Monday Morning Uni Watch

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Yesterday was the day we honored the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking by wearing Ron Hodges’s uniform number, which turned out to be such a stirring tribute that the IRS decided to give everyone two extra days to file their taxes. See how everything fits together?

Seriously, I love Jackie Day, which I think can legitimately be considered the one unqualified success of Bud Selig’s reign. I love that every single player can’t help but think of Jackie when he sees that No. 42 jersey hanging in his locker; I love that the sea of NNOB 42s on the field essentially renders all the players anonymous, which is as it should be, because the only person who matters on Jackie Day is Jackie; I love that all the teams adjust the roster listings on their web sites to look like this; I love that even the umpires wear 42; I even love hearing the broadcasters occasionally getting the players mixed up.

A few notes from yesterday’s festivities:

• The Dodgers took things a step further by wearing Brooklyn headwear.

• Several players who usually go pajama-pantsed chose to go high-cuffed, including Chris Young of the Diamondbacks (nice blousing), Rafael Furcal of the Cardinals (ditto), Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler (did he borrow those stirrups from injured teammate and stirrups stalwart Josh Outman?), and O’s outfielder Adam Jones.

• Speaking of Jones, he and Jason Heyward of the Braves wore these cleats. The colors are for UCLA, Jackie’s alma mater, which isn’t a bad gesture. But these are Griffey Jr. Swingman cleats, so they have the Griffey logo near the heel, which ruins the whole point of the Jackie tribute. Yes, I know Griffey was instrumental in the 42er movement a few years ago, but a Jackie tribute shouldn’t be about anyone but Jackie. Seems like just about any promotion involving shoe companies ends up sucking.

• Speaking of which, nothing says Jackie like Curtis Granderson’s Twitter handle. The Grandyman wore those cleats for last night’s game against the Angels. To his credit, he’s donating them for an auction that will benefit Jackie’s foundation. But if he needed to personalize them, why couldn’t he just autograph them after the game instead of turning them into a “Look at me!” promotional stunt with his Twitter handle? I’ve liked just about everything I’ve ever heard or read about Granderson, and I love his game, but those cleats are total bullshit.

Meanwhile a few other notes from the weekend’s MLB action:

• Words cannot express how great it was to see the Mets wearing their road grays without a shred of black over the weekend. It’s been a long, hard road, but now everything is as it should be.

• Yesterday Phil broke down the differences between the Braves’ standard home uni and their new home alt, but he left out one important aspect of the alts: No piping on the belt tunnels! The last time the Braves didn’t have fancy belt tunnels was in 1986, when they didn’t have a belt, period. And the last time they had plain belt tunnels on belted pants was in 1979. “I had a really hard time watching them on Saturday without that detail,” says Tyler Kepner.

• Phil also mentioned the Cards’ gold-trimmed championship uniforms, which were worn on on Friday (the home opener) and again on Saturday (the ring ceremony). Speaking of the rings, as you may have heard by now, this is the first World Series ring design to include a squirrel — a great little detail. There’s a fact sheet on the ring design here and a pretty good video here.

• The White Sox wore their 1972 throwbacks for the first time yesterday. I’m a fan. The original versions worn back in ’72 had massive uni numbers on the back, and it was cool to see that they stayed true to that yesterday (although that might’ve only been for Jackie Day — maybe they’ll add NOBs and reduce the numeral size for subsequent games, although I hope not). The big question going into the game, however, was whether anyone would wear the sox with the sox. And the answer: Yup! That’s Will Ohman — nicely done.

As for today, Fenway Park P.A. announce Carl Beane will say something today that he only says once per year: “Here are the starting lineups for this morning’s game.” That’s because today is the annual Patriots Day game, which starts at 11am. I attended the Pats Day ballgame back in 2001 (my only visit to Fenway) and it was a blast. But the best Pats Day ever should be next year, because Pats Day will coincide with Jackie Day. That’ll be a hoot.

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Sample me this: I’ve recently acquired some great new additions for my collection of salesman samples, beginning with these two excellent pocket comb displays, which look like they’re from the early to mid-1960s (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):



I got both of those for $12, including shipping — a total bargain. Love those jewel-tone colors on the combs! The display with the yellow background is now mounted on the wall in my bathroom; haven’t decided what to do with the other one yet.

Next up is this sensational kitchen cabinetry display, which I think is either from the late 1950s or early ’60s (I included the tape dispenser for scale, because this baby is big — about 20″ x 24″):


This ran $97, including shipping, which I think is totally fair for such a cool item. The great thing is that the little doors are functional. Kirsten suggested that I put something behind them, so each one would offer up a little surprise when opened. I have lots of vintage food-based pamphlets and related items floating around the house, so here’s what I’ve put behind the doors for now:






The only one of these that I’m completely happy with is the milk bottle caps, so I may end up swapping out the others for better items later on. But they’re fine for now as placeholders, and the overall effect on the wall is pretty good:



Next: a box of samples from a glass manufacturer. I don’t think this is particularly old — 1980s, maybe — but it’s still really nice:





This one ran $59, including shipping — too much, really, for something I can’t display, but it was a birthday present to myself, so I decided it was okay. Anyway, it’s fun for show-and-tell, and I love the names of the various glass patterns (one of them is called “Burlap,” which seems like an odd word to be connected to glass). Ben Traxel, if you’re reading this, you probably have something like this lying around your architecture office, right?

Here’s another box of samples, this time for counter and wall surfaces. Judging by the completely excellent design on the top of the box, it’s from the 1960s:





Unfortunately, the individual chips don’t have cool names like the glass samples do — just numbers. Still, the decorator colors are really nice, and the chips rattle inside their little compartments with a very satisfying sound. I like.

I currently have my eye on another cool sample display, although I’m not sure where I’d put it. My rule is to try to put things in content-appropriate places — food-related things in the kitchen, furniture-related things in the living room, health/grooming-related things in the bathroom, etc. But I don’t have a garage, so I’m not sure if there’s a suitable place for that garden hose display. Hmmmmm.

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New sponsor shout-out: As you may have noticed in the right sidebar, we have a new advertiser — Game Signs, which sells a peel-and-stick product to make catchers’ signals more visible (instead of the more traditional white nail polish and/or tape around the fingers). Please join me in welcoming them to the site.

