Sunday Morning Uni Watch

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By Phil Hecken

Quite a bit of NCAA gridrion action yesterday (and some exciting games), and there were a bunch of new unis broken out (one offs like Notre Dame and Maryland) and some new combos. It was also notable because a LOT of teams chose to go stormtrooper all white. Now, I happen to like that look (if one absolutely MUST go with an alternate), but I know many of you don’t like it. There was also a cool tribute to Welles Crowther, who was known for his wearing a red bandana. This, I’m certain, and more, are all below, as Terry “TJ” Duroncelet brings us today’s…

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Sunday Morning Uni Watch
By Terry Duroncelet

You ever pick up a shift at your job, thinking it’s going to be pretty stable, but you end up getting swamped with approaches left and right? That was basically me yesterday. Harold, if you’re reading this, I feel your pain.

From Thursday:

• With this past Thursday being the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, teams did the usual thing of wearing flag-emblazoned gear of some sort. In Houston’s case, they wore helmet decals. For BYU, not only did they wear flag decals with this particular one on the back of the helmets, but they also used this as their midfield logo.

• Louisiana Tech got in on the act as well.

From Friday:

• Cincinnati was supposed to wear chrome decals in their game against Toledo, but apparently scrapped those plans last-minute.

• The Buffalo Bulls wore full-black with new black helmets against Baylor.

From Saturday:

• Georgia Tech wore throwbacks on Saturday. It looks like they’ve fixed the sleeve stripe inconsistencies from last year. They also have decals on the helmets this time around.

• Speaking of throwbacks, Texas Tech wore retro uniforms against Arkansas. Great look, but it would’ve been better if Texas Tech and Georgia Tech were playing each other on a Thursday.

• Ohio State’s current emotion: Feeling Facebook-y. For reasons that escape me, tOSU set up a thing that is actually a Facebook emoticon at the ‘shoe in their 66-0 trouncing of Kent State. [Those are actually cue cards, used during the 2nd Quarter of OSU games; something I only learned yesterday -- PH]

• Vanderbilt once again wore their gold tops at home, but thankfully wore black helmets and pants to add some balance and contrast. Also, the “Anchor Down” slogan has been moved to the sidelines. Also from Trés Lawless: “I don’t have a picture, but this year, Vandy’s jerseys have captaincy patches on their jerseys.”

♫These colours don’t run, like colour from the hair The story behind the hats worn by Virginia’s coach is that he wears a different military branch during each quarter. The 1st quarter had him wearing a Marines hat, and the 2nd quarter shows him in a Navy cap. I haven’t a clue what the 3rd and 4th called for.

• I read that the NFL (I believe) has banned fancy eyeblack, but it’s apparently a-O.K. in college. Thanks to Michael Ferguson for both of those pics.

• South Florida wore their green helmets for the first time against NC State. Not bad, even though the greens were kind of off.

Lendel Martin sends this in from the Oregon game: “True freshman linebacker Jimmie Swain had “IV” on his jersey. Seems to be a growing trend over the past year or so”

• Nothing life-changing from the Georgia/South Carolina game, but there is this: You know that jerky commercial where the lady has an eagle emerge from out of her stomach? Methinks that’s what happened with Todd Gurley, which could explain the rip in his jersey. Many thanks to Preston Feiler for sending that pic in.

• Notre Dame wore their Shamrock Series uniforms against Purdue. The helmet and jersey are fine in my book, but the pants… bleh. Also in that same game, Purdue wore those black helmets with the track stripe from last year.

• You might be surprised to find that Oklahoma and Tennessee have never played each other in regular season play until yesterday, and have only played each other twice, one of which was a color vs. color game in the 1968 Orange Bowl. They also played each other in the 1939 Orange Bowl. Wish they would’ve dressed for the occasion on Saturday.

• FAU wore shiny red chrome helmets [First time ever -- PH].

• I don’t think even snorting an entire line of wasabi will come as close to sobering as seeing the contrast between Rutgers and Penn State.

• Mississippi State added helmet decals in honor of Jack Cristil.

• What else can be said about Maryland except it really takes a rather… creative mind to turn the Star-Spangled Banner into a uniform. I like. More on this look here, along with close-ups here, here, and here. Also from that same game, West Virginia wore gold/blue/gold.

• Colorado wore full-black uniforms with matte black helmets and charcoal decals.

• Boston College wore red bandana shoes, helmet stripes, and other adornments against USC. You can read up on the story here.

• I LOVE these helmets worn by Kentucky. Also, stay classy, Gainesville.

• LSU wore their purple tops against Louisiana-Monroe. For those unaware, LSU wears their white tops for their first home game of the season, no matter what. For their other home games that aren’t against conference opponents, they wear purple.

• And then there’s the plethora of teams that went full-white yesterday, including (but not limited to): Indiana, Illinois, and many more that I could go on about, but you get the picture.

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Thanks, TJ — good stuff!

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vilk 5 & 1 flat 2
A Surprise Guest Five And One…

Usually in this space we have the lovely Catherine Ryan providing us with the Five and One, but (and I hope everything is OK) I didn’t hear from her yesterday.

Luckily, in a pinch, Robert Marshall was able to provide a Five and One in a pinch.

The bad thing is we miss Miss Ryan, but the good thing is we get a new perspective on things. And with Comrade Marshall, we just might get as many bad games as good.

Here’s Comrade Marshall:

. . .

#5: Duke v. Kansas – Just purdy. Both teams with pants stripes too, which is nuts for a new uniform like the Jayhawks sport

#4: Georgia Tech v. Georgia Southern – Georgia Tech in their best look, complete with mismatched golds against blue Alabama.

#3: UCLA v. Texasclassic

#2: Iowa v. Iowa State – Always a sunny day for this game, and when Iowa is at home, it’s a beauty.

#1: Stanford v. Army – Stanford as they should be, and Army is poifect in grey bloomers that hearken their overcoats with a right proper dome, and a simple but nuanced jersey.

“So close” Oklahoma v Tennessee … If only it was colour on colour or if UT wore orange pantaloons.

