Monday, May 18, 2009

What is proper baseball t-shirt etiquette?

Whenever Squawker Jon and I go to baseball games together, we point out t-shirts and jerseys that other fans wear.

For example, there was a sea of #13s in honor of Alex Rodriguez at Friday's game, but we've seen all sorts of shirts out there. Like when you see somebody wearing a Soriano Yankee shirt, and he's been off the team for five years. Or those Yankee jerseys that the team sells which have the names on the back, contrary to tradition.

Anyhow, I've been thinking of getting some new Yankee shirts for this season. I want Squawker Jon and I to wear these tie-dye Mets and Yankees shirts from to a Subway Series game!

This subject got me to thinking of baseball t-shirt/jersey etiquette:

* What do you do if your player is no longer on the team? How long can you get away with wearing his shirt? I say if he's somebody who's retired, like Bernie Williams or Paul O'Neill, it's still cool to wear his shirt. Randy Johnson or Alfonso Soriano? Not so much.

But I understand in the cases of jerseys, that there are some big expenses involved. Squawker Jon and I have a New York Rangers' fan friend who spent close to $200 on an authentic Mike York jersey, only to see him get traded the next week. Yikes!

* How long does a player have to be on the team before you buy his shirt or jersey? I'd really like an A.J. Burnett shirt, but Squawker Jon said I should wait half a season to make sure I still want to do it. Imagine all those fans who bought Ed Whitson shirts once upon a time. Or the poor souls who bought a Carl Pavano jersey!

* What do you do if the player changes his number? Is it okay to still wear the old number? This has happened a bunch in the last few years:

Robinson Cano had to change his #22 for #24 for Roger Clemens (yeah, that looks great in retrospect!) Phil Hughes switched from #65 to #34 last year, and now he's back at #65. Melky Cabrera switched from #28 to #53, which was convenient for Bobby Abreu jersey owners who didn't want their shirts to go to waste! Same thing with Mark Teixeira taking Jason Giambi's #25. (Reference tool:

* And is it ever okay to have your own name on the back of a Yankee jersey? I say no, unless it's for a softball game.

What are your thoughts on proper t-shirt etiquette? Leave us a comment!


Uncle Mike said...

I can answer the first question by answering the last one: It’s never all right to have your own name on the back of a Yankee jersey, for the simple reason that the Yankees do not wear names on the back. One of those navy blue T-shirts with white lettering is one thing; but never on a jersey.

In other sports, it’s all right to do it, for one very big reason: The team can’t get rid of you. At the first Devils game I went to at the Prudential Center, I saw someone with a Number 23 Scott Gomez jersey, with the name masking-taped over. Now, it wasn’t Gomez’s fault he was no longer a Devil, as GM Lou Lamoriello is a notorious tightward. But did he have to go to The Enemy in blue? No. So he became a traitor in our eyes. Someone else wore one unaltered, and was told, “Burn that jersey!” Coincidentally, the first goal in that game was scored by the new 23, David Clarkson.

This is why my Devils jersey has my own name on the back – which has some people wondering who’s that new Russian or Czech player they picked up. (Actually Polish.) And the number, in honor of Reggie Jackson (Happy Birthday, Mr. October!) and former Devils star Stephane Richer (who always seemed to score on the Rangers, even on “Seinfeld”), is Number 44.

How long do you have to wait? If you like the guy, no waiting is necessary. Unless you’re Michael Kay, who probably had an A-Rod jersey ready in 2001.

Changes in the number is tough, but if the player was worth the expense once, he’s most likely going to be worth the expense a second time. Especially if it was just one of those name-on-the-back T-shirts.

Paul from Boston said...

From an etiquette perspective I don't think there's a waiting period - although Jon is right, you might want to take some time to be really sure about your purchase - ESPECIALLY if you're thinking jersey.

Similar to your Ranger fan friend, my friend purchased an overpriced Nomah jersey for her kid nephew literally hours before the trade (spending that kind of money on a person who won't fit into it in a few years is a whole other conversation). That's why I don't think I'd ever buy a jersey. If I decided I really want to invest that kind of cash in one article of clothing it would have to be a really safe bet - say Wakefield perhaps.

As for t-shirts, fine to wear the old numbers - isn't retro in anyway? Dump the ones who left the team (e.g. Randy Johnson) or just save them for the next time you have a messy household project.

