Fanatics’ New MLB Jerseys Prompting Complaints from Fans

We know that MLB owners have no problem making their actual product worse, because it’s cheaper. They’ve expanded the playoffs, making more teams comfortable simply aiming for barely .500. Many teams will use the facade of a rebuild to never actually try, and others will join them to avoid signing any free agent of note. But you’d think that Rob Manfred and his merry band of giblets would at least want the product to look good, to attract eyeballs or maybe distract them from the lackluster play on the field. It should at least look like people remember. Yeah, about that. And a look at what’s new with the Dodgers jersey from Shohei Ohtani’s opening presser.
This season is the first when Fanatics is creating the jerseys for MLB players and the replicas for fans, with Nike authorizing its logo on them. Every sports fan is keenly aware of what an absolute disaster Fanatics is for its consumer. It’s a 50-50 gamble that anything you order will even be for the right team, and the odds get worse from there whether the player name and number you wanted will match. Fanatics’s quality control basically amounts to ensuring your payment went through and then sending you whatever piece of fabric was lying on the warehouse floor. That is spreading to the actual jerseys on the field, which look cheap as hell and aren’t even all that white but an off-white that will make every player look like they put their jerseys through the wash five times in a row before even taking the field. Baseball will suffer from pretty much whatever every other industry under the thumb of greedy and clueless billionaires does, which is the insatiable thirst to do something close to what the company or industry used to do just as long as it’s cheaper and doesn’t matter if it’s worse. If it has the same name, these dickbrains think, then people will think it’s the same product. Which means they can put out whatever trash they can and we’re dumb enough to think it’s the same even when it’s obviously much worse. Leagues have turned,or will turn, to Fanatics as their official jersey producer because they offer the most money, and Fanatics will pay it out because they put about $12 into actually producing the things and then pocket the rest. There’s years of evidence that Fanatics continues to put out toilet-paper level (not even the two ply!) products and yet leagues keep signing up and fans aren’t really left with anyone else to turn. So your favorite team is going to take the field this summer looking like they just adorned your company’s softball shirts, and if you want to feel part of the fandom and buy your own Dodgers jersey you’re going to get one that says “Dodgeball” on the front and you’ll like it. MLB got their cash — from Fanatics, from their TV partners, from their other owners, from the tickets —and everyone else can go pound. And here come the Royals with their hand out. Hey, remember when we mused that the Kansas City Royals extending Bobby Witt Jr. to the biggest contract in team history might have at least partly been a ploy about their new stadium and the public money they need to get it built? Funny that… There’s a referendum on the April 2 ballot that would sanction a sales tax to pay for this and for renovations to Arrowhead Stadium (no, none of those renovations will include changing the name to something not racist). Strange how this all works, don’t you think? The goal of night. Anyway, here’s the Sabres’ Zach Benson completely putting the Kings’ David Rittich on his ass as part of the Buffalo’s mauling of the LA last night.