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Kevin Finnerty

Fashion Sins of Our Partners

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I have had partners show up to do games while in violation of virtually every kind of uniform code or standard. My most recent experience had my boorish, unprincipled partner arrive at the game site (late, of course), blow a cloud of Tiparillo smoke in my face, and exit the car already outfitted in his wrinkled, faded heather gray slacks; Official's Choice see-through, wide-stripe shirt, and his dirty, uncreased, faded four-stitch combo cap. His slacks were that distinctive pink that the heather takes on when it fades dramatically.

I said to the guy, "What are those, your breast cancer awareness slacks?"

He didn't laugh. Later, when I used the same line on my catcher, I had to call time so he could go to the mound and stop crying. It was the only subtle way I could think of to separate myself from this guy, as if his judgement and mechanics didn't do that suitably enough.

As hckyosgood30 so wisely stated in the appearance thread, when one of us looks sub-standard, we are perceived by many, if not most, as a sub-standard crew. The standard is not that difficult to uphold. We get to wear ball caps, golf shirts and athletic shoes along with those dress slacks of ours. Is it too much to ask that they at least be crisp, clean and uniform in color and style?

Even if you buy the very finest uniform, cap, belt and shoes available, at the very highest prices, it still only costs $425-$475 to properly attire and adorn yourself for the plate and the bases (two polywools, two Majestics, two caps, belt, Dri-Los, two pairs of Reeboks). (Undergarments, accessories, protective gear, equipment bags, cases and myriad supplies extra.)

So there's no reasonable excuse for looking like a cheap, clueless slob when you walk out onto a field to work a ballgame.

What are some of your all-time worst-dressed partner stories?

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This was a game that I was the scorekeeper for. It was a high school varsity game and the game started in a drizzle that got worse. At some point the <acronym title='Base umpire'>BU</acronym> put on a yellow rain jacket. I should say that this was softball. What made it worse was he is the assignor for their group.

My personal pet peeve is the guys that mix and match blue and black hats, ball bags and shirts.

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My pet peeve is shoes.

I worked a high school state tournament a couple of years ago, we worked 3-man crews, I had previously worked with one of the guys in an earlier state tournament. Our crew leaves the hotel together after meeting for the first time to work 3 games at the same site. We are escorted to our locker room by the site coordinator, pleasantries exchanged, etc.

Anyway, we get situated in our locker room, begin unpacking, etc. and the guy that I already knew and I both had our shoes already polished to a mirror sheen. We laid out our uniforms and equipment as did our new partner. His plate and base shoes were awful, I mean hideous.

I had the first plate. We started getting dressed, doing a thorough pregame, going over situations, coverages, rotations, etc. My new partner starts getting dressed for the field and never even starts to polish his shoes. My other partner and I look at each other like, "no way he is going to the field like that is he?"

As we are finishing the pregame, my friend points to me and says, "well you're the crew chief for this first game" and kind of nods to me. So, I say to the new guy, "you might need to throw a little cleaning on those base shoes, I've got everything you need if you don't have it." He says," I never polish my shoes, they'll just get dirty anyway." I tell him, "You are not going onto the field with us with shoes like that, if you don't want to clean and polish them, hand them to me and I will do it." He looked at me in complete disbelief and said, "you're serious aren't you?" My partner chimed in and volunteered to help him too.

Long story short, his mechanics were very similar to his shoes, don't know how he got to the State tournament.

Like I said to start, shoes are my pet peeve.

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I've had partners wearing white socks on the field, their 1" church belt, visible green undershirt, "Randy's hardware" navy blue jacket when it's cold, (hey, it's navy blue right), my personal pet peeve is navy blue caps with black jerseys, those are a few right off the TOP of my head...and yes, several, several, breast cancer awareness heather gray pants. BTW, I'm stealing the breast cancer awareness pants line.

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I guess the thing that bothers me the most is that many of these guys have no idea that they're so under-dressed for the part.

Then they're the first ones to complain about not getting games.

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I guess the thing that bothers me the most is that many of these guys have no idea that they're so under-dressed for the part.

Then they're the first ones to complain about not getting games.

They're also the first to complain when uniform standards change. When I started high school umpiring in 2009, the association had switched to charcoal for all games in the year, with an agreement that heather can still be worn if all the umpires had it -- for the next couple of years.

There were moans of extra costs and so forth. In my mind, I thought, "I don't see how I can't change my uniform pants every few years anyway -- what are they so worried about?"

