It’s looking like I’ll probably be traveling for at least part of the day on Sunday, when the NFL’s two conference championship games will take place. There’s also a vaaaaague chance that I’ll be traveling two Sundays after that — the date of the Super Bowl.
These potential travel plans have reminded me of a story I hadn’t thought about in a long time, about the 1997 World Series (Marlins/Indians). The story isn’t uni-related, but it’s interesting and fun, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never told it here on the blog, so I’m going to share it with you today.
So: In October of 1997, my then-galpal Alleen and I flew to Wisconsin for a four-day weekend. The fourth day — the day when we’d be flying back home to NYC — was Sunday, Oct. 26, which was scheduled to be the day for Game Seven of the World Series, if the Series went that far. When booking the flights, we thought, “Hmmm — we could take an early flight that would get us home in time to watch the game, or we could get a later flight that would get us home in time to catch the end of the game, which we could watch at a bar at LaGuardia after we landed.”
We decided to go with the later flight, because we wanted to maximize our time in Wisconsin. And besides, what were the odds that the Series would even go to a seventh game? Sure, booking the later flight meant we might miss most of the game, but we felt good about our choice.
The Wisconsin trip was a good one. Among other things, we went to Door County for the first time, bowled at the great Holler House for the first time, and, thanks to a random development, met two people who would end up becoming my close friends and heroes (R.I.P., Julie). Travel was very different in those days — there was no such thing yet as WiFi, neither of us owned a cell phone, and I didn’t own a laptop (Alleen did, but she didn’t bring it). I remember the second day we spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find a place with a fax machine so my editor at Spin, where I was a columnist at the time, could fax me a proof of that month’s column.
Naturally, the World Series did go to a seventh game. As it turned out, there were terrible thunderstorms in Milwaukee that day and our flight was delayed. Our late-afternoon departure kept getting pushed back, and back, into the early evening — and then the game started. So we began watching the game at an airport bar near our departure gate, sticking our heads out every so often to see the latest status of our flight.
At some point during the game — I no longer recall which inning this would have been — they announced something bizarre: They were going to drive us to O’Hare in Chicago (only about an hour away), where the weather wasn’t quite so bad, and then we’d fly home from there. This seemed like a huge hassle, but whatever — we had to get home.
I expected them to put us in a bus or a van, but instead they brought out a series of limos — each of which had a TV. Great, we thought, now we can keep watching the game! But this prompted an argument, because everyone else in the limo wanted to watch Sunday Night Football. “Look,” we said, “this is the last baseball game of the year. After tonight, you can watch all the football you want.” We won the argument, but as I recall things were a bit tense in the limo. I remember huddling close to Alleen, staring at the tiny limo TV screen, and trying not to feel everyone else glaring at us.
Under normal circumstances, the game would have ended either during the limo ride or soon after we arrived at O’Hare. But as you may recall, Game Seven of the ’97 Series went into extra innings, so the game was still going when we boarded our plane. Again, there was no WiFi, no smart phones — we were completely in the dark. I wondered if the plane’s captain might announce the game’s outcome during the flight (I think maybe we even asked a flight attendant about that), but he didn’t. So when we arrived at LaGuardia, we had no idea who’d won.
Because of all the flight delays, it was now very late — after midnight, I’m pretty sure — and almost all of the airport concessions were closed for the night. No restaurants, no bars, no TVs. So as we went through the airport and prepared to get a cab to go home, we still didn’t know who won.
I asked the cabbie to put on one of the all-news radio stations. After 20 minutes, they finally did the sports report, and that’s when we learned that the Marlins had won a title in only their fifth season. Although I usually root for the National League team, I had been rooting for Cleveland, mainly because I disliked the Marlins’ uniforms (Uni Watch was still nearly two years from being born, but the seed had already been planted in my brain), so I was disappointed, but finding out about it after the fact, while riding home late at night in a cab, felt oddly anti-climactic.
What a difference 20 years make. If I do end up traveling this Sunday and/or on Feb. 3, it’s a safe bet that I won’t have much trouble finding out what I missed.
Thanks for listening. We’ll get back to more traditional uni-related content tomorrow.
In honor of #NationalHatDay, check out our new Military Thursday caps that we’ll wear each Thursday home game in 2019!
— Pirates (@Pirates) January 16, 2019
Hmmmmm: Yesterday was National Hat Day, which I didn’t know until a bunch of people pointed it out on social media. (If I had known, maybe I would’ve done a headwear-centric post yesterday.) The Pirates apparently didn’t know either because, as you can see above, they waited until 8:09pm to unveil their new G.I. Joke cap “in honor of” National Hat Day.
Leaving aside the timing and the optics, it’s worth noting the the Pirates — one of the few teams to have a military-themed alternate uni as part of their regular rotation in addition to the MLB-wide Memorial Day costume — are now on their fourth different G.I. Joke alternate cap in as many years (click to enlarge):
I’m assuming that sets some sort of record. Yep, nothing says support for the troops (or for National Hat Day) like trying to get your fan base to buy another piece of merch every 12 months.
Worth a closer look: The Grab Bag section in yesterday’s Ticker included a small item about Trusox being mired in some messy business affairs. Having now read the entire article, I can wholeheartedly recommend it — it’s full of interesting details about the lengths some soccer players will go to wear Trusox even when they aren’t an approved uniform element, the intra-family spat at the heart of Under Armour’s founding, nonsense “branding” efforts, and a lot more. Good reporting, good writing, good stuff all around.
You’ll have to spend a Washington Post click to read it, but it’s worth it. Trust me.
Meanwhile, as long as we’re talking about corporate theater, Deadspin’s Dan McQuade has written a pretty amusing and revealing piece about how insidious Nike’s sneaker hype is, and how a lot of reporters — including, at one time, McQuade himself — are basically in Nike’s pocket. There’s something rather conveniently self-serving about this piece, because it’s basically a confessional to assuage McQuade’s guilty conscience for his past sneaker-hype sins (nice try, Dan), but there’s still a decent amount of wisdom here. Worth reading.
Culinary Corner: In my recent Cincinnati travelogue, I mentioned that we loved eating goetta, the unusual breakfast sausage created generations ago by Cincinnati’s German immigrant population, and planned to try making it ourselves. On Saturday we did just that.
There are tons of goetta recipes on the internet, and we read a lot of them. Almost all of them use the same basic ratio of 2.5 cups of steel-cut oats (also called pinhead oats) to one pound of ground beef, one pound of ground pork, one large onion, and eight cups of water and/or beef broth, but we were surprised that most of the recipes called for no seasonings other than salt, pepper, and bay leaves. The goetta we enjoyed in Cincinnati seemed like it had a greater flavor complexity. Hmmmm.
We decided to make two batches, so we could compare. For one, we just did the basics — salt, pepper, bay leaves. For the other, we used several additional flavorings, toasted the oats, and, following the advice of one particularly interesting recipe, cooked the goetta in the oven instead of on the stovetop.
For the basic recipe, the process was pretty simple: We put four cups of water and four cups of beef broth in a big pot, brought it to a boil, added 2.5 cups of steel-cut oats along with salt, pepper, and two bay leaves, and let the whole thing simmer for two hours. Then we added a pound of ground beef, a pound of ground pork, and a large chopped onion, and let it cook for another hour. It’s basically making meat/onion oatmeal.
Before I get to the next steps, let me explain the process for the spiced batch, which was slightly more involved:
1. We toasted the oats (again, 2.5 cups) in a big pot, along with some minced garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and marjoram (for all photos, you can click to enlarge):
We then removed the toasted oats from the pot and set them aside. Here’s a comparison of the toasted oats (on the left) compared to the non-toasted oats we used for the basic batch:
2. We added liquid to the pot (again, four cups each of water and beef broth), brought it to a boil, and added the toasted oats, a large chopped onion, the meat (again, a pound each of ground beef and ground pork), and two bay leaves:
3. We covered the pot and put it in a 200º oven for four hours, stirring occasionally.
There’s no way to sugar-coat this: After both batches were done cooking, they looked, well, not very appetizing (although the house smelled really good). Here’s the basic batch:
Goetta is usually formed into loaves and then sliced, so we took a bunch of loaf pans (for some reason we had seven of them in the house, of varying sizes, and we ended up needing all of them), lined them with plastic wrap, and spooned the cooked goetta mix into them. We labeled the loaf pans so we knew which ones were the basic goetta and which ones were spiced, and we also used one pan for a half-and-half hybrid batch.
After the loaf pans cooled a bit, we put them in the fridge overnight so the goetta could set.
