The MLB City Connect jerseys are turning the traditional baseball uniform world upside down. In 2021, the MLB and Nike introduced the uniform design to the dismay of some who favor the classics, but to the joy of those who want to see the fashion aesthetics of baseball evolve.
Nike hit a home run. Sales skyrocketed and flew past projects, but because of supply chain issues, the league could not keep up with the increasing demand. The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros set sales records within their merchandising departments earlier this year with their respective cherry-blossom and Space City unis.
Thirteen MLB teams have released City Connect apparel, and all 30 teams are expected to have one by the end of the 2023 season.
Which jerseys evoke the soul of their city the best? Which jerseys capture the cultural essence of the state the team plays in? How have fans responded? Let’s take a look at these rankings to find out.
13. San Francisco Giants
The faded, foggy team logo on the chest definitely stands out, but is fog the first thing that stands out about San Francisco, one of the most charming cities in the United States? Creamsicles are better represented by the overwhelming orange. While the Golden Gate Bridge silhouettes on the sleeves are a nice touch, it just seems as though the Giants’ uniform pales in comparison to other designs.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers
The “Los Dodgers” tribute to Fernando Valenzuela’s dominant 1981 season is a welcomed feature, but City Connect jerseys are supposed to create a sense of wonder, of amazement, something fundamentally different from a team’s original attire. Repacking the “Los Dodgers” logo is lazy, and for a city defined by celebrity, glitz, and glamor, it falls flat.
11. Milwaukee Brewers
I am a big fan of the Brewers’ baby-blue jerseys they donned during the 1980s, but this design does not really deviate from them. Although colorful inspirations from Lake Michigan and the wide-open sunny skies of Milwaukee shine through the blue, the team stayed too true to an original.
10. Chicago Cubs
An historic franchise will not have an historic City Connect jersey. “WrigleyVille” across the jersey’s front in a font similar to the famous red sign outside of Wrigley Field is the only standout feature. Cubs fans did not like it, believing that it was one of the more boring editions.
9. Kansas City Royals
The navy blue honors Kansas City’s past baseball teams, the Monarchs, Blue Sox, Athletics, Packers, and Blues, while also paying homage to Kauffman Stadium’s famed water fountains through the chest logo. Fan reception was lukewarm, and that is viable considering how comparable it is to the team’s current uniforms.
8. Arizona Diamondbacks
“Serpientes” in a cursive font across the front booms. The Sonoran Desert and Arizona’s Hispanic culture is showcased by the gold uniform. While the gold is an interesting choice for a Major League team and is aesthetically pleasing, it is not a ‘wow’ set.
7. Houston Astros
Space travel is essential to Houston’s history. The NASA-inspired font across the front of the jersey is smart and simple, but the all-navy-blue design seems a little distracting. Fans enjoyed the space aspects of the jersey, but more color is lacking.
6. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox got adventurous with their City Connect. No Boston sports team has come close to wearing anything yellow (the Red Sox did wear blue until 1907), so the uni definitely encompasses the ‘wow’ factor. Reception was not entirely positive, but the jerseys were a big seller and are a shining example of the risks teams can take in creating something unique and unconventional.
5. Miami Marlins
Miami honors the Cincinnati Reds Triple-A squad, the Sugar Kings, that played in Cuba from 1946-1960. The patch on the sleeve and the logo on the hat are inspired by the Sugar Kings icon. The Marlins had to go big with the success of the Heat’s “Miami Vice” theme, and the red definitely channels the ingenuity of the Magic City.
4. Washington Nationals
Cherry blossoms are cool and a distinct mark of the nation’s capital. The sleek gray mixed with the loud pink capture D.C.’s vibrant energy, making it one of the most pleasing City Connect editions.
3. Colorado Rockies
In “Rocky Mountain High,” John Denver sang, “His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand/The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.” The Rockies’ uniform captures the calming nature of the Rocky Mountains. The chest logo and number font reflect the state’s license plate. It is a jersey that symbolizes the character of the state a team plays in, and that should be a focal point of a City Connect series.
2. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox outdid themselves with this one. The slick black meshing with the white pinstripes is eerily intimidating. These jerseys sold out on the first day they were released. Although they stay true to the current colors of the team, it carries personality and boasts a particular identity.
1. Los Angeles Angels
Yes, it is simple, does not really deviate from the Angels current uniforms, and could include more distinct elements, but there is something about the jersey that is so visually-appealing to my eye. It is understandable and very clean, expressing the laid-back surf towns of Southern California.