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A Look at MLB All-Star Game Ballot Design

So here’s some news that quietly emerged on Tuesday (although I didn’t hear about it until yesterday, when reader Alan Tompas brought it to my attention): MLB has announced that it will no longer use paper ballots for All-Star Game voting. It makes sense: More than 80% of last year’s ballots were cast online, which seems like a more efficient system. Also, I’m pretty sure interest in the All-Star Game skews toward a younger demographic (I certainly care less about the game now than I did when I was younger, and I stopped voting seven or eight years ago), which again makes an all-online system more sensible.

Still, it feels like a bit of a loss, or at least the end of an era. I’m sure many of you reading this have spent time poring over an All-Star Game ballot at a ballpark, maybe comparing notes with your buddies or family members. I guess people will still be able to do that on their phones, but somehow it doesn’t feel the same.

This topic also brings up the issue of ballot design, which is no trifling matter. The “butterfly” ballot design in Palm Beach County, Florida, for example, likely changed the course of world history by inadvertently tipping the 2000 Presidential election to George W. Bush. Obviously, the stakes are a bit lower with an All-Star Game ballot, but the designs are still worth examining.

Let’s start with some quick background: Fans were first allowed to vote for the ASG from 1947 through 1957. The vote was then taken away from fans due to ballot box stuffing by Reds partisans (commish Ford Frick had to step in and remove two Cincy players from the National League lineup), but fan voting was restored in 1970 and has remained in place since then.

Here’s the ballot for that first year of restored fan voting — 1970:

1970 All-Star Game Ballot - front

A little clunky, no? Could definitely have benefited from some streamlining. Also, they misspelled Mets outfielder Tommie Agee’s name (it’s “Tommie,” not “Tommy”) — major demerits for that. Interesting that they had the foresight to include a write-in section, and fans definitely used it, because Rico Carty was selected via that method. Finally, that notation in the lower-right corner reads, ” © Marden-Kane Inc., 1970.” I was curious, so I Googled Marden-Kane and learned that they’re a promotion marketing firm. So they were apparently hired by MLB to administer and promote the balloting.

By the following year, 1971, the ballot had been simplified:

1971 All-Star Game Ballot - front

As you can see, first names were removed (no chance to misspell Tommie Agee this time), so the names didn’t have to be staggered like they were before. Also, the write-in section was no longer broken down by the eight non-pitching positions — it simply had five spots.

A year after that, in 1972, some corporate douchebaggery crept onto the ballot, as the logo of the game’s corporate sponsor, Gillette, appeared at the top of the design. The space it took up resulted in the elimination of another write-in spot:

1972 All-Star Game Ballot - front

I first voted in 1973. The ballot was essentially the same as in ’72, except that the Gillette logo had been centered at the top (click to enlarge):

When I think of an ASG ballot, this is still what comes to mind. I remember being fascinated by the write-in section, which would obviously have to be examined by a human being instead of just being fed into a punch-card reader. Who had the job of checking and tabulating the write-in votes, I wondered.

This basic design was retained for more than a decade, although there were some minor changes along the way: In 1977 the punch-out boxes were changed from blank to solid, and Marden-Kane’s name stopped appearing on the ballot; in 1979 the boxes changed again, to contrast with the background color, and the number of write-in slots was reduced to three; and so on. But the basic format of the ballot didn’t change again until 1986:

1986 All-Star Game Ballot - front

I didn’t like this design. The league names were too small and inconspicuous, and the whole thing felt too compressed. (On the plus side, however, no more corporate logo creep — Gillette’s sponsorship had ended and MLB hadn’t yet found a replacement company.)

The ’86 design turned out to be short-lived, as did the lack of a sponsor, as a new format was unveiled for 1987:

1987 All-Star Game Ballot - front

Lots of changes here, the most significant of which is that the punch boxes were no longer boxes — they’d been changed to little baseballs. I remember thinking that they looked a bit too cartoon-ish.

Two further changes were made in 1988:

1988 All-Star Game Ballot - front

As you can see, each player’s first initial was added and, more significantly, team affiliations were included for the first time. This format was used for several years, until 1993, when the format changed again:


A wider ballot, and no more seams on the baseballs — just plain punch circles. But this was just a transitional design, a placeholder. The real change came in 1994 (click to enlarge):

1994 All-Star Game Ballot - center

After years of trying to cram more and more information into less and less space, they finally went to a two-column format. Much better. This basic format, with some minor tinkering, was used up through last year. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a scan of last year’s ballot, but here’s the one from 2013 (click to enlarge):


So that’s apparently the final stop on the ASG ballot design train, at least in terms of paper ballots. You can see all of the ballots from 1970 through 2013 — including the backs of the designs, not just the fronts — here.

