NCAA Uni Matchups - Round I

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By Phil Hecken

Everybody’s got a bracket, right? So why not one for the NCAA tourney?

There have been some good looking (and some bad) matchups in the NCAA Tournament thus far, and our old friend Jim Vilk will give you his top five “good” and one “bad” matchups down below. But for this exercise, we’re going to rank the winners and losers in the round of 64 (or what they call the “second round”) by better uniform. Then we’ll see how those teams actually fared on the court. Seeds listed after each team are based on their seeding, not uni rank.

. . .

Mid-West Region

Kentucky (1) vs. Hampton (16): Despite having the “ghost” Kentucky, these are nice. Hampton’s side panel loses it.
Uni Winner: Kentucky

Cincinnati (8) vs. Purdue (9): Tough uni matchup for the 8-9 seed, as Purdue has ghost lettering, and Cincy has those awful adidas waistband template shorts. Neither is good, but Purdue ekes by.
Uni Winner: Purdue

West Virginia (5) vs. Buffalo (12): In what might be the worst uni matchup of the bracket, Buffalo’s BFBS goes down.
Uni Winner: West Virginia

Maryland (4) vs. Valparaiso (13): Some white vs. gold uni matchups look good, and most times, teams wearing gold look good. Neither was the case — Valpo’s unis have too much other shit going on.
Uni Winner: Maryland

Butler (6) vs. Texas (11): This was a nice matchup of two unis, and it’s very hard to see that gorgeous Texas uni go out, since Butler moved on. But UT wins the uni battle.
Uni Winner: Texas

Notre Dame (3) vs. Northeastern (14): I hate to admit this, but those ND unis are actually growing on me. Unfortunately, the players also love the neon sneaks, so it’s a bit jarring. Still, more than enough to advance.
Uni Winner: Notre Dame

Wichita State (7) vs. Indiana (10): Nice (sort of) color vs. color matchup, but is gray a color? And that Indiana uni is one adidas didn’t ruin. Maybe the Hoosiers didn’t advance in hoops, but they advance in our uni hearts.
Uni Winner: Indiana

Kansas (2) vs. New Mexico State (15): Kansas did about the best thing possible: they ditched the adidas striped pants and wore their ‘classic’ unis. Is that tiger print sublimation on NM’s pants? Easy call here.
Uni Winner: Kansas

So — how’d the actual winners do versus those wearing the better uniform? In this quarter, 5 out of the 8 advancing teams had the better uni:

Midwest Uni Bracket

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West Region

Wisconsin (1) vs. Coastal Carolina (16): Wisconsin may be good (some say they may be the only team who can beat Kentucky, should they face them), but those adidas template unis kill them. And CC has some pretty cool colors, and even their weird side panel is OK. Sorry Sconnie. Yer out.
Uni Winner: Coastal Carolina

Oregon (8) vs. Oklahoma State (9): In what may the best matchup of the tourney, Oregon’s highlighter yellow looked awesome against OSU’s bright orange. Oregon probably won’t get to wear these again, but it’s good for this win.
Uni Winner: Oregon

Arkansas (5) vs. Wofford (12): Arkansas vs. Wofford. Or should we say woe-ful. Sorry – that whole Wofford uni is a mess, especially the ass-stripe. And Razorback looks pretty good. No contest.
Uni Winner: Arkansas

North Carolina (4) vs. Harvard (13): Harvard would have a hard time overcoming the beautiful UNC whites if they were wearing crimson. But they’re wearing black. Buh-bye.
Uni Winner: North Carolina

Xavier (6) vs. Ole Miss (11) Xavier has a really nice basic uni, but that font (Copperplate). But they have the cool “X” on the pants. However, Ole Miss looked resplendent in red, and pulls the uni upset here.
Uni Winner: Ole Miss

Baylor (3) vs. Georgia State: Some teams can pull off black and royal. Ga. State just about can, especially with a nice gold outline around the numbers. Baylor should have been in bright gold. A shocking upset.
Uni Winner: Georgia State

VCU (7) vs. Ohio State (10): 7-10 games on court are gut wrenching. This uni matchup left me with the same feeling. Hey VCU — don’t wear white with predominately gold. It’s tough to see. Go GOLD! Brutus pulls this out.
Uni Winner: Ohio State

Arizona (2) vs. Texas Southern (15): The Wildcats’ unis, especially the white, are really nice. Texas Southern, despite a nice color, just don’t quite cut it. Zona advances.
Uni Winner: Arizona

So — how’d the actual winners do versus those wearing the better uniform? In this quarter, a whopping 6 out of the 8 advancing teams had the better uni:

West uni bracket

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OK — so as we enter the halfway pole — lots of uni winners advanced along with their basketball compatriots. But the better uni can’t keep up this pace, can they? Here’s the second half of the uni matchups, in the East an South Regions.

East Region

Villanova (1) vs. Lafayette (16): It’s tough for a #16 to move on even in the uni bracket. It’s tough to see from that photo, but Villanova’s still got a great uni, and blends light and dark blue very well. Lafayette was just happy to be there.
Uni Winner: Villanova

NC State (8) vs. LSU (9) How many brackets really get busted by the 8-9 game? Not a lot, since you usually only have that team for one game (since they play the #1 seed in their next game). So this could have been a tossup. I don’t have any problem with purple the accursed color of death, and NC State’s waist stripes kill them here.
Uni Winner: LSU

UNI (6) vs. Wyoming (12): You know how sometimes gold unis don’t look good against white? This wasn’t one of those times. Wyoming’s unis are gorgeous. Too bad we won’t be seeing them again in the real tourney. Yeah — it’s hard to vote against any uni that says “UNI” — but it had to be done.
Uni Winner: Wyoming

Louisville (4) vs. UC Irvine (13): Can there be a uni matchup where nobody wins? Yes. This is it. But someone has to move on by default.
Uni Winner: Louisville

Providence (6) vs. Dayton (11): Some red roadies look good (see Ole Miss). Others don’t. Dayton is busting brackets all over the place, including the Uni bracket.
Uni Winner: Providence

Oklahoma (3) vs. Albany (14): Another nice white/purple matchup, but this time the edge goes to Oklahoma for their nice crisp whites. Albany doesn’t look bad, but Boomer looks better.
Uni Winner: Oklahoma

Michigan State (7) vs. Georgia (10): Sparty might have the best looking wordmark in the tourney, so there wasn’t much Georgia (in black) could do here.
Uni Winner: Michigan State

Virginia (2) vs. Belmont (15): Belmont doesn’t look bad, but they don’t look good either. Those side panels are just a bit too much. Virginia’s whites are steady if unspectacular.
Uni Winner: Virginia

So — how’d the actual winners do versus those wearing the better uniform? In this quarter, the winning hoops squad won 5 out of the 8 in uni matchups:

East uni bracket

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South Region

Duke (1) vs. Robert Morris (16): Duke’s ghost lettering almost knocks them out of this matchup, but the rest of the uni is solid and with no bumperstickers. Robert Morris, like so many others, was just happy to be there.
Uni Winner: Duke

San Diego State (8) vs. St. John’s (9): Another tough 8-9 matchup, but SDSU’s wordmark is too small and the unis are too plain. The Johnnies actually look pretty good in UnderArmour. Not as close as you’d think.
Uni Winner: St. John’s

Utah (5) vs. Stephen F. Austin (12): Purple and black are very difficult to combine. SFA failed to convert. Utah moves on.
Uni Winner: Utah

