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Zero-Sum Game: Yanks Sign Adam Ottavino

The Yankees have never had a player wear zero or double-zero. But that might be changing, as reports indicate that they’ve signed free agent reliever Adam Ottavino, who’s been wearing No. 0 for the Rockies since 2013.

Ottavino, like several other zero-clad players over the years, likes No. 0 because his name starts with “O” (others who fit that description include Rey Ordoñez and Junior Ortiz), but it remains to be seen if that sentiment will sway the notoriously hidebound Yankees. The issue was discussed in this 2017 article. Here’s the key passage:

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he grew up watching Al Oliver, who wore zero, and would allow one of his players to wear it, too.

“I have no issue with No. 0,” Cashman said. “To me, it is just a number.”

Cashman is generally not involved in handing out numbers, as that falls to equipment man Rob Cucuzza. Cashman would chime in only if there is a free agent who requests a certain number, and he might start the conversation to see what the team can do.

So it sounds like there’s some wiggle room there. Personally, I’m rooting for Ottavino to wear the zero, just because it would be so incongruous on so many levels.

And what if the Yankees say no? The last non-zero number Ottavino was issued was 37, which he wore for the Rockies in 2012, but he definitely can’t wear that for the Yanks — it’s retired for Casey Stengel.

Meanwhile, as you can see in the photo at the top of today’s entry, Ottavino has sometimes sported a beard. The Yanks will definitely make him shave that off, whichever number he ends up wearing.

(My thanks to Robert Neely for bringing that 2017 article to my attention.)

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Click to enlarge

ITEM! New ESPN column: When it comes to football helmet design, there’s basically big-time college football and then there’s everybody else. The big college programs have a rotating carousel of helmet designs — often three, four, or five per school — while smaller colleges and high schools don’t have the financial resources for that kind of thing and NFL teams are hamstrung by the one-shell rule.

Now there’s a new product that could change all of that. I’ve written about it in my latest ESPN piece, and I think you’ll find it very interesting. Check it out here.

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Instant classic: Lakers forward Michael Beasley, the man who once rubbed his teammate’s knee because he mistakenly thought it was his own, had another classic moment during last night’s game against the Thunder. As he prepared to check into the game, he ripped off his warmup pants and discovered that he was wearing his practice shorts instead of his game shorts.

Beasley headed straight to the locker room for a quick wardrobe change. No word on whether he rubbed his knee while he was there.

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Braves update: We’ve known all week now that the Braves will be unveiling “refreshed” uniforms, whatever that means, at a promotional event tomorrow. Yesterday we got some hints regarding what that might entail.

The team’s promotional schedule indicates that there will be a red-jersey giveaway on April 7. The jersey shown in the promo photo is different than the star-spangled, tomahawk-free version that the Braves have been wearing in recent years. It appears to be the same red alternate they had from 2005 through 2013.

In addition, the Braves announced a series of bobblehead giveaways for 2019. One of the bobbles is a hybrid design featuring Dansby Swanson and Charlie Culberson (who are supposedly lookalikes — hence the hybrid design), with Swanson (I think) wearing the same red design from the April 7 jersey giveaway.

So I think it’s a safe bet that the Braves will, at the very least, be unveiling a new (read: old) red jersey tomorrow. My understanding is that they have other things in the works as well, although I don’t know what those things are.

In any case, we’ll have coverage of the Braves’ refreshments on Sunday.

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The Ticker
By Yianni Varonis

Baseball News: The Cardinals’ winter caravan logo has an apostrophe catastrophe (from David Truman). … Here’s another example of a tequila sunrise-inspired design, this time on an IPA beer can featuring a generic ballplayer. Also, take note of the player’s hops sleeve patch (from Douglas Brei).

NFL News: From Phil: This article documents the history of the Browns’ helmets. … Also from Phil: This opinion piece bemoans that the Rams will wear their white jerseys in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game instead of their royal blue throwbacks.

College and High School Football News: From Phil: If you ever wanted to know every uniform combination that Florida has worn this decade, now you can. … A Utah high school football coach has been suspended for the first two games of next season because his team wore white uniforms at home during this year’s state championship game (from Paul Warne).

Hockey News: New Flyers G Mike McKenna recently received a mask featuring team mascot, Gritty, and revealed this tidbit: Through his career playing for 19 organizations, he hasn’t always been allowed to keep his sweaters, though he always kept his masks (from @PhillyPartTwo). … Check out the tenths of a second shown on the two sides of the scoreboard in this shot from a USHL game — photographer Peter Wilt must have caught it at just the right moment (from Dan Pfeifer). … The Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL will be wearing unis supporting the Jayden Deluca Foundation this weekend. “First time I’ve ever seen the foundation logo completely replace the team logo on the front of a jersey,” says Brett Thomas.

