An Ever-Widening Cupspiracy

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New ESPN column today — look here.

Meanwhile: Last Thursday, I let loose with a rant about the MLB/Gatorade shenanigans. Then I had a follow-up piece on Friday. And on Monday I summarized all the nonsense in a piece for Business Week.

Now the floodgates have opened. All sorts of people are telling me all sorts of things about Gatorade and other beverage sponsors. Here’s a sampling, beginning with a note from reader Blain Fowler:

I got an e-mail from a friend who does PR work for the Brewers. I thought you’d get a kick out of it: “I’m sitting in the press conference room at AT&T Park and I just talked to the woman who has the job of making sure there is Gatorade
on the table. That’s all she does — make there is enough
Gatorade for the table. Amazing.”

Next up is reader Andrew Hess:

From 2006-2009 I was the Golden Eagle mascot at Marquette University. At the 2009 NCAA Tournament, I was not allowed to drink from my Marquette water bottle. I had to pour the water into a VitaminWater cup and drink from that. (Their parent company, Coke, was a Corporate Champion Sponsor for the tournament.) It is very hard for a mascot to drink out of a cup with the head on.

Our next contributor is Shawn Sweeney:

In my time as a collegiate sports information director, I worked at a lot of NCAA basketball tournaments, and the NCAA is even tougher with their sponsor policies. Much like Raúl Ibañez having to put his water in a Gatorade cup, the NCAA insists that everything goes into their cup of choice. The last couple of years it has been Dasani and VitaminWater.

The big difference compared to MLB is that absolutely all drinks that are on the floor have to go in the Dasani cups — including the cups for everyone on press row. The host site’s media relations staff is usually made up of volunteer SIDs, and some of them draw the job, along with security, of stopping everyone as they enter the court on their way to their press row seats to make sure their drinks are in the appropriate cups.

Last year, when LIU Brooklyn was playing in the second round, our coach brought his own water bottle to the bench and was drinking out of it visibly on TV. At halftime, our team manager was chewed out by an NCAA rep and had to go find a Dasani water bottle for the coach to use. I remember seeing guidelines that something like this was a fineable offense, but no fine was levied, to my knowledge.

The NCAA is ridiculously strict with this stuff. It’s very silly.

Shawn’s report was confirmed and augmented by the following note, from a reader who prefers to remain anonymous:

I can attest that the cup issue is even worse at NCAA tournaments than it is during the MLB postseason. … I have seen coaches set (not pour — set) an entire can of Diet Coke inside the “official” cup so as not to draw the NCAA’s ire. … The NCAA has volunteers at each event whose sole job is to monitor press row and distribute “official” cups whenever someone is spotted using “unofficial” containers. It’s gotten to the point where people put everything in those cups — popcorn, snack mix, candy, etc. — just to avoid the possibility of being hassled.

And so on (there’s more, but it’s pretty much the same thing over and over). I confess that I didn’t realize this cupspiracy was so wide-ranging. Pretty sickening.

And I’ll tell you something else: You don’t need to dislike corporate culture as much as I do to recognize that there’s something fundamentally wrong with using unpaid volunteers — free labor — to enforce branding agreements that bring in jillions of dollars. The whole thing reeks.

This afternoon I’ll be going to Manhattan to talk about all of this in a Bloomberg TV interview. I plan to be drinking from a plain white cup while I’m on camera, and the contents of the cup will be nobody’s business but mine.

+ + + + +

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PermaRec update: The latest installment of Permanent Record is about a bunch of record stores called — well, you can probably guess. Here, see for yourself.

Party reminder: The next Uni Watch party will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3, 3pm, at Sheep Station in Brooklyn. I’ve asked the owners to have some pasta available for you Marathoners, and they’ve agreed, so you’ll be able to carbo-load before the big race the next day.

+ + + + +

Uni Watch News Ticker: Several reports now indicate that Nike may have had an active role in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. Rumors that the company slogan is being changed to “Just Do(pe) It” are almost completely untrue. … Speaking of the Swooshkateers, they’ve inked a deal to supply gear to the IOC. There’s a match made in heaven — two of the most distasteful organizations in sports, joined at the dollar sign. … The Patriots will wear Pat Patriot throwbacks this weekend. … Here’s a pretty fascinating article about Nike’s deal with Purdue and Adidas’s deal with Indiana. Recommended (big thanks to Gary Moore). … Ironman has launched a “champions program” where Ironman winners will wear a special jersey. “It’s omewhat similar to the rainbow jersey worn by the reigning world champion of cycling, but this would be for all past winners,” explains Jeff Williams. … The new short-season single-A team in Hillsboro, Oregon, will be called the Hops. I’m more of a malt guy than a hops guy, but that’s still pretty cool. … New Browns owner Jimmy Haslem held a pres conference yesterday. “He stated that after the season they will take a look at all the aspects of the team, including the stadium and the uniforms,” says Dan Luther. “He went on to say that they would not touch the helmet but that people ‘wouldn’t care what the team looked like as long as they were winning.’ As a Browns fan, the thought of the team looking like the Seahawks makes me feel ill.” … There are lots of rumors floating around regarding next year’s Mets uniforms. What I’ve heard — and I phrase it that way because I don’t know for sure that it’s true, although I have reason to suspect that it is — is that they’re (a) adding at least one blue jersey, and maybe two, and (b) keeping the black jersey for Sunday night games. The only good part about that is that they now suck so bad that they won’t be scheduled for (m)any Sunday night games. As for rumors of a new cap, I haven’t heard anything about that, and I hope it isn’t true. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s why Andray Blatche of the Nets chose No. 0. … After wearing white helmets with white facemasks for the past two weeks, UNC is switching to a navy facemask this weekend against Duke (from Trey Groce). … Not sure what going on here, but this is a Michagan player. Looks like they taped up his helmet to look like it’s from Michigan State. Anyone know more? (From Tony Bacioccoz,.) … The top-scoring player on each team in Swiss hockey gets has to wear a flaming helmet and jersey (from Jason Kravec). … “Today I was in an experiment for psychology class and we had to name which three web sites we visit most,” says Gregory Koch. “I mentioned Uni Watch at number three. It will therefore possibly be mentioned in the study.” This is potentially significant for two reasons: (1) I’ve always wanted to have a psychological syndrome or disorder named after Uni Watch. And (2) this is the first time in memory that Gregory Koch has e-mailed me about anything other than UConn sports. … During the first Presidential debate, the candidates wore party-appropriate necktie colors. Last night, the colors were reversed. … Here’s something lots of readers noticed: Despite all the Yankees’ cash, Mark Teixeira was wearing a big patch on his pants last night. Interesting that they’d rather do that than get him a fresh pair (screen shot by Marcus Solis). … Here’s a rare NOB format: first initial following the name. That’s from ESPN’s E:60 story on Steve Smith. “A quick Google image search didn’t turn up any other ‘Smith S.’ photos,” says A.J. Spring. … “I received an e-mail from the Bradley University athletic department on Sunday,” says Kevin Beebe. “It included a video and survey, which basically boiled down to three choices on the school’s ‘Bradley Braves’ nickname: (1) Keeping Braves as the nickname but having no mascot or imagery associated with the team. (2) Dropping the ‘s’ and becoming the Bradley Brave and possibly have a mascot (something not related to Native Americans). (3) Dropping Braves altogether and creating something new, which may include a mascot. This explains the new logo that debuted this summer, which doesn’t show the word ‘Braves’ anywhere. As an alum, I think I’d like to see them drop Braves completely and think up something new and different. Simply becoming the ‘Brave’ seems like a massive cop-out. Here’s the accompanying video.” … Captain America jerseys on tap for the Toledo Walleye (from Jacob Kubuske). … In a related item, the Rev. Nørb stopped by the National Museum of Roller Skating in Lincoln, Nebraska, and spotted this amazing Captain America-esque quad skate speed team jersey. “Note the years of participation on the sleeve,” says Nørb. … Rob Gronkowski now has his own brand of cereal. No branding of any kind on the jersey. “Also, note the umlaut in cereal name despite there not actually being an umlaut in his name,” says Scott Davis. … Robert Jordan recently scanned a bunch of pics he took prior to a 1979 Orioles/Mariners game. … Gridiron Uniform Database co-founder Tim Brulia will be interviewed tonight on the Leatherheads of the Gridiron podcast. You can use that link to listen live tonight or to go back and listen to it later on. … I’m not a huge fan of swimming or track and field, but those sports are the subjects of three really interesting new infographics. Worth checking out.

