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Squatchee Etymology: A Uni Watch Investigation

At some point six to eight years ago — I no longer recall the exact date but I’m pretty sure it was in 2008 or ’09 — a handful of Uni Watch readers began telling me that they called the little button on top of a baseball cap a squatchee. They said they’d picked it up from former player/manager Bob Brenly, who was working as a color analyst for Cubs games at the time.

I’d never heard of a squatchee before. I knew it wasn’t an “official” term because I had once asked New Era if they had a special name for the cap button, and they said they just called it a button. But I liked the sound of “squatchee,” and multiple readers said the term originated with Brenly, so that was good enough for me. I started using it myself in my writings and even added it to the Uni Watch Glossary, where I attributed it to Brenly.

Readers seemed to like the term, and its use began to spread within the Uni Watch community. At one point our own Robert Marshall took “squatchee” to another level by creating a really clever design showing Sasquatch with a little red button on his head:

More recently, the DIY genius who calls himself Wafflebored created these squatchee lapel pins:

In short: “Squatchee” appeared to have secured a foothold in the uni-verse — maybe not with everyone, but with a decent number of people.

And that might have been that. But at the recent Uni Watch party here in Brooklyn, reader Brad Eckensberger showed me something that rocked my world. It was a copy of the 1984 humor book Sniglets:

For those who are too young or just don’t recall, Sniglets was a series of books by the comedian Rich Hall that emerged from his HBO series, Not Necessarily the News. The idea is that a sniglet is a word that doesn’t exist but should exist, and that “sniglet” itself is an example of such a word. This concept spawned several popular books back in the 1980s and early ’90s. I was never much of a sniglets fan myself, but I recall the books being something of a phenomenon at the time.

Anyway: Eckensberger brought the book to the Uni Watch party because he wanted to show me an entry on page 77. Check it out, at the bottom (click to enlarge):

Wow.

Eckensberger tells me he remembered having seen that entry in the book when he was a kid. He recently went hunting for a used copy of the book to confirm his recollection and then brought it along to the Uni Watch party, where it blew my mind.

This raised several questions:

1. All these people who told me they heard Bob Brenly saying, “squatchee” — was he actually saying, “squatcho,” and something got lost in the translation?

2. Assuming Brenly did say either “squatchee” or “squatcho,” where did he learn the term? Did he get it from the sniglets book?

3. Over the years I’ve seen a few people refer to a “squatcho,” but I always figured those people were just getting Brenly’s term wrong. In some cases I even corrected them (which I now feel badly about). Did those people actually learn the term from the sniglets book?

With all these questions racing through my mind, I realized it was high time to do something I should have done years ago: I needed to talk to Bob Brenly.

Brenly is currently employed as a color analyst for Diamondbacks games, so I began by contacting the D-backs. Now, I’ve done some pretty geeky things over the course of my life, but let me tell you, if you ever want to feel like the biggest dweeb ever, call up an MLB team publicist and tell him you want to discuss sniglets, squatchees, and squatchos (or would that be squatchoes?) with one of his broadcasters.

Anyway: I spoke with Brenly (shown at right) a few days ago. Very nice guy, and he was extremely patient with all my questions. Here’s how our chat went:

Uni Watch: Do you in fact have a term that you use for the little button on top of a baseball cap, and if so, what is it?

Bob Brenly [chuckling]: I personally prefer “squatcho.” The first time I heard it was from Mike Krukow, a teammate of mine from the Giants.

UW: Do you recall when that might have been?

BB: Ah, jeez, I’d say around 1983-ish, maybe. [Brenly and Krukow both played for the Giants from 1983 through ’89. — PL] And he did call it a squatchee, but I think it kinda rolls of your tongue better as squatcho. So I kind of modified it a little bit. I think either term is appropriate for the button on top of the hat. This actually came about because back in those days, catchers were not required to wear a helmet underneath their masks…

UW: Right, you could just wear your soft cap.

BB: Yes. But that button on top of the cap was a brain tumor waiting to happen, if you happened to get hit by a backswing or foul tip. [Brenly was a catcher in his playing days. — PL] So I just started taking the button off.

UW: So you would personally modify the cap? You would remove the button?

BB: Yeah, yeah. They’re very easy to take off. For any youth out there who want to follow my lead, if you open a door, any door, there’s a little slot there in the doorway, and if you just stick the squatchee in there — or squatcho — and then if you pull, the button will come off. And then you have to reach inside the hat and take out the little metal piece that held the button in place. Once you got that out of the way, foul tips off the squatcho were no longer a problem. I mean, they still hit you on the head, but they didn’t drive that button down into your skull.

UW: Okay, so you picked up the term from Krukow, and you modified it from squatchee to squatcho. And have you used it on the air in your broadcasting work?

BB: I think I’ve used both terms. You know, they’re interchangeable. Either one is correct, in my view. I don’t think you can go wrong identifying an obscure piece of equipment. My recollection is that Krukow was the first one to use it. I’m not sure where he got it, but knowing him, he probably made it up. He was very good at starting urban legends, starting myths and rumors and stories.

UW: Does the term “sniglet” mean anything to you? It was this series of old books about words that don’t exist but ought to exist. And it turns out that in one of these books, from 1984, there’s an entry for “squatcho,” which it identifies as the button on top of a baseball cap. I’m wondering if maybe Krukow got it from there. I guess he should be the next person I call.

BB [laughing]: Anything that has to do with obscure, ridiculous baseball terminology, Krukow’s a great resource.

UW: If you were discussing all of this with someone today, which term would you use — squatchee or squatcho?

BB: I still prefer squatcho. I think there’s a certain panache to adding the “o” rather than the “ee” at the end.

UW: But just to confirm, you think you have probably used both terms somewhat interchangeably on the air?

