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Who’s Up For A Cold One?


By Phil Hecken

As the cold days of winter (and especially February for most of this country) draw to a close, our thoughts are not quite on baseball, football is becoming a distant memory, the NCAA tourney is still a few weeks off and hockey and hoops are just coming into focus. And a few other sports are holding our attention. But there’s nothing major going on for a while, and we’re kind of at a lull. So, what better time than now to whet your whistle with a neato DIY project from the always awesome R. Scott Rogers?

Right. There is no better time. Basically, it’s a time to go “off-uni” for a few.

Clicking on the images below will enlarge them.

So let me now turn this portion of the blog over to arrscott, who’ll take you through his…

. . .

Homebrew Beer Jerseys – er, Labels
“A vaguely uni-related DIY project report.”

By R. Scott Rogers

What is a label if not a jersey for your beer bottle?

Anyway, that was what occurred to me when I was faced with a two-week wait between bottling my first batch of homebrew and drinking it. You see, once you’ve brewed five or so gallons of beer in your own kitchen, you add some sugar to the beer and then bottle it. And then you wait at least a couple of weeks while the yeast turn that sugar into carbon dioxide bubbles so that your beer pours and tastes like, you know, beer.


I suppose that in those two weeks, a normal person just looks at his forty-five or so plain brown bottles and thinks, “Mmmm, beer.” Me, I looked at those bottles and think, “Mmmm, labels.” Like, dude, I just brewed five gallons of beer. By myself. I could die now and “Brewed beer of his own. That you could drink.” would go pretty high on the list iof things I’d hope my family would consider putting on my gravestone, alongside “Beloved Husband” and “Noted Nats Blogger” and “Helped Coordinate Genocide and Earthquake Relief.” So forty-five plain brown bottles was never going to cut it.

Plus, I have a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that fool me into believing I can design a label for my own homebrewing efforts.


Living in the Washington, DC, area, if I had an actual brewery, I’d name it after Swampoodle Grounds, an early home to professional baseball in our nation’s capital. It’s a beautifully ugly word, perfect for craft brewing, and besides I only have two initials and S is one of them.


For the labels, I imagined an actual jersey, with gold pinstripes and space for the beer’s name in script, a number on the lower right, and an illustration above. All contained within something like the outline of an old ballfield, with a baseball diamond S logo at the bottom and an outfield-wall curve of Swampoodle lettering at the top.



In no particular order, here are the labels I’ve used and planned.

Senator’s Red Ale

My basic idea was to try to tie my brews to the DC baseball without actually violating anybody’s trademarks. Senator’s Red Ale is named in honor of Senator Alan Cranston of California, who was the main force behind lifting the federal ban on homebrewing during the Carter administration. The number 79 stands for the year Cranston’s bill passed and became law, marking the start of American craft brewing. Id’ originally played around with a Shepard Fairey-style treatment of Senator Cranston, but it never quite looked right. I opted for a famous painting of my personal favorite senator, Henry Clay, proposing the Compromise of 1850.

National Pale Ale

Where the apostrophe saves Senator’s Red Ale from being an outright ripoff of the Washington Senators, the lack of the plural saves this from being a straight-up Nats ripoff. American Pale Ale is a classic style of beer, bitter but not as hoppy as an India Pale Ale, so I’m calling this one “National” instead of “American.” It wears the number 59 in honor of 1859, the year the first baseball team called the Nationals took the field. The illustration is the logo of the presidential debates – a Civil War-era eagle with a banner reading “The Union and the Constitution Forever” in its beak. If I ever got a tattoo, I’d probably put this eagle on my arm.

Paleface Pale Ale

Really the same recipe as National Pale Ale, but I brewed this batch on Columbus Day and had the Redskins nickname controversey very much on my mind. So the script is in Redskins gold and burgundy, and the illustration is an actual photo, unedited, of President Coolidge wearing an eagle headdress at a meeting with Native American tribal leaders. The label bears the number 30, in honor of Coolidge’s place as our thirtieth president.

Roosevelt Island Wheat

Another overt Nats tie in, this time to everyone’s favorite racing president mascot, Teddy Roosevelt. (Except me. I’m a George man all the way.) Few people, locals or tourists, seem to know that alongside the capital city’s memorials to Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, and King, there is also a Theodore Roosevelt Memorial. It’s on an island in the Potomac, across from the Lincoln Memorial, but reachable only by footbridge from the Virginia shore. This is a basic wheat beer recipe, a good base for adding fruit to make, say, a pineapple wheat. So for the illustration, I put TR’s smiling face on a publicity still of Elvis from Blue Hawaii. This label bears the number 26, for our twenty-sixth president.


