In a season full of memorable and eye-catcing Minor League theme uniforms, the El Paso Chihuahuas have raised the bar. Or perhaps the bone.
The Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres unveiled its newest look yesterday, a "Bark at the Park" uniform top that, appropriately, is a huge photograph of an actual chihuahua. Photos of the jersey began making their way around the web, and by Thursday afternoon, the dog-inspired threads had been officially dubbed "the best jerseys in sports" by USA Today.
The jerseys -- described by Sports Illustrated as "the most amazing uniforms of all time" -- will be worn by El Paso players during a Pacific Coast League game against Reno on Aug. 3 before being auctioned off to benefit the Humane Society of El Paso. The team, which relocated to Texas this spring, said the uniforms "feature the face of a Chihuahua embodying the spirit of the brand."
That brand has, despite taking a bit of ridicule, proved immensely popular with baseball fans -- the Chihuauas' cap, featuring a slightly more intimidating dog, was voted the best in the Minors earlier this summer by fans.
Since tweeting out a photo of the uniform top on July 16, the buzz around the new look has only grown.
"They are truly a sight to behold," said Nate Scott of USA Today. "Majestic, regal and refined, the jerseys show the zoomed-in-face of a chihuahua on the front. Sports, like me, will never be the same."
Local El Paso ABC station WKVIA described the look as being "special dog face jerseys."
The Washington Post declared a "Minor league team will be dressed to the ca-nines."
"We'll probably never see the day when a big league squad, or any team for that matter, breaks out jerseys like these," Des Bieler wrote for the Post. "The amount of awesome here couldn't possibly fit in a purse.
Sports Illustrated admitted its desire to own one, with Extra Mustard's Hot Clicks blog declaring, "they are spectacular."
"Let us assure you," said Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports, "they are awesome! Perhaps a little creepy, too, with those large eyes zeroing in on you. But they are definitely creative and above all else memorable."
CBS Sports simply stated the "Chihuahuas have outstanding new jerseys," with Mike Axisa calling the look "excellent."
The Kansas City Star suggested Royals fans could relive the Jeff Francoeur era. "You never got around to buying that Jeff Francoeur Royals jersey?" asked Pete Grathoff. "Not to worry, something better is coming."
ESPN, taking a momentary break from LeBron James coverage, even chimed in with some love for the Minors:
And the Humane Society in El Paso? You can assume they're pumped.
The Padres applauded the look and the charitable aspect of the promotion:
Our very own Benjamin Hill also got behind the effort: