Today’s kids are getting hands-on lessons in uniform history that weren’t available when we were kids. As I reported earlier this year, the Padres have outfitted San Diego Little Leaguers in Padres throwback uniforms this season. And now comes word of a football organization that ups the uni-historical ante: the Throwback Football League.
“Sponsored by quarterback guru Steve Clarkson, the TFL is for middle-school-aged students in Southern California,” explains reader Hugh McBride. “As the league name indicates, the league’s 10 teams use NFL team names [you can see them listed on the right side of this page — PL] and throwback-y uniforms.”
Interesting. You can see many of the uniforms in this TFL highlight video (although I recommend that you mute the volume, as the soundtrack is really overbrearing):
A few thoughts:
• Interestingly, there’s no mention of the uniforms on the league’s web site. You’d think they’d mention it somewhere, no?
• Even on kids, striped socks look totally boss.
• I found myself instinctively looking for the NFL shield on the jersey collars. Of course, it isn’t there, which looks subtly wrong. Sort of depressing to realize my mind has been thoroughly trained to accept — to want — that bit of logo creep.
• I understand why the Padres gave away throwback uniforms to San Diego kids — it helps the kids learn about the Padres, reinforces the kids’ bond with the team, etc. But what exactly is the point of a SoCal-based football league using old NFL uni designs? Like, is it just a point of difference to help the league stand out? If so, why not leverage it more by talking about it on the web site? I’m not opposed to it; I just don’t get it.
Uniforms aside, having a bunch of 13 year-olds play full-contact football in the SoCal spring — when they’ll already be playing again in the fall — seems like a really bad idea. Plus this league appears to be one of those recruitment rackets that are bad for kids and bring out the worst in parents, like AAU basketball, travel baseball, etc. (And I’m not the only one who came to these conclusions.) Still, the uniform concept is interesting. If initiatives like this continue to proliferate, maybe the next generation of fans will be more uni-aware.
Membership update: We’re slowly plowing through the avalanche of orders that were placed on Purple Amnesty Day (including Nicholas Popczun’s Raptors treatment, shown at right). You can see other iterations of the world’s most accursed hue In the membership card gallery, with plenty more to come.
As always, you can order your own card — but not with any purple, at least not until May 17, 2013 — on the membership sign-up page.
ESPN contest reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column includes the announcement of a “Redesign the Astros” contest. Get crackin’!
Uni Watch News Ticker: This is completely awesome: Rays blogger and longtime Uni Watch reader/contributor Cork Gaines did a blog post showing that B.J. Upton hits better when going high-cuffed. Then he tweeted about the blog entry — and Upton tweeted back, saying he plans to go high-cuffed and stirrups-clad for the rest of the season! Check out the whole story here. … NOB glitch for Astros pitcher Xavier Cedeño, whose tilde is misaligned (screen shot by Ryan Burns). … Shame on the Chicago Transit Authority, which is planning to sell corporate naming rights to 11 train stations (from Ben Gordon). … John Sheehan made these Giants, Pats, and Cowboys Cubees for himself and two co-workers. “Needless to say, the three of us never agree on anything as soon as the football season starts,” he says. … “The newly formed Big Ten Rugby Conference is accepting bids for their official conference logo and T-shirt design,” reports Kevin Mueller. “The company with the winning design will receive a starting order of 500 T-shirts. Those shirts will be sold to help raise money for the conference. If you or your company would like to submit a design package and quote please contact Matt DeBarr at email@example.com for more details.” … New home kits for Paris Saint-Germain (from Lucas Ravenscraft). … New 15th-anniversary logo for the New Jersey Jackals (from Chester Baker). … Pretty cool slideshow of Rick Barry’s looks through the years (thanks, Brinke). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Vernon Davis was taking the biker shorts thing a bit far the other day. … If you love those old-style Technigraph NFL helmet plaques, then this set of six of them should make your day (thanks, Brinke). … This is pretty cool: a baseball uniform made from origami (from Jay Sullivan). … Former longtime Rams equipment manager Todd Hewitt, who was unceremoniously dumped from the team a year and a half ago by then-coach Steve Spagnuolo (who has himself been dumped since then), is suing the Rams for age discrimination. … You know how Umbro is owned by Nike? Not for much longer. … General Motors has entered into a sponsorship deal with Manchester United. “The story provides a good look at global sports marketing,” says Ben Fortney. … Looks like Big Klu wasn’t the first one to cut off his sleeves. That photo comes from a collection of 19th-century baseball portraits from the New York Public Library. For more, look here (from Christopher Jones). … Here are some photos and video from this year’s Rickwood Classic. “The Birmingham Barons and Chattanooga Lookouts wore WWII-era throwbacks, and the umpires even wore period-appropriate outfits,” says Lee Wilds). … A high school baseball team in Missouri has embraced an odd superstition: argyle socks (from Joseph Nguyen). … More goodies from the New York Public Library collection: old soccer cards! (Big thanks to Kenn Tomasch.) … Brennan Boesch of the Tigers was wearing two different Under Armour batting gloves last night (as noted by Jason Hicks).