Nike’s new “four plus one” rule for MLB uni sets has apparently claimed another victim, as SportsLogos.net is reporting that the Rays are scrapping their road greys and elevating their Devil Rays throwbacks from “occasional” status to full alternate status.
So the Rays’ four jerseys will be:
- Home whites.
- Navy (which will now become the primary road jersey).
- Light-blue alternate (which is also the team’s spring training design).
- Devils Rays throwbacks.
There are lots of additional details, but SportsLogos.net’s Chris Creamer did the original reporting on this, so you should hear those details from him, not from me. Check out his full story here.
Tampa Bay is not the only MLB team scrapping its grey jersey for 2023. The Mariners made the same decision earlier this year, and we’re still waiting to see how things shake out for a few other teams.
(I don’t know what else to say)
I was so happy when, in the early 1990s, every team had finally returned to the home whites and road grays, with belts on the pants and buttons on the jerseys. Players actually looked like big leaguers again! Baseball uniforms have been going in the toilet ever since, and ditching gray jerseys is a continuation of that.
Okay this is an admittedly hot take, but I understand the draw of the pullover jerseys from the 70s & 80s. That was before my time, but I have a couple of Red Sox pullover BP jerseys from the late 80s. They’re a bit more comfortable to wear as a fan than the button downs. So they definitely don’t look better, but they are more comfortable to wear.
I think the players agree since a fair number of them end up having their uniforms actually sown shut below the second button down. I think it’s Adidas that actually has a template used by some college baseball teams, it’s a pullover but has two buttons on the top and that’s it, truthfully I really like it.
Button up shirts
Button down collars
Man, this is so disappointing. I love road greys, way more than home whites even.
got to say i like this, MLB needs more color..they need to embrace team’s primary colors more.
Every team has the opportunity for 2 colored alts and a City Connect. I’d agree there’s a balance between tradition and innovation but that’s the balance. You get 2 alts plus the CC. Kind of crazy teams feel they need more. Also, this isn’t embracing the primary colors, they’re just wearing a throwback which is dumb. I guess technically if it’s a primary uniform now, you can’t even consider it a throwback, it’s a current. Should’ve just made that their City Connect.
I agree. I hate gray and can’t understand why some people love it so much. It’s probably because I grew up rooting for a team that didn’t have a gray uniform (the ’80s Cubs with their dark blue road jerseys), and particularly with the ’90s’ sock-not-showing styles, the return to gray (in polyester and not the flavorful gray of flannel) made things really colorless.
My team is older than these gray-loving “traditional” teams and has been wearing color for longer than they’ve been in existence: link
I’m a big traditionalist about most of the other features of uniforms — I hate NOBs, I prefer city names to nicknames on the road — but I’d love to see gray disappear again.
It’s case by case. Some teams look great in gray, but a key factor – as you pointed out – is the socks. If the hats match the socks, it really pulls off the traditional baseball uniform look. I feel the same way about home whites. Without contrasting socks they just look like pajamas.
Home whites (or cream) vs road grays. That’s baseball!
Of all the teams losing the road grays the Rays seem least consequential since their road grays were the same design as the home whites. Had the grays actually said “Tampa Bay” it would be a travesty to lose them.
I have to agree. There was a moment there where all the uniforms were more or less the same just in different color schemes, which didn’t sit right with me. I’m glad they are adding the Devil Rays jersey as a permanent alternate, and have an alternate design for the light blue.
This will sadly be a trend. I’d predict that in another 5 years, you may end up with 2/3 of the teams eliminating the greys. Certain teams, especially the older teams, the Yankees, the Red Sox, probably the Tigers, they’ll keep them. But yeah 2/3 of the league will be white and a bunch of colored alts.
What’s the problem?
No longer a need for Rays gray pants, right?
I can envision a day in the near future when visiting teams will be permitted wearing white, given the increase use of color tops by home teams.
The Indians 75-77 home and road had white pants. White or blue tops at home, or red on the road. (they also had the full bloody mary option on the road)
Grey pants with solid tops are just dumb. Why not just wear white pants on the road like they did in the 80s? Cubs, Padres, Rangers, White Sox, Indians, A’s, Pirates, Giants, ALL wore white pants on the road. Why not now?
IMHO, Limiting the number of jerseys is fine, but, every MLB team should be required to have a home white uniform and a road grey uniform.
I really, really wish these changes were not being driven by the Nike 4+1 nonsense.
Where do we land in another 20-30 years? All teams just white/gray again?
What MLB needs to do is eliminate the requirement for gray pants on the road, unless the team is wearing a gray jersey. The use of the alternate softball top with gray pants has never looked good. Even the Mets, who specifically created a softball top with silver/gray wordmark/numbers (link) to go with the gray pants, never looked good.
