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Why is there a pants problem in Major League Baseball during spring training?

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Major League Baseball is showing off new uniforms during this year's spring training.

The biggest problem is they might be showing too much.

A series of pictures have shown a slightly embarrassing problem with MLB's new look: At least a handful of teams have white pants that are relatively see-through, making for some less-than-ideal pictures.

“I know everyone hates them,” Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said last week. “We all liked what we had. We understand business, but I think everyone wanted to keep it the same way, for the most part, with some tweaks here or there.”

That criticism might be a little harsh, but there are still some legitimate concerns about the uniforms with MLB's regular season approaching in about a month.

WHAT IS NEW WITH THE UNIFORMS

Nike has been designing MLB uniforms since 2020 and Fanatics has been manufacturing them since 2017, but this is the first year for the Nike Vapor Premier jerseys.

MLB officials say these uniforms improve mobility by providing 25% more stretch and also will dry 28% faster. The lettering, sleeve emblems and numbering are less bulky in an attempt to make uniforms more breathable and comfortable.

There are parts of the new uniforms that many players seem to enjoy, particularly the lightweight feeling. Players tried on versions of the new Vapor Premier uniforms during last year's All-Star festivities and many liked them.

SO WHY ARE PLAYERS UPSET

Generally speaking, athletes usually aren't big fans of change. That's certainly true of baseball players.

It's not uncommon for MLB players to be upset about something in spring training. Last year, the biggest complaints were about the sport's new rules package that included a pitch clock, bigger bases and limits on how many times pitchers could step off the rubber. Despite those misgivings, the rules package has been widely-regarded as one of the most successful initiatives MLB has unveiled in decades.

So when the players started complaining about the uniforms this spring, it seemed like normal blowback. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred dismissed the criticism last week, saying players would get used to the uniforms and eventually like them.

But that's until the pants problem became known. Essentially, when players are wearing white tops and white pants, the tucked-in jersey sometimes make it look like players are wearing a diaper because the pants are relatively see-through.

There have also been distribution problems. Some teams have their 2024 uniforms, while others don't. The San Diego Padres used last year's white pants in their spring training opener on Thursday.

WHAT CAN THE PLAYERS DO ABOUT IT

Major League Baseball Players Association deputy executive director Bruce Meyer confirmed the organization is relaying concerns from players to MLB about the new pants.

Nike has also dispatched some representatives to Arizona and Florida, trying to fix player concerns.

“We always put the athlete at the center of everything we do,” Nike said in a statement. "We worked closely with MLB players, teams and the league to create the most advanced uniforms in the history of MLB which are lighter and more flexible.

"The quality and the performance of our product is of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to work with MLB, the players and our manufacturing partner to address player uniforms.

HOW DO THEY FIX THE PROBLEM

The supply issues could potentially be fixed by opening day, which is on March 28 for most teams.

As for the see-through nature of the pants, that might be a little harder to fix. One potential solution is that players could wear last year's pants until the problems are solved.

Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove shrugged off the controversy on Thursday, saying that it was far from the most important thing he’s worried about this spring, even if it’s a little annoying.

“Pants are pants — we’re going to wear them,” he said. “If they don’t fit right, you’ll deal with it.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

David Brandt, The Associated Press