Baseball's Media Dress Code About Control

Baseball's Media Dress Code About Control

Two points before we get around to the latest foolishness from major league baseball and its ever-compliant kept press.

First, I am probably the only one in this conversation who's worked for GQ. I wrote there for seven happy years. I spent two weeks in Qatar for that place, and that was long before we and the Al-Thanis — who always dress "professionally," as befits most hereditary despots — turned it into an aircraft carrier with luxury hotels. So I'm not going to take any lip from the rest of you.

Second, I spent my entire pre-college academic career living under one dress code or another. They were promulgated and strictly enforced, in order, by the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Xaverian Brothers. The sisters mandated oxford blue shirts and dark blue ties. From 1960 until 1967, I spent my days looking like a bus driver. The brothers didn't much care what color the shirt was, or the tie, but they added a suit coat to the equation and they were absolutely bughouse about hair length. Nothing over the collar. Nothing over the top of the ear. No sideburns whatsoever. (The latter seemed a particularly salient point. I saw classmates literally lifted out of their chairs by the sideburn. It was like watching a circus act.) It wasn't until I was in college for an entire semester that I rid myself of the recurring dream of George Orwell, steaming down the aisle in a long black robe, a long lariat of rosary beads clattering off the desk and blood in his eye.

So, when MLB and its journalistic adjunct, the Base Ball Writers' Association of America — no kidding, that's how they spelled it until long after we all stopped wearing straw boaters and referring to women as "frails" — announced last week that, henceforth, the people they condescend to let cover their games from the sacred confines of their press boxes, and whom they allow to haunt the equally sacred precincts of the clubhouse, will be required to dress "in an appropriate and professional manner," I started having angry nun flashbacks that lasted the better part of a couple of days.

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