See that up there, right above this line of text? That big, centered italic Roman numeral is one of those pretentious writerly devices to tell you that what you’re reading is Important. I’ve never used that device before, but I’m using it today, because today is an Important Day — Uni Watch’s 20th birthday.
The use of big, centered italic Roman numerals also usually indicates that what follows is going to be fairly long.
I’ve always loved uniforms. I was super-excited to get my first Little League uni (it seemed so official!) and made sure to that my stirrups looked just right. When I watched sports, I obsessed over how the players wore their uniforms. Willie Mays and Hank Aaron might have been two of the greatest ballplayers who ever lived, but I didn’t think much of how they wore their pants and socks; I hated the Dallas Cowboys but had to admit that they looked pretty great on the field; I didn’t understand what the “H” in the Montreal Canadiens’ logo was for, but I knew that the logo felt really cool and satisfying in a way that I didn’t yet have the vocabulary to describe.
At some point, when I was about 10, a sweatshirt became part of my wardrobe. I don’t recall how I acquired it, but I guess my mom must have bought it. It was pale yellow with a dark red “87” printed on the front and back in block numbers, like a football jersey. Yellow and dark red were basically Redskins colors, so I consulted my NFL Action ’72 stamp album, which my father had gotten for me at our local Sunoco station, and determined that No. 87 on the Redskins was a tight end named Jerry Smith. Then I went to my mom and asked if she could sew “J. Smith” above the number on the back of the sweatshirt. (“Smith” by itself, without the initial, seemed too plain. I wanted everyone to know that this was referring to Jerry Smith, not just any old Smith.) She obliged, using red thread that matched the shade for the numbers and lots of horizontal stitches. As I recall, it looked something like this:
It looked good, except that she didn’t leave a space after the period, so it came out as J.SMITH, instead of J. SMITH, which bugged me. I told her that she’d done it wrong; she scolded me for complaining instead of thanking her. I felt ashamed and knew I was being selfish. At the same time, the missing space after the period still bugged me.
In spite of the missing space, I wore the sweatshirt a lot, including while playing backyard touch football with some of the older kids in our neighborhood. At one point I made a good catch, and I heard one of the older kids saying, “He does look like Jerry Smith out there.”
I had two much older brothers (they were 12 and 15 when I was born), so our house had a lot of books, including sports books, that they had gotten when they were kids. One of these books was The Pros, a beautifully illustrated and photographed book about the NFL that I found on a shelf when I was about 11. I loved poring over it, and I was particularly interested in an illustration that showed the evolution of the NFL helmet.
Another hand-me-down from my brothers was one of those tabletop hockey games with the metal players. Because the game had been made in the 1950s or ’60s, the goalies were shown without masks. But by the time my friends and I were playing the game in the early 1970s, most goalies were masked, so I made little paper masks and taped them onto the metal goalies — except for the Red Wings goalie, which I left mask-free, because Andy Brown played for the Wings at the time.
At school, like a lot of kids, I doodled in the margins of my notebook instead of paying attention to the teacher. Other kids were doodling comic book superheroes or whatever, but I was doodling team logos (for some reason I found the Philadelphia Flyers’ logo particularly confounding — I could never get it just right). For many years I also did doodles — like, lots of doodles — that showed a lower leg with baseball pants and stirrups. I would do front views of stirrups, side views of stirrups, high-rise stirrups with lots of white showing, low-rise stirrups with just a little white showing. I’m badly out of practice now (at some point in my life I stopped doodling altogether, which is kind of sad now that I think of it), but here is a v-e-r-y rough approximation of what those doodles looked like:
One day another kid asked what I was drawing. I told him, figuring he’d find stirrups as cool and compelling as I did. Instead, he made fun of me and quickly told everyone else.
I always enjoyed writing. In high school and college, I wrote for my school newspapers, but it never really occurred to me that I could be a “real” journalist. The whole idea of that intimidated me, and I didn’t have the imagination or courage to envision how I could get from here to there. So I did what a lot of similarly creative but intimidated people did in those days: I started a zine. My first zine, which I called Hyper-Tension (slogan: “For Fuck-Ups Like You”) and published from 1986 through 1988, was a fairly boilerplate indie-rock zine — not bad for what it was, but what it was was fairly derivative. It consisted mostly of record reviews, live show reviews, and so on. But every now and then I’d run a section of product reviews — in part because I thought it was funny to use the same voice and same unrelenting cynicism and irony and so on that I normally applied to music and instead bring it to bear on, say, a box of cereal or a brick. But I also wrote the product reviews because I was genuinely interested in cereal boxes and bricks. It was fun to write about things like that.
Later, in the fall of 1993, I was dealing with the end of of a long-term relationship and approaching my 30th birthday, which seemed impossibly old. I was unhappy with a lot of things about my life and realized that a source of that unhappiness was that I hadn’t created anything since the last issue of Hyper-Tension in 1988. Moreover, I had literally never created anything original, something that wasn’t derivative.
I missed writing, so I basically assigned myself a project to create a new zine. When I looked back at Hyper-Tension, it was clear to me that the product reviews were the best and most interesting things about that zine, so I decided that this new zine would be all product reviews.
After playing around with some titles and subtitles, I decided that this new zine would be called Beer Frame: The Journal of Inconspicuous Consumption. The first issue, which was basically a detail-obsessive look at consumer culture with a storytelling voice, came out in October 1993. It included a review of the Green Bay Packers’ uniforms, which seemed like a fun thing to include. I’m pretty sure that was the first time I ever wrote anything about uniforms.
Beer Frame changed my life. First and foremost, it was the first time I’d created something that I knew was good, which made me a much happier person (which in turn had lots of very positive ripple effects). It also led to a bunch of freelance writing opportunities and a book deal, which allowed me to quit my job in early 1996. Suddenly I was a real journalist after all.
Most of my freelance writing work during this period related to consumer culture, but I began to realize that I could write about pretty much anything that interested me, as long as I was passionate about it. I got some travel writing gigs, some food writing gigs. Meanwhile, I was still very much into sports, but I had never much thought about being a sportswriter. After all, sportswriters went on the road with the team and spent lots of time covering team workouts and hanging out in the clubhouse, right? I wasn’t really interested in living or working like that.
But then, in the spring of 1998, it occurred to me: What about uniforms? I’d never stopped being interested in them (sometime around 1995, my friend Liz had gotten me a copy of Marc Okkonen’s seminal uniform book, which opened up a whole new world of historical uni obsessions), and I realized I’d accumulated a lot of opinions and a lot of knowledge about them. I also had a girlfriend who was getting tired of me constantly pointing out the nuances of the players’ uniform stylings every time we watched a game on TV. “Look how this guy’s sleeve is a little longer than that guy’s sleeve,” I’d say. “You know, Paul,” she’d respond, rolling her eyes just a bit, “maybe you need an outlet for this.”
TV and radio sportscasters sometimes mentioned the uniforms that the teams were wearing (I always hung on every word), but as far as I could tell, no sportswriters ever covered uniforms. Could I do that? I didn’t have any sports media connections, but I knew a guy at The New York Times Magazine — maybe he’d let me do something about the evolution (and, by that point, the sad diminution) of stirrups? I discussed that with him, but it never got off the ground.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I needed to create a uniform column, not just a single article. I needed to define uniforms as a subject category worth obsessing over, just like I’d done with consumer culture. By this point I’d written for a decent number of design magazines, so I could have tried to create a design column about sports. But what I really wanted was to create a sports column about design. I wanted to create a new sports beat and have it taken seriously as legitimate sports journalism.
I described this idea to lots of friends in the latter part of 1998, but I didn’t actually pitch the concept to any editors. Part of it was that I was busy, part was that I was afraid of rejection, part was that I was afraid someone would say yes (which would mean I’d suddenly have a lot more work to do). By the end of the year, I realized that my concept for a new uniform column had become something I talked about, not something I was actually working to make happen.
