The NBA season tipped off last night and, as you can see at right, the Heat commemorated their championship by wearing gold-lettered and -numbered jerseys (plus they also had an O’Brien Trophy patch). The whole “Let’s celebrate by wearing gold” thing isn’t exactly my favorite uniform trope of recent years, but I think this Heat design looked really, really good. Gold fits really well with their color scheme, no?
Naturally, there were also some crazy sneakers, most notably the ones worn by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. (And for some reason the Getty photographer took a ton of photos of Derrick Rose’s sneakers, too.)
Naturally, the Heat raised their championship banner. They also received their rings, which look like so:
Notice anything unusual about that last photo? Here, take a closer look — a triple apostrophe catastrophe. Arrgghh! An egregious grammatical error cast in precious metal for all the world to see, how lovely. (For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, look here.)
Meanwhile, as long as we’re talking about the NBA, here are some additional notes:
• A source who used to work for the Timberwolves says the team will have a black sleeved alternate later this season.
• Reader Andrew Powell-Morse has created a series of charts and graphs showing how NBA players break down by race, by salary, by position, and more. Interesting stuff — recommended.
• Finally, on an embarrassing note: As several readers have pointed out, my NBA season-preview column, which was posted on ESPN on Monday, had a major omission: I neglected to mention that the Magic are wearing a 25th-season patch. Missing the boat on that patch was a major gaffe on my part. Orlando had worn the patch throughout the preseason, but somehow I just missed it. No excuses, no rationalizations — I just blew it. Mea culpa, and my thanks to everyone who pointed it out.
Radio is a sound salvation: Media people — myself included — are constantly
stealing borrowing ideas from each other. Case in point: On Sunday I was quoted in a New York Times story about the deplorable state of MLB pants. Approximately 48 hours later (i.e., yesterday morning), I was contacted by the folks at NPR’s All Things Considered program, who wanted to interview me about, of course, the deplorable state of MLB pants. You can hear the audio of the resulting segment — heavily edited from the original interview, which ran about 12 minutes — here.
This is maybe the third or fourth time I’ve appeared on All Things Considered. Here are some behind-the-scenes details that might interest you:
• Before you do the actual interview with one of the hosts, you have to do a “pre-interview” with a producer, who asks you lots of the same questions that will eventually be asked in the real interview. The producer also takes notes on your responses to these questions, and those notes are then given to the host conducting the real interview. So the host sort of has a crib sheet telling him or her what to expect. I understand why they do this, but I don’t care for it — it kinda ruins (or at least compromises) the spontaneity of the real interview.
• Most radio shows are happy to interview me over the phone. Some of them don’t even mind if it’s my cell phone. But NPR shows, including All Things Considered, always want me to come in to NPR’s Manhattan studios, because they’re obsessed with getting good audio quality. I appreciate and respect this, but I usually refuse to make a special trip to Manhattan just for a short radio spot — it blows too big a hole in my day. NPR producers and I have butted heads over this for years (one time they actually sent an audio crew to my house and had someone hold a boom mic over me while I did the interview on the phone, so that my audio would sound as good as the host’s audio), but recently they came up with a good solution: an iPhone app called Report-IT, which creates a broadcast-quality audio file. I believe this is what NPR reporters (and, I assume, lots of other broadcast journalists) use when reporting “from the field.” Anyway, the upshot is that I no longer have to argue with NPR producers about going to the goddamn studio, because now I can just do the interview over the phone while using Report-IT.
• All Things Considered has a standing policy: If you’re a working journalist and they interview you for a news story, like they did with me yesterday, they pay you $100. This isn’t an NPR-wide thing — just for All Things Considered. Obviously, a single C-note isn’t going to make or break me. But given the many hours’ or maybe days’ worth of free programming content I’ve provided to various radio stations over the years, it’s nice to see a little scratch.
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NHL Poster Raffle: Last week Brinke linked to a bunch of eBay listings for those early-1970s NHL posters that everyone seems to like. The guy selling those posters is named Matt Miskelly. His father owned the company that produced the posters, which is why Matt has so many of them to sell.
Anyway: Brinke’s links to Matt’s auctions apparently resulted in a lot of sales, so Matt is showing his gratitude to the Uni Watch readership by raffling off one of the five posters shown above.
To enter, send an email with your name and address to the raffle address by next Monday, Nov. 4, 7pm Eastern. One entry per person. The winner, whose name I’ll announce next Tuesady, will get to choose a poster from the five designs shown above.
