By Phil Hecken
Greetings Uni Watchers from the summer place “out east.” I hope everyone is staying safe and cool.
After four months with virtually no uni-news, we had quite a bit of the the past couple days. Topping the list for today was the decision by the Cleveland Baseball Club to eschew their traditional home white uniforms for their season opener last evening, opting instead to sport their blue softball tops which simply read “CLEVELAND” across the chest. This was no accident.
The blue road jerseys with “Cleveland” on the front were a powerful statement of solidarity for traditionally marginalized people as the team contemplates a name change. The team wore the jerseys to highlight its efforts to fight social injustice. This follows on an announcement earlier about having ongoing conversations with Native American groups on renaming the team. As you’re all no doubt aware, earlier this month, the Washington Football Team announced it has dropped “Redskins” as the team’s official name, and on Thursday, the team announced it will be known simply as the “Washington Football Team” for the 2020 season, with a new name and uniforms being held off until (likely) next season.
“Today we’re wearing the Cleveland jersey to bring awareness,” Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor announced via a Zoom call. “We hope that’s a start of change. We know change is due and it is time. But I believe positive change can happen. Shining the light on those minorities and people who are in need, it’s extremely important. Today, by wearing the Cleveland jersey, that’s what we’re doing out there, bringing the spotlight on those people, minorities that need the spotlight on them so their voices can be heard. Positive change can happen. We’re due for it.”
Lindor said the players decided on the switch after meeting earlier this week with team owner Paul Dolan to discuss the potential name change as well as race relations and social justice. Team manager Tito Francona was totally on-board with the blue road jerseys. “The idea is not to be disrespectful, the idea is to make a point and I think this is a good way to do it,” he stated yesterday.
Prior to the start of the game, players all took a knee in support of the BLM movement (something other teams have been doing as well).
— Pat Chiesa (@PatChiesa) July 24, 2020
In addition, the team wore t-shirts adorned with “End Racism” and “Equality” slogans on the front and back for batting practice:
Terry Francona and members of the coaching staff also wore these shirts. President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti donned a shirt that read “Black Lives Matter.”
Also, like other teams, the Cleveland squad had “BLM” and “United for Change” logos stenciled onto the pitchers mound:
— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) July 24, 2020
Did we just witness a soft launch of a new “identity” for the team? It’s not clear, but Francona thinks the league might not allow the team to wear the road jerseys at home again. We’ll probably know more once tomorrow’s game is underway. The team has already said it’s exploring a name change, so even if they remain the “Indians” for the 2020 season (or as much as of it is completed), they may not be called that going forward.
As has often been the case at Cleveland home openers for more than a decade, there were a fair amount of protesters assembled against the current name:
A significant group of individuals are gathering outside of Progressive Field before Cleveland’s opener tonight, advocating for the changing of the Indians name. pic.twitter.com/AH5CRkM5n4
— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) July 24, 2020
— Ian Zainea (@theforester000) July 24, 2020
Interestingly enough, the team’s Twitter account still says “Cleveland Indians” and the lady who threw out the first pitch was sporting the team’s current white home jersey (as was the team’s mascot):
A big shoutout to Alita Wissner who is a @ClevelandClinic caregiver on the COVID-19 unit at Fairview Hospital.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 24, 2020
It was probably only a matter of time once the team removed “Chief Wahoo” from the uniforms for a full scale name change to occur. Will the team follow Washington’s lead and become the Cleveland Baseball Club for 2020? I wouldn’t bet on it, but the winds of change are in the air.
Elsewhere on MLB’s Opening Day, Pt. II
The Royals are wearing a patch honoring former owner David Glass. You can see it on the right sleeve in this clip:
Never have these two words felt better to say.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) July 24, 2020
The Red Sox’ Nathan Eovaldi switched numbers mid-game! According to our own Anthony Emerson, “Wore his usual No. 17 during the first two innings, switched to C Christian Vazquez’s No. 7 for the third.” (h/t Anthony Emerson).
The number one on Nathan Eovaldi's jersey is missing. I love this team. pic.twitter.com/eOmQGYQbX7
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) July 25, 2020
Anthony reports he was back in number 17 at the beginning of the 4th. Here’s a bit more on that. And apparently, it’s the first time EVER a pitcher and catcher worn the same number on the field at the same time.
