Geek Culture – No Mas Apparel

I am addicted to t-shirts. I’ve got it bad. My collection has started to spill over to a third drawer. No Mas Apparel really isn’t helping things.

The thrill of victory and the ecstasy of defeat… Founded by ex-journalist and childhood sports monomaniac, Chris Isenberg, No Mas makes sports inspired art, apparel and media equally devoted to the “the thrill of victory and the ecstasy of defeat.” The brand got its start in 2004, when Isenberg began to create t- shirts for himself and friends which referenced iconic moments in sports and celebrated his childhood athletic heroes. After receiving a steady stream of compliments, protests, and requests to purchase on the street, he began offering limited run pieces to Nom de Guerre and Union in New York under the brand No Mas. From its inception, No Mas was something between a streetwear brand and an art project, as Isenberg was especially focused on what the New York Times Magazine called “the deeper meaning of sports”.

Made of the world’s most buttery terrycloth in Turkey, famous for its towels and bathrobes, this “MUHAMMAD ALI – WORLD CHAMPION” robe has a butterfly and a bee design embroidered on the cuffs of the sleeves to symbolize Muhammad Ali’s famous fighting verse, “Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee”! When the hood is pulled up and the belt is cinched it, we must warn you that this robe has been known to cause spontaneous shadowboxing and a powerful temptation to widen the definition of appropriate occasions to wear a bathrobe. If you are caught “accidentally” wearing it out of the house, simply throw your hands in the air and shout:”I shook up the world! I am the greatest! I’m king of the world! I’m pretty! I’m pretty! I’m a bad man!”

Are there any more plaintive words in the American baseball vernacular than “Say it ain’t so, Joe”? The story of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Black Sox is the ultimate American sports fable of innocence corrupted. As the button that inspired this t-shirt suggests, long after Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis issued his fateful lifetime ban, many continued to believe that it simply wasn’t so, that the great Shoeless Joe was innocent of conspiring to throw the 1919 World Series and should therefore take his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. An argument can be made on both sides, and yet, like so much of baseball history, fact in this case is now utterly confounded with mythology. Today the yearning for Joe Jackson’s reinstatement seems not so much concerned with rehabilitating a single player’s reputation as resurrecting an entire way of life—American baseball pastoral—which much like Shoeless Joe himself was banished by forces beyond its control.

Oh, Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy…1989 Fleer Billy Ripken baseball card.  Someone writes “f**kface” on the bottom of his bat before he poses for the card. The joke continues over twenty years later.

In the great whodunnit debate over this most precious of error cards, we say the wound was self-inflicted. How else would he have known to hold the bat so perfectly straight for the camera. The self-degradation provided the perfect cover for what may be the ultimate baseball prank.  Fleer subsequently rushed to correct the error, and in their haste, released versions in which the text was scrawled over with a marker, whited out with correction fluid, and also airbrushed. On the final, corrected version, Fleer obscured the offensive words with a black box (this was the version included in all factory sets). Both the original card and many of the corrected versions have become collector’s items as a result. There are at least ten different variations of this card. Years later, Ripken admitted to having written the expletive on the bat; however, he claimed he did it to distinguish it as a batting practice bat, and did not intend to use it for the card. In the same letter, he expressed the opinion that Fleer was well aware of the obscenity, and not only retained but made it even clearer, hoping to benefit from the publicity the card would no doubt receive.

Still talking baseball cards. Donruss had  for the top prospects each year.  Here is your opportunity to be a Rated Rookie. Now that you’re actually a journeyman pinch-hitter who could be placed on waivers at any moment, won’t it be funny to wear this around the clubhouse? n 1984, Donruss released what some collectors consider one of the greatest baseball card sets of all time. In addition to 26 Diamond Kings—a subset of cards depicting a star player from every team—the 660-card set included 20 Rated Rookies, a new subset that highlighted a crop of promising young players selected by New York Daily News writer Bill Madden. The Rated Rookie would become a staple of the Donruss brand for years to come. A few of the original Rated Rookies lived up to the hype, while others look silly in hindsight. Many of the 20 Rated Rookies that constitute cards 27-46 of the 1984 Donruss checklist fell somewhere in between. Here are their stories. Donruss introduced the flashier Rated Rookie logo, the one most collectors associate with the brand, in 1985, and used it through 1993. Rated Rookies were included in Donruss’s baseball sets until the company lost its MLB license in 2005. Today, the Rated Rookie label lives on in Panini Donruss’s sets of NFL and NBA cards.

Tecmo Bowl  is an arcade game developed and released in 1987 by Tecmo. While moderately successful in the arcades, the game became and remained widely popular and remembered when it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1989. The NES version was considered by many to be the first NES American football game to feature real NFL teams and players. Tecmo Bo(wl)….You cannot stop him. You cannot contain him. You can only hope to tape his goal to goal to goal and back to goal runs with your newfangled VCR, wait twenty years and then upload the video to youtube and forward it to your friends. Here’s actual video of Bo Jackson running 99 yards and takes out a full quarter of game clock. Tecmo Super Bowl turned 20 on Dec. 13 2011 For all of its quirks, exploits, and cartooned shortcomings, Tecmo Super Bowl is the progenitor of modern simulation sports video gaming. The original John Madden Footballfeatured 11 players on each side. The originalTecmo Bowl, from 1989, had only nine, but they were still players from the real-world league. Not until Tecmo Super Bowl did a football game, or any sports video game, feature a complete league with fully accurate names and rosters, licensed by the league and players it sought to emulate.

The ball used in the game was invented by David N. Mullany at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1953 when he designed a ball that curved easily for his 12-year-old son. It was named when his son and his friends would refer to a strikeout as a “whiff“. A classic wiffle ball is about the same size as a regulation baseball, but is hollow plastic no more than 1/8 inch thick. One hemisphere is perforated with eight .75-inch (19 mm) oblong holes, with a solid second hemisphere. This construction allows pitchers to throw a tremendous variety and size of curveballs, sinkers, and risers. Wiffle balls are typically packaged with a hollow, hard plastic, yellow bat that measures 32 inches (810 mm) in length and about 1.25 inches (32 mm) in diameter. The game of wiffleball, which sprang from the invention of the popular wiffle ball, became popular as a backyard, sandlot and picnic game in the 1960s and 1970s. Since 1980, the game has also exploded as an organized sport, with many successful leagues and tournaments now played across the United States and as far away as Spain. These competitions have been known to draw dozens of teams or more, typically consisting of two to five players per team, with widely varying rules and field dimensions.

Today the game is played by millions; from formative swings with the yellow bat at the white ball to ferocious hacks at nasty curves in competitive leagues. Over a half century since it was born, WIFFLE is still 100% family-owned, 100% Made-In-The USA, and 100% faithful to the ultimate backyard dream come true. n April 2011, the government of New York state proclaimed that wiffle ball (as well as kickballfreeze tag, and dodgeball) were unsafe and a “significant risk of injury” for children and declared that any summer camp program that included two or more of such activities would be subject to government regulation. The story often became a source of ridicule and amusement, with sarcastically commented “According to new legislation introduced in New York State, to survive classic schoolyard games like Capture the Flag is to cheat death.”The Mullany family originally thought the ordeal was a “joke” at first. The company has never been sued over safety issues in its 50+ year history. The disapproval of people from across the nation pressured the NY legislature to remove wiffle ball and many other entries from the list of high risk activities that require state government oversight such as archery and SCUBA diving



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