An Alternate Cap Not Made by New Era (Revisited)

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[Editor's Note: Greetings from Bristol, Conn., where I'll be attending to some ESPN business over the next two days. Those are also the last two days of Passover, so I thought I'd re-run an entry that originally ran on the site three years ago. Enjoy. — PL]

This is Passover season, which means Coca-Cola is undergoing its annual uniform revision. If you live in an area with a decent-sized Jewish population, you’ll see bottles of Coke with yellow caps, indicating that the product is kosher for Passover.

The alternation isn’t just cosmetic. As any serious soda pop geek will tell you, the yellow-capped Coke has been made with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup (which, like all corn-based products, is off-limits to observant Jews during Passover). Soda savants claim that this makes the Passover Coke taste better, although I drink Diet Coke, so the distinction is lost on me. I do, however, make a point of buying a new container of Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup each Passover, since it too is made with cane sugar for the holiday. Does it really taste better? Honestly, I wouldn’t argue the case on the merits, but it’s a nice little ritual I enjoy each spring, and that’s what holidays are all about, right?

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Speaking of ritual, I was raised in a non-observant household. About the only religious-ish aspect to our family was that we always had matzos in the house for Passover. You can buy matzos anytime, of course, but only certain matzos are certified kosher for Passover (which basically means some rabbi got paid a lot to stand around at the bakery and give his blessing to the flour and water — what a racket), and that’s what my Mom would buy every year. She was very brand-loyal: We always had Streit’s matzos, which came in a pink box. I am even less religious than my parents, but I still buy Streit’s matzos each year for Passover, and they still come in a pink box. If they ever change the package design, that would probably be the end of my one Jewish ritual. Just goes to show the power of a uniform.

I learned very early on that I really, really like a sheet of matzo slathered in butter and then sprinkled with salt. Even better: several sheets of matzo slathered in butter and sprinkled with salt. But of course I wasn’t supposed to be snacking in between meals when I was a little boy, so I had to keep my matzo consumption on the sly. And therein lies a tale.

One afternoon when I was nine or 10 years old, I was scarfing down a nicely buttered sheet of matzo — my second of the day, I believe. As was my usual custom, I had redistributed the remaining matzos in the box to make it look like it was still fairly full, just as I always did when sneaking an extra Hydrox out of the cookie jar. Everything seemed just about right with the world, when I heard something I wasn’t supposed to be hearing yet: a car door slamming closed in our driveway.

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It was my Mom — home from work more than an hour earlier than usual. And there I was, about to be caught red-handed with contraband snackage. There was no time to run to the garbage can or the toilet — she was only seconds away from walking in the door — so I looked around and saw my salvation: Sitting on a shelf a few feet away from me was our family’s game of Scrabble. I lifted the top of the box, slipped the matzo inside, and then went and greeted my Mom.

The next morning, before I left for school, I retrieved the incriminating mazto and disposed of it. But as you probably know, the inside of the top of the Scrabble box is where they print the instructions, and I had put the matzo in the box buttered-side-up, which had left a few butter stains on the instrux — pale-yellow symbols of my transgression.

Those stains faded a bit over the years but never disappeared completely. Fortunately, my Mom didn’t play Scrabble and my father wasn’t the kind of guy who’d notice a few stains on the Scrabble box anything, so these telltale splotches never gave me away. The stains were still there in 2005 — 30 years after the original incident — when I finally told my parents the whole story and showed them the evidence. We all enjoyed a good laugh about it, although my Mom seemed a bit perturbed to learn I’d been eating so many matzos without her realizing it.

Two years after that, in 2007, I wrote an article about the Streit’s factory. While interviewing the company’s vice president, I told him the Scrabble story. He listened, then thought for a moment, and finally said, “That’s a shame to waste a good matzo like that.” At long last, I’d been called to account for my misdeed.

Happy Passover to all who are observing, and to all who enjoy Passover Coke.

[Addendum: I ended up showcasing the Scrabble box last year during one of my Show & Tell events. You can see it at the bottom of this entry. — PL]

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Yo, Red Sox fans: In case you missed it last week, Uni Watch readers are being offered a special deal on 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox: Every Picture Tells a Story, a gorgeously produced coffee table-style book (not an e-book) that chronicles the 2013 Bosox season. It features over 200 photos (some of which you can see here), along with essays by team owner John Henry, outfielder Jonny Gomes, manager John Farrell, Boston broadcaster Joe Castiglione, former mayor Thomas Menino, journalists Gordon Edes and Leigh Montville, and more.

The book lists for $40, and Amazon has it for $27.33. But if you go here and use the checkout code RSX131, you can get it for $24.95 — definitely the lowest price you’re gonna find. You know what to do.

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PermaRec update: The singer/songwriter Jill Sobule received a vintage charm bracelet (shown at right) as a birthday present and started wondering about its original owner. That ended up becoming the basis for a new concept album that’s just been released. Details over on Permanent Record.

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’Skins Watch: Did you ever collect Pez? I never did, but some of today’s Pez collectors might be a little confused, because the Pez execs can’t seem to decide what the Indians’ logo is (from David Sonny).

Baseball News: If you have to combine stars/stripes and baseball, here’s how you do it (big thanks to my pal Karen McBurnie). … Not to be confused with Chief Wahoo: Good article on the unusual uniforms and logo for the double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. … Here’s something you don’t often see: a Ku Klux Klan baseball team. That’s in Tennessee, 1957. … Nice stirrups, with gold sannies to boot, for Arlington High in California (from David Lassen). … David Firestone thinks he knows why the Washington Senators began wearing the 3-D numbers. … The Red Sox will wear their white “Boston” jerseys for this morning’s Patriots Day game against the Orioles. … Terry Proctor recently scored this gorgeous-looking 1958 MacGregor uniform catlog. Show us some of the interior pages, Terry! … Not uni-related, but here’s a really interesting article about how rooting interests are heavily determined by our youth. … Here’s a ranking of baseball stadiums by the number of names they’ve had in the past 20 years.

