by Phil Hecken, and UW Design Expert, Paul Soto
Well. “Pretty Boy” Paulie Soto is back with a fresh batch of incredible stuff. And I do mean incredible. If MLB ever needed some design changes to the alternates, or some fresh new looks, the designs that follow would be a good start. If you don’t remember Paul’s earlier work, you can look here and here, where I had commissioned Paul to create “fauxbacks” and some “home/road flips.” Truly amazing stuff. I asked Paul to continue with his efforts at reinventing MLB uniforms, this time by creating alternate and new uniforms, some entirely new, and some with some tweaks. He didn’t disappoint. The new uniforms are fresh, the alternates are mostly spot-on, and the tweaks are outstanding.
Now, personally, I hate alternates. However, given that most MLB teams feel the need to have at least one, sometimes two, and even three alternate jerseys, we may as well make sure they’re better than the current crop. I tasked Paul with designing some new and better alternates and to adjust the current unis as he saw fit, and to take us through each team he addressed . I’ll add a paragraph following each set of some of my own thoughts to these spectacular creations. So, without further ado, let’s have a look-see.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Paul really likes the Angels current uniform, and especially, he “digs the numerals!” But there’s too many teams that wear Red/Blue. So why not give them a color combo that isn’t in use in the MLB … maroon and gold. Since they want to be associated with LA now, Paul figured they can don the colors of USC. Without an NFL team, the Trojans are the next best thing. Here’s what Paulie created for the road uniform.
I LOVE this new uniform set. The Angels have been through several different uniforms in their 40+ years, but they’ve never had maroon and gold. Paul has hit one out of the park with this effort. The Angels would do well to consider this next time they decide to redo their uniforms.
Toronto Blue Jays: Paul asks, “Why do the BLUE Jays wear Black?! … F***! marketing!” He wants the Jays to ditch their disastrous duds and switch back to their old typeface and awesome logos … and is wearing some kind of blue in your unis too much to ask? He combined their first Blue Jay head logo with updated version we saw in the late 90’s.
Another new uniform set. And with the Blue Jays’ current duds, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t much better. While I personally was never a huge fan of their old unis and fontface, it WAS the Blue Jays. They should dump the current set ASAP and do something like this.
Atlanta Braves: Paul digs their navy alternates, they’re much easier on the eyes than the red jerseys. But what bugs him is the navy numbers on the back. Paul thinks all they need to do is just add some red and look how much better that is!
I must admit I am not a fan, at all, of the current Braves alternates, either their blue or their godawful red. Paul has certainly made the blue alt look different. It’s a great effort, but I still don’t like it. But that’s just me.
Chicago Cubs: Paul states that this is one of the finest uniforms in the league. He’s just not a big fan of the “walking bear” sleeve patch, and suggests they switch back to a fan favorite … the “angry bear” head. It speaks volumes on the current state of Cubdom. Wrigley field also has a pretty cool logo that is rarely seen. Why not throw it on the home jerseys like the White Sox did for some time? Paul took that minor tweaking and added it to their alternates, and also provided some pizazz to their bland road uni.
I have to agree that the current Cubs home uniform is one of the finest in the land, so a minor tweak or two like Paulie has provided is really all that’s needed. I love that really cool Wrigley logo — what an interesting twist, especially for the blue alts. It’s tough to improve on the classic pinstripe whites, but that blue alt can certainly do with a change.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul thinks “D-Backs” shouldn’t be on a home jersey, and I agree. He feels it looks odd to begin with but if they must do it, they should keep it on an alternate. Their home jersey looks a little more legit with their primary “A” logo on the left chest.
Let’s face it … this is one of the worst uniform sets in all of baseball (take a look back at some of the tweaks Paul came up with for the D-Backs in his earlier features). There’s not much of a way to improve this uni, but I think Paul has actually done just that with these. Tough (but not impossible) to polish a turd — which is what Arizona’s uniforms currently are. I was never a fan of the purple and teal, but at least that didn’t have the abbreviated “D-Backs” on their homes. The black alt Paulie suggests keeps the “D-Backs” in tact, but keeps it off the home whites. Good stuff!
San Francisco Giants: Mr. Soto loves script on a jersey! So he came up with this (which he says used to appear on their dugout jackets): Much better! … He asks, “Why’d they stop using it in the first place?”
When you have a word (actually, two words) this long, it’s tough to make it look good on a jersey. Script is equally difficult to pull off. I think Paul’s done both with this nifty away jersey. The Giants would do well to investigate the possibility of making this their new road uniform. Wonderful job.
Seattle Mariners: The Mariners wear a different number typeface, on their alternate, from their other jerseys. The typeface doesn’t bother Paul one bit … but what does bother him is the inconsistency. So, he’s added the typeface to the road and alternate jerseys. He thinks the standard block typeface can get tiresome. Anticipating your reaction, Paul notes, “Yes I am aware that is an incorrect apostrophe (on the “alternate cap”) but I’m trying to stay accurate to their old logo.”
