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Tampa Bay Rays Debut City Connect Costumes

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Good Saturday Morning, Uni Watchers. I hope everyone had a pleasant week.

The Tampa Bay Rays debuted their City Connect (CC) uniforms costumes last evening against the New York Mets.

I don’t like to throw around the word “costume” when it pertains to major league sports, but this one is going to be the exception. After the CC’s were unveiled earlier this week, Paul had a great write-up on them. Based on the sheer number of comments on that article, many of you had thoughts. I wanted to hold off as I am of the belief that no matter how good (or bad) a uniform looks at an unveiling, we need to see it in action in order to render a complete judgment.

After the CinCy Reds introduced and then debuted their CC’s last year, I thought CC designers might have learned a lesson about proper contrast. I was wrong.

Now, it’s not a requirement for baseball teams to have their name (or city name) on their jerseys, nor are numbers as important in baseball as in other sports, but it would have been nice if we could have read either of those on the Rays CCs. Clearly the designers of this CC thought highly of the Reds barely legible names and numbers, because we were given another dose of that with the Rays.

What’s the most prominent design element you see here?

If you said “the swoosh!” you get a cookie. But if you weren’t less than three feet away, that’s about all you’d be able to discern. Well, that and the cap — which is clearly the best thing about this CC. But the “Tampa Bay” (yes, that’s what that blueish-greenish-yellow squiggle in the middle of the shirt says)? Even if this were solely created to be a fashion jersey, I can’t think too many folks would fork over a couple hundy for them. But I’m also not in the target demographic, so maybe these have an appeal to the younger generation.

But what about the back of the jersey? Surely the number will be legible. Again, unless you were VERY close, that was unreadable from basically every seat in the arena. Even with a zoom lens, it was still pretty hard to make out. (Of course, the players’ names were highly visible, as they were rendered in a bright neon font.)

So, the uniform fails at its two most basic properties: legible team name and number. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…

Paul gave a nice rundown of the details in his preview, so I won’t get too deep into it.

I mentioned I liked the cap. I especially liked the ‘bridge-Ray’ logo, although I’m a little surprised the brim is purple (the reason being, the CC socks were in a bright sky blue-to-green, so I thought the brim might match that color). But I guess they wanted all the colors of the Rays’ rainbow gradient to be prominent.

Like all recent CC offerings, the team created a matching batting helmet.

You’ll note the team’s sunburst logo, which was rendered in a neon green, was nicely visible (that, the swoosh and the NOB were plenty visible). You’ll also note the purple shoes (and arm guard) — I watched a few innings of this game before I left for curling league, and I noticed the Rays seemed to go with many different shoe colors and equipment colors — which stood out plenty. It’s almost as if this uniform were designed by a shoe company envisioning their paid endorsers sporting all kinds of fancy cleats with this outfit. More than a few players used the opportunity to pick one shade from the neon rainbow shading present as a single sleeve and pants stripe (yes, if you forgot or didn’t know, the Rays chose to go with a neon rainbow stripe on the right sleeve and left pant leg). There were plenty of bright neon accoutrements in different shades of the rainbow spread among the players.

A couple other things of note. Up close (and in Paul’s preview), we saw the jerseys aren’t “black” — but they are a dark gray. What wasn’t noticeable (at least to me) during the unveiling, was that from a distance, the jerseys took on almost a washed-out (for lack of better term) look…almost like a very slight tie-dye effect. (Look at the close-up then again at the longer shot):

You’ll note in that last image, the Rays added a small pants logo above the left quadriceps. Here’s a closeup — also note Jonny DeLuca’s custom belt with his #21. Ironically, this was probably more legible than the #21 he wore on his back.

Here are a couple action videos. This is how the game looked on television (and I’d imagine from the stands). It’s nigh on impossible to read the “Tampa Bay” on the front of the jersey, or discern the number on the back.

I wanted to like these, I really did. And I was hoping the on-field product would look better than the previews. Unfortunately, I think these looked worse than the previews. Again, if you knew the Rays were playing, you didn’t need to be able to read the “Tampa Bay” on the front of the jersey. And yes, player NOB being in bright neon green probably obviated the need for actual readable numbers. But I’m of the belief that a uniform should at minimum carry a readable name and number. A costume, on the other hand, probably does not. If they had just outlined the name and number in the same thick braid as the sunburst, this would have been a much better set.

You can see more photos here.

