For most people, the initials “CIA” refer to, you know, the CIA — the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington. But for those of us of a more gastronomic bent, “CIA” refers to the Culinary Institute of America, whose main campus is in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, about two hours north of Manhattan.

The CIA describes itself, probably accurately, as “The World’s Premier Culinary College.” Until yesterday, however, it never occurred to me that the CIA has something most other colleges also have: a basketball team.

I learned that from this fascinating article about the team, which is called the Steels — a reference to the sharpening steels that chefs use to keep their knives in good working order:

The Steels’ uniforms are pretty pedestrian. On the plus side, though, no maker’s marks, at least that I can see. Also of note: The team appears to be coed, at least judging by the team portrait (click to enlarge):

The basketball team is part of what the article describes as “one of the country’s most unlikely athletic departments.” In addition to the hoops squad, the CIA also has soccer, cross country, tennis, and volleyball teams. Naturally, I approve of the color scheme:

The CIA is not part of the NCAA. Its teams compete in The Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, a 10-school conference that’s part of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (formerly the endearingly named National Little College Association).

Finally, here’s a great little bonus factoid: The “Pedestrian Crossing” signs on the CIA campus show the standard design of silhouetted figure — wearing a chef’s toque (click to enlarge):

And now you can all make your various jokes about how they must have a great pregame meal spread, how the head coach’s assistant is probably called a sous coach, and so on. Go on, knock yourselves out.

(My thanks to John Fitzgerald for the Steels team portrait.)

• • • • •

Fun with AP Style: Associated Press assistant sports editor Oskar Garcia fielded questions on Twitter yesterday concerning various vexing issues of sports-related style and usage. Among the most interesting revelations: Schools that can be referred by their initials on first reference are BYU, UCLA, LSU, UTEP, UNLV, SMU, and TCU. Schools that should be spelled out on first reference but can be called by their initials on second reference include UCF, USF, USC, FIU, FAU, UTSA, ULM. (I’m surprised UNC didn’t make either list.)

Also: When referring to runs batted in, plural, it’s “RBIs” (not “RBI”). And in football, it’s “fourth-and-7” — spelled out for the down, numeral for the distance. Yes, that seems confusing. Style rules are like that sometimes.

(Thanks to Ed Bauza for letting me know about this one.)

• • • • •

Holiday T-shirt reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, we’ve launched three new designs that are not technically part of the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club (no sleeve patch, no month designation) but are very much in keeping with the spirit of the project. Take a look (click to enlarge):

Each of these three designs — “Vertically Arched,” “Radially Arched,” and the plain script with nothing on the back — is available in all three colors shown (white, black and grey). In addition, each design and color is available in three formats: short-sleeved tee, long-sleeved tee, and sweatshirt. Plus the plain script design is also available as a hoodie with pockets. So if you tally up the three designs times the three colors times the three formats plus the hoodie option, you get 30 possible combinations. I absolutely do not recommend that you try to collect ’em all, but maybe you’ll like one or two of them.

These shirts are available here. They’ll be offered for three weeks — up until Dec. 9 — which means they’ll deliver in time for Christmas.

Meanwhile: If you ordered all 12 of the T-Shirt Club designs and qualify for the year-end prize (which, in case you missed it earlier, will be an embroidered patch featuring this design), please prove that you’ve collected ’em all by either (a) taking a photo of all 12 shirts or (b) taking screen shots of your 12 order-confirmation emails from Teespring and putting the 12 shots into a folder. Then email the photo or the folder to TshirtClubProof@gmail.com (please note that this is a new address — do not send your proof to the regular Uni Watch email address), and be sure to include your mailing address so I know where to mail the patches once they’re ready to go.

• • • • •

Key Ring Stories reminder: In case you missed it a few days ago, I’m accepting photos and stories for a new project about the things that people keep on their key rings. This should be a really fun project for everyone — full details here.

• • • • •

I don’t usually do this, but I think yesterday’s Uni Watch post was really, really good. Also lots of fun. Many readers seemed to agree. If you missed it, I urge you to check it out here.

• • • • •

Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

Last week Paul had that entry about the Blue Jackets’ gameday posters, and that got me thinking: Have you ever collected and displayed sports posters? If so, what are some of your favorites from over the years?

