One of the sadder aspects of covering the uniform beat is that it’s my job to watch the Pro Bowl. And that aspect of the job was never sadder than last night. I had considered getting one of the interns to handle it, but that seemed too cruel. So there I was last night, along with the Pro Bowl’s 23 other viewers, parked in front of the teevee. Sigh.
You know the drill: The uniforms featured highlighter colors and GFGS and generally looked like what some D3 school would wear if they’d ordered cut-rate “rivalry” uniforms from the Nike catalog. I’m fairly certain the following words have never been said before (at least not truthfully): You’d have been better off watching the Grammys.
Still, a few details worth mentioning:
• Each player wore small stars above his NOB, denoting how many Pro Bowls he’d participated in. This looked fine during close-ups, but from a distance the stars often looked like dots, making it seem like NOBs all over the field had sprouted a bad case of umlauts.
• Josh Gordon of the Browns wore an orange visor. Between his helmet, his visor, and the white uniform’s orange trim, he was probably the most color-coordinated player on the field. (My thanks to reader Aaron McHargue for this one.)
• Another rare player who didn’t look completely embarrassing: Cameron Wake of the Dolphins.
• All players wore a silver/black version of their team logo as a sleeve patch. Naturally, this posed a problem for the Browns, whose players wore a plain silver helmet. Lame. Why not use a silver version of Brownie the Elf? (That sound you just heard in the background was The Jeff screaming for the Browns to get a helmet logo already, but just ignore him.)
• Both teams wore silver-ish numbers that were often hard to discern, depending on how the light was hitting them. But Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, who chose the two rosters, were wearing sideline T-shirts with solid-colored numerals that were much easier to read.
Also: Several readers, noting that the two teams weren’t selected until Wednesday, wondered how Nike got the jerseys made in time. Maybe it’s just me, but four days seems like plenty of time to get 86 jerseys set up. Or maybe they just had two jerseys made ahead of time for each player — one white and one gray. Either way, doesn’t seem like rocket science.
(My thanks to all contributors, including Joshua Buksbaum, Brian Engle, Jacob Kennedy, and Aaron McHargue.)
Meanwhile, on the ice…: The Rangers and Devils had their Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium yesterday. A few thoughts:
• The Rangers would’ve been better of with their standard white uniforms. The Stadium Series version has that annoyingly shaped shoulder yoke and the “metallic” lettering that doesn’t look at all metallic. Textbook case of fixing something that wasn’t broke.
• One interesting thing about the Rangers’ uniform, though: It was kinda cool how the diagonal sleeve stripes often ended up being parallel to the ice surface based on the way the players moved. Nice visual effect.
• Reader Alan Kreit spotted something new: Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has a tattoo on his back.
• As for the Devils, it was great to see them trimmed in green again — or it would have been if they had used a consistent shade of green. As it turned out, the green on the jerseys was much darker than the green on the pants and socks. Pfeh.
You can see dozens of additional photos here.
’Skins Watch: Oneida Nation representatives met on Friday with the United Nations’ Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights to discuss the human rights implications of the ’Skins team name (from Tommy Turner).
Baseball News: Check out this gorgeous Babe Ruth pocket watch that’s up for auction (from Bruce Menard). … Three Japanese baseball items from Jeremy Brahm: The Yakult Swallows will wear green jerseys for seven home games this summer; new road uni for Yokohama DeNA; and the Hanshin Tigers have a new logo for the 2014 season. … Here’s a shot of Dodgers first base coach Manny Mota wearing the team’s 1980 All-Star Game patch. The thing is, that shot isn’t from 1980 — it was taken from the second game of the 1981 season, when Mota should have been wearing the team’s Los Angeles bicentennial patch. You can see for yourself at the 1:10:42 mark of this video (great catch by Dave Traub). … Also from Dave: Brooks Robinson appears to have been wearing a logo-less batting helmet in the 1971 All-Star Game. … Check out this shot of Nolan Ryan in his Little League uni. See that line toward the bottom of his left pant leg? James McNamara is wondering if that might be a “blouse here” indicator. I kinda doubt it, but it’s an intriguing thought. … Who’s that one the mound? None other than Darryl Strawberry, pitching for his high school team in 1980 (thanks, Phil). … “I just returned from Tucson, where I managed one of the four teams in the Dodgers/Angels Fantasy Camp last week,” says ex-MLBer Jerry Reuss. “Thought you would like to see the socks worn by camper Greg Rothman in Saturday’s All-Star Game.” I see he also chose a significant uni number! … “During the Brewers’ fanfest on Sunday, the team announced it had signed free agent Matt Garza,” says Dan Cichalski. “Garza usually wears No. 22, but Brewer Logan Schafer already had that number. Well, Schafer gave up the number for Garza and got a new jersey during fanfest!” Here’s Schafer wearing his original No. 22 at fanfest, and here’s a shot of him after the number switcheroo. … We all know that the A’s wear white shoes, but apparently nobody told Joe D. (from Richard Paloma). … Holy moly, look at all the advertising patches being worn by these umpires (from Mitch Barbee). … SABR member Amy Tetlow Smith has written a research paper titled “Scorecard Advertisements as Social History.” The good news is that it’s available here. The slightly frustrating news is that the text refers to dozens of images that are all in a separate file, here. Too bad they weren’t integrated into one, but it’s still fascinating stuff (big thanks to Jerry Wolper).
