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The 2018 Uni Watch MLB preview has every commemorative patch to every color change and more



If you’re the kind of person who gets misty-eyed about anniversaries, you’re going to love the 2018 MLB season. Eight teams will be marking various anniversaries via sleeve patches (it’s not clear if this is a single-season record, but it’s definitely in the running), and another team is marking an anniversary with its season-ticket designs.

In addition to all of the anniversary patches, we have the usual assortment of new alternate uniforms, holiday uniforms, throwback uniforms and more. With the regular season set to begin March 29, here’s our annual rundown of what you can expect to see on the field this season, broken down by team.

Ready? Here we go.

National League East

• You probably won’t even notice it, but the Braves have made some extremely subtle tweaks to their color scheme (additional info here).

• The Marlins are celebrating their 25th anniversary this season and are marking the occasion with a sleeve patch:

In addition, the Marlins will honor their inaugural season by wearing 1993 throwbacks for a three-game series against the Padres on June 8-10.

Mets: No announced changes or news.

• The Nationals have a new alternate jersey. It’s officially listed as navy, but it looks almost black in photographs. It also features a chest script that’s oriented at what seems to be a rather severe uphill diagonal:

In addition, the Nats are the hosts of this year’s All-Star Game, so they’re wearing commemorative patches on their jerseys and caps.

• Fun news out of Philadelphia, where the Phillies will wear 1970s-1980s powder-blue throwbacks for select Thursday home games (the exact dates haven’t been announced yet). Of course, the powder blues were originally worn on the road, so it’ll be a bit odd to see the Phillies wearing that design at home, but the fans should get a kick out of it.

Also: The Phils are one of the latest teams to go with a raised batting-helmet logo:

Also-also: Pitcher Pat Neshek is poised to become the first player in MLB history — yes, all of MLB history! — to wear No. 93. He wore No. 17 last season.

And speaking of numbers, the Phils will not issue No. 34 this season, out of respect for the late Roy Halladay. No word about a memorial patch.

National League Central

• No on-field changes for the Brewers. But in a bookkeeping move, they’ve taken their script M mark, which had been their secondary logo, and designated it as their primary logo.

Also: Third-base coach Ed Sedar decided to give No. 6, which he had been wearing, to newly acquired outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Sedar considered switching to No. 80, because it sounds like Eddie, but he ultimately decided to go with No. 0. It’s not clear whether any other MLB third-base coach has ever worn that number, but it’s definitely uncommon.

Also-also: The Brewers have made an annual habit of wearing Negro League throwbacks for one game each season. While this year’s game has not yet been announced, reports out of Denver indicate that it will take place at some point during a series against the Rockies on Aug. 3-5, with the Rockies wearing throwback uniforms as well.

• No uniform changes this year for the Cardinals (which is good, because their uni set is just about perfect), but we have a single-digit pitcher alert for Luke Weaver, who wore No. 62 last year but is going with No. 7 this season. It’s the same number he wore while playing at Florida State.

• No announced uniform changes this year for the Cubs, but their promotional schedule indicates that they’ll be doing a jersey giveaway of the awesome late-’70s reverse-pinstripe design on July 24, so maybe they’ll be wearing throwbacks that day. Hope so!

Meanwhile: It’s worth noting that pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng, who wore No. 39 last year, has switched to No. 1 this year. Tseng is unlikely to make the Cubs’ final roster cut. But if he gets called up during the season and continues to wear No. 1, that would give the Cubbies the highly unusual roster distinction of having two pitchers with single-digit numbers (the other one being Carl Edwards Jr., who wears No. 6).

• Most MLB teams have been cutting back on the camouflage over the past couple of years. That trend continues in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates have scrapped their camouflage alternate jersey and replaced it with the olive-accented design that was worn for Memorial Day last year.

• The Reds are following the same script as the Pirates: Camo is out, olive is in.

Also: It’s not every team that has two separate baseball-head mascots, both of which are in current use, but that’s the case with the Reds:

National League West

• The Diamondbacks are marking their 20th anniversary this season, and they’re marking it with an anniversary logo:

The logo will be worn as a cap patch during the D-backs’ season-opening homestand and as a sleeve patch for the entire season.

Also, the D-backs will wear six different throwback uniforms at various points in the season. (And no, that’s not even close to a record — the Cubs had 10 throwbacks in 2014.)

The D-backs are also dialing back their headwear portfolio by eliminating two caps with their old “D” logo:

• The Dodgers are commemorating the 60th anniversary of moving from Brooklyn to Los Angeles with a very nice sleeve patch:

• The Dodgers weren’t the only team that relocated from the Big Apple to the Golden State in 1958. The Giants did as well, so of course they have their own patch to mark the anniversary.

The Giants are also going with a really cool format for their season tickets:

• If you were hoping for the Padres to restore brown and gold as their primary team colors — or to make any other significant uniform changes, for that matter — don’t hold your breath. It won’t be happening until at least 2020.