Though I didn’t own any, the Costacos Brothers made some iconic posters in the 1980s and ’90s. I currently hang this Mitchell & Ness NBA throwbacks mini-poster at my desk at work.

How about you? Post your answers in today’s comments.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: New logos and uniforms for the Syracuse Chiefs. And here are the new hats (from @akanefive and Matt Bowman). … The Harrisburg Senators are bringing back their Uncle Slam alternate cap (from Joseph Matlock). … The Yankees’ Phil Rizzuto used to keep bubble gum on his cap’s squatcho/ee. A hat that he wore during the 1952 World Series at the Yankee Stadium museum still has a wad on it (from Jeff Jacobs).

Pro and College Football News: Virginia Tech will wear white pants to honor the 1987 team, which was the first year for retiring coach Frank Beamer. … Washington will wear white-over-white against Oregon State. … Yesterday we had a mention of an Illinois fan dressed as Red Grange. Here’s more information on that (from Kevin Olivett). … Fenway Park’s scoreboard is set for Saturday’s Irish/BC game. … The package design on this Michigan uniform costume will surely hurt sales (from Josh Sandin). … Timothy Harendt sends in two old ticket stubs from Hardin-Simmons, a small private school in Texas. The top photo is from a 1959 game against Auburn, which Timothy says was the first time Aubie appeared on the game program. The bottom pic is from a 1951 game against Arizona. … When Bills players make local charity appearances, they wear NNOB jerseys. What’s up with that? … Jags safety Sergio Brown likes his Color Rash uni, which he’ll wear in tonight’s gold-vs.-blue game against the Titans (from Phil).

Hockey News: Yesterday, Paul wrote that the NHL will have four teams for the All-Star Game this year. Even considering that, the league will only use two uniform designs. Not sure how that’s going to work. … Edmonton International Airport has a great Oilers display at its baggage carousel. … Star Wars jerseys for the Milwaukee Admirals. … And, Star Wars jerseys for the Vancouver Giants (from Ryan Houdayer). … And again, Star Wars helmets for the Omaha Lancers (from Oliver Pérez). … The Toledo Walleye will wear jerseys for 8-Bit Night this Saturday. … The 1912 Glasgow Black Foxes had some seriously cool sweaters (from Will Scheibler).

Basketball News: Magic players wear their Twitter handles as NOBs on their warm-up/bench tops. Do all teams do this? … This page shows every Milwaukee Bucks team photo. … Bucks F Jabari Parker shaved his afro. … Wofford wore sleeved jerseys against UNC last night (from Craig Kirkpatrick). … Gonzaga and Northern Arizona went turquoise-vs.-yellow last night. The turquoise was Gonzaga’s N7 uniform (from David Tobias). … Western Kentucky wore their new red unis for the first time last night (from Josh Claywell).

Soccer News: Here’s a look at the NASL’s Team America, a club from the early 1980s that wore red-and-white horizontally striped jerseys (from Benjamin Brown and Phil). … Paris Saint-Germain will wear jerseys with “Je Suis Paris” embroidered on them (from Phil). … A self-financed Italian football team is named after the 1998 Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski. The club also uses the Dude’s face as a logo (thanks, Saurel Jean). … Unusual palm tree-themed jersey for the Central Coast Mariners (from Terry Mark).

Grab Bag: A Canadian skier will have a vicious panda bear painted on his helmet for the World Cup downhill races. The design was created by a 10-year-old, and the helmet will be auctioned off after the event to raise money for pediatric liver research (from Phil). … Sports teams aren’t the only ones who wear flag-based designs: A Muslim woman appearing on Fox News yesterday wore a stars/stripes hijab (from A.J. Frey). … Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum is holding a Lilic-themed T-shirt design contest (from Brian Mazmanian). … New logo for the town of Waukee, Iowa. … Louisiana Tech signed a five-year deal with Adidas. The school’s various teams previously all had separate deals with different manufacturers. … Darren Read has saved all of his ticket stubs over the past 35 years or so and has created framed montages out of them. I really enjoy all the Expos tickets.


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