I love the Dodgers.
I loved them since I saw Clayton Kershaw pitch for the first time in-person. I’ve loved them since I jumped out of my seat when Will Smith hit his first walk-off homerun this year.
I love Dodger Stadium, Dodger-dogs, throwing peanut shells on the floor and being one of the first attendees to arrive at the game so I get a free bobble head. I love everything about them. Except when I go to buy their apparel.
On Sept. 21, I went to the Dodgers game, sporting my Kershaw jersey and high-waisted denim shorts; I looked the part to a tee. But my Dodger-blue shirt and sunglasses were hiding a less-than-friendly truth I had stumbled upon at the Fanzz sports team apparel store just hours before.
I walked into Fanzz with my brother and my sister-in-law about two hours before the game. I was thrilled at first, as I saw a massive wall full of jerseys with the names of some of my favorite players gracing the backs – Bellinger, Kershaw, Muncy. Shelves of caps were filled from floor to ceiling and seemed to come in every color with just about any Dodger logo (yes, there are multiple). My brother immediately went for the caps and my sister-in-law the shirts, as I walked around the store and browsed. But something seemed off, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me.
All the apparel was for men, except for a tiny stack of pink, sequined Dodger shirts.
I stared at the meager selection in disbelief. “This can’t be it,” I said to my sister-in-law, as I pointed to the four shirts sitting in a pile, situated on top of a rack with at least 10 size-XXL male options. As we continued to walk the store in search of a broader women’s section, we were met with shock and anger. All we could find were those four pink, sequined shirts and a microscopic collection of bedazzled tops. So we left Fanzz disappointed, but frankly not surprised.
I own both a Kershaw shirt and a Dodgers hat. Nine times out of 10, I’m wearing either around campus. But the hat used to belong to my sister-in-law when she was a kid – I have an oddly tiny head – and I have to tie my shirt at the waist so I don’t look like a square when I wear it. Both are gender-neutral and function as all apparel is supposed to do: support the team.
In case Fanzz and other shops aren’t aware, women are just as entitled to be sports fans as men. In fact, I know just as many female sports fans as I do male. What ultimately frustrated me about the entire incident was that my fandom and enthusiasm for my beloved Dodgers felt diminished, simply because there wasn’t a section of the store that lent itself to my gender.
When we got to the stadium, I immediately bounced back into my “scream so loud during every inning I lose my voice” energy. I got there early enough to get my bobble head, enjoyed my beer and Dodger-dog while watching batting practice, threw my peanut shells on the floor and screamed my head off in passionate anger when the Colorado Rockies scored. Despite the upsetting shopping experience I’d had earlier, the game itself only reminded me just how much I love the team. So, sports apparel people (whoever you are), female fans expect so much more than pink, bedazzled shirts. Please live up to our fandom. Thanks.