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MLB’s coaches all wear their jerseys. Except the Yankees’

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ANAHEIM — It is one of baseball’s oldest and most unique quirks, a wacky sight both for those unaware of it and the ones who still question or laugh every time they see it.

Unlike any other sport, coaches in Major League Baseball wear the same uniform as the players. Button up top, baseball pants and fitted hat. At least, lots of coaching staffs do, but not so much the Yankees’, who have put their own spin on dugout fashion. Rather than wearing the team’s iconic jersey for the whole world to see, most of the Yankees’ coaches opt for a pullover or hoodie instead.

“I’ve worn my jersey probably three or four times this year,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I just don’t like wearing it.”

At the beginning of his managerial career, Boone abided by what he thought was a hard rule, learning later that nobody seems to care what the managers are wearing.

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“When I first started I thought you had to have it on, even if it was under something,” Boone said of the league’s dress code. “So, I’d wear it underneath, but then I just graduated to, ‘Ehhh.’”

That feeling has spread to other members of the staff, including pitching coach Matt Blake. The 36-year-old is more of a short sleeve pullover guy, wearing what is essentially an athletic-fit baggy t-shirt.

“I got here and they were like, ‘We don’t really need to wear the jersey’ so I kind of just rolled with the pullover,” Blake remembered. “For me it’s just, wear whatever you’re comfortable in.”

Boone’s go-to game day attire for years now has been a hooded sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off, the baseball version of a tidier Bill Belichick. It eliminates some of the restrictions that come with a polyester jersey and combines comfort with one of Boone’s most basic human needs.

“They cut and hem them for me and I just rock the sleeves underneath,” Boone said of the look he started wearing in 2019. “I like having a hood. I wear a hood all the time. I run cold, I’m always a little cold.”

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The Yankees’ players are aware of their skipper’s sartorial choices. Chad Green says it’s very apparent that Boone and other coaches don’t wear the jersey but he also understands why someone who’s not actually playing in the game would stay away from it.

“I have noticed that. I have not talked to them about it,” Green shared. “If you don’t have to wear the jersey, the long sleeve shirt and hoodie is way more comfortable.”

“I think there’s a lot of managers around baseball that probably don’t wear jerseys,” Jameson Taillon said. “There’s a lot of starting pitchers on their non-start days that don’t wear jerseys either.”

Taillon outed himself as a starting pitcher who does not wear the jersey when he’s not pitching, though he said he’ll often “spike up” for National League games in case he’s needed to pinch run or get a bunt down. He was not shy about expressing his thoughts on the non-jersey look.

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“Booney might actually have some of the most swag in the big leagues for managers,” Taillon opined. “The cutoff is a pretty good look. You can do the Spring Training trash bag look, but I think the cutoff, short sleeve hoodie is the move.”

Taillon and Green also said that, should they ever get into coaching themselves, the jersey is not coming with them

“Absolutely not. It’s not as comfortable,” Taillon said. “These pullovers they give us are Dri-Fit, lightweight. I always thought it was funny, you have 65, 70-year-old managers around baseball who really look like they couldn’t play, and they’re wearing jerseys. You don’t see NFL coaches padded up on the sideline.”

“No chance,” Green added.

For the man in charge of the lineup card, the thought of wearing a jersey to watch and manage the game, rather than play in it, has started to feel a little silly.

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“There’s a little part of me that’s like, ‘Why do we wear jerseys?’” Boone wondered. Getting a jersey also means getting a number. Boone has 17, a standard number that many players would probably be okay with wearing as well. Not so much for Blake, who says he was given a number by the club without getting to make the decision for himself.

“I’m number 67. There’s no reason to wear that,” Blake joked.

However, if you look closely into the Yankees’ dugout, there is one coach who sports his jersey, even if kind of sheepishly.

“I do! Oh yeah, every day,” bench coach Carlos Mendoza asserted. He throws a pullover or the Boone-style hoodie over it, though. “I think it’s more of a superstitious thing.”

When presented with the idea of having one game where all the coaches proudly wear their jerseys, no additional layers hiding them, Mendoza cackled.

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“That’s going to be tough,” he said of convincing his colleagues. “They ain’t wearing one. I definitely wear mine every day, though.”

Blake said he would wear one if absolutely needed to, and base coaches Reggie Willits and Phil Nevin are wearing one every time they take their coaching boxes. It doesn’t seem like we’ll see the 17 on Boone’s back exposed any time soon, though.

“Good luck with that,” Taillon smiled, his own jersey probably hanging untouched in a locker until his next start.

Green provided one final confidence boost for Boone, Mendoza, Marcus Thames, and the other members of the hoodie and pullover mafia.

“I think they stay in good enough shape where they can pull it off, for sure.”

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