The next day, our friend Carrie came over to help sample the goetta. We brought some of the loaf pans out of the fridge, used the plastic wrap to help turn the goetta out onto a cutting board, and made a few slices (sorry about the varying lighting conditions — the light in our kitchen really sucks):
Then we put the slices in a non-stick skillet. Some recipes said to use oil or butter, but one article I read said that it’s easier to keep the slices intact, without having them fall apart when you turn them, if you cook them without any added oil or fat, so we tried that. One of the slices broke apart anyway, but it wasn’t a major problem. The slices browned up beautifully:
Now came the moment of truth — we tasted it. Both varieties were really good (like, really good), but they didn’t taste quite like Cincinnati. I found myself wishing we’d brought home some of the authentic Cincy stuff, so we could compare.
While I tried to figure out how our goetta differed from what we’d had in Cincinnati, the next step was to make some breakfast sandwiches:
The sandwiches were great. I had some more of our goetta Monday (it tasted more like Cincinnati, maybe because it had dried out a little more, or maybe just because I’m getting used to our version), and then I made some goetta hash on Tuesday (so good!).
All in all, a really fun experiment — one that we’ll definitely try again. Here are some adjustments we might make the next time around:
• Our spicy version is a bit too spicy for my tastes (too much cayenne). My favorite version is the hybrid batch. So next time maybe we’ll just cut down on the spices a bit.
• Our version definitely isn’t as toothsome as the goetta we had in Cincinnati. We’re wondering if we could remedy this by cooking the oats for a shorter amount of time and/or by using less cooking liquid.
• We’re a little puzzled by the large onion. Every recipe calls for it, and the chopped onion bits are therefore very visible and tangible in our goetta, but the goetta we had in Cincinnati had no visible or tangible onion. Maybe we need to chop the onion more finely next time.
But that next time is probably a long way off, because our fridge and freezer are now stuffed with goetta. I look forward to being able to say the same thing in the days and weeks to come.
ITEM! Call for entries: I am very much in the market for new entries in my Key Ring Chronicles project. If you have a special item on your key ring with a good story behind it (like the quarter on my own key ring, whose story is told here), please get in touch.
If you want to get a feel for the sort of stories I’m looking for, you can see the full archive of KRC entries here. Thanks.
By Lloyd Alaban
Baseball News: The Pirates released this logo to celebrate Steve Blass’s 60th season with the club, both as a player and a broadcaster (from Jared Grubbs). … July 27 is the 20th anniversary of when the Mets and Pirates wore their futuristic uniforms. As it happens, the Mets and Bucs are playing each other again on that same date this season, so Mets Police blogger Shannon Shark is calling on the Mets to revive the “throwaheads” for that game. … Proof that Spider-Man Gets It™: Peter Parker has a uni-centric Mike Piazza Hall of Fame pennant on his wall in the new Spidey movie trailer (from Zeke Perez Jr.). … In yesterday’s lede, Paul wondered if the minor leagues had any costumed mascots before the 1950s. Turns out the Milwaukee Brewers, a minor league team not affiliated with the current Brewers, employed a Barrel Man mascot in 1942 (from Chance Michaels). … The Potomac Nationals, a minor league affiliate of the Nats, released their promo schedule for 2019. … Here’s an aerial view of Trinity High School’s new field in Louisville, Ky. … New caps for UC Santa Barbara. … New caps for FAU (from Jake Elman). … New uniforms for the University of Miami. … New logo for the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League. … Towns County High School in northern Georgia, whose teams are called the Indians, has poached Chief Wahoo and the Twins’ “TC” logo (from Mark Eiken). … Derek Vergolini showed off his college cap collection for National Hat Day.
Football News: Worlds of Fun, a theme park in Kansas City, Missouri, has temporarily renamed its Patriot ride to “Patrick” ahead of the AFC Championship Game. … Bert Church High School in Airdrie, Alberta, is poaching the Rams logo while using “Chargers” as its team name (from Joe Bettinelli). … Helmet manufacturer Vicis designed a helmet for comedian Adam Carolla inspired by actor Paul Newman’s Porsche 935 (from Jeff, who didn’t give his last name). … Saints WR Dez Bryant showed up at a Dallas Stars game last night in a custom Stars sweater (from Bo Childers). … Bryan Station High School in Lexington, Ky., has probably the biggest midfield logo in existence (from Josh Claywell).
Hockey News: Hurricanes F Brock McGinn had a bit of trouble with his helmet decal, as the “2” on his helmet came loose (from Tom Faggione). … The Rangers celebrated Pride Night last night. There was a rainbow puck and rainbow-bladed sticks at the pregame ceremonial puck drop (from Alan Kreit). … Here are some shots of the Red Wings’ Salute to Service sweaters. … This Maryland youth club, named the Maple Leafs, is wearing sweaters with their team name on a Capitals template. This photo is taken from a WaPo article documenting how the team stood up to racist taunts and defended their black teammate (from our own Phil Hecken). … Cross-listed from the football section: Saints WR Dez Bryant showed up at a Dallas Stars game last night in a custom Stars sweater (from Bo Childers).
NBA News: The Hawks wore throwback uniforms last night against the Thunder, who wore their Statement edition uniforms (from Max Strauss). … 99% Invisible, a podcast that focuses on design, wrote about NBA uniforms in the early 1990s (from Gabe Whisnant). … The following three items are from Etienne Catalan: F Julian Washburn will wear No. 4 with the Grizzlies, F Corey Brewer will wear No. 00 with the Sixers, and F Bonzie Colson will wear No. 50 with the Bucks. … Conrad Burry came up with this 2019 NBA All-Star Game uniform concept based on the 1991 ASG uniforms also held in Charlotte.
College/High School Hoops News: Central Michigan men’s F Rob Montgomery suffered a cut on his face during last night’s game against Northern Illinois. He had to change into a new jersey, and the only one available was a No. 30. His regular number is 5 (from @so_it_gohs). … South Florida men’s wore some hideous BFBS neon uniforms last night against Cincinnati (from @rwilzb001). … San Diego State men’s showed off their custom Air Jordan XXXIIIs last night (from Nathan Clark). … Here’s Pounce, Georgia State’s mascot, participating in the viral 10 Year Challenge (from Hans Hassell). … Brad Eenhuis sent us this photo of the 1952-53 Klemme High School girls team from Klemme, Iowa.
Soccer News: Brazil’s yellow, green, blue, and white kit is iconic now, but it wasn’t always that way. Brazil used to play in an all-white football kit. In 1953 they held a competition to design a new one. The only rule was that it had to include the four colors of Brazil’s flag. 18-year-old Aldyr Garcia Schlee sent in three sketches. The one on the left won. Schlee died in November at the age of 83 (from Sergio A. Garcia). … Austin FC, MLS’s newest expansion club, has revealed its colors and crest (from Griffin Smith). … The crest of the Portuguese top-tier team Santa Clara is essentially the same as that of Benfica, one of the biggest teams in Portugal. So not only are Santa Clara poaching another team’s crest, it’s one that they now play twice a year (though this is only their fourth season in the top tier) (from our own Jamie Rathjen).
Grab Bag: Cross-listed from the football section: Helmet manufacturer Vicis designed a helmet for comedian Adam Carolla inspired by actor Paul Newman’s Porsche 935 (from Jeff, who didn’t give his last name). … A Bangladeshi cricket team has just introduced MNOB — Mother’s Name on Back (from @wolicyponk). … South Africa’s Super Rugby clubs unveiled Marvel-themed uniforms (from Eric Bangeman). … Cloud9, an esports league, has inked an apparel deal with Puma (from Sara, who didn’t give her last name). … An internal survey showed that two-thirds of fans didn’t really care that F1 changed its logo. … The following three ticker items are from David Firestone: NTT is the new title advertiser of IndyCar. … Pennzoil bought the naming rights to Houston Raceway Park. … Drag racer Cruz Pedregon is seeking fan input for potential car names. … Lehigh men’s lacrosse team members get issued this sweater (from Chris Jastrzembski). … The University of South Carolina has officially changed its abbreviation from “USC” to “UofSC” to avoid confusion with the University of Southern California. … Michael, who didn’t give his last name, showed us the committee logo for commissioning of the USS Wichita this past weekend. The background is the flag of Wichita, Kan., with the Wichita Native American symbol for “home” in front of the Keeper of the Plains statue, where Keeper of the Seas comes from. … According to Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s staffers, mockups of her presidential campaign logo found on a coffee shop table in New York are fake (from multiple readers).