Well, that was one crazy day.
It started in the morning, when I posted yesterday’s entry about the leak of next season’s NBA Christmas uniforms. I figured that would cause a bit of a stir, but I was frankly unprepared for how big the response turned out to be — the uni-verse blew the fuck up. Seemingly every media outlet in the country picked up the story, and most of them linked back to yesterday’s entry, which resulted in one of biggest traffic days in this site’s nine-year history.
All this for a bunch of uniforms that will be worn, at most, for one day. And most of them won’t be worn at all! Weird.
And that was just the start. At some point in the morning, someone in a SportsLogos.net discussion thread posted a link to an Adidas catalog with all sorts of info about next season’s uniforms (you can’t blame me for that one, all you people in the NBA office!), and screen shots from that catalog quickly started making the rounds on Twitter and elsewhere. Reader Andrew Lind was the first one to make me aware of it, but many others soon followed. So while I was trying to keep up with all the reaction to the Christmas story (requests for phone interviews, requests to use my images of the uniforms, a tsunami of tweets, etc.), I was also trying to keep up with the developing story of the newly leaked catalog. It all made for an exciting but chaotic day.
I did my best to summarize the information from the catalog leak in this ESPN piece, which was posted yesterday afternoon, although I suspect there’s other info in the catalog that I may have missed — it’s a lot to process. One confusing issue is the NBA’s use of a new term: “Strech” uniforms. It’s not clear if this refers to stretchy fabric or (more likely) a “stretching” of the team’s visual identity. We’ll find out soon enough.
Once the catalog link was posted and images from it started circulating, I figured the NBA and/or Adidas would have the link disabled. As of this morning, though, it’s still working. I’m not going to post a link to it here (that would be too easy), but like I said, it was posted in a SportsLogos.net thread yesterday. Let’s see if anyone here is enterprising enough to find it.
Additional notes from yesterday:
• It’s astonishing how many people’s first and only reaction upon seeing a new uniform design is to say (or tweet, or whatever), “Definitely gonna buy that.” Like, even if your first thought is “Yes, I am going to purchase a vastly overpriced mass-produced item that many thousands of other people will also purchase,” why is it so important to express that thought? I’ll never understand jersey merchandising.
• It was interesting to see how many people said, “These mock-ups must be fake, everyone knows Nike is taking over the NBA’s uniforms next season (or, less declaratively, “Wait, I’m confused — isn’t Nike taking over the NBA’s uniforms next season?”). The reality, of course, is that the NBA hasn’t yet announced its new apparel partner, and that partner, whoever it turns out to be, won’t be taking over until the start of the 2017-18 season (which means this isn’t even Adidas’s last set of NBA Xmas unis — it’s the next-to-last). Why did so many people get this wrong? Part of it, I’m sure, is just that some people aren’t very good at paying attention to details. But another part, I’m willing to bet, is the way Nike tends to engulf any story it’s a part of. People hear, “Adidas Out, Nike Rumored to Be In” and that’s it — they fill in the rest of the narrative themselves.
• Most of the reactions to the Christmas unis, including my own, appear to be positive. Hope the league is paying attention — people like tasteful, gimmick-free design.
• Not a peep out of the NBA or Adidas offices yesterday.
I’m kinda hoping for a quiet day today. If you’re planning to leak something, maybe wait until Friday, okay? Thanks.
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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik
My buddy and I were watching one of the NBA playoff games last weekend. Someone made a shot, and my friend said that the nothing-but-net swish is one of his favorite sounds. I agreed, and countered with the crack of a baseball bat.
I also enjoy the thwack of a fastball hitting a catcher’s glove; organ music at an old-school venue like Madison Square Garden; and the roll of a bowling ball followed by the thundering of the toppled pins. Maybe above all, I enjoy vuvuzelas at soccer games. (Just kidding.)
What are some of your favorite sports sounds? It could be anything auditory from the sports world. Post your responses in today’s comments.
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Phone case reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, the Uni Watch smart phone case, shown at right, is now available. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.
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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik
Baseball News: Reds P Rasiel Iglesias had some issues with his pants and blousing last night (from Justin Peterson). … Until 1974, the University of Texas played at a ball field that had a split-level outfield! … The Tigers have ticket packages that include giving away Tigers caps in the colors of local universities. More details here (from Jeffrey Sak). … Eric Bunnell has a pretty nifty BBQ apron. That’s a Saint Joseph’s College (Indiana) jersey from 2007-08. … BYU wore dark gray with navy blue lettering Tuesday night against Utah (from Russ Morgan). … Cubs OF Jorge Soler was seriously bundled up last night. It wasn’t even that cold in Chicago! (From Tami Wilson.) … The Mariners are giving away fedoras on Friday. … Speaking of the Mariners: “If my calculations are correct, the Mariners could potentially wear six different uniform sets in six consecutive games,” says Jim Shemaria. Against Boston this weekend, Jim says the M’s are wearing white on Thursday, teal on Friday, throwbacks on Saturday and cream alternates on Sunday. “Then they go on the road to Baltimore where things could be fun. They will almost certainly go with road gray on Tuesday. If anyone is paying attention in the equipment room could we see the navy alternate on Wednesday?” … MLB’s 4th of July caps will have those sublimated stars, and last night the Angels gave away a cap with sublimated photos. Is this the future of MLB cap design?
