What's Your Sign(ature)? - Pittsburgh Pirates

pirates signature 550

By Phil Hecken

Last weekend, I put forth the proposition that the short-lived Cleveland Indians “caveman” uniforms, worn only from 1973-1977, constituted their “signature” look (loosely, a signature look is one where if you were to see a picture of a player in that uniform set, you’d KNOW exactly what team you were looking at. It doesn’t need to be a team’s best looking uniform, or the one in which the team had its greatest success, or one which was worn the longest…just one you associate most strongly with a particular team.). Today, I’m taking a look at the Pittsburgh Pirates…and as you can glean from the photo above…I will argue the Pirates “signature” look is the “We Are Family” uniforms worn 1977 through 1979 (and technically through 1984). (Continue reading)

True Colors Volume IV - The Colors of Spring Training

Joe D 550
Click to enlarge

By Phil Hecken

It’s been a while since I ran a “True Colors” lede — but it’s back today, and it features some of the amazing colorization work of UW stalwart Bruce “B Smile” Menard, whose great work usually can be found in the sub-lede, “Colorize This!” Bruce will entertain us with several amazing efforts, all of which are colorized photos from spring training…of yore. You probably also know Bruce well for his many wire service photos, which Paul has run off and on for years. He not only acquires and cleans up the photos — he also colorizes many of them, as you’ll see today. (Continue reading)

Saints Unveil 50th-Season Patch

Just the other day we were discussing the difference between an anniversary and an ordinal, and how an Nth-anniversary patch is so much better than an Nth-season patch (at least in my book). And now the Saints have come along and raised the issue all over again.

As you can see at right, they’ll be going with a 50th-season patch this fall (further details here). And just like I said in that recent post, the date range is highly unsatisfying. Disappointing that they didn’t have the patience to wait until 2017 — that way they could have a 50th-anniversary patch, and the date range would read “1967-2017.” Much better.

At least the Saints are consistent: They wore a 30th-season patch in 1996, and a 25th-season patch in 1991.

Such issues aside, I don’t much care for the design. For starters, I hate the way the 5 is bigger than the 0. Yes, I realize some fonts are like that (look at the headline on this post, for example), but it doesn’t look good on a patch. I also hate the way the two black outlines converge on the 5’s vertical stem. (It doesn’t bother me when the black borders converge along a curved part of the numeral, but for some reason it really bugs me on a straight area.) More importantly, the Saints continue to issue patches that don’t include Sir Saint, which seems like a huge missed opportunity.

Anyway: Don’t call it an anniversary patch, because that’s not what it is.

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Friday Flashback: With March Madness in full swing, my weekly Friday Flashback piece on ESPN looks at the story behind Marquette’s infamous untucked jerseys from the mid-1970s, and also examines some other schools that adopted the untucked look. Check it out here.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: The Reds wore a mix of green caps, green jerseys, and red jerseys yesterday. … The Pirates, Astros, Red Sox, Phillies, D-Backs, Tigers, Royals and Braves wore green, and the Orioles and Dodgers wore white with green numbers and letters, with green caps. … St. Paddy’s Day caps even had sublimated shamrocks on the side. … Here’s the logo for this year’s World Series. … An artist produces some cool painted bats (from Seth Erdmanczyk). … Dusty Baker wears his own Say No To Drugs wristband (from James Ryder). … A’s season ticket holders received their passes in a chest protector-shaped package. … Interesting that the Brewers’ season tix use the ball-in-glove throwback logo instead of the team’s primary logo. “They know what’s what we want, so why are we stuck with the ugly primary unis?” asks The Barrelman. … Very cool graphic: this minor league color wheel. … Brett Ducharme was at yesterday’s Tigers spring training game with his two sons. The boys were chosen to participate in pregame activities on the field, which culminated in a photo op with Miguel Cabrera featuring three different Tigers caps. … USC wore green caps yesterday. Also, some players had TV numbers on the left sleeve and some had it on the right (from John Furstenthal).

NFL News: The Ravens proposed an eligible receiver rule change: When a normally ineligible receiver, such as an offensive lineman, wants to declare himself eligible, he would have to wear a pinnie over his jersey. … The NFL used St. Patrick’s Day as a way to sell more jerseys from teams that already wear green — odd, because the Seahawks only wore lime green for one game in 2009, meaning Russell Wilson never wore it (from Wyatt Beltz and Jon Gaudelli). … The NFL Draft caps haven’t been officially unveiled yet, but this image has been circulating. It’s not clear whether it’s legit.

