Jackie Robinson Day Roundup

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[Editor's Note: I had a social obligation last night (more on that at the bottom of today's entry), so intern Mike Chamernik was on Jackie Day duty. Here's his report on MLB's annual salute to the man who broke the color barrier. — PL]

By Mike Chamernik

Okay, I blog about the White Sox, and last evening I had their game on while I was compiling all the Jackie Robinson-related uni news for you guys. I was reading email, checking twitter, monitoring other games, and listening to Mike Francesa Show clips, and every so often I looked up at my TV to see what the Sox were doing. All I saw every time was that No. 42 was on the mound, facing No. 42 at the plate. I had no idea what was going on.

The league-wide No. 42 jerseys on Jackie Robinson Day are a cool gesture, and it’s important that we remember the man, but they’re murder to people who multitask.

Here are some uni-notable details from yesterday’s action:

• The Pirates and Reds completed a suspended game before their regularly scheduled game yesterday. In the first game, they wore regular uniforms, meaning two teams wore something other than No. 42 on April 15 — a rarity. In the second game they all wore 42, and the Pirates switched to gray tops (and, as you can see in that screen shot, they added a “42″ to the mound). Here’s more on how the Reds honored Robinson.

• The umps wore 42 as well, including in the first game between the Pirates and Reds.

• The benches cleared during the 4th inning of the Nationals/Marlins game, which produced this odd sight.

• Unusual move by the Diamondbacks, who wore their black alternate jerseys and BP caps.

• The Dodgers wore their “Dodgers” script road alternates. The team’s website also posted a detailed history on the players who wore No. 42.

• Over in the NBA, the Nets wore their Brooklyn Dodgers-esque alternates.

• The active roster on every MLB team’s website everyone’s uniform number as 42. And if you asked Siri for a player’s number yesterday, she gave you the correct answer.

• Four games were postponed and all eight teams will wear No. 42 today. That includes the Yankees, who had a Nelson Mandela tribute planned for last night.

(Thanks to Paul and Phil for their submissions.)

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Flex time: Paul here. You’ve probably seen some of those tweets from various college football teams touting their use of the new Riddell SpeedFlex helmet. My latest ESPN column takes a closer look at the SpeedFlex, which has some very clever engineering features that I think you’ll find interesting. Check it out here.

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Book deal reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, Uni Watch readers are being offered a special deal on 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox: Every Picture Tells a Story, a gorgeously produced coffee table-style book (not an e-book) that chronicles the 2013 Bosox season. It features over 200 photos (some of which you can see here), along with essays by team owner John Henry, outfielder Jonny Gomes, manager John Farrell, Boston broadcaster Joe Castiglione, former mayor Thomas Menino, journalists Gordon Edes and Leigh Montville, and more.

The book lists for $40, and Amazon has if for $27.33. But if you go here and use the checkout code RSX131, you can get it for $24.95 — definitely the lowest price you’re gonna find. You know what to do.

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Unmasking the Commenters: I recently invited the site’s commenters to tell us a bit more about themselves and give us a peek at what they look like, just because I thought it would be fun to pull back the internet’s curtain of anonymity. I’ll keep showcasing you folks as long as you keep sending in your photos and quick bios.

Today we’re featuring longtime reader/commenter James Huening, who posts comments as “JTH” (and who is pushing back against the “unmasking” thing, as you can see below):

I live in Chicago and I’m a Sagittarius. I go pretty far back with Uni Watch — not all the way back to the Village Voice days, but I’m mentioned by name in the second or third post on this blog. I’m the handsome one on the right in the photo. On the left is my friend Dan. Between us is someone who works in the front office of a local professional sports franchise. Let’s just call him “Theo.”

I spend a great deal of time as a coach and/or spectator at the many sporting events of my three children: hockey, basketball, baseball, softball, football, lacrosse, and various other things. I sing and play guitar in a band that never practices, has never played a gig, and doesn’t have a name. But if we ever do pick a name, I would like for it to be Otis’ Birdsong. I also play hockey (poorly) and brew beer on those rare occasions when I get a day all to myself.

Thanks, Jimbo, and thanks also for all your contributions and friendship over the years — you make Uni Watch a better place!

Do you want to be featured in “Unmasking the Commenters”? If so, send me a photo and a quick paragraph about yourself. You don’t have to reveal your real name, and the photo doesn’t have to show your face, but you must include a photo to be considered. Send everything this-a-way.

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’Skins Watch: Four Houston-area schools whose teams were called the Redskins, Indians, Warriors, and Rebels have been given new team names, part of a new school district policy to ban mascots deemed to be culturally insensitive. But here’s the fascinating subtext to that story: One of the schools, Lamar High, used to be known as the Redskins and will now become the Texans, but that wasn’t their first choice. They wanted to be known as the Texians. As this Houston Press article explains, “[The term 'Texian'] sounds like just some old-fashioned way of referring to the people who came [to Texas] to live about the time of the state’s move to independence from Mexico. But others point out that the Texians were the Anglos, and that probably Tejanos or Hispanic Texans were excluded from this group. Also that the Anglos who identified as Texians may have had motives other than truth and freedom — maybe continued slave ownership — as their rallying point.” In other words, “Texians” might actually have been a step backwards in terms of culturally appropriate team names, which is why the school board decided to have Lamar High be the Texans instead. That article, which Phil brought to my attention, is super-interesting — highly recommended. … Three Utah-related items from Dom Lewis: (1) The University of Utah has reached a new agreement with the Ute tribe that will allow the school to keep using the Ute name and imagery. The third graf of that story mentions that the school plans to “donate proceeds from sales of a special football jersey worn during a home game in November (either for Oregon or Arizona) to a Boys & Girls Club the tribe plans to open.” (2) Did you know Utah’s teams used to be called the Redskins? It’s true, as you can see on this 1963 media guide cover. (3) A youth football league in Salt Lake City calls itself Ute Conference Football and uses a depiction of an Indian child as its logo. Not sure if they have the tribe’s permission.