BB: Yeah, somewhat interchangeably. I’ve been asked about squatchee before by various broadcast partners, and I told them basically what I told you, that squatchee is the way I first heard it but squatcho is how I refer to it. I think some other catchers from back in the day, I think they all called it squatcho too.

UW: Interesting. For what it’s worth, here’s a little tidbit for the next time you’re working a game where David Price is pitching: Price always removes the button from his cap. Or maybe he has them made without the button, I’m not sure. He refers to it as “the ouch button.” So his cap doesn’t have a squatchee, or a squatcho, or whatever you want to call it.

BB: That’s good background — I’ll make a note of it!

———

What a fun interview! You should have seen me when I hung up the phone — I was all smiles.

Still, the chat with Brenly raised as many questions as it answered. My next step, clearly, was to contact Mike Krukow (shown at left), who currently works as a Giants broadcaster. So I went through the same embarrassing routine with the Giants’ PR people, who obligingly set me up with Krukow. We spoke yesterday. Here’s how it went:

Uni Watch: Bob Brenly says he picked up the word “squatchee” from you, when the two of you were teammates with the Giants in the 1980s. Did you come up with the term?

Mike Krukow: No. I was standing in a line at a bookstore in Pittsburgh, probably around 1984. I was waitin’ to pay, and they had a book there on the counter, and it was called Sniglets. So I’m kinda goin’ through the book, and one thing that immediately caught my eye was “expresshole,” which is what you call someone who brings 15 items in the “10 Items or Less” express checkout line. I thought that was pretty funny, so I flipped through the book some more and then I saw the entry for “squatcho.” And that was it!

UW: So you adopted the term at that point?

MK: Yes. Nobody had ever heard it before. And the reason it was relevant to us was… [at this point Krukow basically repeats the story about how Brenly would remove the button from his cap because he was a catcher — PL]. So that was it. It was a squatcho. I don’t know if any other clubhouse, or any other person on the planet, used that term except for us.

UW: When you say, “us,” do you mean just you and Brenly? Or did your other teammates use it as well?

MK: All the Giants, pretty much. In our clubhouse, it was a squatcho.

UW: Brenly remembers you saying squatchee, not squatcho, but you’re saying he’s wrong about that..?

MK: I may have, I don’t know. But it was squatcho in the book, so I think that’s what I used.

UW: Has it remained in your lexicon? Do you use it on the air?

MK: Absolutely — that’s what it’s called. As far as I’m concerned, that’s Bible!

UW: And you always use squatcho, not squatchee?

MK: Yes, squatcho.

UW: And when you’ve brought it up, have your play-by-play partners asked you about it?

MK: Well, no, because Duane Kuiper’s been with me since we were sitting together on the bench as players. So we called it squatcho back then.

UW: [At this point I tell Krukow the same thing about David Price and “the ouch button” that I had previously told Brenly. — PL]

MK: You know, here’s the thing: If you’re sitting in the dugout, your initial reaction when someone hits a long ball or makes a great play is to stand up. And if you’re tall, at some of the older ballparks, like Wrigley Field, you’ll hit your head on the top of that god-danged dugout. And if you’ve got that button there, see ya later. So for someone like David Price, who’s what, 6’6″? [Price is indeed 6’6″. — PL] Yeah, I can see why he’d be pulling his squatcho.

———

So there we have it. Krukow saw “squatcho” in the Sniglets book, it somehow evolved into “squatchee” in Brenly’s memory, and the two terms have established a certain legitimacy among some members of the uni-scenti.

I’d say we have two remaining orders of business:

1. It would be good to check in with Rich Hall and get his take on all this. He spends most of his time these days in London, so I’ve asked his UK-based booking agency to put me in touch with him — no response yet. Frankly, I’m not optimistic on this front. Sniglets was a long time ago, and I imagine he’d rather discuss his current projects that re-hash something from 1984. But we’ll see.

2. Which term should we use? Personally, I much prefer squatchee over squatcho. Maybe it’s because I heard it first, or maybe I’m just more accustomed to words that end in an “ee” sound (rookie, yuppie, junkie, etc.). But squatcho is clearly the original term, so that should count for something. What do you think? Feel free to vote here:

I prefer …

 
pollcode.com free polls

Finally, on a personal note, I really should have contacted Brenly years ago, when this topic first came to my attention. It was lazy of me to accept the term’s origin story (and, for that matter, to spread that story) without confirming it first. Mea culpa.

(Mega-thanks to Brad Eckensberger, who got this whole ball rolling by bringing the sniglets book to the recent Uni Watch party.)

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

A good week for NBA throwbacks: More retro goodness on NBA courts last night, beginning at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks debuted their very tasty 1950s throwbacks (see above). Additional photos here.

Shortly after the Knicks game ended, the Warriors wore “The City” for the first time this year. They’ve worn this throwback design in past seasons, but this time around there’s a new wrinkle — the NBA’s first full-scale throwback floor design, complete with the throwback logo at center court:


There are some game photos here. Unfortunately, this version of the “The City” differed from previous throwback iterations in one key respect:


Meanwhile, with “The City” back on the court last night, uniform designer/historian Todd Radom reached into his archives for something very cool — the cover of the Warriors’ media guide from 1966-67, which is the season when “The City” made its debut (the lunch meats ad at the bottom is a nice bonus):

• • • • •

ITEM! New T-shirt project: Big thanks to everyone who ordered the ugly sweater T-shirt, which was one of our more successful designs. And while I’m at it, super-duper-thanks for all the support, feedback, and fun you folks have provided during the course of the T-Shirt Club’s 2015 run — it’s been a really enjoyable project (yes, even the “Pandering” debate), and I appreciate all the interest it’s generated. My continued thanks also to my Teespring partner and designer, Bryan Molloy, who’s been amazing to work with (and also amazingly patient) throughout the year.

We’re still figuring out how the T-Shirt Club will work next year. We’ll definitely do something, but it probably won’t be quite like this year. Stay tuned.

If you ordered all 12 of the 2015 designs and qualify for the year-end prize (which, in case you missed it last week, will be an embroidered patch featuring this design), please prove that you’ve collected ’em all by either (a) taking a photo of all 12 shirts or (b) taking screen shots of your 12 order-confirmation emails from Teespring and putting the 12 shots into a folder. Then email the photo or the folder to TshirtClubProof@gmail.com (note that this is a new address — please do not send your proof to the regular Uni Watch email address), and be sure to include your mailing address so I know where to mail the patches once they’re ready to go.

Now then: With the holidays approaching, today we’re launching three new designs that are not technically part of the T-Shirt Club (no sleeve patch, no month designation) but are very much in keeping with the spirit of the project. Take a look (click to enlarge):

Each of these three designs — “Vertically Arched,” “Radially Arched,” and the plain script with nothing on the back — is available in all three colors shown (white, black and grey). In addition, each design and color is available in three formats: short-sleeved tee, long-sleeved tee, and sweatshirt. Plus the plain script design is also available as a hoodie with pockets. (We couldn’t do that format for the other designs because the front number would have printed on the pockets, which wouldn’t look good.) So if you tally up the three designs times the three colors times the three formats plus the hoodie option, you get 30 possible combinations. I absolutely do not recommend that you try to collect ’em all. (For that matter, of course, you don’t have to collect any of them.)

These shirts are available here. They’ll be offered for three weeks — up until Dec. 9 — which means they’ll deliver in time for Christmas.

I think that’s it.

• • • • •

Gift Guide reminder: As I mentioned yesterday, I’m currently working on my annual Uni Watch Holiday Gift Guide, which will appear on ESPN shortly after Thanksgiving. If you know of any cool uni- or logo-related gifts (aside from the obvious team merch like jerseys and caps), do tell. Thanks.

• • • • •

Key Ring Stories reminder: In case you missed it a few days ago, I’m accepting photos and stories for a new project about the things that people keep on their key rings. This should be a really fun project for everyone — full details here.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: The Blue Jays will wear a 40th-season patch next year. … The latest necktie project from DIY genius Wafflebored is this 1915 Yankees beauty. … Shades of U.L. Washington: Check out this Cuban pitcher who pitches while chewing on a toothpick (from Dennis Abrams). … Whoa, check out this shot of a baby-faced Teddy Ballgame from his minor league days (from Jonathan Daniels). … Ladies and gents, your Hartford Yard Goats inaugural uniform set. The team also has what appears to be history’s scariest mascot. Further info here. “If you ask me, I think their New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company font looks awesome as a chest insignia, as does the Whalers color scheme,” says Jason Siedzik. I’m inclined to agree on both counts. … “On Tuesay night’s Tosh.0, there was a sketch in which Daniel Tosh dressed in a baseball uniform and then hit his co-workers with a plastic bat,” writes Ferdinand Cesarano. “He went high-cuffed with stirrups.”

NFL News: This is interesting: Patriots coach Bill Belichick grew up in a military family and has a long history of supporting the military, but he doesn’t wear any of the NFL’s camouflage apparel (from @just___rants).

College Football News: Lots of chatter about possible new red helmets for Cincinnati (thanks, Phil). … Arizona State has its rivalry game against Arizona this weekend. So what is ASU wearing? BFBS, of course. … Boston College will be wearing throwbacks for the Shamrock Series game at Fenway against Notre Dame. … Someone had the fun idea of taking LSU’s live tiger mascot — like, the real tiger, not a guy in a tiger suit — and feeding him raw meat in the shape of other schools’ mascot logos (from @halfmut). … “On the TV show Fresh Off the Boat, one of the neighbors came over for Thanksgiving dinner dressed up in an old-school football uniform,” reports Chris Flinn. “Should’ve been an older football, too.” … Notre Dame’s helmets and jerseys are being prepared for the Shamrock Series game.

Hockey News: NOB typo alert! Stars G Antti Niemi skated out onto the ice last night with his surname misspelled. Someone must have noticed because it was soon fixed. … The Capitals will have a new third jersey “presented by Boeing,” whatever that means, next month (from David Raglin). … Someone redesigned the full slate of NHL jerseys and included ads (thanks, Phil). … One designer is responsible for a lot of the worst “patriotic” minor league hockey jerseys. … Anthony Zych’s latest Blue Jackets gameday poster designs: For a game against the Coyotes, he came up with a Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote motif, and for a game against the Blues he went with a blues band theme. (Leo Welsh is the guy who sings the national anthem at Blue Jackets games.) I interviewed Zych the other day — just need to transcribe the tape so you folks can see what he had to say. … This season’s NHL All-Star Game will have a new format featuring four teams instead of two. Does that mean there will be four uni designs instead of two? Trying to find out.

NBA News: Ever wonder what NBA uniforms would look like if they were designed by Kanye West? Me neither, but some graphic designer decided that would make a fun project (blame Phil).

College Hoops News: Michigan State wore 1979 throwbacks last night, but one player lost the “S” on his chest insignia (from Phil and @AZJoshM, respectively). … New court for Morehead State (from Noah Hughes). … Maryland will have throwbacks for the upcoming game against Georgetown. And in a related item, here’s an entire article on the program from the 1973 Georgetown/Maryland game (from Tommy Turner). … N7 uniforms tonight for San Diego State (from @bigdeegz). … New warm-ups for Georgetown.

Soccer News: Good article about TruSox (from David Raglin). … Argentina keeps changing up their shorts. … Air Force-themed jerseys for the Australian team Newcastle Jets (from Mark in Victoria).