Apologies that this couldn’t have been a more positive review. I’m sure there are many who thought these costumes were “fire” (do the kids still say that?), and in general I LOVE neon accents, so this had some decent possibilities. But despite my wanting to like these, I just can’t.

Your thoughts? I’d particularly like to hear from anyone who watched this game — did you find it as difficult as I to read the “Tampa Bay” and player number? If you think that’s kinda important (or not), what did you guys think of these?



Guess the Game from the Uniform

Based on the suggestion of long-time reader/contributor Jimmy Corcoran, we’ve introduced a new “game” on Uni Watch, which is similar to the popular “Guess the Game from the Scoreboard” (GTGFTS), only this one asked readers to identify the game based on the uniforms worn by teams.

Like GTGFTS, readers will be asked to guess the date, location and final score of the game from the clues provided in the photo. Sometimes the game should be somewhat easy to ascertain, while in other instances, it might be quite difficult. There will usually be a visual clue (something odd or unique to one or both of the uniforms) that will make a positive identification of one and only one game possible. Other times, there may be something significant about the game in question, like the last time a particular uniform was ever worn (one of Jimmy’s original suggestions). It’s up to YOU to figure out the game and date.

Today’s GTGFTU comes from Tom Olsey.

Good luck and please post your guess/answer in the comments below.



Guess the Game from the Scoreboard

Guess The Game…

…From The Scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Joe Bastardi.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date and location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.



Uni Tweet of the Day

What could possibly go wrong…???


And finally...

..that’s it for the early post. If there’s any breaking uni news today, I’ll try to get it up for you ASAP. Otherwise, I’ll catch everyone tomorrow. Have a great Saturday!



Comments (70)

    If you look at the direction of the slant of the Tampa Bay lettering and the direction of the crab claw fire, it is clear they are going down in flames.

    GTGFTS. On May 31st, 1964 the SF Giants and NY Mets played a 23 inning game which lasted 23 innings! The game took 7 hours and 23 minutes. The Giants won 8-6.
    Gaylord Perry pitched 10 innings IN RELIEF allowing nary a run, one walk, struck out ten and got the win.

    There are some hits and some misses with the TB CC uniforms. They aren’t as bad as the Uni-Watch preview/review makes them out to be, but they aren’t as good as Reddit makes them out to be.

    My thoughts before the on field debut were that I LOVED the color scheme, but did want a bit more legibility (more highlighter, please! Both for functional reasons and simply to enjoy the design a bit more). I like the IDEA of both new logos but quite dislike the execution of both of them. I don’t like the use of the “sunburst” logo, as I have never liked it, and it doesn’t fit with the rest of this design.

    Now that I’ve seen them on field I want to like them (I’ve liked most CCs more on field) but the black texture looks kind of crummy (would have been better to call it “sting ray skin” since that’s what it looks like). And the hat really does nothing for me.

    Just the opinion of someone who didn’t totally hate these when they were revealed.

    This is how I feel too. I wanted to like them, but they’re just a little too dark.

    Tampa needs a overhaul with their identity. These uniforms are hideous. They need to get rid of the neon colors and go with orange and yellow colors. I do like the hat though. But neon colors don’t work for a sports team.

    Why do you feel that neon colors don’t work for a sports team?

    Definitely need more contrast on the numbers and front. Hopefully there can be some adjustments there. But I do love that cap! The skateboarding sting ray on the pants is fun.

    Seems like an easy fix to change the team name and player numbers to white. The rainbow trim would still pop.

    If the “City Connect” program were renamed to “Youth Connect” it would make the design of nearly every CC jersey in existence feel justified. The next generation of fans is clearly the target market so let’s just call it what it is.

    I definitely think they look better off the field than on it. That being said, much like the Reds’ CCs, public perception of these is very high outside of the comm-uni-ty, so I think it’s a successful design for them.

    In many respects these are poor uniforms. But they were subjectively fun to watch and I like them.

    GTGFTS: May 31, 1964, Shea Stadium, Giants at Mets (game 2). The game went 23 innings, making this the longest doubleheader, both in terms of innings and time, in major league history. The Giants won the game, 8-6.

    Of note:
    * Willie Mays played shortstop for part of this game.
    * Gaylord Perry pitched 10 innings in relief, and admitted later that it was in this game that he started doctoring baseballs.
    * The Mets turned a triple play during this game.
    * Ed Kranepool, having just been recalled after playing both ends of a doubleheader in Buffalo, played all 32 innings on this day. It’s unlikely that his record of playing 50 innings of baseball over two days will ever be equalled.

