Baseball is back, and you know what that means: New City Connect jerseys!
This season, the Rangers, Mariners, Reds, Orioles, and Pirates will unveil new City Connect uniforms. That being said, this seems like a good time to rank the best we’ve seen so far.
To be clear, this is a deeply subjective task, so it seems fitting that I provide my criteria. Here’s what I’m looking for in a compelling City Connect uniform:
- Clean design
- Appropriate or interesting (but not kitschy) symbolism
- An actual cultural connection to the respective city
- Overall effect
That said, let’s look at the best in show.
City Connect No. 5: Atlanta Braves
Debut: April 8, 2023, vs. San Diego Padres
Last Monday, the Atlanta Braves revealed their new City Connect uniforms.
Repping the A.
For the first time, our iconic script “A” will stand alone on our chest. pic.twitter.com/DBSEDpVpTF
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 27, 2023
Here’s the hype video, which absolutely works:
The A. pic.twitter.com/60eiSOZcwl
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 27, 2023
This one harkens back to 1972-75 when Hank Aaron was chasing — and then passing — Babe Ruth’s career home run record. (Click here to see Aaron’s 1974 uniform.)
The uniform features a white jersey with royal blue sleeves and crimson accents. Here, “The A” takes the place of “Braves” (which works for me). The feather sleeve design of the 1970s has been replaced with a red diamond that symbolizes a crown with the red diamond as its jewel — another reference to the home run king. Reinforcing all of this is a gold “715” on the inside of the collar. (Royalty, indeed.) The socks are primarily blue with some white detailing.
And those hats? Chef’s kiss.
Also cool? A portion of the uniform sales will go to the Henry Louis Aaron Fund, which supports minority participation in baseball at all levels.
Ronald Acuña Jr. is going to rock this uniform.
I am a serious fan: the clean look, the homage to The Hammer, the sharp colors, and the timely revision. In fact, if you ask me in a month, I might tell you that these are my favorite. But it doesn’t seem fair to give the Braves’ City Connects the top ranking before their debut, so let’s agree to revisit this later.
City Connect No. 4: Arizona Diamondbacks
Debut: June 18, 2021, vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
First, check out the hype video:
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) June 13, 2021
Now consider the look.
Las Serpientes de Arizona. ?
— MLB (@MLB) June 13, 2021
As catcher Carson Kelly put it: “[As a player], it’s really cool when you come into a locker room and see something different, something new, and you’re feeling the material, and learning what’s the purpose behind every single logo, every single stitch, things like that makes it truly special to put it on, and go out onto the diamond wearing it. The jerseys turned out phenomenal.”
I wasn’t crazy about the Serpientes at first — too boring and snakes? — but they grew on me.
I came to appreciate the ways in which the uniform reflects the minimalism of the Sonoran desert. The understated sand color of the jersey is offset by an elegant black “Serpientes” script — and note those diamonds in the rattle. The hat is equally minimalistic. In addition, these jerseys have the Arizona state flag on the sleeve while “Serpientes” acknowledges Arizona’s deeply rooted Hispanic culture. The red numbers, then, tie together the flag and the socks. After all, deserts aren’t known for being colorful, which makes those brilliant flashes more meaningful.
City Connect No. 3: Washington Nationals
Debut: April 9, 2022, vs. New York Mets
Gray uniforms with cherry blossoms? Tell me more!
With this look, the Nationals honor the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The “WSH” refers to the city’s nickname with bold ivory letters echoing the city’s architecture. The pink cherry blossoms, then, provide a contrast to the gray and white. One sleeve sports a pink-and-gray D.C. flag while a subtle cherry-blossom print provides a subtle background.
The socks are fine — gray with pink and white stripes and the D.C. flag (which is, perhaps, a commentary on the need for D.C. statehood).
And on the hat? Some of the petals are blowing away in the wind.
The D.C. Cherry Blossoms have arrived early this year! ?
— MLB (@MLB) March 29, 2022
Here’s the hype video:
— Baseball For Today ⚾️ (@BaseballFor2day) March 29, 2022
The Nationals may not have a very good baseball team this season, but these City Connect uniforms are absolute winners. (Plus, they really work with Sean Doolittle’s ink.)
City Connect No. 2: Chicago White Sox
Debut: June 5, 2021, vs. Detroit Tigers
Confession: If a uniform’s got pinstripes, it’s already working at an advantage.
Check out the look.
Thoughts on the White Sox Nike City Connect uniforms?
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 28, 2021
And the video:
These uniforms have pinstripes on a textured pattern that reflects Chicago’s graystone architecture. The Sox have always worn white uniforms with black stripes; this look refines that classic. They’ve kept their single white sock on a black diamond logo. Look, if a White Sox uniform doesn’t have a gothic script, what are we even doing here? “South side” connects the uniform to the local community with a nice hip-hop vibe.
The hat is an elegant black, only interrupted by an elegant “Chi” in a matching font.
The socks, too, are minimalist, mostly black with some white logos to break things up.
Look, Tim Anderson does not make bad fashion choices.
City Connect No. 1: Miami Marlins
Debut: March 21, 2021, vs. New York Mets
The Marlins took pinstripes to the next level.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) May 17, 2021
Take a closer look:
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 17, 2021
These uniforms are steeped in Latin American culture, and pay homage to the Havana Sugar Kings, the Triple-A Cincinnati Redlegs affiliate team that won the Junior World Series in 1959. The Marlins’ uniform (red with white stripes) flips the Sugar Kings’ white with red stripes. They pay additional tribute to the Sugar Kings in the arm and hat patches with “MM” added to the original design, indicating the city’s ongoing baseball and cultural histories.
The socks, then, emphasize the blue, bringing the hat with its red bill and the Marlins logo together.
The colors are great, the history is meaningful, and everything just works.
If Jazz Chisholm Jr. could wear a better-looking uniform, I don’t know what it would be.
I’m sure your favorites are different, so leave them in the comments!
Also, over the course of putting this together, it was easy to compile a list of bad City Connect uniforms. Stay tuned for it later this season!
Featured image by Kurt Wasemiller (@KUwasemiller on Twitter).