The holiday season is about love. It’s about giving. It’s about making people who care about you happy and showing them you care through various acts of altruism.
Now, this is a two-way street. If you’re shelling out for thoughtful, practical gifts every year and getting Quiznos gift cards in return, something’s not right. As many of you can probably relate to, the Seattle Mariners have been atrocious gift givers for several consecutive years. Think about all you’ve given them in the past: money, fandom, unwavering support. I wrote a freaking song for them. And what did you get in return? Heartbreak? Alarming scandals? Jay Bruce?!
In the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to make a list to nudge the Mariners toward better gifts.
It’s not a list, actually. It’s just one thing. Also, it’s not really a nudge; it’s more of a two-handed shove.
All I want for Christmas is for you to get new home jerseys.
They’ve had a good run, to be sure. The current home threads were worn by some of the best and most beloved players in franchise history. But, in my opinion, they were a downgrade from the ones immediately before them, which were simpler and a little cleaner.
My main gripe with the home whites is with the numbers and lettering on the back. When they debuted, Mariners’ Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications Kevin Martinez said, “We’ve simply reversed the order of the silver and green. The change is subtle.” But notice what the subtle change did to the players’ backs.
When Nelson Cruz was introduced as a Mariner, he was given one of the older jerseys, with just a teal outline on the letters and numbers, devoid of any silver.
I hear everything you’re saying about the added silver making the names and numbers pop, which they do. But they also make things a touch busy for my taste, and can make the players’ names harder to read. While not as bad as the Rangers’ font that has taken over all of their art, the Mariners’ shift has a similar effect on the eyes.
That thin layer of white on Texas’ stuff, between the blue and red, should just be red. The red on the outside is unnecessary, much like the outside teal on the Mariners’ is. The simple navy blue with teal trim, like what they gave to Nellie and wore for years before that, was a perfectly fine aesthetic.
Like most of the teams in the league, the Mariners’ home jerseys are very plain. It’s a hallmark of home uniforms, which are always white, with the exception of the Giants’ expert use of cream. Plainness can work, especially when the jerseys are a “classic” like the Yankees’, Dodgers’, or Cardinals’. The Mariners, though, don’t have that nostalgic factor to work with. For one thing, the team is a baby compared to New York, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. Secondly, the team has undergone so many jersey changes that having a drab home uniform (that doesn’t even resemble the team’s original look) is a bit perplexing.
What this really boils down to is white and navy blue being an incredibly boring color scheme. I am by no means saying the team should pivot away from blue. I’m trying to advocate for a splash of color in the home uniform, which from the 300 level of the stadium is pretty indecipherable from the Padres’ or Rays’ current looks.
On May 18, 2018, the Mariners beat the Detroit Tigers 5-4 in front of 34,000 people at Safeco Field. The reason the game means something to me is because the Mariners shook things up in the jersey department.
This was a refreshing sight for many reasons. Seattle’s teal-brimmed hat works spectacularly with the alternate blue uniforms. A+ work all around. But beyond that, this represented a departure from the team’s conventional practices. Those dark blue tops are typically reserved for road games, and as such, paired with gray pants. As this game demonstrated, though, they’re pretty fire with white pants too. There is literally no reason not to bust out this look at least 8-10 times next season. It breaks up the monotony of white-on-white by adding some much-needed color, looks exquisite with teal cleats, and most importantly, is a unique, decidedly not boring ensemble that stands out from the rest of the closet.
If the team actually does away with the current home clothing, they can essentially go two routes. The only two secondary colors that make any sense are teal and yellow, both of which are a part of at least one Mariner uniform, and have been in the past.
Because I have a brain and a strong Internet connection, I know there is perhaps no topic in the Marinerverse more divisive than teal. I love it. I also fully understand that for a lot of people, seeing the M’s in the Northwest Green is like seeing their partner continue to wear that stupid shirt you hate so much. If we’re going to compromise, I can totally agree that the numbers and letters on the teal joints are far too sparkly. I’m all about progressing the game and making it accessible for younger generations, but there’s ways to do that without a metric ton of glitter.
The teal is a complicated topic, for sure, and one that is hard to change anybody’s opinion on. Personally, I ride for the color because it gives the Mariners something unique. No other team has a teal jersey, and even when the Marlins of yesteryear did, they were a slightly different shade. It’s important to occasionally view the Mariners through a different lens than our own, and sadly, for a lot of people, the Mariners are a complete afterthought. Having an instantly recognizable color that is exclusive to them can only help. I also just think it works from a visual standpoint, and is a nice tribute to the organization’s heyday.
I wish they embraced it more, and to take it a step further, I wish they would wear the teal tops on the road with gray pants, much like I wish the blue unis would appear at home. I also don’t fully understand why the teal-brimmed hats are reserved solely for teal jersey nights. The Cardinals have been mixing and matching hats with their home digs for years, yielding beautiful results.
The ‘90s Mariners opted for teal brims above white jerseys fairly often, and served looks every time they did.
If they were to play it safe with a home jersey overhaul, teal is the most likely option. However, if the Mariners want to go all out and commit to something really different, they should mine the Milwaukee Brewers’ wardrobe for inspiration.
These Brewers jerseys—particularly Orlando Arcia and his yellow tape on top of a white sleeve—are a textbook example of using a secondary color in a way that doesn’t overpower the rest of the look. That, coupled with the minimal use of yellow around the numbers and at the end of the sleeve, makes for a truly beautiful jersey that would work equally as well with gray or white pants. While the Mariners’ Sunday cream-royal blue-yellow alternates implement yellow fairly well, we only see those once a week, and that’s if the team’s Sunday game is in Seattle. There are opportunities to bring yellow back in a way that isn’t goofy or blinding, like what the Brewers did above, or what the Padres did with their 2016 homes that have since been, confusingly, shelved for a more milquetoast option.
Whether the Mariners re-shuffle their jersey/pants/hat combos, make tweaks to the current white attire, or introduce something new, it would be incredibly nice to welcome in this new era of “re-imagined” baseball in Seattle with a home uniform that isn’t just plain white and unimaginative navy blue.
If it were up to me, I would play around with the numbers and lettering, perhaps making them teal with blue trim or reverting back to the previous style with yellow outlining in place of the teal. At the very least, introduce some new colors to the painting. Right now, the Mariners have a fuller palette than they are using.