It's been known for a few months that the Giants would put names on the back of their home jerseys in 2021, but when the team gave a sneak peak with a Twitter video earlier this week, the reaction was still somewhat negative. A lot of Giants fans prefer the old look, with just a number on the back, but the voice of the team said he doesn't think the change is a big deal.
On this week's episode of "Giants Talk," TV play-by-play broadcaster Duane Kuiper explained why he's not one of the people having a visceral reaction to the change.
"To me it doesn't matter. For the most part, what we see when we're broadcasting and what you see on TV is the front of the jersey," he said. "You're going to see the back of the jersey, obviously, when guys start running around. Is it a Giants tradition? Well it's probably a Giants tradition since 2000, so then it's really not a tradition. The Giants had names on the back of their jerseys at Candlestick. I don't really know what the big deal is."
Like with any change, diehard fans will get used to this pretty quickly, but the diehards aren't the ones the organization is worried about. The Giants used an NL-record 64 players in 2019 and 45 over 60 games last year, and they look headed for something similar in 2021. Team officials wanted more casual fans to have an easier time recognizing players.
"Part of what we need to do is introduce our game to a whole new generation of fans," Giants VP of business operations Mario Alioto said recently. "I know there are many folks -- and I'm one of them at times -- that are traditionalists and go back with the old days of baseball, but I think we also need to be cognizant of introducing our game to a new generation of fans."
Kuiper and Mike Krukow are the ones who do that better than anyone, and Kuiper provided a good silver lining for anyone who still has doubts.
"I think you should look at it this way: The Giants are putting the names on the back of their jerseys for people who are going to be at the ballpark.," Kuiper said. "Well, then they must think people are going to be at the ballpark, so that's a good thing."