For decades, the cherry blossoms have been a quintessential symbol of spring in D.C.
In recent years, the Nationals and the start of baseball season have worked themselves into that mix. This year, those two elements have come together.
As part of the City Connect series with MLB and Nike, the Nationals are one of seven teams that will be sporting new, unique alternate uniforms this year designed to celebrate the cities they play in. For the Nationals, that means putting cherry blossoms on the hats and jerseys.
“When you think of Washington, you think of cherry blossoms, you think of monuments, you think of government,” said Jonathan Stahl, the vice president of experience and hospitality with the Nationals.
“Part of the City Connect program is to broaden our audience and expand who our fan base is. We wanted to create something that was unique to our fan base here that we’ve had so long, but also speaks to others that may be coming into the city. So when we looked at what we could do and the history of this city, we just felt the cherry blossoms was a great look and they’re awesome.”
The other seven teams that are part of the program this year are the Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres. Only the Nationals have unveiled their new designs.
Hundreds of fans were ready to spend their money as soon as the team store opened at 10 a.m.
“I’ve grown up in DC so I love the cherry blossoms so incorporating in the Nats is awesome,” said Kat Callahan, who lives in the Navy Yard. “I love it,” she added, though she also said she wishes there were more pink in the uniforms.
John Iaquinta of Severna Park took an early lunch break to sneak in for some new gear.
“I love the design so I had to come get some,” he said. His hands were full of shirts and hats, since he was buying not just for himself, but also his girlfriend, her parents, and his family too. The cost of replica jerseys was approaching $200. The authentic jerseys were around $450. Hats were $50.
“I’m not leaving with a lot in the pocket, but I got a lot of stuff,” he admitted.