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In Soviet Russia, Uniform Wears You!

I like to look for old uniforms on eBay, so I do lots of searches for “vintage football uniform” and “wool baseball jersey” and so on. I also search on the names of old uni manufacturers like Felco, Sand-Knit, and Spanjian.

It was during one of these searches that I recently stumbled upon this listing for a 1962 Spanjian print ad, which is one of the strangest uni-related things I’ve ever seen. As you can see at right, it shows Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev wearing a baseball uniform, complete with stirrups (but with his usual Panama-style hat, not a baseball cap), and the headline and sub-head are about Khrushchev making some sort of uni-propaganda claim directed at Spanjian.

The ad’s text is too small to make out in the eBay listing, but I blew it up and was able to decipher most of it, as follows:

MADRID ”” Claiming Russia, not Spanjian, invented the revolutionary knit baseball uniform worn by many top college teams, Nikita Khrushchev arrived today to confer with officials of the International Baseball Committee. Mr. K’s words and actions belied his jovial facade. “Nyet!” he exclaimed. “It is a falsehood that Spanjian originated this most cool and comfortable uniform. Soviet Committee #709633 developed and tested it in the field under conditions of utmost hardship.”

Knit of rugged nylon yarn, the uniform in question has earned an enviable reputation for allowing freedom of movement in play and long wear in harder use. It does not rip or tear. It washes as easily as an undershirt, it drapes naturally, without sagging, and looks sharp and trim. It is woven with a flannel-like flock.

Usually reliable sources say the Committee has already [illegible] knit uniforms ideal for Pony and Little Leagues (or [illegible]), and that a decision on the Russian claim may be expected shortly. In the interim, the uniform is to be known as the Spanjian Knit Baseball Uniform, and may be seen at your exclusive Spanjian dealers or in the new Spanjian catalog.

Made to measure in light, medium, or heavy weight stayles and cotton knit. Natural White, Buff, Heather Gray, Spice Brown (no Red).

Okay, so it’s basically an attempt at a bit of Cold War humor. I’ve looked at a lot of old uniform catalogs and ads in my day, and I can tell you that they usually played it totally straight — no humor, no wit, no irony, just the facts. So it’s pretty surprising to see that Spanjian was taking this approach.

I was wondering if the ad might have included a few in-jokes that would have signified in 1962 but wouldn’t have the same resonance today. For example:

•  The headline on the ad reads, “Behind This Smile — a Threat?” Was that a play on some then-contemporary line about Khrushchev, or about the USSR? I Googled it and came up empty, so maybe it was just generic Cold War-speak from Spanjian’s ad agency.

•  The ad text carries a Madrid dateline. Was this a reference to Khrushchev having done something notable in Madrid? I did some quick research and couldn’t find any evidence of that.

•  The photo of Khrushchev wearing a baseball uniform was obviously doctored (and remember, no Photoshop in those days!). Was it based on a famous photo? I attempted to find the original but came up empty.

I contacted the eBay seller and asked the name and date of the magazine in which the ad appeared. He said it ran in something called Athletic Journal (never heard of that before) and that he knows it appeared in 1962, although he’s unsure of the month. 1962 was the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, of course, but that was late in the year — I’m assuming the ad run prior to that, because I don’t think anyone would have been making jokey-jokes about Khrushchev in the wake of the missile scare.

Meanwhile, no word on whether Khrushchev banged his spikes on the table.

(Special thanks to Phil for suggesting today’s headline.)

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Too good for the Ticker: As many of you are aware, I love documenting instances of MLB All-Star Game batting helmet mix-ups. Two new examples of that phenomenon came my way over the weekend.

The first one is from reader David Taub, who spotted Expos pitcher Bill Stoneman wearing a Cubs helmet in the 1972 All-Star Game (click to enlarge):

The other one comes courtesy of reader Gary Olson, who got a shot of A’s third baseman Sal Bando wearing a Senators helmet in the 1969 All-Star Game (click to enlarge):

I knew about the Bando situation but had never seen a visual until now. Reggie Jackson also wore a Sens helmet in that game, but no visual yet for that one.

