We’ve been hearing a lot lately about sports organizations mandating dress codes. Most recently, the Amateur International Boxing Association and Badminton World Federation made news for requiring female athletes to wear skirts during competition.
Now league directives are targeting at an entirely different group. Wednesay at the Winter Meetings in Dallas, the MLB announced a new dress code for media members. Whaa?
For reporters covering Major League Baseball, beachwear and club outfits will no longer be among press box fashions.
Beginning next season, ripped jeans, flip flops and micro minis will be banned. According to the MLB rules, “The media should dress ‘in an appropriate and professional manner’ with clothing proper for a “business casual work environment” when in locker rooms, dugouts, press boxes and on the field.”
In making the announcement, MLB becomes the first major sports organization to tell the media that they need to dress a certain way.
Also on the list of fashion don’ts are sheer and see-though clothing, muscle tees, one shoulder or strapless tops or anything baring the midriff.
Skirts or dresses must be no more than 3-4 inches above the knee. Also no visible undergarments. Oh, and no team logos. No mention of whether white socks with loafers are allowed.
MLB insists this is not in response to one particular instance but the controversial incident with Ines Sainz and the New York Jets was cited as an example of media fashion that garnered unwanted attention..
While there’s nothing wrong with a business casual work environment, the dress code does seem to be directly targeting female sexuality. The Associated Press noted in its story, that the move is likely an attempt by MLB to avoid having its own Ines Sainz incident.
The Big Lead has this take on the new rules:
Such regulations are couched in language such as “appropriate” and “professional,” when they are really a system of patriarchal control. MLB is instituting the policy to prevent “incidents,” presumably of the sexual harassment nature. However, this absolves responsibility for said incidents from the harassers, men, and places it upon the victims, women. This portrays men, particularly those in baseball uniforms, are wanton, lustful beasts. Any woman who looks attractive is asking for whatever comes for her. This outlook is wrong and outmoded.
Following the announcment, a committee of executives and media representatives joined together to work on guidelines. Included on this panel were female and Latin reporters, with input from team trainers who had health concerns about flip-flops in clubhouses and bare feet possibly spreading infections.
“We just thought it was time to get a little organized, to put it in place before there was an incident,” said committee member Phyllis Merhige, an MLB senior vice president.
“There’s no one who expects reporters to wear a suit and tie,” she said. “But with the advent of different media, there are now individuals who are not part of a bigger organization that may have a dress code.”
Could she be referring to bloggers? The fact is, TV reporters are usually the only ones who come dressed for work. Most of the beat sports writers don’t make a lot of money and a lot of them have a general lack of interest in fashion.
No word yet on consequences but MLB said it would consider appropriate actions if the guidelines are broken.
What do you think? Should MLB dictate the media’s dress code?
March 29 2007: A woman’s work is never done. Or, in the case of umpiring a big-league baseball game, rarely done. On Thursday afternoon a minor league umpire, Ria Cortesio, worked the bases as part of the umpire crew for the Chicago Cubs-Arizona Diamondbacks game at HoHoKam Park, the first female umpire to work a Major League exhibition game in nearly 20 years.
Cortesio is the only female umpire in pro ball. She will be in her fifth season at Class AA and ninth overall. “I was kind of expecting it,” she said. “Umpires with my seniority usually get picked. I’m looking forward to it. There will be a lot more people in the stands than I’m used to.”
It’s good for baseball, too. and it’s about time.
During her college softball years Cortesio would hear comments, many times from other females, about how female umps were all terrible. Generalizations and stereotypes such as this are unfair. There are some terrible female and male umpires. There are also outstanding female and male umpires.
Now, the only woman umpire in organized baseball is hoping to open doors for others to follow her in a pursuit she was determined to undertake as far back as high school. But she in no way considers herself a trail blazer in the fashion of Pam Postema, who called balls and strikes with passion in the 1980s.
A native of Davenport, Iowa, who graduated from Rice University, Cortesio is one of five women to have umpired in professional baseball. Postema came closest to reaching the Major Leagues when she worked Spring Training games in the late ’80s.
Who would you like to see profiled?
A 12-year-old Florida girl who grabbed a historic home run ball hit by Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard over the summer has her prize back after suing the team for its return.
According to the AP, the July home run against the Florida Marlins was Howard’s 200th and that hit homer made Howard the fastest player in Major League history to reach that milestone.
The ball sailed into the outfield seats, where it was scooped up by Jennifer Valdivia. The young baseball fan was escorted to the Phillies clubhouse by team employees where the ball was exchanged for an autographed one.
But the family cried foul over a deal the Phillies made with their daughter and they requested the home run ball’s return. Jennifer wanted to take the ball home and show her friends. Howard wanted the ball because it represented a record.
“In a classic bait-and-switch operation, the defendant Phillies tendered to young Jennifer a signed Ryan Howard baseball, which has a value on the memorabilia market of $150,” the suit said, “as compared to the historic baseball, which is worth thousands.”
She also got some cotton candy.
Through their lawyer, the family told the Phillies they wanted the HR ball returned. The initial counter offer was for tickets to a Phillies-Marlins game.
The regular season ended this weekend and the family filed a lawsuit which got the prompt response and the return of the ball.
