If you can’t see this slideshow, click here
We already broke the story of the NBA’s Christmas Day uniforms last week, and now the NBA has finally acknowledged the jerseys’ existence. Yesterday they released the photos you see above (a couple of which had already been floated a day earlier). The most notable thing about them is that most of the chest logos, which I had believed to predominately gray, are actually silver — an improvement. I graded all of them yesterday in this ESPN piece, although it would be fair to say they were all graded on a fairly steep curve.
The league also released two videos. This one, which was Ticker-linked yesterday, is called “Jingle Hoops,” and is actually pretty clever:
And then there’s this “behind the scenes” video about the making of “Jingle Hoops” (yes, a commercial for a commercial):
There’s also this press release, which includes a listing of all the Christmas Day games and times.
A few thoughts about all this:
The NBA’s original plan, before we broke the story last week, was to unveil the jerseys on Good Morning America. Given GMA’s demographics, that tells me the main point of these jerseys is to generate sales to women. Phil tells me his interactions on Twitter confirm that women tend to like these jerseys while men do not. The NBA tells me this information is incorrect.
• Last year’s Christmas Day jersey program was called Big Color; this year’s is Big Logo. What do you think they’re planning for next season — Big Advertising? Biggie Smalls? Big Fucking Deal? Bigamy?
• Does anyone else think it’s weird that 10 NBA teams — that’s a third of the league — will be playing on Christmas Day? What does it say about the players’ union when a third of their members will be forced to work and be away from their families on the biggest holiday of the year? Yes, I know some NFL teams play on Thanksgiving, but not as many. And yes, all MLB teams play on Independence Day, but that’s not the same kind of holiday. Just doesn’t seem right somehow.)
Finally, here’s an exclusive tidbit: As I mentioned last week, the uniforms for this season’s All-Star Game, which is being played in New Orleans, will follow this same template — logo on the chest, uni number on the left sleeve. I’m not at liberty to show you the official artwork of those designs, but there’s nothing preventing me from describing them. So:
• The East jersey will be blue with a teal V-neck collar. It will have a teal fleur-de-lis, outlined in silver, with a blue “E” at the center and the word “East” in blue at the base. The uniform number, in teal, is on the left sleeve. On the back, the NOB lettering is in white, with the uni number in teal. The NBA All-Star logo appears above the NOB, and the player’s team logo, rendered in silver, appears below the uni number.
• The West jersey will be red with a purple V-neck collar. It will have a purple fleur-de-lis, outlined in gold, with a red “W” at the center and the word “West” in red at the base. The uniform number, in purple, is on the left sleeve. On the back, the NOB lettering is in white, with the uni number in purple outlined in gold. The NBA All-Star logo appears above the NOB, and the player’s team logo, rendered in gold, appears below the uni number.
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Membership update: Half a dozen new membership card designs have been added to the card gallery (including Brian Dautch’s early-’80s Canucks treatment, shown at right). We currently have two slots open in the current batch of cards, which means the next two people to sign up will receive their cards with little or no waiting.
As always, you can sign up here, you can purchase a gift membership here, and you can see how we make the cards here.
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PermaRec update: An amazing ledger filled with the details of a Nashville musician’s 1970s session work — including what he was paid! — is the focus of the the latest entry on the Permenant Record Blog.
Gift Guide reminder: I’m currently working on my annual Uni Watch Holiday Gift Guide column, which will run on ESPN shortly after Thanksgiving. If you have suggestions for cool uni- or logo-related products or services, don’t be shy. Thanks.
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’Skins Watch: In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the study showing that the ’Skins name has harmful psychological effect on Native American children. … A DC political consultant has made a market-based argument that the ’Skins name should be kept as is (from Tommy Turner).
Baseball News: Another great historical find by Todd Radom, who’s discovered that the White Sox briefly — like, very briefly — experimented with a powder blue cap during spring training of 1966. … Here’s some great color footage from a 1965 Reds/Cubs game. “It’s a great look at the Reds’ sleeveless jersey with the NOBs underneath the uni numbers,” says Jon Helfenstein. “It also includes some classic ads for Hamm’s Beer.” … Several reports indicate that cursive writing is being de-emphasized in American schools, which leads the Hungry Hungry Hipster to a ask: “How are kids going to read the cursive script city names and team nicknames on baseball jerseys? Not only does it affect kids being able to read what’s on the uniforms, but it will also affect baseball uniform design in the future. Obviously if we come to a day when no one knows how to read or write in cursive, many baseball uniforms will have to change their designs, and no new uniforms will feature classic cursive scripts across the chest.”
NFL News: Big news in Tennessee last night, as the Titans wore power blue over white last night for the first time in their history. I like! … Deadspin has published an absolutely essential piece on why the NFL’s “Salute to Service” program is a crock. Don’t miss. … The Panthers’ solid-black uni — the “best uni in NFL history” according to that recent poll at NFL.com, so you know it must be true — will be showcased next Monday night (thanks, Phil). … Looks like the Ravens’ wordmark font has been modified and adopted by Wyoming High School in Michigan (from Andrew Cosentino). … Check out the Lions player’s pants in this 1943 shot. That two-tone effect isn’t shown in the Gridiron Uniform Database (from Brian Graham). … Dawn Epstein is selling a ton of 3-5/8 NFL mini-helmets. … Yesterday’s Ticker linked to a photo showing the 1953 Lions wearing a mix of silver and gold helmets. Now Gene Sanny has found a link suggesting that the gold helmets may actually have been silver helmets that oxidized.