+1 (tie)

Arkansas v. Texas Tech – Arkansas looked like garbage. And I love throwbacks, but that TT number has always been a dog.

Purdue v. Notre Dame – ND looked like a MAC team, and Purdue’s helmet begged you to be snidely whiplash, run over nell fenwick and stiff arm dudley doright on the way to the endzone. Could you be more literal Purdue. Maybe next week they can all carry a huge base drum on their backs.

Illinois v. Washington – Illinois in the tired all white roads while Washington goes away from their gorgeous gold-purple-gold which even looks good with the modern silliness like black shoulders and sans pant stripes. To go white-purple-white leaving us with waaaay too much white.

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Duck Tracker

Each week, as we have done on Uni Watch for the past five seasons, we’ll be tracking the uniform combinations of the Oregon Ducks. Back for his third season is Tim E. O’Brien, who’ll show you what the Ducks wore in their last game, and add a few words of wisdom.

The Ducks went black/green/gray in their rather routine win (but neither covering nor hitting the over, much to the chagrin of the CorC) over Wyoming yesterday; they continue to wear last generation unis, having only the white and black tops in the new Mach Speed template. Ho hum.

Here’s Tim E. with the DT (click to enlarge)…

Ducks Week 3

Here’s Tim:

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This post will be like yesterday’s Oregon uniforms: Lazy and drab.

Get it together Oregon

As usual, things are updated over at the Duck Tracker and on twitter (@DuckTracker). You can also follow my Northwestern (@NUniTracker) and Indiana (@Hoosier_Tracker) trackers as you so choose but only feel the need to force myself watch those two awful programs (Oh, NU. What happened to you…smdh).

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EPL Tracker

Each Saturday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend.

Here’s Week 4, Part I; These are through Saturday’s games. Today’s games will be combined with next Saturday’s tracker (click to enlarge):

EPL Week 4

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Here’s a 1981 WS Game 5 observation from David Taub: at 12:19 of this video, Steve Garvey is not wearing the LA anniversary patch on his left sleeve that the rest of his team is wearing. … “In reading an article about the passing of Frank Torre, I noticed this picture which shows Joe Torre wearing #24,” writes David Feigenbaum. “There is no record of him wearing that number in any of the references I checked yet this looks like a photo taken in a major league park, not a spring training photo. Any way you can find out if he ever wore this number while on the Braves’ major league roster?” … The Seattle Mariners became the Marineros (no “Los”) last night, as a salute to Latin America Beisbol. … Also doing the Latin tribute were los Gigantes, for “Fiesta Gigantes” night. … Doug Fister was missing his squatchee last night (via Noah Petro). … “The orange of the Orioles jersey on Saturday looks red in all the Fox shots except for the camera they use to shoot the on deck circle,” says Allen Yelent. … Groundbreaking has begun on the new Braves stadium, and here are the construction helmets (h/t Kyle Betes).

NFL News: Reader Jeffrey Sak noticed Lions captain patches were missing on Monday night so “I did some research and found this.” … Roberto Zanzi notes “Conspicous by his absence, Ray Rice is not in Niketown New York’s New NFL display. The salesperson told him they got the set up on Wednesday and a Baltimore mannequin was not included. “Also, they said that they sent all their Ray Rice jerseys back. AP mannequin is there and his jerseys are still for sale.” … In last Thursday’s game against the Packers, Marshawn Lynch was wearing socks with “Beast Mode” on them (thanks to Joanna Zwiep). … “Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo used this wire service photo to illustrate a blog entry about professional football,” writes Greg Mays. “I assume that Chargers vs Bills in the 60-62 era, but Charles Avery at the Helmet Project says that helmet had blue numbers on the side. Maybe pre-season?” … Here’s a look at the Browns new endzone (fan vote determined the design). … Remember the modified Ray Rice jersey that became “Be Nice To Girls”? Well, Joshua Kramer has modified his AD jersey to have the number for the National Child Abuse Hotline on it. “It’s a small gesture, but one that I hope helps someone out there.”

College Football News: Most of the College Football news is above, with the SMUW, but here’s a nice article on the Princeton equipment manager and the new football uniform design he’s going with for this season (big thanks to David Barndollar).

Hockey News: We talk a lot in the NHL about “white at home” (as God intended), but we don’t ever talk about the possibility of going color vs. color. Well, the Winnipeg Jets and the Calgary Flames went color v color in a rookie tournament on the 12th. THE Jeff just became a hockey fan (pic from Harrison Hamm).

Soccer News: Following up on yesterday’s ticker item about the nationalist uniforms used by FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, D.T. Erane notes “Both kits are based on the respective regional flags, the catalonian Senyera (FC Barcelona) and the Basque ikurriña (Athletic Bilbao), both regions are seeking an independence referendum like the one to occur next week in Scotland, and, additionally, this match was played just one day after the catalonian national day “A díada”, that commemorates the battle of Barcelona held on 11-Sep-1714 during the spanish seccesion war. In short, they used the most possible symbols to show that these are breakaway regions within Spain. It is notewirthy that in the Madrid-based sports newspapers, the uniforms got more comments than the match itself.” … Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) player Rudy Van Deer Veen had an unusual NOB back in the late 1970’s, due to the length of his surname (thanks to Graham Clayton

Grab Bag: This really cool 1943 NFL offer letter from the New York Football Giants reveals the one piece of equipment the team wouldn’t pay for (thanks, Brinke … I think we can probably all agree the Colombia Women’s cycling kit is a disaster. And if you think that’s photoshopped, here’s another shot. You can read more here. … Attention Paul, the humble Brannock device finds another use (great find by David Kendrick).

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And there you have it. Thanks to TJ, BIG THANKS to Comrade for pitching in on the 5 & 1 (very late last night, I might add), Tim & Alex. Everyone have a great Sunday, and I’ll be back next weekend.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

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“Soccer’s ‘change kit concept is a far better idea than forcing teams to wear white. They still screw it up sometimes by having a ‘red & white’ team wear blue or something, but the idea is solid.”

