Skip to content Gets (Some) Answers to Our MLB Questions! founder (and my former podcast partner) Chris Creamer has a good relationship with MLB, and he’s just published an article that answers some of the questions we’ve all had about the new uniforms. I definitely recommend that you read it.

Here are the major points:

  • The new template has been in the works since 2018.
  • Nobody who wore the new template at last year’s All-Star Game had any complaints. No changes have been made to the template since then.
  • The elimination of embroidered patches was done to make the jersey lighter.
  • Smaller NOB lettering was also done to make the jersey lighter, and also to bring a more standardized look to the NOBs across all teams. (Personally, I would say that this type of standardization is not a plus.)
  • The pants are the same fabric as last year. Previous years also had issues with see-through pants in Photo Day pics, due to the bright photo studio lights.
  • As has been reported elsewhere, the system for customizing pants has changed. (Many players are unhappy about this.)

This is all good info, as far as it goes. Again, I urge you to read Chris’s article to get further details — kudos to him for getting these statements on the record.

Unfortunately, that article still leaves a bunch of questions unaddressed. For example:

  1. Why was the placket narrowed?
  2. Why was the MLB logo moved downward, and was that a contributing factor in the smaller size of the NOB lettering? (I asked Chris about this, and he says he forgot to ask about that.)
  3. Why has the lettering break across the placket gotten so much worse on so many jerseys, especially if this was all in the works since 2018?
  4. Why are the home jerseys now off-white, instead of white?
  5. Why did the Cardinals have to change their chain-stitched script to two separate patches? And if they were able to do that, why was the Phillies’ chain-stitching eliminated entirely?
  6. Why do some teams have the perforated numbers while others don’t?
  7. Why was Atlanta’s belt tunnel piping diminished on the home pants and eliminated altogether on the road pants? Will the road pants be adjusted to match the home pants?
  8. Why has Nike, which usually won’t shut up about its latest innovations, been silent about all of this?
  9. Finally, about the see-through issue: It’s fine to point out that this issue has happened in previous years during Photo Day shoots. But not all of this year’s see-through incidents have taken place under the hot lights of a professional photo studio. Some have taken place outdoors, or in a clubhouse hallway, or wherever this happened. How do you explain those? Also, players’ union boss Tony Clark says the players are concerned about the see-through issue. Were those players really just talking about Photo Day, or do they see the problem right there in the clubhouse? I’ve been relieved to see that this issue doesn’t seem to have cropped up during the first few days of spring training games, so maybe it just isn’t an on-field issue. But it’s clearly more than just a Photo Day issue, and saying, “Oh, this happens every year on Photo Day” feels like a whitewash. (Or maybe, considering this year’s uniforms, an off-whitewash.)

I would love to see answers to those questions — from MLB, from Nike, from Chris, or from anyone with authoritative information. (If you have info that you’d like to share privately, I’m all ears. Thanks.)

Comments (20)

    The MLB is really giving you one last big kick at the in-depth journalistic can in your final few moments on the beat, Paul. Kind of like a going away present, no?

    I saw a highlight from one game in the afternoon sun and I could definitely see the pitchers underwear through their pants during a game. I think bright sunny games it will be a problem.

    “Nobody who wore the new template at last year’s All-Star Game had any complaints. No changes have been made to the template since then.”

    This a HUGE copout/BS from MLB for one simple reason: the template was being used on ONE-OFFs that weren’t the players’ usual team jerseys.

    Small names, lower batterman, perforated numbers, printed patches instead of embroidered patches, of COURSE they’re not going to complain about it if it’s used on a jersey that (a) they’ve never seen before and is a completely different design than the one they’re used to, and (b) they’re going to wear once, autograph and then auction off.

    *Of course* they got no complaints; I would venture to say that most, if not all, of the players couldn’t give two shits about all the “performance features” in the new uniforms because ugly-ass one-off uniforms for the All-Star Game and that was as far as it went for them.

    They took a template from a one-off uniform that everyone was required to wear, then decided to use that one template and ONLY that one template on MULTIPLE teams even though MLB uniform designs and font sizes are not homogeneous.

    “Why was the placket narrowed?”

    That’s the 64 million dollar question in my mind. It was the entrance to the rabbit hole that has led us to the Wonderland that we are currently scrutinizing.

    In the case of the Cardinals, doesn’t the new patch approach to the script overwhelm any “weight savings” from smaller letters and a printed arm patch?

    Number sizes are now standardized also, changing the way the Mets look on the front after 59 years. That is an awful long time.

    If the pants material hasn’t changed, then Nike has a problem, since the jersey fabric very much _has_ changed. So either every team will look like the Dallas Cowboys with pants that don’t quite match the jersey, or the suits around Commissioner Manfred are lying about the pants. Given the well-documented Manfred-era habit of the league office outright lying, the latter seems much more likely to me (and also to every non-MLB-paid beat writer I’ve read covering the “but the pants are the same as last year, honest!” statement). To try to take a maximally charitable view, perhaps the MLB statement is a lie with regard to the pants right now, but the suits, having seen the problem and the public furor, fully intend to replace the 2024 trousers with new slacks made to 2023’s fabric specifications, so by Opening Day, today’s lie about the pantaloon fabric will have become a true statement. That’s a pretty common approach to bad PR by firms that haven’t previously thought about or planned for crisis communication.

    How much lighter can smaller name letters be? If this is so important, then players with long surnames must be at a disadvantage, right?

    How light do they have to be? Were the embroidered patches so heavy that the players were having endurance issues, after lugging them around for a few innings? This is all so preposterous.

    I would love to see someone take an average MLB jersey of 2023 and the new one, disassemble them and see how much weight shorter NOBs save and how much weight a printed patch saves.

    I cannot shake the feeling that some doofus in a suit decided he’d seen the MLB logo covered by long hair one time too many.

    And said doofus didn’t care to notice that their precious logo woul still be visible on the back of the player’s cap. We *really* don’t need this logo on two articles of clothing, just inches from each other.

    I would not be surprised in the least if the poor logo lettering breaks across the placket could simply be attributed to production artists mechanically following centering instructions without knowledgable attention being paid to the intrinsic peculiarities of specific scripts etc…with nobody noticing till “the train had already left the station”. No doubt two camps currently exist: Camp 1–Who is responsible for this (or Who can we blame), and Camp 2–How can we make this look like we did this on purpose. I’m staying tuned…

    Camp 1 will turn into Camp 2 gradually, I guess. Plus: remaining relatively quiet and hoping the storm will blow away is obviously the tactic that has been chosen by MLB and Nike.

    All of this is just so bizarre. They say they wanted a more standardized look by changing the name fonts, but have done nothing to standardize the socks for any of these players. And by the way, while it looks like lost teams had their custom font for their names changed to this more generic font, not all teams did, why do the Phillies still have their custom font? So odd.

    I commend Chris for his effort but I am happy that you remind us of all the other things that are wrong with these uniforms. I cannot shake off the feeling that it is all about cost cutting, not about this so-called performance enhancing.

    Red Sox network is using the Nats feed today, and they just were chatting with one of the Nats players in the dugout. At the end of the interview, they asked about the new jerseys, he sort of sighed and said “They just don’t fit right” He then commented along the lines of everyone is going through the same thing.
    Would love to hear MLB’s take on that

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