Remember when the MLB All-Star Game was something we all looked forward to, even as recently as a few years ago? Sure, it was just an exhibition, and the old rivalry between the leagues wasn’t really a thing anymore, but it was still so much fun to see all the players wearing their regular team uniforms on the field at the same time. You’d be proud to see your favorite team’s All-Stars wearing the same uniform you rooted for during the rest of the season. The other pro sports leagues’ all-star games always looked like a joke, with the players dressed in clown costumes that seemed to get worse every year, but the MLB All-Star Game, with its mosaic of distinct team unis, was unique. It was a real point of difference — something baseball could claim as its own.
But then in 2021, Nike and Rob Manfred decided that the All-Star Game needed fixing, even though it wasn’t broken. It’s been clown costume central since then. That storyline continued last night, with a surprise twist: Although SportsLogos.net had reported that the National League’s pants would be “navy, to match their jersey” (I know of no other media outlet that even mentioned anything about the pants), that turned out to be incorrect. Instead, the NL wore — of course — black pants. And because the blue piping down the sides was almost invisible, the pants looked like either black chinos (for players who wore them somewhat loose) or black stretch jeans that you’d buy at Uniqlo (for players who wore them tighter). Well done, MLB!
For those keeping score at home, this is the fifth set of black pants that MLB and Nike have foisted upon us just in the past two and a half months, following the City Connect uniforms for the Mariners, Reds, Pirates, and Orioles (and that’s not counting the Rangers’ CC pants, which are dark navy but look almost black). Nike must have a serious surplus of black fabric to get rid of.
Anyway: We already knew this game would look like shit — the black pants just made it a smidge shittier (and, frankly, added a bit of comic relief, since they pushed the proceedings into “so bad, it’s funny” territory). Here are some other notes on this sorry spectacle:
- The pants had each player’s team logo on the upper-left thigh and an “ASG 23” logo on the front-right belt tunnel:
- Marlins infielder Luis Arráez, however, was missing the team logo on his pants (lots of additional photos, just to confirm, here):
- Both teams wore matte black batting helmets with green league-initial logos:
- Remember how I recently wrote about D-backs pitcher Zac Gallen’s snakeskin belt, which he normally wears with the team’s City Connect uniform? He wore that belt last night, which I think was a pretty cool move. In addition, he wore Carolina blue shoes, because he played college ball at UNC:
- Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the NOB lettering looked kinda dinky:
- The umpires’ caps were the same color as the players’ (but at least they didn’t have to wear black pants):
- Atlanta catcher Sean Murphy’s chest protector featured the Seattle skyline, plus he had a green/teal mask cage:
- In 2021, Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette set the presumptive record for the shortest pants ever worn in an All-Star Game, but I think he may have broken that record last night:
- Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena’s left-sleeve All-Star Game patch included the MasterCard ad, like everyone else’s when he was on the field. But he must have switched into a replica jersey after he was taken out of the game, because he was later spotted in the dugout with a patch that didn’t have the credit card ad:
- Hey, remember how these uniforms were supposed to feature Nike’s new
chassistemplate, which all teams will be using next year? I could barely even tell (although I think the difference might’ve been more apparent if the jerseys had included placket piping). I’ll put that one in the “No news is good news” column.
Serious question: Does anyone prefer this uni format to the old way of having players wear their team uniforms? Anyone at all? The floor is yours!
On a lighter note: Late in the game, I received a text from New York Times baseball columnist and longtime Uni Watch pal/booster Tyler Kepner, who was attending the game. Tyler is one of us — he totally Gets It™ — so I figured his text was going to be a rant about the black pants or something like that. Instead, he said, “This has bothered me all game” and attached this photo of some fans sitting in front of him:
That was just what I needed. Thanks, Tyler!
(My thanks to James Gilbert for pointing out Zac Gallen’s footwear, and to eagle-eyed Iain McHugh for the great spot on Randy Arozarena’s patch.)