Another MLB jersey flap: Why don't teams have their uniforms yet?

Major League Baseball’s uniform problem faces yet another hurdle: Availability.

The Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers typically wear the popular City Connect uniforms for Friday night games, per their end-of-week customs. There was just one hang-up: Fanatics, the company responsible for producing the Nike-designed uniforms, has not delivered them.

So the Rangers wore their standard whites for a nationally-televised clash against the Houston Astros while the Brewers shelved their “Brew Crew” ode to beer, brats and Lake Michigan as they took the field against Seattle.

Officials from the Rangers and Brewers intimated to reporters that missing deliveries accounted for the jersey scrambling. Friday marked the ninth day of MLB's regular season.

Yet the missing jerseys should not have come as a surprise, according to Fanatics.

The company, which has produced MLB jerseys since 2017, measures players for uniforms during spring training and then asks teams to prioritize which uniforms they'd like delivered first, with the first of six windows coming March 18 and the last on May 27.

"In early December, each MLB Club was given shipping windows and asked to prioritize their on-field uniform needs to be delivered on specific dates between March 18 and mid-May," Fanatics said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. "The different delivery dates are intentional given that each player has parts of their uniform customized during Spring Training. Once those measurements are taken and sent back to the facility, there are different lead times to make the jerseys and pants, which inform how teams prioritize their uniform deliveries. This is the normal process each season.

"Uniforms prioritized in the first two ship windows this season — March 18 and April 1 — have already been delivered on-time or early. The remaining jerseys that are due to teams in the final prioritized shipping windows, between now and mid-May, are on track to be delivered early and ahead of schedule, by April 23. This is aligned with when teams receive the bulk of their jerseys each season based on the manufacturing process after Spring Training."

Adolis Garcia and Evan Carter wearing the Rangers' City Connect uniforms in 2023.
Adolis Garcia and Evan Carter wearing the Rangers' City Connect uniforms in 2023.

With scrutiny of the new Nike-designed jerseys at a high level, players, fans and media have identified at least five teams who have not yet worn City Connect or other alternate jerseys on their traditional days of use. The Mariners did not wear their cream Sunday uniforms and the Minnesota Twins reportedly did not have the pants to round out their Twin Cities alternate fits. The Mariners reached out to fans to explain the Sunday switch, saying the jerseys hadn't been delivered yet. Additionally, the St. Louis Cardinals reportedly will not have their alternate blue tops until June, although Fanatics said all jerseys and pants will be delivered by no later than May 7.

And teams have prioritized which kits arrive first, and wear them as they're available. The Rangers, according to a spokesman, received five uniform sets before the season - three home and two road. As defending World Series champions, they wore the now-customary gold-trimmed uniforms for their opening series, prioritizing that delivery over the City Connect jerseys.

Both the Rangers and Fanatics anticipate the City Connects will arrive by Texas' next Friday home date of April 26.

The 2024 jerseys have been under fire virtually from the moment they appeared in spring training, due to the reduced point size of lettering, to players sweating through their jerseys once the season has begun, along with a general bargain-basement feel from the products. The uniforms are designed by Nike, which opted for a new fabric this year, and produced by Fanatics, which contracts to produce uniforms for virtually every major sports league and the NCAA.

MLB introduced the Nike-designed City Connect line in 2021 to great fanfare and immediate popularity. The most recent releases have, objectively, lacked the creativity and panache of the earlier releases, evidenced by the Philadelphia Phillies' City Connect release earlier Friday. Those jerseys retail for up to $175.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB jersey debacle: City Connect uniforms aren't getting to teams