Monday, May 25, 2015

Great Britian Kits

I was looking at some soccer concepts the other day and it made me somewhat self conscious. I know I can make some good concepts, but maybe my template could be better? My template is by far the most used template I've ever made, but it just needed a face lift.

I tried last week to make the template, but got frustrated and quit. Then I was at Ross and found one of my top 5 favorite kits of all time, the USA "Where's Waldo" hooped kits. I immediately bought it with no regrets. Today, I finally decided to take the new jersey and lay it out and try my best to replicate it. I started with my old template and made the following Nike template. Then, I went ahead and used some reference pics from my friend Gus to do the Adidas kits.

I wanted to release the kits, but wanted to test them first. I originally was going to put the 4 teams of Great Britain on a new Nike photoshop template and go from there, but I decided that this would be a great way to do those concepts.

England is really simple. I replaced the blue from the current kit, with red and made it Nike. The rest are various Adidas jersey. Northern Ireland has a chest bar, Wales has pinstripes, and Scotland has a cross. In honor of the EPL finishing today, I put players who I had on my fantasy team at some point this year on the jersey.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

1973 World Baseball Cup

This was a big event for the WBC. Venezuela was the first host in South America, showing a sign of growth for the sport of baseball. Dave Concepcion was the face of Venezuelan baseball, and he did all he could to promote the event. In the 1972 qualifying, two teams were added from the last version. Cuba was once again reinstated, but by a baseball fan in Miami from Cuba. The team would be based out of Miami, and would compete in the North American division from now on. It gave MLB players a chance to play for their country of origin, and the WBC would get another team to compete, and wouldn't have to deal with upsetting any of their democratic allies. The team was weak in 1972 due to the small player pool, and wouldn't qualify for the tournament. Israel began competing in the World division, with a big amount of their players being Jewish minor leaguers. When all said and done, the same 8 teams made the tournament for the 3rd straight time.

Two teams really shocked the world in this tournament. Going into the tournament, The USA and Venezuela were considered favorites. The Venezuelans lost to Japan in the opener, but salvaged group play with 2 wins. But the Canadians went on to beat the Dominicans and Japanese to advance to the knock out round for the first time. The USA and Panama emerged as the two best teams in Group B. The Panamanians were able to beat the USA in the 3rd game of group play, thanks to a big traveling fan base. Puerto Rico had a hard time coping with the loss of Roberto Clemente, and only one the final game against Mexico.

The USA and Venezuela fought in the first round, and the Venezuelans overpowered the Americans and assured that there would be a new champion crowned. Panama played Canada and won, setting up a Concepcion vs Carew final. The hometown Venezuelans won in Caracas, earning their first and only championship.

The 70s marked a new era of uniforms. Pull over shirts and stretchy pants loosened up the jerseys. Some teams carried over the previous look onto a new style, those are Canada, Mexico, and Panama. The rest almost completely rebrand. The Dominicans went to navy from the royal blue they had been wearing. Japan went with pinstripes and new logos. The Puerto Ricans wore their infamous "spoon" uniforms, complete with a tri-color cap. The USA also had tri-color caps with the uniforms they would wear the next 5 tournaments, one of the most iconic looks in WBC history. Finally, the host and champions made their uniforms more colorful and nationalistic with maroon and the flag colors.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

1969 World Baseball Cup

For the first time, the WBC returned to a country for the 2nd time. With the success of the MLB, and the stadium infrastructure, the USA was bound to host another soon. The driving force behind the host cities of Houston and Dallas was the new Astrodome. Climate controlled, and modern. The Arlington stadium had been renovated from 10k to 35k in anticipation for a Major League Baseball l team to move to the Dallas area. The stadium, would host the Texas Rangers starting in 1972.
The USA got the automatic bid for the tournament. The only team added was the United Kingdom, which currently holds the record for most qualifying appearances without a single World Baseball Cup appearance. Japan dominated the World Division, which wasn't good for the game. South Korea, Chinese Taipei, and the Philippines were rumored to starting a Pacific Division for the Japanese, but the IBF said the results for the Japanese would be similar to the ones they experience in Europe. Italy and Nicaragua's attempts to qualify for their first would be thwarted by a dominant Mexico side.