By coincidence, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero appeared to have fluorescent yellow fingernails on Saturday night. I don’t think Game Signs offers that color yet, but I bet it’ll be in the pipeline soon. (My thanks to Rick Rutherford for the screen shot.)

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Uni Watch News Ticker: As you may recall, last month I appeared on WFMU’s excellent Seven Second Delay radio show, which is broadcast live from a theater in Manhattan. I posted audio of the show when it became available, but now it turns out that video is available as well. Full details here (big thanks to Uni Watch reader and WFMU producer Mike Noble). … Phil covered the new Missouri uniforms in yesterday’s entry. In case you missed it, this page has background info and a link to a photo gallery. I like the white jersey with a charcoal shoulders; as for all the rest, I plead indifference. … New football uniforms for TCU, too. … Kendrys Morales of the Angels went without his batting gloves for one of his plate appearances last Friday (screen shots by Chris Jowdy). … Nothing says hockey like a Mexican poncho. Apparently those unlicensed products are big sellers south of the border these days. … Sort of related: I think we might have seen this before, but it’s really good, so it won’t hurt to show these NHL uniforms reimagined as soccer kits once more (from Jacob Johnston). … New lacrosse gear for Onondaga Community College (from Jeff Brunelle). … I had previously mentioned that the Opening Day logo in Toronto had less blue than the normal MLB Opening Day logo, presumably to evoke the Canadian flag instead of the American flag. But as Edwin Lee points out, the bunting that was actually hanging in the stadium that day had plenty of blue. Interesting. … We’ve all seen football logos created out of cases of soda, but this is the first time I’ve seen the MLB logo rendered that way (thanks, Brinke). … Hmmm, black helmet in the works for UNC? Looks like it (from Ben Cauthren ). … Striped stirrups are great, but they ought to match, don’tcha think? That’s Oklahoma State, from a recent game (from Ryder Kouba). … Ohio baseball went BFBS and G.I. Joe simultaneously (from Johnny Bruno). … Ohio State lacrosse wore 1988 throwbacks the other day (from Bryan Grupp). … Louisiana Tech football players wore 22 on one side of their helmets for the spring game, in honor of recently deceased running back Tyrone Duplessis. … The Chiefs are giving a personalized jersey to all season ticket holders (thanks, Brinke). … Remember how I cooked a steak with a blow torch and a slow oven? I was wondering how that technique would work on a pork chop, so I tried it on Saturday night. The result: another success. … The Giants gave 49ers QB Alex Smith a team-autographed jersey prior to Saturday night’s game at AT&T Park. Only problem is that they gave him a home jersey with an NOB — a weak move for a team that goes NNOB at home (Brinke again). … Here’s the cap patch that the Red Sox are wearing for their first homestand of the season. Looks awful, as is always the case with side-positioned cap patches, because it ruins the symmetry and balance of the cap. I’d rather not have any cap patches at all, but if we have to have them, I greatly prefer the back-cap position that the Mets are using this year. … If you like red, white, and blue, you’ll love Kansas’s baseball uniform (from Scott Novosel). … Kung Fu Panda was missing his helmet logo yesterday (thanks, Kek). … D’oh! That’s Chris Young of the Diamondbacks, from last Wednesday. … Okay, this is seriously odd: a vintage flannel jersey with Rawlings tagging and a Wilson chest insignia. Strange bedfellows indeed! … So the NBA Board of Govs meeting has come and gone, and there’s no news about uniform ads. Just sayin’. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Interesting story about how an upstate New York high school lacrosse team has a tradition of wearing plain white socks. … The Nats are selling an eight-pound burger called the Strasburger, and Robert Kahn says he and a buddy were among the first to sample it. “I thought it was a nice touch that they branded the bun with a curly W,” he says. “The burger was pretty good for a burger, let alone for something that I thought would just be a ballpark gimmick. We had an inkling it would be ok when it took well over half an hour to get there — they didn’t just have them warming under a heat lamp.” Another one of his friends interviewed him about the experience. … Teevee note from Dominic Atencio, who writes: “On the Season 3 finale of HBO’s East Bound and Down, fictional baseball closer Kenny Powers gets called up to the big leagues. While in the locker room, Kenny is shown sitting down with an NOB while two teammates walk out with NNOB.” … Playbook — the new section that’s replacing Page 2 — goes live at noon Eastern today. I’ve already written two pieces that are in the hopper, one of which (basically my own version of “Collector’s Corner”) will run today. I believe the other one will run tomorrow or Wednesday. Will advise when I know more.

U.S. vs The World — Are Jersey Ads Simply a Function of Design?

your ad here

[Ed. Note: Got an E-mail from reader Caleb Borchers earlier in the week about a topic which has been getting some *airtime* on Uni Watch lately — ads on jerseys. He has a theory on why they’re more commonplace in areas not named the United States, and how a simple design element makes ads more palatable around the world. Interesting theory, and one worth reading. Enjoy! I’ll be back with a Mizzou uni rundown and the rest of the Sunday fun after the jump. — Phil]


By Caleb Borchers

Over the years I have been very appreciative of Paul’s discussion of advertisements on jerseys. I find most of his arguments about the civic role sports teams play to be convincing. If my teams were to add advertisements to their jerseys I would be greatly saddened. The argument against such ads is persuasive to me and I’m happy to leave USA professional sports jerseys ad free. There is one element of the discussion, however, that I think has been ignored. It may help explain why the issue is so alive in the States, but a no-brainer internationally.

The theory I’m about to lay out first hit me watching the USA Collegiate Rugby Sevens. This is a relatively new tournament that airs on NBC, giving rugby in the States some much needed publicity and TV presence. As I watched the tournament I noticed that the jerseys were off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something didn’t seem right. The weird thing is I liked the off-ness that I saw.

The two schools that I noticed most were Dartmouth and Arizona. They had something about them that just seemed so un-rugby like, but also so bold and exciting. Some of the other teams, however, were completely average. Utah was among those boring sides. And then I figured out what it was. The centered, large logo (or word-mark). The rugby fan in me found the look to be so obscure, and the American in me found it to be such a breath of fresh air.

