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A Closer Look at Team-Branded Wedding Garters

Last Thursday’s photo of that Bengals-branded wedding garter prompted several readers to send in their own photos of team-branded garters. Let’s take a look:

• Leland Privott caught this ECU garter at a friend’s wedding:

• Todd Carroll uses a Steelers garter as part of his fantasy football league trophy:

• Ryan Frazer’s fiancé was given this UNC garter at her wedding shower:

• “My wife surprised me with this Cubs garter when we got married almost two years ago,” says Benjamin Gordon. “This was pretty big for me, since she’s a White Sox fan. Knowing she would wear a Cubs garter just to make me happy made me even more glad that I had married her.” And wow, it’s a doozy:

• “My wife is a ’Noles and Yankees fan, while I am a Virginia and Braves fan,” says Jason DeHart. So they compromised and got one of each:

• No photo, but here’s a good story from Glenn Victor: “When it came time at our wedding reception to remove my wife’s garter, I was surprised to pull down a University of Michigan garter. I wasn’t happy — I’m an Ohio state fan. Then she told me to try the other leg, and there I found an Ohio State garter. I threw the Michigan one during the garter toss and kept the Buckeye one!”

I have to say, this is all new to me. I attend very few weddings (most of my friends were either already married when I met them or aren’t interested in being legally married), and the ones I have attended generally haven’t included the traditional bridal industrial complex maneuvers like the garter toss. So I’m finding all these team-branded garters to be pretty amusing. Got more of them to share? Let’s see ’em!

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PermaRec update: A 100-year-old woman with an interesting past (shown at right) is the focus of the latest entry on the Permanent Record Blog.

Membership note: We produce the Uni Watch membership cards in sheets of eight. So if you’re the first one to sign up right after we finish producing a batch, you have a longer wait to get your card, until we fill out the rest of the sheet; if you sign up toward the end of a batch, you’ll get your card rather quickly. Right now, we have six orders in the current batch — you know what to do.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Judging by a series of video game leaks, this year’s MLB All-Star Game BP jerseys and caps will look like this. The jerseys are brutal, but I kinda like the caps. … New Senior Night uni for Maryland basketball. … Yesterday I Ticker-linked to photos of the Blackhawks- and Chisox-themed street sweepers that work the streets of Chicago, but I didn’t have a photo of the Cubs sweeper. Now, thanks to Jeff Downe, I do. … Good article about Indiana’s candy-striped warm-up pants. … Oh man, look at this awesome Raiders ski mask. Love it! (Great find by Jeff Flynn, Jr.) … Texas Tech football coach Kliff Kingsbury may be in for a makeover. Key passage, from a booster: “”[Under Armour] showed us … we are already the team that wears the cool brand in Texas. We can brand as the Hippest school in the game. Swagger on and off the field.” Yes, someone actually typed those words, presumably with a straight face (from Daniel J. Schneeman II). … Someone has created a database of baseball player statues. Read more about it here. … We always hear about how teams auction off their pink gear for charity, but we never hear about how much money they’ve raised. But now the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have provided some numbers — good for them (from James Ashby). … “In MLB The Show’s preview video, it shows CC Sabathia pitching in Yankee Stadium in his road uniform,” says Matt Harris. “It also has Jeter at short in gray and the scoreboard shows the Yankees listed in the ‘top’ spot, signifying the road team.” … Michael Hersh (not the same guy who recently passed away) created a subjective ranking of NBA team names, from best to worst. “I bet this would serve as a good debate topic for Uni Watch readers,” he says. Indeed — have at it! … Looks like Victor Bernardez of the San Jose Earthquakes had his shorts tucked under and hiked up for the team’s home opener. Here’s another view (from Mark Sanger). … The Minnesota Stars of the NASL have rebranded themselves as Minnesota United FC (from John McCulloch). … The Blackhawks all wore No. 81 during pregame warm-ups last night, in honor of Marian Hossa’s 1000th game (photo by Brian Parchem, who was at the game). ”¦ Ichiro has been wearing two-tone spikes. “Steinbrenner must be spinning in his grave,” says Dave Rakowski.

Comments (131)

    “Judging by a series of video game leaks, this year’s MLB All-Star Game BP jerseys and caps will look like this. The jerseys are brutal, but I kinda like the caps are even worse.”



    “Judging by a series of video game leaks, this year’s MLB All-Star Game BP jerseys and caps will look like this. The jerseys are brutal, but I kinda like the caps are even worse. The caps are brutal, but the jerseys are probably about what we should have expected.”


    (fixed more)

    Not a huge fan of the Minnesota Stars rebranding. With one franchise folding only to be replace by a new one, followed quickly by two ownership changes in there years, the main soccer team in Minnesota has now had four names in five seasons and seven logos in ten years. Enough already!

