A few weeks ago, a gentleman with whom I’ve worked on articles for Uni Watch before, Mark Anderson, and who posts on Twitter as @MLBcathedrals, began tweeting a few old ballpark sketches. I thought I might have seen them before (we’ve probably showcased a few of them on UW before), but some of them I’d never seen — you know the type — a drawing of a ballpark with little quips and great annotations and things of that nature. Immediately I said to myself, “we gotta get that on UW.”
A few DM’s later, we were all set. For all the images below, you can click to enlarge. So, I’ve set this up enough already, I’ll now turn the rest of this article over to Mark, who will show you his…
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Sketches By Mark Anderson
Those of you that have been baseball fans the last 20 plus years have seen the biggest ballpark building boom in baseball history, but it wasn’t the first. From 1912 to 1923 every team in baseball would get a new steel reinforced concrete ballpark (a new technology at the time) with the exception of the Cardinals, who moved into Sportsman’s Park with the Browns in 1920, and the Phillies, who would play in the dilapidated Baker Bowl, before finally moving into (and sharing) the Athletic’s Shibe Park in 1938.
From 1946-47 cartoonist Gene Mack of the Boston Globe put together this great set of sketches that depicted every ballpark that existed at the time and their rich history. The drawings were later picked up by The Sporting News (now Sporting News) and published there.
They capture an era that would soon be gone. By the end of the 1950s the Braves, Browns, Athletics, Dodgers, Giants, would be on the move. The 1960s brought expansion and cookie cutter ballparks. By the end of the 1970s only four of these ballparks would still exist (Comiskey Park, Fenway Park, Tiger Stadium, and Wrigley Field).
Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees (1923-1973, 1976-2008)*
The first to be called a stadium and the first to have three decks Yankee Stadium. Until it’s renovation in 1973 fans were allowed to exit the game through the field. When this sketch was drawn Babe Ruth was still alive, two years later there would be an in-play monument in center field in his honor.
Ebbets Field, Brooklyn Dodgers (1913-1957)
Ebbets Field, like most ballparks of the time, was built on the least expensive land available. In this case, Ebbets was built on garbage dump called Pigtown named because of the pigs that were allowed to feast there. Ebbets Field’s right field fence was slanted inward like a “v” allowing for some interesting bounces.
Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox (1912-current)
What’s great about Fenway is that, for the most part, it still looks the same today as it did then. One year after this sketch it would get lights.
Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs (1916 to current)
If you’ve been paying attention this offseason you know that Wrigley Field is getting a makeover, including two video boards. The Center field bleachers, scoreboard, and ivy you see in this sketch (and see today) was added in 1937.
Comiskey Park, Chicago White Sox (1910-1990)
At a time when ballparks were known for being asymmetrical, Comiskey Park was the outlier. The only thing that is missing from this sketch, that existed when it was torn down after the 1990 season, is the exploding scoreboard.
Tiger Stadium, Detroit Tigers, (1912-1999)
Called Briggs Stadium at the time and Navin Field at the time, Tiger Stadium managed to last until 1999. Only thing missing here are the lights that were added in 1948.
Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis Browns (1909-1952), St. Louis Cardinals (1920-1966)
If you look closely at this sketch you will notice a screen or net over the right field bleachers. It was considered part of the the wall, meaning you had to either hit the roof or clear the stadium for it to be a home run.
Shibe Park, Philadelphia Athletics (1909-1954), Philadelphia Phillies (1938-1970)
Just beyond the right field fence at Shibe Park were a row of houses (that still exist today). Owners built bleachers on top of the roofs of these homes and charged admission (sound familiar?) Connie Mack, in the late 1930s, built a wall (later known as the spite fence) to block them out.
Crosley Field, Cincinnati Reds (1920-1970)
Notice how the left field foul line in this sketch all of a sudden has an angle to it near the fence? That’s because there was a ten foot slope there.