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T-Shirt Club reminder: The Uni Watch T-Shirt Club design for April, inspired by Jackie Robinson Day, is now available in home white and road grey versions, with all of my profits being donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page.

This design in on pace to be our biggest seller so far — very cool. Thanks, people!

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Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

Today is one of the best days of the year! The opening weekend of March Madness is always awesome: non-stop basketball, four days filled with upsets, buzzer-beaters, and memorable performances. For fans it also means filling out brackets, watching several games at once, and having an excuse to skip work, meet up with friends, and tip a few back before noon.

What are you doing for the NCAA Tournament this year? What’s your favorite memory of the tournament from years past? Have you ever attended any games? Did you attend a school that made the Big Dance, when you were either a student or an alum? If so, what was the experience like? Do you have any uni-related memories from the tournament? I remember when Long Beach State had its moment in 2012 — I really liked their jerseys.

As always, post your responses in today’s comments.

• • • • •

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Our own Phil Hecken spent some time discussing uniforms as a guest on yesterday’s edition of the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast. ”¦ Interesting uniform tidbit from this article on the 1990 Cincinnati Reds: “Rob Dibble wore No. 49 for his career. Except for one game, that is. The Padres manager complained that Dibble’s jersey ”” which had been tailored to give the pitcher more shoulder room ”” was a distraction to the San Diego hitters. Dibble changed into pitching coach Stan Williams’ No. 35 uniform, and submitted 2-1/3 innings of shutout work” (thanks, Joe Owen). … The Double-A New Britain Rock Cats are moving to Hartford new year and will be known as the Yard Goats. … The long, wet winter in the Northeast has made it difficult for groundskeepers to get MLB fields ready for Opening Day (from David Goodfriend). … Viterbo University, a small NAIA school in La Crosse, Wisconsin, has some great stirrups (from Ben Sturomski). … Auburn has great stirrups, too (from Chris Wright). … Star Little League hurler Mo’ne Davis is launching a line of sneakers for charity (from Brinke). … New sleeve patch for the Class-A Stockton Ports, who are celebrating 10 years at their ballpark (from Richard Paloma). … A poster website ranked the best NCAA baseball schedule posters. … The Lakewood BlueClaws will wear Boy Scout uniform jerseys in June. … The Mets have a bigger and better Jumbotron. … The Cubs and Dodgers played blue vs. blue yesterday. … Former Reds outfielder and current Reds roving instructor Eric Davis is wearing a retro “Say no to drugs” wristband during spring training. … Greg Mays sends along some great 1950s home movie footage of Nebraska American Legion baseball (with some high school track at the end). … The San Diego Padres nearly moved to Washington before the 1974 season. We’ve seen pictures of the proposed uniforms in the Ticker before, but Robert Walker scanned two very clear photos of pitcher Dave Freisleben. ”¦ Lots of beards in Mets camp, in part because the team has relaxed its facial hair rules for minor leaguers. ”¦ Buried within this article about the Rays is the following: “Watch for the Rays (sunshine) ‘burst’ graphic that appears on player hats and shirts to gain an even higher profile. ‘It’s kind of our Nike swoosh,’ says Brian Richeson, Rays vice president of sales and service. Also watch for more ‘Carolina blue’ on Rays uniforms rather than the darker cobalt blue so commonly used by some other teams” (from Chris Ahsley).

NFL News: The NFL is considering allowing linebackers to wear jersey numbers in the 40s, in addition to the standard 50s and 90s (from Phil). … “Looks like Greg Hardy has a Dallas Cowboys-esque tie down connecting his jersey to his shoulder pads,” says Mike Engle. “I’m assuming that’s what I’m seeing with the crimped and askew NFL logo at the point of the collar.”

Hockey News: Canucks goalie Eddie Lack held a pads design contest over social media and fellow Vancouver netminder Ryan Miller created a design for him that incorporated tacos and images of Lack’s parents (from Joe Magee).

Soccer News: Manchester United’s 2015-16 kits have been leaked (from Phil). … The Colorado Rapids have a new jersey sponsor (from Phil). ”¦ “Robert Schlienz played top-level soccer in Germany in the late 1940s and ’50s after having his left forearm amputated after a car accident,” writes Graham Clayton. “He folded up the bottom half of his long sleeve and pinned to the top half to stop it flapping while playing.” ”¦ New kit for the Netherlands.

