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New Jerseys in MLB: More Bad Than Good

The Los Angeles Dodgers warm up during Spring Training.

The new uniforms in MLB are officially out, and so far, they’re receiving more negative reactions than positive reactions.

Spring Training in MLB brings new uniforms to the mix, and players are not happy with them. The jersey, with a Nike design and Fanatics manufacturing, is drawing plenty of ire from fans and players alike. As Nathaniel Meyersohn of CNN put it, “The fabric is flimsy, they say. The MLB logo is lower down the back of the jersey. The lettering is smaller. Some of the team insignias and logos are no longer stitched directly onto the jersey, giving them less of a classy, throwback feel.”

Commenting on the uniforms, one particular MLB player notes that the “look of it is like a knockoff jersey from T.J. Maxx.”

Outside of the players, some team fans are also showing quite a bit of disappointment.

As a Seattle Mariners took to Twitter, “I fully admit to being a jersey snob, but when these things reach the point where we are now, it is completely acceptable to expect more.” The fan, alias @TheBobbyMullins, notes “These are absolute trash. Pure garbage…When you consider what the options are, the lack of choices, and the price points things have reached, they are absolutely taking advantage of people.”

Ouch. That is some very harsh criticism.

Jersey Intentions

Now, players wore a prototype of these jerseys during the 2023 MLB All-Star Game in Seattle. Those ones in particular got more positive feedback due to having a lighter feel than those of years past.

As one particular player notes, “it feels like it’s going to breathe better.”

And the goal is to make the jerseys feel easier, stretchable, and relaxing for the players. As an press release with Nike claims, “Developed over multiple years, the Nike Vapor Premier jersey was engineered to improve mobility, moisture management and fit, while keeping sustainability in mind —– bringing inspiration and innovation to athletes . . . Nike body-scanned more than 300 players to dial in the ideal fit —– more athletic and form-fitting than the previous chassis.”

But with the Nike partnership drawing more criticism than positive feedback, fans may begin to wonder how this will affect certain programs, such as the City Connect jerseys.

Nike is not the only company catching some shade from the design of the new jerseys.

Fanatics Under Fire?

Fanatics, a sporting goods company, is taking the majority of the heat from both the fans and the players.

With its licensing deals and its broader reach now into the sports memorabilia market, Fanatics will draw more money for some…not-quite-so-authentic jerseys.

In the same CNN article, it notes that “some fans are lashing out at Fanatics for its growing control over the sports merchandise market, the quality of some of its merchandise, and high prices. Fanatics was valued at $31 billion in 2022.”

The complaints aren’t new, however. The gear may not seem authentic to fans. And it’s something that certainly may put them off of buying jerseys for a while.

Meyersohn adds that, “[s]ports fans have complained about other jerseys and other gear they bought from Fanatics with the wrong name or number, fabric that falls apart after one wash, and incorrect team colors.”

Baseball is not the only sport, however, that is seeing ire from its fanbase for the Fanatics deal. Another Big Four league is seeing some issues for the game quality of its merchandise.

“Some NHL fans, like baseball fans, are worried about Fanatics’ deal with the NHL to produce authentic jerseys players wear in games because of concerns about quality, limited selections, and prices.” When two of the four largest leagues in the United States hhear uniform complaints, then there is a real problem at hand.

Money Also Becoming an Issue

However, the design is not the only factor becoming a problem with the jerseys. Since prices and inflation on the rise, some people are spending more on jerseys and game experiences more than ever. With an average price of $37 for tickets and a full game experience costing north of $250, many fans are finding better ideas to just stay at home.

MLB’s New Jerseys Take a Jab at Traditionalists

When any single tweak is made to a jersey, any fan who loves the classic look will be immediately up in arms. As the CNN article notes, “Die-hard sports fans pay close attention to teams’ uniforms. So when a team or league makes even the smallest of design tweaks, these traditionalists cringe. Especially in baseball, the nostalgia-tinged sport known as America’s Pastime.” Not only are jerseys an important part of a team’s history, but they also become memorable to fans. But the reception has been so poor, it is clear purists are not the only ones upset.

So, yes, there is consensus that MLB’s new jerseys will not be a good fit. But, if Fanatics puts more effort into improving the design, maybe the reception will be more positive. The partnership between Nike and Fanatics still has some kinks to iron out, and the deal is not going away, either.


Nate Powalie is a contributor for Back Sports Page. A 2022 graduate of Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio), Nate has five years of sports writing experience, and has gotten the chance to call sporting events for radio and live stream. Nate also works as a cashier and can be found on Twitter (@PNate22) and Facebook (Nate Powalie).

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