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As noted in the Ticker earlier this week, the A’s started wearing their Ray Fosse memorial patch on Monday (it’s only on their home jersey, so it didn’t debut until their home opener). Since Fosse was both a catcher and a broadcaster for the A’s, the patch design shows a catcher’s mask and a microphone — nice.
It’s the microphone that I want to talk about today. It’s one of those old-timey mics, like the one Elvis is cradling on this postage stamp:
That stamp was issued in 1993 — nearly 30 years ago — and that type of mic was already a retro relic by then. More recently, that type of mic has become a standard visual element when teams salute or memorialize broadcasters. In fact, I’m pretty sure the A’s were the ones who started this trend with their Bill King memorial patch in 2006:
2006 was also the year that the Blue Jays added this Tom Cheek memorial patch:
The following year, the Twins added this Herb Carneal patch:
Two years after that, in 2009, Cleveland wore this patch for Herb Score:
The following year, the Yankees wore this patch for P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard:
The next year, 2011, the Mariners wore this patch for Dave Niehaus:
That was also the year that Atlanta wore this patch for Ernie Johnson Sr.:
Jumping ahead three years to 2014, the Mets wore this patch for Ralph Kiner, with a slightly less old-timey microphone:
And in 2017, the Marlins added this patch for Rafael “Felo” Ramírez:
This phenomenon is not limited to baseball. Just last week, for example, I wrote a Bulletin article on the making of the Sabres’ “retired name” banner for broadcaster Rick Jeanneret, which looks like this:
I don’t dislike old-timey microphones. On the contrary, I think they look great! My friends Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. routinely use them, to excellent visual effect.
But SIT&DieCo is a retro act, so it makes sense that they’d use retro mics. It might also make sense for someone like Bob Sheppard, who began handling P.A. duties at Yankee Stadium way back in 1951 and was the aural personification of old-school. But the old-fashioned mic doesn’t make nearly as much sense for someone like Ray Fosse, whose broadcasting career began in 1986 and, I’m willing to bet, never used a mic anything like the one shown on his memorial patch. Same goes for many if not most of the other broadcasters I just mentioned. Is there a sell-by date on the use of this type of mic on a patch design, or will teams still be cranking out this same type of broadcaster memorial patch 20 years from now, when the design will be even more dated than it already is?
On strictly aesthetic terms, I like the old-timey miconography (see what I did there?). It certainly packs more of a visual punch than a modern handheld mic, to say nothing of a clip-on. But I’m a 58-year-old who likes old stuff. At a time when baseball is supposedly struggling to connect with younger fans, does it really make sense to keep copy/pasting the same boilerplate mic design that most kids have never seen in real life, especially if the broadcaster being honored never used that type of mic to begin with? Seems creatively lazy, unimaginative, historically inaccurate, and a bad way to connect with the next generation of fans.
I know, I know — it’s just a little patch, and the real way to appeal to young fans is to
sell them jillions of godawful jerseys and caps speed up the game and promote the game’s stars more effectively. But sometimes it’s the little things that can reveal more about how an industry’s mindset is stuck in the mud, and I think the outdated mic image is a good example of that. Anyway, it’s good food for thought.
Photo from Twitter user @NotARightFieldr; click to enlarge
New Royals CC leak: The photo shown above was tweeted yesterday by Twitter-er @NotARightFieldr, who said it shows the Royals’ new City Connect uniform. (As you may recall, the cap leaked earlier this week.) When I asked how he obtained it, he said, “I have a friend who works behind the scenes in the organization. They sent it to me, and I believe they tried to hide taking the photo, which is why it is blurry.”
I can’t confirm that backstory, of course, but two things suggest that the photo is probably legitimate. First, a few hours after it was tweeted, the Royals had it taken down (but not before I had made a screen shot of it). And second, a retail T-shirt appears to show the same stylized “R” that’s shown on the sleeves of the jerseys in the newly leaked photo:
— T. Brooke Shannon (@sbtenney) April 20, 2022
So it’s probably legit. But I’m hoping it isn’t, because boy do those uniforms look like shit. We’ll find out soon enough, because the KC CC uni is due to make its on-field debut on April 30, so the unveiling has to happen soon.
Batter up: As I’ve mentioned several times this week, Uni Watch bats are now available from the Pillbox Bat Co. By coincidence, the Midco Sports Network just did a really nice story on Pillbox — great info on the two founders (who grew up playing Little League together), some footage of the bats being made at the Pillbox factory, and a lot more. If you were thinking about ordering one of our bats, this story will definitely make you feel good about who you’re buying it from. And even if you’re not interested in ordering, it’s a great video clip. Highly recommended!
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And so it begins: Yesterday I procured my first piece of purple clothing for the upcoming Purp Walk party in Denver. Mary still hasn’t stopped laughing about how I looked when I tried them on.