This got my brain to turning. This look, i.e. the large centered logo or word-mark in the center of a jersey, a distinctly American thing? Are people in the USA hardwired to expect something different visually on a jersey? In order to further pursue the idea, I took a look at some various teams from various locations in various sports over the years.

Example 1: Manchester United. 1900. 1950. 1980. 1990. 2010. Manchester United wore a very plain jersey all the way until 1972/73, when a badge with the team crest was added. It did not take them long to move directly into jersey ads. Notice how much open space there is on those jerseys.

Example 2: India National Cricket Team. 1960s. 1980. 1992. 2010. Some of the difference here is from the all white of traditional test jerseys to the colorful ODI jerseys. Here is a more recent test look. Again, note how the jerseys were either blank, or largely limited to a crest on the upper left chest.

Example 3: Springboks. 1906. 1956. 1974. 1990s. Today. The South African national rugby team has changed little over the years. For decades they simply wore a green jersey with a Springbok logo. In the 90’s they added another patch for advertising, which then moved across the chest.

Example 4: Geelong Cats. 1900. 1951. 1985. Today. Geelong is an Australian Rules Football club. They wore plain hoops for a long time. As they have added advertisements they’ve added them to the corners, in the same place many sports have team logos or crests.

With these examples from four sports from four continents, we see that international sports tended for a long period of time to wear largely blank jerseys. They then tended to add crests to one corner of the jersey. Ads soon followed to the other corner or across the chest. Notice that it is uncommon to see a large logo splashed across the front. Now lets look at some North American teams.

Example 1: New York Yankees. 1904. 1916. 1936. Today. Most of these looks are very familiar to most American fans. Note how the large NY logos and “New York” takes up most the real estate on the top half of the shirts. This would be even more obvious in a team like the Dodgers with a classic word-mark across home and away jerseys.

Example 2: Green Bay Packers. 1929. 1963. 1996. Today. Like the Yankees there has been little change over the years. Football uses front jersey numbers, which are the most predominant feature on the jerseys.

Example 3: Minnesota/Los Angeles Lakers. 1947. 1970. 1990. Today. Noticing a pattern? The Lakers word mark and uni numbers take up almost every square inch of usable space on the jersey.

Example 4: Toronto St. Patricks/Maple Leafs. 1920s. 1950. 1970. 1990. Today. Discussion at this point would be redundant.

So, taken as a whole, we see two general approaches to uniforms. The “international” sports tended toward plain jerseys, followed by a crest on the top left corner. The “North American” sports tended to put a number, logo, or word-mark across the chest of the jersey. (I use “international” and “North American” to refer mostly to origin, but also to popularity and center of professionalization. Obviously basketball and hockey are played elsewhere, and soccer and rugby are growing in the States.)

So what does this have to do with ads? Generally, people accept or reject aesthetic decisions based largely on the eye test. Does it feel right? Ads rarely feel right to North American fans because they intrude on space where we expect other elements. My theory is this: American fans don’t like uni ads largely because there is no space for them! International teams had more visual space for an ad than we did, so it was easier to accept them. Had the Springboks, for example, always looked like this they would have been far slower to add a big old corporate sponsor to the front.

Distaste for uni ads is heavily influenced, in my opinion, by the design of the jersey pre-ads. To add advertisements to the NBA, for example, one would have to remove a traditional element, or cram the new element into some corner like those NBA championship patches. Many international teams, however, had to move nothing. They already had a huge patch of real estate waiting right across the front.

The takeaway for me is that aesthetics really do matter. I’d love to think that most of my fellow citizens have the philosophical objections I do, but I doubt that. Maybe the number one reason we don’t have uni ads in the NFL is because it “just doesn’t look right.” Had our uni-history not been so obsessed with front and center logos or numbers, we might have accepted ads like our friends in Europe and elsewhere.


Thanks Caleb. Very interesting theory, and one which does make a lot of sense. What say you readers?


Mizzou HelmetNew Mizzou Revue

So, Missouri introduced new uniforms yesterday, for their football team, complete with two helmets, plus new hoops unis (for men & women), as well as women’s soccer and volleyball.

Let’s take football first: Three uniforms, with an all black, a white top with matte black yoke, and an alternate gold top. The black pants feature two stripes (which appear to be Tiger claw marks), and both a shiny black and matte black helmet are options, with the two helmets bearing different logos.

Basketball also features three uniforms: black, white and gold.

You can view the entire photo gallery here.

The Nikespeak describes the football unis thusly:

“The fully integrated Nike Pro Combat system of dress provides enhanced durability and innovation from the inside out where the baselayer and padding work in concert with the jersey and pant. The uniform system design emphasizes improved thermoregulation and is constructed with fabric selected for its ability to help keep the body cool and wick away sweat – making the uniform, and player, lighter and dryer. The jerseys are made of four-way stretch woven twill that sheds moisture. A Flywire collar eliminates two layers of fabric for improved breathability, providing a more stable anchor to keep the jersey in place.”

and the basketball like so:

“This fully integrated system of dress is designed and developed so that the jersey and short work in concert with the padded Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong baselayer for optimal protection. The jersey features a fully sublimated flat-back ‘Aerographic’ mesh panel that delivers the ultimate in lightweight performance. The lightweight game short features seamless contrast side panel construction that reduces irritation and bulk.”

Yada yada yada.

But what Mizzou has done is to update their ‘brand identity’ by standardizing uniform colors and fonts across multi-sports (as other programs have recently done). As far as the unis themselves? I actually like them. Sure, they’re packed with all the Nike bells and whistles and the basketball jerseys have the sweatback treatment, but all in all, not too bad. One can’t even accuse swooshie of BFBS since it’s a school color. I could do without the tiger swipe on the pants, but it’s not too over the top, and I dig the matte helmet. I also think the standardized colors (but why does Nike have to call “black” anthracite — it’s friggin black), and wordmarks. Actually, I stand corrected — Nike, because they couldn’t add black, decided to add anthracite to the color scheme, even though it’s almost indiscernible from the black. Gray is the new black, evidently.

