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Good Thing the NFL Season Is Starting, and Not a Moment Too Soon

The Derek Jeter Farewell Tour officially became unbearable last night, as Newsday reported that the Yanks would be retiring Jeter’s number this Sunday — three weeks before the end of the season. That prompted The Daily News to say, “Nuh-uh, no they’re not,”, which in turn prompted Newsday to respond, “Actually, they haven’t decided yet, so there.”

Or to put it another way: For fuck’s sake, please make it stop.

Retiring a player’s number before he himself has retired is, of course, absurd on its face. Nonetheless, there’s some precedent for it: Last year the Yankees retired Mariano Rivera’s number on Sept. 22 — one week before the end of the season (although that was an unusual case, because Rivera wore No. 42, which was already retired throughout MLB anyway). It’s worth remembering that the Yankees were the first MLB team ever to retire a number — Lou Gehrig’s No. 4 in 1939 — so maybe they think they can adjust the concept however they like to suit their purposes.

Speaking of the Yankees: As I mentioned in yesterday’s Ticker, the Yanks will be wearing a Jeter tribute patch from this Sunday through the end of the season. By my count, this will make Jeter the fourth active MLB player to wear his own tribute patch, the other three having been Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr., and Rivera (but not, as I mistakenly Ticker-mentioned yesterday, Chipper Jones — his tribute logo appeared on the Braves’ bases and on deck circle during their final homestand in 2012 but was not worn as a patch).

Have active players in any other sports ever worn patches saluting themselves? I can’t think of any. If you know of any, do tell. Thanks. (Meanwhile, designer Todd Radom has envisioned what Babe Ruth’s tribute patch might have looked like. “All it’s missing is a broad,” says reader Lou Sherwood.)

Meanwhile: New ESPN column today, about the very distinct uniform cultures in pro and college football check it out here.

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Baseball News: So much to like in this 1973 photo of a kid selling lemonade in a Dodgers cap (from Duncan Wilson). … Brace yourselves, Yankees fans: Here’s a shot of Joe D in a Red Sox uniform! … The good news is that Braves closer Craig Kimbrel wore gold shoes yesterday as part of charity initiative. The bad news is that there was a swoosh on each individual metal spike (from Mike McLaughlin and Phil, respectively). ”¦ Here’s something I’ve never seen before: a vintage Pirates duckpin bowling ball bag. “My favorite item of the week,” says Michael Clary.

NFL News: If you have a favorite old TV commercial that featured an NFL player, chance are it’s included in this compilation reel of old NFL-related ads (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ Also from Brinke: New uni number assignments for the 49ers.

College Football News: Penn State is using its simple unis as a selling point (from Chris Flinn). … Arkansas is now using its new secondary logo for merit decals (from Seth Shaw). … In a related item, here’s a thought: Has the proliferation of teams with multiple helmet designs cut down on the use of merit decals? If your team has, say, three different helmets, it seems like it would be a hassle to apply the decals to all of them and make sure they’re all consistent. Thoughts? … Western Illinois — an FCS school — has G.I. Joe side panels on its primary jerseys (from Omar Sofradzija). … NC State will debut new blackout unis this weekend (from Nick Troutman). … New uniforms for Gettysburg College (from Eric Wright). … Here are this weekend’s uni combos for Arizona, Arizona State, Nevada, and Ohio State. … New uniform on tap this weekend for Southeast Missouri State (thanks, Phil). ”¦ “I’ve seen orange pylons with a college’s logo on them but never a blue pylon with a college logo before,” says Chris Flinn.

Hockey News: The Tampa Bay Times, which like every other newspaper these days is a little busy trying not to become extinct, has decided that spending jillions of dollars to slap its name on a hockey arena might not be the best idea after all. This will no doubt come as a great relief to the Times employees who are being eased out the door.

NBA News: If you’ve been wondering what NBA jerseys might look like if reimagined in a soccer format, today’s your lucky day (thanks, Phil). … New court design upcoming for the Kings (thanks, Phil).

Soccer News: Germany has added a fourth star to its national jersey, reflecting the recent World Cup championship (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Chivas USA defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste was victimized by an NOB typo yesterday. ”¦ Great collection of photos of old soccer mascots (from Jason Fetty).