 

157 comments to An Ever-Widening Cupspiracy

  • Jim McGee | October 17, 2012 at 7:39 am |

    “A spokesperson for water could not be reached for comment.”

    Gold, Paul. Pure gold.

    • BurghFan | October 17, 2012 at 7:57 am |

      Paul could have tried Coors….

      Those of you who like malty beers should try Spaten’s Optimator.

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 8:04 am |

      Thanks, Jim.

      For those wondering where that line is from, it’s at the end of my Business Week piece:
      http://www.businessw...

  • DenverGregg | October 17, 2012 at 7:54 am |

    Sure, you might like malt more than hops, but have you ever seen a batter hit a short malt to third?

    • JenInChicago | October 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

      Nice

  • Dumb Guy | October 17, 2012 at 7:56 am |

    From Yahoo this morning.
    Bad branding.

    http://sports.yahoo....

  • name dedacted | October 17, 2012 at 7:57 am |

    “A spokesperson for water could not be reached for comment.”

    Posideon’s PR assistant?

  • Dumb Guy | October 17, 2012 at 7:59 am |

    Speaking of beer and of cup controversy……

    http://www.youtube.c...

  • Craig D | October 17, 2012 at 7:59 am |

    I think both debate photos are from the same debate. Romney in red and Obama in blue.

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 8:07 am |

      Yup. How’d I fuck that up? Fixing now….

    • Tony Miller | October 17, 2012 at 11:09 am |

      Is it bad that, when I watched the debate, I thought “These ties are going to be on UW tomorrow”?

      • Arr Scott | October 17, 2012 at 11:26 am |

        Debate Power Rankings, Tie Division, now stands at

        Romney (I)
        Biden
        Obama (II)
        Obama (I)
        Romney (II)
        Ryan

        Romney’s really going to have to step up his neckwear in Debate III next Monday if he wants to avoid the Democrats taking 4 of the top 5 spots. I suggest he consider either a Thurston Howell cravat or a bolo.

  • Kyle Lamers | October 17, 2012 at 8:12 am |

    In regards to the Michigan player with a helmet looking like a Michigan State helmet, I have a feeling its just for practice for the QB to see a green helmet down field. Sometimes in high school we did the same thing; while we practiced our offense, the scout team D would wear these helmet beanies that were the same color as the team we were playing that week’s helmet.

    If that’s the case with that picture, it’s interesting that they would go so far as to stripe it and put the logo on too. You’d think plain green would suffice. But then again, I could be completely wrong about it.

    • TulsaFan | October 17, 2012 at 8:36 am |

      I would assume the michigan state helmets (notice the other one in the background) are scout team players portraying MSU players since they play each other this weekend

    • Dumb Guy | October 17, 2012 at 8:37 am |

      Yeah, i’ve seen the beanies/covers too. The Mich. ‘quipment guys have too much time on their hands.

      helmet_covers_front.jpg

    • Mr.Nathan | October 17, 2012 at 8:52 am |

      If you take a closer look at the picture posted in the ticker, there is a second player in the background wearing the green helmet as well. What I find odd is that one person is wearing a Blue Jersey while the other is wearing white. If they are practicing for an upcoming game, why would they have two different helmets and jerseys? One would think they would make the Defense have the Green helmets and white jerseys while the offense had the usual blue jersey and blue helmet.

    • Tim F. | October 17, 2012 at 9:03 am |

      When living in Ohio, I remember seeing footage from OSU practices where the scout team had their helmets taped-up to look like Meeeeeechigan.

    • Aram | October 17, 2012 at 10:56 am |

      Many years ago, Michigan used to have sets of helmets for opposing teams they used in practice. I remember seeing video footage from the 1980s showing the scout team decked out in Wisconsin lids, and various other similar examples during the weekly highlights shows when they’d show practice footage. This is the first time I’ve seen them using gobs of tape, but I guess that’s more cost- and space-effective.

      It’s also well known a lot of schools have ordered sets of Michigan winged helmets (Notre Dame and Ohio State immediately come to mind) to prepare their teams for the visual impact during the game.

      • boxcarvibe | October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

        Article in Detroit Free Press said that was the scout team, but Hoke wouldn’t confess that they practiced that way. Trying to find the link, seems they’ve pulled it or moved it.

  • scott | October 17, 2012 at 8:14 am |

    How did players do batting practice back in 1979 without warm-up jerseys and caps?

    • The Jeff | October 17, 2012 at 8:55 am |

      Very carefully.

      • Ricko | October 17, 2012 at 9:45 am |

        Yeah, those were tough times to be a Big Leaguer.

        • rpm | October 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm |

          but some, like steady eddie seemed to be wearing white warm-up cleats.

  • WFY | October 17, 2012 at 8:37 am |

    I’m really hoping that somebody being interviewed with one of the branded cups pulls out a flask, empties the contents into the branded cup and then promptly “praises” the brand. Leyland, I’m looking at you.

  • Hank-SJ | October 17, 2012 at 8:42 am |

    Re: Debate necktie colors. Is part of the debate rules that each side notify the other prior to a debate what color suit/tie he will be wearing so they don’t have a blue-on-blue game, er, debate?

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 8:46 am |

      I was wondering about that, too. Phil works for a politician (a NY state senator), so I asked him. He said he wasn’t sure.

      Seems like a plausible scenario, though. “OK, this time we’re going with blue, just so you know.”

    • Nines | October 17, 2012 at 9:12 am |

      They have absurdly long agreements between the two camps, see here:

      http://gawker.com/59...

      I imagine attire could be in there.

    • Mark in Shiga | October 17, 2012 at 10:41 am |

      I’m very happy to see the two candidates wearing the “opposite” colors; the idea that the two main parties should have designated colors seems to be a step downward into classlessness. It also leaves potential other parties with little choice: a third party can claim white, but a fourth one would have to take a color not on the American flag.

      Blue for the incumbent and red for the challenger, as seen in pre-1990s media, is a little better.

      These days I’m hearing not just phrases like “blue states” and “red states” for states that support one part or another, but even “blue/red markets”. This needs to stop.

      Somehow I find the donkey and the elephant kind of whimsical and don’t mind them. Maybe it’s because there are many other animals that other parties could call their own. But colors? Sorry, politics is not a sport where you root for “your team” and wear their colors.

      • Mitchell | October 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

        Color-coding of political parties has long been a tradition in countries with parliamentary systems, but with the opposite colors – i.e. blue has always been the Conservative color, red for Labo(u)r or Liberal, and yellow for Social Democratic.

        IIRC, NBC started this whole color-coding business with their giant map graphics in 1976. However, they went with the prevailing convention and had Ford’s states in blue, Carter’s in red. I think it was only after CBS and ABC got into the act, making the GOP states red and Democratic states blue so their map would differ from NBC’s, that the current color-coding came into effect.

        So politics in other countries has been a color-driven enterprise, but in the United States I’ve always thought of the political parties as red-white-and-blue. Mark, you may well be right – it’s just not the tradition here.