Polo Grounds, New York Giants (1911-1957) -1957, New York Yankees (1913-1922), New York Mets (1962-1963)
Look closely at center field and you will see where it says 482 feet. Now, look closely at the left field fence by the could pole. It says 279 feet. Did I mention the upper deck overhung the field in left by another 21 feet? You’ll also notice in centerfield it says clubhouse. Imagine the walk after a manger had to make after being tossed out for arguing here.
Forbes Field (1909-1970), Pittsburgh Pirates (1909-1970)
Forbes Field’s center field was so far away that they used to just park the batting cage out there, in play.
Griffith Stadium Washington Senators (1911-1960), Washington Senators II (1961)
It was 405 feet down the left field line here at Griffith Stadium. Let me repeat that. It was 405 feet down the left line here at Griffith Stadium, and still, Mickey Mantle managed to hit a building across the street from left here. Also, notice how center field comes in at an angle. That’s because the owners of the homes there refused to sell when Griffith was built. The left field wall, at once time, had an a beer bottle advertisement on it that was considered part of the wall. The cap was 56 feet above the warning track.
League Park, Cleveland Indians (1910-1931, 1934-1946), Cleveland Municipal Stadium Cleveland Indians (1932-1933, 1936-1993)
That’s right, the Indians used two ballparks at the same time for over a decade. League Park never did have lights and Cleveland Municipal never did seat less than 70,000 people, so it was a good fit. Notice the right field wall at League Park. Another wall taller than the Green Monster.
Braves Field, Boston Braves (1915-1952)
If you look at the right field bleachers on this sketch you will see where it says “Jury Box,” that’s because the Braves had a hard time drawing fans in Boston and at typical game you’d most likely find about 12 fans in those seats.
*Note: Years represent the years teams played in the ballpark, not the year they were built or demolished. In some cases a (several) wood version(s) of the ballpark(s) existed at the same location with the same name. Years represent steel and concrete versions only. Teams often changed their nicknames and names of their ballparks. Names given represent most common names used.
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Thanks, Mark! Great job — as most of you know, after unis, stadia (particularly those for baseball and which are no more) are probably my favorite thing, so this was a joy to have on UW. As I mentioned above, you can follow Mark on Twitter (and if you don’t you really should), and you can also check out some of the other ballparks-related articles he’s done for the Sporting News.
OK, readers — if stadia are your bag (or even if they aren’t) — how great are these old sketches? Any of these ballparks you wish you’d have visited or were still around? I’d have loved to have visited all of them. Their endearing quirks (like the deep centerfield with the gravestone in the Polo Grounds, or the Crosley Field terrace) make them all the more fascinating.
Uni Tweaks Concepts
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 a reader who prefers to remain anonymous, who has a concept for the “Whalicanes”:
Here’s a uni concept for you.
Please note I like to post anonymously, so if you decide to run this please refer to me as anonymous, or a reader who prefers to remain nameless, etc. Thanks.
Since the Carolina Hurricanes are the old Hartford Whalers franchise, I thought it would be fitting to try to use some of the great elements of the Whalers logo in a Hurricanes design. The result is what you see here, a letter “C” with a negative and positive space whale tail. The two tails form the “H,” although like the original logo some people may not notice this at first.
Thanks, and keep up the great work! Like most of the readers I really appreciate you stepping up while Paul’s away.
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And we close today with Nick Tringale who has some new looks for the Jags:
Just doodling the other day and came up with these. Bengals-inspired helmet featuring Jaguar spots, carried through the trim/accents on uniforms. Would keep the current primary logo the same.
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And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Each Saturday or Sunday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend and the current weekend.
Here is the EPL tracker for Week 26, Part I:
ITEM! T-Shirt Club update: In response to overwhelming (okay, maybe just whelming) demand, we’ve added 4XL and 5XL size options to the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s March design. If you had wanted to order one of those sizes, go to the ordering page and choose the new Fruit of the Loom option, which Teespring is now offering.
