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Stan W.

MLB Uniform Supplier change 2020- Majestic to Underarmour

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I saw where Underarmour will take over from Majestic as the official MLB player uniform supplier in 2020. Does that contract automatically make Underarmour the MLB Umpire uniform  supplier as  well?   

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Most likely, yes

52 minutes ago, Stan W. said:

I saw where Underarmour will take over from Majestic as the official MLB player uniform supplier in 2020. Does that contract automatically make Underarmour the MLB Umpire uniform  supplier as  well?   

Most likely, yes.

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Majestic shirts and jackets have been dull and boring for years. Honestly, how many of you ran out and tried to get those shirts with the little side stripes? Very few. Big gray stripe? Please.

I'm not saying we need to go down The Official's Choice road, and look like carnival acts, but we need an injection of style and function. Perhaps UA can provide this. And yeah, we need a BIG update in the drawers and hats were all wear. Good lawd, wool for heavens sake, has no business on the athletic field. Nobody, aside from baseball umpires and sheep, wear wool in the field.

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41 minutes ago, kylejt said:

Majestic shirts and jackets have been dull and boring for years. Honestly, how many of you ran out and tried to get those shirts with the little side stripes? Very few. Big gray stripe? Please.

I'm not saying we need to go down The Official's Choice road, and look like carnival acts, but we need an injection of style and function. Perhaps UA can provide this. And yeah, we need a BIG update in the drawers and hats were all wear. Good lawd, wool for heavens sake, has no business on the athletic field. Nobody, aside from baseball umpires and sheep, wear wool in the field.

I went out and got the shirt with the side stripe. And I believe many others did as well.

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4 minutes ago, tpatience said:

I went out and got the shirt with the side stripe. And I believe many others did as well.

And I would venture that many more did not.

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1 hour ago, Kevin_K said:

And I would venture that many more did not.

How do you figure? Almost all guys I know in Southern California have them. @grayhawk am I wrong?

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But those with the little white stripes are now out of date. Gotta have the big gray stripes, right?

Naw.

Here's my uniform take: We've been lead aound by the nose by what MLB guys wear. But their designs and materials have (my opinion) been dated and awful. It's time that the largest group of umpires on the planet start wagging the tail, instead of the other way around. Who? Little League umpires.

I've been BEGGING Jim at UA to get with Williamsport, and become the official supplier to LL (currently, it's Honig's, and they do zip for LL). Design a new, unique and improved uniform, and corner the market on baseball umpires. Come out with a new design in time for the LLWS, and you've got instant, televised world wide marketing beamed out to the single largest umpiring group. No more weird blue shirts, half sleeve smocks, etc. Smart, classy uniforms, made with modern, athletic material. No more dazzle shirts(remember those?) and wool pants.

 

A guy can dream, can't he?

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20 minutes ago, kylejt said:

But those with the little white stripes are now out of date. Gotta have the big gray stripes, right?

Naw.

Here's my uniform take: We've been lead aound by the nose by what MLB guys wear. But their designs and materials have (my opinion) been dated and awful. It's time that the largest group of umpires on the planet start wagging the tail, instead of the other way around. Who? Little League umpires.

I've been BEGGING Jim at UA to get with Williamsport, and become the official supplier to LL (currently, it's Honig's, and they do zip for LL). Design a new, unique and improved uniform, and corner the market on baseball umpires. Come out with a new design in time for the LLWS, and you've got instant, televised world wide marketing beamed out to the single largest umpiring group. No more weird blue shirts, half sleeve smocks, etc. Smart, classy uniforms, made with modern, athletic material. No more dazzle shirts(remember those?) and wool pants.

 

A guy can dream, can't he?

I think you overestimate the amount of wagging the dog can do. 

MLB will do what MLB wants to do, and at the end of the day, if there's going to be one limiting customer, it's them. What you are proposing is limited to HS and below--and while I agree there's a lot more umpires there, it doesn't matter. We know that MLB shirts will happen. It's merely a courtesy (and a market-driven one, at that) that means anything other than those exist. Even if you were to make your initial step happen, no one other than LL is going to care. It may even be a marketing failure--if the new uniforms were to be identified with LL, then I can guarantee you no umpire is going to want to wear it with the negative connotations LL umpiring entails.

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You're exactly right, Matt, And that is why it would be imperative that any new design being developed would have to be the best of the best.

