Drastic change to Phillies uniforms looms for 2023 season

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports) /

Phillies uniforms will look different starting in the 2023 season.

Larger bases, a pitch clock, and a ban on defensive shifts are among the changes set for Major League Baseball in 2023, but another recently-announced change for next season will hit closer to home for Philadelphia Phillies fans.

The league has finalized details for its jersey ad patch program, of which the SportBusiness Group’s Eric Fisher details:

  • Patches will be 4 inches by 4 inches, to be worn on either sleeve
  • Clubs can sell authentic jerseys with the patch at ballparks (replicas sold at retail locations will not have the patch)
  • Not allowed: alcohol, betting, and media ads — nor in-season patch partner/design switches

With ad patches set to be worn on “either sleeve,” this means, as Todd Radom points out, that the Phillies’ unique sleeve numbers — coincidentally introduced 30 years ago in 1992 — will go away. This means the number “3” will likely only be displayed on the back of slugger Bryce Harper’s uniform. Many fans on social media are not happy with this change. One fan wrote that it “makes them sad.” Understandably so, as it’s yet another example of MLB doing anything they can to make more money, even if it comes at the cost of fan happiness.

With the ad patches, there is also the possibility that tribute patches the Phillies have worn to honor someone from their organization could be a thing of the past — unless there is an agreement that it could be worn above the ad patch. Among the Phillies’ tribute patches worn in the Citizens Bank Park era include “VUK” for John Vukovich, “HK” for Harry Kalas, and “DPM” for David Montgomery.

Ads coming to Phillies uniforms was ultimately inevitable, but it definitely will take some getting used to. And, if the Joe Girardi-led team makes the postseason for the first time since 2011 this fall, there is a possibility that ads could be displayed on their iconic red helmets.

Ad patches and helmet decals or not, at least there is baseball to watch in 2022.

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