College Hoops News: A horrible crime was committed the other evening when thieves stole the unwashed white uniforms from New Mexico State’s men’s team for Thursday’s game and “some very minor equipment” such as tripods, timeout stools and coaches’ dry boards (from Jason Johnson). … Yesterday the North Carolina Tar Heels were wearing 70s-80s throwbacks. First home game since Dean Smith passing (thanks to James Gilbert). … Latest team to go down the neon road: Vanderbilt (via Tres Lawless). … It was black versus gray yesterday for Buffalo and Bowling Green (from Phil Savitt). … Also deciding the dark versus dark look was fine was Northwestern and Penn State (Spinner and Matthew O’Connor, among several who noticed and were disgusted by that). … Interesting Michigan uniform on display in the front window of the M-Den. Here’s a closer look (via Chris Hall). … Syracuse University misspelled the name on the retired jersey given to Roosevelt Bouie. “Unbelievably bad,” says Tony DiRubbo. “Not too mention they give them those horrid jerseys that the team wears now an not the beautiful ones they wore back then.” … Colorado State (breaking out new gray unis) and Air Force went color vs. color yesterday (thanks to Timmy B.). … North Florida and Northern Kentucky also went color vs. color yesterday, if you consider gray a “color” (h/t BLRMKRdave). … Marshall, and probably some other schools, were wearing one black and one white shoe, helping raise awareness of pediatric cancer (via Steve Cotton). Not only did the players wear white/black shoes, the game was color vs. color (h/t Neil Scaggs). … The Northwestern football team showed IN UNIFORM at the men’s basketball game yesterday (from Denver James King). … We have another waistband roller, in another color vs. color game (thanks to bryanwdc). I’m sure Jim Vilk loves those DePaul unis.
Grab Bag: There are a lot of things the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is famous for, but their 1892 Tug of War team is probably not one of those things (h/t Sully).
Wheeeee. And that will do it for today. Big thanks to Mark Anderson for the sketches, Alex for the EPL tracker, the concepters and all who submitted tweets/e-mails for the ticker. Enjoy the Daytona 500 or whatever sporting events you’ll be watching today. You guys have a great week and I’ll catch you next weekend!
Last Saturday, Jim and I brought you the second in a short series of articles called Days of Yore, in which we argued for a number of uniforms that should, nay, need to return to the Major Leagues, even if just for one shining moment. We began the series a couple weeks ago with Part I, and last week we had Part II. Today we conclude.
For those not familiar, we broke the unis down into four categories: (1) A “one-shot,” meaning a team would break out an old uniform and wear it once, then retire it again (similar to what the Cubs did in 2014 when they had their “decade” uniforms); (2) An “alternate,” meaning the team should introduce a retro uniform into the uniform rotation, to be worn as an alternate (and hopefully sparingly); (3) “Sunday Home”: A uniform to be worn on Sunday home games (the way the Mariners, Pirates and White Sox do); it would ONLY be worn on Sundays; and (4) “Just Go Back To This”: A uniform that should replace a team’s current uniform, and be worn as the standard home or road (or both). Click on any images below to enlarge.
As you may recall, I had more selections in Part II, so we’re going a bit heavy on Jimmer’s picks for this final post.
Here’s Jimmer with a short intro, and then we’re on to Part III:
My pullover craze continues, but fear not…there are some great neo-classic looks as well to round out this project.
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1976 Baltimore Orioles (PH): For some reason, maybe because it was Reggie’s one year with the O’s, maybe something else — but for some reason I loved the O’s orange pullover worn with the rare odd orange front panel cap. I shouldn’t like this, but I do. But I only want to see it one more time. One and done.
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1976 Minnesota Twins (JV): Actually, my dream set is the ’76 homes and the ’87 roads with the ’76 road caps. But let’s keep it simple for now. Alternate.