Not quite sure what to say about the tie-dyes, but if you do then I hope you get a picture for this site!


nutballgazette said...

Myself. I have T-Shirts woith the Legends names on them..Mantle, Berra, Gehrig..Etc..I would consider getting Shirts from the core 90s guys still there or even a O'Niell Shirt, But never a newer guy.

I have Jerseys from the Jets and Tampa Bay Lightning with my name and the #13 (My Number) on it.

>>>Just to let you know If I was a great Baseball player and played with the Yankees I would have worn #13 and A-Rod would have had to pay me Many Millions of Dollars to un-retire my number!! Ha Ha

The Emperor said...

When it comes to t-shirts at the Stadium, I do have one pet peeve that aggravates the crap out of me, and that's when fans show up wearing t-shirts of teams that are not even playing!!

To me, it makes me think of a wasted ticket that a fan of the teams playing could've bought.

I mean, if the Yanks are playing Tampa Bay, why would someone show up at the park wearing a White Sox jersey??

It's not a rock concert.

Anonymous said...


Maybe because they are a White Sox fan visiting the Stadium? I have visited over 19 stadiums and when I go I always wear my Yankee jersey showing affinity to my team. Naturally ...since it's the Yankees I also get lots of ribbing ..mostly good natured.

I like to visit all the parks and I don't feel as if I'm taking away from other fans ...actually I'm usually helping add to their attendance since games are NEVER sold out.

As for the Yankees much fun has this winning streak been? It's just so great to win BUT seeing how much the team is enjoying it and each other is the icing on the cake (or should I say the cream in the I hope it goes on FOREVER ...or at least till the end of October .. :o). I was fortunate to be at the game when Gardner hit the inside-the-park homer was soooooo exciting. I'll be there tonight and tomorrow so keep it up boys ..GOOOOOOOOOO YANKEES !!!


Go Yankees 2009 !!!!

Anonymous said...

With regard to Jerseys ...I only buy a sure bet ...I have a two pinstriped ..#'s 7 & 2. I have an away Jersey ...#21. I also have an All Star Jersey from the game at Yankee Stadium last year...#13. With the exception of the All Star Jersey ...NO names on the Jersey. As far as T's ..I have plenty of those with all different players and traded. I use the traded players for around the house and the active T's for the game. I basically have a Yankee wardrobe...jackets, shirts, sweatshirts, sneakers and even a purse. I'm definitely a Yankee Doodle Dandy ... :o)


Go Yankees 2009 !!!

Uncle Mike said...

Emp: I can top that one. I went to a game once where it was early in the season, early enough that the New York Rangers were not yet eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And the score of their game was put on the board, and a lot of people -- some of them wearing the white Ranger jersey, some wearing the blue one, at the time the NHL made the home team wear white and the road team the solid color -- chanted, "Let's Go Rangers!"

That would have been enough to offend me as a Devils fan. But we were in New York, not New Jersey, and the majority of Yankee fans are also Ranger fans, so I would've had no place to complain... if that were the end of it. But guess what team the Yankees were playing that day? The Texas Rangers!

For all my smack talk over the years, that day, Met fans were smarter.

I also find it a little weird when a player from another sport throws out the first ball. It was fine when Mark Sanchez threw out the first ball at Citi Field the other day, wearing a Number 6 Met jersey, because we're not yet used to seeing him in Jets green and white. But imagine Eli Manning coming to Yankee Stadium wearing Pinstripes and Number 10, which, of course, is retired for us.

There was a celebrity home-run derby at the All-Star Game a few years back, with Patrick Ewing wearing a Mets uniform, Ahmad Rashad going from Minnesota's Vikings to Twins, and Michael Jordan going from Chicago's Bulls to the White Sox -- he hadn't yet made the actual switch. Still, Jordan got the most total distance on his hits and won the contest. Stranger still was the one celebrity who actually got one over the fence: Tom Selleck, a known Detroit Tigers fan, but wearing the uniform of the host team, the Baltimore Orioles.

And with the Denver Nuggets in the current Western Conference Finals, there's John Elway, so familiar in Broncos orange, and then purple, egging the crowd on in the Nugs' powder blue and lemon yellow. (But I liked their old uniforms, that skyline-against-the-mountains logo.)

Keith said...