    Combine that with the team getting the overused “United” name and a very muted color scheme plus a loon for a logo, which is not a very exciting animal in the first place, this leaves me all rather blah about the whole thing, especially since I was a fan of the previous navy blue and yellow colors and club badge.

    Most clubs named “United” aren’t the result of mergers. If I’m not mistaken, Newcastle and maybe one other United in England’s top four divisions are merged clubs.

    I’m not sure if it’s exactly overused either – D.C. is the only United in MLS, and I can’t think of any United in USL off the top of my head (though I’m happy to be corrected).

    Teams like West Ham United, Leeds United and Manchester United all chose it not because they were the product of a merger but because it sounded professional. Just like DC United, and just like Minnesota United.

    I’m not a fan of things like “Real Salt Lake”, but United is perfectly fine for new clubs to adopt.

    I like everything about it except the name. The Dethloon is all kinds of awesome, and the use of color, shape, and the typography is terrific. Definitely not a contemporary run-of-the-mill team redesign, like pretty much every minor-league baseball or hockey redesign since about 2004 has been.

    But United? Bah. Doesn’t work in Minnesota. Union would, though I’m marginally happier with Minnesota sharing a name with DC than Philly. But in the English context, Minnesota would be more of a City than a United. Minnesota State FC? Or just FC Minnesota, and let a Loony or North Star-y nickname develop organically? Or go the Celtic/Hibernians route with the Minnesota Norse?

    Or, and this is what I’d have actually done with that logo, North Star FC Minnesota.

    In some interviews the new owners talked about wanting to get away from the association with Stars because of the hockey connotation.

    Also, when you hear the name United, you think soccer, and that’s what their goal was.

    As for the rebrand, apparently they did some market research and found that most people didn’t even know the Stars existed, so changing the name didn’t really affect a huge amount of people.

    There’s a pretty good, but hour long interview with the president of the club talking about all the changes.

    Wait, so they wanted to get away from the hockey connotation inherent in any reference to the north star, and their market research found that fans don’t actually have a hockey connotation in reference to the north star, and then they put a symbol of the north star into their actual logo?

    That’s an impressive amount of incoherence from team execs.

    And for the record, my preference for North Star FC has nothing to do with the Dallas NHL franchise. It has everything to do with the official motto of the state of Minnesota. And with the fact that the north star actually appears in the logo!

    Wait, so they wanted to get away from the hockey connotation inherent in any reference to the north star, and their market research found that fans don’t actually have a hockey connotation in reference to the north star, and then they put a symbol of the north star into their actual logo?

    That’s not what he said.

    There’s a world of difference between using the team name “Stars” and a casual reference to the North Star, which always seemed as ubiquitous to me in my visits to Minneapolis as Bucky Badger was in Madison or a keystone in Pennsylvania.

    So what you’re saying is that I misread a reference to “the Stars” as referring to the just-mentioned North Stars hockey team rather than to the Stars soccer team? Well cripes, that does pretty well prove the original point then. Mea culpa!

    Still, even now that I’ve been more or less proved wrong, I still say North Star FC was the way to go. There’s no “s” at the end! Completely different from the North Stars!

    I dig North Star FC too!

    Damn non-existent hockey team…

    But yeah, without getting into the history of soccer in Minnesota too much, most people thought pro soccer in Minnesota didn’t exist after the Minnesota Thunder folded in 2009 (I think).

    But even in the Thunder’s best years, their budget was tiny and couldn’t afford to market themselves. They eventually folded due to a lot of reasons… The National Sports Complex in Blaine decided to start a new team owned by the NSC, which is a non-profit. They operated as NSC Minnesota Stars for one year with a very small marketing budget. The NASL then put some requirements in place for owners- one being that they must be worth at least $20 million. They weren’t worth that much, so the NSC had to turn ownership of the team over to the league until the league could find a suitable owner and they were renamed Minnesota Stars FC. Being league owned, they operated on an even smaller budget than before, but in the two year existence of Minnesota Stars FC, they won the league once and were runner up last year.

    Finally this past winter the team was bought by billionaire Dr. Bill McGuire, former UnitedHealth Group CEO. His son in law is now president of the club and they decided a rebranding would only really affect the small number of people who were already aware of the team’s existence.

    So yeah, 3 names in four years…

    Until I read the ticker item, I didn’t even know a soccer team existed in Minnesota.

    That said, it’s a pretty good looking logo. I don’t know if I associate a giant, expanded wing with a loon (what usually comes to mind is the bird serenely gliding on the lake at dusk), but as a general bird logo, I like it.

    The last choice–North Star FC Minnesota–sounds reminiscent of Red Star Belgrade, which I always thought was a pretty cool and unique nickname (in a world of FCs and Uniteds, etc.). North Star Minneapolis or North Star Twin Cities (North Star TC?) has a nice ring to it.

