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Schmuck: MLB’s ‘Players’ Weekend’ uniforms doing the opposite of rocking the fashion world

Is it me, or has Major League Baseball finally jumped the great white shark with this weekend’s uniform malfunction?

The special outfits for this year’s “Players’ Weekend” promotion have created a social-media buzz, and not in a good way.

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It’s not just the bland black, white and gray motif that has fans wondering why anyone thought they would look spiffy and create a nice backdrop for the cute nicknames each player chose to adorn them. It’s that they just look weird and those nicknames aren’t even visible on the white jerseys.

The good news: The Orioles chose wisely when they opted for the black uniforms with the grey lettering, which would look OK if the pants didn’t look like cheap dress slacks. It probably would help if the cap logo had been gray like the jersey lettering instead of matching black, which rendered it virtually invisible to the naked eye.

The Tampa Bay Rays were saddled with the white uniforms, which not only had everyone squinting to figure out Kevin Kiermaier’s nickname is “Outlaw,” but had some wondering if the Orioles were playing a softball team from the Milk Marketing Association.

“They look like painters,” said more than one Orioles player.

Pardon the Star Wars reference, but when they donned the all-white batting helmets, it looked like the Empire really was going to strike back ... or strike out.

The point of it all, of course, is to let the fans see their favorite players from a different perspective, while allowing the players to put more of their personalities on display by augmenting the unique uniforms with customized cleats and other accessories not usually allowed under MLB rules.

Apparently, somebody thought starting with monochromatic uniforms would somehow enhance their ability to do that, but that clearly hasn’t been the case.

Don’t take my word for it. When Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona saw the new look, he told a reporter from The Athletic he wasn’t going to make any pitching changes because he didn’t want to be seen in public.

“What’s the slogan, ‘Let the kids Ppay?’ ” Francona said. “Let the grown-ups look like morons.”

“Woof,” Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I’d just like to know who said this was a good idea.”

Let’s be honest. The whole jersey thing has gotten out of hand — from the throwbacks to special promotions like this — even though many of the special jerseys are subsequently auctioned to support worthy charities.

MLB used to be pretty stodgy when it came to that type of thing. Fans around here can remember all the years they spent clamoring for the Orioles to put “Baltimore” back on the team’s road jerseys. Now, the Orioles seem to crank out a new one-time jersey every month or so.

This is all part of a generational shift in sports marketing best characterized by the Oregon athletic program’s special relationship with Nike. The sports apparel giant has outfitted the Ducks’ football team with an ever-changing array of strange designs that allowed the company to brag in 2014 that the team had not worn the same uniform combination twice over the previous decade.

To their credit, the Orioles have otherwise remained largely loyal to their traditional style, to the point where it was difficult to tell the difference between one of their recent “Turn Back the Clock” jerseys and the current one.

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There are a few official variations, but there’s never any doubt that you’re watching the Orioles, except this weekend.

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