…or: the one where the Pirates let us down while winning an exciting ballgame on a dazzling Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh
[Editor's Note: Phil here, subbing for Paul on today's main entry. Except I didn't write what you're about to read -- I just edited it. The writing was done by Jason Bernard. He and some friends took in the NHL draft a week or two ago -- it was a trip I'd hoped to make, but it wasn't in the cards -- so today I'm going to live vicariously with you guys as we hear about their escapades. Enjoy. — Phil]
By Jason Bernard
Photos by Terence M. Kearns
I love Uni Watch for a million reasons (well, okay, like four.) Most of all, I love the great friends I’ve made, who I get to geek out with from time to time. This past weekend was one of those times, as Terence M. Kearns, Michael Walter and Patricia Troy came to Pittsburgh to take in the NHL Draft, a Pirates vs. Tigers game, and a few of Pittsburgh’s other gems. The following rundown of our weekend is mostly uni-centric, but has some Culinary Corner and Collector’s Corner thrown in for good measure.
Friday, June 22: NHL Draft, Consol Energy Center
Terence got to town and we headed downtown to pick up Mikey and Trish. We were a little early, so we stopped at Lefty’s in the Strip to kill some time. Our time killers of choice were pounders of Old German, brewed by Iron City Brewing Company in nearby Latrobe, PA. After only a pound of beer apiece, we received the call that Mike and Trish were ready, so we headed to their hotel to pick them up. There, we encountered these four guys wearing Bruins, Islanders, Flyers and Long Island Ducks sweaters. Bonus points to you if you spotted the Flyers fan being extra Philly.
After picking up those two, we headed for the William Penn Hotel to meet Jennifer Sweet. Jenny came straight from work and was not able to change into any Pens gear, but she fit in just fine once we made it to the CEC. Here’s a list of notable draft sightings:
• Here’s a group of young ladies in contemporary Capitals, throwback Kings and throwback Flames sweaters.
• Terence swears he took this picture for the Semin sweater. I swear he’s full of shit.
• Giant goalie mask.
• Buffalo fans rocking Flintstones-esque buffalo hats.
• Penguins poncho.
• A heavily autographed Edmonton Oil Kings sweater.
• A couple colorful Pens and Blues sweaters.
• This guy said he was a Uni Watch reader. If you’re reading this now – identify yourself!
• Heh heh.
• Jagr Rangers sweater. Cheeky, in Pittsburgh.
• A trio of Rochester Amerks fans.
• If Ryan Connelly was in town (as he should have been), he probably would’ve mugged (okay, begged) this guy for his fly Selanne Jets sweater.
Post-draft, Jenny, Terence and I went to Krista’s Cantina (our beloved local), where Terence got fresh with this charming gentleman in a Pirates fashion jersey. We drank too much Jagermeister. Many thanks to Ryan Connelly, Rob Ullman and Todd Owens for the tickets!
We started our Saturday off in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District, a neighborhood known for its ethnic food stores, art studios, antique dealers and boutiques. Our first stop was the Pittsburgh Public Market, where we ran into this guy selling wine. How do you like that, Chappy? Terence took particular note of the various offerings the street vendors had available. Along with bootleg sports merch, the Strip features some amazing old signage.
Our final stop in the Strip was back at Lefty’s, where we decided to throw down some Strong Island Iced Teas, just for you Phil. Smart. We also made sure to get a picture of their collection of old school pennants.
Sufficiently pickled, we headed to the park. We were all really excited for Saturday’s game, because according to this article from the Post Gazette, The Pirates and Tigers were supposed to be wearing Negro League throwbacks honoring the Homestead Grays and Detroit Stars, respectively. You can imagine our disappointment, then, when we got inside and… yeah, not so much. How did you feel about it Jenny? Me too.
We still had a great time, though. Mikey wore an excellent Bad News Bears jersey. I was in an old Bucs jersey. And here were some of the things we saw walking around the concourse trying to avoid the sun:
• We were thrown off by this guy’s obvious confusion.
• But we appreciated this guy’s sweet Tigers jersey.
• Here’s a rear shot of a Pedro Martinez Expos jersey.
• Pretty cool poster showing an abridged evolution of the catcher’s mask.
• Terence was as excited about spotting this dude in his 7 Line Mets shirt as the dude was for it to be recognized.
• We weren’t sure if anyone had strong opinions about camo jerseys, but here’s a Bucs example just in case.
• Big fans of these Bucco socks.
• How did the Bucs pull out the win? ZOLTAN!
As we exited the park, Jenny noticed that the Willie Stargell statue was about to collapse, so she ran over and held it up while maintenance workers secured it.
On Sunday, Jenny, Terence and I went to the pool. Nothing aesthetically noteworthy there, since I didn’t want to include a picture of Terence’s sunburn and spark another redskins debate.
I’ll show myself out.
Phil here. Great job with that, Jason! Wish I could have made this trip to the ’burgh…or maybe not. Thanks for having those LI Iced Teas for me. Back in the day, I did enjoy knocking a few of them back.
Now…that is a guest reader entry, right?
Paul here. Thanks to Jason and his crew for today’s entry, and to Phil for editing it, formatting it, etc. — much obliged. And as a postscript, you Yinzers might be interested to learn that the phrase shown on the towel at the top of today’s entry has just been banned from your local newspaper. Don’t blame the messenger!