Hockey News: As is their annual custom, the Devils wore their green-trimmed throwbacks for St. Patrick’s Day. And since they were playing the Wild, the game featured an NHL rarity: two teams wearing green pants. … Teams wearing green jerseys for preame warm-ups included the Penguins, Blue Jackets, and Predators. … The Penguins wore a Pittsburgh bicentennial patch last night. Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto wore a Pens jersey for the occasion, with an “M” where the captain’s “C” would usually go (from Andrew S). … The Penguins and Devils had tasty St. Patrick’s Day-themed avatars (from Phil). … The Kalamazoo Wings held their 35th annual Green Ice game. A few more shots of the ice can be seen here. The Wings also wore these St. Paddy’s Day jerseys; here’s a front view (from John Chapman). … Caps G Braden Holtby is in favor of shrinking goaltenders’ pads (from Tommy Turner). … The Wichita Thunder will wear these yellow jerseys for Fight Cancer Night on Saturday. Here’s another look.

NBA News: The Suns and Jazz went orange-vs.-green last night. After the Thunder and Celtics did the same Wednesday night, a bunch of people commented or emailed, basically saying this: orange vs. green can be viewed as a tad insensitive because with the Irish flag, green represents Irish Catholics and orange represents Northern Irish Protestants, and the two sides have clashed throughout history. … The Bulls wore St. Patrick’s Day unis last night, complete with special socks. The Nets wore white on the road. … The Jazz’s Trevor Booker wore green shoes. … Spurs fans got green shirts. … The Hornets and Heat went teal-vs.-red in Miami, with Miami wearing the “El Heat” jerseys. … New uniforms for Team USA. Here’s a closer look at the women’s unis (from Brinke). … New renderings for the Bucks’ arena have been released. … New uniforms for the Philippines’ national team.

College Hoops News: The NCAA has a corporate partnership with Coca-Cola and Powerade, so Florida’s women’s team has to drink its Gatorade from Powerade bottles (from Alex Hider). … Even better than that, some NCAA tourney games are being played at a Denver arena named the Pepsi Center. Evidently, the Pepsi logos on the seats’ cupholders had to be taped over (from Patrick Runge). … Arizona coach Sean Miller completely sweat through his shirt last night. Here’s another look, if you want. … Yale’s coaches wear matching suits, shirts, and ties. … Some USC players yesterday wore the PAC-12 patch and some didn’t. … Seton Hall normally has an American flag patch on the back, but yesterday it was covered up (from Michael Romeo).

Soccer News: Lots of new national team soccer kits were unveiled yesterday: USA home and away, France home and away, Brazil home and away (here’s a slideshow), Portugal home and away, Turkey home and away, Greece, Chile, England, Ireland, and Poland (thanks to Saurel Jean, Patrick Thomas and many people on Twitter). … Also, here’s a closer look at England’s new kit (from Yellow Away Kit). … Sports Illustrated compiled the best and worst USA jerseys from over the years (from Phil). … Bethlehem Steel FC unveiled its kits. The USL team begins play this year (from Mike Diodati).

Grab Bag: Nike revealed new Olympic athletics uniforms for Team USA, along with Kenya and Brazil (from Phil). … Under Armour is holding off from unveiling all of its new USA gymnastics uniforms in an effort to maintain surprise at the Olympics. Gymnasts are judged on performance, and design factors into that (from Phil). … A traffic light in Syracuse has the green light on top and red on the bottom (from Tony DiRubbo). … David Keel took a trip to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and he took a bunch of photos of the uniforms on display. … New logos for the University of Tampa (from Eric Cowen). … Wright State will scrap its new logo and go back to its old one. … Nike has released its self-lacing Back to the Future sneakers.

The Wearin' of the Green ... and Orange!

If you were somehow unaware that today is St. Patrick’s Day, the sports world will certainly do its best to remind you. MLB teams will be wearing green for their spring training games, NHL teams will be wearing green for pregame warm-ups, and so on. Green, green, green.

