What’s up with MLB’s new jerseys?

What’s up with MLB’s new jerseys?

The start of baseball spring training is typically characterized by cooped-up Northerners getting sunburnt in Florida or Arizona. This year, it’s being consumed by a full-blown sartorial controversy.

Ahead of the 2024 season, Major League Baseball rolled out its new Nike Vapor Premier on-field jerseys. But instead of softer and more breathable fabric, which Nike said it would deliver, a lot of players are finding that their new uniform more closely resembles “a knockoff jersey from TJ Maxx.”

  • In addition to complaining about poor fit and poor quality, players are upset about the jerseys’ smaller lettering and the loss of classic stitching and embroidery.
  • The new uniforms also don’t allow for tailored pants—which players rely on, since they often don’t fit into typical size proportions.

Baseball fans aren’t fanatic about the changes, either. Though Nike designed the jerseys, fans are blasting the manufacturer, sports merch conglomerate Fanatics. The company has been criticized for its growing dominance over the sportswear industry in the past, and many fans blame it for a) higher prices b) lower quality and c) fewer options. Both CNN and The Athletic reported that Fanatics declined to comment.

Looking ahead…players took the issue to the MLB Players Association, which said it hopes to fix the jersey situation before the start of the regular season in five weeks.—CC

Alabama ruling threatens IVF clinics

Alabama ruling threatens IVF clinics

Alabama’s Supreme Court made a first-of-its-kind ruling last week that embryos can be considered children under state law. Medical professionals and abortion advocates had predicted this kind of legal precedent would be set following the 2022 reversal of Roe v. Wade and that it could create massive uncertainty in the fertility industry.

The appeal before the court sought to overturn an earlier decision that couples could not sue a medical center for the wrongful death of a child after an unauthorized person entered a fertility clinic and destroyed embryos. The Alabama Supreme Court overturned the earlier decision, allowing the lawsuit to proceed, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) providers are scrambling to interpret what the ruling means for them.

  • IVF involves removing eggs from ovaries, fertilizing them outside the body, and transferring a resultant embryo into the uterus. The process usually results in leftover embryos that are either frozen or destroyed.
  • The Alabama ruling puts providers at risk of being charged criminally for what have been up until now standard practices. It could also drive up the cost of an already expensive procedure and potentially force clinics to shut down.

Yesterday, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the largest hospital in the state, paused IVF treatment for patients, citing the ruling.

Big picture: Legal experts say more states could pass similar laws, threatening the booming fertility industry in the US, where ~2% of babies are born via IVF each year. The fertility services market was worth $54 billion in 2023 and is expected to jump to $90 billion by 2027, according to The Business Research Company.—MM

How Monopoly Became the Best-Selling Board Game in the World

How Monopoly Became the Best-Selling Board Game in the World

What do a cannon, thimble, top hat, iron, battleship, and boot have in common?

All of them are flying across the damn room the second your most unstable family member (if you don’t know who that is, it’s you) runs out of patience and decides to fling the Monopoly board against the wall.

On one hand, rude. On the other hand… they’re not wrong to lose their cool?

A tedious game about real estate that can take 2+ hours to play doesn’t seem like it should be the world’s most popular board game.

  • It sure is, though: By one estimate, Monopoly accounts for ~30% of all mass-market board game sales in the world — equivalent to Google’s share of the US ad market.

How did we get here?

Ask industry observers and fans why Monopoly has thrived, and they point to the game’s unique storyline, nostalgia, and a desire to escape screens.

But there’s another factor at play: The game’s publisher, Hasbro, has created a real-life monopoly that allowed Monopoly to flourish.

How did Hasbro corner the market? And can anyone give it a run for its fake, colorful money?

Could a big map solve affordable housing?

Could a big map solve affordable housing?

The simplest solution to a housing shortage would seemingly be to build more housing, but that’s often complicated.

Many municipalities have outdated zoning regulations that do not allow for density — apartments, townhouses, duplexes, etc. — in in-demand neighborhoods, leading to rising housing costs and segregation across race and class.

Worse, these rules are often difficult to parse with confusing, convoluted language that varies from city to city.

But what if…

… you had one place where these rules were simple and easy to compare?

That’s the idea behind the National Zoning Atlas, a project from Cornell University professor Sara Bronin, per Business Insider.

The research project’s ambitious goal is to make the regulations across the US’s ~30k jurisdictions easier to understand, implementing standard definitions, and allowing for “apples-to-apples comparisons” across cities.

For example: The atlas allows users to see on a map where people can build single-family homes, ADUs, apartments, and more, with filters for things like minimum parking requirements or height caps.

This is useful for both local lawmakers and residents who want to advocate for changes in their communities.

And have they?

Examining zoning laws has led to some change:

  • Montana passed new zoning regulations to curb urban sprawl after comparing its regulations to those of California — specifically LA, home of sprawl.
  • A Connecticut woman successfully petitioned her town to allow homeowners to build guest houses in their backyards.

But…

… there’s still a long way to go. The National Zoning Atlas currently accounts for 2k jurisdictions — so, about ~7% of the US.

And whenever there’s a change or new construction, it usually leads to a lot of bickering and legal drama — which is exactly what’s happening in Montana with its new laws.

Still, knowledge is power and we’d never say no to more public data.