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Reading the Tea Leaves: O’s, Phils Appear to Be Close to Uni Ad Deals

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As of now, there are six MLB teams that have announced uniform ads for the coming season: the  Angels, Astros, D-backs, Padres, Red Sox, and Reds. But there are indications that two other teams — the Orioles and Phillies — may have ads in the works.

Let’s start in Orioles camp, where the team’s Maryland flag-inspired team logo patch, which in the past has appeared on the team’s left sleeve, has been showing up on both the left and right sleeve, depending on the player:

This same patch also appears inconsistently on the home jerseys in the team’s new Photo Day pics, which were shot yesterday (additional images here):

Obviously, all of this suggests that the team is planning an alternating-sleeve uni ad. The weird thing, though, is that the team logo patch is on the more camera-visible sleeve for each player. So an ad, if the team goes ahead with one, would be on the less visible sleeve. Could they simply be trying to maximize the visibility of the team logo, with no uni ad in the works? Hmmmm.

Meanwhile: The Phillies also had Photo Day yesterday, and their sleeve numbers, which normally appear on the left sleeve, were nowhere to be found (lots of additional pics here):

Weird how they positioned everyone with the right sleeve facing forward, right? But if you look at this video clip, it’s clear that the left sleeves are all blank:

Now, you might be thinking, “Maybe they just used blank jerseys for everyone. It’s true that some teams do that for Photo Day. But the Phillies have consistently used numbered jerseys on Photo Day, as you can see in these shots from 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019. (I could go on, but you get the idea.)

It’s not surprising to learn that the Phils may be close to an ad deal, because they’ve already said they hope to have one in place by Opening Day. Until now, though, it wasn’t clear if the sleeve numbers would move to the ad-opposite sleeve, depending on the player, or if they’d just be eliminated altogether. Looks like the latter, sadly.

Update: Reader/commenter Richard Hochroth points out that the Nationals also have their team logo on alternating sleeves:

Reader/commenter Neeko notes that the same is true of the Brewers:

And reader/commenter Jim reports that the “LA” logo that normally appears on the Dodgers’ left sleeve is nowhere to be found in the team’s Photo Day shots. I never liked that sleeve element anyway, so I’d say it’s addition by subtraction — until the inevitable advertisement takes its place.

(My thanks to Twitter-er @ReallyNotOnHere for the Orioles observation and Christian Berumen for the Phillies observation.)



Substack Reminder

In case you missed it on Thursday: During this season’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest, which took place last Saturday night, Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. used a new “airless” prototype basketball created by Wilson. The ball, which is essentially a latticework shell created by 3D printing, performs like a regulation basketball and has the potential to redefine ball design — not just on the hardcourt but for a broad range of ball-driven sports.

For this week’s Uni Watch Premium offering on Substack, I have an in-depth interview with the Wilson engineer who’s been heading this project. It’s fascinating stuff — I learned a lot, and I think you will too!

You can read the first part of the article here. To read the entire thing, you’ll have to become a paying subscriber to my Substack, which I hope you’ll consider doing. Thanks!

Comments (54)

    Very much so. It was one of the details I loved about the uniforms, with the chain-stitched wordmark and the little blue stars. All for a few more ad bucks for a billion-dollar entity owned by a billionaire. After winning the pennant, CBP will be packed 81 times this year and the whole region is awash in new merchandise. They already get $2.5B from Comcast for TV rights. It’s sad that this is where we are.

    You’re right about everything except the packed stadium part. The park is a real challenge to get in/out of, fenced-in parking with long lines both before and after games, and the $2.5B TV deal actually pays for pretty good programming.

    Truth. I was so proud that my O’s hadn’t even been whispered in any other uni ad coverage. Still holding on hope that it’s to increase the viewership of the flag patch, like Paul wishfully suggested (just like I’ve been holding on to the hope of victory since 1996).

    Good morning Paul! You have a typo in the first paragraph after the second O’s picture where you misspelled patches. Happy Friday!

    The Dodgers do not have the “LA” sleeve patch in recent photos, most likely in preparation for a sleeve ad.

    That’s an improvement. I always hated that LA sleeve patch for the Dodgers. The LA is already on the hat and it’s just superfluous to have it on the sleeve. To me, they were a team that should not have a sleeve patch like the Cardinals and Yankees.