And I get what your saying about bottom-up marketing. But let's just take one example: Pants.

 

Say that LL and UA came up with a new design, something like a heavy duty Adidas ClimaCool golf pant. And they made it in one shade of black. They premier it on ESPN, and it gets rave reviews throughout "our community". Now what? MLB guys are still wearing wool, and tens of thousands of LL umpires just a look at the future, with high tech, good looking drawers. What would other organizations do? (honestly, I don't know, just throwing it out there)

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41 minutes ago, kylejt said:

You're exactly right, Matt, And that is why it would be imperative that any new design being developed would have to be the best of the best.

And I get what your saying about bottom-up marketing. But let's just take one example: Pants.

 

Say that LL and UA came up with a new design, something like a heavy duty Adidas ClimaCool golf pant. And they made it in one shade of black. They premier it on ESPN, and it gets rave reviews throughout "our community". Now what? MLB guys are still wearing wool, and tens of thousands of LL umpires just a look at the future, with high tech, good looking drawers. What would other organizations do? (honestly, I don't know, just throwing it out there)

I don't think there's anything out there that would get that kind of return. Even if it was the "best of the best," there isn't going to be enough of an improvement to shift the market. It would have to be something not only aesthetically-pleasing and functionally-superior, it would have to add value in ways that a uniform hasn't before. When you get down to it, there isn't a huge shift between the uniforms of 100 years ago and now...while they may feel and act differently, we'd still wear them if expected because they don't have a significant functional cost. The single biggest change in umpiring ever was the shift in chest protectors, and that even took decades. 

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I think @kylejt 's ideas have significant merit, especially with regard to pants.

I just bought the new lightweight Smitty basketball pants from @JimKirk for volleyball. They are a great fit, incredibly light, and a significant improvement from the old styles. Should any manufacturer come up with a similar style pant for baseball I would be on them in a second.

What sense is there in wearing a wool blend in the summer? The only other wool I wear is reserved for winter wear and suits. I get that the wool sits well, but with the advent of lightweight athletic apparel it seems that there should be some blend of materials that would be able to mesh look with function better than the current options. With that said, however, this market is a small segment and the likelihood of a major manufacturer taking such a financial risk is minimal. 

 

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3 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

I think @kylejt 's ideas have significant merit, especially with regard to pants.

I just bought the new lightweight Smitty basketball pants from @JimKirk for volleyball. They are a great fit, incredibly light, and a significant improvement from the old styles. Should any manufacturer come up with a similar style pant for baseball I would be on them in a second.

What sense is there in wearing a wool blend in the summer? The only other wool I wear is reserved for winter wear and suits. I get that the wool sits well, but with the advent of lightweight athletic apparel it seems that there should be some blend of materials that would be able to mesh look with function better than the current options. With that said, however, this market is a small segment and the likelihood of a major manufacturer taking such a financial risk is minimal. 

 

Gerry Davis' polyester pants fit the bill except for matching your partner's polywools. I know of one assignor that outlaws them. They do turn purple over time also.  

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6 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

Gerry Davis' polyester pants fit the bill except for matching your partner's polywools. I know of one assignor that outlaws them. They do turn purple over time also.  

I've heard great things about the material used for these. But I would NEVER buy a pair because they aren't really used in my area.

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The GD all polyester charcoal pants are tough, durable, and don't match any other pants on the planet.

 

We just need a new benchmark.

50 shades.jpg

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1 hour ago, BT_Blue said:

I've heard great things about the material used for these. But I would NEVER buy a pair because they aren't really used in my area.

The one good thing is that they are washable without staining.

Other than that, they don't hold a press as crisply, they're less comfortable, and the belt loops are too big and too numerous.

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I was just trying to be nice, as I know a lot umpires love them. I think the plastic GD pants are awful looking. The light weight fabric flaps in the breeze, the bulky elastic waist band makes me (and everyone else) look fat.

 

Aside from that.....

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I wish Honigs didn't decide to go with an out of country manufacturer for their polywool pants. The new pants look and feel horrible. But they decide to change the same price for a lesser product.

So now I have to turn to either Smitty (which I haven't been impressed with in the past) or the new Davis-Fechheimer pants (which I have yet to personally see).

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I've heard not good reviews about the new Honig's and Smitty's and better reviews about the GD. In the meantime my old version of Honig's PW and GD polyester are going strong, so no need to get new ones yet with the exception that I'm looking for a PBS-1 in size 40.