    I sort of wonder whether they’re just aiming for the “Man Utd” typo, hoping people accidentally input “Mn Utd” on the interwebs.

    Don’t knock the loon! They are suprising vicious creatures and very unique to Minnesota (and other parts of the upper mid-west).

    The name is stupid though – they should have gone with North Star FC.

    I think calling those BP jerseys “brutal” is being kind. I prefer “shit” as a descriptive term. Same for the caps. You can’t even buy crap like that in Times Square. It’s like nobody game a damn as to how these things looked. I blame the Wilpons, they don’t give a damn unless they are making money off of it.

    I still wonder why any non Mets fans would buy ASG jerseya and caps of their favorite players?

    Perhaps if you’re an out-of-town fan lucky enough to attend the game, you might want a souvenir of your favorite player who made the game.

    It’s depressing how quickly any discussion of a given uniform element devolves into a discussion about purchasing that element.

    Without the retail wagging the dog, why would MLB bother to design new All-Star BP gear every year? Or ever, for that matter?

    Duh. We know why they produce them. But that doesn’t mean we have to discuss them on those terms. This site is about assessing the design merits, not the commercial merits.

    I don’t care who buys this stuff, or why. I only care about how it looks on the players.

    Paul, you’ve said many times in response to people complaining about your choice of topics that it’s your site and you can write whatever you want on it, and that is surely your right. But do you really think that should extend to criticizing people for what they choose to discuss in the comments section? It’s not even like any of these people were saying anything off-topic at all! They were just approaching things you wrote about from an angle that you personally don’t find interesting. Is that really not okay?

    I’m not criticizing anyone’s comment per se. But I find it disappointing that people equate fandom with consumerism, and that so many discussions of uniforms devolve into discussions of jersey sales. That’s not a critique of anyone’s comment; that’s a critique of the current state of affairs, which is part of what I do around here.

    I’m not shutting down the discussion or ruling it off-limits. I’m just pointing out that it reflects an approach that (a) has exactly zero connection to why I created Uni Watch and (b) is part of a larger consumerist mindset in American life that I find distressing.

    Counterpoint, Paul. If the complaint is that merchandising has led to the tail wagging the dog, then the assumption is that things like the ASG hitting rehearsal smocks are designed primarily to be sold at retail. The players wearing them on the field is incidental. So the question of whether there really is a market for the merchandise is actually fundamental to understanding their design. And anecdotally, I see very few fans wearing ASG gear, and every in-stadium team store I’ve browed has had a rack or two of old ASG jerseys for its team’s players on discount. Which suggests to me that the whole rationale for these designs is misplaced. The tail that’s wagging the dog doesn’t actually exist, despite MLB spending 15+ years trying to convince fans that wearing their favorite player’s name and number on a shirt without their team’s name and with s rival team’s colors is a thing that fans do.

    According to that “logic,” we should only assess their commercial viability, with no discussion of their on-field aesthetic merits, since the on-field aesthetics are “incidental.”

    Sorry, but I reject that approach. Uni Watch is about what players wear, not what fans buy. Does the latter affect the former? Of course. But that’s neither a good thing nor the reason for this site’s existence. So I’ll continue to focus on what the players wear, and to critique the consumerist mindset.

    No, Paul, I’m not saying we should only assess the commercial side of things. I’m saying that the merchandising aspect of this particular design project is also a matter of legitimate critical concern. Especially since it seems to me to provide a ray of hope, or at least a welcome dose of schadenfreude, in that it seems that the league’s efforts to cause even more tail-wagging-the-dog commercialization are failing.

    I agree with you that the ubiquitous jump to “but will it sell?” is generally depressing. But I find it to be less so, even encouraging, when the answer seems to be “No,” and people are resistant to the blandishments of this kind of shammy merchandising. In the rare moments when taste and good sense win, I don’t mind asking the question!

    I hear ya, Scott.

    I’m not sure I agree that ASG merch sales are weak, though, or at least I’m not prepared to make that judgment based solely on visual evidence. True, you don’t often see people wearing ASG gear, but why would you expect to see much of it? The only people who could reasonably be expected to buy such gear are (a) fans who attend the game (a very small number of people, in merchandising terms) and (b) fans of the host team, and (c) fans of a particular player who makes the All-Star team.

    So while sales may be weak compared to normal jerseys, I’m not so sure MLB expects massive sales on this stuff. Seems like a niche market. Maybe sales are about what MLB projects them to be. We don’t see tons of people running around in caps with the World Series logo patch, but we don’t consider that to be a sales failure, right? It’s understood that that’s a niche product. Same here.

    Aside from whether someone would or should buy this gear, I’d still like to know the rationale for a non-Mets fans being given the opportunity to wear Mets colors. It just doesn’t make sense for a Yankees fan, say, to buy an ASG jersey for CC Sabathia. The orange and blue would be out of place at Yankee Stadium or at any other function in which said fan is supporting the team.