NFL News: Got a spare 35 grand burning a hole in your pocket? You can spend it on this Steelers helmet cart (nice find by David Firestone). … Some 49ers fans in San Francisco want BART — the city’s subway system — to change some of its seat colors because they match the Seahawks’ colors. “These people need to get a life,” says Brinke. … I think we’ve seen this before, but just in case: Football helmets based on Star Wars characters (from Jeremy Baker).

Hockey News: Okay, so this is seriously weird: Marc Hammil was poking around at an antiques market in Ontario when he came across a container of little unpainted Ken Dryden heads for $10 apiece. “They had other players too, but they weren’t labeled, so I’m not sure who they were supposed to be,” he says. Anyone know what these were for? (Oh, and Marc, also saw this awesome-looking baseball game, but that’s not as odd as the Dryden heads.)

NBA News: This was in yesterday’s Ticker, but it’s worth linking to it again for those of you who missed it: a sensational article on the Trail Blazers’ seamstress. Recommended. … The TNT TV crew wore wacky outfits yesterday as a gesture of support to leukemia-stricken colleague Craig Sager (from Robert Silverman).

Grab Bag: A dog-walking service in NYC has a strict uniform code for its employees. … David Firestone has compiled a list of NASCAR, IndyCar, and F1 drivers by driver suit manufacturer. … The U.S. Army’s new hairstyle regulations are causing problems for black women. … Interesting little piece on Nike’s 540 patents from last year (from Kyle Hanks). … Leo Strawn Jr. reports that the Australian Football League’s NOB experiment was a big failure. “The lettering was too small to read even from the good seats, plus the NOB went over the GPS pocket on the back. If AFL wants to use NOBs in the future, I would suggest they reconsider size and position, maybe putting the lettering below the number instead of above.”

League Ralph, Part the Second

King Ralph

By Phil Hecken

I’m back again today with R. Scott Rogers, who last time presented to us the first 10 teams whose uniforms, he feels, could replace those in the current Major Leagues, should those teams ‘disappear’ from the landscape.

If you missed that introductory post, which fully explains the set-up, please click here.

The second set of teams will be introduced today, along with Scott’s justification for picking them (by uniform set), and we’ll have one final post on this next time around.

So, without further ado…here ‘s Scott with…

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League Ralph – Reconstituting the Big Leagues, Part 2
By R. Scott Rogers

League Ralph – Reconstituting the Big Leagues, Part 2

If MLB as we knew it disappeared, how would we reconstitute the big leagues? By finding the 30 lower-level teams with the best uniforms and promoting them to the bigs, of course. Here is the second part of my list of the teams whose uniforms should earn them a shot at playing in the majors. For part one, read last week’s entry.

Got a favorite farm or independent club that didn’t make the list? Let us know, and why, in the comments.

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Charlotte Blue ClawsLakewood BlueClaws A – SAL
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What is it about crab-themed baseball uniforms? They’re all excellent. And while this Charlotte Stone Crabs cap has been my vacation companion for years, the Lakewood BlueClaws are the best-looking of the crab teams in Minor League Baseball.

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Maryland Blue CrabsSouthern Maryland Blue Crabs – IND
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Note I said “in Minor League Baseball.” The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs look even better than the BlueClaws, but they’re an independent team, so the reconstituted big leagues get a pair of crabs. Surely a step up from a pair of Soxes.

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Tulsa DrillersTulsa Drillers AA – TL
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Assignment: Take every single design element that made the 2004-2011 Blue Jays suck, and make a good-looking uniform. Suck as in, possibly the worst uniforms in MLB history. Impossible? On the contrary. The Tulsa Drillers have it all – black, gray, and blue color scheme, beveled liquid-metallic script, over-outlined numbers, the whole shebang – but the Drillers tweak the color balance just enough to make it work. Oh, and Tulsa has a name that makes sense with a drippy black/gray theme.

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Visalia RawhideVisalia Rawhide A – CaL
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Of all the teams that have worn dark red, black, and tan, including the Diamondbacks and Astros, the Rawhide have the best uniforms. Might as well promote them to the bigs.

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Lakeland Flying TigersLakeland Flying Tigers A – FSL
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I don’t mind military tributes. I mind lazy military tributes. You want to wear a camouflage uniform? Go to Today’s Military, choose an armed forces career, and enlist. Want to have a sports team uniform that pays tribute to America’s martial heritage? Go to Lakeland, Florida, and take notes from the Flying Tigers. Perfection.

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cedar rapids kernelsCedar Rapids Kernels A – MWL
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Hometown bias? Maybe. And maybe you have to have grown up learning to read from Playtime Poppy to really dig the Kernels’ corn-cob mascot. Still, the big leagues have long needed a blue-and-green team (Seattle’s teal doesn’t count) and nobody in pro ball pulls it off as well as the Cedar Rapidians. Bonus: Their home jersey script combines tackle-twill and chain-stitching. Texture!

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Ashville TouristsAsheville Tourists A – SAL
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Another too-cute recent redesign that shouldn’t work … but does. I could live without the goofy cartoon-moon-man cap mascot, but in a world where the Orioles’ ridiculous cartoon bird is a respected cap logo, you can’t hold moon-man against the Tourists. And, really, one of the best road uniforms in the minor leagues.

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OKC RedhawksOklahoma City Redhawks AAA – PCL
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How does a team called the Redhawks wear a blue cap? Same way a team called the Red Sox wears mainly blue, or a team called the White Sox wears mainly black, I suppose. Thematically, the Redhawks would be decent substitutes for the Reds in a reconstituted MLB. About the only real drawback is the unbalanced lower-chest number, but that’s already an issue for several big-league teams.

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Greensville GrasshoppersGreensboro Grasshoppers A – SAL
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Distinctive colors and an excellent jersey script count for a lot. Plus the Grasshoppers even have excellent softball tops.

