By Phil Hecken
Last night the Colorado Avalanche hosted their first outdoor game in history, playing the Detroit Red Wings in Coors Field for another “Stadium Series” game. I actually watched the entire game, and despite there seemingly being dozens of these baseball stadium games, I still love them. Perhaps sadly, this was the last outdoor game for the 2015-16 NHL season.
While the Red Wings, an “Original Six” team, have played in a number of “Winter Classic” or Stadium Series games, this marked the Avalanche’s first appearance in an outdoor game of any kind.
Of course, because it’s a “Stadium Series” game, that means several “special” things will take place, not the least of which is the need for new uniforms — I haven’t been a fan of too many of the Stadium Series uniforms in the past, as they seem forced and not particularly well designed. Last evening’s game was a pleasant exception.
First — the home team — the Avalanche…wore white (as God intended), so that was a nice bonus. Lets take a look at what they wore:
Beautiful, right? The
Rockies Avalanche went with the Rockies-esque logo featuring the “C” (which appeared on the shoulders of the Rockies and also the Colorado flag) rendered in Avalanche burgundy and black. The sleeves contained three stripes — blue, gray and burgundy, with the largest stripe containing the TV numbers.
Pants and helmets were black, and the socks were white, then repeated the blue/gray/burgundy pattern down to the skates. The collar was black with “5280” (the elevation of Denver) and NOB was black with burgundy numbers:
I was also pretty keen on the Detroit uniform, which featured red helmets, jerseys and pants. However, the designers created a special Olde English “D” that (to my eye) just didn’t look quite right, and there was a diagonal white sash across the front of the jersey that did not repeat across the back. The jerseys had “EST. 1926” inside the collar and “RED WINGS” on the outside.
The interesting thing about these unis, and it took me a while to come around to the look, was the white bottoms on the sleeves and socks, as well as the white gloves. I really liked this. The Red Wings might be the only team that could pull this off, as I’m used to seeing them in red/red/red — and even though the look kinda reminded me of a monochrome NFL team with leotards, I liked it on the Wings.
The @DetroitRedWings unis definitely have an NFL monochrome vibe to them, amirite? pic.twitter.com/Avv1uuuI44
— Phil Hecken (@PhilHecken) February 28, 2016
It’s not a look I like for football, but it totally worked here. On a football uni…not so much.
@PhilHecken @DetroitRedWings @NHLonNBCSports pic.twitter.com/c2jElvthQG
— Lions 10-6 (@MegatronStudios) February 28, 2016
My only complaint was the Olde English D and the diagonal sash, but maybe I didn’t like the “D” because it reminded me of … something else.
@MegatronStudios @PhilHecken looks way too close to the Dayton Flyers logo pic.twitter.com/GfBZmJ2yGt
— Derek McCord (@DerekDeedok) February 28, 2016
Anyway, I loved Colorado’s look and Detroit looked pretty fine as well. And together, the unis looked great.
Of course, it being a Stadium Series game, there were the usual gimmicks (not all of which are bad, but they are beginning to take on a pattern that detracts from the uniqueness of the setting, the stadium and the event itself):
• All the uniforms had a special patch with a Stadium Series logo (and it wasn’t just on the unis):
• Fake snow. I’m not sure what the answer is here, because it’s probably better to swath the stadium in fake snow than have huge patches of green/brown grass. There was a bit of a problem with the fake snow last night, as the wind kicked up and began blowing it all over the place, including on the ice.
• Great visuals. Almost every outdoor game is special because, well, it’s outdoors. And Coors Field is a particularly attractive venue. Unfortunately, the color of the paint under the ice was more of a cream (not sure why), whereas the fake snow was about as white as can be. This gave the ice an odd look. Also, because baseball stadia are especially large, and the rink is comparatively small, they need to fill the outfield with a lot of extra crap. Again, I don’t think there is a better solution, as it would look too barren without it, but it can sometimes detract from the visuals.
• Players in wool hats. Yesterday’s temperatures were in the 70s(!) during the day, and only dropped to the 50s by game time, so this was probably unnecessary. But I’m sure the teams would love to move the merch, so I’m sure the players were instructed to wear them. And, they do look cool!
