The Dark (Under)Side
Meanwhile, a small mystery is brewing over in the National League, where the Astros, like most MLB teams, wear gray undervisors. But over the past month or so, 'Stros pitcher Brandon Backe's undervisor has been black, a color normally worn only by the Angels (for details on why, look here), Rangers (although their undervisors are sometimes gray), and Mariners (ditto).

So what's the deal with Backe's cap? The folks at New Era claim to know nothing about it, and Uni Watch's inquiries to the Astros were met with the cryptic reply that it's a "team secret." Got inside info on this one and wanna go down as the uni equivalent of Deep Throat? Skip the whole meet-in-the-garage routine and just cut to the chase.

Uni News Ticker
It isn't exactly news to point out that more and more NFL players are shortening their pant legs, but check out Dre Bly -- he's practically wearing biker shorts! … The increasingly ubiquitous Red Cross logo has now moved to baseball gloves. … When the NHL season opened on Oct. 5, neither the Rangers nor Devils had named a captain. So instead of having one player wearing a "C" and two alternates wearing the "A," both teams had three "A"-adorned players. … Very odd situation unfolding in Milwaukee, where the Brewers have signed on as a sponsor for the minor league Milwaukee Admirals hockey team. Since minor league hockey clubs wear ad patches, the net result is that we've got a hockey team wearing a baseaball team's logo, apparently the first time this kind of cross-sport branding has taken place. … Everyone knows the MLB logo appears on jerseys, caps, undershirt collars, catchers' gear, umpiring attire, the bases, the ball, and probably a few other places. But until seeing this photo of Andy Pettitte, Uni Watch had never seen the logo on a player's shoes. … As about a jillion readers helpfully pointed out, Joel Dreessen of the Jets wasn't actually wearing a white waistband in this photo -- he just had his green waistband flipped down, thereby exposing its underside, a fairly common practice. … Miami will wear 1967 throwback uniforms -- the first throwback design in the school's history -- on Oct. 29. … The Celtics reportedly have a set of black-accented alternate unis on the drawing board for the upcoming season. … Syracuse went without player nameplates against UConn on Oct. 7, reportedly because the dye in the jerseys had bled during laundering and the replacement jerseys from Nike didn't have names (although reader Colin Kelly sees other forces at work: "Based on the way the Orange have been playing lately, I'd want some anonymity too"). … Tim Rogers suggests a new NHL drinking game: "Every time you see a Reebok logo [on the boards along the red line and blue lines, say] you have to shotgun a Molson. They're all over the place!" … The off-ice hockey officials -- the penalty timekeeper, the goal judge, and so on -- rarely get any uni-related attention, but check out this report from the front by Paul Arena: "While attending the Devils/'Canes game the other night, I noticed that the off-ice officials have been given new blazers with the new silver-and-black, reverse-sloped NHL logo, but they were still wearing the old orange logo neckties and pullover sweaters. Looked pretty bad." It's hard to imagine an NHL logo necktie looking good under any circumstances, but Arena's point is well taken. … The Edmonton Oilers retired Paul Coffey's No. 7 on Oct. 17. And in an interesting move, everyone on the team wore a "7" patch on their right shoulder for that night's game. … Logo Creep Alert: It's becoming increasingly obvious that Nike won't be satisfied until the entire nation is one big swoosh. For the latest evidence, check out Oregon's thigh pads and the Michigan hockey team's knees. … More corporate sportswear stupidity: An Arkansas State basketball player has essentially been suspended from the team because he refuses to wear adidas sneakers, which the team is contractually obligated to wear. … The Sacramento Kings have unveiled their new alternate jerseys, and boy are they a disaster. More details on this and other basketball developments in Uni Watch's upcoming NBA season-preview column, slated for Nov. 1. … Speaking of the NBA, Andrei Kirilenko of the Jazz has been wearing a mask in preseason games. … Stop the presses, someone snuck an unauthorized piece of equipment into an NFL game! That news comes courtesy of photojournalist Carleton Hall, who was working the Browns/Ravens game on Oct. 16 when he alertly snapped this photo of Ravens safety Ed Reed wearing a University of Miami armband. … In yet another NFL uni modification, Jon Stiffler notes that Brett Favre had a small handwritten squiggle on the back of his helmet, just to the left of the stripe, on Oct. 9. Initials? A number? Packers spokesperson Maria Heim says, "The equipment manager said he didn't know anything about it." Big surprise. So how about asking Brett? "We're working on it." Sigh. When will these team publicists start treating uni matters seriously? … The Chargers wore their early-'60s powder blue throwbacks on Oct. 10, resulting in the annual flood of "Why don't they wear it full-time?" e-mails. It's a great look, natch (and management gets bonus points for using vintage logos on the field and end zone), but Uni Watch would love to see them honor the late-'60s version of the design, which had yellow pants. … The Patriots misspelled Amos Zereoue's name on his jersey as "Zereuoe" on Sunday.


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