Memo: MLB uniforms to change after complaints

Major League Baseball plans to address its uniform fiasco after changes this spring to the standard jerseys and pants led to widespread complaints from players and fans, according to a memo obtained Sunday night by ESPN.

The prominent modifications include a return to larger lettering on the back of jerseys, remedying mismatched gray tops and bottoms and addressing the new Nike jerseys’ propensity to collect sweat, according to the memo distributed to players by the MLB Players Association on Sunday.

The changes, which will happen at the latest by the beginning of the 2025 season, will also include fixes to the pants, widely panned this spring for being see-through.

The union informed players of the coming changes in a letter that placed the blame on Nike and the debut of its Vapor Premier uniform, which was advertised for its superior performance but remains disliked by players.

“This has been entirely a Nike issue,” the memo to players read. “At its core, what has happened here is that Nike was innovating something that didn’t need to be innovated.”

The union also absolved Fanatics, the manufacturer of the uniform that has received the majority of public scorn for the uniform mess, saying the company “recognizes the vital importance of soliciting Player feedback, obtaining Player buy-in and not being afraid to have difficult conversations about jerseys or trading cards. Our hope is that, moving forward, Nike will take a similar approach.”

While the new uniformed debuted at the 2023 All-Star Game, its rollout this spring led to reams of bad publicity. The shrinking of the letter size on players’ name plates gave jerseys an amateur look. The pants — which, according to the memo, will “return to the higher quality zipper used in 2023” — had myriad issues, including the see-through fabric, a lack of tailoring and rips and tears that players believed unnecessary.

Nike’s partnership with MLB began in 2019, when it took over as the league’s official uniform supplier as part of a 10-year, $1 billion deal for MLB. Fanatics has partnerships with the league and the union, both of which have invested in the company and own small stakes.

“We cautioned Nike against various changes when they previewed them in 2022, particularly regarding pants,” the union memo read. “MLB had been, and has been, aware of our concerns as well. Unfortunately, until recently Nike’s position has essentially boiled down to — ‘nothing to see here, Players will need to adjust.'”

MLB declined to comment. Nike did not offer immediate comment when reached by ESPN. Fanatics did not respond to a request for comment. The MLBPA declined to comment.

This post was originally published on ESPN

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