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Attention NYC-area readers: On Thursday, March 6, 7pm, I’m going to be participating in a very worthwhile benefit event called “Baseball As Good Medicine” at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in Manhattan. It will feature half a dozen storytellers, including myself, with each of us telling a short tale about baseball’s redemptive, restorative qualities.

All proceeds will go to the Photo ID Foundation, an amazing initiative that puts cameras and other media tools in the hands of childen with life-threatening illnesses, enabling them to create their own media projects and communicate their experiences.

Tickets are not cheap (they start at $25, although that includes beer and snacks), but it’s for a very good cause and everyone involved is donating their time and resources. Come join us! You can purchase tix and see who else is participating here.

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Awwwwww…: One of the many things I like about working at home is that I get to spend the whole day with Uni Watch mascots Tucker and Caitlin. And one of the many things I like about Tucker and Caitlin is that they often groom each other’s faces, which is a total cutegasm. I managed to catch them in the act last Friday afternoon:

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’Skins Watch: Two members of Congress are warning NFL commish Roger Goodell that the league’s tax-exempt status may be jeopardized if he doesn’t support a name change for the ’Skins. ”¦ There’s an ongoing debate over a high school in Saskatoon, Canada, whose teams are called the Redmen (thanks, Phil).

Baseball News: The wife of one of my ESPN editors, David Wilson, gave birth to their third child on Friday (congrats!). While Dave was at the hospital that day, he spotted a display devoted to the hospital’s old baseball team, complete with an old jersey. And look at the awesome tag design! Here’s the full story. ”¦ Holy moly, look at the absolutely amazing patch worn by the 1883 New York Gothams! It’s based on the New York City seal (team photo from Todd Radom, patch photo courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame). … The Phillies had vertically arched NOBs in 1976. But when they celebrated clinching the N.L. East title at Jarry Park on Sept. 26, 1976, one player had a radially arched NOB. “That’s Bill Nahorodny, a late-season call-up who would make his MLB debut the next day in St. Louis,” says Steve Kraljic. ”¦ New uni set for the Akron Rubber Ducks (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Pleasant Grove High School in Alabama has gorgeous new striped stirrups (from Nolan Jones).

NFL News: Here’s something so simple and clever, I can’t believe nobody thought of it before: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson’s name is comprised of the names of two sportswear companies, so Alan Spaude-Filipczak created this logo for him. “It would be cool to see a designer spiff it up and morph the Russell eagle into the Seahawks osprey,” says Alan. “Then three trademarks would be infringed instead of just two!”

Hockey News: Phil mentioned in yesterday’s Ticker that the Islanders wore their Stadium Series jerseys on Saturday, but with a cover-up patch for the Stadium Series logo. Eric, who prefers that his last name not be used, was watching that game on TV and has this report: “The Isles broadcaster said that next season they will ditch the black alternate uniforms and use their stadium series jersey as their new alternate. He also said next season they plan to have a shoulder patch to honor their last season at Nassau Coliseum and then it will change the following year to the islanders logo on both shoulders.” ”¦ Speaking of the Islanders, their ECHL affiliate, the Stockton Thunder, wore these jerseys for their game in Alaska last Friday (from Dane Drutis). ”¦ The Lake Erie Monsters wore Special Olympics-themed uniforms on Saturday (from Tom Pachuta). ”¦ Here’s an early photo of Google employees wearing custom hockey jerseys in the Gretzky-era Blues style (from Matt Fedorka).

Soccer News: New World Cup kits for Colombia and England; new non-World Cup kits for China, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Venezuela; and new club kits for Paysandu, Vélez Sarsfield, Figueirense, FC Kaiserslautern, Nottingham Forest, and Chivas (all this from Trevor Williams).

NBA News: The Magic’s throwbacks have inconsistent NOB fonts. “Neither one resembles the original NOB, but the Harris one was what the team used in previous instances,” says Mark Malazarte. “The Harkless one is the same as on the current jersey.”

College Hoops News: RNOB alert! That’s Phil Forte of Oklahoma State (big thanks to Chris Flinn). ”¦ Pink uniforms yesterday for at least two women’s teams — Florida State and Maine.