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1977 Baltimore Orioles (JV): O, those stripes! Plus, the white-paneled cap is the only one they need. Just Go Back To This.
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1977 Pittsburgh Pirates (PH): The Buccos really went crazy with their 1977 set, mixing and matching the bumblebees with abandon. And they’ve thrown back to these before. And I hate the fat pins. But, just one more time for each, I’d like to see the black/black, gold/gold, black/gold, and gold/black and black/black back. That’s a fact, Jack. Then retire them for good. One and done.
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1977 Toronto Blue Jays (JV): Their recently rebooted look is so good that I’ll just ask for these on Sunday (with the roof open unless it’s storming).
1978 Minnesota Twins (PH): I was thinking about sending the Twins back to their 1961 unis, but I have (for some bizarre reason) a soft spot for the ’78 homes with the red shoes and red caps. Might be fun to see these a dozen times a year, no? Sunday alt.
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1978 New York Mets (JV): Phil (and I) thought I was going to pick the racing stripes. I like those two little buttons, though. One-shot.
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1978 San Francisco Giants (PH): The orange jersey (which they’ve sort of gone back to) is great, but it’s 100% better when paired with orange sanis, black stirrups and white shoes. And of course, white pants. That’s a stellar look, and they can move their orange Friday alt. to Sunday. Sunday alt.
Chicago White Sox: The set was actually introduced in 1976, but they changed stirr…er, socks in 1979 (these are better) and I’d swear the midnight blue became more royal at the time as well. Don’t ever want to see the shorts return, but I’d like to see the white/white, white/blue, blue/white, and blue/blue each worn one more time. One and done.
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1979 Philadelphia Phillies. The Saturday Night Special (all burgundy) was, I believe, intended to be worn every Saturday night. However, that plan was quickly jettisoned. It’s a uni that needs to be seen one. more. time. For old times sake. One and done.
1981 Seattle Mariners (JV): I like their current look and this look, so let’s make this a very frequent Alternate.
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1983 Kansas City Royals (PH): KC needs to return to the powder blue road they wore so well — but not the pullover version. In 1983, they went to button front and all was right with the world. Just go back to this.
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks (JV): Nestled between the original DIAMONDbacks jerseys and today’s D-Backs, there was this winning look. Just Go Back To This.
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And, thus concludes this little exercise. You’ll note Jimmer likes a lot more of the more “modern” looks, while I have only a few — and those I do like, I don’t want to see too often. You’ll also note I left a few teams completely off my lists — either what they’re wearing now is just fine, or there is nothing better in their past I’d prefer (or maybe Jim already covered those in his picks).
What say you readers? Do you agree with any of these choices? Do you have a uniform from the mid-70s to today you think you’d like to see brought back? Did we miss any? Are we nuts (you already know that). Let us know. Thanks for letting us indulge in this little exercise — it was a lot of fun!
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Back today with our good friend and long-time colorization expert, George Chilvers, who has a beautiful one today — one that Terence Kearns will surely love.
Here’s George (click to enlarge):
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This is the coin toss at the start of the 1913 league game between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs). What of course is outstanding in this picture is the sheer sartorial elegance of the referee. Down even to wearing a bow-tie. I really really wish that officials now would wear this.
Of course they may just be saying “I say, old chap, looks like we’re in for a spot of rain”.
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Thanks George — stupendous work as always!
T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s March design, inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, remains available from now through Monday. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.
College/Other Football News: Here’s a pretty cool photograph of Skydome (for an Argos game) taken by none other than Jim Vilk, who notes the turf has improved since that photo was taken (12 years or so ago). … Nebraska has added NOBs to practice jerseys for spring ball (via Joe Mueller). … If you scroll down a bit in this article, you’ll see the Chick-Fil-A game for 2016 will be color vs. color (UGA in red and UNC in powder Carolina blue), with thanks to Harrison Wallace.