Baseball News: While looking for something else I came across this shot of Jackie Robinson in a really cool UCLA baseball uni. … Great little DIY project from Scott Davis, who writes: “I went to a Red Sox game last week and ended up with a small ziplock bag of Fenway infield dirt (they have it prebagged — all you have to do is ask for it at the fan relations desk!). I had a handful of those little 1/8-oz. Tabasco sauce bottles and they seemed like the perfect fit for some dirt. I pulled the various Red Sox logos off of Chris Creamer’s website, threw them onto some Avery labels, and cut to fit.” Nicely done! … Ooo-la-la, look at this amazing Trolley Tavern jersey. “Pete Rose’s father, Harry, played for them, and Pete was the bat boy as a kid,” says Dennis Hasty, which explains the Rose autograph on the flannel. … A 1971 episode of The Brady Bunch showed Bobby in an inaccurate Dodgers jersey. “Don’t think they were particularly concerned with accuracy back then,” says Phil. … Just what the world’s been waiting for: a baseball cap with an electronic screen that lets you switch out the logo (Phil again). … The El Paso Chihuahuas’ new mascot is pretty damn scary (Phil yet again). … The Red Sox were in Chicago last night, where some White Sox players joined in the marking of the Boston Marathon bombing anniversary by wearing “Boston Strong” T-shirts (Andy Chalifour). … Speaking of the Chisox/Bosox game, it was pretty cold in Chicago, so some players were wearing balaclavas. So was the home plate ump. As you can also see there, the umps are wearing a memorial patch for Wally Bell, which I don’t think we’ve noted yet this season. … Cold weather in Minnesota last night too, so Brett Lawrie of the Blue Jays was wearing his balaclava over his cap (thanks, Phil). … Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis mistakenly wore his BP cap during a mound visit last night (from Samuel Lam). … Oklahoma base coaches wore G.I. Joe helmets last night. Sigh (Phil yet again)… And still more from Phil: You know the Yankees wear pinstripes, but did you know they once wore multi-colored pinstripes? That’s from 1912. … The left-handed batter’s box in Miami was crooked last night (thanks, Mike).

NFL News: Bears WR Brandon Marshall has a big collection of jerseys that he’s accumulated from other NFL players over the years (from Joshua Williams). … Here’s a gallery of unusual NFL facemasks and a Reddit discussion of same (from Jon Mostowy). … More of those NFL draft caps are showing up on eBay, even though they haven’t been officially announced yet (from Mark Gonillo).

College Football News: Syracuse is planning a “major announcement” for today, and the thinking is that it will likely involve new football uniforms (thanks, Phil).

Soccer News: “Liverpool held a 25th-anniversary ceremony for the Hillsborough tragedy on Tuesday,” writes Yusuke Toyoda. “The centerpiece was ’96′ — the number of victims — written with scarves donated from around the world, including one from Boston Red Sox, who share owners with Liverpool. The tributes also included 96 empty seats draped with donated scarves. More photos here and here.” … Also from Yusuke: “Melbourne Heart is changing its colors to sky blue so it’s the same as Manchester City, its parent club. The only problem? Sky blue is also worn by Melbourne Heart’s rival, Sydney FC, which has filed a complaint to Football Federation Australia.”

NBA/WNBA News: Currently for sale at Madison Square Garden: Phil Jackson T-shirts (from Alan Kreit). … The D-League’s newest team will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they’re having a contest to name the team. “Which will presumably lead to a logo design contest,” notes P.K. Richardson. … New road uniforms for the WNBA’s New York Liberty (from Kevin Brown).

Grab Bag: Illinois is scheduled to unveil lots of new uniforms in various sports today, but they leaked last night. … Oh, for fuck’s sake — camouflage cake?! (Blame Ryan Burns.)

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What Paul did last night: If you look again at that photo of the SpeedFlex helmet that appears earlier in today’s entry, you can see that it includes a reflection of the photographer (who happens to have been me) — a fairly common phenomenon when you’re photographing a shiny object.

I thought about that last night when my buddy Rob Walker and I met up at the Morgan Library to check out a program of presentations about collecting. One of the presenters was the artist Penelope Umbrico, who specializes in collecting photos of objects for sale on Craigslist. As she explained in her talk, she’s particularly fascinated by Craigslist photos of TVs in which the camera’s flash is visible, in part because you can often see a reflection of what was going on in the room. This in turn led her to discuss something called “reflecto-porn,” which is the term commonly used when the reflected photographer isn’t fully clothed (don’t worry, that photo link is totally safe for work).

All of this actually relates pretty directly to Uni Watch, because a lot of you folks submit uni-notable screen shots by taking flash photos of your TV sets, which often results in some interesting reflected imagery. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of you in a state of undress, but I’ve definitely seen some parts of your living rooms that you probably didn’t intend to share. Might wanna turn off the flash next time — just sayin’.

Decades Before Jackie

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Today is Jackie Robinson Day, the day when we honor the first African American to play in the major leagues. But as you can see above, Robinson was not the first African American to wear a jersey and cap while in a big league team’s employ — not by a long shot.