    I really like the caps, on a purely aesthetic level. But the jerseys are pretty bad.

    Now, of course, batting-rpactice caps and jerseys shouldn’t exist. But, given that they do, the All-Star Game gear should be in the colour and style of the host team.

    I mocked this up for an All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium:

    AL jersey:

    NL jersey:

    AL logo (for jersey and cap):

    NL wordmark (for jersey):

    I never got around to designing the NL cap logo.

    My jerseys are more in the style of game jerseys rather than warmups. But, that is reflective of the Yankee aesthetic (even though I know that the Yankees have batting-practice jerseys). The host-team’s style and overall look should dictate the look of the All-Star Game gear.

    I wear caps often; jerseys rarely. If I were a fan of the host team, I’d wear the All-Star Game caps.

    I don’t wear player-specific jerseys; but if I were still a basebal fan I’d wear a blank jersey of the AL if it were in a style that I liked.

    And, if I did wear player-specific jerseys, I’d have no trouble wearing one for my favourite player in a colour other than his normal team.

    I suppose ASG jerseys in the first seasons in Washington would have been REALLY easy to mock up!

    wow. steven spiegelberg is just insufferable. i cant believe someone actually puts those thoughts into writing, and sends them to people.

    My wife wasn’t down for any specific team gear, our color scheme was black, white and silver, but she did let me create sewn table numbers and custom lettered vests!

    But I have been to a wedding attended by Testudo (Maryland’s Mascot) and on the field at Ravens stadium. Their guestbook was an authentic helmet that we all signed in silver sharpie!

    I see two problems with the BP hats/jerseys.

    A: The blue jersey should have orange side panels, not white.

    B: They stuck the wrong logos on the caps. Obviously the mostly blue cap is supposed to go with the blue jersey. Duh.

    Kill the side panels and those would be some of the best ASG hitting rehearsal smocks yet. (Talk about damning with faint praise!) I mean, just look at the placket: Full button front! They’re not even smocks anymore! And the typography of the American and National lettering is free of the frills that have characterized recent equivalents. Really, the least brutal in a while. I’m not saying these are anything better than D-plus jerseys, but they’re a definite step up within their genre.

    “They should have NO side panels.”


    They should have no special BP jerseys, period. Or caps. Especially caps.

    I’m firmly in the “no side panels, no special ASG gear” camp, but I have to say – Good gracious, that Kansas City powder blue is beautiful!

    alright boys and girls, who has the first “low cuff” statue???

    i’m setting the over/under at Frank Thomas, 30/7/2011

    Here’s what I think about Michael Hersh’s team name rankings: I’m annoyed when people use “appropriateness for location” as the key factor in determining whether they like a team’s name. I just think that’s a really shortsighted way to look at things…I cringe whenever I hear someone bemoan Washington’s rebranding because “how many wizards are there in DC!” Ultimately saying this is something that must be considered in order to have a good team name stifles creativity a lot.

    On a related note, I have always loved the name Toronto Raptors.

    Detroit Pistons, best name in the NBA, and maybe even in Sports. Works on so many levels. Worst is the Raptors. Do you think they would’ve been called that had Spielberg’s film not been released a few years earlier? Besides, raptors are extinct and irrelevant.

    I don’t see why there can’t be a good balance of both geographically-relevant nicknames, and ones that just evoke “tough” animals, mythological creatures, etc. When it comes to the Washington example, politically related names have been beat to death, IMO. At least Wizards is alliterative and fun to say. I think we are all guilty of at times forgetting this stuff is supposed to be fun, whether it makes good sense or not.

    Maybe this is the answer for the DC football team:

    Washington Wedskins
    (be vewwy quiet)

    I’m pretty sure they went with the Wizards to play off the WNBA team name, the Mystics…unless the Wizards came first, then that just blows my whole theory.

    Of course, velociraptors are extinct, which is the imagery the team uses. If they changed the imagery to birds of prey (or, um, raptors), would the name still be among the worst in your mind?

    Granted, it would be more generic than Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, etc, but it wouldn’t be a dinosaur.

    I’d feel a little better if the Toronto Raptors correctly depicted a raptor with feathers. The way they draw their logos proves they just copied their image from a popular movie at the time of their birth.

    I was going to also say velociraptor fossils are associated with being found in China/Mongolia and not in Toronto but a quick internet search showed me that the first feathered dinosaur fossils ever found in the Americas was discovered last year in Alberta, Canada. So Toronto, put some feathers on your dinosaur and you’ll jump up on my list.

