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The 2018 MLB season — aka the Last Season Before the Under Armour Takeover — will be here before you know it, and MLB primed the pump a bit yesterday by unveiling a new set of BP and spring training caps.
When we describe these caps as “new,” it’s important to distinguish between the graphic design and the materials, because many teams are sticking with last year’s graphics but all teams are getting new cap materials. The fabric is lighter and, as you can see in the Royals cap shown above, the front logos are now raised and rubberized, not embroidered. It makes a particularly big visual difference for logos with lots of surface area (click to enlarge):
The MLB logo on the back of each cap is also getting the rubberized treatment:
In addition, the New Era maker’s mark on the left side will be printed, not embroidered. This means you’ll no longer be able to remove the logo with a seam ripper, although I assume some enterprising folks out there will find a new form of creative mischief for blocking this particular ad. I look forward to seeing how that plays out.
When the caps are worn for Grapefruit and Cactus League games, they’ll have the “FL” and “AZ” graphics added on the right side, as we’ve seen in recent years. (Those graphics were never embroidered to begin with, of course.)
For those keeping score at home, MLB has now used rubberized/plastic logos for Independence Day caps and now BP caps. It seems like the All-Star Game and maybe Player’s Weekend would be the next logical steps. Would they ever go all the way and abandon embroidered logos completely, even for regular game caps? Hope not, but it seems conceivable.
BP caps have always been somewhat forward-looking and trendy. (MLB’s press release for the new caps even includes a quease-inducing quote about the caps being “on-trend.” Kill me now.) So it’s surprising to see that two teams are using their new caps to showcase a throwback look. The first such team is the Reds, who are throwing waaaaay back (click to enlarge):
If you’re a serious baseball historian, you should recognize that “C,” because it’s based on the logo used by the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, the team that’s generally acknowledged to have been the first professional baseball squad (and also the first team to go high-cuffed!):
The other team going with a retro look, albeit a much subtler one, is Oakland (click to enlarge):
If that “A” looks a bit off but you can’t put your finger on what’s different about it, here’s a side-by-side comparison with a standard A’s cap:
The new BP version is based on the one used by the Connie Mack-era Philadelphia Athletics. Interesting that the A’s would choose to go that route:
As for the other new designs, some are good, some not so good, but they’re all just BP caps, so I find it hard to get too worked up about them one way or the other. You can see all of the new designs in these two graphics whipped up by SportsLogos.net (click to enlarge):
One final thought: As stated in MLB’s press release (and parroted by several willingly credulous media outlets), the rubberized team logos on the caps are not logos; they are “badges.” This is, of course, newspeak nonsense, but it’s worth noting that “badge” was also the term that the Golden State Warriors used when unveiling their ad patch back in September. Is “badge” going to become the new annoying marketing term for uniform graphics? Stay tuned.
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Terry Glenn, RIP: As you’ve probably heard by now, former NFL wide receiver Terry Glenn died in a car accident yesterday. He’ll always have a special place in Uni Watch lore because of a stunt he pulled during a game against the Giants on Oct. 23, 2006. In that game — and, as far as I know, only for that game — Glenn snuck an Ohio State buckeye decal onto the back of his helmet. He had played college ball at OSU and was giving a shout-out to his alma mater.
I’m not aware of any other OSU player who’s gotten away with this. Anyone..?
Patchwork: Major omission in yesterday’s installment of Monday Morning Uni Watch, as I neglected to mention that the Giants added a “JHT” memorial patch for Joan Tisch, the widow of former co-owner Bob Tisch.
The funny thing about this one — aside from my not mentioning it yesterday — is that the Jints had already added a helmet decal for Mrs. Tisch two weeks earlier (as I reported at the time). Now that they’ve added the patch, the decal has been removed. Weird for a team to start out with a helmet memorial and then upgrade it to a jersey patch.
By Brinke Guthrie
The day after tomorrow we’re treated to the annual doubleheader of turkey and football. One of my favorite uni memories has to be the terrific Cowboys double-star jersey from Apex, which debuted on Thanksgiving Day 1994. And here’s the design on punter John Jett’s jersey one season later.
Dave Venneri, a friend of mine, was a PR/advertising manager for Apex in the 1990s and was very involved with the Cowboys. He told me the design started with Michael Lewis, the co-founder and creative director of Apex One. “He wanted something bold and memorable for the double-star treatment,” says Dave. “Something that looked great on camera as well as on field — something totally unique, bold, and brash. He worked in partnership with Jerry Jones and Jerry’s son Stephen on getting the concept bought in with the Cowboys. Obviously the NFL needed to get behind the concept too, as it needed to be approved by NFL Properties.”
Just to cap things off, here’s a great Apex Cowboys commercial from 1994, which proved prophetic.
Now for the rest of this week’s picks:
• Along with the Sunoco NFL Action 72 stamp album and the NFL Playbook from American Express [both of which are treasured items in my own collection — PL], the NFL Fun Book from 1978 defined what cool NFL graphics were like during that era. If you’ve never seen one of these, I suggest you take a look — there’s not much out there of its type that can beat it. Seventies retro cool to the max, man.
