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10 Thirst-Quenching Facts About Gatorade

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Roadsidepictures, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

If you've ever stepped foot in a gym, grocery store, or sporting arena, then you've probably heard of Gatorade. The drink has been around for half a century and is now sold in over 80 countries, but how much do you know about the drink that changed sport culture and the way we treat dehydration?

1. IT WAS INVENTED TO HELP THE FLORIDA GATORS FOOTBALL TEAM STAY HYDRATED.

Jimmy Emerson, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This may seem like common knowledge to some, but in 2002, 60 percent of people surveyed had no idea that there was a connection between Gatorade and the University of Florida football program. After 20 football players were sent to the infirmary for dehydration in a single weekend during the 1960s, the college's coaching staff expressed concern about the health of the UF student athletes. They met with Dr. Robert Cade, who began experimenting on the players to develop a drink formula that would replenish the electrolytes lost during long periods of physical activity in the hot Florida sun.

2. IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE TO DEVELOP.

The first batch of Gatorade cost $43 to make back in 1965, which is approximately $325 when adjusted for inflation. After seeing the results of the “magic elixir,” head coach Ray Graves requested that more be produced, ”no matter what it costs.”

3. IT ORIGINALLY TASTED TERRIBLE, BUT PLAYERS DRANK IT ANYWAY.

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A researcher reportedly vomited after trying the experimental drink, and players said that it tasted like “bodily waste,” but they drank the product anyway for the health benefits. Eventually, Dr. Cade’s wife, Mary, suggested that they add lemon juice to the mixture to improve the taste.

4. THE SUPER DRINK SAVED LIVES AT A FLORIDA HOSPITAL DURING EARLY TESTS.

After being tested on football players, Gatorade was given to babies at the UF Health Shands Hospital who were being treated for dehydration. According to Dr. Cade’s daughter, Phoebe Cade Miles, “there used to be hundreds of babies admitted for severe dehydration, many of whom died, and this changed overnight.”

5. THE GATORADE SHOWER BEGAN AS A PRANK IN 1985.

Almost every big victory in the NFL today is celebrated with players dumping a cooler of ice-cold Gatorade on their coach. The person often credited as the pioneer of the Gatorade shower is New York Giants defensive tackle Jim Burt, who gave one to head coach Bill Parcells in 1985 after defeating the Washington Redskins.

6. MICHAEL JORDAN WAS THE FIRST CELEBRITY TO ENDORSE GATORADE.

Previously on Team Coca-Cola, Michael Jordan was offered $1.4 million per year for ten years in 1991 to be the face of Gatorade. “They had Elton John and Whitney Houston making millions, I don’t understand why they wouldn’t pay Michael the same,” said Jordan’s former agent, David Falk, about Coke. Jordan’s performance on the court, widely popular campaigns, and ads like the “Be Like Mike” commercial above made the partnership extremely profitable.

7. THEY SPONSOR EVERY SINGLE TEAM IN THE NFL.

The Kansas City Chiefs tried Gatorade in 1969 on recommendation from coach Grave from the Florida Gators. Fourteen years later, Gatorade became the official sports drink of the NFL and is currently the only company that sponsors all 32 teams in the league.

8. THERE WAS A GATORADE AND BEER CONCOCTION CALLED HOP'N GATOR.$_57.JPG

Dr. Cade sold a drink recipe to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, which sold the alcoholic beverage until the mid-1970s. Hop’n Gator was last produced in 2004 as a special batch of 10,000 barrels and has not been made since.

9. GATORADE ORANGE IS NOT THE SAME AS FLORIDA GATOR ORANGE.

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According to a 2009 Style Guide for the Gatorade “G Bolt” logo and related packaging, the official orange of Gatorade is number 1505 in the Pantone Matching System (PMS), but the lightning bolt has a red (PMS 185) outline that makes the orange appear lighter. [PDF] The shade of orange used by the University of Florida is PMS 172.

10. AN ESTIMATED 100 BILLION OUNCES OF GATORADE ARE SOLD EACH YEAR.

That's according to a 2005 estimate by ESPN.com business reporter and author of the First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat Into a Cultural Phenomenon, Darren Rovell. That much Gatorade could fill over 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
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Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

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