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Tweaking MLB CCs – A Graphic Designer’s View of the City Connect Program: AL West

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Good morning Uni Watchers, and welcome to Thursday. I hope everyone had a great Wednesday.

I’m back with UW pal/contributor/graphic designer Chris Diamond, who today brings us Part III his next project: taking the 28 “City Connect” (CC) uniforms unveiled over the past four seasons and tweaking them. But that’s not all — as a graphic designer, Chris brings his unique perspective to the CC program, and offers his thoughts on each teams’ Aesthetics, Functionality, and “Connection” as well as his prescribed tweaks. For each team listed below, you can click on the uniform graphic for a much higher resolution view of Chris’ tweaked design. I’ve once again used my rudimenatry MS Paint skills, to place Chris’ tweaked design next to the actual CC uniform, so you can see the differences.

As we’ve seen, the MLB CC uniforms are some of the most polarizing uniforms ever introduced; if you asked 10 people to rank them from best to worst, you’d likely get 10 completely different lists. But you know what they say about opinions — everyone has one. So while I may disagree with Chris’ opinions (just as he surely differs on my own rankings), he takes a look at them through the eyes of a graphic designer, and offers his thoughts and opinions from that perspective. So far, Chris has tackled the American League East and the American League Central. We’ll finish up with the AL West today before Chris sets his sights on the National League.

Here’s Chris. Enjoy!

• • • • •

Tweaking MLB CCs – A Graphic Designer’s View of the City Connect Program: AL West
by Chris Diamond

MLBs City Connect Program is in its fourth year now, and by the All Star break all teams bar the Yankees and Athletics will have one. As Phil’s piece covering the CCs said, I think it’s fair to say that opinion on UW has so far been quite mixed for the program. But are the unis really that bad? In particular, how do they rate from a pure design viewpoint? That is excluding anything that relates to any historical or emotional investment the reviewer might have. Almost impossible to do you say? Well yes, for anyone brought up with baseball it is very hard to be objective. And anyone in North America, even if they don’t follow baseball closely, will have been exposed to it their whole lives. But as some of you may know, I’m a British graphic designer and have lived in the UK my whole life which has almost completely insulated me from it. Unlike Football, there has never really been consistent TV coverage over here and it’s only been in the last 5 years that I’ve been able to watch games on MLBTV. So I while I know quite a lot about baseball unis now, that is all recent knowledge. Also as a Brit I have been exposed to cricket my whole life. This went through its own equivalent of the CC effect way back in the 1990s when coloured clothing was introduced (domestically) for the first time to similar polar reactions. Hopefully all these factors give me a different viewpoint to review the CC unis.

So I’m going to try and take an objective as possible look at the CC unis from these angles. I’ll rate each design (A-E) purely on aesthetic grounds, then look at functional aspects (how well does it work as a uniform?). I’ll also look at how well I think it succeeds at connecting the team and city. Finally I’ll look if there are any tweaks that could improve each design (from any angle). OK ready? Let’s go!


AL West

Houston Astros

Aesthetics A-

The Astros tequila sunrise look in its various forms is so popular it must have been tempting just to do something using that for the CC. But kudos to the Astros, they managed to come up with a design that takes inspiration from tequila sunrise without slavishly copying it. The theme is space, so the navy mono colour with bright yellow and orange detailing does actually make sense. I know some of you don’t like gradients on baseball unis, but I think they are fairly restrained here and the result is a really strong look. As this is a space themed look the NASA font wordmark of “SPACECITY” (please can we have a space in spacecity?) leans heavily into the concept. But like “Motor City” with Detroit this name isn’t unique, even within the States, so I am not a fan of its use as primary wordmark. Also the Nike swoosh using metallic gold thread and standing out more than the team wordmark is a little corporate ego-trip that Nike really need to stop doing – it just makes them look insecure!

Functionality A

The NASA font is a bit funky but no clarity issues really.

Connection A+

The Astros team name is heavily connected to Houston so the city connection is already strong. The use of team colours and the NASA font just re-enforce that so couldn’t really be better.


This is one of the best CCs in my view and so the only tweaks I have done is to make “HOUSTON” the primary wordmark and change its colour to light orange to make it pop better. Finally I added a gradient brim to the cap as without it, it looks too much like a standard team alt cap to me.