Grab Bag: I’ve recently taken aim at some irksome (to me) uni-related terminology, including “rebranding” and “gear.” For what it’s worth, I’m not the only one who gets persnickety about language. In the wake of the Paris attacks, I’ve read two excellent essays pushing back against certain buzzterms — one about “mastermind” and another about “boots on the ground.” Both are highly recommended. … Faaascianting trademark-infringement case underway involving those tree-shaped car fresheners. … There’s a new photo book devoted to hip-hop T-shirts. … A Spanish TV news reporter mistakenly used the Star Wars Rebel Alliance logo and thought it was the Al-Qaeda logo. … New logo for the 2018 World Equestrian Games. … NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon’s final Sprint Cup race is this weekend, so Hendrick Motorsports cars will have their numbers rendered in “Jeff Gordon yellow” as a tribute (from @JayJayDean). … An Australian Navy squadron has a patch based on the South Park depiction of Russell Crowe (from Duncan Wilson). … New logo for Washington DC’s airports (from William Yurasko). … Old curling brooms had some very cool logos. … Several rugby teams are getting ridiculous superhero jerseys (from @Stumpy7780). … Michael Gross, who designed the Ghostbusters logo and also created National Lampoon’s famous “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog” cover design, has died (thanks, Brinke).

 

126 comments to Squatchee Etymology: A Uni Watch Investigation

  • Phil Hecken | November 18, 2015 at 7:29 am |

    EPIC!

    • Douggo | November 18, 2015 at 10:19 am |

      Best Uni Watch story ever! Fucking Sniglets.

      • Diggerjohn | November 18, 2015 at 12:19 pm |

        That did indeed bring back fond memories of post-holiday reading of those books, which I would get every year and laugh my hinder off. As for “Squatchee” and “Squatcho”. How about “Squatchee” as the plural form? In Latin it would be Squatchi , if masculine, or Squatchae if feminine or neuter. not really that far of a reach.

        • Dave L. | November 18, 2015 at 1:08 pm |

          I prefer “Squatchee” but “Squatcho” sounds a lot like the Native American/indigenous person who helped the Pilgrims, which I guess is timely for Thanksgiving.

    • Rob Ullman | November 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm |

      Indeed. GREAT stuff!

    • umplou | November 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm |

      and we were there at the momentous occasion….

  • Bas | November 18, 2015 at 7:48 am |

    good for Belichick, the rest of those NFL coaches look like they are playing Halo with those silly camo headsets.

    • walter | November 18, 2015 at 9:32 am |

      Coach Belichick just rose a couple of pegs in my estimation.

      • Chance Michaels | November 18, 2015 at 9:39 am |

        Mine as well. Found something to really like about him.

        • Fred | November 18, 2015 at 12:11 pm |

          Also on the Pat’s sideline, Matt Patricia (the D-coordinator) wore a red hoddie. But, he always wears one since moving into that job.

  • Dave L. | November 18, 2015 at 7:53 am |

    For some reason I have a habit of standing up too quickly when exiting a car and I often catch the squatcho on the upper door frame. It’s pretty painful. I’ve also done this exiting a golf cart and completely ripped the squatcho off my hat, which hurts more. I remember Rich Hall used to come on the old David Letterman morning show in the summer of 1980 and contribute Sniglets before the book came out.

    • Hank-SJ | November 18, 2015 at 9:31 am |

      I’ve done it more than enough times that I may be going Sqautcho-free from now on.

      • Rob Ullman | November 18, 2015 at 9:44 am |

        When we were kids, it was an ongoing challenge between my brother and I to stealthily hit one another smack on the squatcho with a book or something and cause intense pain.

  • BurghFan | November 18, 2015 at 8:10 am |

    According to the Dallas Morning News, Niemi only wore the misspelled name during warmups.

  • Dumb Guy | November 18, 2015 at 8:13 am |

    “expresshole”

    No “w”.

    Hole not whole.

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 8:16 am |

      Right. Fixed.

  • John | November 18, 2015 at 8:18 am |

    I wore an Expos hat playing pickup baseball back in the day & when I batted, wore a Expos batting helmet (bought at Toys R Us) over the cap. It always hurt my head when I applied pressure to the helmet, as the “button” as I called it would press into my head. Never new it was a squatchee until today. Thanks.

  • Brett G | November 18, 2015 at 8:20 am |

    Wow, I had no idea the little button (Squatchee, squatcho) would have such a history. That’s pretty awesome.

    The Yard Goats looks like it says “Yard Goals” and “Goals” to me. :-\

  • marc | November 18, 2015 at 8:25 am |

    Hey Paul, think you’d be able to land an interview with Rich Hall to see if he has the poop on the squatcho/squatchee origin? As a college kid, I watched NNTN religiously and had a few of the Sniglets books, so I’d be interested to hear his take on the matter.

    Sniglet of the Day:

    Fenderberg: That disgusting clump of ice, snow and slush that accumulates under your car’s fenders behind the wheels during the winter months.

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 8:27 am |

      Hey Paul, think you’d be able to land an interview with Rich Hall to see if he has the poop on the squatcho/squatchee origin?

      As already stated in today’s text, I’m trying to contact him but haven’t yet had any luck.

      • marc | November 18, 2015 at 8:29 am |

        Whoops! Sorry… didn’t catch that. Good luck!

    • walter | November 18, 2015 at 9:39 am |

      Some sniglets make perfect sense (destinesia, frust) and others are inscrutable (peddidel, lediddep). This rabbit hole is unending.

      • Rob Ullman | November 18, 2015 at 9:48 am |

        I still regularly use charp (the single well-done potato chip in every bag) and merferator (the cardboard tube at the center of a paper towel or toilet paper roll) in my vernacular.

        • Chance Michaels | November 18, 2015 at 10:33 am |

          I use Eastroturf every year when we’re filling the kids’ easter baskets with that fake plastic grass.

  • Phil Hecken | November 18, 2015 at 8:25 am |

    Was thinking about this recently, but today’s article seems to be a good time to bring up this question:

    When did the squatchee cease to become a functional part of the cap (was it ever?) and become purely decorative? Did it ever hold together the individual panels at the “top” of the cap (I’m assuming it did) but if players have been removing it since at least the 80s, when did this become a quaint, vestigial (or purely decorative) part of the cap?

