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A Uni Watch Recap of MLB’s 2023 Opening Day

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Good morning, and happy post-Opening Day! As usual, there was lots of late-breaking uni-related news on the first day of the MLB season, beginning with the surprise announcement that Royals had named catcher Salvador Pérez as their captain, complete with “C” on his jersey — which, as you can see above, looks just brutal next to the stupid Nike maker’s mark. Here’s how it looked on Pérez:

Pérez is, by my count, the 14th “C”-clad captain in MLB history (the other 13 are shown here), and the first since Jason Varitek in 2011 (Brandon Belt’s DIY “C” in 2021 notwithstanding). He’s also the first “C”-clad Royals captain since Mike Sweeney in 2007.

I think MLB captaincy designations are fun as long as they’re not overused, so I like this move. Or at least I would like it if not for that positioning near the swoosh — it’s just the worst. There’s precedent for teams putting the “C” on the sleeve, so why didn’t the Royals put it there instead?

Oh, wait — let me guess.

In other news from Opening Day:

  • The Rays had previously announced that they’d be wearing their Devil Rays throwbacks for Friday home games, but they also wore them for Opening Day, as part of their 25th-anniversary celebration:
  • In addition, the Rays waited until yesterday to announce that they’re adding a memorial rear-helmet decal for longtime radio broadcaster Dave Wills, who died earlier this month:
  • Speaking of the Rays, shortstop Wander Franco had a big cross on his face:
  • In a late-breaking development that, to my knowledge, was not announced by the team prior to the game (and, in fact, still has not been officially announced), the Giants have added a memorial patch for Gaylord Perry, who spent the first decade of his 22-year career with them:
  • As we had suspected, the Phillies have indeed scrapped their sleeve numbers in anticipation of a uni ad. So here’s an ad that doesn’t even exist yet and it’s already diminishing the look of the Phils’ uniforms!

  • We knew the Astros would wear their gold-trimmed uniforms (which they’ll also wear tonight), but we didn’t know they’d also have gold-brimmed batting helmets to match their caps:
  • Remember how I tried to read the sleeve-ad tea leaves a few weeks back by looking at how teams handled their team logo sleeve patches on Photo Day? At the time, the Guardians all wore their team logo patch on the right sleeve. But for yesterday’s opener, the patch was alternating based on the player’s handedness, suggesting that an ad is in the works:
  • Similarly, but in reverse: The Dodgers’ left-sleeve “LA” logo was missing on Photo Day, leading us to think that a uni ad was imminent, but the “LA” was there last night (and it was consistently on the left sleeve for everyone):
  • We couldn’t read any Photo Day tea leaves for the White Sox, because their home whites don’t have a team logo sleeve patch. But their road greys do, and the “Sox” was on alternating sleeves yesterday, indicating that an ad is probably on the way soon:
  • We got our first look at the Mariners’ All-Star Game patch on anything other than their spring training jersey:
  • Here’s how various teams handled the new debutante patches (which, in case you missed it, I wrote about yesterday):
  • Umpire Todd Tichenor, who was working the plate for the Royals/Twins game, was apparently wearing an old jacket with remnants of last year’s advertising patch still visible:

  • Speaking of old gear, the Rangers were still using 50th-anniversary popcorn tubs from last season:
  • Last but not least: The sleeve ads looked like shit.

Most of these developments have been added to my MLB Season Preview, which is now final. Phew!

(Big thanks to Christian Berumen, Patrick Maher, and Jay Mazzone for their contributions to this post.)



Purp Walk Reminder/Update

In case you missed it yesterday, I’ve announced the plans for this year’s Purple Amnesty Day, which will include me throwing out the first pitch at an East Carolina University baseball game while dressed from head to toe in purple, followed by what should be a fun Uni Watch gathering at a local bar. Full details here.

Even if you already read that post yesterday, you may have missed a detail that I added later in the day, namely that ECU has now provided a link where you can purchase discounted tickets for the game. Hope to see a lot of you there!



Can of the Day

Oooh, that’s a beauty! Additional pics here.