        • timmy b | October 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

          I wonder what color the Green Party should wear??

        • Phil Hecken | October 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

          what’s the “green” party?

  • Matt D (the other one) | October 17, 2012 at 8:43 am |

    Is there any research out there on the negative effects of product placement run amok? I’m not much of a Gatorade drinker (Type 1 diabetic), but I do use it when cycling. Well, I should say I did use it. I’m going to look for something else now, seeing as the Gatorade placement, especially in the press conferences, has put a bad taste in my mouth.

    Paul had his prior reasons for boycotting Coke. Now we have reason (like we needed to search for one) to boycott Pepsi. Maybe this is addition by subtraction. Corporation acts like a fucking idiot. We decide to kick it to the curb. The world benefits.

    • Arr Scott | October 17, 2012 at 11:38 am |

      Matt, I’m a T2 diabetic, and I also drink sports drinks only when cycling. But I’ve found that store brands are identical to Gatorade and cost less. Or anyway the Wegman’s store brand tastes like it comes off the same production line as Gatorade at two-thirds the price.

      Another good Gatorade substitute for post-ride rehydration is beer. Not only does it have electrolytes, but also phytonutrient and macronutrient contents similar to hardcore Recovery Formula mixes.

      • Teebz | October 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

        If you guys want to take this a couple of steps further, Gatorade isn’t really that great for all that it advertises that it does in the past on my blog. Like Mike, I’m a Type-1, and I have to look for something that doesn’t spike my levels. So I did the research.

        Gatorade vs. water
        Gatorade vs. milk post-workout

        While Gatorade does what it says it does – replace electrolytes – it’s no better than drinking flat Pepsi or having a banana smoothie during a workout. In fact, the banana smoothie would be much better for you all-around if you made it with milk as per the articles above.

        • Teebz | October 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm |

          Matt*, not Mike.

          Sorry Matt. Typing quickly while “listening” to a presentation at work.

  • Matt D (the other one) | October 17, 2012 at 8:49 am |

    I think one of two things should happen in the baseball press conferences.

    1. The person at the mike – say Leyland – should just punt those two bottles right off the stage. Just knock ‘em clear off the table.

    2. A player should make a big deal out of pounding the display bottles. Pound the first. Pound the second. And then say something like, “I’d really like to do this interview, but damn is this Gatorade good. Anymore around?”

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 8:51 am |

      We clearly need to get Matt D on the postseason roster.

    • random reader | October 17, 2012 at 10:19 am |

      A few years ago, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver got in trouble for knocking off the bottles of a sports drink placed on the roof of his car once he pulled into Victory Lane. He had an endorsement from a competing sports drink. NASCAR cautioned drivers not to touch the products placed on their cars during future Victory Lane celebrations.

  • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 8:55 am |

    Today’s ESPN column is up (in fact, it apparently went up yesterday, but my editors didn’t tell me):
    http://espn.go.com/b...

    • DenverGregg | October 17, 2012 at 9:28 am |

      Interesting concept, but starting with nothing but miniature NBA jerseys? I represent the extra-mega-jumbo stereotype and would be interested in a subscription for MLB, NFL, MLS, international footy, MiLB, NCAAFB, NCAAH and NHL (if it ever returns), but wouldn’t have any interest in NBA.

    • concealed78 | October 17, 2012 at 11:36 am |

      My questions range from:

      What happens if the jersey gets dirty (like beer or nachos) or damaged?
      Does the price include return shipping & envelope/package? S&H total both ways will probably run around $10.
      I’m assuming a credit card will be involved in case of deadbeats who won’t return an expensive jersey.

      Personally, my take on outdated NOB jerseys is they’re timestamps & if anything, reflect a more true fan than a bandwagoner (tho not proven, of course). That’s why I don’t mock a fan wearing an outdated jersey.

      But I think JerseySquare will work because plenty of people have bought stuff, only wear it once & it ends up on ebay (got some good deals that way).

      For demographics sake: I wear a XL but could pull off a L the way jerseys are cut these days.

      • Christopher F. | October 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm |

        My thoughts exactly on outdated jerseys. Especially for superstars (which are they jerseys they’re starting with).

        Plenty of people still proudly wear Thomas, Ventura, Fisk jerseys at White Sox games.

      • Mark in Shiga | October 18, 2012 at 1:11 am |

        My take is that jerseys should not have names on them, and when you buy a jersey with a given number on it, you support whoever inherits the number next!

  • Lose Rem | October 17, 2012 at 8:57 am |

    Heard on the radio on the drive to work that Lance “Strong-Arm” has been booted from the LiveStrong foundation

  • Chris Holder | October 17, 2012 at 8:59 am |

    The Hillsboro Hops? Love it. Baseball and beer, hand-in-hand.

    Now, is it too early for an icy cold IPA?

    • Ricko | October 17, 2012 at 10:14 am |

      Yup, gotta get me one of those Hops’ hats, that’s for sure.

      • Martin Colloby | October 17, 2012 at 10:35 am |

        Some of the news articles in the Portland area press yesterday were saying that Hops attire would be on sale as early as November. I’m looking forward to wearing one of those caps

        • Arr Scott | October 17, 2012 at 11:40 am |

          Me too, but I’m also a little distressed that Yakima Bears caps seem to be gone from the team’s store. Loved the walking-bear cap and always meant to pick one up.

    • Ray Barrington | October 17, 2012 at 10:51 am |

      If the team is losing, will they be called the Bad Hops?

      • JenInChicago | October 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

        Ha! Nice!

    • ClubMedSux | October 17, 2012 at 10:56 am |

      Like Paul, I’m more of a malt guy too, which is why this is one of the greatest concept jerseys to never grace the ice: http://www.puckdrawn...

  • Tony C. | October 17, 2012 at 9:03 am |

    speaking of what the BROWNS would look like if they had a Seahawks-esq uniform. someone over at reddit.com/r/browns made a mock up of what it’d look like

    http://i.imgur.com/g...

    • Tony C. | October 17, 2012 at 9:04 am |

      the monochrome brown doesn’t look too bad with the some sort of stripe to set it off

    • Tony C. | October 17, 2012 at 9:17 am |

      with orange pants
      http://i.imgur.com/n...

    • tom | October 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

      that’s sacrilege. the br0wns. dont even have a logo. the most recognizable thing about that franchise is the stripes. if nike gave them a new pattern I dont know what I’d do (and i’m not even a browns fan).

      http://www.iphoneret...

      • walter | October 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

        I don’t want to live in a world where you can’t commit heresy on someone’s goddam blog.

        • Phil Hecken | October 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

          or hara-kiri

  • ScottyM | October 17, 2012 at 9:09 am |

    Paul,

    Are you going to discuss the marketing communications strategy behind Gatorade’s current behavior in your interview today? Or, will it simply be an opportunity to slam the aesthetic nonsense of it all and poke fun at the “flacks.” It’s funny to include statements like “a spokesperson for water was unavailable for comment.”

    However, that kind of sarcasm does little to objectively cover this particular story. The story that is: corporate sponsorship and “promotion” that’s been going on in this country since the days of P.T. Barnum.

    As others have stated, what Gatorade’s doing is no different than Poweraide. Nor is it different than what the NCAA did by requiring all hoops courts to be universal black/blue at every site, rather than specific to the location — removing nearly all aspects of the regional flavor of each site.

    What’s happening here is the Gatorade “cup” is a medium … it’s a billboard. Just like in Boston, when you go through the turnstiles to the T, you see a message that’s ultimately referred to as “crotch level ad impression.” Same in NYC with billboards, signs and ad impressions on everything from staircases to urinals. And similar to selling shirts with “Meats” in the Mets script.

