|Friday, September 20
Baseball to eliminate baggy pants, shirts
ESPN.com news services
Major League Baseball intends to crack down on a new uniform code next season, meaning players like Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez and Jeff Bagwell will have to alter their preferred choice of style.
As part of the new labor agreement, guidelines for player uniforms will appear for the first time, reports Bloomberg Sports. Baggy shirts and pants and pants that hang over the spikes will not be allowed.
"We're not trying to be fashion police," Sandy Alderson, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, told Bloomberg. "We want to give people some freedom of expression while having reasonable boundaries."
Bonds, who wears his pants over his spikes, and Ramirez, who wears a baggy shirt and long pants, are among the most notable potential violators of the new policy. Yankees pitcher David Wells, who wears a loose-fitting and often unbuttoned jersey, is another player who may need to fix his sloppy apparel.
Alderson says MLB wants to alleviate the advantage possibly gained by loose-fitting shirts. "Baggy pants or shirts arguably give some hitters an advantage, because there's a greater chance of getting hit by a pitch," he said.
Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, who has led the National League four times in hit by pitches, including 28 in 2001 (he's been hit 17 times in 2002), wears a baggy top.
Pirates first baseman Kevin Young, who wears perhaps the baggiest pants in the majors, told Bloomberg that the sport may soon be filled with "robots."
"If you're a baseball player and an athlete, your uniform is like your suit," Young said. "If you like your clothes really tight, you should be able to wear them tight. And if you like them loose, you should be able to wear them loose."
MLB does have uniform regulations already in the basic rulebook. Rule 1.11 prohibits everything from glass buttons to "ragged, frayed or slit" sleeves, although no sanctions for violators are listed. Two years ago, MLB also set restrictions on the sizes for protective elbow pads, like the ones Bonds and Biggio wear. However, players can go over the size limit if they prove a prior injury exists (as Bonds has done).
The new guidelines, which are still being worked out with the players union, should allow teams and management to order fines on their players.
"There has to be a policy where they say, 'You're going to get fined 'X' amount of dollars,','' said Phillies manager Larry Bowa. "If it comes from upstairs, that's the only way you're going to stop it."