Georgetown (4) vs. Eastern Washington (13): Few teams look as good in gray as Georgetown. That’s a modern classic, right there. Sorry EWU. Not today.
Uni Winner: Georgetown

SMU (6) vs. UCLA (11): There may be no other school adidas has done more harm to, uniform-wise, than UCLA (across all sports). Basketball is no exception. They have the light blue right, but those STUPID waist stripes kill this. Fail.
Uni Winner: SMU

Iowa State (3) vs. UAB (14): Wow — UAB didn’t just score the big upset on the court, they actually take this uniform matchup as well. It’s tough to beat UAB’s color, and despite the giant pants stripe, Iowa State’s thin non-stripes don’t help their cause. Close, but that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Uni Winner: UAB

Iowa (7) vs. Davidson (10): Iowa may look good (and like the Stillers) in football, but their hoops unis aren’t as fortunate. Meanwhile, Davidson’s red with white wordmark and numbers outlined just right gives them the uni edge.
Uni Winner: Davidson

Gonzaga (2) vs. North Dakota State (15): The ‘zags may be the sexy bet to make a deep run in the tourney, but their magic doesn’t extend to their uni run. It’s over. NDSU’s colors eke this out in a very close contest.
Uni Winner: North Dakota State

So — how’d the actual winners do versus those wearing the better uniform? In this quarter, we had our first 4/4 split in uni matchups:

South uni bracket

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So there you have it — in the uni matchup of the NCAA first round, the team wearing the better uniform won more than half the time — about 5 out of 8 matchups. We’ll see if the better uni winning the game continues at this pace as the tourney wears on.

And now, to give his thoughts on the best overall (and one worst) uni matchups…

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vilk at home
Jim “Vilkanova” Vilk’s

NCAA 5 & 1 (Part I)

You thought he’d gone and hidden since the NBA All-Star game, didn’t you?

Nope — he’s back — back for his favorite of all sports, the NCAA Tourney.

Jim’s here to bring you Part I (of II) of the best uni matchups of the tourney through round one two (that’s what they call the 64 teams who made it from the first 68). That’s about the half-way point for uni matchups.

Here’s Jimmer:

. . . . . . . . . .

The ball is tipped…and here we are…36/67th of the way through the Tourney.

Honorable Mention to Hampton/Kentucky – My, what big numbers you have, Pirates!

5. Texas Southern/Arizona – Hampton and TSU have me thinking Russell Athletic should go after the NBA contract.

4. Coastal Carolina/Wisconsin – If I did brackets based on uniforms, that teal would be in the Sweet Sixteen, at least.

3. North Dakota State/Gonzaga – Colorful, and the Bison may take my Coolest Font award this year.

2. LSU/NC State – Not every team could pull off that adidas template, but now you’ve seen two who did.

1. Oklahoma State/Oregon – Happy, Phil?

And the dreaded &1 goes to State University of NEW YORK at Buffalo/West Virginia – It’s just coincidence that the swooshies are the easiest things to see on those unis, right?

See you at the end!

. . . . . . . . . . .

Thanks, Jimmer. And yes, I am happy with your Number One.

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all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.

And so, lets begin:

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First up today is Matthew Blinco with a logo tweak for UK:

2014-UK-LOGO-alt - Matthew Blinco

Phil,

I’ve done a little logo alteration for the University of Kentucky. Just watching the game against UNC and got annoyed with how the outline is done on the “UK.” The above on the image is the official logo, the bottom one is my take.

Thanks!

Matt Blinco

. . .

Next up is Artur Wrona, with some concepts for the new Raptors:

raptor jersey - Artur Wrona
raptor jersey away - Artur Wrona
raptor jersey OVO 2 - Artur Wrona

Hi Phil,

I enjoy the work you guys do over at Uni Watch.

Thought you might be interested in checking out some Raptors concepts I did earlier in the year. With the new logo just released along with colour schemes, these aren’t quite as relevant anymore. Maybe some tweaks are in order.

Anyway, the idea here was to create something modern that pays tribute to the team’s past. Certain elements that were a little loud or prominent before are treated in a more simplified manner. You can see this in the maple leaf peaking out of the name banner on the back and the pinstripes that are part of the mesh pattern.

I hope you enjoy!

Cheers,
Artur Wrona

. . .

And we close today with Parker Elam who has some tweaks for the Chiefs:

Chiefs - Parker Elam Chiefs Comp. Sleeve - Parker Elam

Hi Uni-Watch & Phil,

Hi, the site is great. I believe the Chiefs have a classy look, but I have a few minor changes that I think may improve upon it. First off, both of these designs feature classic, AFL, all white away jerseys. The first example divides the tri-color sleeve stripes into three distinct stripes respectively, and eliminates the number outlines. In The second example I used the same socks, and stripes but applied them using the uniform compression sleeve idea that I found on uni-watch. Perhaps the most dramatic change was made to the logo, I removed the three dimensional aspect of the “KC,” and changed the outline of the arrowhead from black to red in order to achieve the look of negative space when displayed on the helmet.

Thanks, Parker

. . .

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

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UWFFL banner

UWFFL NEWS
by Rob Holecko

Yesterday we brought you the Promotion Bowl — a consolation game between the two losing semifinalists to decide the third UWFFL Division II squad to get promoted into the top-flight this fall.

Today we will look at the two teams that have already punched their tickets to promotion to the UWFFL, the semifinal winners Little Rock and Pontiac, and see which one will be crowned Champion of Divsion II for 2014 in the NyQuil Division II National Championship. Last year’s Division II Champion, the Anchorage Orcas went 18-0 in the Premier League this year and completed the first undefeated season in UWFFL history. Both of this year’s finalists will be able to challenge the Orcas in UWFFL Premier next season, but first they must decide this title.

The Little Rock Diamondbacks went 8-5 in the Metro South Conference, but after three victories as the underdogs in the Metro South playoffs and a national semifinal win over Youngstown, they find themselves at 11-5 and in the title game. Their opponents, the Pontiac Prowlers, went 11-1-1 in the regular season, won their league championship and defeated British Columbia in the other semifinal. Who will win the Championship? It’s time for you to help us decide!

matchup_Sun

. . .


 
pollcode.com free polls

. . .

Also feel free to go ahead and scroll down to Saturday’s entry and continue voting on yesterday’s Promotion Bowl.

Head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com to vote on two more La Lega playoff games, and we’ll see you next weekend for the Maple Leaf Cup Championship, an invitational tournament of all UWFFL teams from Canada, as well as the La Lega Semifinals.

Also be sure to get those prospective expansion teams for the 2015 season in… the deadline for all entries is March 31, after that expansion candidates will have to wait until 2016 to compete. To enter a team/concept, head on over to our Google+ group here.

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EPL Tracker

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

Here is the EPL tracker for Weeks 29 & 30 (click to enlarge):

EPL Tracker - Weeks 29 & 30

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I Want YOU!…to talk to me about the ‘skins Trademark Case

skins trademark

As some of you know, I’m still deep in my research for my Capstone (basically a Masters Thesis — and YES, I will finish this semester). But the focus of my project has now turned to the current trademark dispute still presently making its way through the courts.

I know there are several readers who are lawyers (or are VERY knowledgeable on the subject) and who I’d love to interview for this project. If you’re interested in discussing the trademark case (I don’t care how you feel about the name — this is simply about the status of the case and possible future actions), I’d LOVE to hear from you and speak to you. If you’re interested, please Shoot me an e-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

Thanks in advance. It would be a big help to me!