College Football News: Apparently there had been some call for Rutgers to scrap their uniforms, but that ain’t happening (thanks, Phil). … Here’s how Marshall’s “75″ helmets looked last night. … Meanwhile, Marshall QB Rakeem Cato wore a dark green base-layer hood, instead of Marshall’s standard shade of green, during last night’s game. “You’d think that Marshall would have equipment that matched its team colors,” says JJ Sledge. … Maryland will be wearing solid white this weekend. … GI Joe move from USF, which is “honoring” the military by wearing military unit logo patches this weekend. … In a related item, many folks, including some in the military, think all the GI Joe gestures are getting out of hand (thanks, Phil).
Hockey News: New throwback alts for the Wisconsin women’s team. “Notable that they’re using the academic mark on the front, rather than the athletic mark,” says Joe Reimers. “According to a friend (a loyal Badger), this is the only Wisconsin uniform to incorporate the academic mark.” … Do you want to see each NHL team rendered as a Mega Man sprite? Sure you do (from Kyle Beaudoin). … Fun fact: Peter Stastny used to have a captain’s “C” made out of tape (from Chris Mizzoni).
Soccer News: Sergio Aguero is a Puma-sponsored player, but he’s shown wearing Adidas shoes in the promo shots for Argentina’s (Adidas-made) World Cup uniforms. You can see him second from the right in this shot and farthest in the background in this shot. “Has to be Photoshopped,” says Pat West. “Here’s what his Puma boots normally look like.” … This is pretty awesome: Soccer jerseys made from cigarette boxes! Check out the links at the bottom of the page for more info (thanks, Kirsten).
NBA News: Look at the shorts on this 1957 Cincinnati Royals card! ” Those shorts must have been holdovers from the Rochester days (no doubt a photo from the previous season), because I don’t think I’ve ever seen Cincy players in those,” says Leo Strawn Jr. “They moved to Ohio after the 1956-57 season.” I showed the photo to Rochester sports historian Terry Proctor, who said, “Yes, I know about those. That picture was from the 1956-57 season, the last in Rochester. The ‘Globetrotter-style’ uniforms were also used for the 1955-56 season and were made by Sand-Knit. The Sand rep that sold them to the Royals just passed away last year at age 90 — I knew him. The Harrison brothers, Lester and Jack, still owned the team in Cincinnati then. They got completely new uniforms from MacGregor that first year in Cincy.” … Check out this shot of a mid-1980s Warriors/Sonics game with both teams wearing their home unis. “I’m thinking this might be a preseason game, but that’s just a guess,” says Matt Beahan). … The Nuggets aren’t playing on Xmas, but that hasn’t kept them from having an Xmas jersey (from Phil). … Here’s the schedule for when the Lakers will be going BFBS (Phil again). … When the Heat wear nickNOBs on Jan. 10, Shane Battier will wear “Battle” — which is his family’s original surname (big thanks to Mike McLaughlin).
Grab Bag: Ford, the car company, has asked crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to stop using the company’s logo, and the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts aren’t too thrilled about him wearing their jersey (from Sean Kane). … This is a coupla weeks late, but window washers in Detroit dressed up in local sports attire (from Chris Flinn). … Three items from Kirsten: Colleges are now selling their own school-branded colognes; world-class athletes sure do have wildly differing body types; and there’s actually a spray-on fabric out there. How long before we see it being used for uniforms? … New logo for the city of Carrboro, North Carolina (from Tom Arnel). … Canyon Springs High in California has a two-tone helmet treatment similar to the Jags’. “We have a lot of these two-tone helmet treatments in this area, but black and white is kind of an unusual combination.”
[Editor's Note: Today we have a guest-written entry by reader Nik Streng, who recently completed a fun DIY project. — PL]
By Nik Streng
It’s gotten cold here in Oregon. And for me, cold NFL Sundays call for sweatpants. After seeing the Colin Kaepernick DIY jersey that was featured on the site a year ago, I decided I wanted to make a set of Kansas City Chiefs-themed sweatpants for myself.
I started by buying a set of plain white sweatpants:
I know you like the Chiefs’ red pants, Paul, but I decided to go with white because I don’t want to create the blood-clot look by wearing my red Chiefs jersey with a pair of red pants.
Next, I designed the Chiefs’ pants stripes on GIMP with every line being one inch wide:
Then I printed the stripes on some iron-on transfer paper that I’d purchased from a local craft store, ironed the stripes onto the sweatpants, and kept repeating until I was happy with the length of the stripes:
I only had the striping go down to around the knees, because that’s the length of the stripes on the Chiefs’ game pants. I was originally going to try to to put the team’s sock striping on the lower part of the pant legs, but that seemed like something I’d probably screw up, so I let it go:
I also bought an NFL logo iron-on patch on eBay to put on the hip. I put parchment paper over it to make sure I didn’t burn it with my iron:
I know I could have just printed out the logo, but I’m a sucker for feel of and embroidered patch, and it looks so much cooler that way. I realize it’s an old NFL logo with 25 stars, but I don’t care (it was also the cheapest one I could find at the time):
Here I am wearing them — not bad:
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ESPN reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest ESPN column is a follow-up to last week’s college hoops season preview piece. Enjoy.
PermaRec update: It’s been ages since I posted anything on the Permanent Record Blog, but I’m finally catching up on old material that’s been piling up. The new post features several really fascinating objects (including the beautiful map shown above, which you can click to enlarge) that were found inside an old wooden box left in the trash. There’s also info regarding a message in a bottle and a Civil War medal found in an old book at a thrift sale. Check it out here.
