We’re in year three of Nike’s collaboration with Major League Baseball’s City Connect alternate jersey drops. While they may not be as frequently as dramatic as the alternates in the NBA, there have been frequent hits and misses. Baseball uniforms are unique in that with the pants, the hat and helmet, and the button-up full look makes it tricky to pull off from head-to-toe, especially when some of the bold designs intended to represent intricacies of the franchise or city are all in the details. It’s become more of just a question of whether or not the get-up is “good” or “bad,” at this point.
Sometimes, the concept is there and you can see the vision of what they were going for, but the on-field execution of the look will be poor. There’s also the element of not straying too far away from what we know about the team in a league with some of the best uniforms that are rich in iconic history and lore; it has to scream the name of the franchise or city.
Last week, the Cincinnati Reds were the most recent franchise and 18th total team to debut their City Connects. They’re a perfectly fine concept- modern all blacks with an electrifying C on the cap, but absolutely nothing about them makes you think of the Cincinnati Reds, the oldest franchise in the majors that thrive on stripes and swirled-mustachioed Mr. Red and Pillbox hats. They don’t particularly “city connect” at all despite being “fine”.
Below is a chart that examines the grades of the City Connects more in-depth than just being good or bad because it’s more than that in the evaluation.
Afterwards, we’ll back up our explanations briefly.
|TEAM||CONCEPT||EXECUTION||RELATION TO TEAM/CITY|
|San Francisco Giants||C+||F||B+|
|San Diego Padres||A-||A-||A+|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||B||F||C|
|Kansas City Royals||B||C-||C|
|Los Angeles Angels||A+||A||A|
|Boston Red Sox||A||B||D|
|Chicago White Sox||A+||A-||A+|
There’s really not much to say here other than it was perfectly executed in capturing Miami, paying homage to the Cuban population and the Sugar Kings, and the only downside is that these have been better than every Marlins uniform excluding their original Florida uniforms.
The gray with the cherry blossom connection is beautifully done even in the subtleties. However, it may also be the first time you realize that the DC area is known for their cherry blossoms before the Wizards also hopped on the pink bandwagon.
Also, the “WSH” in the center could have so easily been upgraded as opposed to a bland block abbreviation.
We love the homage to Wrigleyville, the curved marquee sign, and the iconic Chicago flag. However, the all blue is plainly just a bad look that doesn’t do anything but vary away from a team that you came to see play two in pinstripes at the Friendly Confines.
Theoretically, Colorado has one of the best license plates in the nation. However, on the field when you’re giving up 10 runs to the Dodgers in the thin Colorado air, the dark green is far too much and it just doesn’t look like a baseball uniform on the field and rather a costume.
San Francisco Giants
The Golden Gate Bridge is iconic, but even though yes, we realize that there is fog everywhere in San Francisco, no, you do not have permission to use an awful cloud gradient that makes you look like stormtroopers.
There’s more to the city than just fog, and it’s just bizarre seeing that matte orange in contrast to so much white and an awful chest logo on the front.
San Diego Padres
These perfectly capture the neon and Mexican heritage of the city and the pure party that is this Padres roster, especially with the modern accented font that starkly contrasts the usual brown and gold. However, the only downside is that you can’t go out and put up a dud in those modern and candy coated colored uni’s. You have to win with flair or not
wear them at all.
We may long for the days of the purple and teal D-Backs from the 90’s but these are undoubtedly one of the best, classic looking alternates that could be permanent in their rotation.
The “Serpientes” with the snake as an S, the cream, black, and red color scheme is a sleek look, and it definitely captures the… dryness of Arizona.
They’re great in concept: the throwback powder blue with the fantastic “Brew Crew” name on the front, but the giant “MKE” on the hat is inferior to their normal glove logo, and you’d prefer some pinstripes to pay homage to the keg and the classic look to Milwaukee and the barrel man.
They chose the right color scheme of the throwbacks. We love an homage to Hammerin’ Hank. However, they’re just batting practice jerseys.
There could have been so much more done here with how much culture Atlanta has to offer. When are we getting the Waffle House alternates? The Outkast ATLiens?
Los Angeles Dodgers
Kansas City Royals
The fountain logo and the usage of the flag is nice, but it’s tough having such great powder blues on a regular basis and not implementing the metallic gold, which few teams have access to using. It’s just another blue uniform that didn’t really try much.
Cream uniforms will always play, but this feels like a case of, “Now that we have an indoor field that isn’t 110 degrees in August, let’s add black to our color scheme!” because the black pants are atrocious.
The homages to the former minor league teams in the DFW area are too subtle and require too much of an explanation for you to get it from afar, making it not really say “Texas” at all. It’s a fine color scheme discounting the pants, but bad execution,
Everything about these SHOULD work- a modern day take on the Pilots classics with an unbeatable color scheme of the Amarillo and Blue in a mountainous, Pacific Northwest fashion, but then you realize they’re wearing them with black pants on the field. They were SO close to being in the top-tier.
Los Angeles Angels
They’re California cool. They’re a beautiful take on a surfboard with an impeccable amount of small details that are fascinating to read on. Ohtani and Trout look incredible wearing them and making history.
They’re a win in that they’re even better than their every-day uni’s.
Boston Red Sox
The nod to Patriots’ Day is incredible and great considering how much it means to the city, and the actual execution with a timeless, UCLA-esque color scheme is fantastic, but you simply can’t have the Boston Red Sox in green Fenway park wearing a uniform in any color scheme aside from the ones that we know, because otherwise it just feels forced.
They went bold, which you can appreciate, but they’re in the “too far classic” territory when it comes to redesigns.
Chicago White Sox
This is how you pull off the black pants- the white pinstripes, the perfectly Chicago “SOUTHSIDE” in the Old English script on the front, an excellent hat with the CH, all of these would be perfect for a team with this much flair to be having fun, bat-flipping with attitude, and winning in if it weren’t for a certain owner.
Houston going all-in on the space theme recently with the Final Four logo, the Houston Rockets, and now the “SPACE CITY” on the front is a great recurring element, but the execution with the blue pants, the tacky sci-fi numbers and lettering, and the unfortunate lack of tequila sunrise pattern that you wish they would have just done instead.
*The Baltimore Orioles released photos of their City Connect jerseys via their social media accounts and will debut them on the field for the first time on Friday, May 26th against the Texas Rangers.