Gear up for the 2020 MLB Season with new gear from Nike

MLB, Union Chart Disastrous Course Toward Uni Ads

The baseball section of yesterday’s Ticker had an item about how the MLB owners had sent the players’ union a proposal that included, among many other things, a provision allowing teams to sell space on their uniforms to advertisers — not just for 2020, but also for 2021. That wasn’t great news, but I didn’t think it was necessarily significant because there was no indication that the union was receptive to the deal being proposed. That’s why I decided to relegate the story to the Ticker instead of giving it more prominence here on the site.

Yesterday, however, things changed. The union sent the owners a counter-proposal. It differs from the owners’ last proposal in several respects, but it also finds some disturbing common ground: It includes a provision allowing teams to sell space on their uniforms to advertisers — not just for 2020, but also for 2021. (Both proposals also call for the National League to adopt the DH for 2020 and ’21, and also-also call for the current 10-team playoff format to be expanded to 16 teams in 2020 and ’21.)

That is significant. It means the owners and the union agree that uniform ads should be a thing going forward. The two sides are still jockeying for position over other issues (the length of the 2020 schedule, the split of postseason revenue, the degree of salary-advance forgiveness, and several other things), but they’ve both checked the uni advertising box.

That, my friends, is seriously bad news.

It’s still entirely possible that there won’t be an MLB season in 2020 (which, as I said earlier this week, would be fine with me), either because the two sides won’t be able to agree on financial terms or because of pandemic-related logistical hurdles. And even if the season takes place and teams are permitted to solicit uniform advertisers, I remain unconvinced that advertisers will be beating down MLB’s doors, for reasons I’ve already spelled out.

But even if there’s no 2020 season, there will presumably be a full 2021 season. All sorts of things (the advertising landscape, the response to the pandemic, etc.) will presumably be in better shape by then, and “Making up for revenue lost during the pandemic” will still be a convenient rhetorical fig leaf to justify the use of uni ads. So even if we don’t see (m)any ads on MLB uniforms this year, it seems highly likely that we’ll see them by next year.

Strictly speaking, the deal that the owners and players are working on is just for this year and next. So in theory, this could just be a two-year stopgap. But that’s not realistic. The current collective bargaining agreement expires after next season, so everything would be back on the table for 2022, and it’s hard to imagine putting the uniform advertising genie back in the bottle once it’s been unleashed, especially when both sides have already checked that box during the current negotiations. (Ditto for the universal DH and the expanded playoffs.)

In short: MLB’s uniform future doesn’t look bright. Sigh.

As word of this development began circulating yesterday, I saw a lot of chatter from people saying things like, “Traditionalists will hate this, but…” and “Purists won’t like this, but…” That is classic passive-aggressive nonsense — a way of patronizingly patting the messenger on the head (“Aw, such a cute wittle twaditionawist!”) instead of addressing the actual message. One need not be a “purist” or a “traditionalist” to oppose uniform ads (personally, I count myself in neither of those camps). One need only believe in some combination of opposing capitalist excess; opposing ad creep and/or corporate culture creep in our society; preferring clean, uncluttered design; not wanting every single aspect of sports to feel transactional; and any number of other perfectly reasonable viewpoints that have nothing to do with purity or tradition.

Now, maybe you agree with those viewpoints and maybe you don’t. But for those who don’t, it would be nice if they could make their arguments on the merits and in good faith, instead of trying to reduce the other side to a clichéd caricature.

Meanwhile: It’s worth taking stock here of just how ruinous MLB commish Rob Manfred has been for baseball uniforms since taking office. His first day on the job was Jan. 25, 2015, which means his commissionership is not quite five and a half years old. In that short time, he has managed to destroy something many of us hold dear with what must grudgingly be acknowledged as an impressive degree of swiftness and efficiency. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world:

• He has sold the side of the cap to New Era.

• He has sold the chest of the jersey to Nike.

• He has sold the back of base coaches’ helmets to Rawlings.

• He has expanded the use of unsightly holiday uniforms from a single day to three-, four-, and even five-day holiday “weekends.”

• He has approved the use of a cap that mischaracterized the history of our most significant national holiday.

• He has used a minor holiday that most Americans didn’t even realize existed, Armed Forces Day, as another excuse for teams to wear camouflage.

• He has needlessly added the MLB logo, which already appeared on caps, helmets, jerseys, undershirts, and more, to the back belt loop of the pants.

• He has struck a deal with a new sock supplier that has resulted in players wearing wildly inconsistent (and often embarrassingly cheesy) hosiery styles, all of them needlessly adorned with both a maker’s mark and the MLB logo.

• He has overseen the advent of Players Weekend, the most recent edition of which featured such awful uniforms that one of the sport’s marquee franchises asked to be excused from wearing them (and was turned down).

