Blue Jays Players, Staff Share Design Process and Thoughts on City Connect Uniform – SportsLogos.Net News

Blue Jays Players, Staff Share Design Process and Thoughts on City Connect Uniform

Following the release of their new “Pitch Blue” City Connect uniform Thursday night, the Toronto Blue Jays held a uniform release party on the rooftop patio of Lavelle in Downtown Toronto. SportsLogos.Net was invited down to get a close-up look at the new caps and skyline-clad jerseys, chat with some of the team’s players and staff about the design process, and get their thoughts on the uniform.

We learned plenty, including that the Blue Jays worked closely with another team after being impressed by their City Connect launch and that the original version of this uniform didn’t include any red, which was added only after consulting with a fairly important person on the team.

“The design process has almost been two and a half years with Nike,” explained Marnie Starkman, Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays. “They’re tremendous at what they do. They guided us through the process, and we went through some briefings and talked about what we wanted. They came back with numerous options, and once we decided how we would lean, the design process started.”

Marnie Starkman, Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays

Starkman highlighted the variety of design options Nike presented. “You start to see different iterations; they’re the experts, not us. So we let them take it through. The designs [we saw] really varied based on the narrative. Some had really bright colours; you saw the Padres were able to live in that space. Some were a lot safer, using our [usual] blues, but we felt like we had just come out with our New Blue [uniforms in 2020]. We wanted to dive into something that felt more like streetwear.”

“We spent a lot of time with the Astros. They did an incredible job with their [City Connect] launch. They really had a great story and their merchandise numbers were through the roof. For us, it was more important that our guys wanted to wear them. We showed our players the samples because I feel they’re slightly more relevant than I am. We got their opinion as we went through the process, ultimately leading up to the launch.”

LINK: A detailed look at the Toronto Blue Jays City Connect uniforms

The Jays’ new ‘Night Mode’ City Connect uniform is a head-to-toe “Pitch Blue,” a blue so dark that it legitimately appears black, inspired by the hue of Lake Ontario at night. It’s highlighted by the pop of a bright “Hyper Royal” blue and a vibrant “Speed Red.” The city’s skyline, anchored by the iconic CN Tower, is featured on the chest with “TORONTO” placed upon it, stylized like the sign at Nathan Phillips Square.

Comparing the Blue Jays’ “Pitch Blue” with black and other dark blues around MLB

“We’re at the home of the skyline. We always say we’re so fortunate where our building is; we’re right at the core of the city, which was really important,” Starkman added. “The reflection on the lake was important, as was the heartbeat [pattern inside the cap] and the rhythm. The energy was how we leaned in. It’s about a feeling or vibe. The whole point of these uniforms is to connect with the younger crowd.”

SHOP: Blue Jays City Connect caps, jerseys, and more are available now! (Canada) (USA)

Outfielder Dalton Varsho recalled seeing the designs early on: “I saw it last year for a quick second. I didn’t see it for very long, but they’re pretty cool when you put them on and get a good look at it.” Varsho added, “I think it really fits the design of the city. I think it’s just really cool. I think it fits our team well, so I’m excited for everybody to wear them.”

Closeup looks at the CN Tower and TORONTO wordmark on the front of the new jersey

The sleeves feature two stripes, one red and one blue, side by side. The lower of the two stripes turn downwards at one point to form a letter “T,” which continues as striping down the side of each pant leg. The red stripe wasn’t there at first, but that changed after All-Star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got his first look at the jersey.

“When they showed me, I said I liked it, but ‘Why do we only have one blue line [on the sleeve]? Why don’t we do a red line, too?’ And then they did.” Guerrero recalled, “My favourite colour is pink, but you can’t use pink there, so red is like pink… I like the red.”

Chris Creamer interviewing Toronto Blue Jays player Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

Starkman confirmed the players’ influence, noting their feedback on a few key elements. “They loved them more than I thought they were going to. We put them in front of 12 or 15 guys last year, and they were good. They didn’t shape much of the design, but some had input when we put a number on the front of the jersey. They had input on two other big things: they wanted a little more red, so all their accents are red — the belt, the undershirts, and the socks. Vlad had a lot of thoughts on that. And then the helmet, it’s a matte, they liked the matte helmet.”

Manager John Schneider also appreciated the players’ input: “A few guys were involved with the design, and I’m not one of them. There are a few key guys, the ones you’d expect: Bo [Bichette], Vlad [Guerrero], George [Springer], a couple of pitchers, Gausman, and Jose [Berrios]. Everyone had a bit of input, and I think it came out cool.”

Kevin Kiermaier, who spent his entire MLB career with the Tampa Bay Rays before heading to Toronto in 2023, shared his enthusiasm for the new look, “I love them. I, personally, have never worn a dark jersey like this. I’ve had blues, but nothing like this. I saw the pictures, but I like it even better when I wear it. I think they hit the nail on the head. They did a great job with the city skyline, and it looks like Toronto. So I think it’s awesome, and I hope everyone loves it and the fans enjoy it.”

“It’s time to put on a show and try to think these uniforms give us special powers.” – Kevin Kiermaier

Kiermaier also highlighted the psychological impact of wearing a new uniform, “When you feel like you look good out there, you feel good. The guys make a big deal about what uniforms we wear each and every day with the ones that we already have, but then you get one like this. I know the guys will go out there and put on a show.” He added, “I think it looks great, the CN Tower, that’s the most iconic thing for me. That’s my kids’ favourite building in Toronto. So, I know they’re going to be thrilled about this. I think they killed it. They knocked it out of the park. It looks great. Now, it’s time for us to go out and put on a show and try to think these uniforms give us special powers.”

“It’s such a unique city with a unique vibe, and I think everyone involved did a really good job of putting this together,” added Manager John Schneider. “As long as we can keep the city connected to this team, I think it’s great. It’s a little different look than what we’re used to. Still, we have some of the best uniforms in Major League Baseball, so adding this City Connect [uniform] is pretty cool.”

“We’re one of the last teams to get these uniforms, so we were ready for anything. The dark pants are a little different, but I like how it turned out, and I think it’s good for the fans.”

Pitcher Chris Bassitt and his wife Jessica would’ve preferred camo but liked the new uniform

Pitcher Chris Bassitt expressed relief with the design: “I was nervous. I think a lot of teams messed it up. Thankfully, we didn’t.” When I asked, “Which teams messed it up?” Bassitt naturally chose not to divulge. Jessica Bassitt jokingly noted that the skyline on the jersey was missing “a few construction projects” and “some traffic.”

The Toronto Blue Jays will debut the new City Connect uniform tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates. This is the first of fifteen games this season in which they’ll wear the new set. Fans can get their Blue Jays City Connect caps, jerseys, and more right here.

The event included live Blue Jays’ City Connect logo and uniform-themed paintings