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Laredo LemursLaredo Lemurs – IND
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Most of the time, attempts to make a fierce-looking mascot logo just come off looking like the visual equivalent of a deconstructivist academic essay on critical theory. But when you start with an animal as inherently unthreatening as a lemur, the whole angry-mascot thing feels like they’re playing a joke on all the other teams with angry mascots. Plus, Lemurs live in Madagascar, half a world away from south Texas. The ridiculousness here is turned up to 11, and MLB could use a taste of that. Also, black and metallic gold: MLB could use a taste of that, too.

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Honorable Mentions

Caspar Ghosts – A (ex)
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Sure, the glow-in-the-dark cap was a gimmick. But the Ghosts had some of the best uniforms in pro ball in my lifetime. And I’m old enough to have seen the Phillies in burgundy pinstripes.

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Lake County Fielders – IND (ex)
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I don’t pretend to know what the hell happened with this team, or where the money went, but damn, they looked good.

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Thanks, Scott! Great set of duds for Part the Second. I’m sure there are a few of us who are waiting with bated breath for the final segment!

Readers? What say you? Anything to add?

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Lewis & Clark Uniform Design Contest

Every Sunday, we’ll have news and updates on the design contest being sponsored by Ross Clites. If you missed the introductory post on this, please click here. Last weekend, we introduced Part X which is the second article here. You can also visit the Lewis & Clark homepage for more information and updates.

Yesterday we revealed the eighth set of concepts for the “Pioneers” (you can still submit for the Travelers [deadline 4/23] and the Voyagers [deadline 4/30]). And today, we’ll reveal the eleventh team for concepting.

If you missed yesterday’s post, which revealed the readers submissions for the “Navigators,” you can vote for your favorite concepts (you may vote for up to three). Link here (scroll down to second article).

Here’s Ross with this week’s updates/information:

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The Best-Laid Schemes o’ Mice an’ [River]Men
By Ross Clites

Let’s rewind for a second. It was the very beginning of February (this year) and I pitched to Phil a crazy idea of a Uni Watch-sponsored logo/uniform contest. There was snow on the ground in nearly every and the start date for the Lewis & Clark Baseball League season literally felt worlds away. “Yeah, we’ll have plenty of time to finish a 12-week series of submissions.”

It is not like the typical procrastination bug bit me, but I sure did not manage my time well. This is no fault of anyone but my own; I simply came up with this plan too late in the game, and didn’t realize it until the clock had already starting counting down. Even with the amazing turnaround times of Garb Athletic and OC Caps, the calendar is scaring me.

The issue: I stuck with the alphabet too long. You see, the goal was to launch the Clark Conference (four expansion teams, playing exclusively on the weekdays) this 2014 season. They were to be the Captains, Navigators, River Men, and Lookouts. Oops, I “wasted” a whole week collecting proposals for the Diplomats — a 2015 team — while the River Men have yet to be posted.

Solution: reshuffle the deck, promote the Diplomats to the show a year early, and sit the River Men back down on the bench with the Settlers.

So here they are, the River Men… my favorite wordmark that I created. Have fun with that gorgeous Columbia blue.

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River Men

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Thanks, Ross!

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all sport uni tweaksUni Tweaks Concepts

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

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

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

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

And so, lets begin:

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First up today is Brian Konnick, who’s short on words, but long on concepts. Seven of them, in fact, for the Chargers:

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Hey Phil,

Digital Illustration of Eric Weddle in several color combinations

Brian Konnick

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Next up is Adam Kaufman with a few New York Football Giants tweaks:

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giantsuni3 - Adam Kaufman giantsuni4 - Adam Kaufman

Hey Phil,

I’ve done a few alternate unis, logos, and helmets for the NY Giants and thought you might want to check them out. Pics 1 and 2 are the first unialts I came up with. On 2, the left two are the teams’ regular colorways. Pics 3 & 4 are 2 different uniforms and 5 different helmets.

Big fan of your twitter feed.

Adam
@korda416

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And we close today with Paul Lee who has a concept for the Miami Heat:

Heat tweak - Paul Lee

Phil

Retro Heat tweak.

Paul Lee

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

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ticker 2Uni Watch News Ticker:

Unfortunately, not a lot of ticker submissions yesterday, so we’ll do this old-school.

Why were the Boston Braves wearing a swastika on their caps when they opened the 1914 season against the Brooklyn Dodgers? That, and more are answered in that NY Times piece, in which Paul is quoted. … For playoff hockey, NBCSN is using old, old stars logo for its graphic (good grab by David Greenwald). … “Can the speculation begin that not only the Browns but could the Patriots come out with new jerseys to match the current wordmark next year?” asks James Collard, who noticed “on Monday the $5 ad came out and that number font is like the jersey font and on Friday the 20% ad came out and that font is like the new wordmark font.” … Lots and lots of pink was present for the Cal vs. Oregon Ducks softball game on the 18th (h/t to Alex Allen for the second pic). … Yesterday against Cardiff City, Stoke City’s Peter Crouch, has lost his “o” (nice spot by Johnny Flanagan). It was also spotted by Nolan Brett, Mark Coale, and Mitch Mirsky. … At Arizona State’s spring game, it was All Maroon vs. Gold/White/Gold. Maroon helmets had large pitchfork on one side and number on the other. “Of special note,” writes submitter Marc Altieri, “Marcus Washington (#20) was wearing maroon/white/maroon and QB’s wore black non-contact jerseys.” … Yesterday, the scoreboard operators had inadvertently hung a number upside down for the Baltimore vs Boston game (thanks to Brian Crago). … Chris Archer of the Rays having a little wardrobe malfunction Saturday vs. the Yankees (great spot by Wayne Koehler). … Lexington Catholic High School has a football field doubles as the softball field in the spring (from Josh Claywell). … This patch is on the back of the inside of the Penguins playoffs jersey (thanks to Zach Conrad). … Yesterday, the Maryland Terrapins lacrosse coach wore a Boston Strong hat vs. Notre Dame (good catch by Jared Buccola). … Also joining the remembrances were several Penn Quakers who wore the Boston area code 617 on their helmets Saturday against Dartmouth (spotted by Tris Wykes). … The Tampa Bay Rays have a player with a really long last name (spotted by Harrison Tishler), but, sorry, TB, it’s not even the longest name in MLB. … Ike Davis, traded from the Mets to the Pirates Friday, is wearing #15 (he wore #29 with the Mets). … Auburn held its spring game yesterday, and the helmets were affixed with 2013 SEC Champions decals (from Clint Richardson). … Indiana baseball joined Pinkril yesterday (h/t H.B. Donnelly). … The Avs had this on the rink before the playoff games, writes Stephen Scheffel. … Have you ever wanted to know how to dress an Astronaut? Now you can (thanks, Brinke). … It’s a little hard to see, but it appears Russell Martin has a matte catcher’s helmet (thanks to Nick Schiavo). … Want to pay more than $75 for a Dallas Mavs t-shirt? (via Matt Bellner). … Real nice column on the Trailblazers’ seamstress (h/t Ian Borkowski). … Is nothing sacred? A Nike employee has been caught stealing shoes and selling them on the black market (h/t Jerry Nitzh).

