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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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MLB Uniform Furor: Lighter, More Flexible … and See-Through

  • See-through uniform pants are creating a social media stir, extending the blowback on the new design.
  • Manfred is pleading for patience as spring training continues.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MLB’s new see-through uniforms are revealing more problems for the league.

The league’s much-discussed and often-reviled new uniforms, developed in partnership with Nike and Fanatics, have continued to roil players and fans alike and are now rising to become a potential labor issue. 

MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark was the latest to sound off on the new-look designs, which are aimed at offering players a lighter, more flexible, and more breathable fabric in which to play, but which have garnered widespread complaints about their aesthetics. The union leader said the organization is seeking changes to the uniforms before Opening Day and that it is working to ensure something “reflective of what being a major league ballplayer should be.

“Hopefully, we can get something done over the course of the next six weeks of spring training because I’d hate to be in a place where we’re still having conversations about some of the challenges we’re having in that regard once the lights come on for real,” Clark said following a visit with Angels players.

His comments arrived in tandem with the Cactus League media days this week in which a new round of player photos and social media content reinforced just how transparent the new uniforms are, with shirttails and undergarments plainly visible, particularly for those in white home jerseys and pants, like the Dodgers (above). Other player complaints—in some cases likening the uniforms to replicas—include reduced customization options for fit, smaller lettering, misaligned characters, and a cheaper overall look.

Prior League Testing

MLB did test this new fabric during last year’s All-Star Game in Seattle and received plenty of player praise at the time. Some players have applauded the shift, including Angels star Mike Trout, who said of the new uniforms, “Change can be good and I’m a big fan of these!!!” But the recent spring training media days have shown much more transparency with the white pants than those worn last summer by the American League All-Stars. 

League commissioner Rob Manfred has pleaded for more time in evaluating the new uniforms and said an adjustment period is required.

“I think after people wear them a little bit, they are going to be very popular,” Manfred said. 

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