When it comes to a uniform, it's best to not mess with success, but the Detroit Tigers have done just that. The team's home set has been a beacon of consistency over the last few decades: a navy hat with a pointed Old English "D," white jersey with navy piping and a different, rounded Old English "D," white pants, and navy socks. Yes, the two "D" logos didn't match -- this was a good thing, a quirky quality found only in an old-time game like baseball. It was an intricacy that true fans knew about. Now it's gone.
The Tigers have updated their look for the upcoming season. The changes are seemingly minute, though for those who know and care, they feel like a punch to the gut. Look at a Detroit Tiger on the field in 2018 and you will see that the "D" on his head and the "D" over his heart are one and the same. The rounded "D" once found on left side of the Tigers' home jersey has been erased, replaced with that of the hat. The reasoning behind the move is understandable -- simplicity, consistency, etc. -- but the results are all negative.
Shall we get rid of the Green Monster in Boston, the irregular wall in left field? How about the Dodgers' red front numbers, which stand out from the team's blue and white on-field look? Many don't know this, but the most sacred uniform set in North American sport, the Yankees', has a perfect imperfection -- the hat "NY" and jersey "NY" are not the same. The difference between the two is slight, but is definitely there:
Sure, the Yankees could make a change in the name of brand consistency, but that would mean messing with a look that hasn't been touched since 1936.
In the past, uniforms were made by hand. This meant that they were often not so "uniform." Over the years some imperfections stuck and became beloved links to a simpler time. We should be making an effort to preserve these aesthetic charms as we would heritage buildings. And you think a team would want proof of its long, storied history, proof that they've been around since the beginning.
Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk once said, "You've got to dig it to dig it, dig?" Perhaps those currently in charge of the Tigers' organization just don't "dig it" -- they don't get why it matters. The fans seem to; the response on social media has been largely negative since the change was announced on earlier today. A summery of the uproar: make changes to the roster, not the uniform. Unfortunately for the fans, one costs a whole lot less than the other.
Perhaps the Tigers will see the light and go back to normal before the new season begins. It seems unlikely, however. It's hard to admit you were wrong in front of the unforgiving World Wide Web. If a change is made it will likely be done a few years down the road and marketed as an attempt to get back to the team's "roots." Better late than never.