Ranking Every MLB City Connect 2024 Jersey

Who has the best City Connect threads?

Sports baseball
Ranking Every MLB City Connect 2024 Jersey

If you’ve regularly watched professional baseball games in the last few years, there’s little doubt you’ve seen teams wearing getups that seem colorfully strange or vivid, and there’s a good chance that these are MLB’s City Connect jerseys.

Major League Baseball’s City Connect uniforms are a partnership with Nike to infuse a little levity and culture into the relentless, grinding marathon that is the typical MLB season. The idea, as the name would imply, is to tap into the unique cultural and geographic aspects of each team’s home city, to create uniforms that project a sense of place. The perfect City Connect uniform is that one that both evokes the history and vibe of its setting, and also simply looks cool. You know, something you’d actually want to buy from the merch shop, and wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in.

For our purposes here, we’re focusing on the latter. I’m about to critique every single MLB City Connect jersey currently being used–we’ll update whenever new ones are added or old ones change–on a mostly visual basis, rather than putting a ton of emphasis into the meanings or stories behind them. Suffice to say, most every City Connect jersey has some kind of meaningful story about the club or city that inspired it.

Let’s instead focus on which ones look best, in our humble opinion, and represent the best overall designs. Whose threads are top tier?

A Note on Participating Teams

Of the 30 teams in MLB, 28 of them are active participants in the City Connect program. The earliest jerseys in the series were introduced in 2021, with subsequent new uniforms joining the pack each year. With the unveiling of the brand-new uniforms of the Minnesota Twins this week, the entire first round of the series is effectively complete, because every participating team has finally debuted their City Connect jerseys.

But wait: What of the two non-participating teams? They are:

The New York Yankees: Perpetually taking themselves far too seriously, it’s the glory and majesty of the Bronx Bombers. Why are we not surprised that the only MLB team with a strict “no beards or long hair” policy, still alive and well in 2024, would also consider their home uniforms to be too sacred to sully by association with City Connect? To say that they’re being buzzkills here is an understatement–the entire rest of the league is on board with this opportunity for marketing, but you think your Yankee pinstripes are too holy to set aside a few times per year? You don’t want to see Aaron Judge or Juan Soto rocking a Statue of Liberty-inspired getup? Someone tell these guys to remove the bat-sized stick from their asses.

The “Oakland” Athletics: Unlike the Yanks, the Athletics definitely have an excuse for not participating here. I’m sure that the hapless A’s would probably be thrilled with the opportunity to participate in the City Connect series if they could, but it’s a little hard to connect with your city when you’re currently in the process of abandoning it. The A’s upcoming move to Las Vegas isn’t even scheduled to actually occur until 2028, and that’s if all goes as planned in building a new stadium. Meanwhile, 2024 is their last season playing in the airy confines of the crumbling Oakland Coliseum. For the next three seasons at least, their home ballpark will be in West Sacramento, at the facility that currently houses the Giants’ Triple A affiliate. If the City Connect series is still around in 2028, we look forward to seeing the gaudy and no doubt nightmarish uniforms that Las Vegas will inspire at that time.

So with that said, let’s get to ranking the existing MLB City Connect jerseys, starting with the worst of the worst.

28. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers may be able to front the scariest lineup in baseball in 2024, but their forays into the City Connect series have been marked by totally pedestrian results. Like the Yankees, they seemed to have a little bit too much esteem for their own classic, iconic uniforms, and this led to City Connects–first introduced in 2021–that really did the bare minimum in terms of making themselves distinct. Which is to say: They kept their existing uniform but slapped “Los Dodgers” across the front and just called it a day. Creative stuff.

These jerseys represent the bottom of the barrel, in terms of putting in a genuine effort to come up with a compelling new design. Why even participate, if you’re not going to have some fun with it? Perhaps when they were designing them, the Dodgers thought every other team in baseball was going to half-ass the assignment? Regardless, fan and MLB aficionado reactions to these were not good, and they’ve tweaked them several times since without ever wearing them particularly often. Reportedly, the Dodgers are going to give their City Connect design a complete overhaul and debut entirely new designs by the end of 2024, at which point we’ll reconsider them in this ranking. But it’s hard to imagine they could put out anything less inspired than these.

