By Phil Hecken
If you’ve been following Uni Watch weekends for the past few months, you are aware that a pretty in-depth contest has been taking place for the “Lewis & Clark” Baseball League.
Each Saturday, we’ve been presenting the several uniform and logo concepts as submitted by Uni Watch readers for a given team in the league. We’ve voted on eleven (of the twelve) and we’ve seen each team for which new uniforms & logos will be commissioned. Today, you’re about to see the second half of the results of those contests.
Each Sunday, we’ve had news and updates on the design contest being sponsored by Ross Clites. If you missed the introductory post on this, please click here. You can also visit the Lewis & Clark homepage for more information and updates.
Yesterday we revealed the eleventh set of concepts for the “River Men” (you can still submit for the final team, Settlers [deadline 5/14]). We’re almost done with the voting (one more set remains, to be voted upon next weekend), and the contest has been moving along swimmingly.
If you missed yesterday’s post, which revealed the readers submissions for the “River Men,” you can vote for your favorite concepts (you may vote for up to three). Link here.
I’ll now turn the rest of this post over to Ross, who’ll introduce to you the winners of the second five designs which will be used in the LCBL this year:
Lewis & Clark Baseball League Divisional Unis & Logos
By Ross Clites
The Lewis & Clark Baseball League is proud to release the other five teams that participated in the Uni Watch Design Competition. The winning looks took a lot of collaboration and there are dozens of individuals who deserve recognition for making this whole thing possible:
Phil Hecken, who took a chance on this crazy concept and ran with it. He put up with an onslaught of proposals directed at his inbox each week. He also showed unbelievable patience and understanding when I was dealing with computer malfunctions and a hectic college baseball season. You would never know any of these issues were going on; his professionalism is shown through the regularity in the posts you saw each week. For that, we are eternally grateful. The LCBL name is now out there in the sports world and we have Uni Watch to thank for giving us center stage. The league looks like it is starting up its 25th season of operations (and not its second) thanks to this experiment.
Steve Rosenbeck & Casey Jones at Garb Athletics. All I can say is wow. How the world hasn’t made you a household name by now is surprising. If any Uni Watcher ever needs a uniform produced, go through Garb. These are some first-rate people running a tight ship. They get you anything you want, exactly how you want it, and the pricing is insane. Throw templates out the window with these guys and never worry about additional embroidery surcharges and all that nonsense. It is coming off as too much of a plug for Garb Athletics, but it is a sincere thank you. Without you, the contest would have been of the theoretical variety: which jersey looks best on the computer screen? With you, we actually get to share the creative ideas, born out of collaboration with Uni Watch contributors, with the players and fans of the league.
Nicholas Mahrt, the commissioner and founder of the Lewis & Clark Baseball League. He gives me tremendous latitude to operate the league and I cannot thank him enough for that. We ran into quite a few obstacles in this arduous process (mainly some last-minute color scheme changes to the Voyagers and Navigators… story to come in next week’s post) but we never panicked. He trusts my design eye and makes life very easy for me. Without him, I am not able to satisfy my childhood dreams — to create baseball teams from scratch and all facets of how they will look on the field. Hopefully I was able to pass on this rewarding feeling to several designers that participated in the weekly contests.
As a reminder, all winners will receive a jersey (Garb Athletic) and batting practice cap (O.C. Sports) from the team they played a role in designing. Some individuals contributed — in relatively small ways — from outside the top two in each week’s vote, but will still be rewarded as a full-fledged winner. All will be honored guests at Busch Stadium for the 2014 LCBL All-Star Game on July 3rd.
Without further ado, here is your 2014 Mississippi Division:
We will start with the Pathfinders. There were several good fox logos, but the winning swift fox design comes to you from Timothy Fesmire. We took his orange uniform, moved the fox sleeve patch to the left (for league uniformity), and added a navy sleeve to give it some contrasting pop. The secondary “P” logo is sure to become part of an iconic hat for the Pathfinders. Matt Blinco took the sweeping tail of the fox and artfully wrapped it around a vertical bat. When this cap is produced, it will do the composition justice.
Moving alphabetically, we come to the Pioneers. The only two teams with the same first letter share the same division and conference (interesting planning on our part). Neither here nor there, the Pioneers will be starkly different with their powerful buffalo logo. This was yet another win for Matt Blinco. The buffalo head is one of only two primary logos in the LCBL that is also the sleeve patch on the jersey. This is not to say that the secondary logo from Will Sinnott was not worthy. The crossed baseball bat-tle axes will find their way to plenty of Pioneers t-shirts, shorts, etc.
Lastly, we introduce the 2014 Voyagers. They may look a little different than you remembered in the contest. They were slated to be Tennessee orange and silver grey. Turns out, Tennessee orange is a tough color to come by; not all the manufacturers we use have it. So, to ensure that Garb Athletics, New Era, O.C. Sports, and Nike all had a common platform color scheme, we opted for a burnt orange modification. I used to be highly critical of the mismatched gold in the New Orleans Saints uniforms and helmets. Try ordering from separate companies and getting the colors exact; I now have a respect for the difficult compromises one must make. Side note: let’s just standardize colors for every athletic manufacturer, please.
