In the upside-down world of baseball -- seriously, who’da thunk that future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols would be striking out more than George Costanza in a singles bar? -- everything new is old again. Several different teams are sporting new uni’s this season, and most are reaching back into their historical closets for their new look.
Since all things baseball must be analyzed to death, we give you our early-season scorecard detailing which teams have hit home runs and which have struck out with their new/old uniforms. Three cheers for forced sports metaphors!
Kansas City Royals
The Royals have always stressed elegance and simplicity to achieve their regal look. This year’s models offer subtle tweaks that reinforce their status as the world champs of understatement. The refined script brandishing the Royals’ name remains the same on the snow-white home uniforms, but the “Kansas City” lettering on the road jerseys has been retooled to more closely match the home lettering. There’s also a cool All-Star patch on the right sleeves of both the home and away jerseys because the team will be hosting the game on July 10. Sadly, that’s as close as the Royals will get to having actual all-stars on the team.
Let’s face it: Tradition can’t hit.
The Tribe has returned to the losing ways that inspired the hilarious 1989 movie Major League. While that might not be good news, a revival of more simplistic uniforms of that -- and other -- crappy periods in Indians’ history has fans cheering. The big changes? A creme-colored alternate home uni with simple, red-block “Indians” lettering across the chest, paired with a bright red cap that recalls the uniforms of the crappy Indians of the ’60s. There’s also an alternate road uniform with the word “Cleveland” in block letters across the chest. That one comes with a blue cap, emulating the crappy Indians of 1901.
Still … they’re well-dressed, traditional cellar dwellers.
Compared to what looked like prison-issued, beer-league uniforms for the last decade, the Jays could have switched to hospital gowns and scored an upgrade. But they’ve done much better than that. Happily, the Blue Jays have returned to the uniforms of their back-to-back championship era of 1992 and 1993 with royal-blue hats and the old split-lettering that was displayed on the chests of such great World Series heroes as Joe Carter and Paul Molitor.
For the moment, the Jays are playing like those guys. But their talent isn’t as sharp as their threads and should yield diminishing returns as the season wears on and the Canadian exchange rate kicks in.
New York Mets
This team was built on tradition. They chose their original colors to honor the history of New York baseball: blue for the Brooklyn Dodgers, orange for the New York Giants, and pinstripes as a salute to the crosstown Yankees. More recently, they benched tradition and looked like a different team almost every time they took the field. They ditched the pinstripes and broke out black jerseys and a bunch of different hats.
In their 50th year, the Mets have adopted the role of a grown-up wondering what he was thinking with that high school hair and fashion non-sensibility, and returned to their original colors and design.
Here’s hoping they hide their high school photos.
With a new city name, stadium and team colors, it’s a fresh start for the fish. Unfortunately, their new uniforms reek. It’s as if somebody broke into Don Johnson’s closet and sewed together all of his scariest stuff; the resulting array of outfits is better suited for a Florida fruit factory than a baseball field. They’ve got white jerseys with orange caps; black jerseys with black caps; and orange jerseys with blue, white and teal lettering, fish flying all over the front of their shirts and an “M” on the cap about the size of a McDonald’s sign.
The team needed a reboot, but this mess is like a reboot in the butt.