27. Baltimore Orioles

Black is a color that is going to be invoked a lot while talking about City Connect jerseys, because few teams wear season-long black jerseys and many have thus experimented with them as alternatives or City Connect designs. This Orioles design, meanwhile, is what happens when someone simply suggests “black jersey?” and then pats themself on the back, their job apparently complete.

Both the script on the front and the “B” on the hat feel hopelessly generic, lacking in character and generally underdesigned. The only interesting feature is actually the colorful interiors of the jersey, which are mostly hidden except when the sleeves are properly rolled up. It’s just not enough to give these things any life. Why not lean into the team’s bird theme, or the water-based theme of Camden Yards in the last few years? The titular Oriole doesn’t even make an appearance here. It feels like these were designed in about 10 minutes. Show some effort, guys.

26. St. Louis Cardinals

Another case where someone didn’t take the assignment seriously enough, made especially bad by the fact that these just recently debuted near the end of the initial City Connect cycle, when so many examples of them had already been released. The team made a big deal in its announcement to stress that they’d never actually worn a primarily red uniform before, but guess what: Everyone on Earth still associates red with the Cardinals anyway, because it’s the secondary color of all their uniforms. “It’s mostly red” is not some revelation here.

Everything else on the jersey is practically the same, while “The Lou” across the chest seemed to inspire a fair amount of derision from St. Louis residents and other Midwesterners. The pants? They just ignore the pants. Even the wavy, squiggly “STL” of the hat looks clumsy, and the rest is almost all negative space. When these were unveiled, I saw someone describe them as evoking the simplified jerseys players wear for batting practice, and I haven’t been able to get that out of my mind since. Suffice to say, any City Connect debuting in the third year of the initiative should ideally have more personality than this. The Cardinals tried to play things entirely too safe.

25. New York Mets

There are a lot of ways to approach a City Connect uniform, but it feels like “drab” should never apply as a descriptor. And yet, that’s the direction the Mets decided to go in with this dark gray number with black pinstripes, paired with plain white pants. They attempt to liven up the design with some little splashes of dark purple, but against the slate gray background it’s unfortunately easy to miss those details. Meanwhile, the bridge-themed hat frames the player’s head rather awkwardly, making it look like they’re wearing an old-timey bank teller’s visor. The whole thing feels a bit confused.

And you have to mention it: The first design instinct for the New York Mets in putting together a City Connect jersey was to embrace the color gray, and pinstripes? How can that not help but evoke the Yankees across town, the most famous pinstriped club in the world of sports? Of all the allusions for the Mets to make, you would think that evoking the Yankees of all teams would be the absolute last one they would choose. Very odd decision.

24. Texas Rangers

I generally consider “underdesigned” to be more of a cardinal sin in these City Connect uniforms than “overdesigned,” but the Texas Rangers’ getups are more of an example of the latter. At first glance, they’re not that overly complicated, but then you begin to look at each individual element and they just keep piling up, forming a cumulative effect. There’s too much going on, without even placing much weight on the fact that I don’t exactly love the cream-colored jerseys.

In particular, the gothic “TX” on both the jersey and the hat is really sort of hideous to behold, especially once you zoom in to get a good look at the thing. This attempt at creative calligraphy is fanciful to the point of being practically illegible, looking like an AI attempt at English lettering. The rest of the jersey is filled with Easter eggs and city specific references, but they’re too arcane to do anything for the majority of viewers, even those who do live in Arlington. Case in point: The fusion of an archaic Fort Worth baseball team, the Panthers, with the equally obscure Dallas Eagles to create a panther-eagle hybrid called a “Peagle,” appearing on the right arm. When the uniform requires thousands of words in an essay to dissect and explain it, that uniform may have been over-engineered. The defending world champs deserved something less overwrought and more instantly eye-catching and iconic.

23. Kansas City Royals

Well, these are certainly one of the more generic and forgettable of the City Connect uniforms. They have no particular, glaring flaws, but little to sell them either. The navy-blue coloration makes them look quite a bit like the Cubs City Connect uniform, and there’s generally little to set these apart or attract the eye. At least the fountain-inspired “KC” is a fitting tribute to Kauffman Stadium, but in general not enough was done here–the backside of the uniform doesn’t even have any kind of aesthetic to comment on. Note, these uniforms do look a bit better when players are wearing the optional baby blue long sleeve undershirts, but whenever they’re not they only look that much more drab. These are just a yawn.