• Coaches in varsity jackets. Yes, they wear them for all the outdoor games, but there is just something so right about it. And they look great too.
• Special goalie masks. I’m not really a goalie mask guy, so having a special one for these games doesn’t do much for me. But I know the goalies and many fans love them, so…
• Giant TV numbers. Yes, I get that the seats in the stadia are much further from the ice than in a normal rink, but I’m sure the large majority of the fans can’t see them anyway. Or I don’t know, maybe they’re visible from space. I guess it’s kind of a cool quirk unique to these games, but I hope (sorry Jim Vilk) they don’t find their way onto the normal uniforms. As long as the numbers on the back of the uni are in a large, legible font, the TVs shouldn’t dominate the shoulders. Just my opinion. I could be wrong.
Well, there you have it — a great game to watch (except for a second period entirely devoid of scoring in a game that ended up 5-3) and I really liked the unis. The Winter Classic and Stadium Series will be back next year, but that’s all for this season. This was a great one on which to end.
Readers? What say you?
Marty Hick’s Refrigerator Art…
… Jim Vilk & Mike Engle, eat your hearts out
Got an e-mail from UW stalwart “Stl. Marty” (aka Marty Hick), which is just so good, I had to share it with you guys — refrigerator art from the 1980s comparing NFL & USFL helmets. Yes, Marty is one of us.
Jim Vilk might get a kick out of these.
It’s a little side by side city project I did when I was 10.
My sister was fixing to get married, hence the new signature practice on Tampa’s.
They were done on the flip side of salmon colored law papers. My pop dukes brought home a lot of paper for me.
Hope you enjoy these as well.
Enjoy! (You can click to enlarge):
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: “Check out the patch on Lasorda’s sleeve as he leans on a futuristic trash can,” writes Douglas Ford. … Check out this pretty cool 1963 footage of Duke Snider hitting a walkoff homer at the Polo Grounds. That’s a popup in most (all?) ballparks today. … Tennessee softball has new smokey gray helmets to go with their new smokey gray unis (from Chad Kollas). … The Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes is getting custom, molded shin & shoulder guards. … Here’s a look at the Yankees Spring Training patch which they wore for photo day yesterday (from Brian Danuff). … I’m still not sure if I love or hate the Dodgers script “D” spring training caps. … Nike is calling these new Oregon Ducks uniforms throwbacks. Here’s a better look (from Glen Macklin). … Tweeter Mike G asks, “Is that a Tony Gwynn sticker on the New Mexico Lobos baseball helmet? … This “Best and Worst MLB Uniforms” article is both poorly written and loaded with errors (Example: “The 1970’s were perhaps the Golden Era for baseball uniforms. … Around this time, the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals came up with their trademark uniforms that they continue to wear to this day””it is widely believed that these two teams have the best uniforms in the present day, and both of them claim their origins in the early 1970’s.”) Sigh. I also disagree with the author’s opinions, which is fine, but the errors don’t lend much credence to them. … North Carolina debuted new home whites yesterday, and daaaaaammmmmmn if they ain’t purdy (h/t Bryant). … Tweeter Christopher Kapis hopes the Cubs upgrade their hosiery soon, and I have to say, I agree. … Check out this great photo of Ted Williams. Now look again at his right lower leg. Jesse Agler notes, “Definitely looks like a possible guard on his right shin in this photo. What do you think? And were we aware that he ever wore one?”
Football News: According to this article (or at least the author’s opinion), the NFL will test all color rash uniform combinations for the ability of the color blind to tell the players apart. You’d think maybe they’d have thought of that before the color rash games started. … This is great: check out Gene Sanny‘s latest uni-related, electronic football “comic” strip. … The Portland Steel (formerly the Portland Thunder), an arena team, have a new primary and secondary logo (from Bob Johnson). … “Saw this Ravens themed tee for sale at a breakfast place in Ocean City over the weekend,” says Mike Wissman. “Really like the use of FIOB.”
