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Jays Win Despite Drowning in the Night (Mode)

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Well, no one can say Toronto’s new City Connect uniforms are cursed…


Good morning, and welcome to the new Weekend Uni Watch! I’ll have some words about that at the end of the post, but for now let’s hit the ground running with the latest team to debut their CC unis. Last night, the Pirates and Blue Jays went back and forth for 14 innings. It seemed as if “Night Mode” was going to turn into “Threat Level Midnight,” until Toronto LF Davis Schneider ended the game with a walkoff homer around 11pm. Pittsburgh looked good in their road grays, and the Jays looked good in their new uniforms…up close and in the right lighting.


However, from any type of distance (especially as the evening wore on), that nice design and those colors were drowned out in a sea of “pitch blue.”

Of course, the swoosh and the ad patch were *highly* visible…Prioritie$, prioritie$…


The Jays didn’t score until sunset, which fed into their whole Night Mode theme. It was just a case of Bucs CF Ji Hwan Bae losing the ball in the Blinding Lights (to borrow a song title from Toronto’s own The Weeknd), but it is a weird coincidence.


As you could see in that video, you couldn’t see the details on the CC jerseys except for the closeup at second base. I was at my sister’s house visiting Dad during that play, and none of us could make out the details on the TV. My sister asked what I’d been thinking since the unveiling, “Why didn’t they add some white to the jerseys?” I know, I know, “Night Mode.” Toronto does keep the streetlights on at night, correct? Those are white, so they should have added some to the letters and numbers. Just a little could have made the details really pop.

Don’t get me wrong. I really wanted to love this uniform. I do love the cap and the pants, along with the red undershirts. That’s where it ends. The jersey, on the other hand, suffers from two easy fixes that Nike designers keep ignoring:

1) On the field, Contrast Matters. Maybe not to the casual fan or the fashion-conscious, but to the announcers, scorers, and fans in the stands or at home, it would be nice to see who’s who without waiting for a closeup shot.

2) Circumcising the middle O in order to have the lettering be perfectly centered might look okay on a computer screen. On a real-world jersey that moves and doesn’t stay perfectly flat, it looks awful.


Some will say, “It’s baseball. The players have set positions and they hardly move from them.” Not true. Players back each other up on fielding plays, and if you’re trying to score who’s making the assists in an extended rundown, good luck differentiating players in that scenario! So yes, Contrast Matters.

In short, this was one easy fix from being an awesome fashion jersey, and two easy fixes from being a legitimate on-field baseball uniform. If you enjoyed the unis, I’m glad. Some didn’t, though, and one of the things I’m hoping to do here on Uni Watch is to get people to see the big picture. The more people that enjoy a uniform, the better.


Don’t just take my word for it, though. Reader Charlie Steele attended last night’s game, and was kind enough to send me a review with photos. I thought we were going to have a real Point/Counterpoint piece, but his experience in person matched my experience watching on television. Here’s Charlie:

I should preface this by saying that I am a fan of the City Connect program in general, and yet I can recognize that there have been more than a few flops so far. I believe there is a sweet spot between the ultra-traditional views and the NBA’s constant carousel of new uniforms. 

As a uniform enthusiast and collector (I have over 100 soccer, basketball, and baseball jerseys), it pained me to have to wait until the fourth year of the program to see what they would produce for the Jays. I was hoping for something green. Yes, I realize that contradicts the team name, but since it is about connecting with the city, I wanted them to take inspiration from one of Toronto’s more prevalent slogans: “a City within a Park.” Plus, green is a severely underused colour in MLB (and across most sports). Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled with the initial leaks. 

I went to the game with my best friend, Brana, and purposely didn’t tell him that the new uniforms would be debuted. As a graphic designer and athlete, he’s certainly interested in uniforms, but not to the same degree as the Uni Watch community. Baseball is also not his favourite sport, so he’s only vaguely aware of the City Connect program. His eye for design, coupled with his lack of familiarity with baseball uniforms and traditions, makes him a perfect judge in my opinion. 

We sat in Section 133 of the newly renovated infield bowl, in Row 27. This gave us a great view of the action, and we were close enough to the players that we could determine if any of the uniform elements were discernible. 



They weren’t. The whole uniform looked black from head to toe. I don’t have great eyesight to begin with, but Brana confirmed that nothing on the jerseys was legible. You might be lucky to discern if a player’s number was one or two digits. 

We saw plenty of people wearing the new merch, and even from a foot away the jerseys looked black. The associated t-shirts and sweaters were rendered in a more traditional navy blue, which in my opinion looks much better than the almost black colour of the on-field uniforms. 

In the end, we weren’t impressed. Brana gave the uniform two thumbs down, while I would give it one. Not the worst we’ve seen, but definitely nowhere near the expectations set by the Jays’ PR team. We agreed that this CC uniform rivals the Canada Day red jerseys for the worst look in the Blue Jays’ wardrobe. 

Thanks so much, Charlie! Hope you enjoyed your time at the game.

The Jays will go into “Night Mode” fourteen more times this season, including twice in the next four days.


Next up are the Twins, who are scheduled to unveil their City Connects in nine days, and debut them four days later on the 14th. The Dodgers are set to debut their second CCs a week after that.



A Really Quick NBA Finals Preview

Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks, who won the NBA’s Western Conference title Thursday night. They defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games, and will take on the Boston Celtics, who dispatched the Indiana Pacers in a four-game sweep. I was hoping for a Pacers/T-Wolves series instead because they had better uniforms, in my opinion. Oh well, this year’s Finals shouldn’t look too bad. Each team has three good looks and (like the Blue Jays) one low-contrast alternate.

Here’s a look at the Mavericks, thanks to NBA LockerVision:


And here are the Celtics:


While I’ll be rooting for Dallas, if I had to pick a winner based on the unis, I’d say Boston in six games. Prove me wrong, Mavs!



A Possible New Feature On Uni Watch

As I mentioned in my intro piece last month, I won’t be able to spend much time in the comments section on the weekends. I’ll check when I can, but if a comment or question gets past me that really needs my attention, I’ll try to feature it the next day or the next weekend. Think of it as the old Letters to the Editor section in the paper, or the Voice of the Fan from my Dad’s favorite periodical back in the ’70s and ’80s (bonus points for you if you know what it is). We’ll give this a try and see how it goes.



And Finally...

I couldn’t end today’s post without thanking two very special people: Paul Lukas, for starting this wonderful site, and Phil Hecken, who took Week One of the New Uni Watch straight down the field and scored a touchdown. I’m honored to do my part coming in on the weekends and kicking the extra points. Of course, thanks to all the staff and readers as well. Looking forward to having fun with all of you!

Speaking of extra points…hard to believe this was almost a full year ago:



See you back here tomorrow. Take care, everyone!

Comments (56)


    (He said, rolling over and going back to bed for another half hour)

    For some strange reason, fans are buying that CC garbage. And as long as they do, Nike will continue to churn it out. Just giving the people what they want.

    It’s why minor league teams also have numerous caps and jerseys. Apparently a lot of people have a lot of disposable income to buy the latest crazy food identity uniform, copa, what might have been, etc.

    Don’t want to hear how bad the economy is if folks have money to waste on that crap.

    Great report from Charlie. I propose a new Row 27 rule for the CC program. Someone with average eyesight in Row 27 should be able to identify a player by number. That’s not asking that much really.

    Agreed! And not just identify player by number, but team by uniform. Like, if you didn’t know the teams from their names on your ticket, and who even has tickets anymore, would you know which teams are playing just by seeing a few players in uniform? Toronto’s CC unis seem to fail both tests to me. Reinforces my initial reaction that it’s far from the worst CC uni, and also far from a good uni.

    “In short, this was one easy fix from being an awesome fashion jersey”

    That is exactly it with CC. They should just be sold as fashion jerseys. That’s what they are good for. This stuff should not be worn by the teams in a game on an MLB field.

    Great debut Jim, and a great assessment of the new Jays uniforms. A lot of the CC’s are outright bad, but so many of the others are one or two tweaks away from being (at the very least) decent.

    I don’t get it? This was so obvious that you wouldn’t be able to see anything on this jersey. Does Nike, MLB, and Toronto, not care?

