Wednesday, November 10, 2010 11:01 pm
Almost two years to the day after the last big jersey reveal (November 6, 2008), the Nationals revealed another uniform redesign to a select group of fans at Nationals Park tonight. As a Twitter friend suggested, I should have "gotten my red on" and worn a sari with my name and number on the back, because if it weren't for having a media credential, I would have wanted to crash the Nationals' cocktail and fashion show Salahi-style. The event was DC's hot ticket on a Wednesday night in November.
Many season ticket holders weren't privy to the special invitation only event unless they already paid in full for 2011. You wouldn't think a uniform unveiling "fashion show" would generate so much interest, but boy did it, and I know many fans were disappointed not to get an invitation since previous events (minus the cocktails and elaborate show) were open to all. So my mission is to bring the event to you...
Guests enjoyed cocktails in the 3rd base side of the Stars & Stripes club before traversing a haunted house-like darkened hallway to the first base side and filing into chairs surrounding an elevated red runway with backdrop of blue curtains. Lights remained dim, with stage lights bordering the upper level of the Club's railing, used for full runway effect as the "models" walked.
The Nationals went full out with a fashion show runway for the player models sporting next season's jerseys. Pitcher Tyler Clippard modeled the new away jersey and hat, pitcher Jordan Zimmermann modeled the home patrioticblue alternate jersey and hat, Ian Desmond and John Lannan strutted in the new alternate home red jersey, and Ryan Zimmerman and Drew Storen topped things off in the new home whites. The models didn't twirl and strut as much as I would have liked, but some put on a few good moves. Almost all gave a little flair at the end of their runway walk to exhibit what they consider their best asset. For SS Ian Desmond, that was legs. For pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, his backside! Hilarious!
I think I have to award the Nationals Top Model award to Ian Desmond who displayed a little attitude on the stage.
Not to be outdone, Ryan Zimmerman performed a couple of twirl motions on the runway while exhibiting the biggest changes on the new home whites, now sporting a Curly W on the left replacing the block NATIONALS that previously crossed the chest. The other jerseys would take some studying to find the differences. The W and numbersname on back are red outlined in blue.
The Nationals name is no longer on any of the jerseys. The interlocking DC that graced the sleeve patch has been replaced with a Curly W as well. The easily recognized MLB "batter" icon has been added to the top of the back of every jersey as well. Piping on the sleeves of all was moved to the end of the sleeve instead of having a little space between the piping and end of sleeve.
The road and alternate bluepatriotic home blue caps are now the blue with red bill cap that was leaked on Twitter several days ago. Also, the gold accents have been removed from all uniforms.
After the runway strutting, GM Mike Rizzo said a few words and the players lined up behind him. Screech and the Racing Presidents entered the room in their own jerseys matching the redesigns and mingled with guests before ushering them back to the party side of the Stars & Stripes Club.
The best part was seeing players and familiar fans during the off-season, and fans are thankful the players took time out from their offseason life to return. It was like the band was back together, if only for a few hours one evening, with a bonus of watching MLB players pretend to be fashion models.
The new jerseys go on sale at the Nationals Team Store next to the Center Field Plaza tomorrow (Thursday, November 11). Doors open at 8 am, but there will be an autograph session with players from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. Despite jerseys appearing and disappearing from the mlb.com store, the Team Store will be the only place to purchase new jerseys through November 17th. Fans will receive 15 off the price of a new jersey when they trade in any MLB jersey at the Team Store through December 1st.
So were you there? Wish you were there? What do you think of the changes? Does it give the image of the Nationals a more unique identity? I kind of like the new home whites. The rest of the changes aren't so dramatic as to have much of an opinion on other than the patch. I had an odd thought that the new unis would leave them open to a name change at some point too. Although, by all accounts the name Nationals will remain for the foreseeable future.