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Chargers Say, ‘Never Mind,’ Scrap New Marketing Logo

In case you missed it amidst all the weekend hubbub, the Chargers’ much-maligned “LA” logo is official dead, done, kaput. That news was broken on Saturday by NBC’s Pro Football Talk, where Chargers exec A.G. Spanos raised the white flag:

The logo that was revealed on Thursday was meant to help launch our brand into the market and supplement — not replace — our official team marks. Clearly, we miscalculated how the logo would be received, and we’ve taken it out of the rotation.

I’ve heard a few people compare this episode to the 49ers’ infamous one-day six-day helmet fiasco from 1991, but I’d say that’s a case of apples vs. oranges. The Niners’ helmet was really going to be, you know, the Niners’ helmet, while this logo was never going to be anything except a Twitter avatar and a promotional mark. As I explained last Friday, it was never going to appear on-field. So all the fuss over it was largely moot.

But the Chargers have nobody but themselves to blame for that fuss, because they put the logo out there without explaining what it was for. If Spanos had used that language about the logo being intended to “supplement, not replace” the team’s existing visual portfolio when the new logo was introduced, a lot of the ensuing ridicule could have been avoided.

As I mentioned on Friday, I don’t think the logo was that bad (although it would’ve looked a lot better if rendered in a more Chargers-y color scheme). The real issue here wasn’t a design problem; it was a communications problem.

Speaking of which: I often roll my eyes when teams stage elaborate media events or issue hype-laden press releases for fairly routine developments. That’s all part of what I perceive to be a culture of micro-management and marketing nonsense that’s gotten way out of hand. But the Chargers’ logo debacle makes it clear why teams often err on the side of too much information. The alternative — too little information — can have disastrous results.

I’d like to think there’s a happy medium between those two approaches. But I think it’s a pretty safe bet which approach the Chargers will take the next time they update their visual program.

• • • • •

End zones, continued: Last week’s Friday Flashback about home teams acknowledging the visiting team in one end zone led reader Bob Gassel to submit the 1970 photo of Northwestern’s Dyche Stadium shown above. See how there are two sets of goalposts in each end zone? I’ll let Bob explain:

This photo was taken when the Bears and Eagles played there on September 27, 1970. The game couldn’t be played at Wrigley Field [which was the Bears’ home venue at the time] because of a conflict with the Cubs. NFL goalposts were still located on the goal line in those days, not the back line, so the extra set of goalposts was added for this game.

Another hint it isn’t a college game is that the stadium is full. Northwestern rarely filled the place back then (and now).

Footnote: When the Bears had to move from Wrigley after the 1970 season, Dyche Stadium was their first choice for a new home. But Evanston was dry at the time, and the team wouldn’t have been able to sell beer at the games, so they went to Soldier Field instead.

• • • • •

And the Puppy Bowl’s coming, too: In case you missed it yesterday, Phil had a post on pets wearing sports uniforms. He’s planning a follow-up post and wants to feature photos of your uni-clad pets. If you have a photo for him, use this link to send it his way. Thanks.

Raffle reminder: I’m currently raffling off a $100 discount code for use at IceJerseys. Full details here.

Design contest reminder: I’m currently accepting entries for a “Redesign the Chargers” contest. Full details here.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe Diamondbacks announced yesterday that their black snakeskin gradient cap will now be their “primary” cap this season. It also looks like they’re mothballing the black and red cap without the gradient. … Whoops: Andrew Greenblatt’s father bought a Giants cap with a sublimated American League logo. He’s not alone, either. Dawson found a Pirates cap with an AL logo. … With the news that Ringling Bros. is ending its circus after more than 100 years, check out this photo of the Barnum and Bailey Circus baseball team from 1912 (from BSmile). … Tom Cruise must read Uni Watch (from Matt). … You can hear former Mets broadcaster Lindsey Nelson commenting on the Padres’ 1972 uniforms in this radio broadcast from a ’72 game. “But he gives out some incorrect information,” says Ferdinand Cesarano. “He says that the Padres had gone back to brown caps from caps that were ‘all gold.’ There was no all-gold cap, but only the brown cap and the original version of the Taco Bell cap.”

Football NewsIn Paul’s most recent Flashback Friday column about visiting team logos painted on NFL fields, he mentioned a 1971 Dolphins/Chiefs playoff game. Turns out that the hashmarks on the field were painted in Chiefs red and Dolphins aqua (from Mark Guttag). … Speaking of field design, the “Divisional Playoffs” logo that usually appears at the 25-yard line for was missing from the Cowboys’ field yesterday (from @espitt). … Whoops: This NC State shirt was printed in UNC colors (from James Gilbert). … Step aside, Bucs and Cornhuskers. The Oregon Medical Department football team owns the skull and crossbones. That’s from Andrew John, who spotted that awesome photo at the Oregon Health & Science University.

Hockey NewsThe Maple Leafs recently acquired Curtis McElhinney from Columbus. In his first game with his new team on Saturday, he wore a mask with both Leafs and Jackets logos. If you look closely at the first shot, you can see the CBJ logo under the white paint. (from Will Leslie).

Pro Basketball News The Grizzlies wore their black Martin Luther King Jr.-themed alternates at home last night, creating a black vs. red game against the Bulls (from Zachary Loesl). … Also from Zachary: The Raptors wore black at home, with the Knicks wearing their white throwbacks on the road, and the Hawks wore their red alternates at home, with the Bucks wearing their white home unis on the road. … The Dandening Rangers of the Australian Women’s National Basketball League wore special uniforms commemorating 25 years in the league. They contain the names of every player to play for the team.

College Hoops News: Iowa players honored former player Kenny Arnold on their shooting shirts before last night’s game at Northwestern. Arnold lives in Chicago and was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor (from Josh Segal). … Manny Powell for DII Clarion University had a backwards number on his shooting shirt on Saturday (from Jim Roddy).

Grab Bag: Here’s the ball that teams in the United Soccer League will play with this season (from Josh Hinton). … Federal officials are covering up the signage on portable toilets brought in advance of Inauguration Day, due to laws restricting advertising on the National Mall. The slogan they’re covering up? Don’s Johns (from Adam Brodsky). … SportsLogos.net put together a good graphic showing how franchises changed their logos — or, in some cases, didn’t change their logos — when they moved to a new city. … New logo for the Australian Open tennis tournament.

• • • • •

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when we honor history’s greatest American. And as I like to point out each year on this holiday, perhaps the most amazing thing about King is that he accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. He was only 39 when he was assassinated in 1968. Think how different — how much better — this world might be if he had lived another 20, 30, or 40 years. What a waste.

