In a nod to their past and a little bit of their present, the Mariners unveiled their new alternate uniforms for Sunday home games. The mini-fashion show for season ticket holders and media on Friday at Safeco Field featured “models” Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Charlie Furbush and Nelson Cruz (above).
Cruz was all smiles after the ceremony.
“It’s my first time,” he said of his modeling career. “It was pretty easy. I didn’t have to talk.”
Walker, who considers himself one of the more fashionable people on the Mariners, likes the new uniforms.
“I like them a lot,” Walker said. “I like the throwback look. It’s different. I like the cream color with the royal blue. The royal blue looks good.”
Paxton also was a fan.
“I like them a lot,” he said “The cream is a good cream. It’s not too dark.”
Paxton remembers the blue and gold colors of the Mariners back in the day, growing up in British Columbia.
“Of course, I remember them,” he said. “I like that kind of old school look.”
This wasn’t a spur of the moment decision based on last season’s success. The decision to add this uniform started before last season and has been in the discussion process for a few years. It took approval at all levels of the organization.
“Anytime you change something on the field, it’s an organization-wide decision, including club president, the club owners and club general manager,” said Kevin Martinez, Mariners vice president of marketing. “We come up with ideas and we share it with them. It goes through a process, everybody gives their input and eventually we end up on a decision. Sometimes, truthfully, we’ll come up with ideas and nothing gets changed.”
But this change did go through.
“We’ve been kicking the idea of a cream jersey around for a couple of years,” Martinez said. “It started out with some initial sketches and varying designs. Late last summer, we finally arrived at the design we had today.”
Once the decision was made, the Mariners had to notify Major League Baseball. And then a long process began.
“We worked the MLB design department,” Martinez said. “Their vice president of design services was out here a couple of times. And we work with Majestic, the uniform manufacturer. As soon as you have an idea of ‘hey, we would like to explore the addition of a uniform change,’ you have to put that in writing to MLB and they help assist you along the way.
The Mariners even did some secret tests with the uniforms during last season before games to see how they looked on the field.
“When we saw them, especially against the cream, in the sunlight on the field – this summer we had a sample – we just thought it was a real unique look,” Martinez said. “You know Sunday day baseball is a tradition and we thought it would look really good. We shared it with a few people in and around the clubhouse. And they were excited.”
Most fans seem to be happy with the look.
“I checked the Twitter feed and there seems to be a lot of excitement about it, which is great,” he said. “We wanted to do something that was unique. I think, though I can’t get anyone to confirm this, we are the only major league baseball team to keep its current identity and blend in its past. Not a lot of ball clubs go through color changes. But we are one that has gone through a major color change. When we started exploring ideas, we thought it would be really unique to keep the structural DNA of your current brand and current look but then infuse the tradition and the inaugural colors.”
The retro colors are something that had gained in popularity.
“The last few years, there’s been a constant voice from our fans about the old colors,” he said. “So we wanted to listen to that voice but in a unique way. A lot of clubs do this and they are great, but we didn’t want to just bring back the old designs. We wanted to do something surprising and unique.”
The plan is to wear the new uniforms on Sunday home games. The Northwest green tops will be worn on Fridays. The traditional all white home uniforms will be worn the rest of the time. A Mariners pitcher can also request the green or even navy alternate jersey as well for his start.
The Mariners’ success from last season and the high expectations for this year made the launch much easier for Martinez.
“Everything feels better when you are winning,” he said. “We’ve got so much excitement around the ball club that the timing worked out really well. We have to commit to this a year in advance, that’s MLB guidelines, and we have to follow those guidelines and have certain things decided by certain dates. At the end of May last year, we committed to doing this and the team did the rest. It all worked out.”
Here’s a more professional looking photo than my iPhone photo above..
Here’s a detailed graphic about the uniforms …
Besides the new uniforms, there have been some slight tweaks to the current uniforms as well – specifically the shadowing around the lettering and numbering.
Also there are new striped stirrups for players like Brad Miller.