Guardians dig into The Land’s history for City Connect uniforms

12:03 AM UTC

CLEVELAND — When Josh Naylor saw the Guardians’ City Connect uniforms, he quickly blurted out, “Can we wear them for every home game?” When everyone in the room just chuckled, he had to double down, “No, I’m actually asking.”

The new threads couldn’t have gone over better in Cleveland’s clubhouse. And now, fans have an opportunity to get their own. The Guardians officially unveiled their new uniforms on Sunday night as part of the 2024 Nike MLB City Connect Collection. City Connect merchandise will be on sale at the team store and online at MLBshop.com beginning Monday at 10 a.m. ET.

The Guardians will first wear their new uniforms on Friday against the Twins. They will be worn again on Sunday.

City Connect uniforms are designed to celebrate the deep-rooted history, culture and spirit of a team’s city. In the third season named the Guardians, the organization wanted to pay tribute to how it got its moniker: The Guardians of Traffic statues on the Hope Memorial Bridge.

The Guardians’ goal was to design a simple concept that honored their history with a modern flair. But the most important message to portray was how Clevelanders wear the pride of their city like a badge of honor, which is why “CLE” is written across the chest.

The new jerseys are red and blue to stay true to the club’s history, but they feature richer hues than their other uniforms. The color of the pants and the texture of the jersey tops are both sandstone, which is influenced by the Berea sandstone from which the bridge pillars were carved more than 90 years ago. In the collar of the jersey, “EST 1901” is printed to honor the first year of the organization’s existence. Above the tag that gets tucked into the player’s waistband reads “THE LAND,” a common nickname for the city.

The art-deco-style font for the “CLE” on the front of the jersey and the name and numbers on the back of the jersey was inspired to have a similar look as the pylons that support the Guardians of Traffic.

There are intricacies on the uniform that tap into Cleveland’s history as a ballclub, too. There is braiding down the sides of the jerseys and pants that not only features an intricate design found on the statues, but it also gives a nod to the strength and excitement of the early 1990s teams. The inside of the hats have the same braiding and texture of the jerseys. The caps are designed with the team’s new diamond “C” to connect between the present and past of the franchise’s history.

For players who pull their pant legs up and expose their socks, they will have two Guardians statues to show off. Each sock has a sketch of a Guardian statue holding a bat in its hands. The top of the sock reads: “EST. 1901.”

The Guardians began working on this design in December 2021. The final design was locked in by the following December and the ’23 season was geared toward the production, merchandise plan and launch of the new design. Now, the Guardians become one of nine clubs to join the 2024 City Connect series, including the Tigers, Dodgers, Twins, Mets, Phillies, Cardinals, Rays and Blue Jays.

These uniforms will be worn at least every Friday home game. The Guardians players will be able to determine if it’s worn for any other games at Progressive Field. These uniforms will remain in Cleveland’s rotation for three seasons.

The Guardians will have a Fanatics pregame party on the Gateway Plaza on Friday to begin the City Connect celebration. “The Big Don Band” will headline the event while the general public can partake in speed pitch and facepainting activities or interact with balloon artists and mascots. Fans will also be able to get an early look at the City Connect-inspired mural, designed and painted by local artist Lisa Quine, that will be on display just inside the left field gate at Progressive Field for the remainder of the season. The day will end with fireworks that will be shot off to songs that all have the same theme: Being home.

For fans looking to secure future City Connect promotions, the following giveaways have been added to the schedule:

May 17: City Connect-inspired free shirt (10,000 fans)May 18: José Ramírez City Connect bobblehead (12,500)June 19: City Connect tote bag (10,000)July 25: City Connect beach towel (10,000)Aug. 14: City Connect belt bag (10,000)Aug. 24: City Connect flag (15,000)