Those two guys are Waller Irvin (left) and Emmett Parker, who were hired as trainers for the New York Giants in 1923. That photo was taken during spring training of ’23, and they appear to be wearing the Giants’ 1922 home jerseys (although Irvin’s was apparently modified to look more like a dress shirt, complete with a collar and sleeve cuffs).

When reader Bruce Menard showed me this photo last week, I initially thought these must have been Negro Leagues trainers. But no — they worked for the New York baseball Giants. Here’s a Palm Beach Post article about Parker being hired by the Giants, and you can see Parker and Irvin in this 1923 Giants team portrait (click to enlarge):

That’s Irvin in the front row, far left. Parker is in the second row, far right. Both are wearing jerseys and caps.

Irvin and Parker weren’t the Giants’ first black trainers. Prior to hiring them, the team employed Ed Mackall. You can see him wearing a modified jersey and cap in this 1921 team portrait, front-row center (click to enlarge):

So blacks weren’t good enough to play in the majors, but they were good enough to tend to the players’ injuries and conditioning. Incredible!

When I told Bruce how surprised I was by this, he said there were other black trainers at that time — and even earlier. One of them was William “Doc” Buckner, who worked for the White Sox. Here he is in team portraits from 1910 and 1915. In the second one, from ’15, he’s at dead-center of the photo, wearing a Sox jersey (for both shots, you can click to enlarge):

Another black trainer during this period was Edward LaForce, who worked for the Pirates. You can see him in the top-left spot of this 1909 team portrait, wearing what appears to be a polo shirt, not a jersey (click to enlarge):

I was completely unfamiliar with the role of black trainers during this period of baseball history, so Bruce pointed me toward the book Fair Dealing and Clean Playing: The Hilldale Club and the Development of Black Professional Baseball, 1910-1932, which includes the following passage:

By the 1920s, several African Americans were employed as trainers in the American Association, Pacific Coast League, and other minor leagues. Yet black trainers, like all African American laborers, were susceptible to dismissal at the behest of whites. After the 1917 season Bill Buckner was terminated as trainer of the White Sox, reportedly because of Eddie Collins’s dislike of African Americans. While Buckner was eventually rehired, trainer Doc Jamieson of the New York Giants would be fired because of manager Rogers Hornsby’s predjudices.

This article about Ed Mackall from Johns Hopkins Magazine paints an even nastier picture:

Mackall was one of a cadre of esteemed black trainers in the league: Kirby Samuels of the St. Louis Cardinals, George Asten and Ed LaForce with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the legendary William “Bill” Buckner of the Chicago White Sox. What’s left unstated is that African-Americans were accepted in the clubhouse but not on the fields. One newspaper story notes that in the summer of 1919, Mackall hid under a passenger train’s seats when the Giants passed through Springfield, Illinois, the site of a race riot earlier in the year; another reports that [manager John] McGraw felt it prudent to send Mackall back to New York rather than have him accompany the team to Chicago, where race riots had broken out as well. And a short piece in the October 2, 1908, Salt Lake Telegram points out that one member of the Giants isn’t entitled to a share of postseason money should the club make the series: “The unfortunate person is Ed Mackall, colored trainer of the club.”

Although Mackall didn’t get a World Series share, at least one black trainer did. Buried within this article from The Miami News on Sept. 29, 1926, is the following: “The Cardinals voted each of the eligible players a full share of the [1926] series earnings. Half shares were awarded Kirby Samuels, the St. Louis trainer, and Clarence Lloyd, secretary of the club.”

So as we celebrate Jackie Day, let’s remember these trainers, who are part of the larger story about blacks and baseball.

(Extra-special thanks to Bruce Menard for schooling me on this fascinating chapter in baseball history, and for providing all of the photos used in today’s entry.)

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Actual ink-on-paper book deal: In recent weeks we’ve offered special deals on assorted e-books, but today I’m happy to announce an exclusive offer to Uni Watch readers on a regular book with pages and a cover and everything.

The book is 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox: Every Picture Tells the Story, a gorgeously produced coffee table-style volume that chronicles the 2013 Bosox season. It features over 200 photos (some of which you can see here), along with essays by team owner John Henry, outfielder Jonny Gomes, manager John Farrell, Boston broadcaster Joe Castiglione, former mayor Thomas Menino, journalists Gordon Edes and Leigh Montville, and more.

The book lists for $40, and Amazon has if for $27.33. But if you go to this page and use the checkout code RSX131, you can get it for $24.95 — definitely the lowest price you’re gonna find. (The ordering page will list a price of $40, but just use that checkout code and you’ll be good to go.) You know what to do, right? Right.

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Start growing that playoff beard: With the NHL posteason now upon us, two longtime Uni Watch readers/contributors are cranking up their annual playoff rituals:

• Hockey Blog in Canada honcho Teebz is running his annual playoff pool. Check it out here.

• Illustrator Rob Ullman is working on his annual postseason cheesecake illustrations, which show the playoff match-ups as epitomized by jersey-clad chickaroos duking it out. He says the first-round illos should be ready to show us in a day or so. Looking forward to it, Rob!

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

I saw Cowboys Hall of Fame DB Mel Renfro play back in the day at Texas Stadium, and here’s a detailed look at his jersey. Not much in the way of ornamentation, eh? No wordmarks, NFL shield, or maker’s mark like nowadays. Nice, solid tackle-twill numerals, too. The listing says “early 1970s,” but it must be from earlier than that, because there’s no nameplate. But hey, was Mel cutting off his shirttails?

Here’s the rest of this week’s Collector’s Corner haul:

• From reader Dave Hembree: “Thought Paul might like this really interesting old American Legion baseball jersey.” [Indeed I do. — PL]

• You’re an official WIP Radio Philadelphia Eagles Fan when you display this 1969 sticker on your car.

