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A Uni Watch Look at the 2022 MLB All-Star Game

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Well, that looked pretty awful. At least the players seemed to be enjoying themselves, so there’s that. Here are some notes and observations from last night’s game:

  • None of the jerseys had front numbers, which looked ridiculously rinky-dink for the teams that usually have them.

  • Just like last year, the players wore “AL” and “NL” batting helmets, instead of logos that matched their caps.
  • Most players wore those awful mesh-backed trucker’s caps, but two National Leaguers — Albert Pujols and Clayton Kershaw — wore conventional cloth caps. Why? Because they wear the “21” patch for past Roberto Clemente Award winners, and I guess the patch would’ve been tougher to adhere to the mesh. (There are several other players wearing the “21” this season, but Pujols and Kershaw are the only ones who made the All-Star roster.)
  • Two American League pitchers — the Guardians’ Emmanuel Clase and the Yankees’ Nestor Cortes — wore gloves patterned after their native national flags (the Dominican Republic for Clase and Cuba for Cortes).
  • I’d been wondering if the Yankees’ All-Star representatives would wear NOBs (it wasn’t immediately clear from the jersey unveiling last week). Yup, they did. They also wore NOBs last year, of course, but last year’s All-Star unis weren’t based on the team unis like this year’s were, so it seemed more egregious to see the Yanks wearing NOBs this time around.
  • Astros coach Omar López, who was coaching first base for the American League, wore his regular Astros coaching helmet, rather than a custom-made AL helmet. (This may also have been the case for the game’s other coaches, but I didn’t notice.) I could only find a rear-view photo of it, but it also had the ’Stros logo on the front.
  • Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera’s jewelry matched his uniform pretty nicely.
  • Prior to the game, Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts wore a T-shirt calling for more attendance by Black fans.
  • Ben Platt, who sang the national anthem, wore a “Choice” button, presumably referring to abortion.
  • Finally, in the unlikely event that you weren’t already convinced of Rob Manfred being unfit to serve as MLB commish, there’s this:

My god, what a clown he is. He’s almost too easy to make fun of. I may have to add that quote to my running list of his uni-related sins.

(My thanks to Joshua Exline, Amy Lively, and Trevor Williams for their contributions.)

ITEM! Another Raffle

Today we have the second of two raffles being generously sponsored by reader Marcus Hall. This time around the prize is a Uni Watch membership card, with the stipulation that you may not enter if you’re already a card-carrying Uni Watch member.

This will be a one-day raffle. No geographic entry restrictions. To enter, send an email to the raffle in-box by 9pm Eastern tonight. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow, and then we’ll also have a separate raffle tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the winner of yesterday’s merch raffle is Taylor Pellerin. Congrats to him, and thanks again to Marcus for sponsoring that one, as well as today’s giveaway.

Comments (69)

    Regarding base coaches, I did notice that the NL’s first base coach was Eric Young Sr and he was wearing his usual Atlanta helmet instead of the NL helmet. I didn’t think to snap a picture of it though. It probably means that they didn’t make any AL/NL helmets without ear flaps. It looked especially wonky on Young Sr because he wore the Atlanta home helmet. The blue helmet with a red brim looked considerably worse with the uniform.

    As uniform aesthetics decline, I find myself losing interest. This all-star game is a fine example of why I’m becoming apathetic.

    Maybe because last year was so bad, I was OK with them this year. I did not love the away uniforms but the general concept was OK. That said, for me the single best part of the All Star game was always the players wearing their normal uniforms. This was especially true back in the 70’s where you did not get to see a lot of the teams except in the All Star game. I do not think I ever saw a National League game until the 80’s when TBS came on cable so baseball cards and the all star game, along with the occasional magazine were the only times you saw those uniforms.

    I guess I’m crazy. I really liked them! Thought they looked clean and fresh – the gold seemed appropriate, and I loved the AL/NL batting helmets. It all made sense to me, plus not garish at all.

    Growing up, I always wondered why they didn’t just wear the batting practice uniforms they wore for the HR Derby. I kind of like the novelty of special uniforms for the All Star game. Now I did not like these that much, but I just don’t like baseball pants that are not white or normal grey. Stick with normal pants and make a unique design for the National and American league.