• • • • •

Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, which means lots of uni-related hoaxes are going to be circulating on the internet — and that poor Phil will likely be deluged with bogus uni “news.” So if you see some crazy idea that you’re eager to share, take a second to think about whether it passes the smell test before sending it in, and remember to check the calendar. Thanks!

As for me: My favorite team is on pace for a 162-0 season, and I have some fun plans for the weekend. You too, I hope! Enjoy Phil’s weekend content and I’ll see you back here on Monday. — Paul

Comments (49)

    I like to imagine walking into a store with shelves fully stocked with cans like the one above.

    Come to a Dutch supermarket! Not the entire shop will be filled with these Brasso cans but they are still being sold here.

    It’s still widely available over here in the UK, and the packaging hasn’t changed too much in the 60 or so years since the above can was produced. Here’s what it looks like now:

    I have a few interesting vintage cans and tins around the house, I’ll have to snap some photos to send to Paul!

    Was at the Rays/Tigers game yesterday and noticed that there was a very obvious strip of new FieldTurf around the circumference of the infield. With the new shift rule, MLB made teams standardize the infield turf to be 95′ from the rubber, so apparently the Rays were a little over that. Couldn’t get a good pic, but if you watch the highlights of the run scoring singles, you can see a definite discoloration.

    Those KC jerseys would have looked much better with the collar striping the 80’s jerseys had.

    The Guardians winged G logo (I am in the minority as I love this logo) looks awkward on the left sleeve. It looks backward to me.

    That’s because it is. The logo is supposed to give the impression of flight and movement, but the wings have to be pointing to the back to support that concept.

    A Spider would have worked easily on both sleeves, just sayin’.

    And they can’t easily reverse the logo for the other sleeve without redesigning the ‘G’ to fit it properly.

    What a mess. MLB needs to hit the reset button on its uniforms. Will never, ever happen…but:
    -No more Nike skid marks on the front
    -No more patches of any kind (yes, that includes memorial patches) on uniforms or caps
    -Only thing allowed on sleeves are numbers a la Phillies
    -No more pajama pants or biking shorts
    -No more of those bizarre patterned socks—-only traditional stirrups allowed

    You’re welcome.

    Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. I do disagree with you about team patches, I think that they are fine on baseball uniforms. When the Mets eliminated their skyline patch in 1982, their new racing stripe uniforms looked fine…but they didn’t look like the Mets to me without the skyline patch.

    Indeed, some teams need their sleeve patches like the Mets. Cubs, Brewers, Rockies, Rays and Red Sox (away jersey).

    That’s a plate coat Todd Tichenor is wearing, not exactly like getting a new windbreaker. Probably likes the fit, and they’re not cheap. Also maybe likes reminding Manfred how stupid that FTX deal looked on them. At least I hope so.

    Just realized I’ll be playing the National Anthem for the Durham Bulls on Purple Amnesty Day, so I won’t be able to make the journey to ECU… :-(

    I thought those Astros unis looked awful. I hadn’t seen them wear the gold trim (which looked pasted on) with the orange stripes before. It was a mishmash of styles, I suppose they were trying to honor some kind of tradition or something, but yuck. FWIW, I didn’t hate that older Astros with the dark blue and gold and the star on the caps.

    Speaking of mishmashes, I see the Brewers are still wearing their Boy Scouts uniforms and using that cheesy ball & glove “MB” logo on their caps. People love that for some reason but I think that’s one of the top ten worst logos in the history of sports.

    You’re all now two cents richer!

    …older Astros SET, I meant to type. I should reread before posting, I know.

    Not sure if you saw, but in the middle of the Mets-Marlins broadcast (I want to say around the 4th-5th inning), Keith Hernandez mentioned the Marlins’ new uniform sponsor. The discussion went on for a good 30 seconds with Gary Cohen even saying to Keith that he was giving ADT free advertising. Keith replied that he his an ADT customer and loved the product.

    Knowing you and I are Mets fans, I felt this was friendly fire – come on Keith!