— THE Jeff Provo

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That'll Leave A Mark

Craig Kimbrell #1

Back when I was doing the weekly columns over the summer, I had put out the call for reader requests and submissions, and I did receive a few that I wasn’t able to get to during that time. Today we have an excellent submission from Randy Alleman, who had pitched to me an article about those marks we often see on pitchers’ caps. After a few fits and starts and some rewritings, I’m pleased to present that article to you today.

Here’s Randy:

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That’ll Leave a Mark
By Randy Allemann

If you are a baseball pitcher, you need to control the ball, right? And in order to control the ball, you need to get a good grip on it. Pitchers will use a wide variety of substances to help them obtain a good grip. They will use rosin, sweat, saliva, water, baby powder, lotion, sunscreen, and/or pine tar. (As far as whether or not any of these substances should be considered legal or illegal, that is a debate for another time and place.) The only issue with this is that these substances will rub off of their hand/fingers once they touch their cap, and will often leave behind a distinct marking.

I became fascinated by this phenomenon a few years ago while watching Craig Kimbrel pitch. Over the past few years, I have noticed a few other pitchers with similar markings, and always thought it would be a perfect topic for a Uni Watch article. I was able to find quite a few good examples of this, although I am sure there are plenty more that I haven’t discovered yet. Shall we begin?

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Craig Kimbrel #2

Lets begin with Craig Kimbrel. He has a very distinct dark smudge on the bill of his cap. This is clearly visible on his home cap, but it is a little less obvious on the road due to the darker bill.

This left me with so many questions. What causes this marking? What substance is it? Is it put there intentionally? Or does it accidentally rub off his fingers when he touches his cap? I learned to stop trying to figure everything out, since it is almost impossible to know all the details. All I know is that the marking is there, and that’s what I care about.

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Belfour

Lets move on to Grant Balfour. As you can see, he has a very similar dark spot on his bill as well. The marking appears during his time with the A’s as well.

I love how you can make out two distinct finger marks on the dark-billed caps. There is also some discoloration on the underside of his bill at times.

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Lance Lynn #2

Another example of this is Lance Lynn, although his smudge may be more of an isolated incident. His smudge doesn’t always appear, and his road cap shows only a light dusting of rosin at times.

Joe Blanton is another player who has this dark spot on his cap at times. His appears on at least three different teams.

Here are a few other “offenders” I have found, including Bronson Arroyo, Garrett Richards, C.J. Wilson, and Danny Farquhar.

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Cliff Lee #4Now that we have taken a look at some darker colored markings, lets flip the tables and look at some lighter markings. A great majority, if not all, of these examples are from the use of rosin. There are plenty of pitchers who use the rosin bag frequently, so it’s no surprise that more than a few leave a distinct marking on their caps. Lets jump right into it.

If Craig Kimbrel is the poster child of the dark smudge, then Cliff Lee is the poster child for the light colored marking. He has had this marking throughout his entire career, and it is usually hard to miss. I have done my best to document every cap he has worn, but I may have missed one or two. Check it out:

Cleveland Indians (2002-2009)

Philadelphia Phillies (2009)

Seattle Mariners (2010)

Texas Rangers (2010)

Philadelphia Phillies (2011-2014)

The discoloration is naturally less apparent on the lesser worn caps, like alternates and holiday specials. But still, even on a one-time cap, the discoloration is still there. And if that wasn’t enough, he also smears rosin on the back of his cap.

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Mike Leake #16

Mike Leake has a heavy dose of rosin visible on the right side of his bill. The rosin will sometimes creep up onto the crown as well. His marking is visible on various alternate/holiday caps as well. He also has a slight marking on the back of his cap at times. (Huge thanks to Uni Watch reader Joanna Zwiep for pointing this example out to me.)

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Jarred Cosart #1

Jarred Cosart has some highly unusual markings on his cap. He has two white smudges of rosin on the underside of the bill. There are no markings on the top of his bill, so I’m not sure what to make of this. How can he get rosin on only the underside of his bill? And how does it get on both the left and right sides of the bill? Maybe it is just a superstition/good luck thing. Who knows? Interestingly, he does not show these markings as a member of the Marlins.

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Jake Peavy #3

Jake Peavy had only a slight discoloration on his bill during his time in San Diego. But after leaving the Padres, he started to display a light dusting of rosin. As his career progressed (through Chicago, Boston, and now San Francisco), the rosin has only gotten heavier.

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Chad Qualls #1

Chad Qualls displays his rosin markings on the sides of his cap. He has showed this throughout his career, although some markings are rather light.

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David Price #6

David Price has an obvious white spot on the underside of his bill, which he has shown with both the Rays and Tigers. He will also smear rosin onto the top of his bill at times.

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Jon Lester #10

During the 2013 postseason, Jon Lester had a light brown mark on the top of his bill. Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to find any photos showing this marking during any other point in his career.

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Joaquin Benoit #1

This is a game-used cap from Joaquin Benoit. He showed this marking during his time with the Tigers, but I haven’t found any evidence from his time with the Rangers, Rays, or Padres.

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Chris Sale #3

Chris Sale has shown a variety of markings on his cap. He also has a discoloration on the underside of his bill.

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Julian Tavarez #6

At certain times during his career, Julian Tavarez had a heavy rosin residue on the right side on his cap. This only appeared while he was with the Cardinals and Red Sox.

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I was able to find a number of other examples as well. There really isn’t anything noteworthy about these markings. Some are easier to see than others, and some of them may only be isolated incidents. These examples include Carl Pavano, Chris Perez, Matt Moore, and Greg Holland, Max Scherzer, Rafael Betancourt, and Todd Jones.

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Eric Gagne #1

Of course, a pitcher doesn’t have to specifically touch his cap to leave some distinct markings. Just sweating will inevitably leave its mark. This happens to many pitchers, but Eric Gagne is easily the most memorable example.

Some other examples of pitchers with distinct sweat stains are Derek Holland, Matt Cain, Kerry Wood, and Jeff Samardzija, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Roy Hallday. (Some of these are probably isolated incidents.)

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Well, there you have it. After quite a bit of research, those are the names that I was able to find. I am sure there are other examples, but I don’t know of any other major examples where the marking is very obvious. Do you know of any? If you do, feel free to leave it in the comments below. I would love to find out more.

