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.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.