By Phil Hecken
Weekend readers will recall the most recent design contest held earlier this year — to design uniforms for the Lewis & Clark Baseball League — a contest which took up a good number of Saturdays (and Sundays). It was the brainchild of league Executive VP, Ross Clites, and many of Uni Watch readers (and designers) participated in the contest, and even more of you took the time to vote for your favorite designs. I won’t link back to all the contest/voting (but you can read about the beginning, the final voting on designs, and the the commencement here), but today I am pleased to bring back Ross, who will bring us up to speed on what has become of the contest since all the winners were chosen. Let’s just say it’s been a long and winding road.
The teams played the first half of their season, and the midseason break concluded with an All-Star Game held at beautiful Busch Stadium in St. Louis. All the designers who had submitted winning concepts were also invited — and as you can see from the splash photo — four of them were able to get to the game and the festivities surrounding the event.
Here then, is Ross — who took all the contest entries, helped sort out the winners (with your voting assistance), worked with the winning designers on a final concept, then worked to get those designs (for caps and jerseys) made into actual on-field product. And Lou Brock was there! How cool is that?
The Lewis & Clark Baseball League All-Star Game and more
By Ross Clites
Not sure whether we were the chicken or the egg on the idea, but we beat MLB to the execution of using the 2014 All-Star Game as the stage to unveil our alternate caps. For the first year and a half of the LCBL, uniformity ruled the hat aesthetics. We knew we had a new product that needed to get its name out there — too early to splinter off our identity to the team ranks. If someone in the local scene heard the team “Travelers” tossed around, it had to be known that our league was its umbrella brand. We settled on an epsilon ampersand, because it a) looked cool, b) tied Lewis to Clark in nearly every documented account of their lives, and c) punctuation as a prominent front-of-cap logo was ambiguous enough to be a great conversation starter on recruiting trips. The New Era 59/50 cap, with all the specs of the pros, really look sharp in all ten (err, nine) team color combinations. The unwavering composition, with only the hues varying, makes them a truly unified family — like a collector’s set. If we went with team logos too soon, prople in airports or restaurants would assume it was some random Single-A or youth travel program’s cap. They would move on with their day, never asking to know more.
But when our Midsummer Classic rolled around, it was finally that time. We utilized the skill sets of several great Uni Watch contributors for the designs; O.C. Sports delivered the great flex-fit product. We now have two on-field game caps that provide a visually interesting set of aesthetic rules: team logo cap at home and the ampersand on the road. This follows the traditional sports theme of “tell us where you’re from” for visiting teams, while playing up the nickname at home.
This guideline coincides with our LCBL players wearing grey pants whenever they are the guests on the scoreboard. In the color vs. color era (until we can afford a second set of jerseys per team) these subtle differences help organize the action for tardy spectators. The uniforms were masterfully created by the fine people of Garb Athletics. The sleeve patches are insanely intricate and Steve Rosenbeck’s staff knocked it out of the park. President Nicholas Mahrt and I knew the jerseys would be hot (like physical temperature), but thick tackle twill was the only way to go. We remembered our playing days and how ballplayers almost account for the restrictions and weight of the best-made uniforms. I personally believe Dri-Fit t-shirt jerseys and sublimated numbers are the downfall of baseball today. I’ll meet you in the middle on mesh, but you have to have the visual depth that twill letters and numbers provide.
The beauty of our game is remaining comfortable in the uncomfortable moments. It isn’t quite wool any longer, but even today’s professional ranks still have to perform in cumbersome apparel. Thanks to the Uni Watch contest, our Lewis & Clark Baseball League players can embrace that authentic uncomfortability while looking really sharp. I am not blowing smoke when I say a few of these on-field looks could convince even a trained Uni Watcher that they’re new franchises in the Eastern League of AA. Let’s take a look at how everything turned out in 2014 (click on any image to enlarge):
Like most, CAPT look best at home, where their white side panel carries down on to their white pants. The front panel of the alt. cap ties it all together with just the right amount of white. And that bird (Clark’s nutcracker)… so good. It makes the Baltimore Oriole look like it was thrown together by a third grader.
Joining the class of traditional “headspoon” piped jerseys, DIPL has a vibrant A’s alt. feel. They have the only LCBL cap, of any kind, with the same color brim/crown combination. Their kelly-on-kelly green O.C. Sports hat took into consideration just how loud their jersey is. Any more yellow gold in the cap and it would have been too much.
The reigning champs certainly have a new-age college template. A New Era snafu, in year one, has been embraced into the EXPL style guide for their future. The scarlet and graphite team “mistakenly” had black ampersands on the original caps (a few returning players still wear this 2013 model. The league-wide uniformity of same color brim/logo (graphite) was rectified, but the black has stuck around. It now accents the jersey and is the base for the new alternate cap.
