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Talkin' (Japanese) Baseball

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Over the course of the years, I’ve followed a twitter account that goes by Sons of Johnnie LeMaster (they have a blog, although it doesn’t appear as though it’s been updated recently. But in any event, I’ve corresponded with them (him), and occasionally they (he) have contributed a ticker item or three. I barely remember Johnnie LeMaster as a player (though he was certainly in my “wheelhouse” years for following baseball), but he of course lives on in Uni Watch (and other) lore for having one of the greatest NickNOB’s in history:

Boo-Johnnie-LeMaster-San-Francisco-Giants-1979

Anyway (and it seems as though the Sons of Johnnie LeMaster are not his actual kids), about a month ago the proprietor of the account and I corresponded and he said he was going to Tokyo and would be checking out a couple games in the Tokyo Dome at the beginning of July (with a goal of securing some Yomiuri Giants authentic merchandise).

As a quick aside, my best friend from High School went on to teach English in Japan, and while there, he took in a fair number of Japanese baseball games, regaling me with stories of the eccentricities of that league and its players. Back then he made particular note of the relative dearth of American players, but also noted that each team seemed to always have one (almost always black) American player — no more, no less — he believed there was literally quota system; I’m not sure that’s still the case. But he’d always talk about the fields, slightly different rules, crazy cheering sections, etc. I said if I ever visited him in Japan I’d want him to take me to a game. Alas, as the years passed we grew apart and that never happened. But I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese baseball.

After chatting with SoJL, I asked if he’d like to document his experience (with an emphasis on unis) and he obliged. The account is run by a gentleman named Henry Yu, and here’s his piece. Enjoy! (For any photos below, you can click to enlarge.)

• • •

Baseball in Japan
By Henry Yu

Recently, we took a trip to Tokyo for a culinary and baseball adventure. A few months ago, we secured game tickets to see the Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama Bay Stars at the Tokyo Dome. One of our goals for attending the games was to purchase some Yomiuri Giants gear, since it’s next to impossible finding any of their stuff here in the States. Here’s a recap of our experience.

Around Tokyo

One of the first things we noticed when we were in Tokyo is that no one wears any team related items around town. We didn’t see one person wearing a Tokyo Giants hat, jersey, or shirt around the city. In addition, none of the stores had any Giants gear to purchase – not even the airport. The team has a small shop at the Sky Tower, but after viewing pictures of the place online, we figured it wasn’t worth the trip to check it out.

Fitted Caps

One of the things we really wanted was an authentic field fitted cap that the players wear. Unfortunately, fitted caps are not available anywhere. Even at the Tokyo Dome, the only hats that were available were adjustable. We saw several of the Under Armour adjustable caps at the Under Armour store located on the exterior of the stadium and at the lower level inside the Dome, but none of them appealed to us.

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Jerseys

Another thing that caught our attention was the fact that only replica jerseys are available for purchase. Again, none of the on-field apparel worn by the players was available for purchase. All of this seemed odd to us since we saw plenty of fans wearing jerseys and caps. If the team sold authentic on-field merchandise, fans would definitely purchase them, even at a higher price point.

Souvenir Stand

The Tokyo Dome has numerous souvenir stands located inside the ballpark and outside as well. However, most of the items were limited to player shirts, various rally towels, a few flags, and various knick knacks (keychains, dolls, stickers, etc.). Again, nothing at the souvenir stand caught our attention to the point where we wanted to purchase anything.

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Under Armour

UA occupies two locations at the Dome, the UA store on the exterior of the Dome, and a concession stand located in the lower level inside the Dome.

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Items consist of replica jerseys, adjustable caps, t-shirts, and polos. Of the items available, we purchased a road “Tokyo” replica jersey, and a home “Giants” jersey.

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The replicas are on par with the replicas you see in the States, but the UA jerseys did incorporate a mesh fabric on the back of the jerseys.

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[Note that gaudy UA makers mark — we’ll be seeing that on MLB jerseys soon enough — PH]

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Also, it was interesting to note that when we purchased our road jersey (blank) inside the Dome it cost 8,600 yen, but when we purchased the home jersey (blank) at the UA store outside of the Dome it cost 8,000 yen. Apparently, the outside UA store is able to tender duty free pricing (purchases over 5,000 yen) for individuals that have a valid passport. So, if you plan on visiting the Dome and want to purchase UA gear, we would suggest purchasing the items before entering the stadium.

