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2020 MLB Batting Practice and Spring Training New Era Caps Released

They finally did it! Logos inside of logos.

The New Era Cap Company today has launched the official 2020 Major League Baseball Batting Practice Collection, caps which will be worn both during batting practice as well as during the upcoming Spring Training schedule.

Designs this year feature a logo-within-a-logo design for each of the 30 Major League teams. The caps are made of a new performance fabric — a light breathable mesh with moisture-wicking, and include embroidered team logos on both the front and right side of the cap. These new patches are replacing the annual Spring Training patches we had seen in that spot in recent years. The New Era logo is on the left side, the MLB logo on the back.

“We wanted to have some fun so we centred the designs around each team’s individual logo”, Tim Shanahan, Director of Baseball at New Era told SportsLogos.Net. “To do that, we decided to combine each team’s authentic cap logo with its alternative logo, which created a never-before-seen design.”

Seattle Mariners 2020 Batting Practice/Spring Training cap logo detail

San Diego Padres 2020 Batting Practice/Spring Training cap logo detail

It’s the first time we’ve seen a league-wide total redesign of Major League Baseball’s Batting Practice and Spring Training caps since we headed into the 2018 season. Though we did see some considerable changes to the construction of these caps last year, a clear majority of teams still retained their design from the year before.

Cincinnati Reds Spring Training caps over the last three seasons

Many of the new 2020 caps either feature each team’s usual Spring or regular season cap logo on the front crown, their familiar colours and details stripped away in favour of an embedded secondary logo. That secondary logo gets the opportunity to shine all on its own, embroidered onto the right side of the cap where it’s allowed to break free of the boundaries set by its more highly ranked brother-in-brand.

This style works just wonderfully with some teams, such as the Houston Astros or Detroit Tigers, who won the “I Can’t Believe It Took 120 Years To Try This” Award with a cap design featuring tiger stripes inside their iconic “D” mark. While other teams seemed to struggle to find two logos that worked well together in this format, the Cincinnati Reds had some a tough time fitting their very-detailed Mr. Redlegs logo into the relatively-thin wishbone “C”. The Toronto Blue Jays, looking to avoid an infinite maple leaf loop, had to offset their primary bird logo inside the larger leaf.

“Our design teams collaborate closely with the leagues and the individual teams. Each team chose the alternate logo they wanted us to use and we worked with them to bring each design to life in a way their players, coaches, and fans would appreciate”, Shanahan explained.

As far as side patches go, teams took full advantage of the logo buffet presented to them. While some of the usual suspects, the more traditional-minded clubs, played it safe by simply going with their current primary logo — the Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, Dodgers, and Yankees. Others brought back logos not used by the team in some time — the Astros are using their 1970s “Tequila sunrise” wordmark and rainbow stripes, the Tigers made use of their old “walking tiger” logo from the 1990s. Meanwhile, the Rockies, as they’ve done previously, paid tribute to their home state by emblazing their logos with the Colorado State Flag.

“Custom caps and logos are on trend right now and that guided our thinking as we developed this collection”, said Shanahan. “We saw a unique opportunity to combine the Authentic Cap logos with alternate logos to create something that hasn’t been done before. We worked hand-in-hand with the teams and they were really excited about the way their logos came together.”

These new caps will make their first on-field appearances as pitchers and catchers report to their respective Spring Training camps as early as next week (yes, it really is almost time for baseball!). The first Spring Training games are less than three weeks away, with the inaugural “Play Ball!” of the decade scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, February 21st.

The New Era 9FORTY “Stretch-Snap” retail version of this cap

As always, players will wear New Era’s 59FIFTY-style cap on the field, for retail the cap is available in 59FIFTY (standard and low-profile), 9FIFTY, 39THIRTY, 9FORTY, 9TWENTY, Casual Classic, bucket, knit, and a visor.

