It is appropriate for many managers to wear the same uniforms as their team members. High ranking public officials such as police officers or firefighters wear the same uniforms as the people they employee. Nurse managers may also wear the same scrubs as more junior nursing staff. With these examples, there is usually a functionality to why managers wear the same uniform as their players. Not only from a utility standpoint – bullet-proof vests, flame-retardant jackets and scrubs that are easy-to wash bodily fluids off of, safely – but also from a recognition standpoint.
There are other professions wear it would be silly for a manager to wear the same uniform as their employees and where the recognition, could be misleading.
Picture if you will, the CEO of any of the major airlines, wearing a pilot’s uniform. Or how about Gregg Popovich wearing what his players wear? It seems ridiculous. So why do baseball managers wear the same uniform as the players?
Photo Credit Mohtashim Khan
Professional athletes are usually in peak physical condition, save for a few more robust gents. Managers on the other hand, are usually well past their prime in physique.
Even in modern times, it still causes me to make a double-take, when watching a baseball game at home and when a pitching change happens, for a split second, I think Ricky is going to pitch! I know this is ridiculous, but since he is wearing the same uniform as the players, it is sometimes hard to tell who is actually playing in the game.
So what could they wear instead of the team uniform?
I am not suggesting the only option is to wear suits like coaches in basketball wear – these are indoor games, in temperature controlled environments. But let’s think about what they could wear that would differentiate them from the players and not look as ridiculous…
In doing the research for this post, I perused literally hundreds of pictures of baseball managers in uniform. I found the most unsettling part of their uniform is the pants. Wearing the jerseys may look like any other fan – but it’s the pants that for sure, need to go. Even our very own “D-Bo” could look better if the uniform were better.
Of course wearing just the jersey, with a different pant or short could be an option. If we determine that the whole ensemble needs to go, let’s review the potential options.
Polo shirts. Although this option is ultra-preppy, it could be a fairly cool option for hot, day games. Shown below, Ron Gardenhire decides on a more casual version, wearing shorts with his polo.
Suits. I am not a fan. Don’t get me wrong, the “men of the 108” (calendar pending…) look good in suits,
BUT it gets hot in there. I have seen BeefLoaf in a suit in the summer – there is a lot of sweat – and that is in the church for a wedding, not on a field, in the sun.
T-shirts and Shorts. I am going to suggest that although this notion seems crazy casual, it is better-looking than the uniforms currently worn. This option could be classed up by the t-shirts being a dry-fit quality, and same with the shorts. Nike or UnderArmour would surely line up to sponsor these uniforms. Below we have Joe Girardi in his current manager uniform, likely saying, “Hey ladies.” And then in a more reasonable t-shirt version of what could be a new direction for managers’ uniforms.
Hawaiian shirts. Men of a more mature age seem to love Hawaiian shirts. Take Larry Dierker, for example. Although he no longer manages, he is known for wearing a signature look that. Should current managers choose to adopt this look, they would definitely be differentiated from their players. There may be some pushback from the younger managers – Kevin Cash of the Rays and Andy Green of the Padres come to mind – but they may come around to the novelty of the new uni.
For my vote, it’s really a tough one. I like the idea of t-shirts and shorts (Option 3). Many games are during the summer, so it trumps suits in my opinion. Option 3 is also closer to wearing the uniforms, so coaches will transition easily, in my humble opinion. However, the Hawaiian shirts are ridiculous and I am always up for some fun.
Look for a poll on Twitter following this post so you can weigh in. Of course you can always tweet your own ideas on manager uniforms, if you’ve got an idea that should be represented @KRamos25.