Good morning Uni Watchers! I hope everyone had a good week — this past one was one of the busier ones in the Uni-verse! We had the unveiling of the Texas Rangers City Connects (CC), which they debuted last night, Maryland football returned to their early 2000s unis, the Dodgers tweaked their CCs, the Padres honored Johnny Ritchey with 1948 throwbacks, the horrible Mother’s Day caps were released, Seattle’s CC leaked, and oh yeah, the Arizona Cardinals redesign was unveiled. They instantly went from having the worst uniforms in football to still having the worst uniforms in football. Quite a week!
As you can see from today’s hed and splash, last evening the Texas Rangers debuted their CCs, and you’ll note the Rangers caps feature a prominent mark on the right side, with “4*21” — here’s a closer look:
This is just one of several story-telling features on the team’s CC kits. The mark is an anniversary date: April 21, 1836, which is the day of the Battle of San Jacinto, a very important date in Texas’ history. The victory at San Jacinto gave Texas its independence from Mexico. If you so desire, you can read more about that battle here.
Paul covered the release on Monday. As I’ve mentioned many times on here, it’s fairly impossible to judge a CC uniform on solely on its merits, because the storytelling drives the uniform creation process. While Paul covered it well, our pal Chris Creamer came up with a handy-dandy graphic outlining all the uni-details, and the team did as well. If you didn’t click on Paul’s piece, here are those two graphics:
My only comment on the uniform when it was released was that I wanted to see how they looked on the field, and last night, we were given that opportunity. The question at hand is whether it holds up as a uniform, regardless of the backstory attached to it. My biggest fear was how the pants (very dark — midnight blue — almost black) would look, since dark, uncuffed pants tend to look more like slacks and less like baseball pants. And since the team’s CC socks are largely dark blue, for any players who went high-cuffed, would it even make a difference?
Let’s see how they looked on the field!
Like many of you, I’m not in love with the gothic “TX” logo on the right breast, but I do love the red number font which was “inspired by the 1920 championship medal won by the Fort Worth Panthers.” It’s not the prettiest font, but it was surprisingly easy to read. The cream jersey is attractive, and the NNOB is a good look.
You’ll recall that when some of the CCs were first introduced some teams had custom helmets, while others wore their “regular” helmets (at least until a special CC helmet could be created). The Rangers had no worries, as the CCs already had custom helmets ready for this set.
Another feature of the uniform of which I’m not overly fond is the use of the contrasting white-ish belt with the dark pants. It’s not a deal-breaker, of course, but back just a few years ago in the business world at least, white belts were never worn with dark pants, so it looked a bit odd to my non-sports uni eye. Of course, the belt does match the jersey, so there’s that.
While my photo research during the game wasn’t exhaustive (I didn’t see the game itself), it appeared most of the Rangers went uncuffed. I’ve never been a fan of this look (for any baseball uniform), but the dark pants didn’t look as terrible as I thought they might.
Fortunately the fairly thick braided stripe provided a nice bit of visual contrast.
That stripe makes a big difference on dark pants — one of the reasons the Dodgers’ (original) CC pants were so bad. The constrasing color belt and stripe provide a modicum of visual acuity.
Despite the storytelling behind the unis, they looked surprisingly clean on the field. The only extraneous doo-dads on the uniform were the “peagle” on the right sleeve (and of course, the Rangers don’t have a uni advertiser at present, so that helps), and the “DFW Spurs” (reimagined) logo on the left hip, as well as on the CC socks. I’ve never been a fan of hip logos, but this one was fairly innocuous.
Another feature of this uniform I like is the balance between the “TX” logo on the right chest and the red number font on the right.
We had some discussion in the comments this past week about whether front numbers look good (or are even needed). Some of you feel uniforms look good without them, others like them always. I’m of the mind that a front uni number needs to pass the eye test (how does it look) rather than having a blanket “do they look good or bad.” Examples (IMO) of an unneeded front number would be on teams who don’t balance those numbers. However, even unbalanced numbers fill out an otherwise empty front. That doesn’t work always and for all teams, but the eye-test shows it works (at least for the Mets).
Don’t think so? Check out the Rangers announcers who were wearing replica jerseys which are sans-front number. This — to me anyway — looks incredibly unbalanced.
So, while we can’t quite divorce the storytelling from the uniform, we can still judge them solely as uniforms: do they look good on the field? Uni-traditionalists (or classicists) will undoubtedly argue they don’t. While I am most definitely in the uni-classicist category, I actually liked how these looked on the field. Stills may not do the uniforms appropriate justice, so here’s some video:
— MLB (@MLB) April 22, 2023
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) April 22, 2023
I rather like these, at least from first viewing. Of course, I am not an overall fan of the whole CC program, but that horse left the barn years ago. The Rangers CCs are the second of six uniforms (Atlanta already debuted theirs), and four still have yet to be unveiled. Of course, we’re pretty certain Seattle’s CC’s have already leaked (they’re next up to release theirs). The on-field debuts of the remaining four are below:
Seattle Mariners: May 5
Cincinnati Reds: May 19
Baltimore Orioles: May 26
Pittsburgh Pirates: June 27
I ranked the CC uniforms in 2021 and 2022, and once all six of this year’s have been worn I’ll rank them for 2023. Based on Atlanta and now Texas (and Seattle looks quite promising!), we may be looking at the best year for CCs yet. It’s way too early to say that, but so far so good.
You can see more game photos here.
Now that you’ve seen them in action, what’s your verdict?