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An Important Overlooked Detail from the MLB All-Star Uniforms

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In yesterday’s coverage of those crummy MLB All-Star Game uniforms, I wrote, “Hey, remember how these uniforms were supposed to feature Nike’s new chassis template, 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.”

One thing I was particularly surprised about was that the uni numbers didn’t have little perforations in the fabric. When MLB test-drove the new template in 2021 in spring training and the minors, the dot perforations on the numerals were very prominent:

But the numbers on this year’s All-Star jerseys didn’t have the perforations — or so I thought. It turns out that the little dot patterns were there, but you have to zoom in really close to see them:

As you can see in those shots, the perforations are only on the numerals — not on the NOB lettering.

The same situation could be found on the front of the jerseys, where the numbering was pockmarked but the lettering was not:


So it looks like the dot patterns — which, again, all MLB teams will be wearing next year — may be more subtle than the ones we saw during the 2021 test drive. Also, white-on-white perforations (or black-on-black, or blue-on-blue, etc.) are obviously less visible than ones done with contrasting colors, like in the minor league test drive.

So what are the aesthetic implications of this move? Obviously, the perforations won’t be visible for fans attending the game in person, so no problem there. Will they be visible on TV? They weren’t during the All-Star Game, so that’s a good sign. And it’s worth remembering that Nike has been doing something similar with NBA jersey numbers (but, again, not with the lettering) for several years now, as you can see on this game-used Knicks jersey:

The NBA dot pattern (or mesh, or whatever it is) is rarely if ever visible on TV — and remember, NBA TV cameras are much closer to the players than baseball TV cameras are. So I think there’s a strong chance that this new number format will be a manufacturing change that makes no difference from an aesthetic standpoint. If so, I’m fine with it; if not, well, let’s wait and see. Either way, though, it’s an interesting development in the evolution of MLB uniforms.


ITEM! New Premium Article

With the Titans getting set to unveil their Oilers throwbacks, I’ve done a deep dive on the Oilers’ uniforms for this week’s Uni Watch Premium article on Substack. Just like my previous deep dives on the other uniforms that are being revived for this season’s new NFL throwbacks — the Bucs’ creamsicles, the Eagles’ Kelly greens, and the Seahawks’ blue/silver set — this Oilers article is full of historical fun facts and loads of great visuals.

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber to my Substack (which will also get you full access to my Substack/Bulletin archives). My thanks, as always, for your consideration!



Too Good for the Ticker

If you’re familiar with the old line “Spahn and Sain, then pray for rain,” then you’ll appreciate the brilliance of this old rain gauge. Love it!

(Big thanks to the great Ted Anthony for this one.)



Get Your Kicks

Longtime Uni Watch reader Walter Helfer recently took some artistic inspiration from the cover design of David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World album. “I thought, ‘Where have I seen that kick before — Marichal? Eckersley? Bedrosian?'” Great job, Walter!



So This Is Kinda Weird

At 4:15pm yesterday, while having a Twitter conversation with a gent from the UK, I posted a tweet that included two uses of the word “inured.” At the time, I thought to myself, “Hmmm, do people in the UK use the word ‘inured’? Do people in America even use it anymore?” Exactly two hours and three minutes later, just outside of Uni Watch HQ, I saw a van with a very interesting typo.

I mean, what are the odds?



Can of the Day

Love how the can shape fits the brand name here. Great typography, too.

Comments (48)

    Paul – there’s something else about the new template that no-one has mentioned so far to do with the built-in semi-elasticated cuffs (which mess up how the sleeves hang IMO) and collar. For teams that currently have sewn-on piping trim on the collar and sleeves (like the Pirates) that presumably will be replaced by “built-in” stripes within the cuff material. You can see what I mean in this photo of the Royals from your piece last year comparing old and new. link This is a major departure because it means with the new template, teams will no longer have the same matching piping trim on the jerseys and pants as they do now. Or with teams like Atlanta and KC, there will be piping around the spoon with coloured elasticated cuffs. The colours will match but it will definitely lose something. Jerseys will look a lot more like the old 70s no-button ones with elasticated cuffs.

