with an A’s uniform. … Fascinating soccer note from Harvey Lee, who writes: “I was watching the end of the Colorado/Salt Lake MLS game last night when the referee awarded a free kick to Real Salt Lake. He backed up the Rapids wall 10 yards and proceeded, in Batman-like fashion, to pull out an aerosol spray from his utility belt, which he used to draw a line so the wall could not encroach on the ball. I Googled this tonight and this is the best thing I could find. It vanishes after 30 seconds!” … Here’s the Royals’ official script. Note how the R and o sort of tuck into each other. Now compare that to Jeremy Jeffress’s jersey from Wednesday. As you can see, way too much space after the R. It’s even more glaring when you compare him to his teammates (excellent spot by Andrew Sova). … Happy Jackie Robinson Day to one and all. Now batting (and pitching, and fielding, and on deck), No. 42! At the very least, it should result in some very entertaining Wayne Hagin moments.

 

203 comments to It’s a Not-So-Wonderful Life(style)

  • DanKing9 | April 15, 2011 at 8:25 am |

    Here’s a photo of the new Arsenal away kit for next year and dear lord is it bad: http://www.arsenalin...

    • Chance Michaels | April 15, 2011 at 11:53 am |

      I’m very skeptical – every time Arsenal changes their shirt, there’s usually at least two or three “leaked” photos that turn out to be rejected prototypes or Photoshop frauds.

      We’ll see.

      • DanKing9 | April 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm |

        I’ve been skeptical as well, but that site has been right the past few years. That’s the only reason I posted it.

  • Anthony B. | April 15, 2011 at 8:27 am |

    Great point about Majestic, Paul. You’re right–they are a sporting goods company, not a lifestyle company. I’ve always wondered how they’ve managed to keep the MLB license.
    In the interest of perhaps reopening the Adidas debate, while watching the Portland-Chicago MLS game last night, I noticed even MORE three-stripes–both teams have three stripes on the back of each sock. I have a hard time believing Adidas’ three stripes are anything but a branding move these days, which means (if you count the stripes as a logo) you have a logo on each sleeve, the chest, each leg of the shorts, the back of the shorts, at the top of each sock, the back of each sock, and the front of each sock. That’s TWELVE logos on each uniform (this photo shows everythine except the back-of-socks logos. Overkill, much?

    • Anthony B. | April 15, 2011 at 8:29 am |

      Oh, and I LOVE the spray that the refs are using. Defensive players moving forward on a free kick (which is illegal, similar to a lane violation on a free throw) is a big problem, and FIFA has come up with a great way to combat that.

      • Bryan | April 15, 2011 at 8:32 am |

        Here is a link for the soccer spray.
        http://www.footballv...

      • Lew Holst | April 15, 2011 at 10:57 am |

        They have been using that spray in the Mexican league for a while now too.

        I don’t understand why all associations don’t use it – so much time is wasted lining up free kicks because of the wall encroaching on their 10 yards.

      • Geen! | April 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm |

        They have been using the disappearing spray in Brazil since at least 2000.

    • RS Rogers | April 15, 2011 at 9:19 am |

      Daaaaaaamn that’s a lot of Adidas brand marks. Again, I maintain that if a New Era logo on the side of a cap is logo creep, and if UnderArmour doubling the size of its logo on a golfer’s shirt is logo assault, what Adidas does with its three stripes is logocide.

      • RS Rogers | April 15, 2011 at 9:20 am |

        Sorry for the ital-closing failure there.

  • Jon | April 15, 2011 at 8:28 am |

    It’s never bad to have a Cheap Trick mention.

    • Michael M | April 15, 2011 at 10:33 am |

      Got to meet those guys backstage in the late 80s. Robin Zander was very much the typical rock star, but the other two guys (Nielsen especially) were very, very nice.

  • Geeman | April 15, 2011 at 8:30 am |

    Good column today, Paul. I had not thought of this take on lifestyle companies until today. It’s weird how certain youngsters are brainwashed into adoring and worshiping brands. That’s marketing for you.

    Doesn’t Majestic also get props for manufacturing in the United States instead of relying on cheap labor in thrid-world sweatshops? New Balance does the same thing.

    • Geeman | April 15, 2011 at 8:34 am |

      One other thing: Whenever I see sloppy, out-of-shape adults dressed like children in the streets in their branded apparel (tracksuits, hoodies, caps, whatever), I will be reminded that there are those who do and those who are trying to imitate them and have surrendered to the marketing brainwash.

  • Shaun | April 15, 2011 at 8:31 am |

    Seems like kind of a “well duh” moment about Majestic, at least for me. They aren’t perfect but they do a hell of a lot better than the other guys. Honestly I don’t see how you put up with the comments about your ‘free passes’, i don’t think anybody who actually reads the blog regularly would ever make that mistake.

    Also, LOVE the bobblehead. even down to the white cleats!

    • Samuel | April 15, 2011 at 10:34 am |

      Thanks! I tried to make it as accurate as possible to what they actually wear on the field.

      Thanks for getting my link in Paul!

  • LI Phil | April 15, 2011 at 8:46 am |

    i wonder if swooshie or reedidas would let the yankees pay to keep their makers marks off their product they way they do with majestic

    and i won’t get into how good/bad a company majestic is (mostly because i’m not qualified to give an opinion) but their BP jerseys are incredibly shitty looking … we hear complaints on here all the time about the “template” (and yes, it’s a BP jersey, not what is worn during games — although teams have worn their BP tops in actual game play), but the majestic template is as bad as any the big 3 have come up with

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 8:48 am |

      Except you don’t know (and neither do I) if that template was designed by Majestic or if they’re simply executing a design that came out of the MLB Properties office.

      I’ll try to find out. But either way, I tend not to get too worked up over BP/warm-up attire, which is a minor sideshow at most.

      • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 9:24 am |

        Can you find out why the contrast collar got extended into a full yoke while you’re at it?

      • Mark in Shiga | April 15, 2011 at 9:26 am |

        I can think of only two things I don’t like about Majestic. One (my main pet peeve with jerseys these days) is that they, unlike previous manufacturers, move the numbers on jerseys far lower than where they should be — 4 inches from the top of the collar. The last few Jackie Robinson Days have brought this out in a big way, even with teams that don’t always put names on jerseys. All those digits should move up about two inches.

        The other Majestic problem, which probably bothers other people more than me, is that they’re contributing to the excessive bagginess of today’s uniforms in that their sizes run very big compared to Russell’s. Put, say, a Russell size 46 jersey on top of a Majestic size 44. They’ll fit over one another exactly, despite the Majestic jersey supposedly being a size smaller. Sometimes I wonder if today’s uniforms are baggy not because the players request bagginess, but because they order the same sizes as in previous years (or as in the minors) and then they get the one-size-bigger treatment.

        These two problems aside, I agree that Majestic does a much better job than Nike or Reebok or the other manufacturers that really get in your face with their branding. Look at NHL sweaters — on a player’s back, the first thing you see, on top of the name and number, is the manufacturer’s logo! Get that garbage away from such an important spot and move it to an edge somwewhere… if it has to be included at all.

        • Rob S | April 15, 2011 at 10:02 am |

          In the NHL, the makers’ marks debuted in the early 80s, and were normally on the lower right of the hemline. The notable exception was with the Nike-clad Oilers, who had their logo on the lower left (as Wayne Gretzky always tucked in his right side; when he was with the Kings, Blues, and Rangers, they simply added additional CCM or Starter logos to the left side of his jerseys). By 1990, the NHL shield appeared next to them.

          It was in the year 2000, when The Hockey Company (the umbrella for the CCM, Koho and Jofa brands) reclaimed the uniform contract for the full league (after Starter 1995-99, Nike 1996-99, and Pro Player 1999-2000), that they decided to move the mark to below the collar (CCM for then-home whites, Koho for then-road darks and third jerseys). When Reebok acquired CCM in ’04 and took over the branding of the jerseys, they simply followed CCM’s lead.