• He has expanded the loophole allowing uniform ads for games played in non-USA/Canada locales, which had previously been limited to games in Japan, to games played in Mexico and London (the latter game also featuring both teams wearing their home whites, thus presenting a false and misleading notion of our national pastime to a foreign audience).

• And he is now shamefully preparing to oversee the addition of advertising patches for full-time regular season use.

Obviously, some of these offenses are worse then others. Taken collectively, though, they reflect a steady diminution of the uniform’s integrity, and a callous disregard for the sport’s aesthetic heritage.

Uniform history will not judge him kindly.

• • • • •

• • • • •

For all images, click to enlarge

Too good for the Ticker (or for Collector’s Corner): Uni Watch Houston bureau chief Ignacio Salazar alerted me yesterday to the existence of this amazing 1988 publication featuring ursine pyro-discouraging spokescharacter Smokey Bear and the Houston Astros.

The interior pages feature caricatures of various ’Stros players, including a riotously bad depiction of Nolan Ryan:

You can see more of the interior spreads, and even place an eBay bid so you can own this beauty for yourself, here.

(My repeated thanks to Ignacio Salazar, who’s always on top of cool Houston-related uni items.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

Contest reminder: In case you missed it on Wednesday, my latest Uni Watch design contest for InsideHook is to create a logo for teams or leagues to wear in acknowledgment of the current racial justice protests. Full details over at InsideHook.

• • • • •

• • • • •

ITEM! Cool event upcoming: Longtime reader Jason Von Stein, who organized the Uni Watch 20th-anniversary party in Atlanta last summer, has decided to do an encore event this year. It’ll take place online next Sunday, June 28, and will feature lots of musicians doing their thing. Full details here.

As an aside, although I’ve never met Jason in person, I should mention that he appears to be approximately the nicest person ever. Seriously, just a peach of a guy (plus he also contributed a Key Ring Chronicles entry last year). Big thanks to him for setting up this event!

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: Reader John Sabol noticed that Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez wore different Mariners jerseys during the 1997 All-Star Game, with Griffey in the sleeveless and A-Rod in the regular home whites. … The Brooklyn Cyclones, short-season Class-A affiliates of the Mets, revealed the gold-trimmed uniforms that they would have worn for Friday home games this season after winning the New York-Penn League championship last year. Here’s the accompanying cap (from Shannon Shark). … The Fredericksburg Nationals have revealed renderings for their new stadium (from Kary Klismet). … The Rakuten Golden Eagles use a captain’s “C” combined with an eagle’s head (from Jeremy Brahm).

NFL News: A couple days ago, the Patriots tweeted an animated gif of the uniform numbers their new veterans will be wearing. The gif is also a good look at the team’s new number font. And if you’re wondering why we haven’t seen rookies’ uni numbers, it’s because the Patriots don’t give rookies permanent numbers until they make the final roster (from Bowen Hobbs). … A style guide for the Browns seems to imply the team will have striped endzones in 2020. We approve (from Dan Kennedy). … Antiques Roadshow sometimes revisits and revalues items that appeared on the show. Their most recent reappraisal is on a game-worn Gale Sayers Bears jersey (from James Gilbert). … This excellent Twitter thread details the uni changes the 49ers underwent every season between 1993 and 1999 (from Samuel Lam).

College Football News: Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt says the Vols will wear black jerseys against Kentucky this fall and auction them off after the game, with proceeds going to Black Lives Matter. More details here (from @aspangler01, @dubrichey and Josh Hinton). … Florida State, in a move that many fans have long requested, is finally going back to white numbers (from multiple readers). … The Belk Bowl is now the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. “Mayo Bowl” is a name that’s so dumb it almost wraps around to being cool (from Andrew Cosentino, Nicklaus Wallmeyer and @CFBowlWatch).

Hockey News: Reader Mike Petriello sends along this photo of a Sabres player in an oddly-shaped helmet with football-style stripes down the center. @uwo1993 identified the helmet as a Cooper SK300.

NBA News: Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hopes to kneel with players during the national anthem when the NBA tips off again. … The Magic posted a video from their 1987 logo reveal on its 33rd anniversary (from Moe Khan). … Here’s an interesting video on the challenges of creating the NBA Jam video game (from Jeremy Brahm).