Thanks for your time everybody. Thanks to Joanna Zwiep for her helpful suggestion. And a big thanks to Phil for letting me do this and for helping put everything together. It wouldn’t have been possible without you.

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Thank you, Randy! Obviously there was quite a bit of research involved there, and as you say, there are probably other examples. Readers, if you know of any, you know what to do!

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classic scoreboards splashClassic Ballpark Scoreboards

I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.

Here’s Gary (click on images to enlarge):

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Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Second in a Series
by Gary Chanko

This week in the series we focus on two more historic ballparks – Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium and Connie Mack Stadium (originally Shibe Park) in Philadelphia.

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Memorial Stadium

Memorial Stadium Scoreboard

Home of: Baltimore Orioles
Last baseball game:October 6, 1991; Demolished:2001

In the sixties I was fortunate enough to attend a few games in Memorial Stadium. Scoreboard archeology wasn’t on my mind at the time, but I can recall the vast openness of the stadium and its pleasant neighborhood setting.

Throughout its long history Memorial Stadium underwent several expansions and numerous scoreboard changes. The original Gunther Beer sponsored scoreboard from the late fifties provides the basis for the graphic illustration.

A Few Things to Know

• When built in 1954 the Orioles new “electric” scoreboard was the largest in the world, 40 feet high and 80 feet wide with 40 miles of wiring. The cost was $172,000, about $1.5 million in today’s dollars. Find out today’s largest scoreboard here.

• Here’s a glimpse inside the scoreboard operation!

• The original scoreboard was designed by Lon Keller, a well known sports illustrator in the forties, fifties and beyond. In addition to designing scoreboards for Yankee Stadium, and several other ballparks, Keller was a prolific designer of sports programs. Still he is best remembered for designing the iconic Yankees top hat logo.

• Initially sponsored by the Gunther Brewing Company, the scoreboard and its successors hosted a parade of beer sponsors. By 1960, Hamm’s had acquired Gunther and replaced the advertisement on the scoreboard with their brand. After the 1969 season the original scoreboard was changed for a new digital scoreboard in left center and yet another new beer sponsor. The scoreboard evolution and beer sponsorship history is well documented here.

• After the American League expansion in 1961 a small adjacent scoreboard was added. My guess is the existing scoreboard configuration couldn’t be adapted to include the scores for the expanded ten team league. In 1969 a pitch clock was mounted on the top of this new scoreboard to monitor the 20 second rule between pitches. Was it used in games? I don’t know the answer.

. . .

Connie Mack Stadium

CMS Scoreboard

Home of:Philadelphia Athletics (1909-1954) and Philadelphia Phillies (1938-1970)
Last baseball game:October 1, 1970; Demolished:1976

I saw my first baseball game (and many more) in Connie Mack Stadium and still remember all that green grass and the monster scoreboard in right field. The scoreboard was known for the Ballentine Beer ad spread across the top and that provides the subject for the illustration.

A Few Things to Know

• The Phillies first ever electronic scoreboard was installed for the 1956 season. The $175,000 (1956 dollars), 75 feet high (top of Longines clock) by 75 feet wide scoreboard was then the largest in baseball.

• The myth persists surrounding the Phillies supposed purchase of the scoreboard from the Yankees. However it seems that was never true. Reportedly the scoreboard was purchased from All American Scoreboards, the same company that supplied the Yankees scoreboard in the early fifties.

• Ballentine Beer, a sponsor during the fifties and sixties, was a conspicuous scoreboard fixture until the Phillies moved on to the Vet and Schmidt’s Beer acquired the broadcast rights.

• Beer and baseball have a long intertwined history written about in this interesting article.

. . .

Next week the series continues with more classic scoreboards from Ebbets Field and Royals Stadium.

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colorize thisColorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Back with colorizer-extraordinaire George Chilvers, who has just one today, but it’s a great one!:

Click on any image to enlarge:

. . .

Boston Shamrocks colour - George Chilvers

Boston Shamrocks b&w

Hi Phil,

This appeared on “There’s No Service Like Wire Service” a week or so back, and even Paul asked for it to be colourised. I’ve been away and have just got back so here you are…

George

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Thanks George. Tremendous stuff, as always. Please keep them coming!

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Yesterday’s ticker contained an item that said Detroit firefighters gave Tigers reliever Joe Nathan a fire helmet emblazoned with the Tigers’ logo, but we had no photo. Now we do (big thanks to Jeffrey Sak). … Reader Jonathan Daniel was “Doing some research on Joe Altobelli (why wouldn’t I?) and found this minor league uni channeling the Indians all-red ensemble.” … After having an off-day yesterday, the Blue Jays wore their 9/11 caps last night. The Astros also had 9/11 off, so they got flag caps too. In fact, I’m pretty sure that every team who had Thursday as an off-day had the flag caps. … The Mets wore their orange “Los Mets” jerseys last night. … Check out these old logos kept on a standings board by a reddit user (thanks to Alex Bending). Guessing the upside down pennants are teams who’ve been eliminated from contention? … David Feigenbaum ate at Mike Shannon’s restaurant in downtown St Louis. On the main floor is a showcase displaying the jerseys of the retired Cardinals’ numbers. “I think you can see the Brock jersey and the incorrect font of the 2. I mentioned it to the restaurant manager, he was very surprised. The other photo is of another Brock jersey, this one displayed in the private room our group dined in. This one is correct.”

NFL News: In a non-‘skins Watch-related story, the Washington Football Club has “gone suffix crazy,” (thanks to Tommy Turner). … Just what we need: more minimalist NFL logos (thanks to Christopher C. LaHaye). … Some Dolphins fans are lamenting the loss of the orange alternate on the Miami Dolphins reddit page. One reader came up with an interesting alternative (from Michael Clay). … There was a uni-related Billboard argument on profootballmock, a parody site (thanks to Will Hughes). … You probably know this, but just in case: the Bills will be throwing back with their standing buffalo & white jerseys this weekend against Miami.

