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Ramones Dozen

Photo taken on Tuesday morning; click to enlarge

You’ve heard of a baker’s dozen? The rock critic Ira Robbins once referred to the number 14 as a “Ramones dozen,” because that’s how many songs were on each of the band’s first three albums. It’s also how old Uni Watch girl mascot Caitlin is turning today. That’s 72 in human years, but she still isn’t showing her age. Look how bright-eyed she is with her new green mouse toy! She’s still my little monkey, inquisitively exploring everything, getting into mischief, and chatterboxing the whole time, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is Caitlin’s first birthday at the new Uni Watch HQ, where we moved about eight months ago. She was spooked at first — she’d lived her entire life at the old Uni Watch HQ — but it would be fair to say she’s now settled in:

Caitlin’s birthday will be filled with lots of catnip, toys, and treats (most of her other days are also filled with these things), plus we just got her one of those circulating water fountain thingies (she loves to drink from the faucet, so we thought we’d bring a faucet down to her level). It arrived in the mail yesterday, so we set it up for her as an early birthday present. She hasn’t decided what she thinks of it yet, which of course is a cat’s prerogative.

Here’s something I’ve written before, but I think it’s worth repeating: The bond between humans and pets strikes me as a bit of a miracle. Imagine if you didn’t already know that people had pets. Then imagine if someone told you, “You’re going to have these completely different species living in your home with you, and you’re going to love them, and they’re going to love you back, and it’s going to enhance their lives and yours.” It seems like a really dubious proposition — like, how could that work? But the cross-species bond does work, and I think that’s really special.

I’ve been telling the Tugboat Captain that it might be time to bring a new kitten into the house, but she’s worried that Caitlin might not like that. But we’ll see — I figure there’s always room for one more, right?

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Late-breaking MLB uni change: Reader Zach Mauldin has spotted something that the rest of us missed: The Braves have made a slight change to their NOB font this season. It appears that the new version may simply be a bold version of the previous version.

After Zach pointed this out to me last night, I went to the MLB Style Guide to see if the change is reflected there. Sure enough, it is! But the change is so subtle that I didn’t notice it (and the Braves never announced anything about it).

Remember, the Braves made several other fairly subtle uni changes this season — slight alterations to their road, script, adding sleeve piping to their cream alternate. It’s really interesting to see that they also made this tiny tweak to their NOB font. They really tried to get every detail just right!

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He went to Jared: Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo wears a lot of bling. That caused problems for him in the top of the seventh inning of last night’s game against the Giants, as one of his necklaces broke while he was scampering from first to third on a teammate’s base hit (you can see the broken strand much more clearly in the click-enlarged version), causing him to reach up and secure the jewelry while running. He had dived head-first on a pick-off attempt just prior to this play, so that might be when the necklace broke.

Seriously, why do players wear this stuff on the field?

(My thanks to Jakob Fox for letting me know about this one.)

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Ladies and gentleman, before the era of computer sports games, we had stuff like this early-1970s NFL Game Plan. “The fast pro tactics game for the whole family.” Right, like my mom would get into this. This was an attempt by Tudor (maker of electric football games) to branch out a bit. Through a combination of rolling the dice and inserting those data cards, you’d move up and down the field like the pros. This was a most excellent game, and one I was quite good at. I learned a lot about the X’s and O’s of the sport. Highly recommended!

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Speaking of sports games, here’s an auction with three different “peg” baseball board games — one from 1961, one from 1936, and one from 1908!

• Jack Clancy was a flanker for the 1968 Dolphins. His Topps card shows him wearing what is commonly known as the “Griese face mask.”

• You won this plaque as part of the MLB Pitch/Hit/Throw competition sponsored by Phillips 66. Maybe 1960s for this one?

• Wonder why the Bills chose No. 31 for the player to wear on this 1960s decal?

• Check out this 1960s Packers vinyl lunch bag tote/thermal bottle combo!

• This 1960s Bengals jacket, which does look like ones they wore early on, was “Tailored By Butwin, The Jacket for Champions.” [As an aside, Butwin tagging was always the best. — PL]

• Lots of1960s NFL team logos to be found on this NFL seat cushion.