    As I had mentioned in my unveiling article (and in subsequent comments), I am of the firm belief that this jersey looked *great* on a monitor/screen, but they undoubtedly failed to “road test” it before production, in which case they would have seen how the graphic/wordmark and numbers were almost impossible to read.

    Either that or their SOLE purpose was to create a fashion jersey that also happens to be worn on the field.

    Regardless of what happened, the result is an illegible team identification and number, which are the absolute MINIMUM requirements for uniform design. And they seem to have failed in both aspects.

    Based on what I am seeing at ballparks, it is definitely a fashion jersey that is worn on the field so the price can be inflated as “game authentic.”

    Jimmer you should do a 5&1 when everyone is unveiled.

    It was the first thing I thought when they unveiled them, but I’ve adopted Phil’s “wait until they’re on the field to make your final judgment” approach. A few years ago I wouldn’t have waited.

    In pictures, these were one of my 2-3 favorite CC designs so far. I turned on the game just to check them out and was so disappointed. Nothing was even remotely legible unless in extreme closeup.

    My thoughts exactly. Not near as nice in action as they looked in the unveiling photos.

    The Celtics haven’t worn their City Edition all playoffs. They’ve played four in white, five in green and five in BFBS. I imagine we’ll see largely the same rotation in the Finals.

    As I’ve said here before, the Celtics wearing alternate uniforms are one of the very few things that make me appreciate the Yankees.

    If they would have refused to take part in Players Weekend 2019, they would have become my all time favorite team.

    Great job on your debut post today, Jim! Can’t wait to see your work on the weekends going forward.

    And it was a pleasant surprise to see Charlie Steele with the guest turn today! As a longtime fellow denizen of the comments section who’s always appreciated your input, Charlie, I was excited to see it on the main page today! Here’s hoping we’ll see more of it in the future!

    Charlie is welcome to do some more if he wishes!
    I wanted his input as a younger fan. Not that age should matter, but at least this way we know it isn’t just the middle-age guys complaining about the lack of contrast.

    Thank you very much BvK! Looking forward to contributing more when I can.

    Yes I’d like to echo Jimmer and Kary – good work Charlie! And it was clever that you brought your designer friend to help review the unis from a design based but non-UWer PoV.

    The Jimmer could have kicked for the Pottstown Firebirds! how old was he in 1970?

    In 1970 we had one of those rock hard synthetic footballs. Kicked it in my regular sneakers and thought I broke my toes. I don’t think I kicked again until years later when the Nerf ball became popular.

    Let’s just say child labor laws would have prevented me from kicking for them…

    Contrast IS important! When you have a color vs color matchup (Cardinals vs Angels) the contrast is horrible. O’s vs A’s? I love it. Dark uni with dark”ish” lettering? (Cincy, Rays, Toronto, etc) Horrible.

    I appreciate the idea of the CC program. But the designers have left much to be desired in the implementation and production. Hopefully 2.0 is better, but looking at what the Dodgers have done (with their birthday cake sprinkles design), I don’t have hope.

    Totally agree. In many cases there are things about the uniforms (visually or “storytelling”) that work, or if someone described the uni to me and I couldn’t see it, I could imagine a good design, but Nike’s designers are putting out what looks like lazy, or sloppy finished products. If a team is going to add an alternate to their wardrobe that isn’t intended as a full redesign, it should make a strong case (without a need for storytelling) for its existence. Many of these – good or bad designs – don’t make that case because they look poorly thought out, poorly executed, or simply not interesting or attractive enough to exist at all.

    I have to agree that they don’t look as good on the field as I’d expected. The lack of contrast is a big problem.

    On a different note, am I crazy for thinking this uniform would look better if the pants were the color of the blue accent stripes instead of dark like the jersey?

    You’re not crazy.

    I may be one of the few who is fine with a mono dark baseball uniform, although this one is testing that. A red cap, red sleeves, and going high-cuffed to show off the (mostly) red CC socks would do wonders for the appearance.

    I know there are many (or at least some) who would prefer white (or perhaps royal, like the accent stripes) — or even baby/powder blue — pants with the dark top. I’m not one of them, but we’ve seen how the Rockies, Dodgers (last season) and Baltimore (this year) have swapped dark pants for white. It wouldn’t surprise me if next season the Jays explore white pants with this uniform.

