Mets bring 'swagger' back with black jerseys

'I think of so many just electric players that wore the black,' Alonso says

March 30th, 2021

Friday night blackouts at Citi Field are about to become a reality.

Mets owner Steve Cohen said Monday that the team will bring back its black alternate jerseys for “a few games” this season, ending months of speculation regarding some of baseball’s most polarizing threads.

“It is the most critical question that needed to be answered -- more important than anything else we could even imagine,” Cohen said, laughing, on a YouTube Q&A with fans. In response to a follow-up question, Cohen called the black jerseys “another example of celebrating Mets history.”

Mets players have been outspoken for months (and in some cases, years) regarding the black jerseys, which the team wore regularly from 1998-2012. Past Mets have spoken out in support of the black uniforms, which they wore in the 2000 World Series and again when they clinched the 2006 NL East title.

“The reason why I love the black uniforms so much [is] when I think of the New York Mets, I think of Pedro [Martínez],” Pete Alonso said last year. “I think of Mike Piazza. I think of Edgardo Alfonzo. I think of Cliff Floyd. David Wright wore the blacks. Carlos Beltrán wore the blacks. I think of so many just electric players that wore the black.”

In preparation for the return of the black uniforms, Alonso purchased a pair of custom black spikes that he has worn at times this spring. Cohen said Mets players had a role in helping design the new Nike uniforms, which the team will sell replicas of “in time for the holidays.”

For most players, the jerseys themselves are only part of the experience.

“I’m just picturing in my mind everybody in the stadium with a blackout jersey,” Alonso said last month. “I think it would be so intimidating, just a sea of black shirts out there in the outfield with music banging out of the speakers, lights going. It would bring a lot of swagger and a lot of moxie.”

In Alonso's eyes, the black jerseys will give the Mets a home-field advantage even in the absence of sold-out stadiums. The Mets recently announced that they will open Citi Field at 20 percent capacity in April, maxing out at 8,492 fans per game. That number could increase throughout the season.

For Cohen, a decades-long Mets fan, the jerseys also represent part of his commitment to feature team history at Citi Field. Cohen has already announced his intention to establish an annual Old-Timers’ Day at the ballpark. The Mets’ Tom Seaver statue will be unveiled soon, and the Mets plan to induct multiple players into their Hall of Fame this summer.

Cohen discussed all that and more during the half-hour Q&A with fans. Of course, the most prominent question on fans’ minds is the status of extension talks with Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto; Cohen danced around that topic, saying, “it takes two people to sign a contract, not one.”

Still, Cohen continued: “We’re focused on Francisco and Michael.”