College Hoops News: Really interesting article about the whistle being used by NCAA tournament referees. The sound of the whistle itself will stop the clock in the tourney. … “I stumbled upon this post from a local clothing store talking about a ‘modified logo and lettering for March’ for Butler,” says Derrick Brown. “It looks as if Butler has dropped the Butler name below the circular logo in place of just the bulldog head with a white, then blue outline. I did a little digging and found no mention or statement from the university or athletic department itself.” … B&O Railroad sponsored a women’s basketball team several decades ago. Intriguing! I spent some time and looked them up. From several accounts, they had talented guards who could shoot and dribble, matching up well with all the women’s teams of the day. Their frontcourt, though, was unimposing. Especially in an era where “the pivot” was so crucial because of the narrower key, the B&O Railroad team was doomed by their Short Line.

Grab Bag: In addition to cash, trophies and medals, race-winning cyclists are also awarded items like sausage, tridents and swords (from Sean Clancy). … Here’s a site that tracks rugby shirts (from Jacob Allaman). … Men’s shoes have certainly evolved over the last 500 years (from Tommy Turner). … New uniforms for the British Royal Navy (from Jonathan Bean). ”¦ The graphic designer who created many 1990s team logos, including the Jaguars’ primary logo, the Rangers’ “Lady Liberty” logo, and the Nets’ “Saturn”-style logo, has passed away.

Comments (106)

    Re: Rapids jersey sponsorship. This is one of the dumbest ever by featuring a notable landmark from somewhere far away on the jersey. What’s next, the Eiffel Tower for Philly? The Gateway Arch for Salt Lake?

    At first glance I understand your point, but the examples you cite create an apples-oranges comparison. The Gateway Arch and Eiffel Tower are simply landmarks, immediately identifiable as exclusive to their locations. The TransAmerica building, while a landmark in San Francisco, is only representative of a company that does business worldwide. So while the landmark itself is not local to Colorado, the company does business locally. This makes the sponsorship deal, and by extension the use of their trademark building, a legitimate business decision.

    Brooklyn chewing gum used to sponsor a European cycling team and the logo included the name Brooklyn and an image of the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Years later Spike Lee would wear the Brooklyn cycling cap as Mars Blackmon…

    Honestly, when I see the TransAmerica Tower, I don’t think “San Francisco” in the way that I’d think “New York” if I saw the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. I think of it more as a corporate landmark than a civic landmark. YMMV.

    Now, it would get a little more complicated if the Rapids were sponsored by Rice-o-Roni.

    Re: Rapids jersey sponsorship. This is one of the dumbest ever by featuring a notable landmark from somewhere far away on the jersey. What’s next, the Eiffel Tower for Philly? The Gateway Arch for Salt Lake?

    Go Earthquakes. Stay logo-free!

    I saw that with the linebackers yesterday on ESPN. Why don’t the NFL just do away with the number rules at this point? It’s only really needed for offensive lineman–defensive players don’t need it at all–do they need to make a big fuss over denying players like Brian Bosworth and Reggie Bush their college numbers?

    And with regards to the All Star ballots–I’ve only voted a couple of times, but where are the pitchers on the ballots?

    I have absolutely nothing to back up my suspicions, but I’m wondering if the league likes having its most marketable players (i.e. QBs) wearing marquee numbers, and in most sports, lower seems to be better.

    I always thought the same thing, and agree 1-9 seem to be the popular numbers. But if that was the case, the NFL should allow receivers to wear 1-9 instead of 10-19, this way all of the low numbers would be filled with quarterbacks and receivers.

    This range is also currently wasted with some punters and kickers. I think they should just have a big P and K instead of a number.

    QBs have longer shelf-lives than WRs and it’s very rare that a receiver is more marketable than a QB in any given market.

    Receivers only get 10-19 because of retired numbers and the rise of multiple receiver sets, I think.

    QBs have longer shelf-lives than WRs and it’s very rare that a receiver is more marketable than a QB in any given market.

    I can think of a few: Jerry Rice (after Steve Young retired), Hines Ward (before Ben Roethlisberger), Tim Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Cris Carter, etc…

    No doubt quarterbacks are number one, but I’m guessing receivers are the second most popular, although this obviously varies by team (for example, the Seahawks DB jerseys probably sell more than their receivers).

