MLB’s media dress code not universally well-received

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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.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.