Los Angeles Angels

Aesthetics B+

The Angels are one of the few teams not to go for a dark or mono dark CC, instead going for a pale cream colour. For a team from one of the hotter regions that makes much more sense and it looks good. The wordmark font is a nice variation on standard script and has the 60s-70s surfer culture vibe the team are aiming for. The sleeve stripes are very asymmetrical in that they are only on one sleeve and have one thick and thin stripe. Asymmetry on uniforms is visually jarring and I feel the stripes fall into this category due to their prominence. There is no story telling for it, and it rather reminds me of pop stars in the 1980s wearing one glove just for the sake of it! The outlined front number is a clever idea but doesn’t really work as a uniform number. The choice of blue for the number on a predominantly red uniform is a nice touch that is a flip of the Dodgers using red numbers on their blue unis.

Functionality C+

The rear numbers and NOB are clear but the front number is too small to be useful.

Connection B-

The surfing theme really ties in with Southern California, but the team missed out on connecting to the city of Anaheim where they play.


The first tweak I did was to change the “Angels” wordmark to “Anaheim” to actually connect to their city. I made the stripes fully symmetrical and made the thinner ones dark red. I added a dark red border to the pants stripe to echo the wordmark. Finally I made the front numbers larger and ditched the diamond background. I was tempted to make the cap solid red as I generally don’t like caps with different colour front panels, but in this case it feels right so I left it as is. I did however make the A the same as the one in the wordmark.


Seattle Mariners

Aesthetics D

The Mariners’ CC is quite a curious one. In isolation the jersey is a fairly solid design that leans heavily into Seattle Pilots imagery and colours of blue/yellow. The Mariners also used to wear these colours so it isn’t out of place. The cap trident M is also a nice throwback to a previous team look. But for some bizarre reason, the team chose black pants. You can make good looking designs from blue and black (e.g. the Estonian soccer team) but it’s a tricky business and this is so blue/black heavy it falls down. With white pants this would be much easier on the eye!

Functionality B

The numbers and NOB are a bit serify but are clear enough.

Connection D

There is strong connection back to the team’s history and previous Seattle MLB, but I can’t see much to the city itself apart from the wordmark and the PNW patch.


I thought about just giving this white pants which would help ease the eye soreness. But instead I ditched the blue and yellow altogether and went to team colours of northwest green and navy. Why? Well this colourway is almost Pittsburgh-like in Seattle so links better to the city. Plus the city flag is blue-green heavy.


Texas Rangers

Aesthetics C-

The “TX” logo made from modified old-english T and X is very well designed and would make for a good primary logo. The off-white jersey is conservative in design, apart from the radical positioning of the logo on the *right* chest which seems to me just more “single sleeve stripe” contrariness. There is a strong tradition in all sports for team logos/badges to be on the left chest over the heart, and violating this just sends the wrong message to me. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with dark pants and a “white” jersey but again it feels like they couldn’t decide between doing mono-dark and having a “white” uni.

Functionality D+

The numbers are way too funky to be legible and not having a NOB is just more contrariness.

Connection C

This is tricky due to the team being Texas, but the Rangers have taken the route of trying to woo both Dallas and Fort Worth in their imagery rather than bigging up Arlington. It sort of works, but if I lived in Arlington I would feel a bit peeved, especially given the storytelling.


Although I like the TX logo I think it’s best left on the cap only. As part of the hype video the team showed a full TEXAS wordmark using a variation of the TX font so I have used this on the jersey instead. I’ve also ditched the dark pants and gone all light.

• • • • •

Thanks, Chris!

OK readers, time to have your say. Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!



Reminder: Big Uni Design Competition -- Deadline Approaching

In case you missed it, the University of Hawai’i and Uni Watch are partnering on a Women’s Basketball uniform design competition.

All the details are here.

Submissions will be accepted through Wednesday, July 17.

The Grand Prize winner will receive a cash prize of $1,500, roundtrip airfare for one to Honolulu, and accommodations, for the basketball game slated for January 25, where the winning design will be worn and showcased to hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide.



Reminder: Olympic Correspondents Wanted!