• Just right for Uni Watch HQ: a 1960s Mr. Met shampoo bottle.
• Another Mets item for you- a truly old-school Mets warmup jacket made by KM Pro.
• Here’s a sign that won’t be on the wall at Uni Watch HQ anytime soon; This vintage Vikings metal sign says, “Sound the Horn and Wave the Sword — Purple Power Is Here.”
• One more for the Halos: Nice graphics on this Angels three-ring binder. The seller says it’s from 25 years ago, so that would be 1992, the last year for that logo. They’d go to the retro CA in 1993.
• These 1970s Baltimore Orioles pins let you know “The Bird Will Fly!”
• A 1970s Cleveland Browns cowboy hat, of course. Made by AJD, the folks who did those original striped trucker caps.
• This 1960s lined Green Bay Packers jacket was made by Brill Brothers of Milwaukee, as part of the Golden Thread Collection.
• Here’s a 1970s kids Vikings parka from the Sears NFL Shop, with the usual huge pull ring showing on the pocket, of course.
NBA Uni Tracking
By Collin Wright
More than a month into the season, color-vs.-color games remain much more the exception than the rule (figures are accurate through Sunday but do not include last night’s games):
[table id=36 /]
By Alex Hider
NFL News: For whatever reason, ESPN rendered the Falcon on Atlanta’s helmets in red on a graphic last night (from Chris Brueckner). … Rams LB Alec Ogletree had a nifty tape job done to his fingers on Sunday. He occasionally wears gloves but more often goes with the bare-handed/taped look (from Pro Football Journal). … Packers DE Mike Daniels promises he didn’t have an accident on the field during Sunday’s game, saying he’s just a sweaty guy (from Shaun Meulemans). … Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is investing in Vicis, a company that makes high-tech football helmets (from Phil). … Jay Reyes found this backpack with both Raiders and Eagles logos at a store in New York. … Pepsi is currently running a commercial featuring “Deion Sanders from 1995.” However, the spot actually shows Sanders wearing a 1996 Cowboys jersey, as evidenced by the wordmark above the number. That didn’t exist in 1995 (from Stephen King and Jamie Burditt). … A few weeks ago at a NASCAR race in Phoenix, Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson sponsored driver Ray Black, and Peterson put his personal logo on the hood of the car (from David Firestone). … Vote for the best uniform matchup of week 11 here (from Uni Watch Facebook Page). … When the Weather Channel tried to show a live feed of the Georgia Dome’s demolition yesterday, a bus pulled up at just the wrong moment. … Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham dropped two key passes while wearing two different sets of gloves in last night’s game.
College Football News: Tonight is Eastern Michigan’s Senior Night. To honor those playing their final game, it looks like the Eagles will be incorporating the numbers of each senior into their helmet logo (from Shane Brown).
Hockey News: Canadiens G Carey Price has new white pads (from The Goal Net). … Byron Magrane found a 1990 newspaper clipping from the Sharks’ first logo/uniform reveal. Here are the sweaters they unveiled at the event (also from @batsdingerbond). … The Florida Everblades and the Evansville Icemen of the ECHL recently wore superhero jerseys for a Hulk vs. Thor matchup (from Adam Childs).
NBA News: Currently, “Dallas Mavericks” translates to “little cows” in Chinese. That apparently doesn’t sit well with the Mavs, so the team is letting fans pick the new official Chinese translation (from Jared Peterson). … This Eastbay catalogue must have been printed before Paul George was traded from the Pacers to the Thunder (from Mark Wiley).
College Hoops News: Louisiana-Lafayette wore some spiffy throwbacks yesterday in their game against Iowa (from Chris Yandle). … Oklahoma State wore turquoise unis in honor of Native American Heritage Month last night. With Texas A&M in maroon, it turned into a nice color-on-color game (from Shlomo Sprung and Chris Howell).
Soccer News: AMS Clothing is a small clothing manufacturer that is producing uniforms for a number of African national soccer teams, giving the countries a sense of national pride (from Michael Mrozinski). … Lots of stripes in this EPL matchup between Stoke City and Brighton yesterday (from Josh Coles).
Grab Bag: Matt Kenseth raced for the final time as a NASCAR driver on Sunday, and used a throwback paint scheme to his rookie season (from David Firestone). … Jeff Ash found this 1967 AP article about the U.S. women’s skiing team having the “sexiest” uniforms. Key quote from skier and future lip balm spokeswoman Suzy Chaffee: “We’re going to wear metallic silver uniforms that look like they were painted on us. Those metallic things make you feel as if you have nothing on. Psychologically, it’s great. And it works psychologically on your opponents, too, I think. They look at us and think we’re something from the moon.” There’s no accompanying photo, but Jeff found this shot, which shows the uniform referred to in the article.