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You Can Thank — Or Blame — Aaron Judge for Yanks New Roadies

There haven’t been too many good changes to MLB uniforms this season, but one subtle — and important — change happened to the Yankee road uniforms that I consider a vast improvement: the tweaking of the Yankee road jersey.

Paul first broke the news back in January that the Bombers would be removing the white outlining on the chest lettering and back number, along with decorative trim on the sleeve cuffs. This had been a feature of the Yankee roadies since 1973, when the team transitioned from flannels to stretch knits.

To the casual observer, such a subtle addition-by-subtraction might not have even been noticeable.

At the time the change took place, no reason was announced for the switch.

Now we know why: The AP is reporting that the changes were done at the behest of Yankees all-star slugger Aaron Judge.

According to the AP, “His suggestion three years ago led to the team jettisoning the away jerseys used for the past half-century in favor of a return to retro, without the white piping instituted during a bleak period in the early 1970s.”

The inspiration to change up (and return to the style worn pre-1973) came after Judge and the Yankees played in the 2021 “Field of Dreams” game, when the Yankees and Chicago White Sox wore 1919 uniforms.

Here’s a look at what the Yankees wore in that game:

Judge told Rob Cucuzza, the Yankees’ home clubhouse manager, that he loved that look.

“I really just asked: `Could we wear it as an alternate? I like the look of it, the feel of it,’” Judge recalled. “I didn’t expect for it to be our away jerseys.”

Per the AP, in Iowa, Cucuzza asked Judge what he thought of the throwbacks.

“He says, ‘This is what we should be wearing’,” Cucuzza remembered. “I said, ‘Well, if you’re serious, I’ll have a sample made up. It needs ownership approval, and we’ll see where it goes’.”

The team then set about talking with Nike and Fanatics, setting the chain of events in motion. From 2022 through 2023 all parties worked to bring about the change for the 2024 season.

The result is a look that closely resembles the jerseys worn by the Yankees from 1931 through 1972.

I, personally, LOVE the change to the throwback look. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who would prefer the white outlines and cuff striping, as they helped the numbers and wordmark to “pop,” using today’s vernacular. I’m not one of them.

I may not be a Yankee fan, but I do think their uniforms are some of the best in baseball. Returning to the pre-1973 look has only made them better. YMMV.

Readers? Do you like or dislike the change, or does it not matter either way? You may say the new roadie is “boring,” but I think it’s beautiful.

What say you?

 
  
 
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Comments (10)

    I think they are fine but def preferred the white outline that I grew up with. I guess both are part of Yankees tradition, but the new ones look a bit lacking, too plane. I’d prefer it as an alternate than the every day road uni.

    Absolutely a positive change. The white outline and sleeve cuffs were remnants of a different era. The minimalist word mark lets you fill in what it represents, too.

    The Yanks could wear a canvas sack for all I care, but this is minimalism for minimalism’s sake–a problem across culture this century. Plus, anything that makes Aaron Judge happy makes me mad. I disapprove! They wore piped lettering when they pulled off the biggest choke in baseball history–they should stick with that.

    As a die-hard Yankee fan, I LOVE the updated look. I think it looks SO MUCH better than the version with the white outlines. It just “fits.” Now when I see the version with the white outlines, it makes me say to myself “I can’t believe they wore those for 50 years!”.

    Yankees fan but I’d like to think I’d objectively like it.
    Hated the arm cuff stripes. The other white outlines, meh I could have lived with them, but this way is better.

    I grew up watching the Yanks with my Yankee fan father on WPIX. This was their look, and I love the return to them, even as an Orioles fan. One minor quibble is that the letters could be a bit taller but overall this is a case of addition by subtraction.

    I’m with you, Bob. These are close to the unis I remember watching WPIX. I can practically hear Frank Messer. The only thing missing in my mind’s eye is the the ump’s’ chest protector.

    I personally like the simplicity of the current set. Yankee uniforms should be simple. The classic pins at home and the traditional greys on the road. No need to muck it up. The white outline wasn’t bad, mind you. It’s the only road look I’ve ever known, but this is better.
    For the record, the only team in MLB I despise more that the Yankees are the Dodgers, so it’s not coming from a fan perspective.

    Agreed—not a Yankee fan, but their classic home/road combo is amongst the very best in baseball.