But all in all, not too bad, and better than what they’d been wearing for the past several seasons. Reader Clint Richardson noticed something about the football unis:

I just saw the new Mizzou football uniforms. Something struck me as odd- the SEC patch. In the past, all teams wore the SEC pennant patch, different colors for each team. But Mizzou was wearing the circular SEC logo. Curious to see if that was a choice by Mizzou, or if all SEC teams will wear that new patch this year.

Clint Richardson

Nice catch, Clint!

You can read more about the new uniforms here, here, and here.

Or just watch a video of the screen grabs:


Larry BodnovichLarry’s Corner

And now for some way-back historical perspective on Missouri’s uniforms, here’s Larry Bodnovich:


With the release of the Tigers new uniforms, I looked back years ago. I have said my favorite era for football uniforms was late 20’s to late 1930’s. I have always wondered wht team first used color on leather helmets. Not brown or black. The Tiger used gold in mid 20’s. I liked how the one picture and write up talks about the new airplane cloth uniforms.

• Tigers use gold helmets back in 1925. The gold helmets are mentioned here.

• Dazzling new Airplane cloth uniforms and shiny gold helmets in 1928.

Stripes and stripes in 1931.

• Game action 1930 Tigers in black.

• I love this artwork from 1937.

• 1928 unis Airplane cloth.

Stripes and gold helmets in 1931.


Thanks, Larry!


Jackie RobinsonA very special day…

today. It’s “Jackie Robinson Day” throughout Major League Baseball, and that means that all teams will be outfitting their players in uniforms with “42” (and NNOB). Unlike other stupid, crass promotions, this is one that MLB actually gets right. Most of us were never alive to watch Jackie play or to know of the true impact he had not just on the game of baseball (he changed it forever), but on civil rights, race relations, and a whole host of other issues in the United States.

My pop, who was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan (but not necessarily the most ‘progressive’ chap), would regale me with stories about Jackie — one he always loved to tell was how JRR would get to third base and fake stealing home plate on virtually every pitch — just to rattle the pitchers. Frequently this would cause a balk or otherwise distract the pitcher such that good things would happen for the Dodgers. And of course, Jackie successfully swiped the dish many times, including one of the most famous steals of home of all time:

— you can see the in the previous pitch how he was feigning for home and then rushed back. I guess his thought was “if I do this enough times, eventually they’ll not be expecting me to actually go.” Anything to get an edge. Pop told me he loved watching Jackie play.

Shortly after he grew up with the Dodgers, my dad got a job as a traveling salesman, selling (of all things) farm equipment — and in those days, race relations weren’t what they are today. One story he told me, and which has stuck with me to this day, was this — he was on a sales call (in Tennessee, I believe, but don’t quote me on that) and after receiving particularly good service from an African American waiter, my pop simply said, “Thank you.” The man he was with, who was a local, shook his head and said, “I can tell you’re not from here,” to which my dad replied, somewhat incredulously, “how do you know that?” The guy’s response floored both my old man and me, (when he recounted the story to me years later): “You never thank a nigger for serving you.”

That’s the sort of thing Jackie Robinson had to deal with for most of his life, and certainly during his early days as a player.

Anyway, today MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day. There are some tremendous resources to be found in there, and if you don’t know about Jackie or the JRR Foundation, take a few minutes (or hours) and bring yourself up to speed. If you do know (or remember) him, it’s a great refresher course.


Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson


Not exactly stand-ins; more like designated sitters…

4-15-12 s-taxes

Click to enlarge


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.

And so, lets begin:


We start with Tommy M. (no last name given). Hmmmm:


I’ve always thought the Thunder have had horrible unis.. I think they need a more modern look.

– Tommy M


Next up is Christian (who does have a last name…but you’ll see why it’s omitted):


I was strolling on and I found the Seattle Sonics old basketball logo with Seattle’s skyline. I went to the Warriors logos and found “The City” logo. I then thought to combine both “The City” logo and San Francisco’s skyline into a logo for all of the SF teams to use as an alternate logo kinda like the two Baltimore teams, from left to right:

Giants: Orange background, black skyline, black “The City”. Would be used as a sleeve patch.

(Soon to be San Francisco Warriors): yellow background, blue skyline and script. Only used as half court logo

If the Sharks ever want to locate to SF (highly unlikely), here’s the logo: Teal background, black skyline, orange script. Center Ice logo

49ers: I’m conflicted on the two. 1: Red background, gold skyline, white script. 2: gold background, red skyline and script.Endzone side logos

I hope you guys like the logos!



P.S. please don’t put my last name.


And our final concepter does have both a last name, and doesn’t mind my using it. Here’s my buddy, Ed(die Atari) Westfield:

Hi Phil,

I’ve been sitting on this on for a while, but I was wondering if you could run it as a tweak Item…

Since the Islanders are playing a pre-season game at Barclays Center this fall and potentially considering a move there, I though up this alternate orange jersey & sock using elements of the logo’s ‘Y’ to help spell out their new location.

Note: Even though it says ‘Brooklyn’ across the front, I would not suggest changing the official name, keeping them the ‘New York Islanders’… Also, the four blue stripes are for the four Cups, and this would be worn with blue pants and helmet.

Thank you!

Brooklyn, New York


Thanks concepters! Back with more next time.


And Finally…

We dip into the E-mail bag for a quick parting shots:

• First up is Paul Quirk, with this about the Packers:

Hello Paul and Phil,

Here’s a story I saw this morning on Facebook from highlighting the use of the Packers’ “G” logo on board the USS Green Bay, a San Antonio Class landing platform dock ship. The ship also uses Packer greats like Lombardi, Starr, Favre and White to name passageways on the ship. And there is Packers memorabilia all over the ship. The first link is to the story and the second is for the slideshow.

Keep up the great work,

Paul Quirk

• And two quickies about yesterday’s post on the “Best Dressed” guy in baseball

Up first is Alex Bernhard who writes


While I agree that Granderson and Wright are very well dressed, I think you flat out missed this one. Mike Leake, by far, is the best dressed player in the league, with his stirrups and 3/4 sleeves. The bill covered with rosin is a nice effect too.

Thanks, Alex Bernhard

and next from Matt DeHaan:

Hey Phil,

Loved your article today about the best dressed MLB players and as much as I hate to admit (as a die-hard Phillies fan) the Mets new unis are amazing without all the black bs. The picture of RA Dickey and Jim Thome got me thinking…what team has the most players who go with the high-pants look? My Phillies has 4 that I can think of off the top of my head (Thome, Pierre, Galvis and Pence). Could be one or two more but I haven’t seen any games this year due to being deployed to Afghanistan (on my way home now though so I didn’t miss too much of the season). Anyway thanks for taking the time to read this.

Matt DeHaan
SPC, US Army

Thanks all.

• Today the ChiSox will be wearing their throwback unis (on JRR day, no less) — which looked like this (and who doesn’t love Richie Allen?). We’ve seen a teaser of the throwbacks — on Bill Melton & Rockin’ Robin Ventura, and while they seem to have nailed it, the repros won’t have the zipper front they wore back in the day. We’ll see how many other fuckups Majestic regales us with when they hit the field. Those bastids better break out the sox-on-stirrups or I’ll really be pissed. Even though a lot of the guys tried to hide them, they were a part of that uni. Here’s hoping they look like this today.

• Yesterday, the Cardinals broke out their WFC Uniforms and I have to say, they looked might-tee-fine. While I’d imagine they are difficult to read at a distance, up close the gold on the unis and the cap logo looked good (they also wore these Friday, my bad for not showing them yesterday). More photos here.

• Also yesterday, the Braves wore their alternate cream unis. At first glance, they look a lot like the current homes, but there are differences, including a lack of tomahawk across the rubicon, navy headspoon placket piping, front uni number, and politically incorrect patch on the left sleeve. With the exception of the sleeve patch, this was essentially the uniform the Milwaukee to Atlanta Braves wore when they moved to Fulton County Stadium. Those patches in color, on the roads and on the homes graphically depicted first peoples of the U.S. More photos from yesterday’s game here.

And that will do it for this fine Sunday. Everyone have a great day and make sure you take advantage of the final day of the MLB preview on your cable or satellite provider — because you’ll be seeing (hopefully) the best looking uni matchups of the season (NNOBs).


It is all about the hands, is Jason Kendall still playing? Tarred scarred hands is where it is at. Get some high cuff (right proper or not) and you gots the ball player of my wet ones.

Robert Marshall

Simply the Best (Dressed)

Best Dressed

By Phil Hecken, with Rick Pearson

After a few weeks of contentiousness (in a good way, I think) in the comments section, due to such topics as the renaming of the Cleveland baseball and Washington football teams (more on that contest below), civic versus corporate in terms of team ‘responsibilties,’, advertising on sidewalks and uniforms, and other topics on which we agree to disagree, I thought I’d bring Uni Watch’s sage sexagenarian aboard today to discuss an issue on which we all agree — who is the best dressed player in the Major League today.


OK, so it’s not a cut and dried issue, by any means, as each of us will have our own prejudices and preferences — maybe even a bit of homerism — on who we think is the best dressed player in the game. When Rick and I bantered this topic about, I had wanted to pick three or four guys who were exemplars of uni-perfection, but Rick insisted we settle on just one. Then I wanted to pick one player from present day and one from the past, but that too, was met with a terse rejoinder of “no.” And Rick had a good reason — let’s see how, if it’s even possible, you can pick the player you feel is the most nattily attired in the bigs; the one player who not only looks great in a uniform, but who does so with a flair and a panache that places him just above everyone else. Think it’s easy? Well it’s not.

When all was said and done, Rick and I agreed we’d pick our sharp dressed man, but defend one runner up (which he’s done, below). I had a very difficult time with mine, and I’ll explain how I settled upon my choice after we hear from Rick. So, Mr. Pearson, who is the one player who is a cut above the rest, when it comes to his appearance on the diamond?


For me, it was tough to choose between Curtis Granderson and Juan Pierre, but it came down to a personal thing and, yes, it’s picky, but Pierre’s pants might (I say “might”) be just a little too baggy.

Also, because stirrups seem to be extremely rare these days, Granderson best represents how to make it work with non-stirrups. Plus, he’s smart enough to wear lowcuts, not some shit-kicker clodhoppers.So I’ll go with Granderson because my reaction when I see him is always the same, “Damn, that’s a good look, just a nice combination of yesterday and today.”


Thanks, Rick. I thought this would be an easy “assignment.” Just go with a high-pantsed guy who’s not wearing his cap askew, or flat-brimmed, or with a jersey that’s 3 sizes too big. While there are more than a couple of players who fit that description, I had to really look long and hard, and I’m still not 100% certain on my choice. I love the guy pictured to the right, in the “Catch of the Day,” Nyjer Morgan, but since he left the Bucs, he’s gone a tad baggier, and he likes to wear his cap askew and a few sizes too big. I do like the aforementioned Juan Pierre, since I believe he models his uni style after Jackie, and always looks like a player. But…I don’t like the cap under helmet look, his jersey is just a bit too baggy, and he doesn’t blouse. I also love Stephen Strasburg, and no one blouses his pants as well. There are others, too, but I promised Rick I’d only pick one “runner up.” (Although, if Derek Jeter ever went to low-cuts and could pull up his pants, he just might be the best looking ballplayer in the show.)

So, after much consideration, I have to pick David Wright, of my hometown Mets (oh, there will be a lot of Mets today), but with a bullet. Wright fits almost all of my categories, from perfect blousing to a perfectly fitting jersey. As a bonus, he sports an orange undershirt (albeit one with the MOTB). But…he fails to be 100% perfect in one critical area: he goes long-pantsed at night. Yes, this should usually be more than enough to disqualify him consideration, but this daytime look (when all baseball should be played, you know) outweighs the negatives. To me anyway. But picking Wright over others was no easy chore.


So, what about you, dear readers — who out there today represents your ideal of the best dressed fella in the game today? What would be your qualifications for choosing him, and can you even do so? Is it stirrups? A classic old school body, look and style of play? Maybe you prefer a lot of hair or a perhaps a guy who is more casual. Maybe you think high-tops and socks can work, you just need to work it right. Whatever it is, what causes you to say, “damn, that is what a ballplayer looks like”?

The floor is open.


Benchies HeaderBenchies

by Rick Pearson


Formidable, to say the least…

4-14-12 d-lefthander

Click to enlarge


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.