    “… Michael Hersh (not the same guy who recently passed away) created a subjective ranking of NBA team names, from best to worst. ‘I bet this would serve as a good debate topic for Uni Watch readers,’ he says. Indeed – have at it! …”

    Well, he succeeded. Danya gets annoyed by the emphasis on place-specific names and Faronicus likes it, at least insofar as the Fort Wayne Pistons are concerned. I’m with Faronicus and Mr Hersh, of course, except that I would place the Knickerbockers as #1. I would also decree that the name Knickerbockers supplant Knicks in all printed iterations, though I would permit the use of Knicks in conversation and the occasional broadcast reference. Bring back the dribbling Father Knickerbocker, etc.

    On the other hand, I like the name LA Lakers because it is so patently wrong that it’s funny. Don’t you get points if the team name is not just irrelevant to the home city but massively misleading as well? Imagine the Boston Suns: fabulous.

    I like the name LA Lakers because it is so patently wrong that it’s funny.

    When I was a kid, before I knew that the Lakers had originally been in Minneapolis (or that Minnesota was full of lakes), I thought the Lakers’ name referred to their city. Like, they’re from L.A., so they’re the L.A.kers. Made sense to me. And kinda still does, actually.

    Minnesota Heat

    How about names that would work for completely different reasons in new locations? I’m thinking Miami Pacers.

    Imagine if the Suns moved to Seattle. That would be even worse than the LA Lakers.

    I have to take issue with him saying “Bulls” could work just as well in other cities – from the Bulls website:

    “The name denoted strength and power, and it tied in to the city’s meatpacking tradition and the Chicago Amphitheater’s (first home court of the Bulls) proximity to the famed Chicago Stockyards.”

    True. But there are places where the Bulls nickname would work even better than Chicago. Kansas City, for example, or anywhere in Nebraska – or Washington, DC.

    “I cringe whenever I hear someone bemoan Washington’s rebranding because ‘how many wizards are there in DC!'”

    Yeah, I see your point there (and agree), but “How many wizards are there in DC?” is different than someone saying “Utah is not the birthplace of jazz.” Utah isn’t the birthplace of jazz (nor the Jazz, for that matter), so it’s stating an actual fact making “appropriateness for location” relevant. Jazz is not appropriate for a team in Utah just as Lakers is not appropriate for a team in LA, Grizzlies for Memphis and so on.

    In response to Danya, I grew up loving team nicknames and finding out where the name came from. I feel like the city has a deeper connection to a team when the name feels like their own. Or maybe that’s just me because growing up in LA, I never got that connection with my favorite teams. Kings have nothing to do with LA (or the USA) and the Angels left town before I was born.

    The Bulls may have some connection to Chicago but the nickname Bulls would also make sense in all Midwestern towns and especially in Texas. Hell, it would even make sense if you put a team near Wall Street and said it was named after a Bull Market.

    I should probably lower the ranking of the Nuggets just because Golden State Nuggets sounds better than Denver Nuggets.

    I love how the first comments about the #1 ranking are for the Pistons and Knicks because I had trouble deciding between the top 3. All three have deep ties to the city or region but I Trailblazers gets the nod from me because researching the name comes with a great American history lesson.

    I never said Thunder didn’t make sense for OKC. I just have a (proably irrational) hatred for team names that don’t end in s. If the Thunder had been an expansion team they would just be lumped with the Magic/Heat group.

    Sorry Michael, but I gotta say it…

    When did the Angels “leave town?” Leaving town is the Grizzlies to Memphis, the Jets to Phoenix or the Browns to Baltimore, not 30 miles away into the suburbs.

    Because of considerations like this, we now have the “New Orleans Pelicans”. I’m guessing the owners thought saying “New Orleans Hornets” made one sound like David Brenner. Me, the one that makes me choke is “Utah Jazz”. If we’re gonna do all sports, “Anaheim Ducks” is right down there at the bottom.

    The NHL has actually done a great job with nicknames as almost all names make sense for the cities. They may do a lot of things wrong but at least they change nicknames when teams relocate (except for the Flames). Even the Ducks make sense for the city because Anaheim is strongly tied to Disneyland and the Ducks were named after a Disney movie. It’s a lame name and a lame reason but it’s still a connection.

    I think Kings and Penguins are the only NHL nicknames without a connection to the city.

    I don’t know the origins of the team names for the NHL at all, but here’s a couple that came to mind: Bruins and Sabres? Not sure of the connection of the Blackhawks to Chicago (Tribe or Chief that occupied the area? Dunno. Little help?) I still don’t completely get Blue Jackets, other than Columbus being in a Union state. (again, little help?)

    marc, the name of the Blackhawks comes from the 86th Infantry Division which had the nickname “Black Hawk Division” (notice the space). The first owner of the Blackhawks was in that division during World War I. The division itself took the name from Chief Black Hawk, a Sauk chief. Interesting fact, before 1986 the official name of the Hawks had the space in it.

    The All-Time Worst team name is “Milwaukee Hawks”… again, for the David Brenner pronunciation. By the way, I have nothing against the man, I just don’t want to sound like him.