That felt lazy and underachieving, so on Jan. 1, 1999, while celebrating the new year with some friends out in Montauk, I did something I’d never done before: I made a New Year’s resolution. “This year, I will create and find a home for a column about sports uniforms.” Two decades later, it’s still the only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever made.
I began by setting my sights high, pitching the idea to ESPN The Magazine (which at the time was still a fairly new enterprise). They said no. Then I pitched Sports Illustrated. They said yes — success! They didn’t want to give me a regular column on a set schedule, but they said they liked the idea of having me write about uniforms. I did a piece for them around the start of 1999 baseball season, but it got bumped because something “more important” took priority. I did another piece a few weeks later, but the same thing happened. (They paid me the full fee for both pieces, even though they didn’t run, which was nice.) Then, in early May, some sort of uniform news story came up — I think it was something about MLB floating the idea of maybe having ad patches on jerseys, although I honestly don’t remember for sure — and they assigned it to one of their regular baseball writers instead of to me. I could see that this relationship wasn’t going to work out, so I thanked them for the opportunity and moved on.
Since I wasn’t having much luck with the high-profile national media outlets, I grudgingly decided to set my sights a bit lower. The Village Voice, an alt-weekly here in NYC, had a really unusual sports section. They were writing about advanced baseball analytics long before mainstream sports outlets were (instead of OPS, they referred to SLOB — slugging plus on-base — so the goal was to be “the biggest SLOB”), and they also had a lot of stuff that was sort of pre- or proto-Deadspin, including a bi-weekly column about hockey fights (“Mixing It Up,” written by a guy named Mike Beaver) and a regular feature in which Yankees TV broadcaster Phil Rizzuto’s on-air ramblings were set to poetic verse (which actually led to a book of poetry). I figured any sports section with content like that could probably handle a column about uniforms.
I got in touch with the sports editor, a guy named Miles Seligman, and described what I had in mind. Not only did he instantly get it, but he was already familiar with my work, so he understood my basic style and point of view — a huge stroke of luck. We kicked around a few ideas for what the column should be called (the only other one I remember was “Emperor’s New Clothes”) but ultimately settled on the working title I’d been using — “Uni Watch.” At the time I thought that was kind of a lazy placeholder name, and I was disappointed in myself for not being able to come up with something better. Years later, I decided that it was the right name all along.
The Voice was a weekly, but Miles didn’t have the space or the inclination to run Uni Watch that often. He said, “How about every four weeks?” I said sure. Then he added, sounding just a wee bit concerned, “You can actually do that, right? Like, there’s enough uniform stuff to write about every four weeks?”
“I think so,” I said, trying to sound confident. I really wasn’t sure, but I figured there was only one way to find out.
And that’s how Uni Watch was born. For the first installment, I did a rundown of all the MLB uniform changes for that season. This was in late May, which by today’s standards would be a laughably late time frame to publish something like this. But this was 1999, and there was no precedent or protocol for this sort of thing, so there was no “wrong” time to do it. It ran on May 26, 1999 — 20 years ago today. I still have the clipping.
Uni Watch settled in for a nice run at the Voice. I wrote about things that now seem familiar: MLB vests, NFL sleeves, nameplates vs. direct-sewn lettering. I had several other regular writing gigs during this period, but Uni Watch was definitely the most fun. Uni Watch was also starting to get a bit of attention from other venues, like this 2002 article in Salon. It felt like I had at least somewhat achieved my goal of creating a new sports beat.
One day in October 2003, I was working on a travel story in New Mexico and received a message on my answering machine from my Voice editor, Ward Harkavy (Miles had left a year or so earlier): The Voice was scrapping its sports section. Uni Watch was done.
That could have been the end of it — I’d certainly had lots of other writing gigs that had ended, and four-plus years wasn’t a bad run. Why not call it a day and move on to other projects? But I felt like I still had things to say with Uni Watch (plus, to be honest, I didn’t want to give up the income, at least not without a fight), so I shopped the column to some other venues. Frankly, I wasn’t optimistic — media outlets generally like to think they’re getting something that’s fresh-squeezed, not sloppy seconds — but I caught a break when Slate.com’s sports editor, Brian Turner, decided to give Uni Watch a chance.
“We’re a web magazine, so things move faster here,” Brian told me. “We can’t wait four weeks in between columns. How about every two weeks?” I said sure. Then Brian said, “You can actually do that, right? Like, there’s enough uniform stuff to write about every two weeks?”
“I think so,” I said, trying to sound confident. I really wasn’t sure, but I figured there was only one way to find out.
In some ways, moving to Slate turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to Uni Watch, because it taught me how to write for the web. The Voice would basically take my print columns and copy/paste them onto their website, but they didn’t add any links or additional photos. At Slate, I could suddenly link to photos of the things I was writing about — a godsend for a project about visual details like Uni Watch.
But in other ways that I won’t go into here, being at Slate was frustrating, and by the summer of 2004 I began wondering if I could finally place Uni Watch at a true sports media venue, instead of a general-interest venue that happened to have a sports section. By this time I had created a Uni Watch mailing list and invited readers to join it, and I could see that two of those readers had espn.com email addresses. I contacted those readers — their names were Royce Webb and Michael Knisley (both now gone from ESPN, alas) — and basically pestered them to help me move Uni Watch to ESPN. They eventually arranged for me to have a phone interview with a guy named Kevin Jackson, who at the time was running ESPN’s “eccentric” section, called Page 2.
I figured it was a long shot — if Slate had taken Uni Watch as sloppy seconds, I was basically asking ESPN to take sloppy thirds. But to my surprise, Jackson said, “Okay, let’s try this.” He said, “How about once every week to 10 days or so?” I said sure. Then he added, sounding just a wee bit concerned, “You can actually do that, right? Like, there’s enough uniform stuff to write about that often?”
“I think so,” I said, trying to sound confident. I really wasn’t sure, but I figured there was only one way to find out.
I made my ESPN debut on Page 2 in August 2004. It felt like a tremendous validation — my project was now appearing on the world’s preeminent sports media platform. Whatever else might happen, I figured Uni Watch could now legitimately be called a success.
Sometime in early 2006, ESPN cut back my column’s frequency to once every three weeks, which was a bit frustrating. Since there was a longer wait in between columns, I had more material piling up in the interim. So when a new column finally appeared, I’d compile a lot of that material — much of it contributed by readers — into a new section called the “Uni Watch News Ticker,” which I tacked onto the end of my columns. (I remember my ESPN editor at the time, Dave Schoenfield, telling me, “Paul, you don’t have to include all of that if you don’t want to!” I told him that it would be a waste not to include all of the Ticker info, especially since most of it had been contributed by the readers.)
One of my readers, a guy named John Ekdahl, emailed to say that he wished ESPN would let me write more often. “Have you considered doing a blog?” he asked. Blogs were still fairly new (at least to me), but the idea of writing more frequently was appealing — not only because I’d be able to cover my beat more effectively, but because I figured I’d be paid more. So I went to my ESPN editors and said, “Look, I think I can do this a lot more often than once every three weeks. I fact, I think I can do it every day, as a blog. What do you think?”
ESPN thought about it for a while — as I recall, they took several months — and then told me (I’m paraphrasing here), “We love what you do, but we don’t want it every day. But if you want to do it every day on your own, knock yourself out. Just make sure you do the big uniform stories for us, and keep the little stories for your blog.” (In retrospect, this was incredibly generous of them. They could easily have said, “Nope, we’re not giving you a blog and we don’t want you doing anything that could compete with what you’re already doing for us. Just stick to the column.” And then this blog that you’re reading right now would never have existed.)
So I went back to John Ekdahl and said, “ESPN doesn’t want to give me a blog. They said I could start one on my own, but I don’t know anything about how to do that.” He said, “That’s okay — I’m a web developer, so I can build a site for you.”