    The point being I’m surprised in such a marketing and merchandise driven league, uniforms numbers don’t seem to be considered part of the equation. Would they sell more jerseys if popular players in the popular positions wore more popular numbers? Possibly.

    I can think of a few: Jerry Rice (after Steve Young retired), Hines Ward (before Ben Roethlisberger), Tim Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Cris Carter, etc…

    Sure, and they’re really the exceptions that prove the rule. Pittsburgh is the rare market where the QB is rarely the face of the franchise. Carter and Rice were all-world players, and Fitz played for, you know, the Cardinals. If your team has a QB who can walk and chew gum at the same time, he’s going to sell more jerseys than your receiver (think Foles vs Maclin in Philly last season).

    This range is also currently wasted with some punters and kickers. I think they should just have a big P and K instead of a number.



    The current number range largely dates from an informal system used before 1952 when the NFL started mandating the 50-79 range for offensive lineman. Quarterbacks were actually informally given numbers in the 20s range. I’m not sure why the NFL made it more rigid in 1973, but the system adopted in 1952 would still work today.

    Source: link

    QOTW: I will be doing what I always do for March Madness, which is hang out at a local sports bar I love to watch a lot of games, eat wings, drink whiskey, cry over my busted bracket and root for Kansas. I have attended a LOT of tournament games, and yes mostly when KU is playing. For instance, I was at the big upset in Memphis when a great KU team with Raef LaFrentz, et al, lost to Arizona. Went to some games last year in Memphis as well since it is the closest venue to me.

    Being a KU alum, my team has made the big dance a LOT. So there’s that.

    Favorite memory was Mario Chalmers 3 at the buzzer against Memphis to tie the game in 2008. KU wins the title in OT. Memphis totally blew that game at the free throw line late. My other favorite moment is being at a huge KU tourney game and doing the Rock Chalk before the start of the game and then if KU has closed it out early enough doing the Rock Chalk from the 1:30 left mark to the end of the game.

    The NFL is considering allowing linebackers to wear jersey numbers in the 40s.

    Good. One more step towards having number rules that actually make sense. Every defensive player is eligible to intercept a pass, so there shouldn’t be any restrictions on defensive numbers in the first place. The only positions that need to have any sort of limitations are the offensive linemen.

    Interestingly, aside from the linebacker numbers, the full list of proposed rule/bylaw changes included nothing about uniforms. Nothing about the one-helmet rule, e.g., and nothing about the rule limiting teams to one alternate jersey (which you’d think Nike would be lobbying for).

    The full list of proposed changes is toward the end of this story:

    Looks like Nike’s decided it’s going to continue keeping the Swoosh limited to undershirts, elbow sleeves, arm guards, batting gloves, shin guards, catcher chest guards, gloves and mitts, and cleats.

    I think MLB could’ve been persuaded otherwise if Nike (or another manufacturer) were to put up a huge bid, and I’m guessing NIke could offer whatever Majestic could, and more. But then, why would they when the Swoosh is already so visible?

    I hate that I regard the extension of a contract between one rich corporation and another rich corporation as good news. This is probably what it felt like when Medieval peasants learned that their baron’s sister had married a neighboring earl’s cousin.

    FYI – On that first ASG ballot, Glenn Beckert’s name was also misspelled. It is listed as Glen.

    Error #3: Richie Allen. Following his trade to the Cardinals immediately after the 1969 season, he asked the media to cease calling him by “a little boy’s name” and instead call him “Dick,” the name he’d always gone by. It’s safe to say he took umbrage at MLB disregarding that request.

    I remember as a kid how serious people were about the integrity of fan balloting when MLB first resumed it – the mentality was “MLB took it away from us once, let’s not give them a reason to do so again.” And how wild it was that only half of the starting position players made the ballot, and how PO’d some of them that didn’t got (a few of them understandably, even). Rico Carty’s write-in election illustrates this perfectly: in 1969 the guy was a key cog on a division winner, batting .342 and finishing 13th in MVP voting. But because he’d missed 1/3 of the ’69 season (and the entire ’68 campaign) recuperating from tuberculosis (!!), he wasn’t considered ballot-worthy for the 1970 ASG. Then he continuing tearing up the NL in 1970, and fans all over, not just in Atlanta, wrote him in.

    I have never really been a basketball fan–college or pro.

    The only time I have an interest in the NCAA tournament is when my alma mater James Madison University is playing (which ain’t too often!).