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Big heavy thing for sale: I was recently on the winning team in a music trivia contest, which entitled me to a very cool prize: LSXX, which is a limited-edition deluxe seven-record box set to mark the 20th anniversary of the Breeders’ awesome Last Splash album.
At first I was very excited to get this box set. But then I remembered the problem (or at least my problem) with box sets: They look cool on the shelf, but they’re so big and cumbersome that I never want to bother taking them off the shelf. Plus they have so many discs, or LPs, or whatever, that I never know where to start. Plus-plus this particular box set came with a digital download code, so I was able to load the whole thing onto my iTunes and listen to it without worrying about the big, cumbersome box.
So: Now that I’ve made this box set sound not particularly attractive, anyone wanna buy it from me?
Seriously: It is attractive — like, very attractive, as I’ll show you in a minute — but I can already tell that I’m never gonna play the vinyl, especially now that I have the digital version. So I’ve decided to sell it. I could put it on eBay, but I’d like to give Uni Watch readers first crack at it.
Here’s what the box set includes (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):
1. The outer box. The whole package is housed in a corrugated cardboard box, which measures 13.5″ by 13.5″ by 2.25″ — about the same as the box for a medium pizza.
2. The inner box. Inside the cardboard box is a very nice box partially covered in green velvet.
3. The booklet. This is a 24-page booklet filled with photos, stories, and journal entries about the making of Last Splash, including short essays by Kim Gordon and J Mascis.
4. Last Splash LP. This is the album on which the box set is based — remastered, on high-grade vinyl, blah-blah-blah. Here’s the track listing (which includes the song “Mad Lucas,” the spelling of which has always annoyed me):
1. New Year
3. Invisible Man
4. No Aloha
6. Do You Love Me Now?
8. I Just Wanna Get Along
9. Mad Lucas
10. Divine Hammer
14. Drivin’ on 9
15. Roi (Reprise)
5. Stockholm Syndrome LP. A live LP documenting a 1994 show in Stockholm. Seven tracks from this LP originally appeared on a fan-club-only CD; the other nine tracks are previously unissued. Here’s the song listing:
1. Shocker in Gloomtown
2. New Year
6. I Just Wanna Get Along
9. Head To Toe
10. Happiness is a Warm Gun
12. Invisible Man
14. Drivin’ on 9
15. Don’t Call Home
6. Demos and Rarities LP. Pretty much what the title suggests. Track listing:
1. No Aloha (BBC Session, previously unreleased)
2. Flipside (same as above)
3. Divine Hammer (same as above)
4. Hag (same as above)
5. New Year (1992 demo, previously issued as a bonus 7-inch with original vinyl pressing of Last Splash)
6. Grunggae (same as above)
7. Invisible Man (previously released on 4AD label compilation 13 Year Itch)
8. No Aloha (1992 demo, previously unreleased)
9. I Just Wanna Get Along (same as above)
10. Mad Lucas (same as above)
11. S.O.S. (same as above)
12. Saints (same as above)
13. 900 (same as above)
14. Iris (previously issued on the No Alternative compilation)
7. Safari 10″ EP. Track listing as follows:
1. Do You Love Me Now?
2. Don’t Call Home
4. So Sad About Us
8. Cannonball 10″ EP. Track listing as follows:
3. Lord of the Thighs
9. Divine Hammer 10″ EP. Track listing as follows:
1. Divine Hammer (single version)
3. I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)
4. Do You Love Me Now?
10. Head To Toe 10″ EP. Includes a Guided by Voices cover and a Sebadoh cover:
1. Head To Toe
2. Shocker In Gloomtown
3. Freed Pig
11. Digital download code. I’ve whited out the code here, but you’ll be able to download all of the music to your computer for playback on your device of choice.
That’s it. 4AD is selling it for $90.
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I’ll sell you my copy for $85, and I’ll throw in a few Uni Watch trinkets to boot. If you’re interested, gimme a shout. Thanks. Now sold. Thanks to all who inquired.
Today’s Ticker was compiled by Mike Chamernik.
Baseball News: Yesterday’s main entry on MLB prototypes from Tony Cocchi’s collection prompted the following from Steve Vibert: “Tony is not only a great uniform historian, he’s also a great teammate of mine on my Atlanta-area MSBL team. Here’s a picture of him (on the left) and me (with stirrups!) wearing actual Gwinnett Braves road grays that were rejected by the team because the sleeve gussets go all the way to the neck. Wilson had to remake the jerseys and we managed to score the rejects.” … Jared Wheeler found an auction listing for a 1940s Philadelphia A’s prototype uniform. … The Aberdeen IronBirds, an Orioles affiliate, are changing to an orange-and-black color scheme. … The newest Korea Baseball Organization team, the KT Wiz, revealed their logo, colors, uniforms and cheerleaders. More details here (from Dan Kurtz). … “Did you know Red Auerbach’s brother was a sports illustrator and graphic designer and that he designed the Boston Celtics’ leprechaun logo?” asks Hungry Hungry Hipster. I did not! Go on. “Here’s the story how he was responsible for getting the Nationals to officially change their nickname back to Senators in 1956.” HHH also passed along a Senators yearbook with cover art by Zang Auerbach.
NFL News: Many readers sent in a site that shows NFL teams redesigned as soccer clubs. … ESPN.com’s advertisement for this week’s Monday Night Football game has the outdated Panthers logo (from Joe Bozek). … On third downs for the visiting team at Browns games, the theme to the movie “Halloween” will play and a picture of Michael Myers wearing a Browns mask will flash on the scoreboard. Thomas Moore interviewed the graphic designer who created the image. … Alex Allen came across an old Life magazine with an excellent (and now semi-eerie) cover. … If you look through the Gridiron Uniform Database’s entries for the Lions, you’ll see that Detroit has almost always worn silver helmets. One of the few exceptions was 1953, when they wore gold. But Bruce Menard has found a 1950s photo of the Lions wearing silver and gold in the same game. Hmmmm.