Soccer News: Here’s a cool video of Chelsea’s kitman applying the NHS patches to the team’s jerseys (from Seth Barnhill). … Hoffenheim will replace their usual kit advertisement with one for the Corona Warn App, a German contact-tracing app (from Josh Hinton). … New England Revolution manager and former USMNT head coach Bruce Arena says playing the national anthem before sporting events is “awkward” and should probably be scrapped. … The NWSL’s Washington Spirit will reveal their new kit on June 25. The NWSL is also allowing teams to solicit their own sleeve ads instead of wearing a leaguewide sleeve ad (thanks, Jamie). … Construction has finished on Education City Stadium, one of seven new venues in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup (from Kary Klismet). … New home shirt for Scottish side Partick Thistle (from Ed Zelaski). … You know how some teams are letting fans pay to have a cardboard cutout of themselves in the stands? A Sheffield Wednesday fan apparently paid £25 for a cutout of his dog (from @rindle247). … Sierra Leone’s designs for the Tokyo Olympics has been revealed, and it looks like they’re straight out of 1996. That’s not a bad thing at all (from @texastrevor).

Grab Bag: The SEC says it will not hold championship events in the state of Mississippi until the state changes its flag, which still features the Confederate battle flag in the canton. … The U. of Florida will no longer allow the “Gator Bait” cheer and song to be sung by fans at sporting events, citing past associations of racist imagery (from Kary Klismet and James Gilbert). … In a related item, the U. of Georgia marching band will no longer play “Tara’s Theme” from Gone With the Wind and will instead add “Georgia on My Mind” to its repertoire (from James Gilbert). … Mike Wilson sent along his awesome collection of unopened NBA and MLB-branded pencils from the early ’90s. I had a bunch of the MLB ones in my early elementary career, but never used them because I didn’t want to whittle them down. I bet they’re still in my mom’s house somewhere. … Our own Jamie Rathjen notes that Aussie rules teams Hawthorn and Richmond knelt before their game the other day. He also writes: “The Australian Football League is allowing extra ads above the numbers temporarily, but I noticed in today’s Richmond/Hawthorn game that both teams’ ‘new’ ads are from advertisers that they already have; Richmond’s also appears below the numbers and Hawthorn’s on the front.” This echoes Paul’s thoughts that temporary uni ad space might not appeal to new advertisers in the current pandemic-stricken economic climate. … The Walpole, Mass., School Committee unanimously voted to retire the high school’s “Rebels” team name. … On a similar note, Rochester, N.Y.-area high school Brighton is changing its “Barons” mascot due to connections with slavery (from Joe Werner). … Check out this 1988 shot of a Syracuse lacrosse goalie wearing what appear to be football pants. Strange. Was that common back in the day? (From @GenerationInk.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: As you can see, one of our neighbors has a Smart Car (and it’s a convertible, to boot!). He’s a pretty big guy, so when he emerges from the car it looks a bit like the circus bit with all the clowns, and also reminds me of that one Simpsons scene.

Smart Cars have been around for a while now, but they still have a certain novelty aspect to them, at least for me. Does anyone out there own one? Is it still a frequent object of curiosity? Does that get tiresome?

The branch is still there.

As always, you can see the full set of Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos — now well over 90 of them — here.

• • • • •

Happy Juneteenth to all who are celebrating today. And that should be all of us, because the end of slavery is definitely worth celebrating!

Enjoy Phil’s weekend content (including his annual Father’s Day post, which is always very special), stay safe, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. — Paul

89 comments to MLB, Union Chart Disastrous Course Toward Uniform Ads

  • Jon | June 19, 2020 at 8:54 am |

    Interesting that in the Browns style guide the numeral 7 doesn’t have that weird bottom.

    It would also be the first time I have ever seen merchandise with a stripes logo like as shown on the jacket.

  • trevot | June 19, 2020 at 8:55 am |

    When it comes to baseball jerseys, “This is the end, beautiful friend”

  • Josh B | June 19, 2020 at 8:59 am |

    Ugh …ads on baseball uniforms just makes me wanna BARF…just more bad news every day…when will 2020 end!?

  • DRR | June 19, 2020 at 9:01 am |

    I don’t have a lot of confidence that MLB will survive the collective bargaining battle that will occur at the end of 2021. I am sure that something will spring up to replace it, though. Probably with ads on the uniforms, of course.

  • blair | June 19, 2020 at 9:08 am |

    That’s a Syracuse lacrosse goalie in the Grab Bag. Looks like they may be playing Cornell though

    • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 9:10 am |

      Thanks. Fixed.

    • art | June 19, 2020 at 9:34 am |

      And the Cornell goalie looks like he’s wearing baseball pants.

      • Zack K. | June 19, 2020 at 10:35 am |

        Cornell goalie is wearing sweatpants. 29 second mark shows the old school size/number tag they used to have.

        In the mid-90s, some lacrosse goalies used to wear football pants when they just started playing (often with the knee/thigh pads in place for added protection), but it was something most goalies moved on from pretty quickly (the majority wearing shorts or sweatpants).

        Doesn’t look like the Cuse goalie has pads in the pants though.

  • DonS | June 19, 2020 at 9:08 am |

    Not to disparage the Smart Car, but there is nothing more perplexing than seeing one pull up to a Costco or Sam’s Club.