    Would anyone be upset if capmakers began making caps without the squatchee? I can’t imagine a baseball cap without one, yet it seems this accoutrement is completely non-functional.

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 8:30 am |

      it seems this accoutrement is completely non-functional.

      Hell, baseball caps themselves are largely non-functional. Maaaaybe they help to keep the sun out of your eyes (although sunglasses would seem to take care of that), but most games are at night anyway. Just look at college softball players — some wear caps, some wear visors, and some don’t wear any headgear at all.

      • JTH | November 18, 2015 at 9:55 am |

        in the 40 or so softball games my daughter played in this past year, I think I saw her wear her visor for a grand total of about 3 innings.

      • Phil Hecken | November 18, 2015 at 10:10 am |

        “…baseball caps themselves are largely non-functional.”

        ~~~

        clearly

        • SWC Susan | November 18, 2015 at 1:13 pm |

          that photo is soooo awesome…

    • Brett G | November 18, 2015 at 8:38 am |

      I have seen decorative hat holders that hold the hats up by the squatchee…but that’s it.

    • Douggo | November 18, 2015 at 10:23 am |

      My guess is that the stitching tended to be messy where the panels came together, and the squatcho was put there simply to cover that up.

    • andyharry | November 18, 2015 at 10:25 am |

      I have a few caps from the Hill-Side in Brooklyn that are made (beautifully) with no squatcho. I love them, but that has more to do with the more traditional profile than the fact that they don’t have a button, which I simply find charming and unique.

    • SWC Susan | November 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm |

      I would be upset… but… oh, crap… let me go check all of my hats to make sure they have a squatchee before I tell you that it just wouldn’t look right.

    • GC | November 18, 2015 at 6:56 pm |

      I wondered if squatchees migrated from jockey caps or helmets (it finally occurred to me that helmets had these while looking through one of my daughter’s riding catalogs). In that case I’d think that there indeed would have been a function of keeping the silk/cloth panels from coming loose, but have no facts to back up that contention.

  • Matthew B | November 18, 2015 at 8:33 am |

    hip-hop rather than hip-hip

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 8:47 am |

      Fixed.

  • Tim | November 18, 2015 at 8:51 am |

    Yep, scary mascot. And the goat will make me lose sleep as well…

    ;-)

  • Ryan | November 18, 2015 at 8:56 am |

    I voted Squatcho, but since the term is pretty much only used by Uni Watchers, they should be interchangeable.

  • Wade Harder | November 18, 2015 at 9:08 am |

    Great job, Paul! A very fun and informative start to my day.

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 9:16 am |

      Thanks, Wade! I’ll admit to being pretty pleased with this one. A really fun entry to work on, and with a fairly satisfying resolution to boot.

  • Jimmy Lonetti | November 18, 2015 at 9:11 am |

    Since the main story behind the item in question is how catchers or tall players removed it to keep it from driving into the top of their head (ouch), I like “squatcho” which pairs phonetically better with “ouch”.
    That’s my take.

  • Wafflebored | November 18, 2015 at 9:13 am |

    I love it when research pieces uncover lost info like this. Great stuff.

    Also, a Uni Watch hoodie seems like a really good idea.

    • SWC Susan | November 18, 2015 at 1:17 pm |

      Ditto on the article – and I would love to see a mock-up of the hoodie. Is there one at the link?

      • Wafflebored | November 18, 2015 at 1:36 pm |

        Yes you just have to click through.

      • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm |

        If you to the page for the script tee and choose the hoodie from the drop-down menu, you’ll see the mock-up. Then you can choose the various colors to see how they all look.
        https://teespring.co...

  • Dane | November 18, 2015 at 9:15 am |

    I would make squatcho the singular form, and squatchee the plural, but that’s just me.

    I’ve had copies of both Sniglets books buried in boxes for the last decade or so. I should dig those out looking for other gems.

    • TBone | November 18, 2015 at 10:51 am |

      That’s a great compromise. I especially love words with nonstandard plurals.

      And I’m kind of surprised I didn’t remember squatcho from the book. I know I read it a few hundred times when I was a kid.

  • DallasGoon1980 | November 18, 2015 at 9:15 am |

    Cool, I remember the original episode of NNTN when squatcho was introduced, and my buds and I always called it that. However, it should be interchangeable. Great entry today!

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 9:17 am |

      Wait, you’re saying that “squatcho” was featured (or at least mentioned) on TV, not just in the book?!

      • Chance Michaels | November 18, 2015 at 9:42 am |

        YouTube, here we come!

      • DallasGoon1980 | November 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm |

        Yes, it was aired on HBO way back when.

  • Jimmy Lonetti | November 18, 2015 at 9:15 am |

    I’m on board with a Uniwatch hoodie if Wafflebored designs it.

  • Rob S | November 18, 2015 at 9:22 am |

    Matt Lombardi erred in calling that Spartan uni a “1979 throwback”. The only throwback element on that jersey is the 1979 “State” wordmark, and even that’s been tweaked – it’s outlined in bronze rather than the original green. The numbers are the Spartans’ current font instead of the older block style, and the front numbers are centered rather than under the E. The jersey doesn’t even have the green side panels of the original. And his source – MSU basketball’s Instagram post – doesn’t call these throwbacks at all. Though, even if they had been actual throwbacks, they probably would’ve still been cluttered up by the Nike swoosh, B1G logo and flag patch.

    It is somewhat amusing that the Spartans ended up winning that game by a score of 79 to 73, though.

  • AlMaFi | November 18, 2015 at 9:23 am |

    That was fantastic. It would/will be interesting to hear Rich Hall’s origin story. I wonder if it was just a random pairing of a funny sounding word with an unnamed object. Unlike “expresshole,” there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to “squatcho.” I’m still calling it a squatchee.