Note to the designers: When a new team is debuting a City Connect uniform, please try to ensure that the vast majority of its elements haven’t already been done by another team’s City Connect. Thank you.

22. Chicago Cubs

Oh, and speaking of the Cubs, they also can lay claim to a rather boring City Connect design, another team that took the safe road to something that looks fine, but doesn’t really have any enduring appeal. The “Wrigleyville” on the chest isn’t bad–they might as well lean into that, when the team is famous for a certain style of inebriated fan patrolling the neighborhood yelling such things. The stars on the cap, a reference to the Chicago flag, are a nicely understated touch as well, but in general these are hurting for some kind of a bolder stylistic choice on a deeper level. They’re just forgettable, and simultaneously too similar to the Royals ones above. If both of these teams ever somehow ended up wearing these jerseys to the same game during interleague play, you’d barely be able to tell which team was which, except for the Cubs’ navy pants. They even have practically the exact same light blue undershirts. Uninspired.

21. San Francisco Giants

This City Connect starts from what is an interesting prompt on paper, but has a harder time translating that into reality. The San Francisco fog was always going to be a fairly difficult conceptual basis for a design, and that proves to be the case in these jerseys designed around a foggy gradient of visibility. To the casual observer, the theme just doesn’t come across right away–it looks rather like the design has been partially scratched out, or flecked with spray paint. There’s a lot of negative space, and blank white areas that haven’t been utilized much, while the fog effect makes the numbers somewhat difficult to read, particularly on the back of the jersey where they just appear to trail off.

What could have been done differently? Perhaps the Golden Gate bridge motif from the sleeves should have been worked more dramatically onto the front of the jersey, for one. I will say, I think the orange belt does give a great creamsicle look to the outfit, as do the orange-and-cream batting helmets. But then look at the hat, which squishes the bridge motif on the side panel instead of letting it spread out. Why is it so truncated? I think with some tweaks, these uniforms could be made into a pretty cool City Connect, but they’re not quite there.

20. Detroit Tigers

These City Connect uniforms are a real mixed bag. I find the more vertical-focused pattern interesting, an aspect that not many City Connects feature. The colors are eye-catching and moody, if not super unique. I personally think “Motor City” across the chest is pretty cool, a proud acknowledgement of the city’s industrial history. Texturally, these look interesting a well–they look like they’re made from some kind of sweat-wicking material from the not-too-distant future.

But with that said … it’s the hat of all things that practically ruins this one for me. It’s the single most boring and thoughtless of all the City Connect hats. This plain-ass “Detroit” hat looks like something you would buy for a nephew you don’t particularly like at an airport gift shop, or a freebie being handed out in a park by the chamber of commerce. How is this the official accompaniment? It’s like they designed the jersey, and then forgot about the hat until the night before they were being unveiled. Partial credit.

19. Cleveland Guardians

These look … fine. They might be the most blandly acceptable of all the City Connect jerseys, in fact. They’re certainly very “All American” in appearance. The colors appear to be an inversion of some of the classic uniforms from their past. The texture of the jersey is interesting, and the subtle threading of black through the dark navy is nice, giving it an almost denim-like look. I suppose you could say that this is meant to evoke the working-class nature or image of Cleveland, though that might just be the desperate rationalization of an ailing mind. Regardless, this City Connect is clean, simple and uncomplicated, but not thrilling in any particular respect.

Also: I know it’s basically just their current logo, but I wouldn’t blame someone from outside Cleveland seeing this hat and assuming it was some kind of Cubs hat. That’s just the risk they were running in making it a plain “C,” when there’s a much better known team brand that also has an unadorned “C” as the central symbol on its hat. Just sayin’.

18. Tampa Bay Rays

Well these are certainly bold, there’s no denying that. I actually love the general color scheme that was chosen for the Rays’ uniforms, and the hat that goes with it, with its Manta imagery, is excellent. At the same time, I think these suffer from some very easily fixed design issues. Why is the “Tampa Bay” on the front of the jerseys only an outline? If it was filled in, it would be much easier to see and read. As is, it’s a serious legibility issue from more than a few feet away. Ditto for the numbers on the back of the jersey. The player names, on the other hand, stand out in a great way through the use of neon, Mountain Dew-esque yellow green. So why not have all the text be that legible?

