There’s been a lot of notable developments over the last month in the holy sport known as baseball, and one could argue that the Yankees — exacerbated by their truly, and I say this mostly with love, insufferable fanbase — turning things around and becoming one of the hottest teams in the league is near the top of the list. They’re a staunch reminder of the fact baseball is a sport that, sometimes, occasionally, probably is a fool’s game to make all-encompassing takes on; for example, anyone who said the Yankees should fire Brian Cashman looks like a doofus at this very moment. That’s not what we’ll be talking about now, though, because it doesn’t hold a candle to the biggest doofus in the room: the person, or persons, that still allow the New York Yankees away uniforms.
The Yankees recent string of success has reminded me, as it does every single year of this cursed existence, that tradition — or the status quo, as more scholarly folk might say — halts any progress towards true quality. The Yankees have led you all to believe, thanks to their storied history, that this is okay. And for that [extremely heavy Ultron voice] you’re all puppets, tangled in string, believing that these uniforms are okay, unable to accept what you know in your heart is true. But never fear, true believers, because that’s what I’m here for; I’m here to shatter the facade surrounding the worst uniforms in ALL of sports.
Since 1915, the New York Yankees have donned the pinstripes as their primary home uniform which, arguably, is the most iconic in all of professional sports. Even before babies are born, and before they even know what baseball is, one of the first ounces of knowledge the universe instills within them is that the pinstripes belong to the Bronx Bombers. This is what makes the pinstripe regalia’s not-so-distant relatives, the Away Uniforms, all the more tragic.
The all-grey, “New York” embroidered attire has been the uniform the Yankees use whenever they play outside of their stadium since 1918. Despite the historic success of the franchise, these jerseys of soul-sucking blandness have been a major thorn in Yankees culture. For a team with as much a pedigree and wealth as the Yankees obviously have, they should be able to do better than something you would get from your average little league baseball team. In fact, the Yankees are the only team in baseball, other than the Detroit Tigers that doesn’t have any sort of third, or alternate, jersey. Just take a close — oh so very, very, very close — look at them. They’re bland, uninspiring, and the spiritual equivalent of the levels in De Blob before you paint them.
Year after year we act like this blatant example of wardrobe malpractice is excusable just because they’re the Yankees. It’s like when celebrities show up at the Met Gala with a literal chandelier on their body and we just act like that’s something to celebrate! It’s not! I don’t care who it is! Frankly, having most boring away uniforms in sports is in line with all the other stupid culture things about the Yankees. No facial hair, no mascot, no energy. Is it a coincidence that the last time the team had some truly outlandish personalities (Nick Swisher, A.J. Burnett with his pies) was the year they last won a world series! Come on, my fellow New Yorkers and coastal elitists, it’s right there in front of you! Accept it and demand better!
But I’m not a design specialist, so I won’t bother with creating my own alternate away jersey. Instead, there may be a better aesthetical option that already exists: the Player’s Weekend uniforms. These uniforms are, at the very least, better than what we’ve got now. “No way! YOU CAN’T JUST DO AWAY WITH THEM LIKE THAT! IT’S TRADITION,” says Captain Boomer, probably, yelling into the great beyond in an effort to stop anyone that dares to change something for the first time in, literally, a hundred years. These uniforms are more refined and more of a statement that feels like the kind of antiseptic energy that the Yankees, as an organization, embody the most of any. Not too flamboyant, but not too bland, they’re a solid replacement for the life-draining away uniforms.
I’m not saying that the alternate apparel is perfect, but I’ve always been a proponent of trying new things. Maybe the traditionalists who somehow like the standard putrid piles of decaying atomic waste don’t want to change, which I somewhat understand and admire, even. But what if they’re just not used quite as much? Heck, even the spring training gear would at least offer a better change-of-pace. In a sport that lasts 4000 days long, is it that bad of an idea to offer up something different? We know baseball isn’t even comfortbale with every team playing each other at least once, but this could be a fine compensation prize.
I’d go as far to say that I’m a fan of all alternate jerseys. Those yellow Boston Red sox uniforms from earlier in the year? I love it. The infamous bumblebee jersey of the Steelers? Heck yeah! Just because a uniform might not fit the public’s conventional standard of beauty, or whatever, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try; trying is how you can end up with the good stuff and, arguably even more importantly, break up the monatony.
If you want to see everything become more homogenized just tune into most of ESPN’s TV programming; I swear, absent Around the Horn and Highly Questionable, everything is the exact same format. You can’t be afraid to go for the home run out of a fear that you might strike out. Not to mention I, for one, think there’s entertainment to be found in the strikeouts. (roast away!)
I’m somewhat concerned that this take may get me cancelled, but that is a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the greater good. I, at the very least, can say that I tried my best to bring truth to power. The Yankees away uniforms are an abomination and not enough people are talking about it. I genuinely believe it’s a campaign we can all get behind — a campaign for pragmatic change that could lead to a brighter future.