    Unfortunately, with that improvement, it comes with the horrendous ad patch.

    Agree. The LA patch on the Dodgers sleeves always seemed completely superfluous, and was there because they wanted something on the sleeve but couldn’t come up with something new so they just placed their cap logo there. The Dodgers wordmark with the ball can remain the primary logo, but it wouldn’t be that hard to come up with a secondary logo if they felt they needed something on the sleeves. All moot now though in the age of uni ads.

    Resigning myself to jersey advertising has me just hoping for something with a decent logo that doesn’t look hideous as a patch. Fingers crossed for Estrella Jalisco: link

    Ads, ads, ads, they drive me mads. As if the swoosh is not already too much of an ad. But it is 2023 and before this year is over I think we will see more ads on more uniforms in all of sports. Not a pretty sight.

    The Nationals also have their sleeve patch on alternate arms, depending on the player, like the Orioles do.


    Look at that picture of McKenzie Gore with the Nationals patch on his right arm. It was usually on the left arm.

    Uni ads are bad enough. But changing the uniform, viz., moving the sleeve logo to the opposite sleeve based on the player’s bat-handedness — which makes the uniform no longer “uniform” — just adds insult to injury. Between that and the uniformly (no pun intended) horrendous rule changes MLB is going a long way toward ruining the game in one fell swoop of awfulness.

    Ugh…I don’t know why I had hopes my Orioles were above this nonsense. But I kind of knew’s the Orioles after all. The thing I like about that Maryland flag patch, being big and visible, is exactly what I don’t want the ad patch to be.

    Brewers did this for their photo shoot too – at this point it’d be news worthy if a team didn’t

    If ad patches are inevitable, and they frustratingly are, then I’m thrilled that the O’s are at least keeping the team patch. I’m not getting my hopes up on the team patch being forward-facing, though. I’m pretty sure I read that the league requires the ad space be on the forward-facing sleeve.

    The sleeve numbers have been a part of the Phillies uni set for over 30 years. A quirky and enduring facet of their 1992 redesign that stood the test of time. And they unceremoniously dump it for some humongous ad that will likely clash with the rest of the jersey. Wow.

    The Phillies’ sleeve numbers were one of my favorite uni elements in MLB. Good lord everything sucks in the uni-verse now.

    Aside from sleeveless vests and stupid CCostumes, the Colorado Rockies have always worn the Mountain Crest logo on the left sleeve. I thought it was heresy that the Majestic logo on that side pushed it about an inch higher for a few years, but got over it. They are going to mess this up, soon, right?

    A pox on Adam Silver’s house. He opened the dam for all of the ad patch ugliness. Somewhere, David Stern is rolling in his grave.

    Does absolutely every team in MLB have a sleeve patch? I mean, a non-advertising one? It used to be rare.

    The Phillies have the space now for TWO ad patches. Twice the revenue.

    Here is some things I just thought about. Let’s say the Orioles sign with XYZ Corp. for a 3 year deal to advertise on their jersey. Are there restrictions as to what exposure the company will receive? For example if the Orioles take all their publicity and yearbook photos with the ad prominent, XYZ will get exposure far into the future even after their deal expires. Obviously, game footage will show the ad in perpetuity when anyone views it. Also, will players be encouraged not to wear jackets in the clubhouse before or after the game that covers the ad? Maybe they will put ads on jackets too.

    Not sure what it will mean, but I saw this during the NBA ASG Rising Star games. Assuming all leagues will do the same…


    Same!!! What’s an Ibotta? Turns out it’s an app that helps save money on online orders…

    Regarding the Orioles: “The weird thing, though, is that the team logo patch is on the more camera-visible sleeve for each player. So an ad, if the team goes ahead with one, would be on the less visible sleeve. Could they simply be trying to maximize the visibility of the team logo, with no uni ad in the works.”

    O’s are currently negotiating a long-term lease agreement with the Maryland Stadium Authority. The current lease expires after the 2023 season. A recent Maryland law would allow the MSA to borrow up to $600 million for Orioles’ stadium upgrades but requires a longer-term deal than the five-year extension.