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T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club design for April, inspired by Jackie Robinson Day, is now available in home white and road grey versions, with all of Uni Watch’s profits being donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which builds on Jackie’s legacy by providing college scholarships to disadvantaged students of color. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: The great Todd Radom made a very impressive uniform discovery: The 1932 Chicago Cubs wore black & gold, not blue & red. “A spectacularly elegant uniform” says Todd. … There’s Grapefruit League ball, and then there’s a grapefruit for a ball. That’s NYG great Carl Hubbell (thanks to Bruce Menard). Also from Bruce, great 1911 Opening Day shot in the snow (that’s Davy Jones at bat vs. the ChiSox). … Jhonatan Solano of the Marlins was wearing crazy socks for yesterday’s “#RockYourSockWDSD2015” (World Down Syndrome Day) promotion. He was joined by some of his teammates. … EMU has one nice looking uniform (via EMU Baseball). … Major League movie anomaly? “I noticed this scene in Major League (on Comedy Central) of ‘Jake Taylor’ is mirrored. Check out Chief Wahoo,” writes Chris J. Spisak. … Check out this fantastic photo of a kid about to go to a day game at Yankee Stadium. Wow (via Lost Ballparks). … Nebraska did the camo top thing yesterday (via Nathan Jurgensen). Those may just be BP jerseys (pretty sure they are), but still. … Unlike Gio Stanton, who has a custom facemask, Justin Hayward has his *regular* faceguard with the Cardinals (screen grab by Mike Nessen). … Holy shirt — check out this jersey seen at Cardinals spring training (thanks to Jay Abbott, who said of the photo, “I don’t know.”) … Looks like the Rangers just put one nameplate right on top of another (grab sent in by StevenO.

NFL/College News: As you’ve likely heard, Chuck Bednarik, last of the NFL’s “60 Minute Men” passed away yesterday. I had a smallish-section on him in this Uni Watch piece on the Eagles 1960 throwbacks a few years back. … Speaking of Bednarik, here’s an absolutely gorgeous shot of him in a University of Pennsylvania uniform (great find by Rahul Vyas).

NBA News: Here’s a great promo/giveaway: A Suns Jeff Hornacek throwback apron. Thanks to Alexander Benezra), who notes that was from Thursday night’s game. … “Last year it was LeBron James not wanting to wear his signature shoe,” writes Kyle Hanks. “This year, Kevin Durant switched back to an older model of his KD shoe line after being prescribed an orthotic, and Nike is worried about what that does to their image. Classy.”

Hockey News: (Finally), New York Islanders Goaltender Michal Neuvirth has a new mask. You may recall he was recently acquired by the Isles and had been wearing his Sabres’ gear. And, um, it glows in the dark (h/t William Kristoph).

Soccer News: Check out Joe Hart MCFC GK rocking the Nike running cap yesterday vs West Brom (nice grab by Joe Webber). … Yesterday, Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin went with a blood jersey (h/t Dan Smith). Here’s another view (via Mike Campbell). … New MLS team NYCFC went with sky blue shorts yesterday (via Tom Drees). … “Olivier Giroud has scored two goals so far in (yester)day’s game,” writes Dov Beck. “In the photo of his first celebration, his jersey is fully intact. In his second goal celebration, most of the Puma logo is missing, which can also be seen as he exits the pitch after the first half. In the fourth photo, taken in the second half, the Puma logo has returned. Bonus: Frances Coquelin left with a bloody nose and came back a few minutes later with no name or number on his shirt. Giroud has extras and he doesn’t?”

College/HS Hoops News: Friday night’s Oregon vs. Oklahoma State game (color vs. color) received a lot of attention on the Twitter, with more than a few calling it the ‘highlighter’ game. Yep, never gets old. … Some of you have probably noticed that Notre Dame is wearing very bright shoes in the NCAA Tourney (thanks to Ken Traisman). … Interesting jerseys and pants from Dwenger HS in Ft Wayne, Indiana (h/t KP). … Did you know that Division III has an All Star Game? They do, and the players wear their own unis. Nice! (h/t Clark Ruhland). … Good NYT article remarking how players don’t have very much exposed skin in hoops anymore (thanks to Kenny Ocker). … Of course, on the opposite side of the coin, there was a time (not all that long ago) when basketball players showed a lot of skin. Jim Vilk approves. … “I hadn’t noticed this before, but it looks like Notre Dame’s gold shorts are longer in the back,” writes Gary Moore. “Here are a few pictures I found that seems to show the tapering. You can see the additional material under the stripe at the rear of the shorts.”

Grab Bag: A pair of shoes worn by actress Mae West and white felt wedding dress are two of 100 items on display that explore the power of clothes and fabrics to change an individual, and you can read about them in this article (thanks to TommyTheCPA). … Reader Ted came across this bowling jacket at a vintage clothing store in Toronto. “Note that it is for the 5-pin game, popular in parts of Canada‎ but I don’t believe anywhere else,” he adds.

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And that’s all for today. Thanks to Jimmer Vilk for his first 5 & 1, plus the concepters and Alex for the EPL tracker. And of course, all of you who submitted or tweeted. You guys have a great week and I will catch you next Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“Padres are based on the warm-and-fuzzy Franciscans. Providence’s Friars are based on the Dominicans who have been dubbed Domini Canes (the dogs of the Lord – as in the sense of guard dogs or hunting dogs) and who more associated with the harder virtues of truth and justice.”

— Denver Gregg

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The Unis of the World Women's Curling Championships

Women's Curling 2015 - 550
Click To Enlarge

By Phil Hecken

As you know (or you should), I’ve really gotten into curling over the years — moving from a curling watcher to an actual (albeit not particularly good) curler this past fall and winter. In fact, tomorrow evening, The “Sweep To Victory” Team (I’m skip, and birthday boy Paul serves as my vice skip) plays its last match of the season at the Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club (although that photo is of the outside rink, we actually curl under that shelter seen in the background).

We don’t really feature curling too much on Uni Watch, if only because it’s still a somewhat obscure sport, and — for better or for worse — the sport isn’t really known for its uniforms. And with the exception of the Norwegian and Russian mens’ teams in the 2014 Winter Olympics, it’s still a sport where almost every team wears black pants. But when there is international play, the teams still break out shirts and jackets that represent the home countries, and they’re usually pretty interesting (and sometimes even colorful).

Right now, the World Women’s Curling Championship is taking place in Sapporo, Japan (and I’ve been trying to catch some of it on ESPN3). Earlier in the week, reader Clint Wrede approached me and asked if he could “cover” the uniforms for the event, and I was happy to oblige. So without further ado, here’s Clint with his review of…

. . . . . . . . . . .

2015 World Women’s Curling Championships
By Clint Wrede

While most American sports fans were filling out brackets and watching NCAA basketball this week, I was enjoying the 2015 World Women’s Curling Championship from Sapporo, Japan. Twelve national teams from across North America, Europe, and Asia began a round-robin tournament last weekend, and they finish up this weekend with the playoffs and championship game. In the U.S., you can watch full games and highlights on ESPN3 and YouTube.

As a long-time curling fan and Uni Watch reader, I was intrigued by the teams’ uniforms and consulted with Phil about contributing this feature. Below you’ll see a composite image for each team, showing their various uniforms (you can click on these images to enlarge them), followed by a few observations. At the end are some more notes with links to corresponding images.

