Sloppy-Looking Athletes Make For Sloppy Play

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Traditional baseball trappings make for sharper play.

I’m an “old school” type of guy, especially when it comes to sports.

But much to my chagrin, today’s athletes don’t always adhere to the old school coaching ways.

The last time I coached, which was the boys junior varsity basketball team at PHS in 2004, I had a challenging time enforcing the rule that jerseys had to be tucked inside the shorts. Some of my players wanted to wear their shirt tails out, which I consider a big time no-no.

I also required they wear plain white, over the calf tube socks as part of their uniforms.

They balked wanting to go with the low ankle or some type of multicolored sock.

Fortunately. coaches usually win those arguments, partly because they control playing time.

The kids said I was a stickler, but I learned long ago, sloppy-looking athletes make for sloppy play.

As a traditionalist, I disdain the recent sock-less, non-athletic look in baseball uniforms.

The style where close-trimmed baseball pants extend to the top the shoelaces, almost like formal dress pants.

Watching Arizona State University beat Clemson in the NCAA Super Region played in Tempe June 12 and 13, I was thrilled to see that all the Sun Devil players dress the old school way, wearing what appear to be “knickers,” or pants similar to football pants that come to just below the knees.

Anyone who has watched videos of players in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, knows the “knee-breeches” is the traditional way to wear baseball pants. The pants should stop just below the knees and the socks are pulled up high.

I’m not certain, but I think ASU coach Pat Murphy must have a rule that the socks, and the uniforms for that matter, must be worn uniformly — which makes ASU and other teams that abide by those rules sharp-looking.

As an old coach, I’m frustrated when uniform codes are not enforced and players ignore traditional baseball looks.

That has occurred over the past decade by many Major League baseball players. That lackluster style later trickles down to high school and Little League athletes who look to the pros as their role models.

Manny Ramirez, who has been suspended for violations of drug policy, has taken the fashion trend to an extreme, wearing loose-fitting pants with legs that nearly lap under the heels of the shoes.

Leo Durocher, the highly successful manager of the Chicago Cubs, kept a yardstick in his office to measure the length of the stirrup loops.

Today players with multi-million-dollar contracts ignore the old traditions and aesthetics in favor of hip hop trends. What’s ironic about the traditional vs. long pants look is that Barry Bonds wore the longer pants while setting a Major League career home run record. Yes, the same Barry Bonds who once played for ASU — a team that plays today with the traditional knickers look.

Some younger friends argue that times have changed and I need to stay in touch with trends, especially in sports.

I realize I’m long in the tooth, but darn, I readily accept new changes. After all, I don’t believe football players should wear leather helmets anymore.

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