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Great News! MLB Is Getting Rid Of Its Shitty New Uniforms. Next Season.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - MARCH 29: Carlos Rodon #55 of the New York Yankees pitches in the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on March 29, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images|

It’s been rough for baseball’s Wet Guys.

It only took a couple of months of universal scorn, but MLB is going to make Nike fix the shoddy tat it was forcing its employees to wear, and no, it's not the GMs’ golf shirts. Those looked great.

It's the uniforms: too thin, too tawdry, too cheap, too lousy in every way, and as such unworthy of the massive markups at all the souvenir stores. Next to the war crime of the Shai/Chet AT&T ad that should result in extensive jail time for everyone involved, the new baseball uniforms were the most unanimously reviled development of the new year, and we're already 30 percent in.

"We cautioned Nike against various changes when they previewed them in 2022, particularly regarding pants," the union memo read. "MLB had been, and has been, aware of our concerns as well. Unfortunately, until recently Nike's position has essentially boiled down to -- 'nothing to see here, Players will need to adjust.'"


The memo, sent to players by the MLBPA, declared that Nike (and not union-partnered Fanatics, absurdly enough) was to blame for the offending shmatte, which we know is a lie because it took more than a month to find a scapegoat. Any development in any business always comes with a scapegoating clause, and bad ideas usually only need three days of spit-soaked reviews before someone is "held responsible," which means either firings or, if the decision is made at the chief executive level, layoffs.

The announcement stated that the uniforms would be restored to their previous quality and sheen in time for the 2025 season, which feels a lot more like playing out a contract than righting a wrong. It's just the company's way of saying, "You'll wear this garbage until we run out of the garbage, and then you'll get something else that may or not be garbage too." And the players are expected to take this at face value because their alternatives are presumably to quit, get sent down to the minors until the new stuff arrives, or play naked and have the logos tattooed on their chests and skulls.

Were I a player, though, I would view this with the proper level of skepticism and fear because if MLB officials can think these uniforms were good enough, why would they be qualified to make decisions on the new ones? They still can't get the balls right, and that's been years in the unmaking.

That is the MLB story for years now: They change stuff mostly because they think they're supposed to, making it better by making it worse. It's as if they are embarrassed by the product they sell so they try to turn it into something else without ever figuring out what it is they want or how they intend to achieve it, desperately hoping that one or more of their new ideas will convince sponsors and networks to fall back in love with the game, wallets-first.

But until now the uniforms were one thing that nobody had a problem with—not the players, not the equipment guys, not the feral shoppers yearning to convince strangers on the street that they are Adley Rutschman, Shota Imanaga, or just some rogue major-leaguer who buys his beer and smokes at your local bodega. They were perfectly fine the way they were, until Nike convinced MLB through the persuasive power of money that it could make something that everybody liked better. In other words, make them worse.

So Nike did make them worse, to the point at which every team looked like the 1936 St. Louis Browns wearing the same jerseys and pants every day until they disintegrated. And going back to the start of spring training when the first players noticed they were wearing burlap mesh assembled with gorilla glue and staples, we are talking about 12 weeks of rampant dissatisfaction that finally convinced the outfitters to stop pretending they could make form-fitting oily rags seem cool.

But it will be all OK again next February, because it takes a long time for the world's largest sportswear maker to fix the thing they ruined: maybe a month. The extra time is so that MLB can take credit for not commissioning an Shai/Chet ad of their own.

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