NBA News: Reader Etienne Catalan has several jersey number updates for recently acquired players: New Pistons G Isaiah Whitehead will wear No. 12, new Pistons G Kalin Lucas will wear No. 24, new Rockets F James Nunnally will wear No. 21, new Cavaliers F Deng Adel will wear No. 99 (the second player in team history to do so), and new Knicks G Kadeem Allen will wear No. 0.

College Hoops News: Michigan State has added a “Gus” memorial patch in memory of former coach George “Gus” Ganakas, who recently passed away. The patch made its debut at last night’s game at Nebraska, and Nebraska’s equipment manager, Pat Norris, got the patches added to the MSU jerseys (from @budcone7 and David Harns).

Soccer News: Italian club Roma’s new retro-inspired shirt has leaked, and it’s a good one (from @deadendnights). … A few items from reader Josh Hinton: Next season, Arsenal will apparently wear a modern rendition of the team’s infamous “bruised banana” jerseys; in the EPL, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy spooked his teammates by wearing a Spider-Man costume during a training session; and the Seattle Sounders have a new jersey advertiser has been released … Speaking of which: The Sounders and Seattle Reign of the NWSL now share a new shirt advertiser (from Ed Zelaski). … Also from Ed: New shirt for Argentinian club San Lorenzo. … Forward Madison FC, a Wisconsin-based club of the United Soccer League, has invited fans to design the season ticket holder scarf for its inaugural season (from JohnMark Fisher).

Grab Bag: Curling’s Continental Cup has begun, and with it brings new uniforms which this article describes as “loud,” “colorful,” and “patriotic” (from Wade Heidt). … The Ohio State University is hosting an on-campus exhibit on the relationship between sports and fashion (from Lain Landon). … In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope, where Paul lived until recently, mothers now have a new “uniform” (NYT link). … Donald Trump’s fashion tip for slenderizing? Long ties (from Jason Hillyer). … United Airlines has new uniforms for frontline employees and there’s a reason airlines are outfitting their employees in purple. Sorry, Paul! (From Phil and Edward Hahn.) … Speaking of airlines, here are the five design finalists for Chicago O’Hare’s $8.5 billion expansion. … Seeing double: Nike has a new shoe that includes the company’s logo inside of its own logo. … A North Dakota artist has become popular making throw pillows out of old college marching band uniforms. … A Russian company wants to put a bunch of satellites in low-Earth orbits so they can display advertisements (from Jeremy Reeder).

Comments (41)

    Both the giveaway jersey and bobblehead pic show the jersey with navy-only trim on the placket (and sleeve on the bobble), instead of the blue/white outline the older ones had:


    The extra trim, to me, is kind of a unique visual differentiator they have compared to most other teams, so this new jersey is a major downgrade if true.

    Nice little mention for uni watch at the end of the Browns helmet article. I really hope they go white helmet with brown uni numbers on it with their next redesign. I’ve always thought the blank orange helmet, especially using that as their logo, is problematic for a team called the Browns, with brown as their primary color. Too much emphasis on orange.

    When I saw the reference to the article in the ticker, I thought, “Well this should be much more than one sentence long!” But it was actually pretty comprehensive in tracking even some of the more subtle changes to the Browns’ helmets.

    I am not normally a fan of plein helmets with no logos on them, but for some reason, I have always felt like it worked for the browns. Maybe it’s because as a kid, I remember some classic playoff matchups between my favorite teen, the Broncos, and the Browns, and both teams uniforms from that era have become iconic for me. But also, I like story of how Paul Brown decided on orange for the Browns’ helmets. In an era when no one else was wearing orange helmets, he wanted to give his quarterbacks a visibility advantage to find receivers down the field more easily, or so I’ve heard. I like the history behind it, so I hope they keep their simple helmet design as part of their visual identity.

    as a Browns fan, i think the current helmet is the best version of it to date.. i hope they leave it as is.

    Yep – keep it like it is. I like the brown mask on the helmet in comparison to the grey or white mask.

    Surprised the article didn’t mention the only other time in recent history an NFL non-throwback helmet was plain was the Seahawks in 1976.

    Agreed..I always found it weird even though the color is not the reason for the team’s name. I also wouldnt be opposed to a logo like a dog for dogpound or even something like Cleveland or Browns in block letters. Theres no reason to hang onto their uniforms and think they also should look into changing colors and the name. I have some design ideas introducing a light blue and also replacing brown with lightblue.