If you need to get caught up on the Purp Walk plans, everything’s spelled out here. Two important things to remember:
1. If you’ll be attending the party at Blake Street Tavern and want to enter the raffle for the free Rockies/Giants tickets, you must send an email to the raffle in-box by 8pm Eastern tonight. One email per person, and indicate in your email if you want one ticket or two tickets. (Sorry, no more than two.) Please do not enter this raffle unless you will be attending the party! I’ll notify the winners this weekend, and I’ll also notify the non-winners so they can buy tickets if they want.
2. If you’ll be attending the party and want to pre-order the shirt with the bonus logo on the back, you can do that here. Again, please don’t do that unless you plan to attend the party, because that’s where you’ll receive the shirt. We will not be mailing them or holding them for later pickup. Thanks!
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(Final?) Dove update: Based on what we’ve read, the baby doves should be ready to leave the nest this weekend. They certainly seem big and feathery enough to do so! We’ll be keeping a close eye on things over the next couple of days.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Longtime Guardians skipper Terry Francona wore an old Indians-era pullover during a press conference yesterday (from Don Delco). … The Atlantic League’s York Revolution have unveiled their 15th-season logo. … Karbach Brewery’s Crawford Bock beer has the best uni-based can design I’ve ever seen. All proceeds from purchases go to the Astros Foundation (from Mic Foley). … Here’s a rarity: a (mildly) pro-uni-ad piece from Washington Post columnist Candace Buckner, who goes on to make a bigger point that baseball’s entire culture is stuck in the past (thanks, Phil). … With the Quad City River Bandits hosting the Cedar Rapids Kernels at the Field of Dreams later this year, MiLB has revealed the throwback identities that the two teams will assume for the game: the Davenport Blue Sox and the Cedar Rapids Bunnies (from @HawkeyeWeirdAl).
Football News: UGA is reverting to block numbers on their unis, something I’m sure is welcome news to Bulldogs fans (from multiple readers). … With New England’s Pat Patriot throwbacks coming back next season, Pats S Jalen Mills posted a welcome sight on his Instagram account yesterday: a close-up of his throwback helmet (from multiple readers). … USFL punters and kickers will no longer use chip-embedded footballs, after concerns were expressed that the chips might be affecting the kicking game. Key quote: “All of our specialists will be kicking their own balls” (from our own Jerry Wolper).
Hockey News: The Penguins wore white at home against the Bruins last night (from multiple readers). … The Kraken wore green pregame jerseys on Wednesday night in support of the One Roof Foundation (from Wade Heidt).
Basketball News: Here’s a rendering of what the home court for Montreal’s team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League will look like (from Kary Klismet).
Soccer News: New second shirt for the NWSL’s Orlando Pride (thanks, Jamie). … Sticking in the NWSL, new kit and shirt ad for the Chicago Red Stars. Additional info on the shirt ad here (from Charlie Whiteman). … The following are all from Kary Klismet: Spanish side Real Betis has unveiled the kits they’ll wear for this Saturday’s Copa del Rey final (also from James Welham). … New kits for Inter de Madrid of Spain’s third-tier Primera División RFEF. … New away kits for G.D. Chaves of Portugal’s Segunda Liga.
Grab Bag: Teams in Australia’s National Rugby League will wear Anzac Day jerseys this weekend. Here are the designs for the Cronulla Sharks, Manly Sea Eagles, Canterbury Bulldogs, North Queensland Cowboys, Melbourne Storm, Canberra Raiders, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Sydney Roosters, Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Eels, and St. George Dragons (from Allan Jennings).
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What Paul did last night: A few weeks ago I was looking at the calendar page for a Brooklyn music venue and saw the photo shown above, which was promoting an upcoming show by a local band. I hadn’t heard of the band, but I was totally into the guy’s shirt, which looked like it would be a good addition to my collection of green plaid shirts. So I listened to some of the band’s music and found that I really liked it.
And that’s how I ended up spending last night with the Pre-War Ponies, a band that specializes in playing non-famous songs by famous 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s composers like Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin. They’ve been playing around town for about 15 years, and it turns out that we have a lot of friends in common, but for some reason I totally missed the boat on them until now. Thank god for that green plaid shirt!
One of their best tunes last night was their rendition of “Give Me the Moon Over Brooklyn” (originally recorded by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians):
Although Walter — the guy closest to the camera in my video — didn’t wear the green shirt, it was still a really swell way to spend a Thursday night (and since the Mets had already played in the afternoon, I didn’t even miss anything of consequence). The Ponies have a monthly residency at the club where I saw them, and I’ll definitely be back.
That’s it for me for this week. Enjoy Phil’s weekend content, stay well, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. Peace. — Paul