SBD/December 8, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Sportswriters Respond To MLB's New Dress Code For Members Of The Media

A day after MLB announced a dress code for members of the media, many baseball writers said that they "met the news with a bit of humor -- and concern over their footwear," according to Nina Mandell of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Connelly said, "There are individual instances throughout every press box that don't adhere to professional dress wear but at the same time we really should police ourselves rather than have a dress code." CBSSports.com's Scott Miller said, "It's not going to affect the way I dress at all, but I am a little paranoid -- right now I'm going to review my computer bag and see if it's in line with the dress code." Mandell noted many reporters and MLB officials "hinted that the attire of certain female reporters had sparked the need for a dress code." S.F. Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser, the VP of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, said that the guidelines were mostly "common sense." Slusser: "Don't dress like a hobo and don't dress like a ho, those are the extremes they're looking at. She later said the comment is "pretty sexist, but it's just joking." Slusser: "Really, the scanty attire issue is one that applies to men and to women." San Jose Mercury News reporter Andrew Baggarly said that many reporters "had started to step it up anyways thanks to increased opportunities to appear on TV." Baggarly: "I find myself wearing more business attire and sports coats more often than I used to" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 12/7). On Long Island, Neil Best wrote even though the "era of fedoras and tweed jackets is long gone, most sports journalists do dress professionally when on the job." Best: "MLB was concerned about the minority who do not, including those who wear team logos while covering games, now officially a no-no" (NEWSDAY.com, 12/7).

REAX FROM MEDIA MEMBERS: ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “I am generally against dress codes philosophically because I don't want somebody else telling me what’s acceptable in polite society. But in this case, you reflect the organization that you work for. There’s no Constitutional guarantee for admission to a clubhouse or on the field or in the press box. If the baseball commissioner or basketball commissioner, hockey commissioner has the right to tell players what to wear, I think it's their property. I think they can suggest to the media, ‘Hey, don't come in here looking like a slob’” ("PTI," ESPN, 12/7). ESPN’s J.A. Adande said, “If any group is in need of a grooming and upkeep to their wardrobe, it’s the professional baseball writers." But he added, "You don’t need to wear your good shoes in a place where people spit tobacco and sunflower seeds for a living.” ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan: “This looks to me like a target on female sportswriters and you're telling us we don't dress appropriately enough. Honestly, I take offense to that because 99.9% of the women I know are professional and dress that way.” She added, though, that of all the pro sports media, baseball writers are the worst-dressed “by a mile. Not even close.” Denver Post columnist Woody Paige called the policy a "sham of a hoax of a fraud." Paige: "I'm going to the opener next year. I’m going to wear flip-flops, a muscle shirt and a short skirt and I want to see them try to kick me out of the press box. It's totally stupid” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 12/7).
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