October 23, 2008

Help me understand baseball uniforms.

Years ago -- in the 1970s -- I used to watch baseball on a little TV, and I thought the players looked great. Last night, I checked out a little of game 1 of the World Series. I don't think it was just the extra sharpness of HDTV:
The players look like hell! When did they stop wearing stockings and knickers? Those long pants look like pajamas. I remember tight pants. These are all baggy. What a bunch of slobs! And look at all that litter in the dugout. And all the nutshells in front of the dugout. Ugh! The aesthetics!
In the comments, Bart Hall wrote:
One reason for "baggy" pants is that any pitch brushing the uniform in any way is called as a hit batter, and most of the strike zone is down in the pants region. Even an ankle-high pitch brushing the pants gets a trip to first base.
Well, fine then. How about adapting this look for the ball park?


Too many jims said...

You may have missed this part of the 70s if you think you liked uniforms better back then.

Ann Althouse said...

Ha ha. I remember that. Didn't last long. But, frankly, that's lot better than the children's pjs I saw them wearing last night. And I'm a notorious critic of men in shorts.

George M. Spencer said...

Charlie Finley.....""When I first outfitted the Athletics in gold and green uniform combinations, they said we looked like monkeys," Finley told The Sporting News in 1973. ". . . Baseball was slow to catch on. The Athletics led the way, and today you see most teams in attractive uniforms that lend more to color TV."

"(When Mickey Mantle saw the A's' green-and-gold uniforms, he jeered, "They should have come out of the dugout on tippy-toes, holding hands and singing," according to Baseball Digest.)"

Vida Blue!

Blue Moon Odom!

tim maguire said...

The players chew sunflower seeds instead of tobacco these days. Apparently, baseball players are orally fixated and must have something in their mouths at all times. Instead of spitting juice, they spit shells.

Donn said...


Don't you know that baggy is in with young people these days? Have you noticed the change in basketball uniforms?

Bissage said...

[T]im, last night there was a quick close-up of a player in the dugout packing a lipper.

Oh shit, cut to camera 2!

Watch tonight and do a shot every time you see a circular object bulging from a player's back pocket.

You won't get too drunk.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

circular object bulging from a player's back pocket.

Having then lived most of my life in New England and Canada, some 20 years ago I moved to Arkansas. I finally had to ask someone "Why do so many guys carry miniature hockey pucks in their hip pocket?"

It also took me awhile to figure out that 'tar' was what you mounted on the 'rim,' not what kept the road surface smooth.

Anonymous said...

It could be worse. Playing or celebrating.

ak said...

I kind of like the longer pants. They make the players' legs look longer and slimmer. Not that I'm thinking about that during the game, of course.

Re the sunflower seed chewing, at least we don't have to listen to it. I have a friend who eats them, and she sounds like a giant parrot.

I do hate the spitting, though. I hate when the camera focuses on someone in the dugout, and that person is letting a big gob drop. The dugout floor must be disgusting. Why do men spit anyway?

Ann Althouse said...

"Don't you know that baggy is in with young people these days? Have you noticed the change in basketball uniforms?"

The baseball uniforms look really shabby, like pajamas. I probably don't like basketball uniforms either... the same thing of looking like children. Clearly, football is the best sport these days, aesthetically speaking.

Bissage said...

(1)That's only because they don't force the soccer players to tuck in their shirt tails anymore!

(2) Hey! DOB's back!!!!

(3) Yay!!!!

Bissage said...

I missed Dob, sentimental fool that I am.

kjbe said...

It's all about hip-hop (baggy, baggy, baggy). While you're at it, check out the gangsta caps, too.

blake said...

The players chew sunflower seeds instead of tobacco these days. Apparently, baseball players are orally fixated and must have something in their mouths at all times. Instead of spitting juice, they spit shells.


I think it's to keep them awake.

Anthony said...

Baseball uniforms used to be very baggy. IIRC (not firsthand, mind you) some black players in the late '60s I think took some of their uniforms in on their own to make them less restrictive. You still see some of the knicker-type on some players.

There was some discussion (here?) about the women's basketball attire before the Olympics. The Aussies have been wearing spandex which would seem to grant unrestricted freedom of movement.

Oh wait, I remember, it was elsewhere and had to do with the beach volleyball outfits.

I would guess the style/function equation works out differently depending on the sport. For swimmers, a different suit design, like the new Speedo shark suits, can make a tremendous difference and they'll adopt it no matter what it looks like. One would imagine that baggy basketball clothes don't make much, if any difference in performance so they will go ahead and wear it.

I heard tell once that throwing free throws underhanded -- i.e., granny throws -- actually result in significantly higher percentages, but no one is going to do it because everyone would laugh.

Then again, they laughed at the Fosbury Flop, too.

Unknown said...

I agree that the pants leg should move up a bit. But let's look around the league...I am prone to Cardinal references, because I am a St. Louis fanatic. Brendan Ryan, like a few other young players in the Cards organization (along with youngsters in other orgs, I'll add) chose to pull his pants legs up and reveal the striped/stirruped socks beneath. I would be thrilled if this would become the standard for ANY team, let alone the entire major league.
As far as cleanliness - it is baseball, after all. I reference, again, the Cardinals, who in the first part of the past century were known as the 'gas house' gang. This period to me is the quintessential one for baseball. If you want cleanliness, baseball is not your sport.
(As a side note - for those of you decrying the late 'baggy' fashion, look at baseball uniforms circa 1980's or basketball uniforms from the same period or earlier. There is such a thing as TOO MUCH LEG for guys.)

Kevin Walsh said...

The best way to wear a baseball uniform is exemplified by Felix Millan in 1973 on this page: