Ugly Fluorescent Color Wins Home-Field Advantage, Will Host Derek Jeter in World Series

First things first: If you’re looking for coverage of yesterday’s NBA leaks — plus a new leak I provided myself this morning — please look here. Thanks.

Now then: Let’s talk about last night’s MLB All-Star Game. The visual theme of the game was clearly DayGlo — DayGlo batting gloves, DayGlo shoes (a shitload of them, as you’ll see in a minute), DayGlo arm sleeves, and a lot more. But here’s the beauty part: That particular color is apparently the same as the green screen behind the plate (or at least close to it), so at one point Charlie Blackmon’s batting gloves were partially blacked out. Too bad that didn’t happen with all the other DayGlo gear.

As for the Twins-inspired caps, I didn’t care for them. Even though some of them looked fine on their own terms (A’s, Jays, a few others), I didn’t like having every team stuck into the same template. And a few of the designs were hideous (Mets, Rockies, etc.).

Other notes from the game: (Continue reading)

Uni Watch Exclusive! NBA Xmas Day Unis and a Whole Lot More

There was a ton of uni news yesterday, and I’m about to make some additional news here myself, so we’re going to have two posts today: this one, which will be all about the NBA (and will also have the Ticker and other secondary content), and another one, which will be about last night’s MLB All-Star Game. The second post should be up by noon Eastern, and maybe a little sooner, so be sure to check back for it later on. is available here.

Now then, let’s turn our attention NBA-ward, beginning with a Uni Watch exclusive. Here are this year’s Christmas Day designs (click to slightly enlarge): (Continue reading)

Uni Watch Exclusive: Vikings Prototypes

Click to enlarge

Hmmm, what have we here? It’s two sets of Vikings prototype designs that were prepared by Reebok in 2003. I got them from a source and confirmed their legitimacy with another source who used to work for the Vikings. And there’s a lot more where these came from — the second source says he has a big packet of uni designs that Reebok proposed along with these two. He’s going to send them to me shortly and will also provide info on the internal deliberations about them.

It’s interesting to see that the Vikings (or at least Reebok) were considering going BFBS more than a decade ago. Glad they didn’t go that route. Also, note that all of these jerseys had seam stripes going across the yoke and/or down the torso — ewwwww.

Of course, it’s not surprising to learn that a pro team was considering uniform changes, or that a uni manufacturer was coming up with design proposals for a team — that kind of stuff is happening all the time without our knowing about it. For every design we see on the field, there are dozens more that were rejected. But we usually aren’t privy to those details. In the case of the early-2000s Vikings, however, we’re about to get a peek behind the curtain. I hope to be able to share more images from my source’s cache within the next week or two — stay tuned.

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

Tonight’s the MLB All-Star Game, so our leadoff offering is this 1977 T-shirt from the 1977 ASG at Yankee Stadium. Always liked watching the game growing up as a Reds fan, ’cause you could count on the Big Red Machine wearing white or red shoes, as opposed to the silly team-mandated all black.

Here are the rest of this week’s vintage finds:

• This 1960s/1970s Cowboys helmet bank looks familiar. This one says “South Oak Cliff Bank.” Mine says Commonwealth National, and I remember going over to open the account there!

• Looks like the Niners are facemasking Earl Morrall on this 1969 Charlton Comics NFL issue.

• Get your 1970s WHA Cincinnati Stingers glasses right here! This set of two also includes the WHA logo player in team colors.

• Paul, you need this 1970s Mets mini-poster cardboard sign for Uni Watch HQ!

• Dave Boss alert! Lotta great NFL posters from The Master available from this eBay seller.

• This 1970s Hallmark NY Jets bumper sticker coulda been designed a bit better, eh?

• Check out the graphics on these 1980s NFL bedsheets. And these NFL curtains have all the team wordmarks, yet generic-looking players.

• Great look on this 1970s NFL sleeping bag. [Wow, that’s a beauty! — PL]

• This vintage Browns helmet radio needs a tiny bit of TLC for the helmet stripe but otherwise looks pretty good.

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Tick-Tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Garrett McGrath.

