Had enough of winter? Then here's a welcome sign of spring: the Uni Watch MLB season preview, now in its 17th annual edition, covering all of the new uniforms, patches and related developments for 2015.
With the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals set to kick off the new season on April 5 and everyone else slated to begin their seasons on April 6, here's our alphabetical team-by-team breakdown of what you can expect to see on the diamond (teams with no changes are not listed):
• Last year the Los Angeles Angels wore black belts and shoes on the road. This year those accessories will be red to match their home look. Also, although it hasn't yet been announced, this cap listing makes it clear that the Angels will be wearing 1960s throwbacks on April 18. That's a road game in Houston, which brings us to ...
• The Houston Astros are adding a 50th-anniversary patch. Oddly, this will be the second 50th-anniversary patch they've worn in four years. The previous one referred to the franchise's half-century mark, which included its incarnation as the Colt .45s; the new patch refers only to the team's identity as the Astros. Also, the Astros are giving away this 1965 replica Astrodome on April 18, and it looks as if they'll be wearing 1965 throwbacks as well, because their opponents on that date, the Angels, are slated to wear these throwback caps (and, presumably, uniforms to match). Meanwhile, looking ahead, the 'Stros may change the little hill in their outfield in 2016.
• A Uni Watch column from last May, about MLB logo inconsistencies, pointed out that the Atlanta Braves' cap and helmet logos didn't match. Two weeks later, the team changed its helmet logo to match the cap logo, so this will be their first full season with properly matching headgear marks.
• The Cardinals are adding an "OT" memorial patch for Oscar Taveras, a move that has been controversial among some fans. Also, newly acquired outfielder Jason Heyward is wearing the same faceguard attachment that he wore for the past two seasons while with the Braves.
• The Cubs have added an Ernie Banks memorial patch. Also, with construction continuing at Wrigley Field, fans may see this logo around the ballpark. In addition, it's looking likely that the Cubs will wear 1990 throwbacks on April 25 in Cincinnati. Scroll down to the Reds paragraph for further details on that.
• Cool "Throwback Thursday" move in Arizona, where the Diamondbacks will be wearing their old purple caps and cream vests for Thursday home games. Also, the D-backs will retire Randy Johnson's No. 51 on Aug. 8.
• Unfortunate move by the San Francisco Giants, who've added a black alternate jersey with a black chest logo. Black-on-black numbering on the back, too. Not a good look. (For further info on the team's black-jersey history, look here.) Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the Giants celebrated their 2010 and 2012 championships by wearing gold-lettered uniforms for their ring ceremonies in 2011 and 2013, so there's a good chance they'll be doing that again this year (although Uni Watch would prefer to see them go with 1906 throwbacks instead).
• The Seattle Mariners have changed the trim on their jersey lettering, and there's no question that the new version has more pop. The M's have also unveiled a new cream throwback for Sunday home games, and players who choose to go high-cuffed will now get to show their stripes. Further info on all of these changes is available here. Meanwhile: Second baseman Robinson Canó is now wearing an accent on his name.
• Things have been seriously weird in Miami, where the Marlins have steadfastly refused to wear their gray road jerseys for two solid years. But hey, stop the presses -- the road grays are back as part of this season's uniform protocol. On the downside, the team's orange caps are being mothballed. Meanwhile: Ichiro Suzuki obviously couldn't wear his name on his jersey during his recent seasons with the Yankees. But now that he's with the Marlins, he's back to wearing his first name, as he did in Seattle and Japan. Also, in case you missed all the fuss during spring training, Giancarlo Stanton, whose 2014 season was ended by a fastball to the face, has been wearing a faceguard attachment on his helmet with a personalized "G." (For more info on MLB players who've worn football-style facemasks, look here.)
• Lots of small changes for the New York Mets: First, the base color of the home pinstripes has changed from cream to white. Also, the snow whites have been eliminated. This has implications that will ripple throughout the home schedule, because the blue home alternate jersey and camouflage jersey, both of which had previously been worn with the white pants, will now have to be paired with the pinstriped pants, which will likely make the camo look even worse than it already did. There's also a new alternate road cap with a gray "NY" logo, which is pretty much the definition of overkill. True, the gray cap logo will now match the gray lettering on the alternate road jersey, but that was overkill too. Meanwhile, the Citi Field scoreboard has been enlarged.
