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MLB Notebook: Nike to address player uniforms after multiple complaints

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Brett Holden
1 month ago

Nike finally fixing uniform debacle

The new Nike/Fanatic uniforms have been awful. Players, fans, and the media have been nothing but critical of Nike’s adjustments, but now, Nike will officially fix the toy that was never broken
Tiny numbers, see-through pants, and sopping jerseys have left a sour taste in the mouths of the people who have to wear the uniforms, and fans who pay good money to represent their favourite teams and players. It got so bad that the MLBPA received complaints about the changes. Well, those protests have been heard, and now changes will finally be made. 
The biggest changes Nike will make will be to the size of the letters in numbers and names, which previously looked like they confused a child’s jersey with an adult jersey, correcting team colours within the uniform, and the accumulation of sweat in the jersey. 
The new uniforms have been nothing but a problem since their rollout in the spring. Some players have even ditched the jersey altogether throughout the season. Earlier this month Bryce Harper rocked last year’s Phillies jersey in a game, which was very obvious with the glaring contrast of his name on his back compared to his teammates. 
Dansby Swanson, a Nike athlete, went on record during Spring Training complaining that the Cubbies’ uniform blue was different, claiming, “[the] blue on the uniform is a little bit different than Cubbie blue. So how can we just recapture that?
But the Cubbie blue was just the beginning. Nike was unable to match the same colour in some uniforms, messing up the shading of grey on multiple uniforms, making teams like the St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Philadelphia Phillies look like cheap travel teams who left their game pants at home. 
The colours and the numbers were the obvious issues, but one that didn’t arise until on-field activities ramped up was the jersey’s inability to breathe when the players sweat. We have seen numerous occasions of pitchers on their way to the dugout after a long inning absolutely drenched in sweat. The uniforms absorb the sweat like a wet towel in the middle of an all-inclusive resort pool. 
The MLBPA sent out a memo to all players vowing changes will be made to the uniforms by the start of the 2025 season. The memo states the modifications made by Nike were unnecessary and seemed relatively confused as to why they were butchered so badly. 
At its core, what has happened here is that Nike was innovating something that didn’t need to be innovated.”
But it isn’t just the jerseys that have been the issue. The pants have stirred the pot as well among fans and players. See-through pants and busted-out slide marks began to become more prevalent throughout the start of the year, leading to questions about the quality of the pants. But this was an issue the MLBPA had foreseen during the debut of the new uniforms during the 2023 All-Star Game.
We cautioned Nike against various changes when they previewed them in 2022, particularly regarding pants.
But the concerns fell on deaf ears as Nike basically told the players to shut up and throw the ball. 
Unfortunately, until recently, Nike’s position has essentially boiled down to — ’nothing to see here, Players will need to adjust.'”
When will we see the roll-out of the adjusted unis? We don’t know, but at least our bullying has finally got us somewhere.

Kevin Pillar elects free agency after DFA

Former Toronto Blue Jay and 2015 defensive player of the year, Kevin Pillar elects for free agency after getting designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox.
Pillar signed a minor-league deal with the White Sox in early February, looking to crack a spot with the big team. Getting into 19 games for Chicago, Pillar swung for a .234 batting average with five RBIs and one stolen base. On March 22nd, he would be released from his minor-league deal but would re-sign on the Southside two days later
However, after only getting 25 at-bats this season, Pillar was DFA’d by Chicago on Friday as they look to make room for fellow outfielder Tommy Pham
Instead of accepting the assignment to Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate, the Charlotte Knights, Pillar has elected to become a free agent once again. So far this year, Pillar has a miserable .160 average with one homer and two stolen bases. But the bat has never really been his calling card; it’s his defence. While Pillar does have a career .277 average against lefties with 40 home runs and 137 RBIs, Pillar has earned his flowers as an amazing defensive outfielder. Registering over 15 defensive runs saved above average four times in his career, Pillar has been one of the most reliable defensive outfielders in the game. 
Has Pillar taken a dip in his defensive value? For sure. The 35-year-old has played more than 100 games once since 2020, but adversity isn’t something Superman is afraid of. 
Drafted in the 32nd round of the 2011 MLB draft, Pillar made it against all odds and became not only a very important piece to the mid-2010s Toronto Blue Jays but an absolute fan-favourite. 
When Pillar was eventually traded by the Jays in 2019, fans were pissed and Ross Atkins’ comments after the trade didn’t go down so well. 
We’re not in a popularity contest. We’re in a contest to win championships.”
… So much for that.
The market for the athletic outfielder may be limited to teams looking to add defensive depth in the outfield, or a veteran bat to post up against some southpaw haulers. MLB Trade Rumors has also said they would not be surprised if Pillar ends up back in Chicago, depending on the performance of Tommy Pham.
Either way, I think we all would love to see Superman fly through the outfield grass of a ballpark near us sometime soon.

Quick notes:

  • Red Sox acquire Garrett Cooper amid injury issues. Boston will send cash to the Cubs in exchange for the first basemen, as he is expected to replace Triston Casas during his IL stint. 
  • Carlos Correa returns to the Twins lineup after a rib injury. Correa missed 16 games for Minnesota after straining his rib cage earlier this year. Correa has a .306 batting average with a homer and four RBIs in 11 games for the Twins this season. 

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