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Final Thoughts

We were shocked that a famous team like the Tokyo Giants didn’t offer the plethora of gear that teams in Major League Baseball have. It would be a major cash cow and revenue stream if they offered more authentic gear, and fans from around the world would be more than happy to open their wallets purchasing the merchandise. Hopefully, with the help of UA, they will help turn things around. At the very least, it seems they’ve made an effort to produce some gear, but the club still has a long way to go to match the offerings available by their Major League Baseball brethren.

If you have any questions on our experience at Japanese baseball game, send us a tweet @SonsofJohnnieLe

• • •

Thanks, Henry! In addition to this writeup, Henry also sent along a video, which gives a bit of a feel for watching a game inside the Tokyo dome:

I know there are a few readers who are very familiar with Japanese baseball — if you’d like to collaborate on a post (with an emphasis on unis, stadia, fans, etc.) please let me know!

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Vilk Baseball Card front
In Search of…
…the “Perfect” Baseball Card

Earlier this year, I ran a post in which reader Ray Hund described his quest — and “rules” — for a “Perfect” baseball card. I had asked readers to submit their own submissions for what they considered to be their own version of the perfect card. I’ll run these periodically. If you have a submission for your own “Perfect” baseball card, shoot me an email with a short(ish) writeup and of course, an image (or images) of your own perfect card.

• • •

We begin today with Adam Leitel:

Phil,

This was always one of my favorites growing up. I always loved the Expos unit and there was something about Perez’s jheri curl that was intriguing to a young man in North Dakota. Pascual may not be the prettiest man, but I’ll never forget this card!

PastedGraphic-1

Adam Leitel

• • •

And we conclude today with Dave Robb, with an oldie and a goodie:

Hi Phil:

As a card collector I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a lousy Warren Spahn card. His cards are all angles..his nose, crooked grin, off kilter cap, etc. And then you factor in the beautiful Braves gear he’s wearing and you have cardboard art. Probably his best, and certainly my favorite, is the 1953 Spahn. From one of the only ‘pure’ sets ever produced. Nothing adorns the front except the player. And in this case it’s a great photo of Spahn!

1953BowSpahn

I have a few more I’ll send your way as time permits.

-Bob Andrews

• • •

I may have one more of these to run — so if you guys would like to continue with the this little segment, please send me your “perfect” card, my e-mail address is above.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: It would appear as though Bryce Harper has another new set of cleats (from Megan Brown). … You know that yellow Gold cap featured on UW yesterday, which the Pirates will supposedly wear on August 20 (while playing at the Little League World Series)? It seems as though every team is getting one (although I’m not sure if they’ll merely be for sale, or actually worn on the field by the respective teams). H/T to a reader who prefers to remain anonymous. — It appears as though this may be an older iteration, as noted here by J.A. Worobec). … Here’s (another) beautiful colorization from Chris Whitehouse, this one of Joe Tinker, in 1913. … If you think the *alternate* jerseys some MLB teams wear (or in the case of Mom/Pop/Mem Day/Indy Day, are forced to wear) are bad, check out the “fire red” jerseys being worn by the Seibu Lions (from Graveyard Baseball). … The Rochester Red Wings had “football” night last evening, featuring Thurman Thomas autographs + specialty jerseys (from Rochester Red Wings). Good article here on how “The DeChief movement has been going on for a few years now and I know that MLB has demoted Wahoo in favor of the block C. So it didn’t jump out at me to see that Topps was using the block C as the logo on its 2017 flagship set.” … The “Modest Proposals” (for unis) are back — here’s the NL East (h/t Kate Bowen). … “This fan miffed his shot to catch a foul ball at the Giants game [Friday] night and as they were going to commercial the broadcast crew noticed he was wearing a Kuiper jersey so Duane Kuiper himself popped out of the booth and gave the poor schmuck a signed ball to ease his pain,” says Ed Casey. “Also in gif form. At least SOMETHING good happened to someone wearing a Giants uniform.” … “[To]night the Jacksonville (FL) Jumbo Shrimp will honor the Negro Leagues by wearing Jax Red Cap unis,” says John Mac. “The Red Caps played just one season in Jacksonville, 1938. One note on the pic: the left sleeve appears to have a different logo patch than the “J” worn per Ebbets Field jersey replica. Ironically, the giveaway, which is a replica shirt, has the “J” on its left sleeve. Of course the giveaway has the sponsor printed on the sleeve.” … IS NOTHING SACRED??? The Washington Nationals have changed the name of Garage B to GEICO Garage. Submitter Dave Raglin coyly says, “I still call it Garage B.” .. The NOLA Baby Cakes threw back to the Pelicans last night, and looked good (from Wayne Muller). Here’s another look. … The Cincinnati Reds have a tarp with Bounty advertising on it (from Jimmer Vilk, Christy and a couple others). … The Daytona Tortugas did a Sager strong jersey last night (from the Fresh Prince of Daytona). … Here’s a great photo of the 1967 Angels wearing Halo’ed helmets (from Josh King). … I’d not only wear this, I’d buy it (apparently this item was found in Niagara Falls, no less — submitted by Rob S.). … The Salt Lake Bees wore Star Wars Night jerseys yesterday (from Salt Lake Bees). Took me a minute to figure out they were probably channeling Obi Wan with those tops.