College Football News: Virginia Tech might wear their Hokie Stone helmets this weekend. The helmets may be a little different from the first time they wore them, though (from Andrew Cosentino). … The University of Missouri is trying to force an Arkansas high school to change its tiger logo because it kinda-sorta-maybe looks like the Mizzou logo (thanks, Jesse Nienke). … Arizona went SNOB in 1977 (from Robert Marshall). … “The Ohio Bobcats are having a ‘blackout giveaway’ for the Kent State game on the 19th,” says Leo Strawn, Jr. “One can only assume the ‘Cats will be wearing their black jerseys.” … Kennesaw State will reveal its football helmets on Friday (from Chris Wheeler). … Marshall will wear “75” on its helmets for Thursday’s game against Tulsa, in remembrance of the 1970 plane crash that killed 75 people. … Hawai’i made a video to show off its throwback rainbow uniforms. … “The Miami (OH) jerseys are tough on the eyes,” David Greenwald says. “Maybe they will confuse opponents. I do like the ‘Miami’ across the shoulders.”
NBA News: The Spurs’ camo uniforms made their debut last night. … Derrick Rose modeled the Bulls’ Christmas uniform. Scroll down to see the Clippers’ Christmas jersey (or just click here, whatever). … Better yet, here’s Rose, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Steve Nash and LeBron James wearing their respective Christmas unis in an NBA Store commercial. … Michael Jordan’s shoes from his famous Flu Game in 1997 will be auctioned off. … Also in Jordan news, MJ was photographed playing beer pong a few days ago. Might this image become as iconic as the Jumpman? … Manzell Blakeley found a charming Blazers knit cardigan for sale. Does anyone know if the score listed on the shoulders (“Home 109, Visitor 95”) is significant in any way? No Blazers playoff wins ended with that score. The biggest game in Blazers history, Game 6 of the 1977 NBA Finals, Portland won 109-107.
College Hoops News: Jim Ullmer stumbled upon this photo of the 1964 Dayton Flyers basketball team. “I have never seen warm up capes in basketball before,” he says. “They look like sideline capes from football but they don’t seem to have any arms.” … Florida State will wear turquoise jerseys this Sunday while New Mexico will wear turquoise on November 30 (from Phil). … Dan Madigan attended a UConn game on Monday and noticed the mascot was wearing a gray alternate uniform. “Does this mean that UConn is going to unveil a gray alternate for this year?” he asks. “They’ve had one in the past, but haven’t in the last 2-3 years.” … UMass wore gray jerseys with sleeves on Tuesday (from Louis Castellano). … Eastern Michigan saw UMass and two-upped them. “DayGlo, gray for gray’s sake, sleeved basketball unis, and a chest logo!” says Joe Jordan. … Temple Instagrammed a photo of someone wearing Northwestern-style flag desecration socks (thanks, Patrick Reynell). … Color on color matchup on Wednesday night between Seattle and Cal State Fullerton. “Also Seattle’s shorts are red in front, black in the back,” says Frank Mercogliano. “Wowzers.”
Grab Bag: Adidas released the World Cup kits for Germany and Spain. … New clash jumpers (is that the right term?) for the AFL’s Greater Western Sydney Giants and Geelong Cats (thanks, Leo Strawn, Jr.). … Tom Mulgrew sends in an article on a guy who collects pizza boxes. The pizza box artwork in the slideshow is great. … Three items from Tommy Turner: Patagonia, the established outdoor clothing company, is entering the craft beer business; revenue is growing in the sports world, mostly due to media rights but also merchandise sales; and “Sign Painters” is a documentary about, well, the people who paint signs. The film’s screening tour is winding down, but there are still some major cities left on the slate. … Here’s a poster of over 1,000 wrestlers all in cartoon cube form. … People who play tennis, baseball, softball or golf can now track their swings with a motion sensor (from Ben Fortney). … KDKA in Pittsburgh used the Buffaslug logo when mentioning the Sabres on Wednesday night (from Nolan Petote). … Rio 2016 has released its pictograms, the simple stick figure drawings representing the Olympic events (from Kurt Esposito). … “Methinks this young fellow needs an exorcism,” says David G. Firestone, “as he shows the Mark of the Beast.” … The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame logo has gone from bad to worse (from Paul Deaver). … A UK TV newscaster has found herself in the middle of a controversy after she chose not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on the air (from Kirsten Hively). … Note for Seattle-area readers: Membership card designer Scott M.X. Turner’s band, RebelMart, will be playing on Friday, 9pm, at the Mix in Georgetown. You know what to do.
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What Paul did last night: Went out and saw that lesbian movie everyone’s talking about. There are all sorts of sociological things I could say about it, but instead I’ll say this: I have never seen (and hope I never see again) so much mucus in one movie. Seriously, people, we’re talking rivers of snot. Like, did they forget to budget for tissues or what? Ewwww.
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About today: I’m going to be off the grid from about 2pm until fairly late in the evening. So unless you have breaking news that can’t wait a day, please go easy on the Ticker submissions. Thanks.
Major historical find today, kids. Here’s the backstory: I’ve written several times about Stan the Man wearing the Cardinals’ 1956 home whites while displaying a new set of road grays at a press conference. That road uni never made it onto the field (here’s what the Cards wore instead in ’56), but a slightly different version of it showed up on the auction block a few years back. The auction-listed version had a zipper front and no sleeve patch, while the one Musial was holding in the wire photo had buttons and a Slugger Bird patch. Obviously, there were several prototypes of this design floating around.
Now, as you can see above, we have a new additional to the historical record: a photo of Musial wearing the button-front version. That’s a Rawlings promotional photo, and I really like the looks of it. Too bad the Cards didn’t go with that design.
That photo was recently sent my way by memorabilia maven Tony Cocchi, to whom I was recently introduced by former Mitchell & Ness impresario and longtime Uni Watch pal Peter Capolino. When Peter was doing the throwback thing with M&N, Tony would often loan him old jerseys from his collection, which Peter would use to help create M&N’s throwbacks.
Anyway: I’ve been getting acquainted with Tony, whose collection apparently includes a huge number of uni-related oddities. For example, Tony also sent me photos of a Washington Senators/Nationals prototype road jersey, circa 1950, from his collection (if the slideshow below doesn’t work for you, click here):
As you probably know, the Sens officially changed their name to the Nationals in 1905, and wore that name on their jerseys for two seasons. (In fact, they were the first MLB team ever to wear their team name on their chest.) After 1906, though, they just wore a “W,” which may explain why many fans ignored the new name and continued to call them the Senators.
So this prototype, had it been worn, would have been the first instance of the Nats calling themselves the Nats in 44 years. It’s a nice-looking script, too — too bad they didn’t wear it. Instead, they wore this.
As for the number on the back, Tony says, “It could have been for the year 1950, or for Manager Bucky Harris, who wore number 50.”
Tony says he has lots of these types of things — so many, in fact, that sometimes he’ll be going through bins of jerseys that he keeps out in his garage and will stumble across something he’d forgotten about. So there’s more where this came from. Stay tuned.
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College hoops update: Remember my college basketball season preview column from last week? Today I have a follow-up column, covering 30 more schools — enjoy.
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IMPORTANT! Annoying video ads: Some of you have reported that the ad box in between the first and second blog entries on our home page (and/or the box in between the blog entry and the comments) has recently been auto-playing video ads. I encountered this a few times myself yesterday, and I agree that it’s very annoying.
I contacted our ad-serving rep, who told me this shouldn’t be happening. But if it happens again, you can help by doing one of two things: (1) Take a screen shot of the video ad and send it to me. (2) Try the following (I’m copying and pasting the instrux I got from our ad rep):
Hit F12 on your keyboard (or, if you’re using a Mac, right-click on the page and select “Inspect Element”), type ctrl+f and enter “http://vap” in the search field. There will likely be a few results within the code, so as you click through the results hover your mouse over the line of html code until you see img 0px x 0px pop up over the bad ad unit. Once you’ve located that, right-click on the entire line and copy/paste it into a notepad file.
Then send that file to me (assuming you understand all of that).
Sorry for the hassle, and thanks for any help you can offer.
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This has nothing to do with uniforms: I’ve been a fan of Marcellus Hall’s work since 1990, when I first saw the punk-blues band he fronted, Railroad Jerk. I immediately became a big Railroad Jerk fan — like, a really big Railroad Jerk fan (for the uninitiated, I strongly recommend starting with this album and then this album) — and later became a fan of his next band, White Hassle.
Along the way, I started seeing Hall’s illustration work in various publications (including the New Yorker, where he’s occasionally gotten to do the cover), and I found I liked his illustration style almost as much as I liked his music. The guy is a dual threat.
Last Saturday I saw Hall and his current band, the Hostages, play a great set at Union Pool. After the show, I ended up chatting with him for a bit. After admiring his work for more than two decades, it was a treat to finally meet him, and I was happy to learn that he appears to be a swell guy.
I was telling Kirsten about this afterward, and she poked around on the web and found a really, really special project that’s the reason I’m writing this section to begin with: “Letters from Uncle Marce,” which is a series of letters Hall has written to his young nieces and nephew. They are super-duper-wonderful! Ever since I discovered them, I haven’t been able to stop looking at them, telling people about them, etc. Just clicking through them puts a big, goofy grin on my face. Here are two reasons why (click to enlarge):
Pretty awesome, right? I was originally going to link to “Letters From Uncle Marce” as a Catch of the Day, but then I decided it’s too special for that. Seriously, check out the whole batch of letters now — you won’t be sorry. Moreover, you’ll probably starting thinking the same thing I’ve been thinking, which is that someone should compile these letters into a children’s book.
I asked Hall about that, and he said, “All the children’s book publishers love them, but no one can conceive of a way to publish them. They all want me to shoehorn them into some kind of formulaic narrative.”
Arrggh! So short-sighted. If Hall were a famous artist like Maira Kalman, nobody would care about imposing a narrative onto the letters — the work would be allowed to stand on its own. Hall isn’t famous, but his work is strong enough to deserve the same treatment. If any publishing people are out there, please check out “Letters From Uncle Marce” and do what needs to be done. Otherwise, I may have to publish this project myself.
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This isn’t about uniforms either: I’ve been a huge fan of the eccentric kitchen-sink band The Scene Is Now ever since I mail-ordered their first LP, 1985′s Burn All Your Records, while I was in college. Over the next decade or so I reviewed their records in various publications, saw them live every chance I got, and at some point in the 1990s became friendly with them. (By this point I was pretty sure I was their biggest fan, but that was before this kid from Iowa moved to NYC and demonstrated such an amazing fluency in their back catalog that he became their new guitarist. But I digress.) Over the years they’ve become some of my favorite people, every bit as warm and interesting as their music.