    I think the squatch really ties the hat together aesthetically. David Price and others should have custom soft/non-metal ones sewn onto their hats just for looks. As a kid, I remember certain caps would hurt/be uncomfortable to wear because of squatchee pressure. It might have something to do with the fact that squatchees are positioned directly on top of the anterior fontanel. Even though the “soft spot” is closed in adults, the seam/suture is still a weaker spot on the skull.

    • Phil Hecken | November 18, 2015 at 9:53 am |

      “I’m still calling it a squatchee.”

      ~~~

      When will this t-shirt be available PL?

  • Another Jeff | November 18, 2015 at 9:29 am |

    I used to love those Sniglet segments on HBO. I had a singlet on the tip of my tongue for years but couldn’t quite express it. It’s when you are in a crowded parking lot and think you have finally found a space only to start turning in and see a small compact car already in there that wasn’t visible earlier. The singlet for it finally came to mind a few years ago. That would be a “faux-park”.

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 9:31 am |

      It seems like a particularly Uni Watch move to mistakenly refer to “sniglet” as “singlet.”

  • Rob S | November 18, 2015 at 9:30 am |

    Regarding the Warriors’ “The City” throwbacks… you’d think that with the whole goal of making the jerseys lighter, Adidas would want to screenprint the circle onto the jerseys rather than having a crest that’s as big as some NHL jersey logos. The mesh numbers applied to that crest just added to the absurdity.

    • Mike | November 18, 2015 at 10:17 am |

      What I found interesting is when warriors created the new jersey that is a reference to “the city” jersey. It was a big shiny patch and was that way for a few seasons. Last year they switched to a perferated material more like numbers use. But with “the city” jersey is was back to a big shiny patch and not one that even matches the same color as used on the blue jersey patch.

      • Rob S | November 18, 2015 at 10:39 am |

        I hadn’t even really thought about the Warriors’ current unis…

  • Hank-SJ | November 18, 2015 at 9:33 am |

    Anthony Zych is just killing it with his posters. Looking forward to the interview.

  • Brian | November 18, 2015 at 9:34 am |

    Even Wikipedia refers to it as a squatchee.

    But I would probably want to contact New Era or another cap manufacturer to see what they call it internally and see what it was called in the past. Whatever design documents they have may have a name for it listed.

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 9:40 am |

      I would probably want to contact New Era or another cap manufacturer to see what they call it internally and see what it was called in the past.

      As already stated in today’s text, I asked New Era about this years ago (it was part of the same inquiry during which I learned the term “underbrim”), and they said they just call it a button.

      As for Wikipedia, it is very good for certain things. But for things like this, it’s only as good as its published reference sources. And until today, there was no source that got to the bottom of this particular rabbit hole.

      • SWC Susan | November 18, 2015 at 1:21 pm |

        I would not think New Era would have any idea what it was called – need an older manufacturer of hats…

        • TA | November 18, 2015 at 1:25 pm |

          New Era has been making baseball caps since 1920.

        • SWC Susan | November 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm |

          Well, there you have it. The official term REALLY IS buttons. I am sad. Just new there had to be a better term industry wide (allbeit, the old industry…). Squatchee is so much better. I’m still calling it the squatchee!

        • SWC Susan | November 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm |

          fat fingered… knew

        • SWC Susan | November 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm |

          And I was thinking along the lines of the 14th through 19th century (flat caps and pageboys).

        • SWC Susan | November 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm |

          Crap, newsboy… not pageboy. I quit for today.

  • Chance Michaels | November 18, 2015 at 9:45 am |

    I prefer “squatchee” myself, because it seems more whimsical.

    • Adam N. | November 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm |

      Agreed. Squatcho sounds too big/solid for a little button on top of a hat.

  • walter | November 18, 2015 at 9:48 am |

    I’ve always found “hat button” to be satisfactory. One of my earliest baseball memories was a discussion concerning why the Dodgers have a white one.

  • Mike V. | November 18, 2015 at 9:49 am |

    “…pulling his squatcho.”

    What a great phrase. May need to be added to the uni watch glossary. “The act of removing the squatcho/squatchee from the top of one’s hat.”

    • Rob S | November 18, 2015 at 10:00 am |

      The glossary really should be updated anyway, as there’s a missing /b tag on the Headspoon entry, as well as some cases of link rot.

      • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 10:36 am |

        Tag fixed. If you have time and would like to make a list of the link-rot instances, please do so. Thanks.

  • Daniel | November 18, 2015 at 9:55 am |

    Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area on the little miscues in the Warriors’ new old unis:

    “It must also be said that the Warriors might have performed better if their throwback “The CITY” uniforms had more faithfully recreated the original cable car on the back of the jersey, or included the headdress patch on the shorts. I mean, if you’re not to capture the thing in its totality, go shirts and skins.”

    • Marcus | November 18, 2015 at 10:01 am |

      Yes, the color of the logo bothered me, and the lack of logo on the shorts too. I did not notice the wrong cable car on the back, what is different?

      • Daniel | November 18, 2015 at 2:35 pm |

        The roof looks like a different shade of blue in this version. Probably makes them stand out a little more on tv.

  • Marcus | November 18, 2015 at 9:59 am |

    I voted Squatchee!!!

  • JTH | November 18, 2015 at 9:59 am |

    As I recall, many (most?) sniglets were submitted by readers/viewers. If and when this interview with Mr. Hall does happen, how amazing would it be if there was a record of the person who submitted the term “squatcho” in the first place and you could track THAT person down for a quick interview.

    Pretty fucking amazing, that’s how amazing.

    In fact, it might even qualify as EPIC.

  • Steve D | November 18, 2015 at 10:02 am |

    The Knicks throwbacks were nice, but the number fonts are inconsistent. In the photo above, on Porzingas, the 6 has an octagonal center, while Calderon’s 3 has squared off inside corners as does Robin Lopez’ 8 in another photo. Sloppy numbering. Old photos show a squared corner font.

    http://media.liveauc...