    Scott was probably referring to the “American Royal” stock show in Kansas City which lends its name to the Kansas City Royals, and provided some measure of consistent logic with the Kansas City Kings, even though, as you pointed out, the franchise actually originated in Rochester.

    Danya is right about the “American Royal”. But also consider that when the Royals moved to Kansas City, they were moving to a city that had had professional sports teams called the Monarchs, the Royals, and the Chiefs. “Kings” fit right in.

    i found a couple of problems with the name rankings article after a quick read thru…

    why it doesn’t give the pistons bonus points for a name that works better in a relocated city…ft. wayne pistons > detroit pistons…

    and i’m not really sure that “nets” doesn’t have SOMEthing to do with new york…after all, they were named after a new york nicknaming trend…jets, mets, sets…

    I forgot the Pistons started in Ft. Wayne but I still give a slight edge to the Blazers.

    Nets is a weird one as any basketball team could use the name but it does work best in New York. Seems like they should actually be in their own category right behind the top category.

    I never knew about the American Royal stock show in KC. If I had done a MLB ranking you would have nailed me on that. I love how the nickname just taught me a little bit about Kansas City.

    As a Jazz fan, I would like to make the following observations. Clearly, Utah’s experience with jazz is limited to high school jazz bands. So, yes, clearly the name does not make sense, but I would never change it. In fact, whenever there were those dumb talks about how the Jazz should switch names with the Hornets or the Lakers, it definitely ticked off a lot of people in Utah.

    I would never change it. The Jazz are the team that I grew up watching, and the team this state loved. It is the team we took in. The Jazz were basically driven out of New Orleans. They stupidly played their games in the Superdome there, and one year, the Superdome decided to book events for an entire month straight precluding the Jazz from playing there. The Jazz went elsewhere. The NBA was eyeing expansion, and they didn’t want then-owner Sam Battistone to move his team to a city, like Dallas, where there were potential owners willing to pay a large expansion fee. So the Jazz moved to Utah, which had an arena for the state’s previous ABA team, the Utah Stars (another nickname from another place–from L.A. or Hollywood, I believe). It was supposed to be just a resting spot for a few years until ownership could get the NBA to agree to let them move to a better market. So they kept the name because the owners couldn’t afford to go through a rebranding–or even really stitch a new name onto the old jerseys, and they weren’t planning to stay in Salt Lake for the long haul.

    The Jazz have been one of the better franchises in the NBA for the last 30 years (having had just two losing seasons in that time, and missing the playoffs just four times) and ESPN ranked Utah as the seventh best franchise of all-time. We have never won, but we haven’t been the Bobcats or Clippers either.

    It may not make much sense, but we’d never change it. It’s the team that we took in and watched grow into a NBA powerhouse–albeit one that couldn’t quite win it all. But as Al Jefferson said when he was traded here from Minnesota. “I’m thrilled to be playing for a team people have heard of. No one has heard of the Minnesota Timberwolves; everyone has heard of the Utah Jazz.”

    Regarding the NBA Jazz ….

    I am a New Orleans lifer, so I know a bit about the story ….

    You are correct, the New Orleans Jazz played home games in the Louisiana Superdome while they were in N.O., but did so by design. At the time of the opening of the Suprdome, it was thought that the facility could be used for every single sport, year round. The NBA Jazz were supposed to play there. in this era, both Tulane and University of N.O. also played “bigger” games in the Superdome. There was never even the glimmer of building an “arena” of approximately 20,000 until the late 1990s when local interests sought to secure a new NBA team.

    The Jazz actually set NBA attendance records on a few occasions, and always made money, despite horrendous management. They fired Butch Van Breda Kolf while he had a winning record because of an argument with the concert promoter GM Barry Mendelson. They traded two No. 1 Draft choices for an over-the-hill Gail Goodrich, AFTER previously trading most of their other high choices for the worthy Pete Maravich trade.

    The Jazz were owned by Sam Battistine, who was a Mormon and who had living and business connections to Salt Lake City. He wanted to be in Salt Lake City, and the NBA ownership allowed him to move despite the N.O. Jazz being a productive franchise.

    The Jazz were doing well on the court in their fourth year and on the way to the playoffs, when Pete Maravich – the NBA PPG leader at the time – during a blowout of an opponent then tried a meaningless full court pass through his legs and blew out his knee. He was lost for the bulk of the season, and the Jazz missed the playoffs and the douldrums came in. Pete was never the same, the Jazz were never again competitive, and because of the lack of draft choices due to the Maravich/Goodrich trades – there were no other stars to build with and no “Plan B”.