    Manfred is a hired hand whose job is to promote the official party line of the owners. If you are an owner, your goal is to maximize each and every revenue stream. Nothing more.

    To do that they have colluded to keep diversity out of ownership (1 black owner in all of pro ball), management, unequal pay for women, and to this day still promote a non living wage for minor leaguers. Major changes in baseball only come from the outside, pressure by congress in removing the antitrust exemption is a start. IMHO

    To do that they have colluded to keep diversity out of ownership (1 black owner in all of pro ball), management, unequal pay for women, and to this day still promote a non living wage for minor leaguers. Major changes in baseball only come from the outside, pressure by congress in removing the antitrust exemption is a start. IMHO

    This comment makes no sense. None of the things you mentioned have anything to do with revenue, and only one has anything to do with money at all. How would the race of the other owners or management at all affect their bottom line? Unequal pay for women has no affect on top line revenue and if it affected their bottom line, it just doesn’t make sense. If anything, they would prefer to pay men less because so many more of them are employed. It makes no sense for them from a bottom line perspective to pay the smallest group of their employees less. The only thing that somewhat makes sense is the minor leaguer pay thing, but you seem to be forgetting the 7 month vacation they get every year.

    How does ” keep diversity out of ownership” promote more revenue for owners? Curious how you measure that. One would think having a more diverse ownership group would increase revenues for owners by helping them tap into new markets. Or are you suggesting that diverse ownership would for some reason be more egalitarian and fight against the greed motives of the existing owners?

    I’d also suggest the wage issue for minor leaguers is a responsibility that falls on the collective bargaining of the major leaguers far more than the owners. It is a market system, minor leaguers show a willingness to play for peanuts and sacrifice for the opportunity to one day play in the majors, cash the big checks, and get paid big money to play a game they love. I’d suggest the pay issue for minor leaguers is no different than for any actor or small band that is trying to make it big. They also are getting paid peanuts and willing decide to continue in that line of work to reach their dreams. If the minor league pay issue is such a problem then the major leaguers (some of whom should have gone through it) would be advocating strongly to direct revenue into minor league salaries.

    I thought it was interesting that despite the team logos on the front, all the NOBs and numbers were rendered in the same standard block font.

    And the Toronto wordmark without the division through the letters just looked wrong, making their uni even worse (if that’s possible).

    I actually loved the Uniforms. I know it isn’t a popular opinion but I think any gimmick that can help people discover the love of baseball that I have I think is great.

    Do you really think that the all-star game uniforms are going to help someone discover a love for baseball? All MLB has done in the Selig and Manfred eras is turn fans off of the game.

    A few counterpoints to Paul’s analysis:

    I think the lack of front numbers actually showed how cluttered they make most uniforms look. Aside from maybe the Reds numbers which sort of balance out their logo on the other side of the chest, most front numbers detract from the symmetry and balance of the wordmarks across the chest.

    And while I loathe Manfred as much as the next baseball fan, and did enjoy the players wearing their own team uniforms in the all star game, I’d say it is really a personal preference thing. I’m not against all star game specific uniforms per say, especially as the nature of the game has changed with interleague play and national coverage making baseball uniform watching less regionally specific for fans. Perhaps because the uniforms thus far have been so bad it is easy to say all star game specific uniforms are a bad idea, but I don’t think the concept itself is automatically awful. The uni watch concept showed there are various ways you can make enjoyable and good looking all star uniforms.

    I understand that the Angels don’t wear “Los Angeles” or “Anaheim” on their away jerseys. But, it just didn’t seem right that the other 14 teams had their “city” names and the Angels did not. Surely Nike could have come up with something…….

    The league logos on the helmets would have been more appealing if they used the old logos from the umpire caps, the versions with the intersecting letters.

    What’s up with the weird film on the batting helmets? It’s more visible on the AL one. Excess adhesive? Looks pretty shoddy.

    I did not watch a second of the All-Star Game. My first look at the uniforms on the field is from the photos here at Uni Watch. Based on those, I do not regret my decision.

    I noticed the film/adhesive on the batting helmets early on in the game and couldn’t stop seeing it for every batter. Some helmets were OK, some were terrible, almost looking like the equipment team realized that morning that they forgot to put the stickers on. At first I thought it was supposed to look like celluloid as a retro Hollywood gimmick, but as the game wore on, it looked more and more like shoddy workmanship.