    Numbers still matter. Otherwise, Manfred would get rid of them altogether and open up space for more and bigger ads.
    Ultimately, the blame lies with him for allowing this mess on the field. And every broadcaster, PA announcer and scorekeeper should remind Manfred of this.
    For those who like this, I can see the appeal for wearing it out in public. It has some good qualities to it. But, if you can’t see why this doesn’t belong on the field of play, I don’t know what else to tell you.

    To whom do the numbers matter and why? Baseball players all have predetermined positions and the batters are announced as they come to the plate in order, the numbers are nice but far from necessary. If the numbers were integral to any part of the game, how could the league have an entire day where every player on the field for both teams is wearing the exact same number? Numbers are way more important to MLB for Jersey sales than they are on the field of play- it’s not like this is hockey with constant shift changes and ambiguous positioning, numbers really don’t add much to presentation or game at all.

    I said the people that numbers matter to: broadcasters, PA announcers, scorekeepers… and anyone else who wants to keep track of who’s out there.

    When there’s a rundown with multiple players involved throwing the ball back and forth, and if there are two runners involved in the rundown, good luck following all that. I know it doesn’t happen often, but it does. And that’s why numbers matter. And that’s why every player wearing a number that was retired is an absolutely terrible idea.

    And if you still don’t think they matter, then stats don’t matter. So let’s just stop keeping individual stats and award everything to the team.

    And none of them have to rely heavily, if at all, on the numbers to keep track of players – they are all in position and come up to the plate in order. It’s not like the announcers are waiting for a number to appear on the players back to identify them either on the field or on their monitor, they all know who is who because there is little difference from one pitch to the next after a batter comes to the plate from the on-deck circle. Numbers are important to Manfred for Jersey sales, and nothing more.

    Have you actually watched a baseball game?
    The players don’t just stay in their designated positions at all times. They back up each other when fielding a ball. And as I said, when there’s a rundown, they’re all over the place.

    Have you ever seen a rundown?

    Tell me you could follow every player after all that. You know how the announcers do it?
    This isn’t a video game. This is real life baseball, and players don’t always stay where you expect them to stay.

    lol, you really think Manfred is keeping numbers on jerseys instead of ads so some schmuck in row z that wasn’t paying attention to who was on which base can tell which player is caught in a rundown? The announcers generally know who is where and aren’t going to be frequently relying on a number on their monitor or all the way on the field to tell them who is where.

    While it’s purely anecdotal I’ve been watching baseball for about 4 decades and can’t recall ever needing to look at a player’s number during a game to identify them but I promise even if I and every announcer did so every game it wouldn’t matter to Manfred one bit. You have a lot more faith in him caring about anything other than money, I’ll give you that- he keeps the numbers there for jersey sales, and doesn’t care if you, I , or the announcers can see them during gameplay or not.

    I didn’t say he’s keeping the numbers there for jersey sales. You did.
    The very first thing I said was “Numbers still matter. Otherwise, Manfred would get rid of them altogether and open up space for more and bigger ads.” If he did get rid of them, I’m sure the players union and the broadcasters would give him sufficient grief over it.
    I have absolutely no faith in Manfred caring about anything but money, and I have absolutely no desire to continue this conversation. You’re not exactly listening to what I’m saying, and you’re as set in your opinion as I am. Agree to disagree. I’m done.

    GTGFTS: May 31, 1964. Mets fans of a certain age heard this story a million times from Ralph, Bob and Lindsay – second game of a doubleheader with the Giants lasted 23 inn over 7 hours and 23 minutes.


    As for the Rays City Connects, Paul and Phil basically said it all. The only thing I thought about watching the game was yep…can’t make out the numbers one bit. Oh, and drop Civale in Fantasy.

    A “city” connect that doesn’t mention a city. Body-of-water Connect.

    Although clever, the cap logo looks strange to me. It looks more like a psychedelic rendering of on of the members of Top Cat’s crew. Choo Choo, maybe?

    First, if your standard-issue MLB uniform set isn’t “connecting” with your city, you ain’t doin’ it right.

    NB: The Tampa Bay Rays play in Saint Petersburg. Tampa Bay is not a city.

    I loathe all of the City Disconnect unis. Most of the designs are hideous, and just poorly designed. When it gets down to it, MLB is just trying to sell more crap. And since people will buy anything, they’ll just keep doing it.

