MLB shockingly praises Fanatics and blames Nike for all the new uniform problems

Major League Baseball has made it clear who is at fault for the complaints about the new jerseys rolled out to teams starting this season.

Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays
Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Infrequently do storylines reach virality in Spring Training and carry over to the regular season, but the new MLB uniforms that debuted this year have been divisive -- and obvious -- enough to warrant continued scrutiny and attention.

The background:

  • Nike rolled out a new uniform template at the All-Star game last year and got reasonably positive remarks from the limited players polled
  • The template was focused on "performance" more than aesthetic
  • Various changes to the jerseys focused on that performance priority have changed visual aspects of the jerseys, including smaller numbers and lettering, an awkwardly-placed batterman logo, and sweat. So much sweat
  • Fanatics purchased Majestic in 2017 and kept the uniforms largely the same -- aside from Nike branding -- until this season

The jerseys are a joint venture between the MLB, Nike, and Fanatics, and have been for several years now. Nike handles the design and engineering of the uniforms, while Fanatics handles the manufacturing.

There has been little addressed publicly from the MLB or the two jersey partners about the problems with the uniforms, in particular, the sweat issue that has been more obvious with grey road jerseys that have become more widely utilized now that the regular season is starting.

That sweat problem is perceived as an important one, with perspiration bleeding through jerseys in indoor games and games played in reasonably cool April games. Fans and players alike have wondered how the jerseys will play in the heat of July and August.

MLB puts onus on Nike to fix problems with uniforms

In The Athletic's reporting on the new uniforms this week (subscription required), they received insight and statements from MLB on the jerseys. The MLB, in its statement to the report, said Fanatics has done a, "great job," with manufacturing, providing jerseys that match, "the exact specifications provided by Nike."

Nike admitted that there is an issue, but has moved onto solutions, telling The Athletic they have, "isolated," the issue and are exploring solutions to minimize.

Some other facts about the uniforms, according to what MLB told The Athletic:

  • A "small number" of players who needed more specific jersey alterations received individual adjustments
  • MLB says Nike chose the letter sizing and picked the fabrics Fanatics uses
  • Several teams are without certain alternate versions of its uniforms temporarily

For now, we await updates, but it appears the brands involved in fixing are determined as ever to make sure the issue is addressed as covertly as possible.