It’s always an exciting day when a team rolls out new uniforms. These usually occur for a variety of reasons: shedding a previous look in an effort to bury a dark chapter of team history, the old uniforms were aging poorly, or they simply were awful uniforms.
The Kansas City Royals took the plunge on a new set, though there isn’t an obvious reason why.
This look may simply be the product of yet another reason: the old look was fine, but a slight refresh was necessary to give the fans something to talk about, and more importantly, a new jersey to buy next season.
Most notably, it appears that the gold-trimmed jerseys, which debuted on Opening Night in 2016 and were toned down in 2017, are headed to the closet, as what started off as a bit of a celebration piece after the 2015 World Series seems a little stale a few years later. Simply put, the gold trim just didn’t quite seem to fit right as an on-field piece either.
We’re going to go through and rank the four uniform sets for 2022:
The powder blues, plain and simple
At first glance, the casual observer may ask, “what’s so special and different about this one?” This is a fair question to ask. After ditching it in 1992, the Royals had no powder blue uniform until 2008, when they returned in a bit of an awkward manner, featuring Royal blue script and the awful powder blue hats (which were shelved permanently in 2012).
That led to the modern powder blues in 2014, in which the script was flipped to white (much better), but the front number stayed royal blue. This look more closely mimicked the road uniforms from 1983-91.
However, the new powder blue is the 1980’s road uniform to a T. The biggest difference is the front numbers return to white. Additionally, the royal blue trim is gone from the lettering, which on one hand doesn’t make them “pop” as much, but honors the integrity of the classic look.
The Royals will stick with the white pants rather than going powder blue head-to-toe, but other than the Nike swoosh (more on that later), this is a very similar jersey to the one that George Brett wore for half his career, including, well, this:
The new road grays are next up.
Road uniforms never get much love because well, the home fans never see them in person. That said, I like rather basic block lettering on uniforms. Here, the lettering is clean, straightforward, and is a nice contrast to the script on the home set.
Back on June 30, 2012, the Royals played the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, and the Twins rolled back the clock with a spectacular throwback to the 1951 Minneapolis Millers (which featured a young Willie Mays). The Royals, for their part, wore throwbacks to the 1951 Kansas City Blues (who had Mickey Mantle), which featured the block “KANSAS CITY” on the front.
Watching this game with my dad, we both commented at one point how good the uniforms looked and wouldn’t oppose a permanent uniform in that same vein. Well, it took a decade, but we more or less got our wish.
The Royals haven’t gone with block lettering on any permanent uniform since ditching a truly regrettable look after the extremely regrettable 2005 season. They had gone with the block “KANSAS CITY” on gray from 1995-05, but the lettering on this uniform reminds me more of the classic look that was on the powder blues from 1973-82.
The same lettering was also on the 1971-72 gray road jerseys—the last two seasons the Royals played in old Municipal Stadium (of course, those were never worn at Municipal). In adopting this look for the 2022 season, the Royals really went back into the vault for a classic look that isn’t remembered as well, but still is pulled off well.
Not Bad, Except For One Thing…
Next up is the one look that is truly a new look for the Royals, the road alternates.
On the surface, this is a very good uniform. Everything I said about block lettering, simplicity, etc. for the road grays also applies here. I like this uniform, except that it appears it will come at the expense of the royal blue “KC” jerseys, which is an excellent look in my opinion.
There is one thing, though, that really brings down these uniforms in my eyes: that damn Nike swoosh. I have nothing against Nike as a brand, but when Nike took over MLB uniform production ahead of 2020, fans really, really hated the swoosh on the upper right chest.
On the Royals other sets, the swoosh is more subdued, but on a dark uniform like this, the swoosh stands out like a sore thumb and brings down the overall quality of this jersey. If you went on Photoshop and airbrushed the swoosh out of the jersey, this is easily second-best and may challenge the powder blues for best of the bunch. Who knows, maybe it still does?
Last, but not least, is the classic home whites.
I have no problem with these uniforms. I think that most Royals fans don’t have a problem with these as well. Sure enough, it appears that there are no changes on the primary home uniforms—and that’s not a problem by any means.
There are a handful of franchises that have had virtually the same primary uniforms for decades: The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and St. Louis Cardinals all come to mind. The Royals are in that same category, as they’re still wearing virtually the same home uniform they did in 1969.
Throughout the good and bad, this uniform has been through it all. The Royals wore these uniforms when they walked off in the franchise’s first game, when they won the 1985 World Series, and when they won the ALCS to punch their ticket to the 2014 and 2015 World Series.
I rate this look at the bottom not because it’s a bad look, but simply just because there’s nothing new to report on it. Once again, that’s okay. Change doesn’t always need to be made for change’s sake.
The Royals have developed a look that retains the franchise’s trademark (if not iconic) home whites, while turning back the clock on both the powder blue and primary road sets, and adding a completely new look with the new royal blue set (Nike swoosh notwithstanding.
Even though I don’t think the Royals needed a new set of uniforms, they nonetheless managed to roll out a new look that should be well received and should look good on the field.
Please be sure to follow me on Twitter (@BrennanMense) for more of my content. Don’t forget to listen to our baseball podcast, Cheap Seats Chatter! We’ll see ya there!
Come join the discussion made by the fans at the Overtime Heroics forums! A place for all sports!
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images