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Wait, It Gets Better: Check Out the Tigers’ City Connect Batting Helmet

As you probably know by now, the Tigers launched their City Connect costume yesterday. As I mentioned in my post about the unveiling, the team didn’t provide any photos showing the full pants and socks. Although I didn’t think of it at the time, they also didn’t show the batting helmet — which, as it turns out, is a doozy:

That image comes from a literally one-second appearance that the helmet makes in this promotional video. Here are some additional pics of the helmet from Tigers beat reporters:

Photo by Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

So it’s a two-tone crown with the Star Trek-style lettering on an embarrasingly shiny decal. Got it.

While it’s possible that I’m overlooking a previous example, I think this is the first CC helmet with a two-tone crown. The Pirates’ helmet comes close, but it really just has a contrasting brim and earflap with a soft color border:

The Mets had two-tone blue/black helmets back in their original BFBS phase, although the blue was so dark that the two colors often seemed to be blending in with each other:

The Rockies had a similar purple/black helmet around this same time. Again, the colors were often hard to distinguish:

The Rangers unveiled a seriously garish two-tone red/blue batting helmet ahead of the 2009 season (a perfect distillation of their inability to choose between being a red team or a blue team!):

Fortunately, that design generated so much negative reaction (including from a certain uniform columnist) that they scrapped the idea before the season started.

I actually think the Tigers’ new two-tone helmet actually works pretty well with the rest of the costume. It’s just that the rest of the costume is so bad.

Speaking of the Tigers, they’re also asking fans to vote on which CC logo should be added to the outfield when the costume makes its on-field debut this Friday:

Comments (76)

    I miss the Rockies’ Cool Flow two-tone helmets. They were the one team that made it work.

    The Tigers were one of those timeless uniforms that didn’t need this fashion stuff to help sell it. This crap really needs to stop. I really can’t imagine there’s enough people that look at this and other CC teams and go, “wow that’s awesome. I really need to buy that.”

    Based on what I see watching games, you’re imagining wrong. I see a lot of CC jerseys in pretty much every ballpark when I’m flipping through games. As much as I dislike most of the CC sets, including my favorite team’s set, people are buying them and wearing them.
    I don’t have any marketing numbers to back my observation, but that’s just what I see

    That’s because the CC uniforms have been anointed by the Holy Nike Swoosh.

    People will buy literally anything with Nike Swoosh on it.

    To paraphrase Mencken, “nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public”.

    I think you’re letting your antagonism toward Nike get the best of you.
    Some people will always like and get the newest thing.

    It’s the same reason people will read an article patiently and exhaustively explaining how Nike instructed Fanatics to make uniforms precisely to a set of specification and Fanatics simply followed the instructions and then will say “Fanatics is at it again!” Nike is a huge blind spot for a lot of people. Marketing works.

    I’m also rather disappointed to see a lot of regular home/road jerseys on the new template in the stands. You’d think people won’t pay big bucks for an inferior product. You’d think wrong.

    I mean, I’m quite happy with my DHGate Ohtani jersey from the old template. And also the fact that I spent about $150 less for it.

    I went to the Rays game on Sunday. I would say that over half of the fans at the bar before the game were decked out in CC gear. It is a hot seller in Tampa Bay and the team store is regularly selling out of items.

    This is a classic Uni-Watch take – the only good looking uniforms are their old uniforms. I don’t love Detroit’s look here, but lots of City Connect uniforms have been pretty good or at least something fun to switch up a team’s look. It’s okay if a team wears something every once in awhile that is different than what they have worn for the past 100 years. Every new uniform posted on here is met with this same tired attitude.

    So in other words, you agree with JS that the Tigers’ CC uni is bad. But you’re picking a fight with him anyway — and, by extension, with all of Uni Watch — because some people here tend to have certain opinions that differ from yours.

    Why not save that argument for a post about a uniform you actually *like,* instead of this one? Jeez.

    If you dont agree with a lot of the opinions that I and many Uni Watch readers have, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s also nothing wrong with those opinions you dislike. We can agree to disagree! But if you think the rest of us are so out of touch, why even care what we think? Just ignore us!