Anthony Rizzo gave Orlando Arcia a bit of hand sanitizer at first base (h/t to Mike Chamernik).
Interesting (new) look for Mets closer (for the meantime) Edwin Diaz:
Mets closer Edwin Díaz wearing an orange belt buckle/loop today. pic.twitter.com/AKaqpxOi3v
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) July 24, 2020
Sonny Gray was somewhat casual on the bump:
— Chris Howell (@ChrisHHowell) July 24, 2020
The Reds no longer have a 3-D logo on their helmets (h/t Alex Hider).
More on the Reds from Joanna Zwiep:
Lots of teams have custom face masks, but it looks like the Tigers don’t have a matching road mask.
Amed Rosario is the clubhouse leader for best hosiery of 2020:
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 24, 2020
Chris Paddock is right behind him (h/t to David Raglin):
The White Sox added memorial patch for former player/broadcaster Ed Farmer, who died in April:
Farmio is on our sleeves and in our hearts. pic.twitter.com/WIneJJFgfB
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 24, 2020
The Tigers have added a patch honoring the life of Al Kaline, who passed away earlier this year:
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 24, 2020
Bryce Harper sported some interesting kicks (I am pretty certain these were just for warmups). H/t to Mark Morgan:
.@bryceharper3 rockin' the Phillie Phanatic cleats. You rate them?
— theScore (@theScore) July 24, 2020
How great are the Milwaukee Brewers new unis?
— Daniel (@DevilDawg36) July 25, 2020
I mean, seriously!
The Twins are wearing an “RC” patch on their uniforms for Ryan Costello, a prospect who died last November:
— . (@ChrisHanel) July 25, 2020
The Rockies Trevor Story sported an Ian Desmond sweatband:
— JV (@BaseballAt5280) July 25, 2020
The Astros are honoring Bob Watson & Jim Wynn with signage (h/t Ignacio Salazar):
Two patches at Minute Maid Park remembering Bob Watson & Jim Wynn, both of whom passed away earlier this year. pic.twitter.com/DzailEUtEO
— Robert Ford (@raford3) July 25, 2020
Pedro Severino’s social justice patch ended up upside down on his catching gear:
— Curtis Galvin (@CurtisGalvin) July 25, 2020
Interesting bandannas for the Bucs:
@UniWatch Pirates yellow bandana variation face coverings with yellow bandana-patched Jersey. One upside-down. Red bandana variation on catchers wristband. Stray black scribble is my own contribution. pic.twitter.com/oma09VQ2So
— Rob Perkey (@Perk_ocet21) July 25, 2020
The Rangers had a slightly different twist on their “United For Change” mound stencil:
— Jeff Summers (@jsummers4) July 25, 2020
And yes, the Padres did finally #BringBackTheBrown:
@PhilHecken Another team returning to their roots – the semi-classic brown & yellow of the San Diego Padres. (Hey, I like 'em. So sick of every other friggin' team wearing black or navy blue. Boring asf) pic.twitter.com/pQ2uvRh0nW
— Nick Loconte Jr. (@NickLoconteJr) July 25, 2020
I’m sure there were some more uni-notable moments (especially for games ending later) that I missed, so please either e-mail UWing for inclusion into tomorrow’s Ticker, or post your observations below.
More Washington Football Club concepts…
Last weekend I asked readers to send in their concepts for a new look and name for the Washington Football Team, which, we recently learned, will be called the Washington Football Team for the 2020 season (if there is even a season). So, there’s still lots of time to keep sending in your ideas for new names/identities and uniforms. Today we have two new concepts.
The first is from Morris Belleville, who would like the club to become the “Federals”:
Good evening Phil,
After seeing your post on Sunday, I decided to try a redesign of the Washington Football team. Please find the attached submitted for your review and consideration.
I was and am a big fan of the USFL, so I thought I would do a new take on the Washington Federals. Even though the editor of Uni Watch probably loved the green unis, I always thought the color scheme looked out of place for the name. I decided to take a crack at it using a minimalist approach and incorporate the DC Flag into the uniform and helmet. With the DC Flag being Red and White, I decided to add just a smattering of blue into the uniform for the numbers and pants trim.
We also have a concept from Lee Traylor, whose concept is for the “Red Wolves”:
Attached my attempt at re-branding the Washington Football Team.
