Are Color Changes Good for Fans?

I think it is an eyesore but it sells uniforms. A growing fad as of late, wearing a color for a cause or a holiday has become more the norm than the exception. From the NFL and its pink October gear to the NBA and its “Noche Latina” March jerseys, taking a national cause in front of an international audience has increased awareness while meshing the line between entertainment and advocacy.

I have become increasingly concerned that wearing a certain color for a cause has any meaning anymore. I remember when North Carolina State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow was going through her treatment for breast cancer, and her entire NC State team and supporting fans turned the Wolfpack colors from white and red to pink. I suddenly found myself cheering for Yow’s Wolfpack to succeed on the court and for the battle for her life. Does a pink uniform have that same impact anymore?

On the flip side to the athletic colors for advocacy, the holiday color phenomenon has become increasingly popular after the Cincinnati Reds were the first team to wear green in the late 1970’s. The Boston Red Sox were quick to follow with green uniforms worn during Spring Training, and as of late, our Detroit Tigers have entered the mix with green caps and “D’s.” Green uniforms have also extended to NHL and NBA franchises dipping their toes into the one day color change.

For the fans, the occasional color change poses a new opportunity (and dilemma) to own an alternative versions to some of these classic uniforms. University bookstores at Syracuse (normally orange) and Michigan (maize and blue) have had issues keeping the green uniforms on their shelves. The New York Knicks quick sold out of their first shipment of “Nueva York” jerseys.

Whether you’re a fan of the jerseys or you think they’re a tremendous eyesore, it is undoubtedly a money maker for all leagues to have another uniform catering to the fans. At the very least, they represent a league as being progressive to the social causes of that time. If anything, they also answer the question of what Jim Leyland would look like in green?