        • Teebz | April 15, 2011 at 10:14 am |

          To add to Rob’s comment, the reason for The Hockey Company adding the branding below the collar was to bring market recognition of their various departments. CCM was largely the clothing manufacturer, KOHO made sticks and goaltending equipment, and Jofa largely made non-goaltending equipment.

          CCM was not the first to throw their branding below the collar, though. Nike had been doing that when they acquired the contracts of a few international teams. It moved into the NHL once Nike got the contracts in 1996.

        • Mark in Shiga | April 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |

          Thanks, Rob and Teebz; I hadn’t known about that intervening stage between the CCM/Koho logos on the bottom and the current travesty.

          So it looks like Reebok had a chance to return to a more civilized (?) style, but didn’t.

        • Teebz | April 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

          I believe Reebok simply took Nike’s marketing idea and ran with it. Corporate douchebaggery picking up from previous corporate douchebaggery. I’m not counting CCM/The Hockey Company out of that equation because they continued, but at least they had a plausible reason for doing so.

          But marketing is still marketing. Just throw it on the hem like they did in the good ol’ days, and hockey would be a little more awesome.

  • Ed | April 15, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    Uh….Shin-Soo Choo.

    Writing that Nats column maybe rubbed off? ;-)

    ed

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 8:59 am |

      Thanks. Now fixed.

      • Ed | April 15, 2011 at 9:01 am |

        Given, of course, in the spirit of fun. (I’m not a professional nudge, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.)

        ed

  • Joey Guns | April 15, 2011 at 8:55 am |

    http://rivals.yahoo....

    That reminds me of the bullpen car too….

  • Terry Proctor | April 15, 2011 at 8:57 am |

    Great comments about the “lifestyle business” vs. the real sporting goods (uniform) business. No matter how big they get in the athletic uniform business Nike, Reebok and adidas will always be just shoemakers. Unfortunately these companies (and others) have thrown out shitloads of cash to leagues, teams, players and coaches to wear and promote their brands.

    And with all that scratch on the line these said companies have gone from merely outfitting the game to actually influencing the game. And not for the betterment of all. Has sport gone beyond the precipice to ever get its innocence back? I fear it has.

  • RS Rogers | April 15, 2011 at 9:00 am |

    “Los Chiefs” unis in Syracuse? Ugh. A “Jefes” jersey, on the other hand, I’d totally lust after.

    • LI Phil | April 15, 2011 at 9:03 am |

      wouldn’t that be a THE Jefes jersey?

      • RS Rogers | April 15, 2011 at 9:13 am |

        “No, that’s German for ‘The, Bart, The.'”

        • ClubMedSux | April 15, 2011 at 10:38 am |

          No one who speaks German could be an evil man.

  • RS Rogers | April 15, 2011 at 9:11 am |

    Is it possible for a lifestyle company to also act as a good sporting equipment company? It seems at least plausible to me that a company like Nike could still sell its overall lifestyle brand without subverting the needs of its corporate clients to its own marketing campaigns. It seems particularly plausible to be because, for the most part, this is how Nike, Umbro, and to a lesser extent Adidas conduct themselves in the European market. If anything, I saw more people wearing branded track suits and other buy-the-lifestyle clothing when I lived in Europe than I do here in the States. (Though that could be due to the facts that I mostly don’t notice people’s shoes, and that I live in DC, the most formally dressed city in North America.) Umbro seemed particularly strong in this regard in Holland, and yet Umbro seemed to outfit its football clients in the same way Majestic outfits MLB, not the way Nike outfits college gridiron.

    • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 9:33 am |

      I don’t think Paul has ever denied that the schools have to take some responsibility for allowing themselves to be pulled into the marketing scheme. This column was about the reason why Nike/Converse, Adidas/Reebok, and Under Armour use hype marketing and Majestic doesn’t.

      Nike and Under Armour both have construction templates that lend themselves to a variety of old- and new-school designs and schools that want to stay traditional are able to if they simply refuse to let the supplier pull them onto the bandwagon. One of the merits of the pro combat uniforms is that their construction is much more versatile than Adidas techfit uniforms, but Nike chooses to and schools let it release its in-house design in the school’s colors.

  • Seth H | April 15, 2011 at 9:16 am |

    Could be wrong, but Chinese institutions usually have lions, not “dogs” out front.

    The ones in Chicago are smaller versions of those outside the flagship Peninsula hotel in Hong Kong.

    • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 9:36 am |

      Those are lion statues, but for some reason they’re also called foo dogs, so Paul isn’t completely wrong.

  • Mark in Shiga | April 15, 2011 at 9:17 am |

    “emenating from Washington”

    Paul, this might be too subtle for all but the cognoscenti. ^^;

    • Mark in Shiga | April 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

      Paul, I see you fixed that; you should have kept it in, considering it was a link to goof-ups by the “Natinals”!

  • Michael M | April 15, 2011 at 9:41 am |

    Interesting uni-related news from Ole Miss, where Junior LB D.T. Shackleford was awarded the Chucky Mullins Award. From the beginning of the award’s existence until 2005, the Mullins winner (previously always a senior) wore #38 on the field and was usually the team’s inspirational leader. 2006 winner (and current NFL All-Pro) Patrick Willis didn’t want to change numbers, so he kept his #49 and #38 was retired. This fall, the Mullins Award winner was supposed to wear #38 on the field again, in a move that almost Ole Miss fans all supported. The problem? Shackleford tore his ACL in spring drills last week, and will most likely miss the 2011 season.

    So, will Shackleford wear #38 standing on the sidelines this fall and next fall go back to his old number (#42) having never worn #38 in a game? Will he give the number to another player (perhaps senior DE Kentrell Lockett who was last year’s winner, but tore his ACL early in the season and was granted another year by the NCAA), and next spring become the first two time winner of the award?

    Interesting situation. Here’s a link about the award.

    http://www.olemisssp...

  • mike 2 | April 15, 2011 at 9:43 am |

    Further to RS Rogers question: Is it possible for a lifestyle company to also act as a good sporting equipment company?

    Its a good question that bugs me as well. I’m sort of conflicted.

    I despise a lot of the things Nike does, their lifestyle and branding approach, their marketing of ridiculously expensive shoes to kids that can’t afford them, etc.

    But they also make some really good gear. I’m a marathoner and some of their technical running stuff, the LunarElite line, is really great stuff. They market that stuff to runners in technical magazine on its merits, not with lifestyle crap.

    • RS Rogers | April 15, 2011 at 9:53 am |

      They market that stuff to runners in technical magazine on its merits, not with lifestyle crap.

      Isn’t the success of the lifestyle-branding thing ultimately based on exactly this? I’m a crap road biker; I’d be just as well served wearing the cheapest generic helmet from Target and a piece of shipping foam taped to the palm of a pair of Home Depot work gloves with the fingers cut off as buying any “performance” goods by a quality cycling company. But I also read the bike mags and see the ads and reviews, and when it comes to it I usually spring for the more expensive lower-end helmets, gloves, etc. made by the performance companies. It’s quality stuff that I know I’ll never come close to surpassing the performance envelope, and there’s a definite aspirational element to my choice. I wish I were a better biker. I am actually improving, a little. So I get equipment suited to the better biker I wish I were.

      But when I see the kind of screw-the-client crap Nike is doing to its college gridiron clients, it makes me want to avoid Nike. There’s a big difference between, “Hey, I could use equipment good enough for Lance Armstrong,” and, “Hey, I could subvert my own needs to Nike’s master plan.”

      • mike 2 | April 15, 2011 at 11:59 am |

        But I think lifestyle branding is saying “it doesn’t matter what the product is. It has a swoosh on it. You want Buy it”.

        I guess buying based on the better runner/biker I wish I was doesn’t bother me as much as buying solely based on a flashy ad of the biker lifestyle.