• Joe Montana somehow got switched to wearing No. 10 in this 1982 Kellogg’s 49ers mini-poster. More of ’em here.

Nice set of seven NFL helmet magnet note-holders, still in their original blister-pack!

• Can I interest you in a Texas Rangers helmet buggy?

• I’d swear this NFL bumper sticker is pre-1980s, despite what the listing says.

• The San Diego Chargers look sharp in this 1974 Stancraft poster. Hurry, this listing ends Tuesday night.

• Here’s a 1967 wind-up Packers cheerleader bobblehead doll.

• Baltimore Colts fans, head back to the late 1960s with these bicycle helmet hubcaps!

• The WHA Calgary Cowboys didn’t exactly go all out on their artwork, did they? [Hey, sometimes simpler is better. That's a classic of its type! — PL]

Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.

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PermaRec update: The latest Permanent Record entry is about a really interesting attempt to find out something — anything about two women who recorded some very special blues records in 1930 (including the one whose label is shown at right). Check it out here.

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Tick-Tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Garrett McGrath (who stuck it out on Ticker duty even though he wasn’t feeling well yesterday — hope you’re feeling better today, Garrett!).

Baseball News: “The Cubs have worn their alternate road uniforms in every road game this year,” says Matt Shepardson. “The only regular road jersey I’ve seen was on Junior Lake, when he wore the wrong uniform for an inning. Can it even be called an alternate if it’s even worn the majority of the time?” Let’s see what they wear tonight in the Bronx. … The Brewers wore their retro unis again last night (thanks, Phil and Chance Michaels). … Mr. Met has written a memoir (from Brinke Guthrie). … The New York Public Library holds the Spalding Collection, a series of over 500 primary documents over early baseball including these wonderful posed portraits of 19th century stars. We’ve seen those before, but once more won’t hurt (from Lee David Wilds). … Here’s a nice Padres redesign concept that incorporates elements from the team’s Pacific Coast League and mid-’70s eras (from Brady Phelps). … Looking to start your own baseball team? Here’s everything you need: The Newark Bears are selling off everything, including their team naming rights. Uniforms too, of course (from Rex Doane). … The Wilmington Blue Rocks (Advanced-A affiliate of the Royals) honored Jackie Robinson with retro “42″ uniforms last night (from Gordon Cromer). … In case you missed it over the weekend: The Angels are now wearing red shoes and belts when they wear their red alternate jerseys at home. They wear black shoes and belts the rest of the time. Are there any other MLB teams that currently wear two different shoe colors? … The Charleston RiverDogs debuted their seersucker uniforms on Sunday (thanks, Phil).

NFL News: “One of my student workers who tried to gain favor with me made a homemade Cleveland Browns cake,” says Joseph Bailey. He also saw Draft Day and had two comments about inconsistencies. “The college highlights they showed had the officials in white knickers which they haven’t worn in years. Also the referee’s hat was an adjustable cap and they only wear fitted caps.” … Here’s a new one: The Rams are running a contest — with a $100,000 prize — to see who can predict their schedule, including opponents, times, locations, and dates (thanks, Mike).

College Football News: The Wisconsin Badgers wore a “Spring Game” patch for their annual spring game. You know, just in case you didn’t realize that the spring game was the spring tame (from Nate Neumann). … The Akron Zips have added a matte blue helmet for the 2014 season (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: The Coyotes, who are changing their name from Phoenix to Arizona next season, will be wearing throwbacks next season. Yes, the headline on that article says in 2015, not the 2014-15, but the tweets that the article is based on appear to indicate that the throwbacks will be for next season (thanks, Phil). … A Canadiens player in a white helmet? Sure enough — that’s one of many interesting bits that can be found in this great little 1967 NHL film (from Robert Leavell).

Basketball News: WNBA executives recently discussed their relationships with jersey sponsorships. Pretty interesting stuff (from Kevin Brown). … “I found this NBA 35th-anniversary poster at a flea market here in Milwaukee, picked it up for a dollar,” says Stanton Smith. “Really like the top referees section.” … The University of Illinois is getting ready to unveil their new “rebranded” look.

Grab Bag: My fellow intern Mike Chamernik sent in a video of what the Masters would look like if the greens had mini-golf obstacles on them. … Seth Shaw saw a truck on the highway from this company that utilizes the SEC logo within their own. … The Holbrook, New Jersey little league is going retro for the 2014 season (thanks, Phil). … Cody Harrod spotted part of an Oklahoma Sooners mural painted on the side of a building in Portland, Oregon, of all places.

A Different Kind of Uniform

[Editor's Note: Today we have an guest entry from an anonymous contributor who's going to tell us about an interesting category of uniforms: the shirts worn by Apple Store employees. Enjoy. — PL]

By Anonymous

I’ve worked for years at an Apple Store in suburban mall. I recently asked Paul if he’d be interested in a rundown of what we’ve worn over the years, and he said sure.

Prior to 2006, Apple retail employees wore a black shirt with a grey rubber patch on the left sleeve with the Apple logo:

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That changed around 2006, when we started wearing cotton T-shirts supplied by American Apparel. We got new shirts three to four times per year, and each shirt was imprinted with some pithy comment, usually on the back, along with illustrations of new products. The T-shirts were in different colors, according to job specification — Genius, Sales, Inventory, etc.:

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This lasted until 2009-2010, when we switched to all-blue shirts with white Apple logos in the center of the front –initially silk-screened, now embroidered:

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For approximately six weeks beginning on Black Friday, we all switch from blue to red for the holiday season:

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Then there’s the store Business Team, which wears black polo shirts with the Apple logo and “Business” embroidered on the left sleeve (presumably because polos look more businesslike than T-shirts):

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I’ve also included a picture of the 30th-anniversary shirt we’ve recently been wearing. As you can see, the logo is clearly reminiscent of the old rainbow Apple logo that was on the original Mac:

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You’ll probably find a lot more pictures of different shirts on eBay, as it’s pretty common for former employees to sell their old shirts.