    First off, great site, I really have enjoyed it for many years.

    Your response to me here is puzzling. You ask me to ignore people who I disagree with, yet you aren’t ignoring me when you disagree with what I am saying? Me pointing out that most people on here only enjoy the “classic” looks isn’t wrong, or out of line. You telling me to only post on things I agree with does seem a bit weird. I just wish more on here had an open mind at times about new looks, but I guess me posting on here isn’t going to change anyone’s mind anyway. I assumed the message board was a place to debate and discuss opinions on uniforms, and not just an echo chamber for enjoying only one style of uniform. I posted similar views on a previous post of yours about the new uniforms reviewed in the NFL and stated that I enjoyed most of their looks, or at least enjoyed that they were trying new things with the Texans and Lions. I have to say I am a bit disappointed in this being your response to me if I am being hones. Jeez.

    You make it sound is if you simply voiced a dissenting opinion and offered it in good faith. But that is not true. One thing at a time:

    1) You claimed that the other commenter (JS) — and, by extension, all of Uni Watch — always hate anything new. That is demonstrably and self-evidently false. Now, do many of us prefer classic designs? Yes. Do we tend to dislike change for the sake of change, or just for the sake of “changing things up”? Yes. But do we hate ALL new designs? No. And do we hate new things just because they’re new? Also no. There’s plenty of nuance here, and you’re clearly smart enough to know that. But you exaggerated because it suited your purpose, and that did a disservice to the many opinions expressed here, and to the people expressing them.

    2) You referred to people on Uni Watch as having “this same tired attitude.” In other words, some people have a consistent aesthetic that doesn’t match yours, and you therefore choose to insult them.

    I’m sorry I had to spell out both of these things. But mischaracterizing people’s positions and then insulting them is not the mark of someone arguing in good faith.

    I’m not interested in maintaining an “echo chamber.” But I am interested in maintaining a forum where people present ideas without distortions or insults. The best way to achieve this is usually to advocate for or against a certain aesthetic point of view without trying to attribute motives or mindsets to people who may feel differently than you do. In other words, talk about the uniforms (“Unlike you, I really like this uniform, because…”), not about what other people think about the uniforms (“Unlike you, I’m open-minded and not stuck in the past…”). You’re obviously an articulate guy, so I trust you can adhere to those guidelines. Thanks!

    I noticed you closed the reply section to your rebuttal to my last post, so I thought maybe I could reply here. I totally understand your response and it is your site, not mine. I didn’t enter into my first post in bad faith or looking for a fight, but regardless, there was no reason to post what I did. Tone can be hard to read into through a post, but my post was truly just me being tired of most, not all, replies to all new uniforms being negative or not enjoying a new style and not trying to attack the poster that I responded to. No reason to argue with anyone’s opinions as they are just that – their own opinion. Enjoy your day and from here on out I won’t be posting anymore, just reading. Enjoy the rest of your day.

    Actually, I did not close the reply section (nor would I even know how to do that if I wanted to do it). WordPress only allows a certain number of indents on a comment thread, so that the page doesn’t end up with an endless series of nested comments. You can still reply to any thread by going back to the last available “Reply” button.

    In short: You are once again insulting people (this time me) without cause.

    Please stop doing that. Thanks.

    Very sorry, I just thought the reply was turned off due to my actions which would be a fair thing to do if you felt I was just looking for a fight, again, I think tone is being read into what I am posting, and none is being expressed by me in a negative way. Not sure where the insult was in my last post, as all I was trying to do was take ownership that I shouldn’t have posted anything at all. People’s opinions of things are their own and shouldn’t be questioned. I apologize to the original poster as I shouldn’t have called his take “tired” and I apologize to you as well. Clearly I am not meant for posting on this site, so I will see my way out! Sorry for the disruption to your day and thanks for creating a site that I enjoy reading each day.