        (easy for me to say – I get most of my bike stuff free from my employer – logoed to the max)

      • Jeff P | April 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm |

        To me, lifestyle stuff is not the technical stuff at all, it’s the stuff marketed to the average fatass who sits on the couch watching the game whining about how all the players suck. Or what New Era does, marketing to suburban white kids who have never been near an inner city, much less a ghetto, but who listen to gangsta rap and wear all the baggy clothing with pants sagged to their knees.

        There are those who actually live the life, even if they’re not that good at it, and those who try to buy street cred. The latter category is the one I think of with “lifestlye brand”. It’s really just a nicer way of saying “cheap crap with a logo, marked up and sold to posers”.

  • mike 2 | April 15, 2011 at 9:46 am |

    Paul, have you ever read Naomi Klein’s book “No Logo”. She discusses lots of the same things that are floating around this discussion, around “brand bullies” not just in sporting goods but also in areas that I find even more disturbing like soft drinks and fast food, and marketing directly to children.

    http://www.amazon.co...

    Well worth a read. I’d be happy to throw my copy in the mail.

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 9:55 am |

      Haven’t read it but have read and heard lots about it.

      • Ben Fortney | April 15, 2011 at 11:45 am |

        Highly recommend, great read.

  • WFY | April 15, 2011 at 9:48 am |

    The MASN goof isn’t on the Nats. They are forced to be on that channel as part of Peter Angelos cowardice compensation for D.C. having baseball.

    There has been a lot of bad faith by MASN over the last six years towards the Nats and their fans.

    • teenchy | April 15, 2011 at 10:26 am |

      +1 on the MASN/Nats relationship. It disgusts me and in my opinion hampers the organization from attracting the best on-air talent.

      • RS Rogers | April 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm |

        +1 on the MASN/Nats relationship, but I don’t agree with the concern about attracting on-air talent. Bob Carpenter is as good a play-by-play man as any in the game right now. Don Sutton was as good a color man as I’ve seen on a TV broadcast in at least 15 years, and they attracted him (and lost him only because his dream job opened up). Sure, Dribble was, you know, Dribble, and the new guy, I’m not even pretending to care what his name is, has the Mad Skillz of a minor-league game caller on local cable access. But Rob Dibble and New Guy are both slightly above average compared to the rest of the league. An average ex-jock play-by-play man makes me want to pound my head with a ball-peen hammer by the third inning. Nats broadcasts on MASN have never been that bad.

        Shame about the Nats hiring New Guy, actually, since Debbi Taylor is terrific when not confined to gee-what’s-cool-at-the-ballpark reports, and since nobody’s watching anyway, they might as well have experimented with a woman in the booth. Plus, after they fired Dribble, the brought in Bill Clinton from the postgame show, and he was actually pretty good. Shoulda kept him; far easier to find a new postgame host than to find a play-by-play man who isn’t worse than Ray Knight.

    • Smitty | April 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm |

      You speak the truth and I applaud you for pointing it out. The MASN-Nationals-Orioles-Angelos relationship is truly unbelievable. $5 says if Joe is on hold for Orioles tickets next year, he’ll hear the same Nyjer Morgan clip.

  • scott | April 15, 2011 at 9:58 am |

    The 1976-style uniforms being worn by the Syracuse Chiefs are nice. Which uniform is supposed to be a Negro Leagues-style? The one with Carolina blue?

    • Franklin | April 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

      Yes. The one with the giant ‘S’ and ‘C’ on the front.

  • JTH | April 15, 2011 at 10:00 am |

    Bow ties are just for nerds, right?

    Doctor?

  • Chris Holder | April 15, 2011 at 10:00 am |

    Interesting read today. I admit to knowing next to nothing about Majestic, outside the fact that they make baseball uniforms. Now, is that a choice that Majestic consciously makes? Do they not care that they aren’t as well known as Nike, adidas, etc.? I would love to give them the benefit of the doubt, but then, I have a hard time accepting that they wouldn’t swap places with Nike in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t they be crazy not to?

    On the other hand, perhaps Majestic is smart enough to realize that the “lifestyle” market is crowded enough as it is, and a struggling economy wouldn’t exactly be the best time to try to introduce lifestyle markets to a saturated market. I also wonder how much of an iron fist MLB uses to keep Majestic from getting to crazy with designs.

    Again, I don’t want to sound like I have a negative opinion of a company I don’t know very much about. The fact that I rarely notice they’re there is a good thing. Let’s hope they keep it that way for years to come.

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 10:11 am |

      I have a hard time accepting that they wouldn’t swap places with Nike in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t they be crazy not to?

      This is a really unfortunate statement. It assumes that “biggest” is synonymous with “best,” that notoriety is its own reward, that growth for growth’s sake is self-justifyingly good, and a bunch of other things that simply aren’t true.

      Even working strictly from a business standpoint, transforming a company like Majestic into a company like Nike means the company has to develop a slew of new core competencies — advertising, retailing, brand packaging, celebrity hobnobbing, etc.

      It’s certainly possible for an outfitter to reposition itself as a lifestyle company — it’s EXACTLY what New Era chose to do (and the results are, uh, wonderful…). But it’s a huge risk because it requires a massive series of investments and forces the company to become very good at things it has never specialized in before. Majestic may simply have decided, “That’s not what we do, and we’re doing just fine the way we are.”

      • Chris Holder | April 15, 2011 at 10:52 am |

        Don’t get me wrong Paul, I respect Majestic for what I do know about them. Particularly, if they have made it a goal to employ a majority of American workers, they get a big thumbs-up from me. Perhaps they are trying to be different. That’s great. I guess I’m just always skeptical about lauding any large corporation that I only know about from outside appearances. And I know you feel the same way sometimes. That’s why I just feel hesitant to put a label on a Majestic as somehow standing for all (or at least a lot) that’s “good”, when behind the scenes they may be plotting to be the exact thing that we detest.

        Maybe I’m just old and bitter. It’s Friday, I need to cheer up.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 11:16 am |

          I’m not defending Majestic per se. I’m just saying it’s not a given that ANY given company necessarily wants to blow up into something massive. Bigger isn’t always better.

          Similarly, I don’t mean to imply that the decision NOT to get bigger is somehow more moral, more praiseworthy, etc. Sometimes it’s just a simple business calculation that getting bigger — or attempting to — is too risky and not in the best interests of the company. That may be the case with Majestic.

    • Jon | April 15, 2011 at 11:32 am |

      Although I am in total agreement with PL on today’s topic, we can’t fail to mention that the sporting goods side of Nike/Adidas still produce high quality equipment for the non-flatbrimmed people out there. Templates, in any form, regulate creativity.

      Paul, the best baseball spike company I’ve known, Ringor, just went to all women’s softball. Why? Because like Majestic, they found their niche. My loss.

  • ClubMedSux | April 15, 2011 at 10:03 am |

    Thoughtful column today, Paul. A couple thoughts in response…

    First, you note the distinction between the old guard and the new guard. I wonder if the Nikes and Reeboks of the world had to take the lifestyle route because it was the only way to chisel into the market. And of course, this leads to the question of whether they’re simply meeting the demand of folks in search of a lifestyle.

    Second, I think this provides an opportunity for everybody to consider just what they consume that might fall under the “lifestyle” category, and why. For example, I can think of one “lifestyle” product that both you (Paul) and I consume: Chuck Taylors. Does that make it bad?

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 10:13 am |

      I wonder if the Nikes and Reeboks of the world had to take the lifestyle route because it was the only way to chisel into the market.

      But that misses the whole point of today’s entry, namely that Majestic has “chiseled” its way into our national pastime just fine, without going the lifestyle route.

      • ClubMedSux | April 15, 2011 at 10:32 am |

        I’m referring to the marketplace in general, not baseball specifically. If baseball wants a traditional, non-lifestyle company to manufacture its apparel, it would likely choose Majestic or Russell over Nike even if Nike took a more traditional approach (in other words, you’re not going to out-tradition the traditional companies). However, by going the in-your-face, lifestyle route, Nike and Reebok gave themselves a chance to compete in other sports. So it may not have chiseled into baseball, but it likely would have never done so no matter what approach it took. Taking a different approach (unappealing as it may be to you and I) may be what gave them the chance to succeed in the broader sports market.

      • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm |

        I wonder if it is really impossible for these lifestyle companies to out-tradition the traditional sporting goods manufacturers? As Paul might agree, Under Armour found a way to use its technological prowess to make one of the most traditional looking uniforms around for Missouri’s baseball team. The company even managed to leverage that into a decent amount of publicity without going Nike’s hype machine route or overshadowing the brand identity of the school.

  • interlockingtc | April 15, 2011 at 10:06 am |

    Spot on lead today.

    When I was obsessed–and I mean obsessed–with sports and sports uniforms in the early and mid-’70’s, the garment manufacturer meant nothing to this young consumer. Why? Because the manufacturer placed their identity on a tag sewn into the inside back collar, along with size and washing instructions. When manufacture logos made their way onto the front, back and sides of uniforms I lost interest in sports apparel and, frankly, my interest in sports diminished and continues to do so. Yes, I take it that personally.

    I am not a walking billboard. The clothing manufacturer is not paying me to wear the apparel, to advertise their brand.

    • pflava | April 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm |

      “When manufacture logos made their way onto the front, back and sides of uniforms I lost interest in sports apparel and, frankly, my interest in sports diminished and continues to do so.”

      ^
      That.

      My general interest in sports has been on the decline in recent years, and that’s due in no small part to the corporate-ization that has become so pervasive. When uniforms started becoming marketing tools, they started to lose me. These days I’m much more interested in uniforms from a historical perspecive. And that’s one of the many reasons I love this blog.

      • Broadway Connie | April 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

        Yessir. That’s pretty much true for me too, especially that bit about unis in historical perspective. For live college football and basketball games, I’m almost exclusively going to watch teams from schools with no – or very few – athletic scholarships. It’s kind of a parallel to the locavore food thing.

        Greetings from Blighty, by the way, where logo creep and faux athletic lifestyle gear are thriving. Had a swell afternoon in the recreated WW1 trenches at the Imperial War Museum. And talk about unis! My fave is still the 1914 French Army, red trousers and all.

    • pushbutton | April 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

      I’m not a sports fan at all, but I remember being one. That’s why I come here.

      Baseball in particular did everything it possibly could to lose me, and succeeded.

  • allthewayray | April 15, 2011 at 10:10 am |

    I can live with that Thrashers third. Now that Predators logo is just awful.

    • Teebz | April 15, 2011 at 10:22 am |

      No. Nononononononono. That Thrashers alternate jersey is completely horrible on all counts. I’m glad to see it gone. Maybe it can take that hideous light blue garbage with it as well?

      BTW, last call for HBIC Playoff Pool entries is today! Get your entries in ASAP! Free entry, and prizes to be won! If you have missed the first couple of nights of the NHL Playoffs, you’re missing some incredible hockey!

      • damian | April 15, 2011 at 10:50 am |

        I take offence at that Thrashers third being considered worse than THAT Blues third…

        • Teebz | April 15, 2011 at 11:36 am |

          The Blues alternate jersey is about as traditional as can be. What isn’t to like about it? If navy is an issue (which it is in my view), the colour can be changed. But overall, the Blues alternate is one of the better alternates in this latest batch.

    • Casey Hart | April 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

      The Thrashers jersey is nowhere near the league’s worst and is much more attractive than their normal home jersey with the ridiculous ATLANTA down the arm. The only thing that could possibly be more stupid is putting a word on the front of your jersey that is not the team name or city, like BOLTS. That Lightning sweater is absolutely the worst in the league, and the Bruins, Panthers, Coyotes third jerseys are also far worse than the Thrashers third. The Senators might have the best if they didn’t put a wordmark on the shirt that trails only Tampa in stupidity.

      • Casey Hart | April 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

        Also, like the Blues third. The problem is it’s pretty much the same template as the Panthers and Blue Jackets and not far off from the Preds. Can’t remember the order in which they were all released, but the Blues have the best-looking version, and the Panthers have by far the dumbest.

    • Andy in Chicago | April 15, 2011 at 10:36 pm |

      Every time I see that Thrashers third jersey, I’m reminded of the original Rollerball, the 1975 James Caan flick, not the crummy remake.

      Those teams too had huge, chest-centered numbers, like this: http://myrushmore.wo...

      Maybe some day we’ll get Movie-Uni-Watch, pitting this:
      http://goremasterfx....

      against this:

      http://www.blamld.co...

  • Luther Mahoney | April 15, 2011 at 10:12 am |

    Why aren’t some of the Chinese dog statutes at the Peninsula Hotel also wearing Bulls jerseys?
    They are in the playoffs as well.

  • Mike Hersh | April 15, 2011 at 10:16 am |

    When will people learn that writing in all uppercase cursive is a no-no.

    • JTH | April 15, 2011 at 11:56 am |

      At least it distracts from that awful numeral font.

    • Simply Moono | April 15, 2011 at 11:57 am |

      When will people learn that using screenprinted jerseys in baseball is a no-no. http://farm6.static....

      I can live with the cursive NOB, but ironed-on shit-print graphics have NO place in baseball. The ULTIMATE baseball uniform sin in my book. Even more so than pajama pants. Oh, shit: did I really just say that?

    • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm |

      Is that guy’s last name Sleek?

  • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 10:17 am |

    NOB alert! I’m informed that the Tigers have just called up this guy:
    http://farm6.static....

    • Ed | April 15, 2011 at 10:27 am |

      Hmm…and it’s spelled differently that the city, too!

      ed

      • Chance Michaels | April 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm |

        Fortunately for him, running the bases involves a series of left turns.

        • Geen! | April 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

          You beat me to it!

        • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm |

          Dammit, I was gonna make a Pismo Beach joke but you beat me to it.

        • Simply Moono | April 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

          @jdreyfuss: From Pismo Beach to Panama City,
          Ain’t no man that don’t like big titty. ;D

        • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm |

          Tru dat

    • Mark in Shiga | April 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm |

      Let’s hope they at least make a thinner font for him, and give him a less-ridiculous number.

      Actually, they could save some space by giving him a single digit. Single digit pitchers = quirky and awesome.

  • StLMarty | April 15, 2011 at 10:30 am |

    Mike Watt just left my house.
    I gave him a pair of brown laces for his orange Chucks.
    Browns fans should be happy.

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 10:32 am |

      Wait a sec — THAT Mike Watt?

      If so, how do you know him?

      • StLMarty | April 15, 2011 at 10:52 am |

        Yeah man.
        THE Mike Watt.
        He played in St. Louis last night and then stayed at my pad.
        He stayed at our practice space back in 2004, and he left behind one of his favorite flannels. I finally gave it back last night.
        My mind continues to race.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 11:09 am |

          THE Mike Watt! The ONLY Mike Watt!!

          Jam econo, my friend….

          Totally jealous,
          Paul

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 11:11 am |

          Man, you know it’s a serious rock day here at the Watch when Cheap Trick, Mike Watt, and The Baffler all get face time….

    • ClubMedSux | April 15, 2011 at 10:36 am |

      Looks like I’m going to have to bust out Double Nickels on the Dime this morning.

  • Matt Beahan | April 15, 2011 at 10:36 am |

    I might be a little late on this, but I’ve noticed a couple of oddities whilst browsing the latest Grey Flannel Auction catalogue.

    http://catalog.greyf...(Rare-Style)-(Jazz-Intern-LOA) – John Stockton’s first year was ’84-’85, the same year the Jazz switched from green to purple road jerseys. I don’t know if this is a reused jersey from the previous year or worn in preseason, but I’m damn sure it was never worn by Stockton in a regular season game.

    http://catalog.greyf...(2)-(Rare-Style) I’m fairly sure this is just a practice uniform from 1982-83. I’ve seen shooting shirts from the same year in the exact same style, but I’m yet to see any evidence that Denver (or any other team) ever wore this uniform in a regular season game, for any promotion or otherwise.