    • Tim | June 19, 2020 at 12:59 pm |

      To me, Smart Cars look like a large roller skate.

      • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 1:00 pm |

        Tim, I almost wrote those very words in today’s text!

      • Mike C. | June 19, 2020 at 10:15 pm |

        The nickname I’ve always had for the Smart Car is GGC, short for “glorified golf cart.”

    • sandy | June 19, 2020 at 1:56 pm |

      Happy to disparage the so called Smart Car….now there’s an oxymoron…what car was ever intelligent or wise to get into & drive?

      Human beings are smart, some animals are smart, cars are not! They are controlled by computers, and computers are pretty stupid really….all they know is “1” & “0”….

      Now don’t get me started on that ecological & automotive abomination Elon Musk calls an car….

  • Chris | June 19, 2020 at 9:17 am |

    The uniform of the 4 major sports was the last ad free space. Now its nothing but more on top of more on top of more advertising shoved in our faces. Im done. Cant take anymore of this b/c its everywhere from train exteriors to playgrounds.

  • Ed | June 19, 2020 at 9:21 am |

    Hmm…on the Cleveland Browns style guide, the graphic with “1946” is using a different number font from the rest of the guide…

  • Skott S. | June 19, 2020 at 9:22 am |

    I’ve always wondered why hockey teams don’t put stripes on their helmets.

    I think it’s a great look, and since sleeve (and sock) striping is such a huge part of their visual identity, it would bring continuity to the whole aesthetic.

    I’m all in on hockey helmet stripes!

  • Jason Von Stein | June 19, 2020 at 9:25 am |

    I can’t express enough how much those kind words mean to me. Thank you so much. I’m very much looking forward to supporting Uni Watch with the show. Love you all.

    • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 9:27 am |

      Have I mentioned that Jason’s pretty much the nicest guy ever?

      He really is.

  • Chris Weber | June 19, 2020 at 9:30 am |

    I never thought I’d say this, but it’s getting to the point where I have really lost interest in all organized team sports. Between the pandemic shutdown which cost me my sports-related job, the virtue signaling, and the ownership greed, I realize my life is too short to warrant such concern. -C.

    • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 9:39 am |

      Chris, forgive me if you’ve told me this before and I’m not remembering, but what was your sports-related job?

    • Greg | June 19, 2020 at 11:20 am |

      Concur (minus the lost job). Hope you have or do land or your feet soon with a new gig.

    • ChrisH | June 19, 2020 at 7:12 pm |

      I feel the same way – the Big 4 are becoming less enjoyable and are often times only good for uni-watching.
      I still follow NASCAR enthusiastically, but I find my interest drifting away; the sanctioning body these days seems to be of the mindset/realization that they don’t need fans at the track or even glued to the tube…if they don’t need me, I really don’t need to consume their on-track or concession products.
      Hope you land another job soon!

      • Chris Weber | June 19, 2020 at 11:34 pm |

        Thank you, Chris. Much appreciated. -C.

  • Carl | June 19, 2020 at 9:31 am |

    While I can’t stand the phony, forced “patriotism” all these sports leagues shove down our throats, the minuscule, manufacturer’s logo on team garments and equipment doesn’t bother me because they actually made the product.

    I don’t recall us asking for the Louisville Sluggler brand to be removed from the bats they use, yet it’s there. SO HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT? – It’s not.

    • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 9:35 am |

      Actually, Carl, it’s very different.

      Uniforms are team-issued garments that identify who we root for (or against).

      Bats are part of a large category of player-selected equipment that come from lots of different mfrs. Bats, gloves, batting gloves, shoes, etc. These are not uniform elements, they are not team-issued, nobody’s rooting interests are based on them.

      Now, maybe you don’t care about maker’s marks on caps, jerseys, etc., and that’s fine. But don’t compare them to equipment — it’s not the same thing.

    • Clarybird | June 19, 2020 at 9:49 am |

      Carl, you need to pay more attention to the maker’s marks or you’ll end up buying some knockoff “Louisville Sluggler” equipment.

    • MJ | June 19, 2020 at 10:30 am |

      The maker’s mark on bats is also supposed to be a guide for how to hold the bat to minimize the risk of the bat breaking. Or so I was told growing up…

  • Johnny V | June 19, 2020 at 9:32 am |

    Every time Manfred opens his mouth he sounds like a 100-level Marketing textbook. He’s worse than Goodell.

    • Chris | June 19, 2020 at 9:40 am |

      I’d never thought that I would miss Bud Selig.