    All this to say, it’s a big deal and has been for over a century. I hope that you don’t simply continue to treat this as an opportunity to rant and poke fun.

    Gatorade isn’t making its staff do anything more ridiculous than Marlboro or Red Bull do with their bar shenanigans. You realize Red Bull devises outrageous ways to get kids hooked on caffeine, right? (Handing out free drinks at libraries during finals week.)

    Let’s roll our eyes and throw up our hands at how ludicrous it is. Yet, and here’s my point, it’s serious business and a microcosm of “the medium is the message” as Marshall McLuhan is famous for stating.

    These organizations spend millions to get “impressions.” Of course they’re going to protect their investment. Is it deceptive and/or ridiculous? Debatable … so open that debate and bring it into historical context.

    PS, I believe McLuhan’s also known for his thought: “New media turn old media into art forms.”

    Pretty relevant, wouldn’t you say?

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 9:27 am |

      What’s happening here is the Gatorade “cup” is a medium … it’s a billboard. Just like in Boston, when you go through the turnstiles to the T, you see a message that’s ultimately referred to as “crotch level ad impression.” Same in NYC with billboards, signs and ad impressions on everything from staircases to urinals.

      Poor analogies. A branded cup is implicitly understood to contain the product being promoted on the cup. Insisting that someone drink his water out of a Gatorade cup isn’t billboarding; it’s deception. If they put a Gatorade sign on the podium or in the background, THAT would be billboarding.

      And similar to selling shirts with “Meats” in the Mets script.

      Even worse analogy. That’s satire, poking fun mostly at myself, because the Mets and meat are my two favorite things.

      I hope that you don’t simply continue to treat this as an opportunity to rant and poke fun.

      Yeah, cuz, gosh, mocking corporate douchebags who employ deceptive marketing practices would really be a disservice, eh?

      Gatorade isn’t making its staff do anything more ridiculous than Marlboro or Red Bull do with their bar shenanigans. You realize Red Bull devises outrageous ways to get kids hooked on caffeine, right? (Handing out free drinks at libraries during finals week.)

      What exactly is your point — that Gatorade isn’t the only douchebag on the block? True enough. But they’re the ones whose shenanigans have been showcased in the MLB playoffs, which is part of my beat, so that’s why I’ve been writing about them. I’ll trash Marlboro and Red Bull (and, for an encore, cure cancer and win the Nobel Peace Prize) next week.

      See, this is what happens when you try to defend the indefensible. You end up with your strongest argument being, “They’re not the only assholes — go pick on those OTHER assholes too!”

      These organizations spend millions to get “impressions.” Of course they’re going to protect their investment.

      Ah yes — the inevitable “it’s just business” argument. As if corporate business practices were somehow inherently self-justifying. The problem with that is that self-justification is a poor rationale for a wide range of things: “Hey, I hated the guy, so of course I murdered him!” “I really want to buy a new boat, so of course I cheated on my taxes!” And so on…. Yes, duh, we KNOW they have big investments. So I guess it’s OK for them to do anything to protect those investments, because the investments are too big to fail, eh?

      Wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

      • Ricko | October 17, 2012 at 10:11 am |

        Perhaps a parallel here. In ’67 or ’68 (during Jerry Levias era), was watching an SMU game on TV. Announcers keep calling SMU the “Ponies.” Couldn’t figure out why they’d do that.

        Finally in about the third quarter it dawned on me. The game’s primary sponsor was Chevrolet. Obviously General Motors didn’t want Ford’s still relatively new Mustang being mentioned over and over.

      • ClubMedSux | October 17, 2012 at 11:29 am |

        “See, this is what happens when you try to defend the indefensible. You end up with your strongest argument being, ‘They’re not the only assholes — go pick on those OTHER assholes too!'”

        Well, it IS election season. #rimshot

      • ScottyM | October 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

        Haysus Maria, Paul, you’re touchy. Nothing I said is “wrong.” Why the need to attack, when reading the above message it’s obvious it wasn’t a personal attack on you?

        The point was that the MEDIUM is the MESSAGE. The “deception” you seem to be so hung up on is just ONE aspect of the overall debate.

        It’s important. But it’s no more important than the fact virtually every surface is now sold as a medium. People get paid to shepherd this process. MLB makes $$. “It’s just business” is too simple-minded.

        It’s not about “defending the indefensible,” it’s the damn economy!

        One reason we get to see every single game of the NCAA tournament on television … is this very reason that the NCAA has sold nearly every possible sponsorship space.

        So, what else is deceptive? Does Tiger Woods drive a Buick? Is Aquafina some sort of special water? Will pills make a fat person skinny? Is the 5-headed lady at P.T. Barnum’s circus real (and do the elephants really love to act like dogs)? Because all that is “implied.”

        I’m not defending Gatorade, I’m pointing out to YOU to wake up and DO SOME RESEARCH you know-it-all!

        You’re rationale above is logical. And yet “deception” is a part of nearly ALL marketing activity in some form or another. The science of convincing you that you need something you really don’t is as time-honored as Mutual of Omaha sponsoring frickin’ wild animals!

        So, showcase your sarcasm, opinion and disdain for corporate America as it relates to sports … without actually getting to the REAL point.

        That is your beat, after all. Which means you’ve made a CAREER off of this very subject, you frickin’ hypocrite! (as we all are, might I add)

        And, yes, your Meats shirt is in fact a good representation. Satire, whimsy, fun, it shows your personality. Figure out for yourself what’s deceptive about it.

        The point is, the medium is the message. Welcome to America.

        • Teebz | October 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

          His response was completely valid in terms of picking apart your evidence as opposed to your personal attack on Paul, Scotty.

          Stick to the topic. Debates are about the material, not the messenger.

          And, FWIW, if America’s economy is about deceptive tactics to make you buy something that isn’t actually being advertised, then who is really the fool in this argument – the advertiser who puts up the façade or the comsumer who spends money on a façade based upon brand-name? Think carefully about how you defined America’s economy.

        • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

          Scotty, your argument, such as it is, reduces to this: Everything is fucked, because that’s life, so deal with it.

          That’s not a bad mindset for getting thru a day, but it leaves no room for those of us who think (a) everything doesn’t have to be fucked, and (b) those who are making it fucked should be called to account.

          The fact that I’ve chosen to call out certain aspects of the marketing machine while not calling out EVERY aspect (this week) is does not make my position any weaker. Just because I can’t cure cancer doesn’t mean I can’t try to cure the common cold.

          Oh, and about this:

          One reason we get to see every single game of the NCAA tournament on television … is this very reason that the NCAA has sold nearly every possible sponsorship space.

          This is laughable on its face, not least because it suffers from major chicken/egg problems. Corporate sponsorship enables TV coverage? We both know it’s the other way around.

      • Will S | October 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

        Late to the debate, I know, but I don’t think that you can simply say “wrong, wrong, and wrong again.” To react to your above reactions:

        1. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you see a logo, the internal response of the viewer/potential consumer is going to be more or less the same. It doesn’t matter what’s actually in the cups. Gatorade paid to have their products visible, not for the athletes to actually drink it. I could understand if you thought it was ridiculous if they were making Ibanez/whoever dump out the water and drink a Gatorade product, but they haven’t. They’re just getting what they paid for.

        2. I wouldn’t call Gatorade “corporate douchebags” just yet. Is ESPN a bunch of corporate douchebags for putting their logo on a broadcast of an NFL game? Isn’t the Gatorade cup that’s holding the [other brand] water very similar to the NFL game being held by an ESPN broadcast?

        3. Obviously everybody does this, and I agree nobody is worse than anyone else.

        4. In the end, it is just business. The examples you use involve poor rationales for things that break the law. I’d love to hear rationales for things that you feel are similar but legal (like the Gatorade issue is). Gatorade’s primary job is to make money through making a product that people will buy. They obviously need to be ethical and legal, but what’s wrong with them paying to put their products on display? If your argument had been about how the company that produced Ibanez’s water was suffereing because their product wasn’t on display that would be a strong argument against this being good business, but I still feel like this has been left unanswered. If No Mas said that they would give Uni Watch a bunch of money if they could have advertising and no other t-shirt companies could on your site, would you turn them down or break the terms if you did sign? I can’t say, but I do doubt it.

        I know that Economics Major Will and Journalist Paul have disagreed on the roll of advertising/product placement before, but as long as nobody’s being harmed and the product (the baseball) isn’t being affected, why be aggressive.

        Also, there’s a KFC/Pepsi banner ad on top of the Uni Watch logo at the head of the page. They’re coming for you.

        • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

          At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you see a logo…

          I strongly disagree. In fact, a major underpinning of this web site is that it matters very fucking much where you see a logo.

          They’re just getting what they paid for.

          This is the “It’s just business” argument. It implies that “what they paid for” is fair, ethical, honorable, etc. Those implications are false when applied to a deceptive marketing practice like making someone drink non-Gatorade product out of a Gatorade cup, and also when applied to the larger issue of the carpet-bombing approach to brand saturation.

          For the umpteenth time, business practices are not self-justifying. If they were, then I could say, “Hell yeah, the guy burned your house down because I paid him to do it. Hell, I’m just getting what I paid for.” Now, granted, that hypothetical scenario involves a criminal act, and I’m not implying that Gatorade is doing anything criminal here. But I *am* saying that the mere existence of a business transaction does not make said transaction honorable or right. “It’s what they paid for” is not an argument — it’s a NON-argument, a way to avoid engaging the issue.

          Is ESPN a bunch of corporate douchebags for putting their logo on a broadcast of an NFL game? Isn’t the Gatorade cup that’s holding the [other brand] water very similar to the NFL game being held by an ESPN broadcast?

          This is the “You’re not solving all the world’s problems, so you’re not allowed to solve any of them” argument. And again, it’s a NON-argument. Wanna discuss ESPN’s practices? Sure, we can do that. But for now, how about if we discuss Gatorade, since that’s the issue at hand?

          Obviously everybody does this, and I agree nobody is worse than anyone else.

          Strongly disagree, because most branding exercises don’t include the deceptive practice of implying that someone’s using your product when they’re actually not using it.

          If No Mas said that they would give Uni Watch a bunch of money if they could have advertising and no other t-shirt companies could on your site, would you turn them down or break the terms if you did sign?

          Yes, I would turn down those terms. But even if I accepted the terms, that’s a poor analogy, because my beef with Gatorade has nothing to do with their brand-exclusivity and everything to do with (a) deception and (b) a carpet-bombing/saturation approach, neither of which applies to your hypothetical example.

          as long as nobody’s being harmed and the product (the baseball) isn’t being affected, why be aggressive.

          Because many people instinctively understand that making someone pour his bottle of water into a Gatorade cup doesn’t pass the smell test. It demeans the person doing it, it demeans the forum in which it takes place, it demeans the person whose job is to enforce this absurd dictum, etc. It ultimately demeans all of us. We should be better than this; we are better than this.

          And it’s not just an isolated thing — it’s the drip-drip-drip of little corprorate incursions into people’s lives. The way every single element of a broadcast is corporate-sponsored; the way a typical college football uniform has 18 swooshes on it; etc., etc.

          Most people recognize that these things are distasteful — they roll their eyes, they sigh and shrug their shoulders. Again, they know this stuff doesn’t pass the smell test. But they put up with them, because “it’s marketing.”

          But at least those other things aren’t deceptive. That’s going too far. Making a grown man pour his bottle of water into a Gatorade cup — that’s beneath us as human beings. Or it should be.

      • Phil Hecken | October 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

        “I’ll trash Marlboro and Red Bull…”

        ~~~

        hold it right there…

        • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm |

          Sorry, big fella — didn’t mean to hit you where you live!

  • Rob S | October 17, 2012 at 9:23 am |

    Could Gronk have a derpier face on that cereal box?

    It is fairly common for these athlete-cereal boxes to use genericized or retouched jerseys, since they’re not affiliated with the team or league. A rare exception was when Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov had their own cereals circa 1998; they were not only pictured in their full, unedited Red Wings unis, but they included the “Believe” patch on the front of the box.

    • Dumb Guy | October 17, 2012 at 9:40 am |

      Er meh Gerd, Gerkflerks!

  • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 9:39 am |

    Nike has finally realized that maintaining ties with Lance Armstrong is untenable:
    http://espn.go.com/o...

    • Ricko | October 17, 2012 at 9:49 am |

      Someone should make bracelets…

      DOPING FOR DOLLARS

      • Teebz | October 17, 2012 at 10:32 am |

        DOPESTRONG, Rick? After all, seven TdF titles in a sport rampant with doping (it seems) only makes him the strongest and best cycling drug user. ;o)

        • Ricko | October 17, 2012 at 11:09 am |

          There’s an unfortunate logic to that.

          When I think of the steroid era in baseball and all the home runs hit, I remind myself, “What, the pitchers weren’t juicing, too?”

        • Teebz | October 17, 2012 at 11:37 am |

          Roger Clemens says you’re a damned liar, Rick. LOL

      • Mike Edgerly | October 17, 2012 at 10:36 am |

        There’s already this “Cheat to Win” bracelet: http://store.theonio...

        • tom | October 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm |

          ouch.

          i know ppl with cancer who have embraced the “livestrong” motto.

          i wish nike would just rebrand “livestrong”. there’s alot of positive things that have come from that brand.

          and the proceeds going to cancer research is defiantly not a bad thing

  • zmiller | October 17, 2012 at 10:10 am |

    God you are insufferable. WAHHHH PEOPLE MAKE MONEY WAHHH

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 10:16 am |

      This particular troll, who’s been around for years (my being “insufferable” apparently doesn’t keep him from coming back every day), specializes in misrepresenting my positions.

      Making money is fine; making money through deceptive practices — practices that we all, on some level, recognize as distasteful — is not so fine.

  • Piping Mike | October 17, 2012 at 10:15 am |

    Let me play a version of Devil’s Advocate here on the manadating of certain drinks and/or cups. By one set of logic it’s the NCAA or MLB’s show so the should be able to make the rules. It’s the same exact logic Paul uses when he says no purple on the Uni Watch membership cards.

    So if Paul think’s the drink cup rules are ridiculous, shouldn’t he look in the mirror?

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 10:19 am |

      Textbook straw man argument. Nobody has said they can’t make their own rules.

      They can make whatever rules they like — and are subject to criticism and ridicule when those rules are deserving of criticism and ridicule.

      If you think my “no purple” rule is ridiculous, then sure, by all means, criticize and ridicule it. But I suspect a critique of one person’s admittedly borderline-neurotic eccentricities will find a less sympathetic audience than a critique of deceptive corporate practices.

    • Piping Mike | October 17, 2012 at 10:19 am |

      *thinks (not think’s) – don’t know how that apostrophe got in there. Violated my own pet peeve.

    • Rob H. | October 17, 2012 at 10:33 am |

      Not so much that it’s ridiculous for them to mandate they drink the sponsored Gatorade as it is the whole charade of pouring non-Gatorade in a Gatorade cup to make the audience think the guy is drinking Gatorade is ridiculous.

      It’d serve them right if someone would switch it out and put some prune juice (or something worse) in a Gatorade cup and during the presser the athlete take a big swig of it and then make a funny face and spit it out.