Big thanks to Matt for doing this — good stuff.
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An addition to the Uni Watch family: Meet Mike Chamernik, one of two new Ticker interns who’ll be assisting me in the coming weeks. The Ticker you’re about to read today was compiled by him.
Mike is 23 and has a journalism degree from DePaul, where he covered the school’s sports program. Although he lives in Chicago, his favorite teams are the Brewers (MLB), Lions (NFL), Panthers (NHL), and Bucks (NBA), and he asked for an old-school Magic treatment on his membership card, so it would be fair to say that he’s a man of eclectic and inscrutable rooting tastes. Judging by a bunch of emails and one Skype session, I’d say he’s also a very smart fella, and a nice guy to boot.
Mike and my other new Ticker intern, Garrett McGrath (who I’ll be introducing to you next week), beat out a large field of highly qualified applicants who responded to my recent “Help Wanted” call. For now, I’ll just be outsourcing the Ticker to them for one or two days a week, but they may end up assuming larger roles on the site as we move along. Please join me in welcoming them to the Uni Watch family.
Here’s Mike’s inaugural Ticker — enjoy.
Baseball News: Many readers sent this in: The Akron Aeros have changed their name to the Akron RubberDucks. “Kind of a clownish name,” says Rob Ullman, “but everything about the Aeros identity (teal and purple, dumb cartoon mascot, ugly unis) was so half-assed that it’s basically a wash.” Here’s how the new logo will look on the caps, and here’s the team’s official fight song. … Pitcher Ken Ray of the Rakuten Eagles in Japan was hit in the face by a line drive last month. When he returned, he wore a masquerade party-inspired mask for protection (from Mike Kotler). … “I was watching the World Series on Monday night and I noticed David Ortiz seems to have a bat grip on his bat handle like you would find on a metal bat,” says Fran Simmonds. “I did some digging around and found a company called Lizard Skins Baseball, and they claim he is using their product.” Fran found some other players who use the tape, too. … San Diego State’s baseball team played a game in Halloween costumes. … “There’s a small subgroup (which includes the ubiquitous Terry Proctor) of Red Wing uniwatchers,” writes Brian Bennett. “Paul Bielewicz and Craig Brown did some really in-depth research on full uniforms throughout the team’s history. From their work and my own research, I’ve noticed a pattern (or anti-pattern?): an incredible lack of consistency in the R letterform used by the team on hats, jackets and jerseys. So it will be interesting on Nov. 1 to see if the Wings utilize one of the many R letterforms from their past, or add one more.”
NFL News: Mental Floss has a T-shirt with a spin on the NFL shield (from Max Weintraub). … Remember the Browns DIY quarterback jersey floating around the interweb? David Teigland passes along a Vikings fan who did the same thing. … The Chargers will be honoring their 1963 championship team on December 1. “One could only hope this means powder blue jerseys and helmet numbers for the game,” says Rich Paloma. … The Rams will be wearing 1999 throwbacks versus the Titans on Sunday.
College Football News: No photo, but Benji Boyter notes that Clemson’s Vic Beasley went JrOB (Jr. on back) during their game against Maryland this past Saturday. Typically, he just has his last name on the back. … Fordham will have Autism Speaks puzzle piece decals on their helmets on Saturday. … Troy will be wearing a alternate uniform for its game on Halloween (from Ryan Bohannon). … Daron Nowak sees Richard Nixon on the back of CJ Brown’s helmet, above the “M” in Maryland (Here’s a zoomed-in view). “The helmets are hand-painted, so there may be wierd shit like that on the helmets,” Nowak says. “Some uber-Uniwatcher should review all pics from the game and look for funky details such as this one.” … Arizona State will be wearing gold helmets, white jerseys and maroon pants on Thursday versus Washington State, the first time the Sun Devils have worn that combination since their branding relaunch in 2011 (with thanks to Marc Altieri). … Purdue will be wearing black helmets on Saturday. … Oregon football raised over $200,000 by auctioning off autographed game-worn pink helmets. Whoever bought the Joey Harrington-signed helmet surely got it at a discount. … New Mexico will retire Brian Urlacher’s No. 44 jersey. … Mark Flightmaster passes along a great slideshow of the now-defunct Xavier football team. Note all the striped socks, Bowling Green’s helmet decals, and the interlocking “XU” logo. … Phil sends a couple of items: Purdue researchers are developing a new shock-absorbing helmet to help prevent concussions, and Michigan State might wear their alternate uniforms this Saturday against Michigan. When asked if the team would wear the alternates, coach Mark Dantonio said, “I guess I would anticipate it. Would I expect it? Don’t know if I’d expect it.” Hall of fame coach-speak example, right there.