College Football News: Here’s a really good New York Times piece on the partnership between Under Armour and Notre Dame (thanks, Paul). … Hope for the visually impaired anyone with eyes? Marshall University athletic director Mike Hamrick said Thursday on the H-D Radio program that the Thundering Herd is doing all it can to get numerals on football home jerseys altered for better visibility. … Today, Mizzou will be wearing black/black/gold (h/t Nick Bianchi). … Also today, Vandy will be going black/gold/black (h/t Lee Wilds). … Duke will be going all blue today vs. Kansas. … The Arkansas Razorbacks will be wearing “icy whites” to combat the Texas Tech “blackout” (T-Tech is wearing throwbacks). … “When your tackle checks in as a tight end” (from Jake Nevill). … Miami will be wearing white/green/green today (h/t @CaneCoop). … Missouri football has a new logo on their helmets this fall for the University’s 175th anniversary (h/t @Mizzou). … Here’s a pretty cool set of Arkansas Razorback helmets (from Jake Nevill). … The Arizona Wildcats will wear red/red/white today (h/t @AZJoshM). … The Marshall Thundering Herd will be going with green jerseys, green pants & black socks (via @HerdEquipent). … Franklin College (a DIII team) is honoring former team captain, Nickolaus Schultz, killed in line of duty (via @BoatsAndHOdgES). Andrean High School (NW-IN) is also showing support for Off. Schultz (from David Ziemba); here’s a closeup of the helmet sticker. … For those of you who can’t get enough of the Maryland “Star Spangled Banner” unis, here are some high resolution close up shots (big thanks to Alex Aguiar for the heads-up). … Here’s a nice closeup of the Army white jersey, with player name on front [PNOF?]. H/T to Coleman Mullins for that. … Joining the mono-white crowd this weekend will be Virginia Tech vs. ECU (h/t Leland Privott).

Soccer News: This may end well: Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao will wear ‘nationalist’ uniforms this weekend (here’s Barca’s strip and here’s Athletic’s kit). … Anti-Uni Watch: A player was assaulted by hooligans and stripped of his shirt and shorts during a match in an Argentine lower-tier club match (w/video). … “Arsenal’s reserve team played (Thurs)day’s game against Aston Villa in their home jerseys, but away shorts and socks,” writes Stephen Boyd. “I’m sure there’s a story there, but I don’t know what it is.”

Grab Bag:Too much gold in this game, in my opinion,” writes Jason Johnson. That’s Valley HS vs. Cibola HS in Albuquerque. … “Gold Rush Days”: Every July, a group of ball players suits up in vintage wool uniforms for a four team 1890’s rules baseball tournament in an old Gold Mining ghost town called South Pass City, Wyoming (more here — with thanks to Greg Nilsen). This is kinda cool: Josh Arcurio created these tennis court wallpapers for the Grand Slam tournaments (and the Miami Open). … Back in 1981 the Australian Army Reserve sponsored the Ford Falcon touring car driven by Pete Geoghegan and Barry Muir, so it was only natural that the car featured a “camo” color scheme (from Graham Clayton). … WHOA! Check out the socks in this women’s softball game in DiMatina Park, Brooklyn (big thanks to JL Thompson). … “Nike vs. Under Armour: It’s War” (thanks, Brinke).

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And that will do it for this fine Saturday. Big thanks to Randy, Gary and George for their contributions, and of course all the ticker submitters and those who tweet at me. Hoping there might be some good news out of the NFL today and tomorrow, but I’m not going to bet on it. At least the unis should be good.

Back tomorrow with the full Sunday Morning Uni Watch crew — enjoy your college football games (and whatever else may be on your uniform watching agenda) today. Don’t forget — tweet at me any college football surprises/rips/tears, etc. and don’t forget to E-mail Catherine at UW5and1@gmail.com with any good or bad NCAA football matchups today. OK? OK!

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“‘As you can imagine, nobody wants to fight the government of France.’

Well, except the Germans.”

— “KC”

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We Interrupt This Blog for Something That's Been on My Mind

butts.jpg

Today I want to talk about something that nothing to do with uniforms, sports, or even design. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately.

And here it is: I don’t care if you smoke because that’s totally your business, not mine. While I don’t smoke myself, and while I’m generally supportive of most anti-smoking initiatives as a matter of public health policy, I also think the anti-tobacco forces often go too far, like when they complain about characters smoking in movies, or when they convinced the U.S. Postal Service to retroactively remove the cigarettes from the stamp depictions of Jackson Pollock and Robert Johnson. When former Orioles manager Earl Weaver died, I urged the O’s to honor him by including a little inner cigarette pocket on each Baltimore player’s jersey, just like the one Weaver used to have.

What I’m trying to say here is that when it comes to smoking and smokers, I’m not a zealot. But there’s one thing about smokers that really bothers me: Why do so many of them litter?

I’m referring to the way smokers tend to throw their cigarette butts on the sidewalk or curb. Sometimes they do this even when a bucket of sand or some other butt-disposal vessel is readily available, or if they’re near a trash can. (Yes, I realize you wouldn’t want to throw a still-lit butt into the trash because it might ignite something, but it isn’t all that hard to stub out the butt on the bottom of your shoe and then toss it in the trash.) One little butt may not seem like much, but dozens or hundreds of them are seriously gross.

Smokers’ tendency to litter is all the more confounding to me because, for the most part, we’ve made huge strides against littering over the past generation or two. When I was a kid, the now-famous Iron Eyes Cody anti-littering ad began running; then in the late ’80s came David Lynch’s surreal anti-littering ad (unfortunately, that YouTube version doesn’t include the creepy voiceover that originally ran at the end of the spot: “Maybe if there were fewer pigs in the city, there’d be fewer rats”). The littering depicted in those ads looks almost comically outrageous by contemporary standards. It’s hard to imagine anyone engaging in that type of behavior nowadays, and that’s to our credit as a society.

And yet so many smokers continue to discard their butts on the sidewalk without a second thought. I’m fairly certain most of these people would never toss a soda can or a candy bar wrapper on the ground, so why do they litter with cigarette butts? After thinking about it a bit (but doing exactly zero reporting or empirical research, I freely admit), I’ve come up with several possible reasons:

• Smoking is very ritualistic, and some smokers may therefore find it ritualistically satisfying to punctuate a smoke by flicking away the butt (perhaps with bonus ritual points for those who step on the butt and grind it into the sidewalk). Omitting that step might make the act of smoking the cigarette feel unsatisfyingly incomplete.

