Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category
Back when I was a youngster in the United Kingdom, football kits were, by today’s standards, pretty simple. I grew up at a time that saw the last of the kits without company names across the front. And I grew up at a time when the goalkeeper wore the same shorts and socks as his teammates, he just had a green jersey to identify him. You’d occasionally see Dino Zoff in goal for Italy wearing a grey jersey, which was a revelation for my brain. Another, bigger, revelation was seeing Mexico wearing a green jersey at the 1978 World Cup. A whole team of goalkeepers!
During the entirely legitimate and in-no-way corrupt Concacaf Gold Cup a month or so ago, Mexico had no green jersey. They had a black jersey and a white jersey but no green jersey. Sad face. There was a point during the semi final against Panama, when I tweeted this:
Countries should redesign their flags every season like football teams.
— Craig Robinson (@flipflopflying) July 23, 2015
I soon designed a Danish flag that had elements of the 1986 World Cup jersey. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea to do more.
While this idea works best with international flags and jerseys, it’s kinda more pertinent, in my head, to club jerseys. We have to put up with Adidas or Nike or whoever choosing how something we care about looks. This is not a new issue, of course, and this is not a grumpy old man complaining that things were better when he was younger. Indeed, teams changed their kits pretty often in the olden days, I guess it just feels more corporate a thing now that we can actually buy them in shops, something our grandparents couldn’t do.
(That thing of things being better when you were young, though, is a moderately interesting topic, insomuch as it seems obvious that we all have a fondness for the kits in our early years of fandom. My favourite Liverpool kits? Late 70s, early 80s. What colour should Liverpool’s away kit be? Yellow, just like the early 80s one, the first LFC jersey I ever owned. My favourite England kit? The one they wore in the 1980 European Championships and the 1982 World Cup.)
If you look at the excellent Historical Football Kits, you will see team have been changing kits every few seasons for pretty much all time. It has, of course, ramped up in recent years, with most top teams having three new kits (home, away, and third) every damn season. The Seinfeld quote that everyone rolls out when talking about rooting for a team, that you are just rooting for laundry, well, the laundry in football now changes nearly as much as Top Shop’s inventory.
We football fans seem to care a lot about our chosen teams. People are, for better or worse, quite patriotic on the whole. Not sure that I particularly understand that way of looking at the world, but it is the case. So this wee project is just a way of kinda combining the two things to try and make it a bit clearer how the changing of kit designs is important to fans.
It should be noted that some countries can’t really be addressed because of their kit colours never being the same as their flag colours (Australia, Netherlands, or Italy, for example), and Brazil has never really messed about too much with the general concept that could be applied in an non-clunky way to their flags. On the other hand, this project could’ve easily been done solely looking at the (West) German kits over the years.
So, here’s fifteen of ’em: This Season’s Flags.
England, 1980 European Championships and 1982 World Cup
Denmark, 1986 World Cup
USSR, 1988 European Championships
West Germany, 1988 European Championships and 1990 World Cup
Ireland, 1990 World Cup
Sweden, 1992 European Championships
USA, 1994 World Cup
Switzerland, 1996 European Championships
France, 1998 World Cup
Scotland, 1998 World Cup
Nigeria, 2002 World Cup
Spain, 2006 World Cup
Argentina, 2014 World Cup
Portugal, 2014 World Cup
Mexico, 2014 World Cup
Last week, whilst watching the CONCACAF Copa Oro semi-final between México vs. Panamá I flipped off a tweet:
Countries should redesign their flags every season like football teams.
— Craig Robinson (@flipflopflying) July 23, 2015
It got me thinking.
So here, for want of a less 2003 word, is a “mash-up” of the Danish flag and Denmark’s jersey for the 1986 World Cup, one of the greatest jerseys, evs.
A new ongoing series of drawings of wrestlers. Here.
An update to last year’s GIF to include the 2015-16 season.
Not an infographic, rather an animation that uses data.
Basically, since the 1958-59 season, English football has had four top tiers. Prior to that, there were the first two divisions and two third divisions: a north division, and a south division. Since that season, of the 92 teams in those four divisions, between 11 and 14 of them have always been London-based teams.
This animation uses the places of those teams within the four tiers and the colours of those teams to create an animation. The longer a team is in a specific division, the closer to the edge of the circle that team is.
A quite pointless chart re the names of the five main professional sports leagues in the United States.
An update of a thing I did last year. Unsurprisingly, the update-y bit is just the addition of next season’s kit.
There’s a craft thingy here in Mexico done by the Huichol people, where they do really beautiful stuff with beads.
I have no desire to copy what they do, but I did like the idea of trying to create a pixel style based on Huichol beadwork.
Here are three football stadiums done in that style. All stadiums in cities that I have lived in.
Estadio Azul, Mexico City:
Sincil Bank, Lincoln:
See them bigger here:
I’ve been keeping a chart for a few years now, just noting down when I went to sporting events.
Here you go, waste a few seconds of your day looking at this rubbish, why don’t you?
2015, so far:
When I moved to Mexico City, I picked a team. There are three football teams in the city: Club América, Pumas, and Cruz Azul, all of whom play in the top division, the Liga MX. I looked at a map. Even though I’d seen América and Pumas play at their stadiums (Estadio Azteca and Estadio Olímpico, respectively) when I visited on holiday in 2008, I plumped for Cruz Azul, who were the closest team to where I was living at the time (and has been at all subsequent apartments). Pretty much everyone I know supports América or Pumas, but, that was fine. I liked the idea of supporting my most local team. It would also be disingenuous to pretend that I didn’t enjoy the idea of supporting the smallest team in the city, too. The fact that nobody I know supports Cruz Azul, though, made me a lot less inclined to go to the stadium. Until 2014. My girlfriend and I were looking for an apartment, and eventually found one just a block away from Estadio Azul, Cruz Azul’s stadium. My girlfriend is a Pumas fan. This new apartment was way better for my footballing interests than hers.