      • MJ | June 19, 2020 at 10:32 am |

        Oh man, so right. The point-by-point takedown above confirms what I had thought but could never properly express in words. He is bringing the game down from the inside. It is going to take a pandemic and a canceled season for the owners to realize he is pissing away their fortunes. He makes Gary Bettman and Roger Goodell look halfway-competent. And he’s arrogant to boot – if you can’t be competent at what you do, you have an obligation to be nice.

  • Evan | June 19, 2020 at 9:36 am |

    A childhood appreciation for the design aesthetics of baseball is what opened the door for my sports fandom. I suppose it makes sense that uniform ads would spell the end of my appreciation for sports.

    • walter | June 19, 2020 at 10:48 am |

      ^THIS^

    • Jeremiah | June 19, 2020 at 5:38 pm |

      I agree. The uni ads are one of the biggest reasons I have tuned out much of the NBA. I’ve hated that from the get-go. If MLB goes down this road, that may be it for me. The teams sell everything but the uniform. It was the last free space. Now that’s going away. It’s truly disheartening.

  • Clarybird | June 19, 2020 at 9:42 am |

    In the soccer section you mention “Now home shirt for Scottish side Patrick Thistle”, but it should read as “NEW home shirt for Scottish side PARTICK Thistle”. I used to watch a lot of SPFL matches and it took me a while to realize it wasn’t Patrick.

    • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 9:44 am |

      Fixed and fixed!

  • Scott | June 19, 2020 at 9:46 am |

    MLB is taking risks of turning off a not insignificant portion of its fanbase if it implements the DH in the NL and slaps ads on uniforms. Not sure those ideas alone are somehow going to make the fanbase younger, and even if they do it just means baseball will be shedding longtime fans who actually spend money at the ballparks, for MLB.tv apps and TV subscriptions, etc. Did baseball not learn its lesson from the Spider-Man promotion in 2004 (articles at the time also criticized purists for being resistant to the idea)?

  • StLMarty | June 19, 2020 at 9:49 am |

    I saw a smart car last week. I felt like I had not seen one for quite some time. I asked my wife if she ever owned one knowing full well she has not (just making sure the spark is still there). Anyhoo, I then asked her if she had ever seen one on the highway. Neither of us could recall ever seeing one do so. Are they allowed on the highway, or are they the scooter of cars?

    • walter | June 19, 2020 at 10:59 am |

      I think Smart cars are cool but I read they no longer import them.

      • Doug | June 19, 2020 at 2:54 pm |

        I remember seeing quite a few Smart Cars in Madrid when I’d travel there for work in the early 2000’s. It was common for one to fly by me on the freeway at 80 or so. Always seemed a bit daredevilish to me.

  • jack harlington | June 19, 2020 at 9:59 am |

    Although ads on the uniforms in baseball are totally dreadful, I guess thankfully not see them since I do not plan on supporting MLB in any form until the disgusting names of the Indians and Rangers are changed.

    • Artie | June 19, 2020 at 11:18 am |

      Sorry, Rangers? Is any association with law enforcement now verboten?

      • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 11:22 am |

        Some people are saying that the Rangers (the law enforcement unit) are not worthy of being celebrated via a team name due to their shameful history of racism, brutality, and lawlessness. This newly published book, which documents the history of the Rangers, has increased the awareness of that issue:
        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/books/review/cult-of-glory-texas-rangers-doug-j-swanson.html

      • Russell | June 19, 2020 at 11:49 am |

        I always swore I’d stop watching baseball entirely if they put ads on the uniforms. I was never quite sure I’d be able to follow through, though. Fortunately, this lost season has both pissed me off AND conditioned me to not having baseball in the summer. Like Paul, I’m shocked by how little I’ve missed it.

        They can come back today, tomorrow or next year. But if they do come back with ads, I’ll just do what I’m doing now – pretend that the game just went away forever.

  • Barton Hall | June 19, 2020 at 10:02 am |

    The Sabres player in the striped helmet is the very underrated Craig Ramsay. Two HOFers in that photo too: Dave Keon and the late, great Tim Horton.

    • Barton Hall | June 19, 2020 at 10:04 am |

      Oops, three HOFers. Norm Ullman.

  • Kek | June 19, 2020 at 10:08 am |

    James Harrison pulled up to training camp one year in a smart car, it was one of the funniest things ever.

    https://triblive.com/sports/some-of-the-grandest-arrivals-to-training-camp-by-steelers/

  • Jake | June 19, 2020 at 10:40 am |

    Regarding the chatter of “Traditionalists will hate this, but…” and “Purists won’t like this”

    I’ve always hated that kind of writing as well. It seems very lazy just to lump people who dislike a certain aspect into a category that they do not belong. I’m far from a traditionalist or purist when it comes to uniforms that I like. However, I hate uniform ads because it’s clutter. Even when they’re done in a way that matches the style of the uniform it draws my eye in a negative way. It actually does the opposite of what the uniform advertiser wants to accomplish for me. It makes me NOT like their logo, and in-turn gives me a negative view of their company because they are taking away an aspect of the game that I once enjoyed (ad-free uniforms).

    • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 10:48 am |

      It seems very lazy just to lump people who dislike a certain aspect into a category that they do not belong.

      Moreover, even if the categorization were accurate, so what? Why is one’s opinion disqualified or less valid if one is a traditionalist or purist? It’s a classic bad-faith example of demeaning the messenger instead of engaging with the message.

      I also saw a couple of people saying, “Well, the olds won’t like this, but…” Even if opinions on this issue cleaved neatly along generational lines (which is not the case), so what? Why would an older person’s opinion be less valid than a younger person’s?

      The message, not the messenger.

      • Greg | June 19, 2020 at 11:30 am |

        “Why would an older person’s opinion be less valid than a younger person’s?”
        I think this is based on the current philosophy that “progress” is always moving in a positive direction. That old preferences, values, and tastes are somehow always improved on. Sort of that anyone that holds tightly to an existing thing rather than embracing something new is denying “progress”. Of course as has so often been discussed here newness and progress in the uniform world isn’t always positive, and is frequently negative.
        My favorite author CS Lewis said it best in my opinion:
        “…progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
        When you belittle traditionalists’ or “olds'” opinions against this progress you are dismissing the progress they don’t like; a progress towards uniform design being co-opted by retail merchandising dollars and ad revenue streams.

        • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 11:39 am |

          Older people can have forward-looking, progress-based views just like younger people can. (And younger people can have retrograde opinions, for that matter.)

          Again: Better to engage with the message than to stereotype the messenger.

      • Artie | June 19, 2020 at 11:35 am |

        You see the same writing style with the “conservatives pounce” trope. A liberal politician or public figure does something objectively wrong (flub a policy description, dress in blackface, defend a child molester), and the story slides toward “look at how these people we don’t like are reacting to this; you don’t want to be one of them, do you?”

        • Brett Alan | June 19, 2020 at 12:02 pm |

          You see that almost one one-hundredth as often as the reverse: “Social justice warriors”, “identity politics”, and other derisive terms for people who believe in the rights of minorities.

          (LIBERALS defending child molesters? Come on. Jeffrey Epstein was a friend of Trump’s, and one of Epstein’s victims says that Trump raped her when she was 13–and there’s a witness who corroborates her story. Not to mention Roy Moore.)

        • Paul Lukas | June 19, 2020 at 12:05 pm |

          Guys: We can discuss the parameters of intellectual integrity and the concept of good-faith debate vs. bad-faith debate without getting political about it. Let’s please not go down that road. Thanks.

  • Ken J. | June 19, 2020 at 10:41 am |

    With due respect to @uwo1993, the Sabres lid in question is a Johnson helmet. Johnson is a Chicago-based company that produced skates and hockey equipment starting in 1912.

    Paul, you’ll flip for some of the Johnson ads on this page: https://www.madeinchicagomuseum.com/single-post/nestor-johnson/

    I’ve had a weird obsession with that helmet, which was popular in the Western Canada Hockey League in the 1970s. We used to call it the “apple pie” because the chevrons made us think of, well, an apple pie.

    Saw one come up on eBay a couple months ago for $50 but was too cheap to pull the trigger. Regretting that decision now… ;)

  • Tim | June 19, 2020 at 10:43 am |

    With regard to the Fredericksburg Nationals stadium, those aren’t renderings but actual photographs of the stadium itself. It was scheduled to open this season, but of course it doesn’t look like there will be a season.

  • mike 2 | June 19, 2020 at 11:00 am |

    Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I saw a Smart Car on the road that wasn’t a carshare car.

    I had a friend look at one a while ago when she was getting a new car, it was surprisingly expensive. Significantly more expensive than Japanese subcompacts (like the Yaris) which have four seats and some room to carry cargo.

  • Greg | June 19, 2020 at 11:37 am |

    The ever encroaching ads on uniforms is brutal. At this point MLB might as well just adopt the rec league format of having the teams be named for whomever throws out the cash for them. Philadelphia Comcast, Boston Hancock, Detroit Ford, etc.
    And just thinking about the dichotomy between rec leagues who get local business to sponsor youth sports for the community, vs a billion dollar industry that solicits advertisers just to make more money is sickening.

  • Steve D | June 19, 2020 at 11:43 am |

    Of course I would prefer no ads on any uniforms. They ruin the aesthetic and what sports should stand for. That said, IMO, the aesthetics of uniforms has long been ruined for me. I am a Steeler fan and they got rid of my beloved block numbers. I am a former Knick fan and any change from the early 1970s uniforms, with beautiful hand cut verticaly arched NOBs, is a knife in my heart. As a Met fan, they put me through hell with BFBS and even now can’t get the logo, script or the patch right. I don’t care anymore. Slap ads all over it. I will live in the past, where I have access to all the beautiful uniforms, with amazing detail that I grew up with. They can never take that away.

