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MLB’s media dress code not universally well-received

Oct 17, 2012, 2:30 PM EDT

Tiffany and Brandon Phillips

Before the season began, Major League Baseball instituted a dress code for reporters, the requirements of which aren’t universally well-regarded, especially by some women.

In part because the restrictions make working in the hot summer weather pretty uncomfortable. In part because of potential double-standards. And in part because it seems like it’s addressing either a non-existent issue or addresses a problem the solution to which should not fall solely on the reporters.

Jane McManus of ESPNW has an article up about it today:

One woman who, like many, asked that her name and affiliation not be used, said the policy — which bans short skirts, short dresses, short shorts, tank tops, sheer clothing, flip-flops, and one-shouldered and strapless shirts — often left her uncomfortable in the oppressive heat.

“It reminded me of Middle Eastern dress requirements, because you can wear sleeveless shirts in the workplace [but you can’t at a baseball game],” she said.

The article goes into greater detail, talking to some women reporters with various takes on the matter, including how boorish athlete behavior and the desire to not rock a boat that still isn’t totally comfortable with women in the locker room plays into it all.

For what it’s worth, to the extent I’ve been around press boxes both before and after the new rules, I can’t recall any woman baseball writer wearing anything that would be out of compliance anyway. Or even if it came close to the line, nothing that should be banned by anyone.

Indeed, the worse offenses against fashion and taste you usually see are from the men, most of whom haven’t gotten the memo that pleated Dockers cause cancer. Or at least probably do.

  1. teamobijuan - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    They should untuck their shirts in an ultimate act of defiance.

  2. crispybasil - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    And yet MLB does nothing to address the rampant problem of filthy goatees that the player grow.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Has anyone called a Wambulance yet???

  4. alang3131982 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I’m sorry but how are these that restrictive? Last i checked they could wear a t-shirt and normal length skirt….that seems perfectly adequate for the summer months…

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Anyone who tells Erin Andrews that she can’t wear a miniskirt and sheer tube top with flip-flops to an interview is un-American and should not be in a position to write rules.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      I think Erin Andrews looks like a bird. She has a bird body…a bird face…w/ a bird nose.
      I fully realize i am in the minority here CC.

      • deathmonkey41 - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        I’m in the minority with you- not really all that impressed with her.

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:08 PM

        I’m with you….I also think birds are damned sexy.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:15 PM

        It’s all relative. Is Erin Andrews the hottest celebrity I have ever seen? No. Is Erin Andrews way hotter than Ken Rosenthal and his bow tie? Yup. Craig Sager and his print on print combos? tie ballgame.

      • xmatt0926x - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:42 PM

        Wow. Smart minds think alike. It’s the pointy nose that gives her the whole birdface look. Same with Jennifer Lopez. Sure, I’d be willing to give them both the best 90 seconds of their lives, but gee whiz, that bird nose would be annoying.

    • pdowdy83 - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      If you substitue Erin Andrews for Kristina Akra (Nats sideline reporter) I agree even more. Google her if you are unfamiliar…

      • ugglasforearms - Oct 18, 2012 at 6:25 AM

        omg my keyboard is melting!!!

  6. lew24 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    What’s wrong with pleated Dockers?

    • historiophiliac - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      Sweet Jesus! Stop. You can’t even joke about that one.

  7. deathmonkey41 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    These women should just shut their traps. They’ve been getting away with thumbing their noses at dress codes for years. While men usually have to wear button up, long sleeve shirts with ties a lot of the time, dress pants, and shoes- women have mostly been able to wear dresses, skirts, open-toed shoes, etc… They want equality in the workplace- now they got it. Die like men have been for years in hot weather.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      Yeah! Put on some effing ties, Ladies! And like it.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:17 PM

        You know that’s right! We are gonna’ “rage” against the establishment!

      • historiophiliac - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM

        Is that the Lady Establishment you’re raging at there? lol

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        I forgot what I was raging against. It matters not…rage on dude.
        Speaking of which…I haven’t seen the Master of all things rage related today.
        Where is WillClarkrageface?

      • cur68 - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        I think Will’s face is sulking. We did rather beat the crap out of him yesterday. Metaphorically speaking of course, since we are gentlemen. We wouldn’t harm a fly. Or Will’s game face. Or something.

    • DJ MC - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      While I think the “make me a sandwich” emotion is a bit strong, I do believe that there is a point to be made here. Particularly when it comes to short pants–be them shorts or skirts–and open-toed shoes.

      It isn’t exactly fair that, in the summer especially, women are allowed to wear skirts and dressy short pants while men are required to wear trousers. There are plenty of men’s shorts out there that would be appropriate for the workplace. There are men’s sandals that would look fine.

      Now, of course you can make the obvious jokes about whose legs and feet you would rather look at, and that’s fine; I know I wouldn’t want to look at my legs either. However, there are plenty of women out there that wouldn’t be considered particularly attractive, and they fall under that exact same dress code, too.