    I am preparing to potentially sound like a jerk, but it is not my intent. And… this will probably not be the last time I say this.

    I’ve never had to rely on seeing a uniform in game action.

    Every uniform that has ever been unveiled, I’ve been able to determine whether nor not I felt it was a good or bad design. Seeing it in action has yet to sway my opinion.

    I would love for folks to provide a list of some uniforms (and I hope it’s lengthy) that have a varied an opinion between unveiling and “on the field”.

    For the record, I thought this Jays design was atrocious when it was leaked. Still do.

    Most of the time when something is unveiled, I’m pretty sure I know how it will look on the field (and even if it doesn’t quite, it still usually looks like I *think* it will). But with the increasing amount of video (only) releases, or with crazy dark lighting, or obviously *enhanced* photos, I DO need to see it on the field. This one was definitely one of those times.

    I also love your final thought: “I would love for folks to provide a list of some uniforms (and I hope it’s lengthy) that have a varied an opinion between unveiling and “on the field”.”

    This might be a great column. I’m definitely thinking of that (and I’ll of course give you full credit for the idea)!

    One of my chief complaints with mono-dark baseball uniforms is that from a considerable distance (say, the second deck of a baseball stadium) you cannot distinguish between the players and the umpires. In the reader-submitted photo above it looks like there are five infielders! That’s a complete uniform fail.

    YESSSSSS. I peeked in on the game last night on and thought, “why are there so many umpires running around on the field?” That was a *very* strange situation.

    I’ve also thought that the concept of a dark base color for a uniform was interesting. But they would really need to do a better job of deploying the accent colors, on the cap, undersleeves, stirrups, high knickers, placket piping, side piping, etc in order to pull it off.

    this just doesn’t do it.

    when fashion designers put together their portfolios, they know that they have to look good on the runway…that’s where the buyers are. it’s really frustrating that MLB/NIKE/Fanatics/whomever isn’t also thinking about that when they put these looks together.

    One more “We have to have black as a color” uniform. I’d have preferred a play on the Red they used, but since their use was “discontinued” due to them losing while wearing them, I’m not hopeful they’ll “discontinue” use of these illegible black getups.

    In the past fifty years, I have seen three mono-dark uniforms that looked good on the field: The 1976 Chicago White Sox, the 1977 Pittsburgh Pirates, and the CC White Sox Southside uniforms. An emphasis on light-colored numbers and titles was something the three uniforms had in common.

    Thanks so much for the feature Jim! Great job on your first post as the official Weekend Editor!

    Almost all of them did, but I did spot *one* black belted player


    I wish more of them had gone high cuffed though.

    Here’s hoping that July 19 Jays vs Tigers game is on Roku or Apple or somewhere else so I don’t have to see those atrocious uniforms.

    Dallas (the city) has the opportunity to have both basketball and hockey teams in the Finals this year. I wonder when the last time that has happened? I’m not much of a basketball fan so I’m having trouble off the top of my head with this.

    You have to go all the way back to 2023, when both the Florida Panthers and Miami Heat lost in the finals.

    If the black space between the red outer edges and the blue inner lines were white, it would be perfect. From a distance, it would look like the split-line digits that the team has “owned” for decades.

    Good spot Mark – yes I think this is the key to why the Numbers and Wordmark were illegible. I saw the game on MLBTV and agree that they couldn’t been resolved apart from a few feet away. I’ve been wondering why they did it that way. All other design features are rendered in the bright red and blue but the Numbers and wordmark are outlines. I think as this is meant to be Toronto at night they took inspiration from old-style neon shop signs link . But of course that works because the outlines *glow* which the numbers and wordmark don’t.

    Oh and congratulations to Jimmer on the first weekend post in charge! :)

    I would be curious to see how the design elements on Toronto’s City Connect would look on a white jersey and pants.

    Much better. On a grey uniform as well, maybe also on a powder blue one.

    Hi Jim,
    I totally agree with you about the fixes you mentioned. I like contrast between light and dark myself. The Toronto City Connect jerseys are just too dark. I do like the city scape design with the lettering and numbers from the original uniform. Also, cutting into the “O” in Toronto is a mistake that should have been fixed. I really liked your article.
    Thank you.

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