Less Pink, More Slink In Women’s Baseball Gear This Season

This is a story about the business of baseball. It’s a story about the women who make up 45% of all baseball fans. And it’s a story about MLB-licensed merchandise made for and marketed to those female fans.

Revenue generated from the sale of MLB-licensed gear goes directly to the league’s “central fund” and is shared equally by all 30 teams. This includes sales of all MLB-licensed products at ballparks, team-sponsored stores and online at MLB.com. Every T-shirt, every baseball cap, every sweatshirt, every key chain, every everything with an MLB team logo benefits the fund and, in turn, every franchise.

This is a story about the diversity of interests and tastes among women baseball fans. For myself, and my 9-year-old daughter, I prefer women’s and girls’ cut clothing in traditional team colors. We are Giants fans. That means lots of orange, black, grey and white T-shirts, sweatshirts and the like. I don’t like pink baseball gear. Or “PINK” baseball gear — the brand MLB cross-markets with Victoria’s Secret. Nor do I like rhinestones or sequins on my Giants shirts.

But many female baseball fans have different tastes. Women who know all the players on their team’s 40-man roster. Women who keep score at games. Women who routinely win their fantasy baseball leagues. They love baseball and like to flaunt sexuality; they want to be known as smart baseball fans and as Bleacher Babes.

I’m okay with that. I didn’t always feel this way. For years, I took offense at the pink caps and rhinestone shirts and any effort by MLB to play up women’s sexuality. But MLB is a business. It makes sense to design products to appeal to as broad a range of fans as possible. There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, however. MLB shouldn’t be in the business of selling official gear that objectifies or demeans women, or portrays them purely as sexual play-things.

I surveyed the women’s section of each team’s gear for sale at MLB.com. I was pleased to find that, among the items currently for sale, the small minority are pink or with rhinestone or sequins. Some play up women’s sexuality but not, in my view, in a demeaning way. And the number of interesting, versatile and useful items for women baseball fans is growing.

My favorite “women’s item” for sale is the baby wrap carrier. I especially like the way its marketed by the Cardinals, under women’s accessories.

Cardsbabywrap

 

The Dodgers, Mariners, Mets, Rangers, Red Sox Reds, and Yankees also sell the baby wrap. Kudos to them. Before the baby wrap, of course, you need a team T-shirt designed for pregnant women fans. The Cubs do this right.

cubsmaternity

 

I didn’t find any bags specifically marketed as “diaper bags.”  There are backpacks and beach bags and other bags that could easily fit everything a new mom needs when taking her baby to his first ballgame. My favorite bag is this leather bowling bag, shown here in Angels colors. Stylish.

angelsbowlingbag

Every team sells women’s-fit jerseys. Most sell a pink version, like this one from the Red Sox.

redsoxpink

 

Really? A pink jersey? Big shout out to the Brewers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Rays, Rangers and Yankees for selling your jerseys only in team colors.

In footwear, there are flip flops and rain boots, and these suede and “fur” beauties. I first found these on the Braves shop and thought they were “Uggs for Uggla” until I saw other teams selling them as well — including the Marlins. Because that’s what you need in south Florida — a pair of suede and “fur” boots.

bravesuggs

 

I didn’t find much to like in the jewelry and watches section. Most teams sell a bracelet like this one on the A’s site. I have a decent fashion sense, and I’m at a loss on the kind of outfit this bracelet would complement.

Asbracelet

Same for these Chief Wahoo earnings the Indians sell.

chiefwahooearings

My least favorite item for sale is the PINK/Victoria Secret’sTt-shirt that reads “Let’s Kiss for the Kiss Cam!” shown here in Diamondback colors.

dbackskisscam

 

 

No. Let’s get rid of all kiss cams and return ballparks to the beautiful, natural sounds of a ballgame.

The Phillies lead the way in selling anything and everything you can envision with a team logo. There are Phillies accessories, jewelry, watches, “bottoms” (aka shorts), custom t-shirts, dresses, fitness gear, footwear, jerseys, loungewear, intimates, maternity clothes, outerwear, polo shirts, doctors’ scrubs, sweatshirts, swimwear, t-shirts, tank tops and baseball caps. That’s right. You read that correctly. Phillies dresses. Like this:

philliesdress

And when they say intimates, they mean intimates. Like this pair of thong underwear, with lace, of course.

philliesthong

 

Don’t despair Yankees fans. You can have thong underwear, too. But you might not want to wear your Yankees thong without Yankees For Her fragrance.

yankeesforherfragrance

For fans of the other 28 teams: No thong underwear for you. Sorry.

Spring training is here and Opening Day is just around the corner. So check out the full line of women’s merchandise at this link and find that perfect baseball item for yourself.

Oh, and you too, guys. I’m sure the baseball-loving women in your life would love something new for the season.