The original Mariners jersey set was probably my favorite, but I realize they’re never going back to that, other than when they “throwback.” That being said, I like the new typeface and it is definitely more of a Safeco than a Kingdome font. I like how Paul has “standardized” this typeface throughout. Again, I could do without the blue alternate, but since that’s never going to happen, what Paul has come up with is preferable to what they currently have. I don’t mind the apostrophe on the alt cap — at least it’s not a “single open quote” like the Orioles use.
New York Mets: This gives “BLACK OUT” a new meaning. Paul would LOVE to see Mr. Met on the sleeves, and I have to admit, he’s done Mr. Met proud. Paul states the old team mascots have been making a comeback in the MLB, so why not give Mr. Met his due and get him on the jersey!
Wow. Paul did something I think most Mets fans can only dream of — removing ALL black from the uniform set. The pins with Mr. Met is fantastic (although I would settle for the current style with the black removed) and the ‘snow whites’ without the black drop shadow is something we haven’t seen since they first introduced the ice cream man! As far as the blue alternate, I’m not a fan … BUT … they have worn one before and if it means getting RID of the current black alternate, then BRING IT ON! Another great job Paul! Hey Mr. Wilpon — can ya, you know, think about this instead of the black jerseys and the Domino’s Pizza patch?
Florida Marlins (soon to be Miami Marlins): Paul’s on an anti-black crusade, and I love it. I’ll let him speak to this amazing creation: “Ok many of you may not agree with this color change but you have to agree that the black has to go! Black just doesn’t say ‘South Beach.'” (Check out the “Miami” road uni!) “I like it when teams in the same city share the same colors … I’m not sure if the Heat would look right in teal and orange though. I realized that it takes a lot of work to design a whole new logo and typeface for a team (as you can see by my prototypes). I wasn’t satisfied with my cap logos so I modified their current logos to fit the new color scheme.”
Another WOW! Double WOW! Seriously, this is something the (soon to be) Miami Marlins strongly need to consider when they move into their new ballpark. My god, Paulie has REALLY gone deep with this whole new uniform set. This is fantastic! What better way to christen a new stadium than to break out new uniforms, especially when your current set is not all that great. How awesome would it be if they did something like this? I’ll tell you. REALLY AWESOME. The colors are great, the fontface is superb and the style is modern without being too contemporary. Perfect!
Washington Nationals: Paul feels “The Nationals on field product is mediocre at best … but you gotta admit they look sharp.” That changed when we were introduced to their “Patriotic” alternates. They reminded Paul of this guy. But if you must rock the stars and stripes, Paul thinks this looks a little more tasteful. No?
Yes! Another team who’s finally beginning to get it right (see Paul Lukas’s forthcoming MLB preview column on ESPN if you haven’t yet seen what the Nats have done with their uni set — especially their new roads), the Nats also introduced the garish blue alt. Ugh. Paul Soto’s cleaned that up, and done a nice job of it. This is one alt that needs to go the way of the horse and buggy. Unfortunately, they will be wearing it this year. Too bad they can’t tweak it just a little, like Paul has done here.
Baltimore Orioles: Paulie thinks it’s great to see “Baltimore” on their road jerseys. Why not give it an alternate jersey and cap? Just an experiment. Now Paul knows their Maryland flag patch has been well received (and he does like it) but thinks the old Cartoon bird would like to get some exposure.
Not only did Paul do a bang-up job on this uniform set, he got rid of the incorrect “O`s” cap they’re donning this season. Well done, sir. The “Baltimore” on the black jersey is a nice touch. The Orioles have done a great job with their new uniform set for this year, and Paul’s tweaks make it even better.
San Diego Padres: Paul liked their previous “Padres” wordmark, and thought it would look much better on their new unis. He says, “Who doesn’t love the swinging Padre?! Let this guy go full time on the jerseys!”
Who doesn’t love the swinging padre indeed! Nice tweaks, Paul. All we need to do is work on removing the sand from the cracks.
Texas Rangers: Paul totally agrees with Mr. Lukas’s critique of the Rangers new duds. The number typeface looks like the old typeface with warts. Mr. Soto wanted to give it more of an appropriate Western feel. Paul also wanted to return the team name to the jersey. “I hope you guys liked the way this turned out as much as I did.”
Well, I certainly do, Paul, I certainly do. Getting “Rangers” back on the jersey is a step in the right direction, and that funky ‘western’ font is intriguing. What a great tweak. It just goes to show you how much a slight alteration can go a loooooooonnnng way! Great job, again.