Like teams from most sports, each curling squad has two different uniforms to alternate. Most teams have a white and a color, but you’ll see that a few teams have opted for a different scheme. Because of the relatively low temperatures in curling facilities to keep the ice frozen, players may also wear a uniform jacket while playing, so I’ve included shots of those jackets as well. Most teams have a mix of players who wear shirts or jackets, and players sometimes change over the course of a game. All players in this tournament had their names and the team name on the backs of both the shirts and the jackets.

And unlike the infamous Norway men’s curling team, which is known for its variety of crazy pants, every team in this tournament went with black pants.

. . .

Canada

Canada

Colors: white with red; red with black

Both the zipper Henley shirts and the jackets include one sleeve and other blocks in the secondary color, and the maple leaf logo and other elements feature a striped pattern. The red shirts and jackets are dark enough that the black lettering, with no outlining, can be difficult to read from a distance.

. . .

China

China

Colors: yellow with red; red with yellow

The broad stripe across the front of each polo shirt features some intricate detailing, though it’s hard to make out in most photographs. Chinese skip Liu Sijia (second and fourth photos above) seems to be channeling her inner Bill Belichick with the thick gray hoodie she almost always wears under her jacket.

. . .

Denmark

Denmark

Colors: white with black; red with white (jacket red with black)

Denmark may have the plainest uniforms in the tournament, with their T-shirt style tops that only feature the secondary color at the collar and sleeve hem, but there’s something to be said for the elegance of simplicity.

. . .

Finland

Finland

Colors: white with blue & black; blue with white & black

Their uniforms have enough accents, curved lines, and swooshes to make an NCAA football team jealous, but the unusual shade of blue, from the Finland flag, makes it all worthwhile. Interestingly, the brand name displayed on the zipper Henleys and jackets is “Noname,” a Finnish company. As with the Olympics and other international sports competitions, I love seeing the names of countries as they’re rendered in their native land, and none is better than the contrast between what we call Finland but they call Suomi.

. . .

Germany

Germany

Colors: white with red, gold & black; black (jacket red with black & white)

The German women may be the Maryland football of curling, incorporating all three colors of the German flag plus white into their uniforms, along with the flag’s eagle crest. The white uniforms are splashes of color, with the flag colors across the shoulders and collar of the polo shirt and jacket. On the other hand, the black shirt is the most sedate of any in the tournament: plain black with no secondary color except the crest and the NOB, resulting in a solid-color effect when paired with the regular black pants. But the primarily red jacket, which is worn with the plain black shirt, is similar to the other jacket, except that no gold is used.

. . .

Japan

Japan

Colors: white with pink; blue with yellow

Their whites are very white, with just thin accents in a bright pink, not the red you might expect from Japan’s flag. The blue polo shirts have no yellow on the front except for the maker’s mark, but they feature a yellow design on the bottom of the back (a thicker one than on the whites).

. . .

Norway

Norway

Colors: white with red (jacket white with gray); red with white

Norway’s T-shirt style tops are sleek and simple, with no secondary color except at the slit collar. The red jackets have a few white elements, but the seldom-seen white jackets have no red at all and just light gray stripes on the sleeves.

. . .

Russia

Russia

Colors: gray with black (jackets only gray); black with gray (jackets only black)

As with some other teams, Russia’s two uniforms are opposite each other: black where the other is gray and vice versa. The polo shirts are simple, with only collars and buttons in the secondary color. But the most elaborate garments in the tournament are Russia’s jackets. From a distance, they appear to be plain, single colors with no accents. But a closer look reveals front and back panels made with a glossier fabric that’s also quilted, as opposed to the sleeves, which are more fleece-like. When the light hits these jackets right, they really catch the eye. But is Russia’s color scheme curling’s version of BFBS and GFGS?

. . .

Scotland

Scotland

Colors: white with blue; blue with white

The Scottish zipper Henleys fade from white to light blue to dark blue, or from dark blue to light blue, ombré-style (yes, I had to ask my wife for that term). The navy blue jackets don’t seem to go with either the bright blue of the shirts or the black pants.

. . .

Sweden

Sweden

Colors: yellow with blue; blue with yellow

Walk into any international curling competition—women’s or men’s—and you’ll easily pick the Swedish team out of the crowd. For years they’ve consistently used this color combination from Sweden’s flag, sometimes with a little white thrown in. But here it’s just Swedish blue and yellow, with one set yellow where the other is blue and the reverse. I love the Three Crowns design, from Sweden’s coat of arms, on the back of both the zipper Henleys and the jackets.

. . .

Switzerland

Switzerland

Colors: white with black; red with black & white

The Swiss uniforms are simple but attractive, the kind of thing that looks good on the curling rink but that you might not mind wearing on the street (minus the sponsor patches, natch). One distinctive: The Swiss players consistently wear the polo shirts with the collars popped, and it works for them. Also, check out the third photo above for a double bonus: the country name rendered in the French-language version Suisse and an umlaut in the NOB.

. . .

United States

United States

In international competitions, we’re used to seeing the US of A in in some combination of red, white, and blue, but the curlers have gone sans red this time around, save for patches of the flag and the curling federation. At first I thought the RAM on the front of the white T-shirt style tops and jackets must be some kind of memorial patch for someone with those initials, but it turns out to be just the name of a team sponsor instead.

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Other notes

Sponsor-branded uniforms and patches are the bane of the uniforms of many international sports like curling, and that’s certainly true of this tournament. The main sponsor’s patch is so large and apparently so stiff that it seems to have a 3-D effect on some of the curlers’ arms. And not only are the fronts and sleeves of shirts and jackets festooned with patches, but so are the pantlegs of some, but not all, of the teams. And of course, these pants patches are positioned to show when curlers are sliding down the ice. And for post-game interviews they don’t mess around with just one sponsor logo in the background, but show five instead, even labeled as “Official Title Sponsor,” “Official Presenting Sponsor,” and “Official Main Sponsors.”

One competitor, Sweden’s Sofia Mabergs, wasn’t afraid to show a significant amount of ink on her arm.

Finally, most long-haired curlers go to great effort to keep their hair out of their eyes by putting it up or pulling it back. Perhaps that’s why the sight of Olympic champion skip Jennifer Jones of Canada, sliding down the ice with her long hair wafting in the breeze, has become almost iconic within the sport.​

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Fantastic job with this Clint! In many ways, I think the women are more interesting to watch than the men (even more than the obvious ones), as their game is predicated much more on touch than strength (although the men can certainly employ the perfect freeze and the women can throw board weight with the best of them). But the men are definitely stronger and can usually get more out of their sweepers, so the ladies must play a different game in some aspects. Definitely worth trying to watch if you can (it’s on at crazy hours in the US due to the broadcasting from overseas and it being online, rather than TV).

What do you guys think of the “uniforms” seen here today? Do they amply suit the teams, nations and the sport or would you rather teams go with something a little more interesting (or crazy)? Should curling even TRY to set itself apart by making unis more of a focal point? When Paul and I were interviewed (listen below) on curling uniforms, Paul’s more of the mind that the unis are more akin track suits or sweats (or at very least not evocative of curling), while I feel they’re more like golf outfits — but either way they could certainly be improved to the point of maybe becoming more exclusive to the sport.

Give a listen (if you haven’t already — Paul & I start at about the 11 minute mark) and let us know what you think?

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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 today with our good friend and long-time colorization expert, Gary Chanko, who is taking a break from his Scoreboards series to bring us “a colorization requested weeks ago; can’t recall the date and think it was a Ticker item.”