  • Ricko | April 15, 2011 at 10:40 am |

    Twenty-some years ago (don’t hold me to dates here), Reebook made a huge dent in Nike’s business. It seemed everyone, man or woman, who did any kind of aerobics or gym work was walking out of stores carrying that Reebok Union Jack box with a pair of the new “Exofit.”

    Then I recall reading that Nike said it was intending to “take back the performance market.” Nike was doing fine as a casual shoe, but Reebok had, in the mind of the consumer, become the shoe for “serious” situation. Shoot, even bartenders bought the black Exofit because it was perceived as having the best technology.

    Some time later, Nike bought a six-page, full-color, glossy insert in several magazines to introduce their new red and gray shoe that had, wait for it, “AIR” techology.

    “Son of a bitch,” I remember thinking, “they’re gonna do it.”

    And, of course, they did.

    Nike still does its damndest to be both a lifestyle company and a performance company, and they market differently to different market segements.

    Maybe a dozen years ago, Phil Knight was asked who Nike’s competition would be in twenty years. “Disney,” he answered. Yes, I know, I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s valid again in this discussion because it indicates how big Nike thinks compared to Majestic.

    That’s the difference, and Paul is correct. It’s good to look a company and see if we can determine what they’re about, what they’re after, where they want to end up.

    I’d wager no one at Majestic dreams of being up there with Disney. They’re about performance and supplying gear for competition. Much smaller, and self-determined, universe.

    Some of the specific things Nike and others do may be irritating as hell, but if they’re in it to be a giant, it’s tough to fault them for marketing like one.

    And many of the uni designs from the “giants” are seriously horse shit. Giants, unfortunately, sometimes think they can changes things just because they want to change them, that they know better than “the little people.”

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 11:02 am |

      Some of the specific things Nike and others do may be irritating as hell, but if they’re in it to be a giant, it’s tough to fault them for marketing like one..

      This is like saying it’s tough to fault the Mafia for running rackets and killing people, because that’s what they’re about.

      And no, I’m not suggesting that Nike’s faults are akin to organized crime; I’m saying that simply choosing a set of ambitions and goals is not self-justifying and does not make one immune to criticism.

      The Disney thing is instructive, and it plays right into the Baffler analysis. From now on, I won’t even treat Nike’s uniforms as uniforms — I’ll just treat them as lifestyle. And when I don’t like them, I’ll just say, “Your lifestyle sucks.” Because they don’t want to be a sporting goods company. They want to be Disney.

    • Ricko | April 15, 2011 at 11:15 am |

      Kinda what I meant. They are what they are.
      Can’t fault a coyote for being a coyote.
      But it IS a coyote.
      And if it attacks my dog, I’m gonna kill it.

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 11:46 am |

        But the coyote didn’t CHOOSE to be a coyote.

        Nike et al. CHOSE lifestyle douchebaggery.

        • Ricko | April 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm |

          Point taken.
          But in their business plans to be the world leaders in sales of shoes and gear, the big players have no choice but to market both performance AND lifestyle. They need both audiences, both sets of consumers, simply because they’re there, and they’re ready to buy. To sell X shoes, the companies need to reach Y people.

          My concern, and yours, I believe, is with the specific things the companies do, that sometimes they’re unbelievably…”shabby” about it. There’s selling, and there’s ramming it down our throats, making “notice us” more important than supplying teams, making their marketing the chief concern.

          That part definitely IS a choice they make.

  • Chris Smith | April 15, 2011 at 10:47 am |

    Interesting info in regards to Majestic. I agree that the company doesn’t plaster their logo everywhere. However, I hate that they place their logo (just like Nike and Adidas) on fan gear in a similar location. I don’t care for a manufacturer logo right below the neckline (see example – http://shop.mlb.com/...). I understand that they are just like Nike and in the business to make money and make consumers aware of their brand, but the logo placement is horrible (industry wide). If Majestic placed their logo below the ‘team information’, on a sleeve, or on the back of the neckline…..I wouldn’t have a problem.

    • Ben Fortney | April 15, 2011 at 11:49 am |

      I was about to make this point myself – let’s not give them a full pass.

  • JimWa | April 15, 2011 at 10:59 am |

    Erin Andrews: the new photo in USA Today (attibuted to Reebok) has the Nike logo cropped out (http://content.usato...) that was visible in Deadspin’s original article (http://deadspin.com/...).

    • JTH | April 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm |

      That’s not a swoosh. It’s a Reebok wordmark. (Hard to see unless you view the pic full-size.)

      Why would she have worn Nike clothing for a Reebok photoshoot?

      • JimWa | April 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

        Good eyes! I remember the discussion when the original news originally came out about the deal. The “swoosh” (looking thing) was noticed at the time. If the Reebok logo was correctly ID’d at the time, I apologize, but I don’t remember it.

  • John | April 15, 2011 at 11:10 am |

    For those Laker tops… I wouldn’t say they are “mismatched”, one player is wearing the long sleeve shooting shirt and the other is wearing the warm up jacket, noted by the collar folded over on the player on the right side. Both are part of the official warm up sets for (I believe) all teams, and many players wear different pieces depending on their preference.

  • Bernard | April 15, 2011 at 11:13 am |

    I blame everything on these bastards.

    • Ricko | April 15, 2011 at 11:22 am |

      Actually, the world went to hell once they brought back those moon rocks in 1969.

      I’m telling ya, it messed with the delicate balance of the universe.

  • mmwatkin | April 15, 2011 at 11:43 am |

    Ads for Bow Ties, eh?

    When will the PBR and hipster glasses ads be launched?

    • DanKing9 | April 15, 2011 at 11:47 am |

      well Paul does live in the hotbed of hipsters so its fitting

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 11:54 am |

        Simple question: What is a hipster?

        No, really — I want to know. Can you define it? Without consulting a web site?

        Utterly meaningless term, right up there with “politically correct.”

        • The Jeff | April 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm |

          It isn’t a term that allows for a precise definition. You might as well ask him to define “punk” while you’re at it. You know one when you see one.

        • Bernard | April 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm |

          While we’re on the topic of overused words/phrases, I am growing weary of “douchebaggery.” I think it’s time to put that one out to pasture.

          Can we get a substitution here? Asshattery? Dildossence?

        • Simply Moono | April 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm |

          The Terry Duroncelet Dictionary and Unofficial Thesaurus defines the ‘Hipster’ as:

          1) An individual (ususlly between the ages of 22-32, but ages can vary) set on being “unique” and “against the grain” to separate his or herself from what they deem as “mainstream society”. Usual habits include: “Sophisticated Smoking”, the wearing of “vintage” clothing from high-end vendors, and making snap judgements of another person based entirely on Social Network status (how many Facebook friends one has, what one’s Twitter ratio of Following-to-Followers is, etc.), just to name a few.

          2) Someone who basically says “I’m a non-conformist, so I’m better than you.”

          Unofficial Emoticons for the modern Hipster: B( … or … Bl

        • Simply Moono | April 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

          (*usually* between…

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

          It isn’t a term that allows for a precise definition. You might as well ask him to define “punk” while you’re at it. You know one when you see one.

          Wrong again, Jeff. Punk is easy, since it’s tied to punk rock. But hipster — it’s a nebulous term that people use when they can’t actually think hard enough to come up with a real description.

          Anytime you have to resort to “I know it when I see it,” it’s usually a sign that you’re too lazy to actually grapple with the issues involved. (And yes, that certainly included Potter Stewart.)

        • mmwatkin | April 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

          I was just messing with you, Paul. No harm intended.

          But please, embrace who you are. You are pretty much a perfect stereotype for the brooklyn hipster. Even the fact you deny the existence of hipsters makes you even more of one. And that isn’t a bad thing.