Grab Bag: The University of Maryland broke out pink-tinged leotards and stuff for last nights meet (h/t Charley Collier). … You know how there are always old photos of kids playing stickball in city streets? Well, here’s one of Londoners playing cricket (from Classic Pics), reportedly taken on April 25, 1930. … Carlos Ahmed Jalife Ruz writes, ” Don’t know if this has been done before in Mexico but it sure looks like shit. That’s the kit Irapuato FC will be using in the cup match versus Guadalajara, next Tuesday and is to commemorate the club’s anniversary and the army’s anniversary here in México. Not only the design, also the jersey itself looks cheap but we have to keep in mind its a second tier division club.” … There are a lot of things I miss about college, but here’s one we didn’t have when I was there: Curling. The Hamilton College curling team has qualified for the USA College Curling Nationals! Go You Conts! … Leo Strawn, Jr. writes, “Next week begins pre-season (NAB Cup) matches in AFL. While most squads are having intra-club matches this week as a final warmup, West Coast Eagles played a team of Indigenous AFL All-Stars. This special jumper worn by those All-Stars should raise the bar for some teams during this season’s one-off Indigenous Round. Starting last season special jumpers were worn by all 18 AFL clubs during that round of matches.”
And that’s all for today. Thanks to Jimmer for the oh-so-fun Days Of Yore segments, and to George for his wonderful colo(u)rization. Everyone enjoy the day and the outdoor hockey game late this evening. Spring training is underway, so that means spring and baseball season are just around the corner.
My mom’s 81st birthday is today, so I’ll probably be spending a chunk of today helping her celebrate and off the grid. You kids play nice, ok? OK. Back with some more good stuff tomorrow (I think you’ll really enjoy what’s coming).
“Certain flags (USA, Maryland, New Mexico) have a graphic integrity which lend themselves to wide application. I wouldn’t make a uniform out of a Massachusetts or Oklahoma flag unless it were a soccer kit.”
Yesterday I Ticker-linked to this photo of former Trail Blazers forward Jerome Kersey, who passed away on Wednesday, and noted that he was among the relatively few NBA players to wear a captain’s “C.”
That got me thinking: How many other NBAers have worn the “C”? I’ve cited several examples over the years but had never gathered them all in one place. What follows is, I’m sure, a very incomplete rundown of “C”-clad players I managed to come up with yesterday.
In no particular order:
1. Terry Porter. Another Blazer, but his “C” looked clunkier than Kerey’s:
2. Jack Sikma. Sikma played in the era before the NBA logo appeared on jerseys, so his “C” didn’t look as cluttered. He wore at least two different “C” styles — a generic-looking letter and one rendered in the team’s font:
3. Downtown Freddie Brown. Another Sonics player here:
4, 5, and 6. Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin. The “Run TMC” trio were co-captains for Golden State. Note that all three of these guys wore their “C” rather low, and that Hardaway’s and Mullin’s were definitely too close to their chest lettering:
7. Tracy McGrady. He wore a very small “C” when he was with the Magic:
8, 9, and 10. Desmond Mason, Tim Thomas, and Erick Strickland. These three players were co-captains with the Bucks back in 2003-04, all wearing the “C”:
11. Sam Lacey. I’m glad he’s on this list just so we can see the old Kansas City Kings jersey:
12. Antonio McDyess. He wore the “C” during part of his tenure with the Nuggets:
13. Nick Van Exel. Another Denver player who sported the captaincy designation:
14. Shareef Abdur-Rahim. The man with many letters in his name had an additional letter on the front of his Hawks jersey:
15. Christian Laettner. Hard to believe the Timberwolves’ uniforms were once this generic-looking:
16. Reggie Miller. I believe Miller wore the “C” for only one season — 1993-94, which is when this shot was taken:
That’s all I got. Are there more? I’m fairly certain there are. If you know of any, post them in today’s comments. Thanks.
