ARLINGTON, Va. — On my way to the I-66 Parellel Trail ribbon-cutting, I caught a Vienna-bound Orange Line train out of Rosslyn with a Washington Nationals ad wrap. Specifically, it’s the “in bloom” or cherry blossom series branding.

City Connect

The Nike-created series includes alternate on-field uniforms and lots of merchandise. There is a story to go with the uniform, but the text is on the images, so I can’t just copy and paste an excerpt.1

In short, it’s a merch dump. Seemingly, it’s a successful one since I see people wearing the gear around town. In fact, this alternate branding might be what Nats fans are most enthusiastic about right now, though the season has exceeded low expectations so far.

I wouldn’t have though pink and gray would be a hit. I personally won’t buy any of it, preferring to keep to the regular team colors, but I’ll keep wearing the freebie.

Inconsistent branding

I noticed the train included “We Show Out” on one of the ads. I haven’t seen that elsewhere in the marketing, but then again, I’m not looking that closely. Since Opening Day 2022 started, I have seen about 18 innings in person over three games. The one full game I attended, Opening Day 2023, had a t-shirt giveaway where the back simply says “WE SHOW.” I don’t quite get it that or “WE SHOW OUT” but whatever. It’s a free t-shirt and I can always use those. I am wearing out my pre-2012 shirts. I was hoping there would be more t-shirt giveaways as bad as the Nats have been expected to be.2

Nats cherry blossom giveaway t-shirt

More cherry blossoms-themed uniforms in D.C. sports

The Wizards were the second to announce cherry blossom themed uniforms. That amoxicillin pink looks more kwanzen than yoshino.

DC United is wearing their blossoms kit on the road.

The Capitals wore a blossoms sweater for warm-ups.

So far Washington Spirit is only not wearing blossom uniforms, but has scarves, hoodies and socks for sale. Nothing from the Mystics or Commanders (ha!) yet.

May 25 Update

Nats P MacKenzie Gore3 gave the pitching staff custom-designed cherry blossom basketball jerseys:

Gore connected with Free Style Cut & Stitch, the San Diego-based apparel company that created the Padres jerseys for Musgrove. They sent Gore design options during Spring Training — the first, a gray and pink edition to coincide with the Nationals cherry blossom-inspired City Connect uniforms. There is also another edition in the works to match the Nationals traditional team colors.

Here’s why the Nats have the best-dressed rotation in baseball –

Another Metro wrap

Metro also put a wrap on a train and bus to celebrate cherry blossom season. They also sold a special farecard.

“Normal” Nats ads are also seen on Metro buses. Occasionally, I’ll see “GO NATS” on a front destination sign.

An 8W Metro bus with "GO NATS" on its destination sign.

The transit authority and Nats franchise seem to be getting along these days which wasn’t always the case.


1 Not great for accessibility, Nike.

2 They are 20-27, meaning they won’t go 19-31 which has become a benchmark to a fault, sort of like the Wizards’ 9-20. Two more wins in their next three and the Nats have their best start after 50 games since 2018.

3 Gore was also featured in a recent Post article about wearing #1

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