NFL/College/High School/CFL Football News: Is there a new white uniform in the works for Mizzou? Here’s a slightly better look (from Matt Gurnow and Jim Grundy). … Apparently a sports bar in Wisconsin steals derives its inspiration from Sparty (from TheBrokenTendy). … Speaking of unauthorized logos, Viking Pizza is most likely not paying for this one (from Dan). … Here’s a good look at the new Nike’s template for Clemson, particularly on Ray-Ray McCloud (34) — from Ben Whitehead. … When it comes to the periodic issue of players committing uniform violations, the NFL previously has punished only the players. Starting this year, that could change. Teams can now be disciplined for uniform violations (thanks Brinke). … Tweeter Ben Taylor says, “Good read on #Illini equipment guy who’s worked for 8 football coaches. 1 key skill: sewing.” … Clearly it was more of a Love than a Love/Hate relationship: Adrian Peterson (now a member of the New Orleans Saints) leads all NFL jersey sales — in Minnesota(!) … An anonymous donor has bought data-tracking helmets for every Omaha Public School high school football player (from Greg Mays). … Whoa — this is apparently an original prototype helmet for the Dallas Cowboys (from Jim Bob).

NBA/G-League/Summer League/College Basketball News: Via the NBA Store, here’s our first look at the new jersey number fonts for the Cavs, Wolves, Sixers and Blazers (h/t to Conrad Burry). Also from Conrad, “Here’s an interesting find…a black tee for the Warriors with a new number font. Looks like it will be the basis for one of their alt unis.” … This was sent in with no context, but here’s a photo of Bill Russell and Michael Jackson (from Phil Lawson). Looks like some kind of athletes vs. celebs thingy. Is that Rosey Grier in the background?

Soccer News: Stoke City FC have revealed their third kit for the 2017-18 season, and it’s nice. You can read more about that here (from Ron Duany Derksen). … Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Bayern Munich reveal fan-designed third kits (via Paul). … The Mirror has ranked the 25 worst ever Premier League kits — including Man United’s infamous grey shirt and other such monstrosities (from Josh Hinton).

Grab Bag: The Men’s Italian volleyball team will wear the Taiwan emblem on their jerseys. Why you may ask? Here ya go. … Did you ever wonder why Starbucks baristas wear green aprons? Wonder no more. … Tiger Woods has an Oakland Raiders cloth on his pool table (from Jennifer Schrum).

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And that’s it for today. Thanks to Henry for the interesting look at Japanese baseball and his quest to find an authentic Giants uni. I’ll be back with one last weekend piece until after Labor Day tomorrow (I’ll be taking over weekdays beginning August 1st while takes his much deserved sabbatical sanity break) and you won’t want to miss that one. Free stuff will be given away. So everyone have a great Saturday and until the morrow…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“I’m still calling it the British Open”

— Adam N.

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Parole Board Member Wears Chiefs Tie to O.J. Hearing

Screen shot by @MarlaTellez; click to slightly enlarge

Bizarre scene at yesterday’s Nevada Parole Board hearing for O.J. Simpson, as one of the commissioners was wearing a Kansas City Chiefs necktie. Here’s a closer look:

The commissioner in question is named Adam Endel. According to this article, he went to college in the 1980s at Central Missouri State, which may explain his Chiefs fandom. The tie may be an oldie that he’s had for a while, because I couldn’t find it listed for sale anywhere online. This means you will not be able to dress up like a Nevada Parole Board commissioner. I’ll let you decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

It’s hard to know what message Endel was trying to send with his neckwear, though. Was he saying, “Don’t worry, O.J., I’m an NFL fan”? Was he saying, “Screw you, O.J., I hate the Bills and I’m not granting you parole”? (Apparently not, given the way things turned out.) Was he trying to remind Simpson of his old pal and former Chief Marcus Allen, who allegedly had an affair with Nicole Brown Simpson?

