Last summer I wrote an ESPN column about the small but growing trend of MLB teams putting decals on their bat knobs. Now the man behind that trend — Pro Helmet Decals owner David Sulecki — has checked in with the latest developments on the bat knob front:
• The Indians will be going with this simple design:
• David says Rockies equipment manager Keith Schulz originally wanted to go with standard purple-and-white numbers on a black background, but David convinced him that he could come up with a design that included the team’s logo. They eventually settled on a design with a silver background:
• Last year the White Sox just went with block numbers, but this year they’re going with this:
• “Diamondbacks equipment manager Bob Doty wanted me to come up with something using either their ‘A’ or ‘D’ logo,” says David. “These were two of the more challenging designs to work with, because of all the angles and curves — simply putting a number in the middle wouldn’t work.” Here’s what he eventually came up with:
• At least three Marlins — Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and Hanley Ramirez — will be using these decal designs:
• The Mets are sticking with the same design from last year — except, in keeping with the New Way, they’re ditching the black shadow.
David is also getting lots of new NCAA clients. Here are some of the more notable designs he’s created for them. But here’s the best story, which I’ll let him explain:
BYU baseball coach Vance Law contacted me last fall and asked if we could do small “+1” award decals for their batting helmets. That was simple enough, but then he asked if I thought the decals could be used for their caps as well. I immediately thought of the adhesive-backed star “Stargell Star” patches from the 1970s (I actually had one in my desk) and mentioned that I thought that those would work better. He said he knew what I was referring to because he used to play with the Pirates back then. I didn’t make the connection with his name at first but then realized this was the same Vance Law that had played for the Pirates. I’m not sure if anyone has ever used similar cap patches since then. Here are the decals and patches I created for them:
All very interesting. Still waiting for David to create a “Fuck Face” bat knob decal, though.
By Brinke Guthrie
NFL posters seem to be a lost art form. Most of us remember these classic posters from Sports Illustrated. They did all sports — I had a great one of Bjorn Borg — and they always had the big white border. The Costacos Brothers were big in the poster biz back in the day, too. But for my money, this terrific late-1960s NFL poster here is just outstanding. Dig the three stripes on Don Meredith, and the black Saints helmet.
More eBay goodness:
• Did someone say, “Black Saints helmet?” That helmet phone would look sleek on the Saints’ draft-day table.
• Get your 1970s Rawlings “NFL Silver Bullet” football here.
• Remember when life was simpler? You will when you see this Cubs bike spoke clicker from the 1950s!
• Lotsa great 1970s logos on this NHL bedspread.
• Love the old-school pose on this 1960s photo of 49er Clark Miller , and no doubt PL will appreciate the classic sock action. [Indeed. — PL]
• Here’s one submitted by reader John Koziol: If you look at the photo on the back of this minor league A-Rod card, you’ll see him wearing a watch on the field.
• And we wrap up this week’s listings with this awesome 1952 baseball program cover, submitted by none other than my wife, Cindi.
Seen something on eBay or Etsy (or anywhere else) that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Uni Watch Mailbag: Some years ago I had a girlfriend whose parting line to me as we broke up was, “You know, Paul, you’re not normal.” I later told that story to a subsequent girlfriend, who laughed and said, “Well, duh. Since when was being normal the goal? Did she even realize she was paying you a compliment?”
I thought of that yesterday after receiving a particularly juicy piece of hate e-mail. As is usually the case, the hate e-mailer had no trouble spending several hundred words critiquing all sorts of aspects of my life but was too much of a gutless coward to include the two little words that comprise his name. He made it clear that he’s a daily Uni Watch reader, however, so he knows who he is and is no doubt reading this right now. Hi, Mr. Gutless Coward!
I won’t embarrass Mr. Gutless Coward by reprinting most of what he wrote. Instead, I’ll just reprint the parts that made me think of that long-ago girlfriend:
Come on, Paul, enough with the crap about trying to be weird or different. … [E]nough with the weird shit you do just for the sake of being weird. … Lose the attitude and the weird shit you do [that] you think is cool and different. It’s not, it just makes you look like an idiot.
I’m not mentioning the things that Mr. Gutless Coward thinks I do “just for the sake of being weird,” in part because most of the specifics were incredibly wrong-headed, but mainly because the specifics don’t matter. My work has prompted many responses like this over the years, because fixating on the inconspicuous — which is more or less how I’d summarize what I do — tends to fuck with people’s assumed hierarchies of what does and doesn’t matter. Certain sports fans, for example, get angry (like, viscerally angry) at the very notion of Uni Watch, because uniforms don’t matter to them and they don’t think they should matter to anyone else. They find the mere existence of Uni Watch and its readership to be upsetting. And to a certain extent I know how they feel, because there are all sorts of things in this world that I find upsetting, things that definitely challenge my sense of what does and doesn’t matter. Still, that’s life, no?
I didn’t really need Mr. Gutless Coward (or that long-ago girlfriend) to tell me I’m a bit eccentric. I’ve known it since I was a kid, and I certainly know it now. I mean, I collect pencil sharpeners, I ask for an odd-numbered room when checking into a hotel, I have a Brannock Device tattooed onto my arm, and I spend most of my time writing about uniforms and report cards. But contrary to what Mr. Gutless Coward seems to think, I don’t do any of this for show, or for its own sake. I do it because it sincerely makes sense to me. I realize that not everyone will Get It™, but at this point of my life I don’t worry too much about being “normal” or “look[ing] like an idiot.” (Although if I did, I might think twice about sending anonymous hate e-mail to someone who might reprint it on his web site. Just sayin’.)
