MLB’s Fanatics-produced pants blasted by players, union chief: ‘The pants are see-through’

When MLB’s new Nike-designed, Fanatics-made uniform tops were first seen earlier this month, it triggered a significant backlash from fans and players.

The pants might be even worse.

As spring training games begin and official photos are taken, it has become clear that Fanatics went with a thinner material for its pants, which is an issue when those pants are white. The pants are almost see-through, to the point that you can see the tucked-in shirt hems and even the players’ compression shorts.

The material can also show the outline of, well, things that should not be shown in a family-friendly environment. You have been warned about the photos below:

The situation is so bad that Shohei Ohtani, the most famous baseball player in the world, almost looks like he is wearing a pair of baggy tighty-whities in his official photos with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

You probably shouldn't be able to see through Shohei Ohtani's and Yoshinobu Yamamoto's uniforms this much. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

MLBPA chief Tony Clark commented on the matter Thursday, saying he has been hearing “universal” concerns from players about the pants, via ESPN:

“A lot of the rhetoric is confirmation that the pants are see-through,” Clark said. “It’s been an ongoing conversation where each day has yielded something new that doesn’t seem to make as much sense as you would like it.”

The issue isn’t even limited to quality, as Clark claimed that teams are also having trouble procuring enough uniforms in spring training:

“There are teams that have pants and jerseys,” Clark said. “There are some teams that don’t have pants. There are other teams that are supposed to be receiving certain things before the start of the year. There are others that — in the event they have an issue with the pants and a player needs a new pair — don’t have anything in reserve.”

All of this is clearly a fiasco for MLB, as well as Nike and Fanatics. The blame game has been mostly focused on Fanatics, whose apparel quality has been maligned by fans for years, but the real fault might rest on Nike. As Uni Watch notes, Fanatics has been making MLB’s uniforms for four years out of the same factory in Pennsylvania that Majestic used when it was the league’s manufacturer.

What has changed is Nike has introduced what it calls the Nike Vapor Premier jersey, which uses a material a news release extolled as breathable, lightweight, high-performance fabric with 25% more stretching — and which is almost assuredly cheaper to make. Nike has also moved the MLB logo from the collar to just below it, causing the smaller letters on the tops that fans didn’t like.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred defended the uniforms last week, claiming that fans and players will get used to them:

“The jerseys are different — they’re designed to be performance wear. They have been tested more extensively than any jersey in any sport. After people wear them a little bit, they’re going to be really popular.”

To Manfred’s point, there’s at least one group who might be happy with the more revealing uniforms, according to Caroline Means, who is married to Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means:

“Wives are fine with it.”

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