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Why MLB's new uniforms are getting mixed reviews

Some critics of the new MLB uniform have pointed to this photo of Los Angeles Dodgers hitter Shohei Ohtani, (left), and starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, taken on Wednesday, as an example of how see-through the new pants are.
Ashley Landis
/
AP
Some critics of the new MLB uniform have pointed to this photo of Los Angeles Dodgers hitter Shohei Ohtani, (left), and starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, taken on Wednesday, as an example of how see-through the new pants are.

Major League Baseball players and fans alike are expressing their disappointment with new uniforms rolled out for the upcoming season.

"It feels kind of like papery," Los Angeles Angels outfielder Taylor Ward told The Athletic. "I know everyone hates them," Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner told The Associated Press. "The look of it is like a knockoff jersey from T.J.Maxx," said an unnamed Baltimore Orioles player, according to The Baltimore Banner.

The new MLB attire, known as the Nike Vapor Premier uniform, was developed over the past six years to fit better, improve mobility, manage moisture as well as be more sustainable for environment. It was designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics.

The sportwear was initially worn by players during last year's All-Star Game in Seattle. At the time, MLB players described the sportwear as comfortable and lightweight. But amid spring training, some players have raised concerns over the quality and design of the new uniform.

The laundry list of complaints

Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark said the main concerns appear to be about the new uniform pants.

"A lot of the rhetoric yesterday is confirmation that the pants are see-through, which is again disappointing." Clark said Thursday in Arizona.

Similar criticisms were feuled by fans after pictures were released of Los Angeles Dodgers hitter Shohei Ohtani wearing the new uniform.

Some people on social media pointed out that Ohtani's jersey was clearly visible underneath his pants and complained that his pants were "transparent," "thin," and "paper mache."

"When I look at major league sports, I want to see high quality stuff. Shohei Ohtani signed a $700 million deal, and he's wearing paper mache pants," radio personality Gregg Giannotti said Thursday on his show, Boomer & Gio.

Others complained that the color of the jersey and matching pants did not always match, that the new size of the lettering on the back of jerseys were unappealing or that the uniform generally looked cheap, according to The Athletic.

In a statement, a Nike spokesperson said the company takes the concerns seriously.

"The quality and the performance of our product is of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to work with MLB, the players and our manufacturing partner to address player uniforms," the spokesperson added.

The MLB did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment but in an interview with MLB.com published Tuesday, Stephen Roche, the vice president of MLB Authentic Collection/Global Consumer Products, said "It was a very technological approach to outfitting players."

Roche added, "Everything was performance-driven."

When asked whether most of the uniform concerns, like the see-through pants, can be fixed before Opening Day in March, MLBPA executive director Clark told reporters, "We'll have to see."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.
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