As you may recall, the Grizzlies have an MLK-themed alternate uniform this season. Unfortunately, they’re not among the 18 NBA teams that are playing today. Disappointing.

Dog Day Afternoon

MB 550
Click to enlarge

By Phil Hecken, with Megan Brown

It doesn’t happen often, but every so often I have an idea for a Uni Watch topic I file away, thinking “OK, I’m gonna write about that one day.” Today is one of those days. Not long after I began writing for Uni Watch way back in 2008, I thought a fun post would be to have readers send in photos of their pets in uniform (which, unless you actually have a pet — usually a dog — you consider to be a family member, probably strikes you as incredibly odd). I remember seeing a photo posted by Doug Keklak, probably back when the Steelers were playing the Cardinals in the Super Bowl (I think Ricko may have sent in one of his pet poodle, Winnie, as well), and I had a photo of my own little guy, Bizkit, wearing a Jason Sehorn Giants jersey which I put him in for Super Bowl XXXV (when the G-men got their butts handed to them by the Ravens).

Anyway…I was going to run a post asking UW readers to share photos of their pets in uniform. And I completely forgot about it. Until yesterday.

So, I logged onto Twitter in the morning and one of the first posts I saw was from Megan Brown, who posts as @thatgirlondeck, asking pet owners to post photos of their pets “reppin their teams jerseys,” as yesterday was something called, “National Dress Up Your Pet Day.”


Without even thinking too much about my “let’s see the Uni Watch pets in jerseys” idea I had way back when, I replied to Megan with that photo of Bizkit:


It was shortly after that, in my morning fog, that I remembered the UW thing. I shot Megan a DM and asked, since she’d already put out the call for doggo pics, if she’d be interested in doing an article with me on Uni Watch and if she wouldn’t mind sharing some of the shots she got. She heartily agreed.

(Sidenote: Megan has an awesomely cute Yorkshire Terrier named “Alexa” who has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts. You may also remember Megan for her incredible post on the day she broke the interwebs:


Awesome.)

So, with Megan in agreement to do a pups in jerseys post, I’ll introduce her now. I’m also going to FINALLY get to that request to have Uni Watch readers send in photos of their own pets (doesn’t have to be a dog) in a JERSEY (or at least some type of team gear), which I’d love to run at some point in the future. If you have (or want to take) a photo of your animal in a uni, shoot me an e-mail with the subject line “PETS IN UNIFORM” and I’ll compile whatever I get. It may not be too cute to see a 45 year old dude at the game in a bad jersey, but everyone loves a pup in uni, right? Right!

OK, here’s Megan to set up the post and then we’ll have a look at some canines in kits:

#NationalDressUpYourPetDay
By Megan Brown

Yesterday was #NationalDressUpYourPetDay, so naturally I wanted to see the furrier fans repping their favorites. I posted a tweet inviting my followers to share pictures of their pets wearing sports jerseys, and I think you’re going to like the submissions. Regardless of your sports loyalties, even a Tom Brady jersey can be made tolerable when paired with puppy dog eyes. Enjoy!

And there you have it! (There are probably a few more that rolled in, but the cutegasm has to end somewhere).

Big thanks to Megan for soliciting the pics and sharing them, and also for triggering a long-lost memory in me as well — once again, if you fine Uni Watch readers have photos of your pets in parkas (or jerseys, bandanas, headbands, etc.) just shoot them to me in an e-mail (see above for deets).

Megan’s not only a great doggy-mommy, she’s a great follow on the Twitter (and Insta) and she has a blog as well. I’ll forgive her for being a Brewers fan, this time.

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Uni Tracker Wraps

Now that the NCAA football season has ended, I wanted again thank my trackers, Dennis Bolt, Rex Henry, Ethan Dimitroff and Kyle Acker for their yeoman work.

A couple of the trackers not only do the tracking on Uni Watch throughout the season, but they maintain blogs for those conferences as well. As we bid adieu to the college season until August, I wanted to give the guys a quick spotlight for their work.

Dennis Bolt

Dennis not only tracks the Pac-12 (and the Oregon squad on the Duck Tracker), he keeps up blogs for both. Here’s Dennis’ look back at the Pac-12 season:

Looking back at 2016-17
The Pac-12 ended its season with USC in the Rose Bowl, but this past season saw some new faces in the spotlight and some established teams on the fade.

With Oregon’s fall from the top of the Pac-12, came a change in the veracity of its uniform reveals. At the beginning of the season, when its record was still respectable, it had several specialty and alternate uniforms. But as losses mounted, the uniforms began to calm and each week brought much more normal and sedate choices.

The stalwart traditionalists stayed the same: UW, USC, and Stanford pretty much stuck with home and away sets. UCLA—a uniform maven last year—also regressed like Oregon to a more normal rotation. Cal felt boring, but when I tallied their sets, it came to seven separate combos!

People love to lambast Oregon for its uniforms, but the mountain schools have taken over that mantle! Arizona made great use of normal colors mixed and matched, with one real nice alternate USS Arizona uniform. ASU went off the rails with all kinds of wacky helmets and color schemes this year.

But, the winner for number of combos is Utah. They only went with one throwback uniform and several special helmets, but made varied use of their red, white and black, with three mono-color schemes as well.

WSU and Colorado (the win cinderella’s this year) pretty much stuck to several colors that they mixed and matched to nice affect.

“Pink-tober” and “GI-Joe-vember” were almost—thankfully—absent!

You can read more here. You can also check out the Duck Tracker for the season by clicking here.

…..

Rex Henry

Rex has been tracking the ACC for me (and last year he also did the SEC) for two years, and is passionate. He runs the excellent ACC Tracker blog which not only lists each week of uni combos for each team that plays, his side tabs also detail the unis worn by each squad each week individually. The tracking goes back as far as 2012, so it’s a tremendous resource as well. Make sure to check that out as well!

Rex is still in the process of doing his own season wrap-up for the ACC, so once that’s done I’ll run it next weekend.

…..

Ethan Dimitroff

Ethan tracks the SEC, and was also pressed into duty in mid-season tracking the B1G, but his real passion is for the West Virginia Mountaineers. It’s similar to the Duck Tracker, but well worth taking a look at. You can check that out here. It’s a LOT more than just tracking of the 2016 unis too — definitely worth a look-see!

At some point (I know I keep teasing this) I will be getting more in-depth with Ethan (we’ve already partially completed an interview…I just have to put everything together). He’s a talented man and I think you’ll like that when it does run.