    Everything you said is right on.
    A good test of your premise would be for MLB and Nike to just roll out team-adjacent merchandise with little connection to the team’s uniform history and see how many people would buy them, while keeping any of it off the field. Hell, encourage the players to wear it off the field – getting off the bus, during press conferences and whatnot. People have been buying caps in non-team colors for years, and the Yankees have never worn red or brown caps on the field, so there is some precedent. But they’ll sell what they sell and the game would go on without looking foolish.

    Thanks, MJ.

    I first became aware of the phenomenon you mention after the Red Sox ended their World Series drought in 2004. Pink Red Sox caps were propagating in Fenway Park. Those who wore them were derisively referred to as “Pink Hats,” and were commonly thought of as bandwagoneers, not baseball or Red Sox fans.

    I’ll point out that the Rockies have CC jerseys, and they were for the whole state. While I’m not totally impressed by these either, I do think it is a bit telling that all of you geography pedants are coming out of the woodwork when the uniform is bad. It refers to a region and everyone knows this, no one is complaining about the fact that they are the New England and not the Boston Patriots.

    Well, they are the Colorado Rockies. (I still think they should’ve been the Denver Bears.) But their CC unis – fashioned after the state’s iconic license plate! – are an assault on the senses. Can’t read the numbers from 10 feet away, trucker cap, etc. At least they ditched the green pants.

    Every team that plays in Tampa or St Pete are called Tampa Bay, as it’s metro area is known as the Bay Area, or Tampa Bay. To think these teams play for a body of water is just laughable. Try better before you type, please.

    Obviously everyone has their own tastes, but for me, to solve the illegible issue, the Tampa Bay and numbers on the back simply need a brighter outline. Maybe the neon green/yellow used for the NOB, as they are trying to use the same pattern as the leg arm, but it doesn’t work.

    Purple on cap brim could’ve been a different color as well.

    Also doesn’t help they play in the darkest it seems of the Dome’s, at the Trop.

    But like the grunge look for this, considering the application if the CC and Tampa skateboarding.

    Really really like the font for the number, just needs a better outline, and the cap logo is great.

    It seems MLB has an issue with number outlines for some reason this year. The Mariners Cream alternates in prior years had blue numbers over a very distinct yellow background. This year, the yellow background is noticeably smaller, wh.en combined with the sweat issues, makes the numbers only look blue

    I really like the number font too. They seem to have taken the font from the “TAMPA BAY” team name on the front and extended that font to include digits. I just wish the digits were bright green instead of the NOBs.

    Sunday, May 31, 1964. 57,037 saw Giants beat Mets 8-5 at Shea Stadium. Game went 23 innings and took 7 hours and 23 minutes.

    The premise of the whole CC concept seems to be non-traditional looks for non-traditional viewers. Form over function and all that. And I guess you really can’t do that without some tie-in to what is being worn in games. Like my Phillies for example. If they weren’t wearing their monstrosities, the whole CC design looks like it belongs with the MLS Philadelphia Union then the Phillies. Nothing about the CC look relates to the Phillies without the jerseys. But Phil’s point is absolutely, one million percent spot-on: these fail the first 2 most important purposes of a sports uniform: identifying a team and identifying players on a team. When you can’t make out a team name/city name and a player number, the design is a failure.
    If the Rays (or Phillies or MLB or Nike) want customers wearing this stuff, by all means, whatever. But the on-field designs are more misses than hits and as uniforms, they fail. By extension, the whole concept should really be scrutinized and adjusted.

    I think the whole problem with non-traditional looks for non-traditional viewers is that it may build breadth, but at the expense of depth. Buying a funny looking cap won’t make someone a baseball fan.

    MLB seems to be trying to emulate a concept the Rockies have mastered: Develop customers, not baseball fans.

    I can’t help but think that will hurt them in the long run.

    It won’t hurt them though. No serious- or even casual- fan is going to quit rooting for their team because they wear a goofy CC uniform 8 times a year. A few might even buy an extra hat. Any non-fan who buys one for fashion is just extra revenue.

    If they had gone with the 1998 rainbow gradient on the 2001 script, that would have looked great.

    But they didn’t.

    I’m going to say I actually the Tampa Bay uniform more than I thought I would from the preview? It’s a shame they went with the hollow numbers and city name because that’s the only thing keeping me from really loving them. The cap logo is great and I think it definitely hits the vibe they were going for.