And so, lets begin:


We start with Jonah Henderson, who has a new concept for Portland:


This is a Portland Trail Blazers Alternate Uniform concept that I designed thinking it could be similar the Miami Heat’s Black and White Alternate.

Jonah Henderson


Shortly thereafter, I received a second e-mail from Jonah, who had some new ideas for da Raidahs:


These are two Oakland Raiders Uniforms that I designed. On the first design, I featured a black helmet, with a black logo, and a dark gray jersey with black and silver trim. The pants are silver with a black stripe running down the side. The second design however, is a classic yet modern look which features a black helmet with a silver stripe and logo. The jersey features a black uniform with silver and dark grey trim. The pants again are the classic silver with a black stripe on the side, and a raiders logo. Enjoy!

Jonah Henderson, Salem, OR


We close today with Brian Sanford, who has some pretty interesting concepts for Spanish NBA jerseys:


I saw your post in UniWatch asking for tweaks/revisions. I mocked up a few ideas in Illustrator recently for Noche Latina as well as potential NBA Chinese New Year themed jerseys.

~ Brian F. Sanford
サンフォード • ブライアン


That’s it for today, kids. Back with more tomorrow.


colorize thisColorize This!

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

It’s been several weeks since we had a “Colorize This” but it’s back today — but without the G&G boys, both of whom are taking a sabbatical. But that doesn’t mean the new guys can’t step up to the plate. Today features several colorizations from John Turney and Pete Woychick, both of whom have sent in their efforts before.

Trying out a new format for the colorizations today, hope you like it.


First up is John, and I’ll just post several of them, with his writeups above each one. Click on each photo to view a larger version:

“This is from way back. I touched up the players, given them more natural skin tone. More of a match on the Giants blue jerseys. Then I colorized the crown. Then I added and Alien Skin Exposure Ecktachrome filter to brighten it up.”

Giants vs. Steelers - John Turney


“I colorized this photo but was not sure if it was his college, or if this was the set of Knute Rockne, All-American. I assumed it was the latter, but was not sure if Notre Dame wore green or blue then. So, I did both and added an Alien Skin Polychome filter in Photoshop.”

Knute Rockne - John TurneyKnute Rockne - John Turney


This next one is full-size, so no need to enlarge:

“I’ve never seen a good shot of the 1969 Saints black helmets. This shot is used to illustrate them, so I colorized it. It’s not a high resolution photo so there is little to work with, but I added the Saint’s Old Gold to this.”

SaintsKen2 -  John Turney


There are actually a couple more John has sent me, but I’ll hold off on those for another time. The next submission is from Pete, who also wanted to weigh in on the Colorize This! segment:

“Hi Phil—
This one was a little more involved, as it required some “reconstructive surgery.” I was just going for believability rather than perfection; if you look closely, you can probably tell where the assorted parts and pieces were copy-pasted from in order to recreate the missing torso.

It was interesting to read the comments surrounding the colorization “controversy” last week. Nobody asked, but my two cents are as follows: Making these is an enjoyable creative pastime—challenging enough to be interesting, but not so challenging as to become frustrating. It’s something I will probably continue to do, whether I have an “audience” or not. Submitting them to UniWatch is my way of contributing in a small way to the community here. Others may write guest columns, submit ticker links, or actively participate in the comments suggestion; to each his own. I have been receiving praise for various creative efforts virtually my entire life, so one compliment less, or more, is not going to significantly alter my self-esteem. That said, I firmly believe each of us performs best when we know that our efforts are appreciated, when we are “given our due.” The occasional word of thanks, praise, or encouragement remains a powerful motivation.


1926_porch_baseball_before1926_porch_baseball_after - Pete Woychick


Pete also sent me another, but I’ll hold off on that one as well, since this section has gotten pretty big. Hope you like the new format, and I welcome all colorizers to send me their work. If you guys do like this format, I’ll continue to use it from now on.


6845317852_3088909205_oContest reminder… I’m currently running a contest to redesign and rename the Cleveland baseball and Washington football teams. Full details here. I’ve already received dozens of entries, with a few coming in each day. Contest is open for just two more days, until April 15th (JRR day, dontcha know), so if you have started a concept, you’d best be putting on your finishing touches. If you haven’t begun and want to join, best get crackin NOW. Depending on how my week goes, I will probably begin showing some of the entries next weekend, but it may be two weeks, since I have a couple of columns that were supposed to run this weekend and will now (likely) run next weekend. Stay tuned.


Maybe the best lookin’ road uni in the bigs???

OK — I hope everyone who had the MLB Preview at least took a look at the Amazin’s and the Phillies last night, because if you did, what you saw was pure beauty:

RA Dickey

Oh. My. God. Yeah, they’re my team, but Goddam, how great did those Mets look last night? And it wasn’t just the Mets — their sparring partners, the Phillies, looked great (as usual). It was a gorgeous matchup. In fact, if Jim Mothervilker were doing a “5 & 1,” this game would have been the “good 1.” I mean look at this (and just imagine if that weren’t cropped, and you could see both players lower leg stylings). You can see lots more photos here.

But why did the Mets look so good I needed to put on a new pair of pants? Well, unless you’ve been living in a cave, last year you were likely to see them dressed like this or worse, like this on the road. The “hybrid” cap and black drop shadow had been a bane of Mets gray roadies for more than a decade (since 1998, in fact).

The difference is as clear as night and day.

While the difference is most apparent in the blue accessories (cap, socks, sleeves), just the mere removal of the black dropshadow takes one of the worst looking unis and turns it into one of the best (the homes too, but especially the roads). Without all that awful dropshadow, the NEW YORK is crisp and clear. So much better.

And while last night’s game was outstanding (for both teams), it will be even better today when the Phillies wear their cream alts (at least I think they will — it’s a 4:05 start), and who knows what will be in store when they meet up Sunday at 1:35, for Jackie Robinson day. Could be magic, if both teams are NNOB, right?


And finally…

What the hell is this?