Hockey News: The New York Rangers will honor Andy Bathgate with this helmet sticker (h/t Jon R.). If you’re wondering who Andy Bathgate was, he passed away on Friday and his Number 9 already hangs in the Garden rafters. … “How to get a black eye playing hockey” read the e-mail from Diego BauzÃ¡. He wasn’t kidding and adds, “This is from the Stars – Rangers game. Play in the corner and the puck deflected up and got stuck under Girardi’s face guard. Luckily he was okay!” … And Mike Chamernik was kind enough to provide us with video of the Girardi puck-eye. … In College Puck, Yale and Quinnipiac went color vs. color yesterday (from Patrick Thomas). … “Ran across these photos of the 1976-77 Cleveland Barons NHL team. The team’s sleeve numbers were inside the state of Ohio,” writes Leo Strawn, Jr. “Also, Gilles Meloche sported a cool mask with the Barons, as seen in this photo with Yvan Cournoyer of the Habs. The following season the numbers were moved onto the shoulders.”
NBA/Basketball News: Apologies if this was in the ticker before, but here are a bunch of NBA Team Logos reimagined as 1980s Cartoons (from Jimmer Vilk). … Reader Eric Klimtzak attended a Harlem Globetrotters game in Jacksonville this weekend with his five year old and the team broke out a 90th Anniversary Retro Jersey for the 1st half (solid hosiery!) and then back to their normal Globetrotter uniform in the 2nd. “Classic Retro look (even with the New Orleans Pelican number font),” he adds.
College Hoops News: To commemorate Black History Month, Kansas wore these awesome 1950s inspired home uniforms yesterday against Texas Tech (h/t David Hanson). … Dayton and Rhode Island played a color vs. color game (well, sorta, Dayton is in gray) yesterday (grab by John Bedell). Here’s another shot (from Eric Farrell). … Western Kentucky wore red throwbacks yesterday for a color vs. color game against UAB (from Josh Claywell). … UWGB (University of Wisconsin Green Bay) wore retro uniforms on Friday night (from Green Bay MBB). … Notre Dame wore white on the road yesterday (from Jack Quinn). … Maryland also went white on the road yesterday at Purdue (from Patrick O’Donnell). Here’s a game shot. And another. … BEE-YOU-TEE-FUL color vs. color matchup yesterday between the Evansville Aces and UNI Panthers (via Joe Kuebler). … Northwestern wore their gray alternates yesterday vs. Rutgers (via Dan Sagerman).
Soccer News: In yesterday’s Leicester City vs. Norwich match, the groundskeepers mowed a northwestern stripe pattern into the pitch (from Michael Zerbib). … The USNT’s new crest has been confirmed. Read more about that here (h/t Conrad Burry). … MLS is still using their old logo on the lineup sheets for Spring Training (h/t Keaton KÃ¶ch).
Grab Bag: This is pretty cool: “My son pulled the Mr. Sprinkles container out of the pantry and I noticed a.) Mr. Sprinkles wears a baseball cap (with an “S”over the brim) lid, and b.) the cap has a squatchee,” says Marc Swanson. “Just thought I’d share.” … This is VERY cool: “Saw these vinyl seat backs in a restaurant yesterday and thought you may appreciate the colors,” says Kyle Mackie. Paul may be making that his Twitter splash as we speak.
And that will do it for me for this weekend. Everyone have great week and I will catch you next weekend!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken
“I don’t really see the point of a blog about uniform aesthetics reviewing soccer uniforms that feature giant eyesore advertisements right on the chest. It’s all ugly.”
— Dan T.
You’ve got an apostrophe catastrophe in the item about the “Globetrotter’s” [sic].
Loved the Stadium Series jerseys. Not sure the mega-TV numbers improve visibility from the cheap seats; maybe it’s for the Jumbotron? Anyway, the Red Wings made a tiny change to their number font. Not sure how I feel about it. Don’t like the Red Wings but always liked the vertical arched names and the fact that they (and the Flyers, and then the Panthers) use a slightly different number font.
I attended the Stadium Series game at Levi’s Stadium last year and sat in the 200 level. The larger TV numbers definitely made a difference to those of us in the stands.
Good to know. My only experience with outdoor NHL hockey did not have the jumbo numbers.
