What’s old is new again, at least when it comes to the Blue Jays’ new alternate uniforms.
Toronto unveiled a powder blue uniform on Saturday at Winter Fest, an annual fan event at Rogers Centre that includes activities, rides and chances to meet and hear from Jays players.
The organization teased “new blue” threads earlier in the week and, after a half-hour delay because of long wait times for fans entering the ballpark, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Randal Grichuk showed off the powder blues, coming through a garage-door-like opening at the back of the stage as manufactured smoke billowed at their feet.
“It’s awesome,” Bichette said of the new look. “They showed it to us at the end of the year last year and the whole team was super pumped, so we’re definitely excited to wear them.”
Toronto previously wore powder blue jerseys on the road from 1977 to 1988 and as an alternate look from 2008 to 2010, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and Chris Creamer’s sportslogos.net. The revamped uniforms share the same design as the Jays’ home white and alternate royal blue looks, with the word “Blue Jays” printed across players’ chest in split lettering and the team’s logo beneath the wording. The new uniforms boast a powder blue base complimented by navy and white lettering and piping on the sleeves and down the side of the pants.
The outfit is completed by navy blue socks and matte navy blue batting helmets. Players can choose to wear navy or royal blue cleats. The co-ordinated ball caps are navy blue with a powder blue brim.
Bichette was partial to the throwback element of the modern update, which will be worn for both home and away games.
“Probably just the old-school feel of it,” Bichette said. “I’ve never worn anything but grey or white pants in my life so I think it’ll be pretty cool.”
Bichette and his teammates will still be in grey and white much of the time, though. Toronto’s home white and alternate blue and grey options will remain a part of the Jays’ repertoire. The team’s red jersey will be specifically reserved for Canada Day, when Toronto takes on the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre.
“For years, Blue Jays fans have expressed a desire for the revival of the baby blues,” Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said in a release. “As we began thinking about what an adaptation of the old uniform could look like, we polled our current players on various designs and the response was unanimously aligned with what he have heard from fans. With that feedback, the decision was very clear.”
The uniforms were greeted with cheers and applause inside Rogers Centre on Saturday morning, while the reaction on social media was mixed.
“I love them! Reminds me of my childhood. Can’t wait to get my hands on some merch,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
Others weren’t so keen, with some people likening the new uniforms to hospital scrubs or pyjamas.
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All the uniforms include a Nike swoosh on the right lapel, after the sports apparel giant signed a 10-year deal with Major League Baseball to become the official on-field supplier. The deal, which begins in 2020, is reportedly valued at more than $1 billion (U.S.) and should bring in about $3 million year for each team, according to Forbes. Authentic and replica versions of the new jersey and cap will be available at Rogers Centre and the Toronto Eaton Centre Jays Shop locations after Winter Fest, and online starting on Feb. 1
Bichette wasn’t the only player pleased by the new look. Grichuk, Biggio and Guerrero all gave their stamp of approval. Toronto’s star slugger decided not to use his translator to give his endorsement, telling fans in English that his favourite part of the uniforms is the way his teammates look in them.
“I feel very emotional with the new uni. I like it, I love it a lot,” Guerrero said.
“I was working on that phrase all day because I really wanted to say it in English to the fans,” he said later through translator Hector Lebron. “Thankfully everything went well.”
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