Grab Bag: New Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms for the Ryder Cup (thanks, Phil). … In a related item, Ralph Lauren is now the official outfitter of the PGA (from Tommy Turner). … Shame on the city of Philadelphia, which is selling corporate naming rights to its train stations. “At the bottom of that article, it mentions that they’re trying to sell the rights to Suburban Station (basically our Grand Central Station, though not very grand) to Verizon,” says Bernie Langer. “This is gross, and I’m not seeing any pushback.” … This is awesome: What if Game of Thrones had a Saul Bass-style title sequence? (Big thanks to Scott Davis.) … Over 600 million searchable images from library books are now available on Flickr. “There’s potential for a lot of good uni research in there,” says Patrick Walsh. “For example, here’s Spalding’s 1911 official college base ball annual.” … When I got a custom-made suit two years ago, a tailor took all my measurements with a measuring tape. But you can also have it done with a 3-D body scanner (thanks, Brinke). … Also from Brinke: a series of athletes’ portraits comprised entirely of Nike swooshes. … Hmmm, does this sign mean “No pets, skateboarding, drinking, or smoking,” or does it simply mean “World’s coolest dog not allowed”? (Big thanks to Dave Raglin.) … Big scramble to get Port Adelaide’s “prison bar” jumpers made in time for Sunday’s Aussie football elimination final. Some good factory video footage in that link (from Leo Stawn Jr.). … Note to grounds crews: Before breaking out the lawnmower, make sure the grass is real (from Andrew Rader).

Comments (119)

    Perhaps the Yankee brass is floating a trial balloon about this number retirement with the conflicting reports.

    The Yankee organization did something self-absorbed and tacky?

    Gee, who’d have thought.

    Also, whoever said that Derek Jeter isn’t as big a deal outside New York as the media thinks he is was absolutely right.

    Admittedly that may be due in part to the decline in baseball’s popularity, sadly.

    He may not be a big deal outside New York, but he’s arguably one of two or three players that casual fans outside the market would recognize in street clothes (though that’s probably a function of the media treating him as a national celebrity).

    ARE there three players in MLB these days who’d be recognized in street clothes somewhere other than their own market?

    Not being a smartass. I’m really thinking about it.

    (Mo’ne Davis doesn’t count, btw)

    I said “two or three”, but I really didn’t have anyone in mind and it took me to come up with people who’d be recognized nationally.

    I’m thinking Jeter, A-Rod and Ortiz. Basically, no one born after 1975.

    In the early 70’s there were predictions that baseball was a dying sport. That sports like hockey and soccer would take over.

    In the 40 – 50 years since, what I think we’ve seen, is this prediction in the long run maybe correct. i.e. it’s a very gradual thing, that happens in small incremental bits, but give another 20-30 years, it could happen.

    Both hockey and baseball are driven by local television, with pretty anemic national ratings, albeit baseball is still better, but with a less attractive demographic.

    The enthusiasm of some of the soccer crowds, Seattle and Portland, contrast sharply to the indifference of most baseball crowds. The other day I was watching a NESN Red Sox broadcast, the two broadcasters were going over some of the things that ail the sport, they mentioned, even in a true baseball city like Boston, too many fans don’t appear to be paying close attention to the game and leave after 6 or 7 innings. The cameras then panned the crowd and showed endless people on their phones as opposed to watching.

    I think Mike Trout with his Subway ads and maybe Bryce Harper, but I’m in the DC are so I may be biased.

    @Oakville Endive

    Yeah, I think baseball is a lot like Microsoft. Still very, very profitable, but overly dependent on legacy and unable/unwilling to cultivate new markets.

    Tim Marchman has a link (which itself is a followup to a great piece in the New Yorker about baseball’s declining popularity), but baseball spent the last 20 years convincing people that baseball players were greedy, selfish charlatans, because that protected their profits and the message resonated with older fans.

    @716 Scott

    Put Mike Trout and Bryce Harper out of uniform and remove the identifying captions, I think out-of-towners might have trouble. Honestly, if I saw Trout on the street, I might mistake him for a younger Brian Urlacher.