NFL, College Football and Arena Football News: Marshawn Lynch is selling Beast Mode baseball jerseys. It looks like it was inspired by Uni Watch! … New Vikings WR Gavin Lutman will wear No. 8, which looks like a backwards “B” (from Matt Newbery). … The Arena League’s Jacksonville Sharks will wear military jerseys on Saturday (from Cory C). … Gardner-Webb could be returning to black jerseys. … Arkansas, though, will not be wearing black.
Soccer News: Tottenham’s new kit will feature a sash. … Southampton FC made a promo video for the lead-up to its new kit unveiling (from Michael Duffy). … Orlando City SC’s Cyle Larin wore a blank jersey (or, a “blood jersey”) the other day. … D.C. United’s Bobby Boswell received a No. 300 jersey signed by his teammates to commemorate his 300th regular season game with the club (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Also from Yusuke: Within this oral history of the first season of MLS are some stories about nicknames and uniforms, including Nike’s role in the designs and the renaming of the Chicago franchise. … New kit for Middlesbrough (from Ryan G.).
NBA News: We saw the new logos for the 76ers on Tuesday. Here are the team’s new wordmarks. … Even though it’s common knowledge that Jerry West is the man in the NBA logo, he doesn’t receive royalties because the league won’t confirm that the logo is based on him (from Kurt Esposito). … Andrew Bogut of the Warariors had part of the bridge on his chest logo ripped off of his jersey last night (from Noah Crouch).
Grab Bag: The New Zealand government’s website is hosting a flag design contest (from Alex Cohen). … You can vote for your favorite New York high school lacrosse helmet (from Brian Simmons). … A carpet cleaning company uses the Wisconsin Badgers’ logo (from Mike Tocco). … This interactive map shows the most popular sports teams in just about every city in the U.S. (from Phil). … New uniforms for the Baton Rouge Police Department (from Joel Manuel). … The new UFC-Reebok deal bars fighters from putting outside sponsorships on their attire. … Clothing designer company Robert Graham will sponsor Townsend Bell for the Indianapolis 500 (from Tommy Turner). … The track at Mountain View High School in Bend, Oregon bears the signature of Olympian and school alum Ashton Eaton (from Ted Taylor). … “Apparently, the University of Washington’s original mascot was named Frosty,” says Luke McCarnan. “I like it! Bold, fearless, and sort of melancholy, which is appropriate for the area. Also, not gimmicky.”
Christmas is more than seven months away, but you’re going to get a little taste of it today, because I’m bringing you another exclusive: this year’s NBA Christmas uniforms, which I recently obtained from an industry source.
I’m happy to report that most of the designs are quite nice. In fact, many teams’ Christmas uniforms are better than their normal uni designs. Let’s take a look (click to enlarge):
Okay, that’s a lot to digest, so let’s go one item at a time:
1. No sleeves! No nickNOBs! In short, no gimmicks. Refreshing.
2. Remember, we don’t yet know which teams will be playing on Dec. 25, or even how many games there will be on that date, because the NBA hasn’t yet released the 2015-16 schedule. (For reference, last year there were five games on Christmas.) So we won’t be seeing all of these designs on the court, but the designs were developed months ago, so they did one for every team, just in case.
3. The script chest insignia are meant to evoke the feel of the fancy script on a Christmas card. I think most of them are pretty nice on their own, although the repeated template waters down the visual effect a bit. I’m not sure why they chose to have the scripts running uphill with the uni numbers offset to one side, but I like it — reminds me of the Cavs’ uniforms from the first LeBron era.
4. The heavy use of cream, instead of white, is meant to evoke a feeling of parchment. Strictly speaking, it’s not cream — it’s greige. I initially thought that this was a nonsense term cooked up by the Adidas marketing department — a contraction of grey and beige — but it turns out it’s a real term for fabric that’s neither dyed nor bleached. The plan is for the NBA to feature this as a sustainability storyline — “Hey, no dyes!” That’s ridiculous, of course: If you really want to promote sustainability, just wear your regular uniforms on Christmas instead of creating a set of disposable one-day designs.
