Royals avoid unpopular uniform lettering during Nike/Fanatics overhaul, reportedly because they asked

The rollout of Nike's and Fanatics' new MLB uniforms has been messy, to say the least.

Previously sewn-on elements now appear to be printed. The pants have been called "see-through." There are concerns about the actual fit. There have been widespread pants shortages. And most noticeably, the player names on the backs of the jerseys are much smaller, giving the jerseys a cheaper look.

One team, however, appears to have avoided that last issue.

The Kansas City Royals took the field last weekend wearing what appeared to be their old uniforms. They at least looked like the same jerseys, with the larger lettering on the back used until this year. Some fans were confused, and there was even speculation that the team was revolting against the, well, revolting uniforms.

The truth turned out to be much simpler: The Royals just asked if they could use the old lettering.

This is a 2024 photo of shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. of the Kansas City Royals baseball team. This image reflects the active roster as of Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, when this image was taken in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Bobby Witt Jr.'s Royals uniform has the old style of lettering. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

According to the intrepid Paul Lukas of Uni Watch, who noticed the larger lettering and reached out to the Royals, the team lobbied Nike and MLB to retain their old lettering because they "felt strongly about maintaining the full-sized lettering as a way for fans to connect with the team’s players."

Nike and MLB granted the request, so the Royals will get to use the large lettering on both their home and road jerseys this season.

The Royals aren't the first team to get such a concession, either, as the St. Louis Cardinals were granted something of a waiver to retain their chain-stitched chest script after lobbying from team president Bill DeWitt III.

Of course, this raises a couple of significant questions in the ongoing uniform saga. If all a team had to do to keep the old lettering was ask, then a) why didn't any other MLB teams bother trying and b) what's stopping them from doing so now?

Barring an embarrassing and expensive about-face, MLB teams are likely locked into these unpopular uniforms for this season. Going forward, however, whoever manages Nike's relationship with MLB and its teams might have a busy day at work ahead of them.