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And that’s all for today — for those who celebrate, a Happy Easter to you all. Big thanks to Scotty for today’s lede, and to Ross & the concepters too. Everyone have a great day and I’ll catch you next time!

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

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“UW #71 is one fat-ass bastard.”
–Keith

UW Is Unique - Just Like Everyone Else

Full Husky Set - hed

By Phil Hecken

Ho, hum. Another day, another Nike uniform unveiling. Yesterday it was the University of Washington Huskies’ turn.

Before we take a look at the uniforms, I want you to take a look at the video below — and since it’s pretty short, pay close attention to the imagery on the screen — since it’s all part of the new “image” the U of W (and by extension, Nike) is going to be incorporating into the uniforms.

OK? Maybe watch it a second time — since they actually did a pretty nice job showing the new uniform elements (without showing too much of the uniforms).

Sadly, like the four uniform unveils we’ve had in the past week (Florida State, Miami, Illinois and Syracuse), each one of the new sets of uniforms is fitting a pattern — Nike is making each uniform set unique by making each the same.

Not following? Let me walk you through it quickly.

All four teams who have unveiled this past week have fit a pattern — three (at least) monochromatic uniforms, each one having three possible helmets, and for the most part having mix and match elements; each uniform has something “unique” about it — but they all have sleeve “caps” (for lack of a better term), “unique” fonts (a Nike trademark, if you will) and something or things about the uniforms that tie them into the program’s history, or the stadium, or the area — something. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing — but it’s more and more of the same thing. In their attempt to make each set different…they’re kind of all the same.

So lets take a look at UW’s new uniforms (click on any image to enlarge):

The Full Boat:

Full Husky Set

Uni Set from rear

Not too shabby, from a distance. There’s purple and gold (school colors), legible fonts…#59 even looks like what we expect from a UW team (gold helmet, purple jersey, gold pants). There’s also a set of white pants and purple pants and black pants. And a black jersey. And a black helmet. OK, they’ve worn black for black’s sake before, so this is nothing new. It’s not a school color, but should that surprise anyone?

The original unveil (at 11:00 am PDT) actually had some folks scared, since they released two images showing ONLY the monochrome combos:

UW monochrome sets - front

UW monochrome sets - rear

There was a great concern (at least on social media) over the fact that there were no gold pants. Well, this is Nike — you think there wouldn’t be another set of pants in there? Fears were quickly assuaged when the following was shown:

Huskies with Gold Pants

*Phew* That’s better. The uniforms are about what is to be expected (thankfully) — they didn’t go completely crazy (as far as we know) — but Nike’s design hands are all over this. Let’s look at the “unique” features.

The Features:

Unique Fonts:

Number & collar detail

Northwest Numerals

According to Nike/UW, the “upper-left corner of each numeral is capped in gold, representing the Huskies’ ownership of the Northwest Territory.” I kid you not. It’s not a bad font, actually (rounded, non-serifed numbers are a big thing now) — but that little extra “detail” is unnecessary (bordering on stupid) and that explanation — “ownership of the Northwest Territory” — beyond ridiculous. The font’s name is, of course, “Northwest.”

Frost Texture:

Frost Texture 3

This one is a headscratcher (literally). The white helmet features a ‘frost texture’ that Nike/UW says is “resembling Northwest frost.” Um. OK — when I posted the above photo on Twitter, there was a pretty amazing comment string, with most folks saying it resembled a “popcorn ceiling” and even questioned whether it could be worn. I’m sure there will be an issue with a team outfitted in a helmet that has a surface area akin to coarse grade sandpaper. My buddy James Huening actually thought it resembled the raised bumps on a curling sheet — and I agree it does!

This isn’t the dumbest quirk ever, but stupid, stupid, stupid. Even in the stills, you can see how tough it was to attach the “W” decal — even if the helmet is cleared for play, how often to you think those decals are going to peel, tear, or completely off?

“Iconic Jaws”:

"Iconic Jaws" Flywire neck

Wait, what? That’s just a part of the uniform design, right? Nope. The “Iconic Jaws” are a visual representation of the “iconic jaws of Husky Stadium.” Dig:

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You have got to be fucking kidding me. Really?

This feature is so ridiculous as to actually be completely awesome. “Hey, our uniforms pay tribute to our stadium! Check it out!” That’s awesome, bruh.

“Dawgs Call Out”:

"DAWGS" call out

OK, this isn’t a big deal — the black pants have “Dawgs” in purple down both pant legs. Thankfully, the TNDL doesn’t make it to the other three sets of pants.

“No Dawg Runs Alone” (inside collar detail):

Inside collar detail

"No Dawg Runs Alone"

Team Dawgs

So the coolest “unique” detail of the uniform is actually the one the public will never see? Yep. All jersey neck interiors feature a graphic (explained above) representing the formation of sled dogs. I like this! Too bad it’ll never be seen (maybe that’s for the best). But leave it to Nike to have no uni detail too small. And insignificant.