Hurricanes release new baseball uniforms

Tony Jenkins, Brian Van Belle, and Slade Cecconi

The 7th-ranked Miami Hurricanes released four new uniforms for the upcoming 2020 season, which begins on Feb. 14.

The Hurricanes released a breast cancer awareness and camoflauge uniform to support the military in addition to a green uniform with white script and a black uniform also in white script. The traditional ‘M’ logo in old English font is also a staple in three of the four uniforms.

Blue Jays Unveil New Powder Blue Uniform, Tewak Logos for 2020

They’re calling it #NewBlue but for fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, it sure feels familiar.

This morning the Blue Jays unveiled an alternate powder blue uniform for the 2020 season before a crowd of media and fans here at the team’s annual WinterFest at Rogers Centre. The uniform includes a new powder blue jersey and matching pants as well as a new cap with a dark navy blue crown and powder blue visor with the team’s familiar logo still on the front.

“For years, Blue Jays fans have expressed a desire for the revival of the baby blues,” said Mark Shapiro, President & CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, “We are thrilled to share this original New Blue alternate uniform with Blue Jays fans across Canada.”

This new look is not a direct copy of any of the previous powder blue uniforms worn over the years by the Blue Jays. For example, none of the past powder blues were worn with a button-up jersey like the new one is, nor did any have the team logo under the wordmark set off to one side.

The new uniform incorporates the team’s modern-style logos, striping, and fonts rather than the originals. “BLUE JAYS” is arched across the chest in dark navy blue and white split-style lettering with the updated logo on the lower left and the new league-wide Nike “Swoosh” added to the upper right. The back of the jersey indeed includes a player’s name, the number is also in the new-style Blue Jays font and much like the lettering on the front it is the split-styled navy blue with white.

While the darker blue used as a trim colour throughout the new jersey and on the cap may feel like another new colour for the club, it’s the same shade of navy blue that’s been a part of their logo since their last major re-branding for the 2012 season. Previously it could only be found on the lower half of the bluejay head on the team’s logos.

“As we began thinking about what an adaption of the old uniform could look like, we polled our current players on various designs and the response was unanimously aligned with what we have heard from fans”, added Shapiro. “The decision was very clear.”

Over the years, the Blue Jays have worn several different powder blue uniforms. For every single road game the team played from their inaugural season in 1977 right up through to the end of the 1988 season, the Blue Jays wore pullover powder blues. Just in time for their move to SkyDome, the team debuted new button-up uniforms in 1989 which included a more traditionally-styled road grey jersey. Two decades later in 2008, a wave of nostalgia resulted in the early-1980s version of the powder blues being brought back as a Friday night home uniform before it was retired again after just three seasons.

The late Roy Halladay in Toronto’s previous powder blue alternate uniform on May 1, 2009

This uniform isn’t the only change the Blue Jays are making to their look for 2020, the Blue Jays logo is getting an update as well! Though the changes are quite minor by comparison. Following a trend seen across Major League Baseball over the last decade, the Blue Jays are swapping their primary and secondary logos:

The new primary logo is now just the bird/maple leaf design, the version with the team name and baseball surrounding the bird will now be the secondary logo. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, this has been done numerous times across the league in recent years — the Tigers, Pirates, Rockies, Padres, Indians, Orioles, and Brewers have all done the exact same thing.

As you can see in the graphic up above, there’s also been a slight tweak to the red used throughout the team’s logos and uniforms. Here’s a side-by-side of the old and new reds because honestly, nobody would notice the change otherwise:

The shade of red has changed and powder blue is added to Blue Jays team colours for 2020

I reached out to the club for an explanation as to why the team made the logo swap and to the shade of red, no answer yet but have been told we may get one next week. The red that was just replaced was also the exact same shade of red the team had used from 1977-2003, it also happened to be the same shade of red used for the Canadian flag.

And, yes, this update is very minor, but it is an update nonetheless. It marks the first change to the Blue Jays’ primary logo since 2012 and is the sixth primary logo used by the club throughout their 43-year history.