Hockey News: It’s the time of the year for “spooky” themed jerseys (from Phil). … Lyndsey Fry, a forward who’s trying to make the women’s USA hockey team, honors the memory of teammate Liz Turgeon by carrying Turgeon’s jersey with her. … The Saskatoon Blades will be wearing 1984 throwback sweaters for two games this week.
NBA News: Matt Beahan sends along several items: The Knicks used the Yankees-esque “NY” logo, but here’s a shot that shows the Knicks wordmark over it; The 1949-50 Rochester Royals team photo has players with contrasting typefaces and number fonts; Someone (Porter Meriwether, maybe?) is wearing a different uniform than his teammates in this 1962-63 Syracuse Nationals team photo; the CBA’s Maine Lumberjacks wore Sonics-inspired uniforms in the early 1980s; and, the CBA’s Tampa Bay Thrillers adopted the Blazers’ diagonal stripes for their own uni set. … Alan Kreit spotted the New York Nets ABA championship banners hanging at Nassau Coliseum.
College Hoops News: “UConn is getting new basketball uniforms for 2014-15 that will be completely new, unlike this year’s which are only sort of new,” says Gregory Koch. “Makes me wonder why we don’t just go with the new new uniforms this year.” … New uniforms for Stephen F. Austin (thanks to Chris Mycoskie). … Here’s a history of Maryland’s basketball uniforms (from Steve Hoyle).
Grab Bag: New jersey sponsor for Real Salt Lake for 2014 (from Karson Kalian). … The USA Olympic freeskiing and luge teams unveiled their new uniforms for the upcoming Winter Olympics. Also, every article of clothing for Team USA is made in the country (from Tommy Turner) … “I was at a Duluth (MN) Denfeld high school football game a few weeks ago and noticed the socks they were wearing,” says Jarrod Leder. “They had stirrups on them! They were directly on the sock, not a separate piece of hosiery. You can see that some of them need to pull them up, but the overall effect was pretty sweet for No. 25 in this photo.” … Subway maps have an intricate science behind them (thanks, Brinke). … Want a swatch of turf or a turnstile from the Astrodome? Head to Houston this weekend. Workers have been carefully tearing up the dome and sorting items for a yard sale Saturday (thanks, Mike Klug). … Milan (Michigan) High School saluted the military on Friday night with camouflage uniforms. But really, if they’re that garish, how can they be camouflage? (Thanks, Jim Polacek). … “Pyeongchang 2018 released their paralympics logo,” says Dan Kurtz. “It’s basically two of the ‘snowflakes’ that originates from the Korean word “창” which is the 2nd part of the cities name ‘chang’. … The Arena League’s Pittsburgh Power has a new uniform. … Nike is challenging a 50-year-old tariff in hopes to better compete with New Balance. … A high school football player with autism scored a touchdown wearing a Pinktober jersey (from Chris Perrenot). … Want to see a tattooed guy with an unruly goatee write beautiful script with a paintbrush? No? Oh. Carry on, then.
What Paul did last night: Did you know that Dorothy Parker bequeathed her entire estate to Martin Luther King, and that her ashes eventually passed into the possession of the NAACP, which buried them at their Baltimore headquarters more than 20 years after her death? Or that a few fragments from the poet Percy Shelley’s skull are held (and available for viewing!) at the New York Public Library? Or that one of Alastaire Cooke’s cancer-ridden legs was sawed off of his corpse by organ thieves?
I learned all of this, and much more, last night at a presentation devoted to famous dead people’s body parts that ended up in unusual places. The event was hosted by a Seattle writer named Bess Lovejoy, who’s written a book on the subject.
My favorite thing about all these stories is that almost all of them include a banal aspect. Dorothy Parker’s ashes, for example, spent years in her attorney’s file cabinet before being passed along to the NAACP. And while you’ve probably heard that Napoleon’s penis was displayed in various museums (I remember first hearing about that when I was still in junior high), you might not know that it also spent a lot of time in a suitcase under a bed in New Jersey. There’s something sort of endearingly non-dramatic about that.
Party reminder: Remember, Uni Watch party this Saturday, Nov. 2, 2:30pm, at Sheep Station. Hope to see lots of you there.