The base color for these, meanwhile, is actually a dark gray rather than the black it might initially appear, but it has a sort of “dirty” look to it because it’s been given an effect similar to a tic weave suit where tiny bits of the other colors are dotted into it. I’m not sure the effect really works–it sort of makes the jerseys look like they were once black, but have now been through the washing machine too many times. In general, these uniforms are a mixed bag.

17. Arizona Diamondbacks

I am consistently torn looking at these Diamondbacks City Connects. First things first: “Serpientes” is 100% awesome, potentially the coolest thing that any team has scrawled across their chest in the course of this series. How could you not want a jersey with “Serpientes” on it? Fantastic.

With that said, the most universal and eye-catching aspect of this design is the base color–a rather strange, dirty/sandy cream suffused with yellow. On one hand, you can absolutely see right off the bat how this is supposed to represent the desert environs surrounding Phoenix. On the other hand, am I the only one who gets sort of a sickly vibe from these things? “Jaundiced” is a questionable aesthetic to be courting. I honestly think that part of it is dependent upon lighting, as some photos of these jerseys emphasize more of the earthy feeling of desert sandstone, while other shots look much more garishly yellowed, like a 70-year-old paperback book. Personally, I prefer the former.

Props to the team for putting a snake on the jersey as part of the lettering, though I’d love for the Diamondbacks to lean into their serpent theme even more. This is, after all, the snake-named baseball team that for some reason has a bobcat as its mascot, rather than a freakin’ snake. Would a snake mascot with legs running around a baseball game be odd? Absolutely, but I want to see that weirdness play out. Go full snake, you cowards.

16. Philadelphia Phillies

This is another one of the City Connect entries that I had the most difficult time ranking, because I admire the very bold choices that were made in many respects, but there are simultaneously elements that I don’t think work very well. Let’s start out with the good: The Liberty Bell hat is really cool, and I’d replace the regular “P” with it immediately. I would wear the hell out of this hat.

The jersey itself engenders a lot more debate. The ombre effect between the darker and lighter blue is something that I wasn’t sure I liked when I first saw it, but after seeing it in motion I think I’ve come around on both the bold inversion of traditional Phillies colors and the gradient they used to do it. There’s certainly nothing conservative about this. With that said, though, the gothic “PHILLY” text on the chest just doesn’t feel right to me in the context of this uniform. There’s something indistinctly try-hard about it. I see it and picture it sitting on the clothing rack next to Tapout or Ed Hardy shirts. A little tweak might bump these up to the next level.

15. Boston Red Sox

And speaking of teams that went all out in defying expectations, you have the Boston Red Sox entry in the City Connect canon. These are … well, they’re a lot. The most difficult thing to get past is just how violently yellow the jerseys are–that is a searing shade evocative of a highlighter marker. In order to like these, you absolutely need to make peace with the yellow. The light blue hats, though, are a great accompaniment and sort of rein things in a bit. This is one case where I find myself saying “thank god they stuck with the plain white pants,” because I can only imagine how intense these would look if they had fully committed to that sort of yellow shade for pants as well.

When I first saw these, I thought the violent yellow saturation made them somewhat unpalatable, but the more I see them the more credit I end up wanting to assign them for the sheer boldness of it, not to mention the little touches like the stenciled “Boston.” I don’t think this is the type of uniform anyone would have expected the Red Sox to design for the City Connect series, but that may be a good thing.

14. Minnesota Twins

The last of the participating teams to unveil its first-ever City Connect jersey, the Twins end up falling right into the middle of the pack in the ranking, which seems somehow apropos for an AL Central winner famous for never going anywhere in the playoffs. The Twins were actually the first North American sports franchise to name itself not for its city but its entire state, so it’s fitting that their City Connect features more of a state-centric vibe, centered around Minnesota’s famous status as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” This no doubt made the choice of blue as a base color pretty easy for them, and the jersey draws the eye to it with some nicely subtle patterning, with several shades of blue run through with black striations intended to conjure the image of the rippling surface of a body of water. The hat is also intriguing: To simply include the state outline in front is a rather bold decision, effectively removing any mention of the team itself. Surely, if someone saw you walking down the street in this hat without much MLB knowledge, they would assume it was something purchased at a tourist shop in some rural B&B town. I admire the pluck, but the connection to baseball should probably be in there somewhere.