Here’s Gary (click to enlarge):

. . .

Coors Garrsmone - Gary Chanko

Phil

Jim Garramone & The Coors Semi-Pro Baseball Team

As the photo notes Jim Garramone, team manager, is posed by the Coors team bus, or what today seems more like a stretch limo. It would be interesting to find a photo of the entire vehicle to see how many players it could actually convey.

Baseball in Denver contains a chapter on Semi-Pro, Amateur, Collegiate, and Youth baseball. There are several photos of the Coors team from the 1930s and 40s, including this colorized version. Garramone was apparently in demand as a local team manager. In addition to the Coors team he was the 1946 manager of perennial (Victory League?) champs, the O&M Cigar nine (p. 89).

There’s not much background information to be found about Jim and the teams he managed. I did find that in the years following baseball, Jim was reportedly a restaurateur with locations throughout Denver.

Gary

. . .

Thanks Gary! Tremendous colorization as always — and looking forward to the return of the Scoreboards series next weekend.

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UWFFL banner

UWFFL NEWS
by Rob Holecko

Due to various reasons, the UWFFL Fall 2014 season has gotten extended well into the Spring.. no matter, Champions must still be crowned.

We congratulate the Anchorage Orcas, who defeated the Hartford Whalers 226-176 in UWFFL Bowl XV a couple weeks ago. Great thanks go out to all of you who voted in the Championship game, it was a great turnout!

Now it is time to determine what teams will be promoted into the UWFFL from our Division II for next fall. There were four league Champions in Division II: Youngstown won the Eastern Association, Pontiac won the Central League, British Columbia won the Pacific Coast Conference and Little Rock won the Metro South Conference. Three of those four teams won their leagues in only their first year at the Division II level after being promoted from the Spring Developmental League last year.

Unfortunately there is only room for three of the four league champions to be promoted into the big league for next season. The winners of the national semifinals, Little Rock and Pontiac, clinched their spots for promotion to the big league and will meet tomorrow in the NyQuil Division II National Championship. The two other semifinalists, Youngstown and British Columbia, will meet today in a sort of “consolation game” – The Promotion Bowl in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Vote for the winner of the “Promotion Bowl” here:

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pollcode.com free polls

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…and if that’s not enough UWFFL fun for you, head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com and you can also cast your vote on two La Lega quarterfinals matches, and we’ll be back tomorrow with the Division II Championship.

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T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club design for April, inspired by Jackie Robinson Day, is now available in home white and road grey versions, with all of Uni Watch’s profits being donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which builds on Jackie’s legacy by providing college scholarships to disadvantaged students of color. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.

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happy birthday paul
The Big Guy…

…turns 51

As most of you know (especially if you read yesterday’s UW), today is the birthday of one Paul Lukas, our humble leader and founder of the world’s most awesome uniform site.

So if any of you didn’t wish him a Happy Birthday in yesterday’s comments (or even if you did), join with me in wishing him a super great b-day today. And he got his rain precipitation (as he explained exactly one year ago today).

Paul’s been more than a great friend to me — he’s also a fantastic *boss* (I use that in the loosest of terms, but it’s totally true) and one of the greatest human beings ever to grace the face of the earth. All of our lives are better because of Paul’s love of (and skill in writing about) uniforms, but mine is immeasurably better because of his kind words, sage advice, and trust and faith in me. So, thank you, buddy. I hope your special day is awesome. We’ll have some victory curling cake to celebrate tomorrow!

Lukas 51 - 1

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Tweeterer Ron Peterson, Jr. notes Ga State’s bracket-busting NCAA win brings to mind Georgia State Baseball’s Hank Aaron tribute uni’s. … The gentleman pictured behind Frank Pastore in this shot appears to have his stirrups on backwards (good spot by ChiTownTiger. … BYU wore full anthricite uniforms last night (h/t Andrew Devey). … The Delmarva Shorebirds will have a flag desecration and pink baseball-motif jersey this season (via Steve Uhlmann). … Yesterday’s blog post from Rick Romero called RJ’s Fro includes some neat alternate images of the Padres’ friar mascot. Pretty spectacular — leading Todd Radom to note the Friar is clearly a 5-tool player. … According to the awesome Mark Anderson from @MLBCathedrals, this is NOT how you do trivia. … Great SI cover photo of the 1956 St. Louis Cardinals (from St. Louis Cardinal History). Of course, 1956 is the year the Cards inexplicably dropped the “birds-on-bat” uniform for just that one year — returning to their senses in 1957. … DeMatha (High School) has some pretty nice ruppage this season (h/t Christian Tingle). … Interesting alternate Mariners wordmark on this “Gonzaga Night” t-shirt (good spot by Keith Miller). … Great observation from Cody Barker, who rues when gorgeous hosiery is covered up by pajamas. … In a nice changeup, the Brewers went with their regular white unis for their spring training game yesterday (from Patrick O’Neill). … Here’s a really neat photo of Johnny Bench & The Cincinnati Reds in basketball uniforms (from Bruce Menard, of course). … New baseball template for Clemson — apparently so (thanks to willchitty4). … According to UW friend Chris Creamer, the Marlins are bringing back the gray road jerseys! But — they’re ditching the orange caps. NOOOOO! … Yesterday night, James Madison University sported uniforms with jersey numbers similar to the Blue Jays‘ (thanks to Dan Wyar). … The Southeast Missouri Redhawks will debut new white uniform tops today (via Kevin Blair).

NFL News: Of course parades and drinking lead people to do stupid things, so it should be no surprise that there was a “St. Patrick’s Day Midtown Attack” following the big parade. Only in this instance, the perpetrators were wearin’ o’ the green Jets jerseys. … Has the new Cleveland Browns helmet leaked? I’m not sure if this photo is legit, but if so, it looks like the helmet will be matte (via @Believeland1994). I’m leaning towards it being a fake.

College Football News: Does anyone besides Jumpin’ Jimmer Vilk care about the increasing number of NFL/NCAA uniforms with unreadable numbers? Maybe the NCAA doesn’t, but we keep reading opinion pieces from blogs voicing their displeasure. Maybe something will get done.

NBA News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments (from Jordan): Check out this neat Slate piece on the evolution of the basketball sneaker. Highly recommended viewing (at least for those non-sneakerheads among us — you sneakerheads probably know all this already).

Hockey News: Reader Mikey Brethauer spotted these 2 great hockey jerseys on TBS’ American Dad. Interesting. … What is that image on the back of the UND hockey mask? Looks like it says “Love You Grandma Susie” — that’s from this article (thanks to Cassian Wykes).

Soccer News: Nice update from Bernd Wilms: “the German Bundesliga announced Thursday that this weekend’s schedule will be played under the banner of “Integration Day”. The campaign is designed to highlight soccer’s opposition to prejudice against migrants, refugees and people of foreign descent and has the support of the federal government. Every team will wear a sleeve patch with the Integration Day motto (a play on words where parts of the word ‘discrimination’ are crossed out so as to leave the word ‘never’ in the middle). Furthermore, at least two teams’ sponsors have agreed to special jerseys: FC Cologne’s shirts will bear the word ‘Tolerance’ in place of the sponsor mark and Eintracht Braunschweig of the second division will be playing in shirts with the slogan ‘Cross out prejudices’.” … Here’s a leaked image of Arsenal’s 2015-16 home and (bold!) away kits (thanks to Conrad Burry). That prompted holycalamity to note they seem to be “Taking design cues from the 1996 LA Galaxy”. … Here’s a look at the 2015/16 Benfica away jersey (via Mike D.). … Umbro has released the Canadian National Team’s 2015 home and away kits (h/t Conrad Burry). … Blogger “juanfutbol” imagines what the iconic Real Madrid jersey would look like if they played in Mexico’s Liga MX (from Benton Payne). … Here’s a good article about some of the more unusual number fonts worn at World Cup football finals tournaments (thanks to Graham Clayton). … SFCFC announced they have a jersey sponsor. … Nike, er, Norway has unveiled it’s first ever Nike kits.

