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Jun 5, 2024

The New “Look” of Baseball Uniforms: Maybe too Much “Look”?

Where’s that 3-strikes law when you need it?

By Ed Goldman

(Today’s column is rated PiG. Parents may want to move their children to a wholesome TikTok show on Mideast relations.) 

Major League Baseball is always trying to make the game something more than four minutes of action crammed into two hours and 40 minutes. 

That’s actually down 24 minutes from a few years ago. But it still rivals films in the Marvel and DC Universes as well as Richard Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” generally considered to be the longest opera ever written (it lasts more than four hours—or about twice as long as its audience).

Edgy Cartoon

Wild pitch

So the sport unveiled new uniforms this season that leave very little to the spectator’s imagination. According to a story in The New Yorker, “Innovation was apparently not the only thing the (new) designs brought to the forefront; a few players, caught bending over, or just sitting down, displayed silhouettes of genitals which were remarkable for their clarity and detail.”

If that sounds slightly vague, permit me to clarify by updating the 1908 fan favorite by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer. This would be a good time to make up some chores for the kids.

Take me out to the balls game,
Let me see what they’ve got.
You keep the peanuts and Crackers,  Jack,
I don’t wanna see anyone’s back.

Let’s assess the gifts of our home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
But with one, two testicles out, 
It’s a new balls game!

I can understand the desire to upgrade players’ uniforms. I used to erroneously think some of these fine athletes were on the tubby side, owing to the layers of clothes they had to wear to play in, say, Candlestick Park, when the Bay Area’s usual chill gave way to the turbulence of Chicago-style winds. Also, those shapeless outfits strongly resembled the coveralls I wore for two summers as a moving man.

Back to the New Yorker. The magazine cleverly convened some au courant fashion mavens to elicit their comments on the new duds, among them Isaac Mizrahi, who also hosted a very addictive talk show for a time, and Robin Ghivan, who won a Pulitzer Prize writing about fashion for the Washington Post (and no, she didn’t release a subsequent book called “All The President’s Menswear”). 

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Mizrahi, who became a baseball fan in his 20s when he “had a boyfriend who loved the Yankees,” told reporter Zach Helfand, “Part of the reason I liked to go is that they’re not badly shaped, these gentlemen. It’s like going to the ballet. If you like bodies—and I like bodies—to some extent you’re kind of excited when you first hear something like this. But this? This has a creep connotation. It’s none of your business.” (I’d like to believe his use of the word “business” was a sly pun. Again, parents, keep the kids away from this column.) 

Ghivan: “(The re-design) just creates a very weird diaper-like shadow underneath these pants, because of the way they have to wear these uniforms tucked in.”

I’m not sure what the fuss is all about. Other sports feature pretty revealing uniforms, whether played by men or women. As Mizrahi suggested (before he became prudish in the same paragraph), athletics are all about the athletes’ bod’s, just like ballet (to explain a certain bulge, my mother-in-law told her very curious, preadolescent daughter that male ballet dancers carried their wallets in their frontal codpieces).  

Realizing I may have just lost a number of subscribers, I believe we’ll close here. If today’s effort offended you, do let me know. Just don’t be testy about it.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).