Or maybe he just woke up yesterday morning and thought, “I’m going to be on national TV today, so I can finally wear my Chiefs tie!”

Whatever the answer might be, when it comes to Chiefs-branded attire, I’ll still go with Hank Stram.

(My thanks to Zach Loesl for bringing this one to my attention.)

• • • • •

NBA update: I spent a very enjoyable 40 minutes or so yesterday as a guest on the Thunder Buddies podcast, which is conducted by Thunder beat writers Erik Horne and Brett Dawson. We talked about a lot of stuff — some of it about the Thunder, but also about the NBA and Nike, and about uniforms in general. It was a really good conversation, and I think you’ll enjoy listening to it. Check it out here.

Along the way, Erik and Brett said a few things that I believe qualify as news:

1. Erik had previously reported on Twitter a few days earlier that the Thunder are scrapping their orange alternate uniform. (We had this in the Ticker earlier this week.) But during the podcast, he and Brett said the team is also scrapping its white sleeved alternate.

2. They also said it was their understanding that no NBA teams will be wearing sleeves this season. Most people have assumed that to be the case, but this is the closest I’ve heard to a confirmation of it.

3. Most intriguingly, Erik said that Nike plans to introduce a new alternate uniform for every team every year, right around the holiday (or, rather, holiday-shopping) season. I asked if it would be the alternate “inspired by the community” or the one “inspired by the athlete’s mindset,” and he said he wasn’t sure. But he seemed pretty certain that each team would get a new design each year. He also suggested that these new designs would be used instead of the Christmas uniforms we’ve gotten used to seeing.

Never a dull moment!

• • • • •

Blinding Buccos: The Pirates and Cardinals will be playing a game in Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League World Series, on Aug. 20, and multiple sources are indicating that the Pirates will be wearing the bright yellow cap shown at right (click to enlarge) for that game.

The Cardinals will presumably have a special cap as well. There’s also talk that every MLB team will have a similarly bright-colored cap that weekend, as a way of supporting the LLWS, although it’s not yet clear whether these caps will be worn on the field or if they’ll just be for retail.

The following weekend, Aug. 25-27, is the so-called Players Weekend, when players can wear nickNOBs and wackadoodle-colored accessories. Thankfully, I’ll be on my annual August break from the blog when all of this happens.

• • • • •

Membership update: Six new designs have been added to the membership card gallery (including Lloyd Alaban’s, shown at right, which is based on Tommie Smith’s jersey from the 1968 Olympics). The printed/laminated versions of these cards should mail out early next week.

Nicholas Allen and Aaron Pinto: Your cards will mail out with this batch as well, but they aren’t fully designed yet. Soon!

Remember, a Uni Watch membership card now entitles you to 15% off of any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop (if you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me). As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.

• • • • •

Naming Wrongs reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, we released a slew of new Naming Wrongs shirts (including the Three Rivers design shown at right). Get the full scoop here, or just go straight to the Naming Wrongs online shop.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: It’s not often that you’ll see a baseball uniform for a bleachery. … Newly acquired Yankee Todd Frazier will stick with No. 29 and will not wear Paul O’Neill’s No. 21 (thanks, Brinke). … Here’s a piece about what’s being called “irony jerseys,” but it’s really about players in an unfamiliar team’s uniform, like Jim Thome as a Dodger or Ivan Rodriguez as a National (from Chris Flinn). … Ferdinand Cesarano was in Philadelphia recently and spotted a taxi with a Phillies throwback motif — maroon and powder blue. … Texas Flag-themed uniforms this weekend for the Midland RockHounds. … Yankees OF Jacoby Ellsbury appears to keep some scouting reports on opposing players in his cap (from Daniel Carroll).


Football News: Pitt is asking fans which team colors they prefer (from Larry Soles). … Ranking the XFL’s helmets? Sure, why not. … Here’s a pretty good set of designs showing NHL teams reimagined as football teams (from Austin Glover). … New gloves for LSU (from Daniel Bowen). … Subtle changes possibly in the works for Ohio State. … New white uniform possibly in the works for Missouri.

Hockey News: Here’s the logo for the NHL’s games in China (from Benjamin Kassel). … A “name the team” contest is now underway for a new ECHL team in Portland, Me. (rare non-UNC-related submission from James Gilbert). … Repeated from the football section: Here’s a pretty good set of designs showing NHL teams reimagined as football teams (from Austin Glover).

