Anyone who’s watched the Cleveland Indians take the field this season may have noticed that something is a bit different. The Indians unveiled a slightly new uniform design this winter, and the difference was clear when they took the field to start the 2012 season. This isn’t exactly breaking news by any stretch of the imagination, but it is important in terms of building the identity of the 2012 Tribe.
These changes are by no means as extreme as the complete overhaul of 1994, or even the changes last season as the team the unveiled the new road uniform set. The Indians will still look like the Indians we have come to know and love over the years.
The first major change is to the standard home uniform. The basic template will remain the same but with the red script “Indians” along the chest outlined in navy blue instead of white and blue. They will retain the pro style button spacing down the front (two buttons, a larger space for the script, and then the remainder of the buttons). Chief Wahoo remains the primary logo and can be found on the left sleeve and the standard navy blue home cap with red bill, which is still unchanged.
The other major change is the trim. It is still navy blue and the sleeves are the same, but the Indians made the big switch from front piping to neck piping. This may not seem like a huge deal, but given the design of the Indians’ uniforms with the large script running across the chest, the change to neck piping provides a much cleaner and simpler look. Combined with the current road set, the whole look is reminiscent of the the uniform Cleveland wore during parts of the 1950′s and elicits a sense of history and uniformity (a crazy concept for uniforms).
Comparing the picture to the right with the link above, you can see that the old template looked significantly more crowded and clunkier. The new design has a sleeker, cleaner, and more “old-timey” feel.
The blue alternate road uniform has undergone the same stylistic change as the primary home set. The color scheme and chest insignia will remain the same, sans blue outlining, but will be accompanied by gray neck piping rather than the gray front piping of years past. Again, this provides a much simpler and cleaner look overall. The blue tops will be paired once again with the navy blue road cap with the Chief Wahoo logo.
Another change that we all saw on during the opening series was the change in accent color for the alternate home uniform set. In place of navy blue undershirts, belts, socks, etc., the Indians will now pair that set with red accessories. Personally, I like the change. It goes better with the red cap introduced last season and really helps tie the set together as a whole. I also like how that reminds me of the 1995 team, who also used red as their primary accent color for their home uniform set.
Meanwhile, the primary road uniform sets will remain unchanged for 2012.
Normally, minor changes like these don’t tend to add much in the grand scheme of things, but not in this instance. The slight change to the piping really makes the script chest insignia stand out. Will this make the Indians performance any better or worse on the filed in 2012? Probably not. But, at least in my opinion, they will look significantly better thanks to a little addition through subtraction.