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Sunshine State recap: In case you missed it over the weekend, Florida State and Miami both unveiled new football uniforms. Phil did a sensational job of breaking down both new designs — look here for FSU and here for Miami.

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Tick-Tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Phil, except for ’Skins Watch, which was handled by Paul.

’Skins Watch: “Since Florida State adopted the Seminoles nickname 67 years ago, no known Seminole Tribe of Florida member has played football for the school,” says David Wilson. “Justin Motlow will change that in two months.” … The National Indian Gaming Association, a nonprofit that includes 184 Indian nations as members, has canceled its sponsorship of a charity golf event in Arizona because of the event’s ties to the ’Skins, proving yet again that only white people care about this issue (from Don Silsby). … David Firestone has written a piece about why he chose to de-Chief his Indians jersey.

Baseball News: On Saturday night, the Orioles put a “17″ in their bullpen as a tribute to recently hospitalized Brian Matusz (nice find by Andrew Cosentino). … Jake S. found this 1990 Franklin Stubbs card and asks, “What is that on his wristband? A picture of himself?” I’m pretty sure that’s one of those “Say No to Drugs” wristbands that were popular back then. Wrigley Wax has a pretty good write-up on the practice. … The Brewers again wore their ball in glove throwbacks yesterday, for the third straight day. Because winning streak. More photos here. … This is probably not an official Ryan Braun bobblehead. … Interesting schedule quirk for the Mets has them playing only teams with an “A” logo over a two-week stretch. … Meet the San Diego Padres’ biggest fan, so to speak. Says submitter Jared Buccola “Now THOSE are some baseball pants.” … David Greenwald says, “No better way to tell people you love Yankees baseball and that you’re also getting married.” … The Arkansas Travelers have gone hunting, notes Bob Smith. “Oh, wait, never mind, they’re playing baseball.” … Really good article in Deadspin about how the Phillies used children’s drawings of players to serve as the representations of players in their lineup (big thanks to Kurt Esposito). … Not sure if this has been covered before but just in case: Harrison Tishler noticed this year’s ASG Futures jerseys will using the two-color templates (similar to what some teams are using as BP jerseys this year).

NFL News: Are these the designs for the NFL Draft caps? Submitter Brandon Seale writes, “Seen a couple examples of these floating around the past few days, if this is the design for the drafts caps…woof!” … “I got to take a tour of the Arizona State University football offices over the weekend,” said Kenn Tomasch. “They have a wall with helmets of each of the NFL teams with plaques listing the Sun Devils who have played for those teams.”

College Football News: Obviously “natural grass” is sooooo 2013: Warren Junium notes Notre Dame will switch to artificial turf for the 2014 season. Jim Vilk sent in a different article on the fake grass without comment. … “Uni Watch readers who want a Penn State Spring Game jersey can click here,” writes Ryan Progin. “Sales will benefit the Uplifting Athletes – Penn State Chapter.” … Saturday’s UCF spring game featured some pretty battered and scratched helmets. Says submitter and alumnus Brian Cargo, “Not often you see game action with those scuffs, especially with such detail.”

NBA News: It’s not quite a frankenjersey, but Brandon Blaikie spotted this at the Brea, CA Ross. “You know, where the 5.1 earthquake happened a couple weeks ago,” he says. “Must have knocked a Lakers jacket into a Thunder jacket. I think it was ten bucks.” … UW ticker intern Mike Chamernik was at “an all-hot sauce store” where he found NBA team hot sauce. Mike “would have bought one but it was like $9 per bottle.”

Hockey News: Reader Alan Kreit was at the Islanders pro shop in Syosset to buy his son skates when he stumbled on these Islanders laundry bags. Even though he’s a Rangers fan, he thought this was cool. “Along with other game used stuff they had laundry bags with the players’ numbers,” he says. “Check out the sewn-on texture.”

Soccer News: Liverpool wore “96″ insignias on their jerseys in their match vs. Manchester City yesterday. The Hillsborough Disaster resulted in the deaths of 96 people and injuries to 766 others. That incident will be featured on ESPN on April 15, in one of their excellent 30-for-30 docs.

College Hoops News: Here’s a pretty interesting article from Paul Lee about Wilson being the official ball for the NCAA tournament. (During the regular season, NCAA rules allow the home team to choose the brand of ball.)

Grab Bag: Good spot from Paul Lee again, who notes he’s seen magazines featuring athletes wearing clothing from multiple manufacturers. “Here, the runner’s wearing a Nike top and an Adidas bottom. (Can’t tell who makes the shoes.) I think that’s pretty neat, and I commend the magazine for doing it.” … G.I. Joe comes to big-time boxing: Timothy Bradley Jr. wore camouflage trunks for Saturday night’s bout against Manny Pacquiao (thanks, Paul). … Now this is a truly epic Detroit fandom cake (thanks to Robert Silverman). … Check out this old UK mix record featuring a Royals player on eBay. Submitter Timothy Burke believes that’s Kevin Seitzer, because “the team only had a handful of white guys who batted righthanded, and it’s not Pat Tabler. I suppose it could be Bill Pecota but I don’t know what Bill Pecota looks like. I just think it’s a weird thing to use on a record of British dance hall hits.” Indeed. … “This upcoming weekend will see the implementation of NOBs on AFL jumpers, league-wide,” says Leo Strawn Jr. “Here’s a sneak peek of all 18 clubs and a closer shot of a few of them.” Further info here. … Paul was at the Brooklyn Beefsteak yesterday, and the head on his beer was doing a spot-on impersonation of a View-Master reel.”