Finally, we have a logo & uni concept, refrigerator-art style, from Josh Amsler, who would like to have the team called “Red Tails”:
Good evening my name is Josh Amsler, I read your columns everyday and loved the submission you posted today about the Washington Redtails as a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. I had recently drawn the attached image as an idea of what they could do in the 2-3 months they have (barring Covid restrictions). I used their iconic R and used the pattern of the stripes found on the P-51 Mustang the airmen flew (See attached picture just behind the propeller). It would be a simple switch they would just need to replace the wordmarks on the jerseys with the one provided (they could even leave the plane off the wordmark). As for the field they could use R at the 50 and the wordmark in the endzone with the plane would look fantastic in my opinion. Keep the same colors, and even if for a placeholder I think it would be a solid look. Thanks for your hard work and stay healthy.
Thanks gentlemen. OK readers, if you have a design idea for the Washington Football Team, please shoot it my way!
Fixing The Kraken
In case you missed it, Paul had an absolutely EPIC post yesterday, the lede for which was a great overview of the new NHL team, the Seattle Kraken. If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, please do so — you won’t be disappointed.
In that post Paul noted a couple of comments on the team’s new look. Reader Ron Ruelle also had some thoughts on the new wordmark, which I’m posting below. Here’s Ron:
I am astonished at how great the Seattle Kraken logo and word mark and colors turned out.
And there is tons of symbolism in there, but it’s explained in a way that doesn’t sound like bullshit. The “S” is reminiscent of the Metropolitans’ logo, and just happens to look like crashing waves, especially with the color treatment. The tentacle is remarkably subtle (considering the stupid things other teams have done to hit you over the head with that sort of thing.) If the red eye is the only dab of red on the whole package, that will make it even cooler.
The calligraphy word mark is unique in sports and tastefully done. Love the equal negative space inside each letter of KRAKEN. And the space between the letters doesn’t feel like any kerning was necessary to compensate, a rarity.
The colors just feel like a cold, scary sea. Perfect choices.
And the name is flat-out cool.
My one criticism, and it’s not that big and there’s time to fix it. SEATTLE is a hard word to make look good in all caps. I don’t mind the font, or the arching or the small size, those work really well with KRAKEN.
But there is so much space on both sides of the A, under the T, and on the right side of the L that demand individual kerning. It drives typographers nuts.
The best way to assess it is to look at the word upside down. That way, you don’t subconsciously see the word, but a bunch of shapes.
SEA look like one word, and the rest of the letters feel spread out enough that they are…. not quite alone, but not on the same team.
So while it was upside down, I did a bit of kerning. Each letter required different increments.
(Also, look at the word KRAKEN upside down. The spaces are perfect.)
Flip it back over and a little better, right? Kerning is very subjective (Adobe InDesign even has “Metric” and “Optical” settings for mathematical vs eye-pleasing settings. In either case, with a word like SEATTLE, much handiwork must be done.
Now, I don’t claim mine is perfect.. I spent like 3 minutes on this. Also, mine is not as spaced out as the original overall… I fixed it by tightening the spaces. If they want that airy look, they could go the opposite way and space out some of the letters a bit instead of contracting the others.
Far be it for me to criticize what they have done so far. The Kraken is off to a cracking’ good start!
That’s great — thanks Ron.
Speaking of the Kraken, UW reader/contributor/pal Jason Bernard sent me these yesterday — I’m not sure of the provenance, but the first is kinda silly, while the second one is … well, I think everyone should get it.
Some memes are better than others. Thanks, JB!
Semi Annual Reminder…
…from Jimmer Vilk
There’s FREE baseball available (the graphic below is for DirecTV, but I’m pretty sure all the major providers do it) but it’s only for Today and Tomorrow (usually it’s a whole week). So if you’re just Jonesing for some extra innings of everyone’s favorite sport, tune in!