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UW Friday Flashback UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it on Friday, earlier this week Paul asked Uni Watch reader what you thought about NFL home teams acknowledging the road team on their fields (as the Chiefs did while hosting the Dolphins in the famous “Longest Game Ever Played” in 1971, as seen here). That’s the topic of Paul’s latest Friday Flashback column on ESPN, which has lots of additional examples, including some from college football.

Check out the Friday Flashback here.

Enjoy!

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sb li helmet

Super Bowl Party Helmet Trivia

Got an e-mail from Ray Hund who wanted to share some “helmet trivia” for the upcoming Super Bowl hopefuls. Check it out:

. . . . . . . . . .

This year’s NFL playoff picture is no surprise to me and some of my friends.

75% of the teams playing for a chance at a Super Bowl ring are non-animal teams.

There are 32 teams in the NFL.

Of these teams, 17 are non-animal, or 53%. The other 15 teams, or 47%, are animal teams.

Non-animal teams have won 38 Super Bowls compared to 12 for the animal teams.

So, while non-animal teams make up 53% of the NFL, they have won 76% of the Super Bowls.

All the so-called dynasties have been non-animal teams: Packers, Steelers, Forty-Niners, Cowboys, and Patriots.

Of the 15 animal teams, only the Dolphins and Broncos have been able to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

My friends and I recommend going non-animal to any new franchise entering the NFL.

But there are other things to consider besides this (and coaching, talent, and execution).

Take the football helmet for example:

Teams with letters on their helmet are 27-10 in Super Bowls. Of these, non-animal teams with letters are 24-9.

Teams with lower case letters on their helmet are 10-3 (all non-animal). Teams with letters that overlap 7-2 (again, all non-animal).

(The most common letters found on NFL helmets are S and E, each appearing five times.)

If the city the team plays in is abbreviated on the helmet this produces a winning record too: 18-6.
The name of the team spelled out in full works as well (Jets, Steelers, and Raiders): 10-4.

Variations of silver & gold have shined on helmets in Super Bowls over the years with a record of 20-10.
Variations of yellow on a helmet are 13-7. Orange, in comparison, is 7-11.
The team with the most colors on a helmet — the Steelers (6) — are 6-2.

Human heads (living/dead) on helmets are 11-8 in Super Bowls.
However, putting a hat or helmet on the head on the helmet drops the record to 7-6.

Swords on a helmet are 4-2. Weapons of any kind 5-3.

Circles big & small on a helmet have a 11-7 record. Five-pointed stars drop to 9-8.

If the logo appears exactly the same on both sides of a team’s helmet, then the Super Bowl record is — appropriately — 8-8.

And this is weird: Fabric depicted on a helmet (Buccaneer’s flag, Raider’s eye patch, and Patriot’s hat) has a winning record of 8-6.

The undefeated? Those helmets depicting a football are 2-0 (Again, the Buccaneers, and the Jets). Quality over quantity.

Warning: Here are some things to keep off a new franchise’s helmet:

Horns!!! Horns are 1-10 in Super Bowls! Yikes!

Speaking of horns, the ungulates — or hoofed animals — are 6-13. Actually show the hoof on the helmet and your record is 0-4.
Predators fair worse than the animals they might eat; they are 4-13.
Manes on hoofed animals are 3-9.
Manes on predators haven’t been to the Super Bowl.

Birds on a helmet are 3-6.
Feathers on a helmet are 5-6 (The Seahawks are not included here because the design doesn’t actually depict feathers).
However, show a beak and your team is 3-3.
Talons? 0-1.

If the animal on a helmet is not found within the continental United States, your record is 2-5.

This one is a bit tricky…If eyes can be seen on a helmet (not a suggestion of eyes) you’re 9-10.
If there is only a suggestion of eyes you’re 10-12.
Teeth? 0-2.
Visible ears? 0-2.

If the whole animal is portrayed on the helmet you’re 2-8 or have never been to a Super Bowl.
Floating heads on helmets (animal/non-animal) are 16-21.

So if you want your team to win a Super Bowl, here’s what you put on your team’s helmet:

1. Something that is not, I repeat, not an animal.
2. Abbreviate your city/spell out the team name. Overlap a few letters. And throw in some lower case letters to boot.
3. Remember the song “Silver and Gold” from Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer? Take it to heart. Then add yellow. And a touch of red.
4. And don’t forget the football — it doesn’t have to be prominent.

. . . . . . . . . .

Thanks, Ray. Some faaaaaaaascinating stuff there.

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iStock_000005865336XSmall
So, I’ll be on the air today…

The “fun” surrounding the LA Chargers’ “new logo” release continues.

For anyone who’s interested, I’ll be on with Danielle McCartan on her show, “60 Minute Overtime,” which can be found on your local NY dial at 90.3 fm, WRPR. Her show runs from 11:00 am to noon (Eastern Standard Time), and if you are interested you can tune in there or you can also audio stream online here: https://www.ramapo.edu/wrpr-fm/ OR, if you’re really interested, you can video stream at http://facebook.com/CoachMcCartan (I’ll be calling in however). I believe the pinned tweet in her link above gives some other options as well.

Not quite sure what my segment will entail, but the plan is to discuss and dissect the LA Chargers failed new logo roll-out on social media, as well as the reaction many of their fans had to the news of the Chargers move by burning team jerseys. I believe my segment will air around 11:10 am, so if you have nothing better to do, check it out!

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man w megaphoneUni Watch Reminders!

Raffle reminder: Paul here. I’m currently raffling off a $100 discount code for use at IceJerseys. Full details here.

Design contest reminder: I’m also currently accepting entries for a “Redesign the Chargers” contest. Full details here.

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Too Good For the Ticker
Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail from Jmac yesterday regarding the Flyers/Penguins alumni game. It’s a bit too long, and certainly too good, for ticker, so I’m running it here. Here’s John…

. . .

The Flyers and Penguins alumni teams faced off against each other in Philadelphia in front of a sold out crowd as part of their 50th anniversary celebration. The LCB and Legion of Doom lines were reassembled for the Flyers. Philly players wore the 50th anniversary jersey. Attached are several screenshots from the game. By the way, the Flyers Reggie Leach played against his son Jaime (#20 Penguins) in the photo with The LCB line.

Photos are (click to enlarge):

Combined teams:

alumni game 1

Bobby Clarke in his last alumni game:

alumni game 2

The LCB line w/ Jaime Leach:

alumni game 3

The Legion of Doom line in game action:

alumni game 4

John M

. . .

Thanks, John.

OK. Now, on to the ticker…

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: This important Bobblehead change news comes to us from Richard Paloma: “On Jan 11 the Ticker nothed how the A’s had Bob Melvin’s jersey wrong with piping on the front. This was put out by the A’s on Sat Jan 14. Did someone get the memo?” … An article on FanSided opines, “The Cincinnati Reds had one of the most classic looks in all of sports when they were the Red Stockings.” I do agree, but should the team really return to their original red stockings unis? … SEC Patches for Florida Gators softball have arrived. “This year features a slightly different look,” the add.

NFL News: We show a LOT of creative soda stack displays and most of them are pretty good, but this one featuring Aaron Rogers in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, just might be the best (from Andrew Greenwood). … Speaking of “food” products and the NFL, Michael Bonfanti writes, “I have seen where uni-centric cakes are shown on the site, and figured I’d send you my wife’s effort. Our son Mason turned 8 on the 11th and asked for a Patriot’s helmet cake. Undaunted by the intricacies of the Flying Elvis, his step-mom Kirsten delivered. I think it turned out pretty well.” … Although I believe he has had it for at least a week, Russell Wilson has gotten a new style of facemask (from Allen Alexander). … The NFL posted this cute graphic for their divisional round games featuring the Pats, Texans, Falcons and Seahawks yesterday. Except — they used the Seahawks logo from 1976-2001! (good spot by Deplorable Ted). … “Levi’s are (p)romoting these NFL shirts on twitter,” notes Eric Odden. “Think they even know the KC Chiefs logo is upside down?” … Whoa — check out the V E R Y W I D E S P A C I N G on this old Oilers NOB (from John Turney). … Oops — yesterday CBS was using a graphic showing Patriots away socks with the Pats’ home uniform (good spot by Reed Pike). … The Cowboys may be old school with their dymo tape, but the other Texas team seems a bit more middle school (nice grab by Mark Lockwood). … Sometimes, Darren Rovell is really funny (from Matt Fedorka). … During their game with the Lakers, the Clippers showed the new Los Angeles Chargers logo on the video screen and the Staples Center crowd promptly booed. After a few seconds, the screen cut to Chargers tight end Jeff Cumberland, who briefly waved but then was booed (thanks, Paul). … Tweeter Mike Nessen asks, “Does Will Fuller hold the current record for highest numerical suffix (i.e. RNOB) in sports? Anyone have “VI” or higher?” … Major helmet sticker fail last night for Lamar Miller of the Texans (nice screen shot by CJ Fogler). … Interesting pennant for the Washington football club (from Bill Hetrick). … During yesterday’s Seahawks/Falcons game, Devin Hester was wearing a towel with writing on it. Omar Jalife is curious what it says. Anyone know?

College/other Football News: Some packaging mistakes are, I suppose, unavoidable, even excusable. But I’m not sure if you could ever forgive whoever put this helmet inside this package (from Wild Bill). I mean, you gotta have a really sick sense of humor to get that for your kid, right? … Check out the jerseys, and especially the helmets being used for the “Polynesian Bowl” (from Adam Apatoff). Here are the unis/helmets for the opposing squad (also from Adam). The units are divided into “Team Stanley” and “Team Mariota”.

Hockey News: The Flyers wore their 50th season jerseys on the ROAD for just the 2nd time this DESPITE the fact that the published schedule only denoted that they would be worn at HOME (from John Mac). … Franklin sports has developed batting style gloves with padded palms for under goalie catch gloves (from J. Walker). … Speaking of which, the video with this tweet shows Tuukka Rask has batting gloves (from Nick Griffin). … The Indy Fuel had some great Blackhawks inspired uniforms last night (from Mark Grainda and the Indy Fuel). … The Huntsville Havoc had some pretty awesome Friday the 13th-inspired jerseys the other night (from OT Sports). … The Wheeling Nailers did the Star Wars thingy yesterday (from Jeff Tasca). … Goalie McElhinney was picked up on waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets and got his first win for the Toronto Maple Leafs last night versus Ottawa – looks like he got a quick temporary paint job in his mask (from Will Leslie).

NBA News: Nike is releasing its LeBron 14 “Out of Nowhere” sneakers through a secondhand site, StockX. The shoes are limited to 23 pairs each and estimated to sell for $3,000 to $25,000 per pair. Nike and James are trying something new with their newest release “to build extra buzz” (thanks, Paul). … The Atlanta Hawks will be retiring “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s no. 44 jersey where it will be lifted to the Philips Arena rafters on March 3, joining Lou Hudson, Dikembe Mutombo, Bob Pettit and Dominique Wilkins as the franchise’s most iconic names. … “The ‘unofficial’ new Pistons logo is on FULL DISPLAY in this tweet they just fired out,” writes Conrad Burry. “Guess we’ll wait til next season for official launch.” … Tonight, the Memphis Grizzlies will debut their MLK uniforms (with Monday being Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this makes sense). … The Wizards won their 11th consecutive home game last night, wearing these Bullets-inspired throwbacks. That game was also color vs. color (from Zachary Loesl). … Also from Zachary, the Suns and Spurs went color vs. color down in Mexico.

College Hoops News: Yesterday was “90s day” inside the Syracuse Carrierdome, so on the scoreboard (and elsewhere) the team was using 90s style logos (from Seth Goldberg). … I don’t really follow much college hoop until tourney time, so I’m not sure this is big news, but yesterday the Utah Utes had hooded warmups for their game against UCLA (from Ricky Clark). … Good observation from Lawrence Benedetto who notes that in yesterday’s Okie State vs. Kansas game, “There are III players with Surname III in this game. Only II of them wear that distinction on their jersey.” … Color vs. color game yesterday for Iona vs. Quinnipiac (via Derek Turner). … What happens when your kicks are too tight? You change them at halftime. And voila! (from Mike Slavonic). … Here is what appears to be an MLB licensed jersey with a college hoops team (from Custom Helmet Source). … Most hype videos for new unis only show the players going nuts for a new shiny object. You don’t often get to see fans react (nice spot by Jon Horton). … Looks like fans were treated to free Palestra patches yesterday (from fillyfandan). … Color vs. color game yesterday for BYU and San Diego (from Mitch Harper). … Check out these gorgeous throwbacks for the San Francisco Dons (from Erik Kissel).

Grab Bag: Canada’s dairy farmers are dumping their well-known cartoon logo in a bid to rebrand for 2017. The switch starts next month, when consumers may start noticing a more stately, businesslike cow replacing the cutesy, jumping bovine trademark (from Ted Arnold). … It’s official. Big South Sports has a new logo (from Fletcher Jones). … Here’s another look (from Ryan Brown). … Really nice post from Chris Creamer on pro sports team relocations and logo changes that came with them.

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And that’s it for today.

Thanks of course to Megan for the doggies in unis pics. Remember, if you have absolutely nothing better to do this morning and want to hear me trash the LA Chargers (and the few idiots who set ablaze $300 polyester shirts), give a listen (links above).