Meanwhile, a few questions to ponder:
• Do you like seeing a “C” on a basketball uni, or is it too much?
• Except for Sikma and Brown — the two Sonics players — all of the players shown above wore the “C” on the right side. Now, granted, in most (but not all) cases that was because the NBA logo was occupying the left side. But now there’s no more NBA logo on the front and, at least for the moment, no ads either. So: Which side is better for the “C”?
• Would a sleeve be a good place for a “C”?
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T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s March design, inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, remains available from now through next Monday. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.
Raffle reminder: Today’s the last day to enter the raffle for a chance to design your own custom baseball bat. Full details here.
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’Skins Watch: A school district not far from Buffalo is considering changing the school’s team name from “Redskins,” but supporters of the name hung a “Save the Redskin Tradition” banner over a downtown intersection this week. A community forum on the matter is scheduled for March 3 (from Phil and Dave Drews). … Remember that Pennsylvania high school whose student newspaper editor was suspended for refusing to print the word “Redskins”? The editor has now written about that experience.
College and High School Hoops News: Arizona retired Jason Terry’s No. 31 last night. … “As an assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Charlotte Christian School — alma matter of NBA All-Star Stephan Curry — I would be remiss if I didn’t share the sweet new uniforms that Stephan sent our way courtesy of Under Armour and his new signature line SC30,” writes Zach Goodyear. “The kids all got two pairs of game shoes, a pair of travel shoes, and of course the new practice and game unis. We are blessed beyond belief, amazed but not surprised at Stephan’s ascension to the top of the NBA, and absolutely in love with our new gear. The practice jersey is being worn by Trey Phills, a senior guard headed to play at Yale next fall and the son of former NBA player Bobby Phills.” … More women’s teams wearing pink: Florida State, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Wake Forest, UNC, Florida, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Georgia Tech. … Calvin Godfrey of Memphis was missing his conference patch last night. … There are a lot of things wrong in this photo, but the biggest one is that Minot High in North Dakota wore pink camouflage — yeech (from Jody Michael).
Grab Bag: A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to defrauding the U.S. government by creating a phony prison guard uniform company. … The Libertarian Party is holding a logo design contest (from Gregory Koch). … Aussie rules football news from Leo Strawn Jr., who writes: “AFL’s Collingwood Magpies have released their 2015 Anzac Day jumper for the annual rivalry match with Essendon in April. The top of the jumper gets a bit crowded with the extra graphics, but the poppy is a nice addition.” … Russian activists/artists Pussy Riot are wearing Russian riot police uniforms in the video for their first English-language song, “I Can’t Breathe,” which is dedicated to chokehold victim Eric Garner. … Big kerfuffle over pro snooker player Rory McLeod. McLeod, who happens to be Muslim, is sponsored by ISIS Business Solutions, and wears their logo on his apparel. But lots of folks thought he was endorsing, you know, that other ISIS (from George Chilvers). … The Vancouver Women’s Field Hockey Association, after lots of deep thought and serious consideration, has decided that it’s okay for players to wear shorts instead of skirts (thanks, Phil). … Police in Cheektowaga, near Buffalo, are having trouble identifying the logo on the jackets worn by a pair of tablet thieves. … This shot of astronauts’ and cosmonauts’ suits would make a cool poster (from Brian Dautch). … All Tennessee women’s teams except for basketball will soon stop being the Lady Vols and just be the Volunteers, a shift that’s caused some controversy (from Chris Weber).
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What Paul did last night: The guy sitting next to me in the photo above is Uni Watch reader Noah Hougland, who won the raffle to be my guest at the offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the architecture firm where I gave a presentation yesterday. Afterward, a bunch of the Skidmore folks took us out to dinner, and a great time was had by one and all.
This type of raffle is always a crapshoot — will the person be fun to hang out with? Will he be really quiet? As it turns out, Noah’s a really interesting guy and fit right in with everyone. Even better, his wife is an architect, so he had plenty to discuss with the Skidmore folks.
