For reasons unbeknownst to man, sports columnists and broadcasters often seem to deliver some spicy takes on athletes’ attire, and Atlanta Braves’ TV analyst Joe Simpson brought those in force on the Fox Sports South broadcast of their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday. Simpson spent over a minute unloading on the Dodgers for daring to wear t-shirts and shorts to batting practice. Here’s the Streamable clip of it from Chad Moriyama of The Athletic Los Angeles and Dodger Digest:
Simpson starts by telling play-by-play broadcaster Chip Caray “You know I grew up in the Dodger organization, and certainly was taught how to play professional baseball and how to do things the right way. I want you to look at some things going on today at batting practice here with the Dodgers. What do you see? You see t-shirts, you see Chase Utley with no socks, pants up over his knees, a t-shirt. This was prevalent with their whole team.”
Amazingly, Simpson then managed to go into a Helen Lovejoy-style “Won’t someone please think of the fans?” argument. Based on the idea that Dodgers’ fans couldn’t recognize players without their uniforms?
“And I think about fans that come to SunTrust Park who are Dodgers’ fans, they have no idea who any of them are, nobody had any kind of uniform on or batting practice shirt with their name on their jersey. They looked very unprofessional. And I think I can say this because I know what the Dodger organization is all about.”
Caray then broke in to call a bunt, and then Simpson went right back to his rant. “And if I were a Dodger fan, I’d be embarrassed. And I don’t know how Major League Baseball allows such attire when the gates are open and fans are watching. Chase Utley, I’ve had nothing but respect for him his whole career, I think he’s a great player, I thought he always played the game the right way. That was an embarrassment, what he had on during batting practice.”
Are we sure we have the right Simpson here?
At any rate, Caray then chimed in to support Simpson’s take, saying “When you think of all the merchandising that Major League Baseball does with the practice uniforms, the batting practice jerseys, I’m with you.” Simpson then added “It’s called a uniform for a reason!”
This take wound up getting lit up all over Twitter, and after the game (which wound up as a 5-1 win for Los Angeles), Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts had some things to say about it:
Dave Roberts was legit pissed when informed about BattingPracticeTshirtGate.
“I take it personally when someone questions our professionalism,” Roberts said.
— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) July 29, 2018
Simpson, who played in MLB from 1975 to 1983 with the Dodgers, Mariners and Royals and has been a Braves’ analyst since 1992 (he was also inducted into their Hall of Fame earlier this year), has been known for some hot takes before. Last year, he called rain delay in Washington “a travesty” and “a blatant abuse of gamesmanship by the Nationals,” and at another point, he went off on the Braves’ own organist.
This didn’t end with the broadcast comments and Roberts’ response. Simpson doesn’t have a Twitter account, but Caray responded to a fan criticizing their takes:
I’m not the guy taking BP in Capri-mimicking pants, no socks, and no ‘’uniform.’’ My partner merely pointed it out. Only mlb teamhesxseen be so non-‘’uniform.’’ Why not wear MLB-issued BP jerseys with names on road so paying customers know who’s who? Lighten up. https://t.co/s40vjMFbVP
— Chip Caray (@kapaya1234) July 29, 2018
Meanwhile, Moriyama offered an attire suggestion to Dodgers’ utility player Kiké Hernández:
Hello @kikehndez, I'm a big fan as you can tell. I don't usually make requests to players, but if you could take batting practice tomorrow in a tuxedo, that would be swell. Thank you.
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) July 29, 2018
And Hernandez had an idea of his own:
Tomorrow’s BP attire pic.twitter.com/cL5Yw8Hh3e
— Enrique Hernández (@kikehndez) July 29, 2018
And third baseman Justin Turner weighed in too:
— Justin Turner (@redturn2) July 29, 2018
We’ll see if there are any further developments in the excellently-named “BattingPracticeTshirtGate.”
[Chad Moriyama on Streamable]