All in all, there are some definite crossovers here stylistically with the City Connects of the Mariners in particular, particularly in the shade of blue, though the M’s design reads as both sharper and cleaner. I also think it’s a bit of an odd choice to extend the blue of the jerseys to the pants here, but not the rippled pattern, as the pants are solid blue in the same shade. What, did they get cold feet? It feels like a precursor to simply switching to white pants, which even the team’s own announcement implies is a possibility. It’s not a great look to immediately start walking back your convictions before these things have even been worn on the field a single time, but the overall results are still pretty decent.

13. Washington Nationals

I would argue that the Nationals have one of the very best concepts for a City Connect uniform, but that the results don’t quite come through as strongly as they theoretically could. I really love the idea of the D.C.-area cherry blossoms as a unifying concept for the design, being something unlike any of the other City Connects in the series. The drab, heather gray of the rest of the uniform, however, I’m less sold on. Still, I think the gray could actually work if the cherry blossom element popped in a more dramatic way. Unfortunately, they instead feel too easy to miss, and nothing here really commands your attention. What I’d really like to see is another cherry blossom version of the same thought process that is a bit more vivacious.

And as it turns out, we might get exactly that, as the Nationals have already announced they’ll be retiring this design at the end of the 2024 season despite the fact that it has seemingly been pretty well liked by fans. Perhaps they’ll go in an entirely new direction (something presidential?) with their next City Connect phase, but I’d like to see the cherry blossom aesthetic be perfected.

12. Milwaukee Brewers

Most of what is going on here, I love. It’s a good use of lighter pastel colors, which aren’t seen as frequently on MLB uniforms, and “Brew Crew” across the front is undeniably fun. It does sort of make them sound like a beer league softball team, but hey, this is Milwaukee. These informs project an easygoing, “just here to have fun” vibe. The only downside: The “MKE” of the hat looks very messy, because they attempted to fuse it with the 414 area code of Milwaukee, and the designs just look like they’re competing with each other. The idea itself is clever, but it just looks like some kind of broken Magic Eye drawing.

Also, the little grill decal on the arm of the jersey is cute for a city famously associated with sausage slinging, but it’s still a pretty odd detail for an MLB jersey. I question whether someone seeing it for the first time would even be able to tell you that it’s a grill, but that’s obviously a minor quibble. Otherwise, it’s a fun, lighthearted ensemble.

11. Pittsburgh Pirates

This is one City Connect that rarely seems to be shown any love. The Pirates’ entry into the series often seems to fall among the most heavily criticized jerseys, in fact, but I can’t agree with that assessment. In particular, I dig the shade of yellow here, which looks snazzy and keeps with the team’s aesthetic while being easier on the eyes than something like the searing neon of the Red Sox City Connects. I also appreciate the subtle patterning of these jerseys, which feature a kind of checkerboard or honeycomb pattern that gives the jersey a nice sense of texture, something that also carries over to the hat as well.

With that said, I will concede that the “PGH” batting helmets do look particularly odd, like something out of a videogame. Regardless, if we can introduce some real-world context into this ranking, no one in MLB has ever looked cooler while wearing a City Connect than Carlos Santana did last year after blasting a walk-off home run into the Allegheny and then dancing and shuffling into home plate while the entirety of PNC Park lost their minds. An iconic moment like that for these jerseys can only help their standing.

10. Los Angeles Angels

Going too subtle or understated is a trap that some of these City Connect uniforms have fallen into, such as the uniforms of the Royals or Orioles, but I would point toward the Angels’ City Connects as my go-to example of what understated looks like when employed effectively. The base color of the uniform undergoes a subtle evolution from stark white to a warmer cream, and I love the look of the bubbly, retro font and the halo around “Angels.” The whole look is centered around retro California surfing culture, and it projects the warmth and sunniness of the place.

