When baseball returns -- and it will return at some point, I promise -- all 30 MLB teams will sport the Nike swoosh on the front of their jerseys. Nike replaced Majestic as MLB's official uniform provider this season and, as part of the deal, the swoosh will be featured prominently. Purists will hate it, some will like it, most will be indifferent.
The Boston Red Sox are among the teams looking at uniform changes beyond the Nike swoosh. Team president Sam Kennedy told The Athletic's Chad Jennings the club is exploring ways to improve its classic uniform going forward. The idea is to improve performance, not necessarily give the team a fresh look.
Here's more from Jennings:
"We are looking at changes as we go forward," team president Sam Kennedy said. "(The changes will be) likely geared to get us to a uniform that is geared towards high performance. We will always be respectful of our incredible traditional look and feel, but we are always open to new and different concepts as time goes by."
"I think our folks on the ownership side are really more focused on fit," executive vice president of partnerships Troup Parkinson said. "They think that, for example, Nike can bring tons of technology to the fit and hopefully help the performance of the athlete, which has happened in basketball and in football, but, amazingly, in baseball it hasn't. The (players), if you talk to them, they will say the uniform doesn't fit."
Like every other piece of equipment, baseball uniforms have changed over the years as technology has improved. Uniforms now are more lightweight and breathable, yet also more durable, than the uniforms of yesteryear. For players to perform their best, they have to be comfortable, and not feel restricted by their outfit. The Red Sox want to make their uniforms as functional as possible.
Under Armour was originally supposed to take over as MLB's official uniform manufacturer before the deal fell apart, allowing Nike to swoop in. Parkinson told Jennings the Red Sox had similar conversations with Under Armour and noted the company improved Notre Dame football uniforms without damaging a traditional and iconic brand.
It's possible Nike and the Red Sox could do something drastic to improve the uniform -- maybe they'll get rid of the belt? -- though chances are any changes to the classic look will be subtle. Improving fit and functionality are the goal, not creating a new brand of Red Sox uniform.