Speaking of cap company mix-ups, we present the legend of Governor Ursus, the purple bear. Somewhere along the lines we unknowingly approved a violet logo on our navy, cardinal, and white tri-color hat. Makes sense, right? We wish intuition ruled the world a little more, with someone at O.C. Sports — upon seeing the finished product — would have thought “that’s gotta be a typo in the order form.” Alas, the issue will be resolved for 2015; cardinal, white, navy, and royal are enough to do without purple. The shades of blue came about, first implemented on the jersey sleeves, to differentiate between GOV and the maroon-based Lookouts.
Bill Sinnott, Scott de Fasselle, Denver King
Say hello to the v-neck glory days of the 1970s. Throw in a slick maroon and scarlet palette — underutilized in today’s sports landscape — and you have the token throwback in the LCBL portfolio. The sleeve patch and alt. cap logo are one in the same; one of only two teams with such occurrences (Pioneers). The LOOK owl head logo was a work-in-progress at the time of jersey production deadlines, but will find a home on the left arm in 2015.
Matt Blinco and Timothy Fesmire
The PATH alternate caps are like most in the lot that have a letter adorning the front panel. However, the “P” is artfully disguised as a fox tail sweeping around and a baseball bat. The jersey is also a bit of a trick on the eyes. With league executives that are anti-sleeveless uniforms, something needed to be done to break up all that orange. The result is a faux vest with a contrasting navy undershirt. It is a nice canvas for the only hand-drawn LCBL wordmark to rest.
Matt Blinco and Bill Sinnott
When you think of a 19th century pioneer, you have to have a western font and probably an American buffalo in there somewhere. Check, check and the blue sky of the open prairie, to boot. Call this look cliche; we will call it a timeless classic. The jerseys are purposely understated to be the least busy. It is like your grandfather’s stock uniform, which is in no way a bad thing. The newest iteration of the secondary (battle axe) logo will find a home somewhere in uniforms, caps to come. We only wish manufacturers would get on the same page with their varaiance in sky/Columbia/light blue.
What to do with red and green? I hope designers that are faced with this uniform aesthetic question look to the TRAV for an answer. You have thin white/red/white “headspoon” piping and a take on the Dodger numbers (white in front, red in back) to add a unique traditional feel. No cap logo embodies the team nickname any more than the hitchhiking turtle on its one-of-a-kind white crown.
“We ran out of colors!” When you organize a league that only has the means to produce a single, colored jersey per team — to serve as both home and road — you run out of manufacturing color options. You would like to avoid the same hues playing each other; it isn’t quite the necessity of basketball or football, but it does limit the visual clutter. With purple (Settlers) and kelly green (Navigators launch, pt. II) on board for next season, we channeled Dave Matthews and mixed to grey. The burnt orange was supposed to be Tennessee, but could not get it for all apparel. Still, these uni’s have flash, despite numbers and letters that do not pop. It takes a close proximity to read this muted scheme, but when you do get up close, you see a great attention to detail. The VOY baseball head bearded man is awesome; he is comical, whimsical, a MiLB logo of the year contender, and the grit of their team personified.
A huge thank you to all who participated and keep posted at lewisclarkbaseball.com for the Corps of Discovery Cup Playoffs. Championship game Sunday, August 3rd at Busch Stadium. All caps are available for sale at our boutique baseball equipment/apparel online store, Gourmet Baseball.
Thanks Ross! And thanks (again) to all who participated and those who UW readers selected as winners — must be great to see all your work not just winning some kind of “online” contest — but to see the fruits of your labor actually being made into real, on-field caps and jerseys.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
First up today is Rob Holecko, with thinks he knows what a real Devil Rays fauxback would look like:
After seeing your June 22 column about the previous night’s Tequila Sunrise vs 1970’s Faux Rays Astros-Rays game and the declarations of it as the “Jim Vilk Color Palette Special”, I have to admit it was a good looking game. However, as any fan of Back To The Future will tell you, you can’t play so loose and fast with the space-time continuum. Did we forget that the Tampa Bay franchise did not become the blue & navy clad Rays until 2008? Of course they began their existence as the Devil Rays, wearing a gaudy uniform featuring black and purple hues from 1998-2000 and a primarily (and under-appreciated) dark green set from 2001-2007. So it would stand to reason that naturally any faux-back uniform from before that time period should be extrapolated backwards from their earliest incarnation as the Devil Rays, right? They wouldn’t have been the Rays in the 1970s, became the Devil Rays in the 1990s and then gone back to being the Rays in 2008, would they have? Well, I guess since this is all made up anyway, anything is possible. At any rate, here is my late 1970s Devil Ray fauxbacks, and of course since it was the 1970s, you know they would have mixed-and-matched many variations of these colors. (Personally, I like the purple-over-green variation the best.)