So that’s how the Uni Watch blog was born. The idea was that it would supplement my ESPN content. The initial site design and logo were based on a T-shirt that a reader named Scott M.X. Turner had created for the first-ever Uni Watch party in March 2006.
As we got set to launch the blog, I asked myself, “You can actually do this, right? Like, there’s enough uniform stuff to write about every day?”
“I think so,” I said to myself, trying to sound confident. I wasn’t 100% sure, but by this point I’d figured out that the more uniform content I put out there, the more I got back from readers who’d come to view Uni Watch as a hub or clearinghouse for uni-related content. I wasn’t too worried about having enough content; it was just a question of whether I’d have enough time to process all of it on a daily basis while doing all the other things in my life. (That’s still the biggest challenge today.)
The blog debuted on May 17, 2006 — just nine days before the seventh anniversary of the first column appearing in the Voice. If I’d been smart, I would have waited those nine days so the blog launch would have aligned with the column’s birthday, but that didn’t occur to me at the time, and I certainly didn’t think either the column or the blog would still be going so many years later.
I continued to do lots of enjoyable and rewarding work for ESPN over the next dozen years (a lot of my favorite columns are listed and linked in my final ESPN piece from a few months ago), but the blog turned out to be where the fun was. Along the way assorted blog-centric rituals, activities, and protocols were born, including the Uni Watch Membership Program (2007), the annual year-end raffle (2009), Purple Amnesty Day (2010), the annual cat birthday post (2012), and more.
Meanwhile, an additional cast of characters and contributors began coalescing around the site. The first of these was Vince Grzegorek, who became the first Uni Watch intern, handling weekend entries, in 2007. He was followed by Bryan Redemske and then by the amazing Phil Hecken, who quickly carved out his own stylistic niche and created his own subculture for the site’s weekend content (and, in turn, drafted his own cast of characters to assist him). In 2010 I asked a reader named Brinke Guthrie, who’d been finding lots of items on eBay and sending them in as Ticker submissions, if he’d like to write a regular column about eBay finds, and that’s how “Collector’s Corner” was born. Somewhere along the line I began delegating more and more of the Ticker — first to a pair of guys named Mike Chamernik and Garrett McGrath, and to a bunch of additional people since then. And there have been lots of other people who’ve shared their talents, time, and labor, like DIYer Wafflebored, Mr. Yuk Photoshopper Nic Schultz, cap fulfillment manager Mark LaFountain, and on and on.
All of these rituals, protocols, subcultures, and people, along with several other elements, have created that elusive characteristic that we were always told the internet would provide: community. In my experience, the ’net doesn’t actually deliver on that promise very often, but it has definitely done so with Uni Watch. Uni Watch is mine, but it is also yours, ours, because we share this niche passion, because we speak this distinct language, because we Get It™. That’s a pretty special thing.
That sense of community has seemed particularly strong lately, ever since I announced the recent unpleasantness. The outpouring of support and — I’ll say it — love from many of you has been super-duper-humbling, and also incredibly inspiring. It has reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the Uni Watch (which, I’ll admit, has occasionally flagged here and there over the years).
So yeah: I’m proud of Uni Watch, and I’m proud that we’re celebrating its 20th birthday today, but I’m even prouder of the community that’s developed around it. You should be, too.
Generally speaking, it’s more enjoyable to be positive about things than to be negative. And I know most people come to Uni Watch because they like uniforms. So they’re looking for a place where they can feel positive about uniforms. And they don’t like it when, as is sometimes the case, I’m negative about them.
I totally understand that. When I complain about uni ads or logo creep or merch dumps or whatever, I’m harshing your mellow, I’m yucking your yum. I hope you can understand that I love uniforms every bit as much as you do (have I mentioned that I had my mom sew “J.Smith” onto my sweatshirt?), and that things like logo creep and merch dumps are harshing my mellow, yucking my yum. But what am I supposed to do — ignore them?
That’s not as ridiculous an option as it might seem. The rock critic Robert Christgau used to review pretty much everything he could get his hands on. But over the past decade or so he’s stopped writing negative reviews and now only writes about records that he recommends. Among other things, I gather it’s a more enjoyable and probably healthier way to work.
I’ve considered doing something similar. I could focus on things like Hal the Hot Dog Guy interviews and stop doing things like Nick Francona interviews, to take two recent examples — one very positive and celebratory, the other fairly negative and critical. I mean, when I critique camouflage uniforms, or logo creep, or BFBS, is anyone really learning anything new? Am I learning anything new? Is it just the same basic critique over and over?
But here’s the thing: Lots of readers have told me that those two interviews I just mentioned, both of which ran on the site this month, are two of the best Uni Watch entries ever (and I happen to agree with them). So yeah, scrapping the critical content and just doing positive content might be more fun on some level, but would it be good for the uni-verse? Would it be good for Uni Watch?
I think about this stuff all the time.
Okay, enough backstory and preliminaries — let’s get to today’s main event: Uni Watch’s 20th anniversary.
As you may recall, we had a logo five years ago for the 15th anniversary, designed by Scott M.X. Turner. Here’s what it looked like, just to refresh your memory:
For the new 20th-anniversary logo, I wanted something that referenced that earlier design, so it would provide some sense of continuity. So after working a bit with Scott (who, in the interests of full disclosure, tried to push me in a different stylistic direction, but I pushed back), here’s our new anniversary logo (scroll down a bit)…
Not bad, right? I love how it references the previous anniversary logo and also shows the progression from our old visual icon (the magnifying glass) to the new one (the winged stirrup). I’m really happy with it.
This logo will be appearing here and there on the site during the rest of this calendar year. It will also be available for sale as an embroidered patch (as you may recall, we did that with the 15th-anniversary mark as well), which should be ready to go in a couple of weeks, plus we’ll probably have stickers and a few other goodies.
But wait — there’s more! A lot more. For starters, when Phil and I went to a Mets game a few nights ago, he had a big surprise waiting for me. Longtime reader/pal/neighbor Chance Michaels met us at the ballpark and presented me with something very special:
That’s Chance standing next to me. What I’m holding there is a citation from Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams. Like any good governmental citation, it has a bunch of “Whereas”es, and I don’t mind saying that I am thrilled to be the subject of a document with a bunch of “Whereas”es. Here’s a better photo, in case you want to read it:
If you don’t want to slog through all of it, the gist is that the borough president is congratulating me for Uni Watch’s 20th anniversary. How cool is that? Chance arranged the whole thing. At first I figured he must have friends in high places, but it turns out you can nominate people for this type of thing on the borough’s website, so that’s what Chance did. So cool!
And there’s still more: Yesterday afternoon, when I was in the middle of writing this essay, I went for a bike ride. When I got back there was a congratulatory bouquet of flowers waiting for me, courtesy of longtime reader/pal Anthony Verna. Note the wrapping paper:
Anthony swears that he had nothing to do with the purple wrap and that it must have been the florist’s idea — or at least that’s his story. Hmmmm.
And there’s still a lot more to come. As I’ve mentioned on the site, we’re going to have a 20th-anniversary bash on Saturday, June 29, 2-6pm, at the 773 Lounge here in Brooklyn. If you live in the NYC area, you should definitely come.
Hell, you should come no matter where you live. But if you can’t swing that, longtime reader/pal Marty Hick has a really good idea: On the same afternoon that we’re having the anniversary party in Brooklyn, he’s going to convene a satellite Uni Watch anniversary party in St. Louis. I love that idea, and I encourage people who want to do something similar in other cities to go for it. It would be very cool to think that people around the country are celebrating Uni Watch at the same time. Maybe we could even link the parties via Facebook Live or Skype or some such.
I’ll have more anniversary news in the days and weeks to come. For now, thanks for listening, and thanks for helping me build something so special. You’re the best.
I tend to think of work and creativity in terms of projects. Beer Frame was a project; Naming Wrongs is a project; Key Ring Chronicles, Gromm•It, Permanent Record, the Candela Structures — all projects.