          I just find your whole culture fascinating.

        • Chance Michaels | April 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

          I’m with Paul – it’s a lazy, meaningless term. And while he and I might live a few short miles apart, nobody would ever confuse my lifestyle with his.

          I’m a whole different stereotypical animal – Manhattanite who moves to Brooklyn to have kids. Or, in my case, to have third kid (last week!).

          Fortunately, nobody’s thought of a lazy shorthand for that yet.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm |

          You are pretty much a perfect stereotype for the brooklyn hipster. Even the fact you deny the existence of hipsters makes you even more of one.

          I didn’t deny the existence of hipsters. I just think most people using the term haven’t given much thought to what they mean when they use it.

          I happen to have given it a LOT of thought, and I have a pretty strong idea of what the term means. It’s a young-ish urbanite, usually a member of the creative class (or else aspiring to same), who trades heavily in irony as a communication tool and in obscurity as a coolness signifier.

          See? Not so hard if you actually think about it.

          The thing is, we already had a term for such people that worked fine for decades: bohemians.

        • Chance Michaels | April 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm |

          But do bohemians drink Pabst Blue Ribbon?

        • Simply Moono | April 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm |

          *Hipster voice* I was using the word “bohemian” before it became popular and sold out.

          *regular voice* No, but I see where you’re going with this, Paul. And as long as we’re talking about using certain words for the sake of just using them:

          I’m surprised that no one on here has commented on Kobe’s $100,000 fine for calling the ref (from how I read his lips) a “Fucking f*g”. I understand that NBA refs deserve much more than a serious tongue-lashing because of their out-right dumbassness, but Kobe could’ve saved himself a lot of trouble and controversy by calling the ref a “Fucking dumbass” or a “Fucking asshole”. Even “Fucking douchebag” would have been more appropriate. And as wrong as Kobe was in throwing the word around like that, I’m glad he went out of his way to say “I fucked up royaly. It’s not okay to use words like that in this society. The bullying of Gays is a serious issue. I was wrong on all accounts. I’m sorry, and I want to do anything and everything it takes to make this right.”

          I would like to know how we came to throwing words like that around like commodities? If I was back in the 4th Grade, and I had to choose at gunpoint, I would rather say “That’s so fucking stupid.” instead of “That’s so gay.” or “That’s so retarded.” without hesitation, and I’m the kind of guy who rarely swore in school, and NEVER swore in front of a teacher. Discuss.

        • Broadway Connie | April 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

          Hey, CM, congratulations! How’s Mom? What’s the kid’s name? And, yes indeed, Bohos drink Pabst.

          OK, “hipster.”

          Paul says:”… It’s a young-ish person, usually a member of the creative class (or else aspiring to same), who trades heavily in irony as a communication tool and in obscurity as a coolness signifier…” Well, that certainly defines hipsters who are jerks, but what do you call a guy with a porkpie hat and narrow jeans and black-rim glasses who’s a good egg? You know, wants to appear Bohemian, does not want to be seen as a conformist dweeb, is working on a screenplay, makes arcane references, but who is also kind and thoughtful? My daughter is a playwright, lives in Brooklyn, and has lots of self-described “hipster” friends, some of whom are terrific. The nice ones call themselves hipsters knowing that’s how they look to an older guy from the Upper West Side, much the same way as I called myself a hippie because I went around in bib overalls with no shirt underneath and grew my hair way long. I looked like a hippie, my daughter’s friends look like hipsters, and I jut see both terms as a way of describing how one appears to the uninitiated.

          And I like the way Paul looks. An older hipster, but a hipster. And certainly from Brooklyn.

        • DanKing9 | April 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm |

          sorry paul. was just trying to be sarcastic and forgot the tags. it wasn’t meant to be slight on you or anyone. as someone in the age group as described above to me its another fad that people have latched on to as a form of rebelling against “society”, much like hippies, goths, etc. if thats what some people want to do more power to them. i just don’t really get it, especially since i’ve been told by self described hipsters is that a big part of it is going against the mainstream and now being one is kind of mainstream with the number of people doing it.

          but again, didn’t mean it as a bad thing

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm |

          Paul says:”… It’s a young-ish person, usually a member of the creative class (or else aspiring to same), who trades heavily in irony as a communication tool and in obscurity as a coolness signifier…” Well, that certainly defines hipsters who are jerks…

          I don’t think anything in the above-referenced definition is inherently negative. Irony is fine as a communication tool (if it isn’t taken too far). Obscurity is fun as a signifier (ditto).

          Look, here’s the deal: Everyone was fine with bohemians when they were poor, starving, ratty-looking artists who knew their place. But when the creative class cleans itself up, gets a nice haircut, and shows signs of actually having a little bit of money, then mainstream people start feeling threatened. So a new term — a derogatory term — was needed. Hence, “hipsters.”

          As for myself, trust me on this: I’m too old, too nerdy, too professional, too literalist, and too uncool-situated (I live in Park Slope, which is about as uncool and yuppie as Brooklyn gets) to be a hipster/bohemian/etc. But it’s very sweet that any of you would like to think of me as one.

        • DanKing9 | April 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm |

          there’s nothing wrong with liking indie bands and local artists but making it seem as you are a much better person than others because you didn’t “sell out” is a bit much. <- that kind of person who i would describe as a hipster, which i guess is derogatory. i know plenty of people that live a similar lifestyle and don't act like that.
          the bohemians, the artists, musicians, and such as you described, are a different group in my mind. most hipsters i know are not creative in the least and are actually working in the corporate world or will be soon, which is what they say they are against. but they tend to be the jerk kind of hipster.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

          To me, that’s not a hipster; that’s just a poseur.

        • DanKing9 | April 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm |

          haha fair enough.

        • walter | April 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm |

          Wish I could afford to look like a hipster.

        • Mad Adam | April 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm |

          Hipsters are just another group of people that need to stay off my lawn.

        • RS Rogers | April 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |

          Well, duh, a hipster is a cool person one doesn’t like, or whose specific level of coolness one recognizes as unattainable for oneself. Also, probably something about camp, which I’m told is dead now, except that it isn’t dead as long as I choose to live as if it’s not. Or something; I probably should have asked Dave Eggers to clarify that when I was on that train ride with him in Holland that one time. Although the fact that I would (A) recognize Dave Eggers with his hair shaved off on a train in North Holland and (B) regard that as one of the awesomest things ever, and not because I’ve read his novels, which I haven’t, but because I’m such a fan of his work at Might magazine and the business side of publishing, probably makes me a hipster.

          Just because the word has picked up mainstream credibility the last three-four years, don’t assume that anyone who uses the term is just a come-lately bandwagoneer. I was dismissing hipsters in 1992, long before it was trendy or cool to do so.

          Also, since the possible shopwornness of “douchebaggery” has come up, I’m disappointed in Paul. I deliberately used the word “slapdashery” in almost every sentence when he interviewed me about the Natinals phenomenon, hoping to force him to put “shapdashery” into print, and yet he managed to quote me at length, entirely accurately, and without the word “slapdashery.” If anyone wanted proof of Paul’s remarkable skills at the craft of reporting, that there is a huge validation. The most respected journalists in the country regularly get rolled by politicians and corporate flacks using exactly that technique to control the message and introduce or define terms.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm |

          Well, duh, a hipster is a cool person one doesn’t like, or whose specific level of coolness one recognizes as unattainable for oneself.

          When I interviewed Scott for this week’s ESPN column, I buttered him up began by telling him how much I appreciate his contributions to the site, especially because he’s such an effective and articulate communicator.

          The italic-quoted sentence above is EXACTLY the type of thing I was referring to.

  • JTH | April 15, 2011 at 11:51 am |

    Mr. Hick has already seen this pic, but speaking of Mike Watt, I just picked up this album other day for the low, low price of $20.

