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Greetings and a good Sunday morning to all. I hope everyone had a great (and warm) Saturday.
I recently received a pretty neat set of crossover concepts from today’s featured graphic artist Danny Kaufmann, in which he has concepted an entire league of Major League Baseball clubs reimagined as soccer teams (and in soccer kits), with both home and road versions of those kits. The first set, which you’ll see below, is for the American League.
Before we go any further, I want to note that each and every jersey contains an advertiser. I struggled with actually running these, but obviously there was a lot of time and effort put into each concept kit, and the advertisers selected seem to make sense for the teams. That’s not an endorsement of the advertiser (and I wish Danny hadn’t included them); however, in light of the fact that soccer kits have contained giant advertiser logos for decades (and might even look “funny” without the ad occupying the prime real estate), I’m going to share them as they were sent. If we can look past the ads, I really like a lot of these designs and it’s a fun “What If” set of concepts. I’d appreciate it if you’d keep any comments to the kit designs themselves. Thanks!
And with that, here’s Danny:
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Imagining Soccer Kits for MLB Teams by Danny Kaufmann
For the past few months I have been working on imagining soccer kits for MLB teams. As soon as I started, I knew the goal was to share them on Uni Watch since I have been reading for a while but never submitted anything major. I hope you enjoy!
I based the home uniform on the Flag of Baltimore (which is also the first and fourth quarters of the Flag of Maryland). For the away kit, I made sure to include Oriole qualities, orange and feathers. I opted for the roundel logo because I felt it resembled a typical soccer logo and of course, features the Maryland flag.
Boston Red Sox
I again went with a roundel, which enabled me to save the primary logo for the pattern, which is just the right amount of subtle. For Boston’s away strip, I used the two shades of green from the 100 years at Fenway Park logo and the diamond pattern on the exterior of the park.
New York Yankees
The Yankees have, on occasion, worn pinstripes and continue to do so here. On the road, the Yankees recall their days as the Highlanders with a classy tartan pattern.
Tampa Bay Rays
I figured the Rays would continue to lean into the sunburst logo so that’s what I did here for the home. Even though I prefer the aquatic adaptation of the name, I still think this look works well. I drew on the (in)famous fauxback looks for the away, this time making white the dominant color (for contrast) with yellow and light blue.
Toronto Blue Jays
The home kit uses a pattern that can either be seen as maple leaves or birds. I chose powder blue for the road, with just a touch of red. The design is fairly standard and is really more about looking cool than symbolizing something (though I imagine Nike would say something about the streaks of color on a Blue Jay’s wings and how that relates to the elite performance of the team).
Chicago White Sox
Taking inspiration from Paris Saint-Germain (who took inspiration from the Chicago Bulls), the White Sox wear a black pinstriped shirt and finally, white socks. I was weary of tying the White Sox to the Bulls, which could alienate Cubs fans, but I figured it was okay given a certain two-sport athlete. I always felt the South Siders’ 1950s look was their best and thus, called upon red for their change strip.
I was very pleased with this hexagonal geometric pattern since the G in the Guardians logo and the top of the Guardians of Traffic are similarly shaped (the team would probably say that the shape represents the team’s six AL Pennants). I chose sky blue and light orange to vaguely reference the Cavs and Browns but the blue is more for the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.
I kept the Tigers’ home kit quite simple but did add the sleeve cuff pattern of the 70s and 80s road look. On the road, the Tigers don orange and tiger stripes, two design elements that are oft discussed for the team but tricky to execute. I spent a lot of time going back and forth on this one but ultimately, I think I made them the right amount of flashy.
Kansas City Royals
The soccer uniform medium allowed KC to aesthetically distance itself from other teams (especially given that the most recent rebrand felt like a step back to me). I used Kansas City’s seal, which is featured on the Royals’ City Connect unis. The Royals’ away kit is one of my favorites. The gold waves give the appearance of some sort of royal banner or garment, plus powder blue!
I put the Twins in two-tone hoops so the color balance is slightly more navy-dominant but still has enough red. Similar to Boston with green, purple frequently gets mentioned for rebrands of Twin Cities sports teams. Purple helps the Twins, who have such a standard color scheme, to stand out a bit more.
At home, Houston sports navy trimmed with a yellow and orange galaxy design. For the Stros’ road unis, I wanted to make use of the two shades of orange as a subtle nod to Tequila Sunrise without being a cop-out. The lined gradient felt in line with the Astros’ designs without being too unoriginal.
Los Angeles Angels
When I was beginning this project, I had to consider who would retain white at home and who wouldn’t. The Angels are an interesting case with gray but I wanted them to stand out (especially since I knew the other LA team would wear white). Since I feel like the Angels should distance themselves from LA and claim Anaheim, I wanted to feature sky blue and yellow-orange to conjure images of blue skies, surfing, citrus, etc. The pattern also reminds me of an angel’s wings.
There is no need for the A’s to stray from the classic green and gold color scheme. Living in Oakland, most of the A’s fans I know seem to prefer the kelly green look so I incorporated it here. At home, Oakland gets an elephant pattern. For the road, I went with something bold and fun, with the zig-zags somewhat resembling an A.
In the alternate universe that I imagined, the Seattle Sounders would not exist, allowing the Mariners to play with sound waves (which works on multiple levels). A blue-gray change strip gives the appearance of rain.
I thought that checkers would be a good way to address the red-blue balance issue that has plagued this franchise since its inception. I added the Texas silhouette logo to make things a little more interesting. I kept the checks motif on the road, this time with tonal pinstripes.
• • • • •
Thanks, Danny. We’ll check out the National League reimagined as soccer kits sometime following Supe weekend.
GROSS! Angels become latest team to announce jersey ad
The LA Angels yesterday became the fourth MLB franchise to preview a jersey ad for the upcoming 2023 season. As you can see above, the ad is for a corporation which is a “construction materials distributor focused on exceeding the expectations of the commercial construction and residential building trades.” Not exactly a household name (nor particularly local to the Angels).
The ad will appear on all four jerseys the team currently wears: white, gray, red and CC.
It’s hard to tell exactly, but this ad appears smaller than the “permitted” dimensions (4″ x 4″).
Three other teams have officially unveiled their jersey ads, and those all appear to fit that maximum: D-backs, Red Sox, and Padres.
While some might view the smaller size ad as a “positive” development, it’s STILL. AN. AD.
As you’ll see in today’s ticker, the Reds have announced their uni advertiser, but haven’t yet shown the ad on a jersey yet. The Astros are also expected to soon announce their own jersey advertiser. It’s expected that by the start of the season — perhaps as early as the start of Spring Training — about half the teams will have deals in place for jersey ads.
Pretty soon I expect we’ll be just adding “Mr. Yuk” to these — but we’re not quite there yet. If you care, here’s how the ads will look on the white, red and CC jerseys:
The Angels kinda low-keyed the announcement on social media. Their announcement video features only very fleeting shots of the ads on the jerseys, instead using their tweet as an ad for their new advertiser. Or rather, their “new jersey patch partner.”
“You approach each day with the goal in mind, laying the foundation for what’s to come.”
Of course the screen grabs show the jersey ad on only the left shoulder, but that will surely change depending on the “handedness” of the player wearing the jersey.
Of the four teams to show jersey ads, none have gone the route of the Jazz, whose maiden ad was actually more of a “public service” featuring “5 For The Fight”, which seeks to fund cancer research. In fact, of the three major sports (NHL, MLB and NBA) to announce jersey advertisers, none have “donated” space for charitable causes other than the Jazz. The only slight exception were the New Jersey Devils, who accepted ads supporting black owned businesses on their helmets for 13 games.
NHL All-Star Game Uni Roundup
The NHL played its annual All-Star Game yesterday, and as you can see above, the blissfully ad-free jerseys harkened back to those worn in 1994. That’s not a coincidence. If you hadn’t seen or read Paul’s preview of the jerseys, please click here. The “Reverse Retro” uniforms of 2023 are all explained in that article.
Being basically shut in yesterday — due to the brutal arctic conditions affecting the Northeast — I watched almost the entire game. And while I can’t say I love (or have ever loved) the 3-on-3 format the ASG has used the past six years, I thoroughly enjoyed the uniforms.
Prior to today, I don’t believe the full uniforms for the game had ever been revealed (you’ll note in Paul’s post his annoyance with this all-too-familiar “uniform” [but really only jersey] reveal). Because of the format, the Eastern and Western Conferences were both given the “light” (white with seafoam) and “dark” (black with white) jerseys.
The games were divided into three segments: In the first game, the two Western Conference Divisions (Pacific and Central) squared off, with the Central squad wearing the dark jerseys. In the second game, the Metropolitan (light) and Atlantic (dark) Divisions were represented. Winners of each game met in the finals. Interestingly, in both Intra-Conference games, the team in the dark jerseys won. The same thing happened in the finals.