We’re listing things Detroit looked like, and we’re not starting the list with the Dubuque Fighting Saints?
A good looking game, but still the least well-uniformed outdoor game the NHL has given us.
I personally felt the Kings-Ducks was the worst uniformed Stadium Series game but I really hated the Red Wings gear in this game… liked the Avs a lot though.
The metallic embossed look from a few years ago was the worst. Avs-Wings wasn’t especially ugly, thought he Avs jerseys looked like practice shirts more than actual game jerseys.
Just curious why it was worded as “Maryland wore white on the road” rather than “Purdue wore black at home”.
While Andy Bathgate is deservedly remembered as a Ranger, he also scored the first goal in Penguins history. When he came back to Pittsburgh for the last regular season game at the Civic Arena, Seth Rorabaugh of the Post-Gazette talked to him. Seth didn’t run the interview until Friday:
Dear NFL – seriously, just let me take care of the color vs color thing for you.
The patch on Lasorda’s sleeve in the ticker item is the 50th anniversary patch. I’m horrible with links so here it’s is:
I don’t get why they would orient the ice that way at Coors Field when putting one end of the ice at home plate would make a lot more sense as it would improve the viewing from a large majority of the seats.
A search reveals that that the cross-wise placement of the ice has been the norm for games played at baseball stadiums. This strikes me as bizarre.
Also, I thought that these outdoor games were supposed to be between teams that have an existing rivalry. So Colorado versus Detroit seems like a strange match-up.
The uniforms are very attractive; and I like the big sleeve numbers. Of course I love white at home. But the outdoor unis should be variations on a team’s existing uniforms or else a throwback design. They should not be entirely new uniforms. So, while the Red Wings’ uniform was actually nicer than their regular set, and while the Avalanche’s uniform recalled the Rockies, both of these leave me a bit uncomfortable.
You must be too young or were in a coma during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Avs and Wings had the best rivalry in the NHL then. One team or the other won the Cup for 6 out of 9 seasons during this time. The matchup was punctuated by nasty hits by both teams and fights all over the place including goalie fights.
The alumni (old-timers) game was almost more exciting the night before with many of the Stanley Cup players from both teams. Still with plenty of talent but much less speed and testosterone now that these guys are in their 40s and 50s. No fights or real nasty hits this time. Avs won 5-2 mostly due to Patrick Roy’s still superior goaltending. Both teams wore their original uniform designs from that period.
@Ferdinand – Google “Claude Lemieux Kris Draper”. Avs/Wings is (or at least was) a pretty nasty rivalry.
You’re right, but that doesn’t involve any of the current players (some of whom weren’t born when that rivalry was at its peak.
Also, Roy vs Vernon might be the greatest line brawl ever
Well, the Wings have already played Chicago and Toronto in outdoor games, so the Avs don’t necessarily have to be seen as their top rival (current or historic), but they are up there. It may not be the same players but many fans from 1996 are still around and a match between these two teams still holds extra interest, if just for the talk it generates. Outside of those three who would be more sensible? But since this was an Avs home game, who has been a bigger rival for them in their 20-year history?
I love the NHL Stadium Series and I always enjoy the preview of the uniforms to be worn in each contest. I wonder why in hockey design today, so many teams choose to leave the pants, or breezers if you prefer, plain. I think the Colorado Jerseys would work with a plain white stripe down the side. I noticed the Red Wing’s pants had the Red Wings logo, which looked great, but I would have preferred the Red Wing on the left and right sides of the pants. One last thing, stripes or wider stripes on the hems of the sweaters just looks better to me.
A possible reason as to why the ice in Colorado was cream colored is that there was Coors Light mixed in with the water used to make the ice.
Im betting the ice was cream to reduce glare off the ice. And Colorado and red wings not having a rivalry! Seriously!?! Just go Back and watch the intros to the alumni game. Go ask Dino ciccarelli.
Don’t know if anyone on UW has pointed it out yet, but the Dodgers Spring Training hats are identical to old Chunichi Dragons caps.
I was thinking of any soccer/hockey team named Dynamo in eastern Europe.