    On balance, trying to look at it as dispassionately as I can, the charcoal unis worked better than the whites, only because there is better contrast between gold and dark gray. But, as the uni design contest showed, we all know the AL is red and the NL is blue-are those colors not in the Swoosh’s fairy tale book?

    It’s obvious Manfred is trying to get more fans into the game, but he is pissing off traditionalists, which I guess in his mind is “short term loss, long term gain.”

    It’s obvious Manfred is trying to get more fans into the game, but he is pissing off traditionalists, which I guess in his mind is “short term loss, long term gain.”

    The thing is, the loss is definite, while the gain is speculative at best. Did these uniforms really convert any non-fans into baseball fans? I have my doubts.

    “The thing is, the loss is definite, while the gain is speculative at best.”
    Oh this is great Paul. I am going to have to cite that in my grumpy old man discussions about various changes to sports. As usual your skill as a writer shows in being able to articulate things so simply.

    I’m going to push back on you a little on this one, Paul, and not because I take Rob Manfred’s side, but because I’m facsinated by the question: Is the loss permanent? And if so, what does “permanent loss” look like?

    I think you are going to say that team identity as the gateway drug to baseball has been damaged by all this, but we know baseball is a cartel, so teams must know and agree that that idea is not as relevant to them anymore. So are they wrong about this?

    It occurred to me this may have been the 50th all-star game in my fan lifetime. And back then, seeing the ballplayers playing ball in their own unis on television was a revelation and a fascinating thing, because happened so infrequently and was a once-a-year thing. For me personally, it joined with, and amplified, another origin of my fascination: it brought baseball cards to life, and often the guys on them with round-numbers in the series and for 1 night they were teammates, but I was still rooting most for the one wearing blue and orange.

    Today, any kid with an interest in baseball can discover every detail of every uni, and see them in action on a field, and know what look is worn when, and understand why they do it any time they want. Everything is more transparent. Also why baseball cards are less relevant, i think. The only thing kids *don’t* already see in the All-Star Game that were among the many revelations for me, is “what would it be like, if Ohtani and Stanton were teammates,” (and I think they actually can in video games but whatever). Special unis can amplify that. MLB seems convinced –and its clubs are therefore behind– that Ohtani or Stanton are what young fans come to see, over signaling “what we want to show you is the Angels and the Yankees.”

    If that one day leads to a break up of the cartel, bring it on, otherwise what?

    Ps– Super website redesign btw, often I found I had had much to say, but couldn’t say it.

    I enjoyed the clean look without front numbers (Cardinals). No head spoons, especially the Giants but why was the Blue Jay missing from the Toronto jerseys?

    I knew going in that I would not like what I was going to see…growing up and before inter-league play , All-Star Games always gave me a glimpse of potential World Series match-ups (a kid could only dream of seeing what – Dodgers vs Indians or Pirates vs Angels WS might look like). But yesterday’s abomination was even worse than I could imagine. The clincher: seeing the players who play for teams with truly timeless, classic unis wearing that garbage yesterday. BOOOOOOOOO, MLB!!!

    Anyone else think the single star on the caps and helmets looked like an asterisk? I kept looking at the bottom of my TV screen for the footnote.

    If you do it next year, put one star on each side of the logo; it’s not that hard!

    Looking at Manfred’s uni sins, why have you not added that he’s allowed ads on the batting helmets/jerseys? Or have you and I just missed it.

    The uni ads for non-USA games are included. Haven’t yet added the ads that will start appearing this fall and next year because, you know, they won’t start appearing until this fall and next year! I’ll add them to the list then.

    I noticed that the star patch on one sleeve had the number of all star nominations inside for each player, for instance Albert Pujols had the number 11. one of the few pros of the uniform

    One ASG thing I found interesting is the Cubs uni logo. On their pinstriped uniforms, the logo incorporates the logo registration (circled R) on the images I saw, but it wasn’t present on the batter’s uniform I saw for them last night.

    I watched some of the game from the gym last night, and I kept having to squint and say “Who the hell is that?” because, unlike All-Star games in the old days, I couldn’t tell who was up by looking at the unis. (And yes — trucker hats???)

