MLB, Nike respond to controversial new jerseys

One of the biggest stories at the start of MLB spring training has been the new uniforms. 

Nike (who designed the new uniforms) and Fanatics (who manufactured them), have been receiving complaints from players, media and fans across baseball regarding their appearance and fit.

On Thursday evening, Nike released a statement to The Athletic addressing the concerns. 

“We always put the athlete at the center of everything we do,” the Nike statement read. “We worked closely with MLB players, teams and the league to create the most advanced uniforms in the history of MLB which are lighter and more flexible. The quality and the performance of our product is of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to work with MLB, the players and our manufacturing partner to address player uniforms.”

Major League Baseball also issued a statement through a spokesperson. 

“Like every Spring Training, Fanatics team services, Nike and MLB representatives are visiting camps to meet with all players, conduct uniform fitting sessions with them, and get their feedback on how their uniforms fits,” MLB’s statement read. “Based on player requests, adjustments are being made to jersey size, waist, in-seam, length, thigh fit and the bottom of their pants. The goal of these meetings is to provide players with the most comfortable uniforms available for Opening Day. We are in close contact with our Clubs and uniform partners to ensure Clubs have what they need for Opening Day.”

The MLB Player’s Association has also gotten involved in the issues with the new uniforms. 

“We are on the phone with the requisite parties that are involved in making that decision because we aren’t,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said on Tuesday. “We’re trying to make sure our guys have what they need in the fashion that they need it. And it’s reflective of what being a major-league ballplayer should be reflective of.”

Clark elaborated Thursday following a meeting with the Chicago Cubs, saying, “It’s disappointing that we’ve landed in a place where the uniforms are a topic of discussion.”

“We offered input — suggested what the challenges were going to be — and they needed to be remedied on the front end. They weren’t,” Clark continued. “There was a Nike and league announcement (last week), and then suddenly you start hearing from guys what it is that they’re seeing on the ground. (There were) very little answers being provided.”

Clark confirmed that the “universal concern” at the moment is with the pants. 

The biggest issues players have raised about the pants are their tighter-fit on bigger players and lack of available customization and tailoring. 

The pants also appear to be see-through, another cause for player concern. 

In a picture shared on NBC Sports Bay Area reporter Alex Pavlovic’s Instagram story, the new transparent Nike/Fanatics pants provided a rather unflattering angle of Giants infielder Casey Schmitt. 

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