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Nike And Fanatics Have Truly Fucked Up MLB’s New Uniforms

Yuki Matsui #1 of the San Diego Padres stands during the daily workout at Peoria Sports Complex on February 12, 2024 in Peoria, Arizona.
Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

As teams continue to report to spring training this week, more major-league players are getting their first chance to experience Nike's new Vapor Premier jerseys, a sartorial experience that has annoyed and befuddled basically anyone unfortunate enough to have to wear them. The St. Louis Cardinals groused about the cheap-looking kits earlier this week, and though it was briefly possible to wonder whether this was a contained issue, more players have registered similar complaints. Nike and Fanatics have screwed this up so bad.

The Athletic spoke to players across several major-league teams and collected a range of quotes that mainly say the same thing. "It looks like a replica," Angels outfielder Taylor Ward said. "So far, thumbs down." Angels reliever Carlos Estévez pointed out that the top and pants were slightly different colors and complained that he could no longer customize the pants to accommodate his generous ass, saying, "I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s pants."

"I think the last names look really bad honestly," an unnamed Cardinals player told The Athletic. "These pants they made are terrible," an unnamed Detroit Tiger said. The only player who had a vaguely positive comment in the article was Cincinnati Reds catcher Luke Maile, who said he'd get used to the new jerseys the same way he would to toilet paper.

Each new team has uncovered novel errors in material, sizing, and kerning. Both sides of the Philadelphia Phillies' jersey are cheaper-looking and worse. The pants situation is an urgent concern:

Pitchers, in particular, are huffing about their pants. Before last year, according to multiple pitchers, they had several measurements taken for their pants, which then were tailored. Nike has since simplified the fitting process, and tailoring is not on the table. (“You’re telling me that Fernando Tatis is going to be on the field without painted-on pants?” a pitcher joked. “Robbie Ray with some baggy pants?”)

The Athletic

The Chicago White Sox were not unscathed. Sox Machine's James Fegan took a photo of pitcher Michael Kopech in the new uniform. Last year the bases got bigger, and this year the player nameplates got smaller:

Anyone who wants to rock the authentic jerseys will be asked to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $400 for these terrible pieces of shit, with none of the satisfying heft of their predecessors. It doesn't take much for baseball fans to get mad, but they are already so mad. That's the Fanatics Experience as presented by Nike, and now the players get to experience it, too. Perhaps something will be done about it: The Athletic reported that the MLBPA is collecting its members' concerns about the uniforms. Michael Rubin must be held to account for these sartorial crimes.

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