    One more change that drives me nuts: the little MLB batter-man logo — which doesn’t need to be there to begin with — has moved down the collar and shoved the NOB and number downward with it. Can’t see why they would do that; if you have to have that logo, leave it on the collar where it usually is.

    Firstly, LOVE the rain gauge!

    Is it possible that the number dots are something Nike is using to differentiate authentic jerseys from lower-tier replicas, as well as knock-offs? The likelihood of a knockoff having those perks is next to none.

    I’m sure some of the reason is to make counterfeiting more difficult, yes. And also to make the numbers lighter and more flexible.

    As usual, though, I’m more interested in how it looks.

    Me too. And the answer is, it looks crap. These jerseys look crap. Among the thousands, if not millions, of peeps who want the ASG to go back to regular kit. The away set was an abomination.

    If they’re that concerned with making things lighter, are we that far off from just going back to printed graphics and numbers? Is ‘authenticity’ (both preventing knock-offs and the expectation that pros wear sewn on names/numbers) the only thing preventing that?

    I’m not sure what you mean by “going back to printed graphics,” since MLB has never used printed graphics on its uniforms.

    I would love to see objective data showing how microperforations in sewn-on uniform numbers makes baseball (or basketball) players perform better. How many millimeters would your vertical leap improve without that less-than-an-ounce of thin twill off your chest?
    The prevailing theory is probably true. It is a mix of Nike being Nike and saying “LOOK AT ME!!!” in a slightly less-obvious way than the gigantic swoosh. And it is a mark of “authenticity” that 99% of consumers will overlook.

    Misspoke about mlb..but thinking about Nike and their obsession with ‘lighter/faster’…NFL, NBA and the college fb/bb all utilized screen printed numbers/graphics to a large degree, probably phasing out in the late 80s/early 90s. So, could these sports return to that in some way, and could MLB be on their way to cheapo looking printed uniforms?

    This template just looks like trash. All these uniforms look like cheap practice jerseys.

    The face of the pitcher doing the Bowie kick looks like Catfish Hunter. But the kick looks like Dick Tidrow.

    It is, indeed, “Dirt”. One of my all-time favorite pitchers. You can’t see Tidrow’s moustache, but I thought I captured his dark triangular eyes.

    According to the internet (since I’d never heard the word before), inured means “accustom (someone) to something, especially something unpleasant.” They do restoration work, maybe it’s not a typo. :)

    How will the Blue Jays, who don’t have solid numbers, include the dots? Not at all perhaps?

    LOL, i didn’t realize the Knicks letting had a grey outline until you posted that photo

    Whenever something like that “inured” van shows up in such an astonishing coincidence like that, I always take it as a sign from the universe that the plan is lining up…

    It’s almost like there’s a lattice of coincidence over the entire universe. Like, when you’re thinking about a plate of shrimp and suddenly somebody will say “plate” or “shrimp.”

    I would pay a ridiculous amount of money for that Spahn and Sain rain gauge.

    Off-topic, but did you notice that the Nationals moved the piping on the sleeves of their current home jersey down to the edge? Appearantly it must’ve been something that they test drove last year:


    Possibly related to my comment above? It will be interesting to see what other teams who currently have sleeve piping that isn’t at the end of the sleeve do with the new template.

    As the owner of an authentic Knicks Nike Swingman jersey of RJ Barrett size 54 with advertiser Squarespace (how it ended up in a vintage store in the Netherlands where I bought it is still beyond me) I can tell you the perforations in the number are printed. It is a totally authentic replica, including the leather tag with 2 (championships) on it and yes: the darker orange perforations are not really perforations but printed. Numbers, advert, NOB, New York wordmark are all stitched but again: the perforations are only visual. If this predicts anything for MLB jerseys I am not sure, but when the MLB number perforations end up being printed like my Knicks jersey it will not surprise me.