But whatever — marketing nonsense notwithstanding, this color looks great. And some of the resulting color combos are super-tasty, like the Suns’ cream and orange, the Nets’ cream and black, and the Wizards’ cream, red, and gold.
5. It’s hard to see on the mock-ups, but the NBA logo above the NOB will be shown in a splotch of sealing wax, which is meant to evoke the feel of an old-fashioned Christmas card:
6. There will supposedly be “glazed sugar ornamental shiny surfaces” on the fabric and trim. I have no idea what that’s going to entail, but let’s beat the rush and start making fun of it now.
7. The mock-ups don’t provide a very good sense of the number font, because they used double-zero for all of the jerseys. Here’s a view of two more numerals — it’s not much, but it’s all I have:
8. I like how they worked certain teams’ visual signatures into the jerseys, like the Blazers’ diagonal stripe and the Wizards’ two-tone design. Wish they’d found some excuse to skip the Kings’ garish pointed side panels, though.
9. As some of you may have figured out by now, four teams are missing. I’m not showing the Bucks’ or Sixers’ designs, because that would provide hints as to what those teams’ new regular season uniforms look like, and I’ve made promises not to reveal anything regarding those two teams. I haven’t made any similar promises regarding the Raptors, but I’m not going to show their Christmas uni either, just to preserve a bit of mystery.
That leaves the Hawks. They have a new regular season uni in the pipeline as well, and I haven’t seen or heard any details about it. But if their Christmas design is any indication, the standard uni is gonna give us plenty to talk about:
I don’t know what to make of that pattern on the jersey and the sides of the shorts, but it sure looks, uh, interesting. As for the lime green trim on the shorts, that used to be a Hawks color. Perhaps it’s going to be again..? On the other hand, lime green doesn’t appear on any of the other Hawks merch shown in this catalog, so who knows. (And speaking of other merch in the catalog, the Clippers merch all shows that new “LAC” logo that I first reported on last month.)
Overall: Very, very nice — well done, people. And to all a good night.
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Ben lives! The 76ers’ awesome Ben Franklin logo, which surfaced last summer but then was sort of orphaned, is now an official part of the team’s new logo set. The Sixers have also made a few other logo tweaks, all of which are small but positive (although Chris Creamer has a slightly more cynical — and entertaining — assessment). New uniforms will follow on June 18.
My only problem with Ben is that I’m so used to cartoon characters having four fingers that his five-fingered hand looks a little weird to me. How’s that for visual indoctrination?
At least one observer doesn’t share my enthusiasm for Ben: ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith. You can get his take on things in this video clip.
Meanwhile, several readers quickly noted that the adjustment to the basketball in the Sixers’ primary and partial primary logos matches a concept that longtime Uni Watch reader/contributor Conrad Burry executed several years ago. Hmmmmm.
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T-Shirt Club Update: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club’s design for June will launch next Tuesday, May 19, and will be available through the following Tuesday, May 26. (Normally the shirts are available for sale from Tuesday through the following Monday, but extending the availability of this design by one day because of Memorial Day.)
This month’s design is black for black’s sake (aka the one design that The Jeff might actually order; click to enlarge):
Not much to say about this design — it’s pretty basic and straightforward. It’s worth noting, though, that my Teespring designer, Bryan Molloy, came up with a more minimalist BFBS design. I think it’s a really fun concept, but it doesn’t feel right for the T-Shirt Club. (No, we won’t be producing that one, so please don’t ask. Thanks.)
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Smart phone case now available: Matt Beahan, the winner of our recent cell phone case design contest, worked with me to make a few adjustments to his stirrup-based concept. As you can see at right, there’s now a clearer distinction between the front and back stirrup openings, and I also had him add some stitching marks along curved edges of the openings.
With those changes made, the phone case is now available for ordering. A few notes:
• The case is available for more than two dozen different phone models. Use the pop-up menu on the ordering page to choose your phone. I did my best to position the artwork so in a way that works for all of the different models but, as you’ll see, the design “fits” slightly differently onto each model’s case.
• The price is $19, no matter which model you choose. Domestic shipping is $5; overseas shipping varies.
• The case will be available for three weeks — from now through June 3.
• If you order a case, you should receive it somewhere in the June 10-17 range (that’s in time for Father’s Day, for what it’s worth).
• As you’ll see, the campaign has a goal of 250 sales, but don’t worry about that. As long as we sell at least 10 (which
I’m sure we will we’ve already done), the cases will definitely be produced and shipped.
I think that’s it. If you have any additional questions or concerns, let me know. Thanks.