Since we hadn’t ever seen the full uniforms, yesterday was a bit of a revelation. Both squads wore identical black helmets, black pants with a diagonal wedge of hot pink and white down the sides, and black and white socks with pink/seafoam stripes. Gloves were white:
I was wondering if the similar outfits might cause some confusion, especially since the backs of the “dark” jerseys were predominately white, and the “light” jerseys also contained a good amount of white.
Interestingly, just as the game was starting, the announcers also wondered if some players might have difficulty in finding teammates versus opponents. Since the game was 3-on-3, I didn’t notice any real mistakes, although there was some sloppy play and turnovers early in the first game.
Of course, the reason both teams wore identical buckets, breezers and socks is because they might be required to wear different jerseys if they advanced to the finals. Indeed, since both black-shirted teams advanced, the Atlantic (wearing black in their first game) and Central (also clad in black in their first game) met, with Central players switching to the white jerseys for the finals.
As you can see from a couple photos here, most of the goalies wore special color-coordinated blockers, gloves and pads for the game. But the Predators’ Juuse Saros went what looked like his regular set.
As is tradition at All-Star games, all players wore the official ASG patch on their right shoulder, and a team logo patch on their left.
All in all, I enjoyed the uniforms; I didn’t have much (if any) difficulty in telling the teams apart, and I particularly liked the “Miami Vice” color scheme used on both sets of unis.
Got an e-mail earlier this week from the great Craig Brown, who runs the fantastic Threads Of Our Game website. If you’re not familiar with it, the primary focus is on pre-1900 baseball uniforms and related ephemera.
Blue ribbons or beer? The struggles of the 1889 Athletics
Hello baseball historians,
On June 22, 1889, the Athletics of Philadelphia trotted onto the Jefferson Street grounds with an added element on their uniforms. Each man wore, according to the Philadelphia Record, “a band of blue ribbon on his left arm.”
Today, blue ribbons represent a variety of causes — but in the 1880s, blue meant temperance. Why then on this very same day in June did the rival Philadelphia Times report that the Athletics were “in a beastly state of intoxication?”
The after-hour habits of the 1889 Athletics don’t seem to have much of a digital footprint today and are not often included with other irreverent tales of the American Association (1882-1891). However, recent finds by researcher Ed Morton have revealed new depth and detail to the problem of the A’s. Morton’s discoveries come from the Philadelphia Record, available on the often-overlooked Google News Archive, and make this a story worth sharing.
Based on the suggestion of long-time reader/contributor Jimmy Corcoran, we’ve introduced a new “game” on Uni Watch, which is similar to the popular “Guess the Game from the Scoreboard” (GTGFTS), only this one asked readers to identify the game based on the uniforms worn by teams.
Like GTGFTS, readers will be asked to guess the date, location and final score of the game from the clues provided in the photo. Sometimes the game should be somewhat easy to ascertain, while in other instances, it might be quite difficult. There will usually be a visual clue (something odd or unique to one or both of the uniforms) that will make a positive identification of one and only one game possible. Other times, there may be something significant about the game in question, like the last time a particular uniform was ever worn (one of Jimmy’s original suggestions). It’s up to YOU to figure out the game and date.
Today’s GTGFTU comes from Chris Hickey.
Good luck and please post your guess/answer in the comments below.
And Now a Few Words from Paul
Hi there. In case you missed it earlier this week, my latest Premium articleis an epic interview with letter carrier Jimmy Lonetti about his vintage/throwback postal uniforms. Jimmy is already somewhat Uni Watch-famous because of his longtime excellent work in the field of baseball glove repair, but the way he customizes his postal uniforms with vintage patches, buttons, and other throwback details is nothing short of heroic.
I don’t mind saying that this is one of the best Uni Watch articles ever. It’s long — about 5,000 words — and is studded with lots of photos, links to lots of additional resources for people who want to learn more about postal aesthetics, and a very special surprise at the end.
You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the whole thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also get you full access to my Substack/Bulletin archives, of course). Honestly and truly, I can’t imagine a better reason to sign up than to read this piece.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out some of the comments posted on the article by your fellow Uni Watch readers:
If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will! Again, you can read the beginning of the article here.
Now back to Phil!
Uni Tweet of the Day
Not a fan of the KC in green…but I’m kinda diggin’ the Eagles wings on red