The Nike City Connect Program is now in its third season providing special and unique jerseys to MLB teams.
So far, 19 out of the 30 MLB teams have a City Connect jersey in their rotation. A few more teams have joined the program in the 2023 season. Since last season’s overview, seven more teams opted in with the Nike program. Those teams are the San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, and Baltimore Orioles. One more team will unveil their City Connect jerseys as well. The Pittsburgh Pirates will debut theirs on Tuesday, June 27. But let’s a take a quick rundown of the newest jerseys in the program, and what sort of reception to expect from the reveal.
San Diego Padres
San Diego’s new look was revealed on July 8, 2022. The theme is a mesh of two cultures (Mexican and Californian) into one vibrant and bright jersey. The Padres use a standard home white backdrop for their jerseys, with splashes of pink, yellow, and mint green to pay homage to the mix of cultures on the Baja California peninsula of Mexico and the San Diego beaches.
As the press release for the jersey notes, “the uniforms are meant to match the vibrant colors of San Diego’s fabled pink and yellow sunsets beyond the Pacific Ocean. They’re also a nod to the landscapes and artwork of San Diego and the nearby Baja peninsula. A sizeable portion of the team’s fanbase hails from Tijuana, Mexico, and the surrounding areas in Baja California.” Overall, this jersey is a premier choice for those who like neon ideas and artistic value.
Released in mid-June 2022, the Milwaukee Brewers are paying tribute to their fans and their location with their City Connect jjerseys. A light blue backdrop on the jersey gives a salute to nearby Lake Michigan, with Milwaukee being one of the biggest cities on the lake. On the jersey is a gold wordmark in all caps saying “Brew Crew,” the fans’ amorous nickname for the Brewers. Also included in the package is a special light blue cap with an MKE wordmark (for Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport code), and a white and gold piping on the side to celebrate the brewing culture in Milwaukee’s history.
As Brewers’ president of business operations Rick Shlesinger put it, “[t]he Brewers City Connect uniform is a gift from the Brewers to our Milwaukee home and our fans. Each element of the design was thoughtfully created to celebrate the unmistakable bond between our city, the fans and the team, Milwaukee’s Brew Crew.” A certainly entertaining jersey to view and watch in action.
Like the Brewers, the Braves are paying homage to history with their City Connect Edition jersey this year. However, a more memorable era is the choice for the backdrop. The team’s inspiration harkens back to the days of Hammerin’ Hank Aaron and the early 1970s. Specifically, they focus on Aaron’s record-breaking home run during the 1974 season.
As Braves president/CEO Derek Schiller notes, “[t]he Atlanta Braves are proud to honor Hank Aaron with our City Connect uniforms. We are thankful to Nike, who collaborated with us on the designs as we recognized the impact that Hank continues to have on our organization while also celebrating the role of the Braves in our community.” Some of the highlights of the jersey include: a gold 715 stitched on the inside collar for Aaron’s 715th career home run, a “Keep Swinging” Motto of Mr. Aaron, and the Classic “A” to resemble the 1974 uniform. A very retro-looking and artistically pleasing uniform.
Split between Dallas and Fort Worth is Arlington, the stomping grounds of the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are paying homage to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex with their take on a City Connect jersey. A cream-colored base features a gothic-script “TX” with a spur attachment referencing the minor league Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs. The lettering also recognizes another minor league team from the 1960s and early 1970s: the Dallas Eagles. Also included are the numbers 4-21, recognizing the date of the first game in Rangers franchise history in 1972. This is a solid jersey, to say the least.
The Mariners are celebrating their home in the Pacific Northwest and heritage of the Seattle Pilots with their City Connect jerseys. The original colors of Amarillo black, Rush blue, and sundown yellow return as primary selections on this jersey. As the M’s Director of Marketing Mandy Lincoln notes, “[t]here was a lot of excitement. The team was going places right as we tried to come up with the story we wanted to tell. This is a new era of Mariners baseball and baseball in the Pacific Northwest, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t tip our caps to the over a century of baseball here.”
This jersey is a terrific blend of retro features with today’s styling. It is a fun way to make old new again.
The Reds are going with a blackout special for their City Connect unis with red accents and piping throughout. But they also have ties to their home state. As their press release to the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, “[t]he city nickname (CINCY) is proudly displayed across the chest of the jersey. Because CINCY is more than just a nickname. It’s a vibe. A personality. The classic ‘C’ logo receives a modernized look and appears on both the cap and the sleeve. It has evolved into a more edgy and bold badge of honor – symbolizing the destiny of today’s Reds.”
“‘Juncta Juvant’ is Cincinnati’s motto: Strength in Unity. Just as this team is stronger together, so are the people and communities who rep this great city. And the inclusion of the Buckeye leaf serves as a beacon, bringing together fans of Reds Country beyond just the 513.”
Overall, this jersey looks very simple, yet artsy in a clever way.
The final entrant on this list with a recent reveal is the Baltimore Orioles. BSP’s Ben Schneider has full details on the Orioles’ new duds. Similar to Cincinnati, this is a great match for the city with a blackout design. The most noteworthy detail is the colorful patches lining the inside of the uniforms. It is also an exciting example of the diversity not just of the city, but of the O’s as a unit.
Overall, the City Connect program from Nike is certainly one of the more unique series for jerseys in any sport. Whether it be baseball, basketball, football, or even hockey, it is fun to see a team connect to their heritage or to their city with special jerseys. These new entrants are sure to leave an intriguing first impression on their fan bases. The question is whether they leave lasting impressions years from now.