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Time for the MLB Season Preview

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It’s one of the surest signs of spring: the appearance of the annual Uni Watch MLB Season Preview, the 20th edition of which is now available over on ESPN. As usual, it has the full scoop on what you can expect to see on the diamond this season (including all of the sleeve patches shown above). Many of you have told me it’s always your favorite column of the year. Mine too! Check it out here.

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Lucky fella: The Tugboat Captain got me a lot of great presents for my birthday. Here are three of them:

1. The first piece of writing I ever had published was a letter I wrote to Sport magazine in 1977. They had run some sort of reader survey that they wanted people to fill out and mail in, and the last question asked you to identify your age group. The lowest age range was 18-27, or something like that, so I tore the survey out of the magazine, put it in my typewriter, typed, “I AM THIRTEEN,” and then sent it in with a letter of complaint. They ended up publishing the letter in their December 1977 issue, which was a huge thrill at the time. Somewhere along the line I lost my copy of that issue, but the Captain got me a new copy of it (for all photos, you can click to enlarge):

In retrospect, I’m a bit appalled that the letter makes me sound like a snotty know-it-all (I guess not a whole lot has changed, eh?), but it’s fun to have this issue back in my library.

2. The Captain got me three vintage summer shirts, each with a nice amount of green. Looking forward to wearing them when the weather warms up:

3. The Captain also made me a wonderful mocha cake with a coffee-rum buttercream frosting, which she decorated with five bowling pins and four bowling balls, for 54. It is soooooooo good!

And there was more. But as wonderful as the Captain’s gifts were, all the kind words from Uni Watch readers meant almost as much. Thanks for making my special day extra-special, people — much obliged.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Gatorade has developed a skin patch that helps tell wearers when they’re dehydrated. It’s been tested by the Mariners, among others (from the Tugboat Captain). … Gorgeous uniform with magnificent striped stirrups for Stetson University (from Nick Lineback). … Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, located just a few blocks from Uni Watch HQ, will be the site of a throwback base ball game with players wearing 1860 Brooklyn Atlantics throwbacks on April 7. … Mariners skipper Scott Servais says the team might stop wearing its new BP cap after spring training because the upside-down trident logo is turning out to be bad luck (from Tim Dunn). … New matte batting helmets for Middle Tennessee State (from Jeff Kowalek). … New matte black helmets for the Great Lakes Loons (from Ryan Keberly). … The Royals will wear this 1920 KC Monarchs throwback cap — and presumably a matching uniform — on May 6 (from @kcklo63). … In yesterday’s softball game between Central Arkansas and Mississippi State, all of the CAU players had “Wilcox” NOBs. That’s because Mississippi state has a cancer-strikcken player named Alex Wilcox. The jerseys will be auctioned off to help cover her medical expenses (from Chris Mycoskie). … Here’s our best look yet at the All-Star Game BP caps and jerseys, via a video game leak.

NFL/CFL News: Former NFL OL John Malecki, who played for several teams, including the Steelers, has a Steelers-themed welding hood (from Eric Wagers). … Some new uni number assignments for the Browns (from Robert Hayes and our own Alex Hider). … Who’s that with the No. 0 TV number? It’s Gale Sayers, No. 40, who apparently lost the “4” (from Brad Eenhuis). … “After 46 years at the same location, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum will be fully transferred into Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton by May 2018,” says Wade Heidt. “Here is an article about the refurbished, state-of-the-art Hall of Fame.”

College and High School Football News: LSU punter Josh Growden rode his scooter to practice in full uniform, apparently because he was running late (from Kenny Ocker). … A major high school recruit has a highlight video that, among other things, shows a team wearing three different pant colors at once (from M. Taylor Smith).

Hockey News: The officials’ locker room at the NCAA West Regional in Sioux Falls has a memorial to honor the late official Butch Mousseaux (from Bryan O’Nolan). … In a 1978 music video, Tony Banks of Genesis was wearing a Canucks jersey. Further info here (from Brian Jones).

Pro Basketball News: Good piece on the things NBA players write on their sneakers (thanks, Brinke). … G.I. Joke uniforms for the DuBois Dream. … The Mavs have added a “Mr. C” memorial mark to their court for team owner Don Carter, who passed away last month (from our own Kris Gross). … Pro skateboarder Nyjah Huston, who has an endorsement deal with Nike, was shown wearing an old Cavs replica jersey with the Adidas maker’s mark covered up. … Warriors G Steph Curry is switching to a low-top sneaker. Key quote: “I just want to get to a point where I can get my ankles strong enough that when I’m out there on the court with my new shoes, I’m looking good in my new shoes and I ain’t got to wear these braces to dumb it down” (thanks, Brinke).

