Baseball is a game of long-standing tradition. I firmly believe that no other sport has remained as true to its original form.
Prior to the last couple of years, I could confidently state that basketball players were flashier, football players were more obnoxious, and golfers were overly tailored. The good ol’ boys of baseball simply came out to play. They only needed their mitts, their caps, and a wooden bat.
Baseball player uniforms were as pure as the game.
The uniform arsenal typically consisted of a white jersey and a jersey of color. Pants were either solid or pinstripe. If players wanted to get super crazy, they might choose to slap on some eye black.
Then something weird happened around the year 2000. As far as I can tell by my extensive online research (searching Google for 15 minutes), the San Diego Padres decided to up their long-standing tradition of supporting the armed forces by introducing camouflage jerseys on Military Opening Day.
Over the past decade, much to my dismay, the camo jerseys have multiplied faster than mogwais dipped in water. Kids, if you don’t understand this reference, do yourself a favor and watch Gremlins today.
I mean, seriously…They. Are. Everywhere. From the big leagues to the little leagues and at every level in between. They are worn by players and coaches alike.
I now find myself walking into the ballpark somewhat guarded, wondering if I’m going to be attacked by a barrage of paintballers when I least expect it.
Some uniforms are more obnoxious than others.
The little guys who look up to the pros want to emulate their idols. Therefore, new this season, both of my own boys’ teams have included a camo jersey in their uniform arsenal.
While I realize the game is not about ME and my personal preferences – this is an ongoing lesson I am struggling to learn – I’d like to believe I’m not alone when I say that the only people who should don the camo style are those serving in the military or trying to hunt down defenseless animals.
One serviceman quoted on Paul Lukas’ website, Uni Watch: The Obsessive Study of Athletics Aesthetics, had this to say:
“I’ve been in the Army for a little over 12 years. I appreciate the thought and tribute behind teams wearing military-themed uniforms, but I have yet to see one that didn’t look horrible. I hate to criticize without providing a viable alternative, but I think they should find another, more aesthetically pleasing, way to express their patriotism.” — Jon Vieira
Jon, I respect both your service to our country and your common sense in general.
I plan to continue to add pictures of camo jerseys I see at youth ballparks on this site as the season progresses. If you like them, try to convince me why in the comment section. If you don’t like them and agree with me that they’re obnoxious, I’ll count your comment as a signature in my ongoing petition against this black mark on the history of baseball.
Written by Heidi Woodard