Screen Shot 2012-04-14 at 12.41.52 AM

Click to enlarge

Are those the “rejected” Nike designs for the NFL? Well, not quite. But they are hilarious. Those come from “Dave’s Art Locker” who had described them thusly:

“Nike just released their uniform redesigns for the NFL. Outside some fabric changes, and the noteable exception of the Seahawks, none of the uniform designs changed much. The seahawks somehow were made worse. Just bring back the freaking neon green jerseys and everyone will be happy. I know I will be, the Neon jerseys had a definite identity which was loads better than the weird blue they wear nowadays. Blue is so distinct, that’s why half the league wears some variation of it.”

Some of the concepts are actually better than what the teams currently wear, which is a bit scary. I mean, look at the Jags — Jim Vilk would wear that.

You can read the whole article and check out all the designs here. (h/t to TimE)


And that will do it for today, everyone. Let us know your best dressed MLBer, tell me if you like the new “Colorize This” format, give me shit for posting so much Mets, whatever. It’s all good.

Lots of good stuff on tap today, including the who gives a shit much-anticipated release of the new Mizzou football unis. Back with more good stuff tomorrow, but until that time…enjoy your Saturday.


I don’t know why the University of Houston would want to highlight “UH” anyways. I look at it and say, “Uhhh.” Why does the U have to be in there at all? Saying U-H out loud rolls right off the tongue and onto the floor.

– Alex Parisi

Battle of the Bevels

Screen shot 2012-04-12 at 7.23.05 PM.png

As most you probably know, I don’t follow college sports as closely as I follow the pros, and I don’t root for any college in particular, so I’m sometimes oblivious to certain uni- and logo-related controversies about a given school. A good case in point came during my visit to Bristol on Wednesday, when one of my ESPN editors, Dave Wilson, asked if I’d seen the new U. of Houston logo. “Yeah,” I said. “Kinda heavy on the beveling.”

I didn’t realize it, but I’d stumbled upon a sensitive topic in the world of Texas collegiate sports. As Dave explained to me, many Texas A&M fans have spent the past dozen years trying to get the school to scrap the Aggies’ beveled logo, which was introduced in 1999. So when Houston unveiled its own beveled logo this week, lots of A&M fans started comparing the relative merits — or lack thereof — of the two designs.

Dave, who attended A&M himself in the early 1990s, pointed me toward a discussion thread on where this all played out. That thread is behind a paywall, so I can’t link to it, but here are some of the pertinent quotes from A&M fans regarding the new Houston logo:

• “Ours is worse. Great company we’re keeping on this, Tech and Cougar High.”

• “It makes about as much sense visually as ours does.”

• “Actually, theirs is pretty much technically correct.”

• “At least UH’s bevel makes sense. Ours does not. It drives me up a tree. It’s not that complicated.”

• “Please, please, Mr. Cook, no more bevel.”

That last quote is referring to Jason Cook, A&M’s VP for Marketing & Communications. “He actually jumps into the fray sometimes and discusses the beveling with people on the forum,” Dave explained to me. Then he pointed me toward this recent interview with Cook, where the talk turns to beveling at about the 8:30 mark. Here’s a transcript of the relevant bits:

It’s very important for us to have a consistent mark with that block “TAM” as we move to the SEC. A couple of months ago we made the decision to start phasing out the T-star mark. It really didn’t say A&M. It didn’t give a lot of context to our new conferencemates that were going there.

We’re more and more looking at the marks and making sure we have a consistent portfolio moving forward.

Of course, that brings up the conversation about bevels here. We’re not gonna bevel the A and the M. That was a mistake and we’re going to try to get to the bottom of that pretty fast.

The bevel’s been around since 1999. It was designed by Nike to give a little bit of focus to the T. We have no intentions to move away from that. I think I mentioned last time that our licensing revenues are up 27%. The whole bevel argument… I know it’s passionate to a lot of folks on TexAgs. But for us, whether the T is beveled or not beveled, it does not impact the integrity of the mark. The proportions are the same, it’s the same mark.

We understand that there is some demand for a flat “TAM” mark out there, and I think that we’ve demonstrated that we’re getting some additional product in the marketplace to suit that demand.

Faaaascinating. A&M fans getting agita over the bevel sounds a lot like Mets fans doing a slow burn over all the black uni elements (which, as it happens, were introduced at about the same time as the Aggies’ bevel). Just goes to show ya how passionate people can be about a seemingly simple change.

“For the record,” says Dave, “I have no issue with the A&M bevel, especially in the official identity. A lot of folks want to ditch the A and the M completely, especially with the move to the SEC, just to ‘claim’ Texas, like they did in the Bear Bryant days.”

Beveling, incidentally, is waaaaay easier to do on a computer than by hand, which is why we’re seeing waaaaay more beveling nowadays than we did, say, 30 years ago. It’s supposed to make the letterforms look all stately and majestic, liked they’re carved from granite or whatever, but I think it usually just looks cartoonish, at least the way it’s usually employed in contemporary sports design.

Meanwhile, Dave also pointed out a flaw in the new Houston logo. Here, take another look and see if you can spot it:

Screen shot 2012-04-12 at 8.06.49 PM.png

Do you see it? Here, see if you can spot it now.

Shouldn’t that triangle of negative space be red, like the rest of the background? And there’s sort of a reverse-field version of the logo with the same problem. Looks very odd. And now that I’ve pointed it out to you, good luck not fixating on it every time you see the Houston logo. Fortunately, I can blame Dave.

Update: A bunch of readers have quickly pointed out another flaw in the UH logo, namely that the two serifs at the top of the H are beveled inconsistently. It’s now official: No Uni Watch reader will be able to watch a UH game this fall without his or her head exploding.

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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, my latest ESPN column, about uniform ads possibly (but probably not) coming to the NBA, is here.

That column prompted an e-mail from reader Reed Evans about the state of sponsorship in swimming. Now, swimming is an individual sport, not a team sport, so the things I talked about in that ESPN column don’t really apply here. I’m just presenting Reed’s note because it provides interesting info about a sport we don’t often discuss here on Uni Watch:

Since 2007, swimming’s governing body, FINA, has forced everybody at the world championships to wear caps that have the logo of one of their sponsors (Yakult, which makes a Japanese smoothie or something) printed on one side. Typically national teams have either a flag or their country’s name on the cap. So when you take a photo of the field from one side, it looks like all eight of them are swimming for the heretofore undiscovered country of Yakult.

