45% OF THE TOTAL FANBASE.
So, MLB has partnered with Victoria’s Secret to release a line of MLB-branded clothing. That’s the Mets product above.
Now that you’re done laughing, I’m just going to run the press release as-is, because the unintentional humor level is off the charts:
With Spring Training underway, Major League Baseball Properties and Victoria’s Secret (VS) PINK are introducing a new way for female fans to display their team pride and celebrate the upcoming season in style.
The MLB and VS PINK co-branded collection will fashionably feature names and logos of 11 MLB teams including the Angels, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Padres, Phillies, Red Sox, Twins, White Sox and Yankees.
The collection showcases VS PINK’s highly recognizable brand iconography with fun sayings like “I only kiss Padres fans” or “Love Love Love Twins”, and boasts cute zip-pocket tees, crystallized caps, baseball jerseys, as well as stylish and comfortable hoodies, tanks, sweats, shorts and more.
The collection will launch on March 16 in more than 100 Victoria’s Secret stores spanning each of these teams’ markets, as well as on victoriassecret.com. Victoria’s Secret PINK is a fully articulated and internationally recognized lifestyle collection specifically for young women.
This new product line is the latest effort by Major League Baseball to provide its extensive female fan base with new and fashionable ways to support their favorite team.
According to ESPN Sports Poll, Major League Baseball has had the largest percentage of female fans (45% of its total fan base in ’09) among the major sports leagues since 2006. This collaboration marks the first professional sports relationship for VS PINK.
Now that we’re done with the formalities, let’s sit down and have a chat, shall we? Are you comfy? Great.
We’re 45% of the fan base AND THIS IS THE BEST YOU CAN DO? There are 45% of us, but we are not all of the ages 18-25, which is the typical Victoria’s Secret customer. These are the kind of clothes that a guy who wants his girlfriend to like baseball will buy for her. No matter how much of a girly-girl you might be, I don’t think that these are clothes that serious female baseball fans want to wear. Why? Because who on earth is going to take us seriously wearing this stuff.
How about selling us a jersey that fits a body with breasts attached? How about selling a jersey in our size that isn’t pink? How about selling a jersey that fits etc. that could be customized with a name and player number? Seriously, I’ve been doing this for four years now, and MLB has yet to come up with anything better than what Zoe did on the spur of the moment with Photoshop and some imagination back in 2006? She designed clothes that were both girly and practical, without hearts, glitter or rhinestones, something that MLB just cannot seem to get past. (God love Alyssa Milano, and I actually have a tremendous amount of respect for her, but the clothes that she sells are just not practical for women who sit in baseball games through wind, rain, dust, beer and morons on public transportation, who don’t sit in a box or a premium location.)
That 45% is made of all ages, shapes, sizes and styles. It’s your girlfriend, your neighbor, your aunt, your mother, your grandmother. We’re girls from the city, girls from the country, religious girls, and girls who don’t mind showing a little cleavage at the ballpark (but I think you already got them covered). We want things that we can wear that aren’t always pink, don’t always reference the hunky young star on the team, don’t assert that we want to be kissed or that we’re LOOKING FOR MR. WRIGHT or that we want to MARRY ME MAUER or I HEART LONGORIA or that we dig the “longball” (snicker, nudge nudge, wink wink). We are tired of buying jerseys so big we can swim in them, tired of shopping in the boys’ department for something close to our size, tired of rhinestones and hearts everywhere, tired of sleeves that don’t actually cover our arms. We really, really are.
For example, this shirt would actually be okay, if there weren’t rhinestones everywhere:
We are better than this. We deserve better than this. 45% of the fanbase? Do you have any idea how much money you are leaving on the table, MLB?
When I first got wind of this, I posted a note on Twitter and was immediately hit with a barrage of mixed responses. The only positive responses were along the lines of “I’m so desperate for cute clothing to wear to the ballpark that I’ll take what I can get”. The more negative ones were “I’m ready to start puffy painting my own Twins tshirts” or “They should make sparkly bras, it’ll go over big in the bleachers at Wrigley.” In the interests of equal time, I did hear from a fan who was looking forward to the clothing line, because “there are college-age fans who would rather wear VS than little boys’ size small, it’s also cheaper than the TOUCH line. Honestly, VS fits nice and is comfortable.” I appreciate that perspective, but that also echoes the first comment of being desperate for something wearable.
MLB. You are throwing money away by thinking that asking your 16 year old neighbor what she thinks is cute is doing market research. Stop herding us into the cattle chute of stitch & pitch, talks by player’s wives, pink hats and jerseys, and glitter, hearts and rhinestones. We are so much more, and we’d tell you, if you only ever bothered to ask. You have dozens of MLBlogs written by women. There are hundreds more out there on the real internet. Ask us! Ask us to ask our readers! Do some local focus groups. Take some surveys at ballparks. Ask. Just ask.
Please, we’re begging you. Take a look around. I don’t actually believe that you will ever change, but here’s a fervent plea to at least think about it for five seconds.
P.S. At least Mitchell & Ness is coming out with a line of women’s MLB clothing. Judging by what they’ve made available for female hockey fans, it’s going to be a much needed step in the right direction. The clothes are flattering and attractive, definitely cute (and I’m not even a hockey fan). There isn’t a heart, a flower, or a rhinestone anywhere in sight. Maybe they could come up with a girl’s version of the wool-and-leather jacket? I have wanted one of those forever, but one that fits my chest means that the arms hang down to my kneecaps.