Uni Watch was also conceived as a project. It has turned out to be the most durable project I’ve ever created. I’m not sure how long I thought it would go, but I certainly never dreamed it would last 20 years.
That begs the question: How much longer? Honestly, I’m not sure. I think we can safely say that I won’t be doing this for another 20 years (that would mean I’d still be writing about unis when I’m 75!). But it also seems fair to say that Uni Watch still has plenty of life left in it, which means that today we’re celebrating the future that’s still ahead of us, not just the past that got us here. Thanks for listening — yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Congrats Paul! I have thoroughly enjoyed your work from the beginning and look forward to many more years!
Congrats Paul!! And congrats to the whole community!!
Huzzah! Congratulations Paul!
My first read was the Kenny Rogers story, and the Bill Buckner Red Sox/Cubs curse combo. Could those have been on the same day?
I was hooked. Finally I was with other people who saw the stuff I saw…..
They were definitely around the same time, Michael. That was an active, exciting period for Uni Watch on ESPN!
Congrats, Paul! My first read of the day for many of those 20 years. It’s hard work to keep something going like this, and it’s really paid off. Cheers to 20 more! (And thanks for always coming on public radio!)
Congratulations Paul on 20 years of creating content and building a community of people who a long time ago would have had no way to share their common interest in the minutiae of sport uniforms.
I’ve read some of these stories you’ve shared before, but to have them here together on this big anniversary and read them once again really puts into perspective the journey you’ve taken and how far you’ve come.
I’ve been a daily visitor for the past ten years and in my opinion you’ve always spoken open, honestly, and fairly about sports, culture, and the world at large, no easy task, and that’s what has made me a devotee and proud card carrying member. I’m looking forward to coming back everyday for as long as this project continues to produce in whatever form or fashion you see fit.
Once again, happy anniversary and congratulations on 20 years!
Congrats, Paul! And thanks for all the great stuff on the website.
In addition to Nick Francona and Hal the Hot Dog guy….the Hebrew Nationals guy, the God Bless America guy, the Starter employee, the Game Face inventor, the NY Pigeons creator…….the entries post ESPN have been amazing!!!!!!! Congrats and here’s to many more!!!!
Congratulations Paul! Thanks for today’s story outlining the life and development of Uni Watch.
To those who doubted, there will always be enough uniform stuff to write about every day :).
I’ve been a Uni Watcher for almost 13 years now, and it’s quite possibly my favourite website. Growing up, I’d spend hours drawing sports logos and uniforms – it’s what got me into sports in the first place – and always thought that I was some kind of weirdo for my obsession. It’s great to know that I’m far from the only one! My membership card is one of my most prized possessions and I probably wear Uni Watch merch more than actual sports merch!
Here’s to the next 20 years, and Paul, if you’re ever in Birmingham, England I’d be more than happy to buy you a beer or two!
Congrats Paul! I’ve been reading for about half of your tenure as the greatest Uni Watcher of All Time, and thrilled to be a part of your journey. Thanks for everything you do.
Congratulations Paul! 20 years is a remarkable feat of keeping something so nuanced alive!
I want to sincerely thank you for creating a place for like minded people obsessed with a certain bit of minutiae to congregate and share things. On top of that, you provide what I have always found to be honest, fair, and often appropriate critiques and criticism on uniforms, sports, culture, and life.
I’ve been coming to the site daily for ten years and am a proud card carrying Uni Watch member. From the rundowns of new uniforms, to the travel logs, to the “What Paul did Last Night” segments, and to the cooking recipes I’ve enjoyed this site immensely.
Though the future maybe unclear, you know you’ll have a committed group of devotees that you can include myself a part of that will follow where you go and will do what we can to support this community you’ve created.
Once again, congratulations Paul and here’s to another 20 years!
Congrats Paul (and the rest of the Uni Watch staff) for 20 years of great writing.
In addition to my enjoyment of the site itself, it is inspiring to read about somebody who found a way to make a career doing something he loves, despite the inevitable setbacks.
Many happy returns Paul! I loved reading today’s entry (it wasn’t THAT long), and the blog has been really outstanding in your post-ESPN months. It’s a pleasure reading Uni Watch, and knowing there’s a collection of people out there who look at uniforms, logos, ballpark design, hot dog vendors, etc… with a similar obsessive I that I do. Cheers to 20 years!!
This blog is my first stop every morning as I am trying to convince myself to get the day started.
Thank you for scratching an itch that I didn’t know I had.
Congratulations on 20 years, and thank you for this delightful corner of the Internet!
Paul, I’ve been a reader since the Page 2 days, I’m a Charter member of the UniWatch membership program, I’ve submitted info for the ticket and I’ve been lucky enough to win a raffle item or two (complete with handwritten “thank you”!). What amazes me the most is the content that you (and Vince, Mike, Phil, Brinke, et.al) continue to churn out on a daily basis and the COMMMUNITY you’ve created here. Other than one very notable troll, the comments are positive, helpful, on topic and civil. The interaction between members of the community are amazing, the outreach of support and caring are inspiring.
I imagine the pride you feel in having created this community and I also represent the pride we all feel in being part of it. Imagine starting a passion project, nurturing it and bringing along to find out how many people share that passion. Congratulations on 20 years. Thank you for including us and here’s to many more.
Thank goodness for that eye roll! Congrats, Paul. I’m so glad you followed your heart.
Thanks for all the memories and hope for plenty more!
Congrats Paul, and many thanks to you and all the crew for so much enjoyable reading through the years. I’m oddly proud to have been an ‘early adopter’ of your internet writing. For years now UniWatch has been my first stop in my daily routine (besides making coffee, of course). Here’s to many more years of great ledes and informative tickets!
It’s been a thrill reading Uni Watch all these years, especially today. Congratulations on this portion of the ride.
Congrats to you Paul on an amazing 20 years of Uni Watch!!!
Congratulations on 20 years, Paul, and thanks. I have enjoyed starting my day with Uni Watch for the past seven years or so. Like you and other have said, many of the recent articles and interviews have been some of the very best. Can’t wait for more!
Congrats Paul and the whole Uni-Watch staff. I have followed since the Slate days and even got to contribute a small weekend piece about a decade ago. I would say that this blog and the community is everything that is right about the internet. A group of enthusiasts coming together, exchanging opinions in a mostly positive way, and linking us to a whole world of satisfying and fulfilling content. Bravo!
Cheers, Paul! Congratulations on 20 years! Thank you for being a part of my daily life for the last 10+ years. Always enjoy the content as well as your candor. Very glad to know that there are more people like me out there. All the best!
Congrats on 20 years of Uni Watch..
This is the first site for me to visit every morning. Jerry Reuss and I talked about your site and work that you do to maintain content on it while I attended a Dodger/Yankee adult fantasy baseball camp in Vero Beach.
Congratulations on the anniversary, and many more to come! I’m glad to have been an early adopter, and to have included you in my own “project,” the Fiesta de Béisbol.
The key to so much in life is observation and acknowledgment. Thanks for keeping both as priorities!
Congratulations on 20 great years! I discovered uni-watch in 2010, so thanks for being my first read (even before email!) each morning for nearly a decade!
Congrats on Uni Watch XX! I’ve been with you since your very first Page 2 column and you still keep it fresh and entertaining. I am grateful for your vision and commitment to opening this entire world to a broader audience. I was the kid with the DIY Cal Ripken jersey in 1985, and thought I was the only weirdo out there, so thanks for letting me know otherwise. Also, thanks for publishing everything I have ever submitted to you. I’ve only been an occasional contributor but have been thrilled to see my own obsessions see the light of day. Keep up the great work!
Congrats on 20 great years, Paul! I’ve been with you for about the last dozen and my day isn’t complete without a dose of Uni-Watch. Thank you for all of the terrific content you and your crew have provided.
Here’s to another 20 years. Cheers!
Congratulations on your new floral wrapping paper!
