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Boston Red Sox ‘push the envelope’ with Marathon-inspired blue-yellow uniforms



The Boston Red Sox, known for their traditional white uniforms with red lettering and the iconic “B,” are unveiling their first jersey without any red at all.

As part of Major League Baseball’s first major jersey collaboration with Nike — which became the sport’s uniform supplier in 2019 — the Red Sox unveiled the yellow-and-powder-blue uniforms Tuesday.

Inspired by the Patriots’ Day holiday and the Boston Marathon, the jerseys feature a marathon bib patch with 617, Fenway Park’s area code, on the left sleeve.

The radical design for MLB is part of Nike’s first venture into designing alternates for baseball, known as the City Connect series, meant to push the boundaries of uniform design.

“It was front and center and this is why we did this deal. You take two iconic brands and you put them together and you have one and one make three,” MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden said. “This is what we expected, and this is what we wanted. This is the plan we always set out for.”

The City Connect series will start with seven teams with scattered unveil dates: the Red Sox, Miami Marlins (May 21), Chicago White Sox (June 5), Chicago Cubs (June 12), Arizona Diamondbacks (June 18), San Francisco Giants (July 9) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (late August).

Every MLB team is expected to have a City Connect series jersey by the end of the 2023 season, with teams working individually with Nike to create a uniform that’s connected to the personality and community of each city.

Since taking over as the uniform supplier for the NFL and NBA, Nike has pushed for similarly radical uniform design changes in baseball, with the City Edition uniforms creating a wide variety of looks. Nike presented Boston with 10 different concepts in early 2019, with Red Sox chief marketing officer Adam Grossman and executive vice president Troup Parkinson landing on the Patriots’ Day concept.

Grossman said that when the Red Sox learned of the sport’s partnership with Nike two years ago, they reached out to tell them that they wanted to push the boundaries regarding their uniform design.

“We wanted to be at the front of the line. We told them that we would love to collaborate in any way you see fit,” Grossman said. “That was two years ago and that point, they said they were going to do the City Connect program that if we’re going to do this, we are all-in, and even though we are a traditional historic franchise, we want to do something completely different.

“We want to push the envelope and be bold in this.”

While Grossman initially felt hesitation about unveiling a Red Sox jersey without the color in the team’s name, he felt the connection to Patriots’ Day and the marathon presented a unique narrative that justified the decision to move forward with a bold design. The Red Sox will wear the yellow-and-blue uniforms for the first time on April 17 and 18 against the White Sox before wearing their traditional Patriots’ Day uniform featuring the Boston Strong patch first unveiled after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.

“This was the one where we felt right from the get-go that this was the one, but it was also like, ‘This is a Red Sox jersey that doesn’t have red or anything on it,'” Grossman said. “We asked ourselves if we could do this and it felt like the time to do this. There’s never a better time than now. It pushes us as an organization, pushes baseball and I think the way we’re launching it, we thought it would allow us to get into different neighborhoods of Boston that are pushing culture in Boston, because that’s part of what this is reflective of.”

Nike senior designer Wil Green said that Nike found inspiration from the finish line of the marathon while designing the uniforms, which feature a stencil-like font across the front of the jersey.

Grossman acknowledged that many baseball traditionalists may not like the vast departure from the team’s traditional jerseys, but that they’re also not intended for the “traditionalist.”

“We understand that for traditionalists, this may not work for them and we’re OK with that,” Grossman said. “We get it. This is not meant to replace our crisp whites. That’s not what this is about, but it’s about connecting and having other people look at us differently, especially younger more diverse crowds. We embrace that, and it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate that, and that’s what this represents.”

The unveiling of the City Connect series falls in line with MLB’s strategy in recent years to expand baseball logos onto trendy streetwear. Garden said the City Connect series is an attempt by MLB and Nike to push baseball uniforms into the world of fashion.

Grossman said that the City Connect series provides baseball an opportunity to grow its audience among casual fans and become a part of daily lifestyle culture.

“When you see this convergence and for us and the sport, we want to be more part of the lifestyle,” Grossman said. “We do as a game, but getting outside the white lines of the diamond, that merch and hats are part of everyday culture is essential to growing the game just as the game itself.”

With baseball entering the third season of a 10-year deal with Nike as uniform supplier, Grossman expects the City Connect series to be the beginning of a series of design changes to the baseball uniform.

“We’re going to see more experimentation not only with colorways, but I think as we get into this relationship as an industry, the creativity around the design itself is going to be something that will be interesting to see,” Grossman said.

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Joe Girardi, Jean Segura have confrontation as Philadelphia Phillies lose to Toronto Blue Jays



DUNEDIN, Fla. — The injury-depleted Philadelphia Phillies lost a game, another player and their temper.

