A bit of uni-related news flying under the radar yesterday was the announcement that MLB commish Rob Manfred has received a four-year contract extension.
It is hard to overstate how bad Rob Manfred has been for MLB uniforms. Here is a partial list of what has taken place on his watch since he assumed the commissioner’s title in 2015:
- He has sold the side of MLB caps to New Era.
- He has sold the chest of MLB jerseys to Nike.
- He has let teams sell advertisements on their jersey sleeves.
- He has allowed unsightly ads on the mound and elsewhere on the field — even during the World Series.
- He has expanded the use of unsightly holiday uniforms from a single day to three-, four-, and even five-day holiday “weekends.”
- He has approved the use of a cap that mischaracterized the history of our most significant national holiday.
- He has needlessly added the MLB logo, which already appeared on caps, helmets, jerseys, undershirts, and more, to the back belt loop of the pants.
- He has struck a deal with a new sock supplier that has resulted in players wearing wildly inconsistent (and often embarrassingly cheesy) hosiery styles, all of them needlessly adorned with both a maker’s mark and the MLB logo.
- He oversaw the advent of Players Weekend, which at one point featured such awful uniforms that the Dodgers asked to be excused from wearing them (and were turned down).
- He sold advertising space on the umpires’ uniforms to a sketchy cryptocurrency exchange — a move that soon blew up in his face.
- He has discarded the rich aesthetic heritage of the MLB All-Star Game, which had stood alone as the best of the major sports’ all-star showcases, and replaced it with a depressing assortment of design mediocrity.
- He has overseen the advent and rollout of the City Connect program, most of which has been an embarrassing design failure.
Obviously, not all of these developments were Manfred’s idea. But they all happened on his watch, and he did nothing to stop any of them. He is almost certainly the worst thing ever to happen to MLB uniforms, and his new contract extension is therefore a harbinger of further bad uni news in the years to come. History will not judge him kindly, and neither should we.