    Every time Manfred opens his mouth, it becomes even more apparent that he’s no fan of the sport. He’s simply the corporate efficiency expert from a B-movie — say, oddly enough, Paul Giamatti in “Fred Claus” — trying to stamp cookie-cutter “innovations” onto a cherished tradition. But forget the All-Star uni fiascos or the butchering of the minor leagues; two words already have cemented his legacy: ghost runner.

    Of course Manfred’s uni comments are idiotic but in his infinite stupidity he managed to overshadow it by saying that Minor Leaguers are paid a livable wage when they average like $15k annual salary and are not paid for mandatory off-season activities.

    One of my favorite parts of the All-Game Game was the player introductions and seeing everyone lined up together in their respective uniforms, representing their teams and cities. No more. After seeing the players in those softball-league clown suits last nights, I didn’t even watch the game.

    I don’t think I would have minded the ASG unis if they had the numbers on front for the teams that have them. I would have also preferred powder blues with gold for the American League teams to remind us of the satin blues of the 1940s.

    I had this thought yesterday watching the game. I wonder what the players think of wearing special uniforms for the ASG? When I was in Little League, making the All-Star team was awesome because we were on the team, but also because we got special All-Star uniforms. Obviously, I was a kid and not an adult, but I wonder if wearing special All-Star uniforms is more fun for the players in the same way it was more fun when we were kids.
    Another thought I had is, if you make the All-Star team it could be cool to have different jerseys to hold onto as a keepsake or a sort of trophy to look back on after your career. I still think the uniforms the last two years have been pretty awful and any of the unis submitted in the re-design contest would have been a major upgrade, but that thought made me slightly more sympathetic to having special All-Star uniforms, that is, if the players do actually care.

    I’m sure a lot of it is supporting the cause (the cause of course being $$$), but it does seem as if players actually like the outrageous costumes they are required to wear.
    Or at least the ones that don’t keep their mouths shut about it (except Chris Sale of course).

    Lee

    Manfred has contractually tied MLB to Nike. Nike is in charge and their target demographic is 13-30. I suspect that group loves the uniforms. I suspect the only ways to get MLB to return to the old ASG uniform format is to A) stop watching the game and B) stop buying the crappy merchandise. Hurt them in their pocketbooks.

    AL third base coach Gary Pettis also wore his normal Astros helmet on field.

    Guess they didn’t want to spring for custom AL/NL flap-less helmets.

    It’s just ludicrous that there was an All-Star Game in Dodger Stadium for the first time in over 40 years, and the Dodger players didn’t have the red front numbers.

    If they’re going do special All-Star uniforms, it just makes so much more sense to use more of the regular uniform elements, just customized to the “All-Star” idea. In this case, fine, make it all gold, but keep the distinct elements: the Dodgers’ red front numbers, the Jays’ split lettering, pinstripes, sleeve striping, and so on. I understand that merchandising is driving this, but, what, do they think a Dodger fan is thinking “Maybe I’ll get the Kershaw All-Star jersey…no, wait, it’s got the 22 on the front, can’t have that!”? Because I think it would sell better with the number there. Seems like a compromise that would work for everyone. (I mean, for traditionalists, it would be better than what they had, and for those who want the uniforms to be “special”, it still works.)

    Even though it’s in the lead photo, there was no mention of the tiger-striped glove used by the Detroit pitcher. Straight from a Cincinnati Bengals helmet. Not sure if I like it or not, but it certainly was distinctive.

    It’s all subjective, of course, but it seems to me that if you’re going to review a game like this and start with the opinion that there was no way you were going to like the uniforms before they were even unveiled, it sort of taints the entire review.

    It would be like somebody for a music publication saying “I knew before I even listened to this album that I wasn’t going to like it…”

    It would be like somebody for a music publication saying “I knew before I even listened to this album that I wasn’t going to like it…”

    Actually, it’s not like that at all.

    They released the uniform designs last week. I didn’t like them and explained why. If I had said last week, “I knew I’d hate these before I saw them,” *then* you’d be making a proper analogy. But going into last night’s game, I had indeed “listened to the album,” so to speak — I’d seen the uniforms when they were released the week before. I didn’t like them last week and still didn’t like them last night.

    But if you prefer to think my work is “taint[ed],” be my guest. That’s up to you.