    Thank you for voicing this, you’re not alone. While this garish Detroit uniform is certainly not the hill I want to die on, in general I think most of the CC designs have been fun and creative. What actually irks me more than all the negativity on here towards anything new is how literally all old/throwback uniforms are treated as absolute classics, even if they’re incredibly boring and indistinct (think the Jets’ “new” uniforms). It also seems like our favorite uniform columnist has become unnecessarily combative in the comments as of late. Your comment doesn’t feel at all out of line on a site that literally ran an allegorical column the other day about how everything old is great and should never be changed.

    MP, what I said to CC applies to you as well: It’s generally better to talk about the uniforms (“Unlike you, I like this uniform, because…”) instead of insulting other people (“Unlike you, I’m not always negative or stuck in the past…”).

    If you like a design, that’s great! Feel free to defend it on the merits. Similarly, if you dislike a throwback, that’s great too! Feel free to critique it on the merits. Well-reasoned aesthetic points of view that are offered in good faith are always welcome here. Much better than impugning people who feel differently than you do. That never turns out well.

    Look, I get it: It can be frustrating to encounter a group of people who have a viewpoint that differs from yours, especially when it’s about a subjective topic like uniform design. But the way to respond to that is not by insulting or denigrating those people; it’s by advocating for a counterpoint that you believe in.


    “What actually irks me more than all the negativity on here towards anything new is how literally all old/throwback uniforms are treated as absolute classics, even if they’re incredibly boring and indistinct (think the Jets’ “new” uniforms)”

    The main take I’ve seen about the Jets unis is that they’re better than the absolute trainwreck they were wearing last year. That’s not a high bar and it’s also not the same as people claiming they’re “instant classics.” They’re just, you know, better. Personally I liked their previous set (which I always associate with Joe Namath) a lot better, but the team was more often bad then good when they wore them so they are probably stuck in continuous reinvention mode until they get consistently decent again,

    At least the bright blue layer of padding in the C-flap doesn’t clash too badly with the rest of the color scheme.

    That would be a pretty good helmet for a pro fast-pitch softball team in Detroit to build its visual identity around.

    The Motor City Mustang Rockers are comin’ to bat! Get the beer ready!

    They really missed the boat here. As a “city connect” uniform, the old English D had become inextricably tied to the city. You can find people wearing it at any Lions Red Wings or Pistons game, as well as in and around the city on any given day. People who’ve never stepped foot in a baseball stadium have it tattooed on their body. This uni, as awful as it is, if pair with the old English D hat, and something resembling normal pants would be a W, relatively speaking. You could even change the color!

    Not sure I agree with that. The same logo was used for many years by the Denver Bears, just in red, so the old English D isn’t a unique and specific Detroit symbol. “Motor City” in the other hand is a unique identity.

    Are you really claiming that there might be confusion between the Tigers and a minor league team that folded 70 years ago?

    You’re right. The number of times I’ve encountered the Olde English D in my travels around the country and tried to strike up a conversation about the Tigers and Detroit and Michigan, only to find out, dang it, the Denver Bears—actually that never has happened.

    Those two-tone Mets helmets were the second-worst thing about the Mets original BFBS phase (only to the dropshadow on the pinstripe wordmark).

    The logos are of such poor quality that this looks a like a little leaguer’s batting helmet with some stickers he liked stuck on there.
    There is nothing about this that looks professional.

    I agree completely. Maybe the final helmet will have individually cut letters. We’ll see. The VIN number thing is hokey too. It’s a fun idea in the initial brainstorm meeting, but should have never ended up in the final uniform.

    It’s bizarre, isn’t it? Gloss stickers on a matte helmet? This feels cheap, just all around cheap. Like free giveaway jersey cheap, except obviously they’ll charge for this garbage.

    I can’t wait to see how incredibly awful and uninspired the reminder of the CC uniforms will be.
    Kicks up feet, grabs the popcorn.

    I’m kind of scared about the new Nationals CC coming next year, because their current set is one of the only successful uniforms to come out of this whole City Connect thing.

    I can’t wait for the Dodgers to unveil their second awful CC uni.

    Shouldn’t the VIN on the hat and helmet be unique for each player (like it is unique for each car)? Could incorporate their birthdate, or what # player they are to don a Tigers uniform.

    Of course that doesn’t carry over as well to the merch side, which drives this whole thing. Merch could use the generic “VIN” they are using now, and maybe for an upcharge you could customize it.