• Ah, the simplicity of this blue-on-white 1960s Baltimore Colts coffee mug from Chase & Sanborn.

• This 1960s Detroit Lions Technigraph helmet plaque is in excellent condition.

Seen an item on eBay that would be good for Collector’s Corner? Send any submissions here.

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Design contest reminder: In case you missed it last week, Uni Watch is teaming up with the Portland Pickles — that’s a college wood bat summer team — for a contest to design the Pickles’ “Future Baseball Night” jersey, which will be worn on July 4. There’s a $150 cash prize for the winning designer, along with a free futuristic jersey.

Entry deadline is this Friday, May 3. Full details on the contest rules and entry requirements, along with the full scoop on what “Future Baseball Night” will entail, can be found here.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

Raffle reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, our friends at longtime Uni Watch advertiser Vintage Brand are once again letting me run a raffle for a lucky Uni Watch reader. The winner will be able to choose any item from the Vintage Brand website (including the canvas print of a Cubs program cover shown above).

To enter, send an email to the raffle address by this Thursday, May 2, 7pm ET. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Friday.

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Anniversary countdown: We are now less than a month away from May 26, which will be 20 years to the day since the very first Uni Watch column was published. That will kick off a 20th-anniversary celebration that I hope to keep going, in various ways, throughout the rest of this calendar year.

A lot of the anniversary stuff is still taking shape in my head, and I’m sure it will include some things I haven’t even thought of yet, but here are a few things I have in mind:

• There will be an anniversary logo. In fact, there already is an anniversary logo — I got that taken care of earlier this month (a rare case of actually having my shit together way ahead of time). You can expect to see a lot of it on the site, plus we’ll have embroidered patches, stickers, etc.

• At some point this summer there will be an anniversary-related T-shirt that’s going to be awesome. In addition to celebrating Uni Watch’s anniversary, it will also celebrate another notable anniversary. Seriously, this is going to be so good. You’ll see.

• I’m thinking of doing another piece of commemorative anniversary merch — an unusual item that I don’t really expect anyone to buy, but it’ll still be fun to make. I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

• Although I’ve always referred to my cats as the Uni Watch mascots, we’ve never had a Uni Watch mascot character. (Well, Caitlin is actually quite the character, but you know what I mean.) I hope to introduce one soon as part of the anniversary celebration.

• There will definitely be a 20th-anniversary party here in Brooklyn, perhaps with some special guests in attendance. I’m not yet sure of the date, but it will likely be a Saturday or Sunday in June or July. More details soon.

If you have ideas for other ways to celebrate Uni Watch turning 20, I’m all ears.

But wait — before we get to Uni Watch’s birthday, we have to get to this website’s birthday. The blog will turn 13 years old on Friday, May 17. As always, that date will be Purple Amnesty Day, the one day of the year when I accept purple-inclusive membership card orders. As usual, I’ve once again collaborated with designer Bryan Molloy on a special piece of hideous purple merchandise that will be available for only 24 hours, and I don’t mind saying that this year’s item is a doozy. Can’t wait till you folks see it!

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Hoodie update/clarification: There’s been some confusion about the sizing of the Uni Watch Tequila Sunrise Deluxe Hoodie. The ordering page includes a size chart that, as it turns out, is mixed up. The “Length” and “Width” columns are reversed — the “Length” numbers are actually the chest-width measurements, and vicey-versey. I’ve told Teespring about this, but they haven’t fixed it yet.