Congrats on 20 years! I was a little late to the party: I moved to New York on late 1999 and first read your piece in The Voice about the Miami Dolphins’ (original) helmet and its lack of infinite regression. I was excited to learn there was sometime else out there who actually thought about things like this. I was even more excited when my then six year old daughter complained about the new Dolphins logo and its lack of the helmet in 2012, but I digress. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your articles and blog over the years and can’t thank you enough for your hard work and dedication to this effort to keep me and many others informed and entertained. My wife jokingly calls me the Mr Blackwell of sports, but that title should rightly be yours. Here’s to many more years!
Cheers to 20 years! I agree with the sentiment that the quality of this blog keeps getting better and better, and I have no doubt it will keep doing so and continue to be a lifesaver for more and more people who get it™️.
As for the doubters, kindly recommend they try some capers on those words for when they have to eat them. Here’s to another 20 years!
Congratulations and thank you for continuing to do what you do! Love the blog and the tweets. It’s a bonus that any retweets from @uniwatch open up a world of comments from intelligent, observant- maybe obsessive- readers who can usually answer the question or add some interesting insight. Always a pleasure.
And the Citation is even dated May 26th… well of course it is. It’s all about the details. Congrats Paul.
I have spent most of my life dabbling in various creative projects with not much to show for it. Then in 2012 I came across Uni Watch after being into sports uniforms for as long as I can remember. Honestly not sure how I hadn’t discovered it before. Before long I was inspired by the various DIY projects that were featured, and eventually submitted my first project, the jersey-themed neckties. From that point forward Paul has been the most encouraging and supportive person I have ever met, which has led to me being able to make complete jerseys, something I never thought possible when I first started. This week, for the first time, I will have jerseys on public display here in Vancouver, which is something I never thought would be possible and only happened due to Paul’s support. Thank you Paul, and also all of the great friends I have met, and in some cases made jerseys for, all due to Uni Watch.
As I think you know by now, I’m a total fanboy for you and your work. Big congrats on the honor of having your work publicly exhibited, which you richly deserve!
When and where are your jerseys going to be on display this week? Would like to drop by and check it out if I can.
Congratulations and happy to be a part of it all!
Congrats, Paul – you’ve created something truly special here, and it’s only getting better with age.
I hope you never, ever stop “harshing our mellow” – I have always thought that we never grow as people unless our thoughts, beliefs and preferences are challenged and confronted (constructively, of course). You can be delightfully prickly (particularly in the comment section) – I’ve been on the receiving end of that once or twice – and it can be a little jarring, but ultimately it’s something to learn from.
You’ve been appointment reading for a long time – I start getting the itch every morning right around 9am – and I hope it carries on for at least 20 more years.
I’ve never left a comment before, but I want to take this opportunity to say congratulations Paul and thank you for everything you do. I discovered Uni Watch about 10 years ago and I haven’t missed a column since; when I open my computer in the morning Uni Watch is the first thing I read after I check my email. Enjoy your anniversary, you’ve certainly earned it!
Congratulations Paul (and extended team) and a big THANK YOU for creating and maintaining this community so many of us enjoy visiting every day. I guess there really is enough material!
I’ve been along for much of the ride.
Someone wiser than me once said, “We all have our niche, you just have to find yours.” Over the years, I’ve learned that you have done this over and over and over again — Uni-Watch just happens to be the longest lasting and most consistent of these.
I’ve sent you umpiring and officiating stuff. We’ve traded kind words, you’ve sent me snarky words, and I suspect that if we actually met in person, we’d talk about something……unusual.
Congratulations on 20 years of this. It’s a long time. I know, just coming off 15 years with the same company. I hope that someone gets wise and picks up UniWatch to provide the financial backing you so richly deserve.
Enjoy the accolades!
Here’s to you, Paul. Thanks for taking that leap of faith and having the courage to forge your own path for all of us.
Oh, I forgot to mention:
For this Phillies fan of a similar age as yourself, there’s only ever one #20: Michael Jack Schmidt.
Been reading the site since Day 1 and have enjoyed all of your contributions across different forms of media throughout the years. Thank you for doing what you do Paul and congrats! I may not comment much (if ever anymore), but just know that I’m sure there are 1000’s like myself that enjoy and appreciate what you and the team does on this site each and every day!
Congratulations, Paul. I have been a Uni Watch reader since your first column in the Village Voice, and I thank you for your twenty years of outstanding work. I also want to thank the Uni Watch staff and especially the Uni Watch community for being here to help keep this wonderful thing going.
Congratulations on 20 years, Paul. Uni Watch has become part of my daily life for many years. I always make time at work to get away from my desk to read the blog. Don’t remember how I found Uni Watch, but I remember the great feeling when realizing there were others who shared my interest in uniforms. I’m 61 years old and have played the APBA baseball board game since I was 13. Part of playing the game has always been picturing the action, with precise uniforms, in my mind while rolling the dice. I also had the same hockey game you mentioned today. The Canadiens have been my favorite team ever since. Best uniform in sports, as far as I’m concerned. Happy anniversary!
Congratulations, Paul. As you know I’ve been an avid reader since the beginning. Keep on keepin’ on.
Congrats on the anniversary — and for creating something unique and special!
I don’t always agree with your takes, but I start each morning with UniWatch.
All the Best!
Congrats Paul, Thrilled to have been there from the beginning!
Congratulations! It really is a great thing to have a site like this documenting sports uniforms, past and present.
Good lord almighty, I’ve been reading this site for more than half my life, and I still keep coming back. Thank you so much for the content and community you have created, Paul, and congratulations on this anniversary.
Thank You Paul and Congrats!!!! 20 Years!!!!
Congratulations on 20 years, and on more to come!
For all the enjoyment you’ve given us over those twenty years (and from someone who has been reading your stuff since what I now know was the very beginning), thank you.
Congratulations! Not only is your column entertaining, you are better at engaging with your readers than just about any other writer out there. Here’s to another 20 years!
Congrats on 20 years Paul…..my childhood mirrors yours…the excitement of my first LL uni…..in all my LL photos I’m the only one with perfect stirrups.!! Also made jerseys with NOB on sweatshirts and t shirts…..also spent hours drawing logos in class…LA Kings crown was my favorite!….I also drove my parents crazy constantly critiquing unis while watching sports….anyway your read brought back a lot of memories and I’m sure most of us that get it have similar stories….! Thanks again for doing what you do!!
Congrats on 20 years Paul!
I’ve been a regular reader for 11 or 12 of those years and I don’t see that changing. Keep up the good work!
Congratulations on completing your second decade and best wishes for a third! I am weirdly proud to have been featured in a Uni Watch post (when the Rams left St. Louis and I wanted to find a new home for my Jackie Slater jersey) and still treasure the WTF reaction when my best friend (a fellow Uni Watch reader) discovered the article and my place within it.
Hoping to make it to the satellite anniversary celebration in St. Louis!
20 Years of Uni Watch. Woot! Woot!
Congrats. My first read every morning. What was the correct answer for yesterday’s scoreboard?
> I’m harshing your mellow, I’m yucking your yum
May I also introduce to the lexicon “peeing in your warm spot.”
Congratulations on 20 years! And thanks for taking a chance on a stranger, and letting me get involved in this community. Good times indeed.
Congrats on 20 awesome years of observing athletic aesthetics!
Beautiful stuff, Mr. Lukas. This site is older than me, but I absolutely love it. Good tidings from Los Angeles!
Congratulations on 20 years! I think the first time I ever read one of your pieces was when I stumbled upon an article you wrote for ESPN about various pieces of improvised headwear that Dave Parker wore when he was recovering from a jaw injury. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until a couple years after I came across that piece (and I think it was already an old article at that point) that I discovered this blog and your much larger body of work. I especially enjoy the storytelling style with which you construct your pieces. Congrats, and best wishes for many more years of Uni Watch to come!
While I don’t comment like I used to – I still read regularly because this is good content. Its the good side of the Internet. Congratulations on your dedication and work and I hope you get to do this as long as you love it.