    • JTH | April 15, 2011 at 11:53 am |

      Shoot. That comment wasn’t supposed to go here.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Insert 4,753 complaint about current comments format

      • JTH | April 15, 2011 at 11:54 am |

        *4,753rd*

        Dammit.

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 11:55 am |

      Jimbo — had no idea you were an old-school indie-rock kinda guy!

      • JTH | April 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

        Nah, I just thought the blue records were pretty.

        Really, though, my tastes are pretty much all over the map. Jeff Tweedy solo acoustic show tonight… a couple Arcade Fire shows later this month… gonna be in Florida in a couple weeks and I was hoping to be able to catch Iron Maiden while I’m there, but alas, they’re playing this weekend.

        Mike Watt’s playing tonight a few blocks away from the theater Tweedy’s at. With any luck, I’ll be able to catch his show as well. Maybe he’ll be wearing the shirt Marty just returned.

        • Bernard | April 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm |

          James, where have you been?

        • JTH | April 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |

          Last couple weeks have been incredibly busy for me, both at work and at home.

          Happy belated birthday.

        • Bernard | April 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

          Oh, thanks man.

          I’ll be in Chicago June 7-12, so I’ll be hitting you up for culinary/entertainment recommendations.

        • StLMarty | April 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm |

          Hipsters.

      • Simply Moono | April 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

        As long as we’re taling about music, I’ll go on record and say that I’m into music that most Black guys my age ahouldn’t be listening to… B)

  • Dan Winter | April 15, 2011 at 12:05 pm |

    After reading the comments from the other day about ASU and Nike, I find it rather ridiculous that people are complaining about Paul being disrespectful to us. First of all, it is his blog. He can do what he wants and if you don’t like it, don’t read it. Secondly, we are all entitled to our opinions. We won’t all agree but that is what makes this so great. Some uni related things we love and some we don’t. Relax!. Keep up the great work Paul.

    • Simply Moono | April 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

      Pardon my language, but FINALLY, a voice of fucking reason! =D I liked the ASU rebrand (except for the yucky ol’ BFBS). The Men’s Basketball team will benefit the most from the new “Sun Devil Bold”. The Athletic Block that they used to use (http://www.statepres...) for the numbers has this particular shape to it that makes it a hideous font. Also see:

      Fresno State (http://liveislive.or...)

      Louisiana Tech (http://mattlange.big...)

      Miami Dolphins (http://mo.palmbeachp...)

      Although TECHNICALLY, ASU is using Florida State’s number font.

  • Curt | April 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    Just curious…will we hear Bill Sheppard announcing “#2…Derek Jeter” tonight, since he won’t BE #2 tonight? (on Jackie Robinson Day)

  • Bouj | April 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm |

    Coco Crisp should be required by his manager & teammates to wear his hair blown out like that whenever the A’s wear the gold. It’s fitting. Love the look.

    • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

      I wonder how much bigger of a hat he has to wear to fit all that inside it.

    • Seth F | April 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm |

      Couldn’t agree more……he just rocketed up my list of favorite baseball players.

    • Gaylord Fields | April 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

      I guess you could say you’re cuckoo for Coco’s puffs.

      (These cereal jokes write themselves — and seeing as i refuse to take the blame for this one, that’s all well and good.)

  • Kevin Bresnahan | April 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    http://tampabay.rays...

    At the end of the day, this is no different than He Hate Me, and I’m surprised and disappointed that MLB is allowing it.

    Really? Celebrating MacDill AFB’s 70th birthday with MBNOB is the same as self-promotion with NNOB like “He Hate Me”? Really?

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm |

      The content of the message is irrelevant. The point is that NOBs should be NOBs, period. Once you start fucking around with them and adding personal messages, it’s all just noise.

      • Simply Moono | April 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

        Didn’t we have a commenter on the site earlier in the week using the handle “He Hate Me”?

      • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

        Do you lump the NickNOBs that you occasionally point out in that same category?

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm |

          Sure. But nobody has worn a NickNOB in ages. They’re not allowed in any of the major pro sports leagues.

          It’s fun to see an old photo of Ken Harrelson wearing “Hawk” on his back. But jesus, aren’t you glad that was a fairly isolated thing that didn’t catch on for every player (brief episodes in A’s and Braves history notwithstanding)?

        • Noah Kynsijarvi | April 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

          The NickNOB thing still happens occasionally in European soccer. For example, Javier Hernandez of Man U wears “Chicarito” on the back of his shirt, an Ivory Coast striker named Gervais Kouassi wears “Gervinho”, etc.

          Seems stupid to me, in a kinda pro-wrestlingish in a way, but whatever.

      • Chance Michaels | April 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

        Couldn’t agree more. NOBs are for simple player identification, not for promoting any causes or events, be they selfish, benign or worthy.

        Who was the Dodger a couple years ago who put his mother’s last name on his back for a couple games?

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

          Russell Martin. He added an initial, J., for his mother’s name:
          http://sports.yahoo....

          Thought it was horseshit, personally. Happily, he’s now on the Yankees, so the whole issue is moot for him.

        • Mike Engle | April 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

          A little different, but Russell Martin had “J. Martin” on his back for two years, plus the WBC. J is for Jeanson, his deceased mother’s maiden name and one of Martin’s many middle names.
          I didn’t like it because it reeked of “Look at me!” If you really want to grieve publicly, visually, and individually, get a black wristband and call it a day.
          But now Martin’s a Yankee, so he’s NNOB anyway.

        • Mike Engle | April 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm |

          Um, crap, maybe not “deceased” after all. Bad memory, sorry.

        • Gaylord Fields | April 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

          Precisely, Paul. To me, it seemed to scream, “I honor and cherish MY mother, unlike all you other mom-hating, apple-pie-shunning, flag-shredding bastards.” It was a gaudy and hokey display of exceptionalism as NOB. Worst of all, it gives me a reason to like something about the Yankees.

      • Kevin Bresnahan | April 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm |

        Now I see what you’re saying, and I agree with it. I still say a tip of the hat to a local institution such as MacDill AFB is not the same as dopey self-promotion (even at the end of the day), but I agree with your sentiment. Good call.

      • R | April 16, 2011 at 11:50 pm |

        I personally think He Hate Me was awesome. Of course that worked better in a gimmicky league like the XFL. I would also think it would be awesome if Madden wore “He Hate Me” too.

    • JohnnySeoul | April 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm |

      Kevin, there’s nothing wrong with doing something like this every now and then….especially when it was about something good (i.e. MacDill AFB’s 70th Anniversary). Kudos to the Rays!!

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

        …especially when it was about something good.

        So it’s OK even when it’s about something bad, but it’s *especially* OK when it’s about something good.

        Got it.

        • JohnnySeoul | April 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm |

          When did I say it’s OK when it’s something bad? I NEVER stated such a thing. There’s nothing wrong with going “side the box” every now and then. I would prefer every team in every sport had no names on the back, but since it is allowed on certain organizations, I think it is fine to do something like this when it is RARELY done. I tend not to get all PMS about little things like this. Again, kudos to the Rays for a little patriotism shout-out to MacDill AFB. Since that is an AMC (Air Mobility Command) base, they play a HUGE role in every US/NATO campaign.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm |

          “especially when it’s good” MEANS “sometimes even if it’s not good.”

      • Seth F | April 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm |

        The “rarely” done thing never stays that way though. I remember when the colored alts (softball tops) first started being worn on a rare occasion. I like them ’cause I thought, “Sweet, those are different. Now, I’m finding myself the exact same thing when the rare “Road Grays” are worn.

    • JGoodrich | April 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm |

      Yep. If your team puts last names on their backs, then you should have your last name on your back. Period.

  • Yoey Yewin | April 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    Regarding the Syracuse Chiefs’ stars-and-stripes jersey …

    WANT!

  • Alex Parisi | April 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

    I love UniWatch and personally don’t mind your opinions even if I don’t agree with them. However, I must say in response to your obsessive disdain for Nike, along with this response to your critics is very unbecoming.

    Just saying.