The Toronto Blue Jays new powder blue uniform will be worn for both home and road games and will make its in-game debut on Opening Day, March 26th against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. We’ll get a better idea of how often they’ll be worn when the club announces their promotional schedule on Tuesday. As far as official uniform designations go, it replaces the red alternate uniform that was unveiled prior to the 2017 season — despite this, the team has told us that the red uniform will stick around and goes back to being a “Special Event” jersey, only to be worn for the annual Canada Day game.

The new caps and jerseys are available for purchase right now at the Rogers Centre JaysShop, you’ll be able to order them online from MLBShop and Fanatics starting February 1st.

Since I was physically at this event I wasn’t able to get this post up with photos in a timely manner, below are some of the shots I took of both the unveiling and some close-ups I was able to get a hold of afterwards.

Rick Zamperin: Toronto Blue Jays turn back the clock with new uniforms

Former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Lloyd Moseby is seen in the team's vintage powder blue uniform in Toronto, Monday Dec. 3, 2007.

Christmas is in our review mirror but it appears the Toronto Blue Jays have come up with a gift for their fans.

The Jays sent their fanbase into a frenzy on Monday when they posted a video on their official Twitter and Instagram accounts that promotes the team’s annual Winter Fest fan event at Rogers Centre this coming weekend.

As Marvin Gaye’s hit song “Let’s Get It On” is playing, the video shows what appears to be an umpire sweeping away dirt in slow motion to reveal a blue home plate before it ends with the hashtag “New Blue.”

The Major League Baseball team is expected to reveal their new uniforms at Winter Fest on Saturday morning and if we put two and two together, it’s pretty obvious that Toronto’s famous powder blue uniforms are making a comeback.

The Jays wore their “powder blues” on the road from their inception in 1977 to 1988 and they also used them as a third, or alternate, uniform between 2008 and 2010.

Toronto’s road uniform has been a grey outfit since 1989, and they have also used a black jersey, a royal blue jersey and a red and white jersey over the last number of years.

The return to the powder blue uniforms is a nod to the past and I’m sure Blue Jays fans, especially those of a certain vintage, are excited about the change.

The first image of those uniforms that pops into my head is watching George Bell drop to his knees in left field after recording the final out to clinch Toronto’s first American League East pennant in 1985.

Maybe the return to the “powder blues” will help the Jays return to those winning ways.

Check out Braves’ new jersey for 2020 season

Starting this 2020 season, the Nike swoosh will loom above the Braves’ logo on player jerseys.

The league announced in January 2019 that Nike would replace Majestic as Major League Baseball’s uniform supplier as part of a 10-year deal.The Braves updated logos and colors for the 2019 season. This season, only the Nike branding is different. The Majestic logo was on the sleeve.

The Braves updated logos and colors for the 2019 season. This season, only the Nike branding is different. The Majestic logo was on the sleeve.

The uniforms for some teams — including the Brewers, Padres, Diamondbacks and Rangers — will feature new designs.Majestic manufactured MLB batting practice jerseys since 1982 and had been the exclusive supplier of game uniforms since 2005. Rawlings and Russell Athletic had exclusive rights before Majestic. The online sportswear retailer Fanatics will manufacture and sell licensed versions of the Nike uniforms and training wear, starting next month.

Majestic manufactured MLB batting practice jerseys since 1982 and had been the exclusive supplier of game uniforms since 2005. Rawlings and Russell Athletic had exclusive rights before Majestic. The online sportswear retailer Fanatics will manufacture and sell licensed versions of the Nike uniforms and training wear, starting next month.

The online sportswear retailer Fanatics will manufacture and sell licensed versions of the Nike uniforms and training wear, starting next month.

 

New York Yankees star Aaron judge has top-selling baseball jersey for third consecutive year

Aaron Judge had the top-selling jersey in Major League Baseball for the third consecutive season.