Green has been my favorite color ever since I was a little kid, and it’s a color that’s way underrepresented in the uni-verse, so I’m happy to see more of it, even if only for one day. Still, the whole green thing long ago started feeling like a played-out cliché, no?

That’s why I really liked what the Celtics and Thunder did last night (see video above). Sure, the Celtics wore their gold-trimmed St. Paddy’s Day unis, but the key move was that someone had the smart idea of having the Thunder wear their orange alts. Green and orange — the colors of the Irish flag.

So much better than the default green option. Not sure if the NBA intentionally scheduled this game with the green/orange uni match-up in mind all along, but whatever — it looked great. The only blemish: Too bad they didn’t complete the flag-color trifecta by having the refs wear their alternate white jerseys.

A few other notes from that game:

• The Celtics wore some very nice St. Paddy’s Day socks:

• The Celtics wore pregame shooting shirts in support of the Boston Marathon:

• And in another pregame note, Evan Turner of the Celtics exchanged jerseys with soccer player Charlie Davies of the New England Revolution:

That’s a lot of uni bang for one game’s buck!

(My thanks to Phil and @zj100 for their contributions to this section.)

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Rice is wearing an “MG” memorial patch for university president emeritus Malcolm Gillis, who passed away in October. … Bit of a 1970s Padres-ish look for Appalachian State (fromRay Warren Jr.). … Not sure which schools are involved, but a high school game in Oklahoma yesterday featured green vs. green. … New uniforms for the Chico Heat (from Brandon Sparks). … I don’t care for the very dark grey that the D-backs and several college teams are wearing, but for some reason I do like these pinstriped dark greys being worn by Kent State (from Jason Tirotta). … The Durham Bulls are adding a new mono-navy alt with several old-school touches — high-cuffed pants, NNOB — and have showcased it on this very nice interactive page. … Here’s a good overview of the green St. Paddy’s Day gear that the Mets have worn over the years. … Chicago has become the latest city to ban smokeless tobacco at stadiums, and the Cubs aren’t happy about it. … Here’s a new one: The Stockton Ports will wear Asparagus Night jerseys on May 21 (from Chris Flinn). … Also from Chris: We’re used to seeing prospects wearing numbers like 89 or 93 during spring training, but Reds prospect Jake Cave took things a step further last night be stepping up to the plate in a jersey with no number! … The Germantown Red Devils — that’s a 16u ASA team from Tennessee — wear mono-red unis with white pinstripes. … This is pretty awesome: A pitcher for Spirit Lake High School in Iowa tossed a pitch that ended up in the umpire’s ball bag! Check it out (with big thanks to Chris Flinn):

NFL News: Giants DL Jason Pierre-Paul, who wore a thick wrapping over his injured hand last season, says he won’t wear the wrapping this fall. … The first rock show at the Vikings’ new stadium will be played by Metallica, which is promoting the gig with Vikings-themed graphics (from John Muir). … Denver fans aren’t happy about LB Shane Ray’s new tattoo, which features a Chiefs logo. … A startup in Seattle is trying to build a safer football helmet (from Markus Kamp). … In a related item, the family of former NFL player Paul Oliver, who committed suicide in 2013, is suing Riddell, claiming that the helmet manufacturer should be held liable for the brain damage that led to Oliver’s suicide. … A Broncos fan/designer has come up with a fairly detailed Broncos redesign concept (from Kary Klismet). … Some of the designer’s renderings for the proposed new ’Skins stadium included fans wearing RGIII jerseys. Now that he’s been cut loose, those renderings have been updated (from Tommy Turner). … Here’s another article on the current state of the L.A. Coliseum, where the Rams will be playing for the next three seasons (thanks, Brinke). … I heard on the radio yesterday that Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, is red-green colorblind. Love to hear his thoughts on that first Color Rash game.

College Football News: Yesterday’s Ticker included a photo of a new South Carolina helmet. Here it is being worn in spring practice (from @willchitty4).

Hockey News: St. Paddy’s Day jerseys for the St. John’s IceCaps (from Jeff Pollock). … The Sabres wore these St. Paddy’s Day warm-up tops last night (from @bonesj0nes). … Very nice St. Paddy’s Day jerseys for the Cincy Cyclones. … Here are the jerseys for the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament. You can click on the thumbnails to see larger versions. … Purple Alzheimer’s-awareness jerseys tomorrow night for the Tulsa Oilers (thanks, Phil). … A group of fans from Stockholm came to Anaheim last night and wore Ducks/Sweden Frankenjerseys to support Ducks C and Swedish native Rickard Rakell. Here’s how they looked from behind (from Kenneth Le, Chris Cruz, and Bejamin Kassel). … Dartmouth G Charles Grant is a lifelong Maple Leafs fan, so his mask design has a Leafs history theme.