College Hoops News: (Un)surprisingly, the NCAA Tourney whistle is instrumental (and symbolic), and of course, branded. … Most of Michigan State’s players wore bright green kicks yesterday (h/t Ryan Fagan). … Kansas has already ditched the special adidas uniforms they had gotten at the end of the season — you know, the templated one with the awful contrasting waist stripe (h/t N Maloney). … Funny commercial (grab) shows Christian Laettner is literally resting on his laurels, a hammock made out of cut down nets (h/t Cork Gaines). … There were, apparently, at least three Pistol Pete’s in action yesterday (from T Vaughn). … OK, this is cool: “As a fellow citizen concerned with athletic aesthetics I thought you would be interested in the this petition to stop the NCAA from using those hideous and boring court designs throughout the entire NCAA tournament,” writes Robert W Madel II. “I don’t have a large social media presence (none really) so any help in spreading the word would be greatly appreciated.” After receiving that, I tweeted it out, if anyone wants to retweet that to keep the campaign going. … Why do Buffalo’s uni’s read “New York” instead of “Buffalo” (we’ve focused on this for their football unis, which they changed in 2013, but now people are noticing the basketball team). … Jason Wyrick says “Looks like when Terry Rozier’s jersey was being made they initially forgot the III and they put it on after.” … Villanova’s ‘Father Rob’ is a man of cloth among jerseys. … OSU (the Oklahome one) went Color vs Color against Oregon yesterday. Early clubhouse favorite for the top Jim Vilk “One Shining Moment” 5 & 1. … Christopher LaHaye notes, “Tracy Wolfson just tweeted this photo, looks like the NCAA is taking care of business as usual.” … It’s not only fun to see upsets, but sometimes we not only lose fun teams early, but sometimes we lose awesome mascots. Other times, they ain’t going anywhere. … It was a neon fest in the NIT. Vandy in neon accented unis, and the Jackrabbits in neon shoes (via Trés Lawless). … Wow, Providence’s mascot is the stuff of children’s nightmares (thanks, I think, Kimmie).

Grab Bag: Reader Alex Rubin came across this very cool article (mostly with pictures) on the ’11 ways women’s sports uniforms have evolved.’ Great stuff there. … Looks like Butler University broke out new branding yesterday (thanks to Jeff Demerly). … Here’s an interesting use of two different sports logos on one item of street wear (thanks to Terence Kearns).

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And that will do it for today! Big thanks to Clint for that great curling writeup, plus Gary and Rob and everyone who sent in or tweeted.

And of course a super awesome Happy Birthday to Paul.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“Why again are we cool with Native Americans using the wrongly applied name Indians to themselves? Shouldn’t we stop perpetuating that major screw-up Europeans made? Now Native Americans misrepresent people from India. Seems if we’re going to be sensitive to others, that name should really get the kibosh.”

— Jon

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Another Day, Another League Apparel Deal

Big news out of the MLB offices yesterday, as word broke that Majestic and MLB have extended their partnership through 2019.

Whether you consider this good news or bad news, it’s fascinating to me that MLB continues to do business with Majestic, which, as we’ve discussed before, is not a lifestyle brand like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. Majestic doesn’t make sneakers, doesn’t have a snappy slogan, doesn’t plaster its logo over everything that moves, doesn’t make uniforms for any sport other than baseball, etc. While New Era has fully transitioned into a lifestyle brand that happens to make on-field caps, Majestic still feels more like an MLB subsidiary than anything else. Maybe that’s what MLB likes about it. In any case, given what I’ve heard through the grapevine regarding MLB’s concerns about the game’s loosening grip on today’s youth, I’m surprised they don’t want to do business with one of the “cool” brands.

This contract extension makes MLB the third of the Big Four pro leagues to have a major apparel-partnership announcement this week. On Monday we learned that Adidas and the NBA will be severing their ties after the 2016-17 season (the league’s new outfitter is expected to be announced next month), and also that Nike and the NFL have extended their contract through 2019.

That leaves only one league with no major news this week: the NHL. Most published reports indicate that the league’s deal with Reebok expires in 2016, although one report says the deal runs through the end of the 2016-17 season. Either way, that’s pretty soon — we should expect to hear some news on that front shortly.

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Uni Watch Book Club: There’s a new children’s book called The Baseball Player and the Walrus, which is about, you know, a baseball player and a walrus. It’s a bit absurdist, and in a very endearing way.

But what about the uniforms? As you can see from the cover design at right (which you can click to enlarge), the ballplayer wears red/white cap, a blue-trimmed pullover jersey, and a yellow undershirt — an unlikely combination, to say the least.

Even weirder, the ballplayer’s pants appear to be blue jeans, as you can see here (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):

IMG_1380

As an aside, I really like the fan wearing what appears to be a tequila sunrise jersey with a Charlie Brown zigzag pattern.

Getting back to the ballplayer, he apparently never removes his uniform. He’s shown wearing it while sitting around his house, while visiting the zoo, while resigning from the baseball team, and during his post-baseball life:

IMG_1381

IMG_1383

IMG_1385

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Uni anomalies notwithstanding, it’s a very sweet book. You can order it here.

• • • • •

T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club design for April, inspired by Jackie Robinson Day, is now available in home white and road grey versions, with all of my profits being donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which builds on Jackie’s legacy by providing college scholarships to disadvantaged students of color. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.

This design in on pace to be our biggest seller so far — very cool. Thanks, people!

• • • • •

Uni Watch Hit Parade: Tobias Jesso Jr.’s first album, called Goon, just came out this month, but he’s apparently a big deal already, with recent appearances on The Tonight Show and Conan, sold-out club shows here in NYC next week, blah-blah-blah. Whatever — I hadn’t heard of him until yesterday, but I made up for lost time by playing Goon on Spotify auto-repeat for pretty much the entire day. Love at first byte.

Jesso is a 1970s-style piano-based singer-songwriter who plays slow-ish ballad-ish tunes with rock-solid rhythmic foundations, mostly about sad love. The party line, at least based on what I read about him yesterday, is to compare him to Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman, but Goon reminds me much more of the self-titled 1999 album by Michael Krassner, an underappreciated indie gem that I’m pretty sure nobody but me has (or ever had) on heavy rotation.

Anyway, here are three of Goon’s best tracks (and if anyone has spare tix to next week’s shows at the Merc or Baby’s All Right, feel free to slide them in my general direction):

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5

PermaRec update: My latest Permanent Record entry is about a Manhattan Trade School student who went back to night school to learn millinery 10 years after having learned dressmaking (and who, as you can see at right, had a great haircut). Get the full scoop here.

