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Whew! That was a close one.

The New York Yankees -- wearers of pinstripes, owners of the most identifiable uniform in American sports, and so wealthy their sleeves should come with gold cuff links -- nearly went down to defeat at the hands of the budget-conscious Athletics, who gave baseball yellow and green uniforms.

#UniBattle

Yes, it's true. The Yankees' famous NY logo was nearly beaten by the Athletics' elephant patch in a second-round matchup so close that Nate Silver could not have been able to call it. After a nip-and-tuck battle, the Yankees finally escaped with a slender 51-49 percent victory to advance to Wednesday's quarterfinals.

It was a tough day for Bay Area fans, who lost another squeaker when the Giants lost 51-49 to the Pirates. It seems the Bay Area needs to expand its population base just a bit.

The rest of the battles were won by fairly wide margins, including the battle of the Soxes (Boston beat Chicago). That sets up an interesting matchup with another battle in the never-ending Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. Good luck, guys, and remember: Bloody socks matter only if the voters can see them.

That isn't the only matchup of teams with old-school classic looks, though. The No. 1-seeded Tigers, who still are dressed roughly the way they were when Al Kaline was in right field, take on the Cinderellas of the bracket, the No. 13-seeded Orioles, who handily beat the Royals.

Over in the National League, the No. 1-seeded Cardinals will take on the Pirates, with the Dodgers and Cubs going head to head. This has not been a great season for either Los Angeles or Chicago, but at least one of those teams will win this round.

Who will advance to the Final Four? That's up to you. Polls are open until 9 a.m. ET Thursday morning.

--Jim Caple

Mobile users: To vote, click here.

Jim Caple bracket: American League


(1) Tigers vs. (13) Orioles

Will the Tigers eat the birds? Or will the Orioles fly away to victory?

SportsNation

(2) Yankees vs. (6) Red Sox

So we have yet another battle between these bitter rivals. The winner of this battle may be the uniform with the fewest blood stains.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    51%
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    49%

Discuss (Total votes: 62,474)

Paul Lukas bracket: National League


(1) Cardinals vs. (4) Pirates

Fun fact: Cardinals team president Bill DeWitt III is heavily involved in the team's uniform decision-making. Gotta love that level of passion!

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    56%
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    44%

Discuss (Total votes: 60,629)


(2) Cubs vs. (6) Dodgers

The Cubbies may finally have a championship within their grasp, even if it's only in the uniform bracket.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    51%
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    49%

Discuss (Total votes: 60,467)

Battle of the Uniforms seedings

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Bryce Harper is full of vim and vigor and several other abstract concepts indicating that, at least on the field, he plays with a certain amount of energy. This is mostly a good thing, but when it causes him to run face-first into a wall, it's something of an impediment. Put it this way: This is the second wall Harper has run into this season. We don't think we've run into two walls in our entire lives. Fortunately for Nationals fans, Harper's injuries seem mild, but the last thing anyone wants to see is baseball's phenom hurting himself by pulling yet another Wile E. Coyote impression.

Join the conversation or respond by signing in or creating a profile and blogging.

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As a wise man once said, "Vote early and often." And that's exactly what baseball fans did Monday, as the first-round balloting in the Battle of the Uniforms attracted an enthusiastic electorate and gave us some interesting results.

The Yankees' uniforms trouncing the Indians' look? No surprise there. Ditto for the Phillies over the Diamondbacks and the Giants over the Rockies, among others. Still, there were some mild upsets, such as the Twins beating the Angels and, in the biggest eyebrow raiser of the first round, the Nationals beating the Mets.

That Nats-Mets outcome was the closest race of the first round, with Washington prevailing by 55 percent to 45 percent. Most of the other contests were blowouts. Look at some of these numbers:

• Orioles over Astros, 79 percent to 21 percent.

• Red Sox over Mariners, 73 percent to 27 percent.

• Pirates over Marlins, 81 percent to 19 percent.

And so on. The biggest landslide? The Cubbies trounced the Padres by a whopping 86 percent to 14 percent, offering convincing proof that San Diego needs to go back to the drawing board and get some new uniforms (and giving beleaguered Cubs fans a little morsel of success to feel good about).

#UniBattle

As for the second round, there are some intriguing matchups. In the American League, Boston faces off against Chicago -- a battle of the Sox! And in the National League, the Pirates and Giants will be reminding people that they were wearing black long before it became a trendy color.

The most interesting pairing in this round, though, finds the Yankees, the ultimate example of old-fashioned aesthetic tradition, facing the A's, whose green-and-gold look ushered in baseball's Technicolor era. It's old-school versus new-school. Too bad George Steinbrenner and Charlie Finley aren't around to witness it -- they'd likely be voting along with the rest of us.