College Hoops News: ESPN’s Bomani Jones doesn’t like the trend of shorter shorts (from Jason Hillyer). … Kary Klismet notes that some Nike jerseys have unusual armholes that come to a point. Anyone know more about that template? … Douchebags. … Andrew Cosentino doesn’t like that Michigan players Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson wear pink shoes. “I’m all for players expressing themselves as individuals, but it looks so much better when everyone on the team wears the same color!” he says.

Soccer News: Las Vegas Lights FC and Reno 1868 FC, both in the USL),have announced that the winner of their upcoming match will win the Silver State Cup (from Josh Hinton). … New second-choice kit for Wales. “People actually thought the old one was cursed or something (it was almost-black with lime green accents),” says our own Jamie Rathjen. “Not only did they never win in it, when they weaseled out of it and got permission to wear a one-time yellow kit instead, they did win.” … New jerseys for Dinamo Tbilisi (from Ed Zelaski). … West Brom is switching from Adidas to Puma (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: There’s a “name the team” contest for the new USL franchise in El Paso. … And one more from Josh: Stoke City’s new home kit has leaked.

Grab Bag: This is from a few days ago, but I think we missed it: The College of Holy Cross is phasing out knight imagery. … New logo for the U.S. Open tennis tournament. … Orangeville Transit in Ontario is holding a logo design contest. … A man says he was removed from a commercial flight because his T-shirt had a logo that featured guns. … Netflix has designed its own typeface (thanks, Alex). … Yesterday’s Grab Bag had an item about the Yale lacrosse team using head scarves to restrict peripheral vision. “Drag racing has been doing this for some time,” says David Firestone. “It’s called the Clydesdale effect. I discussed it some time ago. I do find it odd that a sport where peripheral vision is needed would use the Clydesdale effect, though.” … Pro golfer In-Kyung Kim’s missing golf clubs, which she used to win the Women’s British Open in 2017, were found selling for $60 each at a used sporting goods store in California. Also, she apparently wears bright magenta mittens in between shots. Anyone know what that’s about? (From Kary Klismet.)

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What Paul did last night: It would take way too much time and space to fully explain the story behind what’s going on in this next photo. But let’s just say that this month’s installment of Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.’s monthly residency at Otto’s Shrunken Head was even more entertaining than usual. It made for a nice extension of my birthday (click to enlarge):

Whatever you did last night, I hope it was just as much fun, and that your weekend is even better.

Comments (75)

    Agree the 60 looks odd. I do like that LA, KC, SF, and Arizona acknowledge their World Series/Pennants/Playoff appearances on their respective patches.

    The high school team wearing 3 pairs of pants isn’t that uncommon given the circumstances. There are coaches standing on the field during the plays, so this is likely a scrimmage. As a coach, whenever our teams have had scrimmages, we’ve worn practice gear, and it’s not rare for a high school team to have mismatched practice pants, as old game pants usually get retired as practice pants.

    This is exactly what it is. Preseason scrimmage. Saw this video a couple months ago and found the three pants odd until I realized it was a scrimmage. No news here.

    Typo?: (I guess NOT a whole lot has changed, eh?) (Just kidding.)

    The first letter on the magazine page caught my eye: “John Mackey’s comments on black and white players were unreal. And Jim Finks is crazy! The average fan does care about the rules. If the rules continue to change and cause less “violence”, then all we will have is a bunch of tootsies playing tag.”

    Typo, too: It’s GALE Sayers, No. 40, who apparently lost the “4”

    I’m at work and let out an audible “yes!” when I saw that it is MLB Preview Column Day. It’s like Christmas in March!

    That letter is excellent. I can certainly relate to that, growing up and filling out various surveys where the minimum age bracket started at 18. I always found it odd with sporting magazines, you have to figure loads of readers were kids. Then I realized those surveys are for marketing purposes to understand what demographics their ads would be targeting. But I guess it never occurred to them that even though kids have no money to spend, you can still target them with ads and they’ll hound their parents for whatever product you are selling.

    At the time, when I showed the published letter to my big brother (15 years older than me, and the one who got me started reading Sport to begin with), he said, “Paul, look at the ads in the magazine. They’re all for things like liquor, cigarettes, shaving cream, cars — can you buy any of those things? No, right? So maybe you’re not exactly the typical reader.”

    That was actually the first time I thought about how advertising is targeted to certain demographic groups. It was an instructive moment.

    Nope. But that’s not unusual. And really, what could they have said? Like my brother said (see upthread), it’s pretty obvious who formed the bulk of their readership.

    I’m very surprised the Phillies aren’t wearing a patch for Halladay this season. Would be interesting because he wore different numbers for the Phillies and the Blue Jays.

    Wow you were a snarky little 13 year old…I’m impressed, but it may have led you to be thrown into a locker LOL

    “Patches, I’m dependin’ on ya’ son….” ~Clarence Carter

    Not a rubberized one to be had! Yay!

