Baseball fans are hard to please and, as mentioned many times, change is not something that is accepted with open arms.
MLB continues to use different strategies to attract casual and younger fans. With the popularity of flashy variety uniforms and alternates galore in the NBA, Manfred tried to capitalize on this trend.
The rise of uniforms
As you may know, Nike has worked with each MLB franchise to artistically create aesthetically different yet pleasing uniforms that tap into the specific cultural and regional aspects of the team’s hometown. For some teams, it’s pretty easy to imagine what the designs can be, but for the teams that stepped outside the box, it was a shocking yet somewhat enjoyable experience for all baseball fans out there. City Connect uniforms earn even the harshest reviews.
Let’s go back to the origin of this version. Last year, we had seven City Connect uniforms debuting that apparently didn’t receive as stellar a reception as the last in 2022. Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs , the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins, and San Francisco Giants debuted their alternate uniforms and continue to don them on the playing field this year.
With the 2022 season just a month away, we had the unveiling and launch of the Houston Astros’ Space City jerseys on April 20. I dove deep into the early days of the Washington Nationals cherry blossom inspired jerseys – check out this piece here.
We will also have the debut of the Colorado Rockies jerseys which will bring some purple flair on June 4th. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will join the club on June 11, followed by the Milwaukee Brewers who have something fermenting and ready to harvest on June 24. Finally, we have the Brethren’s possible City Connect take on July 8th.
Much to expect from these jerseys which have been a hit lately.
The third of these City Connect jerseys was the City of Fountains, worn on April 30 as the Kansas City Royals took on the New York Yankees.
The Rich History of KC Fountains
The Royals uniforms aren’t just a beautiful design, they’re another well-researched and thoughtful undertaking that also gives some perspective to the culture of the city. Nike took some liberties with the Royals color scheme and added a darker blue, but the baby blue trim continued to give the impression of a Kansas City Royals home jersey,
Anyone who has visited or lived in Kansas City immediately recognizes the importance of fountains to the city. The front crest and logo on the hat beautifully depict the cascading and falling water from the over 200 fountains scattered around the city. Much like the City Connects’ version of their Washington Nationals, Nike continued to use shades to capture the spirit, but without making it too obvious or over the top.
Symbolic of our city.
Rooted in our history.https://t.co/bvv5OBfyi4 pic.twitter.com/03s4zclzc9
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) April 25, 2022
Kansas City is aptly dubbed the “City of Fountains” and is home to visually stunning water structures and uniforms that showcase them with beautiful integrity. The uniform is also modeled with a similar style and modernity while drawing from the design of the city. You can see the art-deco influences on the clean design.
Paying homage to being a city that has had World Series champions, the powder blue and white trim around the jersey sleeve is a throwback to the teams of the 70s and 80s. A nice nod to their story.
Similar to other City Connect shirts, the Royals have been engulfed in universally positive fan feedback across all platforms. Even the most pessimistic fans must have loved the effort put into the jerseys. It seems people mostly liked how the Nike teams managed to tie up the fountains without being overdone or tacky. The uniform has the fountain tribute on the hat. These jerseys are sure to fly off the shelf.
The only negative feedback on the fan jerseys was that they didn’t have the powder blue pants reminiscent of the past. The Royals really could have pleased everyone with a return to those fan-favorite dusty blue backdrops.
The Importance of Fountains to Kansas City
Baseball is a sport steeped in incredible history and people love to immerse themselves in it.
Kansas City’s introduction to fountain construction dates back to the late 1800s. Their function was to serve a purpose and had no design in mind when they were built. These fountains were built to provide drinking water to thirsty dogs and horses as they passed through the city. Of course, other animals also found some sustenance, such as birds.
After the wild success of these fountains and the praise of weary travelers, Kansas City began building drinking fountains throughout the city. But these new ones were starting to be built with specific and distinct styles and even had themes. They still provided the same function, but people started to see the value in the beauty they also provided.
Today is Fountain Day in Kansas City! KC has over 200 officially recognized fountains second only to Rome. Get out and explore our beautiful city!
Discover our designs that celebrate the city of fountains. https://t.co/4Ei9AEDMal
— FontaineCityKC (@FountainCityKC1) April 19, 2022
These fountains served a very important purpose: to provide drinking water to the citizens of Kansas City. Of course, over time, creativity took over and it only made sense that these fountains would be as beautiful as they were useful.
Every year in early April, the entire city recognizes and honors Greater Kansas City Fountain Day. It’s the day to celebrate the emergence of warmer weather when all the fountains come back on. It is the day that symbolizes how extremely proud the city is to have these beautiful structures.
Fountain Day fell on Tuesday, April 19, and guess what? The Royals beat the Twins 4-3. No one should beat the Royals on Fountain Day.
Fountains get the royal treatment
Kansas City continues to romanticize and get poetic about its relationship with the fountains. To cement this love story, the Cité des Fontaines was created in 1973 for the sake of historical preservation. The City of Fountains was created the same year that Kauffman Stadium opened to the public.
Fountains and Royals are a heavenly marriage and will forever be linked to the history of the city.
— Harpreet Gill (@HarpreetGill03) April 19, 2022
The City of Fountains was created by an executive named Harold Rice and his wife Peggy. On a trip to Italy, they noticed the decay of many structures and with the recognition of the importance of fountains to Kansas City, there was an urgent need to ensure this would never happen to their beautiful city. The City of Fountains logo looks a lot like the logo on the front of the Royals’ new sons.
Intertwined in the future
Now these fountains are a tourist attraction that people from all over the world gather to gaze at the beauty. 200 fountains are distributed in the city of Kansas City, each one more beautiful than the other.
They are no longer just functional structures, they are an identity and something that has taken root in the culture of the city.
Any significant location in the city has a crescendo of water falling in a fountain, including the home of the Royals, Kauffman Park. In 1973, the ballpark opened with the now famous Kauffman Stadium fountains in the outfield. There were no seats there, so that underscored its importance, but we know the urge to jam so many people into the stadium was too much to resist.
In 2007, the K got a makeover. The main focus of this renovation is the upgrade to include fountain view terraces. Since 2009, spectators can watch the game next to the water fountains. This waterfall area is very popular because of its beauty, but getting back to the functionality, the water creates a cooling mist to relieve the harsh Missouri sun in the summer.
Functionality and beauty have always been the hallmark of these fountains in Kansas City. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Drew Wheeler (@drewisokay on Twitter)