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Ask Me Anything: March 2023 Edition

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Good morning! The latest installment of “Ask Me Anything,” featuring my responses to lots of fascinating questions posed by Uni Watch readers, is now available over on Substack. And unlike most of my recent AMAs, this one isn’t paywalled — it’s freely available to all. You can check it out here — enjoy!



ITEM! Important Bacon Update

Remember yesterday’s post about the Hormel bacon that’s being smoked over wood remnants salvaged from the production of this year’s Final Four courts? I finally heard back from Hormel’s PR agency rep yesterday afternoon. She didn’t respond to most of my questions, but she did clarify a few things:

  • Connor Sports, which produces the courts, sent 100 pounds of wood to Hormel.
  • The remnants were 100% pure wood — no shellac, varnish, paint, or other contaminants that get added during the court production process.
  • As for the bacon’s flavor profile, especially when compared to Hormel’s regular bacon, she simply said the bacon is infused with “the rarefied smoke of real March hoops hardwood. We’ll leave it up to our fans to reveal if they can taste the glory.”

HOWEVER … I may soon be able to address that last question myself, because the PR rep offered to send me a pack of the bacon — an offer that I happily accepted.

So if all goes well, we may soon be conducting a little taste test here at Uni Watch HQ. I hereby pledge to approach it with my customary critical rigor. That will no doubt be an arduous undertaking, but such is my commitment to you, dear readers — and, verily, to the pursuit of truth itself — that clearly nothing less will suffice.

Stay tuned.



Speaking of the Hardcourt...

Oh man, I lovelovelove the cover of this week’s issue of The New Yorker, which features a stylized illustration of a Knicks/Bulls game. There’s a short Q&A with the illustrator, Sergio García Sánchez, here.



Too Good for the Ticker

Wow, there’s a lot going on with these uniforms! The photo is from a series of 1959 slides that Dell Michaels bought on eBay. The listing from the seller said, “US Army Football Game, OAC Orleans Area Command France.” I don’t really understand what that means, but the helmets do have “OAC” on the forehead area.

Here’s another shot:




Can of the Day

Hey look, the daily non-sports feature is actually sports-themed today! And what was inside the can? Something very un-baseball-related:

Note that the laces on the two sides of the baseball are oriented the same way, which is wrong — they should be going in opposite directions — but it’s still a really nice can design.

• • • • •

I’m going out to see my mom today. Play nice while I’m away, okay? Thanks. — Paul

Comments (18)

    Paul, presumably you are just going to cook that bacon (or some of it) plain to see if there is a difference? I’d have to imagine doing anything special to it would make it hard to pick up if there really is any special flavoring to it?

    Would be interesting if they got the 68 recipients to document what they did with the bacon.

    The side profile of that winged helmet looks pretty amazing.

    I will not trust the results of the bacon taste test unless it is done double-blind. ;)

    Seriously though, it’s bacon – it will not be bad. Meat candy!

    That New Yorker cover gets better the longer you look at it. Say what you will about it as art, but as craft, it’s spectacular. My brain hurts at how much planning it took to create that.

    Re: AMA

    I wish more pro teams used maroon! My high school uses maroon and Vegas gold as its school colors and they pair so well together. Plus being from Mass., I get to see BC a ton, and their unis always look good with the pairing (though I wish their maroon hockey sweaters had a little bit of white trim on them)

    I hope when my ‘Noles do their uni update before the 2023 football season to the next “template”, that we go back to our true garnet and gold.

    Paul- Thank you for your commitment – both to journalistic integrty and your mother.

    “What Paul Did Last Night” and all their iterations was appointment reading for me. You inspired me to get off the couch once in a while and try to explore the world in my immediate area. My pessimistic nature insists the ROI probably won’t pencil, but sometimes it does. I need more risk in my life. Keep it coming. Also, I nervously scrolled through your list of favorite 70’s TV shows worrying that you somehow missed out on the splendor that was Warren Coolidge but alas, there it was at the very end. I took it as a subtle exclamation point to your list – you never fail to miss a detail.

    I would like to add a vote for the return of “What Paul Did Last Night.” After passing the place hundreds of times, Paul’s mention of Hank’s Saloon gave me the nudge to check it out. Unfortunately it was close to their closing but I am glad I made the trip.

    Regarding teams who wear maroon (in Ask Me Anything), I’ll have to mention the same thing I always mention on that topic: THE ARIZONA FREAKING COYOTES. Not only do they wear maroon, they wear the exact same shade of it as the Avalanche, but for some reason they tend to get forgotten about. I often hear people say, for example, that the Avs have such a “unique” shade of red, when it is quite literally not unique – not even within the narrow context of the NHL.

    While I’m here, I’ll add that I think the “yellow/gold” issue is more than just marketing nonsense (to use Paul’s phrase). The shade of yellow that most sports teams wear (e.g., the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins) is on the orange side of the yellow range and very different from lemon yellow (which is much more rare in the sports uni-verse). In my mind, the term “gold” is used for the shades of yellow that tend toward orange at least partly because it does, in fact, resemble gold more closely than the paler “lemon-y” shades.

    Re the spring training photo:

    I am an aspiring photographer and in February I contacted 4 or 5 local high schools in hopes of taking 35mm film photographs of their Spring Training baseball players. Alas, none of the coaches or athletic directors called or wrote back, so the project remains undone.
    But those photos are pretty much exactly what I had in mind for them. Love it!
    Maybe next season!


    The Pittsburgh Penguins wore yellow helmets with their white uniforms for a couple of seasons in the 1980’s, so there’s at least one other instance (other than the ‘Canes) when a team wore a non-white helmet with their white uniforms.


    I absolutely adore your non-sports project pursuits. That is to say, if you have the time and passion you have an audience.

    Scott in Buffalo

    The question on band logos made me think of how south indian movie stars have their own title screens, and nicknames. They are their own “brand,” which is probably truer for big film industry celebrities than most bands – since most bands don’t make it big, but the lead actor in an action movie has sorta by definition made it big.

    I remember seeing a few colored helmets with white jerseys from the 70s, although a quick search gave me nothing…

    There’s always the Kings, I guess…

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