Congrats Paul! I still remember picking up the Village Voice, turning to the sports and seeing your first column. I thought wow…could not believe it really. And I read uniwatch every day. I’ve said this before. My favorite part of uniwatch….is your voice. Thanks for that beautiful voice.
Paul, thanks for giving me and all the other Ticker guys (one day I hope it will not just be guys) a chance to be part of this crazy thing.
I like how the ticker has evolved into an organized block for each sport/category. I know different people compile it regularly, but it always looks consistent. That’s what good editors can do! Nice work on the ticker.
Congrats on 20 years, Paul (and Phil, and John, and Brinke, and the others).
My aunt and uncle lives in Montréal when I was younger and they got me an Expos satin jacket. Because the Expos had NOB on their jackets, I asked my mom to put my last name on it, and was similarly disappointed when the lettering font wasn’t quite up to par. I used to add paper earflaps to my souvenir helmets and included the strip and cutaway from the side without the flap because that’s how it had to look. For years, I thought nobody else got it, until I stumbled upon this place via Page 2. I found this community and realized I’m not the only one.
Best of luck in all your endeavors.
Congrats, whipper-snapper! I concur that some of your best work has been since the recent unpleasantness. Hal the hot dog guy has a very high spot on that list.
I’ve enjoyed your outside projects too, particularly Gromm-it. That being said, each day that Uni-Watch marches on is just a little bit better of a day if only for that fact.
Congrats on 20 years!
Paul, congratulations. I’ve been a regular reader since 2006. Loved today’s column and was looking forward to it. The past year at Uni Watch has been one of the best. Maybe the changing nature of your relationship at ESPN has played a part in it, but recent entries have been incredible and fostered an even deeper connection with readers. Thanks for all of your hard work. It may seem hard to believe, but I sense the best days of Uni Watch are ahead.
Congrats on 20 years! I remember finding the Slate column and being convinced that I was your only reader, until I realized there were about a dozen or so others who had commented on that article. Gee, my uniform and sports logos obsession was actually share by other people!
Thanks for all the columns and the community that Uniwatch has become.
And what makes you think you won’t at least be commenting occasionally at 75? ;)
Congratulations, and thank you. Still look forward to Uni-Watch every morning.
Mazel Tov! And thank you so much for all of the information, joy and new vocabulary you have brought me. All my life I thought I was the only one who noticed uniforms (I actually wrote a long letter to Marc Okkonen in 1992 to point out missing details on Phillies uniforms) and when I learned that there were others, I felt so good. This is ABSOLUTELY a community and I am so glad to be able to be a part of it.
Good luck with everything you do, and I look forward to the 20th anniversary celebrations to come.
Will read the whole post today in a bit (racing is on all day!)
But congrats Paul, and a big thanks for making this a major part of your life’s work so that it can be a part of my life (and I am sure I speak for others with those thoughts.)
I’ve been following since the ESPN Page 2 days.
This site and its offshoots are a treasure.
Congratulations Paul! I’ve been reading daily since I started college in September of 2006, and I plan to continue as long as the site is around. Thanks for so many years of great content.
Stunning achievement, Paul. Congratulations on a great venture that you’ve brought to an extremely high level of thoughtfulness and relevance. As a uni-watcher myself since I was about eight— when I had my art director dad use black magic marker to draw Raider numerals on white tee-shirts for my 4th grade class— I have genuinely appreciated the passion and earnest observational powers you’ve brought to your analysis these past 20 years. The community you and your column have fostered is comforting and inspiring. Thank you! Now I’m gonna order me a 20th anniversary patch and sew it on my jean jacket. But a sartorial question: Do you think it’s a shoulder or breast pocket patch?
This post also ranks near the top. Congrats!!!!
Thanks Paul for all your hard work all these years. Although they say if you love doing it… I’ve been reading since 2007 or so up until Dec 2012 when my dad passed away. I just started reading again in January and to be honest it’s the only website I visit on a daily basis. Looking forward to many more years and especially looking forward to my purp walk jersey which should be here soon! I plan on wearing it to a Nats game on June 13 along with my Expos cap.
Congratulations on 20 years. I found the site many years ago and have been checking in daily ever since. I think the site has changed the way many of us view the world around us. I am always bummed if the site is closed for a day or if I am not able to view new content. Keep it up Paul and congrats again!
Congratulations and may you continue to keep rocking out. Uniwatch is one of three websites I check every day.
Congratulations, Paul. I also go back to the Village Voice days and have been a fan ever since (and also appreciate your appreciation of cats).
Happy Days! Uni Watch is the best of the Internet.
Thank you for letting us be a part of this incredible accomplishment, Paul. I stumbled on this website I think looking for info about College Football uniforms. That was back when I was living in Rochester, NY. A move to NYC 8 years ago meant that I could attend one of the parties out in Brooklyn! It was actually on my birthday and my wife and I made it I think as everything was wrapping up, but I was so nice to meet you and get a little closer to the community. Beyond loving uniforms, it was really cool to read through your process as a writer and creator. I love that stuff, and it’s a little Sunday encouragement for someone like me who recently finished an MFA at NYU and is sending out a novel in hopes of being published. Thank for everything, Paul, enjoy your day. It’s hot but beautiful in NY!
Happy Anniversary Uni-Watch! I’ve been reading since Page 2 and the blog launch. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I care more about Uni-Watch than I do about uniforms themselves.
Thanks for making our days brighter, Paul!
Congrats Paul! The passion you bring to this site is a joy every day
Congratulations Paul and all the past and present contributors. My daily ritual includes reading the blog and I’ve enjoyed it since the days of Page 2. Thanks for everyone’s hard work so far and here’s to the future!
My morning cup of tea, and Uni Watch. I cannot start my day without either…thank you Paul!
Twenty years is an amazing run for any enterprise, especially one that seemed like a small niche. If there is anything I’ve learned since discovering your column on Slate is that the “niche” is way larger than I imagined it would be. I remember tearing through the archive of articles and eagerly awaiting the next installment.
Congratulations on a great twenty years and thanks for sharing your obsession with other like minded folks like us!
Congratulations to Paul and everyone at the Uni Watch team and HQ for reaching such a fantastic milestone!! You have all provided us with such great original and user-submitted content for so long, that we wouldn’t know what to do without you! All my best from the 614!!
Congratulations and community. What more needs to be said. Thanks for sharing your talent for writing and observation.
Happy Anniversary Paul! I was just 19 days old when the first village article was posted, and I’m so glad that I found Uni-Watch 4 or 5 years ago! This is such a special community, and you have done a lot of good for a lot of people by faithfully continuing to do this, through the good and the bad!
Congratulations, Paul! It’s been a joy reading Uni Watch for the past 20 years. Your work is better than ever. I’m looking forward to June 29.
Congrats!! And thank you for today’s entry! I’m always interested in “the backstory” for an idea/invention, and this provided the details I’ve always wondered about the triumphs and tribulations of your work.
When I was a kid, I used to draw new Orioles designs and cut them out. Sadly, my mom didn’t keep them (she kept almost everything else from my childhood creations and achievements)
It truly feels like a community – I stop by here at 8am, hoping you have uploaded today’s content. And yes, I get a lil giddy when something I’ve submitted makes it in :-) (My wife thinks I’m silly LOL)
Thank you again, and here’s to 20 more years!
As a long time reader, this is my first comment on the page.
I just wanted to thank you for the incredible space, Paul. It’s been a daily staple in my life for the past 15 years (I started reading it at 12). I appreciate everything you’ve done on this site, and I’m excited to watch its continual growth.
TLDR: You’re the man. Happy anniversary, and thank you for giving me a space to nerd out.
Congratulations on the anniversary! I think I encountered some Uni Watch stories from the Voice days, but I know I read every Slate piece. I had just moved overseas, and baseball was a big part of how I staved off homesickness, and the Slate Uni Watch columns became an important part of that for me. I had a whole routine where I set up my computer to record baseball games streamed online by US radio stations – this was before MLB figured out centralized online rights – and I’d listen to last night’s game before lunch, and it was always a particularly good morning when there would also be a new Uni Watch column to read while I listened to the play-by-play. When we visited the States for the first time in a year, it almost felt like a foreign country, what with a rapidly changed political climate and weird mid-2000s fads like literal meat-and-fat buckets at fast food joints. But baseball helped me hold on to my sense of American-ness, and Uni Watch was an important element of that for me.
I’m embarrassed by how long it took me to realize that the Paul Lukas whose byline was on Uni Watch was the same Paul Lukas who masterminded Beer Frame, which was and is my favorite zine of the 1990s zine era. The Borders in Uptown Minneapolis used to have a dedicated zine section alongside the magazine racks, and I would sort through the zine pile every couple of weeks. It was always a particularly good day when a new Beer Frame showed up. (Which was rare, of course, but that just made it even more of a highlight.) A lot of zines were fun, some were good, but only a very few really had important things to say. Beer Frame was one of those. So beyond 20 years of uni watching, congratulations to Paul on a career of work that matters.
I am a sports fan born in Brazil. Although I never set foot in the US, I am very interested in the leagues that you play in your country (and occasionally Canada). Since 2012, I read and watch a lot of things about all of the major leagues and the uni-verse is one of my favorite things to know about. I have read you for a long time and never wrote before. I want to say that I like the website very much and congratulations on the 20 years!
Love you, Paul! Really enjoyed reading this.
Congratulations, Paul! Thank you for all your study, thoughtful writing, and cultivation of such an impressive community here over the past two decades. Here’s to twenty more years!
Congrats on everything, Paul! It’s been an absolute pleasure reading your work, contributing a relatively healthy dose of material, and meeting you a couple of times. I’m celebrating here in Washington DC by wearing my polo shirt with the 15th patch, and I’ll have to keep an eye out for another good polo shirt to put a 20th patch on! Best of luck and best of health, because I’d also be honored to get a silver anniversary patch in five years. And that would look awesome.
What a huge part of my life. Super proud to be a part of it, and super proud of Paul for bringing it.
Today’s Vandy-Ole Miss game might be the mist lopsided uniform matchup in the 20 years of Uni Watch! Beauty and the Beast.
Congratulations on 20 years of uni goodness! You should be proud of the community you have created and I’m honored to be part of it. You have also been an inspiration to me regarding my baseball glove repair business and following you interests and dreams regarding a job.
As one of my favorite current bands (and one you should check out) Bonny Doon says in one of their songs, “You are who you’re supposed to be”
All the best.
Congrats. I’ve been reading since early in ESPN’s Page 2 era. Although I get into the office bright and early, I really can’t start working until I read Uni Watch. Kinda sad that the only comments I’ve ever made had to do with broken links. I adore the sense of community that’s been created here.
Happy Anniversary! Uni-watch has been a daily part of my life since you launched the blog. I hope we both go another 20.
I am sure you have heard this before, but I wanted to both congratulate and thank you for UW! Love this site and the ability to bring everyone together over a common niche! Congratulations on 20 years!
Let me join in the chorus of well-deserved congratulations!
I can still remember where I was when I discovered Uni Watch. I was a 22-year-old first-year government teacher, reading Slate to keep up with political news. I came across your column. I didn’t particularly care about uniform design (still don’t, really), but you wrote in such a readable and smart way that I was drawn in. I followed you to Page 2 and then to the daily blog. I’ve been starting my day with Uni Watch for as long as it has been daily.
Your criticism has changed the way I look at the world. You have never been “this sucks,” but always “this sucks because,” which is a refreshing change from so much of what we read on a daily basis. Your willingness to engage your community in the comments, and to force them to also give more than just “this sucks” is one of the reasons this community is a community. Your obsessive observations have changed the way I look at the world. It has definitely changed the way I think about design and consumption.
The blog is as fresh today as it has ever been, and your voice is still as sharp as it was at the beginning. That alone is cause for celebration.
Again, well done!
(if this shows up multiple times, it’s because I can’t see it and I think it’s probably trapped in moderation, but I’m stubborn, so I’ve submitted it twice!)
Congratulations Paul! Happy 20th, and cheers to however many more you wish to write about uniforms for.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Life is interesting — on some days it’s too interesting. On those days especially, peace is a few minutes in the UniWatch community. Many more years…!
Congrats Paul – Happy 20th Anniversary!
Congratulations, Paul. If it weren’t for people like you and Chris Creamer, many of us would not have been able to find an outlet to express our opinions on the esoteric universe that is athletics aesthetics. Glad to have been in on this since near the beginning, hope to enjoy another 20 more!
Congrats, Paul! I was a Village Voice reader, went way, came back occasionally and have been an every day reader for the past two years. In addition to your uni-centered work, thanks for the travelogues, recipes, the What Paul Did Last Night items and other comments on music, art, architecture, etc., etc. You have entertained, informed and have made our lives just a little bit better. Thanks again.
Well done! I’m struggling to remember how I first encountered Uni Watch since I do recall the ESPN start and some of the Village Voice material when I lived in New York. The citation is top notch, appropriate for someone who delves into the minutiae of the things we take for granted. I found a used copy of Inconspicuous Consumption and it’s an offline version of the magnifying glass to culture.
I’m overdue on a membership card, especially since I owe a little something your way for all your years of service. Picking a design is hard!
I look forward to XXI and beyond.
Congratulations on 20 years of Uni-Watch. I’m happy to share my wedding anniversary date with UW. Today marks 35 years of marriage for my wife and I.
Congratulations Paul! I’ve been a longtime lurker that has seldom contributed, but I can safely say that this community has been an important part of my life since I first stumbled upon it 10 years ago. Growing up, I always felt like an outcast loving uniforms. I would buy the newest Madden and NCAA football games just to dive directly into the team builder/uniform creator modes. My friends would roll their eyes at the amount of time I would spend thumbing through old issues of Slam Magazine obsessing over what players were wearing in their in-game photos. The administration at my high school quickly grew tired of my constant submission of new uniform proposals. My parents never approved of my screentime spent on sportslogos.net (it never helped that Chris Creamer has such a suggestive name). And I’ve always received a raised eyebrow or two anytime my basketball jersey collection would come up (which at one point held over 200 separate jerseys). But I remember the feeling of comfort and the overall sense of camaraderie I had the day I stumbled across this blog and realized that there were others like me; that I may not be the only one going to games enjoying uniform matchups just as much as the actual sport occurring. I’m proud to say that I am and always will be someone who gets it. Cheers! Here’s to an eventual centennial anniversary column!
I love uni-watch. Thanks for your dedication to it. It makes my day. Every day.
Wow, 20 yrs man!
Doing something so well, for so long is truly a great accomplishment and a testament to your talents & creativity.
Congrats on 20 years! Time flies when you’re having fun. Kudos also to the uni-community, who keep a lively, civil conversation in the Comments section.
Long may you run. Forever young.
Short and simple..congratulations for 20 years of uni-awesomeness and, more important, a sincere thank you for all that you do.
Long, long, long time reader, very first time commenter. Congratulations Paul, I’ll never forget when I stumbled upon this site years ago in search of uniform information. Here was someone talking about the same esoteric hobby I was into—I had a girlfriend who rolled her eyes at it, too. I used to joke with her that it was like Tobias Funke’s never-nudes from Arrested Development: “There are dozens of us! DOZENS!”
I check Uni-Watch and The Chris Creamer Forums like I check my email and bank account in the morning. It’s become part of my daily routine and it brings me such joy. I aspire someday to write a coffee table book on NFL uniforms, and this community helps me feel like it’s not just a silly idea. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Here’s to another 20!
Congratulations, Paul!! You have touched the lives of thousands of people by having the courage to follow your passion. Look at all the well-wishing posts here! All the best!!!
