April 18, 2024

While Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Jason Heyward praised MLB’s new Nike and Fanatics jerseys, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas and baseball fans across the country expressed their disgust.

Nike, four years after becoming MLB’s official uniform supplier, may have lost some support from players and fans throughout the country.

The brand-new Nike Vapor Premier jerseys were unveiled on Tuesday, coupled with a league statement announcing that every team will wear them in-game beginning 2024. MLB’s press announcement included quotes from St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado and Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman that praised the new jerseys’ quality and comfortability.

The internet, on the other hand, has different ideas.

For background, Nike has formally licensed production tasks to Fanatics, an online apparel store. Fanatics’ image among fans was already unstable, but it reached new heights on Tuesday when consumers got their first true glimpse at the Nike Vapor jerseys.

As Uni-Watch first revealed in December, home jerseys are now slightly off-white. The size and arrangement of names and numbers have altered, as has the texture of the numbers and overall uniform fabric.
Fans instantly criticized the new jerseys’ design, contrasting them unfavorably to the 2023 counterparts side by side.
The dissatisfaction did not stop with online fans.

According to Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat, players in the Cardinals’ clubhouse were upset with Nike and Fanatics’ new outfits. Pitcher Miles Mikolas went so far as to suggest the pants didn’t fit properly, and they weren’t as tailored as they had been in the past.

According to Jones, Cardinals players stated they appeared cheap and the fabric was of a different quality.

 

While fans and Cardinals alike expressed unhappiness with the new clothes, a few players have come out in support of them.

 

Jason Heyward, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, provided feedback in a video released to his team’s social media platforms. The veteran stated that the new jersey seemed “more authentic” than the ones from 2023, citing breathability and a textured number on the back.

Of course, fans lambasted Heyward for his opposing viewpoint, claiming that he must have been compelled to say what he did.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, possibly Nike’s most prominent MLB partner, stated he was “a big fan” and that “change can be good.”

 

With Spring Training underway and Opening Day just a few weeks away, it remains to be seen whether anything can be done by MLB regarding the Nike Vapor Premiers. When the NHL struck a deal with Fanatics in 2023, fans were outraged, but nothing changed.

At the very least, Fanatics, Nike, and MLB have all suffered significant PR setbacks just as their latest initiative was getting underway.

 

 

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