Let’s Talk About Those New Phillies Uniforms

Cailin Giles image
Cailin Giles
May 8, 2024

In mid-April, about 30 minutes before the Philly area was startled by that random Friday morning earthquake, the Philadelphia Phillies released their City Connect uniforms. Now, I’m not saying that the earthquake was caused by how horrendous these uniforms are, but I’m also not not saying that.

For those who may not know, since 2021 the MLB, in partnership with Nike, has been releasing City Connect uniforms for the teams in the league. All teams, except for the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics, will be wearing these uniforms as a home alternate by the end of the 2024 season. 

The uniforms are intended to represent the city in a way that’s different from the home team’s typical colors and theming, and some have absolutely knocked it out of the park (lookin’ good, Miami). Others don’t seem to be practically thought out, like the Mets, whose main color of the City Connect uniform is gray, meaning they’ll be wearing gray at home while playing a team who is away and wearing their gray alternates. That just seems like it could get confusing for the viewers watching, but it’s not like I’m a designer or anyone who has any proper input on color theory… (Spoiler alert: I am.)

Now let’s talk about those Phillies jerseys.

If my subtle hints have gone unnoticed so far, let me clarify: I hate them. 

I understand what the design team was going for, I just think they went in the wrong direction. The uniform has a blue collar and utilizes the city’s flag colors. It uses bold lettering inspired by the founding documents. But the 7 on Trea Turner’s jersey looks more like a question mark without its dot than a number. Typography has evolved quite a bit from 1776, I think we can use a more modern style of type, especially because this one is such a pain to read

I’ll give them this though: out of all the iconography, I think the design of the hat is cool. While I still don’t love the coloring, inlaying the skyline inside of the liberty bell, which for years has been a symbol of the team, is a cool motif for a hat. I just think the team deserves something better than a beer league uniform.

Source: Wikipedia. Logos and wordmarks displayed on the uniform are owned by the Philadelphia Phillies, Major League Baseball, The New Era Cap Company, Nike, Inc., and Stance. Design of the elements of the uniform are owned by Majestic Athletic, The New Era Cap Company, Nike, Inc., and Stance

There’s so many other directions Nike could have taken this design. An updated look of the retro 70s maroon uniforms. A base color of green inspired by the best mascot in sports, aka the Phillie Phanatic. Nike had so much success making the City Edition jerseys for the 76ers, I guess they just wanted to try something different for the Phillies. Well, this certainly is… different.

Granted, no matter what, pleasing Phillies fans with these new uniforms was always going to be an uphill battle. It doesn’t help that the Phillies home pinstripe uniforms are one of the best uniforms in all of baseball (as a designer I can say this without bias, obviously). There was no way to top what we already had. Philadelphians are passionate, we love to stir the pot, and we love to make jokes on X/Twitter.

Let’s start with the jokes on J.T. Realmuto’s yellow catcher’s gear, which debuted during the second game our Phils wore these new unis:

(Some of the CBM team was at this game and can personally vouch for my immediate shock upon seeing Realmuto in the bullpen before the game began.)

Now some from release day:

I think one of the biggest issues with these uniforms is that they’re just average. Some people like them, some people don’t, and I’m sure in a few years the Phillies will retire them (and hopefully bring back the spring training red alternate). But Phillies fans want our team to be better than average. We’re yearning for the pennant that has felt so close the past two years, so when the team doesn’t look their best, it’s hard to feel our best. 

I’m sure with time the uniforms will grow on me, but I can confidently say I will not be spending any money on buying the City Connect collection. #RingTheBell