    • Chris Holder | October 17, 2012 at 10:44 am |

      I think there’s an imaginary line in there, though, where a rule just seems to be “sleazy”. Not necessarily wrong, just… something that makes your skin crawl. I guess it depends a lot on your own moral compass, but I think a majority of us can read about some coach potentially being fined for drinking out of an unbranded cup and say, “wait… that’s just wrong!”. If something makes your brain go all WTF, then perhaps there’s a sleaziness factor to it that needs to be reexamined.

      What do I know though, I’m poor.

      • rpm | October 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

        that’s what is really crazy, the fact that you can’t drink out of an unbranded cup, or a water bottle with the label ripped off, or team branded cup, as if the corporate sponsor has to be protected from brand nothing. i can somewhat understand a drink company’s debatably reasonable expectation that other brands won’t be at the table but a non brand?

    • Tom V. | October 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

      Last week when Paul posted these stories I read one comment which hit the nail on the head. It’s no longer an advertisement for what’s IN the cup, rather it’s an advertisement ON the cup.

      Now, I understand (and have adopted) that logic but I’m guessing 99% of the population still thinks “what’s in the cup is what’s on the cup.” It iskind of backward that society needs to be suspicious about these things.

  • Eric S. | October 17, 2012 at 10:25 am |

    This might be a larger social and psychological issue than is worth getting into on this site, but I keep thinking about all the people who are willingly bowing to these rules. Some stooge intern tells Davey Johnson to use a Gatorade cup and suddenly a nearly 70 year old man who makes 2 million a year says yessir and actually does it? Or the mascot situation. Were they going to kick him out of the arena for drinking out of the wrong cup? How would that process actually work? Do they call security? Does some NCAA marketing douche named Blaine physically remove you from the premises? If they actually tried to do something like that over a water bottle, it’s an even bigger PR nightmare.

    I get that in a few of these scenarios we’re talking about college kids who just want to be involved in sports and are happy to be working at the NCAA tournament, but you’re also human beings. Just because somebody works for the NCAA and you don’t doesn’t give them the right to berate another person.

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 10:32 am |

      I suspect there’s some language in every MLB contract (for players, managers, etc.) specifying that you have to follow MLB’s branding rules, etc. So that covers Davey Johnson.

      For a mascot, that’s a low-paying job that goes to a student or other young-ish person — basically, someone who can’t afford to risk his job by making waves.

      If you’re suggesting that there’s a sheeple principle at work here, yes, I’d agree. But there are also some additional factors that lead people to comply with seemingly absurd dictums.

      • Rob H. | October 17, 2012 at 10:41 am |

        Would Davey Johnson really get fined for breach of contract for not following those rules? I can see an ESPN headline: “Nats’ Johnson fined $10,000 for not drinking out of Gatorade cup” and it would be a PR nightmare for MLB/Nats if it got out, right? Or would that kind of news be kept quiet?

        I’m sure back “in the day” Bear Bryant or Vince Lombardi or (insert old school coach of your choice) would have told the stooge PR intern to “get the hell out of here” or to “go f— himself” and then he’d mumble to himself “what the hells happening to this world?”

        • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 10:43 am |

          There has to be a “specimen cup” joke coming up here soon, no?

        • Mainspark | October 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm |

          Instead of Davey Johnson, wouldn’t you LOVE to see some flack tell Bobby Knight when he was coaching that he had to pour his water in to a specific colored cup? It might end up something like this:

          http://www.youtube.c...

  • Aram | October 17, 2012 at 10:49 am |

    Many years ago I was in the volleyball pep band at my university. We were customarily given dinner at every game (pop, hot dog, chips), and when we made the NCAA tournament, it was no different.

    When the dinner came up to us, instead of the usual cans of Pepsi (we were a Pepsi school), they were 20oz bottles, and someone had peeled off all of the labels. Turns out the NCAA put the clamp down and wouldn’t allow the Pepsi logo to be anywhere in the arena. I don’t even think the event was televised!

    And don’t even get me started on the shenanigans we would see behind the scenes at the NCAA hockey tournaments.

  • brinke | October 17, 2012 at 10:49 am |

    Nike dumps Armstrong

    http://espn.go.com/o...

  • brinke | October 17, 2012 at 11:13 am |

    Just confirmed @fox12oregon : Nike will change the name of the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center at their World Headquarters.

  • KT | October 17, 2012 at 11:14 am |

    I’m sure this has been covered at some point this week, but the Bucs will also wear throwbacks Sunday against the Saints. Creamsicles, baby!

  • Cary O'Reilly | October 17, 2012 at 11:20 am |

    That amazing Captain America-esque skate jersey should be the uniform for all U.S. national teams, soccer, olympics and anything else. Awesome!

  • John English | October 17, 2012 at 11:51 am |

    I’d love to see more of those O’s photos if there are more…Robert?

  • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

    I want to get back to something in ScottyM’s (lengthy) comment that I didn’t address my (lengthy) response. He began by writing:

    Are you going to discuss the marketing communications strategy behind Gatorade’s current behavior in your interview today? Or, will it simply be an opportunity to slam the aesthetic nonsense of it all and poke fun at the “flacks.” It’s funny to include statements like “a spokesperson for water was unavailable for comment.”

    However, that kind of sarcasm does little to objectively cover this particular story.

    This kinda misses the point, because “objectivity” (whatever that means, and I’m pretty sure ScottyM couldn’t define it properly in this context) is not my goal here. My goal is to be persuasive, so I’m harnessing all the tools a writer uses when he tries to persuade — including humor, sarcasm, etc.

    When ScottyM says this story should be covered “objectively,” he’s trying to cloak these marketing machinations in a veneer of dignity and respectability. I am attempting to strip away that veneer, because I believe these machinations are not worthy of either dignity or respect. So when I use humor or snark, it’s a calculated attempt to let the air out of the balloon, to the show that the emperor has no clothes, to remove that veneer. It’s a perfectly acceptable response to a corporate marketing machine that actively attempts to deceive people.

    ScottyM is trying to keep everyone’s attention on the Wizard of Oz; I’m more interested in the man behind the curtain.

  • name dedacted | October 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

    Before blue state and red state became codified, i remember that the networks would use different colors.

    I dont remember the specifics, but i do recall being confused as a kid (so 76 or 80) why one map had democrats blue and one had them as red (and vice versa).

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

      It’s so weird how red — the color of communism/socialism/etc. for several generations — has become the GOP’s color brand.

      I’m thinking one of those network mapmaker guys had a little chuckle when he came up with that one.

      • Ricko | October 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

        Similar sensation when I see the big red star for Macy’s.

      • Arr Scott | October 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

        Not just the red thing, but blue is a traditional color of conservative parties in the English-speaking world.

        The general pattern – not universal, but general for most networks in most years before 2000 – was to depict the incumbent party in blue and the opposition party in red. Probably goes back to the wartime experiences of most first- and second-generation TV journalists; it’s common on US military maps to show Americans in blue, enemy in red. Anyway, most TV viewers in 1980 would have seen Ronald Reagan paint the map red, since Carter was the incumbent. And then in 1984, they’d have seen Reagan paint the map blue, since he was now the incumbent and Mondale the challenger.

        Most networks followed this pattern in 2000, which had the effect of making Gore, representing the incumbent party, blue; Bush, representing the opposition party, red. The close election, plus the general stupidity of pretty much every reporter and commentator on TV, quickly led to the lock-in of that happenstance of map color as a permanent metaphor for partisan identification. If Bush had won a landslide in 2000 and then the 2004 race was as close as it really was, then we’d be talking about Republican-leaning blue states and Democratic-leaning red states instead.

    • mike 2 | October 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm |

      FWIW, in Canada the colours are reversed. The Conservative Party is blue and the Liberal party is red. This has been their official branding (buttons, signs, etc) for years.