Olympics News: The Swedish women’s hockey coach found an interesting way to wear his country’s national colors (from Marc Bauche). ”¦ Former figure skater Johnny Weir, who’s now doing color commentary for NBC, has been wearing some, uh, eye-catching outfits on the air. ”¦ One consequence of global climate change you may not have considered: It’s getting harder to find sites with enough snow to host the Winter Olympics. ”¦ Good story about Russia’s foremost sportswear company, Bosco di Ciliegi, and its involvement in the Sochi games. ”¦ Several readers have noticed that Team USA’s official logo for the Olympics features a 13-star flag. What’s up with that? ”¦ Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova took a nasty fall yesterday and cracked her helmet. ”¦ After Russian speed skater Olga Graf finished her run in the 3000 meters yesterday, she unzipped her suit — forgetting that she had nothing on underneath. ”¦ Here’s an Olympics-themed soda display (from Karson Kalian). ”¦ By far the most absurd Olympics-themed commercial I’ve seen so far is this McNuggets spot. ”¦ Olympics-related word that I’m already totally sick of: “podium.” ”¦ Canadian athletes wanted to wear memorial decals for late freestyle skier Sarah Burke, but the IOC put the kibosh on that. Additional info here.

Grab Bag: Good infographic on Girl Scout cookie sales (from Tony Bruno). … Whoa — check the logo on this guy’s back. That’s the “Fat Man” logo, and the guy is prepping the atomic bomb that will be dropped on Nagasaki. Further info here (from David Gratt). ”¦ Steve Dodell made a DIY luge run in his front yard. ”¦ Christmas in Februrary! That color-vs.-color game is from the semi-finals of the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference (KAIAC) Div. I tournament, held this past weekend in Daejon, Korea (big thanks to John Lahey). ”¦ The Fremantle Dockers — that’s an Aussie rules football team — have a new 20th-anniversary jumper (from Leo Strawn Jr.). ”¦ Larry Hedrick, who used to run the No. 41 in the Sprint Cup, had a really good logo for his team (from David Firestone). ”¦ The snowy winter here in NYC has led to a serious shortage of boots. ”¦ Hospital officials in Windsor, Canada, are urging local residents to wear a helmet if they go tobogganing. ”¦ This article about NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s upcoming State of the City address includes the following line: “Though [former Mayor Mike] Bloomberg held his State of the City address in every borough during his 12 years in office, his final one last year was a glitzy, big-budget affair held at the Barclays Center, the gleaming new home of the Brooklyn Nets. In the arena, members of Bloomberg’s staff had hung banners ”” à la a team’s retired jerseys ”” that signified important statistics, including the city’s murder and graduation rates.” ”¦ Andrew Sachs, who famously played the Spanish waiter Manuel in the classic BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers, says he was badly burned during one episode due to an insufficiently flame-retardant uniform. Key quote: “I’d become the victim of overconfident stunts experts (so-called), who’d given me a waiter’s uniform treated with 100 per cent BBC-guaranteed fire retardant. This uniform, I’d been promised, would smoke and look dangerously hot but, to me, it would just feel warm. Never trust stunts experts. This was one of the worst experiences of my career.” ”¦ Special shout-out to our own L.I. Phil Hecken, who’s been feeling under the weather. Get better soon, buddy!

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El Gran Castillo de Jagua01.JPG

Photo by Friederike Paetzold; click to enlarge

What Paul did last night two nights ago: On Saturday I met up with a bunch of friends for a Dominican feast at a local joint in my neighborhood (see all of us captured in mid-chew above). Then we walked a few blocks to a club, where we saw Bambi Kino, an indie-rock supergroup devoted to replicating the sound and repertoire of the Hamburg-era Beatles.

Now, you might say, “Eh, it’s just a Beatles cover band.” But remember, we’re talking about the Beatles’ Hamburg period, which means Bambi Kino is a cover band of a cover band, and that’s a surprisingly interesting proposition, especially for a band that sounded as good (and had such good taste in covers) as the Hamburg-era Beatles. It also helps that Bambi Kino’s lead guitarist is Doug Gillard from Guided by Voices, but that’s more of a bonus, not a defining factor. Anyway, it was a great, great night. If you can see Bambi Kino, definitely see them.