Personally, something about it to me evokes the kind of branding you might have found in your favorite 1970s pizza parlor, but I honestly don’t think that’s a bad thing. I can’t blame someone for putting these low in their rankings for pointing out that it takes very few risks, because this is one of the safer City Connect designs out there. But unlike some of the others, I believe this captures a timeless quality that is absent in many of the other, basic designs.

9. Houston Astros

Some of the City Connect uniforms experiment with making the entire ensemble part of the same color scheme/execution, while others stick to safe white pants or contrasting colors. The Astros’ offering is the former, and I think it works pretty darn well here, thanks perhaps to the understated color nature of what is still a pretty rich, dark blue. That makes the veins of bright orange and yellow running through the jersey pop really nicely. The “Space City” on the chest? I guess some people would claim there are better ways to sum up Houston, but it looks pretty cool if you ask me.

Note: These uniforms really look best when the pant legs are rolled up to show off the matching socks, which are a bright and audacious reference to the beloved “tequila sunrise” Astros jerseys of the 1970s. Without showing off the socks, these uniforms become a bit more staid, but when the socks are on display it really completes the look.

8. Cincinnati Reds

It was smart of the Reds to accentuate the “red” of their City Connect uniform in a less-is-more sort of way, considering the amount of bright red already in their slate of jerseys. With that said, simply relying on black + red is obviously not the most creative combination out there, but it looks undeniably cool, with an energy and vitality that fits well with the high-energy youth movement of the team itself. These look very modern, like they belong to some team from the not-too-distant future. I also think they look rather like the uniforms that would be worn by the villainous squad opposing the youth heroes in a sports movie, but I mean that in the best way possible. Or to put it another way: If there had been a baseball team in TRON, they probably would have looked like this. A little touch I enjoy: The raised, 3D effect of the “C” on the batting helmet, which looks very slick.

With that said, I’ve seen some criticism of these City Connect jerseys floating around, saying that some people find the “CINCY” on the chest and the numbers on the back difficult to see or read. For whatever reason, I don’t find them to be nearly as potentially illegible as something like the Tampa Bay Rays outlines mentioned earlier in this list. All I see is one of the best of the “all black” subset of City Connects.

7. Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays recently debuted City Connect uniforms and they are a testament to how well a cohesive theme can bring everything together. These are dubbed the team’s “Night Mode” jerseys, with the concept being that they reflect the energy of the evening in a huge world city, and are something the Jays will only wear at home night games. I love how all-encompassing the theme is, which helps to give meaning to the neon color scheme. The futuristic cityscape of Toronto across the chest looks quite striking. You might be able to argue that the contrast of colors makes it a little hard to parse the word “TORONTO” front and center, but they are definitely offset in a great way by the bright red undershirts. Even the maple leaf hat looks both clean and attention grabbing. All in all, everything here is buoyed by the team choosing a good unifying theme and then sticking to that aesthetic.

6. Atlanta Braves

Visually, I think these Braves uniforms are among the most instantly eye catching in the series. The pants and jersey flow together seamlessly, the blue is invigorating, and I even like the graceful swoops of “The A.” I may never have heard anyone in Atlanta actually refer to the city as “The A” during my years of living there, but it certainly looks great splashed across the chest of Ozzie Albies or Matt Olson. They feel both vintage and timeless.

The only potential knock here is that much of the reason they feel vintage and timeless is the fact that in creating these, the Braves basically just took an existing historic jersey and gave it a round of fairly subtle tweaks. That makes this one difficult to rate, because it raises the entire question of how much a previous design is allowed to be invoked. How much credit can you give the City Connect designer, and how much is just regurgitation of an existing design that was already (rightfully) popular, thanks to its Hank Aaron connotations?

At the end of the day, though, this is a good-looking uniform, and the design essentially being reused doesn’t end up bothering me much because it’s not the everyday jersey that is being duplicated–just a special occasion historic jersey. That’s a key difference between these threads and the likes of the Dodgers’ City Connects, as these still provide contrast to what the team normally wears.