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Uni Watch Hit Parade: Paul here. Life’s been a bit busy lately, so my thanks to our anonymous contributor for handling today’s lede and to Phil for handling the Ticker.

Now then: Several bands have released really, really good records lately. Dig:

1. The Cincinnati trash-pop band the Tweens (great name, esp. for their snotty, play-with-your-food sound) have a killer self-titled debut LP that’s destined to be the soundtrack of my summer — and yours too, if you’re smart enough to give it a listen. Bands like this usually don’t have the depth, maturity, or songwriting chops to make more than one good record, so this is likely the Tweens’ peak. But there’s no shame in one-and-done when your debut is as good as this one. Here’s a great track that will have you humming along by the second verse:

2. The New Jersey indie band Real Estate has made several good records, but their new one, Atlas, is head and shoulders above their earlier works. Soft, shimmering guitar pop from guys who have totally figured out what they’re doing. Here are two highlights:

3. The Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett put out two excellent EPs last year. They’ve now been combined on one album, called The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. She has this really laconic vocal style that kinda drips out, which I really like. Here are two of her best tracks:

4. The Beets are an indie band that I’ve always found pleasant but unremarkable. Now their frontman, Juan Wauters, has come out with a solo album called N.A.P. North American Poetry, which I like better than anything the full band has done. It’s basically folk-pop — sometimes bracing, sometimes gentle, but always well-constructed. Here are examples of each style:

5. I’ve previously sung the praises of the Ohio band Connections, but it’s worth repeating: Their Year One album, which compiles the three records they released last year, is totally the shit:

If you like this stuff as much as I do, don’t just listen for free — support the bands by buying their CDs.

Meanwhile, happy Passover to all who are celebrating tonight — enjoy.

Rock U Like A Hurricane

Canes hed 550

By Phil Hecken

One day after FSU released new uniforms, the University of Miami released a new set themselves yesterday afternoon. The new set replaced the set they’d been wearing since 2006.

Called “Renewed,” Nike and the U introduced four separate sets of pants and jerseys, and two new helmets (click on any images to enlarge):

>Su14_AT_NCAA_MIAMI_COMP_FRONT_NEW_large

Su14_AT_NCAA_MIAMI_COMP_BACK_NEW_large

According to the U, “In South Florida, football is played with a sense of speed, style and swagger that transcends the field of play. The University of Miami Hurricanes have become more than a team – they embody the soul of Miami and have defined the culture of the sport.” Right. “Swagger.”

Before we go any further it is important to note two things. Each of the four uniforms (every one has its own designation, or name, by the way) is shown in monochromatic form, and Miami has stated that the team will use the orange uniforms at home with a white and silver helmet, while the white jerseys will be worn on the road primarily. There will be two alternate uniforms (to be worn monochromatically) and the team can also mix and match with these sets. I’m not 100% certain if the orange at home will be with orange, white or green pants (nor am I clear on what color pants will be on the road). The U has assured traditionalists that although there are two new helmets, the traditional (classic) helmet will be a part of the rotation.

As noted above, there are four “named” uniforms. The orange set is called “Juice,” the green set is “Surge,” the gray is “Smoke,” and the white is — wait for it — “Stormtrooper.”

Nike talked about all of its latest innovations with this unveiling, but really, we’ve heard it all before. They also spoke of “tradition.” To wit, “The new Hurricane uniform design reflects the vibrant, bold style of the city – from the beach to the architecture to the people. Modern accents, such as the school’s ibis logo, have been added in order to harness the team’s early cutting-edge style both on and off the field.”

The “Ibis” logo that they talk about is this:

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The ibis logo has “long been an important part of the university’s heritage. The existing Miami ibis logo captures the essence of the bird, the storm and the speed of Miami Football.”

It is seen as a design motif (one of Nike’s favorite things) throughout the new uniforms, including on the new white helmet.

Let’s look at each of the uniforms.

Juice:

1

Su14_AT_NCAA_MIAMI_NumbersPatch-FINAL_large

Su14_AT_NCAA_MIAMI_ShoulderDesign-FINAL_large Su14_AT_NCAA_MIAMI_Pant-FINAL_large

According to the ‘canes, “The orange jersey is accented by green directional graphics at the shoulder. A clean white and silver helmet or new orange helmet, featuring an anodized finish and grey facemask, completes the look.”

You’ll note that, like FSU, the jerseys all have a sublimated design incorporated into the sleeve patches. In the closeups, you’ll note the ibis design is present on the sleeves and the pants (and on the helmet). The orange, green and white (“Juice,” “Surge” and “Stormtrooper”) uniforms have green sleeve inserts (again, similar to the FSU treatment), while the gray (“Smoke”) uniform has gray sleeve patches.

Yesterday’s uni unveil had a mannequin wearing the new white helmet, green jersey, and orange pants:

BlDHrXOIgAECEeU BlDGebwIIAED-DR

Here are the other three uniforms:

Surge:

3

Stormtrooper:

2

Smoke:

4

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And finally, there are the new helmets. The main one is white like the classic helmet, but it’s missing the center stripe and it’s got that sublimated ibis pattern on it.

