The Rockies wore their black vests yesterday, I believe for the first time this season. And as usual when wearing the black vests, they wore black undershirts (oddly, the MLB Style Guide still shows the vest being paired with a purple undershirt, even though I don’t think they’ve worn that combo since 2005). But this time there was a new wrinkle: As you can see above, Todd Helton had a stencil-style TV number on his left undersleeve (here’s an additional view).
Nobody else in Colorado’s starting lineup was wearing the sleeve number — the other players all had plain black — so at first I figured it was one of those special-edition thingies that stars like Helton sometimes get as part of their endorsement contracts. But then Ian Stewart (who, no offense to him, ain’t no star [although he does share a name with the Sixth Stone!]) pinch-hit in the bottom of the 6th, and he was wearing the TV number as well:
So apparently this is one of the team’s undershirt options. Obviously, the purple rankles. And the lack of uniformity is annoying — either all the Rockies should wear the numbered sleeves or none of them should. Viewed strictly on its own terms, however, the number doesn’t look bad. And there’s at least one precedent for vested teams having TV-numbered undersleeves: the 1963-65 A’s.
As you can see, the A’s had numbers on both sleeves (which seems like overkill, no?), while Helton and Stewart only had the numbers on their left sleeve. But wait — what’s that smudge they had on the other side?
Let’s take a closer look:
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Helton and Stewart were wearing a purple drawing of a Nike shoe, complete with the swoosh, a maneuver that really breaks new ground in the logo creep wars. This isn’t just a logo — it’s a depiction of one Nike product on a completely different Nike product.
As usual, they get points for chutzpah, but very little else. By now it’s pretty obvious that Nike simply views the entire sports world as a gigantic blank canvas on which they can paint their various marketing schemes. The whole thing is beyond nauseating, but at least it gives me a chance to use my new line for such situations: Hey, Swooshkateers — YOUR LIFESTYLE SUCKS.
(Big thanks to reader Ryan Robey for bringing this one to my attention.)
Contest update: The logo you see at right, designed by reader Vinny Bove, has been chosen by the Baseball Project band members as their new logo. Congrats to Vinny, and thanks to all contestants. You can see all of the contest submissions in this gallery. In each case, the name of the file is the name of the designer. If your submission is shown but you’d rather not have it displayed there, let me know and I’ll take it down.
And speaking of contests…: Back in February I promised a T-shirt or a free membership to the reader who devised and submitted the best sports-related infographic. My bad for not following up on that until now, but I’m happy to announce our winner: Mark Peterson, who came up with a series of charts tracking the postseason appearances by MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL teams.
One reason I chose Mark as the winner is that his charts didn’t need any explanation — he provided a key or legend for each one right there on each chart. Almost all the other submissions, as elegant and clever as some of them were, required explanations (sometimes rather lengthy ones) from their respective designers. My feeling is that an infographic is much more effective if it can be understood on its own terms, without an separate instruction manual.
Case in point: I really like Steve Shanabruch’s “Cubs by the Numbers” design, but it doesn’t mean anything unless you can read the explanation he provided me:
I found a site that listed who wore which uniform number throughout Cubs history, so I came up with a way to visually display this. The size of each number is directly related to the number of players that wore it. Here’s the breakdown:
• The larger the number, the more players that wore it, obviously.
• The most-worn numbers in Cubs history are 15 and 19 (both worn 48 times), and these are displayed in red. (On second thought, the most-worn number is actually 42, but this is only because of Jackie Robinson Day.)
• Retired numbers are denoted by using a circle with pinstripes.
• The least-worn numbers are 72, 76, 81, 94, and 96 (all worn by once) and 99 (twice). They are displayed on the image but are so small that they’re easy to miss if you’re not looking for them.
Good stuff. But if that info had been included on the graphic, it would have been a much stronger package, no?
I’m happy to do another one of these contests (and promise not to wait a month and a half to announce the winner this time). So if you want to submit more infographics, let’s have ’em.
In case you were wondering, “1040” does not refer to David Wright’s OPS: Today being the deadline for the filing of tax returns, I thought it might be nice to take a look at how members of my Very Favorite Team have fared with the simple logistics of paying their fair share to Uncle Sam:
• Leading off we have Jerry Koosman. You may know him as the guy who notched two victories in the 1969 World Series, but the feds know him as one of those delusional cranks who keep insisting that the entire tax code is a fraud. The Kooz had plenty of time to think about this during his recent prison term.
• Next up: Lovable SNY broadcaster Ron Darling. Ronnie did commercials for a bank in 2008 (and as a creepy aside, look at the last four characters of that YouTube URL!). But hey, who needs a bank when you can build a nest egg simply by stiffing the IRS and two states?
• Duke Snider played only one season for the Mets, at the tail end of his storied career, but that was enough for him to be bitten by the tax evasion bug.
• It’s understandable that Lenny Dykstra might not have remembered to pay his taxes this year, because he was busy a few days ago being charged with federal bankruptcy fraud. Technically speaking, Nails hasn’t run afoul of the IRS yet, but I think it’s pretty obvious that that shoe will be dropping shortly.
Of course, it’s probably just a coincidence that so many people affiliated with the Mets have had questionable financial dealings. After all, the team’s owners are paragons of fiscal propriety.