    Feel is extremely important in golf. Wearing mittens on a cold day helps keep your fingers warm and limber. Oversized mittens are usually preferable because you can get them on and off without removing your golf glove.

    Re: Michigan wearing pink shoes

    Robinson’s and Abdur-Rahkman’s choice of shoes has less to do with individualism and more to do with superstition. If you remember, Michigan’s plane rolled off the runway before the Big Ten Tournament last year, and the team jerseys and shoes were stuck on the plane for the FAA investigation for a day. The equipment managers got together whatever jerseys and shoes they could find for the players for the first round the following day. That meant several players were wearing they’re pink shoes from the cancer awareness game in addition to practice jerseys against Illinois.

    While most players switched back to normal shoes when they could, Abdur-Rahkman has been wearing pink shoes (in most games) ever since then. Maybe Robinson has too, and I just didn’t notice.

    Abdur-Rahkman has been wearing pink shoes ever since the B1G tourney last year. This was the first time I’ve seen Duncan Robinson wear pink outside of a breast cancer awareness came.

    Jaaron Simmons, who wasn’t played for Ohio last year and wasn’t apart of that plane incident, has been wearing pink shoes for most of the season too

    I hope you sent away for one of the “Hobbit t-shirts” advertised under your letter.

    Not sure you have explained it but why is your gal called the “Tugboat Captain”? I’m sure it’s pretty innocent but I think it could have a different connotation than what you think.

    I assumed she actually was the captain of a tugboat. Given the delightful, often off-the-beaten-path nature of many of your hobbies, interests, and activities, it just seemed appropriate that your lady friend’s occupation was something as random as captain of a tugboat.

    If you were hoping for the Padres to restore brown and gold…don’t hold your breath.

    White Sox: No announced changes or news

    Sigh…you two just don’t Get It.

    Mariners skipper Scott Servais says the team might stop wearing its new BP cap after spring training because the upside-down trident logo is turning out to be bad luck

    A good craftsman never blames his tools and a good manager never blames his team’s logo. Enough with the superstitions already.

    all of the CAU players had “Wilcox” NOBs. That’s because Mississippi state has a cancer-strikcken player named Alex Wilcox.

    THAT is how MLB should handle April 15th: everyone wears their own number but everyone wears “Robinson” as the NOB (yes, even the NNOB teams), along with the 42 sleeve patch.

    “everyone wears “Robinson” as the NOB (yes, even the NNOB teams), along with the 42 sleeve patch.”

    If they did that, what would be the point of making every team retire the number? (Perhaps they could make every NOB team retire the name “ROBINSON” in his honor and force players with this name to wear something else on their backs.)

    The point of retiring a number is that no one else gets to wear it again. But they not only *un*retire it every year…they give it to every single player and coach.
    It. Makes. No. Sense.

    Mr. Robinson indeed deserves a special day. No doubting that. I just have a problem with how they go about it.

    An idea for a short follow-up on your “new” 1977 SPORT magazine. The label says it went to Glen A Zeiter of Bloomville, Ohio. How about trying to contact him, telling him you have his old magazine, and asking him a few sports and non-sports related questions? If he has passed, maybe a family member could fill you in on his life. Might make for a fun little piece.

    Pulling from the article, here’s the “bad luck” associated with the Mariners since they resurrected the trident:

    The Mariners ended up suffering so many injuries in 2017 that they tied a major league record for most pitchers used in a season, and the issues have continued into this spring. In Arizona this year, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Jean Segura, Ben Gamel and Ichiro have dealt with muscle strains, pitchers Felix Hernandez and Marco Gonzales have been hit by comebackers, and Mitch Haniger, Ryon Healy and now Segura have suffered hand injuries. Even worse, the Mariners announced Wednesday night that they have lost reliever David Phelps for the year due to a torn UCL that will require Tommy John surgery.

    Servais mentioned baseball players’ predilection to being superstitious when discussing the trident logo’s potential link to bad luck.

    Kim’s magenta mittens are what are commonly known as “cart mitts” and are usually used while driving a golf cart in cold weather although they’re great for walking/playing in cold weather as well. The mitts are easy on, easy off. Never seen that color though.

    Recently your site doesn’t load properly on my Ipad. It takes forever and never really works properly. Around the same time more advertising showed up, which by the way I understand and support. Just thinking there might be bugs with this new content being added. Even typing now is tedious.

    Probably the last 2 weeks or so. Works better on my IPhone, which by the way I don’t see any advertisements. I’m an idiot when it comes to tech stuff, so I have no idea how this is different.

    Let me chime on with an anecdote: literally hours ago, I was all set to post a comment on my iPhone, and then the whole site refreshed on its own. I use Safari and I run iOS 11.2.6.

    I’ve been having exactly the experience Mike Engle describes, using the same browser and IOS, for several days. At least back to Tuesday, possibly back to last week.