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My situation with a fashion challenged partner was rather difficult because he is also a good friend.

He is notorious for looking like SH*# -- to be kind.

The thing he is a really good umpire in most facets of umpiring and even made it to AA in MiLB.

His shoes are old as dirt and only held together by dirt and the polish he applies on TOP of the dirt.

His pants usually look like they came from under the spare tire of his car and were also dirty,

His equipment was new in the late 80's when he went to Harry's.

His caps almost looked tie died between the purple of a faded blue cap and the white of sweat.

There are at least 5-6 guys here who have worked with him.

He'd been told this a bunch of times and had almost been black balled.

It was a shame because he was so good.

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They're also the first to complain when uniform standards change.

Yep, for that reason alone, I threw my heather pants in the garbage. I'm not enabling those who choose to not upgrade their uniforms. I don't expect everybody to be a gear junkie like myself, but it's not too much to ask to get a new cap every year, upgrade your pants from "race for the cure" pink, and get a black jersey.

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Yep, for that reason alone, I threw my charcoal pants in the garbage. I'm not enabling those who choose to not upgrade their uniforms. I don't expect everybody to be a gear junkie like myself, but it's not too much to ask to get a new cap every year, upgrade your pants from "race for the cure" pink, and get a black jersey.

You meant heather, right?

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Yep, for that reason alone, I threw my charcoal pants in the garbage. I'm not enabling those who choose to not upgrade their uniforms. I don't expect everybody to be a gear junkie like myself, but it's not too much to ask to get a new cap every year, upgrade your pants from "race for the cure" pink, and get a black jersey.

You meant heather, right?

Yes...will change it...thanks!!!!!!!!

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Oh my, where to start here.

Some of the gems I've had to work with:

- dirty shoes

- plate umpires with pants cut too short (and I don't mean too short when in their stance, too short when standing - half their shin pad shows when they get into their stance

- white socks

- black hats with navy shirts / navy hats with black shirts

- dress belts

- obnoxious belt buckles

- partners in 3-man games not wearing matching jacket colours

- partners in 3-man games wearing same coloured jackets that don't match

- when I was much younger and less knowledgeable, it was not uncommon to see partners working with shirts untucked

- using non-umpiring jackets (like the "Randy's Hardware" one mentioned above) in cold weather (I allow concessions for plain solid navy or black pullovers; at least they're making a small effort)

- wearing a long sleeve undershirt underneath a short sleeve umpire shirt

- backwards hats

- shin guards over pants

- using plain blue or black polos instead of proper umpiring shirts as a game uniform

- wearing the umpire cap tilted up severely, Jim Fregosi style

- wristwatches

- cell phone holsters clipped to the belt (that's a real-life fashion mistake too)

- worked a game once with an individual who had been rained out in his previous game, thrown his pants into a plastic grocery bag, left them in the backseat of his car, and withdrew them for use as if they were brand new

- differing pant colours

- for that matter, umpires using non-umpire pants

- outrageously coloured undershirts

- stained and wrinkled uniform shirts

- caps that faded from true navy or black 10 seasons previous

- guys who insist on smoking darts right up until we hit the field - though I suppose that may sometimes help with keeping coaches at bay

- wrinkled pants man had the worst breath I've ever smelt before. I had him once as a player many years before. Almost knocked me over.

- personally, I was never a fan of those royal blue masks. either black, silver, or navy frames please

That's all the painful fashion memories I wish to recall

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Hmmm...

One I have that hasn't been mentioned--wrong color undershirt. For some reason, I have had a couple of partners that like to wear red under cream or polo blue.

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The worst one I had was a fillin job that I did for our HS assignor. He had a guy drop out on a game about 2 hours before the start. He gave me a call and I went to work a HS Sophohmore game. I asked who my partner was and I had no clue, never heard of him....that should have been the tip!

Show up. I lay out gear and head to the field to tell the home coach I'm there. I get back to the dressing room and there he is, eager to go. I ask him what he wants to wear. He says black so I pull out black. He pulls out a black golf shirt...solid black, no stripes. He them pulls out a pair of brand new HEATHER slacks...yes they are still in the wrapper! I explain that they have to be hemmed to wear. He says he hasn't had time so he gets his grey dress slacks out complete with cuffs. I ask if he has any other shirts as the one he has is not an umpire shirt...they don't make them big enough :no: At least he did some homework...he had blue, black, red and powder all in the identical same shirt! I asked if he has anything else...he thinks for a moment and say I have a softball shirt....YES, close enough as I carry Polo blue w/ blk collar all the time. Let's wear that I say....at least it is a baseball type shirt.