    Re: Oakville Endive:

    I guess that’s why the incoming commish wants to speed up the pace of the game. Problem is, properly enforcing the rules already on the books (calling the strike zone as written, amount of time permitted between pitches, stepping in/out of batter’s box, etc.) won’t shave as much time off as will taking 1 minute out of every 3-minute half-inning commercial break. There’s about 20 minutes right there. But, as terrible human indicated, that’s how baseball’s making money–advertising. I don’t expect them to be altering that any time in the near future.

    In an ideal world, you’ll just have 2 TVs (or be at a bar with multiple TVs) with at least one football and one baseball game on. Then, you can watch every pitch every 15-30 seconds and still have time to see the offense make a 5 second play every 45 seconds in the football game.

    It is verboten for me to see the NFL ads reel here at work.
    can’t wait to take a peek when i get home.

    I love old commercials anyway. Old NFL related commercials are even better.

    I can’t view youtube at work either. I do love the old Miller Lite commercials from the 70s/early 80s with football and baseball stars. Tastes great!

    Someone I talked to thinks Jeter’s number won’t be retired on Sunday because the Yankees would make additional money having a number retirement ceremony in a few years. That is something the Yankees would do.

    With sagging attendance the past couple years, the Yankees need any excuse to sell something to the general public. (I’m speaking frankly as a Yankee fan)

    Are tight ends really allowed to wear numbers 10-19? I thought TE’s had 80-89 and 40-49 to choose from, and WR’s had 80-89 and 10-19.

    Tight ends don’t really exist any more, they’re just big WRs who weren’t good enough at power forward to play basketball beyond college. Pass catching fullbacks are the new TE’s, and they typically do get the numbers in the 40’s.

    Yes, unless something changed, TEs wear 80-89. If they are all taken, 40-49 is allowed.

    That report linked might be wrong and either way, the 49ers Tight Ends are #85, 89 and 46

    1. “… Chivas USA defener Andrew Jean-Baptiste was victimized by an NOB typo yesterday..”
    Yeah, it’s rough when defeners are typo victims.

    2. Photo of the new unis of the Gettysburg Bullets has them in front of a sign reading “Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium.” This X Field at Y Stadium usage is so bad, so fundraiser-driven. Shirk is also a pretty funny name for warriors sitting a few paces away from the second-most important battlefield in North America.

    3. I really like the Nats’ Away look:


    The swoosh on the spikes isn’t new. I wore Nikes in Babe Ruth and HS and ol’ Swooshie was on every single one. That was about a dozen years ago.

    Came here to say this. I’m pretty sure link The first pair of metal spikes I ever owned were Nike and had the swoosh on each spike. That would have been around 2003 or so.

    Yeah, they even have the swoosh on all of the spikes on football cleats, as well as a cut-out logo in the cleat wrench. I think Paul needs to quit bitching when it comes to marketing. Yes, there is such a thing as overkill, which this is a good example of, but “logo creep” is honestly one of the dumbest terms I’ve heard.

    Yeah, they even have the swoosh on all of the spikes on football cleats, as well as a cut-out logo in the cleat wrench. I think Paul needs to quit bitching when it comes to marketing. Yes, there is such a thing as overkill, which this is a good example of, but “logo creep” is honestly one of the dumbest terms I’ve heard.

    Every pair of Nike metal cleats I’ve owned has had the Nike checks on the individual spikes. So have Under Armour and I have absolutely no problem with it. I don’t understand the hatred for brands putting their logos on their OWN products. In fact I always appreciated the detail of the swoosh on the spike. If I can dig them up, I will post a picture of some UA turfs where the actual traction on the bottom is the under armour logo.

    I don’t understand the hatred for brands putting their logos on their OWN products.

    Me neither. Putting a logo on each side of the show, and the sole, and the tongue, and maybe the heel, and on each individual spike — doesn’t seem like overkill to me.


    Oh come on now… I mean… if some guy kills someone and leaves bloody shoeprints behind, isn’t it helpful if law enforcement knows the shoes were Nike?

    Supposedly back in the mid- to late 80s someone at Nike was reading Sports Illustrated and realized there were a lot of bottoms of shoes in the football photos.


