Friday, April 26, 2024

Speaking Candidly About the Apparent Nats Rebrand


I hadn't had much of an opportunity to really look at the Nationals' new uniforms, and quite clearly they're trying to bring in a new aesthetic, which is...sort of odd, considering how iconic their 2010s curly W uniforms were. I didn't think there was anything wrong with them. But since 2020 they've been phasing them out, and going for the new straight W emblem, which I don't have much issue with. 

And now this season they roll out a completely new uniform design, with lettering like what you see above, a completely new font, and more emphasis on navy. Now looking at this, which I believe is the away uniform, I'm...reminded of a few things.

The first is the early Nationals uniforms. Like, remember before they really nailed the Curly W thing and thought the way was the DC logo? There were a lot of early uniforms that felt like they weren't quite there yet, and the away uniforms from like 2006 and 2007 were like this, just grey and navy with awkward lettering. And it reminds me of that, just not at all fitting with what I think the Nationals should be. The other thing this reminds me of are the 2003-04 Expos road uniforms. The blue and white stripe on the legs bring me there, as does the lettering. If the helmet color was bluer we'd be there. And I don't think it's a bad aesthetic but towards the end it was getting dull.

But the main thing I'm reminded of are the mid-2000s Reds uniforms, the vested ones with blocky lettering on the chest and patterned greys. I didn't love those but they certainly were distinct. And that's what these feel like, they feel more like Reds alts than Nationals mains. It's confusing because Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel are on this team, both ex-Reds, and both essentially in the same 2017-era rollout. So Winker could be wearing Reds throwbacks for all I know. Though Winker is currently hitting .297, so he may just be throwing back to Cincinnati in general.

It used to baffle me why the Nats would run from their more iconic uniforms, the red-and-white Curly W and distinct jersey designs. And then in the past week or so it became a lot more clear, because this is a team based in Washington, DC, and apparently fans in town didn't like wearing red hats, because from behind somebody could see them wearing a red hat and think they were supporting something other than a baseball team [closer to a USFL team, really]. So since people stopped wearing red caps, the Nats started rolling out different cap designs, and then shifted out of that aesthetic completely, despite it being...their best-looking one. And look, I get it, I totally get it, but...I'd be happier if what they were switching to looked, like...good. And these aren't great. The home ones are marginally better but I'm not in love with it yet. 

I think the other issue is that in order for me to really pin down this uniform era of the team, the team itself needs to do something distinct. And we're not really at that point yet. There are good players, like C.J. Abrams, MacKenzie Gore and now Mitchell Parker, but no good teams yet. It's a lot like the 90s Brewers. That weird uniform aesthetic didn't really become memorable to me because there weren't any legendary or distinct players or teams in them. And that's what the Nats are in danger of becoming at this point.

Maybe in a couple years they'll go back to the red Curly W. Maybe it's just a 'redlegs' thing, just waiting for passing Washington trends to tide over. 

Coming Tonight: Every time I count this guy out he comes roaring back. Now he's an RBI machine with a great team around him.

No comments:

Post a Comment