--Paul Lukas

Note: Second-round polls close at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday, and the next round begins shortly thereafter.

Mobile users: To vote, click here.

Jim Caple bracket: American League


(1) Tigers vs. (9) Twins

Can one D beat a T and a C (plus an occasional M)? It can if it's old English.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    71%
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    29%

Discuss (Total votes: 56,468)


(2) Yankees vs. (10) Athletics

It cost roughly $200 million to dress the Yankees in their pinstripes. The Athletics went to a thrift shop but still look @#&% awesome.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    51%
  •  
    49%

Discuss (Total votes: 56,259)


(3) White Sox vs. (6) Red Sox

Sigh. If only these two teams wore their pant legs high enough that we would actually see the socks that are the entire basis for their names.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    40%
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    60%

Discuss (Total votes: 55,219)


(5) Royals vs. (13) Orioles

Great battle between Royals blue and the Orioles' vibrant orange. And you know Buck Showalter will make sure their caps are on straight.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    38%
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    62%

Discuss (Total votes: 55,341)

Paul Lukas bracket: National League


(1) Cardinals vs. (8) Braves

Which jersey prop is stronger: the tomahawk or the bat?

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    61%
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    39%

Discuss (Total votes: 56,330)


(2) Cubs vs. (10) Nationals

An established veteran against an up-and-comer. The smart money's on the veteran.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    70%
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    30%

Discuss (Total votes: 54,791)


(3) Phillies vs. (6) Dodgers

Two classic looks here. A pity that one of them will have to lose.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    35%
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    65%

Discuss (Total votes: 54,882)


(4) Pirates vs. (5) Giants

Interesting pairing here: black and orange versus black and gold.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    51%
  •  
    49%

Discuss (Total votes: 56,031)

Battle of the Uniforms seedings

Comment »


Jerry Seinfeld famously said that because of the way players constantly change teams and teams occasionally change cities, sports fans are actually rooting for clothes.

"You are standing and cheering and yelling for your clothes to beat the clothes from another city," he said. "Fans will be so in love with a player, but if he goes to another team, they boo him. This is the same human being in a different shirt, but they hate him now. 'Booo!!! It's a different shirt! Booo!!!!'"

Well, he's right about that. We do root for clothes. And against clothes. As well we should. If Yankees pinstripes or red socks or Dodger blue or, worst of all, those powder blue alternate Royals tops don't get your blood boiling, then you're not a true fan.

#UniBattle

Which is why we're holding our Battle of the Uniforms. As Seinfeld said, what is most important is not the player but what the player is wearing. And no, we're not just talking about Kevin Youkilis, but that's a good example.

It's the uniform that is most important. After all, your team may stink. It may not have had a winning record in 20 years. It may not have reached the postseason in your lifetime. It may not have reached the World Series in your grandparents' lifetimes. But chances are your closet is still overflowing with your team's replica jerseys that you proudly wear to the ballpark, the office or the nightclub.

We can look at the standings and know which teams are on top, but which teams have the best uniforms? Which designs have stood the test of time, and which are as dated as the grunge look? Do you prefer the classic look of Detroit's old English "D" on the chest and the Yankees pinstripes? Or do you appreciate the South Beach neon look of the Marlins' jerseys? Should the bill of a cap be as profoundly curved as Christina Hendricks or as flat as the Marlins' offense? Should socks be visible to midcalf, to the knee, or tucked under baggy pants legs?

All this is for you to decide. We've seeded all 30 teams based on their standard home and road uniforms and placed them in a bracket. Throughout the week, you'll have new matchups to vote on each day until only one uniform is left standing. We'll announce the winner next Monday.

Until then, we'll also provide stories and lists about such things as what caused the god-awful '70s look, the rules for when and how to wear replica jerseys, and the good, the bad and the ugly of uniforms throughout the decades.

So check out the bracket. Read our style analysis. Vote for your favorite uniforms. Vote against the ones you hate. And keep checking back each day to see which teams advance and who ultimately tops your best-dressed list.

One request: We know people can get pretty passionate about uniforms, but please keep things civil. If the fashion police can't maintain order, we may have to call in the security in those Padres camouflage jerseys.

--Jim Caple

Note: Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals have first-round byes; first-round polls close at
9 a.m. Tuesday, and the next round begins shortly thereafter.

Mobile users: To vote, click here.

