Here's Joe Maddon on his beloved hoodie, which Major League Baseball is doing its best to outlaw on the field:
- "The thing is we've been doing it for several years now and they've really cleaned them up," [Maddon] said Monday after the Rays completed a four-game sweep of the Red Sox with an 8-2 win.
"There was a time where they first did it, it was more of -- the quality was less. The quality has been raised, it's more of a shiny kind of material now that I know presents well. I've seen them on TV, it presents really well. I have no idea why this is happening. For me, it's just a comfortable thing. I've always worn hoodies," he said.
Maddon said he enjoys how it fits, but he'll abide by the rules.
"Go back to your collegiate days, I did a lot of football -- I don't know if they think it looks too football-ish. I have no idea," he said. "All I know is that it's a comfortable piece of clothing, I think it's attractive, if you're looking for younger fan, I think those are the people that really are attracted to something like that, too. Listen, I will state my case because I think I can, but I will follow the rules, too."
You can accuse me of being an old fuddy-duddy if you like, but when it comes to the uniforms I've always been a fuddy-duddy, even when I was young. My only two rules about uniforms are: 1) they should be esthetically pleasing (yes, by my standards), and 2) they should be uniform. It's been argued that managers shouldn't have to wear uniforms at all, but that's the way it's always been; unless you're a trainer, if you're on the field you have to wear a uniform. And I don't see any reason to change that policy.
What's most amusing about this -- and in fairness to Maddon, we don't know if he was smirking all the while -- is the notion that Maddon's going to start some sort of fashion trend among America's youth. For one thing, the younger fans are already wearing hoodies. And for another, if you wanted kids to stop wearing hoodies, probably one of the best ways would be to have a 56-year-old man with white hair model them.
I'm sorry. I'm usually the first to defend the working man, and thumb my nose at The Man. But in this case, The Man is right. If you let Joe Maddon and Terry Francona wear whatever they like, you have to let everyone wear whatever they like. A rule that's unenforced is unenforceable. And then what do you have? That's right: chaos.
Yes, I know: This is mostly (completely?) about money. Major League Baseball sells official team jackets. Generally speaking, the manager is the only man on the field who actually wears one of those jackets. That's what it says right there on the page: "Official team jacket worn in the dugout." Sure, they sell official hoodies, too ... but managers aren't part of the marketing for those. Maddon simply has to realize that he's but a mere cog in the marketing machinery that just keeps humming along, generating a great deal of money for everyone ... well, except for the manager, I suppose. No union. But at least Maddon gets a royalty every time a Rays fan buys a pair of those cool Hugo Boss glasses, right? You know, the ones all the kids are wearing?
(Here's Paul Lukas's take on Maddon's hoodie, which, come to think of it, will probably wind up in the Hall of Fame.)