My Journey to a Jeter Jersey
I was born a Yankees fan and was 8 years old when Derek Jeter played his first professional game. Every fan typically has their favorite player and for me, it’s Derek Jeter. I admire Jeter not only because he’s a great athlete, but also because of his work ethic. His shovel throw to Jorge Posada in game three of the 2001 ALDS stands in my mind as exemplifying his desire, hustle and vision.
Recently, I tried to purchase an authentic Jeter jersey for myself. I say ‘tried’ because unfortunately, as a woman, I can’t purchase a real Jeter jersey. Let me explain.
The Yankees are the only team in Major League Baseball that does not have players’ names on their home or away jerseys. While the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox don’t have names on their home jerseys, they do on their away jerseys. I wanted to buy a Jeter home jersey. I went to the MLB website, selected authentic jerseys, chose Jeter and was then left confused. The only sizes offered in authentic jerseys were men’s sizes.
So, I tried a different approach. I selected the ‘Women’s Jerseys’ category and then searched for Jeter’s number. However, the only women’s jerseys that are offered, for any player, have the player’s name on the back. Confused once again, I called customer support. They not only confirmed that I could not buy a women’s Jeter jersey without his name on it, but also mentioned that I was not the first one to complain about this.
Since I have always been a sports fan and an athlete, I’m used to certain inequalities when it comes to women and sports. In casual conversation I’ve often been asked to prove my knowledge of a certain sport, whereas the fandom of my male counterparts is just simply accepted. As a member of my high school basketball team, I watched as the boy’s team got more practice time in the main gym while we were relegated to the back gym.
But this? You mean to tell me that Major League Baseball made the decision to sell women’s jerseys and then decided to not sell women real jerseys? Now, replica jerseys are cheaper than authentic jerseys. So maybe Major League Baseball wanted to offer women fans a more affordable option. I understand that. But why is it our only option? Men can choose to spend more money on the real deal, so why can’t women? Don’t they want as much money as they can get from fans? (Yes, I realize I could buy a men’s small authentic jersey. I actually went to a store and tried one on. It came down to my knees.)
And to you Giants and Red Sox fans who want a woman’s home jersey, you also can’t buy one without the player’s name on the back.
With as many strides as the leagues have taken to recognize female fans, this inequality baffles me. All I want to do is show my support for a player and team in the right way. And I can’t. Simply because I’m a woman.