    By the way, one of the two No.1’s traded for Gail Goodrich turned out to be Earvin “Magic” Johnson …

    Pete Maravich’s career was essentially ruined by that idiotic injury, the Jazz were no longer competitive on the court, and the mental depression set in and after one more season – aggravated by Superdome scheduling issues – the owner, Battistone – sought the comfort of Salt Lake City. And that was that.

    Great personal accounts, sledgehammer and NickV.

    For me, the Jazz are remembered as the first big 4 sports teams–to my knowlege, anyway–without an s at thre end of their nickname. It was 1974 and it kinda disturbed me. But intrigued me, too.

    And there was this astonishing warm up jacket…..

    This was designed to be cool. Not to recruit, or sell, or make headlines, or promote a clothing manufacturer.

    I love that Raiders ski mask…somebody should start producing these again pronto! (paging somebody on planet Etsy!)

    Damn, I had the Steelers version of that Raiders cap… someday I’m going to find SO much stuff when I clean my mom’s basement… hopefully this summer!

    “Thunder” doesn’t seem appropriate for an Oklahoma City team? Right. Come spend a spring here.

    Actually he didn’t say Thunder was not appropriate for the region. However, it is appropriate for many other regions too, all in all in my opinion that wasn’t a great name choice.

    And it’s a stupid-sounding name, to boot.

    Although I’m not sure “Outlaws” is the best thing they could replace it with, as much as pretty much any other noun would be an upgrade.

    How much time has to pass before a name becomes socially acceptable (NOT Native names — that’s another issue)?

    Why is “Pirates” OK, but, say, “Hijackers” wouldn’t be? Why “Outlaws”? For my father-in-law, who grew up in Wyoming during the Depression, calling someone an outlaw was about the worst insult he could imagine, but it doesn’t seem to generate much complaint today.

    Personally, “Predators” has always bothered me. What were they thinking? You can show me all the sabretooth tigers you want; I hear “Predators” and I’m thinking duct tape, cellar dungeons, and unmarked Ford Econonlines.

    Based on what I’ve read, it’s clear that Hersch is not a fan of OKC. Thus, the Thunder end up at the bottom of the list (which I assume would be true for any NBA list he would compile).

    Anyway, Mike should spend some time in OKC before deciding the name doesn’t fit.

    Also, Mike, do you have any idea how worn out the “Outlaws” are? That name even finds roots in Oklahoma as part of their endeavor into the USFL. The name is not original, and has worn out it’s time (if it had one).

    I don’t think “Thunder” is the best option that was out there, but it does blend with the region and it’s creative. I suppose they could have gone with “Bison” or “Cowboys”, but they chose a more creative approach. While I don’t love it, it’s certainly not the worst in the league.

    Try to remove your fan hat when making lists like that.

    The Chicago Bulls name is all about a nod to the meat-packing industry, so very appropriate.

    That thing is a work of art! That said, I’d recommend against Oakland wearing it, because they’d be just another black-helmeted team.

    Well, da Raidahs did begin life with a black hat, but their iconic uni has basically remained unchanged since 1963 (silver numbers on road unis outlined in black to solid black is about the only *major* change), so I think 99.9% of us would oppose any such change — but not because it would be “just another black-helmeted team” — because you don’t change that uni period.

    As much as I hate the Raiders (not really sure why, I just do), their uniform–basic as it is–is still NOT in need of a change.

    Changing the helmet I think is a particularly bad idea–especially to black.

    Wait, what?! If ever a team deserved to wear a black lid, it’s the “Raidahs”.

    The Raiders have been attached to all things black for as long as I can remember. They pride themselves on it. They nicknamed their stadium “the Black Hole”.

    Personally, I don’t think the uniform needs any change, but if a team is going to wear black, the Raiders are the only logical choice.

    “Personally, I don’t think the uniform needs any change…”


    You just answered the question, “Why don’t da Raidah’s have a black hat?” Because that uniform is perfect, as is.

    Granted, Al Davis no longer walks this earth, and so long as his breathing apparatus remained functioning, that uni was never going to change. Alas, I could see the team now considering an *update*.

    And had da Raidah’s futzed with their uni over the years, or kept the original black dome and simply added the decal, I’d agree they *deserve* to wear black.

    But that uni has basically been unchanged for 50 years. So …

    if it ain’t broke…

    In regards to Tech makeover:

    “Bring Back Vintage masked rider and double t logo for vintage graphics. This is the most requested art from the TTU fan base that we can not deliver. It would open a whole new world to design..mainly because its flat. The 3-D versions of logos are limiting in terms of design and production. We are missing a flat logo that will sell.”

    Oh please, God… PLEASE!!!!

    That’s the only part that I agree with. We could keep the 3-D double T with the bevelling and I’d be perfectly fine with it, but I’d really like to go back to the 2-D version. The rest of his ideas are absolutely terrible. Hollywood? NYC fashion week? Right, because that’s what masculine 18 year old football players in Texas associate themselves with…Spiegelberg is trying to sell his store and his ideas, not the athletic program.