      (of course our Conservative party would probably be considered far to the left of the Democratic party, but that’s an issue for another day)

      • Arr Scott | October 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

        In an odd way, the American red/blue color division makes sense. By the standards of most of the English-speaking world, Democrats are the more conservative of our parties; Republicans, the more radical.* So blue for the party of institutional continuity and red for the party of structural change makes sense. Just not to Americans, who understand “conservative” to mean something very different from how the rest of the world, or Americans prior to the 1960s, define it.

        *Not a value judgment for or against either. Both impulses have their place in a republic.

    • Mark K | October 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |

      I’ve never taken the time to learn which party is red and which is blue- seems like an absolute waste of brain space to me.

    • Wheels | October 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm |

      NBC’s coverage of the 1980 election (red=Carter, blue=Reagan): http://youtu.be/PsDe...

    • Joseph | October 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

      Yeah when I lived in Europe it was confusing to see the blue/red divide and for it to be opposite, but once I thought about it made much more sense

    • Jack | October 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

      Incidentally, the topic of the red/blue assignment was brought up during Jon Stewart’s interview with J.K. Rowling on Monday.

      http://www.thedailys...

  • Ken Purdy | October 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

    Paul, you may want to check into Coke taking over the concessions at Yum Brands Arena in Louisville during the 2012 NCAA men’s hoops tourney. As you know, Yum is a spinoff of Pepsico, and I understand Pepsi products are sold there.

  • JenInChicago | October 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

    Hey, all….I posted this comment (poorly written rant) on ESPN as well regarding JerseySquare. Can anyone else educate me more on what I was trying to say?

    “I’d be interested to see if MLB has a problem with placing names other than a player’s on an official jersey.

    To clarify, I know that if I wanted to get, say, a green A’s jersey with Athletics across the front, the number 30 and my last name on the back, I can’t get it made. If I had the same last name as the player wearing the number, OK., but because it’s an official jersey, official jersey retailers and MLB cannot / will not supply me with the order.

    Same goes for retired players, I believe the MLBPA has to have approval from the player to offer those jerseys with their name and playing number on the jersey.

    I had a hell of a time getting an A. J. Pierzynski #12 White Sox jersey with the name “Allison” on it instead of A.J.’s. We had to settle on a replica. No one would take our order.

    So, I’m sure I have some of the specifics wrong, but, like I said, I’d be interesting to see what MLB lawyers have to say.”

    • Ry Co 40 | October 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |

      easy fix!

      buy a blank authentic, then talk to either Joe H, or Frosty. have them make the name and number you’d like.

      • Ry Co 40 | October 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

        sorry:

        *commission them to make the info… LOL.

      • JenInChicago | October 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm |

        Yes, I know this….but even a few mom and pops wouldn’t do it. They said it wasn’t worth it.

        • Tom V. | October 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm |

          Wasn’t worth getting caught having done it, or not worth the time and effort?

        • Teebz | October 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

          There’s a reason for that, Jen. MLB allows only authorized shops to add MLBPA names because there’s a cost associated with it.

          MLBPA makes about $20 for every current MLB player’s name on the back of a jersey. The reason for this is that they go to the trouble of licensing a player’s name for usage. Mom & Pop’s Alterations won’t make the mistake of doing something like that because MLB and the MLBPA have strict policies on who can and cannot add names to jerseys.

          I learned all of this when working in the sports clothing industry. NHL jerseys went to four places in Canada for application of NHLPA-licensed names and numbers on the back, and only those four places. They evem have trademarks on the colors and font used by each team in order to protect their brands.

          It’s absolutely idiotic, but the place that the jerseys were we sending to actually was making patches that the NHL no longer licensed for jerseys. Why? Because they still had the templates.

        • Tim E. O'B | October 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm |

          Jen, being in Chicago, you have an excellent resource for custom jerseys: Triple Threat Sports. http://www.triplethr...

          I was able to get an authentic White Sox softball top with “O’Brien” on it, apostrophe and all.

        • JenInChicago | October 18, 2012 at 11:18 am |

          Teebz: Yes. Thank you. That is exactly what I wanted to know…I didn’t know the exact legality behind it, so that helps!

          Tim, Triple Threat would not do it. They flat out refused to sew “Allison” on the Pierzynski 12 authentic jersey. You said you got a softball top, so I sure would hope they were able to customize that!

  • Ben Fortney | October 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    Rumors that the company slogan is being changed to “Just Do(pe) It” are almost completely untrue.

    I smell a DIY project in here somewhere. Yellow shirt, black letters…

  • DonS | October 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    I am not going to get on Gatorade or any other sponsor who shells out money because teams sell everything they can from every inch of advertising in the stadia down to the dirt. I would happily gaze on a cup of Gatorade than the incessant sign boards for such worthwhile shows as Cougartown that invade my view of the fucking game!

    • Ben Fortney | October 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

      Don’t give them any ideas, next you’ll have superimposed logos on cups.

      • DenverGregg | October 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

        . . . and probably the other type of cup too, given enough time. I dread thinking what types of ads will go there.

      • Tony C. | October 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm |

        they already superimpose ads into rerun episodes of How I Met Your Mother

  • Piping Mike | October 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

    Question for Paul – perhaps even something appropriate for the semi-regular Questions for Paul series:

    Paul- You frequently profile persons of many sorts, from big names to regular Joes. Have you ever been profiled yourself in any forum?

    I ask because, in my own occasional self evaulation of life, I try to identify things in people’s lives which lead to happiness. And in doing so, I frequently think about Paul. My interests and opinions don’t always align with his, but I have long admired how he seems to have carved out a niche of unique work and hobbies which really seem to fit him. He doesn’t seem to have followed the route of “traditional” happiness through fame, money, & corporate success and I think it should be lauded. I could definitely see Paul as a chapter subject in a book about people how have found a life that works for them.

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm |

      Thanks for the kind words, Mike.

      Lots of articles have been written about Uni Watch, and about several of my other projects. I don’t think there’s ever been a full-blown profile of me (which is fine).

      Over the years, I’ve gotten many inquiries from people (mostly aspiring writers, but also some non-writers) who’ve said, “How do I get to do what you do, the way you do it?” I never have a good answer to this question, because I’ve never had a formula (and even if I did, who’s to say that the formula would work for other people?). I just follow my creative instincts, create projects that make sense to me, and have been fortunate enough to have found an audience for most of them.

      I’ll say this: It helps to have a point of view. My point of view might loosely be described as minutiae fetishism. That’s the common thread that runs through almost all of my work, and it’s the thing I’m usually trying to express. The individual projects (Uni Watch, Inconspicuous Consumption, Permanent Record, Candela Structures, etc.) are all just iterations of that larger point of view. Articulating and celebrating the inconspicuous — that’s what I’m always trying to say.

      So what I usually end up telling people is, “Figure out what you’re trying to say, and then figure out how to say it.” The subject area (sports, food, business, whatever) is much less important than the underlying expressive point of view.

      That’s when many people — especially younger ones — realize they have no idea what they’re trying to say (or, worse, that they have nothing to say). It takes time to develop a point of view, and still more time to become aware of it, and even more time to learn how to articulate it and harness it.

  • ND | October 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

    Interesting article. Reminds me of Morgan Spurlock’s recent documentary The Greatest Movie ever Sold. That film showed that corporate sponsorship in Hollywood is just as bad, if not worse (To the point where screenwriters have to write a scene to include a mention of Subway).

    • Tim E. O'B | October 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm |

      I’m not saying you’re saying this, ND, but I’d just like to remind people of this before the argument turns to, “IT WASN’T LIKE THIS WHEN I WAS A KID… BEFORE OBAMA… BEFORE NIKE!!!”

