With all eyes on the baseball world during the 2021 MLB Postseason I’m being asked more and more often, “What’s the FTX Patch the Umpires are wearing?”
The umpires are wearing FTX patches as part of a sponsorship deal between Major League Baseball and FTX, a crypto derivitives exchange. Basically FTX is a company that helps people invest in cryptocurrencies and the umpires are advertising their company with the patch.
So… yeah, it’s just an ad.
And it’s the first time the league has gotten into sticking ads onto the uniforms of on-field personnel beyond a temporary one to two-game deal for ballgames played internationally. It’s very likely a preview of things to come as it seems inevitable that MLB ballplayers will one day soon be wearing advertisements on their jersey sleeves. Perhaps as soon as 2023? Sigh.
Anyways, Major League Baseball announced this deal, which also made FTX the official cryptocurrency partner of the league, back in July 2021 around the time of that season’s All-Star Game in Denver. The patches made their debut at the ’21 All-Star Game, have been worn by the umpires ever since, and are expected to continue to be worn right into and throughout the entire 2022 season.
These new FTX patches are being worn on both the front of the umpire’s jersey and on their sleeves… just in case you missed it the first time. One unfortunate side effect of this is that the patch on the sleeve has replaced the series of square memorial patches that umpires would often wear which would feature the initials of their fallen colleagues, Major League umpires who had died over the past year. This patch kicked off two such memorial patches, a “DC” patch for Darryl Cousins and a “PS” for Paul Schrieber.