We are coming to the end of the regular season in Mexico. Well, it’s more complicated than that. I’ll explain. The 2014-15 season, as with previous seasons since the mid-nineties, is split in two. Before Christmas, there’s the Torneo apertura (opening tournament). This consists of each team playing every other team once, at home or away. After New Year, there’s the Torneo clausura (closing tournament). Same format here, just with teams playing the corresponding home or away fixture. After each of these tournaments, there’s a liguilla (little league). The liguilla is an eight team playoff. Essentially, quarter finals onwards. It’s a rubbish, overly complicated format for a season intended to make things more interesting. For me, Mr Logical Brain, it diminishes the achievement of being a champion if you can finish 8th over half a season, win a few playoff games and be the kings.
Anyway, last Saturday was the last home game for Cruz Azul in the Torneo apertura. After three seasons of not bothering to go to games, living around the corner has changed things drastically. Including cup games, I went to nine of eleven Cruz Azul home games. (I missed one when I was in Belize, and I missed one earlier in the season when I had food poisoning and really could not be too far from my own bathroom.) It’s been fun going to games. And it’s been fun to just go and buy a ticket from the stadium ticket office on the day of the game. Really, it’s the first time that I’ve regularly gone to see “my” football team since Lincoln City’s 1987-88 season.
It’s a relatively small stadium. 35,000 capacity, compared to Estadio Azteca (105,000) and Estadio Olímpico (69,000). Estadio Azul is interesting. Maybe not as pretty as Olímpico, or as impressive as Azteca, but I like that the pitch is below ground level. When you enter the stadium, you are at the front of top level of seating. From a living point of view, it means that the view from my window isn’t blocked by a big stadium, as Estadio Azul is about the same height as my third floor (fourth floor in American English) apartment.
It’s pretty cheap, too. Ignoring the cheapest section behind the goal where the hardcore fans go, you can get a ticket for 65 pesos (£3.02, €3.84, US$4.79). Unless–unless–it’s a local derby against América or Pumas. Then, the club puts the prices up. Well, that happens in England too, some games are more attractive, thus more expensive, than others. Here, though, with the Ticketmaster fee, that 65 peso ticket jumps to 423 pesos. About 650% of the normal price. Last Saturday was a local derby. Cruz Azul v. Pumas. What should be a game where the stadium is rammed full is a game where the stadium is half empty because of the price hike. It was a game with implications, too. The winner would more or less*eliminate any chance of the other team progressing to the liguilla.
I like being at Estadio Azul. I like that on match day, my street starts to fill up with stalls selling merchandise. I like that the street gets busier and busier as kickoff gets closer. I like hearing the hardcore fans, the porras, chanting and banging drums as they walk to the stadium. And I, of course, like being able to leave the apartment fifteen minutes before the game starts. There’s a far greater mix of men and women at Cruz Azul games than I’ve ever seen at games in Europe, and a mix of fans, too. Being the capital city, there are always fans of the opposing teams scattered around, even more so for local derbies. In my section up in the “cheap” seats, I’d say that about 30% of the fans were Pumas fans. Some of them alone, some of them mixed-team couples. Girlfriend and I would’ve been one of those mixed-team couples had she not had other plans.
As you enter the stadium, you are frisked. No belts allowed. That’s another benefit of living close: not having to traverse the city constantly tugging up my jeans. The Pumas section at one end of the ground was pretty much full early on. The Cruz Azul end of the ground not so much. Apparently, there had been some clashes with police outside the ground, which I assume accounts for that. The crappy PA played music. “Everybody Get Up” by 5ive. The cheerleaders (like yer proper NFL style cheerleaders) walked around the perimeter of the field to mucho whistling.
The breeze blew the smell of Domino’s pizza around. The vendors touted their wares. Like at baseball games, they bring beer and soft drinks and snacks to you. As game time approached, the big inflatables around the edge of the field were deflated. I kind of enjoy seeing those before the game. Four inflatable bottles (Tecate, Gatorade, Mexicola (a, er, Mexican cola), and Boing (a fruity drink)), and a couple of inflatable cement bags. Cruz Azul, you see, is sponsored and named after a cement company of the same name.
The match itself wasn’t so great for Cruz Azul fans. It reminded me of last season’s Liverpool v. Chelsea game (albeit at a much lower quality level). The home team looked by far the most dangerous, with the visitors content to defend (well) and hope to nick a goal. And Pumas did nick a goal, with the help of some awful linesmanship. A ball went out of play for a corner or goal kick (not sure who touched the ball last) but the Pumas player kicked it back onside, and from that, they scored. Cruz Azul continued pressing to equalise, but the Pumas keeper was having a great game. After a Cruz Azul player was sent off with half an hour to go, they continued attacking, but it was obvious that nothing was gonna happen, and in injury time, Cruz Azul got caught out in defence and there you go, the Battle of the Mediocre Mexico City Teams ended 2-0. The other Mexico City team, Club América, are top of the league and looking really strong. Considering how they’ve performed, they really should win the liguilla.
There’s one more away game left, but Cruz Azul need to win and for four teams to all not win to make it into the liguilla. But, they don’t deserve to be there. They’ve lost six of sixteen games, and not won a single away game all season. But, I’m looking forward to the Torneo clausura starting up again in January, and getting back to the stadium every other Saturday. It’s nice to be a regular.
Not really an infographic, but here’s something about Derek Jeter.
This week’s post for NotGraphs is a short story called “October 27, 2011″ set during game 6 of the Cardinals-Rangers World Series. http://www.fangraphs.com/not/october-27-2011