    I happened to go there in the early 80’s when they went a few years in a row. It was good crazy fun.

    Go Dukes!

    Anybody else notice last night that most, if not all, Robert Morris players had the waistband of their shorts rolled? I wonder if they were just too long or the team decided to wear them a little shorter as a solidarity thing.


    The women’s team did play in Pennsylvania, but they did not stay there. Just Visiting.

    It looks to me like the changes mentioned between the 1970 and 1971 ballots were driven by adding two players per position.

    The information about the B&O Railroad Women’s Basketball team and their Short Line made for some interesting Reading. I wonder if they ever played in Pennsylvania.

    The women’s team did play in Pennsylvania, but they did not stay there. Just Visiting.

    I’m always geeked to see that uniform for the putative Washington team; I’m sure you know how much I like that lettering. Wonder how the home uniforms would have turned out?

    As a graphic designer who has spent most of his career designing for print, today’s post is fascinating. Most people think of design as making things look eye-catching… but a good portion of our job is organizing information in an easy to use format. This ballot is a great example of that. I can just picture the designer hanging his head when he realized that league expansion had just thrown his nice 6-players per position format into a prime number 7-player format.

    Now pardon me, I’m headed to eBay. I think I just found my next thing to collect.

    Sorry, I mis-counted. I guess they jumped from 8 to 10. The leagues could never have had an odd number of teams without daily interleague play like we have today.

    Man, just last week I tossed several of last year’s paper ballots, which were still shoved between the pages of my Eephus League scorebook from last summer…I shoulda kept ’em, I coulda sold at least one to Kyle!

    The jump in 1969 was actually from 10 teams per league to 12. Then the AL went to 14 in 1977.

    I’m somewhat shocked that “Yard Goats” won the Hartford baseball NTT contest. That name had the mark of the oddball thrown into the contest to drum up publicity. Those names rarely seem to win. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how Brandiose puts it together.

    Hartford Hedgehogs (one of the final five) could’ve been very good, especially if brown uniforms were part of the package. Instead, the world gets the Y-Goats.

    QOTW: My favorite March Madness moment was catching the 1985 Villanova/Georgetown final, when Villanova didn’t miss a shot in the second half. It’s always fun to see a champ (Maryland, Syracuse, Marquette) that isn’t one of the perennial powerhouses.

    That Nova game was definitely my high point…vindicating the prediction I made when Ed Pinckney was a sophomore that he would win a national title. It was even sweeter because they beat their mighty conference rival to do it.

    Also have great memories of ’83, ’88, ’89 & ’90 (even though LMU didn’t complete its dream run, UNLV was fun to watch). Also enjoyed ’95, ’02, ’08 & ’10 (even though Butler didn’t complete its dream run, that was a GREAT game).

    Don’t always get to watch as much of the tourney as I’d like. One thing I’m really going to miss is the pairing of Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery. Glad Bill got the top commentator spot now, but they broke up a superb team in the process.

    Almost forgot the ’80 tournament, mostly for the fact that NBC used Kenny Loggins’ “This Is It” for their theme music. Awesome.

    QOTW: I attended Santa Clara University (GO Broncos!) so, while I enjoy the tournament every year, the big moment for me was 1993 when we took down Arizona 64-61. I believe we were the 15 seed to their #2. It was sweeeet!

    On the referee whistles story, it’s big news for the NCAA Tournament for one reason.

    For the vast majority of teams (both men’s and women’s) the NCAA Tournament games were often the only games they played all year that didn’t use the Precision Time system. Every major conference required its teams to have the system in place, but the NCAA refused to use it unless PT paid a licensing fee. Since NCAAT games take place almost exclusively in college and NBA (who also uses Precision Time) arenas, the situation arose that you would have clock operators that were literally operating a clock for the first and only time all year. (The shot clock is operated separately)

    I know many arenas would bring in people that kept scoreboards at high schools for NCAA games simply because they were the only people actually used to keeping time.

    This caused a lot of issues and coach complaints, so after many years of lobbying, the committee convinced the NCAA to work something out with PT to get the system for tournament games. I don’t know if they’re paying the fee or just providing the product, but each arena is receiving a new PT system for the NCAAT, to ensure they’re all the same model.

