MLB Strikes With Hideous Monochrome Players’ Weekend Uniforms
Players’ Weekend is meant to be a time when MLB’s best express themselves with clever nicknames, designer cleats and other sanctioned “look at me” attire. But self-expression in 2019 is camouflaged in a hideous monochrome sea of fabric.
We got our first look at the uniforms in action Friday afternoon with the Nationals and Cubs, and, oh boy, there’s a lot to talk about. I’ll come back to that in a minute.
“Inspired by players’ style choices while off the field, fashionable monochrome uniforms allow each custom accessory design to stand out more than ever,” MLB announced in its May 6 press release. August.
MORE: Ranking the best nicknames of Players Weekend 2019
OK, that sounds pretty reasonable. I admit that I had no opinion at the time of the announcement. Maybe it’s because it’s all been focused on the jerseys – either all black or all white – which are plain, but harmless. But the jerseys are not the problem. It’s the execution where MLB has failed — because jerseys are eclipsed by pants and helmets, which combine to create a jarring, abysmal total package for each team.
We’ll start with black.
A dark monochromatic top is fine on its own, but paired with dark pants of the same color and a dark hat/helmet? It’s just bad. Really, really bad. Even the belt is black, eliminating the possibility of even a brief respite from the ugly similarity and creating a continuous ocean of darkness from head to (almost) toe. Not to mention that black pants look more like skinny jeans, or maybe church pants. It’s just a weird sight.
White united also have problems. The jerseys fit well and the pants fit well, as the combo looks much more like a traditional baseball uniform. But the helmets destroy everything.
These all-white noggin covers look like old recreation league relics from the 80s. Because they’re so different from what we normally see, a viewer’s attention is likely to go straight to their heads. . Look at this giant white head! (Interestingly, the Cubs didn’t wear their “official” Players’ Weekend white hats on the field Friday, opting instead for their normal hats.)
Either way, cleats, socks, or designer batting gloves stand out, but not in a good way. The contrast only draws more attention to the biggest failure. And I suspect fans will spend more time this weekend talking about how they dislike the uniforms than noticing the individual expression they’re meant to facilitate.
Players weekend is a great idea. It’s a nice change of pace, and baseball needs more free speech. But MLB sniffed this year. Considering other seasons the uniforms offered a much nicer aesthetic, maybe it would be good to be less binary in the 2020 approach.
It’s certainly a small thing to complain about, but it’s also ironic that MLB has chosen to celebrate self-expression with uniforms that are, well, uniform in the worst way.