Comments (95)

    Posted this yesterday, but since Sundays are light traffic, I’ll post again for the weekday crowd:

    I’m a bit of a cycling enthusiast and thinking of starting up a club in my town for group rides and maybe getting into races (to make a long story short, where I live makes it tough to meet up with clubs further away, so I thought I’d just start my own). Anyway, the uni-geek in me is already thinking about the cycling jersey and team logo for this theoretical club. I’ve got some ideas for the jersey/logo, but if anyone else wanted to get in on the action, I’d love to toss around ideas, just reply below.

    Right now, I’m leaning toward a crisp white with thin, light blue hoops all around, and with three vertical lions, like the town crest here. Since this is an unsponsored theoretical team, no need for me to worry about ads! lol

    Here’s former Rangers defenseman Harry Howell talking about the first time he took the ice in the California Golden Seals’ green and gold unis and skates (he was there one year before they switched to the white skates). Also at the end of the article, he talks about how he wishes he had some of the uniforms from his stint in the World Hockey Association with the NY Golden Blades (yes, another team with white skates) but he tried to get them and the dressing room was locked, apparently the trainers had gotten to them first!


    …I should clarify the reason the dressing room was locked was because the financially-floundering Golden Blades franchise was sold in mid-season and the team became the Jersey Knights.


    It was always kind of curious that they reverted from the funky Golden Blades design to their orange-and-blue Raiders unis (with the crest replaced) when they moved to Cherry Hill. And then they ended up keeping the Raiders/Knights design when they moved to San Diego…

    The guys from Pleasant Grove High seemed thrilled about their new stirrups!
    Lighten up, Francis. Jesus.

    There was a string of jokes about this in comments on Uni-Watch early this season. Maybe it was as early as having been right after an exhibition game.

    Yeah, I was surprised that Paul actually published it since I assumed that I’m like the 14th person to send him a version of that concept. Guess not. Anyway, would someone with more than a shred of design skills spiff that up?

    It should be noted that the logo I slapped together in 10 minutes using Paint had the wordmarks for Russell and Wilson under the letters. That’s why the W looks so small compared to the R.

    ” Speaking of the Islanders, their ECHL affiliate, the Stockton Thunder, wore these jerseys for their game in Alaska last Friday (from Dane Drutis).”

    There is a Navy supply base in Stockton, CA called Rough And Ready Island. Being that the Thunder are now affiliated with The Islanders, it seems like a pretty natural fit to us that jersey.

    Love the mismatched helmet stuff. But the pictures led me to another question.

    I didn’t realize the ear flap helmets were used “so long ago”. I am in my mid 30’s and remember seeing Reggie Jackson use a non-ear flap model in the (I think) ’77 World Series.

    The photos above pre-date that (1969 for one for example).

    Earflaps were introduced in the 1960s as an optional helmet feature. In the early 1980s they became mandatory for new players, but existing non-flapped players were grandfathered/exempt/etc. At first it looked like the last non-flapped player was Gary Gaetti in 2000, but then Tim Raines came out of retirement in 2001 and played through 2002. He’s the last non-flapped player.

    I was watching the (reair of the) women’s snowboarding slopestyle event last night and the broadcaster said the helmets are designed to split apart on a fall like that. I forget the science (or perhaps pseudoscience) he stated, but the gist was that it wasn’t a surprise that the helmet cracked open that way.

    Seem to remember reading something about this, possibly on UW. I think the idea is by splitting it’s dissipating the concussive force outward rather than through the helmet (and to the brain.)

    There’s an ongoing debate over a high school in Saskatoon, Canada, whose teams are called the Redmen (thanks, Phil)

    If you can make the case your team is called the Redmen because your rivals were the Bluemen, can you get a pass?

    One of the schools in that article might be able to make the case because they don’t use First Nations iconography. But this school? No. They don’t get a pass.

    And neither does the writer of that editorial, for that matter. Impressive collection of straw men and insults, though.