The Scene will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this Saturday night at the Bowery Electric. I’ve been asked to introduce the band and say a few words prior to the second of their three sets that night, and I couldn’t be more honored. Not sure what I’m going to say, but I’m thinking I may need a few props or visual aids. Maybe see some of you there? Hope so.
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’Skins Watch: A group of Native American leaders visited the White House yesterday and thanked President Obama for speaking out on the ’Skins issue, thereby proving yet again that white people are the only ones who want the team’s name changed. … The teams at Neshaminy High School in Pennsylvania are called the Redskins. The student newspaper wants to stop using the team name, but the paper’s staff has been overruled by the school’s administration. … Here’s the best article I’ve seen so far about that California school whose teams are called the Arabs. Good info, doesn’t take sides, solid reporting (thanks, Phil). … There’s pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month, camouflage for Veterans
Day Month, and now, right on schedule, there’s turquoise for Native American Heritage Month.
Baseball News: Back in the summer I showed some screen shots of Willie Mays wearing a Reds helmet in the 1965 All-Star Game. Now Bruce Menard has provided us with a much better view. Pure gold! … Oooh, check this out: It’s like striped socks for your bat (from Brady Phelps). … More logo-makeover suggestions from Braves fans (thanks, Phil). … My buddy Rex Doane is a serious minor league cap collector. He just mail-ordered a new set of Rochester Red Wings caps and was surprised to find that the package included a personal note from the team’s mascot, Spikes. “The red feathers that were also included suggest that Spikes is either working feverishly to meet consumer demand for the new logo merch or that he is merely molting for a brighter tomorrow,” says Rex. … As you may recall, back in September I appeared on Keith Olbermann’s show and talked about nickNOBs. As I was leaving the set after my segment, Olbermann handed me a printout of an old article about A’s nickNOBs that his staff had come up with. I folded up the printout, stuck it in my pocket, and forgot about it until the other day, when I discovered it in that same pocket. Then I waited another coupla days until finally scanning it for you. … Speaking of old uni-centric articles, here’s a great 1972 Sporting News piece about the unveiling of the Braves’ “feather” uniforms (killer find by Todd Radom, who also put together a good graphic how much the Braves’ road jersey typography changed in the course of a couple of seasons). … Also from Todd: The 1914 Yankees’ uniforms were sent to Sing Sing Prison, where they were used by inmates (who, according to the article, were encouraged to play baseball as “a commenable means of giving the prisoners something pleasant and interesting to think about”). … New logo set for the Inland Empire 66ers.
NFL News: Good spot by Steve Monforto, who noticed that a sideline worker at Monday night’s Dolphins/Bucs game was wearing a shirt with an outdated Marlins logo. … The Steelers will wear their bumblebee throwbacks this weekend.
College Football News: How did kickers used to guarantee good distance on a kickoff? By tying the toe of their kicking shoe in an upright position. That’s from the 1975 Air Force/Navy game (thanks, Phil). … Here’s a look at the beautiful Hawaii throwbacks for this weekend. … Nico Bollini notes that USC’s helmet logo appears to be larger this season. … GFGS on tap this weekend for Cal. … Toledo wore a retro helmet design last night, apparently based on the design in the center of this page (thanks, Phil).
Hockey News: New mask for Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen (from John Muir). … ” I was watching a video about the NHL lockout and it focused on players heading to the American Hockey League, and especially the Springfield Falcons,” writes Josh Tremblay. “At one point they showed two Falcons players wearing two different team logos during practice — one from the team’s current Columbus Blue Jackets affiliation (left) and one from the former Edmonton Oilers affiliation (right). The Falcons were affiliated with Edmonton three years ago. Is it common for teams, minor league in particular, to hold onto jerseys that old?” … The NHL has released metallic-style logos for the teams participating in the Stadium Series games (from Tore McCarthy). … Here’s a look at the best and worst jerseys in Coyotes history. … New mask for Preds/Admirals goalie Magnus Hellberg (from Daniel Lavender). … A little birdie tells me the Devils will be wearing their red/green throwbacks on March 18.
Soccer News: New away kit for Arsenal? Maybe (from Patrick Runge). … Barcelona has extended its sponsorship deal with UNICEF (from George Chilvers). … According to page 44 of this list of World Cup regulations, FIFA is urging the national federations to submit one “predominately light” kit and one “predominately dark” kit. “So all that corporate marketing talk by Adidas on how Germany’s white shorts are resembling the ‘freshness’ of German soccer is basically corporate marketing bullshit,” says Tim Ruschkowski. “What a surprise.”
NBA News: The Jazz wore flag-desecration socks on Monday. You know, to honor the veterans (thanks, Phil). … The Spurs’ GI Joe uniforms will make their on-court debut tonight. … The Pelicans acquired Lou Amundson and Josh Childress yesterday. Apparently they didn’t’ have time to get Amundson a proper jersey, because he went NNOB when checking into the game during the second quarter (from Andrew Lopez).
College Hoops News: Pitt and Savannah State went white vs. gray the other day. Not a lot of contrast there, eh? Is that really kosher under current NCAA regs? Additional photos here (from Michael Plunkett). … Josh Claywell says the contrasting shoulder straps being worn this season by Louisville, Kansas, and a few other Adidas-outfitted schools remind him of Duke’s uni from the early 1990s.
