By Mark Wright / Special to MLB.com wrote:link ...
The Texas Rangers should have an easier time standing the heat starting next season.
The ballclub on Thursday afternoon at The Ballpark in Arlington unveiled the team's first major uniform change since 2001 -- the addition of a sleeveless white jersey that will be worn as an alternate home top.
The new jersey, which is the first sleeveless uniform in the club's 31-year history, features blue piping on the front and a red block T with a white and blue shadow. Player names and numbers are in blue with a red outline. Players will wear long- or short-sleeved blue T-shirts underneath the jersey.
The club also announced that all the home uniforms would now feature blue trim to the white pants, and names and numbers will be outlined in red instead of black. The home uniforms will also include blue belts and shoes.
"There's one thing the players have asked us to do that we couldn't do until we got a design we liked and that was get a sleeveless jersey," Rangers president Michael Cramer said. "In the middle of the summer here it gets a little warmer than it does in most of the United States."
The new Rangers alternate home jerseys are available at the Majestic Grand Slam Gift Shop at The Ballpark. The first 10 fans to purchase the sleeveless jerseys will receive a free Texas Rangers 10-ticket pack, which includes 10 vouchers for Upper Reserved seats good for any 2004 home game.
Cramer said the sleeveless uniforms would help players stay cool and comfortable. Without the sleeves, the jerseys actually feel lighter and give the players an improved range of motion, he said.
Cramer said the sleeveless jerseys are the last step in a uniform overhaul that began when the team went from red caps and numbers back to the blue caps and numbers the team featured from its first season in 1972 until The Ballpark in Arlington opened in 1994.
"The players have asked for a sleeveless uniform for four or five years," Cramer said. "We were trying to stagger out the changes. This is the last part of that."
The new jersey is not just for special occasions. The Rangers could stick with the sleeveless look during hot weather and wear the regular white jersey or the all-blue alternate jersey in the cooler weather of April and September, Cramer said.
Outfielders Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix were on hand to model the new threads. And each gave the new look a thumbs up.
"Just walking down the hallways without the sleeves makes it lighter especially when it gets as hot as anything in July and August," Mench said. "I'm surprised they haven't gone to this earlier. You guys know how hot it gets."
Nix said it was his first chance to admire the jerseys.
"They're a lot different, and I'm still getting used to it," he said. "I'm still looking down the sides. I like them so far."