Pants:

White Pants with design

White pants rear

The white and gold (and I think purple, but it’s hard to see — I believe it’s black) pants feature the “shape” you see above — not sure what it is representing (Nike didn’t explain that), but possibly it’s just there to lead the eye beneath the shape to the ventilation panel below it. And as you can see from the above photo, there may be an issue with the white pants, particularly if there is any sweating involved. I sure hope that material is .000037% lighter, otherwise it’s probably not worth it.

Sleeve caps:

Flywire neck "Iconic Jaws"

Purple jersey, gold helmet

Nike has a new thing for creating sleeve caps. UW doesn’t escape that treatment either — on the purple and black jerseys, the cap is black, and on the white jersey, the cap is purple. Another way of making the uniform unique by making it the same.

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So, what’s the verdict? I like the purple/gold combo, and the fonts are pretty good. Other than that? Meh. As uniforms, on Paul’s good/stupid scale, they’re probably on the “good” half of the meter. But there is no need for the purple pants (or white pants, really) and they certainly don’t need three helmets and an all black uniform. But that’s what they’re getting. Because Nike. On the good or stupid scale, I think you know where the extra garments fall. As far as the “unique” design elements? The textured white helmet is probably (while cool looking) one of the dumbest things to come out of Beaverton this year. The “jaws” is probably a great sales job, since I’m pretty sure that particular design element just happens to be there anyway. The fonts really don’t need the gold caps, but at least they’re legible. And the sled thing inside the collar is pretty good.

I’ll give them a grade of “B” to “B+” because they could have been so much worse — but they kept the purple and gold (and it’s tough to tell, but the gold seems to be a bit ‘darker’ — more ‘old gold’ than ‘metallic’ gold), and UW already had a BFBS uni, so this is just more of the same.

If you want to read the Nike press release, the corporate-speak is always good for a laugh. You can check out my Flickr album too — couple shots in there that weren’t seen above.

OK readers — what’s YOUR verdict?

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Side Line

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8 - Pioneers -- hed

Today we’ll be taking a look at the eighth set of uniform submissions for the Lewis & Clark Design-a-Uniform Contest, for the team known as the “Pioneers.” If you’re not familiar with the contest, please give that a read. The contest’s creator, W. Ross Clites will be asking readers to design uniforms for all of the teams in the Lewis & Clark League, and thus far we’ve asked for submissions for a total of ten teams. We’ve looked at the “Captains,” “Diplomats,” “Explorers,” “Governors,” “Lookouts,” “Navigators,” “Pathfinders,” and today, we’ll see the concepts for the “Pioneers.”

Two other teams have been put to readers for concepts, the Travelers and the Voyagers. If you’d like to submit your concept for either team, the deadline for submissions for the Travelers is Wednesday, April 23 and the deadline for submissions for the Voyagers is Wednesday, April 30. Tomorrow, Ross will have a short write-up for the eleventh team, so make sure you check back then!

At this point I’ll turn it over to Ross, who will go over the guidelines for voting, and then I’ll be back with some final words before we take a look at the entries from our contestants. Here’s Ross (these guidelines will likely accompany each set of voting):

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Alright boys and girls, here is how the voting is going to go for each Lewis & Clark Baseball League team:

1. The hierarchy of importance goes primary logo, then uniform design, and then all rest (i.e. hat design, secondary logos, etc.) Cast a vote for the design with your favorite primary logo, first and foremost. Do not fault someone for going outside the design guidelines. Changing a wordmark or adding a third color is not a disqualifier for good thought process.

2. Your votes will take the field of applicants down to a final two per team.

3. We, the LCBL Executive Board will make the final decision on the winning proposal. However — and this is big — design is never complete and collaboration is paramount to success. We will likely settle on a combination of the final two submissions. We might love the logo of one, but prefer the jersey scheme of the other. In this, you will both be winners with full prizes to ensue. The possibility does exist for a total victory, of sorts. One designer could present the best looking jersey, logo, hat, and all the rest. Do not get offended when your submission gets handed back to you with redlined edits. We hate to hand out homework to the winning look, but tweaks may be requested. It is a studio project and not a math equation; the “right” answer takes some massaging of details.

4. With permission from both finalists, our graphics department will meld the two submissions together (if necessary) and place it in our common platform. This is done as a common denominator showcase for all twelve to look uniform when the contest has reached its end.

5. Someone, not even in the top two, could see an element (such as an awesome secondary logo) appear in the final iteration. We would never select the winner based solely on a minor design element, but we will also not let it go to waste. In this, all submissions could be part of a bigger design team. This contest — and frankly this site — was created to identify the best possible combinations of logos and materials in the sports world. This rarely comes from one person’s mind; we will reward any of those that play a part in making our on-field product the best it can be.

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Thanks, Ross. A few words about the submissions below:

Some of the contestants sent one single image, others sent multiple images. Some contestants sent descriptions (in some cases, very lengthy ones), others had little or no description. In an effort to make the voting as fair as possible, I have put those who sent multiple images into one single image, and no descriptions of the uniforms will follow. If you’d like to see all the entries for the Navigators and their write-ups/descriptions, I have hosted the entire set on Flickr. Keeping in mind Ross’ rules for voting, you may use these as an additional guide in determining which submission(s) you think are the best.

The submissions will be in alphabetical order and voting will follow. You may vote for any three of the concepts below. You may click on any image to enlarge. OK? OK. Here we go:

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Kyle Allebach:

Allebach, Kyle - Pioneers

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Bert Ayers:

Ayers, Bert - Pioneers

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Matt Blinco:

Blinco, Matt - Pioneers

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Ryan Foose:

Foose, Ryan - Pioneers

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Brady Ivie:

Ivie, Brady - All

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Denver King:

King, Denver - Pioneers

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Kevin McLaughlin:

McLaughlin, Kevin - Pioneers

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Curtis Peddle:

Peddle, Curtis - All

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Bryan Phillips:

Phillips, Bryan - All

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Kyle Piercy & Ryan Thorpe:

Piercy, Kyle & Thorpe, Ryan - Pioneers

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Will Sinnott:

Sinnott, Will - Pioneers

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OK, readers. That’s quite an impressive set of contributions! Now it’s time for you to vote. You’ll be allowed to vote for up to THREE (3) submissions. You may wish to scroll up for one more viewing, and write down your favorites.