While I don’t like softball tops, I’ll admit that they look better when paired with white pants (which several teams did back in the 70s/80s), specifically to wear on the road.
If folks aren’t *into* the road gray look, they should wear powder blue, tan or light brown
on the road.
Just my $.02. YMMV
+1 on Phil’s idea…
Now we have $0.04
I’ll put a couple tarnished Lincolns down on Phil’s plan.
Same, I’m a huge fan of Phil’s thoughts on this. I actually LOVE the Padres road pinstripes and my taste is about as traditional as it gets. It’s almost like some teams need to have a traditional look, but others should be able to experiment a bit more freely. The Tigers will never do anything drastic at home, but the Blue Jays in light blue is a great idea.
I suggest the following further distinction to Phil’s idea:
(1) Agree 100% that light-to-medium shades and/or warm colors all look worse with gray pants than with white pants. For example: Astros orange, Royals royal, Reds red, A’s kelly green, and anyone wearing light blue jerseys, should wear them with white pants, home or road
(2) Navy blue (like the Rays) and black (White Sox, Marlins, BFBS perpetrators) look OK w with gray.
I like instantly knowing which team is the road team. Take away gray road pants and that’s gone.
Beyond that, I feel like gray goes with everything, just as much as white does.
I do miss the road grays, in the sense that it usually has the city name on it (not always, see Phillies, Rays, Angels, etc.). But I do like Phil Hecken’s idea of getting rid of gray pants on the road, if the team is going with a colored jersey. I think it looks cleaner. Also, I do think the powder blue look should come back as road jersey for several teams as well.
Who knew so many people loved *checks notes* grey?
Is it just the tradition of road greys that everyone loves? Or do you all also love the grey Detroit Lions, or Tampa Bay Buccs unis?
I’m with Phil (sort of) pair the alt tops (no softball tops, please) with white pants, or if you don’t like white pants on the road go full powder blue/maroon/etc.
Depends on the sport. Gray was traditionally the road color for most people watching baseball until the 1970s (though history shows us plenty of examples of teams wearing navy).
Football, basketball and hockey never used gray, it was always white-on-team color, which makes more sense when teams are directly facing each other. (Baseball lacks a fear over loss of possession as in the other games.) Gray was close to white and would be confusing, and the other three major North American sports aren’t played in the heat of the summer, wearing wool uniforms.
For all these reasons, white versus gray made sense in baseball and less so in the other sports. We only have gray in football now because Nike can’t make metallic pants to save their souls, and with football driving the culture of sports, basketball and hockey and now soccer have followed.
In the same spirit as your question: why is monochrome detested in football by most but expected in basketball, not unusual in hockey or soccer, and was the norm in baseball for decades?
Gray (or home white for that matter) can really accentuate and set off the team’s main color(s). Think of the Dodgers. Whether in gray or white, the Dodger blue pops on the hats, lettering, socks, etc. because the jerseys/pants are so plain. When they wear blue shirts, it’s just too blue.
I give up. Too often it just seems to me that whether a uniform LOOKS good is not a factor. Even though the devil rays is their history that uniform is horrible. Too much going on. Giving up gray road uniforms for ugly alternates will be a sad trend.
I’m sad to see the grays go, but sign me up for anything that gets Tampa back to the rightful “Devil Rays” branding. Their final uniform iteration while the “Devil Rays” was one of the best name/uni combos in sports. Meanwhile the sunshine “Rays” is some of the most uninspired stuff out there (especially given their current stadium).
That’s the bright spot for me, too. If they’re embracing “Devil Rays” I can live without their uninspired gray “Rays” shirt.
I dislike the Phillies gray jersey, wouldn’t mind that one getting the axe. I’ve warmed up to the current red pinstripes based on the Whiz kids. I’ve been more of a fan of the 1972-88 maroon set in which they wear the powder blues on Thursdays, and the 1946-49 jerseys they during the afternoon games outside of Thursdays.
FWIW, I’ve always thought the sun burst logo and lettering was a bit boring, and prefer the fish logo.
Rays are a poster candidate for my idea of non-gray road uniforms using a pastel shade of a team color as the base color. Think powder blue but colors other than blue. Throwbacky mint green or current-identity pale yellow, for example. And, like powder blue but not like gray, such a uniform would work at home too, a point of flexibility that will be important for teams in the 4-uni era.
If only the Rays would ditch the Devil Rays throwbacks and maintain a Rays fauxback set as their 4th uniform. Each of the various Rays fauxbacks have been better uniforms than any standard uni the Devil Rays or Rays have worn.
“Each of the various Rays fauxbacks have been better uniforms than any standard uni the Devil Rays or Rays have worn.”
Agreed. But each of the fauxbacks the Rays have worn were basically direct copies of the 1978 Padres unis, save for the color swap.
Didn’t realize that. Dang, that’s weak.