Television cameras showed a confrontation in the dugout between Phillies manager Joe Girardi and second baseman Jean Segura during Sunday’s 10-8 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Segura committed two errors. One miscue came in the first inning when Segura misplayed a soft one-hopper by Randal Grichuk.

“That’s a bench conversation, meant for the bench,” said Girardi, who was asked about a half-dozen times about the incident. “You can ask all you want; you got everything you’re going to get about it. I’m done with it.”

At one point, Segura had to be restrained by coach Dusty Wathan.

“I didn’t actually see it,” Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins said. “Obviously, I heard it. It’s heat-of-the-moment stuff, right. We’re all competing. Everybody in the dugout wants to win the same amount. Sometimes that’s what happens.”

Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette hit consecutive first-inning homers, and Randal Grichuk had a two-run double in a five-run second as Toronto burst to an 8-0 lead.

Semien finished with three hits and three RBIs, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 11th homer, a solo drive in the eighth that gave him home runs in three consecutive games.

“I feel comfortable with what I’m doing mechanically,” Semien said. “That’s always good when you don’t have to worry about changing something every day. You’re just able to focus on what you’re looking for at the plate.”

Toronto won for the sixth time in eight games, moving five games over .500 for the first time this season.

Philadelphia right fielder Bryce Harper (right shoulder soreness) and catcher J.T. Realmuto (sore left wrist) were both out of the lineup after leaving Saturday night’s game early.

Harper replaced Scott Kingery in right in the sixth inning. Harper popped up a bunt for an out with two on and one out in the eighth with the Phillies down 9-4, then stranded two in the ninth with a game-ending strikeout on a full-count fastball from Jeremy Beasley, the eighth pitch of the at-bat.

Girardi said he talked with Harper about trying for a bunt hit in the sixth. The slugger took several big swings during his ninth-inning at-bat.

“I was concerned,” Girardi said. “Talked about some different things. I talked to Bryce — he said he wanted to try and he was OK, so we let him do it. I trust the player. I thought he had some swings.”

Kingery ran into the wall chasing a fly ball and later felt dizzy, and he will be evaluated.

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Royals manager Mike Matheny calls for ‘accountability’ after game-ending call stands



CHICAGO — Add Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny to the list of people who have questioned motives behind video replay.

Matheny was on the wrong end of a review in the bottom of the ninth inning of his team’s game against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

With two outs in a 3-3 tie, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu came home on a wild pitch from reliever Wade Davis. Catcher Cam Gallagher retrieved the ball and went to tag Abreu, who slid in on the third base side of home plate. He was called safe on the field and the review upheld the call, which gave the White Sox a 4-3 win.

Replays showed Gallagher may have tagged Abreu on his jersey before he reached the plate.

“If we’re going to use video replay, there needs to be some accountability,” Matheny said after the loss. “I walked in here and had two different camera angles with this guy out. Tagged before he ever touched the plate. Very obvious. I don’t know what they’re doing, backing each other up, whatever it is. It’s wrong.”

Plays can only be overturned if video review shows a conclusive reason for it. Umpires in New York made the call with the umpires in Chicago on a headset — as is the norm. Anything short of a definitive angle to overturn a ruling means the call on the field stands.

“They have the opportunity to take that much time, and from appearances, it looks like they don’t want to bring them [the players] back onto the field while they’re here with this crowd,” Matheny said. “It’s just wrong and something has to be done about it.”

The Sox were down 3-2 going into the ninth. They tied the score on a Yoan Moncada RBI single but Moncada was eventually thrown out at the plate by Whit Merrifield on a base hit to right by Yermin Mercedes. That sent Abreu to third after he was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning. Then Davis threw the wild pitch, bringing Abreu home.

“They said he was safe,” White Sox right-fielder Adam Eaton said. “They even got replay. I had a pretty good view of it. Bang, bang play. Heck of a slide by Jose. We’ll definitely take it.”

Matheny disagreed: “You could see the jersey move when he tagged him on the body.”

The result of the play meant the Sox and Royals split their four-game series.

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Shane Bieber’s record strikeout streak ends, as Seattle Mariners chase Cleveland Indians ace early



SEATTLE — Shane Bieber‘s record strikeout streak ended Sunday when the Seattle Mariners sent the Cleveland ace to an early exit.

Bieber had fanned at least eight in 20 straight games. But the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner fell just short against the Mariners, striking out seven in 4 2/3 innings.

Bieber left trailing 3-0 with the bases loaded in his shortest outing of the season.

The 25-year-old right-hander leads the majors with 92 strikeouts. Bieber started the season with 10 or more strikeouts in his first four outings, another major league record.

The last time Bieber didn’t strike out at least eight in a regular-season game was his final start of the 2019 season. He struck out seven last year in a playoff start against the Yankees.

Bieber allowed a run in the first inning Sunday. In all of 2020, he allowed only one run in the first inning.

In the series finale, Cleveland is attempting to gain a split of the four games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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