    And the Yankees continually telling MLB/Nike/etc. FOH when it comes to nonsense alternate uniforms is the best possible use of Yankee arrogance.

    I grew up with the white striping so it is nostalgic to me. But I do like the simple look. What I don’t understand is that they worked with Nike and Fanatics for 2 years to make this change?? If it takes that long to go back to pre-73, no wonder the CC’s are such a dumpster fire…lol

    It’s standard protocol for any changes — no matter how subtle — to go through the 18-month period of time Nike requires to make the changes. If the Yankees didn’t actually request the change until 2022 (which the AP story says), then 2024 would be the first year the changes proposed in 2022 could take effect.

    I don’t want to infer from Cluster’s comment, but I think what he, and others are wondering is, why is there an 18 month delay for something as simple as this? We know that is the protocol, but the protocol seems flawed. The only explanation I can come up with is that duration gives them plenty of time to produce the necessary retail merch to go along with the on field gear. On field stuff really should take minimal time to produce for a standard MLB roster.

    I don’t disagree, but that’s been Nike’s position all along. I’m sure it has something to do with merchandising and getting rid of old stock.

    Agree 100%. Love the new Yankees road unis. Harks back to their glory days of the 50s and early 60s.
    I wish Detroit would go back to their similar design from the 1960s.

    I love the new Yankees’ road uniforms. The underlying reason being the complexity of the grey and white uniforms now match. Twenty years ago I would have said these were too plain (and cribbed from the 1979 Boston road jerseys, to boot) but there is a trend toward simple designs nowadays that makes this more palatable.

    The problem with things being more palatable is that you will then swallow anything–in this case, a proliferation of less chromatic, lower contrast, flatlined aesthetics, as seen by corporate logos and sports teams. Next we’ll jettison script jersey lettering because kids can’t read cursive.

    No, it’s just that road uniforms were fancier than home uniforms for too long (like Detroit) because designers felt they needed to make graphics “pop” against a grey background. It ought to be the other way around.

    As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I hated myself for how much I loved the old Yankees road unis. I told myself it was likely because their home unis were so dull that anything providing the smallest bit of visual interest would stand out by contrast. So at least I now can dislike both of the Yankees’ uni sets and don’t have to deal with the self-loathing. (Still think it was a step down.)

    Complements to Aaron Judge on his good taste and efforts to make this change. As for the Red Sox….why not returning to the block lettering on the road themselves, but with red trim? And navy sleeves? And striped red socks?

    This is a downgrade, sorry. It goes from one of the best (and simplest) road unis to a batting practice jersey or a replica you buy at TJ Maxx.

    Disagree. I was always in the minority preferring the road greys to the pinstripes, but no más. The white piping just looked better. And with these cheap materials the new ones only look worse.

    I can’t explain exactly why, but I like the 1919 throwback from the Field of Dreams game a lot more than I like the current road uni…and didn’t really like the previous iteration either. It must be the font, but they’re not so dissimilar that it should matter all that much. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

    Either way, when it comes to the current version, it’s like they took the most plain, nondescript uniform in baseball, and made it even more plain and nondescript by eliminating the white and the sleeve trim to look more like pre-1973. It’s fine, and it’s the Yankees, so it’s never going to be all that flashy or have any modern flair or anything. But it’s just…very plain.

    Put me in the group that thinks the old outline looks correct, but perhaps not necessarily better. The new/old current design certainly looks good, and appears like a throwback, as that is what it is. I have no issue with it at all, will just take some getting used to. And the more I see it, the more I like it. The only thing I might change is have navy stipe on the sleeve?

    Upgrade. I always preferred the pre-1973 road unis, so I’m glad they finally went back to them.

    Funny, I watched the Yankees away opener against Houston at a bar in Brooklyn. I was hemming and hawing about the MLB Uni issues this year. The guy I was talking to thought I was dissing the Yankees throwback jerseys. I told him that I love the throwbacks. It’s all the extra shenanigans Nike and Fanatics were doing to all of the teams.

    Then the camera focused on Judge when the game ended and everyone saw the sweat outlines through the jersey. Ugh! THAT’S what I was complaining about.

    Absolutely love it. The white piping didn’t make anything “pop”, it was entirely unnecessary (there is already plenty of contrast between dark navy and light gray) and made the word mark look small and meek.