The same 8 teams from Mexico 65 qualified for the 1969 tournament. With the Cubans out of the IBF, the gap between the 8th and 9th best teams was pretty wide. The hosts had Panama, Canada, and Venezuela in their group, and rinsed the competition. Despite future hall of famers Rod Carew and Ferguson Jenkins on their teams, Panama and Canada were eliminated. World Home Run champion Shadharu Oh hit 5 home runs in the group stage. His record of 6 World Baseball Cup home runs in a tournament, and 14 over his career held for almost 30 years. Japan and Puerto Rico advanced past Mexico and the Dominican in Arlington. This was Roberto Clemente's last tournament before he died in 1971. He remained the leading hitter in tournament history until 2009 when Ichiro passed his record. 

The Americans matched up against rival Puerto Rico and won 3-1. Japan ousted the Venezuelans as well. In the final, the Japanese held the United States to 2 runs, but only scored 1 in the 3rd championship for the United States.

No changes, but this was the last tournament before pullovers and elastic pants.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1965 World Baseball Cup

Mexico would host the 1965 version of the tournament. Both groups would take place in and around the capital of Mexico city. But no one was certain to make it other than the Mexican team. This version of qualifying was the first to include European teams. The IBF held European championships to judge the skill in Europe. The Dutch and Italians dominated the competitions, and Spain got a bid to join the big qualifying, despite only making it once in 2013. The Japanese, still without a regional opponent just yet, would play in the new "World" division. Just like every one imagined, they dominated the group, with the Dutch advancing to the playoffs against Canada and Colombia. Canada stopped the teams trying to make a bid to their first tournament, making the same 8 teams as 1961 moving on to Mexico.

Group A would play in Mexico City. Puerto Rico won the group. The home team rallied around great pitching to advance to their first knockout stage. The Americans had a lot of support in the much smaller stadium in Aguascalientes. They advanced to another knockout round. The biggest upset may have been a win for the Venezuelans over Japan. Many people say that this was the most competitive the tournament has ever been. Mexico couldn't stop the American bats in the semi final. The Puerto Ricans won and set up a rematch of 1961. Roberto Clemente lead Puerto Rico in a 5 run 4th inning, winning their second straight tournament over the USA.

There were 3 teams that changed their looks. Canada introduced the current flag in February of 1965, and the Canadian Baseball Association made a quick change to the C logo on the uniforms. In anticipation of hosting the tournament. The infamous "Mexcellent" font used in the 1968 Olympics, and 1970 World Cup. Finally, Puerto Rico updated their uniforms slightly to match the Pirates' uniforms that Clemente wore at the time. Finally, the USA went with a vest uniform version of their previous uniforms in anticipation for a warm Mexican climate.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

1961 World Baseball Cup

The third tournament was awarded to what many people considered the 3rd strongest baseball nation. The games would be split between the newly built Estadio Hiram Bithorn in San Juan, and the Estadio Francisco Montaner in Ponce. Hiram Bithorn is one of 4 stadiums that have hosted group play twice.

The qualifying was a major talking point in 1960. The year prior saw the WBC staple Cubans turn communist. Dwight D Eisenhower wrote a letter to the IBF president to ban the Cubans from competing, especially since Major League Baseball has such a voice in the IBF, and would be hosting the tournament some time in the near future. The Cubans were given an indefinite ban. Elsewhere, the Nicaraguans put together a national team in an attempt to qualify for the 1961 tournament. The North American and Latin American teams that finish last in their group would be matched up with Japan in the playoff. Japan was without a confederation, and the best option was to travel and play in a play in game.

The tournament saw the two favorites matched up in Group A. The host Puerto Rican team couldn't slow the American bats in an 8-1 win to open. The Americans went on to set the record for runs scored in group play. In Group B, Japan was the only team that finished with a different record than 1-2. Canada, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic beat up on eachother, with the Dominican's advancing on runs scored. The Americans looked unstoppable when they beat the Dominicans 10-2 to advance to the finals, a rematch with the Puerto Ricans. The Puerto Ricans held the US to 3 runs, and hit a walk off bloop single to become the first team outside of the USA to win the World Baseball Cup.

Only a few changes uniform wise. The Venezuelans would be wearing their pinstripes with the V cap logo on the chest. The Dominicans went with a weird uniform, that inspired the Seattle Pilots 8 years later. Finally, after being asked by the IBF officials, the Japanese decided to put "Japan" on the chest of their jersies. They dropped the piping and made the road uniforms a sand color.