City Connect uniforms are back for the 2022 Major League Baseball season. The Washington Nationals unveiled their design Tuesday morning with a tribute to one of the iconic flowers of the nation's capital.
Cherry blossoms dominate the new Nationals design, the first of seven City Connect uniforms to be revealed for the 2022 season. Pink and ivory details decorate the jersey alongside the flowers. The iconic cherry trees bloom in Washington, D.C., during the spring. Other details include the city flag and a typeface evoking the city's architecture.
Among the additional details included are flower outlines embossed in a dark gray, anthracite background, and cream pants that contrast with the gray jerseys and black hats.
The cherry blossom theme will extend to the basketball court with the Washington Wizards wearing a similar City Edition uniform set, becoming the first Nike uniforms connecting multiple teams in one city with a theme.
Although the Nationals and Wizards seasons fall on different parts of the calendar, the two teams wanted to collaborate to create a unified alternative look across sports. The Nike collaboration is the first uniform campaign between MLB and NBA teams from the same market, but the Wizards will not debut their pink alternates until the 2022-2023 season.
The Nationals will wear the cherry blossom uniforms during select games throughout the 2022 season, making their on-field debut on April 9 and April 10 against the New York Mets for the team's home-opening weekend.
While the Nationals mark the first team to unveil City Connect uniforms for the 2022 season, they will not be the last. The Houston Astros will debut their uniforms on April 20, the Kansas City Royals on April 30, the Colorado Rockies on June 4, the Los Angeles Angels on June 11, the Milwaukee Brewers on June 24 and the San Diego Padres on July 8.
Major League Baseball hopes to build off the momentum from the City Connect success during the 2021 season.
"We had high hopes and we probably underestimated the demand for the product," said MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden. "Coming out of the first year, there are some clubs that wish they went a little farther. Some of the clubs had been preparing for launch either this year or next year and got a little more aggressive."
Garden said the biggest takeaway from the inaugural season with the uniform designs was the importance of tying design to stories that resonate with local fan bases.
"It goes a long way," he said. "Baseball is a tremendous local sport with fan bases rabid locally, but to take that connection from your local fandom and also apply it to the city you're from in an iconic way, we had hope [for success], but it was not anticipated."
Garden sees the Nationals' uniform as a start to bolder designs in 2022.
"It's a departure," Garden said. "We're looking to reach that younger, more diverse audience in creating that 'wow' moment. But a wow moment that fans can be proud of, bringing together fandoms and cities."