And Phil is the bee’s knees too!
Thanks for putting the pedal to the medal every time you man the helm, holmes.
Happy 20th, Paul!
I’ve only been around for half the ride but I feel as if I’ve had several decades of enjoyment. Thanks for being there every day!
Congrats Paul! I remember my amazement when I found a writer with my same uniform obsession. Thanks for giving us a forum to track and talk about the wonderful world of uniforms and aesthetics. Here’s to 20 more – cheers!
Congratulations Paul! I, like a few others who posted above, am a long time reader but first (maybe 2nd) time poster. I believe it was around 2007 when I first came across Uni Watch…
(Is it You-nee watch? Or is it Yuna-Watch? something I ask myself daily-maybe you can put my mind to rest)
Anyways, you’ve done an amazing job of keeping my interest and love of sports and uniforms and logos going for years and i wish you all the best in the future. Perhaps I’ll be like a few others and say hello more often or try and find ticker item or two.
“You knee.” For years it was “you nih” in my head until someone pointed it out to me.
Congratulations!!! Thanks for making my days at work so much easier !!! Btw isn’t it time for a vacation road trip ? I love your stories on your vacations you should have them all in one place for viewing !
Congratulations! Thanks for putting up with my ND obsession.
Congratulations and thanks for putting people in a good mood to start their day for 20 years. LI Phil and the rest of the bunch as well.
Congratulations Paul and, as always, thank you for your daily gift that is Uni Watch.
Cool seeing the Bengals made the cut for the Beer Frame: The Journal of Inconspicuous Consumption :P
Keep up the good work, hope we get another 20.
Thank you Paul
Congrats, Paul. Great work, you, and yay us!
I love that this blog validates my interest in all the “little” things in sports that I always thought nobody else paid any attention to.
Here’s to another 20 years!
Congratulations, and thanks for everything.
I used to think, “Am I the only one who notices or cares about this kind of stuff?” until I found your blog 10 years ago.
Right after emails it’s become the first thing I check in the morning.
Here’s to many more years to come
Happy Anniversary, Paul! I’ve been reading since the early ESPN days, and like many, I thought I was the only person who noticed all the different uni details. Like you, I also tried to draw logos as a kid (though my artistic ability is _really_ awful), so I can totally relate there! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your material every day. Thank you for all you do!
Congratulations, Paul, on reaching this milestone. What began as reading during college classes many years ago continues as reading during lunch break at work. Thanks for giving voice to the things that we all thought nobody else notices.
Paul, congratulations on 20 years! I stumbled onto Uni Watch through ESPN, and realised how much I enjoyed athletic aesthetics. Uni Watch has also inspired me to notice not just details on sports uniforms and gear, but details all around me, such as neon signs, old shop fronts, and other things no one would stop to look at.
Keep up the amazing work!
I found Uni Watch on Page 2 and loved it from the start. (The rest of Page 2 was great too.) This column fit my tastes in sports and life, how little details are still important and worth discussing. Now we see teams debut new uniforms to much fanfare and press releases, but Uni Watch started dissecting that info long before the general public. I’ve enjoyed reading the daily columns, even though I don’t visit as often as I used to, but it’s fun to see the various topics presented here. I’m glad there has been enough material for “once a month” articles!
Congrats on 20 years, and cheers to many more!
Congratulations, Paul! I’ve been an avid fan since your Village Voice days and am a proud bearer of a Uni Watch card. Your site is a destination I visit daily and I hope it lives on for years and years. And maybe one of these years I hope to meet you in person at a Uni Watch gathering.
Congrats on reaching Ray Allen and Barry Sanders status — excellence at #20. To 20 more!
See what you’ve wrought? I hope you’re proud of yourself!
(The rest of us are.)
Thanks and Congrats!
Paul, allow me to join the masses in saying congratulations and thank you for having the bravery to go forward with this project 20 years ago, as well as to have elevated it to the status it has today. The fact you’ve featured my writing a few times, and even saw fit to once welcome me into Uni Watch HQ, is a distinct honor, as I consider you one of the best sportswriters out there, no matter the topic.
A few thoughts on this retrospective:
– With regards to negativity and positivity, I think it’s important to note: if you asked me to truly analyze why I read Uni Watch every day, it’s not because I “like uniforms,” even though I do. Furthermore, you and I both know, there have been a number of times we’ve out-and-out disagreed. For instance, I still think the piece on the guy who documented female reporters’ boots was weird and borderline creepy.
I don’t always come here to feel comfortable or have my likes reinforced. I do come here because I thoroughly enjoy critical thinking and well thought-out opinions, even when I disagree.
Yes, you do come to negative conclusions sometimes. “Good or Stupid” does has a ‘Stupid’ category, after all. But I can never say you didn’t think out why you came to your conclusion, or that you are inconsistent in your beliefs and values. If you were, you’d explain why, and think it out in the process.
It’s the critical thinking, the understanding of the “why” and the mesh of the functional with the aesthetic, with an appreciation for when form and function are complementary and a rightful disdain for when either bends to simple greed, that bring me back, day after day. Your positivity or negativity is immaterial. It’s how you come to those conclusions that makes Uni Watch an essential daily read for me.
– The other thing that occurs to me is that this is the time for us readers to acknowledge something: Uni Watch is more than just a daily column. Its moreso a part of our lives.
I’m guessing I’m not alone in saying that it’s pretty common for me to wake up in the morning before work, roll over, turn off the alarm on my phone, check my notifications and maybe social media, then hit the button Chrome knowingly provides me to go to Uni Watch.
Your writing, for many of us, is literally how we start our day and kick our brains into gear. Some people have morning coffee; those who Get It™ have Uni Watch.
I hope, as you consider these 20 years, you stop to think about the thoughtfulness, stimulation and good you’ve brought into so many people’s lives on a daily basis. You’re an essential part of the routine for many of us, and you use your power for good. It’s a truly awesome compliment to you and your work.
– I know you occasionally mention the inevitable end. But I’m kind of hoping you recognize what you’ve built here not as a project that has a beginning, middle and end, but as a brand unto itself. You constructed it, but it has taken on a life of its own.
It’s not unusual for people as smart and thoughtful as you to struggle when it comes to allowing others into their circle. The fact you’ve allowed in Phil, Mike, others, even me on the ever-so-rare occasion, not only tells me you understand what you’ve tapped into, but makes me hopeful you will at least consider curating the brand such that it can live on without you if and when you decide to step aside from it.
It’s your baby, so it’s your call, ultimately. But again, considering the good you’ve brought to all of us, I’m hopeful you will see fit to find a way to try to best ensure that good can continue on beyond your time with the blog.
– Last but not least, while I’d love to get to either Brooklyn or St. Louis for the celebration, my duties as PA announcer will keep me away that night. Nonetheless, I really should get off my patoot and finally support this site with something other than my words. If I wear a Uni Watch T-shirt in the Lakeshore Chinooks’ press box that night, I’ll take a picture and send it in.
If it isn’t obvious, I, and we, are grateful for what you do. Thanks doesn’t seem like a kind enough word, but it’s the best one we seem to have.
Congrats on 20 years, Paul!
I have always loved design and because of my love of sports uniform design was higher on the list. But even I didn’t know how much there was to a uniform until I became a regular visitor here. I think you may have turned me from a sports fan that likes design into an almost-obsessed sports design nut. And that’s not a bad thing.
Thanks for all you provide for all of us. Cheers to many more!
Congrats Paul on a great 20 years. I don’t remember how I found this blog but I am glad I did. And it keeps getting better and better every year.
I am also glad that you found something in life to do that makes you happy. There aren’t many out there that can say that and it’s great to hear stories from people that do.
Continued success in the future and may you someday finally realize that purple has been the best color all along. ;-)
Paul – I find your columns and your commitment an ongoing inspiration. Thanks for sharing your passion. It continues to motivate good thinking and good work – believe it!