Meanwhile, on the equipment front, Padres catcher Austin Hedges has been experimenting with an unusual spring-cushioned mask:

• Anniversary patches tend to be round or diamond-shaped, but the Rockies are breaking the mold somewhat by going with a square patch for their 25th anniversary.

The anniversary logo will also appear on a new cap with a silver “CR” insignia:

Finally, although nothing has yet been publicly announced, reports indicate that the Rockies will wear Negro League throwbacks at some point during an early-August series in Milwaukee. Stay tuned.

The Rockies also have a new scoreboard, which is significantly larger than the old one (additional info here):

American League East

• The Blue Jays have added a “32” memorial patch, nicely rendered in their number font, for Roy Halladay.

Orioles: No reported changes or news.

• The Rays are marking the franchise’s 20th anniversary this year (although they were called the Devil Rays back in the day) and have lots of uni-related items on tap, beginning with a home-plate-shaped sleeve patch.

In addition, the Rays will wear 1998 throwbacks, featuring the team’s infamous rainbow-gradation chest lettering, for four games. The dates are March 31 (20 years to the day after the franchise’s first game), June 9, June 23 and Sept. 8.

• Nothing new this season for the Red Sox, but you can expect to see their “Boston Strong” uniform making its annual appearance on Patriots’ Day, which is April 16 this year.

Yankees: No announced changes or news.

American League Central

• Nothing new for the Indians this season, but there will definitely be changes in 2019, when the team will be retiring its controversial Chief Wahoo logo.

• The Royals are celebrating their 50th season by adding patches to their jerseys and caps. Would’ve been better if they waited until their 50th anniversary, because the 1969-2019 date range would have been more satisfying (that’s the difference between an anniversary and an ordinal, kids), but it’s still a handsome patch design.

Also: The Royals always honor the Negro Leagues by wearing Kansas City Monarchs throwbacks for at least one game each season. This year’s game will be on May 6, and the throwback cap has been revealed, with the full uniform to follow shortly:

• For half a century now, the old English D logos on the Tigers’ jerseys and caps have not matched. Some fans have viewed this as an annoying inconsistency; others (including your friendly uniform columnist) have seen it as an endearing eccentricity. Either way, the team’s uniforms will now be uniform, because the cap logo is going to be used on the jersey. In addition, the logo on the cap is being enlarged (additional info here).

Also: Two members of this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame class are former Tigers, and the team is retiring both of their numbers. Jack Morris’ No. 47 will be retired Aug. 12, and Alan Trammell’s No. 3 will receive the honor Aug. 26. Additional info here.

Also-also: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Tigers’ 1968 World Series title, so the team turned to ace graphic designer Todd Radom to celebrate the ’68 squad on this year’s season tickets (additional info here).

• The Twins are another team embracing the new trend toward matte-finished batting helmets with raised logos. The feeling here is that it looks pretty good:

Also: Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez has taken No. 57 as a salute to fellow Venezuelan and former Twins great Johan Santana. Rodriguez previously wore No. 52.

White Sox: No announced changes or news.

American League West

• Has it really been 50 years since the A’s moved from Kansas City to Oakland? They’re wearing a new sleeve patch to mark the anniversary.

In addition, the A’s have new Kelly green alternate jerseys and caps, which they’ll be wearing for Friday home games. Interestingly, the jerseys have an “Oakland” insignia — unusual for an A’s home design (additional photos here).

• No design changes this season for the Angels, but it’s worth noting that superstar Mike Trout is the latest high-profile player to add the C-Flap face guard to his helmet:

The C-Flap will also be getting a lot more exposure this year via Giancarlo Stanton, who’ll have a much higher profile as a member of the Yankees. We’ll take a closer look at the C-Flap’s unusual and little-known history in an upcoming Uni Watch column.

• As has become standard practice for defending World Series champs, the Astros will celebrate their title by breaking out a set of gold uniforms. They’ll wear them for the first two home games of the season — April 2 and 3.

• The Mariners switched to matte-finish batting helmets last season, so it was surprising to see them wearing the glossies for Cactus League games this month. Turns out that’s just a spring training thing, because they already had the old helmets on hand at their spring facilities. They’ll go back to the matte helmets when the regular season starts.

And speaking of M’s headwear: Some people think the team’s latest BP cap, which has been worn throughout spring training, is bad luck. Manager Scott Servais doesn’t necessarily disagree and says the M’s might stop wearing the cap when the regular season starts.

Rangers: No announced changes or news.

Additional Notes

• As usual, all uniformed personnel will wear No. 42 for Jackie Robinson Day on April 15. But this year there’s a new wrinkle: A “42” patch will appear on jerseys and caps.

• Teams will once again wear commemorative uniforms for various holiday weekends, although MLB is easing off the accelerator a bit this year. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, for example, will still feature pink and blue caps, respectively, but teams will wear their regular jersey designs this time around (with pink and blue ribbons), instead of the pink- and blue-lettered jerseys we’ve seen in recent years.

The design for Memorial Day is extremely similar to the one from last year, albeit with darker caps:

And the Independence Day uniforms are similar to those from last year, with a few tweaks, including the addition of “We the People” to the caps’ underbrims — which, unfortunately, does not really have anything to do with Independence Day.

