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The dress code of the MLB

By Sierra Trujillo

Oh, dress code. It seems like every school district in the country’s dress code has come under scrutiny on social media over the past few years. When I was in high school (which feels like a time long, long ago), I had to follow a dress code that was much stricter than other districts, especially for California. I wasn’t allowed to wear a tank top if it wasn’t two inches wide, but I also wasn’t allowed to wear a cardigan to cover said out-of-dress code tank top. My jeans couldn’t have any frays anywhere, whether they were bought that way or not (which meant I went through a lot of jeans since I’m short and jeans are long and they always, always dragged the ground). I couldn’t wear any shirt that cut too far in on the back, meaning my shoulder blades had to be covered. My skirt or shorts had to be a certain number of inches above my knees, standing or sitting and I couldn’t wear any shoes that did not have a back. The dress code states that it is ‘distracting’ if girls wear tank tops, or short shorts or skirts. It states that students’ performance in class will sag without the strict dress code rules.
Since when is performance in class based on what I’m wearing? Whether I went to school in my own clothes, in my cheer uniform (with a very, very large sparkly bow on top of my head), or in some crazy get-up for homecoming week, I paid attention in class. I did my work, I studied, and I got good grades. I was able to perform in class and pay attention no matter what I, or the person sitting next to me, was wearing. If there’s someone who couldn’t handle the fact that something I was wearing was distracting (yeah, okay, the bow was probably pretty distracting), that wasn’t my problem.
And the part that always got me laughing was the fact that if I was wearing something out of dress code, I would get sent home for the day. I wouldn’t get to follow lectures or take notes or ask questions in class the rest of the day and my grades would suffer. (This sounds a bit extreme but when 75 percent of your schedule is AP classes, being sent home can make you panic.) It wasn’t my clothes that hindered my learning, it was the punishment of wearing a tank top that wasn’t quite wide enough at my shoulders.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I can explain what this has to do with baseball. For years, it’s been known that the NY Yankees have a clean-cut and shaven rule for every player on the team. No beards, no long hair, just perfect-looking men who fit into a box of what a New York Yankee is supposed to look like. And now, the Miami Marlins have written a similar rule for this upcoming season: no facial hair.
At what point does having long hair on your head or face take away from your performance as an athlete? This isn’t a law firm that needs to have a clean image of professionalism and class. This is Major League Baseball. These guys are literally getting paid to throw/ hit 100 mph baseballs, not try someone in court wearing a suit and tie. I’d say they’re even paid to intimidate the guys from the other team. They don’t have to cover up tattoos, they can wear any type of jewelry they want to represent their ‘personal style.’ Have you seen the chain that Yoenis Cespedes wears around his neck? Is that the face of professionalism and class? But it obviously doesn’t affect his ability to gun a guy out at home from left field.
Now I’m not saying that baseball players have the right to act however they want and say whatever the heck they feel like saying. No, I’m just pointing out that facial hair or no facial hair, manbun or no manbun, these guys are still going to perform at the top level.
Take Madison Bumgarner for example. The guy could be considered one of the best postseason/ World Series pitchers, ever. He has unruly long hair and a straggly beard that makes me cringe just looking at it. Does it affect his pitching? Not in the slightest. Washington National Bryce Harper has a crazy mohawk, which I’m still not sure what he uses on it to get it all to fit in his hat, and not-so-clean-cut facial hair. The guy won the NL MVP last year because he absolutely dominated the league. Was his performance hindered by the fact that his hair was long and untamed? Not at all. Same goes for John Donaldson, who won the AL MVP. Same hairstyle, same performance level: absolutely, insanely good.
What you’re wearing has no effect on your performance, whether you’re learning in a classroom or throwing a ball across a field. (Unless it’s a too-tight hat that is hindering your ability to think, then that might be a problem.)

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