    I agree Paul, but these damn logos are treated as part of the style of the shoe. I mean more so than just a brand identifier.

    I mean this: link

    Just… huh!?

    Took my 15-month old to the pediatrician today; in the waiting room, I saw another kid, about 5 or 6, wearing Nike shoes with ankle high Nike socks. I’ve seen adults do this before with Nike, adidas, UA, etc., but the smaller space consumed by said footwear made the convergence of Nike logos on the shoes’ sides and tongues, plus on each side of the sock, all the more unbearable and unsightly.

    Also reminds me of the guy I saw at work once wearing a UA tank top, shorts, shoes, socks, & hat. What made it even more ridiculous was that he professed his love of UA to a coworker of mine, to the point that he makes special trips in to our city just to go to the outlet mall with the UA store. That, and he wasn’t exactly what you’d call “in shape.”

    Good thing I reloaded the page to see your post, Paul. I just happened across link on the Daily News’ NFL schedule.

    Slowly but surely.

    Roger Clemens (while with the Yankees, of course), had a patch on his glove commemorating his anticipated 300th win. I remember it was a game against the Red Sox, and then-coach Grady Little complained to the umpires that the patch on Clemens’ glove was illegal and distracting.

    Clemens replaced the glove with his regular one, and lost that game anyway.


    I just send a couple of images of the incident and patch to the linked email address.

    Which, (coincidentally?,) were grabbed from UniWatch.

    Yes, but he wasn’t active any more *for them.* (Then he returned to the team a few years later and they unretired the number for him. All very awkward.)

    No patch, but Harold Baines’s #3 was retired the White Sox three weeks after they traded him to Texas in 1989. Harold, of course, remained an active player for another twelve years, including two more stints with the White Sox.

    Technically, #3 was un-retired during Baines’s second and third tours on the South Side, but it kind of works out to be the same thing because nobody else was going to wear it. In fact, he still wears #3 as a coach. It’s the number that just won’t quite stay retired.

    What’s the time frame for NBA to submit for a change of team colors/logo? Do they have to do it a season in advance?

    As a Lightning fan I don’t care who buys the naming rights to the arena. It’ll always be the Ice Palace to me.

    I’m not as much of a fan of Lightning, but more of someone who’s been interested in the team for a long time, but I agree. Ice Palace is such a cooler name than some stupid sponsor name.

    The Thunderdome and the Ice Palace are two different venues.
    The Thunderdome is in St. Petersburg where the Rays are currently playing.
    The Ice Palace is in Tampa, 23 miles away.

    That whole “I’m still calling it _____” is absurd.

    How many people say “I’m still calling them the Boston Braves…”? “I’m still calling them them the Rochester Seagrams…?”

    Nostalgia is powerful, and people are stubborn and hate change. Plus, it’s easier to ignore a stadium name than a team name. No one is gonna say “Houston Oilers” any more, unless the Titans are wearing a throwback uniform, but someone insisting on referring to the 49ers’ new home as “Candlestick”? Yeah, that’ll happen.

    Germany has added a fourth star to its national jersey, reflecting the recent World Cup championship

    Not just a fourth star, but also a link!

    To be fair, it isn’t the City of Philadelphia which is selling naming rights to the rail line station, but rather SEPTA, the regional transit authority. A few years back SEPTA sold the rights to AT&T to rename the Pattison Ave station on the Broad Street Subway (which is the last stop on the line near the stadium complex) to AT&T Station. No one I know calls it by that name.

    I agree with Hank. As a Philly commuter nobody even calls these stations by their corporate names. I still call the Paoli line the “R5”. They should make those stadium T-shirts for the Septa lines “I’m still calling it the R5” or “I’m still calling it Market East”. I don’t know if I would equate Suburban Station to Grand Central either, 30th St has a bit more of the grand entrance left than the other two stations. Although if this money will help keep fare’s low and improve the stations, I can deal with it.


    Roger Clemens – 300th win

    Wore patch against Red Sox during before he had 300th win.

    Manager Grady Little had umpired force Clemens to change his glove, the patch was distracting and illegal.