And a couple of labels I’ve drawn up but haven’t yet used.

Fall Line Oktoberfest

I haven’t settled on a recipe for an Oktoberfest ale, but I need to sort this out soon in order to brew and have the beer ready to drink by August. Anyway, no direct sports tie-in here. It’s just that the fall line, a line of bluffs separating the upland Piedmont from the softer, lower soil of the coastal plain, runs smack dab through the city of Washington. And straddling the fall line is Meridian Hill Park, with a beautiful old fountain that descends the bluff. One of my favorite places in the capital city. This label bears an old postcard drawing of the Meridian Hill Park fountain and the number 39, for the parallel of latitude that (almost) runs through the park.

Zimmermann Cervza

I’ve never brewed a lager, and I don’t really have the right setup to do so any time soon. But if I could brew a lager, this would be the label. No, it’s not named after either of the famous, almost-identically named Nats players. Rather, it’s named for Arthur Zimmermann, foreign minister of the German Empire during WWI and author of the infamous “Zimmermann Telegram,” which attempted to entice Mexico to invade the United States should Washington declare war on Berlin. The telegram was leaked to the American press, which helped galvanize U.S. public opinion in favor of going to war with Germany later the same year. The label includes a facsimile of the actual, encoded telegram Zimmermann sent from Berlin to Mexico City and the number 17, for the year in which the telegram was sent.


A note on method.



I use this dry-gummed label paper. Easy to print, I can cut to size without worrying about preset label shapes, and the labels come off easily with a short soak in soapy water. Stucky-back labels really, really don’t want to come off the bottle. The tricky thing being that, since you have to get the label wet to apply it to the bottle, it has to be printed with an actual laser printer, not an injket like most of us have in our homes and offices these days. So every new batch requires a trip to the local FedEx store and about $2 in printing on their fancy color machines. Once the labels are cut, it takes about ten minutes to spin each bottle on a wet sponge, apply the label, and set it aside to dry.

. . .

Great job Scotty! Really fun project, and I’m sure there are probably more than a few readers who are thirsty right about now. Cheers!

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classic scoreboards splash

Classic Ballpark Scoreboards

I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.

Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):

. . . . . . . . . .

Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Series II
by Gary Chanko

Welcome back to Classic Scoreboards, the Baseball Series.

MLB spring training camps are in full swing and the first games will begin next week. The resurgent Chicago Cubs new spring training ballpark and player development center kicks off Series II of Classic Baseball Scoreboards.

Sloan Park UW

Sloan Park

Spring Training Home of: Chicago Cubs

Located in the City of Mesa, Arizona the ballpark initially opened as Cubs Park in 2014. The Sloan Valve Company acquired naming rights this past January and the venue is now Sloan Park. The ballpark is a central part of Mesa’s Riverview Park recreation complex.

The graphic illustration captures the scoreboard on Spring Training Opening Day 2014 when the facility was still known as Cubs Park. I think Cubs Park was a better identity choice; less revenue but still more appropriate. Interesting to note, Sloan Park is apparently the only Cactus League facility encumbered with naming-rights.

A Few Things to Know

• The ballpark has a few features reminiscent of Wrigley Field, notably the clock that is a replica of the one that adorns the iconic Wrigley Field scoreboard. There’s also a replica of the Wrigley Field Marquee.

• Sloan Park’s 15,000 capacity makes it MLB’s largest spring training ballpark.

Classic Baseball Scoreboards will be back on a regular basis in few more weeks. Series II will kick off with Candlestick Park as originally configured.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at

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all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

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 Rob Holecko, who has a concept for the Raystros:

Rays_Astros_Fauxback - Rob Holecko


If they’re going to wear a garish 1979 fauxback that didn’t exist based on the horribly awesome Padres’ uniforms, why not do the next one based on the horribly awesome Astros uniforms?


. . .

And we close today with Scott Nebel who has some new looks for the Jags:

newjacksonville - Scott Nebel

New Jacksonville - Scott Nebel New Jacksonville 2 - Scott Nebel


I was watching the Jaguars last season and started thinking to myself that with a couple tweaks, their new uniforms could go from god-awful to pretty darn nice.

I switched out the new helmet for basically their weird shiny black/teal helmet from their 2009 redesign but with the new logo. I kept the jerseys the same but gave them a more traditional pants striping, and I eliminated the black pants. I would make the blue jersey the primary with the black as the alternate, if it were up to me.

Sorry for the crappy paint copy/paste job on the photos – Somebody with some photoshop skills could probably make these a whole lot sweeter.

~ Scott from Charlotte, NC

. . .

