There’s no doubt that baseball uniforms are one of the most fun and entertaining part of the game. From the iconic pinstripes of the Yankees to the elegant script “D” of the Detroit Tigers, the insignias on the gear constitute a big part of why ids are drawn to the game.

But there’s a lot more to the uniforms than just symbols and lettering. Getting the uniform right is essential to play the game well, and uniforms also provide indispensable protection as well.

For young would-be ball players and the parents who finance the gear, here’s a rundown the basic requirements and what the uni’s are designed to do.

Cleats and Spikes

Cleats and spikes are important for traction, both in the field and while running the bases. The small protrusions that extend from the bottom surface of the shoe come in two basic flavors: plastic and metal.

Plastic cleats are first worn in youth baseball. In addition to providing traction, they help stabilize the foot and ankle while cutting, which lowers the risk of injury.

Older players have the option of switching to metal cleats, which is what professional players typically wear, although many players whose career ends with high school ball will be just fine wearing plastic cleats for the duration of their time playing ball.

But cleats also come with risks, metal cleats especially.

The biggest risk is having the cleat get stuck or caught while running, fielding, rounding a base or sliding. Cleats have very little give, so having this happen can result in all sorts of injuries, some minor, others more serious.

Baseball Pants

Pants are pants, right? Um, no, not in baseball.

Back in the day, uniform pants were heavy and uncomfortable, but now they’re made of material that wicks sweat while still providing protection when players have to slide or dive to make a play in the field.

Styles have changed, too. Pants used to extend down to the mid-calf, and players had to wear cumbersome stirrup socks beneath the heels to complete the uniform.

Now the emphasis is on comfort. Pants extend down to the cleats these days, although the downside of this look is that when pants are too long the bottom edges will get torn up by the cleats.

In addition, some players opt to wear “sliding shorts,” which offer an extra layer of protection if the mandated uniform pants happen to be too thin.

Athletic Supporter

Talking about this part of the uniform isn’t comfortable, but it is important. Taking a thrown or batted ball between the legs isn’t a life experience any boy or young man should have, and it can even result in serious injury.

To prevent this, players where an underwear sleeve called a jockstrap that contains a metal or plastic cup, with the cup providing said protection.

The cups aren’t comfortable at first, but they’re absolutely required at certain positions like catcher where players are especially vulnerable to getting hit between the legs by a batted or thrown ball.

This part of the uniform typically isn’t worn by beginners. But once players develop the skill to throw and hit the ball hard, wearing a jockstrap and a cup is a requirement that can’t be skipped.

Baseball Undershirt

While the fabric used in baseball uniforms has improved in quality and comfort, many players prefer to wear a special t-shirt underneath the regular uniform shirt.

These shirts also wick sweat when its hot, and they become even more important in cooler temps and layers start to come into play.

To some extent this is a matter of preference, but in extreme temperatures a quality t-shirt can become important to performance, especially as the skill level of the players increases.

Baseball Caps

This is the most fun part of the uniform by far. Baseball has some great logos, and showing them off with a quality cap can result in a great look and increased confidence.

Believe it or not, the quality of caps is improving as well. Old-fashioned baseball caps often seemed designed to produce and hold sweat in hot weather, but the newer designs often provide the same kind of sweat and moisture wicking that other parts of the uniform offer.

And state of the art caps are designed to provide protection. Hat flaps that extend onto the temple will absorb some of the impact from batted or thrown balls, and the latest technology in this area has had dramatic results in preventing concussions and head injuries, so there’s a lot more than show involved.

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Categories: MLB GUIDES


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