Teams may not be spending a lot of cash on free agents this off season. But, from the looks of it, they're spending a lot of bucks with designers. There are new uniforms all over the baseball landscape for the upcoming 2009 season. Here are some of the highlights:
The president isn't the only change in the nation's capital. The Washington Nationals will drop the block lettering on their away jerseys for the upcoming season and replace it with "Washington" in script. The red alternate jersey the team wore in previous seasons has been altered. The interlocking "DC" logo has been replaced with a white script "W" like the one on the team's caps. Navy blue numbers on the uniforms have been replaced with white ones. The Nationals will have a navy alternate jersey, to be worn only on special occasions like the Fourth of July, with the "DC" logo colored with the stars and stripes of Old Glory. The white home tops with "Nationals" in block letters are unchanged except for the omission of the patch commemorating the inaugural season in Nationals Park.
The Pirates will add sleeves to their main home and away jerseys for the upcoming season. But they will retain a sleeveless vest in their wardrobe. It's a pinstriped number that (unfortunately) stirs memories of their pinstriped uniforms of the 1970s. The Bucs are also adding a black alternate uni with a yellow "P" on the chest.
The Rangers have brought red back into their color scheme for 2009. Like the Nationals, they'' feature both blue AND red alternate uniform tops. While they're adding a color the American League team from the Lone Star State will lose a word. All four of the new tops, home or away, have "Texas" emblazoned on the front while the old home shirts said "Rangers."
The new tops come with new caps. While the blue lid will remain the same, the Rangers will add a red cap with a white "T" outlined in blue. I haven't seen a batting practice helmet yet. But apparently it will be blue in the front and fade to red in the back with a metallic finish similar to the tacky helmets the Mets wear. I'm glad to see the red make a comeback. But I am withholding judgement on the plastic hats.
Baltimore has returned to putting their home city's name on the front of its jerseys in 2009. Prior to that, home and away both were treated to "Orioles" in script. The seal of the state of Maryland has been added to the sleeve and the team's caps have been changed almost unnoticeably. If you look really close, you can see the bird's feet are closed as if they are hanging onto a branch while the old birds stood flat footed. Supposedly the bird is more aggressively looking But I can't tell the difference.
The American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays have added a navy third jersey with "Rays" on the front in block lettering similar to their 2008 tops. The only difference is that the sunburst on the letter R is 40 percent larger than it is on the home whites and road grays. Why? I don't know.
The Red Sox have added an alternate cap and new alternate tops. But the team is marketing them as being a move to a more traditional style uniform to keep from upsetting the Beantown masses.
The alternate cap is navy with the team's hanging pair of socks logo freed from its usual white, circular surrounding which is to be worn with the team's red alternate jersey. The new road gray will have the word "Boston" in navy across the chest instead of red while the alternate road uniform will have a navy shirt with "Boston" in red and gray pants. The white home uniform will be unchanged.
The Twins, in their last season at the Metrodome before moving into a new outdoor stadium have turned back the clock to the traditional style duds they were before the dome days. Included in the red cap with the blue bill and the "TC" logo.
The Cardinals have, thankfully, shied away from Sunday jerseys even though the alternate cap remains for home games. But if they were to do something different, it would be cool to see the uniforms that Stan Musial wore in the 1940s and 50s -- including the navy cap with a red bill and "STL" in red without a border -- as a Sunday or special occasion alternative.
If I was in charge of promotions, I think it would be really cool if the Cardinals celebrated their World Series appearances on Sundays throughout the season. They could wear the 1926 duds one home weekend, then move into uniforms like they wore for the '30, '31 and '34 series the next weekend homestand and so on... I know it would be labor intensive. But they could sell off the jerseys with an auction held during the game.
At least it's a better idea that George Costanza's suggestion that the Yankees switch to cotton uniforms.