How things have changed… (#atozchallenge)

When I started watching baseball in the Sixties, teams had two uniforms: a white one for home games and a gray or powder blue one for road games. There were the Oakland A’s of the Charlie Finley era that had multiple uniforms that could be worn for home or road games, and the Pittsburgh Pirates had a couple of different looks, but by and large teams had home and road uniforms, and that was it.

Somewhere in the last twenty years, things have gotten a little crazy with the uniform. There are alternate home jerseys, alternate road jerseys, throwback uniforms, alternate uniforms, different color schemes, and on and on. I’ll use my hometown Atlanta Braves as an example. They have the classic home and road uniforms (white for home, gray for road). They have a dark blue alternate road jersey and a red alternate home jersey. They wear a dark blue cap with a red bill and button at home, and a solid dark blue cap for road. On days when they wear the red jerseys, they wear an alternate cap that includes a tomahawk across the letter “A”. This season, they added a home weekend uniform, which is cream rather than white, drops the tomahawk from the front of the uniform and replaces it with the player’s number, and adds a patch on the sleeve of two crossed tomahawks. On national holidays, they wear a cap with the “A” in stars and stripes. There will likely be games in which they wear the uniform of the Atlanta Black Crackers, as well as one or two games where they’ll wear a uniform taken from their long history (last year, they wore uniforms from the 1948 Boston Braves and the 1974 Atlanta Braves).

That’s not the worst example I can think of, either. The Miami Marlins have so many uniform options that they actually have to dress a mannequin in the clubhouse so that the players know which shirt and pants to wear on a given day. You know, that’d be a great job, dressing the mannequin. I bet whoever’s responsible makes a lot of money, too.

Why? Merchandising. Every time they come up with a new jersey, cap, or jacket, they know that fans will line up to buy it. Is there anything wrong with it? Not really, although we’re talking a lot of money (the uniform jerseys sell for $100 and up, the caps sell for as much as $35) to wear someone else’s name on your back. But, hey, if that makes you happy, mazel tov.

5 thoughts on “How things have changed… (#atozchallenge)

  1. It’s the same with football in England. And that, too, has increased in the last 20 years or so. It’s hard to keep up with the new kit, and obviously all the kids want the new stuff. My football shirt is at least 3 years old 😦


    1. Baseball is behind the curve with other American sports. Football, basketball and hockey have all been selling jerseys and other paraphernalia for years longer than baseball. Generally the best you could do was to get a baseball cap and maybe an autographed ball until a few years ago. And the interesting thing is that they have been marketing to women fans, selling jerseys that are more fitted to a woman, caps that are replicas of the official cap, but in pink, visors, etc. Has the same happened in England?


    1. To an extent, I can understand the reason that they’re trying so hard to sell the stuff, when you have players making $20 million a year. The agents and the players’ union have the owners between a rock and a hard place: either they sign the players at exorbitant salaries or get charged with collusion and potentially lose that money in court. Still, it’s hard to feel sorry for any of them.


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