There's really only one uniform element from 2017 that needs to be removed from the lineup, and that's the inverted White 85 jerseys. The inverted White 85s were introduced about halfway through the 2016 season, and they quickly became known as the "championship whites." The jerseys debuted in a 2016 Governor's Cup win, and were later worn in an SEC-clinching win over Arkansas and in the 2016 Starkville Regional Championship over Louisiana Tech. A year later, they were worn in three consecutive wins to clinch a second consecutive super regional berth in the 2017 Hattiesburg Regional.
Due their success, I and others will always associate the inverted White 85s with positive memories. However, they simply don't look as good as the regular white 85s, and it's not just aesthetics; from a practical standpoint, the inverted White 85s are very hard to read from virtually any distance. I do think that we need to keep a solid white jersey in the uniform lineup, and I think that the 85 wordmark should be on it, but it's time for the inverted version of these jerseys to be retired.
The inverted White 85s are also up against the two-year barrier. Over the past couple years, many of State's baseball jerseys, including the Cream MS, White MS, Black 85, and Digital Camo jerseys, have endured only a two year lifespan. If this trend continues, it will not only be time for the inverted White 85s to go, but also the gray pinstripes. I, and I think many would agree, hope that the gray pinstripes are able to buck the trend and return for 2018. With the larger number of road games in 2018, one would have to think that either the gray pinstripes will be retained, or a new gray jersey will be introduced. Or maybe both; more on that later
I have only three major suggestions for 2018 additions: White 85s, Maroon 85s, and Gray Pants.
As mentioned above, it's time the inverted White 85s to go. However, I still think that we need a jersey to fill the role that the inverted White 85s played this past season. The answer is to simply un-invert them and go back to regular White 85 jerseys for the 2018 season.
In addition to the white 85s, I think it's time that the maroon 85s make a comeback. After being faked out on opening day this season, many fans expressed desire for the classic jersey, which has been worn recently in three different variations from 2009 to 2015, and was worn as a BP top this past season. As I pointed out in the 2017 Season Review, the Maroon MS jersey was worn a staggering 40 times in 2017, 31 times with plain white pants. The other three jerseys were worn exactly 9 times each. There's an obvious need for a second maroon jersey in the lineup, for the same reason we had two for so many years. Midweek games, game two of road series, and doubleheaders are common examples of times where a second maroon jersey would've come in handy this past season.
While we could go with a maroon "Bulldogs" jersey or even a maroon "State" jersey matching the Cannizaro shirsey that was given away this past season, the obvious answer is to bring back the Maroon 85s. For the 2018 version, I would suggest a pullover with double stripes on the collar and sleeve, matching the striping on the Black 85s. One detail from the 2010-2014 version of the 85 jerseys is this Bulldog logo on the sleeve. It was my favorite logo from the 2009 rebrand, and it is criminally underused. One of the few places it was used was on the White and Maroon 85 jerseys, and I'd like to see it return there next season.
Another uniform element that needs to be brought back in 2018 are the plain gray pants. For the past two seasons, the Bulldogs have worn white pants in a majority of their road games. Normally it's not a big deal; it's just not baseball tradition. The worst example of wearing white pants on the road was this past season at Texas A&M, when the Aggies wore cream and State wore Maroon MS over White. It just looked wrong, and it could've been avoided by wearing gray pants instead of white. I hope to see gray pants on the road more in 2018.
Those are all of my main suggestions, but I have a couple more ideas to throw around. Both are based on the fact that, due to the rebuilding of Dudy Noble Field, the Bulldogs will play a larger number of road games in 2018. I've already mentioned that State should retain the gray pinstripes because of this, and adding gray pants is even more important considering this. Another thing that they could do is add a second gray jersey to mix things up a bit on their many road games.
The most obvious candidate for a second gray jersey is the Gray Script jersey, which was last worn in 2015. An advantage is that this would go hand-in-hand with bringing back plain gray pants. Another, potentially less popular idea, would be to introduce a more modern, dark gray jersey with a thin MS logo on the left chest. Don't get me wrong, I loved how State stuck to tradition in 2017, and would love for them to do the same in 2018. But if we want to do "modern", dark gray is an increasingly popular option that is much preferable to black, IMO. Again, with the higher number of road games, 2018 would be the year to do dark gray if State wanted to do it.
So, those are my suggestions for the 2018 season baseball uniforms. I ended up writing more than I expected, but the core ideas are pretty simple:
I. Keep the Maroon MS, White "State" Pinstripe, and Gray Pinstripe Jerseys
II. Remove the inverted White 85s from the uniform lineup
III. Add (non-inverted) White 85 and Maroon 85 jerseys
IV. Add plain gray pants to be worn with maroon jerseys on road games
V. Add a second gray jersey, either Gray Script or Dark Gray MS
Regardless of the intricacies, I have no doubt that Mississippi State will continue to have some of the best uniforms in college baseball in 2018 and the years to come.