    The company that made the SAY NO TO DRUGS wristbands is still doing it today. There are even some current players wearing their faces on their wrists…


    QOTW: I’m a Maryland alum. Maryland made the Final Four the first time during my last year there in ’01. I went to Cole Field House to watch the game against Duke up on the big screen. (Actually, I think it was projected on a wall because, if I remember correctly, Cole didn’t have a big jumbotron.) The first part of the game was great. The second… not so much. But fortunately, the Terps got over the hump the next year and I went nuts on the couch watching them beat Indiana in the Finals.

    My wife and I went down to Atlanta for the Final Four a couple of years ago. We went for the experience, so it didn’t matter who made it. It was cool seeing all the different fans there. And it was awesome that Wichita State and made it.

    At Nationals games, the team would offer prizes for punching 100s and 1,000s of paper ballots. …I guess that’s done with now, too

    I was reading the McDarby obit and I saw no mention of him doing design work for the Devils. The only reason I looked was that from everything i read(and this was from the Devils archives) was that John McMullen’s wife came up with the color scheme and basic logo design.

    QOTW: Not a college basketball fan at all so I never have a horse in the race, I do enjoy the brackets/statistics part of it though. Don’t agree at all with the format that in past years teams as low as 30th ranked nationally have been playing in the finals. The same format in college football would be unthinkable. And the thing I hate most about March Madness? Dick Vitale. That guy can’t go away fast enough.

    But you know Dick Vitale isn’t part of the game broadcasts, right (unless you count the pizza commercials)?

    I don’t watch the games, but that guy is pretty much all over the place for two weeks in March. And yes, pizza hut commercials. His favorite crust is salted cheese. People who know what real pizza is don’t have a favorite stuffed crust, because it’s just “the crust”.

    One joy of not having cable (but having in-laws who let me use their Comcast login) is not having to watch ESPN’s studio content in its current state.

    Also, it’s a shame that someone with an Italian last name has now shilled for two faux-pizza brands.

    And Oberto beef jerky. Because I guess March Madness and Dick Vitale and beef jerky go hand in hand?

    Those BlueClaw jerseys are actually Cub Scout uniforms. Cub Scouts (ages 7-10 wear blue shirts and Boy Scouts (ages 11-18) wear tan shirts.

    We wore gold kerchiefs as Cubs Scouts in my era.

    And actual Cub Scout caps, not baseball caps in Cub Scout colors!!

    I used to go all-in on March Madness, but I’ve grown more jaded by big-time college sports in general (and the quality of play has suffered in the past decade). I’ll still follow my alma mater, but once they’re out, I’m out too.

    QOTW: The 1974 regional final in which a 6’4″ David Thompson nearly killed himself jumping over his 6’9″ teammate Phil Spence, then wound up watching the rest of the game from the bench after returning from the hospital.
    Still the most exciting basketball player I’ve ever seen.

    That was the year that I moved to Fayetteville. In the driveway we were either Thompson, Towe, or Burleson.

    Towe was a hoot to watch himself. He would just dribble through (or under) any attempt at a press. And if you fouled him that’s when the fun really began – the ref would hand him the ball and he’d just shoot it. As in, instantly (6:30 of linked video).

    And Burleson – the guy was insanely long and drove VW Beetle – that he removed the front seat from.

    QOTW: I’ve spent the last 20+ years of the Tournament in Florida or Arizona watching spring training games by day and at a bar catching NCAA action on the tube during the evening.

    I’m a Dayton grad and last year was pretty special. I watched the Flyers beat tOSU at the left field tiki bar at the Phillies spring training home in Clearwater and two days later sat in a pub in Bradenton and saw them upset Syracuse to get to the Sweet Sixteen after a Pirates game.

    Makes sense to move away from the paper ballots. I can’t think of how many times, going to a game during the first half, after the ushers would come around to distribute ballots, I would either not complete the ballot or complete it and forget to deposit it somewhere (wherever that was.. did the ushers come back around? were their dropboxes on the concourse?).

    QOTW: Many memories of NCAA tourney time, but for the past few years one memory is especially strong, if bittersweet. My father (who loved the tourney long before it became the big deal it is now) was in the hospital in March 2011 for what we all knew was the last time. Despite everything else going on, he wanted to be sure and fill out his bracket, and was talking through it as he did. When he got to St. Peter’s (a 14th seed that year) he laughed and said something like “I’ve got to pick them–no sense getting Saint Peter mad at me now.”

    What a fine story.