And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.

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Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: Feast your eyes on this beautiful 1927 New York Yankees Team Panoramic, taken during spring training in St. Petersburg, FL (from Bruce Menard). … Here’s a good look at the backs of the Mariners new home jerseys (from Ethan Dillon). Ethan also asks about the M’s beautiful new striped stirrups/socks. … There is a rumor the Pensacola Blue Wahoos will be having a Star Wars vs. Star Trek night this season (how original). … July 26 is the Myrtle Beach Pelicans “Christmas Vacation in July” including these jerseys and a Cousin Eddie hat giveaway (via MiLB Promos). Those same Pelicans will also be throwing back to the Hurricanes on June 6. In addition, they’re giving away “Bobble Fingers” on Prostate Cancer Awareness Night. Ewww. … From our buddy Todd Radom, 103 years ago yesterday, the Yankees let it be known they would wear pinstripes for the first time in history (they were also known as the Highlanders at the time), and they were kinda/sorta based on the Giants and Cubbies unis. … Anyone know why some Cubs have stars on their caps? I posed that question to Paul, who asked the Cubs PR guy — their answer? “This Spring Training, our coaches name one or more “player of the day” and “coach of the day.” Every award winner has a star affixed to their hat.” Several hours after Paul’s response, the Cubs tweeted me their answer. … So, do the Twins have some scrambled eggs going on? … The Virginia Tech Hokies wore their orange tops for the first time yesterday afternoon (from Clark Ruhland). … The neon craze is affecting EVERYTHING it seems. Check out all this Cardinals gear infused with the stuff. … Brewers pitcher Will Smith, has “Girl Catcher” written on his glove (nice spot by Johnny Okray). … Leonard Nimoy, a/k/a Mr. Spock, passed away yesterday — here he is, in uniform, at lower-right. An uncredited role from the 1951 movie ‘Rhubarb’ (thanks, Paul). … “Kris Bryant designed/paid for new uniforms for his high school team, Bonanza HS in Vegas, and went with a solid lettering-on-placket look for the home whites,” writes Tyler Maun. “Went a bit dark on the road grays, but all-in-all, these are pretty good for being (apparently) designed by a modern athlete.” … These are some extremely cool Padres napkins (from Aaron Masik). Of course, they’d be even cooler in brown and gold. … This photo of Pete Rose and Joe Morgan is just outstanding (via Uniform Critic). Dan Epstein seems to think the third guy in the photo is Santo Alcala. … The Pirates say they’re sickened by photo of Jihadi John in their cap (thanks, Brinke). … This is cool: Dartmouth baseball wears gray sanis under their ‘rups with their gray roads (via Justin Shaddock). … Look like Kolton Wong of the Cardinals does it too! (from Kurt Witten).

NFL News: Reader John McNichol was given a book a couple of years ago by his sons called “Looking Back on 75 Years of Philadelphia Eagles History” by Eli Kowalski. On page 81, there was a picture “that caught my eye was of Eagles MLB Dave Lloyd. He had just intercepted a pass and had been knocked out of bounds by Y.A. Tittle. Lloyd wore #52, but his TV numbers showed #25, clearly a uniform malfunction.” … Pretty funny article in Grantland on the process behind the Cleveland Browns orange, complete with a “copy of the marketing questionnaire that led to the Browns’ new identity.” (thanks Paul). … Designer Michael Irwin just updated Browns Rebrand page with full typography, color, hat & sweatshirt designs (thanks Paul). … Speaking of the Browns, they’ve signed free agent Josh McCown (bite your tongues, non-believers!) and the NFL showed the ‘signing’ using the Browns’ new helmet logo. So, at least he’ll be in a better uniform next season, amirite?

College/other Football News: The Carmel Hounds will debut new uniforms for 2015 (via Mitch Purcell). … There’s a semi-pro football team known as the “SouthSound Nighthawks” — perhaps fittingly, they have semi-awful uniforms (from William J.).

NBA News: Do we have a possible leak of the logo for the 2016 All Star Game, which will be held in Toronto? That’s from Conrad Burry, who hasn’t been able to confirm it yet. … Why is this guy wearing a red X on his hand? It’s part of the “End It” movement, which seeks to shine a light on modern day slavery.

Hockey News: The Knoxville Ice Bears “will be transforming into the Planet Hoth Wampas for Star Wars Night!” (via Tyler Earles) tonight. … The Brandon Wheat Kings (one of the greater team names in sports) will be doing a “Pink the Rink” thing tonight. … The ECHL’s Rapid City Rush will be wearing Dr. Seuss sweathers ‘for a good cause’ today. … Here’s a little history of the Arizona Coyotes logo. … Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop has a glow in the dark mask and last night he debuted it.