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Membership update: Three designs have been added to the membership card gallery (including Owen Dillon’s awesome Golden State throwback treatment, shown at right). The printed and laminated versions of these cards will be processed when we fill up the current batch, which should be soon because next Monday is Purple Amnesty Day, which always results in a mini-flood of orders.
As always, you can order your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve made so far (more than 1600 of them!) here, and you can see how we produce the cards here.
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Baseball News: One day after debuting their “Baltimore” home jerseys, the Orioles went back to their regular home jerseys for last night’s game against the Blue Jays. … Ebbets Field Flannels recently ran a photo contest and longtime Uni Watch reader/pal Marty Buccafusco won himself some free stuff by submitting this photo of himself and his son Gus. Congrats! … A fan at Wrigley Field wiped a cap on her butt and then tossed it onto the field — twice! — during Monday night’s Mets/Cubs game (thanks, Mike). … Here’s your chance to vote for the best minor league logo (from J. Daniel). … Rehabbing Yankees P Ivan Nova, who normally wears No. 47, was wearing No. 81 in an extended spring training game yesterday (from Steve King). … Logo-emblazoned stirrups yesterday for UMass. … I’ve long been a fan of the Tigers’ “Swinging Kitten” mascot. Turns out there’s also a sliding kitten, and they’re bringing him out for this T-shirt, which will be given away on June 16 as part of the team’s Children’s Health Night promotion. There are several other versions of the kitten, as you can see on the cover of the 1980 Tigers media guide. I’d love to see these designs get back into circulation. … New cap for the Iowa Cubs (from Zach James). … Louisville’s uniforms could probably use a re-think.
NFL News: Always fun to see an old photo of the Jags’ original prototype jersey (from Leo Strawn Jr.). … Here are the new uni numbers for the Titans’ rookies. One of those rookies, RB David Cobb, is a big Eddie George fan but will not wear No. 27 (from Eric Wright). … Speaking of the Titans, they’re redesignating their navy jersey as their primary this year, so it’s surprising to see that players participating in the team’s recent Titans Caravan events were wearing the Columbia blue jerseys (Eric Wright again). … Raiders draftee Amari Cooper has apparently changed uni numbers already, from 19 to 89 (from Brian Molinet). … New uni numbers for the 49ers’ rookies (thanks, Phil). … A fan at last night’s Mets/Cubs ballgame was wearing a Bengals-themed motorcycle helmet. When I tweeted that photo last night, everyone said, “The helmet is nothing — look at the jacket!” Okay, then: Look at the jacket (from Eric Wright). … Two uni-related notes buried within this Deflategate story: “Four men wearing Patriots jerseys were arrested during a sit-in at the NFL offices promoted by the Boston website Barstool Sports” and “Since the suspension was announced, sales of [Tom] Brady’s jersey have doubled, according to online retailer Fanatics.com.”
College Football News: Here’s a bunch of reimagined SEC helmet concepts (from Bryan Council). … Someone at Notre Dame PhotoShopped an Under Armour logo onto former Irish LB Kendall Moore. Moore only wore Adidas for Notre Dame (from Dirty McGirty). … New uniforms for Samford.
Hockey News: A reading of the tea leaves suggests that the Avalanche might be changing their jerseys (thanks, Phil). … Love the big patch on this British Columbia jersey. Pretty big “A,” too (from Jim Wooley).
NBA News: As of this morning, the new Clippers logo — the one I first reported on last month, although it hasn’t been officially acknowledged or released — was appearing on the front page of the NBA’s online shop. It’s not clear if this was a mistake, a concession to reality, or a tease, but it’s worth noting that the new logo has not yet appeared on the shop’s mobile site.
Soccer News: The Red Bulls have been giving out great posters at each match this season. As you can see, the most recent one is a breakdown of the team’s kit (from Andrew Muccigrosso). … Here’s a look at how the MLS’s rebrand is going. … Inter’s new jerseys have leaked (thanks, Phil). … In Ghana, they apparently refer to NOBs as being “embossed” on the jerseys. … New away kit for Olympique Lionnais. … New kit for Liverpool, too.
Grab Bag: Big controversy in Connecticut over a high school’s prom dress code. … Mumbai’s firefighters need better uniforms. … Shame on the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation, which is selling corporate advertising on its trucks and drivers’ uniforms. Unacceptable. … Yesterday’s announcement of Verizon’s acquisition of AOL, and the immediate increase in the latter’s stock price, prompted Huffington Post report Ariel Edwards-Levy to create a clever combined logo. … The St. Joseph’s golf team uses driver covers with a very cool mascot logo. “He’s even wearing golf shoes!” says Pat Costello. “If only the ‘TM’ wasn’t there.” … Stephen Krupin notes that Washington, DC’s sports facilities have some outdated logos: “The aisles at the Verizon Center have logos on the sides of the seats, alternating rows between the Caps and Wizards. The only problem is they still haven’t replaced the outdated Caps logo last worn in 2007, and they still use the old Wizards logos in colors last worn in 2011. And the Nats’ scoreboard is still topped with the Todd Radom-designed ‘Nationals’ wordmark, which the Nats shelved in 2010.” … Corporate sponsorships aren’t just annoying — they also don’t work (from @holycalamity). … An Ohio high school is changing its logo after getting a cease-and-desist from the U. of Arizona.
