Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Where have all the REAL fans gone?

While we’re on the subject of sports, and baseball in particular, here’s another of my gripes. I’m pretty adamant about this one. Not like the DH rule, about which, like I said, I’m kinda on the fence. No, on this issue I KNOW where I stand. I am dead set against it. I don’t know whose bright idea it was. Probably some marketing guru looking for other sources of staggering income for major league teams. I haven’t seen this phenomenon in college sports yet but I’m sure the NCAA isn’t far behind.

Yes, sports fans, I’m talking about fan apparel. Specifically, apparel aimed at the fans among us who think it’s proper to dress like a lady when rooting for your favorite sports team. You’ve seen them, I’m sure. Maybe you didn’t know what to make of them. Those pink hats. Yes, pink. And the shirts and sweats that match. The trophy date taking up, I mean sitting in, the courtside/sideline/baseline seats at the playoffs. The ones who cheer when that big guy hits another thingy over the wall. Or when the cute guy in the tight pants catches the ball after running past those adorable little cones at the end of the football field. The ones who order white zinfandel from the waiter rather than standing in line for beer and brats like the rest of us.

The latest in sports fashion looks like your mother washed your favorite white home jersey in hot water with your official Red Sox socks. It was bad enough when they introduced the green “St. Patty’s Day” Red Sox uniforms. Never mind that the season doesn’t even start until weeks after March 17. Or that few players in American pro baseball are Irish. Then along came the different colored hats. Focusing just on the Red Sox, you can get the traditional (and my personal favorite) red cap with the blue bill and B. Or an all blue cap with a red B. Standard caps. BASEBALL caps. But no, they couldn’t stop there. I’m sure you’ve seen those specialty stores in the mall that sell hats. Mostly hats. Places with names like LIDS and Head Quarters. They market all kinds and colors of hats. There are hundreds of hat color combinations for each team. In fact they encourage the buyer to “Choose hats from the hottest brands and profiles, with the accessories and apparel you need to complete your look.” Complete your look? Remember when the “look” consisted of a team T-shirt and an authentic cap? And the accessory was a Red Sox key chain? Now the fashion conscience fan can wear matching outfits – hey, you wear the away uniform and I’ll wear the home uniform – right down to the Underoos. Or, for “the little lady”, how about a pink hat with a pink Red Sox twinset topping off the pink Red Sox shorts and socks. And of course a pair of pink Nikes with a pink B. Under it all is the ubiquitous Red Sox thong. Yes, that’s right. I said Red Sox thong. You can complete your outfit with a red, white, or blue thong. Yes, you can get a pink thong. Better yet, for those cold, windy Ides of March games, how about a St. Paddy’s Day green thong?

Gawd, Tom Yawkey must be rolling in his grave at the thought of that. Or maybe he’s trying to get a better look.