The MLB has released “City Connect” jerseys for five teams thus far. The Diamondbacks, Cubs, White Sox, Marlins, Giants and Red Sox have all seen their jerseys released and/or game worn as the MLB season gets ready for summer.
It seems as if baseball is trying something new with their jerseys, much like the NBA, who seemingly release a handful of new jerseys for almost every team each year. Here is a ranking of all six released City Connect jerseys.
**The Los Angeles Dodgers are also slated to receive City Connect jerseys on August 18. Check back when they are released for an updated ranking!**
6. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox jersey is the weakest so far. Black looks good on almost everyone, but it may not have been the wisest decision to make a heat-absorbing jersey available to fans in the midst of what has already been a hot early summer in the Midwest.
They were clearly going for a weathered, rugged look behind the white pinstripes “that aligned perfectly with their community’s hardworking resilient attitude,” according to Nike’s website. A noble effort, but this detailing looks more stretched out and almost pixelated than it does tough.
Lastly, the font is so early 2000s that it hurts to look at. It is the opposite of youthful, which is purportedly the idea behind releasing new alternate jerseys. None of the City Connects have been out-and-out gross so far, but the White Sox jersey comes the closest.
5. San Francisco Giants
San Francisco’s foggy jersey is a fun idea on paper, but in practice it just kind of looks like they ran out of ink while printing it. The Golden Gate Bridge detailing on the side is a nice way to pay homage to the Bay Area, but it’s somehow simultaneously too big while being borderline unnoticeable.
The “G” on the front fades from International Orange (which is, fun fact; the actual color of the Golden Gate Bridge) to white, “[symbolizing] the rising fog over the San Francisco Bay,” according to Nike. Apart from that gigantic letter and the orange bridge shape on each sleeve, the jersey features no other color, besides white.
Points to San Francisco for incorporating the most iconic landmark of the Bay Area. But there is no reference to culture or life in the city. The creators could have drawn inspiration from Chinatown, or Fisherman’s Wharf, or the famous cable cars running through the city. Instead, they chose fog. Which is an interesting choice, just perhaps not the correct one.
4. Miami Marlins
Miami’s jersey admirably and correctly pays homage to the city’s and sport’s Latin American heritage. The script on the jersey is styled after Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. The detailing on the bottom says “Sugar Kings,” which is a nod to the 1959 Junior World Series champions. Their journey, which is too important to delve into in a silly jersey article, helped pave the way for future Cuban-born and other Latin American players.
The thing placing it at number four on the list is the fact that they added yet another color to their pallet after a fourth different logo and a third complete jersey overhaul since the team was founded in 1993. The branding is just very busy and confusing at this point.
Again, the jersey is great. But if every team is not getting one this year, the Marlins could have waited for their two-year-old branding to become more familiar before they added another look.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
Moving from the totally acceptable to the really cool, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the latest team to be proud owners of a City Connect jersey. Its sand color “is inspired by the Sonoran Desert’s climate and terrain… one of the United State’s hottest climates,” according to Nike.com.
The script says “Serpientes,” Spanish for snake, styled to look like a rattlesnake with its rattle at the end. The rattlesnake and the Western Diamondback, among others, are native to the Sonoran Desert. Along with the Marlins, the Diamondbacks are also paying homage to the area’s Latin American population.
The design may look relatively simple, but is thoughtful and creative in that simplicity. A near perfect jersey that moves away from Arizona’s college jersey vibe they have been cultivating post-2010.
And, yes, this article will ignore the fact that the team with the worst record in baseball was given a shiny new look. There is no way the MLB could have known that would be the case when designing and releasing these.
2. Chicago Cubs
A decidedly vocal segment of the Cubs fanbase was not thrilled with the Northsiders’ City Connect jerseys at time of release. It seems as if those people were not quite hip to what the jersey was attempting to say about the city of Chicago.
The Wrigleyville jersey is about representing the entire city. At the bottom is a small detail that reads “Respect our Neighborhood.” This is because the jersey pays homage to all 77 Chicago neighborhoods. When the Cubs first donned the jerseys against the Cardinals, their cleats beared the name of those neighborhoods, including those “belonging” to their crosstown rivals. Of course, the one prominently represented is “Wrigleyville,” the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field.
They even have a patch on the side which has a nod to the city’s flag, the transit system and transit tokens (according to Nike.com). The darker blue works, the script on the front seems to mimic Wrigley’s famous marquee and the jersey as a whole seeks to bring the city together under baseball. Plus, it looks much better on the players than it does by itself.
1. Boston Red Sox
The best jersey so far says the most with the least amount of flash. Boston’s City Connect jersey is a bright yellow with baby blue script that simply says “Boston.”
Firstly, the patch above the size tag is blank. This was done on purpose to allow fans to personalize the jersey. Considering what the uniform is saying about the city and sports (discussed below), this is an incredibly thoughtful and poignant addition. Fans can use this to make their new jersey their own, maybe writing something about what the team means to them.
The yellow and blue color scheme represents Boston’s city flag. On the sleeve is a patch designed to look like a racing bib, reading 617 (Boston’s area code). This choice was made to pay respects to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, which injured around 260 people and claimed three lives. The Red Sox were integral to the “Boston Strong” movement which was born from that day. They continue to use “the power of sport to unite Bostonions,” as stated by Nike.
Aside from that admirable gesture, the Red Sox’s new jersey ads some variety and color to one of the blandest collections of jerseys in the MLB. Yes, Boston’s uniforms are classic and traditional and probably should not ever be outright changed. That does not mean they exciting to look at. This City Connect jersey is important, respectful and very different. For those reasons, it tops this list.
Featured Image courtesy of Chicago Cubs
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