The Seattle Mariners this morning unveiled their new City Connect uniform, which pays tribute to the history of baseball in Seattle. It will make its on-field debut one week from today, May 5.
There were several leaks connected to this one (the most recent of which came just last week), and they turned out to be accurate, but the unveiling still provided several elements we hadn’t yet seen, including the cap, which features an updated version of the team’s old trident logo.
In addition, we’ve known for a while that the jersey would be blue, but we didn’t know if it would be paired with matching blue pants or white pants. As it turns out, they’re not going with either of those colors:
Okay, let’s take a closer look at this uniform, one element at a time, beginning with…
As you can see above, the CC cap has a blue crown with a black brim, and the logo is also outlined in black. Here’s a comparison of the CC logo and the team’s original trident logo:
I like the updated trident quite a bit, but I’d like it more without the black outline, and I’d like the cap a lot more without the black brim.
We already knew about this design, because of the leaks. The chest lettering is inspired by the old Seattle Pilots, who played in 1969 before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers:
The team is saying that the sleeve piping is also Pilots-inspired, although that would make more sense if they’d gone ahead with four stripes instead of two. As it stands now, it just looks like standard sleeve piping (which looks fine but not particularly Pilots-y).
The very nice sleeve patch also has echoes of the Pilots. Here’s a closer look:
“PNW” stands for Pacific Northwest, obviously. The “P” is taken from the Pilots’ home uniforms:
In addition, the patch has a tone-on-tone laurel wreath curving its way up the sides of the design. That’s inspired by the “scrambled eggs” on the Pilots’ cap brim (a nice idea, although it’s not really visible on the patch):
Finally, going back to the front of the jersey, the lettering’s black drop-shadow is supposedly inspired by the 1955 Seattle Rainiers, although that seems like a stretch to me, since the Rainiers had a completely different color scheme and graphic style:
To me, this feels like a case of reverse-engineering an excuse for the black shadow. Like, “Okay, we want to add black — now how can we find a historical tie-in for that?”
The Pants and Socks
This will be the most controversial part of this uniform, and with good reason. The black pants are almost tolerable if the player is going high-cuffed, but low-cuffers are gonna look like they’re wearing NFL officiating slacks. We’ve already seen the Rockies and Dodgers swap out their colored CC pants for white, and I’m gonna predict right here that the M’s end up doing the same — maybe not this season, but at some point down the road.
The historical antecedent for the black pants is supposedly the Seattle Steelheads of the Negro Leagues (who the Mariners salute each year by wearing Steelheads throwbacks, usually on or around Juneteenth). But to my knowledge, the Steelheads never wore black pants — they just had black as a team color. So again, this seems like a reverse-engineered rationale for BFBS.
Those are the basics. I normally don’t mention retail elements that won’t be visible on the field, but the jock tag slogan — former M’s broadcaster Dave Niehaus’s “My oh my” catchphrase — had already leaked, so I’ll mention that it is indeed part of the jersey:
Similarly, I don’t usually mention inner collar slogans, but I’m going to mention this one because it includes a new logo that we might start seeing in other contexts. Here’s the deal: The Mariners play in an area of Seattle called SoDo, which is short for “south of downtown.” As a result, fans sometimes refer to the team’s “SoDo mojo.” The team has turned that phrase into a new logo, with two crossed tridents turned upward to form “W”s — one for “win” and one for “Washington”:
Overall: I’d like this uniform a lot more without all the black elements. But I do like that they’re mostly trying to tell a baseball story, not just a Seattle story.
Speaking of which: This is the third consecutive CC uni design (following Atlanta’s and Texas’s) to focus more on baseball history than municipal promotion. I asked M’s exec Kevin Martinez if that’s just a coincidence or if it reflects a conscious MLB-wide decision to pivot more in that direction. He said it’s just a coincidence, and that each team decides on its own approach, with no larger directive from the higher-ups.
On deck: the Reds, who will unveil their CC uni on May 15.
