The Uni Watch 2023 MLB Season Preview
Our annual compendium has everything you need to know about this season’s new uniforms, logos, patches, throwbacks, sleeve ads (ewww), stadium updates, and more.
Don’t look now, but the 2023 MLB season is almost upon us. That means it’s time for the 25th annual (!) Uni Watch MLB Season Preview, which is always one of my biggest and most popular columns of the year.
The big uni-related development this season, of course, is the advent of advertising on the uniforms. As of this writing, seven teams — the Angels, Astros, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Padres, Red Sox, and Reds — have sold space on their sleeves to corporate advertisers. Word through the grapevine is that several more may follow before the first pitch is thrown on Opening Day, and many additional clubs have said that they’re actively seeking an ad deal, so we may see more ads debuting as the season progresses. Ads on MLB uniforms aren’t completely unprecedented — they’ve been used many times for regular season games played in Japan, London, and Mexico — but this will be the first time they’ve been used throughout the season and in “normal” games, instead of just for select out-of-market games.
To make matters worse, the positioning of the uniform ads will be non-uniform. In order to maximize TV exposure, some players will wear the ads on the left sleeve and others on the right, depending on whether they bat or pitch left-handed or right-handed. (Switch-hitters will apparently be issued two jerseys and wear the appropriate one based on the opposing team’s starting pitcher.)
Since most teams already had a team logo patch on one sleeve (usually on the left), those patches will now move to the player’s non-advertised sleeve, providing even more non-uniformity. This also allows us to see which teams appear to be preparing to add sleeve ads shortly, because they put their team logo patches on varying sleeves for their annual Photo Day sessions last month.
Another new wrinkle this year is Nike’s “four plus one” rule, which limits teams to four jerseys plus a City Connect design, apparently as a way to streamline the production process. Several clubs have been forced to mothball certain jerseys in order to stay within the limit, and two of those teams — the Rays and Mariners — have decided that their road greys are the ones to be scrapped, a development that will no doubt disappoint traditionalists (most of whom would probably prefer a “two plus none” rule).
And of course there’s more — a lot more. In the rest of this article, you’ll learn about all of this season’s new uniforms, logos, and gear, plus there’s deep-cut coverage about uni numbers, individual player quirks, stadium updates, and more. I can pretty well guarantee that this is the most complete coverage of these topics you’ll find anywhere!
So let’s move past these preliminaries and get to all that sweet uni-related news you can use. With the season set to begin on Thursday afternoon, here’s our annual team-by-team breakdown of what you can expect to see on the diamond in 2023.