    Redmen vs Bluemen: Either team only gets a pass if it’s an all-boys school. It really shouldn’t take too much thinking from the grown-ups involved to realize that nicknaming half the school’s teams the Lady Redmen or the Bluewomen is such a terrible idea that they should just stick with the Reds or the Blues. (Heck, it’s not even just the girls: Technically, a high school’s male teams should be the Boys Redmen.)

    I brought that up because I remember being puzzled about Syracuse dropping the “Orangemen” nomenclature. Evidently, people were being ridiculed for orange skin that I didn’t know about.

    According to this article, the name change was primarily for consistency (all teams w/ one name, instead of “Orangemen” and “Orangewomen,” with the additional purpose of emphasizing that Syracuse is only NCAA team with orange as primary color.

    Not for nothing, but McGill University (my alma mater) is nicknamed the Redmen because our founder, James McGill, was a Scottish “redman.” So we can get away with it. However, I prefer the women’s teams’ nickname: the Martlets. Martlets are birds that have no feet, thus are in perpetual flight. There are three martlets in our crest to symbolize perpetual learning as an analogy to perpetual flight.

    I like the Magic throwbacks alot.

    The Magic are probably going to have 2 lottery picks this coming draft. They’re going to be a team of the future.

    Speaking of striped socks, it was nice to see the Akron Rubberducks went that route with all 5 of their uniform combinations.

    Nah, it’s just like the UWFFL, just because nobody comments, doesn’t mean they don’t love it.

    BTW, congrats to Hartford, Birmingham and Vancouver on winning their Conference Championships and earning promotion to the UWFFL big leagues next season! Now the eyes of the UWFFL world will turn to this weekend’s National Championship Game between Florida and Anchorage, good luck guys!

    It is a anachronism it’s before most of our times…I wasn’t born yet. But I agree it captures a lot and is intriguing. It probably took many years of lobbying to get the major leagues to switch to double-knit in the early 70s…this ad indicates lobbying started in the early 60s.

    As for some of the illegibles, looks to me like “the Committee has already ruled knit uniforms ideal for Little Leaguers [or Leaguerskis].” A popular way to mock the Russian language was to add “ski” to the end of a word.

    It’s awesome, and a nice nostalgic hit for someone just old enough to remember the last decade-plus of the Cold War. (Learning Russian seemed like such a good idea my freshman year of high school. Two years later, not so much.) But it kind of felt like you said everything that needed saying!

    I was in college during the transition from Brezhnev to Andropov to Chernenko to Gorbachev. After growing up knowing only one Soviet leader — Breshnev, who seemed eternal — it was sort of head-spinning to have such a revolving door at the Kremlin.

    Late to the party. Love the ad.

    Disappointed, though, that no one yet caught the Madrid reference as an indicator of it being a joke. El Caudillo had led one of very few victorious military campaigns against Communist forces to that date. No head of state of that era would have been less likely to have hosted Khrushchev for anything.

    Few things that have ever appeared on UniWatch have made me happier than the Khrushchev ad.

    Didn’t Stan Freberg work in advertising? That’s the first thing I thought of: it’s the kind of absurd, slightly surreal stuff Freberg did.

    Also, during his legendary 1960 trip to New York, Khrushchev tweaked Spain’s Franco government by saying he looked forward to the day when he could visit friends in “a free Madrid.” (He also dismissed New York City as “a terrible city, a pile of stones, filled with unhappy children.” He sounds hilarious.)

    I’m guessing that’s where the Madrid dateline comes from.

    I loved it. Proof there was satire before the Onion. Early this morning, I had this feeling the smile headline was referring to something but could not remember what it was or find it on the web. As a contrast to Stalin? After the 1959 ‘Kitchen Debate” with Nixon? I couldn’t find much of anything though smiling did seem to part of his trademark. Later, I found a few articles that refer to him smiling: From his ’59 tour of the US: Apparently, he was smiling after pounding the table at the UN in ’60.

    I seem to recall (maybe from reading Art Buchwald collections) that there was a time where the Soviet Union would claim pretty much everything was invented there, and that’s probably what this ad references.

