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Take Us Out to the Ballgame: If We Don't Win, We're Still Not Losers

March 18, 1994|PATRICK MOTT and ANN CONWAY

Y ou can smell it, right? Freshly cut outfield grass. And just the tiniest whiff of red clay and neatsfoot oil and horsehide and Ben-Gay. Sugary bubble gum and sticky Cracker Jack. Graceful fungoes and lazy sprints into center and hot hotdogs and cold cold beer and lovely long afternoons in the sun. The greatest show on dirt.

Wonderful baseball is nearly here. And we're planning to fill our quota of seats all season long. We're also planning to look appropriately spiffy while doing it. We owe it to Our Team.

HE: Thank God baseball doesn't attract the shave-your-head-and-paint-it-purple crowd until the playoffs. For most of the rest of the season, but particularly during the spring, fans get to dress about as comfortably as is humanly possible.

Especially at day games, my uniform consists of Levi's, the most garish aloha or Acapulco shirt I can get my hands on, a team cap, my trusty Ray-Ban aviators and No. 5 sun block. I put on that combination, and I find it impossible not to relax. Besides, if you're going to root with the proper abandon--or, God willing, actually snag a foul ball--you need fairly loose-fitting garments that are easily visible by everyone in the stadium (in case they want to cheer you when you make that catch).

I love to go to day games during the week and rag the guys in suits and ties who are playing hooky from work. At the same time, I feel sorry for the guys in suits and ties at night games. They haven't had time to go home and put on real game clothes.

SHE: Well, take me out to the ballgame. Please. But forget the rowdy rags. If it's a blister of a day, you'll catch me in linen shorts, pristine tennies and a cool knit top. If it's a sticky one, you can bet I'll be in a loose cotton dress and straw hat. If it's somewhere between, say in the low 80s, I'll grandstand it in my favorite sportswear look--a super lightweight linen suit and tank top.

I hate to see Levi's at baseball games. Football, yes. Our favorite pastime deserves a little respect.

HE: Aw, c'mon. What's more American than baseball and Levi's? It's the national pastime, not the national cotillion. You have to figure that if you behave with the proper abandon during the game, you're going to spill a little something on yourself--mustard, relish, beer, sushi (if it's at the Big A), a Cool-a-Coo ice cream sandwich (if it's Dodger Stadium). Levi's (or cotton print warm-up pants or khaki shorts, say) can take it. Foo-foo items like linen trousers and the kind of cotton slacks you wear to croquet matches can't. Also, bizarre, arabesque-like prints (remember the Acapulco shirt?) serve the same function as bizarre, arabesque-like carpets: You can spill stuff on them and it won't show.

And I don't want to hear any grousing about my being a slob. You try to grab a line drive foul hit into the stands with a lap full of cheesy nachos.

Anyway, what about being loyal and wearing the team colors and logo? Think it's worth the investment?

SHE: Wait a minute. You're not getting off that easy. For starters, jeans are too hot for baseball. Second, they begin to feel like lead when we hit the 14th inning and the score is still tied.

Linen isn't foo-foo; it's fab-fab. It's cool. And it's supposed to be wrinkled. I don't have to worry about mustard or relish or melted cheese on my lap because I don't jump up every other second like you do. I'm too busy checking my lipstick.

Team colors? Too cute for my taste. But I will go for a team cap.

HE: I actually went for a team jacket a few years ago. A really cool Dodger one, the kind that are made of nylon but look like satin. Quilted on the inside. A true warm-up jacket, the kind that keeps short relievers' arms warm through many late-night innings at Wrigley Field.

The problem: Unless there's an incredible cold snap in either April or (we can hope) October, the jacket's pretty useless in Southern California. I did wear it to a Dodger-Giant game once during a frigid September evening at Candlestick Park, but I was nearly stoned. It was a big hit when I wore it on vacation in Austria, though. You gotta pick your audience.

Which brings up a point: Because women tend to get cold more easily than men, what would you suggest taking along to a night game as a proper wrap? You can have my Dodger jacket if we go anywhere but Candlestick.

SHE: Women get cold more easily than men? Well, hairy men, maybe. In any case, I'd don your Dodger jacket in a big chill, but I'd rather slip on a vest under my linen blazer and toss a scarf around my neck. Vests are hotter than ever.

Bottom line: Spectators at sporting events should wear what makes them feel good and comfortable. And if they have to wear Levi's, then Levi's it shall be. But don't call it fashion. Fashion demands that you take a little time to stand out from the herd.

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