Is that sweet or what? Jeff Wilk sent it to me yesterday — it’s the cover of a scorecard from an 1886 ballgame in Boston (here’s how it looked on the inside). A century and a quarter later, you could swap in a photo of Josh Outman and you wouldn’t even have to change the caption.
I was expecting to have an ESPN column today — and therefore a very abbreviated blog entry — but then the column got bumped to next week. But I’m sticking with the short blog entry anyway, because things have been kinda hectic around here lately. Full-length lede tomorrow, OK? OK — Paul
The Dark Horse Chronicles, continued: You know what kinda sucked about yesterday’s 1962 Broncos helmet discussion? It brushed a feather against the ticklish belly of the debate without actually resolving anything and was therefore sort of a tease, that’s what. Wait, that’s what was awesome about yesterday’s post, not what sucked. It’s all about the journey, not the destination; the foreplay, not the orgasm; etc., etc.
In that same spirit of awesomeness and/or suckitude — take your pick — reader Cork Gaines has turned up this 1962 article. Allow me to quote the pertinent passage:
New owners, in charge for their first full season, changed the suit colors from brown and gold to brilliang orange, blue and white.
Yes, “brilliang” — see for yourself in the third graf.
The typo notwithstanding, let’s analyze the quote: On the one hand, it mentions orange and blue but not brown. No mention of brown! In fact, it makes a point of saying how the OLD design had brown, and how this new design is a departure from that (and look, there’s Ricko nodding his head in agreement now). Case closed!
But wait — the article says the “suit colors” have changed. Yeah, that sounds all nerdy and twee, but uniforms were often referred to as suits back in the day, at least in catalogs and by old-school sportswriters. But here’s the thing: Generally speaking, “suits” was never a helmet-inclusive term. It referred to the jersey and trousers. So the description of the “suit colors” doesn’t necessarily tell us anything about the helmet colors. It implies something, I’d agree, but that’s not gonna cut it. We need something more solid. Case not closed after all!
So what we basically have here is another morsel of tantalizing awesomeness and/or suckitude, as the case might be — and a killer typo to boot. So big thanks to Cork for moving the ball exactly zero yards down the field (and to Kirsten for the helmet animation).
Lamination Nation — a Uni Watch “It’s a small world” story: When I’m making the Uni Watch membership cards, the last step in the process is to laminate them. To do this, I use a small laminator and these plastic heat-seal pouches. Yesterday I realized I was running low on pouches, so I called GBC, the office-supply company that makes them, to order more. It had been a while since I’d last ordered from GBC — maybe a year — and I found that my account was now being handled by a new sales rep named Pam. After she took my order, things got interesting:
Pam: So, Paul, now that I’m handling your account, what sort of business do you have?
Me: I’m a journalist. But I have a web site that has a membership program, and we offer custom-made membership cards, and what’s the point of a membership card if it isn’t laminated?
Pam: Oh, I agree, definitely! So you’re a journalist — what do you write about?
Me: Lots of things, but my main gig is writing about sports uniform and logo design. That’s what my membership program is about — it’s for readers who are really interested in uniforms.
Pam: Oh, we have a guy in our office who’s like that. He’s always talking about all the little details of the uniforms. Of course, on a scale of 1 to 10, my sports knowledge is about a minus-3, so I don’t always know what he’s talking about.
Me: Huh — maybe he’s one of my readers. You can tell him my name if you like, or the name of my web site. It’s called “Uni Watch” — you know, like watching uniforms.
Pam: I bet he’s already one of your readers. If there’s a web site about uniforms, I’m sure he knows about it. He knows about all sorts of things, like he reads Nietzsche and he goes to see burlesque wrestling. He’s a really interesting guy.
Me: What’s his name?
Pam: Kevin DeBolt.
Me: Yeah, I know him! See, lots of my readers send me e-mails about this or that, and I get to know their names. He’s definitely been in touch a bunch of times.
Pam: That doesn’t surprise me.
Me: In fact, I think he may be part of the membership program I was telling you about. Give me a second to check — yes, he is! I bet he didn’t even realize that the plastic pouch I used to laminate his card started with your company and then, in his case, went right back to your company! That’s so funny. So wait, does he sit near you? Like, is he there right now while we’re talking about him?