    And speaking of St Peter’s, my boyhood loyalties survive each March through rooting for Northeastern and Rustbelt urban Catholic colleges that manage to qualify… Schools like Xavier, Marquette, St Anybody, Nova, BC, Loyola, Duquesne, Providence, Iona, etc etc… I’m so damn old that I remember when the NIT was considered superior to the NCAA…

    I have also rooted for Harvard the last four years. They’ve grabbed a few fist-round games over better-seeded teams. Last year Cincinnati, the year before Arizona (I think). Dropped a tight one in the second round last year to Michigan State. This year’s squad isn’t quite as good those teams (UVa completely annihilated them in January), and I don’t think they’re capable of an upset over UNC tonight, but it sure would be fun.

    Northeastern looks as if they got their back numbers from a Jo-Ann Fabrics iron-on kit. Too thin and WAY too small. If you’re going NOB, go big with the numbers!

    “I used to go all-in on March Madness, but I’ve grown more jaded by big-time college sports in general (and the quality of play has suffered in the past decade). I’ll still follow my alma mater, but once they’re out, I’m out too.”

    This pretty much applies to me, too. I grew up a big Ohio State fan and attended my first two undergrad years there, so that’s who I follow. The school where I’m currently employed has ekes their way in every few years, but I can’t say I’m a fan.

    I’ve attended two games. When I was attending grad school at Texas, in 1981, my girlfriend bought tickets to the early round games played in Austin. Thus I was in the stands for the “U.S. Reed game,” where Arkansas guard Reed made a mid-court buzzer beater to knock out Louisville, who I believe were defending champs. link

    The other game I attended was at Indiana U in I think 1977 or 78. A college pal was in grad school there and I happened to be visiting. Amazingly, there wasn’t much demand for tickets, so we scored one cheap quite easily, right at midcourt behind the scorer’s table too. UNC Charlotte, with Cornbread Maxwell, played somebody. That’s all I remember.

    Currently living the nightmare of being a Syracuse fan. Fave moment is, by far, Hakim Warrick’s block on Michael Lee in the ’03 final. The worst moment is summarized in 2 words – Richmond(91) and Vermont (05).
    The tournament is a always notable for seeing different things in uniforms, like Evansville’s t-shirts, Oakland’s mismatched uniforms, and Albany not deciding between purple and yellow.

    If that Netherlands’ kit was simply inverted, it would actually look like an on-field look.

    Wow getting rid of the paper ballots is a classic case of voter suppression.

    Just kidding. Good responses, everyone! Enjoy the day today. You can kick things up a notch with this link, too.

    “…the B&O Railroad team was doomed by their Short Line.”

    I don’t care what anyone says. It’s funny. Standing ovation here.

    On the topic of NFL numbers, is there any reason why quarterbacks seldom wear number 19? I think it’s a great looking QB number. Is it because it’s a popular number for receivers? Respect for Johnny Unitas?

    Don’t see many with 2, 5, 6, 15 or 17 either. Not that long ago you’d rarely see 4 or 9. I think most QBs pick numbers that represent someone important to them or a classic lucky number like 3, 7, 10 or 12.

    Seems like most players prefer lower numbers, regardless of position. The sweet spot for QBs seems to be 7-14, with a preference for 10-12. Personally, not a huge fan of 19 since, like 18, it looks a little blocky (I like 9 on its own, 17 is okay).

    But yeah, about the only memorable 19s are Unitas, Dempsey and Keyshawn.

    Umm, this guy would like a word…

    Unfortunately the trend in football, at least among position players, seems to be to emulate someone who came before you by wearing the same number. Thus, Jim Brown begat OJ who begat Franco who begat Marcus Allen (not discounting the USC #32 RB legacy that began with Mike Garrett). Earl Campbell begat Payton who begat Herschel who begat Thurman Thomas. #12 seems to have been the QB1 number since the Namath/Staubach/Griese years. Could be that the limited available number range plays is a factor in that.

    Another uni-influenced final score: I have no doubt the sweet ‘Birmingham’ jerseys led UAB to the upset of Iowa State. Go Blazers!

    I liked B&O’s nifty berets.

    One company I worked for timed their layoffs to be the Friday before the NCAA tourney as a gift to the basketball fans they were ditching.

    Blue vs. Blue in spring training is absolutely routine. This afternoon the Mets were playing the Astros in a Blue with Orange sides vs. Blue with Orange sides game.

    I don’t mind the different spring training unis, but at least try to have the two teams look different.