The nice thing about my work — and I think most of you understand this, at least implicitly — is that it’s provided a productive and self-supporting outlet for those eccentricities, and has also created a social hub for like-minded eccentrics. Sure, I’m a bit of a weirdo — and if you read Uni Watch, so are you.
And that brings us back to Mr. Gutless Coward. Although he has umpteen issues with me personally (okay, so maybe we won’t have lunch), he grudgingly acknowledged in his hate e-mail that Uni Watch “is good and interesting.” In other words, he’s part of an eccentric little subculture that certain sports fans find weird and stupid, a subculture that makes them viscerally angry. Some of those sports fans would probably be happy to tell Mr. Gutless Coward, “Reading about uniforms isn’t good or interesting. It just makes you look like an idiot.”
That’s why I find it so funny — and, really, so sad — when a Uni Watch reader accuses me of being too esoteric, or too weird, or too whatever. Dude, look in the mirror: You’re one of us.
(Oh, and if Mr. Gutless Coward is looking for a date, I know a girl who might fit the bill. At the very least, they’d have one thing to talk about.)
Membership update: For the first time in aaaages, we are fully caught up on membership card designs (including Chaz Norenberg’s 1990s Pats design, shown at right). The card gallery is fully up to date, and all the designs except the last five have been printed, laminated, and shipped. We print the cards in sheets of eight, so those last five cards will be produced when we get three more orders to fill out the next batch.
Speaking of which: As always, you can order a membership card — along with stickers based on your card design — on the membership sign-up page. Just don’t go waving your card around in public, or else someone might tell you that you look like an idiot.
Too good for the Ticker: I’ve just learned about a company called StoryKeep, which creates multi-media memory albums — family histories, company archives, etc. If you go to this page and click on the upper-left thumbnail about the Mohawks Athletic Club, you’ll get an amazing video filled with incredible sports photos and stories. It sounds a little squishy, I know, but it’s almost certainly gonna be the best thing you see today. Trust me.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Lake Erie Monsters will wear Browns-themed jerseys this Saturday (from Tom Pachuta). … Unusual to see a captain’s “C” on a track uniform (from Jesse Gavin). … This is odd: three shots of Larry Kenon wearing Adidas on one foot and Chucks on the other at Amarillo College. Never seen anythig like that before. Anyone know more, and/or know of any similar examples? (Good spot by Phillip Wells). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: David Wright, having lost a Sugar Bowl bet to Michigan alum (and Mets VP) Jeff Wilpon, had to wear a Michigan jersey yesterday (from Ben Fortney). … While looking for something else, I came upon this photo of Ty Cobb with a safety pinned jersey collar. … Here’s our first shot of Manny in full A’s regalia. Note the gray underbrim — they must be using old stock for spring training pics. … New Gazoo review: Here’s Martin Prado of the Braves wearing the latest version of the S100 helmet (from Jonathon Binet). … This is pretty cool: Some old Ikea tables resurfaced with old basketball court flooring (fro Ben Marciniak). … In a move that’s certain to give Archbishop Santorum fits, A.J. Burnett has obtained Dan McCutchen’s uni number in exchange for opening a college fund for McCutchen’s daughter. Good for them — much better than the usual number-for-bling exchange (from Matt Harris). … Dig this: video footage of the Big Train! Back then, NNOB stood for “No nothin’ on back.” Amazing stuff (thanks, Phil). … A U.S. Congressperson wants the NFL to make all its replica jerseys in America. Uh, good luck with that one (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: Michael Jordan is suing a Chinese sportswear manufacturer for using the Chinese version of his name. … If you go to this page and click on the “full screen” icon, you’ll see that Nike didn’t get the memo about the Marlins’ name change (good spot by Jared E. Peterson). … Robert Griffin III was announced as the cover boy for NCAA Football 13 yesterday, so they did a photo shoot of him in his Baylor gear. The thing is, Baylor is a Nike school, but Griffin signed a deal with Adidas after graduating, which made for a weird mishmash of logo creep at the photo shoot (from David Westfall). … “The Senators never wore their mid-’60s pinstripes with their late ’60s red caps and undersleeves — except it looks like they did,” says our own Scott Turner. “Weird.” Indeed. … Yesterday I linked to a cool old Longhorns program cover design. That prompted the following from Mike Klug: “Back in 2009 I bought a Texas calendar that featured a different vintage program cover each month. Some are pretty great.” … Can’t recall if we’ve already covered this, but just in case: Penn State baseball is wearing a cap memorial for Joe Paterno (from Gerry Dincher). … New away kit for Croatia (from Kenny Loo). … Adrian O’Sullivan notes that some Blue Jays are wearing BP caps and others aren’t. … Several readers noted that the Rock was wearing an NFL captain’s patch on last night’s WWE show. … Excellent article about a former Hull City player who tore holes in his socks for comfort (from Les Motherby, whose e-mail subject line was “ripping yarn” — good one). … I had previously reported that the South Carolina and, I think, Auburn baseball teams were switching their cap manufacturers from The Game to Under Armour. But Grayson James says it isn’t that simple: “These caps are still manufactured by The Game. UA asked permission to stitch their logo on the side of the hat, which was granted, but all internal branding remains that of The Game.” … Jason Varitek, the only current MLBer to wear a captaincy “C,” is reportedly set to retire, which will leave MLB “C”-less for the first time in, uh, I’ll need to do a bit of research, but it’s the first time in a while.
Yes, I hear it too: The company that serves most of our ads appears to be sending us some audio ads today. Some of you have mentioned this problem before, but I had never heard one of these ads myself until today. I find it as annoying as you probably do, and I just asked to have them removed from the site. Sorry for the hassle, and thanks for your patience.