Jim Caple bracket: American League


(2) Yankees vs. (15) Indians

With one of sports' greatest logos (the Tiffany-designed NY) pitted against one of the worst (Chief Wahoo), this battle should be as lopsided as the trade that sent Graig Nettles from Cleveland to New York.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    70%
  •  
    30%

Discuss (Total votes: 193,377)


(3) White Sox vs. (14) Rangers

With that great SOX design across the chest, this should be a much more favorable matchup for Robin Ventura against Texas than when he charged Nolan Ryan.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    67%
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    33%

Discuss (Total votes: 188,374)


(4) Astros vs. (13) Orioles

The Orioles would stand a much better chance if this were the late 1970s and early '80s when their white-front cap style was in fashion and the Astros were wearing rainbows.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    21%
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    79%

Discuss (Total votes: 189,013)


(5) Royals vs. (12) Rays

K.C. should win this matchup … unless the Royals wear their powder blue alternate tops or Joe Maddon comes up with another great road-inspired costume theme for his players to wear.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    73%
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    27%

Discuss (Total votes: 185,729)


(6) Red Sox vs. (11) Mariners

Have to favor the old classic Red Sox look in this matchup, unless Seattle's King Felix shows up wearing his crown and velvet robe.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    73%
  •  
    27%

Discuss (Total votes: 189,031)


(7) Blue Jays vs. (10) Athletics

The Jays should win this matchup. Then again, the Jays should look a lot better in their uniforms this year than they have so far. But never underestimate the power of an elephant.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    33%
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    67%

Discuss (Total votes: 188,059)


(8) Twins vs. (9) Angels

In the logo battle between TC and the haloed A, the Twin Cities of Minnesota get a slight edge over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    40%
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    60%

Discuss (Total votes: 78,485)

Paul Lukas bracket: National League


(2) Cubs vs. (15) Padres

A gorgeous, time-tested look versus a generic slate of blandness. Feels like a mismatch, right? But hey, upsets are always possible.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    86%
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    14%

Discuss (Total votes: 187,159)


(3) Phillies vs. (14) Diamondbacks

Old-school versus new-school: The Phillies have had only two different uni templates since 1950; the Diamondbacks had two different uni templates within their first decade of existence.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    73%
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    27%

Discuss (Total votes: 185,709)


(4) Pirates vs. (13) Marlins

Let's say you're a baseball player, and you can be drafted by the Pirates or the Marlins. Either way, you're gonna lose a lot of games. But wouldn't you rather lose them in that nice Pirates uni?

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    81%
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    19%

Discuss (Total votes: 186,409)


(5) Giants vs. (12) Rockies

Fun fact: The Rockies are the only MLB team that currently wears purple. But it may take more than that to defeat the classic look of the defending World Series champs.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    76%
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    24%

Discuss (Total votes: 185,812)


(6) Dodgers vs. (11) Brewers

Say this much for the Brewers: They sure have a lot of uniforms (home, road, home alternate, road alternate, throwback, Spanish, Polish, Negro League, etc.). But does quantity equal quality?

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    77%
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    23%

Discuss (Total votes: 185,844)


(7) Mets vs. (10) Nationals

Granted, any uniform looks better when Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper is wearing it. But the Mets' look still feels more natural, while the Nats' feels forced.

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    45%
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    55%

Discuss (Total votes: 184,757)


(8) Braves vs. (9) Reds

Subtlest uni change of this season: The Braves changed the belt tunnel piping on their alternate road pants from red to blue. Will that garner any additional votes?

SportsNation

Which set of uniforms is best?

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    61%
  •  
    39%

Discuss (Total votes: 187,168)

Battle of the Uniforms seedings

Comment »

The word of the day is "Natitude." The buzz around the Washington Nationals was at a fever pitch as their two phenoms -- Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg -- delivered in a big way Monday against the Marlins. Harper became the youngest player in the live-ball era to hit two home runs on Opening Day, while Strasburg gave up a leadoff single then sat down the next 19 Marlins in a row. Which young star impressed you more? Cast your votes!


No clownin' around

Bryce Harper is "on pace" for 324 home runs. He'll probably cool down considerably from that, but the 20-year-old is still primed for a big season.

SportsNation

How many home runs will Bryce Harper hit in 2013?

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    21%
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    56%
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    16%
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    7%

Discuss (Total votes: 54,796)


Dynamic duo

The Nationals won 2-0 on Opening Day, with Bryce Harper providing the offense and Stephen Strasburg handling most of the pitching.

SportsNation

Which Nationals player had the more impressive performance on Opening Day?

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    45%
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    55%

Discuss (Total votes: 97,112)

Comment »