Update: Reader Brian Forosisky has performed a public service by mocking up how this uniform would look with white pants. Check it out:
I gotta say, if the players go high-cuffed, these could really look badass on the field.
I love that shade of blue, and the gold really pops against it…
Go with white pants, and in a couple of years that could make a great home alternate uniform.
Exactly. This would be a nice uniform with white pants.
These are fine. Black pants…okay…whatever. The upside-down trident is interesting given the “bad luck” association and the history of the franchise.
What I cannot get over though is how a “city connect” uniform for Seattle is based on a franchise that lasted one..ONE..season. I don’t care if it was a good or a bad uniform, I just find it to be a stretch. Rainiers? Sure. Pilots? C’mon!!
They do take a lot of pride in their failed team. You never forget your first.
They missed a golden opportunity to do a SuperSonics themed CC uni
Plenty of good there, perhaps they missed a verdant opportunity?
I actually don’t mind the use of black here. At least the top isn’t BFBS.
Was about to crown these as the best City Connect unis… and then I scrolled down and saw the black pants. Way to take a great thing and ruin it. It’s like someone at Nike saw the jersey and cap design and said “these are good, I’d not suspiciously too good, so let’s make them worse because that’s what we do and we can’t have anyone getting ahead on our watch at this company.”
That was beyond disappointing. The use of black kills what could have been a tremendous uniform. The Mariners have a legitimate claim to powder blue, and they kicked it away for black. Who beyond Nike’s design team believes royal blue and black go together? As a 30 plus year Mariner fan, I want nothing to do with this. At all.
The teams that have ditched the dark pants, is that because they get too hot when standing out in the field? I find it odd how often it seems the players want to wear a full color jersey, but not pants. Seems like the full color jersey would also get hotter, but with short sleeves and being baggier it must not be as much as issue as tighter pants.
I don’t think it has anything to do with heat/warmth/weather/etc.
The jersey and cap are nice. The pants? Uh, uh.
The jersey isn’t bad at all, but everything below the waist ruins this. As a full uniform, it’s absolutely HIDEOUS.
Sign of the times:
Replace the Pilots’ winged baseball wheel logo on the chest … with the single wing logo of Nike.
I find it interesting that there is such disdain for black. Many teams don’t have white as part of their color scheme, yet “white as the home color” is “uniform law” and almost any attempt to use another color as the base (except for cream, powder blue, gray for the road, or white w/ pinstripes) is immediately rejected, called BFBS/GFGS/etc. It’s said that white as the home color really came about due to access to laundry facilities for the home team. I don’t know how true that is though.
As for this CC uni, I think the black pants work really well, especially if the player goes high-cuffed. Pajama may look odd, depending on the shoe choice. I note that many don’t like the pajama look with white pants either. The black trim and pants color is a nod to the Negro League Steelheads.
So other than “home unis are traditionally white” or “white trim is what we normally see”, what’s with the disdain for using black as either a base or trim color?
Because it looks shitty.
I agree with pretty much all of that. I think what turns me off a bit about the use of black here is that, in the pictures, they have an odd green sheen to the pants and undershirt (so much so that I thought it was dark green at first). I feel like these will look much better in person or on the field. The only complaints I have about this uni are the typical overdesigned tourist trap novelty socks from stance (they really were an awful choice for an exclusive sock provider, but I suppose any sock company would want to “make their mark” with non-traditional designs these days), and I don’t think the brim of the cap needs to be black. Using white or yellow shoes would also have lightened the whole look up in these shots. Overall I think this is a winner, particularly considering the mariners have a well established and pretty classic look at the moment. Even rendering this look in their usual (current) colors would be nice.
I also thought it was a dark green, as some reference to the forests of the Pacific Northwest or the Detlef Schrempf/Gary Payton/Shawn Kemp Sonics.
In complete agreement with you. At this point, all teams should be considered entitled to black and white. The whole BFBS argument was original and on point 20+ years ago when the craze began, but it’s gotten beyond stale at this point. To dismiss an entire uniform because of a single color is silly.