The New York Yankees slugger beat out Bryce Harper, according to results released Friday by MLB.

Judge maintained the top spot despite missing more than a third of the season. The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year entered Friday batting .272 with 26 home runs for the AL East champions.

Harper set a uniform sales record for any athlete in a 24-hour window after signing a $330 million, 13-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in February. Since opening day, he’s ranked second in sales behind Judge, followed by NL MVP contender Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers had the fifth-most popular jersey. He didn’t crack the top 20 last season.

Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels ranked ninth, a two-spot improvement from 2018.

Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Báez finished fourth and was joined in the top 20 by teammates Anthony Rizzo (10) and Kris Bryant (16). The Houston Astros also placed three players that high: Jose Altuve (8), Alex Bregman (13) and George Springer (20).

NL Rookie of the Year front-runner Pete Alonso of the New York Mets ranked 14th, and teammate Jacob deGrom was 19th.

Manny Machado, who signed a $300 million, 10-year deal with the San Diego Padres in February, did not crack the top 20.

Global Baseball Uniforms Market 2019 – 2025 : Rawling, Under Armour, Adidas, Russell Athletic

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Are the White Sox MLB contenders with their reinforced rotation?

We all know the recent history of the Chicago White Sox is uglier than those collared uniforms they wore in the late 1970s: Seven consecutive losing MLB seasons, one of four teams in the 2010s not to make a postseason appearance and no playoff series victories since they won the World Series in 2005.

They at least appear determined to aim higher in 2020. The White Sox added to their offseason haul on Saturday night, with ESPN’s Jeff Passan reporting the club has agreed to a three-year, $55.5 million deal with former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, who went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA for the Braves in 19 starts in 2019.

The White Sox just signed fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez to a one-year, $5 million contract, in addition to earlier signing catcher Yasmani Grandal and trading for right fielder Nomar Mazara from the Rangers. They also re-signed first baseman Jose Abreu. Their projected payroll now sits at about $130 million compared to $114 million last season.

After going 72-90 in 2019, are these additions enough to make the White Sox a contender? Grandal, coming off a .246/.380/468 season with 28 home runs, is the big signing, but this is mostly improving in small ways around the edges, and I say that as a fan of Keuchel. The money is a little surprising given that nobody wanted him a year ago and he didn’t sign with the Braves until June, but he still factors as an upgrade in a rotation that had a 5.30 ERA last season.

Let’s see how the White Sox look right now:

3B Yoan Moncada-S
SS Tim Anderson-R
1B Jose Abreu-R
C Yasmani Grandal-S
LF Eloy Jimenez-R
RF Nomar Mazara-L
CF Luis Robert-R
2B Nick Madrigal-R
DH ???

SP Lucas Gioloto-R
SP Dallas Keuchel-L
SP Gio Gonzalez-L
SP Reynaldo Lopez-R
SP Michael Kopech-R

RP Alex Colome-R
RP Aaron Bummer-L
RP Kelvin Herrera-R

A few notes here. Robert and Madrigal aren’t on the 40-man roster yet, so they’ll likely serve a two-week apprenticeship in the minors to start the season, but both are pretty much big league-ready. Robert started 2019 in High-A and ended it in Triple-A, where he had a .974 OPS in 47 games. Madrigal, the fourth overall pick in 2018, also climbed from High-A to Triple-A, hitting .311 across three levels with the dead ball era totals of 44 walks and just 16 strikeouts.

Mazara has some superficially decent numbers, hitting .268 with 19 home runs last year for the Rangers, but he has been worth 1.8 WAR … over four seasons. He has been a below-average defender who doesn’t walk. Unless the White Sox can unlock some power with a swing and approach change, he doesn’t really help much (although he’s still an improvement over the mess the White Sox had out there last year).

