Baseball Shows its Behind

close up on a baseball player ready to swing. he's wearing red sleeves with red elbow guards on top
Image: Screenshot

by Tom Scocca

It was Opening Day and the Baltimore Orioles were easily handling the Los Angeles Angels, who will always be the California Angels to me. But while I was enjoying the return of baseball, my lifelong spring-through-fall concern, I kept being annoyed by the new uniforms. The fabric had a clingy drape, like plastic wrap; the sleeves puckered and rode up the players' arms. The seams sat awkwardly. The nameplates on the backs were strangely rinky-dink; the names of the players themselves seemed half the size they were just last season. 

I'd been forewarned. These uniforms were a collaboration between Nike and the much-loathed sports merchandise company Fanatics; for $1 billion over 10 years, Major League Baseball agreed to let Nike slap its swoosh all over every team's uniforms, and to let Fanatics take credit for manufacturing them. When the players showed up for spring training, their new uniforms looked cheap and cruddy, and also people could see through the pants. 

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