With the English Premier League under way, I am reminded of what we could be in store for in Minor League Baseball. An annual release of new home and road jersey designs, creating an event that earns plenty of media coverage in soccer before the season even begins.
Honestly, I think this should happen, because there are several things about the modern professional baseball uniform that don’t make sense. First and foremost, they’re relatively uncomfortable for much of the season. Even the latest models with “wick away” fibers are thick and heavy relative to soccer uniform tops. (What makes even less sense to me are the scores of players who insist on wearing long-sleeve undershirts beneath their jerseys in the dead of summer, but I digress.)
We’re long past the point in apparel manufacturing where light, thin and stretchy fabrics have been engineered to withstand the rigors of rough-and-tumble play. Heck, pro soccer is a working laboratory proving this with every match. These same jerseys can certainly handle professional baseball. In that world:
- Players would be far more comfortable when the season turns hot. And we wouldn’t have to hear griping from old-schoolers like Joe Simpson because the T-shirt like BP jerseys will actually be a pleasure to wear.
- Teams could run more shirt-off-their-backs promos given the relatively low cost of these jerseys. I envision players signing and throwing their jerseys into the crowd after games, fostering the kind of fan loyalty baseball is seeking these days.
- Leagues can make more $$$. Retailers can’t charge $200+ for soccer jerseys with names and numbers on the back, but they can get close enough. Remember, teams would be unveiling new uniform designs every. Single. Year. I know a Man City fan. Despite tiny jersey design changes from one year to the next (a blue jersey is a blue jersey, amiright?), he always buys the new one. At full retail price.
In business speak, this is a win-win-win vis-a-vis lighter, soccer-style jerseys. Let’s not couch this until later. Or stick a pin in it. Or whatever. Let the baseball uniform revolution begin!