• • • • •

’Skins Watch: There’s a high school basketball team called the Winnebago Indians that uses all sorts of a Native American imagery, and I’m totally cool with that. Why? Because they’re from a Native American school on a reservation in Nebraska. That’s who gets to use these types of names and images, kids — not some MLB team in Cleveland or an NFL team in Washington. … After lots of debate, public meetings, and boycotts by neighboring schools, the Buffalo-area Lancaster school district will no longer call its teams the Redskins. That decision prompted a protest yesterday. … Meanwhile, after a similar debate in West Hartford, Conn., the school board has voted to keep the team names Chieftains and Warriors but will rebrand those names to eliminate any Native American imagery (from John Dankosky). … A high school in Delaware will stop calling its teams the Redskins next season.

Baseball News: Here’s something from last year that I don’t recall coming across: Indians prospect Francisco Lindor suffered a non-displaced nasal fracture and ended up wearing an NBA-style mask, including at the Futures Game. Not sure I’ve ever seen a baseball player wearing that kind of mask. … Here’s another case of umps whose luggage had been lost. That’s Gary Cederstrom and Marvin Hudson working a Pirates/Expos game in Montreal on 6/19/2000 (nice find by Jerry Wolper). … Here’s a look at why ballplayers like to wear their caps backwards (thanks, Brinke). … Here’s something I didn’t know until yesterday: Before the Expos had Youppi, they had a rather frightening baseball-headed mascot named Souki (from Joel Kirstein). … UVA will debut new uniforms tomorrow nite with reflective white trim throughout. I asked Rawlings, the manufacturer, if the reflective trim had any functionality aside from looking cool, and also asked if they had considered the potential problem of the reflections distracting the batter — no response. … You know the bat knob decal thing has hit the big time when the Yankees start doing it. … John Overton High in Nashville went a little overboard with the St. Paddy’s Day thing. … MLB commish Rob Manfred says there’s likely to be an exhibition game in Cuba next year. … This is pretty great: a uniform for a softball team sponsored by Thomas’ English Muffins.

Hockey News: The Utah Grizzlies, a team in the ECHL, have come up with a pro-military uniform without resorting to camouflage, although I’m not sure their approach to this topic really counts as an improvement.

NBA News: The Pelicans and Suns both wore their colored alts last night, creating a red vs. grey game in New Orleans. … Meanwhile, the Rockets wore their red alts at home, setting up a red vs. blue game against the Nuggets.

College Hoops News: As most of you probably know by now, Dayton F Dyshawn Pierre dropped trou on the court two nights ago. … I received dozens of emails and tweets yesterday asking why UAB players wear mismatched sneaker colors. Here’s the story behind that. … Ohio State was assessed a technical foul yesterday because of a mis-transcribed uniform number in the scorebook. … Notre Dame G Pat Connaughton likes to wear Batman socks (from Michael Kavanagh).

Soccer News: New kit for Portugal. … Reading will wear a uniform designed by a 14-year-old fan with muscular dystrophy (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Also from Yusuke: a time-lapse video of Yankee Stadium being prepared for NYCFC’s home opener. … Here’s a treat: video of a Colorado Caribous game from 1978. “There are even a couple of corner kicks where they go in tight enough on the Caribou to give us a good look at the fringe,” says Jerry Wolper. … Key quote from this story about a California girls’ youth league team called Ambush: “As for the team name, Ambush, [coach Jared] Jones said, ‘We were trying to find a name and someone said, “Ambush.” I thought that sounded pretty good.’ The trouble was, he said, ‘is that we wear neon yellow jerseys. It’s hard to ambush someone when you’re wearing something like that.'”

Grab Bag: Police in NYC are seeking three men who got into a St. Paddy’s Day bar fight while wearing Jets jerseys. … Disturbing news here in NYC, where pastrami prices are are so out of control that some deli owners are thinking of taking it off the menu.

• • • • •

What Paul did last night will be doing tomorrow: Saturday is my birthday. I’ll be turning 51 (yes, I’m a fossil), although I don’t feel that old, for reasons I explained last year at this time, all of which still apply.

It’s supposed to snow here in NYC this afternoon into this evening, and then the snow will turn to rain overnight and into the early morning hours. That will keep a long-running streak intact, because it always — always — rains on my birthday. It started when I turned eight years old. We had some sort of outdoor activity planned, but it got rained out and I was inconsolable. So my father, thinking quickly, said, “Don’t you know? Rain on your birthday is a sign of good luck in the year to come!” — a very sweet lie that he made up on the spot. Ever since then, wherever I’ve been on March 21 (my hometown, up at college, or here in Brooklyn), it has rained. Well, a few times it snowed, and in 2003 it hailed, but I say those still count. It’s something I now look forward to, and I’d be disappointed if it didn’t happen.

I share my birthday with two great bluesmen — Otis Spann and Son House — so I’ll be playing their records tomorrow. Then I’ll be meeting up with a few friends for eats and drinks. One thing I won’t be doing is checking email or Twitter, so apologies in advance for not responding. Everyone have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week.

A Look at MLB All-Star Game Ballot Design

So here’s some news that quietly emerged on Tuesday (although I didn’t hear about it until yesterday, when reader Alan Tompas brought it to my attention): MLB has announced that it will no longer use paper ballots for All-Star Game voting. It makes sense: More than 80% of last year’s ballots were cast online, which seems like a more efficient system. Also, I’m pretty sure interest in the All-Star Game skews toward a younger demographic (I certainly care less about the game now than I did when I was younger, and I stopped voting seven or eight years ago), which again makes an all-online system more sensible.

Still, it feels like a bit of a loss, or at least the end of an era. I’m sure many of you reading this have spent time poring over an All-Star Game ballot at a ballpark, maybe comparing notes with your buddies or family members. I guess people will still be able to do that on their phones, but somehow it doesn’t feel the same.

This topic also brings up the issue of ballot design, which is no trifling matter. The “butterfly” ballot design in Palm Beach County, Florida, for example, likely changed the course of world history by inadvertently tipping the 2000 Presidential election to George W. Bush. Obviously, the stakes are a bit lower with an All-Star Game ballot, but the designs are still worth examining.

Let’s start with some quick background: Fans were first allowed to vote for the ASG from 1947 through 1957. The vote was then taken away from fans due to ballot box stuffing by Reds partisans (commish Ford Frick had to step in and remove two Cincy players from the National League lineup), but fan voting was restored in 1970 and has remained in place since then.

Here’s the ballot for that first year of restored fan voting — 1970:

1970 All-Star Game Ballot - front

A little clunky, no? Could definitely have benefited from some streamlining. Also, they misspelled Mets outfielder Tommie Agee’s name (it’s “Tommie,” not “Tommy”) — major demerits for that. Interesting that they had the foresight to include a write-in section, and fans definitely used it, because Rico Carty was selected via that method. Finally, that notation in the lower-right corner reads, “© Marden-Kane Inc., 1970.” I was curious, so I Googled Marden-Kane and learned that they’re a promotion marketing firm. So they were apparently hired by MLB to administer and promote the balloting.

By the following year, 1971, the ballot had been simplified:

1971 All-Star Game Ballot - front

As you can see, first names were removed (no chance to misspell Tommie Agee this time), so the names didn’t have to be staggered like they were before. Also, the write-in section was no longer broken down by the eight non-pitching positions — it simply had five spots.

A year after that, in 1972, some corporate douchebaggery crept onto the ballot, as the logo of the game’s corporate sponsor, Gillette, appeared at the top of the design. The space it took up resulted in the elimination of another write-in spot:

1972 All-Star Game Ballot - front

I first voted in 1973. The ballot was essentially the same as in ’72, except that the Gillette logo had been centered at the top (click to enlarge):

When I think of an ASG ballot, this is still what comes to mind. I remember being fascinated by the write-in section, which would obviously have to be examined by a human being instead of just being fed into a punch-card reader. Who had the job of checking and tabulating the write-in votes, I wondered.