Also, if you have your own photo of your critter in sports clothing, don’t forget to shoot me a photo, OK? OK!

Enjoy your Sunday and the rest of your week. I’ll catch you next weekend but until then…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“I was tempted to send the Knicks that Cavs champions shirt, since who knows when they’ll ever get another one of their own”

— Jimmer Vilk

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A Very Merry Vilkmas - The Lucky Ones (2016/17 Edition)

By Phil Hecken and Jimmer Vilk

As you guys will remember, a couple weekends ago I did a post with Jim Vilk where he graciously decided to raffle off a number of his prized possessions. A slideshow of the prizes is above — if you can’t see that click here to see the show or click here to see the set.

More than 100 of you sent in entries, and now Jimmer his here to announce the 10 lucky winners. Thanks to everyone who sent in — I forwarded each and every entry to Jim and I know he read them all. I don’t know if he’ll be responding to everyone, but for the 10 of you listed below, you’ll be hearing from him soon, I’m sure.

Thanks again (BIG thanks) to Senor Vilk for his generous gifts. I’ll turn the rest of this over to Jimmer right now. Here’s the big guy:

. . . . . . . . . .

A Very Merry Vilkmas 2016/17
By Jimmer Vilk

Did you know a legal pad can fit 114 names on one side? Good news for me, as I had 113 Vilkmas contestants.

image1 (45)

I got The Wife’s paper slicer out and proceeded to cut the names to put in my can.

image2 (17)

What did I do with the extra piece? I wrote “The New York Knicks” on it, folded one corner and put it in the freezer…

image3 (12)

…and then I left it there, because this isn’t the ’85 NBA Draft Lottery! I know, it’s an old joke but it never really gets old.

Anyway, I put the 113 names in the can, closed the lid and shook vigorously before blindly drawing my first winner, then repeated the process until I had all ten. Here they are…

Cavs BFBS champ shirt:
Tim Constantin

Cavs hat (or toque, for my friends north of Lake Erie):
Dave Landesberg (who lives south of Lake Erie, so it’s a hat)

Timofey Mozgov Russian hat:
Tom Pachuta

2014-15 Cavs yearbook, picture & Finals stuff:
Riley Jauch

Mark Price pin:
Blaine Hidalgo

Tribe replica Caveman jersey:
Allan Labanowski

Columbus Clippers shirt & baseball book:
Paul Letlow

Crew replica jersey:
Daniel Ulrich

Crunch soccer cards:
Jeff Kelbach

Barons t-shirt:
Phil Tse

Congrats to the winners, and thanks to everyone for entering. It’s always nice to see the different places you’re from and the nice messages some of you included. Merry Vilkmas to all, and to all a good night!

. . . . . . . . . .

Wonderful, Jim — I hope all of the UW readership will take a moment to give him a big THANKS in the comments below!

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Trolling The Bolts

In case you somehow live in a cave and weren’t aware, on Thursday, the (now) Los Angeles Chargers introduced a “new” logo — which actually wasn’t really their logo at all but a placeholder (the logo won’t appear on uniforms or helmets or anything). If you weren’t aware of this, I direct you to yesterday’s Uni Watch, where Paul addressed the new logo (that isn’t their new logo) with aplomb.

You may also be aware that on social media, various teams and organizations (and even individuals) were having a field day trolling the shit out of the Chargers. And the hits just kept on coming — in an environment where horses become dead in under 24 hours, several teams even jumped on the bandwagon to troll the Chargers yesterday as well. I’m sure there are even more examples than the (many) below, but I began to curate these “Hey, check out our new logo” tweets — some of them are actually very well done. Twitter may still have fun, even if the NFL (as you’ll see in the ticker) remains the No Fun League.

Here’s a (large, but probably far from complete) sampling of the Charger trolling from the past two days:

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More Uniform Cleanup…

…from Ben Traxel

If you happened to read last Sunday’s edition of Uni Watch (click here, scroll down), you saw my buddy Ben Traxel had done a number of “clean ups” for several NFL uniforms. Ben decided to do this for Alabama and Clemson, who recently played an epic National Championship Game, and well…the results speak for themselves.

Alabama

Here’s Alabama’s uniform as it appeared in the game and here it is after Ben’s cleanup. Quite the difference, eh?:

Alabama transition

The difference with Clemson is even more dramatic…

Clemson

Here’s Clemson’s uniform as it appeared in the game and here it is after Ben’s cleanup. Looks so much better without all the noise:

Clemson transition

Thanks (again) Ben!

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UW Friday Flashback UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it on Friday, earlier this week Paul asked Uni Watch reader what you thought about NFL home teams acknowledging the road team on their fields (as the Chiefs did while hosting the Dolphins in the famous “Longest Game Ever Played” in 1971, as seen here). That’s the topic of Paul’s latest Friday Flashback column on ESPN, which has lots of additional examples, including some from college football.

Check out the Friday Flashback here.

Enjoy!

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man w megaphoneUni Watch Reminders!

Raffle reminder: Paul here. I’m currently raffling off a $100 discount code for use at IceJerseys. Full details here.

Design contest reminder: I’m also currently accepting entries for a “Redesign the Chargers” contest. Full details here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil

Baseball News: Baseball is one of the slower sports when it comes to embracing technology and innovation, but it appears one innovation may soon be making its way to the bigs: catchers’ helmets with headsets (similar to what the NFL uses). The technology is being tested in the college ranks. If it works, don’t be surprised if you hear about it being tested by the pros soon. … FSU baseball will have some new footwear this spring (from Christy). … Check out this photo of the 1917 Brooklyn Royal Giants, an Independent Negro Baseball Team (including future HOF’er Louis Santop) Fantastic uniforms! (thanks to Bruce Menard). … Hey New Yorkers (and NY area residents): if you needed a reason to come to the Queens Baseball Convention (January 28th at Katch in Queens) besides Paul’s always-awesome uniform panel (featuring PL, plus the awesome Todd Radom, Bill Henderson, Russ Gompers, Jon Springer, Nick DiSalvo, and even me), here are 11 10 more reasons to come on down. … If you’re like most human beings, and you’ve always wanted to see a behind-the-scenes timelapse video of a complete field renovation, today’s your lucky day (from Iron Pigs). … WHOA! Check out the sleeve patches on this Indians jersey, circa 1980. That photo and one more come from here (nice find by Michael Mariniello). Paul was quick to provide the explanation. … Former Carolina great and 2009 Rivals.com National Player of the Year Dustin Ackley will have his No. 13 retired in a ceremony during the UNC-Virginia Tech basketball game on Jan. 26 at the Dean E. Smith Center. Ackley is set to become the fourth player in program history to receive this unique honor, joining Dave Lemonds, B.J. Surhoff and Andrew Miller (from James Gilbert). … Yan Gomes has given new Indian Edwin Encarnacion No. 10 (thanks to Mike Chamernik). … Check out this early Brandiose hand-drawn lettering for the Reds official team typeface (from Brandiose). … Looks like Youngstown State will have camouflage uniforms this season (thanks to Robert Hayes). … Seats in the Braves new ballpark will feature a tribute to Hank Aaron (via Ballpark Digest). … New uniforms for App State baseball, which look like they’re taking a page out of the D-Backs road uni playbook (from Steve Uhlmann). … Presented without comment: “outfit for sale at Build-A-Bear Workshop in Nashville. Braves uniform with red and blue Yankees cap” (from Andrew Dyrdal). … New uniforms for Coastal Carolina (from Mark). … “I know they’re only ‘fashion’ but the Rockies just added a dark gray hat too with the darker purple,” says Robert Hayes.