    Loyola Marymount completely overwhelms defending champ Michigan in Long Beach, CA, 1990. I was fortunate enough to witness it in person (FYI: $55 for all six NCAA games). 25 years later, I can still hear the Arena erupt with every 3-pointer Westhead’s team rained down on the Wolverines. Incredible display of offense. Why college teams haven’t employed Westhead’s system since then is beyond me. -C.

    Equally incredible was Bo Kimble’s left-handed free throw to honor his fallen teammate Hank Gathers.

    And it takes the right kind of team to run that offense. Most kids wouldn’t go to a program that runs that much. Doesn’t translate to the pros either. I would like to see someone do it, though.

    Sad news about Patrick McDarby. Talented designer. Great individual. There are some mistakes in the article however. The New Jersey Nets logo was conceived by the NBA Creative Services team and sent to SME Marketing to tighten up the concepts and prepare the final mark for electronic file purposes. There’s a lot of credit SME has taken for “original” designs that were conceived by the internal in-house creative departments and external logo houses like SME and F-Boyz then cleaned up the artwork.

    QOTW: VERY infrequent poster, but frequent reader.

    Living in NC, I used to go to the NCAA Tourney every year, began in 1991-92 season and went about 15 years, give or take a few. They are almost always in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh or Charlotte. Some years I’d go to 1st & 2nd rounds of a region, and then the Sweet Sixteen of a different region. The thing I liked the best was the atmosphere… truly an awesome experience for those like me, that watched ALL the games, not just for one team. Loved how everyone got behind the underdogs in a close game. Specifics….

    *Tennessee coming out on the court for warm-ups and hearing a guy behind me commenting on the “prison break” (all orange…). And getting absolutely disgusted with hearing “Rocky Top”. It’s cool the first 50 times or so….
    *Annoyed at how the NC sites are virtual home games for Duke or UNC (can’t stand either). Although seeing a who’s who form them over the years is kinda neat.
    *After UNC lost to Weber State, seeing A LOT of Weber State shirts the next time UNC opened in Winston-Salem. Had no idea that many Weber State fans were on the East Coast, much less NC
    *Meeting Magic Johnson in Greensboro. Michigan State was in town. We got there quite early for the first round. We’re walking around the concourse and my buddy says “Holy crap that guy is tall!” And I reply.. “That’s cause it’s Magic!” There was maybe 5 people total around him at the time. That was really awesome… meeting a HOFer!
    *Continuing on Magic…. Every time I’ve seen Michigan State play in the tourney, he has been at every game. NEVER in a box. In the bleachers. Like a normal person.
    *The BEST memory was in Winston-Salem in 1997. I had the pleasure of being there when Dean Smith ties & broke Rupp’s all-time wins record. I was really hoping for a UNC-Indiana 2nd round game, but Indiana lost in the 1st round and Bobby Knight walked back the 2-3 miles in pouring rain in one the least safe areas of W-S. Even though I don’t like UNC, I still respected Dean. When I was growing up, he WAS Carolina.

    One last thing…. I wonder if anyone else has done this? I always took my brackets and a pen to the games so I could update as the day went on. But on the back of the brackets, I kept track of how many different colleges or universities were represented by THE FANS. Keep in mind that at the 1st & 2nd rounds, there were only 8 teams. I usually averaged around 100, sometimes as many as 120+. Of course the usual ACC & NC teams, but also ones playing in the tourney, but also lower NCAA level and NAIA’s.

    Makes me wish I was there now……

    1991 Final Four in Indianapolis… They had the open (free admission) practices during the afternoon on the Friday before the Saturday semi-finals. Word got around my school (I was a Junior in High School) that the parents of a Sophomore had requested they take their son to those open practices and got permission for him to leave early that day. That caused a lot of controversy so our Principal decided he’d allow any student out early if they were genuinely going to go to the open practices, but to prove so you had to 1. request to be excused early, and 2. go before him and pass his NCAA Basketball quiz. So that Thursday before, those who applied for early dismissal were called down to his office and one by one we went in for his “quiz”… it was basically an interview with a few basketball questions sprinkled in. Guys came out, some happy, some not. I went in, actually missed a question but he let me have a pass (perhaps it was my Letterman’s jacket helping me?) the reason why I say that was my cousin (a Star Wars goob) went in, didn’t miss a question but was not given the pass LOL. Here I miss one, I get to go, he didn’t miss a one and gets shut down. Anyway, I’d say only 50% of those who “passed” actually went. I did go and watched UNLV do an impromptu dunk contest during the practice. It was awesome.

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