Posted by: Nathan | April 10, 2007

Seeing Red and Blue

As others have noted (one, two), baseball is back, and with it come arguably the worst uniforms in sports. There is only one thing baseball uniforms have going for them: the ball cap. What a beautiful piece of sports apparel! They look great and are practical at the same time. Everything else, though, isn’t too interesting. The shirts are too baggy and every team’s is relatively similar: either pinstripes or nothing, gray on the road, and (thankfully) the alternate team color jersey. Likewise, the pants are far too baggy; what happened to short pants and the ever-atrractive stirrup? Batting helmets have even been tainted (no thanks to the Mets).

But what is most saddening about baseball uniforms is the lack of color diversity. Red and blue, blue and red is all teams can conceive of in baseball. The following teams use both red and blue: Boston, Cleveland, the Wherever Angels, Minnesota, Texas, Atlanta, Chicago Cubs, LA Dodgers (red numbers on their jersey fronts), St. Louis and Washington. If that weren’t enough, these teams use either red or blue: Detroit, Kansas City, NY Yankees, Seattle, Tampa Bay (strangest color scheme ever), Toronto (though the Blue Jays ought to use more blue than black), Arizona (just changed theirs), Cincinnati, Houston, Milwaukee, NY Mets, Philadelphia, San Diego, and if we count turquoise as blue, which it technically is, Florida. All told, 25 of 30 are using blue, red or both. Only five teams escape from the blue/red tyranny!

I know baseball is “America’s Pastime” (it’s really TV), so some patriotism in baseball color schemes is apropos, but is 83% really necessary? No, it is not.

Therefore, I propose that ten teams be forced to change their color schemes for more color diversity; that will bring the figure down to a more reasonable 50%. “But what colors could they possible go with?” Give me a break! There are lots of underutilized colors out there, and we keep manufacturing different shades—the possibilities are manifold! Personally, I want to see more green, orange, yellow, purple (deep or otherwise), gray, and maybe even brown if done well. We can figure this out!

Which teams should be forced to change? We’ll let Florida off the hook, since turquoise is half green. We’ll also let Tampa slide since their bizarre color scheme isn’t traditional enough to warrant change, though clearly work needs to be done here. That leaves eight. I propose Arizona (punished for changing to red to begin with), Houston, the Angels, Kansas City (Royal purple seems a natural here), Milwaukee, Minnesota, Seattle, and Atlanta. I’ve tried to select teams whose nicknames do not require a color (e.g. the Reds need to be red) and teams with no extensive heritage (can’t change the Yankees or the Cubs).

Would this put people out? I suppose. But we’re always designing new unis in other sports, so why not in baseball? Now if only somebody could design a new look for baseball jerseys—something other than pinstripes and blank space.

Baseball should take a clue from soccer; nowhere is there more license for jersey experimentation. Naturally, soccer’s dead wrong to have sponsors on their shirts (heinous!), but you’ve got to love some of the things they try (one, two, three), though there are disasters too.

Aren’t you glad I care so much?

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Responses

  1. While I agree that red and blue are everywhere in baseball (shame on you Diamondbacks. Shame on you), I can’t advocate for changing so many uniforms/logos.

    First of all, you can’t change the Twins. I’d revolt on that one tooth and nail. There’s a good deal of history backing the Twins, with as many World Series trophies as the Cubs and all. Also, it’d be hard to change Atlanta. And you can’t change the Royals…Royal blue. Purple is regal, but not royal. They may be approximate synonyms, but they have a different connotation when it comes to color. Royal is blue. Period.

    The uniforms/logos I see as malleable are: Arizona (for shame! you now have to wear pink like all those stupid novelty hats), San Diego (Orange worked for the Ivory Coast), Washington (dark green), Philadelphia (back to maroon!), and Seattle (the logo is cool, but use some other colors).

    The root of the problem is twofold: (1) baseball is America’s game, and America’s colors are red, white, and blue; and (2) God made so many darn variations on blue and red that executives can justify the difference from other team uniform/logos.

    Finally, we have to remember that, in other sports, the players are athletes. In baseball, the players are often fat slobs. We have to take into account that seeing David Wells in a yellow uniform may make people want to vomit. I’m just saying.

    We are such nerds. 🙂

  2. Thought you might revolt against the Twins changing their colors. I too hesitated before suggesting the Bravos change their colors, but I felt it was wrong to have the Indians and Braves with exactly the same color scheme. One of ’em should be different.

    Whoof. David Wells in yellow does give one pause…

  3. This relates in no way to uniform colors, but how’s the news of Kurt Vonnegut’s death striking the N&J household? I see that Slaughterhouse Five is on deck. I haven’t had occasion to read any of his stuff, but he seems like a pretty important literary figure.

  4. You’re dead on about the soccer jerseys. They have the coolest ones by far. I like Inter Milan’s a lot

  5. I agree that there are too many teams in baseball with red and blue uniforms, but at the same time I also realize that baseball is probably the oldest sport in America and probably boasts the largest amount of teams as opposed to other sports. A lot of teams have had their team colors for decades and at one time all home teams wore white uniforms with visiting teams wearing gray uniforms. It has only been in the last few years that baseball teams deviated from wearing either white or gray uniforms with their team colors used only for trim or in their numerals. I feel that teams should not be allowed to change their team colors on a whim or every time the wind blows. For example, the San Diego Padres used to be Brown and Gold, and the Diamondbacks used to be Purple and Teal. You almost never see college or NFL football teams changing their team colors. Team colors use to be sacred, so I do not understand how baseball teams can suddenly go from brown and gold to navy or go from purple and teal to red. I feel that the original teams should be allowed to keep their color schemes, while newer teams should try to pick out different colors or at least different shades of red and blue. Teams could pick sky blue or Carolina blue as opposed to Royal Blue or Navy Blue. Teams could also pick maroon or burgundy as opposed to Cardinal Red or Scarlet Red. Orange and Gold or Yellow could also be used as there are different shades of these colors as well. But alas, to each his own, but once colors are chosen teams should not be allowed to change their colors. Can anyone see Michigan changing from Navy and Maize to other colors or from the Dallas Cowboys changing from Navy and Silver, or from Oklahoma changing from Scarlet Red and white? In football and other sports, it just will not happen!!

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  7. Yeah, Baseball is still stuck in the olden days with their uniforms, but I still love them. Admittedly they have a little catching up to do with other pro sports.


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