    • Mike Engle | November 18, 2015 at 11:35 am |

      As a tangent to this subject, I don’t love the way the thoroughly modern NOB font just got slapped onto the back as is. I can see how much cheaper it is to produce, but man it’s so obvious they couldn’t go the extra yard (never mind extra mile).

      • Steve D | November 18, 2015 at 12:31 pm |

        Good point…the modern fonts don’t create that almost hand-made feel of the past. They maybe should consider NNOB as well.

  • Brian | November 18, 2015 at 10:03 am |

    Yet another reason to love Uni-Watch. Hadn’t thought about Sniglets in years. My older brother, father and I used to make sport out of spotting “Yinkles,” the Sniglet term for a bad combover.

  • Rob S | November 18, 2015 at 10:05 am |

    “Squatcho” sounds like “macho”, while “squatchee” rhymes with “squee”.

    Simply an observation I just had a moment ago.

  • arrScott | November 18, 2015 at 10:06 am |

    I’m the harshest of prescriptivists with regard to grammar. But with regard to vocabulary, I’m a firm descriptivist: Words mean what people say. Whatever the etymological evolution, the vastly dominant use is “squatchee.” So “squatchee” is correct.

    I mean, “beef” is a corruption of the original “boef.” If Paul switches to “squatcho” on this site because it was the original version, I expect to see the Culinary Corner switch to “boef” to describe the flesh of a cow. Also, it’s not “steak,” it’s “stikna.” One could go on. The English language consists almost entirely of words that have been changed in spelling, pronunciation, or meaning from original words invented or imported from other languages. At the level of basic principle, one can either insist on original spellings and pronunciations, or one can speak English.

    Anyway, great article today. I hope Paul is able to close this out with an interview with Rich Hall!

    • Keith | November 18, 2015 at 11:43 am |

      I’m curious to know your rationale for declaring it “vastly dominant.” Sure, on the this site it is. But on a larger scale? It’s like someone from Boston asserting that “chowdah” is the correct pronunciation, all others be damned.

      • arrScott | November 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm |

        Fair point, but it’s a term of art and we’re talking about its use by people who are interested in the very narrow specialist field in which the word has a term of art. It’s not at all like “chowder,” it’s like “zucchetto.”

        A Google search reveals that there are far more online references to “squatcho,” most of them directly quoting Sniglets. “Squatchee” appears to be used mainly in discussions of baseball uniform aesthetics. Not only at Uni Watch, but by people engaged in uni-watching.

        • Chance Michaels | November 18, 2015 at 4:04 pm |

          Scott, we were cross-Googling!

          I didn’t want to search just for the terms, because “squatcho” also refers to several musical acts and other non-baseball references, which I think is inflating your results. Adding “baseball cap” reverses the dominance.

      • Chance Michaels | November 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm |

        Well, there are twice as many Google results for “squatchee baseball cap” as for “squatcho baseball cap”. And many of the latter are in the context of the Sniglets book.

        That seems to fit the definition.

  • Another Jeff | November 18, 2015 at 10:11 am |

    Funny how that NYT article referred to Boots on the Ground (4 syllables) as “shorthand” for Ground Troops.

    • marc | November 18, 2015 at 12:48 pm |

      I’ve always liked how “www” is shorthand for “world-wide web.” In print, perhaps, but spoken, it’s 6 syllables vs. 3.

      • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 12:59 pm |

        Actually nine syllables.

        • Phil Hecken | November 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm |

          “Dubya Dubya Dubya”

          Six ;-)

        • Chance Michaels | November 18, 2015 at 5:25 pm |

          Oh, sure, if you’re from Texas….

        • marc | November 19, 2015 at 10:55 am |

          D’OH!

  • Schafe | November 18, 2015 at 10:21 am |

    Squatcho Day! 11.18.15. This day will now be linked as a “where were you?” events in our lives, (JFK, 9-11, etc.)

    Well done Paul! (as always)

  • Aaron | November 18, 2015 at 10:27 am |

    Fascinating story, but I’m curious whether anyone’s ever heard the button referred to as a “thurknot”. In college, one of my profs always had an unusual word of the day to start class, and one of the very few I remember was that he said the button on top of a baseball cap is called a “thurknot”. Never heard the term before or since. Has anyone else?

  • Winter | November 18, 2015 at 10:46 am |

    I’m assuming there must be a haberdasher term for it, as similar buttons appear on newsboy caps and such.

  • Jim | November 18, 2015 at 10:51 am |

    The Little Trees company used to run ads all the time in design magazines about their copyright. It stuck out to me as a bizarre ad campaign. They seem very, very protective.

    https://drive.google...

    That said, I don’t see how they lose the case from the NYT article.

    • The Jeff | November 18, 2015 at 11:12 am |

      When I look at the image in that article, all I can say is that the obvious rip-off is obvious…. which probably does mean that there isn’t any confusion among customers. This seems like it’s equivalent to Coca-Cola suing a grocery store for selling their own brand of “Cola” in a red can.

  • Joel Manuel | November 18, 2015 at 11:04 am |

    I remember “Sniglets,” and around that time came up with one of my own: “Windfear,” which is the sensation you feel when driving along a narrow 2-lane backroad in south Louisiana (where I grew up) and you begin to dread the car-rocking effect the approaching 18-wheeler will have on your small car when it passes you.

  • brinke | November 18, 2015 at 11:05 am |

    Rich Hall’s other and bigger claim to fame: he’s Mr. Julia Louis Dreyfuss.

    That said, great article with Kruk, as he is known here. Wonderful guy, both of ’em, Kruk and Kuip.

    Kruk’s having a touch go medically, as you can read here in this ESPN piece:

    http://espn.go.com/e...

    And I’ve always said ‘Squatchee.’ And yes, if you get bonked on the Squatchee, it hurts like a mother.