Grab Bag: Garrett had this in yesterday’s Ticker, but it’s worth listing again: Salon has published the best analysis I’ve seen of the sports world’s “U! S! A!” trope. Highly recommended. … New uniforms for the North Korean airline Air Koryo (from Blair Thompson). … Cory Gibson-Bath has started a discussion thread devoted to archiving press releases and media reports about logo and jersey unveilings. … New Gaelic football uniform for Dublin (from Harrison Thomas). … Unisex uniforms reportedly in the works for the U.S. Navy. … Lots of rugby teams wore Remembrance Day poppies last weekend, including Wales, South Africa, England, and New Zealand (the black armband was a tribute to the former player Peter Fatialofa, who also got the armband treatment from Samoa). France wore a Bleuet de France on their right sleeve instead of a poppy. Notable poppy-free teams included Scotland and Australia (all this from Patrick Fleming). … Portland’s new arena football team will be called the Thunder (from Jay Francis).
Click to enlarge
What you see above is a cake that looks like someone threw up on it. But it’s actually a fiendishly clever baking concept. I’ll explain it in a minute, but first take another look at it — can you figure it out?
First, some background: As longtime readers may recall, Marty Hick likes to make jersey-themed birthday cakes for his wife, Holly. Here are the ones he made for her when she turned 32, 33, and 34 (for all the images in this entry, you can click to enlarge):
Marty hadn’t made Holly a jersey cake in several years (although he kept in practice by making a coupla cakes for his nephew’s sixth birthday). With her 37th birthday recently approaching, he decided it was time to bake another jersey. But which No. 37 would he enshrine in batter and frosting?
Marty ultimately decided that he would bake Holly a cake based on the jersey of former Raiders cornerback Lester Hayes. As most of you probably know, Hayes was famous for slathering himself with stickum (a practice that’s now banned, largely because of him). And if you look again at the photo at the top of the page, you’ll see that’s the effect that Marty was trying to create — a stickum-covered jersey. Genius! (Be honest: How many of you had figured this out before reading this paragraph?)
“I mixed a little maple syrup with icing to create the simulated stickum,” says Marty. “Knowing from the start that the cake was meant to be messy took away a good deal of the pressure I usually feel.” He used his young daughter, Clara Jane, to make the handprint at the bottom-right corner of the cake, which was supposed to represent where Hayes had smeared the stickum on himself. “The cake is small,” says Marty, “so her hand was the right size.” Unfortunately, he says, she “instinctively squeezed” the cake:
That’s why the stickum ended up pooling instead of smearing. Despite this one little glitch, I reallyreallyreally love this project. And at the risk of mixing my dessert metaphors, the cherry on top is the little label Marty added to the inner-collar area:
And what does Holly think of all this? “Of all the players whose jerseys I made for her, the only one she had heard of thus far is Payton,” says Marty. “That never really matters though. She really liked this one after I showed her pictures of Hayes covered in slop.”
Happy birthday to Holly, and congrats to Marty on another outstanding baking project. I miss you guys — hope to see you again soon.
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Camo bullshit, continued: In case you missed it yesterday, here’s what the Mets’ new GI Joe jersey will look like.
Several people asked me yesterday if the Mets would be donating any of the camo jersey sales proceeds to a charity or foundation. Personally, I think that’s a bit of a red herring — even if they donated 100% of the sales revenue, that wouldn’t magically make the jersey acceptable, at least not to me. Still, it would be a nice gesture if they did that, so I emailed the team yesterday afternoon to ask them about it. The response from a spokesperson: “The Mets donate and will continue to donate to numerous Veterans charities.”
That’s a classic non-answer, so I followed up and said, “Yeah, but I was asking specifically about the revenue from the camouflage jersey sales. Any comment on that?” I received no further response.
Meanwhile, Chris Creamer reported two new details yesterday:
• The Mets’ new jersey will be paired with a matching camouflage cap, which will have a blue “NY” logo.
• Two additional teams, both unnamed for now, will be unveiling “patriotic uniforms” (that’s Creamer’s term) next season — one GI Joe and one flag-desecration.
In other words, the stupid keeps coming — in waves, in oceans. It’s hard to stomach. It’s also disappointing to see Chris C. straightforwardly referring to the two upcoming designs as “patriotic uniforms,” as if it were that simple. Every time someone unquestioningly rubber-stamps that nonsense, it’s a little victory for the stupid, a little victory for the matrix.
Now, I want to address something that I know some of you are thinking about. I got several emails yesterday from readers (some belligerent, others just sort of sad and plaintive) who said they wish I could leave politics out of this type of coverage. There was also a long, thoughtful comment posted by longtime reader Kyle Beaudoin, who began by saying, “I long for the days when the most heated debates between contributors and readers (or reader vs. reader) centered around which ’90s NBA uniform was the worst/best and [were] not so politically charged.”
To all of you who’ve expressed these thoughts (and, I’m guessing, the many more of you who’ve thought them privately), I hear ya. In fact, there’s nothing I’d like more than to leave politics out of Uni Watch.
Unfortunately, however, lots of teams, leagues, and manufacturers keep introducing politics into their uniform programs. See, that’s the thing: Repeatedly wrapping oneself in the flag is an inherently political act; repeatedly celebrating the military to the near-exclusion of all other sectors of society is an inherently political act; commodifying representations of patriotism to sell merchandise is an inherently political act. When I critique these designs, I’m not introducing politics into the uni-verse. I’m just responding to the political messaging that the teams, leagues, and manufacturers are engaging in.