I think it's ridiculous to wear a jersey with your name on it. It spells LOSER to me, more so than wearing a blank jersey, which I also think is dumb, unless you get it covered with autographs like my sister did to her Rangers sweater.

As for shirts and jerseys with actual players, with the price of authentic jerseys too expensive for me, along with all the other expenses of going to games, I have no problems if people where Yankee jerseys with names on the back. But, Bill Simmons had a great idea, if you have a jersey of someone who's no longer on the team, you should be able to trade it in and get a new jersey for half-price. My best example is that I own a Gary Sheffield jersey that I would never wear to the stadium. Why should I have to pay full-price for a new jersey?

The Emperor said...


You make a lot of good points about why people wear jerseys of different teams to a game...but, personally, it STILL irks me.

Sorry, I can't help it. Nothing personal.

The reason why it leaves a bad taste in my mouth is because it makes me think of someone going to a game just to bs and socialize rather than root hard for either team playing.

Going back to the whole concert analogy, lots of fans go to clubs or venues to root for the band playing, but always some people are there more for picking up chicks and drinking than actually going there for the bands performing.

It may not be the same thing with a ballgame, but nonetheless it's just the way it makes me feel.

Silly? I guess so, but no one's perfect. :-)

The Emperor said...

You're right, Uncle Mike, your scenario certainly does top mine!

Anonymous said...

Emp ...

When I go to the different Stadiums it is basically to see the Stadium. Unless the Yankees are playing the game is secondary to me. When I went to Chicago on my midwest was the Sox vs the Sox and it was 102 degrees that day. I had bought the tickets way in advance and thankfully it was in a shaded area ...not that it helped I don't know how the players got through it since it was about 112 on the field. Anyway ...the WHITE Sox won the game which made the 102 bearable. We ended that trip in Cleveland with the Yankees. The Yanks won that game so it started and ended great. Inbetween we went to Cubs, Milwaukee, St. Louis & Detroit ...all basically to see the Stadiums more than the teams. I always have a blast with the other fans because Yankee fans do get razzed more than others's usually a fun time. Thankfully they don't get as upset as you about me wearing my Yankee Jersey..haha.

I ALWAYS wear my Yankee gear ..PROUDLY... :o). I just hope when I wear it this year to Fenway to see Yanks/Sox I come out alive


Go Yankees 2009!!!

The Emperor said...

I don't really get that upset, Peg - it's just something that I don't particualrly care for, like looking at a new car with a scratch on the hood or something.

I understand what you're saying, tho.

The Emperor said...

102 degrees??? Was there at least a breeze?

Anonymous said...

No breeze Emp...I felt so bad for the players since it's at least 10 degrees hotter on the field. Let me amend that ..I felt so bad for the WHITE Sox players that is

We kept lots of water and wet napkins on hand to cool off. They also set up some sprinkler systems for people to cool off. One really hot day in Chi-Town.


Go Yankees 2009 !!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Emperor on wearing the shirt of a team not playing. I usually assume that that person is a dope who doesn't know the first thing about baseball. not as bad as when people wear a baseball jersey to a football game but it is irksome all the same.

Though I usually get it when it is a yankee jersey, they are typically not baseball fans, just yankee fans.

I also agree with paul about the retro thing. It is fun to wear an old jersey to a game. especially with an obscure player, like a Benny Agbayani or Matt Franco jersey.

Anonymous said...

Benny Agbayani that guy. He went on Regis' show and predicted the Mets were going to beat the Yankees in five games. Next day the Yankees had that info hanging all over their lockers. Oh well ...he was right about winning in five .. :o)


Go Yankees 2009 !!!

Dr. T said...

I liked how you wondered what happened to all the people who bought Carl Pavano jerseys. Not only did I recently see someone sporting a Pavano jersey, but I was recently at an outlet store and saw and entire rack of Pavano jerseys (with the number AND name.) Good luck selling those.

Subway Squawkers said...

I enjoyed reading everybody's point of view. Nice posts!

When Squawker Jon and I were at Citi Field for the Mets-Sox pre-season game, we saw somebody with a Damon jersey who changed the A to an E, and had one of those crossout things (circle with a line through it) over the 18. Pretty funny!

Anonymous said...

My own team jersey/tshirt pet peeve is the ones made in the wrong color. Why would you wear a bright pink Yankee jersey? It just seems wrong somehow. :)

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