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Nike Launches New MLB City Connect Uniform Series


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I should probably clarify that I was speaking from a purely aesthetic perspective in my original review of this uniform.

 

While the Clippers’ City jersey definitely felt exploitative right from the outset, I’ll admit this one didn’t immediately strike me as such, probably because the Sox drew from blackletter iconography they already had in their logo set. I do see where @the admiral and @SFGiants58 are coming from, though.

 

That being said, replacing the wordmark & cap logo with the regular “Sox” mark would probably be both an aesthetic and “social optics” improvement, in my opinion, although it wouldn’t really be a “City Connect” jersey anymore, for whatever that’s worth.

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"South Side" in a tailed script with the capital S from the logo, a la the 1987-1989 uniforms, would alleviate a lot of prison-tattoo concerns. 

EDIT: honestly, they just should have used the White Sox script from a year or two ago

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4 hours ago, the admiral said:

 

I don't expect it. The White Sox have have superserved their side of town more than the Cubs have theirs, and while the Cubs have always been more of a regional/national team than the White Sox, the words "South Side of Chicago" mean more to people beyond the city, for better or worse, than the North Side does. I would expect the Cubs to do something with the city flag, as if no one's tired of that yet.

 

But let's be perfectly clear about what this is, which is a jersey for and about black people, and not in any way I'd describe as particularly edifying. It's a reflection of a reflection, wherein the Sox monogram became popular in hip-hop culture, so then these designers built around it and created a wordmark and number set that looks like a tattoo for people in gangs. What other local association are people meant to draw from "Southside" [sic] in cumbersome blackletter type? the header of the Tribune? No, get real. It's a baldly cynical attempt to profit from the South Side's reputation for rampant gang violence, pretending to be some warts-and-all embrace of a bad situation just to sell overpriced jerseys. It rubs me the wrong way. Of course, I've never cared for the Sox' green St. Patrick's Day stuff for the Irish side of the fanbase, either, but this feels more exploitative. 


Yeah, all that or...

 

“What can we do that’s different with black and white?

 

I dunno. Maybe we could try making a full wordmark out of the monogram they’ve used for decades? Could be a bit much, but there aren’t too many teams using blackletter in sports. It might set us apart.

 

Worth a shot. Let’s see how it looks.”

 

But nah, you’re right. It’s definitely more likely to be a network of leaders across all the production channels in multiple organizations colluding in the creation of a carefully-planned corporate racism plot to sell a few thousand shirts.

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The design team has to have a research department to bounce things off of???

So are these things like Southside/South Side almost done deliberately for controversy? 

The rest of the uniform I really like. Shocked Nike didn't try to throw a non-White Sox color onto it. 

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1 hour ago, andrewharrington said:

But nah, you’re right. It’s definitely more likely to be a network of leaders across all the production channels in multiple organizations colluding in the creation of a carefully-planned corporate racism plot to sell a few thousand shirts.

 

I still think this was as aimed at a target demographic as any St. Patrick's Day stuff, and I don't like it. Sorry I didn't like your work. I'll probably like something else in the future.

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2 hours ago, selgy said:

So are these things like Southside/South Side almost done deliberately for controversy? 

Controversy generates headlines which turns into sales, so yes.

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I mean is it wrong to say that certain designs are meant to appeal to certain demos? The Marlins flat out said "hey this is for all the Cuban baseball fans in town" with theirs. 

Whether or not demographic-specific identities are your thing will vary from person to person, but I don't think "the White Sox were aiming for something that appeals to black culture" is in and of itself controversial or offensive. 

 

Both this and the Clippers' "Compton" alternates are going for the same sort of thing. The difference being that at least the White Sox's take feels more authentic. 

They've always been the team of Chicago's South Side, they've always had a legitimate fanbase there, and their primary hat really did break into hip-hop culture in an organic way. 

So whatever else you can say about this look, it does feel more authentic than the Clippers' attempt.

 

The one major mark against these is going with "Southside" instead of "South Side." 

I'm not from Chicago but every source I can find calls it "South Side," so that's what the jerseys should have gone with. 

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4 hours ago, andrewharrington said:

“What can we do that’s different with black and white?

 

I dunno. Maybe we could try making a full wordmark out of the monogram they’ve used for decades? Could be a bit much, but there aren’t too many teams using blackletter in sports. It might set us apart.

 

Worth a shot. Let’s see how it looks.”

In all likelihood, I do imagine this is probably similar to how it actually went down (@andrewharrington, did you help out with the design? If so, kudos to you). I truly don’t think there were any ill intentions with the design (at least, I hope not). Considering the Sox have had that blackletter style in their regular identity for over 30 years now, this new design really doesn’t seem like a stretch from that in the slightest, unlike the Clippers.

 

I know it seems like I’m not really taking any sort of hard stance either way on this, but I really do see the perspectives of both sides, and they both make sense to me. 

 

Overall, from a purely aesthetic standpoint though, I’m just glad to see reverse pinstripes make it to the majors, and I really love this new number font, so overall in that sense I’d say it’s a win, personally.

 

5 hours ago, the admiral said:

"South Side" in a tailed script with the capital S from the logo, a la the 1987-1989 uniforms, would alleviate a lot of prison-tattoo concerns. 

EDIT: honestly, they just should have used the White Sox script from a year or two ago

I was going to suggest this, as well. “South Side” in the font of that new script would be a perfect combination of those two ideas, and would look quite nice I’m sure.

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Hip Hop does not equal gang violence.

 

Period.

Full stop.

End of story.

 

The 1990 Sox cap connecting with hip hop specifically and Black and Latino communities generally is its own thing.  The black and white Gothic S-o-x has been adopted by South Siders as part of their identity for more than 30 years and that's not including the black/red, red/white, and blue/white versions of that same logo going back to 1949.

 

As for the reverse pinstripes, the single most common comparison I've seen on social media so far is the Chicago American Giants who played in the same ballpark on 35th Street.

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