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Alt Uniforms


BallWonk

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the Ducks are something altogether different: palate swaps a-go-go, with tops and pants interchangeable. the colors are alright (arguable, but roll with me) but the interchangeability AND the addition of black for a team that hasn't traditionally used black is all that's wrong with football uniforms. add in the diamond plate to all the unis and we have a train wreck.

I have seen a Ducks logo on a orange "jersey style" background (think of their current whites, only with orange as the primary color on top of black) at the Honda Center. It was interesting, I wonder (but kind of have a feeling) if they are going to try to go to an orange alternate when the alternate jersey program comes back into play.

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the Ducks are something altogether different: palate swaps a-go-go, with tops and pants interchangeable. the colors are alright (arguable, but roll with me) but the interchangeability AND the addition of black for a team that hasn't traditionally used black is all that's wrong with football uniforms. add in the diamond plate to all the unis and we have a train wreck.

I have seen a Ducks logo on a orange "jersey style" background (think of their current whites, only with orange as the primary color on top of black) at the Honda Center. It was interesting, I wonder (but kind of have a feeling) if they are going to try to go to an orange alternate when the alternate jersey program comes back into play.

I think he's referring to the University of Oregon Ducks football team.

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the Ducks are something altogether different: palate swaps a-go-go, with tops and pants interchangeable. the colors are alright (arguable, but roll with me) but the interchangeability AND the addition of black for a team that hasn't traditionally used black is all that's wrong with football uniforms. add in the diamond plate to all the unis and we have a train wreck.

I have seen a Ducks logo on a orange "jersey style" background (think of their current whites, only with orange as the primary color on top of black) at the Honda Center. It was interesting, I wonder (but kind of have a feeling) if they are going to try to go to an orange alternate when the alternate jersey program comes back into play.

I think he's referring to the University of Oregon Ducks football team.

Oops! My mistake, guess I should read that a little closer.

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3. Real variety. The worst alternates are those that are just the regular uniform with different colors. It's lazy in a way that insults the fans.

Completely agreed with you here, especially in hockey. When the first wave of NHL alts came out around 10 years ago, I loved the Rangers alts (even though I hate the team), and I even liked what the Bruins were going for with the Pooh Bear (don't start).. but the teams that just said "duh.. lets make our jerseys black", i.e., the Sharks, Flyers, and Blackhawks.. just terrible.

That said, it varies by sport. In hockey, its not hard to have an alt that is truly different. But in football, I don't think you can really do much more than have a third color (throwbacks aside).

Agree. Why can't they have 5-9 different uniform combos for baseball, since they play 162+ games a year, and hockey/basketball for 82+? Doing something different is good, and not just using a black jersey!!

With the NFL I don't really like alts. Why do they need them with only 16 games? The worst was seeing the Titans wear an alt jersey with alt pants against the Colts last year (the all-light blue pajama look) which serves no purpose. The Titans actually wore 7 uniform combos in 16 games last year, which is a sure way NOT to establish an identity.

Throwbacks are fine in all sports, and I wish all NFL teams would wear them at least once a season.

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I take an opposite stance on the throwback issue. I'm sick and tired of seeing them. The only time I can see using them is during a commemorative event (a team's 50-year anniversary, for example), or during a special holiday game or something similar to that (Thanksgiving Day in Detroit, for example). Wearing some ugly jersey from the 70s just because you're on TV and you want to trick a bunch of idiots into buying it, well, that's just annoying.

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I find that I usually hate alt uniforms. I used to think this was based on principle -- a truly distinctive set of home and road uniforms doesn't need an alt, so any uniform set that is improved by adding an alt is likely a poor uniform set to begin with. But as I've thought more about it, I realize that my dislike for most alternate uniforms isn't based on any general principle of design. It's just that most alt uniforms aren't any good.

So I've been thinking about what differentiates the very few alternate uniforms that I don't hate from the vast majority that I do.

1. Subtlety. The Cardinals, for example, are wearing their alts right now and I love them. You can't improve on the Cardinals home jersey, and so the Cards wisely don't try. Instead they wear a fun cardinal on their cap instead of the normal StL cap. This works on several levels: First, it doesn't disrupt the look of their already just about perfect uniforms. Even in terms of color, the big red shock of color on the cap logo and bill prevents the blue caps from looking out of place. Second, it's a nice reference to a classic old Cardinals cap with the bird. Third, it gives the many Cardinals fans who don't live in or come from St. Louis a choice of on-field cap that represents the team rather than the city. I think this may be my favorite alt uniform ever, but the principle here is the subtlety: Changing only a single element to make a major, positive impact.

2. Throwback. Do I despise the old ball-in-glove-days Brewers uniforms? Yes. But I also know that "I don't think it's pretty" is a weak design criticism, and in fact I really like the way the Brewers use their old uniform as an alternate. The 2006 White Sox also showed how turn-back-the-clock can be the basis of an alternate uniform that adds tremendous character to a team's look. If only the Brewers would drop their navy alt shirts and make the throwbacks their sole alternate uniform element.

3. Real variety. The worst alternates are those that are just the regular uniform with different colors. It's lazy in a way that insults the fans. But take the old Minnesota Wild third jersey. Yeah, it was a thinly veiled attempt to shoehorn a red jersey into the scheme. Yet the distinctive retro look and alternate logo made it more of a complementary alt than a plain recoloring. I've never been a fan of using the red as a dominant color for the Wild, but nonetheless the alt jersey works well with the overall team look.

So, for example, I don't much care for the Nats red alternate uniform. It's just a red shirt with the normal striping and the DC logo on the chest. But if the Nats were to adopt an alt uniform in the style of the Homestead Grays, with "NATS" on the front instead of "GRAYS", I'd love that. Or if they adopted a Sunday pinstripe uniform with a navy curly-W on the left breast, a sort of updating of the longtime classic Nationals/Senators uniforms of days of yore. Or even just wearing the DC cap on Sundays with the regular uniform.

And I think that my three criteria here are principles of a sort, in that I find that I regard as successful some alt uniforms I would never choose for the team to wear -- Milwaukee's throwback alts -- and I absolutely hate some alt uniforms that I actually think are attractive -- Minnesota's navy blues, which I think are attractive jerseys but that come very close to ruining the Twins uniform set.

Makes me curious: What are the standards by which others judge alt uniforms, and what are some examples of alt uniforms people regard as good design or bad design. And does anyone else have examples of alt uniforms they don't like on an "is it pretty?" level but do regard as successful alts (or vice-versa)?

I have to respectfully disagree with you on the first main point of your post. I believe an 'Alt' when done properly and used SPARINGLY more than compliments even a 'classic look'. Don't let the poor excuses for alts that you see on daily basis across all sports tarnish the reputation of the Alternate Jersey. This whole alternate jersey fiasco kind of reminds me of the Alternative Music of the 90's. It was a fresh 'new' musical movement that hit the scene in a big way but got overly commercial, predictable and downright stale quickly, which is exactly what seems to be going on with this alternate jersey phenomenon in my opinion.

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