It’s hard to believe that the now-retired primary uniform set, the “Big B” jerseys with the “Barley M” cap, had been around for 20 seasons – five years longer than the Ball and Glove survived as the team’s primary marking. It had replaced a pair of uni sets that had lasted just three years each it and seemed to linger more than anything else, buoyed by the re-introduction of the Ball and Glove in 2006 as an alternative cap and logo. Despite having decorated nearly every memorable moment in franchise history since Robin Yount rapped out his 3,000 hit 27 years ago, it never felt like it really defined anything.
Those jerseys are 🔥 and those models are 🤣. #glovestory
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) November 19, 2019
The heart of the rebrand is, of course, a full-on return to the famed ball and glove logo. The mark has been tweaked a bit from its original state – just enough so to make the purchase of a new cap an unavoidable task for many fans – but maintains the clever simplicity of the original. The new primary home jersey top is nod to the pre-B&G 1970s, the simple block-letter-on-white pullovers that Henry Aaron donned for his final years as a Big Leaguer. It’s a balanced and classic look. The road tops maintain the same feel, returning “MILWAUKEE” as their road primary branding for the first time since 1999. While the home set is a light cream, the road set is blueish-grey, another homage to the past. The alternate home set is similar to the ’80s revival-look the team has used since ’06, using the new style of block lettering. The road alt is undoubtedly the stand-out of the four-set package. If the reasons for this are good or not will probably depend on personal tastes, but the solid-navy top with script lettering is certainly the most original of the bunch. The bold gold piping around the neck and buttons is a bit heavy-handed and the navy trim on the gold lettering doesn’t really contrast enough to be effective, but it’s fun and weird without feeling forced.
As is the modern trend, all four unis are patch-heavy, each with a 50th Anniversary patch on the right arm and an alternate logo on the left. Most notable is the home set patch – a baseball with stalks of wheat for the seams. This mark is perhaps the most radically new element of the whole rebrand, but feels a bit generic upon first impression. The roll-out also offered updated takes on the long-standing “logo over the state of Wisconsin” mark, as well as an official adoption of the ‘Barrel Man’ mascot that dates back to the days of Milwaukee as a minor league city. As noted by owner Mark Attanasio during the unveiling, Barrel Man now has an “edge” in the way of a scowl – although it just as much looks like he now wears sculpted eyebrows.
— MLB (@MLB) November 19, 2019
A set of deeply meaningful explanations for certain aspects of the new look was part of the rollout. For example, the new baseball portion of the updated ball and glove – in which a pair of half-circle seams replaced the old, single S-shaped seam – is meant to break the ball into three part – representing the fans, the city, and the state. And the bit of connective tissue that now links the “m” and “b” in the glove logo (whereas the two letters used to be separate) is symbolic of the “unbreakable connection between this team and its city.” This is all bunk, to be sure. They changed the logo because they wanted to sell more merch, but there are a few subtle features of the new look that do connect to the city in a real way. Take the “Milwaukee” wordmark on the road alt, for example. The underside of the script lettering, give the blue top the appearance of a rolling Lake Michigan, while the blocky top-half of the mark give the sense of smokestacks above a row of homes. Or the vaguely beer barrel-shaped “8” that Ryan Braun and Keston Hiura will wear all season.
The worst part of the new look – by far – is the one that everyone knew was coming. Heritage or good taste of any kind be damned, the Brewers and every other Major League team will wear the Nike swoosh near the right collarbone beginning this year. Perhaps it will act as a reminder why an authentic player jersey can now cost over $450.
Yeah, well, any cynicism aside, the Brewers are going to be one of the Big Leagues’ best-looking clubs in 2020.