The voting on this set of proposals just closed and it was the largest singular landslide in the batch. I asked for a historically-suitable take on Mr. Met and Ryan Foose knocked it out of the park. The baseball head is the other primary logo to find its way to the jersey, with the full-bodied iteration riding sidecar for apparel orders. This is possibly our best complimentary set of logos, as they are direct derivatives of the same concept.
Now we will switch gears to the last of the 2014 submissions, the Des Peres Division of the Clark Conference:
The Navigators are first up and they are quite a story. Along the lines of the Voyagers, they may appear different and — once again — a manufacturer is to blame. You see, the fine people at New Era offer custom caps that can be produced in 23 athletic (non pink or otherwise kitschy) colors, which is a ton. In fact, they have three shades of the same brownish brick red/orange. My complaint is not with the choices they deliver. The culprit of my frustration from a month ago was the Seattle Mariners. Off the cuff, that shouldn’t make much sense. But if you back up, the story makes a little sense. Back when our league was partnered with Rawlings, we set out to make an expansion team “marlin blue and navy” — using their vernacular. That marlin blue is the aquamarine hue of the Mariners, spot on. Rawlings will gladly make you that uniform in a heartbeat. The trouble is/was that until a month ago, no one in the LCBL had any clue that New Era will not (and cannot) produce you a hat using that color. After the initial shock/anger/disappointment of calling our lovely New Era rep, I took a step back and had to tip my cap to the Mariners; it was a brilliant business move.
Seattle went to the official producer of Major League Baseball caps some years back and unofficially “trademarked” their color. New Era has the thread and material in a warehouse somewhere, but unless it is going to be used for a Mariners cap, it cannot be made. I still cannot come up with a MiLB team that disproves the New Era rep’s story. So, if it is true, it is pure genius. Every team with a color in its name should have done this half a century ago. Seattle may not have a rich history, or a World Championship, but they are savvy in this department. You can never encroach on ever looking like they do, as long as New Era is producing the caps.
So, what were our options? We could have stuck with the color, had the jersey produced (Garb has it too), and gone with a navy crown and bill. But we had yet to break the mold of two colors on the caps and it would look silly to break up the unified set. We subbed in kelly green for marlin blue and I hope in 50 years it is a trivia question about our little summer college baseball league. The marlin blue/navy merchandise in circulation will hopefully fetch a collector pennies more than retail value.
As for the look of the Navigators, Bert Ayers is back with his second win. The primary logo — in his oh so distinctive style — compliments his Explorers victory in the Lewis Conference. It sets up an interesting aesthetic match-up in the Discovery Cup Championship if ever the Navigators and Explorers meet: Lewis on the telescope and Clark on the sextant [link to image of Lewis vs. Clark].
The Navigators secondary logo is a wonderful tale of strangers collaborating to make the product its best. Scott de Faselle came up with this amazing “N” constellation and half moon. It just needed more of a nesting place to truly look right as a jersey patch. He and Ryan Foose combined their powers and created an awesome graphic that speaks to the essence of pre-GPS navigation. The uniform (now predominantly in kelly green) is the brainchild of Denver King. The sweeping sleeve pattern and bold numbers brought us to what we will roll out in 2014. All told, the Navigators were not created by just one person over night; they were the most-amended with the highest contributions.
The final puzzle piece for the second season of Lewis & Clark Baseball is the Lookouts. Say hello to the only buttonless v-neck in the group; and it couldn’t look much better. Denver King’s ode to the late ’70s is a fantastic addition to the LCBL uniform collection. With this jersey there is a nice fulcrum between edgy modern and piped classic. The “L” and eyeball secondary logo is our commissioner’s favorite (although he changes his favorite often; there are so many good ones). It is the handywork on Will Sinnott’s proposal. He meant for it to go with his woodpecker, but it got re-purposed, rotated to 45 degrees, and now belongs to the fiercest looking owl in sports history. For a team to be called the “Lookouts” it needed an eye that demands attention. Will nailed this aspect of the contest.
The owl logo has a long bibliography sheet. It began as Scott de Faselle’s original work, then fell into Will Sinnott’s lap, then Ryan Foose, a little bit of me, and back to Scott. No other graphic in the LCBL changed so little and so much during the course of a month. If the Lookouts were last in the contest, the design would have gone to the printers unfinished. Luckily, we had plenty of time to smooth out what I believe is a fantastically understated look from top to bottom.
Thanks again to all who participated and especially Phil Hecken of Uni Watch. I hope you had as much fun with this project as I did. The league cannot wait for the apparel to arrive so the photos of the players wearing your designs begin to surface. Congratulations again to Ryan Foose, Bert Ayers, Scott de Faselle, Bill Smith, Denver King, Will Sinnott, Matt Blinco, and Timothy Fesmire.