NFL News: As you’re likely aware if you’ve watched any games (Falcons, NCAA) in the Georgia Dome this year, the Falcons are constructing a stadium right next door. Here’s an interesting article about how owner Arthur Blank is trying to “rebuild” the neighborhood around the stadium. … This is cool — check out this story of Ottis Anderson wearing his practice pants all the way to Supe 25 (where he was named MVP, dontcha know). From Chuck Loads. And OJ himself says, “It’s all true.” … After all the kerfuffle with yesterday’s “it’s our logo but not really since we’re not going to use it for anything,” it seems as though the LA Chargers have changed their colors to powder blue and gold (thanks to many) on their social media accounts. … Of course, as of last evening, the Chargers may have ditched the “new” logo altogether (from Frank McGuigan). … Which is par for the course, I guess, for the NoFunLeague (h/t JonYe West). … “Spotted this driving past LAX today, kinda grainy but it’s a Charger helmet on this private plane,” says Jonté Robertson. “Possibly Spanos 👎🏾👎🏾 At least he avoided traffic.” … The LA Rams introduced their new head coach, Sean McVay, by giving him a jersey with his name and a number on it (thanks, Brinke). … Whoa — check out this screen cap of Ken Stabler with a HUGE smiley face on the back of his helmet, from This Week in Football, circa 1971 (great grab by Ken Purdy).

College Football News: When a football recruit takes an official visit to a college campus, it has come to be expected that a cookie cake will be waiting for him in his hotel room along with other snacks and beverages. And since everything in college football recruiting becomes a competition, the cookie cakes have, naturally, taken on a life of their own (from Jason Hillyer).

Hockey News: With the passing of former NYC police officer Steven McDonald earlier this week, the New York Rangers created a triple digit jersey to honor him. The jersey includes the Rangers’ 90th anniversary patch (from LevityNYC. … Here’s a look at the AHL AHL All-Star Classic jerseys (from Paul). … The LA Kings will be sporting the infamous “Burger King” sweaters during warmups today. … Last night Tampa Bay Lightning wore throwback unis for Martin St. Louis’ jersey retirement (from Jared Knight, CB and Will Shima respectively). … Here’s a bit more on that. … “During the ceremony and in the pregame warmups, the current Lightning players wore 2004 Lightning jerseys (Cup year) w/ St. Louis #26 patch on upper left chest,” says J Mac. “During the game, they wore their black 3rd jersey, which honors the cup year, with St. Louis #26 patch.” … Yesterday was Friday the 13th, so the Wheeling Nailers used this for their profile pic (nice spot by Matthew Farrier).

NBA News: The Portland Trailblazers will be wearing beautiful 1977 throwback uniforms on January 25th. They’ll be playing the Lakers that night (no word if the Lake show will play along with their own throwbacks). … Shocking that the NBA would promote a page featuring people wearing NBA jerseys as fashion “statements” (as opposed to pure fan gear). Wonder if this has been the intent all the time. … The Atlanta Hawks wore their awesome Pete Maravich throwbacks last night. Funhouse got some grabs. This game was on in my gym’s locker room (without sound, but with captions), and the few minutes I caught had some uni banter — and one of the announcers asked the other if he “liked” the unis (Atlanta was losing at the time), and the other remarked he thought they were a “Hardwood Classic Money Grab.” Awesome. … Here’s some more on those Hawks throwbacks (thanks, Brinke). … The Utah Jazz apparently wore a brutal uni last night (from Dennis Kelly). Here are some game photos (from Zachary Loesl). … Also from Zachary: A color on color (Kings vs Cavs) game; also going color vs. color were the Rockets and Grizzlies. Zachary also included more photos from the Atlanta Hawks throwback game.

College/Other Hoops News: Here’s a pretty good article detailing several Michigan State University alternate jerseys throughout the years. … As reported in yesterday’s ticker, the Cincinnati Bearcats will be wearing a “throwback” uniform on February 4. Of course, there are some differences between the throwback and the original (from Doug Smith). And here are some additional photos of the uni. … In case you missed it: the U wore some tremendous throwbacks Thursday night (that link includes a nice gallery). … Looks like there will be a bunch of uniform unveilings for the Big South today (from Fletcher Jones). … “I was at our high school game in Tennessee and the team we were playing were wearing these uniforms,” says Adam Childs. “They are Nike but I have never seen a back quite like this. First the rare double zero. Second it barely fits. But mostly the back arm hole comes to almost a right angle in the back. Much different then say Michigan’s Nike uniform. Didn’t know if you had seen that before.” Interesting — I (Phil) saw this tweet yesterday, and it seems the same “angle” is on these unis as well. … WVU hoops went throwback yesterday. Throwback plane, that is (from The Smelly Hobo). … Dean Smith’s first UNC team (’61-’62) had uniform numbers on socks. Those were not present on ’61 team (from James Gilbert).

Soccer News: Benfica fans want the club to put this emblem back on their jersey. They’re hoping retweets will help (from Mike D). … The Baltimore Blast will be wearing these first responder jerseys today (from Jimmer Vilk). Here’s the front. … The Pumas (Liga MX) have officially released their third kit (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: The 2017 New York Red Bulls “RBNY” (MLS) home kit has been leaked by the club.