    If you are going to do the story telling, really go for it!

    Wow. And I thought the Tigers offense was already unwatchable. Friday will be worse.

    Admittedly I don’t love that the hats and helmets just say DETROIT on them, but otherwise I think the overall look is pretty cool. I agree that not all of these new CC unis are great, but maybe you need to quit telling people what they should or should not be embarrassed about; if the team likes it and fans like it, it’s not embarrassing.

    The helmet does look kinda cheap with a glossy sticker…hopefully they improve that. I don’t mind the CC uniform, it’s not like they are going to replace the traditional Tigers look, which is almost perfect. I was hoping they were going to do something with the Spirit of Detroit or Joe Louis’ Fist, but “Motor City” is just as tied to Detroit as the Old English D is. The alternate version of the hat is awesome, should have been the on-field look. The only confusion for me is why they didn’t use any orange. The royal blue/purple is kind of a puzzling combo, but no more puzzling than the green and white City Edition Pistons jerseys from a couple of years ago.

    Hot take: the two-tone Cool-flo helmets NYM, Col, and TX had were all cool and I miss them and they were exactly the type of uniform experimentation that should be encouraged, and on the right type of equipment.

    Dark blue and black should is a terrible combination that should never be paired. Whether it’s a uniform, personal styling, a logo, or painting a room. Just don’t do it.

    The glossy decals over the matte finish just looks even more horrible than the two-tone helmets already are. Getting 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars vibes!

    Totally agree. They look like something I would come up with if I were handed a helmet and a vinyl cutting machine. (This is not a compliment!)

    It would look better if it were more like the standard raised logos.

    WHO at the Swoosh is actually responsible for these embarrassments? Who failed at art school so profoundly that he/she/they keep(s) regurgitating the same dark, summer-unfriendly, team-averse colors with the same unimaginative block-type fonts? Who signs off on these before presenting them to the teams? I’d love to hear from the “designers”—but I guess they’re being kept away from public scrutiny.

    Given how forthcoming Nike and the MLB have been – in other words, not at all – I’m not holding my breath.

    As explained yesterday, it’s a combination of Detroit’s initials (DET), the year 1901 (the establishment of the American League as a major league, and thus the Tigers’ charter year), and the four years the Tigers have won the World Series to date – (19)35, (19)45, (19)68, and (19)84.

    A VIN number is a series of numbers and letters that helps to identify an individual vehicle. Don’t feel bad that you don’t get why they used it. A lot of us don’t either.

    I’m not typically one to yell at clouds. Looking at all the CCs we’ve seen so far, I can point to a number of successes either full or partial, and a number of good ideas that perhaps got lost in an otherwise bad design, but this season has really been brutal, and by and large it’s either because the designs are lazy, or they lose big points with features that just aren’t executed in a manner befitting professional designers. This is so bad.

    We’re not the target. But if we were, these would still look like shite.

    The helmet really just makes the whole outfit reek of travel youth baseball. I understand that’s the target consumer anyway (both the kids playing and the adult hangers-on trying to relive their youth) but its surprising to me how long the terrible Monster Energy Drink aesthetic has lasted in contemporary design and still going strong apparently.

    It’s lasted so long that the terrible “cartoon dinosaur/viking/sailor etc” aesthetic of 90s NBA uniforms is now close to becoming hip again.

    I was very anti Tigers CC since the moment the cap leaked here. The full uniform reveal was disappointing. As pointed out many times, the jersey feels like a straight rip off of the Pistons Motor City jersey design from a few years ago.

    However, the general City Connect Merch looks really, really good. I think there’s a good design buried somewhere here, they just couldn’t bring the right elements together in the uniform.

    Personally, I think they should have gone with an interlocking “MC” for the cap logo and included the tire sublimation on the hats (ala Arizona a few years ago). It’s just strange that they have this crazy jersey paired with a really boring cap

    Paul, feel free to tell people years from now it was the City Connects that drove you to retirement.

    These uniforms are an embarrassment to baseball. The cc uniforms are just about as bad as the throw ahead the clock garbage. Detroit’s are an abomination.