Soccer News: Dunkin’ Donuts, one of Liverpool’s official sponsors, has apologized after upsetting fans by tweeting an altered version of the club’s crest that replaced the Hillsborough eternal flames with what appeared to be milkshakes (thanks to Cort McMurray). … We’ve definitely seen some of these before, but here are some leaked jerseys for MLS teams for the 2015 season.

College Hoops News: The national nightmare is over: The uniforms worn by the New Mexico Aggie men wore at Utah Valley, and stolen out of the team bus the next overnight in Salt Lake City, have been recovered (from Jason Johnson). … On Thursday night, UTEP and LA Tech went color vs. color (thanks to Josh Mac). … Villanova will be wearing 1985 throwbacks today vs. Xavier (from C.B. Ciullo). … Hmmmm. According to Uniform Nation Blog, UC is refusing to wear the Adidas March uniforms. Here are the shorts that Adidas has planned. … Color vs. color last night for Valpo and Cleveland State (h/t Ed Zelaski).

Grab Bag: In case anyone was wondering, Curling Canada was previously known as the Canadian Curling Association (h/t Chris Creamer). Here’s the new logo (via Curling Canada). … Speaking of curling, if you live in or near Cincinnati, you can learn to curl tonight from 7:30 – 10:00 pm at Cincinnati Gardens (thanks to Dwayne White). … This is interesting: MLB licensed cycling gear (from Andrew Vazzano). … Here’s an article explaining why the 1992 Cricket World Cup had the coolest jersey ever. … Speaking of cricket, “I compared cricket and baseball uniforms and analyzed the current uniforms in the last section of my article about the cricket World Cup,” says Coachie Ballgames. “In short, I concluded that cricket polo shirts are better suited to summer heat than heavy baseball jerseys that require undershirts and that the West Indies’ all-maroon look trumps everyone else’s.” … Reader Ben Fortney came across this article, “Internet Infrastructure that Hides in Plain Sight” yesterday, and “immediately thought of (Paul’s) post about the ‘chips’ in the asphalt, this goes into other markings on the street as well as a lot of other things. Interesting stuff.” … Here’s something I never noticed — does anyone think the “S” in the NBCSN logo is upside-down? I don’t, but it’s sure food for thought. … Here’s how Notre Dame plans to honor Father Hesburgh (from DerecTheFirst). … Geno’s Steaks is updating its logo (from AW Rader).

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And that’s all for today, boys and girls. Big thanks to R. Scott for that great DIY, Gary and the concepters, and of course, those who either e-mailed or tweeted submissions in. Back with more tomorrow. Catch you then.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


.. … ..

“(H)ypothetical pornographers are not prevented from using obscene marks in trade, just as the Washington NFL team is not prevented from using a (possible) racial slur in its branded materials. There’s no censorship here.”


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Comments (44)

    Yes, the Btowns followed up an unispired uni update with an unispired QB signing. But not THAT unispired. They added former middling Bears QB Josh McCown, not former failed Bears QB Cade McNown.

    Also pointed out below — Paul fixed it.

    Mea culpa — can’t imagine how I messed up those two.

    Those Villanova ‘throwbacks’ are a joke. They’re not even close to accurate–look like something you’d order for $20 from some shady website. Epic fail.

    I agree, I like the uniforms, but they are no way a throwback to 1985! The typeface is wrong, looks like the typeface from early 1990s if anything. The 1985 uniforms were v-neck, not rounded. There was no drop shadow on the numbers. And I don’t think we have ever worn the official cat logo on the pants, it was always some variation. 1985 had the cat with a basketball going through a block V. Sorry to uni-geek out on this one, but I’m an alum from that era.

    “The resurgent Chicago Cubs new spring training ballpark and player development center kicks off Series II of Classic Baseball Scoreboards.”

    “Classic Baseball Scoreboards will be back on a regular basis in few more weeks. Series II will kick off with Candlestick Park as originally configured.”

    Please tell me I’m not the only one confused.

    I’m confused about the “resurgent” Chicago Cubs part, last time I checked, that franchise hasn’t won a pennant since the 1940s, and 1908 is the last world title. Has the 2015 season started already?

    So, the Sorting News 2015 Baseball Yearbook picked the Cubbies to win it all! Not totally implausible based on the young talent they’ve gathered.

