Uni Watch: Play ball!

• The Braves have transformed their garish red alternate jersey into a "military appreciation" design, which will be worn five times this season (the dates are listed at the end of this page). They've also added a sleeve patch to mark the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run. In a more subtle development, the Braves are now using direct-sewn lettering, instead of nameplates, for the players' names on the backs of their jerseys -- a major improvement, even if most fans won't even notice it. Finally, it's worth noting that Jason Heyward is poised to join a very exclusive club: Last season he was beaned by a pitch and began wearing a facemask on his batting helmet, as many players have done after being beaned. The unusual thing is that Heyward has continued wearing the mask during spring training. If he continues wearing it during the regular season, he'll become one of the very rare MLB players who've worn a batting helmet facemask over the course of two consecutive seasons. (Past examples include Terry Steinbach and Kevin Seitzer. Anyone know of any others?)

• The Brewers will be wearing their "Cerveceros" jerseys on Aug. 10. They haven't yet announced any other foreign-language jersey promotions for 2014, but they've worn Polish, German and Italian jerseys in recent years, so don't be surprised to see yet another language splashed across their chests this season. Meanwhile, in an innovative move, the Brewers have asked their fans to vote on the design for the little plates that go on the sides of the bases. Pretty sure that's the first time a team has gotten the fans involved in that element of the game.

• Several Cardinals players have started using bat knob decals honoring their alma maters or country of origin.

• Big year for the Cubs, who are celebrating Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary. Home uniforms will feature patches on the cap and sleeve, and there's also a new alternate road jersey (which comes with its own set of alternate road pants). But the real news is that the team is rolling out a season-long program of throwbacks, featuring an unprecedented nine different designs from the team's history. You can see all of them, and the dates on which they'll be worn, here. The nine throwbacks, when combined with the team's home, road, alternate road, and alternate blue uniforms, will almost certainly give the 2014 Cubs the all-time record for the most different uniforms worn in one season by an MLB team. For further details on the Wrigley centennial celebration -- which even includes retro-themed season ticket designs! -- look here. (Meanwhile, the Cubs also have a new mascot, which has gone over with a thud.)

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