Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New Baseball Uniforms Coming Soon?

Football season is coming to an end soon. Basketball season just began. But my attention at the moment is focused on Baseball.

auburn baseball 2018 uniforms new jerseys
(image via @AuburnBaseball Twitter)
Monday was head shot photo day for the Auburn Baseball program. The team Twitter account showcased a few photos from behind the camera, which showed a brand new grey jersey. These photos caught me off guard, as well as many others online. I was expecting to see some new designs for Auburn this season, but not this soon, nor with this design choice.

These new grey jerseys feature a few major changes from the previous design. The simple blue sleeve piping and placket and headspoon piping are gone. The collar and sleeves now feature a striping pattern similar to that of the football team. It's hard to tell on the images given, but it looks as though the striping goes blue/white/orange/white/blue. The chest wordmark has changed from the arching Copperplate font to the traditional script mark, complete with orange outline. The SEC patch was also changed to the current design used throughout Auburn Athletics, with the navy circle outlined with orange.

auburn baseball 2018 uniform new jersey
Comparison of previous and possible new grey jersey for Auburn Baseball
With photos being taken for only head shots, naturally there are no images of the pants. I would expect to see the pants feature the same striping pattern as is showcased on the jersey. I'm thinking they might resemble the style worn by the Atlanta Braves, yet with an extra stripe. Auburn isn't a stranger to these kind of pant stripes, as they wore Northwestern Stripes that tapered off towards the shoes in 2016.

As for the other uniforms? I think it's safe to say they will mimic the style of the grey jerseys. The team has wanted to emphasize the script Auburn for a while now, so I think that might be the most used chest mark design. I wouldn't be surprised to see one color set feature just the AU logo, one have a blocky or Copperplate font on the chest, and even one to feature Tigers on the front. I was told a few years go that the players really wanted to wear jerseys with the team nickname on the front, but the Athletic Department shut it down. The reasons given to me at the time were that Auburn wanted to emphasize the school name over the nickname, especially with Missouri becoming the third Tigers team in the SEC. At the time, Auburn Softball had a jersey with Tigers written on the chest. That was soon replaced, but the nickname was displayed front and center on one of the new jerseys. It will be interesting to see what designs stay and which are retained, with new tweaks or not. Please, just let the throwbacks survive.

auburn baseball 2018 uniform new jersey
Possible jersey designs for 2018 Auburn Baseball. Not
intended to represent actual designs or guesses at designs.
A worry of so many is that a uniform provider will force uniform designs and changes on teams. That fear is especially true when it comes to football. Auburn fans are no different, where the football uniforms are considered sacred and no one shall mess with the traditional design. With Auburn set solid in keeping football the same design-wise, they aren't nearly as stable when it comes to other teams. Baseball has been one of those programs to sport new, unconventional designs over the last decade or so with Under Armour. The striped alternates from 2016 were reportedly forced on Auburn contractually. The Tigers wore each of the two designs once and they never saw the light of day again.

The same seems to be happening this season. Speaking with those close to the program, Auburn didn't have much say when it comes to the new designs. As it was told to me, Under Armour gave the team (and presumably other Under Armour teams) a small selection of designs to chose from, with little modifications available.

Under Armour will be taking over as the uniform provider for the MLB starting in 2019. The original agreement was for 2020, but that was moved up a year for whatever reason. Under Armour also payed a lot of money to have the manufacturer logo moved from the left sleeve to the chest, much like what is seen on their college baseball jerseys. Baseball jerseys, by their nature, have not changed much in decades, in regards to design, materials, cut, and fit. It's not an outside opinion to believe Under Armour could very well change some of that, implementing some modern tailoring technology and methodology into these new MLB uniforms. The college baseball landscape could very well be the testing ground for these possible improvements.

With the MLB deal coming very soon, I would not be surprised to see this set live a short life. If Under Armour truly plans to test out new products in the college ranks (which would honestly be a very smart decision, business-wise), then they will be wanting to move quickly. Anything presented within the next year or so could very well trickle down to college baseball teams.

The next two or three years will be a very interesting time to watch what Under Armour does on the baseball diamond. If you are interested in more about the possible future of baseball uniforms, Racked published a fantastic piece back in April about this exact topic.

Keep an eye on this website and my Twitter account for any more information regarding more Auburn Baseball uniform news.

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