Detroit Tigers: Now Paul wouldn’t change anything on their uniforms but if he had to he would switch the cap logo and give them an alternate. They have such awesome logos why not put them to use. “I’m not saying it MUST be done but wouldn’t it look nice?”
I have to agree with Paulie here, there is no need for an alternate with the Tigers. But, man, if they did have one (or two), these aren’t bad.
Minnesota Twins: With the Twins THANKFULLY moving out of the Metrodome and into a shiny new outdoor stadium, Paul had the idea of giving the Twins a classy old school look. Gone are the grey pinstripes.
Another “wow” Paul. Me likey! The Twins will need new unis when they head into the great outdoors, and these would be a fantastic uniform set. I especially like what he did with removing the pins from the roads. They never looked good.
Well, there you have it. Fantastic job with these Paul! I may not agree with everything you’ve done (mainly because I don’t think MLB teams need alternates). However, this was another outstanding batch of possible new uniforms for the current teams. All of Major League Baseball, from the executives down to the equipment managers, would do well to take a long, hard look at these and offer them up to Majestic the next time they consider any changes to their uniforms. Thank you so much Mr. Soto for your time and energy in bringing this fine set of alternates and new looks to Uni Watch! Great, great stuff.
Paul Soto will be back for Cinco de Mayo, when he’ll be offering some new designs and takes on the “Los Uniforms” MLB continues to promote. Until then, thanks again Paul! You da man.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Uni Watch Prexy Paul Lukas checks in with this look at the Southern Alabama Jaguars, who will wear throwbacks in their Tuesday game against Auburn … Northwest UW correspondent Jeremy Brahm informs us The Softbank Hawks have just added another sponsor to their uniform, but it is a Softbank company, Softbank Mobile. Softbank Mobile has had a company with a family called the Whites, and “the father is actually a dog. Well, on the Hawks home uniform there is a picture of a dog. (Here’s the road uniform). At least they had the background colors match.” … Travis McGuire noticed that many of the Oregon Ducks are wearing high stirrups. Perhaps there is hope after all. (Note: photos are in a photos tab above the headline) … Seen late in Sunday night’s comments and also sent from Doug Keklak, the Pens are ditching the powder blues, which is a travesty, but their record speaks while wearing them — not usually good … Neil Parsley was at the Blue Jackets – Blues game Sunday night and noticed that Chris Mason, the Blues’ goaltender, was wearing different socks than the rest of the Blues. You can compare Mason’s socks to the defensemen in the background. They actually look like the socks the Blues wore from the late 90s till 2008 … Nicholas Kowalski has been busy in the Life archives, and notes, “if you saw these and the related pics from the LIFE archive — The huddle pics are like a Twilight Zone still or something.” … Chris Smith delights us with these wonderful soccer socks — and the very special reason they were being worn … Nice spot by Larry Bodnovich who spotted this MSU kicker wearing shorts, no facemask, no faceguard and his number is 00 — “Pretty comical in my opinion.” … Ryan Goldstein remarked about the first game at Citi Field, Georgetown against St. John’s over the weekend, with 22,000 or so in attendance. “A player in one of my classes said they are used to about 20 people coming to home games…what a difference!” … Terry Paffenroth has a question for the board: “I’m a Packer fan and am now again living in Wisconsin and I have never seen this photo until today and have never read anything that has ever hinted to this. Might you or someone you know be able to put a story to the photo?” … also from Terry, this great photo of some youth footballers from 1939 … the aforementioned Doug Keklak has added some more submissions — “What’s better than sexy girls in short shorts? Those same sexy girls wearing stirrups! These are the ballgirls the University of Washington employed.” … Also from Doug, “Upon further review, I think it’s a piece of caution tape, rather than the nameplate I thought it was at first, but still, I have never seen the QB designated as such to keep contact off him in practice (apparently a red jersey or vest wasn’t available!) That’s a Pitt QB, as back in the day, their training camp was held in Johnstown at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.” … Douggie concludes his ticker contributions with this: “Some cool vertical striped socks from my alma mater, Johnstown High, playing at game at none other than the home of Slap Shot, the War Memorial.” (All these photos are from the Johnstown Tribune Democrat at various times during 1971) … And rounding out the ticker, Jim McCue weighs in with this: “As a Pepperdine alumnus (B.A., Telecommunications, 1991), I always follow the school’s athletics programs on the website. I was aware of the school’s football program back in the 40s -50s, and the Sports Information Dept. is finally putting up information about the program’s history, including a photo gallery. I went through the photos and was happy to see that my alma mater wore some classic unis and had some unique posed photos. I especially like some of the unusual ‘team photos.’ Rather than the standard rows of players, they are somewhat scattered in groups with the coaches in a group near the front. I also like the team portrait with the coaches up front with a chalkboard. Maybe the next NFL team in the LA area should be based in Malibu rather than the City of Industry or elsewhere. “