The third year of Nike/Major League Baseball’s City Connect uniform unveilings has concluded, and two-thirds of the franchises in the sport now have alternate threads, many of them polarizing.
Interestingly, it doesn’t appear that the 10 MLB teams without City Connect uniforms will necessarily be getting them next season. While teams like the Philadelphia Phillies do expect to introduce their City Connect uniforms at some point over the next year, New York Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner revealed last week that his team doesn’t have any plans for such a uniform.
“I’m not having any serious conversations about doing it. I think I understand the reason [behind the CC program] — and again, I think it appeals to a lot of fans, especially younger fans, and you know, merchandise and all that,” Steinbrenner said. “But we have not had any serious conversations about doing it. It doesn’t mean I won’t [do it] someday, but I don’t even know how that would look, quite frankly. I don’t even know what the look would be.”
The guess here remains that all 30 teams, eventually, will have City Connect uniforms, whether they want to or not. But if the Yankees don’t even have a concept for one yet, it’s almost impossible logistically for them to get one in 2024. And perhaps some of the more classic franchises that don’t have any or many alternate uniforms — such as the Yankees and Detroit Tigers — should be exempt from the program altogether.
While we wait to see what the future holds for the 10 holdouts, here’s a ranking from worst to first of the 20 current City Connect uniforms.
No. 20. Texas Rangers
When the Rangers put all these Easter eggs in and around their uniform, is it lazy if we just simply say there’s nothing redeeming about them? The gothic lettering on the hat is so busy that you have to really squint to realize that it’s a “TX”. It’s not a hat that looks good with the uniform — because nothing about it looks good — and it’s also not something that a regular person (at least one with any fashion sense) would just wear with normal clothes.
No. 19: Cincinnati Reds
Given that the Reds’ current uniform mix is, at best, stale, it’s especially disappointing that their City Connect uniforms stink. The Reds billed these uniforms as “leaning into the future,” but the reality is they are just another unnecessary black alternate in a sporting world oversaturated with such jerseys, and the “infrared” script is disastrous. We can’t help but think how hot — and therefore, impractical — black pants with black tops and a black cap will be during the dog days of summer.
No. 18: Los Angeles Dodgers
You know how we said that some of the franchises with classic uniforms like the Yankees and Tigers should be excluded from the City Connect program? Well, the Dodgers — even though they have two variations of their gray road uniforms — should have also been included in that. Instead, they were one of the first teams to unveil City Connect uniforms in August of 2021, and whether they’ve gone with blue tops and blue pants or blue tops and white pants, these uniforms have been an abomination.
No. 17: Pittsburgh Pirates
We aren’t family. For as great as the yellow tops and pillbox caps that the Pirates wore in the late-1970s were, these are a disaster on so many levels. The “PGH” utilized across the chest on pinny-looking tops is uncreative. It looks even worse on the matte batting helmets, which seemingly drew inspiration from the much-maligned black and gold helmets that the Jacksonville Jaguars wore from 2013-2017.
No. 16: Chicago Cubs
As you’ll see throughout this list, we’re not particularly fond of navy blue as a primary jersey color. When you add matching navy blue pants and a navy blue cap with a powder blue brim, it’s overkill.
Both the cap and sleeve patch pay homage to the red stars in Chicago’s flag, but to someone not from the Windy City, the connection goes over their head. Meanwhile, “Wrigleyville” might look fine on a hoodie, but it feels amateurish for an MLB team to wear.
No. 15: Kansas City Royals
We appreciate the association fountains have with Kansas City, but the execution of the fountain “KC” logo ultimately isn’t very pleasing to the eyes. The Royals’ City Connect uniforms look slightly better with baby blue longsleeves underneath, but ultimately if these were never worn again, they wouldn’t be missed.
No. 14: Baltimore Orioles
Four of the five current uniforms that the Orioles have in rotation are strong. This would be number five.
Introduced in May of 2023, these jerseys are bland, with a boring “B” on the hat and a generic “Baltimore” script across the front of the uniform. Sure, there’s some color on the inside, and the Orioles have seemingly already adjusted the sleeves to show it more. But a black uniform isn’t especially practical in the summer, and the Orioles already have their tremendous black alternate tops with “O’s” hats.
No. 13: Milwaukee Brewers
People do actually refer to the Brewers as the “Brew Crew,” but that doesn’t mean Milwaukee needed a uniform that utilized the nickname across the chest. Additionally, the 414 area code being featured inside the MKE — which is the abbreviation utilized for Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee — creates a jumbled mess. And while some of the greatest sausage in the world is produced in Milwaukee, grilling in the summer is hardly unique to that area.
No. 12: San Francisco Giants
Make no mistake, these uniforms aren’t good. But the concept of a Golden Gate Bridge with fog-inspired uniform is at least creative.
The Giants are another team on this list that has an elite uniform set, complete with both black and orange alternate tops. The City Connects didn’t enhance the team’s appearance in any way. But they are much less offensive than some of the other uniforms that this program has produced, and the matte creamsicle batting helmets are actually kind of cool.
No. 11: San Diego Padres
If you go to the beach in San Diego and see someone wearing a Padres City Connect uniform, it probably looks pretty cool. But the full uniform set is too much and feels like a poor attempt to match the Heat’s “Miami Vice” uniform set.
These are such a departure from San Diego’s brown and gold color scheme — which got excellent uniforms in 2020 — that you’re almost not sure what team is playing when the Padres don them on Friday evenings at Petco Park.
No. 10: Houston Astros
The hats are actually pretty cool, but again, there’s just too much navy blue here. If the Astros wanted to make the uniforms look like something astronauts would wear, wouldn’t it make more sense to have made them white-on-white?
The Astros already have other — especially ugly — navy blue alternates, so why did they need a second navy blue set? And while space exploration obviously is rooted deep in Houston’s history, the team was already called the Astros and has a mascot named Orbit. Wasn’t there another angle to be taken here, or at least a better-looking one?
No. 9: Boston Red Sox
In April of 2021, the Red Sox became the first team to release their City Connect uniforms. At least partially because they’ve been good luck, the uniforms — which are yellow and blue because they are inspired by the colors used in the Boston Marathon — have caught on.
The “racing bib” on the left sleeve was an interesting idea, but the 617 area code doesn’t do much for us, especially considering that very few people outside of Boston could tell you what region that area code belongs to.
All in all, these aren’t terrible. They do run the risk of making the Red Sox look like, well, not the Red Sox. But with the iconic “B” still on the cap, these are passable, if not slightly better.
No. 8: Seattle Mariners
The Mariners ditched their road gray uniforms altogether in 2023 to comply with Nike’s controversial “4+1” uniform rule, and unveiled the +1 in the form of a City Connect uniform in April.
These uniforms do a good job of paying homage to the past — the iconic trident “M” is back on the caps — while looking modern, which apparently was by design. We’ll admit, we’re still not sure about the black pants. Black longsleeves underneath the tops look clean, but we’d be interested to how these look with blue pants that match the uniform tops.
Regardless, the Mariners have one of the best uniform kits in the league, and these don’t change that one way or another.
No. 7: Atlanta Braves
If these were new, perhaps they would be rated higher. The color scheme is excellent and pays homage to one of the most classic uniforms in MLB history. But like, the Braves had the actual throwbacks in rotation (pictured on the right in the tweet above) as recently as last season, and the lowercase “a” looks much cooler on the cap than the current “A.”
The cursive Braves script featured on the original v-necked uniforms is also superior to the “The A” logo on the left side of the chest on the City Connect uniforms, which feels like something that someone who isn’t young would design to try to appeal to “the youth.”
No. 6: Chicago White Sox
These have received very strong reviews, and we aren’t entirely against them. However, there are some legitimate critiques to be made of Chicago’s City Connect uniforms.
First of all, the White Sox already have an elite logo, so ditching the “SOX” and not replacing it with the alternate logo featuring an actual white sock inside a black baseball diamond is disappointing. If the average person saw someone wearing the “Chi” hat that goes with these City Connect uniforms, they would probably have no idea it goes with an MLB uniform, as opposed to just being a cap sold at a tourist trap. Come to think of it, “Southside” kind of feels like something that would be on the front of a Kmart brand White Sox uniform.
We’ll leave the White Sox at No. 6 because these City Connect uniforms are really popular, but there are arguments to be made against them for sure.
No. 5: Arizona Diamondbacks
In many rankings of City Connect uniforms, it feels like the Diamondbacks’ “Serpentines” uniforms have been underappreciated. The stated goal in designing these uniforms was “highlighting the team’s desert roots and Arizona’s Hispanic culture,” and we would say they did just that.
Since the D-backs ditched purple and teal as their primary color scheme for the underwhelming “sedona red” in 2007, these are the best uniforms that the Diamondbacks have produced. Moving forward, all Diamondbacks players should be required to wear snakeskin belts to match these uniforms.
No. 4: Los Angeles Angels
*Beyoncé voice* Surfboard!
First unveiled in June of 2022, the Angels’ City Connect uniforms are off-white, and invoke the “Southern California beach scene.” These uniforms fit well into the City Connect program and feature some cool Easter Eggs, but also stick to the general color scheme of the Angels and feel like a uniform that could have been designed outside of the CC era.
We recently ranked these as the second-best uniforms that the Angels currently wear on a regular basis.
No. 3: Colorado Rockies
For franchises that are one of multiple teams in a state, essentially creating State Connect uniforms wouldn’t work. It does, though, for the Rockies, who play in Denver but are still called the “Colorado Rockies.”
Since they entered the league in 1993, the Rockies have generally only made minor tweaks to their uniforms. But these uniforms — inspired at least partially by Colorado’s beautiful license plate — are drastically different, and in our eyes, are a hit. While we prefer the green pants that match the uniform tops, the Rockies have also worn white pants with their City Connect uniforms, which work well too.
No. 2: Washington Nationals
The idea of gray home uniforms that feature cherry blossoms doesn’t sound great, but the actual execution is excellent. The pink accent perfectly complements the anthracite-colored uniforms and hats.
Introduced in March of 2022, the Nationals City Connect uniforms are very clean and could theoretically be worn on the road some days as well, though they are currently limited to home games on Fridays and Saturdays. We recently ranked this as the best of the five uniforms in D.C.’s rotation.
No. 1: Miami Marlins
The Marlins would be wise to lean back into teal for their primary look, which got a fairly disastrous refresh in 2019. But even if they do that, their City Connect uniforms — which are worn for “Legacy Saturday” games at loanDepot Park — should be a permanent fixture in their rotation.
Given that the Fish play their home games in Little Havana, it’s fitting that their City Connect uniforms are a nod to the Cuban Sugar Kings, who were a minor league team that played from 1954-1960. The best part of Miami’s City Connect look is the “legacy red” and “Miami blue” caps, which have a matching matte batting helmet.