If you know me, and you know my work, you know I love a good sports uniform. My reaction to hearing about the City Connect uniforms at first glance was cautiously pessimistic. On one hand, Nike pumps out some great uniforms in the NBA, and the adventurous uniforms are right up my alley. On the other hand, I was not confident that Nike and MLB can create a new jersey line that was not a cheap gimmick. I say that while reflecting on the player’s weekend (though the Yankees black-on-black did look fantastic for a weekend). Now that the season is over, and we know the rest of MLB will get City Connect uniforms next year, I really want to evaluate how this collection made its first impression. I will rank them from worst to best.
I found myself asking three questions about each jersey when evaluating them: 1. Does it actually connect to the city, as the name implies? 2. Does it look like it belongs to the team they represent? 3. Does it look like it fits the mission of exotic, but not obnoxious? Let us explore how these uniforms address those questions.
#7 San Fransisco Giants
The Giants City Connect jerseys look like an intern had a very clever idea for the sleeves, then the idea got shipped to upper management who were too bland to know what else to do with it. I feel bad ranking this so low because I really think the bridge on the sleeves is a stellar design that deserves to permanently be on a Giants alternate jersey. I also give the hat major props.
If I did not already have a Giants’ hat and was in the market for one, I would actually buy it. The problem is that the rest of the jersey is practically unreadable. It just looks empty.
#6 Chicago Cubs
I completely forget this jersey exists. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, it is just bland, insignificant, and forgettable. Firstly, it does not even look like it belongs to the Cubs. At least the Giants jersey made it obvious who it belongs to. Second, I see barely any connection to the city of Chicago at all. The only hint of it is the star from the flag is very tiny on the hat.
Did anyone in the board meeting stop to realize that the famous Chicago flag has the same number of stars as letters in the name “Cubs”? How do you not do something with that? CM Punk represents Chicago better on his crotch than this uniform does head-to-toe. Thirdly, this uniform collection is supposed to be wacky, and the Cubs City Connect jersey is too conservative to fit the theme.
#5 Arizona Diamondbacks
So the only thing the Diamondbacks can possibly think of about their city is the fact that some people speak Spanish? That’s it? Okay, the colors look good together, looking like desert sand, and the snakehead on the “S” is a very clear connection to the team’s brand. Props to the Diamondbacks for having a better grasp on the whole point than the Cubs did. Admittingly, I may have ruined this uniform for myself by having too different of an expectation.
My hope was that the Diamondbacks would go the route of the Coyotes Reverse-Retro and the Suns’ City jersey and embrace the southwest Native American art inspiration. Ironically, I believe both of those teams have the best uniform in their entire league in their respective collections. The Diamondbacks’ uniforms aren’t bad at all, just different than what I expected.
#4 Boston Red Sox
I thought this was stupid until I was told that the colors come from the Boston Marathon finish line colors. Then you start to notice the font looks like spray-painted letters on a street made with a stencil. With that in mind, the Red Sox knock the city connection aspect absolutely out of the park. The colors also look fantastic together, so it absolutely sets the standard for an appropriately adventurous jersey.
My only critique, the B on the hat should be red to connect it to the Red Sox and look less like the UCLA Bruins. I’m not sure how regularly the Sox should wear these, but they should at least be annual every April to commemorate the marathon bombing. You know you did a good job when even Yankee fans say “now I hate the Red Sox, but those yellow jerseys…”
#3 Los Angeles Dodgers
I am totally going to betray my own rule: These uniforms do absolutely NOTHING to reflect the city of Los Angeles, but I love them anyway. I can even make the case that the Dodgers missed the city connect idea further than any other team. But what lacks in that category is entirely made up for with those blue pants. The blue-on-blue looks so outrageously good that I am jealous.
Most of all, this uniform SCREAMS LA Dodgers. There is no doubt in my mind, these should be adopted into the Dodgers’ regular uniform rotation. We should see these at least 3 times a month, and there is no excuse or reason not to.
#2 Chicago White Sox
Everyone praised this uniform, and for good reason. I always loved the White Sox colors. Black, white, and gray always reminded me of an old-Hollywood-style mobster film, which is such a fitting image for Chicago. This uniform fires on all cylinders. The script “Southside” connects to the city; the colors, pinstripe, and font type are brilliantly on brand with the White Sox.
Most importantly, the color swap looks wacky but still classy. Similar to the Dodgers, we should see these uniforms multiple times per month, and plastered all over advertisements. I do not have much to say, because the uniform speaks for itself.
#1 Miami Marlins
Repeat everything I said about the White Sox, but the Marlins do this just a half a step better, and that may be due to my personal preference for this color palate. The uniforms look festive and Hispanic, just like the city of Miami. The font and colors are on-brand with the Marlins regular uniforms. And most importantly, they just look delicious. Something unique about these uniforms that I can’t say about any of the other six is that they look fantastic on women in particular.
The announcement video shows a decent amount of women wearing the jersey. I don’t know if it’s the colors or what, but something about the design looks just masculine enough for men, but just feminine enough for women. It’s bright, it is modern, it is perfect. This is just what baseball needs.
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Main image credit Embed from Getty Images