It's been a long time since I've posted here, but the recent return of baseball got me in the mood for MLB concepts. I'm working on a "traditional" MLB redesign series, which I plan to post when finished, but I've started to think it's inevitable that Nike will eventually roll out a league-wide alternate uniform program like they already have in the NFL and NBA (Color Rush, "City" Edition, "Statement" Edition, etc), possibly in the next year or two, and personally, I wouldn't be opposed to this scenario.
While I am certainly no fan of these programs in general, I like the outside-the-box thinking behind many of the looks, which has produced some tremendous individual alternates that IMO could be used forever or as a foundation for an entirely new set (Broncos Throwback, Saints Throwback, Heat Vice, Jazz Red Rocks, Nuggets rainbow fauxback, etc). I also like the thought process behind having an alt uniform which uses a nickname for the city, mainly because there are so many unique city/state nicknames out there that deserve to be showcased.
However, I hate how often these alternates are being worn in the NBA - for some teams, it's seemingly half of the entire season, and I sometimes forget what a team's "regular" colors and uniforms are. But with baseball playing 162 games in a (normal) season, I think there is ample opportunity for teams to get creative from time-to-time without diluting their brand - as long as they are only worn once or twice.
So, if Nike were to unveil "City Edition" alternates in the MLB, here are my ideas for what those alternates could look like.
I've started with my hometown Baltimore Orioles, as I (obviously) have the best understanding of the city itself and the team's history. I have ideas and plans for other cities I know well enough (DC, Philly, Pittsburgh), and I would like to do more, but I might need assistance with the inspiration - so I can't commit to completing the entire league yet.
I've come up with four different uniform options. I wouldn't want them to be worn all in the same season, but rather, think of these as a potential rotation of "City Editions" that would each be worn once-twice per year over the next four years. First is an overview of all four, followed by a detailed description of the inspirations behind each one:
Option #1 is called "Maryland Pride." It's mostly based on the Maryland flag-covered one-off uniforms the O's have worn for Maryland Day the last few years, but done (hopefully) in a more creative and tasteful way. Baltimore's nickname "Charm City" adorns the chest, in an orange-on-black-dropshadow script that is inspired by the many murals throughout the city (including two that are visible along Russell St as you enter the city towards Camden Yards) and their primary logos of the past. The MD flag pattern is found on the sleeves, hat brim, and socks - which themselves are a nod to the sweet stirrups the UMD baseball team wore a few years ago with their black alts. I added single black headspoon piping as a nod to the mid-late 90s home uniform, and the swinging cartoon bird as the sleeve patch for something fun and different. With this uniform, the team would keep their regular home pants.
I've named Option #2 "Memorial." It's an all-orange getup reminiscent of their 1971-72 alternates, which they've thrown back to a few times, and pays homage to the team's ballparks and lineage from the St. Louis Browns. The chest reads "BALTIMORE" in the same font as the old Memorial Stadium (typeface courtesy of John Adsit), and the T-striping on the shoulders and sleeves are taken from the 1939 Browns uniforms. The sublimated brick pattern at the bottom of the jersey and the gold trim throughout are nods to their current ballpark, Camden Yards - specifically the warehouse and the plaques marking every home run ever hit along Eutaw street. The short-lived alternate cartoon bird from 1964-65 serves as the cap logo, because it has more white to contrast the orange front panel.
Option #3, or "Birdland" (couldn't think of anything better), is primarily a mash-up of my two all-time favorite Orioles uniforms - the 1939 minor league Orioles road and the 1956-63 road, with the headspoon piping and cartoon bird sleeve patch. The chest features the city's unofficial nickname of "Birdland" (also refers to the ballpark itself) in a black script trimmed in orange with two oriole birds-on-a-bat from the 1939 look. I also included subtle pinstripes because a) I am a sucker for road pinstripes and b) they were present on the 1939 home uniform... though I left the base color gray rather than white/cream because IMO that is too Yankees-esque for the Birds to ever bring back, even for a one-off. The orange numbers with black trim and the orange-brimmed cap are from the 50s-60s era road, with the script "B" replacing the original bird logo because there are already two birds on the jersey. Lastly, for a modern touch, the socks are based on a Stance design from the last few years (not sure if they still wear these).
Last, but certainly not least, Option #4 is called "City Lights." It's an ultra-modern twist on one of the Orioles' OG uniforms (literally) - the all-black 1901 road. On the chest is the O's current road "Baltimore" script, but without the tail, and stylized like the famous Domino Sugar sign in Locust Point. The pattern from Baltimore City's flag is featured subtly through the uniform, on the shoulders, socks, and front panel of the cap. The cap's logo is the original bird, used from 1954-62, as I think it's thin lines pairs nicely with the script treatment and "neon" vibe I'm going for. With no white on this uniform at all, I think the orange really pops off the black, and it might be my favorite of the entire set.
So, which one is your favorite? Any and all C&C appreciated!