The one thing that struck me about the whoile thing was...when he said they weren't big enough...I should have tuned into the fact that this guy doesn't move...glad it was a sub-varsity game...

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2010 ..my first season back from a 15 year layoff. I found out about 2pm I may be doing a u12 game solo ...but, found out on the drive home from work that he's found someone to cover for me. Now, granted, ..I know better, but, I was the new kid on the block so to speak, so I didn't say anything, ...but:

Of course we're in navy (standard still in our parts) ...but this kid shows up with an orange undershirt, gray dockers, and white adidas cleats w/ green stripes. We looked like Mutt and Jeff ...terrible! :shakehead:

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I like Jeff came back in 2010 after a long (about 15 years) layoff.

My first couple of games back I was working solo and I was wearing my hat backwards.

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umpire_dress.jpg

That is not me!!!! I wear Reebok Plate Shoes.

And to be really honest. At the time I had Walmart Pants and Walmart Steel Toe Shoes. :no:

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umpire_dress.jpg

NB plate shoes: $89

Wilson West shin guards: $79

Smitty navy umpire jacket: $40

Being in the wrong position to make this call and looking like **** while you do it: Priceless

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GRAY DOCKAARRRRZZZZ!!!!

Also -

Not a fashion sin of an individual, but of a whole profession:

Colors that "POP", e.g. red under navy, white under black, etc.

I know Two-four nailed 99% of them, but I was tearing up from laughter when reading his list, that I nearly missed my pet-peeve. But he nailed it toward the bottom, of course.

I think of Jeff Foxworthy saying "If you wear a navy cap backwards with a black Izod shirt, and your Blackberry 950 clipped to your church belt holding up your gray pizza-staned DOCKARZZ . . . you might be a Smitty."

Awesome list.

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I've been lucky for the most part. HOWEVER, I did have occasion, TWICE, to be partnered with an individual that didn't rotate (he didn't know how, for Pete's sake), wore his cap backward, a long sleeve undershirt w/ a short sleeve shirt, crappy shoes and didn't shave. Other than those things, he was fine. I tried helping him after the first game and give him pointers on what he should look like but the second game, it was the same deal. I tried, really I did.

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Being in the wrong position to make this call and looking like **** while you do it: Priceless

Let's not mention his timing. The play's still happening and he's banging the out. He hasn't learned that waiting will ensure all the eyes are on you.

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It's amazing to me how every time we talk about guys who do fashion no no's, they also seem to be horrific umpires. I was helping train/eval some of the guys in my association this past fall. We had a guy show up for his evaluation game.....

1.) after game time had started

2.) wearing a hat that was so sweated out it looked purple with a rim of salt

3.) dockers with sweat stains all up and down the pink sun lines.

4.) dockers wrinkled and had cigarette burns on them!

5.) white socks, and wrong color undershirt

6.) unshaved face, and nappy hair/mullet

7.) shoes not shined, w/ duck tape holding one together.

needless to say as instructors we were not impressed. And this guy wonders, and asks us why he's not getting varsity games. And he asks after the game for his pay! I almost felt bad for him the 2nd night after I told him what to fix and he came out looking the same way, with about 4 other trainies that looked very sharp. He stood out like a soar thumb. Unfortunately we had about 4 of these guys in our fall ball program this past year. Next year our association is going to have a cap on membership, to start weeding these guys out.

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And this guy wonders, and asks us why he's not getting varsity games. And he asks after the game for his pay!

I'd bet this is typical. The guys scrape by with the bare minimum needed, then care only about the paycheck at the end of the day.

This past fall, I had a chance to tryout for JUCO assignments through my organization. Even with the short timing, I made sure everything was clean, pressed, and shining. While it may not have been the deciding factor of whether I'll get assignments or not, it's definitely the first impression -- even with evaluators that I've worked with before.

I also didn't ask anything about pay. While dressing for the game, my partner mentioned he asked how much the pay was for the game -- he wouldn't have done it without getting paid. I hope by not caring about the pay, it reflects on my evaluation as well.

Next year our association is going to have a cap on membership, to start weeding these guys out.

Sounds like you need to give caps to your members. :)

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Being in the wrong position to make this call and looking like **** while you do it: Priceless

And maybe the catcher still possesses the ball for the out he's already pumping from the wrong position.

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