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

      Unbecoming how? Details, please.

      • Alex Parisi | April 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm |

        For you not to give a better analysis & aesthetic opinion on the largest university in America going through the a complete overhaul of their athletic program because of a personal gripe against a manufacturer just seems unbecoming on your part.

        • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm |

          My gripe with Nike is not “personal” (indeed, the handful of Nike employees I’ve met over the years have all been very nice). It is based on my strongly held belief that they are, on balance, bad for uniform design, for reasons I have spelled out many, many times.

          When they do something I think is good, I say so; when they don’t, I say that. The balance tends to tilt toward the latter.

          If you find that unbecoming, well, the world is a very complex place, isn’t it.

        • Broadway Connie | April 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

          Phooey. The “largest university in America” means you have to be respectful or tug a forelock or something? “Unbecoming” to tear into something you don’t like because it’s produced by a really really big place? I hope that if Harvard or Caltech or MIT – who deserve a shade more deference than ASU, I’d hazard – came out with swooshy unattractive duds, that Paul would bite hard, right down to the bone, even if I happened to think they were kinda purty.

          Unbecoming?!

        • Alex Parisi | April 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm |

          Hey, fair enough Paul, I’ll take your word for it. I read this blog just about every day and what I mentioned earlier is just the impression I get from you. So you can take it for what it’s worth.

          Broadway Connie, yes – unbecoming. It’s crazy, I know.

    • Christopher | April 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

      Hope I’m not beating a dead horse, and I’m not talking about anyone here specifically…

      I’ll never understand the gripes about how people comment in a forum. Just scroll past it and ignore it. I can’t imagine being offended by anything Paul or anyone else says here- unless maybe its directly at me.

      • Chris Holder | April 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm |

        From one Chris to another, ditto. It would take a lot to offend me. I think some people really do look for reasons to take offense and lash out at people. I’ve never understood how you can read somebody’s opinions on their own site, then take offense when what they say doesn’t match how you feel. What-the-hell-ever. I’m just amused by the people who read it, whine that Paul’s “done ‘em wrong”, then continue to come back and take more “abuse”. You’d think they’d move on.

  • Seth F | April 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm |

    The site has been inundated lately with discussions about marketing and sponsoring so maybe my awareness is up today, but in the category of “Sponsorship That Makes No Sense”, I’d like to add the following.

    I noticed on my “lunch” this afternoon that McDonald’s is the Official Restaurant of The Olympics. Now, how much friggin’ sense does that make? Regardless of what this looks like, the chances of any Olympic athlete eating that garbage during training are as likely as this guy being an Olympic athlete.

    • Bernard | April 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
      • Simply Moono | April 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

        Chad (Last Name TBD) eats McDonald’s like there’s no tomorrow, but he works it off. And I’m pretty sure we all know about Michael Phelps’s Olympic diet of 12,000 motherfucking calories!

        And Usain Bolt is a damn tool…

        • apk3000 | April 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

          If you buy the Alex Ovechkin DVD, you can watch him and his friends go to a Moscow McDonald’s and order a bunch of stuff. :)

  • Kev29 | April 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm |

    “Lots of throwbacks and other specialty designs on tap this season for the Syracuse Chiefs”

    Lots of options for “Harper 34″ sales (if he can make it to AAA this summer).

  • LI Phil | April 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm |

    looks like i picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue day to have a bad day in the office and miss 4 hours of commenting gold

    *hipster*?

    HAH

    • John Ekdahl | April 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

      Maybe someone will call him a beatnik next so this hilarity can continue through the evening.

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

        John’s just pissed because I didn’t have time to talk with him about a site issue earlier today, but he sees that I have time to post a few jillion comments….

        • John Ekdahl | April 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

          On the contrary, I recognize the paramount importance of defining what constitutes a hipster, in both the classical and modern definitions of the term.

  • Ricko | April 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm |

    Bohemian, eh?
    “Well, here’s another fine mess…”

    http://www.impawards...

  • DW95MVP | April 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    How is MLB letting Johnny Damon wear white cleats:

    http://sports.yahoo....

    http://sports.yahoo....

  • Glen | April 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    http://dailypicdump....

    Here is a fun tattoo

  • Tony C. | April 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |

    In the word of the immortal Doctor, “bow ties are cool”

  • Brad NorthStar | April 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    Can anybody tell me what Derrick Rose wears on his wrist? Looking at the latest SI cover, it looks like a Phiten-type band I’m not familiar with.

  • =bg= | April 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |

    http://bleacherrepor...

    another worst-uni story—our own J. Reuss included in the portfolio.

    • Chris from Carver | April 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm |

      Interesting how they have the same uniform, the mix-and-match Pirates, on there twice. And it’s the same exact combination to boot.

      • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm |

        What, a sloppy move by Bleacher Report? Surely you jest.

  • Keith Stokes | April 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |

    Paul,
    I tend to agree with you most times when it comes to Nike, however, this time I think you may have missed the mark a bit.

    Nike’s bread and butter (when it comes to uniforms) has to be college football/basketball (at least in the US). And, as such, college athletic programs (primarily football) look to what is appealing to an 18/19 year old. In an article you linked yesterday (can’t remember which at this moment), there was a story about Oklahoma State making uni changes…with a quote from a “high level source” that said “we are going to be the Oregon of the Midwest”. Oregon wasn’t a premier football program until recently. I will argue that the uniforms have something to do with the talent (afterall, we’re talking about 18 year old boys…sometimes, it can be as easy as “I like their uniforms better”).

    Since Nike doesn’t outfit the three major sports in this country, it’s easy to say Majetic is not as “in your face”. They haven’t had to be. They’ve had a nice gig…outfitting the one sport in this country that does anything BUT embrace change. I guess it’s one of the things I like about the MLB.

    When Nike takes over the NFL uniforms, then I think there can be a fair comparison….until then, I’ll reserve my judgement on Nike and it’s forcefeeding us uniforms designed to appeal to a young demographic.

    As always, love the blog…keep up the good work!

    • Paul Lukas | April 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm |

      Fair points. Doesn’t quite address the “Team Nike” issue (i.e., they tend to promote themselves over the schools they outfit), but your basic argument is well-taken.

  • Fred | April 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm |

    I apologize if this has been covered, but I’m currently watching “On The Clock” on SportsCenter and I saw something. On the shelf behind Mike Tirico, they have a black Tampa Bay Bucs helmet being displayed. I had to double-check, and sure enough, it was. It went NYG – Black Bucs – Texans – Falcons.

    • jdreyfuss | April 15, 2011 at 8:06 pm |

      In weird lighting, those metallic colors can look a lot darker. Are you sure it’s really black?

  • Michael Emody | April 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm |

    I flipped on the White Sox game tonight, and thought, why NNOB? It took me about 20 seconds to realize it was “42” day. I need to mark that down, so I can measure it against how long it takes me next year. I can start a “senility graph.”

  • Patrick_in_MI | April 16, 2011 at 12:03 am |

    I noticed even the umpires in the Tigers-Athletics game are wearing a 42 on their uniforms. I’ll assume it’s a league-wide thing. Have they ever done this in the past?

    • Mike | April 16, 2011 at 4:07 am |

      the last 5 years or so. Started with a couple players doing it, then they just went league wide with it.

  • mike 2 | April 16, 2011 at 2:20 am |

    There was something nice about listening to Vin Scully call the Dodgers- Cardinals game on Jackie Robinson day. A nice connection to Robinson himself (not too many of those left).

  • Brady | April 16, 2011 at 4:32 am |

    I am wanting to present Mr. Lukas’ view of Nike’s “corporate douchbaggery to my Sport In American Life class on Monday. Can anyone remind me what was the name of the marketing ploy where Nike branded tanks were parked at high schools during the last football season or two?

    -Brady

    • Paul Lukas | April 16, 2011 at 9:39 am |

      Pro Combat. And the vehicles had “Prepare for Combat” printed on them.