MLB executives defend new jerseys after backlash: 'Everything was performance-driven'


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Major League Baseball’s new jerseys are not getting a warm welcome.

Nike’s new on-field Vapor Premier uniforms for the 2024 MLB season were recently revealed as pitchers and catchers reported for spring training.

While some players have given mixed reviews on the jerseys, highlighting that they do feel better, fans have ripped Nike for their looks.

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Eloy Jimenez jersey

Eloy Jiménez, #74 of the Chicago White Sox, poses for a portrait during Photo Day at Camelback Ranch on Feb. 21, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Pitchers Rich Hill and Miles Mikolas said they look “cheap,” as the last names on the back, and numbers on the front, are noticeably smaller. There also have been viral photos of tucked-in jerseys very visible through new pants.

MLB senior vice president of global consumer products Denis Nolan maintained, though, that the uniforms are top-notch.

“In acquiring Majestic and its MLB uniform manufacturing facilities in Easton, PA — which have been making player uniforms for nearly two decades — Fanatics has consistently produced world-class uniforms, including every Nike-branded MLB on-field jersey and all City Connect gear since 2020,” Nolan said, via MLB.com.

Another global consumer exec, Stephen Roche, said that the jerseys’ respective color schemes match up 100% for the first time.

“That was all part of the tightening up of the entire process,” Roche said. “Clubs were able to approve how everything matched Nike’s standard colors. For the first time, we had a uniform where all the colors matched exactly with the hats and the on-field colors. They had always been close, but they weren’t exact. Now they are.”

Mets jerseys

Jorge Lopez, #52, and Luis Severino, #40, throw pitches in the bull pen during spring training workouts of the New York Mets at Clover Park on Feb. 16, 2024 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Rich Storry/Getty Images)

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The league site notes that this year’s jerseys have 25% more stretch compared to last year’s. The league tested the uniforms on hundreds of players, debuting them in last year’s All-Star Game to favorable reviews. Fanatics actually measured every player last year, and Nike body-scanned over 300 players to get the ideal fit.

“It was a very technological approach to outfitting players,” Roche said. “Everything was performance-driven.”

Defending NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. said the new uniforms “fit better and feel lighter.”

Framber valdez jersey

Framber Valdez, #59 of the Houston Astros, poses during Photo Day at CACTI Park of the Palm Beaches on Feb. 21, 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

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“I play fast and want to wear something that won’t pull when I’m running. Feeling free in the jersey is the best feeling in the world,” the inventor of the 40-70 club said.

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