    I still am having difficulty understanding the trend toward large logos on the MLB caps. That Tigers D looks absurd to me. I know their old cap logo was smaller relative to others, but still this looks like a souvenir cap you’d buy for children.

    All these rubber adhesive patches also kind of speak to low quality/cheapness to me. I’d rather have things stitched in.

    Now, kids, get off of my yard.

    So I guess cap patches are the next wave. The idea of the Nats and Royals wearing those all season long rather than just for special occasions is unpleasant.

    I feel like this has been happening for a little while now. The Mets and Yankees wore cap patches all season to mark their stadium moves, and I think there have been other instances in the last 10 years as well.

    Some thoughts on the ESPN column:

    – Paul, I’m glad to see you appreciate the awesomeness of the Cubs’ 1978 powder blue road uniforms! I wonder which one the Cubs will wear, if they do. In 1978 they had only numbers on the backs, then they had names. And the one worn by Bill Buckner in the photo is (I think) from spring training 1982, when they still had these uniforms but had added the new-design bear logo on the sleeves. Or were they using that in 1981?

    – Love seeing number 0 on the field, even on a base coach; props to Ed Sedar for wearing it.

    – The “6” in the Dodgers’ anniversary logo is really weird-looking. They could at least have taken that little serif off the top right corner.

    I’m not a daily reader anymore (more like a couple of times a week now), so this may have been covered, but I just noticed the “Donate to Uni-Watch” advertisement and read the article it linked to. It noted that you will be adding benefits for being a patron.

    Does this mean you will be scrapping the pay-wall, and instead going to the Patreon model?

    Yes, the plans for the paywall were scrapped – link.

    “With all of these things in mind — and, quite frankly, after several sleepless nights (which were at least as hard on the Tugboat Captain as they were on me) — I’ve decided not to implement the subscription plan after all. The site will still get a makeover this spring, but it will remain freely available to all, at least for the foreseeable future.”

    Those Nike jerseys with armholes coming to a point have been around for a few years. I know that Duke has been wearing them for a while. This is from 2015:


    Paul, surprised you didn’t mention this. Thought it would be right up your bowling alley. I like to buy / read old sports mags (fifties and sixties) – mostly tennis and baseball. I prefer the ones with the name and address label still attached, like your Sport Magazine 1977 Stabler cover. I think it’s so cool to be reading the exact same something that was mailed 60 years ago. First stop is a check of the address on google maps to learn a little geography … What you learn, for example, is a home in a little town in Missouri is a lot less pricey than a little home on the Sound in Connecticut. From your letter of 1977, looked up and learned where Blue Point, NY is.

    This is gonna sound weird, but I was almost as excited to see my hometown listed there in the letter as I was to see my own name. Very small town, no famous people. I no longer have any family members there but still feel an intense emotional connection to the place.

    An idea for a short follow-up on your “new” 1977 SPORT magazine. The label says it went to Glen A Zeiter of Bloomville, Ohio. How about trying to contact him, telling him you have his old magazine, and asking him a few sports and non-sports related questions? If he has passed, maybe a family member could fill you in on his life. Might make for a fun little piece.

    … and we can add, with print magazines on life support, magazine address labels are soon going to disappear like paper ticket stubs …

    I meant to ask this question a few days ago when the holiday jerseys were unveiled, but got busy. Anyway here goes: The Indians shy away from Wahoo during Memorial Day and July 4 uniforms for obvious reasons, but I also noticed the Braves’ tomahawk is also missing from its uniforms on those holidays as well. Is it for the same reason? In other words, are the Braves taking the Native American imagery off of these holiday uniforms because it’s a bad look, or is it just that their alternates usually don’t have the tomahawk?

    Why is the MLB so gimmicky with their holiday uniforms? They are the only one of the four major sports leagues that have special holiday uniforms and caps. It just seems like such a cash grab and it screams minor league.

    Yeah, but I consider the NBA Christmas unis more similar to the NFL’s color rush or NHL’s outdoor games, and they’re usually not very Christmas-y anyway.

    I’ve been off the grid the last couple of days – happy belated birthday Paul.

    Happy birthday week Paul. Cool summer shirts! Where did the Tugboat Capt find them? Trendy bohemian boutique? Fashion flea market?

    West Brom also appear to be switching from the Premiership to the Championship…..

    As a West Brom supporter, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. They left Pulis in charge far too long. It was bad enough watching his style when we won, but it was awful when we weren’t getting results.

    Indeed, but Pulis had never relegated before. Bringing in Pardew was a huge mistake. At least Pulis could have kept the Baggies up…

    Are the A’s no longer wearing those patches on their caps? I distinctly remember reading that the patches would be on jerseys AND caps toward the end of last season, but your report (and the caps currently available on their web site) would indicate otherwise. If so, definitely a positive turn of events.

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