On Monday, I put out a call for Olympic Correspondents (click here).

There was a very good response, but I’d love a few more. Below is a listing of the sports that will be covered by UWers, but there are many sports/disciplines still not taken. Note there are several additional desciplines now being covered that were not yesterday, shown below the separator line.

Here are the sports “Taken” so far:

1. Field Hockey
2. Wrestling
3. Men’s Soccer
4. Basketball (Historical uniforms from past Olympics)
5. Marathon
6. Handball (Men’s and Women’s)
7. EU Opening Ceremony Outfits
8. Swimming (Historical suits from the past)
9. Rugby (Men’s and Women’s)
10. Skateboarding
11. Track & Field (Historical unis)
12. Women’s Football


13. Sailing
14. Beach Volleyball (Men’s & Women’s)
15. Golf
16. Volleyball (Men’s & Women’s)
17. Canoe
18. 3×3 Basketball (Men’s & Women’s)

Anything else is open — if you click the article linked above, it contains a list of all sports at the Olympics, so there are still many to choose from.

Thanks, and hope to hear from a few more of you interested in covering other Olympic events.



Guess the Game from the Scoreboard

Guess The Game…

…From The Scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Jon Walker.

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.



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 Stan Kovacs.

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



And finally...

…that’s gonna do it for the early morning lede. Big thanks to Chris Diamond, as always, for another fantastic piece.

I should have a couple more articles today, but I will be on the road for a couple hours from noonish till two-thirtyish (Eastern Time). The Purdue Boilermakers are expected to unveil a new uniform set today, and I’ll definitely have coverage of that, but it may be a bit delayed depending upon when they release the new unis. So make sure to keep checking back in!

Everyone have a great Thursday and I’ll see all y’all back here on the morrow.



Comments (33)

    Love these! The Mariners one is perfect. I also don’t have a problem with the Rangers’ dark pants, but at least the socks are visible this way. I personally don’t think the Astros’ wordmark colour needed to be changed, but it’s not a big deal. One thing I can’t stand is the Angels’ use of white socks with the cream uniform. I don’t understand why they didn’t make them red.

    Thanks for including the originals so we can truly appreciate the tweaks!

    Thanks Charlie! I think the reason I kept the white front panels on the Angels’ cap was because it goes with the white socks!

    Good stuff Chris. Don’t disagree with a lot of changes you suggest. Also not sure why so many people/companies rank Astros CC so low compared to others when they did almost everything right the first time.

    The colored pants match and look good with the jersey. The socks contrast the pants to avoid the leotard look (granted yes that’s when you can see them like on Altuve) but that’s also why they have an orange belt. Numbers and font are a contrasting yet complementing color so they’re legible from a distance. The name Space City actually connects to the city and is well known. Everyone basically quotes from the Apollo 13 mission whenever a Houston team is struggling “Houston we/you have a problem”. The gradient effect is a nod to the tequila sunrise past, as is the number on the thigh and the baseball orbiting on the logo. And the colors are still team colors so you’d still know you’re what team you’re watching if it’s two CC teams playing.

    I may be a homer and there are other good CCs out there, but those reasons make Spce City a top 3-5 CC to me.

    Thanks Corey! I think they Astros would be better off going with a primary look in the same style as the CC (same font and cap logo). The current set just doesn’t give the right sort of spacey feel to me. Like the Rays I think I may put something together to see how it looks!

    “For a team from one of the hotter regions”
    In regard to Anaheim’s weather, I think you’re way off with this. People have moved to Southern California forever not only to get away from cold winters, but to also enjoy relatively nice summers as opposed to much of the country, let alone no oppressive humidity.

    Sorry Rick, that is coming from someone who lives in a country where anything over 25C is considered a heatwave!

    This. Daily mean temperature in summer in Anaheim is rarely much above 75. The city was originally famous for orange groves. The actual hot part of California is 50-60 miles east.

    Also, surfing isn’t really a thing in Anaheim, being that it’s a good 15-20 miles from the nearest beach. Instead of “Anaheim,” the CC could lean into an Orange County connection, however, and the surfing thing would be a lot more valid (Huntington Beach is famous for surfing.)

    The CC’s that Chris has offered are so much better than the ones we got. The tweaks may be minor, but the results are major improvements. The best mark of the beast in sight!

    Thanks Rick! I don’t personally have a problem with makers marks, but I know other UWers hate them, and as I noted some of the CC ones are particularly egregious!

    Right, sort of proves the point that Nike consistently tried to get too clever with these, a few to many special features. Chris cuts back and just keeps the stuff that works.

    Top notch, Chris! All your tweaks are improvements, especially for the Angels who can adopt this style right away as an alternative for years to come.

    I like all of the tweaks except one: Seattle. Although the teal & white/navy blue combo is big improvement over the royal blue & yellow/black combo, I really like Seattle’s CC tops when paired with white pants. (I’m not a fan of dark color pants except for a few teams, e.g. A’s, Pirates, Astros.) The royal blue & yellow/white combo is really sharp and pays homage to the Pilots and the Mariners early days. Still, nice work. Good job!

    Thanks Cris! Yes I was torn as to how to handle Seattle and white pants with the existing set would look as good.

    Chris – I always love your work and the attention to detail. This is quality work.
    ASTROS: upgrade with your changes.
    ANGELS: I get what you were going for, and some of it worked, like taking the front number out of the diamond and making it bigger. And as was said already, white socks with off-white pants/jerseys is not a good combo. I dislike asymmetry too, but those sleeve hem stripes are really thick for a baseball jersey. And I don’t see Nike or the Angels wading into the “Los Angeles versus Anaheim” debate with the city name on the… ahem, City Connect jerseys (I got the irony as I was writing). Angels’ ownership insists that they are LA’s second team, even if they’re not.
    MARINERS: I love royal blue and athletic gold as a sports uniform combination and it is one that is vastly underused these days. But the actual CC set is a heavy mix of black and royal blue, which rarely looks good together, and I do like the northwest green and navy as the Mariners’ color identity. This is an upgrade.
    RANGERS: Other than the off-white base, I don’t like anything with the Rangers’ CC set. At all. The “TX” monogram is overwrought and contrived, to the point of being barely legible. I don’t get a connection between Texas and blackletter calligraphy; even if you’re somehow referencing the Texas Germans, that is a very small piece of a very large state and diverse ethnic community serving to represent the team. And even if that didn’t inform the design in the least, blackletter calligraphy is not meant to be done in all-caps. I get that it has become a thing that got street cred with tattoos but that doesn’t mean it is good from a design standpoint. In my opinion, trading the “TX” for “TEXAS” doesn’t make it better, and I would rather see a different font. Even if they leaned in to a predictable Old West font, it would look better. I do like the change to the number font, because that is another overwrought element of the current CC set. Especially the slash zero. There is no need to differentiate that it is a number and not a capital O. Nike tries too hard a lot of the time, and mails it in other times.
    Solid work overall!

    Thanks MJ! For several of the CCs (e.g. Minnesota and Texas) it’s close to a “start-over” for them but I didn’t jump for Texas. There are reasons for the use of old-english but they aren’t particularly convincing. But I didn’t want this to end-up as a total re-design series as that is not the brief. So I’ve done my best to keep this to tweaking!

    Anaheim and Texas look like GREAT CC roadies

    No no no no…
    I’ve come around to the idea of the CC program, but I think it should be for the home team only.
    Besides, Nike has enough problems right now without giving them more work.

    I’m out right now, but eventually I’ll get to thoroughly read and enjoy this post. Until then, I offer a pre-emptive “Nice work, Chris!”

    Now I officially can say, very nice work, Chris!

    I like the asymmetrical stripes on the Angels’ jersey but your tweak looks good as well. And even though the Mariners have my fifth favorite CC, your tweak would have boosted them to second or third.

    Great work as ever, Chris! My only strong quibble is the Angels sleeve stripes. I have a bit of a neurosis about symmetry, but sometimes the expectation of symmetry permits a careful use of asymmetry to to really pop. It’s rare, but it can work, and the Angels CC uniform is one of the rare successful examples for me. Putting the stripe on both sleeves reduces the visual relationship to surf design for me, so the whole uniform becomes less effective as a CC.