Also: One of the conventions of the sport is the parade of finalists out to the starting blocks before the event. It used to be that the swimmers would wear warm-ups out there and start taking them off once they reached the block, but no longer. Since (I think) 2005, FINA has made it a rule that you have to have a bib (similar to those in track) on your warm-up, and you can’t remove the warmup until the camera has finished with you. Why? Because the swimming bibs don’t serve any purpose other than advertising. They have a lane number, but so what? Everybody knows who’s in what lane, because unlike track you have to stay in it! They’re purely for ad revenue.

So they made this rule that you can’t take the warm-up off until the ad has been shown, to protect the sponsors. This presents a problem for the people in the last two lanes, because they’re supposed to get their asses up on the blocks quickly once they’ve been introduced. But they have to change out of their warm-ups, obviously. So what’s developed is this unintentionally hilarious situation where sometimes the guy in lane eight will take his warm-up off but has to hold the bib up in front of him for the camera, which makes it abundantly clear what’s going on.

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Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 12.06.08 PM.png

Big news over on today, as Page 2 is about to be eliminated. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean I’m out of a job — it just means my ESPN work will appear in a different section of the site.

That section, which will debut at noon on Monday, is called Playbook, and it will be produced in conjunction with ESPN the Mag (whose front of the book is also being renamed Playbook). Contributors will include some of the Page 2 writers, some of the magazine’s writers, and some new people. Playbook will consist of seven sections:

1) Fandom: Stuff about fans and stuff fans are into. This is where my material will run.

2) Visuals: Lots of video and other visual content. My content will often be cross-posted here.

3) Sounds: The intersection of sports and music.

4) Trending: Celebrity culture.

5) Tech: Mostly video games.

6) Dollars: Sports biz. The magazine folks will run this section.

7) Coordinates: International stories. The magazine folks will handle this one as well.

Each section will be formatted like a multi-contributor blog, and I’ll be providing content to Fandom on a fairly regular basis — probably about three times a week. The plan for now is to keep most of Playbook’s content on the shorter side. This may mean that I do fewer feature-length ESPN pieces and more shorter pieces, and/or it may mean that some of my longer pieces get broken up into segments (for my NFL season-preview column, for example, maybe we’ll publish my coverage of the AFC teams on one day and the NFC teams the next day). Playbook will no doubt be a work in progress for a while, so I suspect all of this may evolve a bit over time.

What does that mean for us here on the Uni Watch site? It shouldn’t mean any changes at all, although maaaaaybe there’ll be days when I take a post that would normally have run here and give it to Playbook instead (today’s “Battle of the Bevels” is a good example). In any case, I’ll post links for all my ESPN work here on this site, and will also post the links on my Twitter feed.

Onward, upward, etc.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: A little birdie has this to say about the new Missouri uniforms: “There will be a new color added to the color scheme: a dark gray. I can confirm that the M will be removed from the helmet and replaced by the tiger head logo. The soccer team will have three uniforms: white, black, and gray. Also, the gold has been standardized on all uniforms, which is a plus. There’s a new font, known as Mizzou bold. And Mizzou has a new equipment contract With Nike for eight years and $16 million.” Man, it’s amazing how this gray thing keeps proliferating, no? Official unveiling is tomorrow. … Speaking of little birdies, I’ve seen the Steelers’ throwbacks for the upcoming season. Can’t say what they are, but I can say a little bit about what they aren’t. Batman uni, as many had hoped? Nope. Same design as the 1994 throwbacks, as had been rumored? Double nope. And that’s all I can tell you, at least for now. … I needed some vintage milk bottle caps for a home improvement project, so I bought 10 of them from this Etsy seller, who picked 10 random caps from her stash and sent them my way. Ended up with these beauties. So, so nice. And they click against each other very satisfyingly, like poker chips. … New logo for One World Trade Center. … Fun piece about the Twins’ Dairy Queen uniforms (from Jesse Gavin). … Also from Jesse: The I-Cubs wore Iowa Oaks throwbacks the other day. Look at the size of that cap logo! … On Tuesday night, in connection with Passover, our local PBS station ran a program called Jews and Baseball,” writes Paul O. Dillon. “It was terrific! The baseball sequences were great and the pictures of uniforms were outstanding.” … Peter Cech’s headgear has apparently become so iconic that he wears it in photo shoots (from Gerry Muir). … The latest football team to play G.I. Joe is Old Dominion (from Leo Thornton). … Sandia High School in Albuquerque wears red stirrups with baby blue sannies (from Rob Montoya). … Ryan Connelly is another Uni Watcher who was lucky enough to receive one of those custom bottle stoppers from Comrade Robert Marshall. … Check this out: Carmine Marcantonio with ANOB — that’s abbreviated name on back (big thanks to Kenn Tomasch). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Pretty cool slideshow of Arizona State baseball history. … Orioles infielder Robert Andino mug shot has undergone an amusing transformation over the years. … I’m not sure why anyone would want a snakeskin LeBron James jersey, but here, be my guest (from Jason Bernard). … Towson is letting its fans vote on its next football helmet design (from Nick Phillips). … Some insights into the Astros’ 2013 uniform redesign here. Sounds like they’re looking for something fairly traditional and timeless, although I think you could argue that that’s what they have right now (from Nicholas Roznovsky). … Here’s an item we missed back around the time of the Super Bowl: crystal-encrusted NFL helmets (from Jon Solomonson). … Oooh, look at this cap with a really short brim and what appears to be a logo on the squatchee! … Here’s a better shot of Santiago Casilla’s wrong jersey from Opening Day in Colorado (from Brad Dugan). … Real Madrid has dropped the Christian cross from its logo in order to have greater appeal with Muslim fans (from Camryn Brown). … Hey, look at this: The Dodgers apparently use a blue resin bag. Is that a new thing? I’ve never seen that before (and neither has Dan Cichalski). … Arizona State is reportedly considering a plan in which students would get to vote on which uniform the football team would wear for three home games this season (from Brooks Simpson). … TJ Oshie of the Blues, who wears No. 74, lost the 4 on his helmet last night (screen shot by Stan Capp).