This morning the Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up Major League Baseball’s inaugural slate of the Nike City Connect jersey series.
Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of “Fernandomania”, the Dodgers will wear a head-to-toe Dodger Blue design intended to salute the team’s Latino fanbase. Across the chest of the blue jersey reads “Los Dodgers” in white in the club’s familiar scripted typeface, below that, to the left, is the player’s number in red in its usual place.
This will surely make Justin Turner, who earlier this year requested the team wear blue tops during the season, very happy.
At the end of each jersey sleeve is a splash of black (or perhaps a very dark midnight blue) that quickly disappears away into the rest of the jersey. This sleeve accent is a representation of spray paint, “a nod to the City’s street art culture and the murals which add colour to buildings throughout Los Angeles”. The Dodgers’ interlocked “LA” is included as a patch on the left sleeve.
“For over half a century, Dodger fans have only seen their team in home whites and road grays,” said Lon Rosen, Dodger Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer via an email to SportsLogos.Net. “We don’t have a third jersey, we don’t wear different jerseys based on days of the week or the pitchers’ preference, so an all-blue uniform with spray paint accents represents a pretty drastic change for us.”
Speaking of “a pretty drastic change”, what won’t be worn with this set is the classic Dodgers’ “LA” cap, replaced with a doubling-down of the “Los Dodgers” script worn on the jersey.
“Throughout the design process, we talked through different cap designs with various iterations of ‘LA’,” Rosen continued. “However, in the end, we wanted to fully commit to the ‘Los Dodgers’ concept from head-to-toe. I’ll admit, it will certainly be a different experience seeing the Dodgers take the field without our iconic ‘LA’ caps.”
I certainly can’t recall a Major League having worn a jersey-style scripted name across the front of their cap during a regular season game as the Dodgers will be doing here. The only one that comes close that I can immediately recall is the Kansas City Royals who wore a scripted “Royals” cap during Spring Training games and batting practice about 20 years ago.
Another new look for the team with this City Connect uniform is the switch to Dodger blue pants rather than the usual white or grey in what looks to be a trend in Major League Baseball to begin embracing non-traditional pant colours. We saw it earlier this season with the Red Sox who wore yellow pants, the White Sox going black (and looking amazing), as well as the Cubs similarly going all blue.
Finally, to finish off the uniform, the Dodgers will wear specially designed white Stance socks with the “LA” logo in blue and the spray paint pattern coming up from the ankles.
As has been the case with the six other clubs taking part in the City Connect series, Nike played a large role in designing the uniform and helping the team get it done while working on each concept based on the team’s preferences.
“With our uniforms having gone largely unchanged since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, designing a uniform was a new experience for our team and Nike was an incredible partner to guide us through the process,” Rosen said. “The entire design process was collaborative between the Dodgers and Nike, with the team providing general direction and Nike’s designers presenting options and incorporating feedback.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers will début their City Connect uniform tomorrow – Friday, August 20th against the New York Mets. They’ll then be worn a second time one day later, also against the Mets, on Saturday, August 21st. There are no other games for them scheduled at this time but, as is the case with all teams in this series, they will be worn again by the Dodgers during the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
“Developed in partnership with MLB Clubs, the Nike MLB City Connect series celebrates the bond between each team and its city,” read a press release issued upon the announcement of the City Connect series back in April. “The uniform series explores the personality, values and customs that make each community and their residents unique. Building on the rich heritage of each Club, the City Connect series pushes the boundaries of baseball uniform design to create new traditions and help grow the game of baseball.”
As mentioned earlier, the Dodgers are the seventh and final club to release a City Connect uniform in 2021. The other twenty-three teams in the league are expected to join in over the course of the next two seasons.
Overall, it’s safe to say the City Connect series has been a success, from the point of view of fan reaction to the designs. While there was some pushback to the first uniform announced — the Boston Red Sox and their ultra non-traditional all-yellow set (which I still say is a good baseball uniform but perhaps just not a good one for the Red Sox) — things got turned back on track quickly with the Miami Marlins tribute to the Havana Sugar Kings and the “Southside” set from the Chicago White Sox.
The Cubbies followed with an all-blue “Wrigleyville” set that was met with mixed reviews before Arizona hit us with their sandy “Serpientes” set which was such a good concept that many said they’d be fine with the team *changing their name* and adopting this identity full time. San Francisco bridged the gap between Arizona and Los Angeles, the only team to go with a white uniform in this series, incorporating the orange from the Golden Gate Bridge into the foggy grey of the Bay Area.
We have no idea who will be coming on board this program next season. If the plan is to have every team releasing their City Connect uniform between now and 2023 then they’ll have to seriously bump things up from the current seven teams per year to eleven or twelve.
Now that we’ve seen ’em all, I want to hear your thoughts about who’s the best. Share your 2021 City Connect Uniform Rankings in the comments, if we get enough rankings to make it worthwhile I’ll tabulate them all and share the results in a future post.