Basketball News: New floor design for Vassar (from Mark Peczuh). … Good story about Georgia Tech’s uni numbers (from Michael Rich). … Nike has made a shoe to honor former college player Saieed Ivey, who was killed last summer (thanks, Mike). … Also from Mike: Here’s a ranking of NBA throwback jerseys.

Soccer News: New uniforms for Penn State (from Pat Rouleau). … New third kit for Stoke City (thanks, Phil). … Good article on the history of TruSox (from Jeremy Brahm).

Grab Bag: Interesting article about a Nike sneaker engineer. … Pro golfer Jason Day teed off at the British Open wearing high-top sneakers (thanks, Phil). … Whoa, check out this rainbow patterned volleyball court (from J. Williams). … New rugby uniforms for Saracens Rugby Club and Harlequins (from @Stumpy7780).

• • • • •

Photos by Mary Bakija; click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: One of the nice things about summer in NYC is that there are several programs that offer free kayaking. The Tugboat Captain and I participated in one of them last evening, as we went down to Valentino Pier in Red Hook and spent about half an hour paddling hither and thither. It was all courtesy of Red Hook Boaters, a volunteer organization that makes its kayaks available for free. How great is that?

It was a nice little workout, and we got just wet enough to cool us off after a blisteringly hot day. Then we went to our favorite nearby bar and had a few drinks in their backyard while eating peanuts, cherries, and olives. A very nice night.

At Least One NBA Team Leaning Against Uni Ad Patch

There was a bit of excitement yesterday when people (including our own Mike Chamernik) noticed that Thunder beat reporter Erik Horne had been asked on Twitter if the team would be wearing an advertising patch this year and answered, “No.” That seemed to be the first confirmed case of a team in the “No ad patch” column, and several media outlets jumped on the news.

But as we all know, Twitter is a very imperfect medium for conveying information. I contacted Horne via email to learn more, and he qualified his position by saying (I’m paraphrasing here) that the team appears to be in the “No” column for now, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t change.

While this isn’t quite as good as a firm no, it’s enough to let us know that the worst-case scenario of all 30 NBA teams wearing uniform ads this season is not a done deal. At present, only nine teams — less than one-third of the league — have announced uniform ads (and one of them, the Jazz, has partnered with a charity initiative). If the Thunder are seriously considering going ad-free, some of those other teams are probably in the same position.

The widespread assumption has been that most or all of the teams would wear the ads, and that there’d be a flurry of ad-partnership announcements as we got closer to the start of the season. And hey, maybe that will still happen.

But maybe it won’t. Let’s say they get, oh, four more teams on board before the season tips off in October. That would make a total of 13 — less than half the league. How would that look? Not exactly a resounding success for the uni ad program.

That scenario would also provide, on a daily basis, a stark visual contrast between the ad-free teams and the ad-clad teams. And you can bet that fans will notice that the ad-free uniforms look a lot better. If all 30 teams wear the ads, fans will roll their eyes, shake their heads, and accept it as the sad new reality. But imagine if people routinely see game matchups like the Celtics with their big honking GE patch against the ad-free Thunder — suddenly the Thunder’s uniforms don’t look so bad. And maybe fans of the ad-free teams start saying, “Please stay ad-free — we don’t want to look like the Celtics.”

Granted, this is all conjecture. But I do think it’s plausible conjecture. At the very least, the news that the Thunder appear to be leaning against wearing an patch has provided a crack in the facade. It’s okay to dream a little. #NoUniAds

(My continued thanks to Tim E. O’Brien, who designed the excellent #NoUniAds logo.)

• • • • •

Twilight of the Flywire: NFL teams aren’t the only ones transitioning to Nike’s uniform template with the embarrassing name but the vastly better-looking collar. Check out the upgrade taking place in Georgia (click to enlarge):

Sooooo much better. Here’s hoping the Nikelace, which is easily the worst thing to happen to football uniforms in the past decade or so, is on the way out.

(My thanks to Andrew Wagner and Ryan Scates for this one.)