• There’s something appealingly transgressive about smoking. This has always been the case, even when smoking was more socially acceptable, and it’s truer than ever today. I relate to the notion of mildly transgressive behavior — that’s why I always sneak beers into the movies, for example. So I can see how butt-littering might trigger a few extra transgression endorphins or something like that.

• As smoking has become more marginalized, some smokers have become more bitter and defiant. Butt-littering may simply be their way of saying, “Fuck you” to the anti-tobacco crowd.

Of course, none of these would qualify as an acceptable excuse for butt-littering, but they might help explain why it happens.

I want to make it clear that my gripe is not with smoking; it’s with littering. I had a brief smoking period myself in the late 1980s — about half a pack a day for maybe four or five months. Did I butt-litter? I hope not. But honestly and truly, I don’t remember. It feels like a lifetime ago, and smoking was very different then. I was able to smoke in my office cubicle, the very notion of which now seems bizarre.

There’s nothing good or even neutral about cigarette butts (well, unless you count the 4,213 of them that are displayed at the Museum of Innocence). The filters don’t even biodegrade. So what can we do to get people to stop littering with them? Here’s my modest proposal: I’m sure some sort of study could be done — or maybe it’s already been done — to quantify just how many butts are tossed on the ground in a given week, month, or year. So get those numbers and then help people visualize them by making an ad showing a bulldozer pushing nothing but huge mounds of cigarette butts. It would make the point quite nicely.

I’m sure many of you have strong feelings one way or the other regarding smoking, but let’s please limit today’s discussion to smoking-related littering, not smoking itself. Thanks.

• • • • •

Sept. 11 — the day after: The image you see at left was on Google’s home page all day yesterday. It seems like a much more dignified and appropriate gesture to mark the events of 13 years ago than pandering to the “U! S! A!” crowd, but of course dignity isn’t the sports world’s strong suit these days. Here’s what went down yesterday:

• MLB teams wore American flag patches on the left side of the cap. (As usual, there were no flag decals on the batting helmets, which I’m sure has nothing at all to do with the fact that caps are sold at retail and helmets aren’t.)

• The Twins were already wearing an All-Star Game cap patch on the left side, so they wore the flag patch over the All-Star patch.

• The Yankees have been wearing the Derek Jeter cap patch on the left side, but they scrapped it last night in favor of the flag patch. (As you can see, however, they still wore the Jeter sleeve patch, so Brandon Steiner can exhale now.)

• At least one base coach — Chris Maloney of the Cardinals — wore the flag patch on his coaching helmet. Not sure if other coaches did this.

• Umpires wore the flag patch too — except the ones who didn’t.

• The Blue Jays had the day off, so we were spared the annual “What will the Canadian team wear?!” routine.

• As per their annual custom, the Mets wore first responder caps during BP, one of the few Sept. 11 gestures that actually make sense.

• The Nats wore their star-spangled costumes.

• The Brewers always adjust the team logo on the back of the Miller Park mound to suit the occasion (throwback, Negro Leagues, etc.), and yesterday was no exception.

• The bases had a commemorative message.

• Turning to college football, Louisiana Tech did the stars/stripes thing.

• I’ll say this much for BYU: When they say, “Never forget,” they mean it. Very, uh, somber. Plus they tarted up their midfield logo and helmet.

• BYU’s opponent, Houston, also waved the flag.

If I missed anything, feel free to post it in the comments.

• • • • •

’Skins Watch: The New York Daily News, having already decided to boycott the ’Skins name and logo, is also boycotting Chief Wahoo. … In a related item, here’s an up-to-date list of writers, broadcasters, and media outlets that are boycotting the ’Skins name, although the list is somewhat suspect because it has at least one omission: me. … ’Skins merch sales are way down in the last quarter — maybe because of the name controversy, or maybe just because the team sucks. … Faaaascainting article on the 2000+ teams, mostly from high schools, that still use Native American-related names. Highly recommended reading. … Dan Snyder’s PR operation keeps shooting itself in the foot (thanks, Phil). … All three members of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast team stated their personal policies regarding the ’Skins name this past Monday. You can see what they said by scrolling about halfway down this page (thanks, Phil). … Etsy will no longer allow the sale of items featuring the ’Skins name or logo. … Here’s the latest development regarding the Coachella Valley Arabs (Phil again). … A state lawmaker in Colorado is drafting a bill that would strip state funding from schools using Native imagery that isn’t approved by the state commission of Indian affairs (from Stan Bush).

Baseball News: Following up on yesterday’s discussion on players who wear religious symbols, several readers noted that Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen has had a cross on his armband for at least the past two games. “He tapped it after the Bucs won on Thursday,” says Bill Monti. … Why is the MLB season 162 games long? Look here (thanks, Brinke). … No photo, but Detroit firefighters gave Tigers reliever Joe Nathan a fire helmet emblazoned with the Tigers’ logo after he gave a $50,000 donation. … Here’s Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista wearing a cap with his own personal logo (from Britton Thomas). … Oooh, check out the Angels’ old logo-emblazoned stirrups! (big thanks, Phil.) … Mets 3B Daniel Murphy was hit on the left wrist by a pitch last night and suffered some gruesome-looking swelling. X-rays were negative.