    Yeah, with all the kvetching here about “visibility” the white outline lovers have to admit the front is more readable now.

    At first i questioned it; however, when they started playing in them, i agree this was a positive change. I wouldn’t mind my white sox dropping the white outline on the road uni’s too, though do not know how that would ideally look.
    I’d say any of the teams that are from around the start of the National & American Leagues could easily pull this off to great fan fair.
    I bet you the next MLB money maker will be a Throwback “weekend” where all teams wear throwback style or minimalistic styles harkening back to yester year.

    It is such a classic/old-school look… I absolute love them.

    Now only if they returned to their true roots and wore the McAuliffe number font, home AND road, as they did from 1929-46!!! I’d even settle for the modified McAuliffe they wore on the Field of Dreams unis!!

    Although the font is commonly referred to as the “Red Sox font”, the Yanks wore McAuliffe BEFORE the Sawx did… and as we uni-watchers know, many teams have worn McAuliffe over the years!

    I think the current set would look better if the uniform was at least made to look heathered grey like the classic unis. Either way I’m fine with it. It’s just that I grew up seeing the Yankees in those white outlined roadies. Now it’s got me wondering why they added them back in 1973. Perhaps it had something to do with the renovated Yankee Stadium? Was it a controversial choice back then?

    I understand why they removed the white outline, but they remind me of the 80’s era Red Sox road unis that had the simple navy BOSTON across the chest. (think what they wore during the ’86 World Series).

    Those were super-plain, but the plainness made the exotic sock stripes that the Red Sox had then — red, but with some dark blue — really pop.

    I also wonder why the Red Sox used a plain block number font on the road instead of the McAuliffe that they have long had at home. Was there a different manufacturer for the road uniforms and they just didn’t want to make that font?

    The jersey with the white outlines feel very ’90s (1990s) and adults today who grew up in that era might prefer that look, much like how the fans who love the Detroit Pistons’ teal jersey and the Toronto Raptors’ giant dinosaur logo jersey. IMO.

    I’m of at least two minds on this. Normally, I hate outlines on numbers and other elements, but I thought the Yankees did it pretty well. (I say this as an avowed Yankee-hater.) So my first impression was that it was a bad change, but looking through the pics, I think it really works. To the sleeve stripes: I still think those work well, as I like something there at the end of the sleeve to show the border. Maybe a small navy stipe would work?

    I am pretty ambivalent about the change itself. Gun to my head, I’d pick the white outlining, but the new plain lettering is fine as well.
    The actual downgrade though is that with how cheap the new uniforms look, the plain letting makes it seem just that much cheaper.
    I hate the new uniforms so much. It really is an embarrassment, as far as I’m concerned.

    Lee

    I have absolutely no problem with the Nike logo on MLB jerseys (or any maker’s mark on any uniform for that matter), but even I think it’s ridiculous that they’ve insisted on plastering it on the throwback uniforms for the Field of Dreams games. You go through all this effort to make it look like a real old time game and then completely ruin it with the Nike tick (and the New Era logo on the caps).

    I really like the change. For any Uni Watcher, the removal of the piping and the trim color is hardly subtle, but I guess it’s a matter of perspective. The changes are probably subtle for a casual or non-Uni Watcher.

    Darn it, I really really don’t want reasons to like Aaron Judge. But this puts him in like Babe Ruth/Josh Gibson territory of greatness, at least in uniform context. Has any single player ever had such a decisive, positive impact on a team’s uniforms? The new roads by themselves elevate the Yankees entire uniform set from vastly overrated mediocrity to near greatness. Used to be C, borderline C-minus uniforms, now they’re B-plus leaning A-minus. The home uniform is still a mess, design-wise, but the flaws there are almost entirely erased by the quality of the road.

    I think the new Yankee road uniforms are a downgrade. They are now the definition of bland. To be honest, I don’t think much of the home versions either. They are boring blue and white with pin stripes. Yawn…The design may be beloved by some after decades of use, but I don’t like them.

    I think it’s a huge improvement.

    I would have loved to have seen them try out a heathered grey fabric. Mantle-Maris era.

    White outlining as the only outline on a gray baseball uniform has always looked slightly off to me. I think it’s why I never loved the Yankees away uniforms and loathed the Phillies away uniforms.