    Paul, the Khrushchev ad is great. Regarding the Athletic Journal you referred to, it might have been the predecessor to this magazine, When I was coaching I subscribed to Coach magazine and it always has many ads for uniform manufacturers.

    That’s not a bad interpretation… but it’s kinda the wrong colors. They don’t use that dark teal “seahawk blue” color any more.

    Ok… after seeing yours and thinking a bit… here’s how it should be done – The green 3 should be dropped – it’s unnecessary and clutters things. Keep the R as you have it, but swap the teal for the proper gray. The Wilson W would be gray, but filled with the feather pattern that the team uses on it’s numbers, and then both letters would have a neon green outline.

    I agree that the 3 clutters things a bit.

    Also in my “original” I kept the words Russell and Wilson in the design and I think it added to the overall effect.

    Yes, thank you for doing that!

    It would help if the R and W were either both italicized or both standard text. I was able to find a Russell R in standard.

    Not blackmail at all. Tax-exempt status is neither a fundamental right nor a necessity for doing business.

    Is it applying leverage? You bet. But blackmail? Nope — unless that term has been radically redefined when the rest of us weren’t looking.

    It’s about the *league’s* tax-exempt status, not the tax status of the individual teams.

    If they really wanted to play hardball (to mix our sports metaphors), they’d threaten to revoke the league’s antitrust exemption. And that wouldn’t be blackmail either, unless you think the league is somehow divinely entitled to an antitrust exemption.

    Using the levers of legal and statutory power in an attempt to persuade isn’t blackmail, or even coercion — it’s simply using legal and statutory power. And many people would argue that revoking the NFL’s tax-exempt status and/or antitrust exemption is simply doing the people’s business, irrespective of the ’Skins situation.

    The tax exempt status is not (should not be) predicated on anything other than whether or not an organization meets the requirements for a non-profit organization. It’s not something that should be dangled as bait in any argument. The league is either a non-profit or a for-profit. The name of the Redskins shouldn’t affect that status.

    Actually, it is coercion. That’s sort of what the word means. If an agent of the government threatens you with legal sanction if you don’t take a particular action, you are going coerced. But that’s also necessarily and by definition what government is and does. The term “government coercion” is redundant. Which is to say, admitting that it’s coercive is not the same as claiming that it’s the wrong thing to do.

    But although I agree with Paul about the fundamental propriety of the threat, I find it unseemly and would prefer the threat not be made. There are plenty of sound policy reasons for Congress to consider revoking the NFL’s nonprofit or antitrust status. Such a thing should be done, or not done, on the merits of the thing itself, not as a carrot or stick to achieve some third aim.

    Precisely because the nature of government is coercion, I really really don’t like when government actions are framed in terms of “sending a message” to anybody. You want to send a message, write a letter to the New York Times or post to Twitter. Don’t pass a law, or threaten anybody that you might change a law affecting them.

    And to me, it’s funny that you would be OK with them using this tactic. How would you feel about the government threatening a local art houses’ tax exempt status because they displayed a particularly vulgar or lewd painting in the name of art? Both the art and calling a team “Redskins” are first amendment protections.

    Actually, it is coercion.

    No it’s not. Coercion means you essentially have no choice to do something or else you’ll suffer loss of life, limb, or liberty. Loss of tax-exempt status, if achieved via due legal and statutory processes, doesn’t meet that threshold.

    And to me, it’s funny that you would be OK with them using this tactic.

    I never said I’m OK with it. I said it’s not blackmail, which it isn’t.

    How would you feel about the government threatening a local art houses’ tax exempt status because they displayed a particularly vulgar or lewd painting in the name of art?

    The art house would be able to appeal that revocation through the proper legal channels, just as the league will be able to do, if it comes to that. I think there’s fairly widespread agreement that the NFL never should have been granted tax-exempt status to begin with, and what the lawmakers are “threatening” is actually the revocation of a special favor to a privileged entity.

    As for the First Amendment, yes, I agree (and have stated many, many times) that Daniel Snyder has the right to call his team whatever he likes. But actions have consequences, including the possible revocation of special favors. He can still call his team whatever he likes, though — nobody’s saying he can’t.

