The Rangers will unveil their Nike City Connect uniforms on Monday, becoming the 16th team to join the CCC (City Connect Club). We’re excited! If there is anything we love, it’s a good merchandising play!
Ha, we’re just kidding. We are looking forward to seeing how the Rangers — a team that doesn’t wear the name of any city on its uniform — can pull off the City Connect challenge and kind of reimagine a branding campaign.
We’ll be all over the unveiling. But until then, you’ll just have to do with our rankings of the other City Connects so far. And look, if there is one thing sportswriters know: Fashion. OK, maybe not. And to be honest, the idea for the City Connect is to reach a younger demographic than baseball has skewed towards in recent years. Think: nontraditional.
So maybe sportswriters aren’t the ultimate authority. That’s why we called in a secondary voice to help rank the jerseys: My stepdaughter. Natalie is expertly qualified. Not only is she 23 and quite hip, but her college degree also led her to a job in the fashion industry. Also, she’s incredibly snarky. And I mean that as a compliment.
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We didn’t provide her with the back stories on the jerseys, just asked her to look at them and give us her feedback. If you ask me, MLB and Nike should have gotten together with her on this whole project.
Here are our top-to-bottom rankings with Natalie’s expert analysis:
1. Miami Marlins
As somebody who covered the Marlins in the days of teal caps, teal pinstripes and teal undershirts, I’ve got an affinity for their uniforms in general. This is such a cool turn from the obvious choices: Miami Vice, something beachy or, worse yet, something that looked like it came straight out of “the club.”
Going all red is a choice. But the teal outlines bring it back to the Marlins, you know. The uniforms pay tribute to the city’s Cuban population and Little Havana with a nod to the Havana Sugar Kings. The Marlins city connects should be arty. These are works of art.
Natalie says: “This one has good vibes and good stripes. But I’m a sucker for a nice stripe.”
2. Los Angeles Angels
It’s a nod to the board culture of Orange County: Surf and skate. Southern California also has great kitsch. And these pull that altogether. I would not have expected that from a franchise where everything feels forced (see the rock formation in center field) and which once turned a classic logo into something you’d find in a Disney cartoon. And not a particularly entertaining one.
Natalie says: “This has the potential for a cool vintage look but it falls a little flat. I need some Angel wings or something.”
3. San Francisco Giants
Giants fans didn’t like ‘em. Orange looked too much like something you’d find on a street barricade. And the hats are, well, a choice. But I love the Golden Gate bridge detail on the sleeves and the fog creeping up the “G” on the chest. As ESPN said, this one “feels more timeless” than many of the City Connect jerseys. Think that’s why these are the top three on my list: They don’t feel temporary and gimmicky. Feel like they could stand the test of time.
Natalie says: “I’m confused why the designs are so delicate on this one. Shouldn’t a giant be bold and in your face?”
4. Atlanta Braves
— MLB (@MLB) March 27, 2023
A modern update to a classic.
The mid-70s Braves were the teams I first loved. They didn’t win but hit lots of homers and had Hank Aaron. So anything that throws back to that time, as the geometric shapes on the sleeves do, is good with me.
Also like “The A” logo on the breastplate as it’s a nod to Atlanta’s hip-hop community. These are much better nicknames than “Hotlanta” (cringe). The 715 inscribed on the collar is a nod to the greatest sports moment in Atlanta history, because it went beyond sports.
If anything, it just bears too much of a resemblance to the mid-70s uniforms. If that’s a criticism.
Natalie says: “The big A has potential, but the sleeves get too geometric for my tastes. I say commit to the retro more bravely – pun intended.”
5. Washington Nationals
How can a club be both bold but safe with a uniform design? The Nats did it. The obvious choice would be something presidential or govern-y. But that also feels likes a real, um, political minefield. So the Nats went for the cherry blossom, a symbol of spring in D.C. that everybody can agree on. And Nats fans agreed this was an inspired jersey.
Listen, D.C. has had enough controversies and enough uniform scandals to last itself a while. This was a great choice all the way around.
Natalie says: “I’m loving the pink and gray juxtaposition. Wish they’d commit more to the flowers, though. Sports needs more flowers.”
6. Chicago White Sox
You knew the White Sox were gonna bring the 🔥 for their Nike City Connect jerseys, and they did not disappoint. pic.twitter.com/viWLNxRPEA— MLB (@MLB) May 28, 2021
Is there such a style as “Graffiti Gothic?” If not, the White Sox just created it and with panache. The “Southside” logo is a clear tribute to the White Sox loyal, if smallish, fan base. The logo artfully blends old and modern. And the all black look is Raider-esque. It works with the team and its fan base.
Natalie says: This one’s slick. It’s like “let’s rob a bank, but with style and athleticism!”