I realize that sounds a lot like “They started it!” But, well, they did start it. There’s a seemingly endless stream of this stuff, and it’s spreading to more and more sectors of the uni-verse. Maybe some of you think that’s a good thing; I happen to disagree. But either way, it represents a distinct point of view regarding the representation of patriotism. I can’t ignore that point of view any more than I can ignore the uniforms themselves.
If the teams and leagues stop foisting these political gestures upon us, I’ll be able to stop writing about them. Trust me, that would make me even happier than it would probably make you. Until then, though, I don’t have much choice but to keep responding to these developments as they occur.
Finally, a few people have interpreted my critiques of these uniforms to mean that I’m “anti-military” or even “anti-American.” I’m not going to dignify the latter assessment with any response, but as for the notion that I’m “anti-military”: No, I’m not. A government’s single most important responsibility is to protect its people, and that requires a military. To the past and present military members among the Uni Watch readership, let me make this clear: My gripe is not with you. It’s with the way your work is being represented in the sports world. I respect what you do, but I also know that not all soldiers are heroes, and not all heroes are soldiers.
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By Brinke Guthrie
The 49ers only have three regular season games left at Candlestick Park. Then it’s down the road to Santa Clara. If you don’t already have a Niners “Farewell Season” patch, you can get one here, but that’s nothing compared to these great promo bags that the Giants gave away when they left Candlestick in 1999.
(Believe it or not, I’ve only visited the Stick once — but that was enough. I can hardly wait until it’s blown up!)
Okay, here’s the rest of this week’s eBay haul:
• Speaking of the Giants, here’s a classic Starter jacket!
• Always liked the Brewers’ “ball in glove” logo, and here it is on a very nice-looking DeLong varsity-style jacket.
• Here’s a nice promo poster from 1985, produced by Marathon Oil for Pete Rose’s record-breaking 4,192nd hit.
• The Astrodome reportedly has a date with the wrecker’s ball, so get this 1960s Astrodome ashtray while you can.
• We have some more CFL poster action this week, with two Toronto Argonauts posters — look here and here. (These were sent in by a Uni Watch reader, but I lost his email, so thanks to, uh, someone!)
• Here’s a 1970s Packers helmet alarm clock, made by Bulova.
• Remember ordering teams from Tudor for NFL electric football? Ah, the thrill of opening up the box from the mail and seeing that bag marked with “Vikings D” or “Chiefs W.” (The “D” and “W” stood for “Dark” and “White.”)
• Now this is one mighty fine-looking 1970s Expos bobblehead!
Seen something on eBay or Etsy that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
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Today’s Ticker was compiled by intern Garrett McGrath. Thanks, Garrett!
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Baseball News: There’s some speculation that the Braves’ move to a new stadium in 2017 may also trigger a team makeover (from Judy Adams). Fans have already started to get creative. … The Cubs announced their plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, including throwback uniforms (from Tom Hamann). … New logo for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (from Tyler Kepner). … New uniforms for the Japanese nation baseball team (from Jeremy Brahm). … The Inland Empire 66ers of the California League are having a logo release party tonight.
NFL News: No photo, but Matt Brown says, “the Vikings’ mascot appears to be wearing this year’s jersey and the old Reebok pants.” … While following Yahoo! GameChannel last night, Randy Allemann noticed the site uses the old Miami logo.
College Football News: Here is SB Nation on “The problem with Northwestern’s flag uniforms”. … “I have a friend who plays for Grove City College,” says Denis Repp. “Given the small-school nature of their budget, they get five years out of their uniforms before getting new ones. They’re due for that next year. They wear deep red and white — crimson, you might say. They’re currently wearing jerseys made by Nike, but my friend says there’s trouble with this, because Alabama has exclusive rights to ‘crimson’ with Nike. If he’s right, Grove City will have to either find a different supplier or a different color for next year’s uniforms. Alabama owns the color? Really?” … Rutgers will wear stars and stripes helmets on Saturday. … The South Florida Bulls are as well. … Calm down, Louisville fans! They are not wearing all-black uniforms anytime soon. … Wyoming will wear gold pants with white helmets and jerseys. … Brayden Ruthart sent in a gallery of West Texas A&M’s camo unis. … Here’s some video of Northern Illinois’s stars/stripes helmet (thanks, Phil). …Oooh, this could be good: Hawaii is wearing throwbacks this weekend. … When West Virginia players entered the stadium last weekend, the wore these beauties. “It was Mountaineer Day, with a ton of alumni on hand,” explains Coleman Mullins. … Throwbacks on tap this weekend for Western Carolina, to honor the 1983 I-AA national championship runner-up team (from David Pryor).
Hockey News: Back on the October 18th Mark Kaplowitz sent us in what was believed to be Lundqvist’s Stadium Series pads. A second set of pinstripe pads have surfaced. Makes sense considering the Rangers are playing two outdoor games at Yankee Stadium. … The AHL’s Rochester Americans will wear a sweater based off one of their first designs in an outdoor game (from Terry Proctor). … I’m going to the Coliseum tonight to watch the Islanders take on the Predators. The Isles went 0-4 and had zero points on their recent road trip, so I’m hoping to bring them a little luck. I’m also hoping to win the CHUCK-A-PUCK.
Basketball News: Western Kentucky debuted their new uniforms last night. … Check out the West Virginia Women’s Basketball vehicle (from Coleman Mullins).
Grab Bag: Here is a multi-sport wrap up of how War Veterans were honored this past weekend. … Salon wants us to stop thanking the troops (from Hugh McBride). … At the newly opened France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center at Purdue University Kevin Tamosaitis documented how you can’t escape branding, even in the bathroom. … Here are some truly wonderful photos of the Massai cricket team (from Kirsten Hively).