    That is a classic shot of Pete Rose. He almost looks like a character out of the “Trailor Park Boys”

    There’s certain irony in the Cleveland Browns logo re-branding, a complete non-event, that generated more news than almost any other logo/uniform relaunch, in that it symbolized the incompetence of an organization (i.e. they can’t even get a logo relaunch right)

    Excellent work, arrScott. I work in “NoMa” now and this just reaffirms my desire to make a “I’M CALLING IT SWAMPODDLE” t-shirt.

    I never knew there was a Swampoodle ‘neighborhood’ in DC.
    Always thought there was only one…in North Philly (Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium area).

    LOVE those beer labels from R. Scott Rogers, fantastic!

    Also, Phil: Here’s a link to the largest version of that 1927 NYY panoramic, maybe you could switch it out – link


    Thanks for the kind words! After sending the writeup off to Phil, I finally figured out how to work in an Expos reference for an upcoming batch. Well, sort of; the art is a work in progress.

    Literal approach: link

    Less serious approach:

    The latter inspired by a friend who’s a huge, unironic fan of President Nixon.

    Great, astonishing, clever, amusing, heartening, inventive project. I am blown away. TR/Elvis merger the greatest engineering since Chartres.

    Thanks! Typo in the text I submitted to Phil (many typos, embarrassingly) but thank heavens I got it right on the graphic.

    Browns signed Josh McCown, not Cade Mcnown. Would have been very Browns-like to have signed Cade, though. Last I heard, Cade was working in private wealth.

    give me a good cheesesteak from south Jersey over either of those tourist traps. They are good, but there are better options.

    Whenever someone asks me where to go in my hometown for a cheesesteak, I always say, “The corner pizzeria is always better than the name places.”

    I was only in Philly for the day so i could only try those 2. Plus the jingoistic nature of Geno’s kinda turned me off of them before I even ordered. AND their meat is cut too thick.

    Any uni-watch ruggers know why Scotland wore red against Italy? Especially since the match was in Murrayfield?

    I’m guessing that’s a legacy from back when rugby team tours were more prevalent and teams didn’t necessarily travel with change kits.

    So in soccer, we refer to the change kits as “away kits”, but in rugby, the “home kit” would be the alternate (not that you’d ever call it that)?

    BTW, upon reading an article on the Dunkin Donuts/Liverpool controversy yesterday, the eternal flames by the crest were supposed to be coffee cups, not milkshakes.
    DD is well-known for their coffee; never knew they made shakes.

    Great work on those labels, Arr. The outline reminds me a bit of the Polo Grounds, by the way.

    And Rob, that might be your best Rays concept yet.

    Is that a video board at Cubs Park? Would that make the Cubs the first team to have video at their spring training home before their regular season home?

    Yes, the top portion is a video board. I saw were the Phillies have added new and significantly larger video board to their Clearwater facility.

    Thanks. It’s been 12 years since I was last in Florida, but I always thought the lack of things like video boards was part of the charm of spring training. Oh well.

    Before I read the section about the Paleface Pale Ale, I thought that was Bob Hope on the label.

    I really wish we’d rid the word(s) “semi-pro” from the vocabulary in the States. There’s no such thing. I get what it’s trying to say…but it muddies the waters for ALL amateur athletes.

    A player is either professional or amateur. There’s no middle ground. You are either paid or you’re not.

    I understand it’s not a full-time “professional” job, hence the “semi-,” but one is still paid…thus making an individual professional.

    A player is either professional or amateur. There’s no middle ground. You are either paid or you’re not.

    Ah, but a league can be both professional *and* amateur. For example, I can’t think of a more apt description for the top level of college sports than “semi-pro”. Sure, the players aren’t paid in cash money, but almost every program employs professional coaches and support staff, train athletes in professional environments and employ professional PR and marketing. It’s professional in every way except player compensation, and the players often go in with the hope of going into fully professional careers.

    PDL, one of the lower rungs of the American soccer pyramid is sort of the same way – it’s a mix of college players getting game play during the NCAA offseason and veterans hoping to climb up the ranks.

    Also, the non-league tiers of English soccer features players who are paid, but not nearly enough to make soccer a full time, ahem, profession. They’re at the mercy of sponsors paying their bills and moonlighting to make ends meet. That’s a pretty good example of “semi” pro, right? They’re paid, but not fully committed to the profession.

    Well, I’m home quite late again, but if you check this page, Scott Nebel, let me just say that I really like the idea of putting the new Jaguars logo on the teal-reflective black helmet. But as for the jersey color, I much prefer the old ’90s teal…


    …to the shade that they’re using now, which is almost blue enough to be the Panthers.

    Anyway, not a bad concept.

    The Red Bulls’ “away” jersey in the article was last year’s third.

    Apparently they’re ditching the navy-with-white-Adidias-stripes version.

Comments are closed.