• • • • •

Naming Wrongs reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, we released a slew of new Naming Wrongs shirts (including the Commonwealth design shown at right, which has been our biggest seller this week). Get the full scoop here, or just go straight to the Naming Wrongs online shop.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Rangers OF Carlos Gomez inadvertently wore teammate Nomar Mazara’s jersey during pregame warmups on Tuesday (from Brinke). … Newly acquired J.D. Martinez will go FNOB, and by extension FIOB, with the Diamondbacks, even though he is the only Martinez on the team. He went FNOB with his previous team, the Tigers (from Ryan Finley). … The Yankees acquired Todd Frazier and David Robertson from the White Sox on Tuesday. Frazier will wear No. 29 instead of his usual 21, because that number is out of circulation in honor of Paul O’Neill. Robertson, a former Yankee, will wear his standard No. 30, and rookie left fielder Clint Frazier will switch to No. 77. Neil Vendetti notes that the Yankees will have No. 77 in left and, with Aaron Judge, No. 99 in right. “Coincidence that 7 is the LF designation and 9 is for RF when scoring a game? Probably,” he says. … The Nationals sold the naming rights to their left field parking garage (from William Yurasko). … Nats manager Dusty Baker is still wearing a cap without a New Era logo (from David Smolowitz). … The Astros will give away classic Jeff Bagwell jerseys on Aug. 4 (from Denis Costello). … With Mike Leake, who wears No. 8, on the mound for the Cardinals last night, Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said “The whole pitcher wearing the single-digit number thing — it’s not right!” (From Paul.) … @GridironLabs designed a creative Astros cap for a Hollywood-based men’s league team. … As he does every summer, Jesse Gavin offered his observations from the Iowa state high school softball tournament. Softball unis are starting to better resemble baseball jerseys, as schools are shifting away from shorts and toward long pants. Often times, players wear different hats that don’t match their teammates. One pitcher sported a seriously off-center belt buckle, and a first baseman wore a white mitt. Lastly, a few teams wore gradient helmets. … Time magazine published a graphic that showed the wrong helmet logo for the Yankees. The one they used is the jersey logo, not the helmet logo. … Mets OF Yoenis Céspedes dyed his hair blue prior to last night’s game against the Cardinals. … Speaking of the Mets, they’re giving away a bobblehead this Saturday that includes a strikingly phallic element.

Football News: An unscientific Facebook poll found that Cleveland fans are fonder of Brownie the Elf than they are of other Browns logos (from Alex). … Four schools that share a nickname — Clemson, Auburn, LSU, and Missouri — will team up in an effort to save wild tiger populations across the world. … Ravens fans poked fun at a odd-looking logo that appeared on a cake. … New uniforms for Rutgers. The back of the jersey will have a little New Jersey state icon above the nameplate.

Hockey News: Here’s a quick look at the new unis for the Avalanche (from John Muir). … On a related note, the Avs have worn white sleeve numbers on every one of their 14 different jerseys throughout their history (from Justin Cox). … Check out these delightful Tulsa Oilers program covers from the 1970s and ’80s (from @UtahDust).

Basketball News: The Kings released a few more details about their new uniforms on their app. The way the back of the jersey cuts off the armholes is an odd touch (from Conrad Burry). … Also from Conrad: Those app shots and a trademark filing indicate that NBA has changed the champions tag on the back of the jerseys. Apparently, the number of team titles will be placed inside of the ball. The old tag looked like this. … A few disgruntled Bulls fans raised money to pay for a billboard in Chicago’s West Loop that calls for the dismissal of general manager Gar Forman and executive VP John Paxson. … A blog crunched some numbers to determine the top 25 hipster NBA jerseys (from Phil). … Honus Wagner, the baseball hall of famer who starred in the early 1900s, was an early pioneer of basketball. He and his team wore uniforms with his alternative nickname, “Hans” Wagner (from Yancy Yeater).

Soccer News: This slideshow, in German, shows the 18 new kits across Bundesliga for the upcoming season (from Anthony Zydzik). … New unis for Pumas UNAM, a club in Mexico City (from Ed Żelaski). … Since the sun was setting directly in his face during yesterday’s game, Houston Dynamo goalie Tyler Deric wore a hat (from @NKroegs).

Grab Bag: Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens wears a pair of socks with a helpful tip on them (from David Firestone). … Some women golfers brushed off the negative reaction to the LPGA’s strict new dress code that prohibits such things as plunging necklines, racerbacks, and short skirts (from Ken Traisman). … Uncertain what year this was from, but North Carolina’s swim team once wore terrific warm-up tops. The team was once known as the Blue Dolphins (from James Gilbert). … Pascagoula, Miss., is searching for a new city logo. … Virginia Tech is letting fans vote on this season’s wrestling singlet design (from @Jerseyhokie29).

NBA and Nike Release New Warriors and Kings Unis, Eliminate Home/Road Uni Designations

Click to enlarge

Lots of NBA developments yesterday, as we finally got a look at some bona fide Nike uniforms. First, the company released a photo of a new Warriors jersey, shown above. Let’s see how it compares to the old one (click to enlarge):

The most obvious change, aside from the maker’s mark, is the collar. In addition, the numerals are clearly lighter/thinner, which seems like a downgrade.