Baseball News: Notes from last night’s Home Run Derby: Jeff Samardzija wore a league-neutral All-Star cap, and ESPN’s graphics department had several goofs. … The All-Star players aren’t the only ones assembling in Minnesota — there’s also this gathering of MLB mascots (thanks, Phil). … “On Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a special section with a cool rendering of All-Stars past and present in a dugout at Target Field,” says Michael McGivern. “Of course Harmon Killebrew, Derek Jeter, Willie Mays, and Sandy Koufax had the historically inaccurate NOBs. No big deal but still interesting.” … Yesterday’s Ticker a photo of a Giants fan wearing a No. 138 jersey. Two readers have sent in possible explanations: Justin Criado says, “It’s most likely a reference to the Misfits song ‘We Are 138.’ During the Giants 2008 World Series run they called themselves ‘misfits.’ T-shirts with the punk band’s iconic crimson ghost skull were sold in black and orange, and one crimson ghost logo even had a beard like reliever Brian Wilson’s.” But Jeff Dahl is convinced that it signifies section 138 of the bleachers. What does everyone think? … The Brooklyn Cyclones are wearing hockey-themed jerseys this Thursday (thanks, Paul). … The Richmond Flying Squirrels are wearing powder blue throwbacks this weekend (from Raymond Parrish). … The Triple-A Home Run Derby was also held yesterday. “A few players had these things on their headwear,” says D.P. McIntire. “It appears to be either a camera (although they didn’t show images from it on the scoreboards) or a device that tracks bat speed (which was mentioned several times during the event).” … ESPN Radio guys Mike and Mike were wearing both versions of the ASG logo — Twins-branded and MLB-branded (from Paul Gaylord).

NFL News: A bull mastiff dog named Swagger will lead the Cleveland Browns onto the field next season. It is an attempt to reconnect with Cleveland’s Dawg Pound of the past. Wait a second, I thought the Manzielf was the one with swagger (from Leo Strawn, Jr.). … A video preview of the new Madden game has given us our first look at how the Bucs’ new uniforms might look on the field. “I actually like that chrome facemask in the light,” says James Comfort. But those orange horns — not so much.”

College Football News: New uniforms for Duke. The helmets have chrome decals on the black shell. Here’s a video of the reveal (thanks, Phil). … Here’s college football’s new championship trophy. … Hmmm, will Penn State have numbers on its helmets in 2014? (Thanks, Phil). … Tulane has shared new unis as well.

Hockey News: In 1995, graphic designer Ken Loh — the designer behind the Kings’ infamous “Burger King” design and the New England Patriots’ “Flying Elvis” logo — presented the Flyers with these concepts as a possibility for a third jersey. Time does not heal all wounds (thanks, Phil). … The Hockey News has begun ranking the NHL logos from worst to first, beginning at the bottom with the Carolina Hurricanes (from Barry Brite).

Soccer News: New home kit for Wigan. “Too similar to Sheffield Wednesday for my liking,” says George Chilvers. … New kits for UNAM as well. “I’m biased because they’re my team, but I like them,” says Pedro Naranjo.

Grab Bag: The University of Utah football and men’s basketball teams will be getting new uniforms. … Yikes, check out these pit crew uniforms for the STP-sponsored No. 40 car that Parnelli Jones drove in the 1967 Indianapolis 500 (from Graham Clayton). … Australia’s National Rugby League will wear Marvel superhero-inspired uniforms (from Leo Strawn Jr.). … Cooper Union, the NYC university with programs in architecture, engineering, and the arts, built a new structure at 41 Cooper Square in hopes of landing a naming-rights gift that never arrived (from Tom V.). … The Australian Football League is selling hijabs in team colors.

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What Paul did last night: On Friday I was reading this weekly list of interesting NYC events and happenings for the upcoming week, and I was struck by the following listing for an event taking place on Monday (i.e., yesterday):

My name is Brian Beattie, and I’m a record producer and musician from Austin, Texas. My wife — the artist Valerie Fowler — and I have created something called “Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase,” which we call an Illustrated Earmovie Musical. … Set in 1938, it’s a new Depression-era folkmyth about a 10-year-old girl who falls into the underworld.

Valerie and I are bringing “Ivy” on the road. … I recite an epic poem called “The Backstory Ballad of Ivy Wire,” and then I sing the songs from the musical, and interspersed throughout the performance are four “Crankie Shows,” which are 30-foot-long illustrations that Valerie cranks along in our homemade Crankie Box while I sing the accompanying song. It functions as a sort of hand-drawn video, a low-tech immersive multimedia marvel.

“Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase” is also available as a fully illustrated 62-page book plus a CD featuring Daniel Johnston, Bill Callahan, Will Sheff, K. McCarty, James Hand, and starring Grace London as Ivy Wire.

That sure sounded better than sitting on the sofa and pretending to give a shit about the Home Run Derby, so last night I drove out to this little theater/performance space called Standard ToyKraft to see “Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase,” which turned out to be a completely wonderful piece of homespun musical theater.

I shot a video of one of the songs, and unfortunately it turned out to be the weakest song of the bunch, but it still gives you a sense of how cool the Crankie Shows were (the female singer is Brian and Valerie’s teen-aged daughter, Ramona):

Most of the tunes were much snappier and more dynamic than that one (and were sung by Brian, who’s a much better vocalist than his daughter).

Want to know more about the whole “Ivy” thing? Look here. Want to see if “Ivy” is coming to your town? Look here.