Anyway: The hoodie is a hoot. Here’s how it looks from the back, along with a peek at the “For People Who Get It™” slogan printed on the inner pocket:

My continued thanks to Jimmy Nutini of Teespring for his help with this item. You can order it here.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball NewsThe Atlantic League is currently experimenting with a no-shift rule, and is policing it with a chalk line on the infield. … Nats P Sean Doolittle says he helped design his own bobblehead (from Ted Bloss). … Speaking of the Nats, they hosted the Cardinals last night, meaning St. Louis broke out their navy road caps, as they regularly do when facing a red-capped team (from Phil). … The Rochester Red Wings took a page out of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans‘ book with Deaf Awareness Night jerseys (from Phil). … This listicle breaks down each team’s “coolest throwback jersey” — by player, not design (from Mike Chamernik). … Let’s hope Tyler Phillips, a pitcher in the Rangers organization, makes the big show soon and brings his stirrups with him (from @atopgreeneshill). … Yesterday’s Ticker included an item about a logo on White Sox letterhead from 1931. Per Todd Radom, that logo was the basis for the first commemorative logo in MLB history. … You know how companies used to call themselves “AAA Moving” or “AAA Taxi” so they’d be listed first in the various sections of the phone book? A “AAA”-named company in Utah has poached the Braves’ logo three times (from Brice Wallace). … Yesterday Paul mentioned that he’d been interviewed for a segment of the “Reds Alert” podcast. You can now listen to that episode here. … Rutgers’ uniforms include a sublimated outline of the state of New Jersey underneath the numbers (from Andrew Wooley). … This player for LaRue County High School (Kentucky) Gets It™️ (from Josh Claywell). … Orioles P Miguel Castro wears a necklace pendant that says, “hi mom” (from Jakob Fox).

Football NewsNew number assignments for Chargers rookies (from J.S.). … Same for the Bucs, who debuted their new assignments via caricature (also from J.S.). … More numbers, this time for the Packers (from Phil). … Maryland used the 2018 NFL Draft logo in a graphic announcing the selection of one its players this year (from Derek Buchheit). … Speaking of outdated logos, this Michigan graphic uses an outdated Jags helmet (bottom left) (from @bosproshops). … Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, is investing in “smart” helmets that will transmit information concerning hits (from Phil). … Also from Phil, researchers at Florida State are developing new materials that could be used in football helmets. … These were the uniforms for the Empire Challenge, an annual high school football All-Star game between players from New York City and Long Island (from Matt Shevin). … “This picture of DL Dexter Manley from his short early-’90s stint with the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders shows him wearing the by-then no-longer used ‘R helmet’ sleeve logo, and the player next to him has the ‘new for 1992’ logo on the helmet and jersey,” says Johnny Garfield. “I guess the Eastern Riders were slow in phasing in the new look.” … New end zones for the U. of Minnesota. … Here are the results of a poll in which over 5,000 NFL fans ranked the league’s uniforms. … Former Washington QB Joe Theismann wants to talk to the team’s new top draft pick, QB Dwayne Haskins, about possibly letting Haskins wear Theismann’s No. 7 (from William Yurasko).

Hockey NewsTwenty-two years ago yesterday, the helmetless era in the NHL officially came to a close with the retirement of Craig MacTavish (from Erik Spoonmore). … The Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League put their helmet numbers inside of a maple leaf (from Matthew Hanson).

Basketball NewsReader Brad Eenhuis was doing some research and found some gems in old Sheffield-Chapin (Iowa) High School yearbooks. The basketball shorts the boys’ team wore in 1962 incorporated uni numbers into a logo, and the 1974 girls wore double-decker numbers (and sleeves!). … Granny Basketball, a women’s rec league with teams across the country, takes uniforms seriously. Per 1920s rules, long white shirts are required, as are bloomers. No skin, or it’s a foul (from Kary Klismet). … Thomas Holscher, a Kansas designer, put together a redesign for the Kings’ return to Kansas City (from Seth Rosner). … The Baylor women’s basketball team presented President Trump with a customized No. 1 jersey during their White House championship visit (from Phil).

Soccer News: The 2019-2020 home kit for Benfica of Portugal’s Primeira Liga leaked yesterday (from Mike D.). … New home shirt for Corinthians — “inspired by Ronaldo,” says Ed Zelaski.