    A couple slightly irrelevant things related to number retirements:

    – Michael Jordan’s 23 was retired by the Bulls upon his first retirement, and it always bothered me that Jordan wore 45 initially because 23 was retired…it was retired for HIM! I’m not sure I ever read why he insisted on wearing 45 at first. Anybody know?

    – UConn basketball (men and women) have acted quickly to add players’ numbers to the “Huskies of Honor” on the wall of Gampel Pavilion, which is not actually a number retirement, but a commemoration. Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier’s numbers were added almost immediately after winning national titles, while Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore, and Tina Charles’ numbers were added while they were still active players.

    MJ returned to the Bulls after his father was killed. He took 45 so his father would have always seen him wearing 23 (or something like that). After that playoff run Jordan switched back to 23.

    The reason Jordan began wearing #23 in the first place was because he looked up to his older brother Larry, and hoped “to become half the player he was.” Larry’s HS jersey number was 45, hence the #23.

    That’s the story, at least.

    Taken a look at the crowds at Yankee Stadium lately ? This week’s RedSox series looks like the Stump Merrill years.

    When will “Mike and Mike” get smart enough to have Paul on the show? They had a great opening today with the Jeter discussion. I Tweeted them, but to no avail. Given that you work for the same company, I’m surprised this has not taken place.

    Jefferson bought the rights to Market East Station. Verizon wants Suburban Station. AT&T already took Pattison Avenue Station.
    Jefferson bothers me least – in a city steeped in history, associating one of the Founding Fathers isn’t completely out of line, even if it is indirectly through a hospital system which happens to dominate that neighborhood. For lack of a better phrase, it is “the Jefferson station”. Maybe PATCO can re-open Franklin Square and make Jefferson blend in better.
    That said, I have never called it AT&T Station, and never will.

    Good thing that the photo of the little kid’s lemonade stand isn’t from today. Today the cops or the Board of Health would shut him down for operating without a license. Then the kid’s Mother would be arrested for letting him sit outside unsupervised. Mom would then be charged with child neglect, jailed and Junior placed in foster care.

    With all the wackos out there today you have to be cautious but not ridiculous.

    “Good thing that the photo of the little kid’s lemonade stand isn’t from today. Today the cops or the Board of Health would shut him down for operating without a license.”

    Thankfully, some police departments still operate according to the rules of common sense, even when a hypocritical, crotchety old neighbor does everything he can to shut down the local kid’s lemonade stand.


    “Western Illinois – an FCS school – has G.I. Joe side panels on its primary jerseys.”

    Western Illinois’ camouflage pattern is used not only on the jerseys’ side panels, but also as trim on the link. The school link with the Marine Corps’ blessing. I’m not saying I love the look from an aesthetic standpoint, but this is a rare instance where a team wearing camouflage actually makes thematic sense.

    Yes, they’re college athletes with a team name that evokes the military. Doesn’t that provide a more appropriate justification to wear camouflage than, say, link that the Wyoming Cowboys wore a couple of years ago?

    Yes, one example is extremely inappropriate, while the other is just inappropriate. You’re basically making a distinction without a difference.

    Let’s please move on — thanks.

    Ok, I think I have one…

    As we’re all probably aware, block numbers are constantly being replaced by custom fonts on new uniforms. What team(s) do you think should never, ever, ever use a custom font, and what team do you think has the best non-block font?

    “What team(s) do you think should never, ever, ever use a custom font…”

    The Pittsburgh Steelers. They’ve worn the Futura Condensed Italic numbers for 17 years now, and it still looks like crap.

    “what team do you think has the best non-block font?”

    The Denver Broncos. It’s distinctive without being kitschy or overdone. Also, I’m a Broncos homer, so there’s that.

    Broncos would be a close second to the Bears in that category IMO.

    As for the teams to be blacklisted from custom fonts, I’d say the Bucs as they really screwed the pooch with both their current uniform and their infamous practice jerseys.

    Good Question! Spiffy case of pinch-hitting, The!

    I’d like to show some love to the Pittsburgh Steelers, for once. The Futura face is well-matched to the numerals stuck on the helmets. Some may bitch the italic style makes the fabric look puckered. Eschew their nefarious claims. Honorable mention: Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Eagles.

