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Chicago Cubs Appear Poised to Add Sleeve Advertisement

The Cubs just posted a batch of Photo Day pics to social media today, and people quickly noticed a change to their home jersey: Their “walking bear” sleeve patch, which previously appeared consistently on the left sleeve, is now appearing on the left sleeve for some players but on the right sleeve for others.

Unfortunately, that’s a telltale sign that the Cubs are probably preparing to add a sleeve advertisement in the near future. MLB sleeve ads are typically positioned on the player’s front-facing sleeve, in order to maximize TV exposure. Team-logo patches are relegated to the other sleeve.

At present, 17 MLB clubs have whored out their sleeves to advertisers (the PadresRed SoxD-backsAngelsAstros, Reds, Marlins, Mets, Cardinals, Tigers, Guardians, Yankees, Blue Jays, Brewers, Dodgers, Giants, and Atlanta). That leaves 13 teams whose uniforms are still ad-free, at least for now: the A’s, Cubs, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Rockies, Royals, Twins, and White Sox.

Meanwhile, speaking of the “walking bear” patch, it appears to be slightly different this year. Like all sleeve patches in Nike’s new template, it’s now printed instead of embroidered, plus there’s some odd textural ribbing on the red “C,” plus-plus the white outline around the bear appears to be thicker:

Finally, if you look again at those new Photo Day pics, you’ll see that the circle-R trademark symbol — a detail I’ve long been fixated on — has indeed been eliminated this season. More info on that here.

(My thanks to Bryan Redemske, C.D. Tatak, and @PaddySwaggs for letting me know about the Photo Day pics.)

Comments (30)

    I don’t any Cubs fan actually thought Tom Ricketts would be the owner to take a moral stance.

    I miss the National League sleeve patch.
    I also miss the National League.

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I’m kind of OCD. This whole time, these sleeve patches being on different arms has really bothered me. Now it is REALLY going to bother me with the Cubs……..

    Same, man.

    I obviously don’t like ads on the sleeves, but I understand why they’re there.

    But alternating the team/ad patches to ensure the ad gets maximum TV exposure drives me f’n insane.

    Yup. Another one bites the dust. Sadly, I’ve made my peace with this ad whoring. It’s here and not going away. Owners (most of whom aren’t even baseball fans) will never turn down the chance to make a buck. They simply don’t care about defacing a uniform.

    For what it’s worth, the Orioles did the patch-flip thing last spring but still haven’t added an ad. It’s probably still a matter of time for them, but the patch-flip thing doesn’t necessarily mean that it is imminent.

    I’m interested in what you would think about relegating uniform ad updates (the “eww” posts, etc.) to the Ticker. Seems like nobody likes them, and it might be a step in the right direction on what to normalize as worthy of getting featured. Meaning, your site would still be reporting on it, but would not be highlighting the news (and the ads themselves) as much.

    Of course your site so just a suggestion! I’d be curious what you and Phil think.

    I actually think putting this type of news in the Ticker would be much more normalizing. Like, “No biggie, just another ad.” I prefer to treat these developments as important news, because I think they *are* important (if depressing) news. I’ll likely continue to treat them this way for the remaining three months of my Uni Watch tenure.

    That’s just me. Phil may feel differently, so he’s free to handle things differently when he takes over.

    Fair! I feel the way I wrote above but understand where you’re coming from too.Thanks for responding.

    I’m not sure how I’ll handle “new ad” news. I’m as disgusted by them as Paul, for sure, but I’m not sure if each new ad will merit an article. Not saying it won’t, I’m just not sure.

    I’m to the point of “just put it on the left chest” like the NBA and leave the sleeve patches alone.

    The Rockies last year had the CR patch alternate sleeves but no add ever came so I’d say all is not lost yet.

    Here’s something pretty odd. My wife bought some Cubs coasters for my birthday. They don’t have the “R” on them. But, rather a “TM” in the same place………. Hmmmmmmm

    As a kid, I always wanted an authentic Met patch to sew on my Met jackets.


    Yes, you could get childrens team jackets even way back then. In the days before eBay, it was possible to get cheap replica patches at the stadium perhaps, but nothing close to what they wore on the field. Years later, I did score one on eBay. I’m sure the current Met sleeve patch, which now is often on the wrong sleeve, is also now printed instead of embroidered. Nike will do anything to make a bigger profit.

    I believe the Mariners are in the same situation — they’ve always worn their roundel logo on their left sleeve, but this photo from a few days ago clearly shows it on the right of several players: link

    Photo evidence from last year: link

    Given the Mariners fantastically cheap ownership, I’m shocked it’s taken the M’s this long.

    Printed patches in the slipstream of sleeve ads, cheapening the appearance of baseball forever as I see no way back from this sad development.

    Agree. That nasty genie is out of the bottle. Not going back to the way it was. Same for NBA and NFL. The future is coming fast. Cheap, flimsy material (sold as “cutting edge”) covered in ads. Sigh.

    The cubs new jerseys also appear to have significantly fewer pinstripes than the old ones, and they’re subsequently spaced further apart.

    Add to this that Tom Ricketts told the press last week that the only way they’ll add to the payroll is by increasing revenue (which roughly is where it was 8 years ago), and you can see the writing on the wall.

    UGH – That new “Walking Bear” patch is a SEEERIOUS downgrade with the new template/printed format.

    A White Sox Fan

    I actually kind of prefer the printed sleeve patches. I think the embroidered patch is kind of puffy looking, and the printed patch is crisper and easier to “read”. But my background is in printing so take that for what it’s worth.

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