Indians to Don Black on Black Uniforms
Fair warning Tribe fans, I have a lot of opinions when it comes to uniforms. And I don’t mean that I sometime voice my approval or displeasure for specific looks. I mean I will often dedicate upwards of hours and upwards of 1000 words dissecting the intricacies of the Indians’ uniforms.
I apologize for nothing.
So with the announcement and unveiling yesterday of this season’s Players’ Weekend jerseys, I figured now would be the perfect time to bring my Project Runway act to Always the Jake.
So What Happened?
Some time yesterday, Major League Baseball released images for this year’s Players’ Weekend. Whereas in years past the uniforms retained some semblance of the each team’s identity while adding extra splashes of color, this year they have taken a decidedly different approach.
This year’s Players’ Weekend match-ups will be a monochromatic black and white affair from head to toe. Home teams were afforded the choice between wearing either black on black or white on white with the away team being assigned the other.
Teams will also wear corresponding monochromatic hats.
Indians Roll With Black
The Indians will be at home on Players’ Weekend this season, hosting the Royals for a three game set. As the home team, they opted to wear black on black. The Royals will go white on white. The look also includes the pants.
The goal of this year’s Players’ Weekend color scheme, or lack thereof, had an intended purpose. Players’ Weekend is the one time per season where the players are released from the constraints of MLB’s uniform style guide. Anything goes. Neon colors. Funky designs. Anything. Per MLB, the monochromatic look it intended to allow these accent elements chosen by the players to stand out more. Essentially, they want the players’ choices to pop and take center stage.
I get it, I do. I really do. But this feels a bit like a swing and a miss for me, at least judging by the photos and mock-ups that have been provided.
The black uniforms should play well, at least from a visual perspective. As previously stated, most players will likely opt for brightly colored accents and bold patterns or designs. These colors should play well against an all black pallet. Additionally, the gray accents highlighting the team script, numbers, and names is just enough contrast to make them legible.
The white, however… Oh boy.
The gray accents on the script, names, and numbers do not provide enough contrast in photos where the lighting is perfect. How will these look on the field? This is especially true of the hats, which appear as if they have no logo at all. Are they going to look like baseball players or guys who just showed up to paint your living room? Not only that, but brightly colored patterns and designs will not stand out in the same way they will against the all black set.
The one benefit the white uniforms will have is they will greatly reduce the odds of players developing heat stroke during day games. Seriously, who decided it would be a good idea to dress players in all black from head to toe in the middle of August? Thoughts and prayers to whichever team is stuck wearing all black down in Texas against the Rangers.
Now, while it may seem as though I’m slamming these uniforms, and admittedly I kind of am, I don’t necessarily hate them. My initial response to the Indians all black jerseys admittedly was, “Oh, I kinda like these.” As for the white on white, I’m not excited by the pictures, but I am curious to see how they’ll look on real people during an actual game. I feel like they have potential and could look significantly sharper in real life.
As for the hats though… I hate the hats. The black on black and white on white hats are no different than something I could have bought at Lids back in 2002. They’re not new, or unique, or inspired. I feel like a better, more unique approach with the hats would be to allow the players to wear hats from their country of origin, college, high school, or even of their favorite MLB team growing up. That would be fun. Who cares if for one weekend Tyler Naquin is wearing an Astros hat or Jason Kipnis an Arizona State hat?
That said, Players’ Weekend is a fun diversion from what we are used to seeing. This season will be no different, even if the uniforms themselves are a little more boring. The nicknames are still on point and I’m sure the players will bring plenty of flair to the table.