    Thank you Paul for including the Brasso can. You can still buy this brass polish in a modernized version of the package but with basically the same design in our Dutch supermarkets. Beautiful can indeed.
    As for the opening day uniforms, your final sentence about the ads is an apt summary. I will never get used to them as I am used to the NBA uniform ads by now.

    The ad patches on the Astros uni, aside from being a eye soar and distraction,looked very cumbersome. They appear to be extra stiff. They stayed round and flat amid curves and wrinkles of the sleeve. When I was a ballplayer I would constantly wipe sweat from my brow with my sleeve, I would legit scratch my eye trying it with these patches. Side note:the size ofnthe ad on the field made it seem like they were much more excited about OXY than opening day or being world champions.

    I like the idea of an “eye soar”. Makes me imagine eyes that just can’t handle how awful everything looks and decide to just abandon the rest of the body and fly off. Perfect metaphor.

    “…the Rays waited until yesterday to announce…”

    Actually, the Rays announced on March 11 that they would wear the Wills helmet decal.

    “Rays players will also wear a specially designed memorial patch on batting helmets throughout the season.”


    Two More debut patches from the Angels/A’s game last night, shown on MLB Network.

    Ryan Noda (In the background of this photo)

    Shintaro Fujinami

    No sleeve numbers is a pretty big downgrade for the Phillies even without an ad.

    As a Guardians fan I am now dreading the inevitable.

    Maybe the Phillies could move the numbers to the front underneath the logo, in blue. Sort of a revers of what the Dodgers have.

    what’s the deal with the Dbacks road greys? CCs MLB preview said they were ditching the red trim for the teal – but last night they wore the red trim

    It would be surprising if Chris made such an error… but he didn’t. He did specify “home white uniforms”, much as you did in your own preview. So maybe people shouldn’t read more into what’s there than is actually being reported?

    Actually, I never said Chris made an error. I just suggested to a Uni Watch reader that if he’s commenting on the Uni Watch website, maybe he should read the Uni Watch article. That’s all.

    my fault! i did a quick read yesterday afternoon & never rechecked it last night after seeing it.

    The Rays half retro half fauxback needs to become their primary. Replacing the black for navy with those gradient colors are just gorgeous. Make a grey road, navy alt road and alt home powder blue version and there is your 4 allotted unis.

    Important point that the Rays are wearing a fauxback uniform, not a throwback. The cap must be black to qualify as a throwback. That said, I agree about how much better the current fauxback looks than the original uniform. The blue cap and the cap logo make it an excellent uniform. Not one I’d want the Rays to switch to full time – for that, I’d choose any of their more whimsical 1970s-esque fauxback uniforms, each of which has more distinctive character than anything else the team has ever worn – but it’s a good look.

    Really disappointed that the unique Phillies sleeve numbers are gone.

    The Royals should just make the C gold in the KC patch on Perez’s sleeve

    And the Dodgers could make the ‘A’ on their sleeve gold for their alternate. Same for Angels.

    Based on opening day, it seems the answers around the Nats uni-set in the 4+1 era have been answered. It would seem as if the 4 are

    Nationals script white
    Washington grey
    Nationals script navy
    Walgreens W red

    With Walgreens W white & American Flag Walgreens W white both being scrapped.

    Also have a hot take on a baseball uniform issue no one ever really talks about. Numbers on the front of the jersey vs only on the back.

    My personal opinion is
    a) MLB should standardize where teams can place numbers
    b) That standardization should limit numbers to the back of the uniform only. I saw this out of both personal bias, and because, while no jerseys would look bad with the small front numbers removed, many that don’t currently have them would look very bad if they were added.

    Nope. You underestimate the importance of a longtime uniform look to the fan base.

    As a Mets fan I am well aware that their original uniforms did not include a front number. But a front number was added a few years before I began following the team, and it’s the only look that the majority of Met Nation has ever known. Having the number removed due to your proposed uniform standardization would be seen as blasphemy by Mets fans and those of all other teams that have long employed a front number.

    That being said, I could get behind a rule eliminating player names on the back of the uniform. With the increase in hyphenated surnames this is beginning to look ridiculous.

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