BRENT STECKER

Mariners Odds & Ends: Uniform notes, Julio Rodríguez snub

Jan 30, 2023, 4:25 PM

Mariners Julio Rodríguez...

Julio Rodriguez reacts after being hit by a pitch during a playoff game in Toronto on Oct. 7, 2022. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

We’re just two weeks away from the Mariners reporting to spring training in Peoria, Ariz., and some things on the more fun side of baseball are beginning to leak out.

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This isn’t a traditional Mariners notebook, rather a collection of a few news items that may be of interest to fans that have little to nothing to do with the on-field Mariners product.

First up, we’re talking uniforms.

Seattle is a little less gray now

A rumored uniform change – sadly not an addition but instead a subtraction – is now official: the Mariners won’t wear gray jerseys in 2023.

This is truly a rarity in baseball where nearly every team has a gray uniform as its primary set for road games, but MLB has instituted a new rule this season where teams are limited to four primary jerseys plus a City Connect set. As reported by Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net, the Mariners made the frankly interesting choice to ditch the grays in favor of their navy blue jerseys, which will now be their primary option in road games.

As for the case when the home team, which gets to pick its uniform for each game first, decides to wear a navy jersey of its own, Seattle will carry “Northwest Green” jerseys (the ones they wear each Friday night home game) on the road as an alternate.

The Mariners had six jerseys prior to the new MLB limitation: home white, road gray, Northwest Green, navy, their Sunday home cream set, and powder blue for spring training. The powder blue jersey has also been axed, per Creamer, with Northwest Green now set to also serve as part of Seattle’s spring training uniform.

Ryan Divish, Mariners beat writer from The Seattle Times, reported that M’s senior vice president of marketing and communications Kevin Martinez said the team’s choices for its four uniforms were made “based on feedback from players and fans.”

The question now is whether the Mariners will be one of the teams to reveal a City Connect uniform in 2023. As things stand, 16 MLB teams remain that haven’t been part of the program since it began in 2021, with them all expected to add their City Connect versions either this season or next.

You need a hat in the desert

Before we completely ditch the uniform talk, a leak last week appeared to reveal the Mariners’ new spring training hats, which you can see here courtesy of Uni Watch (yes, there is more than one well-read website dedicated to sports uniform news and history).

It looks as though MLB has a theme going for every team’s spring training hat this year, which is two-tone with a white front panel and one main primary color. So with the Mariners hat, it’s navy with white – no Northwest Green, no silver.

The hats were briefly available online but subsequently removed, adding a little mystery to the whole deal.

The Julio Show? Not yet, at least

Monday came with a much anticipated announcement for fans of “MLB: The Show,” the official video game of the league. Who would be on the cover for 2023?

There was pretty heavy speculation that Mariners phenom Julio Rodríguez would receive the honor, which would have been in line with some other recent cover models who were young, breakout stars the season before like Fernando Tatís Jr. (2021), Javier Báez (2020) and Aaron Judge (2018).

Well, hope you like Jazz.

That would be Miami Marlins star Jazz Chisholm Jr. on the cover for this year’s game. Don’t get me wrong, Chisholm is an exciting player and it’s certainly a colorful cover (something The Show has seemed to have learned in recent years is a good idea to catch fans’ attention), but he’s a puzzling choice coming off a somewhat disappointing 2022 where he missed almost two-thirds of the season.

Making the choice of Chisholm that much more perplexing is that Rodríguez was the fan pick in a recent poll by MLB on FOX, which also mocked up a pretty sweet fake cover for him.

Hey, there’s always next year.

A new Mariners fan in Arizona

How about a completely random Mariners mention from the weekend? As captured by the aforementioned Kevin Martinez, Arizona men’s basketball player Ąžuolas Tubelis ended an interview after the Wildcats’ win over the UW Huskies on Saturday by stopping the interviewer because he had one more thing to say. And that was? “Go Mariners.”

Is the Lithuanian forward a Mariners fan? The word is, well, no. Instead, it sounds like he was prodded to say it by one of his coaches. Arizona’s head coach is Tommy Lloyd, who is from Kelso and was a longtime assistant at Gonzaga, but it may have actually been the suggestion of associate head coach Jack Murphy, who listed the Mariners as one of his favorite teams in an old bio on the Arizona athletics website.

Adding further intrigue to Tubelis’ comment is the fact that calling play-by-play for the game on FOX Sports was Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith.

Mariners on Seattle Sports this week

If you’re looking for more on the Mariners, we’ll have plenty in the coming days on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

• Tuesday (2 p.m.): M’s manager Scott Servais joins Wyman and Bob live in-studio
• Tuesday (7-9 p.m.): A brand new Mariners Hot Stove
• Wednesday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.): Bump and Stacy live from T-Mobile Park with M’s guests
• Thursday (8:30 a.m.): The Jerry Dipoto Show with the M’s president of baseball operations during Brock and Salk

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