    Now if only the Yankees and every other team would go back to the flannel gray. The added textured affect would truly be marvelous. I’m sure Nike and Fanatics can come up with some dry-wicking flannel.

    totally agree about the flannel effect. navy blue on dull gray is just… dull.

    The new road uniforms look better, but are still a bit bland and could use one small improvement to put them over the top; the underutilized red-white-blue Yankees Top Hat logo as a sleeve patch. That would add a classy dash of color. (And of course ditch the ad patch)

    I’ve been a Yankee fan since I was a little kid in the late-’60s, so I remember the pre-white outline road unis. I always liked the white outline versions but I’m good with these new “throwbacks” too. IMHO, I think they look better with the matte road helmets too.

    I’m glad Judge appreciated the traditional pre-73 uniforms. Too bad he ruins it by wearing the turquoise accessories. I don’t understand why MLB allows players to wear non-team colors, and I’m surprised that the tradition rich Yankees, who I believe still require players to be clean shaven, allow this.

    Is it for Father’s Day? Just like when players rock pink accessories for Mother’s Day.

    I have seen some speculate the teal accents on his elbow pads and spikes may be an allusion to the color of the Statue of Liberty

    You’re correct; his sliding mitt has a torch on it. Verdugo has also taken up the statuesque accents; he’s been wearing a teal sleeve and cleats.

    Said the exact same thing after the Field of Dreams game. Judge has good taste and it’s definitely a simple but vast improvement. Good move, Yanks.

    Improvement.

    Now, if they could do a faux flannel look on those road unis…*chef’s kiss* Perfection.

    I thought the same. That faux flannel material UA has (had?) for NCAA is/was nice. Too bad they fumbled the MLB contract.

    I like the new look didn’t mind the old look though. Have a feeling some sort of alt is coming with the liberty green/sea foam green a lot of the Nike contracted Yankees players have been wearing this year.

    I agree. The new road jerseys just look like a cheap knockoff you’d find at a flea market. I liked the piping and outline for the wordmark and hope the Yankees revert back to this in the near future, along with adding a navy alternate

    This is a lateral move. I don’t miss the sleeve trim but I thought the white outline on the letters looked better. A singler dark color against solid gray is just not a good look. We know that it’s possible to do a sublimated flannelesque pattern on these jerseys. That would look infinitely better than the solid gray.

    As a Gen Z Yankees fan, it’s definitely WEIRD, since they had been wearing the same road unis for my whole life and nearly three decades before THAT.

    The really tough part for me is how bad they look right now with Nike’s fabric issues. If they has made the switch last year (or next year) I think it’d be a lot easier to assess, but right now it’s permanently in my mind as being just ALWAYS sweat-stained.

    This is a clear case of “we like it because it’s been around for a long time and we’re used to it”. (Plus I’ll acknowlege they’ve won lots of titles, which helps). Imagine if they were an expansion team putting this out there. We would be aghast at how boring it is.

    This is a huge upgrade. The only thing that would make these better is if they added a faux flannel look to the greys. I’ve seen it on some minor league uniforms and it looks great. It would complete the classic look here, IMO.

    I am with you 100% (except I am actually a Yankee fan). As soon as I saw the away uni, it brought back in my mind all the great Yankees in black and white photos taken at key moments in their history. Their uniforms are now a full circle connection with their past. This one small change, simple as it is, made my baseball year!

    I like it more than I thought I would.

    Tough break for the “never been to the Bronx” Yankees fans to lose the Dallas stripe from the sleeves though…

    It makes me think of what happened with the New York Rangers’ uniforms. In 1978, after two years of the Ferguson uniforms, they went back to the diagonal block letters on the front, but had updated the striping and had striped V-neck collars. They then end their 54-year drought in 1994 wearing this jersey style, but then in 1997, for some inexplicable reason, they decided to revert the blue jersey to the pre-Ferguson (c.1951-76) style, with no blue spaces in the stripes, and the return of the lace-up collar after 19 seasons, and a few seasons later, the white jersey undergoes a similar reversion to the pre-76 style, which they’ve largely stuck with since.