Interesting move by the Orioles, who took their “Baltimore” script, which normally appears on their road greys, and put it onto a set of home whites for last night’s game against the Blue Jays (plenty of photos here).
This was the Orioles’ first game at Camden Yards since the “empty stadium” game on April 29. That game, of course, had been preceded by two games being cancelled by the riots that engulfed Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death. So last night was the team’s first on-field opportunity to address the crisis in its hometown. Putting the city name on the home whites was a simple but effective move.
In a refreshing change from the way things are usually done in the sports world these days, the Orioles provided almost zero advance hype. The news of the new uniforms was kept under wraps until about 15 minutes before gametime, when the team issued the following tweet:
Good for them for not overselling it.
The Orioles have worn “Baltimore” at home before. In fact, they did it just last September, when they wore a stars/stripes “Baltimore” script to mark the 200th anniversary of the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” But that was more of a gimmick jersey — it didn’t even include the O’s team colors. I’m pretty sure last night’s jersey marked the first time the team went “Baltimore”-clad at home with an otherwise normal O’s jersey.
There are at least two recent precedents for an MLB team responding to a hometown tragedy by wearing its road insignia on its home jersey. The first and most obvious one is the Red Sox’s “Boston Strong” jersey, which was first worn on April 20 and 21, 2013, in the wake of that year’s Boston Marathon bombings. That jersey has now become an annual part of the Bosox wardrobe, trotted out each year on Patriots Day (which is also when the Boston Marathon is held).
The other example is one you might have forgotten about: After 19 firefighters died while combating the Arizona wildfires in June of 2013, the Diamondbacks created a home “Arizona” jersey, which they wore for a 10-game homestand in July.
The interesting thing about these jerseys is the way they turn baseball’s usual insignia protocol on its head. Most of us have been taught that a team should wear its team name at home and its city name on the road. I learned this myself when I was eight years old, when my father explained to me, “When you’re a guest in someone else’s house, you should be humble. Don’t shout your name at them — just tell them where you’re from.” (Two years later, the Mets changed their road insignia from “New York” to “Mets,” which I found very confusing and my father couldn’t adequately explain.) Obviously, not every team follows this rule, but most of them do, and my admittedly unscientific impression, based on years of communicating with people about uni-related issues, is that most fans like it that way.
But the implicit message of these jerseys worn by the Red Sox, D-Backs, and now the Orioles is that the city name can be transformed from second-tier status to something Very Special if circumstances dictate. But why wait for special (or tragic) circumstances? If wearing your city name at home makes sense in the wake of a crisis, what about on a normal day? I hope I’m wrong about this, but I have a feeling we may start seeing teams mixing and matching their home and road scripts across their various jerseys.
A few additional thoughts and notes, in no particular order:
• How symbolically important was this jersey to the Orioles? So important that we were treated to the extremely rare sight of O’s skipper Buck Showalter wearing a jersey instead of his usual windbreaker:
• In a way, putting the city name on the front of a baseball reminds me of college sports, where teams are primarily referred to by their school names, not by their team names. In the NFL, we say the Broncos are playing the Patriots; in the NCAA, we say Illinois is playing Michigan. Wearing “Baltimore” at home kinda feels like that.
• Will the Orioles wear this jersey again tonight? I hope not. If you try to make every game special, you end up with none of them being special.
• Many people have told me over the years that they think the “Baltimore” script is too unwieldy on the road greys — too many letters, not enough space across the chest. For those of you who’ve expressed that thought over the years, what do you think of the “Baltimore” script on the home white?
• Finally, it’ll take a lot more than a nice jersey gesture to heal Baltimore’s wounds or solve its problems. As my brother mentioned to me while we were driving out to Long Island on Mother’s Day, what happened in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death had to be unsurprising, or even predictable, to anyone who’s watched The Wire. Obviously, I don’t expect a baseball team to be the savior, but Orioles COO John Angelos appears to have a more intelligent public perspective on America’s urban challenges than most of his fellow MLB execs. It’ll be interesting to see what else, if anything, the Orioles do in terms of community outreach.