    Remember when the Tigers actually had some respect and pride, back in 1999, and lost their Turn Ahead the Clock jerseys in Boston, so both teams didn’t have to look ridiculous? Even that preposterous TATC looks normal compared to this.

    The Pirates’ helmet comes close, but it really just has a contrasting brim and earflap with a soft color border:

    We don’t see many soft borders on helmets. And the black continues to the back of the helmet, which may or may not qualify as a two-tone crown.


    Even if that helmet was full of ice cream it would still look terrible.

    Am waiting for the Yankees to radically change their uniform for CC

    Feels like it’s more of a merchandise grab than actually designing a uniform for more than the occasional wearing . . .

    Tampa Bay and Detroit CCs suffer from looked good on computer screens, not so good on the field!

    Hal Steinbrenner has gone on record as saying he is not interested in a CC uniform for the Yankees, that he’s not keen at all at the prospect of the Yankees playing at home in anything but their traditional pinstripes.

    And seeing as how all the remaining teams will receive CC uniforms this year, and the Dodgers and Nationals are already having Mark II versions of their CC uniforms prepared, I think the Yankees are going to bypass the CC program entirely. Good for them.

    Am I the only one getting a police helmet vibe from this?

    And for the folks commenting about this being, what I assume they mean to say, grumpy old white guys complaining about nontraditional uniforms, which I admit I am one of, I will say not all city connects are bad, like when they actually have some thought and creativity into them.

    I loved the Pistons green St Cecilia CC unis. Too bad almost all of that apparel is sold out.
    And the Padres and Angels CCs are very unique, creative, and eye catching. I definitely get west coast and beach/surf vibes looking at them.
    But in a similar vein, the pink and teal Miami whites or nights is way played out.

    Its a great costume. Doesn’t need to look good, just fit the cast members.

    This whole set looks like an afterthought: Oh, we forgot about Detroit, it is their CC turn in a month! Oh no, what should we do? Something with that tiger? No, most kids like tigers but to some they are scary. The D? No, we do not want to repeat what we did with the Braves and The A. Was seen as too similar to a throwback. Motor City? Well, tired but…hold on, tired? Tyre? Tyre tracks on the jersey? I like that! Motown, music, Eminem? No, no, forget about that. Kids do not listen to Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross and Eminem is too grouchy to celebrate, that tyre thing has got to be it. As for the hat: just Detroit, but in a 90s font. The 90s are hot with kids who are not into baseball, right? And so it happened.
    And yes, never underestimate the lack of taste of the easily manipulated masses. They will buy this.

    The whole “area code” thing was is just so overused anymore. Even the soccer team in Memphis is “Memphis 901 FC”.

    “Vote now to choose our @pennington field design for the debut of our #MotorCity jerseys!”
    So the Tigers have sold naming rights to their field design?!?

    I just don’t understand who let the CC team steer away from the largely inspired, thoughtful designs of the first batch or two of CC uniforms (even if gaudy) and resort instead to this most recent series of releases?

    Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of the break from tradition or just the general design language of the CC program, I think it’s hard to look at those first few releases: Boston, Miami, Chicago, Arizona, DC (yes, I’m skipping the duds) and not see a stroke of fresh imagination and quality execution.

    But this recent spate with the possible exception of Tampa (which benefit from an admittedly poor branding to start) is just inexcusable. You have to go back to Seattle or Texas to get anything approaching palatable. I mean it’s just block font and dark background after block font and dark background. I hate this look the most, it’s the epitome of laziness. A tire tread gradient? a vin number? There are so many things more notable and interesting about detroit than literally the most boring part of a car. And this hat/helmet look? No team wears an entire word as a cap logo throughout the entirety of MLB and MILB, let alone in black and white – it looks like when New Era trys to make fashion hats for NFL and NBA teams that nobody buys.

    If these ever get made into gumball mini helmets, the “Detroit” decal will be completely accurate.

    I’m curious as to why some of these garish CC uniforms never fall afoul of umpires as distracting given how little bitty things on someone’s glove force a mid-inning change.

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