The presentation went well, too. Big thanks to Sam, Drew, Emily, Amy, Severin, and everyone else at Skidmore for having me in — it was a great experience.
I used to watch pro bowling on TV all the time when it was on ABC back in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, and I was familiar with all the big-name pin-bashers of that era. But I’ve fallen out of touch with the pro game in recent years and can no longer identify most of the big names.
So imagine my surprise on Sunday afternoon when I attended a friend’s birthday party at a bar whose TV was showing ESPN’s broadcast of the PBA Tournament of Champions, which was won by a guy named Jason Belmonte. Belmonte, it turns out, is a major player on the pro tour these days — 13 PBA titles, including five majors, after Sunday’s win — but I’d never seen or heard of him before. Once I got a look at him, though, I went bonkers, grabbing everyone I knew at the bar (and several people I didn’t know) and saying, “Look, look at this guy!”
The key to Belmonte’s style is that his ball doesn’t have a thumb hole, so he only has his middle and ring fingers in the ball. I’ve see other bowlers do this — it’s a way to get more revolutions and therefore more hook on the ball — but Belmonte adds an extra wrinkle: He holds the ball with both hands and kinda slings or shovels it down the lane, sort of the bowling version of Rick Barry’s two-handed free throw. Dig:
It looks awkward and seems like it would be hard to control, but Belmonte has mastered it — he’s no novelty act. And unlike other two-finger bowlers I’ve seen, all of whom have switched to a conventional three-finger grip when attempting to pick up a spare, Belmonte sticks with the two-finger grip for his second ball.
I don’t usually like the idea of athletes having personal logos. But Belmonte’s style is so distinctive that his logo — an unmistakable silhouette of his two-handed style, which he wears on his shirt — seems warranted:
He also has the logo on his ball, but I wasn’t able to find a good photo of that.
Interestingly, Belmonte is Australian — a rarity on the PBA tour, where almost all the players are American. The only other elite non-American player I can recall is Amleto Monacelli, a Venezuelan who was arguably the best player in the world for part of the 1990s, although I imagine there have been others. Anyway: Belmonte definitely puts a new visual spin on his sport.
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You can’t spell “The Greatest” without “U” and “A,” or something: Very surprised to hear the news yesterday that Under Armour has struck a deal with Authentic Brands Group — the operation that owns and administers all the licensing rights to Muhammad Ali’s name and image — to come out with an Ali “lifestyle apparel” product line (beginning with this T-shirt, which launched yesterday).
Obviously, Ali is one of the most compelling athletes of the 20th century. But he’s also 73-year-old testament to how contact sports can inflict traumatic brain injury — a hot topic these days. Moreover, boxing seems like too much of a legacy sport for Under Armour, which feels more like an MMA company. Then again, UA has a Bruce Lee product line, so maybe they’re not as strictly youth-oriented as I perceive them to be.
If you want to feel just a little bit ill, check Nick Woodhouse, president and chief marketing officer of Authentic Brand Group, describes the deal: “Under Armour is irreverent, disruptive, they pivot quickly and they’re explosive. Those words also speak to Ali and how he changed the game.”
Think he worked enough buzz-clichés into that sentence? , thank the lordy Ali’s heyday was before the era of douchebag lifestyle marketing.
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Mike’s Question of the Week By Mike Chamernik
Today is the NBA trade deadline! Like most NBA fans, I’ll be refreshing Reddit and Twitter and keeping my eye on the ESPN crawl all afternoon, waiting to see if any blockbusters are made. I’m so excited — it’s one of my favorite days of the basketball season, and it isn’t even about an actual game being played.
What’s your favorite non-game-related event of the sports year? I’m talking about the NFL and NBA drafts, Selection Sunday, the Heisman Trophy presentation, the baseball trade deadline, Hall of Fame inductions or announcements, the ESPYs, MVP announcements — that type of thing. What do you like about it? What do you do for it? Do you get together with others? Ever attended anything in person? Chat online with other fans? Is there any aesthetic, uniform-related aspect you enjoy about the day, if applicable?
As always, post your answers in today’s comments. Thanks.
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T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s March design, inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, remains available from now through next Monday. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.
Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off the chance to design your own custom baseball bat. Full details here.
Hockey News: In 1979, Guy Lafleur put out a disco album. (That, by the way, is the most 1979 sentence ever written.) Here it is, along with some good album photos of him in uniform (from Mike Styczen). … College of Faith, a ministry using college sports as an evangelizing tool, uses one of the Sabres’ old alternate logos. “I guess they missed the part of the Bible that states, ‘Thou shalt not steal,'” says Andrew Jobe. … Senators goalie Andrew Hammond has a combo of the Hamburglar and Alfred E. Neuman on his mask (good spot by Matt Larsen).
Soccer News: UEFA didn’t allow Real Madrid to wear its black dragon shirts yesterday, so they wore pink alternates instead (from Phil). … The Colorado Rapids are looking for a new jersey sponsor (from Phil).
NBA News: Former Trail Blazers F Jerome Kersey, who passed away on Wednesday, was one of the relatively few NBA players to wear a captain’s “C” (from Mike Engle).
College and High School Hoops News: Arizona State retired James Harden’s number. … Georgia Regents University will wear camo on Saturday. … Couple of women’s hoops notes from Jesse Gavin: Division III schools Wartburg and Dubuque went color vs. color over the weekend, and one of the Wartburg players wore a mask. Also, the River Ridge-Scales Mound high school team has both the program’s initials and nickname on the front of its jerseys. … Fordham wore pink unis and Dayton wore camo shooting shirts in the schools’ womens basketball matchup last night (from Pat Costello). … An ESPN graphic referred to Syracuse as the Orangemen last night. The school changed the name to just the Orange in 2004 (from Tony DiRubbo).
Grab Bag: Formula One is barring drivers from changing helmet designs during the year. The rule isn’t for safety (like with the NFL’s “one helmet” rule); it’s for easier racer identification. “I am totally in favor of this, as the helmet does aid those of us watching on TV, and presumably at the track, in identifying the drivers, particularly teammates driving otherwise identically-painted machinery,” says Andrew Jobe. “It’s hard to keep track when certain drivers change up their designs every other race.” … Stanislaw Olechowski sends in an excellent curling photo, from the Curling Club on Lake Loch Leven, Kinross, Scotland, in 1959. … New logo for the city of Minneapolis (from Craig Van Someren). … Vintage memorabilia from Disney theme parks are up for auction (from Tommy Turner). … New logo for the National Watermelon Association. … Scotland’s cricket uniform has tartan-patterned sleeves (from Vasav Swaminathan).
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What Paul did last night: There have been a few periods in my life when I spent a lot of time poking around in abandoned buildings (including, as longtime readers may recall, a 2010 trip to check out the ruin-porn of Detroit). But for whatever reason, I’ve never done any of this type of exploration in my own city — only on the road.
But that doesn’t mean there are no abandoned buildings worth exploring here in New York. For the past three years a photographer named Will Ellis has been documenting his visits to such buildings on his website, Abandoned NYC, and now he has a new book of the same title. Last night he was giving a presentation less than a mile from my house, so I went to check him out.
The presentation was great — awesome photos, interesting stories. But the real treat was Ellis himself. I’ve known a few of these serious urban explorers over the years, and they tend to be badass anarcho-artist types. Ellis, though, comes off as sincere, unaffected, and humble — a sweet, normal guy. You could totally bring him home to meet your parents and they’d love him (although they’d probably wonder why he spends so much time inside abandoned buildings).
Anyway: Ellis’s website and book are both worth checking out, so get on that, right? Right.