Another Throwback Game at Wrigley

For all of today’s photos, you can click to enlarge

The Cubs held their latest throwback game yesterday, this time turning back the clock to 1969 while hosting the Braves. The basic uni designs are shown above — not bad, right? Now we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of some of the details.

From what I could see, almost all of the Cubs went high-cuffed, but only some of them wore stirrups:

One Cub who didn’t go high-cuffed: outfielder Justin Ruggiano. Even worse, he wore his regular white pants, instead of the cream-colored throwback pants:

The Braves, meanwhile, didn’t bother with high-cuffery and just went with the pajama look — disappointing:

One of my favorite elements of this Cubs uni is the left-sleeve patch:

Speaking of patches: This being 1969, figuratively speaking, the Cubs wore the MLB centennial patch on the right sleeve. But the Braves, surprisingly, did not:

The Braves did, however, wear their Indian head patch on the left sleeve (which I’m fine with, because it’s historically accurate):

The Indian head logo, along with the Cubs’ throwback logo, also appeared on the bases:

I’d been hoping that the Cubs would include a period-appropriate detail — the handwritten uni numbers that were inscribed inside the team’s batting helmet logos back in 1969:

It’s such a simple thing — would’ve been easy to do. Unfortunately, they didn’t bother with it:

The Cubs’ next throwback game will be on July 27, when they’ll wear the 1978 reverse-pinstriped road blues.

(My thanks to readers Chris Mayberry and Mike Monaghan for their contributions to this section.)

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Some uni-watching from the booth: During yesterday’s SNY broadcast of the Marlins/Mets game, there was a social media promotion in which fans were asked to name their favorite Mets uniform. That prompted a bit of uni-centric dialogue between play-by-play man Gary Cohen and color analyst Keith Hernandez, as follows:

Keith Hernandez: What’s your favorite, Gary?

Gary Cohen: I have always been — and this goes back right to the beginning of the franchise — I’ve always been partial to the road grays with the block “New York.” I love that look.

Hernanez: I like the homes that are kind of the cream color. Not the stark white.

Cohen: Not these [that they’re wearing today] — these are the snow whites. You like the cream with the pinstripes.

Hernandez: Yes.

Cohen: That’s the most traditional of the home uniforms.

Hernandez: The San Francisco Giants have that same white [i.e., cream] on their home whites. It’s a nice look.

Cohen: You know, the Giants don’t put names on their home uniforms. The Mets tried that briefly for maybe one or two years, right around 2000 or ’99 [it was for one season, in ’99 — PL]. Fans didn’t like it and they put the names back on. I do like the blue jerseys — I think that’s been a nice addition. And I know a lot of people didn’t like the black, but I liked the road black — again, the road with that “New York” on it, I thought that was really a nice look. There’s one uniform change I’d like to see the Mets make: I’d like to see them go back to the all-blue cap, instead of the orange button on the top.

Hernandez: Yes.

Cohen: The orange button — not a fan.

Hernandez: Only the Dodgers can get away with that. The white button on top.

Cohen: You probably don’t remember this, because you weren’t here then, but in the mid-’90s — it might’ve been ’96 — the Mets went to a white cap. They wore ’em for I think a half a dozen games, and it was just such a terrible look that they immediately eliminated it. It was supposed to be something they wore frequently, and it just — they just looked like ice cream men, like Good Humor men. If you look, there’s a great Rey Ordoñez highlight video out there, with some of Rey’s unbelievable defensive plays — they put together a compilation video — and he’s wearing the white cap in a bunch of those.

Hernandez: I don’t remember that.

(My thanks to reader Steve Hom for alerting me to the Cohen/Hernandez dialogue.)

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And you thought I wouldn’t have any World Cup coverage: Sure, Joachim Loew coached Germany to World Cup title, but that’s outweighed by the fact that he also missed a belt loop on his pants yesterday (you can click on the photo at right to enlarge). A national disgrace!

(My thanks to a certain anonymous reader for this completely brilliant observation, which is easily my favorite thing about today’s entry.)

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Radio days: I talked about college football uniforms on the Phoenix radio station KJZZ the other day — here’s the audio.

I also had a small role (which was mostly drowned out by the audience) in the “Bluff the Listener” segment of this past weekend’s installment of the NPR show Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Listen here.

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’Skins Watch: If you think the controversy over the ’Skins name is (a) a new or recent thing, or (b) the product of white liberals, here’s a good article showing why neither of those things is true (from Anthony Nuccio).