. . .


Lewis & Clark “Pioneers” (You may vote for 3)
  
pollcode.com free polls 

. . .

And now it’s your turn! Make sure to vote for your favorites and let all of the concepters know what you think of their designs. They all put a great deal of effort into this, so tell them how they did (and lobby for your favorites, if you wish).

Thanks to all the submitters — we’ll be back next weekend at which time Ross will reveal the winner(s) and how they will adapt the design for the Lewis & Clark league!

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Side Line

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Too Good For the Ticker
Too Good…

for the Ticker

Got an e-mail from Trevor Williams, who is our resident Soccer expert, with a “Soccer Roundup.” It’s just too good for the regular ticker, so it gets its own section, below:

. . .

World Cup Teams
Hurley Shorts

Club Teams
Barcelona 14-15 Home Kit

Tottenham Hotspur 2014-2015 Home Kit

Recife (adidas-outfitted team wearing new kits inspired by countries Japan, Germany and Mexico who are also outfitted by adidas)

Club Atlético Tigre (Hull City all over again)

Torino

Cagliari

Independiente Santa Fe

FC Edmonton

Udinese

Napoli Coppa Italia One-Time Kit (Despite how garish Napoli’s kits are due to its Lete sponsorship, I am amazed how many people like them)

Olympique Lyonnais

IFK Göteborg

Malmö FF

Chapecoense

U.S. Salernitana 1919

Ipswich Town

. . .

Thanks, Trevor. Great roundup. OK, now onto the ticker…

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Side Line

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: A reader who wishes to remain Anonymous writes, “If I remember correctly, you once wondered if Nike was consciously trying to brand MLB uniforms by placing their logo on the neckline of the undershirts, making Nike more visible than Majestic. Well, looks like they took the next logical step with these uniforms that I saw recently. Now the jersey apes the undershirt.” … On Thursday, the Phillies used bases with the logo of their “Red Goes Green” initiative (nice find by Harrison Tishler). … British Pathe put up lots (and lots) of newsreels on youtube yesterday, writes Adam Herbst. “Here is a search on baseball. I found the game between the USAF and the RAF kind of neat.” … Mr. Met got into some trouble with the Secret Service a while back (thanks to Jeffrey Sak. Didn’t seem like much at the time, and Paul didn’t ticker it, but the story gained steam yesterday (thanks to Ronnie Poore). … Reader Steve Johnston was covering a baseball game with Lemont High School and their entire team is looking mighty fine in their uniforms. … What’s worse than no stirrups? Possibly it’s faux stirrups (also known as two-in-ones). That comes from Gavin Mayo, who writes, “I am embarrassed that my alma mater, Samford University in Birmingham, AL, would wear these faux stirrups. Have you seen anything like this?” (Well, a variant of those was popular back in the day, but we have seen that type of faux rup before). … Nate Kettlewell spotted some truly hideous hats that “should probably be on your radar, if they’re not already.” … Reader Michael McLaughlin follows the D-Backs blog on SB Nation. “They are doing a what would you do if you were given the keys to a franchise/expansion team. The Wild Card: Expansion franchise thought experiment,” writes Michael. “I think the readers at Uni Watch might be interested and or partake in this as he added a little design your own uniform thing at the bottom of the blog!” … The Indianapolis Indians (trip-A affiliate of the Pirates) are wearing Autism Awareness jerseys in their game today (h/t @LikeTheRiver). … The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders went camo last night, but not that kind of camo. The hunting kind of camo. It was for their “outdoors night” promo (screen grab thanks to Justin Dilks). … Good spot by Harrison Tishler who notes the Red Sox challenged a call last night. “The umpires were huddled around, and the assistant who holds the bag (or whatever it is) was wearing a hat with duct tape over the logo. It was probably a Red Sox logo, and the league didn’t want people thinking replay is biased at all.” … You guys know I love vertical placket lettering, so this photo of a Hendrix player is awesome (original tweet is here, brought to my attention by Sully @pal3327). … Martin Maldonado may not be Roy Hobbs, but last night he pretty damn good imitation (great find by Mike Chamernik). … Here’s one for Paul: Check out Josh Outman’s stirrups last night (from Dave Feigenbaum). … The Lakewood Blueclaws have a new home alternate jersey
(Harrison Tishler again). … On Sunday the Jacksonville Suns will wear their new all-gold uniforms (h/t Matthew Robins). … Check out these beautiful Indiana throwbacks (h/t Andrew Day). … Apparently neon accented batting gloves are the latest thing (good spots by Curtis ‏@bigred8988). … Tomorrow is Military Appreciation Night for the Arkansas Razorbacks. You know what that means (thanks to Jake Nevill).

NFL News: Like other clubs, the San Francisco Forty Niners have retired jersey numbers, and for Throwback Thursday, they released a gallery of them (from Brinke). … And speaking of Brinke, he’s very excited to let us know that the turf is in at the new stadium. … Check out this nice photo of the 1936 Green Bay Packers (h/t Sully @pal3327).

College Football News: Last weekend’s Florida State athletics rebrand didn’t just piss off some traditionalists, it actually blindsided several retailers who weren’t apprised of the change before it happened and probably won’t be able to get full stock for fall football season (from Rob Spalding). Rob also sent this article containing a video link, and says, “that video is nauseating! Equating changing the logo with giving women scholarships! Good grief.” … Following UW’s new uni reveal yesterday, Clint Richardson came up with a funny goof of Arkansas new pants (though with adidas handling these, it may not be far off). … “One-half of one Letter missing serif on UW Husky goal post pad,” says Curtis Black. “It’s for sale to(day) at the annual Spring Game” Curtis also sent in this photo of another goal post pad with the same “I” — maybe it’s not “missing” at all.