    That said, as a Phillies fan who has come around on their CC jersey: They’re good in a vacuum of modern youthful targeted design that hits at their respective city vibes. Both, however, are not a “Phillies” uniform or a “Rays” uniform, which just feels incredibly conflicting at the end of the day.

    I did see it suggested somewhere that the skateboarding Ray (on the pants) be named Evan Longboardia

    Tell us you didn’t read the article without telling us you didn’t read the article.

    GTGFTU: Sunday, October 18, 2009, Titans vs. Patriots at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA

    I could tell this was a recent-ish game due to the modern cut of the jerseys, so I knew this had to be a throwback game as opposed to actually being from the era these unis originated in. I then noticed the Reebok makers mark. That narrowed it down to 4 years, 2002, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Then I saw the helmet striping. That further narrowed it down to 2009. The other three years saw blue stripes in between the red ones, compared to this helmet with only red stripes. That means it’s three possible games. The last thing I did? Searched for images of the three games in question. Two of them were nice and sunny. Only during one of them was it snowing, giving me my answer.

    Both teams would be wide to revive the looks of that day…yes, even the gray face masks!

    Plus, it’s a rare Brian Hoyer sighting behind center for the Pats.

    Looks like the Tampa Bay Rays could use a few pointers from The Tri-City Chili Peppers.

    I think these uni’s will lead into a full on re-brand which I’m for. Fill in the letters and add home whites and the Rays have something far more interesting than their bland current set.

    Not being able to see the name well from a distance is part of it, you don’t need the name to tell what team is playing so it’s possible to move away from that and the rays did much better than the fish in doing it.

    These “uniforms” are becoming unbearable to watch. From all the different color shoes, socks, belts, ankle/elbow/arm guards, arm sleeve and ad patches. Not just the CC uniforms, but all. And this is just the ugly in baseball. football undershirts are another topic.

    I highly doubt it. But the jersey and pants are made with different material specs, and I think the pants themselves are solid, whereas the shirt has some color shifting.

    TB Looks like they pulled a random mashup of items off the clearance rack at a 2012 K-mart. We’ve moved from pajama pants into sweatpants territory here.

    It’s telling how nike washed out the team-name and numbers, but they made sure to keep their swoosh filled in and plenty visible. If the empty outline font was good enough for the team-name, it should have been good enough for the swoosh. If it’s not good enough for the swoosh, maybe they should rethink the other elements.

    I think the shirt would look okay over a pair of jeans (which is the whole point of all this anyway) but it doesn’t really work as a baseball jersey. Add in the dreary setting of whoever’s basement they play in, and it all looks pretty depressing, despite the tiny flashes of neon.

    The home run lights in the stadium did not do those unis any favors.

    Watching the 5/4/24 Rays-Mets game. Now I get the Tampa CC unis. It’s not so much the ‘sun worn’ black, but all the neon accessories that make it pop. What the Marlins should have done with their black alts. Still wishing they had filled in the numbers.

    I personally like them, despite their obvious flaws. It gives some flair to a team which has been utterly milquetoast since the Devil Ray days. As a member of a younger generation, I’ll say that I “vibe” with this “bussin” set. The neon accents and light show really spiced up the Trop’s dark, dank atmosphere.

    Lastly, it doesn’t matter if you can read their numbers, because they don’t keep their best players around long enough for anyone to care about them, lol.

    Near-perfect uniforms. Rays need to keep this color scheme full-time. I was at this uniform debut.
    The uniforms also connect to the city perfectly, as I am from St Pete.

    The ONLY thing this uniform needs to be perfect is for the “Tampa Bay” on the front and the numbers on the back to be FILLED with the gradient color instead of outlined.

    Remove the Thrasher Magazine flames from “Tampa Bay”, and the Rays would have a perfect new full-time uniform (without the skate-ray of course).

    When I first saw them I thought the grey was to mirror the color of actual devil rays- pretty cool I thought.


    But then the Nike spin of faded black?!?!

    I blame it all on Spike Lee and his request to New Era for a red Yankees hat in 1996. That is when fashion became part of uniforms. And look where we are now…No, just kidding, but this uniform of the Rays does not work at all, it looks amateurish and I will not give in to depressing looking as being totally cool.

    These spoke to the 90’s child in me and I didn’t outright hate them, but these pictures confirm everything else said; they’re too dark and don’t connect to the city. I didn’t watch it on TV so perhaps it comes across better, but the texture across the uniforms doesn’t look to come across enough. I’d like the number outline to be thicker.
    I still want to like them, but I’ll wait until next year.

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