SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners City Connect Breakdown: The story behind new uniforms

Apr 28, 2023, 8:01 AM | Updated: 10:03 am

The Seattle Mariners’ Nike City Connect Uniforms have been unveiled, and one thing is certain – they do not fall into the category of “same old Mariners.”

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“We wanted to take Seattle baseball past and package it up in a way, in a look that would be a bold and forceful,” said Kevin Martinez, Mariners senior vice president of marketing & communications. “A look to represent this team that we have and signify that this is really a special era of Mariners baseball we are going into. Let’s embrace our past but look forward.”

The eagerly anticipated City Connect uniforms, the jerseys and hats of which will be available for purchase at MLBShop.com or in person at the Mariners’ team stores, will make their debut on Friday, May 5 when the Mariners host the Astros at T-Mobile Park.

What are the Seattle Mariners’ City Connect uniforms?

Since 2021, Nike has been working with MLB teams to create uniforms that express the personality and communities of the team’s home city. The Mariners will be the 17th club to introduce their City Connect uniforms. Each uniform is unique, a collaboration between Nike and the teams. Some, like the Colorado Rockies, who feature the Rocky Mountains on their jersey, focus on the geography. Others, like the Boston Red Sox, who honor the Boston Marathon, focus on events.

For the Mariners, who began working with Nike designers in early 2021 on these uniforms, it was about a nod to the past and a look to the future. The result? Bold design with nuanced accents, a total package unlike anything the Mariners have been seen in previously.

“This is going to grab people’s attention,” said Martinez.

The color palate does just that: Rush Blue, Sundown and Amarillo – if you look closely, you recognize the Mariners’ and Seattle Pilots’ original colors.

Then there is the black, perhaps the biggest surprise in the unveiling.

“We talked to Nike about the (Pacific Coast League’s Seattle) Rainiers, the (Negro League) Steelheads, and they sparked to the black and that’s when they started to infuse the colors together,” said Martinez. “The designers were really convincing in the infusion of the black into some of these more familiar colors and infusing them all together to really create an aggressive new look.”

How the Mariners’ uniforms honor the past

The uniform is chock full of nods and nuances as the Mariners had fun exploring all the little details they could use to pay homage to Seattle baseball in a modern way.

The font of the jersey lettering is evocative of the Pilots, who played a lone MLB season in Seattle in 1969 (they moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers the next year). The drop shadow on the lettering and numbers is a tribute to the 1955 PCL champion Seattle Rainiers. The “PNW” patch is evocative of the Rainiers, with a sneaky inclusion of the “scrambled eggs” or leaf embellishment from the Pilots caps to honor the maritime and aviation industries of the region.

The Mariners believed that no City Connect jersey would be complete without an homage to Hall of Fame Mariners voice Dave Niehaus, and that can be found in his signature “My Oh My” slogan above the jersey jock tag. A fun detail can be found inside the collar with the words “Sodo Mojo” above two crossed tridents – facing up – to celebrate the SoDo neighborhood where the team has played for its entire history, both at the Kingdome (which is how SoDo, derived from “South of the Dome,” got its name) and T-Mobile Park.

This leads us to the one item some may find controversial with the uniform. The hat features the down-turned “M” trident logo. Perhaps the crossed, upturned tridents on the jersey will ward off any possible bad luck, which some believe is carried by the original trident logo (good luck runs out when pointed down, like with horseshoes).

The cap, which features a black visor for the first time ever, is popular with the players.

The Mariners will wear these uniforms on Fridays at home beginning with the May 5 game. Every three years, they will have the opportunity to create a new City Connect uniform with Nike if they wish. In the future, we could see a uniform honoring the geography or perhaps a Hall of Famer.

For the first City Connect uniform, Martinez believed it was important that a big part of the focus be on the players who currently wear them.

“We really wanted a celebration of baseball,” he said. “We felt (that) we have got this rich history, but in looking at the composition of our team, the players that were on our team at that time and the players we knew who were coming, we really wanted to design a uniform that celebrated our game but was also bold, forceful, a new energy around this team. It was a real opportunity.”

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