This basic design was retained for more than a decade, although there were some minor changes along the way: In 1977 the punch-out boxes were changed from blank to solid, and Marden-Kane’s name stopped appearing on the ballot; in 1979 the boxes changed again, to contrast with the background color, and the number of write-in slots was reduced to three; and so on. But the basic format of the ballot didn’t change again until 1986:

1986 All-Star Game Ballot - front

I didn’t like this design. The league names were too small and inconspicuous, and the whole thing felt too compressed. (On the plus side, however, no more corporate logo creep — Gillette’s sponsorship had ended and MLB hadn’t yet found a replacement company.)

The ’86 design turned out to be short-lived, as did the lack of a sponsor, as a new format was unveiled for 1987:

1987 All-Star Game Ballot - front

Lots of changes here, the most significant of which is that the punch boxes were no longer boxes — they’d been changed to little baseballs. I remember thinking that they looked a bit too cartoon-ish.

Two further changes were made in 1988:

1988 All-Star Game Ballot - front

As you can see, each player’s first initial was added and, more significantly, team affiliations were included for the first time. This format was used for several years, until 1993, when the format changed again:

1993

A wider ballot, and no more seams on the baseballs — just plain punch circles. But this was just a transitional design, a placeholder. The real change came in 1994 (click to enlarge):

1994 All-Star Game Ballot - center

After years of trying to cram more and more information into less and less space, they finally went to a two-column format. Much better. This basic format, with some minor tinkering, was used up through last year. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a scan of last year’s ballot, but here’s the one from 2013 (click to enlarge):

2013

So that’s apparently the final stop on the ASG ballot design train, at least in terms of paper ballots. You can see all of the ballots from 1970 through 2013 — including the backs of the designs, not just the fronts — here.

• • • • •

T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club design for April, inspired by Jackie Robinson Day, is now available in home white and road grey versions, with all of my profits being donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.

This design in on pace to be our biggest seller so far — very cool. Thanks, people!

• • • • •

Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

Today is one of the best days of the year! The opening weekend of March Madness is always awesome: non-stop basketball, four days filled with upsets, buzzer-beaters, and memorable performances. For fans it also means filling out brackets, watching several games at once, and having an excuse to skip work, meet up with friends, and tip a few back before noon.

What are you doing for the NCAA Tournament this year? What’s your favorite memory of the tournament from years past? Have you ever attended any games? Did you attend a school that made the Big Dance, when you were either a student or an alum? If so, what was the experience like? Do you have any uni-related memories from the tournament? I remember when Long Beach State had its moment in 2012 — I really liked their jerseys.

As always, post your responses in today’s comments.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Our own Phil Hecken spent some time discussing uniforms as a guest on yesterday’s edition of the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast. … Interesting uniform tidbit from this article on the 1990 Cincinnati Reds: “Rob Dibble wore No. 49 for his career. Except for one game, that is. The Padres manager complained that Dibble’s jersey — which had been tailored to give the pitcher more shoulder room — was a distraction to the San Diego hitters. Dibble changed into pitching coach Stan Williams’ No. 35 uniform, and submitted 2-1/3 innings of shutout work” (thanks, Joe Owen). … The Double-A New Britain Rock Cats are moving to Hartford new year and will be known as the Yard Goats. … The long, wet winter in the Northeast has made it difficult for groundskeepers to get MLB fields ready for Opening Day (from David Goodfriend). … Viterbo University, a small NAIA school in La Crosse, Wisconsin, has some great stirrups (from Ben Sturomski). … Auburn has great stirrups, too (from Chris Wright). … Star Little League hurler Mo’ne Davis is launching a line of sneakers for charity (from Brinke). … New sleeve patch for the Class-A Stockton Ports, who are celebrating 10 years at their ballpark (from Richard Paloma). … A poster website ranked the best NCAA baseball schedule posters. … The Lakewood BlueClaws will wear Boy Scout uniform jerseys in June. … The Mets have a bigger and better Jumbotron. … The Cubs and Dodgers played blue vs. blue yesterday. … Former Reds outfielder and current Reds roving instructor Eric Davis is wearing a retro “Say no to drugs” wristband during spring training. … Greg Mays sends along some great 1950s home movie footage of Nebraska American Legion baseball (with some high school track at the end). … The San Diego Padres nearly moved to Washington before the 1974 season. We’ve seen pictures of the proposed uniforms in the Ticker before, but Robert Walker scanned two very clear photos of pitcher Dave Freisleben. … Lots of beards in Mets camp, in part because the team has relaxed its facial hair rules for minor leaguers. … Buried within this article about the Rays is the following: “Watch for the Rays (sunshine) ‘burst’ graphic that appears on player hats and shirts to gain an even higher profile. ‘It’s kind of our Nike swoosh,’ says Brian Richeson, Rays vice president of sales and service. Also watch for more ‘Carolina blue’ on Rays uniforms rather than the darker cobalt blue so commonly used by some other teams” (from Chris Ahsley).

NFL News: The NFL is considering allowing linebackers to wear jersey numbers in the 40s, in addition to the standard 50s and 90s (from Phil). … “Looks like Greg Hardy has a Dallas Cowboys-esque tie down connecting his jersey to his shoulder pads,” says Mike Engle. “I’m assuming that’s what I’m seeing with the crimped and askew NFL logo at the point of the collar.”

Hockey News: Canucks goalie Eddie Lack held a pads design contest over social media and fellow Vancouver netminder Ryan Miller created a design for him that incorporated tacos and images of Lack’s parents (from Joe Magee).

Soccer News: Manchester United’s 2015-16 kits have been leaked (from Phil). … The Colorado Rapids have a new jersey sponsor (from Phil). … “Robert Schlienz played top-level soccer in Germany in the late 1940s and ’50s after having his left forearm amputated after a car accident,” writes Graham Clayton. “He folded up the bottom half of his long sleeve and pinned to the top half to stop it flapping while playing.” … New kit for the Netherlands.

College Hoops News: Really interesting article about the whistle being used by NCAA tournament referees. The sound of the whistle itself will stop the clock in the tourney. … “I stumbled upon this post from a local clothing store talking about a ‘modified logo and lettering for March’ for Butler,” says Derrick Brown. “It looks as if Butler has dropped the Butler name below the circular logo in place of just the bulldog head with a white, then blue outline. I did a little digging and found no mention or statement from the university or athletic department itself.” … B&O Railroad sponsored a women’s basketball team several decades ago. Intriguing! I spent some time and looked them up. From several accounts, they had talented guards who could shoot and dribble, matching up well with all the women’s teams of the day. Their frontcourt, though, was unimposing. Especially in an era where “the pivot” was so crucial because of the narrower key, the B&O Railroad team was doomed by their Short Line.

Grab Bag: In addition to cash, trophies and medals, race-winning cyclists are also awarded items like sausage, tridents and swords (from Sean Clancy). … Here’s a site that tracks rugby shirts (from Jacob Allaman). … Men’s shoes have certainly evolved over the last 500 years (from Tommy Turner). … New uniforms for the British Royal Navy (from Jonathan Bean). … The graphic designer who created many 1990s team logos, including the Jaguars’ primary logo, the Rangers’ “Lady Liberty” logo, and the Nets’ “Saturn”-style logo, has passed away.