First and foremost, I have to preface this article by saying that I am a bit of a baseball purist. I don’t get excited with new uniforms, color schemes or other methods to sell another t-shirt or hat to casual fans. Maybe my age is showing in the sense that simple, classic uniforms, colors and logos are the heart and soul of a baseball team – for better or worse.
Baseball uniforms are the very heart of a team and instill pride in both players and their fans.
Major League Baseball has been around for a long, long time and that history has been woven into the very fabric of our culture. Just watch a movie like “‘A League of their Own” and you will realize that women stepped up to the plate literally and saved our national pastime while we faced the darkest days of World War II and the male players were largely off fighting for our freedom. The movie “Field of Dreams” shows that baseball has connected multiple generations of Americans together through the simple pleasures of watching and playing this grand sport.
Baseball uniforms were created right after the sport was created and while the clothing and gear has changed with the times, the meaning and purpose of those uniforms hasn’t changed a bit. Players wear uniforms not only to identify which team they play for but to build a sense of collective pride and ‘esprit de corps within the clubhouse. Furthermore, baseball uniforms allow fans to be able to readily identify their team as though each one of them is a part owner of the history, experience and success or failure of a ballclub.
Baseball is considered a bastion of American culture and as fans we have our definite team likes and dislikes. The inter-connection of one generation of fans who cheer for their Bums, Bombers or the Big Red Machine with another is a love of a team’s history, uniforms and logo. Being fans of a particular team creates a sense of belonging to that team; it’s not unheard of for fans to say “my” team or “our” club and rightly so. As fans, we provide the very revenue that pays not only the players but the concession stand workers, parking lot ticket takers, the groundskeeper crews and keeps those big lights on for night games.
Fans love their teams out of a sense of loyalty to time and place. I still remember lineups from various MLB teams when I was a kid playing Little League and I loved their uniforms. Gosh, when do I get to wear those uniforms? I mean, Yankee pinstripes or Dodger blue looks so much better than having a jersey that says “Chico’s Bail Bonds” on it (and if you guessed it, yes another baseball move reference.) Let’s be real – baseball uniforms and logos make the team.
Who would ever think of changing the New York Yankees uniforms? Could you imagine the outright wailing and gnashing of teeth over that decision? ESPN and the MLB Network would never run out of something to talk about. And another thing, who thought of putting the Dodger blue in all-blue uniforms when they played a week ago at home against the Mets? The Dodgers wear white uniforms at home and the grey ones on the road, plain and simple. The Yankees wear pinstripes while in the Bronx and they were the grey uniforms on the road, plain and simple. I could go on about the Cardinals or Red Sox or even the Cubs and the consistency of their uniforms and team logos. The uniforms not only identify which team they are, they convey the history and soul of that team to everyone who sees them.