• Fans who've been clamoring for the San Diego Padres to bring back the brown are finally getting their way -- sort of. The team will be wearing late-1980s throwbacks for five Wednesday afternoon games this season. Not as good as the Garvey-era brown design, but it's a start. Also, most of the Padres will be using these new bat knob decals, except for Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, whose decals feature the Swinging Friar.
• Very cool move by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are going with matte-finish batting helmets this year. Not sure this would work for every team, but it's a great look for the Buccos (plus it hearkens back to the team's old flocked helmets). They got the idea from now-departed catcher Russell Martin, who wore a matte catcher's helmet last season. Meanwhile, in a less positive development, the Pirates are the latest team to add an ugly camouflage jersey to their wardrobe. They'll be wearing it for Thursday home games.
• The Tampa Bay Rays will retire Don Zimmer's No. 66 on Opening Day. Also, buried within this recent article is the following: "Watch for the Rays [sunshine] 'burst' graphic that appears on player hats and shirts to gain an even higher profile. 'It's kind of our Nike swoosh,' says Brian Richeson, Rays vice president of sales and service. Also watch for more 'Carolina blue' on Rays uniforms rather than the darker cobalt blue so commonly used by some other teams." Something to keep an eye on.
• The Boston Red Sox have new bat knob decals, and a few players have special designs. The Sasquatch is for Dustin Pedroia; the Hawaiian Islanders are for Shane Victorino (nicknamed the Flyin' Hawaiian); and the Dominican Republic is for Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz. Also, the Sox will be giving away this Carlton Fisk bobblehead on May 5 and will apparently be wearing 1975 throwbacks as part of the promotion, at least judging by the listing for this cap.
• The Cincinnati Reds are hosting this year's MLB All-Star Game, so of course they've added a sleeve patch. Also, Donald Lutz has a great new bat knob decal design that celebrates his German-American heritage, and infielder Kristopher Negrón has added an accent mark to his name on the back of his jersey. Also-also, the Reds are giving away a Nasty Boys bobblehead on April 25, and it seems like a safe bet that they'll mark the occasion by wearing 1990 throwbacks. The opposing team that game, the Cubs, is already slated to wear a throwback cap that day (it's a slightly different shade of blue than their current cap), so that pretty much gives it away.
• New home uniforms for the Minnesota Twins, who've scrapped the pinstripes and added lots of gold trim -- an odd move, considering they don't have gold anywhere else in their visual program. Wait, check that -- there's gold outlining on the new alternate home cap, which really feels like overkill. There's a good infographic breaking down all the changes here.
• You know bat knob decals have hit the big time when the New York Yankees get on board. Also, the Bronx Bombers will be retiring the numbers of Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Bernie Williams this summer.
• All uniformed personnel will once again wear No. 42 on April 15, which is Jackie Robinson Day, destined to go down as one of the best parts of Bud Selig's legacy.
• Although nothing has yet been announced, it seems like a fairly safe bet that teams once again will be wearing camouflage-trimmed uniforms for Memorial Day and stars-and-stripes designs for Independence Day. Some hints of these uniforms already have been leaking out, as you can see here.
• MLB tried something new with last season's All-Star Game caps. The game was played in Minnesota, so all the caps were patterned after 1970s-style Twins caps. With this year's Midsummer Classic slated for Cincinnati, will they be going with Reds-style caps? What would a Reds-style cap even be? The logo for the game shows a pillbox cap, so there's lots of speculation that that's the template they'll be using. Stay tuned.
• The baseballs used in this season's games have a new design, because they're now stamped with new commissioner Rob Manfred's signature.
• Finally, you can expect to see the Majestic logo on MLB uniforms for at least four more seasons after this one, because the company's contract with MLB has been extended through 2019.
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