Yesterday, the Chicago White Sox just upped the ante on Mother’s Day, by breaking out pink caps in their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. While it wasn’t specifically a Mother’s Day promotion (more on that below), it was an opportunity for the Sox to team up “with the Chicagoland affiliate of Susan G. Komen to support breast cancer awareness and education.” Ah yes, who doesn’t love breast health?
To my knowledge, this is the first time a Major League team (in any sport) has actually worn a part of a uniform that is actually pink — today we’ll see lots of wristbands, shoes and other pink stuff (and the NFL does likewise) — but the pink caps are a first. Sartorially, they actually did not look that bad:
You can see more pictures here.
Now, I don’t think pink (unless it’s a team color) belongs as a part of the uniform — in any sport (although I would have no problem if a team wanted to incorporate pink as an official color) and I absolutely detest what the NFL and NCAA have done to ruin October (and parts of other months too) — but I don’t have a problem with teams busting out the pink on Mother’s Day (as you’ll also see below). But the Sox didn’t do this ON Mother’s Day — they did it a day before — and I’m going to have to assume they will still be taking part in the wearin’ o’ the pink today (although probably not the caps again). Seems odd to do it the day before Mother’s Day (why not just wait a day — you could still do your Breast Cancer awareness promotion tomorrow, right?).
Guess they wanted to get more bang for their breast cancer buck:
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 10, 2014
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 11, 2014
Even the mascot (who I believe is nicknamed “Southpaw”) got into it:
Not bad — not bad at all (although I wish teams would confine their pink-ing to today). Be interesting to see, now that the pink-cap bubble has been burst if any other teams do it. A word of caution, though: pink doesn’t go with a lot of official team colors, so IF you are planning on pinking…think before you pink. And now… on to today…
Happy Mother’s Day
Today is (I hope, obviously) Mother’s Day, and that means Major League Baseball will be trotting out the pink gear and other pink things (including, probably, the White Sox). Unlike football (both professional and college), and some of the other sports, MLB doesn’t go completely nuts with the pink-washing, but today they do. While I’m firmly in the camp that the pink-themed promotions have jumped the shark, I don’t mind it for one day in baseball, and there’s probably not a more appropriate holiday than Mother’s Day to do it up.
Like past Mom’s days, they’ll put pink on pretty much everything on the diamond, and previously, the uniforms have only contained a pink ribbon (until last night’s ChiSox game, that is). Everything else on the diamond (and the uniform) is fair game. So with that in mind, here’s what you can expect to see today, as we take a quick look at MLB pink from seasons’ past:
Pink-stitched Official Rawlings Baseball:
Pink Wristbands, Cleats and Undershirts:
Pink Bats, and Base-plaques:
I’m not sure if teams still do this, but back in 2008, there was a commemorative home plate, which ended up being signed by the Detroit Tigers (who played the Yankees that day):
The pink on Mother’s Day has been around a few years, and usually MLB adds something new each year. This year there is an “Honorary Bat Girl” promotion, and these ladies (cancer survivors and/or have raised funds to combat breast cancer) will be honored at MLB parks throughout the day. A nice touch, to be sure. Some teams, like the Athletics, will be giving away pink rally towels. If anyone is doing a pink-hat thing today, I’m not aware of it, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
There’s a bunch of other things MLB is doing today. So, if you end up watching (or taking your mom to) any games today, you’ll no doubt be reminded of Mom by the pink on the diamond. And for one day, I’m totally OK with all of this.
Happy Mother’s Day!
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
First up today is Jeremy Singh, with a “new” football team from Salt Lake City:
Introducing NFL Salt Lake City Steamboats
Just the Home uni.
Next up is William Hughes with some new looks for the UC Bearcats:
I used EA Teambuilder for this one (my first), honestly just because I can’t draw and only know how to use paint on computers.
I always thought UC looked better with slightly retro uniforms (which are surprisingly difficult to find pictures of, but they did exist).
White helmet on Away concept to show what it would look like. Pants, jerseys, and helmets interchangeable for 16 possible combinations. All worn with black shoes and socks. They would probably wear black pants on the away uniform, so all white uniform could be used for whiteouts at home. Logo only on the left side of the helmet, all white numbers would be on the right.
And we close today with Jed Herrera with a new look for the USMNT:
Hey Mr. Phil Hecken,
Ever since the away jersey of the USMNT leaked a couple weeks back, I’ve been working on this concept. It uses “red, white, & blue” literally as it’s main inspiration and I tried to keep it simple. Thanks!
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
OK — that’s going to do it for this fine Mother’s Day — no ticker, so anything that happened in the past 24-48 hours will be covered by Paul tomorrow.
Everyone have a wonderful day — take your mom out for dinner! If she’s not near enough to you to visit — make sure you give her a call. And for those whose Mom’s are no longer with us, think of her especially today.
You guys have a great week and I’ll catch you next Saturday.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“At least the Mets, Marlins, Astros, and Giants camo caps could plausibly pass for hunting gear. If I hunted, and liked any of those teams, I’d dig those caps.”
–R. Scott Rogers