Zooming out from baseball, I think a big reason why every team has a white is because white will contrast with pretty much every other color that sports teams use. Plus it made games watchable on old black and white TVs. At least in hockey, I don’t believe white jerseys were common until TV was a thing, with exceptions for stuff like Montreal playing Detroit. Way easier for teams to add a single white jersey that contrasted with teams existing colored ones than to have everyone make a jersey that contrasts on TV and the ice with orange. Granted, I am far from a traditionalist when it comes to uniforms (big fan of the seahawks set, liked the orange edmonton oilers jerseys), but there is definitely a logical reason behind why every team has a white jersey and not a black one. Black alternates are mostly just an excuse to make another jersey, and far to many of them are lazy
Why use black? Ruined it
Don’t think they’re the worst things in the world, but I feel like Nike pushes the stupid color pants in order to draw more attention to the uniform (jersey). Otherwise, it isn’t as obvious that the jersey is something special that everyone must buy.
As always, I have to see how these look on the field, but a first glance I LOOOOOVE this.
That being said, I love it because the model is shown with (mostly) proper cuffing and color-contrasting socks. This look will make or break how it looks on the field.
I’ve previously gone on record as not liking royal blue with black. To wit:
The gold works fantastic with this pairing. The belt really sets to pants off as a separate and distinct color and the royal and black don’t wash each other out (which is the problem with the Cougs, Mets and Royals).
Now, do I wish they’d paired the royal jersey with gold (or cream, white or royal) pants more? Maybe…probably.
But at first glance, I reaaaaaaally like the look shown in the studio shots.
In bright sunshine this has even more potential (I know, it’s Seattle, so that’s probably not likely, but it’s possible).
Divorcing the storytelling from the uni in this case is easy, and so far so good…I’ll have more to say after we see them in action next Friday.
Royal and black is a color combination that can be excellent when done right, but it’s tough to get right, and if it’s not perfect, it’s crap. In this case, if someone described the basic concept of Seattle’s CC uniform, I’d expect to hate it. But in practice, it’s a clinic in how to make royal and black work. The two colors are not balanced as well as they should be – the scheme works better with black as a strong secondary color, not a coequal color, but the gold accents make the blue and black work together.
The Mariners regular uniforms have begun to feel dated, even a bit tired, to me. As with the Rangers CC uniforms, this will be my favorite of Seattle’s uniforms. (Not to compare Rangers and Mariners uniforms; even if the Mariners unis are showing their age, they’re not disastrously bad or anything.)
Actually the day in/day out Mariners’ uniform has aged very well, providing they avoid the impossible-to-kern letters over the player number.
I think it works in this case because royal blue is the primary color instead of black. The Royals never looked right in black because they used black as co-equal to royal or used it as an accent to royal instead of the other way around.
If you’re going to use black and royal blue, the blue has to *pop* in order to look good. White helps with that. Gold can, too. Orange, like the Mets, definitely does not.
SoDo I believe is for South Dome. Or south of the Kingdome.
Per Wiki, it originally stood for “South of the Dome.” But now that there’s no more Kingdome, it stands for “South of downtown.” link
Perhaps we need a shirt that reads “I still call it south of dome”
Perhaps we need a shirt that reads “I still call it south of dome”
Yellow pants could have REALLY made this uni great!
Definitely! When I saw the leak I was just assuming yellow!
Black pants are a little strange, but overall I really like these – love the trident returning. I dare say the new CC uniforms this year have knocked it out of the park.
Hopefully that continues.
Nice to see Julio repping Adidas with his shoes to help soften the bright yellow blaring Nike swish.
if they did yellow pants, this could have been incredible. in general I love the combo of the late-70s trident and the modified Pilots wordmark and the overall design, I just think the colors aren’t quite right.
if everything royal was powder, and the black was royal. powder shirt, royal pants, powder socks, with yellow/dropshadow royal number/name?
that said, I think as is this could maybe be decent if (IF!) the whole team is high-cuffed. it’s going to look like absolute garbage on the low-cuffers though.
