BALTIMORE -- Even if they don't add a couple of high-priced free agents, the Baltimore Orioles will have a new look next season.
For the first time since 1972, the Orioles will wear the script word "Baltimore" across the front of their gray road jerseys. At home and away, the left sleeve will be adorned by a circular patch featuring the pattern of the multicolored Maryland state flag.
Other uniform changes unveiled Wednesday include:
" A wide, orange strip replaces the thin black stripe on the sleeve and pants.
" The script word "Baltimore" and the new patch on the sleeves of the alternate black jerseys, which will be used occasionally on the road for the first time.
" New bullpen jackets that display the throwback logo of a cartoon bird swinging a bat.
" A makeover for the oriole on the cap.
The idea was to combine the past, present and future to create uniforms that will be -- well, more uniform.
"If we are taking the field in Baltimore, in Seattle or in Fort Lauderdale for spring training, people will know it's the Orioles," said Greg Bader, director of communications for the team. "There's an element of consistency in style and overall appearance."
After the Senators left Washington in 1971, the Orioles dropped all references to Baltimore on their uniforms to make the team more appealing to baseball fans in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. Washington has its own team now, so the Orioles are making a pronounced effort to represent Baltimore and the state of Maryland.
"We just feel that now is the time to make a change," Bader said. "[Owner] Peter Angelos felt very strongly that we give the fans what they want, and that we do so in a manner that is also helpful to the club."
The NFL's Baltimore Ravens have a logo that includes the Maryland state flag, and now the Orioles do, too. The pattern on the new patch is surrounded by an orange border with the words "ORIOLES BASEBALL" on the road and "BALTIMORE ORIOLES" at home.
On the road, the right sleeve bears the word "Orioles" in small script. At home, the word on the right sleeve is "Baltimore."
"We want to make sure the word Baltimore is referenced in all the jerseys," Bader said.
The bird on the cap has undergone a subtle change. The hint of yellow on the Oriole has been replaced by silver, and the bird's fuller look and curved feet make it appear to be less stationary.
The team's official logo and letterhead features the new oriole perched on the letter "i" on the script lettering, but the green and yellow baseball diamond that used to serve as a background has been eliminated.
"The idea was to create a more contemporary, cleaner, more consistent look across all spectrums -- our logos, our business cards, our jerseys," Bader said.
The Orioles also dumped their pale orange batting practice jerseys, and for the first time will have BP jerseys at home and away. The orange home jersey has the "Orioles" script outlined in white; on the road, "Baltimore" is written across the front of the black jersey.
Both have the name and number on the back. The intent is to make them viable for use in games.