    The state flag patch (which is an alternate logo) essentially can be viewed as an ad for Maryland, such as tourism. Maybe it’s part of the lease negotiations with up to $600 million in renovations already approved. No corporation is going to pay that much for a sleeve ad.

    Just a theory, but could be an explanation for the patch placement.


    Paul is right, this is the proper Phillies logo. Their official logo was a major downgrade and is not pleasing to look at. As a Phils fan I have no idea why they made this change. Nobody was asking for it, and I think if you asked the average person in Philly they’d still think the previous logo was the official logo.

    The Phillies’ sleeve numbers are probably the best thing about their uniform. I’d hate to see those numbers removed

    I like the stars that dot the I´s and the blue squatchee slightly more than the numbers…but I will miss them if ad patches cause them to disappear.

    Don’t mind me, I’ll be mourning one of my favorite uni quirks of the Philadelphia teams.

    I’m pretty sure the Phillies DID use blank jerseys this year. Here’s an example where you can see there’s no NOB or number on the back:


    Do all teams now do their photoshoots in a studio (actual or setup to seem to be) now? Do any teams do them on field/in the sun?


    Mariners photo shoot

    If the Mariners Meatball patch appears, it’s always on the left arm.

    That being said, there are also images where the meatball doesn’t appear anywhere.

    Re: Phillies potentially losing the sleeve numbers:
    While that would be a revolting development should it happen, I´d like to see a team revive the number-on-the-pantleg look to fill the void, but who?
    The ´Stros and ChiSox are obvious choices historically speaking, but I´d support the Marlins doing so. They could use something…anything…to jazz up their standard sets, though a full return to the teal would be ideal.

    I noticed you used previous logos (Phillies: 1992-2018 and Orioles: 2009-2011) for the headline graphic. Just trying to keep my “uni eye” sharp.

    Regarding teams “close to adding an ad” because they have their team patched on different locations. My thoughts have been that they simply being preemptive but not necessarily immediately going to happen or happen at all this season. However should they get a deal done, they don’t have to remove and move the patches

    A tangent thought off the Phillies’ sleeve numbers:

    I always hoped the Tigers would bring back their simple and clean road set from the ’60s, with their sleeve numbers. But what surprised me was seeing images with the numbers on the right sleeve, the “non-TV” side for predominantly right-handed hitters.

    So, in theory, the team could bring these back, with minimal distancing from their originals.

    Regardless, the sleeve number style appears destined for extinction. Which is a shame.



    That Tigers road set was notoriously inconsistent regarding which sleeve had the number. So with a tradition of numbers on either side, the new ad patch rule would fit right in. Advertisers would love that uni because it was so basic the eye would be drawn to ANYTHING on it.

    On the bright side, my team, the Oakland A’s, is an unattractive team for potential uniform advertisers.

    On the down side, my team, the Oakland A’s, is an unattractive team for potential uniform advertisers.

    It’s interesting to me how a team or advertiser or the league or whoever defines which sleeve is more ‘camera-visible’. For the O’s in particular, the two examples above in the photo-day pictures are DL Hall and Mychal Givens, a LHP and a RHP, respectively. If they were to pitch from the stretch, most of the time the in-action camera would show their currently-blank sleeve, albeit from the CF shot. Would the advertiser care more about their patch being visible on those shots so it gets more overall screen time, or would they want it to be more readable on the closer-up camera shots that would likely show their non-throwing arm more often?

    That said, it appears based on photo-day pictures that they moved a number of patches of right-handed batters too like Jorge Mateo, making their left-sleeve blank. Which is probably a stronger sign to me that an ad for the O’s is imminent. Disappointing.

    I’m very sad to hear the LA patch is nowhere to be found. :( I understand it’s not popular amongst most, but I love it. Also sad if the Phillies do away with the numbers on the sleeves. Stupid ads!

    Regarding the Os and the alternating sleeve locations:

    You show a LHP and a RHP. It seems to make sense to me that an ad would want to be on a pitchers throwing arm to maximize visibility. Most of the TV cameras come from behind home plate, so it seems to me an advertiser would want their patch on the throwing shoulder that faces the behind pitcher CF camera. I would be interested in knowing if a batter has it on the opposite shoulder od their hitting side for the same reasons (eg. a RH batter would have it on their left shoulder that faces the CF camera).

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