Basketball News: There is a great selection of vintage basketball photos on yesterday’s entry on Slate.com’s photo blog notes Kris Stenson. He adds, “They in turn are taken from from the Black Fives Association. They are highlighting an exhibition of pre-integration black basketball teams by the New York Historical Society.” Awesome find! … Here’s some good head-to-head infographics for NBA playoff teams (thanks, Paul).

Hockey News: Now that the Stanley Cup playoffs are underway, it’s time for some unique displays at the arenas where the playoffs will be held. One of the better ones is this lego Stanley Cup in front of the Boston Garden (h/t Sully @pal3327).

Grab Bag: Reader Mark Sofia writes, “I just wanted you to know that both yours and Jim Caple’s articles about the beloved Bullpen Carts inspired me to take action. What type of action could probably be explained best by my website.” … For the few Uni Watchers, like myself, who are into the weather, the Weather Underground has a new logo (no not that Weather Underground) — h/t to Brinke for that.

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Side Line

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And there you have it. Another Nike uni unveiling in the books. Fortunately The next one is Arkansas and it’s on Monday (and they’re an adidas school) — have fun with that one Paul.

Big thanks to all who contributed designs for the Lewis & Clark contest — if you didn’t already, make sure you vote for your three favorite designs.

Everyone have a good Saturday, and I’ll catch you tomorrow.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“Stop talking balderdash, you scallywags!”
–terriblehuman

Feeling Blue

braves.png

As you know, many MLB teams let the starting pitcher choose the jersey for each game. That includes the Braves, at least for their road games. (Their jersey choices for home games are scripted — whites on weekdays, creams on weekends, red flag-descrations on five designated dates.)

That has prompted reader Robert Kittle to do a bit of numerical analysis:

After tossing out two road games from last season that featured non-conventional jerseys (throwbacks in one case, camo lettering in the other), I looked at the remaining 79 road games and found that the Braves wore the navy jerseys in 33 of them, or 42% of the time.

When breaking it down by pitcher, I discovered that Tim Hudson and Kris Medlen were the only pitchers who clearly favored the gray jersey over the blues. Medlen never wore the blue jersey, and Hudson wore it only once out of 11 road starts.

With Hudson now in San Francisco and Medlen out for the year, use of the gray jersey will likely decline this season. This is already showing up in the numbers: Leaving out Jackie Robinson Day (because I don’t think the pitcher got to choose the jersey for that game), they’ve already worn blue five times out of seven games. It’s also worth noting that newly acquired starter Ervin Santana chose navy for his one road start, so he may be a blue partisan. Looks like we’re going to see a significant spike in blue this year.

I’m hoping this isn’t the case, because the Braves’ classic grays are such a great uniform, but it’s beginning to look like they won’t be seen much this season.

Good stuff, Robert — thanks for crunching the numbers.

This brings up something worth discussing: I’ve always felt a little uneasy about having the starting pitcher choose the jersey. For one thing, it carries an element of letting the inmates run the asylum, which I don’t care for. But hey, if you’re going to go that route, shouldn’t every inmate get an equal shot at it? I realize the starting pitcher is arguably the most important player on the team each day, but he’s not the only player. And most of the time he doesn’t even finish the game! Why shouldn’t a relief pitcher get to pick the jersey once in a while? Or the shortstop? Or the back-up catcher? (And yes, we all know there’s an easy solution: Just have one home jersey and one road jersey, like the Yankees do. But that’s not the reality most teams live in.)

Personally, I’d rather have the equipment manager make the decision and leave it at that. But if you’re going to bring players into the equation, I think they should all get a crack at it. What do you folks think?

Update: One of today’s first comments was a link to this 2013 article about uniform selection, which includes the following:

Just because pitchers have the option of choosing doesn’t mean they spend a lot of time thinking about it. Braves pitcher Tim Hudson says he always chooses the gray jersey on the road because he’s a traditionalist. Occasionally, if he’s lost a game or two in gray, he’ll switch to blue, but it’s not something he thinks about a lot.

“Our game is hard enough as it is,” Hudson said. “If a guy thinks too much about what they’re going to wear, then they’re probably in the wrong business.”

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Unmasking the Commenters: I recently invited the site’s commenters to tell us a bit more about themselves and give us a peek at what they look like, just because I thought it would be fun to pull back the internet’s curtain of anonymity. I’ll keep showcasing you folks as long as you keep sending in your photos and quick bios.

Today we’re spotlighting Anthony Nuccio, who submitted a photo of himself with a famous sports guy (click to enlarge):

That’s me on Dick Vitale’s left, and my father is on his right. I’m a junior at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where I major in religious studies and minor in writing. When I’m not in school, I spend the other three months of the year in Lake Zurich, Illinois.

I was born and raised as a Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, and Cubs fan. My father instilled in me a great love for Notre Dame athletics, and we were finally able to go to South Bend for Notre Dame’s home opener against Temple this past season. I’ve played a wide variety of sports in my lifetime, including soccer, hockey, cross country, and track and field. Some of my non-athletic interests include collecting baseball cards and patches, reading, and being outdoors. I am also a second-generation Eagle Scout.

Thanks, Anthony, and thanks for your contributions to the site — you help make Uni Watch a better place!

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Yo, Red Sox fans: In case you missed it earlier this week, Uni Watch readers are being offered a special deal on 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox: Every Picture Tells a Story, a gorgeously produced coffee table-style book (not an e-book) that chronicles the 2013 Bosox season. It features over 200 photos (some of which you can see here), along with essays by team owner John Henry, outfielder Jonny Gomes, manager John Farrell, Boston broadcaster Joe Castiglione, former mayor Thomas Menino, journalists Gordon Edes and Leigh Montville, and more.

The book lists for $40, and Amazon has it for $27.33. But if you go here and use the checkout code RSX131, you can get it for $24.95 — definitely the lowest price you’re gonna find. You know what to do.