Check out this pretty cool 1963 footage of Duke Snider hitting a walkoff homer at the Polo Grounds. That’s a popup in most (all?) ballparks today.
So… why the hell are baseball outfields still not standardized today? The idea that a hit of X distance is a home run in one park, but an easy out in another is flat out ridiculous. Imagine if each NBA court had a different 3 point line, people would be calling for Mr Silver’s head. But yet baseball still allows that to happen? What the hell, yo?
While you make perfect logical sense, baseball has long had a history of non-standard outfield configurations (in many cases, due to ballparks being shoehorned into city grids where the dimensions were dictated by things other than whim). You may not like it, but it’s part of what makes baseball both unique and great. And not without controversy. Maybe I’ll do a post someday on the great quirks of past ballparks.
What I dislike is when a new ballpark, not constrained by geography, forces *stupid* quirks — take Tal’s Hill in Houston, which mercifully is being eliminated. I used to think San Fran’s replacement for Candlestick (AT&T Park now? It’s had so many corporate names I don’t know what it’s called) had the really short porch in right built just for Barry Bonds (even though most of his homers cleared the 307′ mark by plenty). But if you look at the configuration, you’ll see there was probably no other way to orient the field that wouldn’t provide the short distance from home plate in right.
I never understood why the Polo Grounds (which was in its third incarnation when the Giants/Mets played there) was constructed more in the shape of a football stadium (reminds me of the ‘shoe in Columbus) than a traditional baseball stadium. The original park probably had to take that shape, but subsequent reconstructions probably could have changed the short porches.
But regardless, ballparks have NEVER had standard dimensions and I hope they never do. It’s just one of those things that makes baseball great.
I don’t disagree with your logic, but your sense of nostalgia (or lack thereof) is trumped in this case.
But if you look at the configuration, you’ll see there was probably no other way to orient the field that wouldn’t provide the short distance from home plate in right.
Actually I think if you rotate the field about 30 degrees counterclockwise, you could have equal distances for the outfield. Of course, you’d have to sacrifice seats to do that.
I guess we can just chalk this up as one of the things where I just don’t Get It(tm). To me, this particular quirk of the sport means that you need to stick a gigantic * on all of the hitting stats for the entire history of the league.
But a list that includes everything has the same value as a list that includes nothing. Yes, when judging merely cumulative career records in baseball, we have to take into account where a player played. So what? Most importantly, career records are bullshit to begin with. Stick around long enough and even someone with Craig Counsell’s native talent can accumulate decent career numbers.* I mean, think of all the players who are best known for stick-around numbers. Cal Ripken? Dude had like three really good seasons, and spent the rest of his career as a below-average everyday player. Who just played a lot of every days. You take Cal Ripken at his best, and let me pick among the other shortstops in MLB during Cal’s career, and my team will beat your team every time. But beyond the meaninglessness of cumulative records, the fact that baseball requires a fan to have a little bit of knowledge and perspective is not a fault to be corrected. As the saying goes, it’s OK if you think baseball is boring – it’s kind of a smart person’s sport.
* No offense meant to Craig Counsell. He’s one of my favorite modern player. But he’s one of my favorites precisely because he has no more natural talent for the game than God gave the average high school player. Counsell shows what dedication and hard work can achieve – he’s the Batman in a baseball world filled with X-Men. If Counsell can accumulate 1200 hits, then 3000 hits means nothing.
Many baseball parks are oriented in certain directions to avoid issues with the sun during day games.
Excellent article, Josh!
BTW, it wasn’t mentioned in that article, but ballpark orientation is where we get the term “southpaw”. Since the direction of the parks WAS dictated both by the rule book (as well as common sense, from a sun/shadow perspective), when facing home plate (squared up), a pitcher’s left arm typically faced south. Those who threw lefty were thus and forever known as “southpaws.”
Thank you, Phil.
IIRC, AT&T Park was rotated about 5-10 degrees so that the park itself would shield the fans from the prevailing winds. This resulted in the short porch in right field.
Matt Duchene’s (Colorado #9) skates are fun, even though they are throwback-esque while generally only Winter Classics, and not Stadium Series, are supposed to be old time hockey.