Pam: He sits maybe 40 feet away from me. He’s not in today, though, because he’s on vacation. But I’m going to leave a stickie on his desk to tell him all about this.
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: Uni Watch and petroleum-based office products, bringing people together. And Kevin, if you’re reading this during your vacation, we all want to know what Nietzsche would have to say about burlesque wrestling.
Get ready to cock your hat!: I spoke yesterday with the very friendly Libby Bibb, co-owner of the Corner Bar & Grill in St. Charles, Missouri, and made arrangements with her for our Uni Watch party — including cocked-hat bowling! — next Thursday, May 5. Here’s the deal:
• We’ll convene at the bar around 7:45pm-ish. There’s a room in the back that we can use if we want, although I’m not sure we’ll need that. Depends on how many of you show up.
• The lanes, which are downstairs, will be occupied by a women’s league until 9:30pm. We’re welcome to wander down and watch them.
• At 9:30, the lanes will be turned over to us. If you want to bowl, great; if not, no biggie. Either way, we should have plenty of time for hanging out upstairs and pin-bashing downstairs.
• Yes, I’m aware that St. Charles is about a half-hour drive from St. Louis. So what — you wouldn’t drive half an hour for a Uni Watch party? For cocked-hat bowling? Totally worth it, sez I.
Can’t wait to add hat-cocking to my bowling résumé. See you there.
Pop-Up Magazine reminder: Tickets for the sports-themed, ESPN-co-sponsored NYC debut of Pop-Up Magazine, which will include a presentation by your friendly uniform columnist, are now on sale.
Uni Watch News Ticker: In a move that will no doubt serve as a bottomless source of bad jokes, the Raiders have sold their stadium
naming corporate-douchebaggery rights to Overstock.com. … “There are faceguards,” says Yogi Combs, “and then there are faceguards. That’s Jennifer Wolf, a player on my local high school’s slow pitch softball team.” … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Are these Maryland’s new football uniforms? … Here’s how Mets bat knobs are being uni-numerically designated this season (with thanks to Steve Hom). … The Lehigh baseball team hired Joe Hilseberg to make his signature product — the Jersey NameFrame — for their graduating seniors. As always, you can have Joe make of these for you here. … “Not sure if this is just for the playoffs or they’ve done it all season, but the Heat players are wearing special black-on-black jerseys in their official profile photos,” notes Jim Casale. “Is this the first case of a team wearing fashion jerseys for their official roster pics?” … Look at this completely awesome chain-stitching! It’s from this uniform. … How to put your money where you mouth is, Uni Watch style: Chris Cruz was so happy to see UCLA’s shoulder-stripe renaissance in the team’s spring game that he sent a note to the athletic dept., asking if the stripes were back for good. The response: “Sorry Chris – the old uniforms were worn for the spring game only. In the fall, we’ll be in the new ones” — i.e., the super-stretchies with the severely truncated stripes. “I guess UCLA’s athletic dept. won’t be receiving a donation from me this year,” says Chris. … Here’s a bunch more of those Adidas college football ads. My brain isn’t in NCAA mode, so would anyone else care to play “Spot the changes”? … Latest team going with color-coded environmentalism: Chivas USA, which will have green numbers and NOBs for Saturday’s match against the New England Revolution (with thanks to Kenn Tomasch). … One of you Cubbie fans should snap up this excellent iron-on. … Here’s a new site devoted to snap-back caps. The name: Oh Snapbacks. … Check out this awesome notebook make from baseball cards (great find by Jay Sullivan). … Here’s a major treat: When Scott Haltom’s grandfather was a kid, he compiled five scrapbooks’ worth of old baseball photos, illustrations, articles, etc. Scott has begun scanning them, and here are the first fruits of his labors. If the sepia-toned images on that first page don’t excite you, be sure to click through to the next three pages of images — I think you’ll like what you see. … Ever hear of Zack Hample? He’s the guy who’s semi-famous for snagging balls at MLB games. He recently caught Mets backup catcher Mike Nickeas’s first career home run and then convinced the security guards to let him give the ball to Nickeas personally. He’s written an account of the whole experience, and it’s superb — well-written, lots of good photos, a real heartwarmer. Don’t miss. … Michael Ratta sent in this Arizona State football uni-history slideshow. … Why settle for an infographic when you can have a porcineograph? (Life-altering find by Andrew Levitt.)