    “It is a totally authentic replica”

    Forgive me as I’m not a jersey purchaser (or wearer), so I may not quite know the terminology, but aren’t “replica” and “authentic” two distinctly different types of fan gear? One (replica) is cheaper and not an exact copy of “what the players wear on the field/diamond/court/ice” and the other (authentic) is basically the exact thing the players wear?

    Of all the cool cans and the like that you have posted, the rain gauge is the absolute best.

    For clarification, my Knicks jersey is royal blue with orange numbers with a white outline. Is Swingman the cheaper replica version of the actual on court model? Anyway, printed perforations.

    Yes: “A swingman jersey is a type of NBA fan replica jersey that does not have all the premium finishes of an authentic jersey, but still closely mimics the jerseys the players wear.”

    Aha! That explains the printed dots on the fabric of the numbers, thank you. Did not know that the Knicks sell replicas with the ad on the jersey.

    On the pictures of the ASG jerseys now it looks like the perforations are printed as well!

    What makes me think in the direction of print is that in both the navy and the green shirt the perforations are gray. In the prototype minor league jersey we can actually see the pinstripe of the jersey run through the number, but somehow the fabric color and pattern of the ASG jerseys do not seem to be reflected in the perforations. The look gray in both cases.

    The “inured” story reminded me of a somewhat similar experience that I had. Back in the 80’s I had Winnipeg Jets season tickets in one of the two upper decks at the old Winnipeg Arena. In a game against the Minnesota North Stars a lot of pucks were flying into the stands so I said to my buddy, “I guess we’ll never see one up here.” Not 10 minutes later, Kent Nilsson of the North Stars blasted one off of the top edge of the crossbar. It went way up over the end glass, bounced off of a wall that was jutting out in the corner of the oddly designed old building and bounced into our deck. We just shook our heads.

    Are the dots in the numbers supposed to make the jerseys cooler to wear? If not, I don’t see the point using them. I see some NHL teams using them. And they don’t look good. I wouldn’t buy anything that has them.

    1) To make them lighter and more flexible, less stiff, etc.
    2) To make counterfeiting more difficult.
    3) Doesn’t matter if you’ll buy one — at Uni Watch, we only care how they look on the field.

    You can hold the position that UW only cares about what is on the field. But, in 2023, the tail wags the dog. So I think it is telling that if there are enough consumers unwilling to buy merchandise with contrivances like microperforations on jersey numbers, or ad patches, and it reaches critical mass enough to hit Nike’s bottom line, maybe it will stop the insanity, or at least slow it down. And then, no more microperforations on the on-field equipment. Right? I can dream…

    Oh, I’m all in favor of anything that leads people to buy fewer jerseys, because jersey sales are bad for the on-field uni-verse. I’m just saying that one person’s “I won’t buy it” or “I will buy it” is not what we’re here to discuss at Uni Watch. That’s all.

    Comparison: A few years back, MLB added that mesh “diaper” to the rear shirttail. Made no difference on-field, because players tuck in their jerseys. Some fans (including some Uni Watch readers) complained, saying, “I won’t buy that!” That might be something to discuss on a Reddit forum about people’s jersey collections, but it’s just not relevant here at Uni Watch, unless it reaches a mass scale that impacts the tail/dog situation you referenced.

    Shorter version: I’d prefer that we discuss uniforms here in terms of on-field aesthetics, not in terms of personal consumerism.

    This new Nike “chassis” doesn’t thrill me at all (although I think losing the side panels is addition by subtraction). Another thing that might be worth watching for is that with the (elastic looking) collars, it appears the placket is narrower than on the current jerseys. That could really be an odd look for teams that incorporate a head spoon.

    I’m really surprised Nike hasn’t gone with the perforated back on the jerseys as they do for college baseball. Especially when you think the MLB teams play in way hotter games during the season than the college teams do.

    That’s excellent! I was also of a mind to make the pitcher Jim Palmer. We’ll have to see how that comes out.

Comments are closed.