He’s wearing new top of the line CCM Ribcor skates in a new “white” color way (which still has a good bit of black in it, but it’s white in the catalog), but with old school CCM logos (PK Subban had the same logos on his special brown skates for last Winter Classic) and, weirdly, blue blade holders that would be at home in Gretzky’s Edmonton locker room.
The TV numbers last night reminded me of this, which I have always liked. link
If you’d like to see great close ups of Gilles Meloche’s Cleveland mask, visit this page: link
THey also highlight the “ghost” of the 1977 Team Canada paint job that is underneath the Cleveland artwork.
Totally unrelated to today’s post – I have been reading more intermittently than normal, but is Mike Chamernik on hiatus? It has been about a month since I noticed a QotW.
Nah I’m still here. I write the Ticker twice a week. You’re on-point with the QOTW. I haven’t thought of a good open-ended discussion question in awhile.
I got home too late to submit this for the ticker, but the Flames wore their retro jerseys last night against the Senators.
They have pretty much retired these in favour of their awful third jerseys, I think they still wear them once a year.
Seriously? The stadium series uniforms were awful.
I agree. I think hockey unis look better when there’s a stripe in the belt region. While the Wings’ uni would look especially stupid with one, the Avs’ was bland without.
And what was the reason for the massive sash on the Wings’ jerseys? The white sleeves reminded me of, when I was in marching band in high school, we had these white “gauntlets” (I think that was their name) that were separate parts of the uniform… they extended from the wrist to just below the elbow and were the same color as our gloves (white), and contrasted the rest of our jackets (green).
Something occurred to me while watching the Man Utd / Arsenal game this morning. The Gunners wore their change kit today:
Pretty similar colors to what the St. Louis Rams wore for the past 15 years or so. Oh, and Stan Kroenke owns both.
Even weirder still, Kroenke owns MLS’ Colorado Rapids. Starting last season (and continuing this season, as touched on in yesterday’s MLS preview), the Rapids wear yellow shirts and royal blue shorts for their change kit. Colors more similar to what the Rams used to wear (and many indicators point to them wearing again in the next season or two).
Moreover, Arsenal have worn the similar yellow over royal combo as a change kit numerous times in their history as far back as ’68.
The Rapids were reportedly close to being rebranded as the “Colorado Arsenal” a few years ago. That was supposedly a play on the stadium location, a former military facility. (Suuuuuure it was.) Fortunately, it didn’t happen, but it’s interesting to see the yellow and royal work its way into the Rapids look.
Arsenal has pretty consistently worn yellow (or gold) and blue change kits since 1968. Perhaps Kroenke is trying to find a matching visual identity for all his teams, but Arsenal hasn’t changed simply to fit into Kroenke’s vision.
Correction: I meant to say the Colorado pants would look good with a white stripe down the side. Not the Colorado jerseys.
That best/worst mlb uni article, wow… Invest in a thesaurus. I do agree with the one point of the Dodgers and Cardinals though now being considered iconic looks.
It’s a free country but I’m disappointed the site accepts adverting from the NRA.
Serious? Get outta here. That’s an absurd comment.
Quinnipiac hockey plays every game color vs. color. I think it’s been at least 3 seasons since I’ve seen evidence that white Quinnipiac jerseys even exist.
I meant for that to read “just about every game” and somehow failed to actually type it.
Point being, the Q pretty much wears yellow at home all the time.
I can’t get behind the white gloves…it’s not a good look for hockey. I thought Colorado’s set worked much better than Detroit’s. I hated the ‘fauxback’ D…if you were going to go that route then why not dust off the Unis the Wings Alumni wore at Comercial Park against the Leafs alums?
With the thick white stripe at the bottom of their socks, and the black skate boots, when I watched the Red Wings in Saturday’s outdoor game, all I could think of were Santa Claus’ Boots!
Disagree on Snider’s HR being a popup in other parks. To be sure, the distances down the lines at the Polo Grounds were a joke, but check out the trajectory of that ball: It was a high line drive, not a fly ball at all. And considering it was down the line – where most ballparks are 320-330 – it would’ve been a HR anywhere.