Grab Bag: You may be aware that there is an upcoming “Women’s March on Washington” slated for January 21. The author of this article argues the march needs “passion and purpose, not pink pussycat hats” (from Tommythecpa). … For all you numismatists out there: For the first time ever, there will be a black Lady Liberty on a coin. … “Although it’s not sports related, thought you’d be interested in this,” writes Mike Edgerley. They took the Kraftwerk (a ’70s German electronic band) “Man Machine” theme to another level! … Here’s a pretty cool look at the evolution of the Xavier “X” (from LargeTimHortons). … Some women’s volleyball news from Jeremy Brahm: A player from a visiting team from Poland, Kinga Drabek, had an unpleasant situation in the second set. She had to change her jersey in front of 1,302 spectators in the gymnasium, all because of an error in the protocol of the match. … Check out the new pro cycling jerseys for 2017 (from Craig Ackers). … The U have now put the Miami skyline on their track unis (from Jason Huber).

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And that’s it for today.

Thanks again to Jimmer Vilk for another round of generosity, and to Ben Traxel for “cleaning up” the Tide & Tigers. With college football all over, I’ll have some roundups on the season from my Uni Trackers tomorrow, but it’s NFL Playoffs, Puck & Hoops until the first throws of Spring Training. I’ll catch you guys tomorrow, but until then…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“Aren’t there now 3 pro teams in LA?

Rams
Chargers
USC”

— Tim Dunn

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Chargers Confuse Everyone by Unveiling New Logo That Isn’t Their New Logo

Well, that was a bit of a mess.

As you’re probably aware by now, the Chargers are moving to Los Angeles. As you may also be aware, they unveiled a new logo yesterday, which is shown at right. Regardless of what you think of its aesthetic merits (we’ll get to that in a minute), the unveiling left a lot to be desired from a communications perspective. After the team’s move to L.A. became official, the logo simply appeared on social media with no explanation or context, giving people the mistaken impression that it will be the team’s new primary mark (it’s not). Many people therfore made the logical leap of assuming that new uniforms are also on the way (they’re not). There was also a wave of bogus info circulating, suggesting that the logo was illegitimate (it’s not). All of which can make for a rather hectic day if your job happens to be, say, writing about logos and uniforms.

Here’s the deal:

Is this a real Chargers logo?

It’s real in the sense that it was created for the team, it’s being used on the team’s Twitter page and on other official Chargers web pages, and it will be used in other marketing capacities (billboards, stadium signage, etc.). But that’s all, at least for now.

Will this logo replace the arched lightning bolt as the team’s primary logo?

No.

Will this logo be worn on the uniform in 2017, even as a patch?



No.

Could this logo end up on the uniform at some point later down the road?



In theory, yes. In practice, I am not aware of any plans for that to happen.

So what’s the point of this logo?

It symbolizes the team’s relocation to Los Angeles and will be used strictly for marketing purposes, not for on-field use.

Why didn’t they just say that when they first revealed the logo?

Good question. Would have made more sense to do it that way (and would also have made my Thursday sooooo much easier).

I heard that the NFL hasn’t approved the logo yet.

Yes, I’ve heard that too. That initially seemed ridiculous, because the NFL’s own Twitter account posted the logo around the same time the Chargers did. But that NFL tweet was later taken down. Still, the fact remains: The Chargers are using this logo on their own web pages — that seems pretty “approved” to me. Maybe it isn’t approved for on-field use, but that’s a moot point because they’re not planning to wear it on-field, at least for now, and couldn’t do so even if they wanted to, because NFL redesigns can’t happen that quickly.

Look, it’s just a promotional logo. There’d be no reason for anyone to make a big fuss over it, or even for me to create this FAQ explainer, except that people mistakenly got the impression that it it’s going to be the team’s new primary mark, which it isn’t.

Don’t you think they probably intended this to be their new primary logo, but then they saw how much everyone on Twitter hated it so they changed their minds about getting a makeover and decided to call this a “promotional logo” just to save face?

No, that’s not how these things work.

So will the Chargers have new uniforms this fall?

No. For starters, I’m not at all certain that team ownership wants new uniforms. Moreover, as we’ve covered many times here at Uni Watch (and as everyone should have learned when the Rams moved back to L.A. last year), it usually takes two years to execute a team makeover, mainly because of supply chain logistics involving retail merch. If the Chargers want a new look, they’ll have to wait until 2018 or, more likely, 2019.

Are you going to wait that long before running a “Let’s Redesign the Chargers” contest?



No — the contest is already up and running. Deadline is next Thursday. Full details here.

What do you think of the logo?

I wouldn’t say it’s history’s most inspired piece of graphic design, but I don’t think it’s as bad as many other people apparently do. It’s simple, direct, and gets the point across, although it’s obviously too Dodgers-derivative. But one more time, it’s just a promotional logo tied to the team’s move, so it’s hard to get too worked up about it one way or the other.

Or at least that’s my take. But a lot of people did get worked up about the logo yesterday (again, because they misunderstood how it’s going to be used). Some just poked gentle fun at it, but others were a bit more aggressive (and apparently set a record for the fastest turnaround from logo unveiling to T-shirt parody):

There’s a lot more where that came from — this logo really seemed to inspire people. Phil will have more thorough coverage of that phenomenon tomorrow, so you’ll want to check back here for that.

• • • • •

Friday Flashback: Earlier this week I asked what you folks thought about NFL home teams acknowledging the road team on their fields (as the Chiefs did while hosting the Dolphins in the famous “Longest Game Ever Played” in 1971, shown above). That’s the topic of my latest Friday Flashback column on ESPN, which has lots of additional examples, including some from college football. Check it out here.

After I raised that topic earlier this week, I received a really interesting note from reader Mike Nachreiner, as follows:

While working for the St. Paul Saints minor league baseball team in the late 2000s, I was able to do a lot of fun things. The Saints were playing in a very outdated stadium and we did what we could to make it more like every other ballpark in professional baseball. We’d never had a Saints logo painted on the field and it always bugged me. So during the playoffs, I made a stencil of our logo and got approval to paint it in front of the home dugout.

Having the logo in front of only one dugout looked asymmetrical, so I was going to paint the logo in front of the visitors’ dugout too. But then I got the bright idea that I should use the logo of the opposing team, the Gary RailCats, instead. It was an easy logo and I didn’t need a stencil. I talked with the groundskeeper and she thought it was a good idea.

It ended up looking great but as I was finishing Gary’s logo, the Saints players came walking over and started yelling at me. Nearly every player told me that I had ruined our home field advantage. The GM asked me to paint over the RailCats logo with the Saints stencil an hour before the game. It ended up looking pretty terrible. The Saints ended up losing that game, which was the deciding game in the playoffs. I spent all winter feeling bad about it. I felt vindicated while reading Uni Watch and finding out that it was more prevalent in the past.

• • • • •

rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

NEW! IceJerseys raffle: Our friends at IceJerseys are generously offering a $100 discount credit to a lucky Uni Watch reader.