NFL News: With all the controversy swirling around Roger Goodell, Joe Bailey asks an interesting question: “If Goodell resigns or is asked to leave his position during the season, would the league swap out all the game balls with his signature? Would the Wilson factory in Ohio have to punch out a bunch of new game balls on short notice, with the new commissioner’s name? Or would they play on with the Goodell balls?” … Ray Rice’s high school has taken down his Ravens jersey. … Meanwhile, here are some Ravens fans explaining why they were still wearing Ray Rice jerseys last night. … Then there was the guy wearing a Ravens jersey with 53 on the front and 52 on the shoulders (from Zach Conrad). … Broncos CB Aqib Talib was wearing Peyton Manning socks in practice yesterday. Here’s a front view. … Packers RB Eddie Lacy is abandoning the SpeedFlex helmet (from Jeremy Walker). … Someone at CBS was asleep at the switch last night. When I tweeted that image, someone responded with this one (Ravens screen shot by Richard Paloma). … For reasons that aren’t clear, at least to me, Ravens LB Terrell Suggs ran onto the field yesterday wearing a gladiator’s helmet (thanks, Phil). … Mark Gonillo notes that Giants QB Eli Manning was wearing Under Armour footwear during the preseason (here’s an example from another game) but switched to Nike for the first regular season game. What’s up with that? … This is too funny: Microsoft paid the NFL $400 million to use its Surface tablet, but TV broadcasters keep referring to them as iPads (big thanks to Adam Hancock, and congrats to longtime reader/contributor Cork Gaines for writing another great article). …

College Football News: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was given a visor-shaped birthday cake — complete with a Nike swoosh — the other day (from Paul Deaver). … Will Oklahoma State wear throwbacks against Texas Tech? Maybe. … New uniforms for Hobart College. … Here are this weekend’s uni combos for Baylor, Illinois, Syracuse, Washington, and Arizona State. … We’ve all seen quarterbacks wearing red “no contact” jerseys. But how about a red jersey and red pants? That’s Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott (from Dustin Semore). … North Texas debuted a new black helmet last night. … Hmmm, new helmet in the works for Kentucky? … Leo Chomiak, who attends the University of Florida, says: “I spoke to one of my fraternity brothers who is on the UF football team and he said the players want to go mono-orange against Kentucky [this Saturday]. I searched to see if the Gators have ever gone mono-orange and, ironically enough, they did many years ago against none other than Kentucky.” … This just in: Fancy uniforms do not win football games. Glad we cleared that up.

NBA News: Chris Douglas-Roberts plans to wear John Stockton-style shorts this season, which should be interesting to see on the court (thanks, Phil).

College Hoops News: Michigan State’s uniforms appear to be unchanged from last season. I guess that counts as news nowadays. … New uniforms for Dayton. … Here’s a photo of the Kansas bench from January that shows a bunch of towels embroidered with the players’ uni numbers. Is that a standard thing? (From Coleman Mullins.)

Soccer News: New denim-patterned kit for SSC Napoli. … And if you think that’s kinda out there, check out TSV 1860 Munich’s new Oktoberfest kit — yowza! … “I was watching the Netherlands vs. Czech Republic soccer game and noticed that the numbers on the back of the Netherlands’ jerseys in this game were slightly different from the numbers on their World Cup jerseys,” says Archie Troxel. “Apparently UEFA, which was in charge of this match, has rules stating that numbers must be a solid color, while FIFA doesn’t. What’s interesting is that they only filled in the blue inline on the back of the jerseys, and not on the front.”

Grab Bag: Hmmmm, was former NHL goalie Glenn Hall wearing a modified baseball glove instead of a goalie’s glove? (From Nick Maibroda.) … This is cool: Venus Williams went curling the other day (big thanks to Will Scheibler). … I’m lucky enough to have an original edition of the amazing New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual from 1970 — basically a style guide for the entire NYC subway system, and a landmark in graphic design history. For those who are into such things but don’t have a copy of their own, it looks like the manual will soon be reissued (big thanks to Graham Bakay). … Here’s a gallery of a dozen wack-a-doodle cycling kits (from Sean Clancy). … I had previously reported that Boston College’s football team was wearing red bandana-patterned gear to honor Wells Crowther. Turns out the school’s lacrosse team is doing something similar (from Zack Kurland). … Two breweries are involved in a legal tussle over their logos, both of which involve a hiker wearing a backpack.

Do Not Cross: Arkansas State Memorial to Be Modified

If you read the Ticker closely and have a good memory, you may recall that about two weeks ago Arkansas State added a new memorial helmet decal for player Markel Owens and equipment manager Barry Weyer, both of whom recently died. At the time, I wrote, “I wonder if there are any non-Christians on the team, and how they feel about wearing that.”

Now it turns out that the team is changing the decal design. In a statement released yesterday, Athletic Director Terry Mohajir said:

I am 100 percent in support of our coaches’ and players’ expression of faith, as well as their choice to honor the two individuals associated with our team who passed away by voluntarily wearing a cross decal on the back of their helmets. Unfortunately, we have received a complaint that use of the cross violates the Constitutional prohibition against separation of church and state.

After consulting with University counsel, we have been advised to either modify the decal or remove it completely. Thus, in order to ensure that we are in full compliance with Constitutional law, we will be modifying the decal to still honor the two individuals who are no longer with us.

Left unsaid but implicit in Mohajir’s statement is the fact that Arkansas State is a public university that receives public funds. I’m assuming that there would be no church/state issues with the decal for a private school.

According to USA Today, the complaint came from an Arkansas-based attorney who had noticed the cross decals during the team’s game last Saturday. He sent an email to the university’s counsel later that day, saying, “That is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause [of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution] as a state endorsement of the Christian religion. Please advise whether you agree and whether ASU will continue this practice.”

The counsel looked into the matter and then advised the athletics department as follows:

While we could argue that the cross with the initials of the fallen student and trainer merely memorialize their passing, the symbol we have authorized to convey that message is a Christian cross. Persons viewing the helmets will, and have, seen the symbol as a cross and interpreted that symbol as an endorsement of the Christian religion. This violates the legal prohibition of endorsing religion.

As you might expect, there’s been some negative reaction to the move, including from the father of the deceased equipment manager. According to that last link, the vertical stroke of the cross will be eliminated, leaving only the horizontal stroke with the two men’s initials.

The Constitutional issues here seem fairly straightforward. But even for a private school, adding a religious symbol to a uniform, whether it’s a cross, a Star of David, a star and crescent, or whatever, seems inappropriate to me, because I don’t think any athlete should be forced or coerced to wear religious imagery. The only exception might be for religious schools.

I’m sure there have been other examples of teams (pro, college, whatever) incorporating religious symbols into their uniforms, but I’m drawing a blank. Little help..?

