Category Archives: sports

The double play

It’s hard to explain the attraction of Baseball to a non-fan (though not as hard as cricket), but there’s something about the precision and slow construction/destruction of an inning. Like the double-play as explained by this graphic on Eephus League:

There is little on this earth that I love more than the double play; when executed well it’s as graceful and smooth as any ballet and it whispers “There is order amidst all the chaos.”

Sports Logorama

Watching Rooney’s overhead stunner got me thinking again about corporate sponsorship, and the strange fact that the USA of all places seems to be the sole bastion of logo-less jerseys. In the UK, often the only way you can tell Man Utd and Arsenal apart is by the gigantic advert plastered across the jerseys. Australian sports are the same, though the jerseys themselves tend to be more individual.

Compare that to the US, where even the matter of a tiny Nike swoosh can cause pages of outrage. Strangely, the land of the free and home of ultra capitalism has got it right*, and the rest of the world is wrong. From the linked article:

Let’s start with a simple premise that I think everyone here can agree with: Uniforms are special. They serve as the primary bond between fan and team. Players come and go, yet we keep rooting for (or against) that uniform, no matter who wears it.

That’s exactly right. Just look how quickly Chelsea fans swooped up Torres jumpers after his defection from Liverpool. The trouble is these shirts are totally spoilt by ginormous corporate logos. Who wants to ponce about in Aon logo kit, or decked out in Omega Pharma-Lotto cycling gear, advertising reinsurance & pharmaceutical companies?

Case in point: I pulled out my old Arsenal jersey with the Dreamcast sponsorship, and my nephews didn’t even realise it was Arsenal. Sigh. Whereas there’s no mistaking a Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks or Bears top: the only branding is the team and years of tradition.

After cycling, Rugby League teams may be the worst offenders. Front, back, butt, sleeve, sock, and shoe logos paint the logorama picture. The only teams to escape that fate to some extent are St George (sponsored by a bank of the same name - though there’s a great ambush marketing opportunity there for some other bank), and the Mighty Bears back in the days they were so desperate that they were sponsored by their own Leagues Club. Genius.

* Except when it comes to stadium naming. For example, Candlestick Park became 3Com Park for a while, and various other stadium naming atrocities abound. Ugh.

‘hut-two-three…ugh!’

George Plimpton tries 5 plays as QB for the Detroit Lions in 1964:

“Set!” I called out, my voice loud and astonishing to hear, as if it belonged to someone shouting into the ear holes of my helmet, “16, 66, 55, hut one, hut two, hut three,” and at “three” the ball slapped back into my palm. The lines cracked together with a yawp and smack of pads and gear, and I had the sense of quick, heavy movement as I turned for the backfield. Not having taken more than a step, I was hit hard from the side, and as I gasped, the ball was jarred loose.

67 yard rumble

Marshawn Lynch’s crazy game winning 67 yard rumble, with an all time “don’t argue” stiff arm. Note Hasselbeck, Seattle’s quarterback, is right there in the end zone at the end of the run, having (along with the rest of the offensive line) followed the play down field and blocked for their playoff lives.