I’ll dispense with a clever intro and come out and say it: holiday uniforms are complete garbage. They’re never good, are almost universally ugly, and at their worst are just pandering marketing techniques to get you to buy more stuff.
Recently, Major League Baseball has really leaned into the whole ‘holiday uniform’ thing. While other leagues will sometimes adopt holiday or special colors into the game for a while—think of the month of October in the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, where towels, cleats, and patches turn pink—MLB just goes at it.
Just a few weeks ago, we saw the Royals’ Mother’s Day uniforms. They weren’t that bad, but were still pretty awful. But this weekend, we will indeed see something truly terrible.
Why are holiday uniforms so bad? Well, first thing’s first: they’re bad because everyone is basically wearing the same thing. Uniforms exist in sports so that we can tell teams apart and so that they can have their own branding and identity. When everyone is wearing camouflage or pink or blue, that whole idea just goes away.
But the other part is that holiday uniforms are usually pretty ugly, because they are basically just templates slapped on every team’s uniform and aren’t actually designed to fit with any of them specifically. Graphic designers exist for a reason, interior designers exist for a reason. If you could slap any color next to any other color group, everything would look fine, but that’s not reality.
I mean, come on. Powder blue with black and olive green? That’s disgusting. The pink heather hat looks fine on some uniforms with few colors—the KC one is ok, and certainly is an improvement from last year—but it clashes heavily with the green and yellow of the Oakland Athletics or the red and gold on the St. Louis Cardinals’ home jersey or the blue and orange of the New York Mets. And why on earth is every single team the Washington Nationals for Fourth of July weekend?
I’m totally fine with Major League Baseball selling special hats for each holiday. Hats are cool, and hat collectors exist. And while there is certainly legitimate criticism to be levied towards baseball’s ‘rah rah military’ stance, recognizing Memorial Day (which is literally a national, federal holiday) with some sort of uniform regalia is perfectly reasonable.
But for the love of all that is holy, dispense with the awful holiday uniform set. While there is no ‘sanctity of the game’ to preserve here in regards to uniforms—they’re just clothing, after all—sending Major League Baseball teams to the field with half-assed event uniforms that all look the same is tacky, petty, and most importantly, ugly.
Not every uniform is equally pretty, but at the very least the league office can stop mandating that every team looks like ridiculous baseball-playing clowns once a month. That is not too much to ask.