With the start of the baseball season right around the corner, I thought it might be a good idea to help players and coaches alike brush up on how baseball uniforms are supposed to be worn. In my opinion, how a player wears the uniform reflects his or her level of respect for the game. There are a lot of folks on the field whose dress betrays a little disrespect for baseball!
Here's a rundown of uniform rules I've given to players in my care in the past. I feel that complying with these simple guidelines goes a long way towards preserving our great sport's history and heritage. If you want sports uniforms that stand out on the field, then focus on the quality of the team uniform rather than individuality.
* Uniform caps need to have a slight curve to the brim and are always worn facing straight forwards. The sole exception is the catcher, who needs reverse the cap so that his or her mask will fit.
* The hems of the pants can be worn either "old school" (tucked up) or straight and loose. Either option is acceptable, but this is a decision for the team. Every player's pants should be worn the same way.
* Every player's spikes should be the same color. While players are free to choose their own brands, they all need to match.
* Shoes are always to be fully laced.
* When the team decides to wear sleeves underneath their jerseys, everyone (both players and staff) needs to wear the same color. White or gray are not acceptable choices. Colors need to match exactly; there's a distinct difference between Royal blue and Navy blue.
* Practice on the field is conducted in the same attire as actual play. This means dressing in game or practice jerseys; jackets, pullovers, hoodies, and other outerwear must be removed.
* The higher part of socks should be in the rear when players wear old school stirrups.
* Jerseys should always be tucked in.
* Any players wearing wristbands should use bands in the team colors. "Lucky" wristbands go in your pockets, not on your wrists.
* Staff members serving on the field (i.e. in the coaches box) should not wear outerwear like pullovers, jackets, or hoodies. I know this rule is seldom observed in collegiate or high school baseball, but it's followed rigorously in the Major Leagues. I take my cues from the pros. As a practical benefit, players are less inclined to complain about weather conditions if they see their coaches subjected to them equally.
* All players need to wear a belt if the uniform includes one. As you can probably tell from the rules above, uniformity is what uniforms are all about: Everyone wears them the same way. Consistent dress out is part of being on a team. From year to year, a team's team members and talent will change. Respect should be a long-term constant.