- The 51-year-old Fanatics founder spoke at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conf.
- He said he would like players to be more involved in the design process next time.
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Fanatics founder Michael Rubin has said his company is unfairly blamed for new Major League Baseball uniforms that have see-through pants and other fit and design issues.
Since reporting to spring training this month, some players have complained about the fit of the new uniforms. The white pants worn by some teams are also transparent enough to clearly show the jerseys inside.
“This is a little bit of a difficult position,” Rubin said Friday at MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. ‘We are doing exactly what we have been told, and we have been told we are doing everything exactly right. And they are kicking us. So that’s not fun.
Rubin added that the uniforms were made according to specifications established by MLB and Nike. Fanatics has been making the baseball uniform since 2017, he said; Fans have bought into the company that makes the uniforms since 2005, so there hasn’t been any real change to the manufacturer in nearly two decades.
“I know everyone hates them,” Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said earlier. ‘We all liked what we had. We understand business, but I think everyone wanted to keep it the same, for the most part, with a few tweaks here or there.
Fanatics founder Michael Rubin blamed Nike for the preseason uniform issues.
Players have expressed displeasure over the see-through pants, small print and emblems on the sleeves.
Rubin said Nike made changes “for all the right reasons” after receiving feedback from players who wanted a more breathable and stretchy material.
‘Nike designs everything. He hands us a spec and says, “Do this,” he said. “We’ve done everything exactly to spec, and Nike and baseball would say, ‘Yes, you’ve done everything we’ve asked.'”
Rubin said part of the problem is that players need to get used to the changes, and he said a similar problem dissipated after the NFL and NBA uniforms changed.
MLB uniforms have been designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics since 2017.
But in the future he will try to involve more people in the decisions.
‘They have certain players on board, not all. When you change something so old and so nostalgic, you need everyone to be on board,” Rubin said. “I think Nike will be right.”
Players’ association head Tony Clark said Thursday that his members had expressed their objections.
“The commentary offered suggests that the powers that be are paying attention to the concerns that exist and are looking at how best to address them in the future.” Clark said.