Shortly after Nike posted that photo, the Kings unexpectedly revealed their new home and road white and purple uniforms, providing us with our first photos of how a jersey will look with the Nike maker’s mark and a corporate advertising patch. Here are some old/new comparisons (click to enlarge):

Quick notes:

• For both uniforms, the main difference appears to be the collar.

• Also, as we saw in those Snapchat screen grabs last Friday, the crown icon has been removed from the chest. What we didn’t know then, but can now see, is that it’s been moved to the waistband.

• It looks like the piping now wraps all the way around on the inner-leg portion of the shorts, instead of being truncated.

• Although the shades of silver and, to some extent, purple look a bit different in the old and new photos, a Kings spokesman confirmed to me yesterday that the official team colors have not changed, so it must just be the lighting.

• In addition, the Kings hinted very strongly that they’ll be keeping their black alternate and powder blue throwback.

The Warriors and Kings photos were part of a larger info dump by Nike yesterday afternoon. To get the full scoop, I strongly recommend that you start with Nike’s press release and then continue with this explainer/Q&A piece that I did for ESPN. That should get you up to speed.

Go ahead and read those two pieces — I’ll wait.

Okay, now that you’ve read them, a few quick thoughts:

1. I’m fine with eliminating the home and road uni designations. I’ve always been in favor of color-vs.-color games, and the league was already moving in that direction. I’m sure there’ll be a few games where someone doesn’t get the memo and we end up with red vs. orange or some other insufficiently contrasting matchup, which will be good for a laugh. Overall, though, I see no problem with this move. Remember, the NFL doesn’t have home or road uniforms either — it’s home team’s choice, which is basically what the NBA is now doing.

2. That said: The whole thing about every team having four uniform “editions,” each with a cringe-worthy name and an embarrassing explanation, is already unbearable. Can you imagine a whole season (or lots and lots of seasons) of fans actually using these marketingspeak terms? It’s beyond depressing. Hmmm, maybe we should do some new Naming Wrongs shirts: “I Still Call It the Home Uni,” or whatever.

3. Several people have noted that the photo of the new Warriors jersey doesn’t show the stitching on the back collar where the gold championship tab would normally be. That photo notwithstanding, my understanding is that the gold tabs will still be used this season.

4. In addition to all the info in my ESPN piece, there’s a new development. A reputable news outlet in Utah is reporting that the Jazz will have a gold alternate uniform at some point this season, although it may not debut until December. (Following up on something I mentioned a few days ago: Note that the headline and lede graf don’t even mention the word “uniform”; they just say “jersey,” as if that’s the only thing that matters.)

5. This morning, as I was putting the finishing touches on today’s entry, an image began circulating that appears to show James Harden in a Nike-made Rockets uniform. There’s an additional shot here.

And that’s all. For now.

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For all photos in this section, click to enlarge

Mr. Met meet-up: The Tugboat Captain and I attended last night’s Cards/Mets game. Incredibly enough, it was our first Mets game together, so we had to do all the obvious stuff, like posing with the original Mr. Met head at the Mets Hall of Fame (above), seeing how our feet are way smaller than Jackie Robinson’s, and so on. And in a fun coincidence, it turned out that we were sitting one section over from Mets by the Numbers honcho Jon Springer.

Naturally, I made some uni-related observations. The gift shop was selling some sort of bags that where designed to look like the back of a jersey. The for some reason the one with Jacob deGrom’s name and number had vertically arched NOB lettering — something the Mets have never worn at any point in their 56-season history:

Also: The first time through the batting order, the scoreboard puts up a graphic for each player that includes his signature, and I was struck by how many of the signatures included the players’ uniform number. I only managed to get photos of the ones for catcher René Rivera and pitcher Rafael Montero, but there were several others:

I realize that a number-inclusive autograph isn’t a new thing, but has it become a standard thing? Do most players now do it?

Thinking about this type of stuff was a good distraction from the game, which the Mets lost badly. Still, it was a gorgeous night to be out at the ballpark, especially after a frantic day of NBA coverage.

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Naming Wrongs reminder: In case you missed it earlier this week, we released a slew of new Naming Wrongs shirts (including the Vet design shown at right). Get the full scoop here, or just go straight to the Naming Wrongs online shop.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: Astros P Dallas Keuchel recently made a rehab start with the Corpus Christi Hooks and wore his own Astros pants (from Josh). … Astros OF Josh Reddick was wearing quite the outfit during a recent TV interview (from Scott Whit). … The Mets wore their blue alts at home for the first time in over a month last night against the Cardinals. They must not have known that Paul was in attendance (from James Beattie). … The Orioles are giving away a set of bottle stoppers that include figurines of their four starting infielders — who are shown wearing four different uniforms (from Andrew Cosentino). … For the second year in a row, the Bowie Baysox are holding a David Bowie Tribute night. They’ll wear these jerseys on July 29 (from Russell Finn). … The Hartford Yard Goats have a hockey-themed cap for sale in their team shop, which presumably went with their recent Whalers-themed jerseys (from Okie). … The Johnson City Cardinals will wear Volunteer orange on July 22 for Pat Summitt night (from Daniel Patrick Owens). … Fans of old Pacific Coast League baseball will love these old photos taken in the late 1920s and early ’30s (from Mathieu Deschaine). … A Stockton Ports pitcher wore some classic-looking stirrups last night. … Bartolo Colón made his Twins debut last night and wore No. 40. That makes 10 teams that he’s played for, and he’s worn No. 40 for at least part of his tenure with every one of them (from Dave Feigenbaum).

NFL NewsThe Texans have released their promo schedule, which indicates that they’ll wear mono-blue on Oct. 15 against the Browns and red on Dec. 10 against the 49ers. They also have a “white out” scheduled for Sept. 10 against the Jaguars, so they could be wearing mono-white on that date (from Al Gruwell). … NM Sports took a stab at redesigning the Eagles’ identity.

College Football News: It looks like Florida is slightly altering its white pants and putting the Gator logo on the left thigh (from Ryan King). … We now have a shot of the back of the new Navy football uniform (from Seamus McNally). … Clemson is the latest team to be using the Schutt F7 helmet, which Paul wrote about earlier this year (from Kevin Shaw). … Some behind-the-scenes action at North Carolina yesterday, as the grounds crew tweeted a photo of workers cleaning up their yard-marking stencils (from James Gilbert). … Here’s an awesome graphic that breaks down the size and shape of the video boards at Big Ten schools (from Jason Collins). … Speaking of the Big Ten, here’s a ranking of the conference’s football uniforms (from Mark Kunz). … Purdue’s ticketing website is currently using an old Michigan logo (from Teddy Tran). … Maryland repurposed Cole Field House, its old basketball arena, into an indoor practice facility for the football team (from Matt Shevin). … One newlywed couple had their cake made into an Alabama marching band drum (from James Gilbert).

Hockey News: SB Nation thinks the NHL should follow the NBA’s lead and do away with designated home and away jerseys. They fail to mention what a nightmare it would be if teams were forced to travel on long road trips with two or three sets of different colored equipment. … A fan’s Canadian flag-inspired Leafs jersey concept was actually made into a physical sweater (from Josh Tremblay). … There’s some good stuff in this blog post about vintage hockey games and toys (from Chris Mizzoni‏). … ICYMI from the baseball section: The Hartford Yard Goats have a hockey-themed cap for sale in their team shop, which presumably went with their recent Whalers-themed jerseys (from Okie).

NBA NewsReader Benji went ahead and fixed the Paul Pierce jersey that was the subject of yesterday’s lede. Thank you! … On the other end of the spectrum, the Raptors signed C.J. Miles yesterday and welcomed him by photoshopping him into his new jersey — and they didn’t forget the ad. Sigh. (From Patrick Lahaie‏).

Soccer NewsNew kits for UCLA women’s soccer (from Prop). … Polish III Liga club Stal Rzeszów has new uniforms (from Ed Zelaski). … New kits for Club America of Liga MX in Mexico (from Ryan Huguenel‏). … Stoke City covered up its kit advertiser during a recent training match. Not sure why, but perhaps it had something to do with Bet 365 being the team’s advertiser (from Josh Coles). … The addition of new players to the U.S. Men’s National Team roster has forced a reshuffling of uniform numbers for the Gold Cup (from Michael Kanady).

Grab BagThis is pretty great: Chicagoans famously refuse to eat ketchup on their hot dogs, so Heinz will rename ketchup “Chicago Dog Sauce” for National Hot Dog Day. The “Chicago Dog Sauce” containers also have a Chicago city flag motif (from James Gilbert). … Titleist is suing a website that is ripping of its logo to sell shirts that read “Titties.” … Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car will have a retro paint scheme for a race later this year at Darlington Raceway (from Brad Darby). … The Youngstown (Ohio) City School District has a new logo (from Robert Hayes). … Adidas is now the official partner of USA Volleyball.