Major League Baseball today announced the nine teams that would be getting a new Nike MLB City Connect uniform this season; they also revealed additional details on Nike’s new on-field and retail jersey options.
Starting with the 2024 City Connect uniforms — this year, we will see the debut of City Connect sets for the Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who have been wearing a City Connect set since the 2021 season, will be dropping their all-blue “Los Dodgers” design in favour of a new City Connect uniform.
With these eight new teams adding a City Connect uniform in 2024, this will leave us with just two teams without a City Connect set — the New York Yankees (because obviously) and the Oakland Athletics (because, again… obviously). The Los Angeles Dodgers become the first team to retire a City Connect set and introduce a second design; the Washington Nationals have already announced they will retire their cherry-blossom-themed City Connects following 2024; it has yet to be revealed if others will be joining them.
The City Connect series was launched in 2021 and intended to celebrate “the deep-rooted history, culture, and spirit of each city that continues to bring the clubs and their communities together.” Often, teams will go well outside the boundaries of what they would typically wear, giving us such unexpected uniforms as the Boston Red Sox wearing yellow, the San Diego Padres in pink and seafoam, and the Colorado Rockies wearing a license plate-inspired design.
As they have done over the first three seasons of the City Connect series, Nike collaborated with the teams, the league, and New Era — the on-field cap providers, and Stance — on-field sock providers to complete the overall head-to-toe design.
Moving on to the details of Nike’s new on-field and retail jersey options, we will see teams in their new Nike Vapor uniforms on-field when clubs start working out at Spring Training. Every uniform for every team — home, road, alternates, and City Connects will be in the new Nike Vapor style. Nike says the uniforms were developed over “multiple years” and “engineered to improve mobility, moisture management and fit.”
Nolan Arenado of the St. Louis Cardinals has praised the new design, saying, “The Nike Vapor Premier jersey is soft, light, and incredibly comfortable. It’s almost like wearing my favourite fitted t-shirt out on the field — and so easy to move around in.” This sentiment is echoed by players who appreciate the enhanced comfort and mobility the new jerseys provide.
The new uniforms are constructed of at least 90% recycled polyester yarns, provide 25% more stretch and dry 28% faster than the previous on-field MLB uniform. Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman highlighted the functionality of the jerseys, especially in the heat: “The jerseys this season are much more breathable, with vents on the numbers and better airflow all around. It’s really going to make a difference on those hot summer games when I’m in full gear.”
Nike body-scanned over 300 baseball players to determine the ideal fit for the new uniform, resulting in a more athletic and form-fitting construction. Ronald Acuña Jr. from the Atlanta Braves shared his enthusiasm for the fit and feel of the new uniforms: “These new uniforms fit better and feel lighter. I play fast and want to wear something that won’t pull when I’m running. Feeling free in the jersey is the best feeling in the world.”
Players who have reported to camp early have given us a chance to get a glimpse of the new cut in action. Here’s the Los Angeles Dodgers wearing the new Nike jersey (and new 2024 Spring Training cap!), and upon close inspection, you can see small perforations in the player’s numbers:
Fans may recall we first saw this uniform in use during the 2023 MLB All-Star Game, but this will be the first time the uniform is rolled out league-wide and to be used during regular season play.
Switching to the new Nike cut has result in a few design changes, at least on the retail versions we’ve seen so far. The Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles are both shifting their sleeve stripes from about an inch from the cuff to right up against the edge of the sleeves. The Los Angeles Angels’ trim around the neck does the opposite of those two, moving about half an inch away from the edge of the collar.
We’ll have to wait until these teams are showing up to camps to see if these changes translate to the on-field product, but I see no reason why they would only be something we experience with the retail options.
Speaking of retail, those of you who like to wear what their favourite teams and players wear (guilty) will be interested to learn that there are now three tiers of retail jersey options with this new Nike Vapor Premier series:
- Premier Elite Jersey: The equivalent to what we’d have called an “Authentic” before. Simply put, this is the same style jersey the players wear on the field, available to you for purchase.
- Premier Limited Jersey: A toned-down version of the “Premier Elite,” this will feature an embroidered Nike Swoosh, twill logos (applied by heat), and heat-applied sublimated twill player name and number. At the time of me writing this (mid-February 2024), this is the only 2024 season jersey available to purchase. The others will come, don’t fret.
- Premier Game Jersey: This is what we would have called a “Replica Jersey,” in the beforetimes. It will feature a silicone-printed heat transfer team wordmark, Swoosh, and MLB logo. Player names and numbers are screen-printed. Nothing fancy, but it gets you a jersey for a lower price than the others.
If you want the on-field jersey with all the bells and whistles, you’ll want the “Elite.” If you’re looking for something less expensive and don’t care too much about the finer details, you’ll want the “Game”; the “Limited” is in the middle. The Elite and Game versions have yet to be made available for purchase. The Nike Vapor “Premier Limited” jerseys are available right now, right here.
No dates have been released yet for either the availability of the additional jersey tiers or the unveiling dates of the 2024 City Connect uniforms, but what we do know is all nine of this year’s City Connect uniforms will be released between Opening Day in March and the All-Star Game in July. So that’s nine completely new big league uniforms spread out across about four months — I’m ready!