I’m better at recalling examples of individual athletes and other uniformed personnel wearing religious symbols, including Barry Bonds, Troy Polamalu, Billy Martin, Bucky Dent, Mike Rossman, and lots of others. Also worth mentioning are athletes who compete while wearing religious garments, such as Aaron Liberman, Ruqaya Al Ghasara, and Yossi Lipskier. And then there are teams that don’t wear religious clothing per se but wear specialized uniforms to conform with religious notions of modesty, such as Beth Chana Academy and Gate City Christian High School. (If you have additional examples that fit into any of these categories, send them my way and/or post them in the comments. Thanks.)

But none of those situations is the same as the Arkansas State case. I’m sure many of you have strong feelings about this one, but let’s keep the discussion civil, yes? Yes. And let’s also please refrain from invoking the term “politically correct,” which, in addition to being a nonsense term, has nothing to do with Constitutional law or the First Amendment. Thanks.

• • • • •

NFL Superhero project: Reader Thomas Correia has come up with a new project, which I’ll let him describe to you:

After seeing the recent creativity of redesigned NFL logos and the increased popularity of superhero films, I decided to use my knowledge of both and challenge myself to combine a comic book character with each NFL team, like this [click to enlarge]:

NFLHeroWeek2

Hopefully you can figure out the superheroes I’m referencing there. Why am I using the Underoos template? Because Underoos are fun, nostalgic, and made every kid in the late ’70s feel like a superhero.

As you can see, the teams shown are the same ones who’ll be playing in tonight’s Thursday Night Football game. What do you think? If the response is good, Paul and I will post a new NFL/superhero image each Thursday for that night’s TNF match-up.

So there you have it. What say ye, folks? Wanna see this as a recurring feature each Thursday?

• • • • •

Baseball News: All MLB players will wear American flag cap patches today — you know, because Sept. 11 is a national holiday. … If you skip ahead to the 3:15 mark of this podcast, you’ll hear Mariners SS Brad Miller talking about why he doesn’t wear batting gloves and does wear stirrups (from Gil Neumann). … This is pretty great: With the Toledo Mud Hens’ season now over, a mini-golf course has been set up in the outfield (from Tom Konecny). … Yesterday I mentioned that the Orioles retired Frank Robinson’s number after they traded him away, but while he was still active. Now Thomas White has come up a photo of Robby being honored by the O’s. … Great story from Terence Kearns, who writes: “When Austin Kearns made his debut for the Cincinnati Reds and I heard his name on SportsCenter, I vowed to collect his jerseys as long as they had the ‘Kearns’ NOB. Worked out great, because I’m a Mets fan, so I didn’t have to compromise my integrity, or the collection’s, when he played for the Yankees in 2010 — NNOB!”

NFL News: The mask that inspired the original Seahawks logo may be coming to a Seattle museum (from Kirsten Hively). … How Jerseys Make People Behave Like Idiots, Part 673: A disgruntled Giants fan burned his Eli Manning jersey after Monday night’s loss to the Lions. … Chargers are calling for a white-out this Sunday. This article quotes QB Philip Rivers thusly: “I know the rest of the guys enjoy wearing the white uniforms. Seeing the stadium full of white on a beautiful Sunday afternoon definitely will add to the intensity of the game.” … Speaking of the Chargers, Keenan Allen was wearing G.I. Joe tights in practice the other day (from Brady Phelps). … Great story from Mike Sullivan, who writes: “Since Jan. 1 I’ve been photographed once per a day in my Buffalo Bills helmet, wherever in the world I am. It’s been fun and attracted an engaged following on Twitter and Instagram (including, quietly, the team’s social media team). Anyway, on Monday the Bills Equipment tweeted that they were swapping out the helmet decals for this Sunday’s throwback game. I quickly sent them a tweet asking if they’d do the same for me. Some of my twitter follows threw their support behind it and not soon after they said they’d swap them out for this week and swap the decals back next week. Looks great!”

College Football News: BYU, much like MLB, mistakenly thinks Sept. 11 is a national holiday. … Here’s a video interview with Army’s equipment manager (thanks, Phil). … There had been rumblings about Oklahoma going with an alternate uni this weekend, but they’re sticking with the traditional look. … Army will be wearing white this weekend. … Boston College’s upcoming “red bandana” tribute to Welles Crowther was mentioned in yesterday’s Ticker, but we didn’t have photos. Now, thanks to Ilana Hardesty, we do. … USF’s new green helmet will make its on-field debut this weekend. … Here are Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series helmets being prepped for this weekend.

Hockey News: New 40th-anniversary patch for the Capitals. They’ve also set up a separate sub-site to celebrate the team’s history. How great would it be if they brought back the white pants as a throwback? (From David Raglin.)

Pro and College Basketball News: 30th-anniversary logo and patch for the Kings. … Speaking of the Kings, they now have some “partial logos,” whatever that means. … Here are some logos pertaining to next year’s All-Star Game. … New college hoops uniforms for Utah.

Soccer News: FC Barcalona will wear its secondary red/yellow striped kit on Saturday. “The reason they won’t don their usual blue and red duds is to commemorate the annual Diada Catalunya (National Day of Catalonia),” explains Ryan Maquiñana. “In response, Athletic Club Bilbao will wear their green, white, and red secondary kits that are a tribute to the Basque Country flag. Both Catalonia and the Basque Country are autonomous communities within Spain that have sizable factions that have stumped for independence, so there is a political angle to this as well.”

Grab Bag: Sad but not surprising: A man and woman in Florida are soliciting corporate sponsorships for their wedding and honeymoon (from Tom Konecny). … Four Chicago-area firefighters have been suspended for refusing to remove patriotic stickers from their helmets and lockers. … Here’s a rare sight: an early issue of Life magazine without the familiar red logo. … Back in the days of open-faced auto racing helmets, someone came up with the Turbo Visor. “A failed attempt to keep rain out of the drivers’ eyes,” says Graham Clayton. … The Westboro Baptist Church picketed a bunch of NYC media outlets yesterday. I’m a little hurt that they didn’t make it out to Uni Watch HQ, but maybe they were limiting themselves to Manhattan.