Culinary Corner: The hot dog world was abuzz last week after the Chow web site posted a video showing how to spiral-slice a frankfurter. What does that mean? Here, see for yourself (the video is only 50 seconds long, so it’s not a big time sink):
Intriguing, right? Kirsten and I were curious about this. So on Sunday we got a pack of hot dogs, some bamboo skewers, and a sharp knife, and set up shop in my back yard.
It turns out that spiral-slicing the frank is trickier that it looks. My first attempt was kind of messy. Eventually, though, I got the hang of it (all photos by Kirsten):
The corkscrew dogs looked pretty cool on the grill, and we could definitely see all the exposed surfaces getting a nice exterior char:
We didn’t load up on heavy-duty condiments (just mustard), because we wanted to be able to taste the dog itself. I was all excited when I took my first bite and discovered … that it tasted like a hot dog.
Honestly, there was nothing special about it. All that additional charred surface area didn’t really amount to much, flavor-wise. In some ways, it was actually a worse hot dog experience, because the snap of biting into the frank was missing.
So my take on the corkscrew dog is this: It’s an interesting experiment, and definitely a fun party trick (kids will love it), but not really a wiener winner from a good-eatin’ standpoint.
By Brinke Guthrie
We lead off today with what may be the single greatest Collector’s Corner item ever. The absolute sweet spot. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, in all of its mega-awesomeness glory, a 1970 NFL Chiquita Banana football, with all 26 NFL team stickers. The football decal shows a little futzyness (my word for slight degradation,) but so what? A vintage masterpiece.
And now on with the show:
• Here’s an interesting looking early-1970s ABA New York Nets bank.
• This one’s a hit in any league: a 1940s Canadian Ace beer sign that doubles as a scoreboard.
• Staying with ad signs, little did Howie Morenz of the Montreal Canadiens know back in the 1930s that he’d still be around in 2012 on eBay. The ad says it’s for equipment maker CCM, but I don’t see any logo or name. Very nice display, though, no matter which company it’s for.
• Great set of complete 1971 Kentucky Colonels ABA Volpe thermal cups. I have a set of these — be careful when you wash them! Some of mine were not that watertight, sadly. (If those are too pricey, here’s a less expensive option.
• Here’s a lot of 1970s-’80s lunchboxes depicting a variety of sports.
• Had these! Ad says late 1960s but these are really early ’70s NFL mini-posters that you got with trading cards and gum. I had that very poster of Gene Washington on my sixth grade binder cover, for some reason. It had a clear plastic pocket on the outside, and you could slide stuff inside of it to display.
• Not only did the great Ted Williams have his own baseball camp, but the camp had its own socks.
• I’ve seen this 1969 ad with Deacon Jones before- always wondered why he held a single-bar Rams helmet.
In case you missed it yesterday, my latest full-length Permanent Record article is up now on Slate.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Remember how MLB All-Stars wore little star patches on their jerseys and caps during the week leading up to last year’s All-Star Game? That gimmick must not have resulted in enough merch sales, because this year’s All-Stars aren’t wearing the little patches. … Speaking of the All-Star Game, Ricko pointed me toward this highlight show from the 1976 ASG, where I noticed something I hadn’t been aware of: The National League umps wore pillbox caps. What you can also see in that shot, just barely, is that George Foster wore red shoes. So did all of the Cincy players in that game. … New “heritage guernsey” for the Essendon Bombers of the Australian Football League, and it’s already controversial (from Joe Hollomon and William Blevins, respectively). … Rugby news: The St.George Queensland Reds have unveiled their Indigenous Round jerseys (from George Huff). … David Wright and Denard Robinson swapped jerseys the other day (from Ben Fortney). … Vanderbilt will unveil new football uniforms next Wednesday (from Archie Troxel). … “The Syracuse Crunch of the AHL just became the top affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning. after a few years with the Anaheim Ducks,” reports John Muir. “Here’s the first dose of their new branding.” … Some old kitschy-but-cool baseball postcards here (from Jeff Wilk). … The Houston Police Department is getting a new color scheme for its patrol cars and uniforms (from Mike Klug). … Larry Wiederecht sent a note to let me know that my list of zero-clad MLBers was missing a player: “Add George Scott to your list. He wore 0 for the Royals in 1979.” This is confirmed by baseball-reference.com. Haven’t been able to find a photo, alas. … Under Armour has big plans for Northwestern (from Russ Chibe). … Those of you who don’t want politics mixed with your sports won’t like this one bit: Thanks to an anonymous donor/sponsor, a minor league soccer team on Long Island is wearing Mitt Romney’s campaign logo on their jerseys (from Ken Samelson). … Alice Cooper wore a Devils jersey onstage last night (from Alan Kreit). … We all know big league jerseys end up being repurposed in the minors, but couldn’t they have removed the original insignia first? Gerry Dincher spotted that photo at an antiques shop in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. “It shows Andy Seminick, manager of the 1959 Elmira Pioneers,” he says. … “I was at thrift shop in the Bronx last week and was somewhat confused when I first saw this Caps-style jersey,” says Ryan Jenkins. “It’s for a Brooklyn shop specializing in building materials.