Interesting opinions! If anything needs eliminated it is the atrocious City Connect uniforms. Regardless of the top, I prefer white pants at home and gray on the road. I watch a lot of college baseball and am always bothered by visiting teams wearing white pants on the road, which happens often. Although, I have said I don’t care for the CC, what is the purpose of 4 + 1? There will still be special day uniforms (father’s day, Jackie Robinson, Boston Patriots Day, Players weekend, little league etc.). It seems eliminating a uniform, eliminates a sell; which is what this special days are about anyway.
Well there’s the right answer but that ship has sailed.
So the team is now simultaneously the Devil Rays (marine animal) AND the Rays (of sunshine)
Ha! Good call. It’s like when the Los Angeles Lakers wear the Minneapolis Lakers throwbacks (MPLS). I get it, but dang, it’s a huge slap in the face to Minnesota… especially when they wear them while playing the Timberwolves. Yikes.
This image is a few years old now, but seriously, that’s just cold.
Imagine this season when the Titans play the Texans wearing the old Oilers uni.
I wonder if in the future, baseball uniform color combos will more closely mimic football uniforms. For example, the Packers wear yellow helmets and yellow pants (nearly) always, with just the jersey changing (green/white). If baseball went that route, the whole notion of white/gray pants as home/away indicators could entirely dissolve, for better or for worse.
If that did become the norm, then when teams go all white/gray, it would actually be something special (“ice out,” etc.). Anyway, it’s just a thought.
If the myriad of opinions expressed above have shown me anything, it’s that the one-size-fits-all dynamic is ill-suited to baseball (and sports in general). Is a no-white-pants on the road rule necessary? Why should all road uniforms be gray? For that matter, why are all home uniforms white? Now, I know what the answers to these questions are, but I’m not ready to accept the right answer for the Yankees is quite the right answer for the Cubs. I see a bunch of little hills that can be died upon, and it matters which one you pick. Should ads on jerseys be discouraged; Should the City Connect program be mothballed; Why do teams need to be limited to four different uniforms: Which of these deserves the most attention? My policy is to pick the issue most near and dear, and form an opinion based on that. This doesn’t seem to affect teams who were all that crazy about their grey jerseys to begin with.
Marc Topkin reported this back in February.
Nike limiting the number of jerseys teams can have is like an alcoholic setting their own limit on the number of drinks he can have. “Only four jerseys I promise… well plus one. Four plus one. Except on holidays then I can have another jersey because it’s a special occasion… oh right, and special occasions! I can have an extra jersey on special occasions, I mean if everyone else is gonna have one we can have one right? Oh and then if the Yankees come to town we gotta have a few jerse us for that right? I mean it’s the Yankees! How often do they come to town? Plus if there’s like an anniversary, or a birthday or something, it’s ok to have an extra jersey then. But otherwise I promise only four jerseys!”
I don’t like that MLB and Nike capped the jersey count at 4 (not counting City Connect jerseys), but if my Rays had to cut a jersey, I think they made the right decision. I like seeing more color instead of so many games having that gray/white dynamic.
Does anyone know (or care…) what the Nationals will do with 4+1? Beyond the CC, they have six total game jerseys now: three white home jerseys, one road Grey, one navy, and one red.
My sense is the navy script “Nationals” jersey is safe, thanks to 2019. I’d like to see them drop the “stars-and-stripes” curly W home white and the red alternate.
Most current sports fans and therefore teams in general do not like grey as an uniform color, so it seems. I love grey as it can be combined with any color and still look good. Getting rid of road greys in baseball is something I do not applaud but I agree with a middle ground as suggested by Phil: grey road jersey and white pants will do. Still I hope that my Mets will keep their all grey with blue accents road uniform.
Phil didn’t suggest grey jersey with white pants though…
And gray over white would look terrible.
While I think teams need a standard grey road set, and am also generally OK with alternates, what I *hate* is a matchup of two shades of the same color. It still pains me to watch Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, maybe the best game of the century, and see the Cubs and Cleveland royal blue vs. navy blue matchup. And the Rays will probably be doing this fairly regularly without a grey set.
Obviously it isn’t as big a deal as in football/basketball/hockey, but it’s still an eyesore.
For reasons that I don’t know if I can fully explain I personally love it when teams wear the same color jersey. Like not just navy vs royal but the few times when teams literally wear the exact same shade. I think I enjoy it because it highlights how the nature of baseball makes that totally doable (if weird) when it would never be in football or basketball or hockey etc.
I don’t understand the hate for getting rid of road grays. Baseball is literally the only sport with this tradition. Every other sport has the white and color uniform and a few alternates thrown in there. Basically, the only reason for hating this, is only because people dont like to change.
just another league with a mish-mash of off the wall colored uniforms just like the NBA. You never know which team is which until you read the names.