    I actually care more about the Rangers’ unis, though, and would actually prefer them to go back to the striping they had in the 80s and 90s than what they currently have (and preferably ditching the lace-ups, though I’d accept the “tucked” laces some teams wear as a compromise; I just think the loose laces are a stupid look). As for the Yankees, I’m just indifferent. The white-trimmed ones were fine, the plain ones are fine, I’m just not invested in either look.

    As a Tigers fan, though, I think the Tigers should drop the white trim on the road jerseys. With the orange outlines, everything would still “pop” just fine.

    At a time when so many teams in pro sports think more is more, this clearly proves less is more. Great look, and oh so basic.

    My dad was a lifelong Yankees fan and we both always said, they needed to go back to the Mantle-era road unis. I was very excited to see it happen!

    I love it and think Cincinnati would be good to do the same. Traditional teams should look traditional, plain and simple.

    Next up:

    “Yankees remove their famous “NY” moniker from their famous home pinstripe jerseys in an effort to go with the retro look. The look was suggested to management by pitcher Jose Trevino and centerfielder Trent Grisham.”

    No. A downgrade to remove the white trim.
    Use the jerseys as their alts, but not as the main road jersey.

    I like the aesthetics of the throwback for sure.
    I also wonder if it is kinda smart to designate “eras” of a teams history, if a strong player or successful dynasty should get a new uniforms.
    For instance a Deter Jeter Era or Tom Brady Era had a look that was almost retired with that era (then could be brought back as a throwback).
    It almost seems like you could deem this the Judge era but we will have to see how that goes. Also some unis are the best when the teams is bad, m’right (like bucs creamsicles, patriot pat, Marlins, etc)

    Dodgers and Yankees both went to the white outline and sleeve trim within a few years of each other in the 70’s . I always felt that it looked better without the outline – Yankees joined the Dodgers in ditching it this year. I’m no fan of either team but like the aesthetics, Well done!

    What I hated was when the Red Sox, White Sox and Tigers wore that same road look right down to the unoutlined block navy letters. For the Yankees to wear that makes sense; that’s their thing.

    I think this story is cool as hell, but as for the uni itself… I guess I’m impressed that they somehow managed to make the least interesting uniform in baseball even less interesting? =P

    Sorry, but I’m firmly in the “boring” camp when it comes to Yankees unis. Honestly, I don’t think the home set is much better.

    I was sitting in Shea in May of 1973 at the Mayor’s Trophy Game when I noticed the Yankee road jersey had a nice white trim. Probably one of my earliest uni aware moments. After 50 years, I was kind of used to it and at this point feel they should have kept it. They will be cheaper to make, so more profit for Nike. Giving them a faux flannel look would be interesting though.

    Don’t like the Yankees but this is a major upgrade. Except for that stupid ad patch.

    It’s good, it works for them. Given their reluctance to make any major change, having a retro look to flip back to, and with some teams removing the white outlines starting with the Dodgers a while back, it makes sense. I also wouldn’t mind seeing them return to the number style they wore back in the day.

    The new “old” version is much better. The Yankees’ home pinstripes have always been a classic, but their road unis were never as remarkable IMO. Their current road unis are perfect. Addition by subtraction.

    Overall, I like them, but kinda mixed, in that they harkened back to the double knit era, in its better light (i.e. not overly garrish). Given the Rangers and Twins incorporating those kind of elements (among others), and that they were worn longer than the throwback, I’ll kind of miss them. That said, it’s a great look for the Yankees (and not a Yankee fan).

    Phil – I’d like to see polls put up to see what the readers think on this sort of stuff bc not all readers leave comments (PL always hated this idea )

    Funny that you mention this because another reader e-mailed me the other day about adding polls. It’s definitely something I’ve been considering, but the problem is polls can be corrupted fairly easily, so if I were do add some, they’d probably be more of the “YES/NO” variety than anything else. If you remember when I ran the Grand Rapids Griffins contests several years ago, I had to engage the services of a dedicated reader who was able to detect cheating (which there was).

    But that was for a design contest, not a simple poll.

    I personally don’t think they’re particularly effective or representative, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind.

    The new (old) look without the white is much better. Been wanting that for years!

    I can’t help but notice that you never used the word Yankees in this post. Was that an intentional act of disrespect, or just your way of being quirky? I’m a lifelong Red Sox fan, so I don’t really care. Just wondering…

    Actually I did use it once.