And, of course, all of these holiday uniforms will include matching sock designs, at least for the players who choose to go high-cuffed.

• No official word yet on the All-Star Game BP jerseys or game caps, but the designs appear to have leaked via a video game:

And here’s an additional All-Star uni quirk to keep in mind: Although this year’s Midsummer Classic is being played at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., the National League will be the visiting team, and NL players will wear their road uniforms. That’s because there was a spate of NL teams that got new stadiums in recent years and wanted to host the game, but the designated home league alternates each season, regardless of which stadium is hosting it. (The same thing happened in 2016, when the game was played in San Diego but the American League was the home team.)

• Although nothing has yet been announced, it’s likely that Players Weekend, which debuted last August and featured brightly colored pullover jerseys with nicknames on the back, will be back for another installment this year. Stay tuned.

• With MLB instituting new rules limiting the number of mound visits, expect to see catchers respond by wearing playcalling wristbands.

• Following the lead of a few teams from last year, all 30 MLB clubs will have extended protective netting in their ballparks for 2018.

• Finally, if you want to look ahead to next year, Under Armour will be taking over the MLB uniform contract from Majestic, and the Under Armour logo will be appearing on the chest of each jersey (similar to the look in college baseball), not on the sleeves like the Majestic logo. So if you’re not a fan of the increasing encroachment of corporate logos on team uniforms, enjoy this season while you can.

And there you have it. Did we miss anything? If so, you know what to do. Now let’s play ball.

Paul Lukas wishes the Tigers had changed their cap logo to match the jersey logo instead of the other way around. If you like this column, you’ll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook and sign up for his mailing list so you’ll always know when a new column has been posted. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, check out his Uni Watch merchandise or just ask him a question? Contact him here.

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Oakland A’s clinch third straight playoff berth, but ‘a lot bigger goals’ remain



OAKLAND, Calif. — An AL West title will mean so much more than simply clinching a playoff berth given how the past two seasons have gone for the Oakland Athletics.

Then, the A’s might let loose and celebrate a little. But not just yet.

They secured a third straight playoff berth with Seattle’s loss to San Diego and a 6-0 win against the San Francisco Giants on Friday night, highlighted by Matt Olson‘s three-run homer.

“Clinching the playoffs is the goal every single year. Exciting, but winning the division I think is going to be a lot better for us,” winning pitcher Chris Bassitt said. “It was literally another win. We have a lot bigger goals.”

The A’s scoreboard read “Postseason Bound” high above the cardboard cutouts of fans filling the Oakland Coliseum.

Oakland is in the playoffs for the sixth time in nine seasons and now shifts its attention to the division title, which could be locked up Saturday. The A’s haven’t won the West since 2013, winning 97 games each of the past two seasons to finish in second place behind Houston and before losing the AL wild-card game both years.

Olson connected in the third inning of a balanced offensive attack for the A’s in the opener of the second round of the 2020 Bay Bridge Series.

Jake Lamb‘s RBI single in the first staked Bassitt to a quick lead. The right-hander struck out seven over 6 2/3 innings to win his third straight start.

“He’s been absolutely terrific,” manager Bob Melvin said, “probably as consistent as we’ve had all year.”

Tommy La Stella and Marcus Semien also singled in runs for the A’s, who finally got a day off Thursday following a grueling stretch with 16 games in 13 days with three doubleheaders.

San Francisco hardly had to travel far to continue its road trip. The Giants were scheduled for games in Seattle earlier this week but smoke from all the West Coast wildfires created dangerous air quality and the clubs instead played at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Wednesday and Thursday. `

The A’s played a Monday doubleheader in Seattle, and players expressed concern about the air.

“The air quality is much better than we last saw it here, it certainly is better than Seattle, too,” Melvin said.

Right fielder Stephen Piscotty missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right knee. The A’s were going to put him through batting practice to determine his status for Saturday.

Also, right-hander Daniel Mengden was medically cleared from a positive COVID-19 test Aug. 28. He has been asymptomatic throughout and resumed throwing off the mound at the club’s San Jose alternate site Friday. He is slated for a simulated game Saturday.

Left-hander Jesus Luzardo starts for the A’s on Saturday afternoon, looking to end a four-start winless stretch in which he is 0-2.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols passes Willie Mays on all-time home run list



ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas.

The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with one out in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.

Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.

It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

The Angels quickly congratulated Pujols on Twitter.

Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.

Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more (449).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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St. Louis Cardinals put pitcher Dakota Hudson on IL with forearm strain



The St. Louis Cardinals have placed right-hander Dakota Hudson on the 10-day injured list with a strained right forearm.

Hudson left his start Thursday night after two innings due to what he described as discomfort in his right arm.

The 26-year-old is 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in eight starts this season.

St. Louis added right-handed reliever Nabil Crismatt to take Hudson’s roster spot. Crismatt has a 3.24 ERA in 8 1/3 innings over six appearances this season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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