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Spirit of 76ers: The 76ers
will be unveiling a new logo set this morning at about 9:300am Eastern. I’ll have a reaction piece over on ESPN as soon as the new designs go live — link coming soon. have unveiled their new logo set. Full details here.
In other NBA news, the Bucks will be unveiling their new uniforms on June 6. I’ve seen the uniforms and like them. I think most of you will like them too.
Also: SportsLogos.net honcho Chris Creamer has seen the Raptors’ new uniforms. He described them in this discussion thread. No word yet on an unveiling date.
And while we’re at it, I’ll be breaking some major NBA news later this week, possibly as soon as tomorrow — stay tuned.
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By Brinke Guthrie
I have a Bengals Christmas ornament just like this one of Garfield wearing a Vikings helmet, which doubles as a bank. The eBay listing says it’s from the 1970s, but I believe this is early 1990s, which is when I got mine. Now on to the rest of the week’s stuff!
• I had this very item (where could it have gone?) — a beer mug from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
• Also had this exact item: a rather abstract-looking mid-1990s Cowboys polo shirt from Nike. This was Nike’s first go-round with the league, and Dallas was their first effort, as I recall.
• Here’s a T-shirt commemorating Hank Aaron’s 715th home run. You have to wonder whether this was licensed, and did Hammerin’ Hank ever see any of that cash. Then again, the shirt maker was “Hanko,” so maybe he did.
• Some bold geometry on this 1990s New York Giants polo shirt from Apex.
• This Bobby Orr “Jigsaw Puzzle In A Can” screams 1970s. Look at that font!
• I always liked how the NFL parkas from Sears had a nice big tag inside where you could write your name, address, and phone. Of course, 1) you’d use a marker that was too fat so the lines would bleed, thus making your text illegible, and 2) if someone stole it (or “found” it, that is), that tag wouldn’t be much of a deterrent. Doubt that many Dol-fans wore these in South Florida, but there you go. More likely they’d wear this Pro Line embroidered Dolphins sweatshirt from Russell. The best.
• Here’s a baseball sticker with a nebulous marketing slogan. The Padres urge you to “Let Yourself Go!” Go……where? To the game? To the corner market?
• Never seen this before — or at least not in this combo. We’ve all seen the NFL book The First 50 Years, but did you know it also came with a poster and a two album record set?
• Speaking of NFL posters, here’s a 1969 poster of NFL posters! Very meta.
• You know that Mr. Met has Mrs. Met. But did you know that Mr. Red once had Rosie Reds? Here she is on a leather beach bag.
Follow Brinke on Twitter: @brinkeguthrie
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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Garrett McGrath
Baseball News: The Yankees will wear this Bernie Williams patch when they retire his number on May 24 (thanks, Brinke). … Royals 3B Mike Moustakas wore pink batting gloves last night because he was on the bereavement list on Mother’s Day (thanks, Paul). … “Several years ago Uni Watch wrote about red caps worn by the Dodgers coaches during spring training in the ’50s and ’60s,” Ernest Reyes says. “Well, an example recently came up for auction and I wrote about it. Recently, it sold at auction for $845.” … Ogden, Utah’s Standard-Examiner posted vintage photos of the Ogden Reds from 1939-1955 (from Ben Hatfield). … Matt Duffy of the Giants has switched his uni number from 50 to 5 (thanks, Brinke). … New batting helmets for the Oregon Ducks softball team (from Alex Allen). … The Orix Buffaloes are going to wear ugly uniforms for five home games in June and July (from Yusuke Toyoda). … “I’m in post-production on a documentary on the 1875 independent professional base ball club the Covington (KY) Stars,” says Cam Miller. “I have been researching the Stars for the last 20 years. There are no known existing pics or images of unis but thanks to the outstanding descriptions in newspaper accounts of the day, I was able to sketch out and render the uniforms and players for my doc. Here is a logo I designed and the replica tobacco cards that I’ll give out at the premiere on June 14.” … “The Cubs fixed one of my biggest pet peeves on the new video board,” Jeff Ryder says. “They poorly tried to replicate electronic “white dot” number for the batter to start the year. They have fixed this.”
NFL News: Thank you for your service? The Department of Defense has paid 14 different NFL teams a total of $5.4 million over the last four years in exchange for patriotic displays at games (from Phil and Andrew Cosentino). … Here’s a photo gallery of the Chargers rookies getting fitted for equipment (from Eric Stangel). … “I noticed that the Rams rookies were wearing a lighter shade of blue for their rookie mini camp,” Tyrell McDowell says. “Is this foreshadowing the move to LA by going back to the LA Rams original color scheme?”