Grab BagAdidas unveiled the inaugural uniforms for the new Premier Lacrosse League yesterday. Additional info here. … The uni-verse will more than likely appreciate Sunday’s The Argyle Sweater comic strip (from Paul Dillon). … Robstown High School (Texas) goes by the Cotton Pickers, which, unsurprisingly, is controversial (from Ronnie Yates). … This piece breaks down uniform advertising in premier rugby leagues around the world (from Andrew M.). … The CDC is using 3D technology in newer smartphones to fit bike helmets for kids (from James Gilbert). … The famous arrivals/departures board in New York’s Grand Central Station is going digital (from @ohhhsourry). … This column calls for Memphis to redo its city seal (from Griffin T. Smith).

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Caitlin isn’t the only Uni Watch team member who’s celebrating a birthday today. Please join me in wishing a happy birthday to our own Lloyd Alaban, who produces the Tickers that run on Wednesdays (although not this week, because I’ve given him the week off). Enjoy your special day, Lloyd! — Paul

Comments (55)

    Yes: two days in a row with a cat photo. Happy birthday to the kitty. It took my cats about three days to get brave enough to drink from their drinking fountain.

    I hadn’t seen that cat fountain with blue yet, just green. I have a similar fountain, and both my cats love it (though they still drink from the faucet sometimes)!

    I’ve never understood why some athletes wear super gaudy jewelry during games. It seems like the potential issues far outweigh the benefits, whatever they may be.

    I have a cat fountain, and she loves it. Still loves the faucet too! Careful introducing a new kitten. I have had mixed results, as it can be very stressful for the older cat. We had to throw out a couch since it became the “I’m not happy about this and going to pee here to show you” place.

    I’ll say that the Braves’ changes were subtle. I literally see no difference.

    Football ticker correction. Ottawa’s football team is the two-word Rough Riders. Saskatchewan is the single word Roughriders.

    Re: the photo of Dexter Manley with the Ottawa Rough Riders. That was during a practice in 1993 and some Rough Riders players sporting some old gear for practices. Note the player in their old white pants from pre-1989 in background of the photo.

    Here is some film footage of that practice.

    The story cites the controversy that existed during Manley’s time in Ottawa in 1992 and 1993. The Riders quit waering that jersey Manley’s wearing after the 1991 season.

    An educated guess on the anniversary shirt, which Paul can confirm for deny: It will commemorate both the anniversary of Uni-Watch and the Turn Ahead The Clock jerseys of 1999.

    I was just recalling the other day, while watching some playoff hockey, that it wasn’t all that long ago that the league began to strongly urge all veteran players to wear visors 5 seasons ago (I seem to recall some backlash among fans and writers against this almost-mandate, which also required all new players to wear one going forward); I’d totally forgotten that players didn’t even wear helmets as *recently* as 22 years ago.

    FWIW, according to this post on Reddit earlier this season, there’s under 30 players now visor-less in the league, so it’ll be interesting to see which one of them is the MacTavish of that.

    The “Smart” helmets link directs to the Kansas City redesign

    also – good god can the adidas logo on those lacrosse jerseys get any bigger? It’s not like they don’t have 3 stripes already on every part of the uniform.

    They recently replaced the arrival/departure board at 30th St Station in Philadelphia, now Grand Central Station. These are cases where progress isn’t always necessary or better. They said it related to the ADA but I don’t see how the new digital boards are any better at conveying information than the old boards. And I miss the whirring letters as the information changed.

    Thanks for the birthday wishes (although I’m not actually engaged yet, but also thanks)!

    A group anniversary outing to either a Mets or Cyclones game could be fun.

    Also, with sports, and particularly Baseball, being a hotbed of superstition, I’d think many players wear jewelry on the field simply because they feel more comfortable with it on. I wear a small necklace all the time, and I feel like something is “off” all day if I forget to put it on.

    My cats say hello. I’m excited to see Sale come back to White Sox Field (will not call it GRF)

    Nittany, our 15 year old cat, has adjusted very well to Lucy, the stray we brought in at Christmas time. Lucy is about a year old. Nittany is a very mellow cat and isn’t bothered too much by Lucy’s antics. There’s an occasional hiss from time to time. Nittany just lets Lucy know who is boss. It’s fun to watch Lucy pounce the old cat. For the most part though, Nittany is asleep or resting and watches the younger cat with a level of disinterest that reminds me of calm students watching their wild classmates.