    • Nestor Chylak | June 19, 2020 at 12:00 pm |

      Welcome to the club. Been living in the past for awhile. Great thing: it never changes.

  • Nate | June 19, 2020 at 11:50 am |

    Remember when the world came together to squash the Spiderman bases? That was a beautiful time.

  • Brett Alan | June 19, 2020 at 12:04 pm |

    I’m 100% against having ads on MLB uniforms (or on the uniforms of the other major sports)…but honestly I’m more upset at the prospect of universal DH and more than half the teams making the playoffs. That’s not baseball!

    • Judy A | June 19, 2020 at 5:22 pm |

      I can maybe live with the universal DH. Maybe. Probably not. Maybe. I don’t know.

      But I HATE the expanded playoffs. It’s the ultimate participation trophy.

  • TOTC | June 19, 2020 at 12:07 pm |

    Re: Walpole removing the name “Rebels.”

    Fairfax, Va. did the same thing. In the last couple of days, they removed their nickname “Rebel Pride” and replaced it with “Lions.

    Walpole also has one sports team that doesn’t take the name “Rebels.” The field hockey team has been the Porkers since the 1960s.

    https://www.facebook.com/pg/walpoleporkersfieldhockey/posts/

  • Matt F. | June 19, 2020 at 12:10 pm |
  • rpm | June 19, 2020 at 12:12 pm |

    if only there was league where fans had true voices inwhat their clubs stood for, and how their teams were run in this country, that would be swell. unfortunately you are giving your love to corporations who don’t give a flip to what you think, and they never will. so i guess unless you stop watching the bullshit as a mass movement, which is the only thing they will listen to, you can bend over, and like it dry.

  • Tim Shriver | June 19, 2020 at 12:42 pm |

    A friend of mine visited Europe back when Smart cars were new in the States but already common there. He said the accepted practice for parking was not parallel, but PERPENDICULAR, i.e. you turn the car sideways in the street and back up until you hit the curb. I wish he’d taken a picture of that. Here’s Google Images: https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-b9b381975e08a5dfcc70a0b18e2d97c2.webp

  • Gabe Cornwall | June 19, 2020 at 1:06 pm |

    When I first saw the news break, I was wondering how many people were going to claim – jokingly or otherwise – how much the school in nearby had to do with the renaming of the college football bowl game in Charlotte. Already proven correct, sadly.

  • Michael A James | June 19, 2020 at 1:16 pm |

    RE: Mariners with different uniforms during the All-Star Game.

    Many Oakland players wore various combinations of white/yellow/green during the 1975 All-Star Game. 6 different combinations (if you count the manager and coaches), as a matter of fact…

    CAP/JERSEY/PANTS

    1. white/white/white – Dark
    2. white/green/white – Stock
    3. green/white/white – Washington
    4. green/yellow/white – Jackson, Tenace, Campaneris
    5. green/green/white – Fingers, Lindblad, Rudi
    6. green/yellow/yellow – Blue

    The entire game is on YouTube (which includes the player introductions)

    https://youtu.be/-k1Z-bVmYNw

  • John | June 19, 2020 at 1:21 pm |

    I thought it was interesting when the guy doing the appraisal of the Sayers jersey said it was a 69 or 70. If it were a 70, it would have had Sayers NOB. It did not.

    • Jeff Huckel | June 19, 2020 at 1:51 pm |

      Also, it’s missing the NFL 50 logo on the left shoulder so it’s not from the 1969 season (unless it was torn off like the number 0).

  • Matt | June 19, 2020 at 1:35 pm |

    It looks like with the Browns endzone the one end may be striped and the other end has the team name in cursive, which looks really nice to me.

    Also, as a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the oncoming universal DH sickens me. #BanTheDH

  • Alan Tompas | June 19, 2020 at 1:36 pm |

    Thanks for your eloquent words about the ad debacle. I feel exactly the same way but my adjectives are far more colorful.Your take down of Manfred is dead solid perfect. He cares about one thing..revenue. That’s it. And that won’t be the end of it. I think ultimately the NL/AL we traditionally see will be more in line with the NFL. Which would systematically destroy any chance to see iconic World Series match ups like the Subway Series or Boston vs the Cardinals. I have spent most of my sheltering in place downloading classic baseball photos..makes me happy. Seeing a Nike logo or the thought of an ad on a Yankee jersey makes me physically ill. If you love baseball history it should. Thanks for keeping up the fight.