    Now we know why: The AP is reporting that the changes were done at the behest of Yankees all-star slugger Aaron Judge.

    But not using it more often was unintentional. I used the singular “Yankee” quite a bit (perhaps those should have been plural), and of course, Yanks and Bronx Bombers were in there too.

    Grew up with the white outline and always liked the sleeve trim and I was skeptical of the throwback themed change. But it seriously works really well. I think it’s a great look.

    Oddly enough, it’s such a subtle change that, honestly, I’m indifferent. I see the case going both ways.

    If you made me pick, I’d take the white outline. Sure, no outline is more adherent to the legendary history of the uniform, but if you’re really going to be adherent, you should be wearing flannel and a different cut. If you’ll make subtle changes to improve things, the white would apply. The Packers moved from five stripes to three, too.

    But I honestly think both are fine. They’re both relatively no-frills and simple. Sometimes, as small change is just that: Small.

    Lost in this discussion is the “block” numbers for numbers 1, 2, 4, and 7. The blocking of the numbers occurred at the same time, 1973. The original numbers were simple and clean. Every time I see the number 7 in a block format, I want to scream.

    I think there is still too much adornment on the jersey. No lettering at all, remove the ad, just a grey canvas with a number on the back. These are trying times so look more severe, Yankees! Even the Tiffany’s firemen medal monogram on the hat is too much frolicking, remove it. Plain navy hat will do.

    I love the change, but I’m a Red Sox fan so I don’t think my opinion counts for much.

    Yankee fan hear, and I have to say I miss the white outline, I don’t dislike the new look, but the outline gave a little “pizzaz” to the uniform. The sleeve striping I could take or leave.
    Like other have stated thought the actual older uniform looked better, see that photo of Mickey Mantle. I’m not sure why though … fabric, font size/width?

    Personally, I think the new Yankees away set look like pajamas, and it is a turn off to me. To be fair, I am not a Yankee fan. However, I feel that the previous look, with the white outlining, was a clean and professional look for this organization. This set, while the genesis of the change is all well and good, feels like a downgrade for what is supposed to be a trimmed and polished organization. They could have incorporated the look as an alternate.

    Reminds me too much of the Red Sox road jerseys of a few years back. The Yanks at least keep things simple and classic. They never go out of style.

    I prefer the white outlines and sleeve piping. Plain block lettering isn’t for me. I’ve spent many days at AAU and Perfect Game diamonds, and the look reminds me of something a budget-conscious amateur team would wear. The Yankees to me have too much class and history to be so … plain.

    I’m a Sox fan and hated – hated – the old block blue lettering. Similar to Judge, the Sox switched to that format after a throwback night in San Diego and upper management liked the look. (link: link) I’m more-or-less a traditionalist when it comes to uniforms, but some nostalgic looks should remain that way.

    I posted yesterday on another thread, that the Yankees should go back to the number font on the home uniforms that they had until 1972? This would complete the throwback style change. I forget the name of the font, but there are several teams that wear that today.

    Through the years until 1972, the Yankees had different number fonts on the road jerseys, possibly due to different jersey manufacturers, while the home unis stayed pretty much the same.

    I like the look. Only change I would make is to add a blue stripe the size of one of the three stripes they had before at the bottom of the sleeve.

    You know what they remind me of? The Great Britain jerseys from the last WBC. That is not a good thing to evoke. Dull, lifeless, boring. Didn’t really care about the sleeve stripes(the always looked tacked-on), but the lack of white outline on the letters and numbers makes these look cheap.

    The new old look was implemented so they would have .00025 ounces of weight removed from their frail bodies. Evidently it has worked. Yankees are in 1st.

    Based on Uni-Watch opinions, baseball teams should just be handed a plain gray uniform that reads the city name and a plain white uniform that reads the team name. No unnecessary design elements, no NOB, strictly block lettering and block numbers. 2,430 games (plus playoffs) of white vs gray.

    As much as I DESPISE the New York Yankees (Red Sox fan), this was my favorite uniform change of the year.

    I have always felt the Yankee Road uniforms are one of the worst. They have always been boring. Much like Penn State Football uniforms, they look cheap and generic. The Home pinstripes are classy and distinguished, the roads are the opposite- both before and after the change.

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