Beefsteak update: The recent Brooklyn Beefsteak event was written up in yesterday’s New York Times. Look closely at that photo accompanying the article and you can see me (in the blue shirt) and Uni Watch reader Terence Kearns (in the yellow-brimmed cap). What you can’t see is that someone stole Susquehanna Industrial Tool + Die Co.’s onstage megaphone — not cool. If anyone knows more about this, kindly speak up.
Incidentally, if you ever had any doubt that meat is the treat to eat that can’t be beat, dig this: Turns out even vegans can’t resist meat’s siren song. Face it, herbivores: Resistance is futile.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Jackie Day was fun, as usual. But the Mets and Braves were rained out that day, so they wore 42 for the first day of Saturday’s doubleheader. In addition, the Mets — along with all teams that were on the road on April 15 — have the option of doing another 42 game at home later this year. Now, I love the 42 promotion, always have. But I don’t think it should ever be invoked on a day other than April 15. If you’re on the road, if you get rained out, if the schedulemaker gave you the day off, too bad. You can do it next year (and the year after that, and the year after that). If the Blue Jays are on the road for Canada Day, do they wear their special Canada jerseys when they return home later in the month? Of course not, because Canada Day is July 1, period. And Jackie Day is April 15, period. They should leave it that way. … Speaking of Jackie Day, reader Joe Alvaro interviewed me for a story he wrote on the subject. … Is this the future of football facemasks? That’s Louisiana-Monroe linebacker ason Edwards, who used athletic tape and marks on his mask for the team’s spring scrimmage (with thanks to Tom Morris). … Here’s a real prize: a Kansas City A’s western tie. … Arguably even better: a pair of NJ Nets tube sox! … Hmmm, this is a very interesting baseball uni. Don’t think I’ve ever seen the asymmetrical belt colors like that. Gorgeous sleeve patch, too. … Speaking of asymmetrical color design, look at the placket piping on this jersey. … Chanan Liss spotted a NYC subway ad for Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum that shows Derek Jeter batting left-handed. As you can see from the helmet and jersey graphics, they just flopped the Jeter image — a bad mistake. … Hmmm, a young Phil Simms wearing No. 19? An interesting mystery indeed. Recommended reading. … There’s a new documentary opening this week that’s right up our alley. Can’t wait! … Interested in purchasing retro soccer throwbacks? The good folks at Ebbets Field Flannels recommend these guys. … Why settle for three stripes when you can have four? (Thanks, Ricko.) … Here’s a 1991 video clip showing the evolution of football pads (good one by Kenn Tomasch). … New uniforms for the Japanese national basketball team (thanks, Jeremy). … Paul Lee spotted these NBA rubber mini-balls at a local Target. “The red side has all the team logos from the Western Conference, while the blue side has all the team logos from the Eastern Conference — but both sides read, ‘Western Conference,'” he notes. … Beau Franklin asked Uni Watch advertiser Classic Old School to make him a repro of this 1977 South Carolina baseball jersey and says he’s extremely pleased with the results. … Here’s the soccer ball that will be used in the Copa American tourney (with thanks to Kenny Loo). … Coupla notable things in this photo of Raymond Chester. For starters, that’s one killer T-shirt. But also, note Pete Banaszak in the background, missing his zero (big thanks to Bill Kellick). … Roger Faso came across lots of really interesting stadium section drawings in this thread. … Jim Polacek reports that Michigan wore a jersey patch for their spring football scrimmage. … Meanwhile, very odd scene at Notre Dame’s Blue/Gold spring game, as explained by Luke Murphy: “The ‘blue’ team wore blue, the ‘gold’ team wore white, and, interestingly, the offensive linemen wore the green alternates. Toss in the quarterbacks wearing red and it made for four distinct jerseys on the field at any given time.” … New jersey for Tipperary, the All-Ireland hurling champions (with thanks to Denis Hurley). … If your name starts with an H, you might wanna grab this absolute honey of a varsity sweater. … Ooh, dig the gorgeous hoop socks being worn by the Wesleyan baseball team (with thanks to Josh Manusewicz). … Here’s a very nice set of old Broncos placemats. … Gotta respect a sculptor who pays such close attention to Nolan Ryan’s ribbon stirrups. Brad Wray took those shots of a Ryan statue in Alvin, Texas. … Speaking of stirrups, here’s yet another good-looking college baseball team: Oklahoma State (with thanks to Arin Mitchell). … One other note from that Rockies/Cubs game: Cubbie infielder Darwin Barney wore some very nice stirrups (as noted by Matt Shepardson). … Looks like some uni adjustments may be on tap for SMU football (with thanks to Noah Buck). … Jeremy Brahm notes that the Chunichi Dragons have chosen an unusual placement for the tsunami memorial band on their home jerseys. … Jeff Smith reports that Sabres coach Lindy Ruff’s necktie has its own Twitter feed and its own T-shirt. … I was watching last night’s Rangers/Yanks game when an interesting turn of events unfolded: Texas first base coach Gary Pettis argued a call and got tossed from the game in the top of the 7th. He was replaced by batting coach Thad Bosley — but Bosley wore Pettis’s helmet (note the non-matching uni numbers). Pettis and Bosley must have similar head sizes, but what if they didn’t? Would Bosley have gone with an earflapped helmet? (Big thanks to Matt Harris for the screen shot.)