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Apparently, Deion Sanders went NickNOB on his batting practice jersey while he was with the Reds, c. 1995 (from Bill Fenbers). … Angels P/DH Shohei Ohtani posted an image on his Instagram depicting several of his teammates, including IF Anthony Rendon, in Rendon’s old Nationals uni (from Stevie Dubs). … In addition to wearing Phanatic cleats, Phillies OF Bryce Harper also wore a green suit with a Phanatic inliner heading into the ballpark last night. … The LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Grapevine, Texas, has unveiled a model it created of the Rangers’ new ballpark from LEGO bricks (from Kary Klismet). … The Nationals have announced a new delivery service for ballpark concessions. Random orders will also receive Nationals Park foul balls. … The Cuban Hershey baseball team had some pretty nice unis, don’t ya think? (spotted by @kreeke39). … The American Association’s Sioux Falls Canaries wore these…things to celebrate “Christmas in July” (from @minnysam32). … This story about Tom Hanks lending his voice to Oakland A’s broadcasts as a hot dog vendor includes a fun mash-up of a young Hanks and Uni Watch pal Hal the Hot Dog Guy (Kary again).
College/High School Football News: Tennessee has tweaked its unis, bringing back the double stripes on the pants (from Kary Klismet).
Hockey News: Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke says the team has third and fourth sweaters in the works (from Rusty Corrigan).
Soccer News: Mexican side Toluca is delaying the release of their new kit due to the pandemic (article in Spanish). The Mexican league kicks off tomorrow, and Toluca will be wearing last season’s kit (from Sinuhé Guevara). … Scottish side Motherwell has unveiled their new away shirts (thanks, Jamie). … Also from Jamie: English Championship side Luton Town have released all three of their new kits. That white one sure is, uh, unique. According to James Welham, it’s based off one of the club’s kits from the early ’90s. … Celtic FC is giving fans the option of purchasing their gorgeous new kit without their gambling ad. Might pick one of those up (from Colm Heaney). … Hertha Berlin has unveiled their new kits (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: English League One side Bristol Rovers have unveiled their new home and change kits. … Portuguese side SC Braga have revealed their new kits with posters throughout the city of Braga (from @mikeDfromCT). … The following are all from Josh Hinton: Roma’s beautiful new away kit has leaked. … Championship side Sheffield Wednesday have unveiled their new kits (also from Patrick Barnett). … Mexican side Mazatlán have unveiled their new kits. … Championship side Stoke City have unveiled their new kits.
Grab Bag: Steven Schapansky tweets: “In cricket, usually the umpire holds on to a player’s hat while he’s bowling, but for COVID reasons, he isn’t during this ENG v WI test match. So one of the bowler’s teammates is taking care of it.” … The commission set up by Mississippi’s government to find a new flag has received over 600 submissions (from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: A petition is circulating to change Wesern Connecticut State’s mascot from “Colonials” to “Whales”. … One more from Kary: Richland (Tx.) High is changing its mascot from “Rebels” to “Royals”. … A hospital in Utah is dropping “Dixie” from its name (from Brice Wallace). … Christopher Hickey noticed that Denny Hamlin has a series of letters near the driver’s side window that change each race. Some of them seem to be abbreviations for the cities or areas he’s racing in (PHX at Phoenix Raceway, for example). Others don’t seem to match that, however, like this one with HHHA at Bristol. Anyone have any idea what the story is?
And Finally… Thanks to everyone who sent their opening day observations (and apologies to anyone I may have left out). Also, big thanks to Paul for shooting a bunch of those tweets my way.
Interesting week, uni-wise we just had! It’s good to have actual games starting up, so the uni news will be (hopefully) plentiful. Of course, who knows how much of a season they’ll get in (fingers crossed it’s a *full* season with playoffs and a World Series), or how many other sports will be able to play (Hoops and Puck start soon!). Let’s hope they all can make it through and we have football in the Fall. I don’t know if I’d bet even money on any of the seasons being completed, even truncated seasons, but I am hopeful everything can go off without a hitch (or just a few minor ones).
On another note, yesterday I turned in my last paper for my Summer classes (I took 3 total this Summer), so I just have one final semester left, and that doesn’t start till after Labor Day. Right now the plan is to have on-campus classes (all Spring ended up being on Zoom and my summer classes were all “asynchronous”), but, like sports, I’m hoping they can pull it off. For anyone who is a student or the parent of one, I think we can all agree that it’s imperative we get back into actual classes, but only if it’s safe (for all involved). Zoom was fun for about 2 weeks and distance learning just doesn’t cut it. That’s why everyone has to continue to take the social distancing and mask wearing seriously! The last thing we want to have to do is to start this whole isolation thing over again.
On that note, everyone have a good and safe Saturday, and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow.