Talking baseball pants and beyond
April 4, 2008
Some might call them tangents, those random debates that spring from tedium and carry on until someone concedes the last word. But they’re vital to life in the workplace.
Oftentimes, the discussions center on sports ” other times pop culture, politics, food and, believe it or not, even things not fit for print.
Most recently, we got to talking about baseball pants and the two distinct ways to sport them on a ball field. I brought it up, commenting about how each of the six up-and-coming major leaguers on the cover of the March 31 Sports Illustrated had his pants pulled at least halfway down his foot.
Barry Bonds, despite his absence this season, comes to mind as one of the ambassadors of the style. It’s one that seems to be taking over.
I don’t like it. My boss voiced the same opinion, pointing out that players like Jim Thome of the Chicago White Sox ” among others ” still wear their pants to the kneecap, exposing the tall sock that always has been a component of the baseball uniform.
It’s old school, but then again so is the sport itself. Plus, it looks clean, we agreed, like how a baseball uniform should look ” not in the literal sense, of course.
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With no choice but to overhear the conversation, another colleague, Paul Raymore, chimed in. He disagreed, and that’s all it took to ignite a debate.
Soon, willing or not, David Bunker was dragged in. He took Raymore’s side ” although as a self-described baseball hater, his opinion on such a matter doesn’t carry as much weight.
The old-timers’ style looks lame, both claimed. Other way around, we countered.
After the initial arguments, it became apparent there was no way for one side to win. A Web poll would help determine a majority opinion, but that wouldn’t fly. How often do you see a sports-related question on the Web site, much less one of such little significance to the community?
Still, I was curious what local baseball people thought on the matter, especially young players. So I asked Mike Ellis and Jack Bernardo, coaches of the Truckee and North Tahoe high baseball teams.
“Most of my kids like to show their socks,” Bernardo said of his Lakers. “I’ve been watching major league games and I see that all the major leaguers, or at least most of them, have their pants down past their ankles. I never liked that.”
Truckee’s coach, also a player-coach for the Reno Astros of the National American Baseball Association, said he prefers to wear his pants knee-high when playing. But most of his Truckee players go with the Bonds look.
“I don’t like it,” Ellis said of longer pants, adding that they look like tights when stretched to the base of the heel. “I like to pull them up to the kneecap when I’m playing ” like Eric Byrnes (of the Arizona Diamondbacks).
“Most our players wear them down. They think it’s cool.”
Back in the office, the discussion took a drastic turn.
Mike Tyson always was overrated, I claimed. Boy did that spark a debate.