    Coercion means you essentially have no choice to do something or else you’ll suffer loss of life, limb, or liberty. Loss of tax-exempt status, if achieved via due legal and statutory processes, doesn’t meet that threshold.

    You’ve just defined robbery, taxation, and most examples of real-world criminal extortion as not coercive. Your argument is leading you very quickly to self-inflicted reductio ad absurdum.

    If someone says, “Do something or I’ll take money from you,” that is coercion, and that is exactly what is going on in this instance. And it’s more than just the money. Here we have members of Congress saying, “Do what we want you to do, or we will change the law to punish you and you alone.” That’s coercion! (It also indicates an intent to pass something dangerously close to a bill of attainder, which would violate the Constitution in spirit if not precisely in letter.) But there’s nothing necessarily wrong with members of Congress applying coercive pressure. Government is, by its nature, coercive.

    If a legitimate public good were at stake, and if that good outweighed any potential good that would otherwise be done by revoking the nonprofit status, or any harm done by keeping it, then I’d be OK with Congress using the threat of revoking nonprofit status to change the Redskins name. But since the deal would amount to the NFL changing the name in exchange for keeping its nonprofit status, I think it’s pretty clear that the goods and harm at play do not balance. From a public-policy perspective, the Redskins name is trivial. From a public-policy perspective, the NFL’s tax and antitrust statuses are hugely significant. It would be a bad trade to make, and so it is a stupid trade for a member of Congress to offer. (The threat to do a thing is necessarily also an offer not to do the thing if one’s conditions are met.)

    What’s being overlooked in this entire exchange, however, is that there shouldn’t be explicit language in the Internal Revenue Code conferring tax-exempt status on “professional football leagues” in the first instance. So in a perverse, back-assward way the Redskins’ PR flack is correct about Congress having its priorities wrong – its first point of focus viz a viz the NFL should be on removing that phrase from Section 501(c)(6) of the Code.

    You’ve just defined robbery, taxation, and most examples of real-world criminal extortion as not coercive. Your argument is leading you very quickly to self-inflicted reductio ad absurdum.

    Sorry, let me reword my definition in a more thorough way that I didn’t think was necessary given the context in which we were talking.

    Coercion is an abuse of power employed by the powerful upon the less powerful, with the implicit threat of loss of life, limb, or liberty. The powerful party is often an agent of the state, but not always — it can also be a boss, for example.

    The key here — and this is the part I didn’t think I’d have to spell out, since it was obvious that we were discussing coercion in a pejorative manner — is that coercion, by definition, is an abuse of power. But I see no indication — at least not yet — that the lawmakers sending the letter to the NFL are engaged in an abuse of power. Are they exercising power? Yup. And are they exercising it in a way that the NFL may not like? I’m sure. But that doesn’t make it abusive or otherwise out of bounds. Until that happens, it’s not coercion; it’s just leverage.

    You’ve obviously never studied politics, Paul. Essentially, without the use of coercion, governments would fail. It’s the main mechanism they use to exercise their authority. Governments would have no ability to maintain law and order if they did not use coercion (by coercion I mean the threat of losing one’s life, liberty or property). Thus, you are completely incorrect when you say things like, “Coercion, by definition, is an abuse of power,” it simply is not.

    You’ve obviously never studied politics, Paul.

    You’d better tell that to the folks at SUNY-Binghamton, which granted me a B.A. in political science.

    Simple exercise: Sometimes the police obtain a confession from a criminal suspect in a lawful manner, and sometimes that confession is coerced. The latter is an abuse of power (and is usually tossed out of court as a result).

    I think we’re largely saying the same things but are differing on semantics. In any case, I have to go for a bike ride now. Bye.

    “From a public-policy perspective, the Redskins name is trivial. From a public-policy perspective, the NFL’s tax and antitrust statuses are hugely significant. It would be a bad trade to make, and so it is a stupid trade for a member of Congress to offer. (The threat to do a thing is necessarily also an offer not to do the thing if one’s conditions are met.)”

    From a public-policy perspective, the NFL’s tax status is hugely significant because it’s a fraud. The NFL’s tax status is hardly significant. The league has a huge cost of liabilities that is far exceeding it’s assests. As a result, there’s little, if any, revenue for the government to generate through taxes.

