Single page view By Paul Lukas
Special to Page 2

If God, as they say, is in the details, then the 2005 baseball season should be positively holy, because this year's uniform changes are super-subtle, even by Uni Watch standards. Seriously, people, we're talking a minutia fetishist's dream, a geekfest par excellence. Here's a rundown of what's in store, in roughly descending order of obsessive specificity:

• Last year, half the teams had their uniforms manufactured by Russell Athletic and the other half by Majestic. But Majestic is now handling all 30 teams, so clubs that used to have the Russell "R" logo at the base of their left sleeve will now have Majestic's stylized "M" instead. (Uni Watch's long-held position, of course, is that corporate sportswear logos don't belong on a uniform in the first place. The Yankees keep their left sleeve logo-free – why can't the other teams?)

• In a brilliantly inconspicuous move that earns Uni Watch's highest rating, the Dodgers have changed the buttons on their road jersey from blue to gray. One can only imagine the number of forms that had to be filled out in triplicate in order to facilitate this change (and if anyone has access to that paper trail, you know where to send it).

• Back in 1997, in one of the most classically sublime uni revisions of all time, the Angels broke ranks with the rest of Major League Baseball by changing their undervisor – that's the underside of the cap's brim – from gray to black. (For more background on that move, look here.) They kept the black undervisor when they overhauled their uniforms in 2002, and now they've finally got company on the dark side: The Rangers have switched to a black underbill, as well.

• The Giants have added an extremely faint gold drop shadow to their road jersey lettering. Take a good look at it here, because it's probably the only time you'll be able to see it.

• Speaking of gold detailing, the Red Sox have created a special gold-accented jersey, complete with a championship sleeve patch, which they will wear just once: on April 11, their home opener, against the Yankees. Uni Watch confesses to being a bit conflicted about this move. On the one hand, the gold highlights and patch design look pretty sharp; on the other, a one-day jersey really scales new heights in needless alterna-dressing. Also: Look closely and you'll see that the the sleeve patch has a trademark symbol after the words "World Series Champions" – which seems like, um, a bit much. Memo to the MLB legal team: Relax already.

• The Devil Rays have tweaked the typography on their road jerseys, going from this to this. (In a more salient development, they've also added a green alternate jersey.)

• The Reds have ever so slightly revised their red alternate jersey, changing from this to this.

• It's a good time to be a scorecard vendor, because as Uni Watch has previously reported, the Dodgers have removed the player names from their home and road jerseys. The Cubs recently decided to do this, too, but only at home.


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