The Arizona Diamondbacks made a splash in the offseason when they unveiled a suite of eight envelope-pushing uniforms that they would wear this season. The new look, which features unexpected color combinations and sublimated designs printed on pants, jerseys, and caps, was new to Major League Baseball. The announcement generated strong reactions, both positive and negative, that continue now, two months into the season.
The loudest and most passionate conversation seems to have focused on the Diamondbacks’ dark grey road uniforms. And if the members of the Diamondbacks team I spoke with at Coors Field last week are right, there’s bad news for the traditionalists who can’t get their heads around the new look: More teams will adopt the dark grey road unis in the near future.
“The dark grey, it’s been a little bit controversial,” said manager Chip Hale, who, along with a handful of players, was involved in providing feedback during the uniform design process. “But I think you’re going to see some more of it in the league. I think some people like it, and I know our uniforms and jerseys have been selling off the hook.”
Shortstop Nick Ahmed acknowledged that the initial reaction to the dark grey was mixed, at best, but that change is coming.
“I think early on, spring training especially, the opposing teams didn’t care for them all too much,” he said. “I think they’re growing on people. The dark grey, I heard, was going to be with some other teams next year.”
And reliever Daniel Hudson, referring to the fact that the Diamondbacks’ new look was inspired by design trends in other sports, alluded to the Diamondbacks’ role as baseball fashion makers.
“They’re just different,” he said. “A lot of people haven’t really seen much of what we’ve worn out this year, except for football—especially with our dark grey road uniforms. I’m hearing a lot of teams might be going to that soon. It’s cool to be one of the first teams to embrace that dark grey.”
Dbacks closer Brad Ziegler acknowledged the influence of other sports, and named names of the teams they were looking at when they came up with the dark grey uniforms.
“From the grey perspective, we accomplished what we wanted to, to kind of resemble the Oregon football team or the Baylor football team or whatever,” he said. “That’s pretty popular and so we just thought we’d try to branch off of that a little bit and bring that into our game.”
If indeed other teams around the Majors embrace the dark grey road uniforms, three-time All Star first-baseman Paul Goldschmidt is proud of the role he and his teammates played in bringing change to Major League Baseball.
“I think in the future it’ll be cool to look back and say I had a part in that, a little bit of the design, along with other players,” he said. “I think that will be cool in the future.”
For those who don’t like the dark grey uniforms, manager Chip Hale suggests that time heals all wounds and that it won’t be long before this look is not that big a deal. “You see in other sports, the change, and people get used to it,” he said. “I’ll be interested to see next year, other teams will change to maybe some similar looks.”
I’ll have more from my conversations with the Diamondbacks on the reaction to the new look around the league later this week, but in the meantime, if you’re not on board with the dark grey uniforms just yet, it’s time to start bracing yourself for the inevitability of change.