    The poorest looking custom font is the Brewers’ Times Roman. The numbers and names are hard to read, the multiple drop shadows are fussy and the speckly gold is wasted. They probably thought it would look as good as the Expos’ Clarendon, but the Expos graphics were always one-color, and clean. Booby prizes: Tampa Bay Bucs, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Pirates.

    As for teams that should switch back to the old block graphics, I might chide the Cincinnati Reds for being hard to read. Combining the old-timey font with the multiple outlines was a mistake. You can have one but not both. Also, I don’t like the Arizona Diamondbacks’ numerals, but I did like the ones from the World Series’ year.

    Paul Lukas thinks we may soon see the day when a college football team changes into a different-colored jersey during halftime.

    Happened in 1985. Gerry Faust had Notre Dame change from navy to green at halftime of the USC game.

    No qualms from this Philadelphia with SEPTA selling the naming rights to stations. As someone else mentioned, the stadium stop on the Broad Street Line was changed to AT&T Station a few years ago. No one calls it that.

    Plus, the more money SEPTA takes from corporations, the less it takes from me and the taxpayers of the Commonwealth.

    the more money SEPTA takes from corporations, the less it takes from me and the taxpayers of the Commonwealth.

    That’s the line, but selling stadium names hasn’t reduced taxpayer burdens. Selling shirt sponsors hasn’t lowered soccer ticket prices. Do you have data to back that up in this case?

    Have active players in any other sports ever worn patches saluting themselves?

    Did Jerry West ever wear the NBA logo on a warmup or all-star uniform?

    With regards to the soccer-style NBA jerseys, not to be a smark-alek but doesn’t it glimpse into the future with ads on NBA jerseys combined with the already-existing sleeved jersey?

    I didn’t see anyone mentions this but if I missed it, I apologize.

    Didn’t Mariano Rivera wear his patch later year (it was last year right?)

    The Port Adelaide jerseys for the AFL game look less like prison stripes than NFL referee stripes.

    Also read where less than 1/4 of Americans care if the Redskins name is changed. Doesn’t seem like the program to get it changed is really having much impact.

    Can we please retire the “________sport logos remixed/redesigned as _______other sport logos”? It is not original after we see it done three times a week all over twitter for 4 years. Thanks. We get it.

    Seconded. And a lot of it’s done by people who only seem to have a superficial understanding of soccer uniform aesthetics.

    There’s lots of stuff in the Ticker (including the thing you’re referring to) that I don’t personally care about but I include it because I know some people like it. If you don’t like this particular thing, you can skip over it just like all the other stuff you presumably skip over. I don’t understand the need to bitch about one or two sentences that are easily ignored.

    Yeah, it’s not like you’re forced to click. It’s more annoying when the same thing gets rediscovered and linked again, like the minimalist NHL logos.

    I don’t really have an issue with the tickers. My bitching is more about these things existing and being overdone.

    I’m with terriblehuman, I read this complaint also as more of a gripe against the concept in general, not a bitch it being in the ticker itself.

    Like the way we’ve talked about “thing of beauty” or “throw up in my mouth” before.

    The one helmet rule is lame. A recent study shows that using one helmet is no safer then using multiple helmets.

    One day in the far future, Paul Lukas will retire from Uni Watch. And when he does, I hope there’s a patch graphic on this site somewhere with his face on it. That would be beautiful.

    Preferably with the words “in memoriam” or something like that; but make sure it’s displayed at least a month before his final post.

    I just put that in tomorrow’s Ticker, with the following comment: “Do you ever get the feeling that a Venn diagram of what Adam Silver says is ‘inevitable’ and what benefits Adam Silver would basically be two overlaid circles?

    from the Spalding official base ball annual as mentioned in the ‘etc’ area:

    page (image on flickr cuts off much of the picture – where you can see Chinese across one player’s jersey) with a picture of some of the Chinese University of Hawaii team while doing a 1912 tour of the continental U.S. playing college and amateur teams:

    Not sure if this has been mentioned yet in any of the comments, but fortunately, Madden keeps the tradition alive.. when playing a season/franchise, guess what color shoes/gloves/towels/coaches shirts you wear starting week 5?


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