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
— MLB (@MLB) June 13, 2021
Las Serpientes de Arizona. 🐍
Honestly, the serpentine “S” in the logo is better than any snake design elements the D-backs have thrown out in their 25 year history of color confusion. This is a team that went from purple and teal to red and black as primary colors.
And it’s always struggled with how to best incorporate the snake element into the logo. Like the “Serpientes” across the front as a nod to the state’s Hispanic heritage. “Serpientes” sounds cooler than “Diamondbacks,” too. Just being honest.
As appropriate as the jersey color is – Arizona is, let’s face it, sandy and dusty – it just feels a little boring. Then again, the D-backs’ attempts at “not boring” in the past seem like giant fails.
Natalie says: “The snake font is neat but the yellow/beige is a little dull. It needs more snake-y spice.”
8. Colorado Rockies
The mountains and dark pine green has gotten mostly positive reviews. ESPN ranked them No. 1. We say: Pfft. The mountains are an obvious choice, of course. But this looks too much like a softball uniform for me. And I feel like the pants shouldn’t blend right into the mountain logo (I believe Colorado wore the tops with regular pants once this season). All I see when I look at them is Champ Kind from The Legend of Ron Burgundy. It screams leisure suit.
Natalie says: “I’m sorry but it’s really giving me a ‘Your Coors Light can is finally cold’ vibe.
9. Kansas City Royals
Kansas Citians — Kansas Citites? — love their water fountains. And the KC logo on this jersey pays homage to that. It may be a bit difficult for an outsider to initially get that from the logo, but that’s the case. I will give the Royals credit for sticking with Royal blue as their primary color. And besides Kansas City and the blues go together really well. Feels like the Royals toed a fine line between knowing their fan base and trying to do something different.
Natalie says: “I’m not sure I feel connected to Kansas City at all by looking at this, but the big KC design on the front is intriguing. In a good way.”
10. Houston Astros
Look, I could try to describe this, but let’s just leave it to the expert because I don’t think it can be summed up better than what Natalie had to say ...
Natalie says: “I feel like anyone wearing this is about to tell me that they just had to shut down Space Mountain for technical difficulties.”
11. Boston Red Sox
Can appreciate the “Boston Strong” nod here after the campaign following the Boston Marathon. For Bostonians, it means a lot. And that’s the point of the City Connect project, right? But to an outsider, it still just doesn’t compute to see the “Red” Sox in blue and yellow.
Natalie says: “Hmmm, I wanted to like it, but it also reminds me a bit of a giant Yellow Pages book. Yellow is a tough color, so I give them credit.”
12. San Diego Padres
Feel like it’s the most polarizing of the City Connect line. And give the Padres credit for trying, but they tried too hard. Two-tone logos just don’t do it for me. Gives me an anxiety attack every time I see them. All I can do is just feel sorry that Yu Darvish must wear these on occasion. He deserves better.
Natalie says: “My first thought was Miami Vice or those turquoise jazz [paper] cups from the ‘90s. This is fun, but don’t let the frat boys get to it.”
13. Milwaukee Brewers
According to ESPN, “The Brewers took design inspiration from the People’s Flag of Milwaukee, the city’s summer skies, its grilling culture and Lake Michigan. They used Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport’s abbreviation, MKE, on their cap while using the team’s nickname with fans -- Brew Crew -- across the front of the jersey.” Great, but couldn’t they have worked in a bratwurst somewhere? The logo is reminiscent of Milwaukee Tools. It feels like that’s the font they should have used.
Natalie says: “I’m not sure what a brewer is but I would have expected something resembling a cool craft beer type logo. This does not make me want to drink a brewski.”
14. Chicago Cubs
There are a lot of elements to like about this uniform, namely the cap, which has a red star inside a C. A lot of other nice small touches. But the focus is the jersey and the Wrigley Field marquee font just doesn’t work. So much to like about the Cubs efforts - all the city neighborhood names are incorporated - but really all you see is a sea of navy blue.
“Meh. It’s just blue? I’m bored with this one. Could they at least put a bear?”
15. Los Angeles Dodgers
— MLB (@MLB) August 19, 2021
On the 40th anniversary of Fernandomania, the Dodgers' Nike City Connect uniforms salute the team’s connection with its Latino fanbase.
You’ll see Los Dodgers in these tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/3zx9SGuDzc
Maybe when you’ve got a uniform as iconic as the Dodgers, you can just ignore the email from Nike. It feels like that’s what they should have done. This doesn’t even qualify as a try.
Natalie says: “Pass. Or should I say ‘dodge.’ I’d write “Los Dodgers” in a cool spray paint font instead of just the sleeve border.”
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