    Paul has never made any secret of the fact that he’s at the knee-jerk traditionalist end of the spectrum. You don’t have to agree with him, but nobody who’s read his work could possibly imagine he would ever like these uniforms. Personally I prefer a critic who’s upfront about their preferences.

    Actually, I am neither kneejerk nor a traditionalist. As I have always said, I am a *classicist.*

    A traditionalist says, “Don’t change anything because I hate change.”

    A classicist says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it *is* broke, let’s try to improve it.”

    Big difference.

    The tradition of each team’s uniform being represented at the ASG is *truly* a visual treat that no other sport can offer. It means something to a player’s fans, city, state, etc to see their uniform out there, representing them….Manfred’s comment is out of pure ignorance “out-of-touchness’ and greed. F#^K him.

    The NL unis weren’t bad, but the AL unis were awful. They’re WAY too dark. Why couldn’t they have just made it the standard grey that most teams wear? Would’ve looked much better.

    One thing I noticed and maybe someone has already commented that in the commercials promoting the game, the players were in their regular uniforms with regular hats WITH the little star on it. If so, I wonder if the ASG team gets to wear that badge of honor for the rest of the year? Like when I was an All Star in 1966 in little league- they gave us iron on stars to wear for the rest of the season on our caps.

    Even as someone who is a pretty big baseball fan, I found myself a few times wondering what team a player was representing, especially while they were at bat. Considering how much MLB has pushed to end the NL and AL distinction you’d think they’d want to celebrate the teams the players are representing rather than what league they are part of. And even as someone who didn’t think the uniforms were that bad (much better than last year) the uniform-ity of the game takes away from having multiple players representing the same team. I think at one point the announcers mentioned that the left side of the NL infield were Braves, but you couldn’t tell just by looking at the player on the infield.

    Absolutely brutal comment by Rob Manfred. I grew up in the 70s and 80s and seeing the different colors on the uniforms was really cool to look at. Especially when those colors being brighter than in later years. The colors with those uniforms went on to be darker, starting in the 90s. Maybe teams need to stop adding black or dark colors to their primary or alternate uniforms? Maybe it would make it more appealing to look at?

    I watched most of the game last night, it was a good different kind of game to watch. A few of the players from my team were part of the wired for sound that the network was providing, very cool.
    What wasn’t cool (actually looked very hot) were the dark uniforms, my goodness you’d think that the players were roasting out there in the southern heat.

    The Mookie Betts t-shirt tells us a lot about the declining appeal of the game, not only to Black audiences. This sport is struggling to stay relevant and the addition of uniform ads, the rise in admission prices, the slashing of funding youth baseball programs, a commish who clearly loathes the game and its fans on behalf of greedy and disinterested owners who exploit minor league players with fewer opportunities because of terminating teams across the country plus the demands from TV networks and advertisers to make the game faster and more appealing to (young) people with a very short attention span will eventually doom the Beautiful Game. Baseball is on a selfdestructive course right now. People will lose interest in it very quickly in the years to come. A solution? Might be too late for that.

    I really hated last year’s unis, but this year’s are better in my view. They did at least have the elements of a baseball uniform and a design concept, even if it was inconsistently executed – Miami had “Marlins” on their home jersey, but the LA Angels did have “Los Angeles” on their road jersey. I suspect because the former just involved copying what the Marlins have on their Alt jersey and the Angels one would have required someone to actually design an appropriate style “Los Angeles” – heaven forbid that!

    I think this whole thing stems from the problem of thinking you need to change things to appeal to kids who haven’t formed adult tastes yet so are attracted to brash, bright and shiny. Instead of letting kids get in to baseball because it’s traditional with all the design styles and quirks that go with that.

    The problem with changing things to appeal to kids is that it also puts off adults and once those kids have grown up and developed adult tastes too are they going to stick with the kids-stuff MLB look? Hmmm….

    I think there’s some middle ground to be had between unifying the team look and also still being unique to each player’s team.
    Suggestion (using this year’s gold them as example)-

    Keep the gold, but each player’s team color as the accent.
    So Dodger players in blue and gold, Cardinals in red and gold, Rockies in purple and gold, maybe some secondary accents for some teams like the Rays (sky blue) and Orioles (orange) and Mariners (teal).

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