There’s good news and bad news today, guys. The bad news: Today is Black Wednesday, the day without sports. No live televised sports will be on today. The good news: There’s literally nothing else on so we’re forced to talk about the MLB All Star game today. And then again to a lesser extent in October when the American League gets homefield advantage in the world series. Maybe that’s not actually good news. Let’s try this again, at least the MLB made the home run derby interesting this year.
With all 30 teams represented in the game it gives us a good chance to compare and contrast every uniform in the league at once. Because I’m doing this arbitrarily and I’m drunk on lack of editorial oversight, I’m going to do the five best and five worst.
St. Louis Cardinals – I loathe having to put these first. I spent a lot of time in Missouri growing up and got suckered into being a fan of the only team that hasn’t won anything since I’ve been alive, the Blues, but I’ve had to watch the Cardinals reel off championship after championship. These really are solid looking uniforms though. The logo design has held up for decades and managed to avoid going through any of the “extreme” influences that brought us Turn Ahead the Clock Night.
Yankees – Not the first time to wear the pinstripe in their uniforms, the Cubs beat them to it in 1907, the Yankees were first to make it iconic. Their pinstripe uniform has been unchanged for nearly 80 years at this point and for good reason. When something works don’t mess with it. Which is exactly what George Steinbrenner told the league when the proposed Turn Ahead the Clock Night was pitched to the Yankees.
Dodgers – When the only major change to your uniform in the last 57 years is the name of the city that you play in, you’ve probably done something right. There’s a common theme with all of the best uniforms in baseball, and sports in general, is that they have a timeless quality to them. The plain home whites with that Dodgers script is a uniform you can mentally place in any era of baseball.
Blue Jays – The only Canadian team in the MLB, the Blue Jays make it known that they’re a little different. The Blue Jay logo may have gone through some changes throughout the years, but it still sits on the chest, just under that iconic blue and white lettering. They may be playing on a field made out of old tires, but at least they look good while they do it.
Orioles – This is probably a combination of personal bias and legitimately good uniform-ery(which is definitely a real word). The best use of colors that we don’t see that often in baseball, or in professional sports more generally, when you see an Orioles uniform you know exactly who it is. The return of the smiling bird logo and the Maryland flag patch on the shoulders means the only thing missing to make the Orioles more identifiable with Baltimore and Maryland would be to add the Natural Bohemian Natty Boh character.
Marlins: If I could put them twice I would. The Marlins are bad at baseball, both on the field and off. The worst part about these uniforms is that the individual pieces aren’t that bad. They just don’t come together as one cohesive uniform though. It is less than the sum of its parts.
Indians: On the one hand, good for the Indians to start moving away from Chief Wahoo. As a fan of the Washington Football Professionals, I understand the struggle of keeping team identity and also moving away from the unintended aspects of that identity. But a big block letter C? Really? And none of the different uniforms have any continuity between them.
Brewers: The Brewers are slowly starting to work their way back into good graces, by returning to the ball and glove MB logo from back in the day. But for now they still have six(!) official uniforms of varying degrees of non-descriptiveness. That word mark tries and falls short of being iconic, instead just coming up bland.
Diamondbacks: Like most teams in founded in the 90s, the Diamondbacks originally had teal in their color scheme. Somewhere in the 90s there was a graphic design firm that was actually owned by Big Teal, pumping out these logos left and right for newly founded teams. Later on they switched to having red as their primary color and immediately just became another uniform in baseball. And D-backs? Are you trying to get people to make fun of you?
Yup, that’s about the right look to have.
Padres: I feel like I’m just kicking them while they’re already down here, but these are just bad. Remember OK Soda back in the 90s? It’s whole gimmick was that it was plain and nondescript and it’s logo was just the letters OK in block letters. The Padres uniforms are the OK Soda of MLB uniforms. When you see them you recognize them(because they say San Diego across the chest), but you probably couldn’t recall them from memory. When the best uniform you have in team history is brown, you’ve made a mistake somewhere.