Fans want to feel like they are a part of the team by wearing something that players usually wear. Well, within reason. Few fans deck themselves out in shoulder pads, helmets, and jockstraps because they’re bulky and uncomfortable, and would probably keep you from fully enjoying the game
Baseball has always had a cheap way for fans to get this feeling to fans: baseball caps. All players wear them in the field, even the catcher under that helmet, mask and sometimes throat protector. Caps are relatively cheap compared to jerseys, and you can wear it with pretty much anything. But caps don’t distinguish between players. And let’s be honest, sometimes a hat just isn’t enough to show your fandom. Sometimes you need to rock a baseball jersey in all its splendor. But team jerseys aren’t cheap… except when they are.
Here are some cheaper MLB jersey alternatives:
Nick Markakis may have moved on to the Atlanta Braves, but his gamesmanship during his long tenure with the Baltimore Orioles should not be forgotten. When the Orioles were terrible, Markakis was gathering up Gold Gloves. When the team had an upswing, Markakis had the bad fortune to be injured for much of it.
So while Nick Markakis may have left to bless another team with his injury woes, he should not be forgotten in Baltimore.
Boston Red Sox
When it comes to the Red Sox Nation, there are two types of players: those on the Red Sox and those not on the Red Sox. If a player is on the Red Sox, he is treated like royalty in the city. When a player leaves, via trade or free agency, he was a bum.
So if you need a cheap player jersey, you could probably get away with wearing a Will Middlebrooks. He did enough to be considered a Red Sox player, and was traded as far away as possible, to San Diego in the NL West.
Chicago White Sox
Sometimes a team is fighting for the spotlight in their own city and may not have enough jerseys to go around, even of former players. This may be the case of the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox have lived as the little brother to the legendary Chicago Cubs for decades. You’d think a World Series win in 2005 compared to the Cubbies’ 100-year drought would change things. You’d be wrong. Luckily, it means you can get a generic White Sox jersey on the cheap to show the world that you care. Who knows? Maybe someone will think you’re on the actual team.
If I were a Cleveland Indians fan, I probably would have gotten myself a Vaughn jersey long ago thanks to the movie Major League. I’ve even contemplated it in spite of not being a Cleveland Indians fan.
But for those of you who are Indians and movie fans, maybe the jersey of Michael Bourn will work. The player may be run-down with a milkmaid contract, but you can always add an ‘e’ on the name and pretend to be a super-secret agent disguised as a baseball player.
Sometimes a fan just lucks out with getting the replica jersey of a legend. This is the case with fans of the Detroit Tigers, who can pick up an old school Al Kaline jersey on the cheap.
Maybe it’s the fact that everyone already has an Al Kaline jersey that sent it to the “on sale” list. But if you’re the rare Tigers fan who doesn’t have one, you lucked out.
Maybe the Houston Astros’ switch from the National League to the American League still has fans confused. I still occasionally do a double-take when I see the Astros using a DH.
So if you still haven’t decided who your favorite old player for the Astros is, or who is even playing for the Houston Astros now, you can wear a generic team jersey. Who knows? Maybe the team will have you sub for a player.
Kansas City Royals
Just because the Kansas City Royals decided that a player from their system, who can only play designated hitter, isn’t worth re-signing, doesn’t mean that fans have to decide that his jersey isn’t worth buying. This is the case with Billy Butler.
Butler plays for the Oakland Athletics now. But he may return in a later year — possibly as a fan — wearing his own jersey.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
You don’t have a Mike Trout jersey yet? What sort of Angels fan are you? It couldn’t get any better if Christopher Lloyd himself started flying around the baseball diamond in an Angels uniform.
Well, if you’re going to be like that, go ahead and get a generic Angels jersey. Just don’t blame me if you find yourself in a sea of Trout jerseys.
If you’re a Minnesota Twins fan, chances are that you did away with buying player jerseys after the ’90s. How many players can join and leave a team in a decade? Maybe you still have your Joe Mauer sideburns.
Luckily, the generic team jerseys are on sale, so you can show your team pride… or misery, as the decade has gone so far.
New York Yankees
By now, most fans of the New York Yankees already have the replica jersey of some retired player that they grew up watching, or grew up hearing about their father or grandfather watching. It could be anyone from Roger Maris to Derek Jeter. But those jerseys are on the pricier side. Luckily, the Yankees have only slightly scaled back their recent heritage of hiring mercenary players, so any player jersey with pinstripes is usually fine. Heck, if they’re still good, they may even return.
For some reason, CC Sabathia’s jersey is on sale, even though he still pitches for the Yankees. Due to his recent weight gain, maybe his actual field jerseys from last season, which won’t fit this season, are the ones available for cheap.
Jon Lester or whoever
When your team is known for “Moneyball,” chances are that almost all player jerseys are on sale, or will be shortly. This seems to be the case with the Oakland Athletics. It’s as if players are walking through a season-long revolving door these days.
Since any player jersey is already obsolete, they are all less expensive than a generic jersey. So maybe pick up a Jon Lester jersey. Who knows? He may be back with the team in a year or two.
Unfortunately, the success of the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL isn’t as contagious as the common cold. If it were, the Seattle Mariners would have been in the playoffs at least.
The positive is that you can pick up a Robinson Cano jersey for relatively cheap. But if you don’t want to show your love for a player that your team broke the bank on, you may be inclined to get a generic team jersey. Or just wear your Seahawks jersey. No one will mind.
Tampa Bay Rays
Sometimes a fan can get away with getting the jersey of a player that burst into the game, only to fade away into a trade. With the Tampa Bay Rays, that player is Wil Myers.
Through six degrees of a trade, Myers was shipped to San Diego. Hopefully Tampa Bay fans have noticed.
Sure, you could get an Alex Rios jersey or even a generic jersey for cheaper, but let’s face it: if you’re a Texas Rangers fan, you’re also a Nolan Ryan fan.
So bite the bullet. Shell out an extra twenty bucks for a vintage jersey of Nolan Ryan. So what if he’s working for the Astros now. You got his best years. Or at least enough years to get his number retired.
Toronto Blue Jays
Sometimes a baseball team goes through so many uniform design changes that generic jerseys cost less than jerseys of the players who wore those jerseys. The Toronto Blue Jays are one of those teams.
While this jersey may not have the same pop as the cartoonish font and bird, it has that air of tradition that is only cheap on the price tag.
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.