Maybe something like this?
Oh, heck, yes!
Now THAT would’ve been a great Seattle CC uniform!
BFBS (to me at least) means making something black because it’s a more appealing colour for the punters when they choose what fan merch they want to buy and wear regularly. This doesn’t exactly scream “merch tail wagging the on field dog” to me, not least because the most prominent black element is the pants (maybe there’s a merch angle to the pants I’m missing?) and it’s an accent colour everywhere else. That says to me that it was an aesthetic choice. Maybe you can argue as an aesthetic choice it’s still lazy, but that’s an order of magnitude less egregious than as a cynical merchandising choice. As far as I’m concerned it works really well as an aesthetic choice anyway, pairing wonderfully with that shade of blue and giving an extra pop to the gold. All in all, I’m a fan.
Too bad they didn’t incorporate the second logo (the trident in the star). That by far was their best effort of anything in the last 46 years. At least they stayed away from that “M’s” time.
Looking at the Mariners launch announcement on Twitter, I see comments to the effect of “Nice Brewers Uniforms”. LOL
Seattle will wear these for one season, then ship them to the Brewers, who will replace “Seattle” with “Milwaukee” and wear them for years. I’m looking forward to Milwaukee’s eventual “ball in trident” logo.
Nice job, Mariners! I’ll get one of those caps, for sure!
When they turn away from the black pants — I agree that will probably happen — these will be in the upper echelon of City Connect uniforms.
They should’ve went with blue pants.
I’ll go along with that. Monochrome royal blue would look nice.
Have to disagree on your preference for white pants. I like the black! They are different from what you see every day on MLB fields, which is part of what the CC designs are supposed to be for, right?
If you like the black, that’s fine — we can agree to disagree.
As for what CC is “supposed to be,” I don’t really care about that. I only care about whether or not it looks good, regardless of how it fits into a marketing scheme. YMMV, etc.
Thankfully it’s not as Pilot-y as I thought it was going to look!
Not a trace of powder blue…a wise decision.
The pointy wordmark/number font are well executed and don’t seem overdone/overwhelming like they sometimes do (i.e.: the NFL Titans).
I really like the cap and jersey; the black britches w/ yellow touches somehow work, even if they sorta give me a late 70’s Pirates vibe.
The socks are much too busy.
I’m on record as being fine with black instead of white on American sport uniforms. White is foisted on uniforms for imperfect reasons (English cricket rules spring to mind) so why not black? If you play in a dome, you don’t need to be afraid of hot sun beating down. These Seattle uniforms are fine.
I kind of dig the dark pants in the Seattle CC uni as well as the other dark-pants CC unis because they’re a cool callback to the late 1800s/early 1900s uni designs.
I’m a big fan of colored pants, even with white jerseys. Teams did that in the 1800s and Cincinnati even did it once in (I think) the 1930s. Bring it back!
Easily a top 5 CC, no doubt.
With the ditching of road grays, I wouldn’t mind more teams doing something with some contrasting pants. The 70’s Pirates looked good with the yellow top/black pants combo, and other teams like the Giants and Orioles that have black in their palette could do well with orange over black.
That said, the Mariners juuuuust missed by opting for black instead of navy pants. But that’s just my opinion.
Very much Like the jersey…Hate the Pants, Hate the Brim.
I too was hoping for Yellow pants…and gawd, that white pants mock-up really looks great and shines the light on how ill-advised the black ‘slacks’ are…
PS Hard not to recognize that the Pilots unis are, after all these years, still a top-tier uniform. A true beauty.
I surprised myself by kind of liking the black pants with the rest of the uniform – until Brian Forosisky mocked up the uni with white pants and I realize how much better that would look. For whatever it’s worth, I’m just glad they didn’t go mono-blue.
Personal opinion, a single tone hat would look more sharp.
