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Cubs’ Union Rep Discusses Plans to Fix the MLB Uni Fiasco

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Cubs outfielder Ian Happ appeared on a Chicago radio show yesterday and spoke about the MLB/Nike uni fiasco and the attempts to remedy it.

Happ is the Cubs’ rep with the players’ union, so his thoughts on the uni fiasco are particularly notable. As you may recall, news of MLB’s plans to address the problematic uniforms first surfaced in a memo from union leadership to the players. It wasn’t until five days later that MLB confirmed those plans.

Happ’s comments came on The Bernstein & Holmes Show, a sports talk show in Chicago. The segment about the uniforms comes up at the 13:51 mark:

Here’s a transcript of the segment:

Radio host: So tell us behind the scenes, really, how much the players were making their feelings known about the uniforms. Because for MLB to come out and say what they’ve said about essentially Nike, more than Fanatics — “So yeah, we’re gonna fix this,  the names are gonna be bigger, the pants are gonna be better” — for that kind of mea culpa, there must have been, whether formally grievances filed or not, there had to be enough conversation. Like, “Hey, we know something’s wrong.”

Ian Happ: When we got to spring training and saw the actual product, the players were vocal about it. But the fans were very vocal. I think that, to be honest, drove the decision more than anything else, the fans, the pushback on social media, the media coverage of it. Like, Major League Baseball, Nike, nobody wants that to be what’s talked about. You want the players and the product. And, you know, we’ll see how jersey sales come in —

Radio host: That’s what I was gonna ask, whether they saw a dip in sales, perhaps, with all the delays they had with [certain uniforms this season], that maybe everything got a bit off-kilter.

Happ: That’s probably a big part of it. Players were vocal. And I’ll give Nike credit — they were in the clubhouses in spring training to talk to players to get feedback once everything started. They made an effort to be in there to get feedback from individuals about the things we liked about the old jerseys, the things we don’t like about the new jerseys, all of those things. So, they’re making an effort to rectify it.

We knew nothing was going to get done this year. They’ve already printed too many jerseys, and it’s too long of a process. They’re behind as it is. For us to be able to have a different product in 2025, we’ll see what that looks like. The names will be bigger. We’ll see what the template is, if it’s the current template or if it’s adjusted.

They’re going to work on the greys, they’re going to work on the fabric to make sure that the sweating isn’t coming through. I think you’re going to see in the summer, with the product they have now, guys are going to be sweating through jerseys. Hopefully, the stitching on the pants gets a little bit more durable so guys aren’t blowing out the whole side of their pants. There’s always been rips in pants — that’s something that happens — but the whole-side blowouts aren’t as typical.


Happ’s comments mostly reinforce what we already knew. But the one big takeaway is that it’s not clear — at least to Happ — whether the fixes to the jersey will be done within the current Nike template (i.e., the one that was introduced this year) or if they’ll go back to the old Majestic template. There are lots of unanswered questions about the fiasco fix, but that’s currently the biggest one.



Too Good for the Ticker

Stumbled upon this really nice vintage pencil set on eBay. Love the stripes and the colored panels!

It looks almost as good on the inside as it does on the outside:

Can’t say I’ve ever heard of “photo painting pencils” before. If you’re interested in purchasing this, here’s the eBay listing.

• • • • •

After today, I will have 18 days remaining at Uni Watch. — Paul

Comments (15)

    Love that uniform countdown, as sad as it is to witness for us as the readers. Too bad you did not start this at 32, my favorite uniform number. Hope you would have picked Magic or Dr. J for that one.

    And who can resist anything that is being labelled as Fascinating Artistic Exciting? Very hard to do!

    If Nike do change the jersey template significantly for 2025, or just go back to the Majestic one, you can imagine in 20-30 years all the 2024 aberrations will probably become rare collector’s items! A bit like how wrongly printed sheets of stamps become valuable because of their rarity.

    Since there are only 18 days remaining, I have a question for what Paul would think would be the most uni-watch approved Stanely Cup Final / NBA Final matchup.for this year?

    Rangers/Oilers (two good-looking teams, plus their jerseys are ad-free!) and Celtics/Thunder (slim aesthetic pickin’s in the West).

    If you want these aberrant, cheaply made jerseys, Fanatics keeps offering me 80% off via Instagram — seems like a sign sales aren’t great!


    There have in fact been CC delays. The Giants reported that they haven’t received their CC unis yet on the last home stand. They will wear them for the 1st time next Tuesday against L.A.

    Ah, interesting. Thank you! I thought he was referring to the CCs being unveiled this season, but I hadn’t thought about previously existing designs. I’ll adjust the text.

    I’ve been wondering all season as to why the Cubs “walking bear” shoulder patch is on different sleeves depending on the player. At first, I thought it was kind of like the ad patches to where depending on the batter being left or right handed, the patch faced the camera. But, from what I have seen, that isn’t always the case with the Cubs “walking bear” patch. Paul, do you have any insight into this?

    It’s so that if/when they add a sleeve advertisement, their jerseys will already have the front-facing sleeve free and available. The walking bear is on each player’s rear-facing sleeve.

    Or as the short-timers used to say in the Army, 17 and a wake-up.

    Maybe it will be like New Coke vs. Classic Coke. Everyone balked when New Coke was introduced, so the company quickly reverted to Classic, and sales went through the roof. If Nike goes back to the Majestic template, perhaps fans will clamber for them like never before!

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