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23 hours ago, gnhbua93 said:

I've heard not good reviews about the new Honig's and Smitty's and better reviews about the GD. In the meantime my old version of Honig's PW and GD polyester are going strong, so no need to get new ones yet with the exception that I'm looking for a PBS-1 in size 40.

Yeh. The new Honigs polywool pants are no bueno!

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On 10/21/2016 at 4:48 PM, kylejt said:

Majestic shirts and jackets have been dull and boring for years. Honestly, how many of you ran out and tried to get those shirts with the little side stripes? Very few. Big gray stripe? Please.

I'm not saying we need to go down The Official's Choice road, and look like carnival acts, but we need an injection of style and function. Perhaps UA can provide this. And yeah, we need a BIG update in the drawers and hats were all wear. Good lawd, wool for heavens sake, has no business on the athletic field. Nobody, aside from baseball umpires and sheep, wear wool in the field.

I got that shirt as did a bunch of other umpires did.

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On 10/24/2016 at 8:20 PM, umpstu said:

I got that shirt as did a bunch of other umpires did.

Enjoyed reading all the posts.

On pants, stay tuned. 1-2 best-out-there options on pants potentially coming. Not been given the go ahead to mention quite yet. Will know more in a few months.

On traditional trim shirts vs new vertical stripe shirts, I'll share our ratio of sales rather than picking sides. Traditional trim are around  3 to 1 to vertical stripe when comparing black, navy and powder blue colors.

In the almost 15 years I've been involved in umpire apparel, it always filters from MLB down. This is the nature of things. Umpires at lower levels do not always necessarily want the items specifically worn but want to associate with the feeling of looking like those guys. See that drive moreso with minor league and college umpires more so than those at lower levels.

It seems we are headed to 3 styles. Traditional, vertical stripe and newest in black and sky blue.

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That's dirty pool @JimKirk. But I guess I can wait. Would definitely be nice to just order everything from one place for next season.

Would really like to see the return of the polywool pants you guys put out a few years back for one season. Just as good quality as Honigs at the time. But with the expander waistband.

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7 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

That's dirty pool @JimKirk. But I guess I can wait. Would definitely be nice to just order everything from one place for next season.

Would really like to see the return of the polywool pants you guys put out a few years back for one season. Just as good quality as Honigs at the time. But with the expander waistband.

Thanks for the good words. Well, except for the dirty pool comment. Ha! I'd certainly tell you if I could.

And if we could bring back those pants we would if it were as easy as placing an order. The issue, as it is in every case is that ultimately there is a manufacturer that makes all the items no matter what brand name is on the label and that can dictate certain outcomes.

In the case of the pants, that original manufacturer was Hardwick . They were out of Tennessee and made pants for Honig's first. They then manufactured the pants that we eventually sold.

In a nutshell, eventually Hardwick would get out of the umpire pant making business. Word on the street was they wanted to move in a different direction (i.e. High end suits I heard specifically).

They were very good at making pants, and frankly all suppliers have had a hard time finding anyone who could do as good of a job at their price points - especially made in the US.

For us, we don't technically make anything - so we are not actively looking for new manufactured outside of encouraging current suppliers.

The officiating sporting goods market has gotten so complex that I'm a firm believer that, now, in order to do well in this small, niche sporting goods market you have to pick being either a great retailer or a great supplier.

The old model of trying to do both s no longer sustainable at a high level - when there were fewer products and when the retail environment and customer wants were not constantly evolving.

I also love the "buy from one place" comment. We are surely trying to make that a reality.

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On 10/28/2016 at 9:31 PM, JimKirk said:

 

In the almost 15 years I've been involved in umpire apparel, it always filters from MLB down. This is the nature of things. Umpires at lower levels do not always necessarily want the items specifically worn but want to associate with the feeling of looking that those guys. See that drive moreso with minor league and college umpires more so than those at lower levels.

 

Jim, I still believe you can turn that upside down, by going directly after the largest group of sports officials out there.

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On October 22, 2016 at 11:49 AM, kylejt said:

The GD all polyester charcoal pants are tough, durable, and don't match any other pants on the planet.

 

We just need a new benchmark.

50 shades.jpg

Wow...now that is a lot of shades of grey...Lol....and pink here and there....

 

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