And we close today with Tom Speed who provided no writeup, but takes the NFL logo from its roots through its present day incarnation, to its logical (?) conclusion:
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: “Very odd find at my local Total Wine. Generic baseball player at an alcohol promotional display,” says Jay Heiple. “Pretty much a San Francisco Giants orange Friday home jersey, but the right handed Caucasian player is wearing #25 (Barry Bonds number) and is wearing Romo socks.” … This is great: “I visited the awesome Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA and after seeing the old Air Force One airplane and a Marine One helicopter, I visited the rare baseball collection where there is a Honus Wagner baseball card, 1800s gloves, bats, and balls. Babe Ruth jerseys and more,” says Brandon Blaikie. “A whole shit load of cool stuff, Yankees, Sox, Dodgers. Check it out, there till September, a must see if in area, a private collection.” … Cort McMurray notes the the Sugar Land Skeeters Bullpen Cart is, in a word, unsatisfying. Dang, because bullpen carts are still very cool. … Last night the Oakland A’s wore this patch to honor the late Bob Welch, a member of the 1989 World Series winning team (thanks to Rich Paloma). … The Chicago Cubs have filed a lawsuit against several people whom the team accuses of being behind a fake mascot that has been engaging in bad behavior near Wrigley Field, including getting into a bar fight that was captured on video and posted online (thanks, Paul). … I’m not quite sure what happened here, but these are the shredded remains of (I think) an A’s jersey (via @wichmanr). … Check out all the belt loops on Pete Rose’s pants (via @Baseball_Photos). … Yesterday was Star Wars night for the Lake County Captains (via Andrew Jenkins). … Also yesterday, the Albuquerque Isotopes threw back to the Dukes (thanks to Andrew Beckner).
Football News: Wow — check out this 1959 Premium Sam Huff New York Football Giants Shell Oil Gas Glass, and it looks to be a steal at $4.99. Thanks to Mark Gonillo for sending that our way. … I don’t know whether to be really impressed, or mortified: Seven Lakes High School in Katy, TX, a big suburb of Houston, has done a uniform reveal video (looks like the countdown numbers are using the WVU pickaxe font). That comes to us from Derek Bonesteel. … How’d you like to have a really good view for an arena football game, and get paid to watch it? You can if you’re an LA Kiss go-go dancer (thanks to Brandon Blaikie).
Basketball News: As the days drag on, ESPN’s Jay Harris (subbing on Olbermann) has his take on Lebron’s jersey number dilemma (contribution by UW reader Brooks Simpson). Possible bad news for those still upset with the Sonics move to OKC: The Thunder are uncertain of whether or not to wear a jersey patch commemorating Seattle’s lone NBA title. Based off the reactions I got when I tweeted that, that will not go over well.
Hockey News: From the 1983 movie Class, Rob Lowe’s hockey mask and helmet (thanks to Douglas Ford). … Cam Talbot still loves Ghostbusters in a new, Zuul-themed mask (thanks to Alan Kreit). If you didn’t already know, He really likes Ghostbusters.
Soccer News: “Here is a link to a slideshow of all the Serie A jerseys for the 2014-2015 season,” says Francesco Caporusso. “Be forewarned, it’s in Italian but I think people can still get something out of it.” … FIFA 15 North America covers: Different Dempseys for Xbox and PS4 because of Sounders’ shirt sponsorship (great spot by Danny Garrison).
Grab Bag: … From Douglas Ford: is nothing sacred? Here’s Charl Schwartzel wearing a camo golf shirt in yesterday’s British Open. I kinda figured the camo trend would NOT hit the PGA (or other) tours. To my knowledge, no one has worn a camo tennis shirt, so I guess we can expect that at the U.S. Open, right?
And that’s going to do it for today. I hope everyone has a great Sunday — and I will catch you next week.
Repeating Yesterday’s Small(ish) announcement: As you guys are probably aware, Paul takes a well-deserved sabbatical from UW in the summer, and this year we’re still working out the details — but it looks like you’ll be stuck with me doing the weekdays beginning in August. As such, I’m going (again) put out the call to all readers out there — if you have an idea (and/or would like to work with me) on/for a feature article, please shoot me an E-mail. If you don’t want to do any writing/researching, but there’s a topic or three you’d like to see covered, either shoot me an e-mail or list your suggestions down in the comments below. I don’t usually have problems covering Paul’s absence when you guys are always so generous in your offers to help or make suggestions. Anything uni-related will be considered (and possibly some things that aren’t uni-specific, but are germane to the board). OK? OK! I’d like to start lining up some columns ahead of time so there will always be new, fresh content during Paul’s uni-vaycay.
I received a bunch of email yesterday (thanks everyone — I’ll try to get back to you by tonight on your suggestions/offers to work on an article), so we’re off to a good start, but I can always use some more. Keep ’em coming!
Thanks (again) to Ross and to everyone who participated in the LCBL contest — great to see all those concepts go from the drawing board to the playing field. Also, thanks to the concepters and all who contributed to the ticker.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“There is absolutely NO chance the Raiders will play at Levi’s. The entire thing is red…and Niner fans don’t want Raider fans in their stadium.”