Listen, when you add the gold to that royal blue and black, you’ve got a winner. I don’t make the rules; that’s just basic aesthetics. I like the black pants! Something different and as others have noted, not really BFBS. It’s a CC jersey so it’s supposed to be a little wacky. Obvs better with high socks, but isn’t that every uniform?
If the only design element Nike took from the Seattle Rainiers’ old uniforms was the drop shadow, they sure didn’t try very hard.
Although I really haven’t saw a CC uniform I like; this one would be among the better ones with white pants. Black pants are better than blue or yellow but still atrocious.
Like your article stated, the uniform connects to baseball rather then the city or region (other than shoulder patch). Based on the three uniforms released so far, the program has lost direction; leaving one to believe it’s only purpose is merchandize sales.
Based on the three uniforms released so far, the program has lost direction; leaving one to believe it’s only purpose is merchandize sales.
That was always its only purpose.
That looks sooo much better with white pants!
Like the jersey and cap, don’t so much like the dark pants.
Here’s hoping that when it’s the Mets’ turn to do City Connect, it’ll be something really outrageous like, say, a black top, subway-like graphic (“New York”, not “Mets”) and numbers (including on the back of the jersey), orange pants and blue socks.
Even more outrageous – a Yankees City Connect that’s navy with white pinstripes, white “Yankees” in script (like the top-hat-and-bat logo), red numbers on the front and back, and – GASP – white NOB. That would REALLY shake the traditionalists up.
Mets: Dear god no.
Yankees: I’ve always hoped the Yankees would make that reverse pins a reality like it was when it was actually closer-to-the-field in 1974 than ever. A certain scribe covered that for the old mothership a while back: link
If there is no Unisphere on the Mets’ CC uniform, send it back!
They didn’t use the quirky lower case ‘a’ in the “Seattle” lettering. The ‘a’ they use is lower case, but it’s the upside-down ‘e’ type.
I just googled to find out what the different ‘a’s are named. The pilots used a “single story” ‘a.’ The CC jersey used a lower case “double story” ‘a’ because… more story’s.
This may be a nitpick, but it’s disappointing to see the jock tag slogan ironed on. The first generation of City Connect jerseys (White Sox, Cubs, Colorado at least) had the jock tag logo stitched into the jersey and looks much nicer. Why cheap out on the new jerseys?
Black pants thumbs down. I think really dark emerald green could have been a cool combination. Seattle: the Emerald Pants City.
Messing with the traditions of established teams toys with the emotions of longtime fans, which can hurt the impression the CC uniforms make. If one were fabricating a new team out of whole cloth, the City Connect uniforms would have no preconditions.
Love the blue and gold/yellow. Ditch the black. When I saw the pants I saw forest green, which I could live with as long as they only get worn sparingly. Again – ditch the black.
Change the brim to yellow.
Make the pants yellow. You now have MLB’s version of the L.A. Chargers’ uniforms which everyone loves.
Tell Stance to take a hike. Royal blue stirrups with yellow sanitaries (like the 1970s Brewers).
You’ve now achieved perfection. You’re welcome. That really wasn’t too hard, was it?
looks good….would be even better with same color pants (mono-look), white or even yellow pants. match the brim to pants and you’re set.
It could be really nice looking uniform if it weren’t for the black.
In a parallel universe, the CC Mariners’ uniforms are based on the 1981 home set, with its trident and five-pointed star. But to me, that was a mixed metaphor with a little too much going on.
I like it. It is unique. I would have gone with navy instead of black. But, this is a cool look.
Anyone else notice how they changed the logo on the socks in the leaked photo (and presumably the cap logo) from a Pilots-styled S with compass rose to the trident M? Upgrade IMHO, but interesting.
I noticed this as well and am wondering if there is a prototype hat out there with the S and compass rose instead.
Not bad except for all the black, especially the pants. Royal blue and black can go together very well (look at Italian soccer team Inter Milano) but in this case it ruins the blue and gold combination. The white pants mockup is great, yellow pants would have been daring but nice as well. That laurel in the sleeve logo should have been gold, just as the brim of the hat. Otherwise a rather nice CC uniform.