    That said, the diamond frame around the number on the same side as the sleeve stripe is too much for me, too unbalanced. Conceptually, I like the number frame as an idea, but in execution, it just doesn’t work. Ditch the frame or switch the sleeve stripe to the other side.

    Thanks Scott! I think the symmetrical stripes are maybe a bit too much for a baseball jersey where the single one isn’t. I could have removed them entirely but that felt like a tweak too for the uni.

    As an OC native and long time Angels fan, here are my thoughts. Overall like the look, but Angels have a long standing tradition of not having the city name on either of their jerseys (minus a few years or just the logo as an alt). I would prefer it to either stay like that or have something different all together. Also to that point, Anaheim is not a coastline city so having a surf theme with Anaheim on the front doesn’t seem to connect well. Unless it was an all new script such as Surf City, I’d go with just the A on the left chest and move the number to right. but love the striping and overall idea of it

    Thanks Chris! That’s an interesting point about the Angels not traditionally having the city name on any of the jerseys. I can only think of the Phillies who are similar, but in their case it’s more because of the awkwardness of PHILADELPHIA on a jersey!

    GTGFTU: Devils at Habs, November 15, 2022.

    Devils win 5-1, Habs in reverse retro

    Good job on these. Unfortunately the Angels & MLB want very desperately for us to not notice that they are in Anaheim with their “Los Angeles Angels” nonsense (which I actively refuse to refer to them as). Hey, Angels ownership, you know who doesn’t think of you as part of Los Angeles? LOS ANGELES! Like so many other things that have tried to attach themselves to that city when they do belong there in a vain attempt make money (looking at you Chargers), this appears from my admittedly outside perspective to have been a failure. For the rest of you, my apologies for the rant, but felt it had to be said.

    Thanks Kevin! I think the irony is, through the CC the Angels could be having their cake and eating it. Just having Anaheim for the CC jersey would help recognising that aspect but the regular unis stay with just having Angels!

    Chris, I can’t believe how much you have missed the mark on the Houston Astros uniforms. How can a Houston team not have “H-Town Blue” forcibly worked into it? Clearly you have not been paying attention to what the public is demanding!

    In all seriousness, excellent work on all of them. All of them are definite upgrades (especially Texas). As a Mariners fan, I really like the current CC jersey/cap a lot, but not a fan of the black pants. While I like what you have done, I think it is too similar to what they have worn in the past. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the current CC jersey/hat paired with gold/yellow pants.

    In any case, excellent work and look forward to seeing more.

    Quality work as always Chris! Personally I rather like the real Seattle CC uni but only with white pants. The northwest green/teal/whatever is almost getting played out. I do like the color but their original CC hearkens back to the Pilots much better.

    The Rangers one is quite an improvement! I really don’t care for the TX on the uniform so making it a TEXAS wordmark across the chest is much more legible. I could go either way with the numeral font. and thank you for ditching the black pants. That’s a horrendous look.

    I like the brim on the Astros cap. However I think they need a number on the front of the jersey since you deleted it from the pants altogether. I’d prefer SPACE CITY on the uniform but it does need a space, ironically. Or how about it being stacked?

    I love the Angels uni as-is. The flourish underscoring the wordmark flows better off the S than it does the M. I get what they’re doing with the unbalanced sleeve striping and I dig that. This is actually one of my favorite CC unis, maybe top 5 in all of baseball really. And there is an apostrophe catastrophe on that surfboard!

    GTGFTS: Wednesday, June 26, 1968 (D) at Busch Stadium II. Bob Gibson wins 3-0 in 4 hit shutout.


    I personally love the Mariners actual CC unis. I love the teal too, but I feel like part of the CC jerseys’ purpose is to be something different, and I don’t feel the one you’ve mocked up here is different enough from the norm. Plus I love the references to the Pilots even though I honestly think they’re more a part of the Brewers’ history than the Mariners. I didn’t mind the black pants, either, but I would be ok with white – maybe with a Navy blue stripe?

    Taste is subjective, of course, but I really hate the Astros’ CC unis.

    Can’t get too worked up about the rest of it, but I strongly disagree on changing the Mariners colors. I really love using the old Pilots colors here.

    I know the Athletics haven’t released their CC uniforms yet, but can we get a mock up in f how it would look for them? One for Oakland and also one for Las Vegas please?

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