Notre Dame unveils ‘baseball’ uniform for Stadium game

When Notre Dame faces Syracuse on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees won’t be there, but their pinstripes will.

Notre Dame, in its latest installment of the Shamrock Series, will look more like the Yankees than it will the Fighting Irish, wearing uniforms that feature a matte navy blue helmet with pinstripes as backdrop to the “ND” logo, as well as pinstripes on navy blue jerseys and the pants.

The uniform design was created by Under Armour with input from the school and approved by the Yankees.

“We appreciate our long-term relationship with Notre Dame and the history of them playing at Yankee Stadium,’’ team president Randy Levine said by phone Thursday from the owner’s meetings in Atlanta. “We’re very gratified to be associated with them. They came to us and asked if they could do it and we were happy to have them do it.”

Not surprisingly, the unusual look, which includes minimal gold on the helmet, was met with some backlash from fans.

“I understand people who say you should never change the uniform,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told Sports Illustrated this week. “That’s a perfectly valid position to take. It’s a position I had coming here. That was my view as a fan. But past that, the angst about what the alternative uniform looks like is a little silly.”

Notre Dame, which enters Saturday’s game 10-0 and poised to reach the College Football Playoff for the first time, has made alterations to its uniforms since 2010, when the Irish wore special green jerseys. The next year, at FedEx Field outside Washington, Notre Dame added large shamrocks to their helmets, and in 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago, their helmets were half gold and half dark blue with a leprechaun.

Notre Dame continued to alter its look for the home-away-from-home games, including in 2015, when they wore green jerseys and pants at Fenway Park. (For the Green Monster, get it?)

But this will be a vastly different look for a program that prides itself on tradition.

Notre Dame's cleats
Notre Dame’s cleatsUnder Armour

“Given the setting of the game, we stepped out a bit from the original branding, but still made sure the uniform was inherently Notre Dame — though we recognize fans probably do a double take when first seeing these, wondering, ‘Is that a baseball uniform?’ ’’ Nick Billiris, Under Armour’s senior design director of team sports, said in a statement.

“Everybody goes crazy and thinks it’s the worst thing anybody has ever done,” Swarbrick told SI. “I try politely to point out that it’s not for them. I care a lot about how 120 guys on the team feel about it. Once a year they get to do it, so it’s about them. I spend maybe 10 minutes having a discussion about the uniform before it’s made. We talk concepts, they show me a few drawings, and I’m out because I don’t want to be a designer and people are going to react this way regardless of what we do.”

And adding the Yankees look to the mix caused an even stronger reaction.

“People really reacted to the pinstripes,” Swarbrick said. “There’s an interesting dynamic to this because you’ve got two major sports identities fans love to hate here, combined. No one is neutral about the Yankees and no one is neutral about Notre Dame. These elements came together in a powerful way.”