The lineup is certainly fun and intriguing and the hope is Moncada continues to improve and Jimenez develops into a feared bopper in the middle of the lineup after hitting 31 home runs as a rookie. Tim Anderson is certainly exciting and won the batting title after hitting .335 in a breakout season, but given his overly aggressive approach, he’s also near the top of any list of players most likely to regress in 2020 (he had a .399 average on balls in play, not sustainable season to season). It would certainly be nice if the Sox up the payroll to $145 million and fill that DH hole with Nicholas Castellanos or Edwin Encarnacion. I don’t project this as a top-five lineup in the AL just yet (the White Sox were 13th in runs a year ago), although if Robert and Madrigal produce from the get-go and they add a DH there is potential for a big improvement.

The bigger unknown is the rotation. Keuchel and Gonzalez are risks in that they don’t fit the prototype of what most teams are looking for these days: high velocity, high spin, four-seamers up in the zone. But both veterans know how to pitch. With Keuchel, you know what you’re going to get: ground balls and that bulldog mentality. His OPS allowed, however, has increased from .619 to .704 to .764 the past three seasons, although the Happy Fun Ball affected everybody in 2019. There isn’t No. 1 or No. 2 upside here, but he’s a safe bet to post an ERA around 4.00 and chew up innings.

Gonzalez was one of the most durable starters in the game until last season, when he made 17 starts and pitched just 87 innings. He has lived on the edge the past couple of seasons, averaging 4.1 walks per nine while his strikeout rate has dipped. He never has been a command guy, but the fact that he got just $5 million suggests the lack of interest in him. He could end up being a huge bargain, but there is also high flameout potential here given his age and peripheral numbers.

Similar to how the lineup will need Robert and Madrigal to produce, the success of the rotation leans heavily on Lopez and Kopech. Lopez has a plus fastball, but the secondary stuff is still lacking. The slider is his big swing-and-miss pitch, but wasn’t a dominant offering (batters hit .244/.262/.482 against it). Advanced metrics point to some limits on his upside: below-average spin rate on his fastball and low spin on his curveball. And his changeup got hit hardest of all.

Kopech has the upside that Lopez lacks, but is coming off Tommy John surgery in September 2018, after he had made his major league debut. He struck out 170 in 126⅓ innings at Triple-A that season, maintaining that high strikeout rate even after he dialed down his fastball a bit to throw more strikes. Even if he comes back strong he’ll be on an innings limit, so the Sox will need rotation depth.

The White Sox will be a popular sleeper pick. I still have them behind the Twins and Indians and I’m not convinced they’re more than a .500 team at the moment, but I’m also lower on the White Sox than most. One thing for sure, however: This will be the most interesting White Sox team in 15 years, and with young talent in Moncada, Jimenez, Anderson, Robert and Madrigal it will be one of the top must-watch teams of 2020.

MLB expected to make over $1 billion in Nike uniform deal — and jersey sponsors seem inevitable

Sponsorship patches may soon join the Nike swoosh on MLB uniforms

If you’ve seen a new MLB uniform unveiling or an introductory player press conference this winter, you’ve likely noticed that the Nike swoosh now can be found prominently on the front chest of every jersey across the league. The addition of the swoosh comes as Nike takes over as MLB’s official uniform outfitter. It is part of a 10-year deal that began this offseason. Majestic had previously handled MLB uniforms.

Plenty of people aren’t happy with Nike putting their logo on the front of every jersey, especially when it comes to some of the timeless classic uniforms like those belonging to the Yankees and Cardinals. Some think the swoosh could have less intrusive placement, like on a jersey sleeve, while others want it gone completely.

But MLB will weather the storm and have few regrets regarding their decision if the financial reward is anywhere near what it’s expected to be. According to the New York Post, the 10-year agreement between Nike, MLB and Fanatics is valued at over $1 billion.

In addition to the monetary benefit, it’s also believed that the unavoidable presence of the swoosh on MLB uniforms is going to help the league appeal to a younger audience.