    If anything, they’d be giving money to the NFL. The most logical step for the NFL to take if it lost it’s tax exempt status would be to form an LLC with it’s 32 member clubs. If they did that, they most likely would most likely end up paying out less taxes than they do now.

    I don’t think trading a team’s nickname for a new tax status is such a bad idea after all.

    Paul, any word on a Mets memorial patch for Ralph Kiner?

    UWers, any design ideas besides a silhouette or a mic? Growing up in the 80s, the wood paneling of Kiner’s Korner and his yellow jackets were the most identifiable aspects for me. Aside from his voice, of course.

    Not that I’ve heard, although I’m sure they’ll wear something. I hope it doesn’t involve a microphone — that trope for announcers’ memorial patches has become way overplayed.

    I imagine the Pirates will wear something as well.

    There were multiple graphics for Kiner’s Korner over the years…one is actually hanging in the Sportspage bar in White Plains. It is made of felt, which I believe was used in TV graphics because it didn’t reflect light. Anybody know more?

    A wood grain pattern would be a fantastic, and novel, touch. Here’s hoping someone at Mets HQ reads your comment!

    What’s wrong with a simple RMK or just a black armband on the sleeve?

    What did they do Bob Murphy? they should match that.

    One of the high schools (P.A.C.I.) in Thunder Bay also had it’s teams named Redmen. The school was around for over 100 years but closed in 2007. Don’t remember any controversy over the name or logo when I was in high school in the 80s.

    in a quick search online couldn’t find any photos of PACI teams or logo, but found a photo of their gym (had name and logo in pic) on Facebook and uploaded.

    In the past, I’ve named cats for very specific reasons. My previous pair, for example, were Roscoe and Maybelline, and were named after bluesman Roscoe Gordon and Chuck Berry’s first hit, respectively.

    But for these two, I brought them home from the shelter, opened the cat carrier so they could walk out, and heard myself calling them Tucker and Caitlin. I have no idea where those names came from. But that’s how they got their names.

    I have 2 cats who are sisters who do that as well. They are named after the rap group Gang Starr: “Guru” and “Premier”

    Paul, I’m not a “cat guy”, but that video is hysterical. Especially the part where they stop and both look at you as if to say, “really, you’re filming this?” only to go back to their own little world. I also particularly enjoyed the use of “cutegasm” in your narrative. Never read/heard that one before.

    Although the movie was ultra-cheesy, there was a line in one of the Batman movies when Jim Carrey (as the Riddler) yells out “Joygasm! as something evil he planned occurs. I always found that particularly funny and an interesting use of the “-gasm” construction. Incidentally, what would constitute a “stressgasm”?

    what would constitute a “stressgasm”?

    Crazy, stressful period of time. Too much to do, not enough time, unexpected shit hitting you from all angles, etc…

    “Hospital officials in Windsor, Canada, are urging local residents to wear a helmet if they go tobogganing.”

    The funniest part of that article is that the Windsor Star spelled toboggan wrong in the headline (“tobaggan”).

    Regarding the Phillies’ player who didn’t have his name in vertical arch, the same has happened with other teams. When the Braves had vertically-arched names, they never gave that to players acquired during the season.

    Also, the 1984 Padres had vertically-arched names. But, even though they acquired Graig Nettles just before the season in a trade with the Yankees, they never gave him a vertically-arched uniform that season.

    It was always a particularly bad problem if a newly acquired player joined the team while it was on a road trip. Hard to get vertically arched lettering done on the road….

    I was at the islanders game Saturday night and noticed the cover-up patch as well. From section 325. Very cheesy.

    Do we count the Russian ladies curler new outfit as her “uniform” or just what she is wearing underneath it?

    Not sure if this has been mentioned anywhere, but the Norwegian curling team’s broom handle design features the country’s flag.

    Unfortunately, I recently had a teammate from my softball team pass away, and for this upcoming season the team would like to honor him with a sleeve patch. Has anyone ever ordered any patches online? Any site recommendations would be appreciated. Thank You.

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