Hockey News: On Saturday, Eric asked about this picture of Isles’ John Tonelli wearing a blue helmet with the team’s home white uni. The caption indicated that it was a home game on Oct. 16, 1979, at Nassau Coliseum. He had never seen this blue helmet-white uni combo. The backstory came from reader Danny Green: Before a 5-1 win over Atlanta, the Flames complained that Isles goalie Billy Smith was wearing a white helmet while the rest of the team was wearing blue. Since Smith did not have a blue helmet readily available, the Isles wore white helmets and then pounded Atlanta. Rookie Yvon Vautour scored the game-winning goal in his first NHL game– it was the first of three goals he would score in an Islanders uniform.
Soccer News: Gerard Pique of Barcelona is showing his impressive haul of swapped jerseys on his Twitter feed (from Yusuke Toyoda). … New home kit for Leverkusen. … Is having a good uniform important to a team’s success? You bet it is (from Sean Walsh). … Tottenham Hotspur will unveil its new home kit on Friday (from John Muir).
Grab Bag: Coca-Cola has created a line of specially designed cans with braille for blind customers (thanks, Brinke). … Here’s a collection of 50 style guides for large companies (from Ryan Patrick). … Saint Mary’s College of California has announced a multi-year apparel deal with Under Armour. … President Obama received these special Jordan IVs with the presidential seal on the tongue from Nike (thanks, Phil). … Bicycling magazine has a new logo (from Sean Clancy). … This guy is going for the worst case of logo creep ever (from Neil MacLeod). … “The Allen High School (Texas) lacrosse team has NOBs below the numbers, uses the Philadelphia Eagles’ logo, and has wings on the shoulders,” Kenneth Singer says.
Last Friday we learned how MLB will once again be distorting the meaning of Memorial Day later this month. That led many observers, myself included, to proceed to the next logical thought: How will MLB be desecrating the flag on Independence Day this year?
And now, thanks to one of my sources, we have our answer (click to enlarge):
Wow. A few thoughts:
• This is the kind of American flag cap you’d find at a gas station (right next to the cheap sunglasses and the air freshener thingies), but with a team logo slapped on the front. It’s tempting to call it self-parody, but it feels two or three levels more absurd than that. Come on, people — have some dignity out there.
• My source doesn’t have any of the other teams’ designs yet — just the one for the Dodgers. Red, white, and blue are all part of the Dodgers’ color scheme, so it isn’t clear if the other caps will be rendered in team colors (in which case the flag motif will, in many cases, look really inappropriate) or if they’re going to impose red/white/blue on every team (in which case several teams, especially the A’s and Rockies, will look even worse than all the others).
• I don’t really care about BP caps, but it’s interesting to see that they’re included them in this year’s program. I don’t think they’ve done that in the past, have they?
• The most notable thing about the template, at least in terms of its implications for future MLB cap designs, is the sublimated flag pattern. You can get a closer look at it here (click to enlarge):
Imagine other background patterns, featuring secondary logos, wallpaper effects, or whatever, being used on standard MLB caps. A frightening thought.
• Although I don’t yet know this for sure, I’m assuming that MLB will once again be donating profits from the sale of these caps to Welcome Back Veterans. That’s nice, but Independence Day is not a military holiday — it’s the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence’s ratification. So if MLB once again ties the sale of Independence Day merch to a military charity, they will be (a) misrepresenting yet another holiday, (b) once again promoting the insidious notion that support for the military and patriotism are synonymous, which is patently false, and (c) continuing the endless drumbeat of celebrating the military over and over and over again, to the near-exclusion of all other sectors of society. All of this is unacceptable. (It’s also worth noting that MLB could do all of this strictly via merchandising, without making the players wear gas station-style caps on the field.)
• More that a quarter of MLB players hail from outside the United States. In the past, I’ve said that it’s unseemly to force so many foreign-born players to wear American flag-based imagery. But my concern with this new cap design is different: I’m worried that the foreign-born players might think all Americans are as foolish as the ones who approved this cap concept. So to all of the Dominicans, Cubans, Japanese, Mexicans, Canadians, Panamanians, Koreans, and other foreigners who’ll have to wear this thing, please believe me when I say some of us have better taste than this — honest.
I’m quite fond of the American flag, incidentally — it’s a gorgeous design, and over the years it has stood for many wonderful things (along with some truly awful things, but history is messy that way). It deserves better than to be cheapened by this type of cap design.
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Accursed color reminder: Purple Amnesty Day is normally May 17, but that date falls on a Sunday this year, so I’m moving Purple Amnesty Day to Monday the 18th — one week from today. That will be the only day this year when you can order a purple-inclusive Uni Watch membership card. So if you’re a fan of the Vikings, Rockies, Lakers, LSU, or any other purple-clad team, mark your calendar.