Despite the ball’s value, the family attorney said, “The ball is not on eBay. It’s under her pillow.”
The lesson in this? Don’t ever let a bunch of Major League hooligans take advantage of you. And if you do manage to get a ball, don’t drop it or throw it back.
Looking for sports to watch this weekend? Here are some choices:
June 8-14, Aegon Championships, London, UK
June 8-14, Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany
June 11-14, PGA St. Jude Classic, Memphis, Tenn.
June 11-14, McDonald’s LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola
Track & Field
June 10-13, NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships
June 13-14, The ABA First State Nationals, Milford, Delaware.
FRIDAY JUNE 12
STANLEY CUP FINAL Game 7
Pittsburgh v. Detroit, 8 pm
WNBA (All Access)
Los Angeles Sparks v. Indiana Fever, 7 p.m.
Seattle Storm v. Minnesota Lynx, 8 p.m.
Atlanta Dream v. Chicago Sky, 8:30
Phoenix Mercury v. Sacramento Monarchs, 10 pm
Minnesota v. Cubs, 2:20pm
Detroit v. Pittsburgh, 7:05pm
Red Sox v. Phillies, 7:05pm
Braves v. Orioles, 7:05pm
Mets v. Yankees, 7:05pm
Cardinals v. Cleveland, 7:05pm
Florida v. Blue Jays, 7:07pm
Nationals v. Rays, 7:38pm
Dodgers v. Texas, 8:05pm
White Sox v. Milwaukee, 8:05pm
Cincinnati v. Kansas City, 8:10pm
Seattle v. Colorado, 9:10pm
Houston v. Arizona, 9:40pm
San Diego v. Angels, 10:05pm
Oakland v. San Francisco, 10:15pm
Pride v. Bandits 7:05pm
SATURDAY JUNE 13
Lakers @ Magic 8:00pm (Championship Game?)
Pride v. Bandits 7:05pm
WNBA (All Access)
New York Liberty @ San Antonio 8:00pm
Sacramento Monarchs @ Phoenix Mercury 10:00pm
Chicago Red Stars @ Washington Freedom 4:30pm
Los Angeles Sol @ Sky Blue FC 7:00pm (NBCU)
Twins v. Cubs, 1:05 pm
Marlins v. Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
White Sox v. Brewers, 4:05 pm
Mets v Yankees, 4:10 pm
Cardinals v. Indians, 4:10 pm
Nationals v. Rays, 6:08 pm
Braves v. Orioles, 7:05 pm
Red Sox v. Phillies, 7:05 pm
Tigers v. Pirates, 7:05 pm
Reds v. Royals, 7:10 pm
Dodgers v. Rangers, 8:05 pm
Astros v. D-backs, 8:10 pm
Mariners Rockies, 8:10 pm
Padres v. Angels, 9:05 pm
Athletics v. Giants, 10:05 pm
SUNDAY JUNE 14
Pride v. Bandits 3:05pm
WNBA (All Access)
Atlanta Dream @ Connecticut Sun 3:00pm
Seattle Storm @ Chicago Sky 6:00pm
Saint Louis Athletica @ Boston Breakers 6:00 pm
Mets v.Yankees, 1:05 pm
Marlins v. Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Braves v. Orioles, 1:35 pm
Red Sox v. Phillies, 1:35 pm
Tigers v. Pirates, 1:35 pm
Nationals v. Rays, 1:38 pm
White Sox v.Brewers, 2:05 p.m.
Reds v. Royals 2:10 pm
Twins v. Cubs 2:20 pm
Dodgers v. Rangers, 3:05 pm
Mariners v. Rockies, 3:10 pm
Padres v. Angels, 3:35 pm
Athletics Giants 4:05 pm
Astros v. D-Backs, 4:10 pm
Cardinals v. Indians 8:05 pm
Most Phillies fans know that starting pitcher Jamie Moyer is a local guy who attended Souderton High School.
But many would be unaware of the other locals who take the field for each game at Citizens Bank Park.
The Bucks County Courier Times reports that three Phillies ballgirls have ties to the area and, though they may not be household names, they’re having the time of their lives.
Twenty-somethings Justine Pletnick, Laura Litzenberger and Lauren Economou have to pinch themselves whever they take to the field.
Pletnick is a physical therapy major at Temple University. This is her second season as a ballgirl. Litzenberger is a fourth-grade teacher at Durham-Nockamixon Elementary in the Palisades district. Economou, another teacher by day, ballgirl by night teaches art at Hatboro-Horsham High School.
“It feels like a dream come true,” said Pletnick. “I feel like a part of the team. I know it’s crazy, but I feel like I’m in the World Series.”
The group of 17 Phillies ballgirls were selected among 600 candidates. They work the foul lines during games and participate in various charity events, including softball games.
Aside from their duties on the field, the ballgirls travel to team charity functions and play in several softball games throughout the year.
On the other side of the field, the Ray Team rally the Tampa Bay fans. You won’t find these ladies – and two men – catching foul balls, though. Their duties include greeting fans, giving away prizes and sometimes dancing on the dugout.
Not everyone can play major league ball - and we certainly don’t want to discourage you from trying - but if you’re a fan who wants to be part of the action, or you want to tell your grandkids you were in the World Series, being a ballgirl might just be a way to fulfill your fantasy.