    Just want to share since I’ve had GREAT cats in my life ever since I was a kid. All male, indoor/outdoor “tom” cats. Their names have been.

    “Rocky” (fitting name, this cat ruled the streets of my hometown for 15+ years)

    “Felix” (killed by coyotes early on)

    “Rerun” (looked identical to Felix, hence the name.)

    “Ringo” (The only cat that acted like a dog, came when you called him, did things you asked him to do.)

    I kinda love that giant NEW YORK CITY decal, and definitely the simple uniforms in that high school all-star game.

    I know I’m the “get off my lawn” guy on this, but jewelry should be banned by the various professional sports leagues. I believe it is in the NBA. I remember seeing a picture in the early 1970s of Kareem Abdul Jabbar with the Bucks wearing a crescent moon and star necklace. I also think he had it attached some way to the jersey so it wouldn’t flap around.

    I can understand not allowing it in basketball, maybe in football, soccer and hockey, but in baseball, who cares?


    Again I’m the “get off my lawn” guy on this, but it looks like crap and distracts from the look of the uniform. Same reason I don’t want players wearing different color shoes and arm sleeves from the actual team colors.

    Collector’s Corner:
    “Wonder why the Bills chose No. 31 for the player to wear on this 1960s decal?”

    “Since the earliest days of the team, the number 31 was not supposed to be issued to any other player. The Bills had stationery and various other team merchandise showing a running player wearing that number, and it was not supposed to represent any specific person, but the ‘spirit of the team.’ In the first three decades of the team’s existence, the number 31 was only seen once: in 1969, when reserve running back Preston Ridlehuber damaged his number 36 jersey during a game, equipment manager Tony Marchitte gave him the number 31 jersey to wear while repairing the number 36.”

    Also, before owning the Bills, Ralph Wilson was part owner of the Detroit Lions, and they used a similar jersey-clad running man logs in the 1950’s (with a variety of numbers, including #31):

    The Bills originally wore silver and blue much like the Lions, so Wilson may have simply borrowed the branding from his former team.

    Apologies if this is a repeat response to your take on the oddity of pets. Through most of human history, people have lived more closely to animals of other species in many contexts than is common now. For example my dad rode a horse to school through high school. he spent much of his army service hunting and butchering small game in eastern France when rations didn’t get to the 13th armored division. he had me raise ducks as a young boy, which we dressed and butchered come autumn. we also had companion animals. society has lost a great deal as artificial institutions have become more influential

    commercial and political institutions as opposed to the natural institutions of family and religion

    The “Griese face mask” is what I think of as simply the “face mask,” because when I was a tyke seeing football for the first time, this was the default that you’d see whenever someone wanted to depict a generic football helmet. But it occurs to me that depending on one’s age, different people have different mental images of what a “generic football helmet” looks like. Someone older than me might picture a single bar, or no mask whatsoever. Someone younger probably imagines a half-face or full-face cage.

    Might be interesting to survey people’s mental ur-image of a helmet, and see how well it tracks with birth date.

    So, reading between the lines, they are not going to wear it, but they needed to re-register the trademark for retail reasons?

    Would not have been the smartest, recommended, politically correct decision these days to celebrate the NFL 100 anniversary by bringing back the Eskimos name to be used by an NFL team in a game.

    I’m a big fan of pets with what I call “aggressively human” names. (Teddy is ambiguous, Caitlin is human!) Awesome name for an awesome pet. Happy Birthday.

    For the anniversary, please don’t do a site redesign. I’ve not seen a redesign yet that didn’t alienate half the audience and make the other half struggle to find things. I particularly like the commenting system.

    Happy Birthday, Lloyd and Caitlin!

    You know how companies used to call themselves “AAA Moving” or “AAA Taxi” so they’d be listed first in the various sections of the phone book?
    Some still do. If your business is thinking of doing that, I’d advise against it. It reeks of desperation and I’m more likely to skip you for the rest of the list. Focus on being the best business you can and it won’t matter if you’re “ZZZ Taxi,” people will find you.

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