For the second year in a row, I've had the privilege of attending a few spring training games in Fort Myers, Florida. In addition to being a fan watching mostly the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins, it's my goal to get a head start on any developing trends at the MLB umpire level that might eventually trickle down to all levels below where we do most of our business.
A very special thanks to MLB umpire Marvin Hudson who provided me not only with a daily ticket, but more importantly for his time in sitting down and chatting with me.
I may share thoughts on other things in a later post, but the one thought that sticks out in my mind are the new Majestic Umpire Shirts the MLB guys are wearing at spring training and will be at a major league park near you starting this year for the regular season.
New Majestic Umpire Shirts
I was previously aware Majestic was outfitting the MLB umpires with a new style of umpire shirt and had only seen pics until this week. Not only was I able to observe each of the two colors they'll be sporting this year from the stands, I was also able to get my hands on one of the shirts and see it up-close.
The new style shirts are lighter in weight and have more mesh (not an open mesh but just very breathable and slightly see through) than the current Majestic styles. Aesthets is the where the largest of differences occur as the new shirts have no trim on the collar but instead down the side a well as partial, thinner trim on the sleeve - in a semi-circle pattern rather than all the way around the sleeve.
Not having the trim on the collar and having it down the side as a thin side panel is a marked difference from what umpires have been wearing as a traditional shirt.
The material appears that it will hold up well through repeated wear and washings, however I'm a little concerned the collar might be (emphasis on "might") slightly on the floppy side when running occurs.
The colors are black with white trim and what they are calling sky blue with a dark navy and white trim. The latter blue I would call closer to a powder blue than the polo blue that is on their shirts from previous years with a black collar.
Regardless, the preliminary report is that the MLB guys do like the new shirts.
The main questions I know many of you will have is "Will these shirts be available for resale?" Well, not this year. Majestic, however, is working to have the two shirt colors available for 2011.
And the other is "Will these shirt styles catch on at our level?" I certainly think that is possible within a few years time with at least some umpires, and will be up to the various associations who make those decisions locally.
To me, the style is so new it would take some getting used to. They are different enough to be a fresh look but not too drastically different to be terribly too far away from traditional umpire shirt styles.
If you have other questions or comments, feel free to fire away.
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