    • jerg | November 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm |

      Wrong Hall – that’s Brad Hall.

      • marc | November 18, 2015 at 12:52 pm |

        At the very least, Rich Hall and Julia were castmates on SNL (’84-’85 – Brad was there the previous two seasons), so Brinke was sorta correct. ;)

      • marc | November 18, 2015 at 12:55 pm |

        At the very least, Julia and Rich Hall were castmates on SNL in ’84-’85. Brad Hall had been on SNL the two previous seasons.

      • brinke | November 18, 2015 at 2:32 pm |

        Yes, Paul just told me. Well- Rich did the book, but Brad married Julia.

        Brad wins.

  • Attila Szendrodi | November 18, 2015 at 11:06 am |

    Sniglets are the best. I’ve made up a ton over the years. A sports related one that seems to have progressed from my friends to THEIR friends is the term ‘Bryant’. Back in the day Kobe used to have a baby-afro. Whenever he would go to the bench he would drape a towel over his head. Then after coming back in he would have all these small white fuzzies in his hair. So basically whenever someone had lint in their hair or beard we would say “Hey man, you got a Bryant”.

    Ah, to be young and clever.

    • RobYaz | November 18, 2015 at 12:18 pm |

      Sniglets are made up words, either made up entirely or by combining two real words. Giving new meaning to a real name/word isn’t a sniglet.

  • Tim E O'B | November 18, 2015 at 11:08 am |

    As mentioned above, this needs to happen:

    Squatcho – Singular

    Squatchee – Plural

    It just makes everything work so nicely.

  • Warren Thompson | November 18, 2015 at 11:34 am |

    “Yard goats” is a railroader term for switch engines that operate within the limits of the railroad yards. Thus it’s fitting that the Yard Goats uniforms use the New Haven
    railroad font.

    • Chance Michaels | November 18, 2015 at 12:54 pm |

      Fitting, but not great design. The wordmarks are far too insubstantial to look good on a jersey. They’re whispy and thin, which looks great in its original context but much less so isolated on a jersey.

    • SWC Susan | November 18, 2015 at 1:48 pm |

      Thank you for clarifying… I was a tad disturbed by the whole Yard Goat thing!

  • Gordon | November 18, 2015 at 11:59 am |

    Absolutely delightful entry today!

    In Krukow interview: “…I waitin’ to pay”

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 12:03 pm |

      Fixed.

  • muddlehead | November 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm |

    And I kinda thought definition of expresshole might come in handy some day

  • Dumb Guy | November 18, 2015 at 1:57 pm |

    Other fave Sniglets:

    Schlitzstop: The guy that thinks he can manage his beer AND his softball fielding position at the same time.

    Snackmosphere: The air inside a potato chip bag.

    Musquirt: The watery stuff that comes out of the mustard bottle if you don’t shake it well.

    Love Rich Hall.

  • Kenny Ocker | November 18, 2015 at 3:40 pm |

    I actually have that book somewhere (which is impressive considering it’s older than me). My favorite Sniglet is “Arqo,” the bar that turns an R into the prescription logo. (It’s cousin, “Orqo,” turns O’s into Q’s.)

  • Dan Pfeifer | November 18, 2015 at 3:53 pm |

    So, I have to ask: The third T-shirt design. What are we calling it?

    – Blood jersey?
    – College replica? (no number/name)?
    – Just another design?

    I feel like, this being UniWatch, there has to be a formal determination.

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 4:28 pm |

      If you mean the one that just has the script, it’s the one that just has the script.

  • Mainspark | November 18, 2015 at 5:25 pm |

    Paul – I usually read Uni Watch first thing in the morning but today I didn’t get to the site until 5:00 p.m. EST as I was in trial all day and didn’t have the time or inclination to view today’s entry before Court. What a wonderful story today. After a long and stressful day dealing with a Judge, jurors, clients and witnesses your discussions with Brenly and Kruko about the etymology of squatchee/squatcho washed away all that hypertension. Usually I like to have a bourbon and maybe a cigar after I finish a trial and I likely will still imbibe in those pleasures but your story has already accomplished what those vices are intended to overcome. Thank you and cheers!

    • Paul Lukas | November 18, 2015 at 5:35 pm |

      Thanks so much, man — high praise indeed. Very much appreciated.

      Now go enjoy a bourbon and a cigar anyway!

  • Another Josh | November 18, 2015 at 8:43 pm |

    As a side note, it seems to be quite a coincidence that both former players you talked to for the story are now broadcasters for MLB teams. Is there a correlation between players liking interesting words like “squatcho” and future careers on air?

  • Seth | November 18, 2015 at 9:06 pm |

    Like others, I’m kicking myself I didn’t think of Sniglets with that button.

    Musquirt is one we use frequently in our home. Another one is Essoasso, who are the jerks who cut through a gas station to avoid a red light on the corner.

    Great stuff. I’m sure both Bob and Mike were having fun with those questions. (I sympathize with Bob, I used to catch in the days before helmets. Yeah, ouch indeed.)

  • Ryan M | November 18, 2015 at 9:29 pm |

    Excellent researchifying! And that’s pretty cool that both Brenly and Krukow seemed to be pleasant enough to talk to. I guess that’s what you’d want out of a broadcaster, but sometimes you wonder if pro athletes (and ex-pro athletes) are as easily amused by certain things as, for lack of a better term, “normal” folks.

    As for the preferred term, I’m torn. I find, contrary to Brenly’s opinion, that “ee” rolls of the tongue more easily than “o,” but that could be simply because I’m accustomed to the former term. But if it’s a squatcho, then I can’t really argue with the original source and a couple of guys that helped popularize the term.

  • Ashby J. | November 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm |

    God bless you, Paul. I nearly teared up at the Squatcho/Squatchee story. Just excellent reporting and dogged follow-up. It’s that kind of post that makes UW an absolute national treasure.