NBA News: Here’s a day in the life of the Hawks’ equipment manager. … Nike has announced its latest generation of basketball uniforms with all the usual claims — lighter, moister-wickier, and so on (thanks, Phil. … Also from Phil: The Pacers’ Hickory throwbacks have been a bigger hit than the team expected. … The Rockets wore their red “Clutch City” sleeved alts at home, forcing the Clippers to look like shit as usual to wear white on the road (from @zj100).

College Hoops News: The First Four game between Holy Cross and Southern was color vs. color, and so was the Michigan/Tulsa game (from @LukeTesselink and Nathan Bryson, respectively). … A new study indicates that Notre Dame’s uniforms don’t much bang for the buck to Under Armour (thanks, Phil). … Speaking of Under Armour, several of their schools have striped side panels, including St. Mary’s and Utah (Phil again). … How could someone be so sloppy and careless to position this March Madness decal upside-down? (From James Gilbert.) … If you want to fill out your NCAA bracket based on the best- and worst-performing uniform colors, here’s how to do it (from Susan Freeman).

Soccer News: New jerseys for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. … New uniforms for the New York Cosmos. I believe these are Under Armour’s first uniforms for a U.S. professional soccer team, yes? … Here’s Poland’s Euro 2016 kit (thanks, Phil). … Not sure who this keeper is, but note the “No to Racism” armband (from Tim Cross). … Also from Tim: Juventus’s Paul Pogba has joined Adidas, which has given him his own signature cleat. … New Estudiantes jersey. … Nike is debuting a new generation of soccer uniforms — lighter, faster, blah-blah-blah. Details here, and here’s a close-up of the new fabric (from Patrick Thomas).

Grab Bag: DC is getting a new arena football team. No name yet (from John Muir). … “Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Jimmie Johnson are racing Batman- and Superman-themed cars, respectively,” says David Firestone, “so NASCAR decided to show the evolution of Batman and Superman paint schemes over the years.” … Chicago didn’t give out “I Voted” stickers the other day, and people are pissed (with Jimmy Couto). … Albany lacrosse goalie Blaze Riorden wore last year’s matte gray helmet yesterday while everyone else wore platinum (from Travis Holland). … “I saw this amazing vintage golf photo on the wall of the restaurant bathroom,” says Bernie Langer. “I can’t find any source information, unfortunately.” … Remember when I recently wrote about how the uni-verse is behaving like part of the fashion industry? Now comes an article making it clear that Nike is playing to the fashion biz. Key quote: “While Nike may not overtly identify itself as a fashion brand, and while traditional runway names may not see it as a competitor, to consumers considering what piece of clothing to buy, it increasingly seems like one and the same.” Recommended reading. … Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill is a big Oklahoma fan and sometimes uses white tape to transform the “O” on his bass drum into Nathan Followill”>the OU logo (from Chris Davis. … A reader who prefers to remain nameless was doing scrolling through the channel guide last night and came across a listing for an adult film called 10 Hottest Uniforms. … Now that’s a curling club logo (big thanks to OVCAcurls). … Happy birthday to longtime reader/pal R. Scott Rogers, a St. Paddy’s Day baby. Have a great day, Scott!

• • • • •

By the time most of you read this, I’ll be on my way up to Bristol, where I’ll be spending the day taking care of some ESPN business. And since I’ll be on-site there, I’ll get to record this week’s Friday Flashback video in the ESPN studios, instead of via Skype like I usually do, which should be fun.

Because I’ll be off the grid for most of the day and won’t get home until very late, I won’t be up to speed on all the stuff that’s slated to happen today — the St. Paddy’s Day unis, the new soccer kits, etc. — and won’t be able to write about it tomorrow. Mike is on Ticker duty today and will do his best to include everything in tomorrow’s Ticker, but my apologies in advance for not having more in-depth coverage. Thanks for understanding, and I’ll see you tomorrow.