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Wendy is also a contributing writer for Sports on Earth. Her writing has appeared on ESPN.com, Baseball Nation, Bay Area Sports Guy, The Score, The Classical and San Francisco Magazine. Wendy practiced law for 18 years before beginning her writing career. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.

62 Responses to “Less Pink, More Slink In Women’s Baseball Gear This Season”

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  1. wilt says:

    mmm. thong underwear.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Oliver says:

      Meh. Boy shorts>thongs.
      But wait. I think Wendy was trying to point out the misogynistic assumptions at work in professional sports and sports fandom. Crap.

      +12 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. The secret is to not buy baseball stuff for your lady (especially if she’s not into baseball quite as much as yourself), but rather exhort friends to do the deed for you.

    Cubs jersey purchased by husband? Angry stare. Cubs jersey given by friend? Guiltily worn.

    +25 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Devin says:

    Why are you conflating women who know a lot about baseball with women who like to flaunt sexuality?

    Why are you applauding the Brewers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Rays, Rangers and Yankees for offering less variety of product to their fans?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Eminor3rd says:

    This is 21st century America — none of this is demeaning to a woman if the woman chooses to wear it. These people are just trying to make a buck selling what they think people will buy. If they don’t buy it, it will stop being sold.

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Devin says:

      Agree. What WOULD be demeaning is if the only womens wear offered was thong underwear, or if they offered men’s apparel that objectified women.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • munchtime says:

        I personally would find nothin demeaning if my lady decided to wear thong underwear complete with the logo of my favorite team. Quite the opposite.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Cody says:

      Could not agree more.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Rags says:

      Exactly. They wouldn’t make these products if there wasn’t a market for them.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy says:

      Or just buy the male version which isn’t in pink…and hopefully not g-string either.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • PackBob says:

      And [insert whatever] should be legal because people are just trying to make a buck selling what they think people will buy.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brad says:

        Exactly. There is a market for child porn, too. Obviously a pink baseball jersey isn’t the same thing, but if you’re selling a product that harms others — and reinforcing negative stereotypes about women does harm others — then you can’t justify that as “it’s okay, because people will buy that.” Some of those things are *not* okay.

        Personally, I don’t like the pink jerseys and I agree with Wendy that I prefer them in team colors — it’s weird to see a jersey and not recognize the team until you’re close enough to read it — but I don’t believe teams have a responsibility to stop selling them. I just find them distasteful.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. MrKnowNothing says:

    My problem: my fiance is a Cubs fans (we live in Chicago, so this is OK). I was born and bred as a Giants fan, because my father had taste and only wanted to raise a proper man.

    In a few years, when she’s pregnant, how do I subtly tell her: “There is no way in flippin hell that my kid is being raised as a Cubs fan. You can choose the religion, or the schools, or whatever else, but that kid is wearing a Giants onesie and that’s that!”?

    +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • MrKnowNothing says:

      As a follow up: we’re going to the Cubs-Giants game on her birthday. Good seats and all that. I’ve told her that I don’t care if it’s her birthday, I’m wearing a Bonds jersey and will wish ill upon Rizzo.

      is my soon to be marriage doomed?

      (i’ve now turned this thread into an “Ask Wendy” advice thread)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • thirteenthirteen says:

        Dear MrKnowNothing,

        I spent several years living in Chicago, where I acquired a number of friends who are Cubs fans. A couple of them are in mixed marriages. (One with an Astros fan, one with an A’s fan.) My personal experience is that Cubs fans are so beaten down by a lifetime of Cubs baseball that they will be happy to acquire a second time by marriage that is more likely to have success than the Cubs – which is, let’s face it, every team.

        Good luck,

        1313

        +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • BVHeck says:

      this guy…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Andy says:

      Remind her the Cubs haven’t won a pennant in 70 years and don’t look like they’re going to anytime soon. You want a winner, right?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • B N says:

        As a Red Sox fan, I can speak as an authority on such matters: you never jump ship, no matter how bad things get. With that said, you don’t force your significant other to abandon their team if they were raised differently. After all, die hard fans are masochists, not sadists.

        For kids, you just raise them to like both teams and they can choose when they get older. If you’re really lucky, one of the teams will switch to a different league so they basically never play each other.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Eminor3rd says:

      I live in Chicago too, and from what I know about Cubs fans, she won’t really mind.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ben Hall says:

      I would rather be a Cubs fan going forward, with their front office and resources, than a Giants fan.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • X says:

      You root-root-root for the home team. If the baby grows up in Chicago, the baby has to be a Cubs fan. These are the rules.

      For example: My wife is a Yankees fan, and I’m an Orioles fan. We live in Seattle, which as far as I’m aware does not have a baseball team. Thus, our baby has an O’s hat. See how that works?