    No reason to hang on? No reason to change (The basics. Take that wordmark off the jersey and pants).

    like the man said, “when it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change”

    When I say no reason, the browns have zero need to hang onto any of their designs since theyve sucked pretty much every year since the 70s (except a couple of seasons). Take the Seahawks or Eagles..they both would probably look better with the old school colors but they also won their 1st super bowls in current styles so theres some tie in to success with those. The browns have won nothing lol.

    The last thing in the Grab Bag I find very depressing. It’s become more and more difficult since the advent of the Internet to avoid being inundated with advertising and this is just one more. Imagine going on a camping trip to the middle of say Alaska or Montana and looking up to see a Nike swoosh in the sky. Truly sad.

    I hope Nike would pay $1 billion (or even more) to do this. If the person posting in the comments page on the article is correct and the ad is unreadable after a few days it would be extremely funny. And it could be very cloudy on those few days it might be legible.

    There are so many things incorrect in that article that bemoans the Rams wearing white Sunday such as blaming the NFL for the fact the Rams have chosen to wait to redesign their uniforms until their new stadium opens.

    As for the actual gripe about the Rams wearing white Sunday, that’s not their choice. The Saints are the home team and they chose (rightfully) to wear black jerseys. It’s not the home team’s job to bail out the visiting team from its previous bad uniform decisions.

    They could’ve wore their throwbacks which is what the writer wants. I really don’t see the point of changing the decals to white. Why not just wait or change them back.

    Michael Beasley is the player who brought his ailing mother to one of his games. They stayed together for the first half, then Beasley joined his team on the bench for the second half.

    Last night’s incident reminded me of the Happy Days episode where the basketball coach told Ralph to get into the game. Ralph tore off his warmups, only to reveal that he wasn’t wearing his uniform. The coach called a timeout for Ralph to go in the locker room and put on his uniform. I don’t know, did the Lakers’ coach call timeout for Beasley to get his shorts on, or did he have to wait for the next chance to enter the game?

    That Russian advertising satellite venture is grotesque. From the concept, to the quotes contained within the article. Just sickening.

    worse than sickening…this is terrifying

    we have to put the brakes to these disgusting, evil corporations to whom money is not everything…but the only thing…

    and who owns the sky?

    Me, you, every living thing on this planet, but not any corporate monstrosity….

    …that article about Park Slope gave me another reason to dislike Brooklyn…bad enough those people are now invading the Hudson Valley.

    Paul, did you proof that article?
    It wasn’t about how mothers have a new “uniforms”, it really comes off a satirical fashion piece that (for me) was quite insulting to working-class people and women.

    Those people are why I don’t feel bad when they go broke or other scenarios may happen…(really toned it down)

    I did not read that article. Articles about Park Slope “mommy culture” have been going on for literally decades and are beyond tiresome. I left it in the Ticker because it included the word “uniform.”

    As for “dislik[ing] Brooklyn”: Please keep in mind that Brooklyn — which is just one of New York City’s five boroughs — has 2.65 million people. That’s more than the populations of Maine and Montana combined. Whatever your conceptions or stereotypes of Brooklyn may be, it’s unlikely that they can apply with equal accuracy to, say, the neighborhoods of both Sheepshead Bay and Bushwick, or Cobble Hill and Brownsville, or Williamsburg and Dyker Heights, any number of other very diverse areas of this very populous, very varied borough. The fact that certain media outlets have taken a certain subset of Brooklyn and turned it into a caricature of the entire borough does not mean you should do the same.

    ^^ What Paul said. Stop reading what the media’s portrayal of our great borough is, because it’s 99 percent probable that to them, Brooklyn begins and ends with Williamsburg and/or Bushwick.

    I like in Clinton Hill, which exhibits every characteristic of why my wife and I have chosen to spend our lives in Brooklyn: It’s diverse both racially and economically (hoping the latter remains that way and doesn’t even become like Williamsburg, but I don’t think it will).

    So yeah, the place is enormous. Don’t paint 2.65M with a broad brush. (Just like you wouldn’t want the entire Hudson Valley to be painted with the same broad brush.)

    I hope the Patriots and the Buccaneers look into getting those Game Day Skinz. I would love to see their throwback unis on the field again!

    So judging from the promotional image from the Braves, it appears their red jerseys will have piping instead of taped soutache around the neck spoon, and do away with the sleeve trim? That’s a feature of their alternate creams. I’m smelling something anti-climatic for this refresh. But we’ll see.