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BlDP_1yIcAEytm3.jpg_large

The orange helmet also has the ibis sublimation, but it’s much less noticeable than on the white helmet:

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As with the special helmet used with last year’s “Smoke” alternate, the “U” is larger on the new helmet than on the classic helmet.

Like the FSU uniform redesign, there are probably too many uniforms (and options), but unlike the FSU redesign, the current Miami uniforms were in need of a change. Fortunately, Miami has a great color palate so Nike wisely kept the orange and green (and they’d already worn the “smoke” color last season). But the jersey featured an “eyebrow” pattern on the front that just never looked right. Those “eyebrows” were also on the back of the uniform. Now they’re gone.

It was present on all the uniforms (except the smoke alternate), and just seemed to be a unneeded bumpersticker. The pants had two different colored stripes, one of which wrapped around to the lower lumbar region (we frequently refer to it as a “tramp stamp“). Those are now gone as well.

The one cool feature of the old Miami pants was the fact that, either inadvertently or intentionally, they resembled the outline of the State of Florida. But other than that…meh.

While I’ll need to see these uniforms in action, I’m actually a fan — if only because of what they’re replacing. And Florida has, in recent years, had a history of pretty questionable uniforms. My buddy Clint Richardson spent a few minutes after the reveal yesterday to remind us of some of the uniforms and alternates that Miami has trotted out in recent years. The U probably reached its uniform pinnacle with these beauties (they also wore black cleats then — something it appears they’re bringing back now).

Too many uniforms, too many helmets and too many options — but other than that, a definite upgrade from their previous set(s). If using Paul’s “good or stupid” scale, I’d call these new duds “good” (only the almost infinite number of combos is “stupid”) and if I were giving them a letter grade — it would be a solid B to B+.

You can see closeups of the uniforms (including the intricate details), plus Nike’s and the U’s “descriptions,” by clicking on this link. (Big thanks to @CanesCove for some of the photos seen above.)

Well, readers — what say you?

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Title Box

Lewis & Clark Uniform Design Contest

Every Sunday, we’ll have news and updates on the design contest being sponsored by Ross Clites. If you missed the introductory post on this, please click here. Last weekend, we introduced Part IX which is the second article here. You can also visit the Lewis & Clark homepage for more information and updates.

Yesterday we revealed the seventh set of concepts for the “Pathfinders” (you can still submit for the the Pioneers [deadline 4/16] and Travelers [deadline 4/23]). And today, we’ll reveal the tenth team for concepting.

If you missed yesterday’s post, which revealed the readers submissions for the “Navigators,” you can vote for your favorite concepts (you may vote for up to three). Link here (scroll down to second article).

Here’s Ross with this week’s updates/information:

. . . . .

Fantastic Voyage
By Ross Clites

The final stop on the Lewis Conference journey is with the Voyagers. I put together a (primary) gray uniform with bright orange accent color scheme in 2012, and then Tennessee football must have copied off my page. I think this palette gives you a world of options.

Let’s focus on 19th century voyages and not take the bait on intergalactic references, please. The Voyagers are one of the rare nicknames in the league, as they could literally be defined by anything. You could show any portion of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. You could show Native American iconography. You could use and animal. You could go down just about any road you want to explore, that you recurring LCBL designers have not taken yet.

Voyagers

Strangely enough, though, the manager for the team is a huge Mets fan. He is requesting a secondary logo (patch on the sleeve) that closely resembles Mr. Met. It may not work with your theme but try your hand at getting a guy with an oversize baseball head to fit in with a Lewis & Clark motif. Call it extra credit.

Good luck to all.

————————————

As for the winner of the Navigators:

To all that entered the contest for the Navigators of the LCBL, thank you for your thoughtful presentations. It was, by far, the best group of submissions all year. Big thanks to all the readers that cast votes. The board is in a complete stalemate on which graphics to go with. So much so that we might be throwing Scott’s crescent moon on Ryan’s compass rose and Bert’s sextant man with Bill’s paddling men. To top it off, Denver had another amazing uniform lineup. Call the results on this installment “pending” as we discuss with each designer options.

We will circle back to the River Men next week. Ultimately, imagery like Bill’s silhouetted paddling men could find their way into the top two if recycled, cleaned up, and blown up to primary stature. The nautical theme really ties the two Clark Conference teams together. The work was so good last week that it would be a shame to not use some of the proposals.

~ ~ ~

Thanks, Ross!

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all sport uni tweaksUni 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.

Today is going to be somewhat of a tweak to the usual tweaks — in that I’ll be featuring uni concpets for three college football teams from one single reader — Marcus Dilley, who approached me with some ideas a short while back. I’ll have three sets from him today, and likely three more sets down the road.