NFL News: Wilson — the company that makes the NFL footballs — has produced a series of minimalist graphics that document key Wilson-driven moments in Super Bowl history. Okay, so they’re basically corporate propaganda, but the graphics are pretty cool. They’ll be adding a new graphic each day from now up through Super Sunday. … Here’s a good piece that breaks down Super Bowl results — and predicts this year’s winner — based on team mascots. … Brady Phelps got in the Super Bowl spirit by making himself some Seahawks and Broncos pancakes. … Meanwhile, ’tis the season for Super Bowl-themed soda displays, as seen here, here, and here (thanks, Phil). … Each student at a Seattle elementary school received a free Seahawks jersey last Friday.
College Football News: “This photo of an updated Louisiana-Monroe helmet has been circulating among boosters and alumni,” says Michael Cossey. “The gold facemask and gold accents on the center stripe are both new. It also looks like the warhawk head on the side is more metallic than in years past. If this makes it to the field in 2014, it would be the first significant helmet change since the ULM Indians became the ULM Warhawks in 2006.” … What’s with the big sun patch? “That’s the jersey worn by running back Hascall Henshaw of Arizona State University (then known as Arizona State College) in the 1940 Sun Bowl,” explains Raymie Humbert.
Here’s a good breakdown of which brands of gear are being worn by the players on the U.S. Olympic hockey team (from Tom Mulgrew). … Remember the uniforms the Lake Erie Monsters wore for their recent outdoor game in Rochester? They wore them again on Saturday night (from Tom Pachuta). … The Cedar Rapids Roughriders are celebrating their 15th season. But instead of wearing a patch, they’re using their anniversary logo as their jersey crest (from Al Gruwell). … Here’s the mask that Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen will be wearing while playing for Finland in the Olympics (from Mike Engle).
Soccer News: New kits for the Japanese team Vortis Tokushima. The sponsor, Pocari Sweat, is a sports drink. I’ve always loved that they use a Coca-Cola-ish wave in their package design (from Jeremy Brahm).
College Hoops News: As you probably know by now, Marquette wore pink uniforms on Saturday. Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan initially Twitter-trashed the pink look but then beat a hasty retreat after hearing it was part of the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. Should’ve stuck to your guns, Danny boy: Good cause or no, it was a brutal look.
Grab Bag: This article about corporations recognizing that global climate change is affecting their bottom lines includes a few grafs about how Nike is dealing with the problem. … The Pentagon has announced that Sikhs and Muslims in the U.S. military will now be permitted to wear beards. … Same shit, different douchebags: Under Armour has come up with an answer to Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan (from Willard Kovacs). … Lots of great-looking striped socks — intended for rugby, I think, but suitable for everyday wear — here. Plus that company has an animated scrolling favicon! (Big thanks to Brian Wulff.) … Auto racing news from David Firestone, who writes: “In the Rolex 24 at Daytona, driver Richard Westbrook was wearing a helmet that had both a side and a top ventilation port, which is something I have never seen. Most helmets have one or the other.”
You should listen to this: By far the best new album I’ve heard in recent months is Year One by the Columbus band Connections. It’s actually an anthology of the two LPs and one EP they released in 2013 (yes, they’re productive little buggers), and it’s pure gold. Haven’t seen them live yet, but I’m hoping they come to NYC super-soon. Until then, I’ll have Year One on heavy rotation, and I strongly recommend that you do the same. Dig:
What Paul did
last night two nights ago: On Saturday the New Girl and I went over to our friends Michelle and Mark’s house, where we had dinner and then watched the David Cronenberg film eXistenZ, which is about virtual reality gaming (and which I hadn’t seen since its original release in 1999). Given how video gaming has gotten much more “real” in the 15 years since eXistenZ was made, the film is remarkably prescient. It also has a connection to The Matrix (just like in that film, people in eXistenZ are fitted with surgically implanted ports so they can be plugged directly into virtual reality settings), and its exploration of our relationships with technology prefigures some of the current cultural dialogue regarding Her. Plus it has all the usual Cronenberg creepiness. Not in Cronenberg’s upper echelon but still recommended.