I’m an enormous baseball fan. It’s my favorite sport. It’s so intensely psychological and nuanced. Minute details matter, like the direction and speed of the wind, or how successful someone coming off the bench has been against the opposing team’s third-best reliever. I’m also an enormous Yankees fan, which means there’s probably no team I’m currently more (ahem) familiar with than the Houston Astros.
That said, I don’t often get to highlight athletes’ style, and certainly not hours before something as massive as Game 3 of the World Series, so I have put aside my team allegiance to photograph some stylish players on the American League’s best baseball team. Since the players don’t have a ton of time, I only asked a few questions to five different athletes, and present a few more outfits I snapped in the tunnel for your consideration.
What does fashion mean to you, and is it relevant in sports?
Ryne Stanek: The people that are in it are very in it. We’re able to travel so much see different cities, and we spend time in the big cities where shopping is a thing. Fashion is a little bit more prevalent as opposed to where some of the guys grew up. I grew up in the Midwest, where it was very uncommon. I never an interest in it, but as I got into pro ball and the big leagues, seeing more and more of it, I started to. I started getting into some shoes and started collecting, and it’s become a full-time hobby. I convinced my wife to get into sneakers. She said, “I’ll never get into sneakers,” and now she’s got a bunch. It’s been fun. It’s something she and I do together. You feel good if you feel like you look good. That goes hand in hand. There are cameras around. A lot of guys here want to show they have style, show they’re fashion forward. It plays into current pop culture. You’ve seen it forever in sports. Everyone in sports tends to trend along with fashion.
Rafael Montero: I love to be dressed up on road trips. I like that. People take a lot of pictures, but I decide to dress well because I’m a professional.
Lance McCullers Jr.: Fashion for me has always been a way to express yourself. On my start days, a lot of times, it’s more serious and I wear a lot of black. Sometimes I mix it up and have fun. For me, in regard to fashion, it doesn’t matter what your style is or isn’t. It represents a part of you that is more expressive. In this sport, it’s very one-sided. It’s just athletics, athletics, athletics, so it’s another layer to the players and how they feel and where their mind and emotions can be those days.
Ryne, how many pair of sneakers do you have?
RS: One hundred and fifty to two hundred pairs. I’ve got a lot. It’s a problem. They’re everywhere. My room at my house at home is 80 percent—of the floor and wall—shoes.
Because you’re photographed so much, does that enter your mind when you leave your home?
LMJ: Well, you don’t want to look like a bum. It’s all a part of the individual player’s personality and if they care. Some guys don’t care at all. They’re cool in what’s comfortable to them. That’s their style. They prefer comfort. I’ll rock the occasionally uncomfortable clothes and shoes to express where I’m at that day, or my style for that period of time.
Hector Neris: I’m professional and I know what this represents to the world. The way we dress…I know this is a sports career, but when you’re out in public, you’re representing this level. You’re representing MLB and how you dress is how you tell the world who you are and what you do. If you’re in an office, you come dressed to show you’re a professional. This is what I do, and I try to be as professional as I can be.
Justin Verlander: It’s just a way to express yourself. We’re always in front of the camera. I think it’s just a way for us to show our personality. I would call myself very classic in my style. I don’t go too far out of the box. But I like to look good. I like to keep up with trends. It’s just a fun way for some people to have a bit of insight into who you are. It’s kind of hard here in Houston [to display your style] though. It’s very hot. Not too many layers. I like layers sometimes.
Christopher Fenimore is a writer and photographer living in New York. Working with clients ranging from clothiers to vineyards, he’s also covered street style for a number of outlets. Follow him on Instagram at @c.fenimore.
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