    “Spiegelberg is trying to sell his store and his ideas, not the athletic program.”


    Well, yeah. Except he thinks those two things are not mutually exclusive, which most of us would believe them to be.

    And I don’t know if “Spiegelberg” was intentional, but I lol’ed.


    I completely read that as Steven Spielberg, not Stephen Spiegelberg.

    The state of reading comprehension is in the terlet.

    The sculpture site is interesting. The Armand LaMontagne of Babe Ruth is almost eerily real, maybe because you never see color images of him. But if I see one more “player mentoring a youth” statue I’m going to be sick. Maybe Ty Cobb beating up a black guy…

    Sorry, can’t branch conversations in my phone. I think the Minnesota United fans will start chanting: “glory glory Minn United” juts like fans sing to the Man Utd. It just seems they wan to take advantage of the Man Utd branding by sounding so similar.

    The MLS has made a real effort to develop American talent, but its branding is almost all an imitation of someplace else (Sporting KC, DC United, Dallas FC, Chivas USA, even Houston Dynamo — which for a very short while was Houston 1836, and for an even shorter while Dynamo Houston — are all examples). This is the exact opposite of the old NASL, which relied almost exclusively on fading European stars, but created uniquely American team identities. It’s an interesting contrast.

    And “Real Salt Lake” is about 10,000 times dumber than “Utah Jazz”. There is jazz in Utah. It may not be great jazz, and there may not be a lot of it, but it’s there. I defy you to find something royal anywhere between Ogden and Provo.

    “marc | March 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm |

    Sorry Michael, but I gotta say it…

    When did the Angels “leave town?” Leaving town is the Grizzlies to Memphis, the Jets to Phoenix or the Browns to Baltimore, not 30 miles away into the suburbs.”

    Angelenos think of the Angels leaving LA in the 60’s and the Rams leaving LA in the early 80’s despite everyone outside of LA thinking Orange County is just an extension of the LA area. Just because Anaheim is 30 miles away, Angelenos think of it as being much farther because it takes about an hour or two to drive there.

    Plus the Angels dropped “Los Angeles” from their name when they moved to Anaheim. The name Angels only works when it’s the Los Angeles Angels. As in when they are actually playing in the City of Angels. And don’t get me started on their current name which just sounds stupid and is subject to ridicule.

    On a related topic, my brother-in-law is from San Francisco and upon hearing the news that the Warriors are moving to SF said, “great, we get the Warriors but we’re losing the Niners.”

    LOVE the Maryland Senior Night kit! So clean and simple, with appropriate homage to the state flag. So unlike all the other garish unis that UMD has worn since partnering with UA.

    Why don’t we just re-assign the whole NBA!

    Golden State Grizzlies
    Los Angeles Magic
    Los Angeles Suns
    Phoenix Heat
    Sacramento Nuggets

    Dallas Thunder
    Houston Mavericks
    Memphis Bobcats
    New Orleans Jazz
    San Antonio Bulls

    Denver Spurs
    Minnesota Lakers
    Portland Timberwolves
    Oklahoma City Raptors
    Utah Trailblazers

    Chicago Celtics
    Cleveland Kings
    Detroit Nets
    Indiana Pistons
    Milwaukee Wizards

    Atlanta Bucks
    Charlotte Pacers
    Miami Pelicans
    Orlando Rockets
    Washington Cavaliers

    Boston Clippers
    Brooklyn Knicks
    New York 76ers
    Philadelphia Hawks
    Toronto Warriors

    I think many of those sound better than the real names. I’m a sucker for a local-appropriate team name.

    Uhhhhhh NO!!!!!

    The Mavericks fit Dallas. James Gardner was part of the first ownership group of the Mavericks, so thats why the team was named as such.

    James Garner played Bret Maverick on a TV show. I said the Mavericks made sense for Dallas but I dropped them a little for technically being named after a TV show. That top group was a large group so it’s not easy picking between them and making that top group is all I’m looking for in a team nickname.

    My main two reasons for hating on the Thunder are they took away a great nickname (Supersonics) and their name doesn’t end in s.

    It’s true they are not one of my favorite teams and I spent 4 long days of my life in OKC but I used reasons that have nothing to do with the town or people of Oklahoma. I never even said the name doesn’t make sense for the city.

    Plus my least favorite teams are the Celtics, Knicks, Thunder, Pistons, Kings and Blazers. Four of those teams got pretty good grades so I would say I did my best to be unbiased.

    My favorite team is the Lakers and I gave them no favorable marks.

    Also I like the Outlaws because it’s a fit for the region and the owners stole that team from Seattle with the help of their good buddy David Stern. Those owners bought that team under the condition they would in good faith try to stay in Seattle but e-mails were later discovered that showed they never had any intention on staying.

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