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’Skins Watch: A new study indicates that teams using Native American mascots and imagery are paying a financial price, to the tune of a few million dollars per year. Additional info from the study itself is available here. … Students at a New Hamshire high school are trying to change the school’s “Red Raiders” mascot (from Tom Mulgrew). … Portland-area readers may want to check out this panel discussion on Native American mascots that’s taking place at Reed College next Thursday (from David Landesberg).

Baseball News: The Marlins will wear Miami Sun Sox throwbacks on June 8. Further details on the Sun Sox here (thanks, Phil). … Cardinals 2B Kolten Wong changed things up by going high-cuffed with stirrups last night, but the real news, as several readers reported, was that he wore gray sannies! Never seen that before. On the one hand, it’s nice that the gray matches his gray road uni and the gray trim on his cleats. But it still doesn’t feel right — white would be better. Interesting move, though. … For the first game of Wednesday’s Cubs/Yanks doubleheader, the Cubbies wore their alternate gray pants with their blue jersey. “Cubs TV announcer Len Kasper mentioned that this was the first time the Cubs have worn this combination,” says Michael Schweda. … Brennan Boesch, called up by the Angels in time for Wednesday’s game, is wearing No. 00. He wore 26 with the Tigers. I’ll try to find out what’s up with the double zeroes (from Brett Crane). … Here’s some home movie footage from a 1967 Mets/Phils game at Shea that shows glimpses of the green outfield wall that was used for the first month or so of that season (from Chris Rocco). … For a while now I’ve been responding to the camouflage jersey phenomenon by saying, “Not all soldiers are heroes, not all heroes are soldiers.” The second part of that line has now been addressed by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Pawtucket Red Sox, who’ll be wearing police- and firefighter-themed jerseys on April 26. Nice idea, although the jerseys “feel more like a disaster than a tribute,” as Ben Wideman puts it. … In 1994, the Giants wore radially arched NOBs. But Bobby Bonds, who was the team’s first base coach at the time, was wearing a ’93 jersey with vertically arched lettering. “Seems to have been an issue all season,” says David Shank. … Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez has been going double-flapped (from Johnny Bruno). … During yesterday’s CSN/MLBN broadcast of the Braves/Phils game, they still had some Braves players listed as wearing No. 42 (screen shots by Tom Marshall). … It had previously been reported that the Red Sox will wearing the white “Boston” jerseys for the Patriots Day game next Monday morning. They’ve now issued a press release describing this move as “inaugurating a new tradition,” which means the white “Boston” jersey will become an annual thing for the Patriots Day game. … When the Orioles and Rays did the all-42 thing on Wednesday (delayed a day due to a rainout), the stadium announcer and scoreboard operator got a bit confused during a late-inning substitution. … Yesterday’s Ticker included a link to the D-backs’ Federal League throwbacks, which they’ll be wearing on April 23 against the Cubs. Turns out that a few of the uni elements in that photo were wrong, so the team has issued a corrected version (note the different cap, belt, and sock colors), along with a mock-up showing the front and rear views. I asked team designer Brian Gundell about the D-Backs sleeve patch, and he responded, “The Cubs wanted to re-create the exact match-up that took place on April 23, 1914, between Kansas City and Chicago of the Federal League. We happened to be their opponent that day, and we agreed to participate, but we also requested that our logo be present, since there’s no direct connection between us and the old KC team.” Brian’s a good guy, but man — that sleeve patch is such a mistake. The veritable turd in the punchbowl. … Oh, I also asked Brian if the D-Backs would be wearing throwback batting helmets. Response: “We’re pretty sure the batting helmets will be blank navy. The Cubs are providing a set of helmets that will be used for each of the teams that participate in their throwback games.” … Wes Reichart notes that low-crown MLB 5950s are now available on MLB.com. He says this is the first time these caps have been available to consumers — is that really true? … I just scored this totally boss vintage jersey. More photos/details after I receive it from the seller. … It’s very sutble, but it’s true: Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances was wearing an upside-down “8” last night (genius spot by Brian Cheung).

NFL News: Reader Ryan Becerra was watching footage from a Bears/Cardinals game from Oct. 29, 1972, and noticed that the Bears’ players were wearing two different jersey designs — some with the classic rounded numerals and some with block numerals.

College Football News: The Washington Huskies will release new uniforms today. … Remember those “flame” helmets that Arizona State wore against Notre Dame last year? They’ll be wearing them again in 2014. … Louisville has extended its deal with Adidas. Key quote: “Included in the contract, per U of L’s news release, are five football jersey choices, allowing dozens of combinations when combined with helmets.” Further info here (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: New uni set for the Butte Cobras of the WHL (thanks, Phil). … The NHL is promoting the postseason by installing a FanFest exhibit outside of Madison Square Garden. “They have a great display from the Hall of Fame, including Wayne Gretzky’s baby skates,” says Alan Kreit, who took these photos.

NBA News: Lots to like in this old NBA photo, including a Bucks-branded ice bag, Pistons socks, and first names on the Pistons’ warm-up jackets (from John Romero).

Grab Bag: A West Virginia midget football league is suing Riddell over the company’s concussion-related claims. … There are 29 professional sports teams in Chicago, and David Ridderhoff has ranked all of them. … In a related item, here’s a video interview with the guy who runs the Chicago Sports Museum (from Marc-Louis Paprzyca). … New logo for the Minnesota Lottery. … A 15-year-old in Illinois has been making custom-painted sneakers in team-themed designs. Further info here (from Luke Resnick). … Here’s something you don’t often see: a blue shamrock logo. That’s NASCAR driver Cole Whitt (from Tom Mulgrew). … “Covered a high school softball game last night, and both teams wore all-black unis,” says Josh Claywell. “Only differences were cleat color, number font/color, the splash of white on the sides of one team’s jersey, and a stripe on that team’s pants. Drove me nuts, but none of the fans seemed to give a shit.” … Notre Dame lacrosse will be wearing a “Shamrock Series” uniform this weekend (from Jared Buccola). … Didn’t realize until now — but am not really surprised — that there’s a blog devoted to Craig Sager’s suits (from Warren Junium).