Baseball News: Mets All-Star representative Daniel Murphy will be using this bat knob decal for his bats at the All-Star Game. The design references the brick pattern at Target Field. … “What If” Night coming this Thursday for the Kenosha Kingfish (from Kevin Thoms). … We’ve all seen T-shirts that mimic a jersey, but check out this 1970s photo of a kid wearing a T-shirt that also mimics an undershirt and the top of the pants. I grew up in that era and don’t recall seeing anything like that. Anyone else? … “On a Fox Sports special, this Rays player (didn’t catch his name) was speaking to a school while wearing his fauxback hat and home whites,” says Austin Gillis. “Interesting look.” … The Seibu Lions have slits cut in their jersey armpits. Looks like the guy on the right was wearing a sleeveless undershirt (from Steve Vibert). … White Sox pitcher John Danks’s jersey appeared to be darker than his pants yesterday. “Not a shadow or sweat issue,” says Jen Hayden. … Here’s a buncha photos from the Futures Game, which was played yesterday. … Mets OF Chris Young has gone high-cuffed all year, but yesterday was the first time he wore stirrups. Looks like the one on his left leg was backwards. … Here’s a look at the visual history of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. … “Reds rookie Kristopher Negron is wearing a camo elbow pad,” says Joanna Zwiep. “I couldn’t find a picture of him wearing it with the Reds, but it appears he was wearing it in the minors as well.” … Also from Joanna: Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, who’s usually a pajamist, went high-cuffed yesterday. … The Dodgers began wearing their red numbers in 1952 (in case you missed it last fall, here’s the story of how they started wearing them), and the Braves began playing in Milwaukee in 1953. So how come there are no red numbers in this photo? “I’m assuming it was a spring training game,” says Bob Gassel — a plausible explanation. … This might be a first: Yasiel Puig has gotten an All-Star Game haircut (thanks, Phil). … Kyle Shultz and his wife recently adopted a puppy and named him Dodger, so they made him a Dodgers-themed doghouse. Does anyone else out there have a team-themed doghouse? … Someone at yesterday’s Giants game was wearing a No. 138 jersey. “No idea why,” says Eric Garment.

NFL News: A bunch of ex-49ers and other retired NFLers got together for a flag football game at Candlestick Park on Saturday. The jerseys had a Hewlett Packard ad patch on the right sleeve and a commemorative patch on the left. Lots of additional photos here and here (thanks, Brinke). … You might know that the Vikings occasionally wore purple pants in the early to mid-1960s. But did you know that the purple pants had white belts?

NBA News: Oh baby, look at Tommy Heinsohn in this old Celtics warm-up suit. … If you’re a Bucks fan and/or an Atari fan, you’ll like this. It’s available for sale here (thanks, Phil). … “Here’s what the NBA would look like if all the league’s players played for their hometown teams, as LeBron will once again be doing. “Not an exact science (it goes by both hometowns and birthplaces, which can be contradictory), but a fun way to kill five minutes,” says Mike. … Derek Hinatsu notes that the Blazers’ summer league unis have a new number font. Hmmm — a sign of things to come, perhaps? … Glen Rice Jr. has his dad’s old uni number, 41, tattooed on his calves (thanks, Phil).

Soccer News: Adidas has updated its Germany kit to add another star, reflecting yesterday’s World Cup win (thanks, Phil). … DeAndre Yedlin of the Sounders lost one of the stripes on his Adidas chest logo last night (thanks, Phil). … Germany’s Mesut Oezil wore his socks with the Adidas logo in the front instead of the back yesterday (from Kenny Ocker). … Looks like the World Cup’s “Best Keeper” award is Adidas-sponsored, and the winner just happened to be from an Adidas-outfitted team. “Would have been interesting if a non-Adidas team (or a non-Adidas-sponsored player) had won,” says Zack Kurland.

Grab Bag: “After my grandfather passed away, I came to possess some of his old postcards,” writes Joanna Zwiep. “As a Dutchman living in the U.S., he was an avid international radio listener. He would often write in ‘reception reports,’ and then the stations would send a postcard back with confirmation. One station, Deutsche Welle, sent him a couple sports-related postcards — one related to the 1972 Munich Olympics and the other showing Tip and Tap, the mascots for the Weltmeisterschaft (WM), or 1974 World Cup.” … Unusual shoulder/sleeve striping on this vintage varsity jacket. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that format before.

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Break out the black armbands: My favorite artists tend to be equal parts revolutionary and classicist. That description fits the jazz bassist Charlie Haden and the punk drummer/producer Tommy Ramone, both of whom passed away over the weekend.

From his early work with Ornette Coleman’s groundbreaking ensemble and then with Keith Jarrett, to his own Liberation Music Orchestra, Haden was always part of the avant garde, but his playing had a melodic lyricism that always made his work extremely accessible, at least to my ear. As for Tommy, he was the secret brains behind a lot of the Ramones’ best work as they rewrote the book on what rock and roll could sound like and stand for, and it’s no accident that the band’s three perfect records are the three that he played on.

I never met either of these chaps, but I’m a longtime admirer of both and was very sorry to hear of their passing. RIP.