5. Colorado Rockies

I love it when one of the teams in the City Connect series decides to explore in a color direction that has not been at all exploited by modern MLB squads, and the Rockies are the perfect example of a team whose City Connect thrives in uncharted territory. Green is underutilized in general all across baseball, as only the Athletics–who of course do not have a City Connect uniform, and won’t for years–have it as a primary symbol of the club. So why shouldn’t the Rockies swoop in to take advantage with these lovely, outdoorsy, pine green affairs? This is another case where the choice to extend the theme through the pants really pays off, because this effect isn’t nearly as good when it just cuts off at the waist with white pants. The team sometimes wears these both ways, but the green pants are the way to go.

The mountain design, meanwhile, looks both sharp and elegant, and if you look close enough the jerseys do retain some of the familiar Rockies royal purple as well. Even the hat has some interesting, creative touches. The Rockies haven’t exactly had a baseball team worth celebrating in recent memory, but at least they can lay claim to a top-tier City Connect.

4. Miami Marlins

You just knew that Miami was going to go bold for their City Connect. A safe, drab uniform was never going to be in the cards for this team or this city, and they didn’t miss with this one. This might be the most exuberant or joyful of all the City Connect designs, bursting with color and pizazz. These things look like a popsicle, or the kind of fruit drink you’d suck down from a straw out of a plastic bag at a street market. That, or a blended strawberry daiquiri, which is probably just about the vibe they were going for. They project the fun and frivolity that people associate with Miami, complemented nicely by the powder blue hat with its “MM” crown. Jazz Chisholm looks awesome wearing one. And at the end of the day, that’s pretty much all you can ask.

3. Seattle Mariners

Hell, these might be the best actual uniforms in the entire Mariners rotation. The color contrast between the primary deep-sea blue and golden yellow is pretty close to perfection, as is the creative choice of script. The hat is one of the absolute best of the City Connect standards, with the trident “M” motif linking symbolically to the Mariners’ own home run trident celebration. An odd thing about these jerseys: The Mariners will wear them with both white and black pants, and they somehow look great either way. Against the white, this jersey just looks clean and classic, drawing more attention to details like the matching blue socks. Against the black pants, these take on a cooler and imposing attitude, drawing attention to the matching black hat brim. Everyone looks good in these things. If I lived in Seattle, the hat is one I would rarely be without.

2. Chicago White Sox

Such a simple concept, but such an impactful one. The White Sox City Connects lean into the onetime “good guys wear black” slogan of the team, while evoking both the city’s gangster history and the adoption of the black motif and gothic lettering among the wider hip-hop scene of the early 1990s. Put simply, pinstripes on a baseball uniform have never looked cooler than they do here, an effect in which the matching top and pants is absolutely essential. If the team ever wore ONLY the jerseys rather than the matching ensemble, this design absolutely would not work one bit. Together, though, these project both attitude and a sense of intimidation, hinting perhaps at the perpetual chip on the shoulder of a team that so often finds itself as the “second team of the Second City.”

Wearing these jerseys, though, even the lowly White Sox look like someone to be feared or respected. It’s a set that perfectly fits the image and culture of its squad.

1. San Diego Padres

Look, I know this is going to be a controversial pick. I seriously considered whether the resulting arguments this was going to spawn were worth sticking to my guns over and placing the Friars in the top spot. There are few uniforms in the City Connect series that are more divisive in terms of opinion than the Padres, but goddamnit, no City Connect jersey has ever grown on me over time like this one has.

The first time I ever saw these, I couldn’t even believe that a professional sports team was opting to wear something so colorfully loony. The combination of colors–bright yellow, hot pink, white, mint green–is like something out of a kid’s coloring book disaster. And yet they all come together, Voltron-style, to create something that is so much more than the sum of its parts, the most carefree and ebullient outfit in the whole series. I’ve come to love all of this jersey’s little idiosyncrasies, like the way it casts aside our typical obsession with symmetry. One sleeve in green, the other in Barbie-esque pink? Sure, why not.

It’s a color palette that both evokes the culture of the Baja peninsula, from which the Padres draw many fans, and the sunny disposition of the city itself. Crucially, no team in MLB looks like they’re having more fun wearing their City Connects than the Padres do. There’s just something about seeing the glorious, cascading dreadlocks of Fernando Tatis Jr. spilling out from one of these mint green batting helmets that sums up the exuberance that the City Connect series is all about.

Most teams would not have had the guts to go through with such a virulently colorful, boldly zany design. But for the San Diego Padres, these uniforms feel like lightning in a bottle.

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