Also: There will be a new wrinkle to Purple Amnesty Day this year. I’m not going to divulge what it is until next Monday, but believe me when I say it will be gloriously hideous and hideously glorious. You’ll see.
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Kinda puts everything in perspective: On Saturday my friend Aimee and I went to the Museum of the City of New York, where we saw an exhibition on Paul Rand, the greatest graphic designer in American history and the man who almost single-handedly raised design to the same cultural and critical status as fine art. Over the course of a six-decade career, he created many of the 20th century’s most famous and durable corporate logos (IBM, UPS, ABC, Westinghouse, NeXT) and pretty much rewrote the book on designing print ads, magazine covers, and book jackets. His influence on just about every aspect of contemporary design can’t be overstated.
It’s a tremendous show. As a longtime Rand fan, I was already familiar with most of the images and information on display, but it was still great to see all of it in one place. What really hit me as I made my way through the exhibit, however, was the consistent sense of intelligence and playfulness in most of Rand’s work, and how both of those elements are sadly lacking in so much of the design we see in contemporary sports graphics. If you think Nike’s or Under Armour’s designers are talented and/or radical, do yourself a favor and check out some Paul Rand, who had more talent and radicalism in his pinkie toenail clippings than most sports designers will have in their entire careers.
I saw Rand speak once, at a conference in the early 1990s, shortly before he died. He was pretty cranky and irascible by that point, with little patience for things he thought were shallow or pointless, so I imagine he wouldn’t think much of what passes for sports design today. To my knowledge, he never did any sports-related work himself, which is a pity.
The Paul Rand exhibit is up through Sept. 7. If you live in the NYC area or will be visiting here by then, go see it. You won’t be sorry.
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Baseball News: Yesterday was Mother’s Day, so there was the usual tsunami of pinkwashing, including pink ribbons, pink armbands, pink bats, pink bat knob decals, pink undershirts, pink shoes, pink shoelaces, pink catcher’s gear, pink umpire’s gear, pink batting gloves, pink baseballs, pink eye black, and so on. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look at any of those games because I was spending Mother’s Day with my family. … One notable aspect to all the pinkwashing: Royals P Ryan Madson is the first player (at least that I can recall) to be breathing Ethier in a pink undershirt (screen shot by Bradley Springer). … Brewers mascot Bernie Brewer’s mom looks just like Bernie, right down to the mustache. … Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters unveiled their lavender alts for games in June and July (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Here’s an interview with the artist who did that great Cardinals scorecard cover (from Dwight Ternes). … Pink jerseys yesterday for the Norfolk Tides. According to a small note at the bottom of this story, “With the different jerseys, a few [players] had different numbers. One of those was catcher Audry Perez, who is typically No. 24, but wore 20 on Sunday.” Not sure why they’d do that, but Perez went 2-for-3, so there you go. … Don’t know what the connection was between the Dodgers and the Sands Hotel in Vegas, but it led to this cool promo poster (from Matt Wilson).
Hockey News: “The Canadian Museum of History has this page devoted to an old hockey equipment catalog,” says Will Scheibler. “Of particular interest is this line of Maurice Richard ‘Rocket’ clothing. Here’s a closer look at the top half of that page.” … Ron Roza was in Montreal and spotted this hockey goal urinal target. … The NHL is promoting this year’s Stanley Cup Finals by putting Tony the Tiger in a hockey jersey.
NBA News: Rihanna was spotted wearing a vintage Dennis Rodman Spurs jersey (thanks, Mike). … A high school charity basketball event is using a logo cribbed from the 2000 NBA All-Star Game logo (from @loneranger158).
Soccer News: Shonan Bellmare announced the alt uniforms to they’ll wear in July for Tanabata, the Japanese festival of stars (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Also from Yusuke: Howler magazine produced four really cool animated videos about European soccer history, including how Juventus’s black-and-white-striped jerseys came to be.
Grab Bag: Here’s a slideshow of Australian Olympic Games uniforms dating back to 1956 (from Graham Clayton). … Just in time for Mother’s Day, Judy Adams sent me this amusing clothing care tag yesterday. … PGA player Kevin Na wears a belt buckle with an American flag motif, but with his last name swapped in for the stars (from Douglas Ford). … NASCAR note from David Firestone, who writes: “The Southern 500 is returning to Labor Day this season, and Darlington is having throwback tickets, throwback tires, and fauxback paint schemes — I can’t wait!” … Thousands of uniform shirts slated to be worn by volunteers at the upcoming Pan Am Games have to be replaced because their chest logos might come off in the wash. … The Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer has to change its logo because it looks too much like the logo for a retail store. … Someone is trying to capitalize on the Bruce Jenner situation by trademarking an athletic apparel line called TransJenner.