    I always thought the Yankees would give #0 to the next great prospect of theirs, someone who seems destined to have it retired by the team since it is the very last single digit number. It seems hard to imagine that a reliever will get to wear #0, but I am rooting for it!

    The Red Sox themselves just allowed Brandon Phillips to wear #0 for the first time at the end of the 2018 season.

    Seconded! Zero is a number! (And allowing it means one less player stuck wearing some garbage like 58 or 61.)

    While I love the Bruised Banana (I’m currently using a BB design phone case from Nostalgia Cases) I’d really like to see Arsenal go to something based on the 89 away unis from winning the league at Anfield on the last day of the season.

    Yeah, hockey jerseys can be recycled a lot easier than goalie masks. Hockey jerseys are $300 at retail, and obviously those numbers will be different for the team, but you could take off one name plate and sew on a new one. It’s one thing if a player has been with the team for years, but for an itinerant AHL guy, it’s not surprising a team would rather keep the jersey instead of letting him have it.
    But masks? Mike McKenna uses a custom mold for his head and face, which Warwick Mask accompany makes, and then an airbrush artist goes wild with a bespoke design with personal touches and tributes. Sure, the team buys equipment, and masks are expensive (but necessary to keep the goalies safe), but once that purchase is made, it’s final. You’re not gonna get any other use out of it.
    Mike McKenna’s successor can wear the size 60 goal cut jersey and you can make him wear the number on the back, but McKenna’s mask literally will not fit anybody else in the universe. So it’s completely normal that McKenna has all his masks but not necessarily all his jerseys.

    No equipment manager, especially in college, will want to apply Skinz to every helmet and continually swap them out all season long. And if a shell happens to break during a game what does the team do? Let them play with a non-team colored helmet, or sit out until a replacement is applied? When temperatures fall we see decals explode, chip, crack, or fall off. Imagine a helmet stripe malfunctioning and this thing splitting open. There’s no way you can test for all of these instances until you wear them in the actual situation.

    I’ve been with NFL teams and have worked with The University of Oregon football, and been around their equipment staff, the likelihood of these things being mainstream is minimal at best. A few equipment managers have told me the worst and most time consuming part of their job is simply applying pride stickers each week. Can’t see them jumping at the opportunity to apply and remove Skinz.

    No equipment manager, especially in college, will want to apply Skinz to every helmet and continually swap them out all season long.

    Demonstrably false, based on the Rutgers equipment director quoted in the article.

    In any case, it may simply become part of their job, whether they like it or not, just as swapping out facemasks and decals is currently part of the job at many schools.

    I read the article. He didn’t say that he wanted to swap them out all season long. You can call-out my generalization, but don’t pretend he’s stating that he wants to swap these shells every week of the season.

    It’s one thing to put a different color on a scout team player, it’s another to swap out an entire roster’s worth of Skinz each and every week. Many of these schools have 2-3 employees and the rest are student workers or volunteers. With all that needs to be done on a weekly basis this just wouldn’t be practical. And most equipment managers are the ones that make these decisions.

    FWIW, there were a couple of other college equipment guys who like the product a lot but couldn’t talk to me on the record because their ADs didn’t want them to endorse a specific product.

    The fact that teams won’t necessarily wear 12 different skins/designs in 12 weeks doesn’t mean the product has no future. The main appeal is that it will allow a team to do a camouflage design (or pink, or chrome, or whatever) for a special occasion without buying a whole new set of helmets. If you read the article again, you’ll see that I never claimed that it would be used every week, except for the scout team.

    Hey, Paul & Anyone Else –

    Is there any good evidence that wearing the same football helmet ALL YEAR reduces injury as opposed to one player wearing several new helmets with less pressed down/worn padding during the same period?

    I’m simply skeptical that ONE SHELL is better to be worn all year to begin with. New Helmets + New Padding, fresh and with maximum protection.

    Simply looking for an answer from anywhere.

    Thanks, Nick V.

    That scoreboard that’s showing two different 10ths of a second is because digital cameras have “rolling shutters.” Digital cameras capture the picture one row of pixels at a time. It’s still very fast but can lead to weird things like link and especially weird link and link blades.

    Learn more: link

    About curling’s Continental Cup going on in Las Vegas. Like the merge of Canada/U.S. imagery on the Team North America uniforms. Canadians wearing the stars and Americans wearing the Maple Leaf as part of the team in this bonspiel. The “Stars and Maple Leaf” unis looking good out on the ice.

    Team Homan appeared at the opening ceremonies reception wearing these cool Canada/U.S. pants:


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