      People/businesses have been sponsoring events, programs, plays and, well, pretty much anything you can think throughout all of history. Rome was littered with sponsorship in all aspects of life.

      Now, this doesn’t defend it when it’s innappropriate or gratuitous, but I just feel it needs to be said.

      Sponsorship/advertising is the second oldest profession, and just about as filthy as the first oldest…

      • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

        For the bajillionth time: I have nothing against advertising (and sponsorhship) per se.

        But I have major problems with advertising where it doesn’t belong.

        I’d say advertising on a cup that implicitly gives the impression that the contents of the cup matches the ad on the cup, when in fact that is not the case, is a good example of advertising where it doesn’t belong.

        • Tim E. O'B | October 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm |

          I’m not commenting on that, I tend to agree with you on it, I just hate it when people claim this is a new problem, it’s a problem sensible have had to fight throughout history.

          That’s all.

    • Arr Scott | October 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

      To be fair, this is nothing new. The seemingly exraneous Yorick scene in “Hamlet” was clearly added to make good on Shakespeare’s sponsorship deal with the Gravedigger’s Guild.

      • Tim E. O'B | October 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm |

        Didn’t Billy Shakespeare invent the phrase “Corporate Douchebaggery”?

  • JB | October 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

    Looks like a navy blue (unfortunately named) alt for UCLA homecoming in 2 weeks. There’s a t-shirt that has a navy helmet on it, also.

    http://shop.uclastor...

  • Brinke | October 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

    I know there are a lot of Oregon fans here. This just in from FB:

    Kelsey, Savannah, Michelle, & Stephanie are reminding you that the 2013 University of Oregon Cheerleading Calendar goes on sale beginning midnight tonight, EST. Get yours at http://www.shopgoduc...!
    https://www.facebook...

  • name dedacted | October 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

    I read an article last week that showed livestrong’s money went amd it was mostly not to cancer research.

    Dont have link, but i tjink it was outside magazine.

  • Sheldon Eng | October 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm |

    I am a Michigan student, and my friend works with the athletic staff, specifically equipment. He said it was the scout team who had to do that, and it was a fun rivalry thing (i.e. he mentioned some players would put their MSU decal upside-down) that tied into practicing against your teammates with a different jersey on. He also mentioned it’s just vinyl tape that is used as the “covering.”

  • Graham | October 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm |

    Paul,

    Your photo of the Michigan practice is making its way around the Michigan blogosphere. There is a thread devoted to it on Mgoblog and I just saw a moderator post a thread about it on the Wolverine’s website. Glad to see that some other wolverines are taking notice of your great site. Hopefully, this gets you even more traffic. Keep it up.

  • Tris Wykes | October 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |

    When I was a student equipment manager at MN, each week we taped up the scout team QB’s helmet to look like the upcoming opponent. At first, they were not happy with the practice, but it soon became cool and the “unveiling” every Monday was a big deal. The only problem we ran into was that the ink from the markers we used over the course of the season would bleed onto the helmet and stain it by the end of November. I have photos. I’ll try and dig them out.

  • Joseph | October 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    Maryland has unveiled one-time only uniforms for the season opening game against Kentucky in Brooklyn. Supposedly they are meant to honor the Brooklyn Dodgers but aside from a somewhat similar script I’m not seeing that. I do like the gray though

    http://www.washingto...

  • Winter | October 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm |

    The logo for the FBI’s Safe Online Surfing program leaves something to be desired.

    http://www.fbi.gov/n...

  • Cort | October 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    The Nike press release on severing ties with Lance Armstrong is a remarkable document. News reports link Nike to bribing anti-doping officials. Hours later, after a week of standing by their man, Nike announces that it is deeply disappointed with Lance, and he’s dead to them.

    There are some similarities to Penn State’s handling of Joe Paterno, right down to removing his name from a building on their campus. And the intent seems similar: they’re trying to distract the public from their complicity in a massive scandal.

    It’s a much bigger deal than Gatorade cups, however obnoxious Gatorade cups are.

  • Ryan | October 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |

    I wonder if all the fallout surrounding Armstrong & Livestrong will cause Sporting KC to think twice about its stadium naming rights deal with the company.

  • Graf Zeppelin | October 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm |

    What I’ve heard … is that they’re … (b) keeping the black jersey for Sunday night games.

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Actually, I can live with the BFBS as long as (1) they only wear it twice a year, like they did in 2012, and (2) there is no black anywhere on any other Mets uniform.

    I’m not thrilled about having blue softball tops, because I’m afraid they’ll wear them too often and supplant the utterly gorgeous road grays. But, que sera sera.

    I also think they should switch the fabric color of the two home unis. Make the pinstripes white to match the original, and make the un-pinstriped jerseys off-white for a nice fauxback.

    • Ben Fortney | October 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |

      Rumor I’ve read is that it’ll be for “Mike Piazza” night, which is in line with when they wore them this year, days honoring 90s mainstays Alfonzo and John Franco.

      • Arr Scott | October 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm |

        That would be good news, because they will very soon run out of BFBS-era players to honor, and we can be done with it for good.

        • Mike Engle | October 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

          If the Pirates can “honor” Roberto Clemente by pairing special old gold crown, black brim caps with the black softball top, why can’t the Mets just wear the god forsaken black caps with the snow whites and call it a day? Oh, right, the Mets’ black tops are so atrocious, there is STILL some lingering stock in the gift shop.

      • Mark in Shiga | October 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm |

        The least they could do would be to wear the ’98-99 black home jerseys which have the drop shadows but no names. Those look really nice — the drop shadows only look ugly when they try to do big clunky NOB letters with shadows.

  • Arr Scott | October 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm |

    Found a website that I suspect other UWers may appreciate. Not A Real Thing:

    http://www.metadotco...

    Which I found while deep down the rabbit hole trying to prove whether it really is a Field Notes Brand notebook Jax Teller is carrying around this season on “Sons of Anarchy,” which led me to look for pictures of the many fake-brand props the show uses, including my personal favorite of the square bottle, black label Jake Danzel’s Old No. 2 Kentucky Whiskey. Of which Not A Real Thing has a photo.

  • Patrick_in_MI | October 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm |

    Hilarious yet sad. A gallery of apostrophe catastrophes:

    http://www.buzzfeed....

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

      Those are not apostrophe catastrophes.

  • Michael | October 17, 2012 at 9:13 pm |

    I hope you’ll post a link to the Bloomberg TV piece.

    • Paul Lukas | October 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm |

      Yes, of course. I’m told it probably won’t go up until Friday morning.

  • Chance Michaels | October 17, 2012 at 10:19 pm |

    I for one am glad that the Democratic Party wasn’t assigned red, regardless of why or how that came to be.

    There are already far too many Republicans eager to lob accusations of Communism, they don’t need to be assisted by visual color-association on every newscast.

  • phil garza | October 18, 2012 at 12:52 am |

    http://spartanavenue...

    Here’s an article on those Michigan helmets.

  • jedi54 | October 18, 2012 at 1:06 am |

    Glad to see NE wearing the greatest white helmet of them all.

    The only white hats I like are:

    1. Pat the Patriot
    2. SMU Mustangs
    3. Texas Longhorns

    Every other team needs colored hats and pants without stripes, except the Sooners. Oklahoma should always have the crimson stripes down the sides.

    • Rob H | October 18, 2012 at 1:37 am |

      4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976-96)

  • KB | October 18, 2012 at 3:22 am |

    Terribly original idea for Bradley nickname.

    Bradley Mockingbirds.

  • Paul Q. | October 18, 2012 at 4:20 am |

    “…but this is a Michagan player.”
    You have one too many letter “A”s in that sentence Paul.