    • Scott | June 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm |

      Huh, that makes no sense. Currently MLB is just like the NFL in that the leagues/ conferences preserve some sense of tradition, so that you can have a Mets-Red Sox World Series or a Giants-Patriots Super Bowl. MLB would be committing suicide if it realigned a la the NBA and NHL.

  • Steve D | June 19, 2020 at 1:42 pm |
  • Brian | June 19, 2020 at 3:49 pm |

    I’ve always dreaded the DH rule becoming universal in MLB. The pandemic is just a convenient excuse for making it happen. Damn… :-(

  • Ryan M | June 19, 2020 at 3:56 pm |

    I was listening to ESPN Radio’s Golic & Wingo on my commute to work this morning, shortly after the show started (5am my time) and they mentioned the possibility/likelihood of uniform ads, and while they didn’t dwell on it much, all three co-hosts seemed to be of the opinion that ‘if you can make money off of it, why not?’ That’s an absurd argument that’s a very slippery slope. ‘Hey, we got all this green grass in the outfield & infield! Let’s turn it into a giant digital billboard for the latest Marvel film for the viewers at home!’

    That was pretty disheartening to hear, because I thought at least one of them might have pushed back on that mindset. And it seems like the more people start to hear that it’s inevitable (as with Adam Silver & the NBA) or the aforementioned viewpoint, then we’re a lot farther gone than we previously thought.

  • -DW | June 19, 2020 at 4:44 pm |

    Ken Griffey Sr. and his attending family sat in the row in front of me at the 1997 ASG in Cleveland.

  • Brinke | June 19, 2020 at 5:28 pm |

    The NATIONAL LEAGUE gets the DH? No. No. No. No. No.
    Am I clear enough?

  • freakanatcha | June 19, 2020 at 8:02 pm |

    Ads on MLB unis is OK as long as sponsors are limited to my little league uniform sponsors: car dealers & plumbing companies.

  • Keith S. | June 19, 2020 at 8:54 pm |

    I’ve been a MLB fan for as long as I can remember. At the same time I’ve never really considered myself a “traditionalist”, however, the recent events (it sure looks like we’re going to see Ads on unis) has given me pause about whether or not I am a traditionalist. The idea of Ads on baseball uniforms is about as enticing as chocolate syrup on a perfectly done T-bone.

    We, as fans, are inundated with ads from the minute we pull into the parking lot. Billboards, tickets themselves have ads, posters/flyers/promotions going on throughout the stadium, concessions and of course the plethora of ads throughout the stadium once we’re seated. Now we have to see them on the uniforms?!

    The MLB has lost me. I’m done. I’ll watch college or high school ball going forward. For as much as I pay for MLB tickets, I can’t stomach any more ads.

    Shame on you MLB.

    And I haven’t even touched on adding a DH to the NL!

  • Tim | June 19, 2020 at 9:20 pm |

    Some other different uniforms worn in All Star Games, prior to Junior and A-Rod:

    1975 – Oakland Players. White, Yellow and Green Jerseys. Green bodied hats and White bodied hats.
    https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh189/lwiedy/1975%20All%20Star%20Game%20Program/AL.jpg

    1976 – Cleveland (Red/Blue) and Oakland (Green/Yellow)
    https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh189/lwiedy/1976.jpg

    1977 – AL – Cleveland Indians had Dennis Eckersly in Blue and Jim Kern in Red
    https://thesportscapital.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/1977-AL-all-star-team-photo.jpg

    1977 – NL – Candelaria and Parker same uniform, different hats.

  • Rob Carlson | June 19, 2020 at 9:47 pm |

    Thinking about an NL DH makes me sick. Thinking about full-blown ads on MLB uniforms makes me sick. I can’t deal with both of these things happening at once. Maybe it will pass, but right now I honestly feel like I’d rather see Major League Baseball die while it’s recognizable than turn into Manfredball.

  • Liam | June 19, 2020 at 10:46 pm |

    Wow Paul. Exceptional rundown of baseball’s uni decline. When you list it like that, it’s heartbreaking. All bad moves, especially the goofy novelty uni gimmick on holiday weekends. 5.5 years of bad aesthetic decisions! Good work summarizing them. I miss 2014.

  • Paul Lee | June 19, 2020 at 10:53 pm |

    While 2020 is continuing to suck, the silver linings keep on coming.

    https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/3204929001

    Let’s hope they finally replace the name of the pro football team in DC.

  • David | June 20, 2020 at 12:21 am |

    In a very demented way, I am relieved. Rather than having the league/teams/networks gradually slip in new ugly distractions into the presentation year after year, it seems they’ll be coming back full-throttle with like ten years worth of these awful ideas: uniform ads, pitchers mound ads, digital outfield ads, foul territory ads. I’m sure more picture-in-a-picture in-game breaks. They get their wishlist all at once, and I get to move on to less insulting entertainment.