Last Friday I wrote about how Nike’s new jersey template, which all teams will be wearing next season, has resulted in some changes to the Dodgers’ home jersey, including an adjustment to how the team’s script breaks across the jersey placket. As you can see above, it used to break at the connector between the “o” and the “d,” but now the “d” is broken into separate pieces. Several readers asked why this change was made, and I didn’t have an answer — but I do now. And it turns out to be such a simple explanation that I’m disappointed in myself for not having thought of it on my own.
Here’s the deal: As we’ve discussed several times, the jersey placket is much narrower in the new template than in the old one. This is most apparent for teams that have headspoon piping, like the Diamondbacks now have with their new uni set:
The team that best exemplifies the difference between the old and new plackets, at least based on what we’ve seen so far, is the Tigers:
But here’s the thing: Even if you don’t have that headspoon piping, the placket is still narrower, which means, among other things, that the left flap of the jersey — the side with the buttonholes, which crosses over the side with the buttons — doesn’t extend as far toward the player’s right side (or the viewer’s left) as it did before.
The difference is small — somewhere between half an inch and an inch. But an inch of fabric can make a big difference when you’re trying to get a script logo to cross smoothly from one side of the placket to the other. And what happens if you eliminate that inch of fabric? Something like this:
According to an industry source I spoke with, that’s the answer. The script hasn’t been repositioned — it’s in the same spot it’s always been. But the edge of the placket isn’t in the same place it used to be, and that means the script now breaks in a different spot. My source says the Dodgers faced the choice of either moving the script slightly toward the jersey’s left sleeve (the viewer’s right), in which case it would have been off-center, or keeping it centered and breaking the “d.” They chose the latter option.
This has implications for any team whose chest graphics extend across the placket. Just yesterday, for example, I wrote about how the Cardinals’ script will now be on two patches instead of direct-embroidered. But how will those two patches break? Here’s how removing an inch or so might affect the old script treatment:
Not good. Since the Cards are changing the production method for their script, I assume they’ll also adjust the script itself in a way that works with the new template. But we’ll see.
Naturally, I was curious to see how this might affect my favorite team:
Ay yi yi. Not good.
But the placket shift doesn’t have to be a negative. Look at how the Giants have handled it, for example:
It looks like they just shifted everything over an inch (or whatever) toward the left side of the jersey (the viewer’s right), which is actually an improvement, because their chest mark was lopsided. (Looks like they may also have adjusted the kerning and the arching, at least for the jersey they used at Jung Hoo Lee’s press conference.)
I think the lesson here is that we’re going to have to wait and see how teams handle the visual challenge presented by the narrower placket. Some may leave their graphics in place and let the new break in the chest insignia fall where it may, as the Dodgers have done; others may adjust the positioning of their graphics, as the Giants appear to have done. We’ll have to wait and see.
Meanwhile: My source also gave me the specs on the new number and NOB sizes. Here are the particulars:
- All front numbers are now 4″ high.
- All back numbers are now 8″ high.
- All NOB lettering is now 2.5″ high.
In addition, all home whites are no longer truly white but are a v-e-r-y subtle off-white.
I’ll continue to share new information as it becomes available. Meanwhile, if anyone at Nike or with a team wants to help fill in more of the blanks, you know what to do. Anonymity assured, of course. Thanks.