“Demand is up significantly based on adding the swoosh to the uniform and is bringing in younger consumers to the sport and a marketing halo from Nike,” Fanatics founder and executive chairman Michael Rubin told the Post

Purists may be up in arms over the swoosh, which is the first manufacturer’s logo to ever grace the front of a MLB uniform, but they should probably get used to it. Not only is Nike’s logo unlikely to go anywhere, but it will likely lead to MLB putting additional branding on jerseys in the near future. MLB executive president of business and sales Noah Garden said it’s “inevitable” that jersey patch sponsorships are coming.

“We’re examining the patch, but clearly we have things to work through first,” said Garden, via Sports Business Daily. “I’d say it’s inevitable down the road, but certainly not immediate. This is something that requires a fairly long runway. There are lots of things to take into consideration, but I think we will get there.”

It’s believed that jersey ad patches could arrive as soon as 2022, when the league enters a new labor deal with the MLBPA. As the league seeks to lay the groundwork for jersey sponsorship, players could use it as a bargaining chip in CBA negotiations as a way to gain concessions.

That means MLB would be following a similar path as the one the NBA has taken in recent years. Nike became the official outfitter of the NBA in 2017 and made sure the swoosh was prominent on the front of jerseys. Soon thereafter, the NBA also saw a rise in jersey sponsorships. The jerseys ads were initially met with resistance from fans, which is to be expected, but the pushback eventually died down. Fans got used to is. As of 2019, all 30 NBA teams have a sponsorship patch on their jersey.

It seems fair to expect a similar sort of progression with MLB, though the resistance may be a bit stronger considering the prominence of baseball purists. It’s a sport that’s heavily rooted in history and tradition, and one that doesn’t have a fantastic track record of being progressive or kind to change.

But whether you like it or not, baseball jerseys are changing. Tht little Nike swoosh may just be the beginning.

Why Yankees, MLB uniforms have Nike swoosh prominently placed on front of jerseys, leaving baseball purists in anguish

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone, left, points towards the Nike logo on Gerrit Cole's new Yankees jersey. The logo is on the front of the jersey and not on the sleeves as it traditionally was under Majestic thanks to a new, 10-figure deal Nike made with MLB.

Yankees fans might not like the fact the Nike swoosh is located on the front of their team’s jersey beginning in the 2020 season, but the sponsor gave MLB a 10-figure reason for including them.

Nike, Fanatics and MLB agreed to a 10-year deal worth more than $1 billion to make the company the league’s uniform manufacturer, according to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.

“Demand is up significantly based on adding the swoosh to the uniform and is bringing in younger consumers to the sport and a marketing halo from Nike,” Michael Rubin, the founder and executive chairman of Fanatics, told The Post.

MLB made the chest position available at a higher price in doing the new contract with Nike and Fanatics, the foremost expert on baseball uniforms, Paul Lukas, founder and editor of Uni Watch, told the Post.

It is a change from the norm of the past three decades, when other manufacturer logos, most recently Majestic, appeared on the sleeves of the jerseys. The Yankees were an exception, allowed to opt out for “tradition,” according to Lukas.

Every MLB team, including the Yankees, has had the New Era logo on the side of their caps since the 2016 postseason.

Record-breaking free agent signing Gerrit Cole’s jersey, which is on sale at both Fanatics and MLBShop.com as of Thursday morning at $359.99 a pop, is the first Yankees jersey available for purchase with the Nike swoosh in the front.

Cole took the No. 45 jersey from first baseman Luke Voit.

Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees last week at the MLB Winter Meetings. It’s the biggest deal ever given to a pitcher. To make room for Cole on the 40-man roster, general manager Brian Cashman designated pitcher Chance Adams for assignment.

Cole was the runner-up in voting for the 2019 American League Cy Young Award, going 20-5 with an AL-best 2.50 ERA and MLB-best 326 strikeouts for the Houston Astros.