      +19 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • mcw says:

      So, like a real answer is: You negotiate. Our kids have my wife’s last name and are being raised in my religion, because that was more important to each of us. And to root for my team, because she really doesn’t care.

      Another important fact is that as soon as the kids are old enough to talk they’re going to start rooting for the Dodgers just to spite you.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • thirteenthirteen says:

      @Greg – I was living in Chicago when the White Sox and Astros played in the WS. My Cubs fan friend was happy to have a solid excuse to avoid supporting the Sox. :)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Hurtlockertwo says:

    I would suspect that much of the difference in the Women’s/Girls items are more age related. A pink shirt may appeal to a teenager. Anything to make buck.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Nate says:

    I’m shocked that it’s thought that women comprise 45% of all baseball fans.
    Where do we get that number? Ticket sales/Attendance? Merchandise sales? Take the percentage of FanGraphs readers who are female and multiply by 15?

    In my experience, I’d put it closer to 65% male, 35% female.
    I call for Crowdsource!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. ThirteenOfTwo says:

    Wow. I have serious problems with anyone who wears Chief Wahoo earrings.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jamie says:

      Those are for the days she feels a little extra racist.

      +28 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • thirteenthirteen says:

      Looks like the racist brigade came by to downvote you. I’m sure they’ll be back to tell me I’m being too sensitive and the world is too PC these days. Boohoo life is so hard for the racists these days.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Tim says:

    Note: pink baseball shirts with rhinestones on them are the polar opposite of “sexualized.”

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Deelron says:

    “No. Let’s get rid of all kiss cams and return ballparks to the beautiful, natural sounds of a ballgame.”

    My wife would literally pay money for that to happen. In fact I believe it’s when she gets up to go get coffee, so I guess she kind of is.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. El Vigilante says:

    How dare you speak unfavorably of the kiss cam!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Aaron says:

    [looks at byline]

    Ooh, a female writer on FanGraphs. How progressive!

    [loos at headline]

    …Oh.

    -21 Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. DD says:

    For those times when you need to smell like Don Mattingly’s glove to turn heads…Yankees for Her

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. TKDC says:

    “Let’s get rid of all kiss cams and return ballparks to the beautiful, natural sounds of a ballgame.”

    A thousand times yes, and all the other cheesy shit too.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. David says:

    Fine article, but… NotGraphs?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Cozar says:

    You should delete this paragraph:

    “I’m okay with that. I didn’t always feel this way. For years, I took offense at the pink caps and rhinestone shirts and any effort by MLB to play up women’s sexuality. But MLB is a business. It makes sense to design products to appeal to as broad a range of fans as possible. There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, however. MLB shouldn’t be in the business of selling official gear that objectifies or demeans women, or portrays them purely as sexual play-things.”

    Your complaint about the Red Sox pink jersey demonstrates you are still as close-minded as ever. It isn’t like you can’t buy a jersey that isn’t pink.

    And what’s wrong with warm boots for the Marlins? Are you only allowed to be a Marlins fan if you live in South Florida? I feel bad for all those college kids who move out of Florida and for those soldiers that are transferred to a base in a cold climate. Not to mention a Marlins fan following their team on the road in the playoffs might like something to warm their feet.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. Joe says:

    While I can see not liking the pink apparel, a lot of it is for a specific reason – breast cancer. I am a guy and I buy breast cancer pink apparel.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Monty says:

    ‘Some women like baseball’ – not groundbreaking.
    ‘Some women want to be sexy’ – this is known.
    ‘Here are 11 things that exist’ – this is the article’s sole function: bringing me images of 11 random objects that can be purchased with a MLB team logo on them.

    This article makes no conclusions, and has no reason to exist.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. Ryan Braun says:

    All of this pink MLB apparel is in my closet because I was serving as a style consultant to my wife, not because I am any less masculine than the good people of Milwaukee believe me to be. The fact that there are old order forms indicating that the clothing was for my personal use should do nothing to cause you to doubt this explanation. I am a proud to be a manly, PED-free, Wisconsinite who loves cheese curds and Bernie Brewer. Thank you, and please consider me in next year’s MVP voting!

    My attorney and publicist will answer any additional questions you might have.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy says:

    I don’t like the whole “future fan” thing, i don’t think it’s cool to push anything on your kids, let them be their own person, you see that stuff everywhere “I’m a Raiders fan just like my daddy” wtf?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Freakshow says:

    Some of the stuff is fairly ridiculous but I actually don’t mind the pink jerseys (and God bless the Phillies for the thongs, with which I’ve, surprisingly, actually had first hand experience with, though not that exact model).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. Ross says:

    because the awful new format this site adopted hasn’t been keeping me away from here enough….they had to roll out a piece like this!

    what an insightful piece of baseball writing

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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