This is a story about the business of baseball. It’s a story about the women who make up 45% of all baseball fans. And it’s a story about MLB-licensed merchandise made for and marketed to those female fans.
Revenue generated from the sale of MLB-licensed gear goes directly to the league’s “central fund” and is shared equally by all 30 teams. This includes sales of all MLB-licensed products at ballparks, team-sponsored stores and online at MLB.com. Every T-shirt, every baseball cap, every sweatshirt, every key chain, every everything with an MLB team logo benefits the fund and, in turn, every franchise.
This is a story about the diversity of interests and tastes among women baseball fans. For myself, and my 9-year-old daughter, I prefer women’s and girls’ cut clothing in traditional team colors. We are Giants fans. That means lots of orange, black, grey and white T-shirts, sweatshirts and the like. I don’t like pink baseball gear. Or “PINK” baseball gear — the brand MLB cross-markets with Victoria’s Secret. Nor do I like rhinestones or sequins on my Giants shirts.
But many female baseball fans have different tastes. Women who know all the players on their team’s 40-man roster. Women who keep score at games. Women who routinely win their fantasy baseball leagues. They love baseball and like to flaunt sexuality; they want to be known as smart baseball fans and as Bleacher Babes.
I’m okay with that. I didn’t always feel this way. For years, I took offense at the pink caps and rhinestone shirts and any effort by MLB to play up women’s sexuality. But MLB is a business. It makes sense to design products to appeal to as broad a range of fans as possible. There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, however. MLB shouldn’t be in the business of selling official gear that objectifies or demeans women, or portrays them purely as sexual play-things.
I surveyed the women’s section of each team’s gear for sale at MLB.com. I was pleased to find that, among the items currently for sale, the small minority are pink or with rhinestone or sequins. Some play up women’s sexuality but not, in my view, in a demeaning way. And the number of interesting, versatile and useful items for women baseball fans is growing.
My favorite “women’s item” for sale is the baby wrap carrier. I especially like the way its marketed by the Cardinals, under women’s accessories.
The Dodgers, Mariners, Mets, Rangers, Red Sox Reds, and Yankees also sell the baby wrap. Kudos to them. Before the baby wrap, of course, you need a team T-shirt designed for pregnant women fans. The Cubs do this right.
I didn’t find any bags specifically marketed as “diaper bags.” There are backpacks and beach bags and other bags that could easily fit everything a new mom needs when taking her baby to his first ballgame. My favorite bag is this leather bowling bag, shown here in Angels colors. Stylish.
Every team sells women’s-fit jerseys. Most sell a pink version, like this one from the Red Sox.
Really? A pink jersey? Big shout out to the Brewers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Rays, Rangers and Yankees for selling your jerseys only in team colors.
In footwear, there are flip flops and rain boots, and these suede and “fur” beauties. I first found these on the Braves shop and thought they were “Uggs for Uggla” until I saw other teams selling them as well — including the Marlins. Because that’s what you need in south Florida — a pair of suede and “fur” boots.
I didn’t find much to like in the jewelry and watches section. Most teams sell a bracelet like this one on the A’s site. I have a decent fashion sense, and I’m at a loss on the kind of outfit this bracelet would complement.
Same for these Chief Wahoo earnings the Indians sell.
My least favorite item for sale is the PINK/Victoria Secret’sTt-shirt that reads “Let’s Kiss for the Kiss Cam!” shown here in Diamondback colors.
No. Let’s get rid of all kiss cams and return ballparks to the beautiful, natural sounds of a ballgame.
The Phillies lead the way in selling anything and everything you can envision with a team logo. There are Phillies accessories, jewelry, watches, “bottoms” (aka shorts), custom t-shirts, dresses, fitness gear, footwear, jerseys, loungewear, intimates, maternity clothes, outerwear, polo shirts, doctors’ scrubs, sweatshirts, swimwear, t-shirts, tank tops and baseball caps. That’s right. You read that correctly. Phillies dresses. Like this:
And when they say intimates, they mean intimates. Like this pair of thong underwear, with lace, of course.
Don’t despair Yankees fans. You can have thong underwear, too. But you might not want to wear your Yankees thong without Yankees For Her fragrance.
For fans of the other 28 teams: No thong underwear for you. Sorry.
Spring training is here and Opening Day is just around the corner. So check out the full line of women’s merchandise at this link and find that perfect baseball item for yourself.
Oh, and you too, guys. I’m sure the baseball-loving women in your life would love something new for the season.