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by next Wednesday, Jan. 18, 7pm Eastern. I’ll announce the winner the following day.

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

“Collect ’em all” update: For those of you who submitted proof of having purchased all six Uni Watch T-Shirt Club designs in 2016, an embroidered patch like the one shown above will soon be sent your way. I don’t have the patches in my hands yet, but I should have them either tomorrow or Monday, and they’ll mail out promptly once I get them. My thanks to everyone who participated in the Club last year, whether your bought all the shirts, or only one, or even if you just offered feedback and enjoyed watching how things developed. It’s been a fun project.

Some of you have asked if the Club will continue in 2017, and the short answer is that I’m not sure. The longer answer is that I’d like to do a few more shirts this year (perhaps with the great Larry Torrez, who designed my Twitter avatar), although I leaning against doing a month or even bi-monthly schedule. Maybe we’ll just do three or four tees this year without the Club imprimatur — no sleeve patch, no jock tag, no “Collect ’em all” incentive, just some nice designs. I’d also like to move beyond T-shirts and do a Uni Watch baseball cap (crazy that we’ve never done that before, right?) and maybe even a Uni Watch seam ripper (for when you want to remove that New Era logo creep from your MLB cap). More on all of that soon.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: The school district in Belding, Michigan, whose school board voted unanimously last month to stop calling its teams the Redskins, is now accepting ideas and artwork for a replacement identity.

Baseball News: This is pretty awesome: When there’s a hockey game played at Fenway Park, the Red Sox staffers play their own game, in Bosox hockey uniforms! So cool (big thanks to Keith Thibault). … See the Gear, a Twitter and Instagram project that shows photos of baseball gear, is partnering with D1baseball.com, a site that focuses on college ball (from Joel Mathwig).

NFL News: Cowboys RB wore an orange wristband all season to support a fan with cancer (from Phil). … Also from Phil: Here’s a great visual history of pro football in Los Angeles. … Here’s a rare sight: the Raiders wearing white at home, albeit for a preseason game.

College Football News: With coach PJ Fleck moving from Western Michigan to Minnesota, Minnesota is looking to buy Fleck’s signature “Row the Boat” trademark (thanks, Alex).

Hockey News: New uniforms and logos for the ECHL All-Star Game (from John M). … Pretty wild “Video Game Night” jerseys for the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits (thanks, Phil). … I put this item in the baseball section, but it belongs here too: When there’s a hockey game played at Fenway Park, the Red Sox staffers play their own game, in Bosox hockey uniforms! So cool (big thanks to Keith Thibault). … The Lightning will add a commemorative patch tonight for Martin St. Louis’s number retirement. As you can see from that shot, it appears that they’ll also be wearing white at home (from Joe Delach). … Cross-sport move by the Missouri Mavericks, who’ll be wearing Kansas City Monarchs-themed jerseys on Feb. 18 (thanks, Phil). … Longtime reader/commenter Rob S. made some simple adjustments to the NHL All-Star jerseys, and his versions are a major improvement over the real thing.

NBA News: Here’s a ranking of the best uniforms ever for each NBA team (thanks, Phil). … With the Nuggets playing in London yesterday, Danilo Gallinari broke out the Union Jack socks (from @so_it_gohs).

College and High School Hoops News: Throwbacks in the works for Providence (from Dan Herr). … Syracuse-area high school teams will be wearing throwbacks this weekend (from Rick DiRubbo). … SMU and Cincinnati went color vs. color last night. … Speaking of Cincy, they’ll have 1991-92 throwbacks on Feb. 4 (from The Fish). … Wisconsin’s court — not the arena, but the court — will be called the Ab Nicholas Court starting next season (from @jmjf89). … Key passage from this article about a high school game in New Hampshire: “Thornton took a pass seconds into the second half, then stopped in front of his bench and held the ball aloft, calling for a stop in play. He’d realized he’d been given a smaller girls’ ball to start the half. ‘I knew that when I palmed it,’ he said, exchanging the small ball for the larger alternative” (from Tris Wykes).

Soccer News: New shirt deal for the Nigerian team Rivers United. … Here’s a visual history of MLS match balls. It’s so weird how soccer balls change all the time while the balls in other sports stay essentially unchanged (from Josh Hinton).

Grab Bag: CSN Mid-Atlantic, which provides coverage of DC-area sports, is going with a casual Friday on-air look. A station exec says athletes feel more comfortable when appearing with people who aren’t dressed quite so formally (from Tommy Turner). … Former NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon famously drove a No. 24 car. Here’s the story of how he almost drove No. 46 (from Steve Laga). … President Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, love to wear chokers. … Here’s a good project that documents the designs of NYC plastic bodega bags (from Vin Barone).

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: When I was eight or nine years old, I was poking around in my big brother’s apartment (he would have been 23 or 24, and the year would have been 1972 or ’73) and stumbled across a comic book that was unlike anything I’d seen before. I was used to comic books featuring superheroes and full-color pages, but this one had a fairly graphic cover illustration showing a guy taking a leak, and the interior pages were all in black-and-white. I didn’t really understand what the story was about, but I could tell it was “dirty.” My brother, who’d been doing something in the other room, came in and said, “Whoa, whoa, that’s not for you!” and grabbed the comic book away from me.


I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was my introduction to the great underground cartoonist Robert Crumb. He would go on to influence a generation of cartoonists, illustrators, animators, and graphic novelists, and I would go on to become one of his many devoted fans.

Crumb now frequently makes comics with his wife, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, a great cartoonist in her own right. Last night the Tugboat Captain and I went to check out the opening of a really great gallery show of their collaborative work.

At first glance, the two Crumbs are a yin-yang pair. He’s neurotic, skinny, and intensely insecure, while she’s bold, physically robust, loud, and in your face. But the more of their work you see, the more you realize that those personas are both poses or even caricatures, and that they have more in common than they initially let on (and that, like many couples, they know how fortunate they are to have found each other, because it’s hard to imagine anyone else putting up with either one of them). In particular, they both have competing impulses toward exhibitionism and shame, which creates the tension that drives much of their storytelling.

Amidst all the penises, nipples, asses, and other salacious bits, the show features quite a few comics that are fairly straightforward love letters from the two Crumbs to each other. The one shown above — a cover design for the Jewish culture magazine Heeb — is one example, and here’s another (click to enlarge):

I love that strip — the story of two misfit weirdos who fell for each other and somehow managed to meld their mutual eccentricities. Awwwwww.

(If you want to see more artwork from the gallery show, there are some additional pics here. Depending on how uptight and/or comics-clueless your workplace is, a few of them are probably NSFW, so be careful.)