  8. shanabartels - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    I do think the policy is gender-biased, but I will say I’m confused about one thing: the woman who said she wore a sleeveless dress shirt in the morning to cover the NFL and then added a jacket later in the day to cover MLB, as far as I can interpret the rules, did not need to do that. The rule says no tank tops, and to me, “tank top” means either a camisole or the kind of $5 ribbed cotton tank top I get at Old Navy to wear for yoga — in other words, if it’s something generally used either as an undershirt or for working out, it’s too casual for a business environment. I don’t think wearing a sleeveless dress shirt in August goes against policy (except I guess for men, who don’t really have such a thing). I own some classy-looking sleeveless silk shirts that are perfectly office-appropriate. I don’t see how anyone would confuse that with a tank top.

    Overall, reporters should just use their best judgment (or when in doubt, ask a colleague for a second opinion). Obviously if something reveals too much decolletage or leg, it’s not a good idea, but the main thing is if it looks super ratty, don’t wear it. Have some dignity. Don’t wear a t-shirt or denim shorts if you’re going to be on camera (even in the periphery) during postgame coverage representing your media outlet. Business casual means you should look like you’re going to work, not to a barbecue. I think that’s pretty simple.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM

      ” I don’t think wearing a sleeveless dress shirt in August goes against policy (except I guess for men, who don’t really have such a thing). ”

      Until right now…FREEDOM!

      • shanabartels - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        Yabba dabba doo!

  9. Gobias Industries - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Men, I think we should band together and protest this BS policy. I think we should all put on our wives’ makeup, short skirts, and bras and go to a game. That’ll really stick it to MLB. Who’s with me?! Anybody?! Okay, well, I already put everything on and… Actually, to be honest, I already had everything on before I even saw this post and… This is awkward.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      Gobias…your secret has been “out” for sometime.
      It is a well known (seldom discussed) fact you enjoy the way silk panties feel on your bare bottom.

      • Gobias Industries - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM

        I stand corrected. THIS is awkward.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Yeah…definitely awkward.
      So much so I am leaving work now to go watch the rain delay.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        Pace yourself with the beer now. Rain Delay is a helluva drinking game.

  10. Gordon - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I think all reporters (men & women alike) should be forced to dress like Craig Sager.

    • zzalapski - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      They’re reporters, not war criminals.

    • cur68 - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      You fiend.

  11. Kevin Gillman - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    I personally think reporters should go casual regardless. Not only due to the hit weather in the summer, but come on, no man should wear ties when they interview players. Broadcasters too, just wear the polo shirts that either represent the station, or the team. It’s professional, because it’s baseball, not coorporate America, at least in that sense.

  12. dexterismyhero - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    How about when they are doing the interview the player straightens out their freaking cap?

    I’m on the Erin Andrews birdwagon also!!!!

    Love the tie ballgame remark from sabathia between her and Sager…..

  13. makir2 - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    How about this. It’s friggin’ sports. Who cares. Let the men wear polo shirts and slacks and the women some kind of decent short skirt and blouse or dress shorts if they want. I’ve been to plenty of ballgames where it’s been “unbearably” hot and glad I was in a t-shirt and shorts. Coats and ties are a little much for a 85 to 90+ degree baseball game, or any other sport for that matter. Just my opinion.

  14. kevinbnyc - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    We can’t see generally attractive women dressing attractively, yet Craig Sager is able to wear….whatever it is that he wears…

  15. libertynchurch - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Flip Flops??!!! Somebody expecting Rex Ryan to stop by?

  16. vallewho - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    That’s awesome…a reporter giving an anonymous quote. How about just ban everyone from the locker rooms?

    • po8crg - Oct 17, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      Hell yes, why not just ban reporters from the locker rooms?

      In soccer, they have a changing room – which just has showers and enough room to change clothes, and then a separate “team room” where the players’ lockers are and where reporters come for interviews. If you’re not dealing with interviewing players when they’re changing clothes, then there are a lot fewer arguments.

  17. indaburg - Oct 17, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    I’m kind of torn. After reading the article, I don’t see how these rules are terribly oppressive. A cotton skirt and a short sleeved shirt is plenty cool in the warm summer months. Nobody is asking them to wear a burka. At least they don’t have to wear pants like the men. Look at the ball players themselves. They have to be sweating their nuts off wearing their uniforms. (However, no one wants to see this again:

    On the other hand, when the suits in corporate instituted work place rules that specifically prohibited decolletage, I was annoyed. I mean, it’s common sense and we weren’t children. I did ask if a neck to ankle catsuit was still okay to wear. Hey, everything’s covered, right? I was insulted that women were singled out in the dress code. I find socks and sandals on men far more offensive than a little cleavage, but no one puts that in their dress code (Florida business casual is very casual).

  18. bobwheel - Oct 17, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    It is a workplace, so there should be some type of dress code. MLB should produce a binder full of rules for the women.

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