And so, lets begin:

~~~

CLEMSON:

Home 2D Road 2D

Home 3D Road 3D

Clemson

-Wanted a more traditional look for Clemson uniform on the new pattern

-More use of the purple used in the helmet stripe.

-Oversized helmet logo and stripe to fit in with the rest on the uniform

-Helmet stripe theme used on shoulders

-Stripe continuity from jersey to pants

-Purple player names to add contrast

-No TV numbers simplifies look

~ ~ ~

FLORIDA STATE:

Home 2D Road 2D

Home 3D Road 3D

FSU

-Wanted to keep simple and honour the traditional uniform

-Scratch effect hydrographic on helmet (as if by spears).

-New simplified feather detail on sleeve stripe rather than around neck/ sleeve opening

-3 stars on back of neck to represent national titles

-“Seminoles” on pants keeps with simple past uniforms

-Slight font change with numbers/ letters

-FSU logo in centre on front

~ ~ ~

MICHIGAN STATE:

Home 2D Road 2D

Home 3D Road 3D

MSU

-Spartan logo used as inspiration on this uniform

-Helmet “Mohawk” added to each sleeve to use the cured part of the jersey pattern as a guide

-“Mohawk” detail added as a pant stripe

-Kept existing font created by Nike

-Thick helmet stripe to look like Spartan helmet

-All white (including helmet) for the road uniform makes the uniform as a whole cleaner.

. . .

And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: The UMD Bulldogs Softball team all wore Number 14 jerseys to memorialize slain former UMD softball player Mandy Matula. … David Steinle noticed on Wednesday evening his alma mater, LSU, wore light blue batting helmets as part of a prostate cancer awareness night during its baseball game vs. Lamar. LSU wore their batting practice jerseys (which are NNOB) for the game. Lamar wore its usual road grays. … The Golden Gophers were certainly looking golden yesterday (shoulda worn gold sanis, though). Pic via Mike Menner. … Here is the logo for the 80th Anniversary of Japanese Professional Baseball (thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … It’s always nice to have Stirrup Saturdays (from Steve Vibert who posts as “Boxcarvibe”). … Interesting development in Chicago, as the White Sox wore the ’1983 throwback caps’ with their Beach Blanket Bingo unis (more photos here), after announcing they’d be wearing a redesigned cap with that uni (nice spot by Bob Gassel). … Mississippi State had some nice unis yesterday for their game vs. Ole Miss. … On the opposite side of the coin was Alabama, who went with hunting shirts camo tops and caps yesterday. … On the MLB diamond, breaking with tradition, the Brewers wore their ball and glove throwbacks on Saturday (previously, they’d restricted their wearings to Fridays). Because winning streak. … Comcast Sports Network California is using the A’s road cap from last year in its promotons for upcoming games (good spot by Rich Paloma).

College Football News: The College of Idaho has unveiled a new helmet (and announced the resumption of play after a 37 year absence). … Looks like the Tennessee Vols will have some players using the new SpeedFlex helmet come fall (h/t to Chad Fields). … East Carolina University Pirates have revealed new helmets and also a new infield logo (thanks to Leland Privott). You can read a bit more on both here. … Old Dominion has new uniforms and a new helmet that looks a lot like Navy’s special HGI helmet. Thanks to Clint Richardson for the tip. You can read more about those unis here (thanks to Jim Kohler). … Why was Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini walking on the field carrying his cat for the Spring Game? There’s a bit of a backstory on that one (thanks to Glen Matthews). … Central Arkansas, which plays on a purple and gray field, wore purple and gray uniforms for their spring game. … Football is king at THE OSU, as they packed 61,058 fans into the ‘shoe for the spring game. And security made sure things were orderly. … Meanwhile, over 72,000 showed up for Penn State’s spring game. Football is popular in Happy Valley too. … And some 68,000+ showed up for Tennessee’s spring game. … The grass wasn’t always greener for Purdue’s spring game. … James Benefield loves it when the CU Buffs go all white with gold helmets as they did for their spring game. … Here’s a couple more looks at the new FSU uniforms unveiled Friday, including a shot of Famous Jameis. Here’s a shot of the new logo on the field from the press box (h/t Chris Creamer). … Also joining the SpeedFlex parade is the NC State Wolfpack (thanks to Drew Johnson).

Hockey News: For yesterday’s penultimate regular season game, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury again wore the mask he wore during the Penguins’ Stadium Series game vs. Chicago (thanks to Aaron McHargue).

Soccer News: The Houston Dash are a ladies soccer team, and unfortunately, yesterday evening, they had an unfortunate NOB misspelling (via Kenny Ocker). Here’s another view (via Ben Hoskins). … “There’s a site called StatsFC offering Premier League widgets for blogs, etc,” writes Casey Hart. “They represent team with simple icons of their jerseys. Those icons don’t include team or sponsor marks but at least occasionally include logo creep.” That widget is from evertonarentwe.com.

College Hoops News: Oooooohhhh. Check out these custom sneakers for UConn coach Geno Auriemma (great find by Bruce Menard). Says Bruce, “Pretty cool.”

Grab Bag: Here is a few snapshots of the last 20 years of the V-League, Japan’s volleyball league, courtesy of Jeremy Brahm: For the women’s game, and for the men’s game. … These Nike cowboy boots can’t be real, right? … Leo Strawn, Jr. has couple of special jumpers to report: This weekend Port Adelaide Power wore throwbacks to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their 2004 Premiership. The throwbacks had members’ names along with former Power players on the guernsey. Also, Leo’s Collingwood Magpies will wear a similarly themed jumper during this season, honoring all past Pies players from 1892 thru 2013. And as a side note: Leo passes along this colour on colour last week between Adelaide Crows v Sydney Swans. … The Denver Pioneers wore 1984 throwbacks yesterday (h/t to Jared Buccola).

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Ok — that’s another weekend in the books. Thanks to Marcus for his concepts, and Ross for the next round of the Lewis & Clark uniform design contest. Hope everyone enjoys the Masters, the end of the hockey regular season, the almost end of the basketball regular season, and baseball today. Plus whatever other sports may be on your tube/computer/tablet/phone/device.

Paul, enjoy Beefsteak today — hope your “meer” coma is worth it!

You guys have a great week, and I’ll catch you next weekend.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“I refuse to replace my huge fathead logo on my wall. I nicknamed the new logo, “The Climaxing Indian.” Look at it! He’s coming! It’s horrifying! It is not allowed in my house! The old logo is everywhere in here and it will remain that way. To me, it is iconic.”
–Dave Johnson