(The kooky and fun-loving Matt Garza in the new 2014 BP / ST jersey. Image: AP)
Way back in October, Paul Lukas of Uni Watch provided a glimpse at MLB’s new 2014 batting practice / spring training jerseys. According to Lukas, MLB cycles these changes over a period of years. It’s a bit difficult to find much information about Brewers spring training uniforms prior to the early 2000s, but it looks to be a pretty solid bet that since the Brewers moved over to the National League in 1998, they have worn the cursive-script “Brewers” logos across their chests in spring training much as they have in the regular season.
Below is a representative example of past years’ Brewers “practice” jerseys on SportsLogos.net, which is a fun site to browse if you have some time to kill.
I was struck by the Brewers’ new jerseys this spring because I had forgotten about the Uni Watch story and expected to see the traditional “Brewers” script in white lettering. Consider me pleasantly surprised to see the script “M” with the barley instead, on the upper left breast. A lot of teams are trending toward this style of jersey recently, and if you look around, half of the teams in the league have adopted it for spring training at the least. For a regular season example, the Kansas City Royals will sport it in 2014 as an alternate road jersey.
I wouldn’t necessarily advise the Brewers wear these new ones on a regular basis, but I think they’re a great alternate take for spring training and batting practice. The concept is appreciably different. Certainly, a lot of MLB designs take merchandise sales into account in their creation, but the changes in the 2014 version of BP / ST jerseys are a tad more worthwhile for a fan to shell out some cash because they’re distinct. Prior-year spring training jerseys were notable for little more than having some gold striping on the sides or under the armpits. There was little motivation in that for a fan to buy a spring training jersey rather than an official regular season one.
In addition to the new practice / spring jerseys, the Brewers carry over their white-brimmed spring training hats from 2013. A little jarring at times, these hats nevertheless nicely accent the “M” logo, which is done in a reverse blue. The Brewers also have a throwback Ball and Glove version for spring training. They had a white-brimmed Ball and Glove hat for spring training last year, although I never saw them wearing it. It’s unclear on what schedule or whose whim the team breaks out the Ball and Glove in spring training. Leave it to the Brewers to be the only team in either the Grapefruit or Cactus leagues to have a throwback uniform as an alternate spring jersey instead of a typical “home” and “road” split. By no means am I saying it’s a bad thing; just quirky.
The Brewers’ new spring look is a clean, simple and refreshing take on a practice jersey. It doesn’t quite look “official” enough to be worn during the regular season, but it’s a cool way to highlight the team’s logo and take a break from the standard jersey they wear throughout the year.
For info on which Brewers are wearing which numbers in these new duds, check out The Brewer Nation's "Brewers by the (Jersey) Numbers" series. Fun fact: the modern baseball-related association with the word “jersey” originates from one of the Channel Islands. The islands of Jersey and Guernsey are the biggest of this group of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel. Various garments took on their names because of the famous knitting industry that started there as far back as the 15th century.
I couldn’t help but include the picture below from Wikipedia, featuring “Guernseymen” wearing their guernseys in Guernsey.