It’s been three years! Time to update the batting practice jerseys and hats! Really, it is! Time flies, and this is the second Batting Practice gear refresh we’ve covered. Merchandise! And, hey, they might be the nicest batting practice set the Phillies have ever had. Oh wait, these are just for spring training? Huh?
The hat: Sure, it’s super-similar to the current batting practice hat (the sidepanel logos are new, and the main logo is executed differently, but it’s still within “that’s definitely a Phillies hat territory.”) Other teams went a little crazier (namely, the White Sox and Dodgers), but the Phillies don’t (yet?) have a novelty secondary logo. Maybe there’s a Phanatic or a Liberty Bell in their future? Mr. Met is on the Mets hat, so this isn’t out of the question…
I had previously thought that the Phillies had exhausted all of the red/white/blue combinations for their hats, but, lo-and-behold, I hadn’t thought of making the “P” logo only outlines, instead of a white outline around a solid blue “P” as had been on the batting practice hat since the dawn of time (note: the dawn of time dates to around 1999).
Somehow, the Phillies have managed to avoid having a solid-color alternate jersey (not talking batting practice jerseys, where the Phillies have both red and blue options) well after it’s the norm for teams to have one or even two (the Orioles have orange and black, for example). Off the top of my head, every team except the Yankees and the Phillies has solid-color alternates, so it’s notable that the Phillies continue to be a hold-out here. I mention all of this because, finally, the Phillies have a
batting practice spring training jersey that could be swapped in as a red alternate. No contrasting sidepanels, buttons instead of pull-over; it’s nice! Maybe it could be used for regular games (if the patches, discussed below, were removed), but Majestic would want you to know that “that’s the most ridiculous thing we’ve ever heard because…” then some jibberish about fabrics for batting practice and game jerseys needing to be different for performance reasons.
What would make them better? Moving away from the “normal home jersey, but re-worked” theme would be nice. The current away AND alternate jerseys are just variations of the home jersey (same wordmark, layout, and generally the same color palette). It would be SO easy for them to do an enlarged “P” logo design using the current logo, echoing the 70s/80s design.Like this, but white instead of blue, the new “P” logo, red instead of maroon, and, you know, a haircut and less threatening stare into the mid-distance. Also, no mustache, unless ironic.
But now onto the silly business… somehow, for some reason, MLB is putting a TON of effort into marketing the Cactus League (Arizona) and Grapefruit League (Florida) locations of the teams’ spring training? What? Who cares about this? (who cares about uniforms? I know, I know…). The hats have side patches which showcase the locales, and each jersey has a corresponding patch loudly broadcasting where the team calls home for February and March. Are there tax incentives that MLB receives if they needlessly shill for these specific southern states? Doubt it. So loudly attaching “FL” and “AZ” to the jerseys (not just “Spring Training”) seems to create a situation where not only are you a Philadelphia fan, but a Phillies fan, and dammit, a Florida fan, too. And Arizona sucks! We hate those guys, with their cacti and Native American-themed artwork and disrespect of Daylight Saving Time!
Honestly, this reminds of the poorly manufactured RAW vs. SmackDown “feud” during WWE’s brand split era, or, more relevantly, people that have an unnecessarily strong opinions about the National League vs. the American League (FYI, these hats have subtle AL/NL logos embroidered in the same color as the hat itself). Florida vs. Arizona! Edward vs. Jacob! Kyle vs. Jim! Two enter, one leaves! Anyway, this is an odd thing to use as a marketing move. I know more than a few people who have made Phillies spring training (in Florida™!) into a “warm weather in the winter” vacation stop (Kyle, pre-spawning, made trips with his dad for a few years there), but they certainly weren’t cross-shopping a trip to Rockies training camp in Scottsdale, you know?
There’s also something funky on the numbers and letters. They’re using dye sublimation to include cutesy graphics inside them. Chris Creamer has very clear pictures of this design. Think “subtle wrapping paper.” The only Phillies picture so far is a bit fuzzy, so check out the previous link. If you want lots more detail (including the tonal, embroidered AL/NL logos on the hat, opposite the FL/AZ patch, check out Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net writeup.
So, if it’s considered “necessary” that teams have special BP hats and jerseys (read: Spring Training gear/merchandise), and, this has been the case for the last 15+ years, it’s actually quite nice. Thumbs up. Also, SCREW YOU, ARIZONA.