The Nationals' branding is all over the place

The Nationals introduced two new uniforms earlier this month, and while they drew a strong reaction regardless, many fans noticed that the Curly W was less prominent than it has been in recent years. Are the Nationals phasing it out?
Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins
Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

A few weeks ago, the Nationals released new alternate and away jerseys. These surprising, new uniforms were met with resistance as many Nats fans lamented them on social media. I think the bigger concern is not the jerseys (which I personally despise) but the lack of direction with the branding.

The new Nationals jerseys and 2024 merchandise is a slew of different logos, fonts, and colors. No red jersey is in the lineup for the first time in over a decade and there is no curly W on the front of any of the 5 uniforms that the team will wear this season. Considering how iconic the Curly W has been throughout the Nationals' history, it is puzzling to me that the organization is seemingly phasing it out. The Curly W really became the primary logo of the team in 2011 and was around for all of the success of the 2010s. The organization really seems to be taking the direction of the classic W logo from the Senators era, as this is now on the front of the alternate jersey in the form of the capitol logo that first appeared in 2020 Spring Training. The Nats' new 2024 Spring Training hat also features the W logo but in a Navy blue format with a white trim around it.

On the contrary, the 2024 St. Patrick's Day hats, the 2024 "clubhouse" hats, as well as the 2024 spring training shirts have the curly W front and center, as does the majority of the merchandise for sale on MLB

To add an extra layer to this, the interlocking DC logo has made its return on the sleeve of the new alternate jersey as well as the 2024 edition of the Nationals' Batting Practice hat. Fans loved this logo when it was around when the team came to Washington. It first made it's debut in 2005 and appeared on a jersey starting in 2006. This logo was primarily retired around 2011.

But wait, there's more - the National's new road jerseys takes a complete 180 from the rest of their branding. They have opted to go with an odd blocky script that doesn't match any other uniform or piece of gear. The previous road uniform was perfectly fine. We still have to wait and see what the hat combinations will be but there is just so much going on.

This all isn't even to mention that the Nats, or rather NIKE, is scrapping the city connect uniforms after this season. That means another perfectly fine uniform is going away after just 3 seasons of use and it will most likely be replaced with a new version. *Sigh* The Nats have one of the best city connect uniforms in the entire league. I wasn't a fan of them at first but they've really grown on me.

Josiah Gray
San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages

Ultimately, I would like to see the Nationals only use the Senators' era W logo for Spring Training. I feel like the curly W is too much of a staple of the team and adored by fans to be phased out. The Curly W combined with the interlocking DC logo would be a huge success. The new alternate and road jerseys shouldn't have happened in the first place. Instead, the interlocking DC logo should have been strategically placed on the already existing uniforms.

On a side note, the Nats' white home uniforms and the Navy blue alternates are getting a change for 2024. The numbers on the front are being removed and the script is not as sideways as before. I honestly don't mind this change as much but why change something that was already pretty good?

Even if my wishes don't come to fruition, I would at least like to see the Nationals organization pick a lane and stick with it. The curly W was a staple of the team for so long and now it seems like we have so many different versions of Nationals logos and gear floating around. You would never see something like this with the well established teams in the league such as the Cardinals, Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox.